Why Poetic/Artistic Schools of Thought are Limiting

In my previous post, I explained what I believe is a way to bring two schools of poetry together.  Why it should matter, I have no idea. Honestly, I don’t care. I mean, yes, I am amused by how both sides take it so seriously–but, in the end, it’s all a bunch of palaver and bull-hockey, et.al.

People try to direct a trend or tendency into a movement or school of thought in order to attach importance to it, and a lucrative career, but that’s bullshit too.  Unfortunately, the edifice erected by the Conceptual Poets and School of Feeling may crumble and turn to dust at any time.  Art is ephemeral. These artificial schools of thought mean absolutely nothing in the end. In fact, they are counterproductive. They don’t represent what people are really doing in the real world.

I guess, for me, when you try to do anything artistic, it’s not about logic/reason. Kenneth Goldsmith believes it is–that you can plot a scientific course (remember Marx & Engels?), with a predictable schema in hand, and arrive logically at “Art.”  It never happens that way, IMHO. You are surely influenced by particular modes and sensibilities, but the making of art is a completely arbitrary exercise. No one knows what they are doing, and if they did, nothing of importance would ever be created.

And that’s why it’s limiting and counterproductive to fall for the lie of the “dueling poetic schools.” It’s, again, good for careers, and an ego boost for well compensated rhetoricians in the Ivory Tower, but for burnouts like me, it leaves me cold–and bored. I’m sure Dick Higgins would approve.



Short Comments on “Modernism Since Postmodernism” by Dick Higgins (selective quotes) #1

“The Artist” versus “The (Cognitive) Professional”

“But far from the cumulative sophistication being built up by an enormous quantitative exposure to an art, exhaustion sets in. The professional cannot afford to admit exhaustion, so he or she carries on in some purely analytical way, according to a cognitive scheme he or she has devised.”  Modernism Since Postmodernism, p.70

Thus, if the artist acts like a (cognitive) professional–that is, becomes numbed by repeated exposure to a certain type of art–he or she must break out  of that dead-end or risk creating mundane and derivative art. Familiarity breeds stagnation and produces bad art. To avoid the “cognitive” pitfall, the artist, according to Higgins, must “always work with something about  which he or she is naive.”  In this way, movement is initiated, and innovation may occur.  The cognitive professional lacks what the artist potentially has–an ability to work through “exhaustion” into realms of the new via an exploration of unfamiliar avenues.