May 2, 2012KR BlogBlogWriting

On Conceptual Poetry


No Conceptualist Poet has yet come up with a concept as mind-bogglingly difficult as mine: Create a poetry that exploits existing grammatical and syntactical paradigms (sometimes as deceptively simple as subject-verb-predicate, but potentially incorporating numerous subordinate clauses) simultaneously with a lineation-principle based on the inherent syllabic quantities (hard-stressed, soft-stressed, unstressed), phonetic quality, and consonant- and vowel-values of the discrete letter-sequences themselves, in order to reproduce meaning (connotative and denotative), provoke limbic stimulation (“feeling”), convey narrative (linear or nonlinear), mimic human speech-patterns (or elaborate them into unrecognizeable speech-like units that may or may not be based on the lineation-principle), such that—Concept of Concepts!—all of these related ends are collapsed into a single end, which is the poem itself. The fact that this Concept, with minor variations, has governed the poetries of multiple languages for hundreds of years only makes my 21st-century appropriation of it more daring. How’s that for a Concept, Marjorie Perloff?