Monday, 8 May 2000

From "Some Correspondence"

The question of noise in the more recent poetry, in the sense in which you seem to mean it, is somewhat more vexed. I think quick cutting and noise have to be distinguished, at least at an intentional level. I don't on purpose make the surfaces of the poetry noisy in the way that I make the surfaces of my theater noisy. The rapid cuts in much of the poetry are simply doggedly faithful to the perceptual and cognitive narratives of the struggling "I," trying to speak candidly to one insistent apprehension or dispute, in the midst of this rush of information that is both extraneous and irrecuperably insinuated into the ideosphere. In that sense, yes, the world itself is noisy, but ths is only a function of the rapid turnover of apprehensive arrivals and departures: the infidelity coefficient of velocity. On a train journey, in five seconds, I see a cow lying down in a field, I think about sex (not because of the cow but because I am a man and we apparently think about sex every few seconds), I see a billboard urging me to book a holiday. Given a couple minutes with each of these concepts I could arrive at some sort of satisfactory relation with each of them. But on the train, I am presented with a mutant, this on-rushing cow-cock-holiday, and compelled instantly to establish my relation with this grotesque, while all around me people are leaking Placebo from their iPods and talking in unfamiliar languages wherein I recognize only the phrases "Margaret Beckett" or "Simon Cowell." The lutimate constraint in my work, then, is this: that I feel I have no business writing an out-and-out love poem until I have given a fully accurate account of my actual lived experience of the impediments to writing such a poem.

So I am striving to be precise, in the poems, and if this precision and this strain after fidelity generates a sort of sensational dissonance that seems to the reader noisy and therefore functionally endorses their own relation to the work, then that's fine, insofar as the movement in the poems is more important than the specific instances of their top-level content.


6billionghosts said...

i dig, sometimes i consider editing the more errmmm urgent of my work to remove the vulnerable chaotic turns and falls.

but then i think about what kind of music i hear when i read the work, and what i hear reminds me of the fractured immediacy of bands like crass and the germs, and i don't want to lose that. sometimes i need the stability, so i write stably, editing heavily. other times i would kill the words if i removed the noise.

Jow Lindsay said...

Yeah I think Chris's selling himself a bit short with the fidelity-to-the-chimerical-complexity-of-subjectivity bit (mutant cows etc.); it sounds like there is all this OK, resolved experience somewhere in which his work is vouchsafed. Music is definitely another way into the pseudo-chaos of it. I'd like to caveat && extend what he says here till it's true, but not sure how yet; I guess at least it gives you a polemical hermeneutic device: stubbornly trying to interpret "Crot death link to womb dreams" or whatever as Chris spakking out on a train. who are you anyway.