In my former ancestral region of midlle Italy, we pronounce ‘Yes’ as SHHEEENEEH. As in Si…with a lot of vowels. I’ve recently been researching China’s language(s) as I am soon to be doing a poetry residency near Beijing. There are words, enunciations that are actually quite similar to the dialect I was raised with. I am seeing one familiar language anew and one foreign as familiar in the blending of this understanding. How ‘my diaclect’ (call it that) uses vocal intonations is quite amazingly connected to regular words of the everyday in various ways to various other languages by tone, texture, innunciation, attitude, emoting, provocation etc. My point–to say YES in Mandarin is SHHEEEYEA but they spell it SHI with an accent over the I. It is similar to a knowing of my own that is steeped into my DNA. And so what happened when I started on my exciting foray into pronunciation of Mandarin’s YES and then recognizing the inner sensory lingual relationship to YES in Italian and/or its dialect I was so pleased. Inspired. I walked around the apartment making SHHHEEENEH & SHEEEYEA sounds.
And this is where Vanessa enters the point. A poet? trying to make some ‘great’ post-racist global world-language race silencing statement. Shallow? (I won’t answer that because it cannot be answered) There is without any doubt to my mind and experience that this issue is comprised of Provocation indeed. An affirmation for her ‘self’. What is self? A self that can pull out such a claim to poetics meanwhile getting the attention she needs to validate her poetics. Blah. Blah. Is it Poetry? Well, that’s a whole other debate. Personally, I don’t think it fits to Poetry (again what is Poetry?) as a ‘sensiblity’. Rather, in this it becomes and remains a ‘thing’; a need to ‘show’ and ‘exacerbate’ how everything among linguistics, language, body/mind and all else…down to the last emptiness or microscopic ‘particle’ is dissolved to nothingness. This is 1. far from classicist and far from how/why poetry originated thousands of years ago and how we have kept the tradition moving into the here/now time/space continuum. 2. If everything is nothing and vice versa then why write a poetic? Period. Why poetry? Why anything? Why not desist? Why not cut out the tongue (Place’s tongue) as Performance art? To disengage the mouth. Isn’t that conceptual?The recent provocations of late are also about ‘topping’ poetics, are they not? To top the anti-limits then why not let me (a poet who works within a resevoir of vast overflowing energy accumulated through the appreciation of ‘limitations’ in poetry…) Why not let me take you, VP, seriously, VP of Poetry–cut your tongue out and give us ‘MOUTH’. Give us the silence that racism endured/endures. Afterall, 10,000 US dollars or so, for a lawyer and a poet, means she can get it sown back in and learn to speak again. This is no longer a ‘big’ deal apart from the pain of having to take the risk of losing a semi-organ and seriously impairing your speech but you can still right/write poetry, right? This is how I will take you seriously. How far does the agent provocateur go? How far is the indomitable question of ‘limitation’ good for? What is its place in Poetry? What is your Place in Poetry, V Place? Is it no place or place? Is there self? Where is mouth? What is tongue? What is Poetry? Let me take you seriously, please.
It’s all riff raff. I’d rather contemplate my own shit. Literally and Figuratively. And if anyone wants to read poems about what we struggle with and how we are here…better or worse or for the common embrace of our humanity (that includes science, phenomena, dialects, former cultures, religions, the here/now, the gender confusions etc.) then it is…emotions and sentience…with the understanding of the limitations of poetry and language and or tradition that work for me. In SENTIENCE one may take interest in my work, not for anything else. I claim not to be anything/one but myself. Ultimately, who wants to read a person/woman (gender is there) with a name for poetry and poetics to tell us about some dialect that she’s mimicing; something we all already know intuitively. I’d rather hear the simplism (call it the ‘ism’ of the simple to return to and from the authentic sources where and when a specific dialect takes its derivative). For myself this is an ethos of eons to a richness in listening, hearing or spoken to…to be with…to become one with. Example–A jamaican person (woman/man) gives me some Bajan exposé wherever we may be in the islands or the world of this knowing socio-politic and life experience. The ‘thingness’ of the great-whatever-lingo passed on. Ms. Place, Legacy has its place in the minefield of (what we now call) global nothingness; it’s politic or poetic. Legacy is certainly the beginnings of the advent of leaving post-modernism behind.
Thanks for listening and reading.