Thursday, June 26, 2008

the true mission of poetry ...

“The true social mission of poetry should be the gathering of the latent energies of language in order to destroy its petrifying dogmas. In so doing it would vivify language, whence the extreme ethical and aesthetic urgency of poetry truly worthy of the name, which prefers to run the risk of ‘getting no hearing’ to be categorized by the inquisitorial patterns of language.”

“Even when circumstantially divorced from the general public, as is the case today (in this case the social mission of poetry would be limited to a more allegorical than factive plane), it is to be believed that poetry can intervene to compensate at least partially for the atrophy of language relegated to a merely communicative function. This is true, even if its effect is only a posteriori to the extent that time allows for the absorption of new forms.”

“Poetry (and we use the word broadly, including fictional prose) at the same time that it demands its autonomy from communicative language, should act on it as a dike against verbal degeneration. When the social importance of poetry in all its implications is understood (if some day that happens), the poet will cease being the eternal outcast and will come to exercise his true function in society, no longer in the shadows but openly.”

(Augusto de Campos, “The Concrete Coin of Speech.” Trans. Jon M. Tolman)

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