Just Because

April 10, 2015

Detail of frame from Durarara!! episode 2, 'Highly Unpredictable'.

There is this:

Today I am happy to report to you that the big-wheeling cocktail-party poetry boys have gotten the word that their free verse boat rides are over, that the poet-farmer in the field, the poet-worker in the factory, the poet-businessman in his office, the poet-housewife in her home, have decided that poetry can be better written to help our children’s education and our older citizens if no poems are written at all. And they have put a man in charge of conceptual poetry to lead conceptualism to see that it is done. It shall be done. Let me say one more time, no more poems shall be written from scratch from this day forward. Only conceptual poems will be copied, cut, and pasted. That is my pledge to you because today I have stood and taken a conceptual oath to my conceptual people. It is very appropriate then that from this cradle of the Internet, this very heart of the great Anglo-Saxon conceptual cyber land of ours, we sound the drum for concepts and not poems as have our generations of forebears before us done, time and time again throughout history.

Let us rise to the call of the conceptual-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the lines and stanza tyrannies that clank its chains upon the conceptualist. In the name of the greatest conceptualists that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line (well, not a line like a line but, you know, a line) in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny—and therefore I say conceptualism today, conceptualism tomorrow, conceptualism forever. That from this day, from this hour, from this minute, we give the conceptualist poet’s word of honor that we will tolerate the nonconceptualist’s boot in our face no longer and let those certain judges put that in their romantic and modernist pipes of power and smoke it for what it is worth.


It’s a bit late, so I would be remiss if I failed to note that the url for this essay includes the phrase, “/look-at-the-date-first/”. Right. About ten days late, you know? But, still, ’tis fun. I mean, pause for a moment and reflect on what circumstances make satire like this even possible. Sometimes we might take comfort from first-world problems. You know, like that horrible time we all had to change the power adapters for our iPhones. Or a professional sports labor action. Or, you know, elaborately overwritten jokes about conceptual poetry.



Image note: “Because the world isn’t as terrible as you think”―Celty reminds Rio of something very important. Detail of frame from Durarara!! epsiode 2, “Highly Unpredictable”.

Biespiel, David. “A Defense of Conceptual Poetry”. The Rumpus. 1 April 2015.


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