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what is conceptual poetry? some notes from the conference 2008

June 2, 2008

INTRO: I spent the last few days at the Conceptual Poetry & Its Others conference in Tucson. (I was definitely one of the others.)

To those uninitiated, a conceptual poem has a “concept” or idea behind it which often and typically supercedes other “aesthetic” notions imposed upon a work by writers. These ideas often take the form of a contraint, for example to type every word and punctuation and mark on the page of the September 1, 2000 edition of the New York Times ala Kenneth Goldsmith’s 900 page work entitled Day (of which he appears oddly proud that no one bothers to read). Works are collaborative in nature, whether the collaborators intend to be part of the project or not, as conceptional poets appropriate many if not most of their texts from other sources.

Or as Laynie Browne put it in her collaborative piece with responses from over 50 poets and by using a computer analysis to compose the following answer to the question “What is conceptual poetry?”

A can of call and response. An unfortunate noun modified by an adjective. What poets are NOT conceptual. It makes me ambient. Quagmire out side of texts. For example, Kathleen Fraser’s essay, on “Partial Local Coherence.” My life is a highly conceptual work. Predicated on the desanctification of the aesthetic object. Hejinian’s poems, often organized around grammatical structures. Idea has preference. Bernadette Mayer–how can Utopia not be conceptual? It began with Acconci and Mayer’s 0-9. Foulipo (Spahr and Young’s piece) was conceptual. Given Dworkin’s definition, I’ll have to change my bio note. Language beyond born.

So I have decided to post my notes from the conference word by illegible word here as a conceptual poem using the words and format of my notes in an attempt to transcribe what is there verbatum.

That post coming right up…

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. checkash permalink
    June 2, 2008 5:38 pm

    one day i had a concept in my poem
    it stopped paying rent
    which i’d stopped paying long before
    so we both got kicked out
    too bad
    it was a nice
    victorian home
    with hard wood floors

  2. June 5, 2008 4:46 pm

    My kind of conceptual poetry is integrational,wisdom-oriented and improvisational beyond concepts of settlements in ever-changing situational simulacrum.

  3. June 5, 2008 4:49 pm

    thank you thank you thank you

    thank you

    thank you thank you thank you
    thank you thank you
    t—h—a—n—k—y—o–u

  4. June 5, 2008 4:55 pm

    t-h-a-n-k-y-o-u n-y-e-i-n-w-a-y-!-!

    (unfortunately the comment box formatting took out all your various spacing/s…but i saw them!! very cool)

    i like your definition too. you shoulda been there!

  5. June 18, 2008 6:15 pm

    the process of conceptualization:
    1]experiencing-facts
    2]identifying-classifying
    3]responding-initiating
    4]formation of concepts
    5]assimilation of concepts to get the space for uncreative consistency through your life,leading to the path to wisdom mobil
    6]mature but real impossible simplicity of conceptual poetic condition
    7]revisiting the poetry you have already known through your mindscape
    Thgia is my kind of conceptual poetry,genreless art formation process

  6. July 2, 2008 2:29 pm

    Dimensions of conceptual poetry:
    1]structural[pretext,context,text and post-text human condition]
    2]functional [meaning,understanding,communication of message or information]
    3]spiritual[ideas,fancy,imagination,emotion machine]
    4]wisdom [integrated insight,intuitive awareness,second-phase of consciousness-raising process]
    5]cartesian theatre
    6]concreteness of being
    7]emerged becomingingness

  7. July 2, 2008 2:35 pm

    Dimensions of conceptual poetry:
    1]structural[pretext,context,text and post-text human condition]
    2]functional [meaning,understanding,communication of message or information]
    3]spiritual[ideas,fancy,imagination,emotion machine]
    4]wisdom [integrated insight,intuitive awareness,second-phase of consciousness-raising process]
    5]cartesian theatre
    6]concreteness of being
    7]emerged becomingness

  8. July 2, 2008 10:40 pm

    hey thanks so much for coming back and participating here with your ideas about the process and the dimensions of conceptual poetry!!

    very cool–more to think about!

  9. November 5, 2009 1:11 pm

    24 machineries of conceptual poetics from Buddist’s philosophy,which moves around the human world and a human life( in Pali,it is called “24 pittsee”:24 supporting machineries in a man’s body-mind functional world.

