Sunday, 25 April 2010

A Modeft Propofal

I consider it would be a fine thing, a truly experimental and innovative thing, if there were a moratorium on the publication of new poetry for, say, five years. Or even just twelve months for a test run. By publication I mean anything in print, the internet OR read in public. The question of private circulation would require some careful deliberation and refinement of definition: there are always going to be those who have compulsions to share their latest with their cat, or house-plants, or mother. Although this would probably have to be a voluntary arrangement it would be exciting if official support could be won and transgression of the discipline of silence could incur a suitable sanction, such as enforced indexing of European Community Food Policy Directives or public dismemberment joint by joint in an art exhibition (while being maintained alive for the longest possible period to endure the even more excruciating pain of the other installations).

The benefits of this temporary trappisme of poetry would be immense: all those counterfeit versifiers who exist solely to torture their audiences through the amplification system of egotism would evanesce and vanish quite, absolutely and utterly, imagine the global deflation of wind-bags that would ensue, we could probably supply the energy needs of the Third World with the hot air saved, while, as there would be no strictures against re-publication, we would have ample opportunity to assemble retrospectives and collected works, reputations could be thoughtfully and fastidiously interrogated, perhaps people would begin to remember how to read, other than if scanning a newspaper, and most of all there would be restoration of poets to what should be their true proving ground: the blank solitude of the page.

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