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„Vielleicht hilft es uns“, schrieb Dieter M. Gräf in seiner Eröffnungsmail an Alessandro De Francesco, „wenn wir uns über post-poésie Gedanken machen, klarer zu sehen, wo wir derzeit stehen?“ Beide Dichter beschäftigen sich mit Entgrenzungen, mit anderen Medien, und haben in einer Korrespondenz für den poetenladen ihr Verständnis von zeitgenössischer Dichtung vorgebracht und weiter entwickelt. Nun werden sich weitere Dichter und Lyrikexperten äußern.
Jérôme Game
Jérôme Game is a writer. His work develops in relation to the image (video-poems, photo-montages, posters), sound (voice recordings, performances) and foreign languages (mainly English). Very numerous public readings and pulications in journal in France and abroad (United Kingdom, USA, Turkey, France, Belgium, Japan, Swizerland ...). He has published 9 books since 2000 and is an editor of Inventaire-Invention and Action Poétique as well as a co-founder of the poetico-musical quartet >sense high/sense low<.

Latest publications: ça tire (book + CD) Al dante, 2008; Flip-Book (book + CD), L'Attente, 2007; Ceci n'est pas une légende ipe pe ce, DVD of video-poems, Incidences, 2007.

Zwölftes Statement | Jérôme Game

Poetics of the borders

Im-purity. Heterogeneity affirmed as identity. Refusal -refusal to choose a paradigm against another as historically necessary, refusal to reduce the intense diversity of poetry (including in its relation to visual and performative arts) to the artificial homogeneity of an abstract taxonomy. From the point of view of practice, which is mine, these positions offer the advantage of not predetermining the field as they insist on its current state of structural re-definition. Fuelled by almost two centuries of internal disarticulation of its canons and norms, thematic as well as generic, French poetry is today more than ever seeking to explore its various 'outsides' and confront its many 'others': other art forms and practices. In fact my generation is spreading in all directions: music, performance, the image (photographic and video), theater and dance. This pressing desire to get promiscuous was already in germs in what Julia Kristeva had famously called the "revolution of poetic language". The question is: will these encounters, brief or prolonged, push poetic procedures to merely represent and thus reproduce themselves in mutual showcasing, or, in a logics of hybridization, will they suscitate a contamination between different objects, operations, processes that will further the becoming of poetry? In other words: is such generic heterogeneity able to rephrase contemporary French poetry outside in, to intensify it by altering it, to marginalize and decenter it on its own terms -i.e., signs, signifying processes- the better to potentialize and empower it for today's world, a world, we're told, made of and for images? The answer to these questions lies in a series of empirical studies: it is case per case that one may argue for a specific opinion and I do not believe in the value of wide generalization. I may talk only for myself. Yet I am not alone. I see and hear my friends and colleagues. Sound poet Anne-James Chaton now working with the Dutch free rock-band The Ex, Jean-Michel Espitallier drumming and performing for French indie rock-band Prexley, Charles Pennequin setting up physically demanding readings with experimental musician Jean-Jacques Pauvros, Christophe Fiat staging theatrical performances of his texts with dancers and video artists, Pierre Alféri's video-poems or again theatrical adaptations of Olivier Cadiot's books: all of these writers and several others are carrying out experimentations which could be called a poetics of the borders or a poetics on the verge. This is where I feel I belong too.

Now, at the same time, for other poets of my generation this generic indetermination and the background of epistemological weightlessness that it has revealed have paradoxically been too heavy to bare and technological modernism (framing poetry as the locus of the hope in the epoch: the epoch-as-future, as ever-newer-tools) has stricken, either thematically (around the molecularisation of experience: bodies, facts, emotions, etc., in a rather crude reading of Deleuze) or formally (around multi-media procedures), most often both. This discourse of the poetic-machinic is restaging, more or less consciously, more or less critically, the doxa of several avant-gardist gestures, first of all of course, that of futurism. In this over-determination of literature the (poetic) sensible always gets it wrong. In a word: it always lacks -it lacks thought, political expertise, the 'guts' of activist or what have you. I remember once I was sitting in the London tube (I used to commute weekly from Paris to get to the University where I had a research job), and my eyes caught some commercial above people's heads. It was an add for cars and it was written and typographed so as to mimic a deconstructive approach of commercial language. And I remember having said to myself: 'Fuck me! This is really a piège à cons, a fools' trap!'. If poetic labour strives to arrange a critical distance from these capitalist symbolic strategies in order to exhibit them for what they really are and thus allow for an epiphany, then this is exactly what is expected and already budgeted for and cashed in on by said strategies. In real terms, the subversive charge of such poetics -i.e., unveil the 'monster' by de/re-contextualising its utterances via ready-made/collage/montage etc.- is abysmally little. Yet the passive alternative to a symbolic treatment of our political emotions is equally clear: melancholic self-asphyxiation and fruitless anger or generalised resentment against 'The World' -as if 'The World' gave a flying fuck about our feelings, as if 'The World' actually existed as such. Here is where the piège à cons threatened to close down on me. Do you remember this sarcastic phrase by Lacan, 'les non-dupes'? The non-dupe: there are always some people who claim, and actually believe -and worst of all: actually enjoy- never being duped, always to be on the cognitive or epistemological top of things ! But to exhibit the unthought or invisible bit of the dominant use of language by shifting or decentring it is to remain in a two-dimensional universe, one of dominant languages precisely, that always softly fall back on their feet, adapt, digest, get vaccined: it's what they do best. To write this type of 'political' poetry today comes down to try and decode something -the world-language of world-greed and world-reification, the world-language of world-death- that also uses decoding procedures, is made of them, supreme de-re/coding machine. 'So I'll decode you, then you'll recode me, so then I'll re-decode you, then you'll re-recode me, etc.' And all the while, I'll feel good about myself. But late capitalism, my dear colleagues, is itself a signifying practice: codes and signs and symbols are its raw material. And it can go on doing this for ages. So what now? Should we just shut up? Perhaps not. For there's decoding and decoding. And the best decoding, as far as I'm concerned, is coding. The best defence is to leave the theater and create another one, another frontline, ad libitum. The best refusal is affirmation.

       * * *

Now, I told you at the beginning that I would address my own case. And it seems I'll soon run out of short-comings or dead-ends to do so. I've already discarded the naïve faith in any linear and automatic or immediate relation between literary creativity and technological inventions. I've also rejected the historicist conception of the contemporary as the sum of all strengths and possibilities on which we could happily and proudly sit. Finally I've scrapped the solipsist use of an Adornian 'lucidity' concerning the passive spectator and the dreary politics that unfold from it. But I'm still rich of one last fat vice, perhaps the most French in many ways: formalism. What do I mean by that? Do I mean the cultured and mathematical formalism of the OULIPO led by Raymond Queneau and Jacques Roubaud which modernized French fetishism with order and shape? Not in the slightest. (It is always bewildering for me however to realize how the 12-feet Alexandrine and the gardens by Lenôtre at Versailles are the blossom of Descartes's passion for the 'clear and distinct', and how my love of their beauties is matched only by a spasmodic urge to rid myself from them, to vomit them or avoid them altogether.) Do I mean then, by formalism, a purely ludic, cool and detached play on words trivialising important things with nonchalant virtuosity in an oh-so-postmodern manner? Not more. Well then what's my problem? My problem is to produce a poetic form paradoxically able to carry a sensation of the world as force, of the world as shapeless becoming or natura naturans to speak like Spinoza. This form has no preset rules, though it is anything but spontaneous or raw. Its laws are purely idiosyncratic, and opportunistic are its codes and conventions: it appropriates everything to its expressive ends -and yet there's no one strictly speaking or expressing themselves there. All its worth will be determined ex post, in the effects it suscitates in its readers, in the existential use one may create for and from it. Meaning is a geographical affair, a question of movement. It is the intense fluidity of the latter, its trajectory, that my poem is aiming at: grasping such momentum, crystallising it around some sensation, and sending it as hard as I can into the world, oddly finding meaning and joy and pleasure in this process of pure, generic potentialization, in this desubjectifying experience of the world as immanence, on and of which my writing is but a fold, an angle. Sheer materialism as you can see -including ethically-, and a figure of life as love.

All of this has taken, these last few years, a variety of stylistic dispositifs, all bundled up by the overall purpose or intention described above. They could be somewhat subsumed under an expression coined by Christian Prigent talking about Olivier Cadiot: I'm trying to develop a new grammatical tense that would be called the present fleeting instead of the present indicative, the fugitif présent rather than the présent de l'indicatif. In books such as Polyèdre (2001) or écrire à même les choses (2004) and ça tire (2008) this flight has mainly been vertical: it has sought to digg directly into language, stretch it, aggravate it. It has attempted, in an idiosyncratic impulse, to conflate and fabricate new meanings with the malleable, doughy given that is language. A virtual poking, stuttering of the surface of language, often made possible by what I call a claw to break into French. French is a rather closed up affair, like the gardens at Versailles I mentioned before. One may quickly feel claustrophobic in it. Particularly if you add the classical public schooling to it, what I call the Boileau ideology whereby literary form must be a smooth, crystal-clear self-reflexive turn on itself, in a rather tautological plastification of expression. This ethos asks from you that you be transparent about your notions as you're giving birth to them. And then, knowing that this is impossible, it demands that you at least clean up the mess and pretend you have no body, you never had a body. 'Ce qui se conçoit bien….'. Every thing is here: Cartesian dualism and vitrification of any chaotic present in favour of a polished anticipated future that in turn will only refer back to an abstract past idealised into a perfect premise... Pretty fucked up, come to think of it, particularly when your thing is creation, creating new things... Anyway, my experience of all that was bizarre: I felt that a few things and experiences were like claws that I could use to unlock this whole mess, to introduce movement, finitude, imperfection -the better to work in it, to create in it. The English language, then visual arts (cinema, video and photography, some painting) and finally the experience of my body during literary performances, of my voice as it comes from by trunk and my legs through my throat were as many claws for me. They were exceedingly useful. They worked their purpose perfectly. English gave me the sense of a spineless syntax and of an empirical thought. Cinema taught me that to write a sentence is a matter of framing, of sequence-shot and above all of rhythm. Standing and moving my body in public made me get that thought is physical through and through. Working with other people or impressed by them -video artists, photographs, musicians, theater people-, admiring of what they did, helped me to shut up the neurotic urge for self-completion and perfection throbbing inside my language. In psychoanalytical terms, it helped a lot to un-wire or de-wire my language's anxiety in front of castration. And yet the idea was never to emulate these practices, to become who they were or do what they did. No; it was to get the hots from their dance and smoke it in my own pipe -literature. To get jump-started afresh, to get contaminated and then contaminate all the more, all the better perhaps, around me. As such, all these detours and collaborations, these CDs, DVDs and posters and performances helped prompt a new phase, which I've recently entered. That of prose, that of the narrative, of which one of my most recent books, Flip-Book (2007), is a premise. This time the vertical (pages of verse) tries to fold so as to become horizontal (blocks of prose), to form a line and a surface, a consent to the world and its languages from which to affirm anew, an assent as affirmation rather than resignation, agitation or systematic dissent. Change but from within rather than ex nihilo, within life. Build positively a language within language? Yes, one that will run faster or more slowly or in whatever way so as to outsmart the big stomach on legs that digests everything, the wordlanguage of contemporary fascist urges. Let's not eat our brains however, or take the poses of particularly stricken historical heroes: anyone creative, at any epoch, has had to deal with some shit. It's the name of the game and there has been particularly grim periods in the past. I feel I have no choice, I must simultaneously outbid the death-drive and deport the whole frontline elsewhere, to make it leak, flee from itself, thematically as well as stylistically, and thus decompact, destratify and rearrange meaning -the real- via style. This is the antidote that I can think of, because its strength lies in its straightforwardness, its sheer productivism. It decenters the whole game the better to play it, at another level, including, of course, politically.

What touches me in Jacques Rancière's notions, and what concerns my work directly in them is linked to this conception of the political as the level where the power of indetermination is also that of the common. In a word: never give up on the sheer materialism of meaning yet at the same time think and arrange a common: common ground, common world. Hold both ends of this abstract chain: on the one hand meaning is built via idiosyncratic sensations, on the other hand, we're several around here, we're not on our own, so how do we do it, how do we arrange ourselves? Well, performatively, by understanding that the sensible is reformed every day, ceaselessly, that it is never written once and for all, and that the dissensus paradoxically requires some common in order to appear. This thought is an antidote against the narratives of the sad affect, this post-avant-guardist depression like doctors talk about a post-partum blues for a parturient: those narratives that would have us believe that we're glued in pure determination, dialectical or transcendental, internal or external, and that it's useless to keep on kicking, albeit in style. Against this post-modern melancholia Jacques Rancières gives us conceptual tools to insist in the opposite direction, that of a sharing of meaning that ceaselessly re-arranges stuff and reaffirms indetermination. Such paradoxical insistence in today's world stimulates my work a lot.

Jérôme Game   22.11.2009     
  1. post-poésie (I)
  2. post-poésie (II)
  3. ästhetisch links
  4. against dualisms
  5. Transfer
  6. (anti)political and transfer process
  7. jetzt
  8. no first class second hand!
  1. Lucas Hüsgen:
    In einer Hoffnung auf Wildnis
  2. Sylvia Geist:
    Finden, Fiebern, Übersehen
  3. Jean-Marie Gleize:
    L'excès – la prose
  4. Noura Wedell:
    Prejudice Perception
  5. Jan Volker Röhnert:
    Poesie und Gedicht
  6. Jayne-Ann Igel:
    Was auf der Hand liegt
  7. Anja Utler:
    Unter dem post-Deckchen
  8. Han van der Vegt:
    The Body Poetic
  9. Tom Pohlmann:
    Entgrenzungen. Oszillationen
  10. Flavio Ermini:
    La passione del dire
  11. Christian Schloyer:
    Tractatus ...
  12. Jérôme Game:
    Poetics of the borders
  13. Jürgen Brôcan:
    „... daß wir können sicher schreiben ...“
  14. Hans Thill:
    Weder Gott noch Metrum
  15. Tom Schulz:
    Anstelle einer Poetik
  16. Norbert Lange: