Sunday, May 13, 2007

Introduction to Language Poetry and the Body: A Panel (by erica kaufman and Tim Peterson)

Introduction to Language Poetry and the Body: A Panel

Language poetry and poetics are known for their critique of commodified concepts such as "the self," "experience," and "identity," replacing these concepts with an emphasis on language as material. Language viewed in this way brings to the foreground meaning as a social construct while simultaneously advocating a more democratized notion of reader participation. In the words of Bruce Andrews, "The writing helps stage, rather than conceal, the particulars of its format. It helps the text foreground its "social" constructedness, as a body of social sense, not just leaving us stuck with a fetishizing of artistic "process" or the preenings ofauthor control."

This panel will address the precise nature of this materiality in language. Can words be said to have a physical body or a sonic body? How does this concept relate to the phenomenological, the physical, or other concepts that are outside of the text, such as the body of the reader? In the words of Lyn Hejinian, "A person alone, or in groups of persons, has accompanied art throughout its history; it is assumed that a work of art is, at the very least, a manifestation of his or her presence. But whose?"

What is the role of the body, both the social body and the body of the individual, in Language and Post-Language poetics? What does language want?


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