Category: Postpoetics

A Postpoetic aesthetics

The  Postpoet is a leecher. It is a parasite that lurks on the words of  others. Other than most poets, the Postpoet cares about language, but not about meaning. Meaning is nothing but a byproduct of its writing.  However, the fact that the Postpoet is not primarily, or actually is not  at all, concerned with meaning by itself doesn’t mean of course that it  doesn’t produce it. In fact, that is all it does all the time.  Literally. That is: what it does is reproduce meaning and opinion, it  shatters it and echoes it, by altering it. By putting words in a  different order and position, it puts them in a strange and surprising  perspective. For one part it thus mirrors the everyday language of  Twitter, in all its nastiness, aggression, naivety and idleness, in all  its horrific and presumptuous self-indulgent self-presentation. We all  know of course that far most of what is being produced on Twitter is either idle bullshit, pseudo-philosophical nonsense or propaganda, be it  propaganda for the individual (the person that is desperately trying to  be seen and heard), political propaganda or commercial propaganda. In  short: Twitter itself is already a cliché reflection of what public  space has become in our society; a commercial marketplace where people  work to consume and consume to be able to represent themselves as hip  and successful consumers. A public sphere where everyone can say  anything, but nobody is being listened to.

(By  the way: I’m not saying Twitter by default is an uninteresting means of  communication or that its strongest cliché, that it, for instance,  played a major role in recent public uprisings and grass roots politics,  although I’m critical of the colonial bias in that statement when it  comes to the dominant reception of the so-called ‘Arab spring’, holds no  truth at all. I’m just critical of the way it’s dominantly being used,  which is basically: as a means to spread more of the same bullshit in a  more efficient way.)

What  I find very interesting about Twitter, though, is constituted by some  other clichés, namely that it works so fast, that it forces the user to  put all content in such short messages and that it seemingly has no real  archive that anybody looks at further than an hour or so back. All  these ingredients make that people are willing to say almost anything  they want on Twitter. They don’t seem to hold back, but just blurb out  any thought that pops up in their minds. It is therefore indeed one of  the great places to review the language that is founding dominant  discourse. This is exactly what the Postpoet aims at. The Postpoet is at  its best when it manages to create a language that mirrors that mirror  of the everyday in a freak light; when it is able not only to create a  laugh, but also freaks the reader out a bit. In its optimal form, The Postpoet works with a notion that is highly theorized in Postcolonial studies: mimicry. In mimicry the colonizer (or master) is confronted with the colonized (the slave), someone who looks more and more like him or her, but not quite. This similarity, but not quite, freaks the colonizer out and thus paves the way for a possible resistance of the slave. The Postpoet is a slave; it’s a poet but not quite. It’s your average Twitter-user, but not quite. We hope it freaks you out.

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Emile den Tex
Matthijs Ponte

[This text was first read at the official launch of The Postpoet during OHM, at the Noisy square, August 2013]