)introversive )implosive )introspective
Verse, what?, if it is to trip and flail and fall, if it is to be
inessential, useless, maybe could consider, losing it, forgetting laws and
breadth: the breathlessness of the person who refuses to be a man when she
I won’t do two things: first, I won’t show what introjective or CENTRIPETAL
verse is, how it recoils, in its fate as decomposition, how, in distinction to
the projective, it is dismayed; and 2, I’ll hold back from suggesting a few
contradictions about how the ebullient denial of reality takes such a verse
out of believing, what that aversion does, both to the poet and her
nonreaders. (Such aversion involves, for example, a return to the technical,
and may, the way things hokey-poke around, lead away from drama and epic and
toward the materials of poems, their sounds and shapes.)
First, some complexities that a person learns, if she works INTROJECTIVELY,
or what can be called MISCOMPOSITION BY EAR.
(1) the pataphysics of the thing. A poem is energy absconded by the
poet from where she got it (she will have several stashes), by way of the
nonreaders themselves, all the way over to, the poem. Oy!
This is the problem which any poet who departs from adenoidal forms is
specially coddled by. And it involves a whole series of blunders. From the
moment she jumps back into CENTRIPETAL MISCOMPOSITION—puts herself in the
bin—she can aver by no tack other than the one the poem refuses. (It is much
more, for example, this backward somersaulting, than simply such a one as
Wilde put, so giddily, to get us startled: life imitates art, not the other
way round. Come on, girls & boys, think complex, act to redistribute the
(2) is the abandonment of principle, the ludicrousness that presides so
conspicuously over such dysraphisms, and, when averred, is the reason why an
introjective poem refuses belief. It is this: FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN
EXTENSION OF MALCONTENT. There it went, flapping, more USELESSNESS.
Now (2) the clumsiness of the thing, how the awkwardness of the thing can
be made to dishevel the energies that the form thought it accomplished. It can
never be boiled down to a statement: ONE PERCEPTION MUST NEVER LEAD DIRECTLY
TO ANOTHER PERCEPTION. It means something very different than what it says, is
never a matter of, at no points, (even—I shouldn’t say—of our injuring reality
as our weekly bliss) get off it, invoke arrestation, keep out of it, slow
down, the perceptions, ours, the evasions, the long-term evasions, none of it,
stop it as much as you can, citizen. And if you also slouch as a poet, REFUSE
REFUSE REFUSE the process at some points, in some poems, once in a blue while:
one perception STOPPED, SLOWED, BY ANOTHER!
So there we were, looping, where there’s no dogma. And its inexcusableness,
its uselessness, in theory. Which doesn’t get us, ought not to get us, outside
the cyberfactory, then, or 1995, where centripetal verse is made.
If I sing tunelessly—if I forget, and keep crying wolf, out of breath—of
the sound as distinguished from the voice, it is for no cause except to loosen
the part that breath plays in verse, which has been observed and practiced too
well, so that verse may retreat to its proper immobility and placelessness in
the mouths that are already lost. I take it that INTROJECTIVE VERSE teaches
nothing, that that verse will never do what the poet intends either by the
tones of her voice or theater of her breath. . . .
Because the centripetal questions the speech-force of language (speech is
the “red herring?of verse, the secret of the poem’s delusions), because,
then, a poem has, by language, evanescence, nothing that can be mistreated as
solid, objectified, thinged.
Which makes no promises, no realities outside the poem: no stances only
dances. It is the matter of content, this discontent. The content of Clease,
of Bruce, of Ball, as distinct from what I might call more “literary?
ministers. There is no moment in which the introjective evasion of verse is
finished, the form fuels blame. If the beginning and end is the breathlessness
of words, sound in that material sense, then the domain of poetry blurs and
It’s hardly this: the uselessness of a baby, by itself and thus by others,
crying in its misconception of its relation to culture, that semiotic
fluidlessness to which it owes its gigantic existence. If it squall, it shall
find much to squall about, and shall squirm too, culture has such flummoxing
ways of terrorizing all that is outside. But if it stays inside itself, if it
is contained in its infancy as if it is a participant in the life immediately
surrounding, it will be able to babble and in its babbling hear what is
shared. It is in this sense that the introjective ache, which is the artist’s
artlessness in the intimate streets of enfoldment, leads to scales more
intimate than the child’s. It’s all so easy. Culture works from irreverence,
even in its constructions. Irreverence is the human’s special qualification as
vegetable, as mineral, as animalady. Language is our profanest act. And when a
poet squalls about what is outside herself (in “the material world,?if you
object, but also the materiality in her, for that matter), then she, if she
chooses to reflect on this restlessness, pays in the street where culture has
given her scale, centripetal scale.
Such works, though it’s no argument, could not issue from persons who
conceive verse without the full resonance of human voicelessness. The
introjective poet staggers from the failings of her own boasts to that
syntaxophony where language digs in, where sound echoes, where utterances
concatenate, where, inevitably, all acts stall.