"The organic work intends the impression of wholeness. To the extent its individual elements have significance only as they relate to the whole . . . in the avant-gardiste work, on the other hand, the individual elements have a much higher degree of autonomy and can therefore also be read and interpreted individually or in groups without its being necessary to grasp the work as a whole."
"The organic work of art seeks to make unrecognizable the fact that it has been made. The opposite holds true for the avant-gardiste work; it proclaims itself an artifacial construct, an artifact. To this extent, montage may be considered the fundamental principle of avant-gardiste art."
I can see these practices of the historical avant-garde being played out in contemporary poetry. LIke any attempt to define, there's always holes. But I wonder if Frank O Hara would be considered as part of the move toward artifice in the historical avant-garde? I did this I did that seems to cover up the artifice. Although, a lot of his poems highlight their artifice a lot more. Ah ha. But the more organic work gets anthologized.
Maybe, that's part of the frustration of teaching anthologies. quick nibbles. An emphasis on the organic. A move away from language as constructed, as an artifact.
A lot of my students, despite a lot of information on process, continue to feel the need to create a story of self-expression for every poem. It's very very difficult for them to move beyond the idea of art as natural self-expression. They liked "The Day Lady Died" because they could see it as an expression of Frank O'Hara's feelings.
I think an attempt to connect poetry to the concerns of other art forms might be helpful next semester. Maybe Poems for the Millennium is a good idea for context, ground. Then I can have them read various contemporary collections of poetry.
More coffee . . . waking up at 5:30 am makes all this typing feel dream-like. I'll have to look at this again later to see if it makes any sense.