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CONTEMPORARY POEM : ARSE POETICA

RAHUL GUPTA

March 1st, 2020

Rijksmuseum / CC0

Contemporary Poem: Arse Poetica


“ OK so like” one problem with
the contemporary fashion for so-called
poems
which are really just prose chopped
up
into syntactic-rhetorical units or even arbi
trarily and which is intended to
have merely local
sentimental effect expressed by the content of the
words
like pop lyrics, or soap opera scenes
(its Poetry coz its got
Pheeeelinz)

is that it perpetuates
and worsens
the popular cultural
TONEDEAFNESS
to the effects of verse which demand
art and skill
both on the part of writer
and readers to
appreciate

people with no ear behold poetry
as a dog watches television Something is
going on but

These are not poetic LINES
Why? Because they have no intrinsic rationale governing and generating
structure, pattern, balance or
tension
they are just prose cut into lengths which for no reason do not reach to the other side of the page
which is why
they are always
so
flat
and lame
and yet also still artificial, manneristic, and clichéd

a conformist convention
derivative by illiterate imitation
of the extrinsic features
of texts wherein they did
have warrant and purpose
stilted with a platitudinous portentousness

droning on
as though the words and phrases were somehow rendered more
significant
by the way they are lineated and
spaced

—this is called [spacebar] TYPING OUT PROSE [return] —

it is scarcely
a poetics it is so
crude, simplistic, too easy has
none
of the subtlety and power of poetry
written hundreds even thousands of years

ago

though alternatively to hide that I have
actually nothing to say and actually also
no means
any more
by which to say it I could

pile up impasto lumpy masses
of textural textual verbiage instead and look bulgingly impressive as a
puffed-up toad, or teenager
pulling muscle-poses in a mirror
straining and popping every contorted fibre and knotted sinew for how the effect looks
until my “ eyeglobes balloon from my chiascuroed orbits
and my mandibular gape in a writhing rictus
grins back to my encephalon’s
coelacanthic eyeteeth ”
&c (&c.) [&, c.]
so muscular so pulsing so
gibberish

or I could

d o    s o m e t h in g     l i k e      t h i s /o r SUCH like This like something do could I or

—spurious fragmentation, unmotivated superficial discontinuity It like looks like cool &
shit
or rather motivated by misdirection
thus creating a screen of surface-noise
scrambled wordsalad
to disguise and distract from

F a t u o u s
V a c u i t y

or again I cld use slang deploy the expletives
soliloquize in solecisms
or asyntaxis (Syntax: oppressive hierarchical construct imposed by the patriarchal hegemony etc Instead, conceptualize and paragraph in the freeflowing rhythmic spirals of the menstrual blood of Wimmin)
(its poetry
coz its
Talking Funny)

whilst
at the same time
telling everyone
about my trendy political convictions and activism That would be
engagé
and committed
and
/or
nonstandard sexual proclivities and expose my most
intimate experiences
of sapphic embraces


 

                                                                                                                                “ —Did I feel
                                                                                                                                        just then
                                                                                                                                     as the rain
                                                                                                                                                  fell
                                                                                                                                        did I just
                                                                                                                                                 feel
                                                                                                                                     then when
                                                                                                  the downpour on the window
                                                                                                                    big blobby droplets
                                                                                                            monsooned and trickled
                                                                                                                                            on the
                                                                                                                                         window
                                                                                                                                   at your first
                                                                                                                                    caress Feel
                                                                                                             a voluptuous frissoning
                                                                                                                                      in my— ”

with paraplegic
mulatto trans dwarf amputees

in wheelchairs

or other narcissistic or pretentious
inanities
(Poetry coz it’s Progressive, be strong be empowered)

and hence the would-be poem is
formless
disintegrative
incohesive it has
no shape and inner life by which
to get itself
off the page
the lineation serves no performable function
it is inaudible it cannot get airborne
it has no singleness of organic unity
it cannot move
no magic secret
binding word to word in unbreakable design
to conjure a meaningful music and
a music of meanings
thus this non or anti poetics results in
heaps
screeds
of
pagebound
unrecitable
unrememberable

stillborn

Bad Prose

and this trash
this fakery
by talentless fashionable frauds
new dunces for Alexander Pope
emperors with no clothes on
is pushed and enforced
by a purblind moribund elite
incestuous selfserving
of pseudo-intellectuals

but hey I like guess it is like really really easy? for like lots of like people?
who can’t read

to read

if they can bothered but why and
what a surprise they
don’t

(it’s a niche market we can’t afford to Nobody reads it because

it’s poetry coz
it’s really got nothing to tell anyone about anything)

without taking up too much of their
time or too

much spacebar return spacebar return

effort

For obvious reasons nobody is going to publish this Heresy and thoughtcrime but

at least it’s
C O N T E M P O R A R Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rahul Gupta, an Anglo-Indian born and raised in the North of England, holds a PhD in modern and mediæval poetics from the University of York. His poems and translations have appeared in Agenda, Acumen, Carillon, Eborakon, Equinox, and Molly Bloom, among other journals. His main enterprise is a reinterpretation of the Arthurian legends retold as an epic in “the most accomplished, imaginative and technically-correct alliterative verse in Modern English since Tolkien” (Tom Shippey), from which two excerpts have been published, in The Long Poem Magazine, Issue 15, May 2016, and, “one of the truly great mythic works of our time” (John Matthews) in The Temenos Academy Review, Issue 21, 2018. A volume of imitative verse-translations from Old English and Norse is forthcoming.