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watch video on Silliman's “Albany”

Course video 79 of 106

<p><b>AN OVERVIEW OF THE FINAL THREE WEEKS OF MODPO:</b> We spend our final three weeks surveying three related groupings of experimental poetry, covering recent decades to the present. In week 8 (chapter 9.1), we look at the so-called “Language Poetry” movement as it emerged in the San Francisco Bay area and New York in the 1970s and early 1980s. In week 9 (chapter 9.2), we turn to chance-generated and aleatory and quasi-nonintentional writing. In week 10 (chapter 9.3), we look at the recent emergence (or resurgence) of conceptual and appropriative — supposedly 'uncreative' — poetry. Several of the 9.2 poets follow directly from the innovations of the 9.1 Language poets. A few of the 9.3 conceptualists see themselves as breaking away from Language poetry and embrace a “post-avant” status, while others see a continuity from modernism through Language and aleatory writing to conceptualism. The extent to which all these poets — but especially the 9.1 and 9.2 poets — show their indebtedness to modernists such as Duchamp, Stein, Williams, and the proto-modernist Dickinson does suggest that our course is the study of a line or lineage of experimental American poetry continuing out of modernism. </p><p><b>Week 8 begins at 9 AM on Sunday, October 27, 2019 and ends at 9 AM on Sunday, November 3, 2019. </b> For those doing ModPo on their own or in small groups, the week 8 materials are open and available all year.</p><p>By starting with Ron Silliman’s “Albany” and Lyn Hejinian’s 'My Life,' we focus on ways in which — and reasons why — Language poets refused conventional sequential, cause-and-effect presentations of the writing self. They imply that the self is languaged — formed by and in language — and that the self as written is multiple across time (moments and eras) and thus from paratactic sentence to paratactic sentence. While this radical revision of the concept of the lyric self (and of the super-popular genre of memoir) emphasizes one aspect of the Language Poetry movement at the expense of several other important ideas and practices, it is, we feel, an excellent way to introduce the group. Bob Perelman’s “Chronic Meanings,” aside from its contribution to this introduction, also picks up a theme of our course: the experimental writer attempts to encounter death (loss, grief, absence) by somehow making the form of the writing befit that discontinuity and disruption. We began this theme in chapter 2 with Stein's “Let Us Describe” and continued it in chapter 8 with O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died,” and we will proceed with Jackson Mac Low's “A Vocabulary for Peter Innisfree Moore” in chapter 9.2. Chapter 9.1 concludes with two poems from Harryette Mullen's book of intense alphabetical and lexicographical self-consciousness, <em>Sleeping with the Dictionary.</em> Mullen's talent is diverse, and her work could have appeared in weeks 8 or 9 or 10, but it's here because we hope some readers will sense an interesting relationship between <em>Sleeping with the Dictionary</em> and Hejinian’s <em>My Life. </em>We realize that the list below makes week 8 seem like a long one, but please note that we are asking you here to read just eight poems. </p><p><b>ASSIGNMENTS:</b> During this week there are two quizzes due (see below). No new writing assignment is due. Peer reviews of writing assignment #3 are due. Peer reviews should be submitted anytime between 9 AM on 10/28/19 and 9 AM on 11/3/19. There is also a live webcast on Wednesday, October 30 at 7 PM (New York City time).</

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