June 8, 2005 3:00 PM   Subscribe

MNMLST POETRY is an essay by Bob Grumman about a strand of poetry that he claims is "unacclaimed but flourishing". Here are poems in this vein by Aram Saroyan (2), jwcurry, LeRoy Gorman, bpNichol, Michael Basinski, John M. Bennett, Karl Young, John Martone, Ian Hamilton Finlay and finally some mathemaku by Bob Grumman, the essay's author.
posted by Kattullus (12 comments total)
Interesting to note that some of these authors are big in the haiku world (Gorman, Swede...), which is often dogmatically traditional in many ways.
posted by luckypozzo at 3:44 PM on June 8, 2005

BAH. This form and "language poetry" or "langpo" as it is so asininely called, can be tied to an anvil and thrown into the sea to drown for all I care. PoMo nitwittery!
posted by tweak at 4:25 PM on June 8, 2005

I love bpNichol. He wrote a book in sort of this style called journal and it's absolutely fabulous. The Martyrology is great but I haven't yet had the time to read more about it -- he packed so much into it that it will take me years to figure out half of it. He took the "ugh" out of thought and made saints out of words and I love him for it.

Plus he wrote a couple episodes of Fraggle Rock. :)

Love Song 6

For Ellie on her birthday (November 19/73, 12:02 a.m.)

all the ways that i had thot of loving
filled as i can be with such conceits
disappear in the face of you
the place you do take in my heart

all the awkwardness that i feel in phrasing
poems that speak of my loving for you
caught as they do catch in a moment's saying
so that i feel embarrassed or arrogant
hesitating where i should be sure
are nothing when i hold you
unable to speak
              reach over the years of our separate growing
older together
                        measured in time
we note startled
no closer to knowing "what love is"
except that respect
                                that continual wonder
i still dissemble before
more in love with you than ever

posted by heatherann at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2005

yes, i bought most of the martyrology at a bargain book store for a buck a book ... and i'm very glad i did ...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:52 PM on June 8, 2005

For some reason, though I've never cared for L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry I like the minimalist stuff. Here's one from Robert Grenier's A Day at the Beach:

it's foggy foggy foggy foggy
help help it's foggy
Oh, have two, they're small:

posted by languagehat at 4:56 PM on June 8, 2005

pyramid termite: i bought most of the martyrology at a bargain book store for a buck a book

Wow, where do you find bpNichol in bargain book stores?
posted by Kattullus at 4:57 PM on June 8, 2005

Languagehat: I like minimalist stuff better than I like most language poetry myself too. There's much to be said for whimsy and wit in poetry and the language poets are sometimes a bit full of themselves. Now as I said, I really like language poetry one has to look far and wide to find a light touch.
posted by Kattullus at 5:30 PM on June 8, 2005

I hate to mark myself as a reactionist, but as someone who studied langpo for a while, it just seems to have run out of steam. And Kleinzahler's last book sucked, which broke my heart. And Jed Rasula's American Poetry Wax Museum made me think I should try and write prose instead. But I'll take this over whatever the New Yorker is publishing. I think the key for these guys is, give up on poetry--call it art.
posted by bardic at 9:24 PM on June 8, 2005

Did the New Yorker ever publish good poetry? As I'm foreign I sort of had this image of the New Yorker as a bastion of interesting culture and you can imagine my disappointment when I read the poetry therein... ugh, yecch, what dreck (though I'll admit I did once read one good poem and I've given up reading that magazine a long time ago).
posted by Kattullus at 2:35 AM on June 9, 2005

I used to write haikus. But now I write pseudohaikus.
Enjoy... Or, you can enjoinder me never to darken these blue pages with poetry again.

he’s a good
crush on

that group of
girls sharpening
their tongues

did that

among the world’s
well of unremarkable

pretty girls
picking their noses


let’s look
at all my

this at
your feet


something you can’t
help that the world
can’t help hating

it’s not forever
but it’s fabulous
for now

all my
pets are
in pain

that special
feeling, let’s
have that


i’m not your
girlfriend, this
is only pretend

i always liked
superheroes and
now i am one

in a cruel twist
of fate he was
his own son


lady all

bring all the
ones who ought
to come

shiny clean
like a
good dad

scanning group
photos for the good
looking ones
posted by Sully at 10:41 AM on June 9, 2005

Did the New Yorker ever publish good poetry?

Yes, but not regularly. They published a shitload of well-made "New Yorker poetry" (to keep the "New Yorker fiction" company), but every once in a while there was a gem by Ashbery or Milosz to keep you from giving up (and to keep Alice Munro company). But their strength has always been the essays.
posted by languagehat at 2:33 PM on June 9, 2005

sully: well, I like'm :)

languagehat: "shitload", what an appropriate term... well you know what they say about polished turds. Well, sometimes they're laugh out loud bad, so I guess I have to say I do enjoy them. Though not as hilariously bad as Poetry Magazine can be. One of my favorite terrible poems was the first thing I ever read in that magazine. It's called Blues for Dante Alighieri, it will haunt your dreams.
posted by Kattullus at 4:11 PM on June 9, 2005

« Older Death sentence for online gamer   |   Yet again ! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments