Monday, October 17, 2005

Joshua Clover is probably right to reject the theory/poetry binary: the attempt to subtract the one from the other in order to make alliance with praxis/life just points to their fundamental similarity as modes of rhetorical cognition that stand at some necessary distance from, y'know, doing something. (To argue that they have no such distance, that they are forms of praxis immersed in a "life" that there is by definition no outside to, is itself a form of theory that theory naysayers are unlikely to take up as a battlecry.) For me his "Coda" is the most persuasive, particularly the claim that "theory" represents a specific body of texts/thought (Franco-German, Marxist or in some explicit relation to Marxism), and to reject it constitutes "a rejection of specific social and political projects and practices." That phrase illuminates a lot, not least why any form of poetry that foregrounds non- or anti-hegemonic social practices is excluded from the pages of the so-called paper of record.

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