Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Prison-House of Genre

Why is it that so many "avant-garde" or "experimental" or whatever journals are divided into sections for Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, etc.? And why don't more poets use pictures (except for vizpo - which seems to be segregated into its own journals)?

Even "experimental" is a brand-name, I suppose. But if you're serious about challenging literary inertia, surely generic expectations are the place to start - the genesis of generational gentility.

How about having a grid, instead of sections? For instance:

more words ------------------------more picture


more print-------------------------more sound

So that most journals would be flush against the left margin, here. Concrete poetry would be in the middle of the top edge; vizpo, considerably to the right of that. Flash/animated work would be on the right (vertical) edge. And variations in between.

As to sub-divisions of printed words, maybe:

narrative---------------------------lyric


representational------------------abstract

These are hackneyed terms - but the idea is to make it a map, instead of a series of cells (or even a "spectrum"). Nightwood would be towards the top right corner, maybe. "Mainstream" fiction, over on the left.

Obviously, I haven't thought through all the permutations - what the "directions" should be, or in what configuration. But I'm with B. Croce about each work of art being an irreducible "aesthetic fact." Family resemblances, sure. But genealogy, not genre.

3 comments:

Tarpaulin Sky Press said...

We prefer "text(s)." That's plenty. Unless, of course, no text is involved. Then it's something else--or, more precisely, "something else."

We've also done away with any mention of "experimental," in favor of "doesn't bore the shit out of us."

Anonymous said...

I agree. Genre sucks,especially for comp teachers expected to force the study of it down other people's gullets.

Joseph Harrington said...

Good point. "Intro to ______." - hey, that's a good title for a course!

One way to queer genre is by questioning its validity in an introduction to a genre.