Saturday, April 25, 2009

Death to all Projects?

Dorothea Lasky has posted her treatise on why poets should avoid the term "project" as a convenient term to describe their ongoing work. Personally, I don't use the word since it connotes knowing what one is going to do before having done it, a predetermination, or prehension. I also associate it with many of the worst elements of Modernity (the Knowledge project, the Colonialist project, genocidal projects, etc.). Isn't the very notion of project what we've been working against after Modernity (as a project itself)? I prefer the term problem to project. Since poetry is an expert discourse, why shouldn't poets conceive more accurate terms to describe the status of their work?


tyrone said...

Though the word "expert" is even more problematic than project as it functions as one of the hinges linking modernity and modernism.


Thom Donovan said...

That's true Tyrone. I apologize for my poor choice of words. When the term "discourse" may have done just fine on its own...

Perhaps specialist would be better? A la Robert Kocik, I would like to think that poetry could be prescriptive. A form of medicine, or legal rendering. In this sense, more often than not, we give a lot of free medical/legal advice--a public not generally valuing our treatments/know how/surgical procedures.

If one went to a doctor, they would probably want to know they were in good hands, they would want good references. I guess that's what I 'm talking about. People should be able to come to us/poets and we can be confidant about our references, and believe that there are certain things we can treat.

Maybe we should have a kind of hippocratic oath for poets? Robert's "At least to not do more harm" could be that oath.

...will have to give this matter of terminology some more thought though.


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