Wednesday, 19 April 2000

From "An Introduction"

by Sam Ladkin and Robin Purves.

In the work of each poet there is an intermittent attachment to the more traditional idea of incoherence as the index of ungovernable feeling. The poetry frequently stages the disintegration of selves as coherent sets of managed needs and desires, one agent of which is anguish at the endless pleasures proffered this side of the capitalist equation. Ethics, in the US and the UK, tends to be experienced by most citizens as the freedom to exercise self-restraint in the face of all the opportunities we have to be bad (driving SUVs, all-you-can-eat buffets, crack cocaine, etc.). Meanwhile “love” and “life” are the two concepts most inassimilable to the system embodied and critiqued in this poetry. Increasingly, they are unrepresentable there, incapable of being idealized in poetic language, only able to be named, and only as words, in ways that merely underline their unnameable aspects. Poems smolder or burn up in mourning for the absence and impossibility of love, of life, and any unmitigated pleasures. Even as we read, words and things are lining up outside for their orgiastic combination, couplings sanctioned by the arbitrariness of their relations and accelerated by the sexualized excitement of those of us who can afford to own them, and the sexualized excitement of the rest who just sit around, wanting.

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