process versus product

	Thu, 16 Sep 1999 14:16:29 -0400 (EDT)

Al Filreis had written:
| > out for "product," Chris. The boldest modernists are
| > going to imply: process is a form of product, and "product" in the
| > conventional sense of a finished result isn't all that it's cracked up to
| > be!
Chris then wrote:
| 	... I think you lost me!  Can you try restating that again?  Your 
| language is perfectly clear, but I am not grasping the concepts.

Chris (and all): 

Sure. But first let me take this moment to invite ALL 88'ers to join me
for my "office hour" tonight at 10 PM, eastern time, in "The Williams
Room," one of our chat rooms. We can talk more about this "process" thing.

I meant: watch out when you use the term "product." This modern &
postmodern poets take to mean: the end-product, the poem when it's done,
the matter being accomplished. Yet what modern poets contend, almost
always, is that the process is as important as, sometimes more important
than, the product. Wallace Stevens--whose poetry we will only briefly
glance at in chapter 2--made a whole poetic career out of the idea that
the poem ought to be the expression of the poet in search of the poem, or,
as he put it, the poem is a piece of language caught in the act of finding
what suffices.

When we get to the 1950s, and the "New York poets" re-launch
experimentalism in poetry, we'll read John Ashbery's "The Instruction
Manual," which is a poem that is about the attempt to avoid writing what
the poet is supposed to write. 


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