Monday, November 21, 2016

John Bennett #26 RIP David Antin

I was about to upload a photograph taken half an hour ago with its accompanying poem, as usual, when 
I heard that David Antin had died. 

A wonderful poet, not well known here - a discursive poet who said:

talking for me   is the closest I can come as a poet     to thinking   and I had wanted for  
                a long time a kind of poetry of thinking   not a poetry of thought  but a poetry of thinking    since getting so close to the process of thinking was what I 

   thought the poem was 

Here is something I wrote  some time ago - FYI

David Antin presents speech as the heart of poetry. He does not use the tape as inscription device to ‘capture the poem’, as poets did in the early sixties, nor is he a technological determinist. The text is not a replica of the talk. Antin edits and modifies the writing so that it becomes a representation of the talk not a mimetic copy. Such modification is inevitable because speech and writing have such different formal properties with extensive lexical and structural differences.

Antin has stopped using the line as a formal device and inverts the traditional phonocentric relation between text and voice by speaking first then writing. He sees his own work as much more radical than the Language poets who ‘generally hold this traditional, non-discursive view of poetry.’An early example of a discursive poem would be Whitman’s Song of Myself (1855) its 1,346 lines are loose in form and rich in styles, from the poetic to unpoetic, without a linear argument or narrative.


  1. Thanks, John. :) Sad about David Antin - I like his idea of a poetry of thinking.

  2. poets are the world's unacknowledged philosophers... aren't we?

    religion's for those too stupid for philosophy
    philosophy's for those too boring for poetry

  3. Thanks for sharing ... I'm not sure many people in France know about David Antin, but a few I met or even feel close to are certainly claiming to be representing a poetry of thinking. And yes I agree with Kit: if not all, many poets are the world's unacknowledged philosophers!


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