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Thursday, 15 May 2008

Swift, Todd Swift

I wanted to highlight, for my readers, a section from some comments published by one of the regular readers of Eyewear, Sean Bonney, a UK poet, who writes:

"I do always read your blog, and have at times wondered if you are some kind of satirical fictional character. pompous, essentially dim, but in your imagination the James Bond of a poetry world that is simply too ungracious to recognise your genius. like most stupid people, you imagine that you are highly intelligent, because you cannot conceive of an awareness and perception that goes further than your own limitations.

Christian Bok, by the way, is an imbecile. he's almost as bad as you ..."

I'd leave this as "no comment required" - but these comments show the level of malevolence that is generated from the conflictual system at play in British poetry. Particularly striking is the dismissal of one of the very best experimental poets in North America today, Christian Bok. Eyewear, isn't, of course, James Bond - that honour currently goes to Daniel Craig - but it is true that Eyewear is a persona, and written as such. Bonney may have trouble with the idea of such a style being employed (he suggests I am "a kind of satirical fictional character").

For a sophisticated reader of experimental poetry and cultural theory, it seems odd for Bonney to miss out on the obvious - this blog is a text (indeed, intertextual) and full of shifting registers of discourse - not a transparent medium for the simple expression of an ego - even one as apparently enlarged as mine. This is signalled in any number of ways, from the ironic design style, to the linguistic play sometimes employed, to the polyphonic structure (other writers are also included, challenging the idea of the blog as an individualistic tool, and suggesting a communitarian role for its form). Eyewear is a blog that questions the blog genre, and does so with wit and brio. It fearlessly questions all forms of poetry, poets, poetics, and criticism. Well, that's overstating the case. It posts things a few times each week: okay? Those who seem infuriated by its postmodern style are advised not to read it.
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