I can’t believe this bit of brilliance from Keston Sutherland came to me via Harriet, which has been toadying to Con Writers and their Maven-in-Chief Marjorie Perloff for a long while now. I’m thankful to whatever whistleblower at Harriet found it and posted the link to it, though. Here’s a sample:
[S]ignificantly for so-called “conceptual” poets, the refusal to give a conceptual account of the “subject” whose rejection defines the schema of their art is a manifest expression of contempt for the very work of conceptual definition itself. Conceptual poetry does no conceptual work toward defining the ”subject” whose rejection is its principal dogma. Poetry dismissed by conceptual poets as Romantic, subjective, expressive etc. often does a great deal more of that conceptual work than “conceptual poetry” does.
Sutherland also cannily observes that “the antisubjectivist dogma is an optic for ironic theorisation of value alone; its implications for a theory of labour are wholly reactionary. Marx’s account of the inhumanity of wage labour was precisely that it extinguishes the individual subject and reduces her to a mere quantity of ‘socially necessary labour power’ and finally to Gallerte. Capital itself is the fundamental ‘antisubjective’ force in the world and the pattern of all the others.”
Hence the evident reality that Conceptual Writers claim to critique the language of the power elite while in fact furthering the aims of that elite by destroying the power of language.