the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Bellamy on the Uses and Abuses of Collage

Posted by rigorousm on September 7, 2012

… according to Kevin, Fitterman said that experimental poets were using collage as a way to put emotion back into poetry, emotion that wouldn’t work otherwise. Heightened emotion displayed but not owned– I find Fitterman’s argument fascinating, but kind of sad. I don’t want to downplay the lyrical vapidity that inspired, and continues to inspire, a formalist turning away from emotion, but collaging in emotion makes experimental poetry sound sociopathic. According to the pop psychology books and articles I snarf down, sociopaths are empty on the inside and in order to fit in they mimic the behavior of others. Revolving around an emotional void, the experimental poem steals fragments from other works in order to appear sensitive or human. … In my writing I favor a direcet assault of over-the-top emotion, hysteria even. No matter how many times I cite Kristeva, my writing springs from adolescent passion and romance. The language that I collage in often is the language of critical theory or abstraction, language with hard edges that violates and endangers desire. (“Body Language,” pp 74-75)

… appropriation now sprung from a primal urgency to dash the language of the academy against my own narrative perversions. … The theoretical texts I’ve read for my pleasure tend to be feminist, written bt women such as Jacqueline Rose, Elizabeth Grosz, Barbara Creed, Elisabeth Bronfen, Catherine Clement, Julia Kristeva. Even though they deal with violence, sexuality, oppression, adjection, horror– the same subject matter as my own writing– there is an austerity to these texts that I love. I sit in the middle of my messy apartment and messy life reading these books, and theorists turn the chaos and suffering into abstraction, it’s so clean and peaceful…. Lines from dozens of such texts are woven into my work. Their intrusion is usually not subtle, but glaring, awkward. I want that sense of an alien voice, all authoritarian with sharp edges to threaten the confessional, colloquial tone of my ‘regular” writing, to make the lived and fantasy material more vulnerable, pathetic, painfully so. I want that sense of a language that is not mine coming in, a language that I can read but never own, a language that I don’t want to own. … My refusal to complete my linguistic sanitization by learning to perform the syntax and vocabularies of intellectual discourse is a class rebellion on a small scale. I rip the language of the academy out of context and force it into my own writing, so it can turn up its nose at my noisy corporeality. My vulgarity surrounds it on all sides, with huge slimy cunt teeth ready to snap elitism in two. (“The Cheese Stands Alone,” 114-115.)

— Dodie Bellamy, Academonia


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