  10. Michael Harmon permalink
    April 8, 2010 3:09 am

    Since I am only just learning about “conceptual” poetry, I have no right to make any “final” judgement of it. My preliminary response, however, from what I’ve read is: there is a flash flood of theorizing about what it is, and a dry creek bed of actual evidence it exists at all. If, as I fear, it bears any resemblance to “language” poetry, I fear poetry–and perhaps I am a heretic for saying so–will suffer another period of dry intellectualism, only this time it will be coupled with massive amounts of quotidian technological plagiarism attempting to palm itself off as poetic creativity. I hope my fears are unjustified, and this new phase will be less stultifying and hermetically-sealed than what I believe that previous period was. If you wish, call me a philistine, a yahoo, a barbarian, old-fashioned, stupid, ignorant, a moron. These may be true. In addition, I may be also showing my age…

  11. March 8, 2012 10:40 am

    (Conceptual/post-conceptual) manifesto Of Contemporary Poetry(2012)

    Contemporary poetry is a junction zone of distilled sky and earth of
    (1) .psychology
    (2) .philosophy
    (3) .ethics
    (4) .new aesthetics
    (5) .contemporary socio-cultural-economic-moral-political-technolog ical issues reflecting power and knowledge
    (6) .initiated knowledeg and creative wisdom of contemporaneity6.moment-to-moment decision making process
    (7) .Alchemy between existing contemporary literary theory and working definitions of a practising and operational poet after modernist’s literature and poetry
    (8) .the end of literary genre concept
    (9) .the concept of the continuum-chance, change, revisiting and reconceptualization
    and
    (10) .Contemplating on quotidian mental and physical experiences.
    (11)Understanding,realizing,appreciating and making conceptual and post-conceptual poetry.

  12. Neuroelectronic permalink
    June 21, 2012 11:29 am

    Conceptual poetry is brain software written in the domain specific language of the so called “artist”

  13. September 2, 2013 3:00 am

    Here is a manifesto of post-conceptual poetics written in 2009 by poet nyein way,myanmar.
    ubu.com/contemp/way

    Manifesto Of Post-conceptual Poetry @ November,2009

    (1) It is a happy and prosperous event to know that you are asked that what post-conceptual poet-writer is.
    (2) Post-conceptual poetics is constructed by the concept’speculation
    as a lack of the real’ to investigate and analyse the conceptual frame.
    (3) Poetics is a machinery but it is not build up of Language, concept and physical realities.It is actually realises and known that ‘I’ is not the machine to run things and after-I consciousness contemplated and prone to realities seen and alternative realities realities unseen but realized and felt by aha moments of existential beings.
    (4) It can have the ability to touch the beyond-perceived realities in human chemistry called a post-conceptual voyage.
    (5) It cacept icon, relic, image, symbol and metaphor to describe the ontological and plural realms of the arts.So, post-conceptual poet can be traced as multi-dispciplinary artist or poet or poet-artist.
    (6) Post-conceptual poet can talk abut identity issues and apart from it, he or she can tell about outside operational realities.
    (7) Post-conceptual cultural identity is composed of e-culture/technological culture and Buddism’s philosophy(I don’t assume Buddhism as religion) of 24-things circle of human existence-Pahtana in Pali text but post-conceptual poetics accept that God is dead(Nietcze): the author is dead.It is not a religion-oriented poetics.
    (8) Post-conceptual death is the knowledge of the allegory used in conmceptual poetics is just liberated from the obesession of technique called narrational identity.It is a reflective and reflexive making of new or restructural knowledge pattern-a contemplative and initiative uncreativity in the digital revolution age.
    (9) Post-conceptual phenomenon is composed of
    1) senses
    2) received feeling from senses
    3) awareness on mental composition, decomposition and recomposition
    5) beyond-I existence of mental faculty
    6) geopsychological awareness
    7) continuum of reality as a charachteristics of materiality, physicality and mental faculty
    8) beyond -prejudice insight for appropriation life in poetics of contemporaneity in the contemporary crises of identity, home, uncreativity, making and technoloical identity of anti-establishment or flexibily of carnivalization of defamilization upon creative, uncreative and art-making world together with quotidian experiences.
    9) humanity rather than humanism
    10) social values, intellectual values, ethical values and civic values
    11) feeding humanity components in the weak area of techno-fed writings
    12) fer-robotics attitude and for -humanity attitude as a map of post-conceptual voyage
    13) post-colonial concepts
    14) site-specific concepts
    15) fashion
    16) mysticism
    17) metaphysics
    18) ecological awareness
    19) political awareness upon moment-to-moment behaviours
    20) digital politica
    21) scientific innovation
    22) Third mind
    23) The fourth mind(I have self-discovered it and written about it)
    24) endisms
    25) trans-aesthetics
    26) trans-disciplinary practice
    27) hermeneutics
    28) phenomenon-noumenon-conceptualization discoursal projects
    29) spritualism-wisdom on contemporary society
    30) dia-logic realities
    31) anti-establishment or neo-establishment in versitility
    Nyein Way

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