But honestly—Steve Halle of the Fluid/Exchange blog says this work by Holms Troelstrup is “exciting” (he doesn’t say why). Maybe Halle is simply depressed and is thus excited by whatever takes the art of poetry further into inanity.
Halle is also excited (again he doesn’t say why) by this interesting blog entry by Robert Archambeau. Archambeau writes about poetry vs. prose, conflating “not-poetry” with prose as if Aristotle had never addressed the issue. Aristotle observed that all of the rhetorical elements of poetry in verse—heightened rhythm, rhyme, metaphor, etc.—could also be present in prose, repeatedly implying that prose could be poetry. Aristotle’s key distinction was not between poetry and prose, but between poetry and history:
From what we have said it will be seen that the poet’s function is to describe, not the thing that has happened, but a kind of thing that might happen, i.e. what is possible as being probable or necessary. The distinction between historian and poet is not in the one writing prose and the other verse—you might put the work of Herodotus into verse, and it would still be a species of history; it consists really in this, that the one describes the thing that has been, and the other a kind of thing that might be. Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.
In our reductive age, addicted to particulars (“No ideas but in things,” Williams said—easily the most specious statement that great poet ever made), we find it hard to take this point. I’m not saying we need to accept it, but it’s worth considering the notion that “not-poetry” has nothing to do with form but with its “import.” The current intellectual fads derived from Derrida and his brethren have nearly obliterated the desire to distinguish relative import in the arts; hence a commentator remarking on an earlier post of mine could argue, evidently with a straight face, that there are simply no grounds for asserting that a short story by Alice Munro is more important as art than a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.
Is it any surprise, at this stage of our decline, that Conceptualism and Flarf are taken seriously enough to be given a special section in Poetry magazine?