This not just in (2013) from Calvin Bedient on conceptual poetry:
Writers who pride themselves on conceiving projects and executing them according to plan – thus relatively indifferent to the intrinsic value of what is produced and to the quality of the production itself – neglect life values, which include a trembling web of receptivity, sharply interested observation, the ability to make instant adjustments, and organic developments within a constantly changing context, all properties as important to lyric poets as to cats. (“Against Conceptualism”)
And I am, like a tree with two cows in it, of two minds here. I quiver like a plucked lyrestring to notions of a “trembling web of receptivity” and organic alterations responsive to a “constantly changing context.” I’m also coolly alert to how the phrases are calculus to make me quiver and bow to them.
If it’s that conceptual is a way to do poetry, I’m down w/ that.
If it’s, conceptual is the way to do poetry, got no patience w/ that.
Can never say what its fans are fanning, which article, for sure.
This one is just, okay, sweet. I mean it’s kind, gentle, open, bighearted, fun and funny. So maybe also it’s got a rigorous generative procedure behind it and also linguistic resonances available only to initiates. Who cares, it offers its pleasure to any willing to inhale, to inspire.
(Craig Dworkin, Remotes)
I’ll write more on this one maybe at a later mote. For now just this. Sometimes the cells walls between conceptual poetry & affective poetry & autobiographical poetry (the dedication: “for Miles, and / the time being”) & visual poetry (these are typewritten and every ‘s’ and ‘d’ is twice struck, plurals, pasts) are porous unto nought.
This wee gist has thought & heart & eye & ear & a moving body. I think Craig might assent to calling it a “conceptual poem”? But it affirms everything Bedient says conceptual poetry refuses.
And. Yet. For the most part I’m with Bedient there. Hells yeah.