Disjunction is not dead. I disagree with Kenny and Anne on that point. “Things” have not suddenly cohered; language has not suddenly become a vast unitary sensical blob. It’s still all editing: of fragments. There is no whole: only continuity.
Regarding syntax, if I were to level a critique on my fellow flarfists, including, occasionally, myself, it would be that, syntactically, the poems are often made to flow rather too smoothly. I need bumps along the way to remind me that I’m interacting with stuff, material; I need to feel that tangible textuality. That is what makes the poems sublime, even when they are flarf poems, which are not supposed to be sublime although sometimes they are. Disjunction is somehow fluorescent: it represents for me, when I stumble on it in a poem, a little flashing message that things are in question, and that excites me. Too much disjunction is blinding, alienating, but without it there’s a kind of plodding from sense unit to sense unit. At the level of units though, rather than from word to word, many of the poems we write are still disjunct, in source, in gesture, and otherwise. Could that be what Anne means when she writes, “JUNCTION IS ALIVE.” Is junction just SEAMING? Is disjunction technically impossible? Isn’t collage always junctive, no matter how diverse its materials? Well, now I’m getting confused on terminology, as I always do, because even prose, this prose, insofar as it can be said to be prose, is textual, and the matter of language is puzzling me again.
To pronounce anything abstract dead, it strikes me, is to risk dogmatism. I don’t mean to be dogmatic about what I have always called disjunction, or torque, before (do I need a new term?); it could be that my affection for it is generational. I came of age as a poet at disjunction’s apex; it could be a kind of attachment like that one has for the fashions of one’s youth. But no, I think there’s something more. Judiciously employed, it releases unpredictabilities; it’s a powerful tool in our alchemical lab. I am not inclined to abandon it, and I don’t agree with these pronouncements of its demise.
Interesting to be thinking on these things on Hiroshima Day.