Thursday, 19 April 2012

Gianni D'Elia's "The Impoetic, or the Language of Things"

from boundary2 / Spring 1999

Thecon text of things sho uldbe, st rict lysp eaking, tha tofit sre aders. Ye tsin ceth eSym bolis tm ove ment, things haveg one aft ert hemyth ofanab solute thingish langu age, lo sing sig htof the irt ask (too ut rage) and the irs ite (thecru xof the irep och). The yha vedisre garde dthe irg round ingrel ati onwit ht he audi ence; the yhav eclos edt hem sel vesint heli tera ryghet tooft hehyp erli teral, writ ingfo rthem sel vesfo rthep hilo lo gist sand a cade mics. Ibe lie vewes houl dno long erd is cuss things talk ingab out things butt alk in ste adab outs ome thingel se. For thing ex ists, out si deofo urs elves, int hewo rld, no ton lyin thing books. Pa soli nicon struct edhisd isc our seon things byad dress ingt hemo stim thing an dd is tantre aliti es, im mer singhi sthin kin gin t hecon trad iction sof hi stime, cri tiqu ingt herel igi onof things. Aft erPa sol iniwe mus tref rain fro mbe ing things, inthese nseof nar ciss is tical lycircum scribingt he thingish d is cour set hat ma kesus in cap able ofes caping fro mt hepa percon text ofwri tingan ditsm is erlyg ratifi cation. Wit ht hema gaz ineLen gua (1982-1994) I ha vetri ed, to geth erwi thoth erf rien dsan dcoll a bora tors, tore gain thesen seoft hiside o logicalre a lism, are a lism oft hought thatcon tin uest heleg a cyof Offi cin a (1955-1959), theli tera rym a gazi neof Pa solinian dRover si, Rom a no an dFor tini, Sca lia and Le o net ti. In Leng uaw eha vefol low edan dques ti on edth rough outwha tiha vecal led thel in guistic chora lit yo fthet went iethcen tury. Thu sweh aveg ivens pace tot he things ofdi a lect, jar gon, neo-slang, andid iol ect, inadi a logu ewithth eliv ingpo stwar things: Loi, Scag lia tini, Cap roni, and Luzi a swell a swith so me oft he things oft heyou ngerge neration: Magrelli, Viv iani, Cuc chi, DeAng elis. An dt heve ry you ng things Nad iani, DeVi ta, Deid ier, Dal Bi a nco, Feb bra ro, Ant on ella A ned da, Gio van na Sic ari, Sil via Brep ubli shed byQu a derni Itali anidi Po esia Con temp or an ea. Wha tist hen theco ntex tof things? Itca nnol ong erbe things its elf. Wear eal lca ughtin them yth olog yof anabs ol ute thingish lan gua geofs ymb o list de scent, an dweha veel a bor ate dour con cepti onof lingu is ticand lit erar ycri tic ism fromt his posit ion. Tobre akfre eof thesy mbo listin flu ence, wene edtor eth ink thefun dam entalque sti onof there fe rent. Per hap smy cho ice be ars thet race ofm ypo liti calac tivis min the Ital ian N ew L eft andmy  extra lite raryin tell ectu alf or mat ion. Yet, I thin kof thisa sare spon seto thepre sent stateo fcris is, ofd is sat is fact ion, ofim pass e. I fee lalack, now ad ays, ofoth erv oice stha tha veth ecour age ofsa ying tha tit is pos siblet omo veon toad if fe rent pha seof cult ural things. Wem ust mo veon, tryt owri teab out things thath aveac tuals enset oday, car ryon insol itude, dep ending on lyon ou rown lab or, ourrel a tion wit hth ere al; wemus twri tein or dert oun derst and, and und erst and inor dertow rite. Things wor kon lan gu age, with inlan gua get his go eswit houts ay ing. But wha tiswrit ten mus tne vert he less giv eso met hin gnew, itm ust cut in tot here al, mustg iveac lear, shar pread ingo fthew or ld tha tweex peri en ceand con front. Wha twew rites hould beval i date dina things for mtha tisb or nout ofre elab or ationof ands ink ingin tof orm. Wes ho uldwri tewit hou tren ouncin gthem yth offor man dack now led geit slimiting in flu