Lyric Conceptualism, A Manifesto In Progress
The Lyric Conceptualist has moved beyond the indigestible and the unreadable, in fact, beyond all gestures that have made pleasure the enemy of reading.
Still, the Lyric Conceptualist remains true to her politics of inclusion, appreciating the thinkership of conceptual poetry, the revelations in mass assemblages that concretize the ephemeral textuality of daily life. Yet she stubbornly continues to bask in the reverie of solitude.
Lyric Conceptualism indulges in the excess of language while appreciating the clean lines of the minimal.
Lyric Conceptualism does not confuse clarity with simplicity.
Lyric Conceptualism rejects naïve notions of truth and beauty.
Lyric Conceptualism is not simply expressionism.
Lyric Conceptualism does not accept that content does not matter and still appreciates the way that content does not always matter.
If the Lyric Conceptualist lives in a forest it may be a concrete one, or a forest planted and coiffed by humans as much as animals, though she is not ready for the merely virtual or textual.
The Lyric Conceptualist likely has one foot in the gallery and one foot on the earth. She can make the distinction between floor and ground. She knows a book and how to read one in myriad forms.
Lyric Conceptualism understands that insight and revelation are difficult to come by no matter how the poem has been conceived.
Lyric Conceptualism suggests that to argue for the death of anything is not really that interesting.
Lyric Conceptualism accepts the tension between the self and the poetic subject, wrestling always with the desire to give over to the poem and to be the poet in the poem.
The Lyric Conceptualist looks longingly at those who enjoy the benefits of community but turns away from the gated community.
Lyric Conceptualism is a voyeuristic mode.
Lyric Conceptualism is informed, not enslaved, by theory.
Are you writing it or is it writing you?
Does the form evolve or constrain?
Is your poetry always already written?
Are your ideas always already thought?
Lyric Conceptualism accepts appropriation and re-contextualization as useful, if not essential gestures but does not confine her process to these gestures.
The Lyric Conceptualist does not buy that an abandoned constraint constitutes failure.
On the other hand, the Lyric Conceptualist looks to where she is acquiring her content.
Mud is mud is mud, or the thinking of a poem is the poem.
On the other hand, density does not necessarily lead to complexity and found language is not necessarily more interesting than mined language.
Many conceptual poets are models for Lyric Conceptualism.
Many Language poets are models for Lyric Conceptualism.
Many lyric poets are models for Lyric Conceptualism.
Lyric Conceptualism, then, is not new.
Lyric Conceptualism is not bound to appropriation. It is not bound to indoors. Or to the archive, though it often originates there. It is not bound to mind alone, nor is it bound to chat rooms or search engines, though again, it often originates there.
The Lyric Conceptualist acknowledges her debts to multiple strands of contemporary poetics, art, design, architecture, philosophy, environmentalism, unions, students, modernism, postmodernism, conceptualism and romanticism.
The Lyric Conceptualist is a master of collision, she is not afraid of entering into other texts.
The Lyric Conceptualist is not necessarily a feminine body, but it has the stink of the impure, a certain irreverence for the master, therefore it is by default, feminine in construction.
Lyric Conceptualism is as much WalMart as Zaha Hadid as suburbia and Andrea Zittel.
Lyric Conceptualism is a poetics of the sentence, but it does not turn its back on the relationship between words, nor the power of prosody, nor the possibility of lyric propulsion. On the other hand, nor does Lyric Conceptualism shy away from the knotted and the complex.
Lyric Conceptualism imagines herself a boat, fluid, without handles, able to slip through definitions, anchor at will.
Lyric Conceptualism is interested in achieving the sculptural.
Lyric conceptualism is comfortable existing outside of dominant narratives. In fact lyric conceptualism makes good use of cast off texts and remains of genius.
Lyric Conceptualism is unable to turn away from the problems of the earth and yet committed to thinking through the way we think about the problems of the earth. Yes, Lyric Conceptualism still believes in world.
To that end Lyric Conceptualism doesn’t shy away from being used as a protest tool and is not adverse to being occupied or called to action.
The Lyric Conceptualist is most often a spectator, though not necessarily in retreat.
The Lyric Conceptualist is an excessive elegist.
The Lyric Conceptualist is a trough that catches the excess, the off cuts, the remnants, the offal of language.
Lyric Conceptualism is interested in fun but not wedded only to the ironic, the distant and mocking.
Lyric Conceptualism’s goal is to create openings rather than closures. It offers itself as a courtyard, stadium, meadow, and variously, a reclaimed parking lot, a battlefield made food coop, a factory turned performance space, a transitional space, reclaimed land, an idea with no end.
Sina Queyras grew up on the road in western Canada and she has since lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, and Calgary where she was Markin Flanagan Writer in Residence. She is the author most recently of the poetry collection MxT (2014) and Unleashed (2010), a selection of posts from...