POETENLADEN - neue Literatur im Netz - Home


„Vielleicht hilft es uns“, schreibt Dieter M. Gräf in seiner Eröffnungsmail an Alessandro De Francesco, „wenn wir uns über post-poésie Gedanken machen, klarer zu sehen, wo wir derzeit stehen?“ Beide Dichter beschäftigen sich mit Entgrenzungen, mit anderen Medien, und werden nun in einer Korrespondenz für den poetenladen ihr Verständnis von zeitgenössischer Dichtung vorbringen und weiter entwickeln. In der Lyrik-Konferenz beziehen weitere Autoren Stellung.
Dieter M. Gräf  
Dieter M. Gräf, Jahrgang 1960, lebt nach seiner Kölner Zeit und Aufenthalten in Rom, New York und Vézelay nunmehr in Berlin. Er veröffentlichte 1994-2004 im Suhrkamp und Insel Verlag drei Gedichtbände sowie eine Anthologie; sein neuester Band, Buch Vier, liegt nunmehr bei der Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt vor. Green Integer veröffentlichte die Auswahlbände Tousled Beauty und Tussi Research (Los Angeles 2005/07).
Alessandro De Francesco  
Der 1981 in Pisa geborene, derzeit in Frankreich lebende Alessandro De Francesco debütierte mit Lo spostamento degli oggetti (Cierre Grafica/Anterem, Verona 2008) und bewegt sich mit seinen Texten, Performances und Vermittlungen international mit großer Selbst­verständ­lichkeit.

Vierter Brief | Alessandro De Francesco antwortet Dieter M. Gräf

against dualisms
Vierter Brief
Dear Dieter, I definitely agree with you when you write about the poem: „Ihm geht es gut, aber unter seinen Freunden gefällt er einem noch viel besser." You convinced me! It's true, it is not a question of „losing“ something. The text „alone“ doesn't really lose. So, let's put it the positive way. Nonetheless, the question goes beyond this aspect, as you yourself pointed out in your first letter. It is the question of the poem as fundamental unit of poetry. Poetry can't be determined anymore, you probably agree with me, as a collection of poems. Otherwise, we wouldn't even have started discussing this issue. So, here it is maybe not the question of an external predefined structure imposed to poetry, as you seem to affirm in your second letter. The real matter, at least for me, is: why are we more and more interested in complex, non-linear, multilinear, macrotextual, semi-narrative „prosepoetry“ devices and why do we still feel like we are making poetry (or post-poetry) with them? Could you say something more about that?

There is also a little problem, for me, with a total rejection of predefined conceptal guidelines in order to create poetry. I do think that there is no difference between „head“ and „body“, „intuition“ and „intellect“. These are metaphysical differences that, according to some goals attained by contemporary philosophy and language theories, are meaningless. Conceptual art (in a wide sense, because otherwise we should discuss the aesthetics of conceptual art movements, but this is actually not our aim here) can be sensorial, physical, intuitive. I can have a previous even „theoretical“ conception of how my work is going to be and still write in contact with myself. Maybe this is an interesting difference between our ways of working. Furthermore, my previous conception can be modified as I go along, there are no rigid rules in my, let's say it with Wittgenstein, rule following. The rule can change at any step, if I somehow feel that it's necessary. Hence, there can be no ontological difference between conceptual and intuitive art. I strongly argue that all dualisms like „intellect“ and „feeling“, „language“ and „world“, „body“ and „soul“, etc. are completely meaningless. I think my poetry (and my life!) as a sort of unit of language and world, intellect and feeling, aiming at questions beyond dualistic „hypostatic“ distinctions, that is to say, speaking from an immanent point of view. Therefore, to respond to your last question, I try to conceive my poetry beyond metaphoric and, more in general, rhetoric devices depending on a signifier-meaning dualism. I try to write inside reality as I write inside language, giving language and reality the same ontological status. I think that poetry is neither a communication device, nor a way of approaching the world. Language, and especially the language of poetry (I would like to know if you agree with me: in poetry words are objects) is a part of the world, it is not out of it. I am not interested in forms of poetry which say something in order to say something else. We go back this way to Jean-Marie Gleize: „poetry says what it says in saying it“. Poetry can be, if we want it, the language device par excellence that can show us how to speak inside, to speak „auf eigene Faust“ (Wittgenstein). This doesn't mean that I totally refuse a metaphysical approach. As Andrea Zanzotto wrote: „La poesia per me continua ad essere globale, totale, e quindi si può dire metafisica, in quanto urta sempre contro il limite“ (Poetry for me is still global, total, and therefore it can be said metaphysical, since it hits always against the limits). To write inside the world-language might also mean to write hitting the limits of this world, of this language.

I would like to say something more about the definition „experimental poetry“. We can also choose another expression, if you don't like the „substance X“ to be put into poetry! I am not that attached to definitions. I think that in poetry words are made to „redefine“, which is something very different from „to define“. But I still don't think that there is a problem in considering poetry as something temporary or provisional, as Thomas Kling argues. When I write, I feel at each word that what I am doing is somehow transitory, „dirty“ and „inaccurate“, and, I have to say, I like it! I don't mean that my poetry wants to be imprecise, on the contrary, in final results I try to reach a high level of minimalistic precision, but I know that this precision is attained through an unavoidable approximation even if, at the same time, I wouldn't be able to say what I say in a different way. That is the way I also get your conception of poetry as „vielmehr hybrid, entgrenzend, suchend“. And maybe we have here a better (re)definition: „research“. In Italian we say: „poesia di ricerca“, or „scrittura di ricerca“, which means something like research writing, writing in research, and, I would say, writing in searching (so, to be clear, the opposite of the word „research“ in the sense of a customized academic research). I think that, besides definitions, we could agree on the following point. There are, among others, two sorts of poets: those who write into and from an idea of poetry that was established before them, and those who try to draw from poetry issues that people normally think are not (or even shouldn't be) a poetry's concern. This second „category“ is very important to me, and I think we both belong to it. You say something similar, and you say it in a beautiful way through your definition of „Links“: „Ich meine, dass wir zum Wachsen hier sind und erhoffe mir von jedem Gedicht, dass es mich anzieht, indem es mir etwas aufzeigt, das es vorher für mich noch nicht gab.“

Let's now try to answer your question on „holes“ inside my poetry. You wrote that „holes belong to poetry“. You are right. I conceive voids and space in poetry not as silences, even though, when I read my texts in a loud voice, I try to follow white spaces very carefully, as sorts of rests in a music score. For me, voids are actually and first of all punctuation devices that are more precise and refined than traditional punctuation marks, because they allow a wider range of rests, breaks, pauses, breaths, and „recommencements“. But voids for me - I spoke a lot about it during the master class at European Graduate School (www.egs.edu) you already referred to - are also semantically dense. I wouldn't say that there are words under the „holes“ in my texts, but there is still a „language movement“ going on. The text speaks also through spaces, through holes, through gaps, through inexactitudes, as I was saying before. Like „hesitations“, as you say it wonderfully. So white, space, rests have nothing to do, for me, neither with a post-heideggerian and banally metaphysical conception of poetry as coming from silence or from a „white origin“ or whatever, nor with a post-mallarméan banalization of poetry as the absolute Nothing. And yes, my way of conceiving the relation between poetry and space might actually be put in relation to American and French traditions. When I started reading French poetry and I discovered, for example, authors like André Du Bouchet, Jacques Roubaud and Claude Royet-Journoud, I felt their work very close to mine precisely for their way of putting poetry in relation to space. In the American tradition, I can think, for example, of Vito Acconci. Moreover, for those who, like you, know my work with spoken voice digital treatments, it might be clearer why I conceive space and voids as active language devices. In my electronic readings there are sometimes sound pads or articulated reverb effects, generated through voice playback and real-time voice design, which connect - while „tracking“ the space on the page - a part of the word(s) before the white space to what follows. I am currently trying to deepen this practice through a new totally real-time digital poetry reading, working together with the composer Paolo Ingrosso.

After all, and apart from banal post-metaphysical conceptions, there is of course the question about what can be said inside the question of the gap and the disposition of words in space. I think that language, and poetry in particular, has always to deal with what can or cannot be said. In that sense, I would argue that poetry has to deal with three obstacles:
a cognitive obstacle: the conformation of our brain probably allows us to perceive and think only a part of what could be perceived and thought, so that we have to formulate hypotheses (the question of metaphysics comes back here as a „gnoseological“ question);
a political obstacle: since society exists, there are things that we are not allowed to say or we don't know, and therefore can't say, because somebody doesn't want us to know and to say them;
an emotional obstacle: there are memories, experiences and feelings that have been normalized or even repressed, i.e. they lost their centralness as emotions, they became daily non-verbal parts of the self.

Spaces and gaps inside my poetry testify to these obstacles while trying to focus on them, in order to give alternative descriptions able to avoid them.

I would finally like to ask you to explain more about the question of sound structure in poetry. Following the example you made of the Turkish poet, do you really think that sound is more important than what the text says? What would be the difference between poetry and music, then? And why should poetry still use meaningful words? Sound is of course very important, and I can feel it very well in your poetry. But your poetry is also deeply connected to words. Maybe the distinction, the „hesitation between sound and sense“ (Paul Valéry) is another unuseful metaphysical dualism sticked on poetry. Of course, words depend always on accepted customs, but that is why we write inside history, inside society, inside politics, and we try at the same time to give through poetry new descriptions of the reality we are living. Sound is also there. Your recent Buch Vier, for example, is strongly political. What would a hypothetical listener get of this fundamental aspect if he couldn't understand German? Another question, connected to this one: what do you think about sound poetry? I personally feel kind of „far away“ from it. When I speak about my poetry readings with digital voice processing, I always try to show how it is possible to match sound processing devices and poetry without making sound poetry.

Die Korrespondenz wird an dieser Stelle fortgesetzt mit dem 5. Brief von Dieter M. Gräf.

  1. post-poésie (I)
  2. post-poésie (II)
  3. ästhetisch links
  4. against dualisms
  5. Transfer
  6. (anti)political and transfer process
  7. jetzt
  8. no first class second hand!
  1. Lucas Hüsgen:
    In einer Hoffnung auf Wildnis
  2. Sylvia Geist:
    Finden, Fiebern, Übersehen
  3. Jean-Marie Gleize:
    L'excès – la prose
  4. Noura Wedell:
    Prejudice Perception
  5. Jan Volker Röhnert:
    Poesie und Gedicht
  6. Jayne-Ann Igel:
    Was auf der Hand liegt
  7. Anja Utler:
    Unter dem post-Deckchen
  8. Han van der Vegt:
    The Body Poetic
  9. Tom Pohlmann:
    Entgrenzungen. Oszillationen
  10. Flavio Ermini:
    La passione del dire
  11. Christian Schloyer:
    Tractatus ...
  12. Jérôme Game:
    Poetics of the borders
  13. Jürgen Brôcan:
    „... daß wir können sicher schreiben ...“
  14. Hans Thill:
    Weder Gott noch Metrum
  15. Tom Schulz:
    Anstelle einer Poetik
  16. Norbert Lange: