Ed Go's brief commentary on the future of poetry

the competition between the history of writing and the science of language is sometimes experienced in terms of hostility rather than collaboration (Derrida 82)


Ed Go isn’t

at all interested

in the future of anything

least of all poetry nor its past

nor certainly not its present—what we are concerned with here is the brevity of commentary—the fuel of everything—including poetry—; when we comment we fuel

while walking i came across a toilet waiting on the sidewalk to be picked up as refuse and i began to think about toilets in general and the word toilet in particular—how it comes from the french word toilette [eng cloth/bag for clothes] and through euphemism evolved to the act of dressing and/or washing to the dressing room and/or lavatory to the porcelain plumbing fixture one sits on or stands before to expel waste from the body

a third of english vocabulary derives from french [more or less depending on who’s doing the counting—counting words is a precarious past time nobody quite gets right] contemporary poetry goes blindly in the footsteps of the vastly overrated greeks neglecting its own first steps in favor of the foreign

the oldest surviving poem in the english language is attributed to a herdsman named cædmon who wrote his hymn in a beer-induced stupor under the guidance of an angel of the lord according to the venerable bede who wrote in latin recalling from memory or perhaps by someone else’s recitation cædmon’s hymn which was later retranslated back into english

Nu sculon herigean heofonrices weard,
meotodes meahte and his modgeþanc,
weorc wuldorfæder, swa he wundra gehwæs,
ece drihten, or onstealde.

He ærest sceop eorðan bearnum
heofon to hrofe, halig scyppend;
þa middangeard moncynnes weard,
ece drihten, æfter teode
firum foldan, frea ælmihtig.

this version taken from an internet source is a rendering based on modern scholars’ rendering of old English manuscripts in the west saxon dialect translated from bede’s latin version which he rendered from memory or someone else’s recitation or possibly from an older but no longer existing version in English which was written down by scribes who listened to cædmon recite the poem the day after he composed it under the influence of alcohol and an angel of the lord

heofonrices—the kingdom of heaven/heaven’s kingdom—maintains its linguistic substance in contemporary America: heaven=a fictional place where over 80% of Americans believe they may go when they can no longer go anywhere; riches=heaven on earth [no longer kingdom in English though reich in german] riches and fame/fame and fortune—the american dream—fame is fortune though fortune is not fame—cædmon is rare in being known by name—most poets of more than 1000 years ago are anonymous [scops, in old English, shapers, opposed to poets, from french < latin < greek, makers]

cædmon shaped his song in a moment of glory but it took the tools of scribes to communicate his vision while in the 21st century everybody is famous “in an environment of hyperinformation . . . where we are all authors” (Perloff xi)

shifting tensions shape the best movements

the contemporary american heaven of fortune is gone; only fame is promised for all. americans—(of which i am comfortably one, doing my best to consume more than half the world’s resources, trying my hardest to produce more than half its waste)—are mostly seeking heaven’s riches, without fortunes, guided by angels and beer, famous around the world, communicating in English, like

cædmon, translated 2 other

languages n back

again / praising

r own


@dawn of a global


Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. Print.

Perloff, Marjorie. Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century. Chicago: U Chicago P, 2010. Print.

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