Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Johannes Göransson Interview: Question 6

RK: You mentioned "visual fascination" earlier and that the poetry in this book "explodes the control, the mastery, that rational gaze that is idealized in much of Art." The book is certainly an onslaught, being swarmed again and again by Lemurs. But one might say that what keeps it (the book, the experience of it) from being completely blown apart, what allows it to maintain "integrity," is that the heroes of the book (in spite of the relentless assault against their bodies, mostly their bodies, and selves) continue to strive-- "you and I, with your soft wax skin and our love." And the book ends on a upbeat note: "Now it is time for the cutting to slowly start to heal." So, one could say that the onslaught, the persistent horror, is just style, style in abundance, overabundance even, and that the substance or gravity--the real heft--of the book comes from its tiny soft-white core. Or is the end of the book a mistake? A cop-out? Or an author's lie? A fake-illusion? Can it really be the beginning of healing? Your thoughts, please.

JG: I suppose you can read the ending of the book as optimistic. However, in difference to the typically arched poem, I would say there is not a conflict resolved in epiphany. Much of western poetry over the past few hundred years follow that paradigm: the broken becomes whole, or - to reference Joyelle's and my "Manifesto of the Disabled Text" – goes from disabled to "healed". Instead here we have damage after damage after damage. There isn't really progress or even narrative; mostly it' s a matter of addition: this happens and this happens etc. There's not causality.

That very last line, while not ironic, sounds insufficient to me, overwhelmed by the melee that precedes it. There is also no stable core, no sense that "this is reality" or "this is the way the worldworks"; therefore it's hard to say what is optimistic and pessimistic. And if there is no ultimate stability, there can be no healing (which means returning to an original balance). It's also important to note that it's the "logging" (the dismemberment) that is going to heal, suggesting that it may be more about getting ready for another "drubbing" than becoming a "healed" individual.

I don't think it's a sad or depressing book; rather, it's an ecstatic book. It's the ecstasy of dismemberment (of body, text, language). The "characters" tend to be frail but ecstatic. They're also not really characters, they don't have any interiorities. They are not any more important than any other object in the book. The "logging" or "drubbing" space of the poem is not brought beneath the rule of characters with interiorities. It's the space, I suppose, more than the characters that is ecstatic

(to see the rest of the interview look in archives--dec 2008-- or, more easily, click on one of the labels, like Johannes Goransson, at the bottom of this post)

No comments: