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Dara Wier on How a Poem Is a Machine

By Harriet Staff

A new feature at We Who Are About to Die: “individual short ‘essays’ from a handful of poets responding to the question ‘What do we mean when we say a poem is a machine?'” The first response is from Dara Wier. “It would need to be the kind of poem in which cause and effect is this poem’s primary or strongest characteristic.” That’s not all:

From its inception: it would tend to be a poem conceived of curiosity as to how something or some things or some things and some ideas or ideas and some things and some weather, water, animals, atmosphere, extraterrestrial everything, more than one human more than one human more than the poet human who is writing the poem———as to how any of this is.

What is the difference between a metaphor and a transformation or a change or a combination—what is the difference between a suspension and a solution, this will help determine what kind of poem this poem will be.

This poem can be diagrammed, a mechanical drawing of this poem can be realized. It can reproduce what it makes up, it can reproduce itself, it can be reproduced in another location but in general it will still be quintessentially itself….

Read the rest of this speculative piece here.

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.