“I live in a culture that prides itself on how efficiently it kills people. Poetry is despised. It is frowned on like a disease. It’s easy to see why. Militancy involves rigor. Narrowness. Rigidity. Poetry is the opposite of that. It is a form of meandering. Of submergence and aberration. It feeds on anomaly. So that the forms it assumes vary wildly. So much so that the whole question of form becomes a problem bordering on hallucination. And is, ultimately, seditious. It usurps certainty. So that killing people with drones is a patent impossibility.”

John Olson / “Questions of Form”

// reblogged from Joseph Massey’s RANGE

2 thoughts on “form

  1. I partly agree with the lifted comment, except drones will continue to be used, but will never differentiate between civilians and miltiary targets, either buildings or individuals. Children continue to be killed by drones but denied blah de blah de blah.

    A poet would make a better killer, as s/he would only pick out the worst elements, lines, delete redundent or dangerous adverbs, adjects, and select only the right nouns of a poem, while leaving the civilians alone who make the poetry come alive.

    John Olson also said/start with:
    “Form is a pharmacy of theory. Nothing is tangible. Meaning that void itself has palpable form. Or that nothing at all has palpable form. And really, what difference does it make?

    The marriage of form and content is a chimera. Horses glow in the jaw and occur as tangible living entities in the imagination of the poet whose brain is a boiling cauldron of form seeking form.”

    Overlooking the typo of haikus [sic] he couldn’t better describe why haiku (plural/genre) can never be pinned down, even by a heat-seeking missile, or smartbomb, because the form isn’t the form.

    I shall be quoting from Mr Olson for my courses I’m leading where students become perplexed, as to where the form in haiku went, while they weren’t looking.

    Alan, With Words

  2. This is very interesting. The John Olsen quote and Alan’s comment made me think of something ANNE BOGART wrote about the acting process:

    “Art is violent. To be decisive is violent. … To place a chair at a partial angle on the stage destroys every other possible choice, every other option.” [A Director Prepares]

    It’s interesting to consider the notion that to simply ‘decide’, is to create form, and to create form is to destroy; haiku itself an act of violence.

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