It seems like I can’t go more than 24 hours without a reference to Language poetry cropping up somewhere in my life: online, in the readings I’m doing for school, conversations with friends and colleagues. Nearly every name-poet I’ve ever encountered and talked to has credited that movement with revolutionizing poetry in general, if not their poetry in particular.
And I’d be foolish if I didn’t say I have something of a fascination with them: in undergrad, I was very influenced by and obsessed with Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics. I devoured that book, used it as the main resource for my thesis (Cinema As a Language System). Those notions of signifer/signified haunt me.
A teacher once told me, Language is an inadequate signifier. It’s true. And when I stop and think about how our entire world is based on one big system of symbols, it’s a little overwhelming. We think in that system, are bound by it.
I do have a soft spot for the poets who were drawing attention to revealing language’s secret mechanisms. To violating those mechanisms. Inspiring me to work toward creating a primal language—a language of the self—a language not rooted in the words used to oppress me.