UbuWeb | UbuWeb Papers

After Language Poetry
Karen Mac Cormack


I don't conceive of post-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writing solely in American terms, so how one addresses the question of what is innovative (and to whom) becomes the more productive query for me. At one extreme is formal constraint, at the other is lyric ("new" or otherwise) and perhaps in North America there is a tension in the writing of subsequent generations regarding upper case/equal sign language writing. Certainly there's discomfiture, yet at its most productive that unease is a potential to be explored.

My ongoing concerns are to confront the habitual and when I first encountered "L" writing in 1982 it encouraged me to recognize and destabilize my own formulae and habits --- for me it was more contemporarily vital than anything else I'd encountered. Despite being labelled a second generation language poet I'm not an uppercase/equal sign practitioner though the effect on my work is evident.

For me the question of what is the contemporary productive exchange between poetry and other disciplines is one of primary importance (not a simple [and comforting] "recognition" of similarities between innovative practices but rather mutually challenging engagements.) One increasingly productive exchange appears possible between innovative writing and innovative architectural practice, and this is my nexus of current research.

Back to OEI 7-8: After Language Poetry | UbuWeb