Wednesday, 20 June 2018

MLA Chernoff : part three

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

While I was on a writing hiatus during my early years of grad school, a famous white cishet male poet––who will remain anonymous here––drunkenly exclaimed that I’m “too ironic” for the “revolution.” Like, whose fuckn revolution do u think ur a part of, mate?! We’re both drunk at a Wayzgoose, u absolute fiend!!!!

Not long after this encounter, a begrudging fascination with the meaning of “irony” (amongst other things) prompted me to start writing again. The experience made me reevaluate the role of laughter and quirkiness in poetry, especially those poetries that claim to be experimental and/or highly politicized. “Comedy” is now integral to my process, though I don’t think of myself as a comedian in any capacity. Rather, I’m inclined to use writing as a medium which can accentuate the differences and similarities between irony and a more “earnest” humour (if there is such a thing).

Just between you, me, and Deleuze, I see irony as narcissistic––a means of maintaining the privileged position of the speaker/writer who knows better than you––while humour is a kind of groundless self-deprecation that rapidly and vigorously calls something into question using absurdity, instead of attempting to elevate a specific subject position or POV. I guess I’m thinking more along the lines of Sianne Ngai’s conception of zaniness. Most of the time, I feel as though my pomes are straddling the thin line between these modalities, but PLEASE let it be noted that all of my writing comes from the humour in my heart and the bile in my spleen. Frick me up tho: most of delet this was basically written to spite one mediocre white man, i.e. to spite all of them.

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