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intimate and available versus accessible

The idea of audience and language has been on my mind for quite a few years (perhaps always but I talking consciously here).

Quite a few of my professors over the years have spoken of "limiting your audience" via the type of language you employ. In other words, big words. Abstract concepts. This goes with the very complex issue of difficulty (and the idea of an open and closed text).

So a closed text is supposed to be easier and more accessible on the surface and an "ideal reader" can read more into the language to get at deeper levels. An open text is difficult on the surface and may require more active (and uncomfortable) reading strategies to contruct meaning(s).

The closed text is usually labeled accessible (read democratic and non-elitist) and the open text is elitist or self-indulgent.

On the blurb for a Peter Riley collection I am reading, the blurb writer (someone who works for Carcanet) writes:

"He is chiefly interested in making a poetry which is 'available' rather than 'accessible.'"

What makes an open text available (I read intimate here)? The false dichotomy between open/closed correlates to the false dichotomy between "difficult" and "accessible." There is so much between an open/closed difficult/accessible. Much more than my little diagram of music/speech. Much more than any diagram. I really have a difficult time imagining a completely open or closed text.

and yet, I find it useful to contemplate. I do think theory heavy poetry (meaning poetry that uses the discourses of contemporary theory) might move toward a difficult open text (a key, or keys, are available if you've read the right material).

So an closed text can have a difficult surface and a open text can have an available surface (with an over-abundance of meanings).

When I read Andre Breton, it is "difficult." From what I've read, it seems the texts are very open. Yet, the difficulty of some open texts in the surrealist tradition seem different than open texts in say the Objectivist tradition (including some Language Writing).

A lot of younger poets have gravitated toward surrealism and there's an availability there. It's not always accessible.

Alright, I am tying myself up in knots here. It's St. Paddy's Day! Time to drink.

Maybe in the wee hours of tomorrow morning I can better articulate this accessible versus available distinction.


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