Looking for a loan?                                                                  14 September 2007

Not only does radical poetry take the side of resistance, and disorder, it also makes the eyes water when in doing so a new order can be established and a new acceptance can be found. Sensational? Not really, rather common sense I'd say. But then as soon as you utter — stutter in fact — words imported from a place outside your network of friends, you face the added humiliation of having to respond to strong whiffs of wilful incomprehension and are asked to explain what you mean though not a single soul believes in meaning any more. If there is a social hierarchy, there is a poetic hierarchy, even though the poetry world is the most anarchic and egalitarian I can think of. When you say hierarchy, you say authority. For the reader, poetry, the words of poets (words poets use), is loaded above all with the poetry community's sense of sense, before the individual poet's sense can be acknowledged and accepted. Not only that; language both inside and outside poetry doesn't know how to take part in a dispute. Poets sometimes do, but their egos don't always cooperate, curiously language has no opinion on this matter. Poetry objects to the way language is used to describe mental and emotional processes. Aesthetics and poetics ought to be critical expositions of what goes on in a poet's work, not sympathetic justifications. There is of course a higher rule (see above) and that is that every poet decides for themselves what they say and how they say what they say. The why-question — why do poets do what they do — has a low priority. The internal language of poetry is silent at the bar; meaning, at that point poets use the normal, social, not a poetic logic of language. Any exchange at the bar is a social event, while any exchange on the page is a private event. Even though the political is always personal — or is it the other way round — the social shares no truck with the private. The private however cannot escape the fact that it has no energy of its own; it relies for one hundred per cent on the social life of its linguistic godfather.