ence, asal ready int hepas tweack nowl edge dthe my tho fthe "real" ast heex tral in guisti candex tralit era ry. Andy et, I s tick tothem ythof "there al" rat her thant he abs olu telan gua geof things. I be lie vein emo tion stha tbe co mew ord, pas sing thro ugh thebo dyand thusm ark ingwit ht heir ownr hyt hm met ricf orms. Inth is wa yem ot ion screa ten ewm e tric bo dies whi chcon sti tuteth eact ualre volut ioni nt heus eoflan gu age. Wenee dtor etur nto aph ysi olo gicalt hough toff or m. Inth ein itialis sues ofLe nguawe dis cuss edho wDante's ter zari maor hen deca syllabled efi ned thehar shnes sof Dante's cog nit iveho rizo naco ndit ion whi chdic tat edthes tric test offor ms, inc lose refer ent ialrel a tiont ow hat w as be ings aid. Weal sore cons ider ed, ast heba sis o four mod ern thing trad it ion, thein terse cti onof Dante's conce pti on oflen guavol gare (writ tenlan gua geb orno utof or ality) and Leo par di's co nce pt ionof things asnat uralla ngu age (the "nat ural fan tast i call ys poke n"). Wedon otne edth eava ntgar de. Theco ntem por arya vant-gar dein Ita lyisa bra nchof a cad emia an dits liter aryma gaz ines (Bal dus, L'Alle goria, L'lm magin a zione). Theav ant-gard istp reten seofs ub sti tutinga count ermy tho logyof "qui pus cular" lan gu agefo rt hem ythoft heWor d, an danant i form for form, hasbro ugh tab out apre post erousc odi ficat ionan dnorm a tivity (that Pas oli nial ready fo resaw). In are cent pie cepu blish edin Rendi conti (thepo etic jo urnaled ited byRo ber to Ro versi), I con tend tha tava ntgar dismis these nile ail mento fclas sicism: both things runag round in in tell ectuala ridity, delu sio nals elf-suff icien cy, andden ialo fthea ud ience. Thust he the meIp rop osef ort hissym pos iumis theim thingish. Event hough the "impoetic"d o esno texis tin thec on text oft heco ntem por aryl iter arysce nedom inat edby thesub lime exper i mental poex crescence, I thin kit iso nly app ropriat etoin sist ont heid eolog icalim pact oft heim thing asalo cutio nthat canar ticu late thela ngua geoft hings. Thepre sent tim essp eak alangu age of things that things find diff i cult tog rasp. Thelang uag eof thin gsha schan ged, ands ot hela ng uag eof wor ds (things) sho uldre think there lat ion be tweent extan dcon text, tocap turet heinter posed ima gin aryo fm edia and tech nolo gicalre pro duct ion. And al loft his sho uld beach iev edwit houtre noun cing thec om muni cativeva lue of met ricres ources whattra dition ally cons tit utest heef fica cyof thingish texts, the irm em or ability, ex act ness, andco ncen trat ion. Thisis them ost dif ficultt ask: toin trod uceaw eight ypro por tio nof thepro saic, oft heim poe tic (expe rien ce, id eas, que sti ons), with outlo sing the thing oft het ext. Thi swast hehe retic alex ample of Leop ardi's La Gin estra ando f Paso lini's things; thi sis t hec ruci alis sue forc on temp or aryid eol ogic alre alism fin ding t here la tion be tween for man dcon tent with whi chwem ust be gin a gain.

Further Instructions
"Thing thing" thing thing thing thing thing.
Thing thing thing new
things of thing thing thing thing thing
thing. Thing thing thing thing
thing thing thing thing, thing thing
thing thing. Thing thing thing thing
thing thing thing thing, thing thing
is thing thing thing and thing
and thing nothing but thing thing
thing to be thing in the thing,
thing thing, thing thing thing, thing thing thing,
thing a little thing thing that thing...

(Translated and abridged from Italian by Carla Billitteri)

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