"Certainly then, originality is part of the memorable. A work of art should be new, fresh, but not merely for the sake of newness, where much art loses its magic. The original must rise naturally out of its subject and the artist’s vision. This was equally true for Duchamp’s Nude Descending the Stairs in his time as it is for Jasper Johns’ Target with Four Faces in our time, a piece in which the hint of random violence and uncertainty today seems tantamount to the threat which the machine posed in Duchamp’s era. These pieces offer impact and resonance; both seem necessary for the memorable. Impact can be fleeting in a work of art, but resonance is more difficult to attain..."
In recent discussions of contemporary American poetry there seems to be an escalating concern over the state of the art and the apparently exhausted possibilities for that art, both in terms of aesthetic resource and cultural value.i These discussions share an awareness of poetry’s “intensified irrelevance”ii and a concern for what poets can (or can’t) do with this critical sense of impasse. One response to this exhaustion involves a revitalization of traditional expressivist aesthetics, but this response is one which has fully digested the rhetoric of postmodernism and, more specifically, Language poetry.
"Ren continued, 'There may not be any reason for them to ever meet.' And with such an able conduit of information between the two artists, he may be right. Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees and True to Life not only describe the process of art making, but the process of communicating about and experiencing the world. They read as roadmaps of the evolution of the act of being, and it seems that when the travelers live as willfully and truthfully as Robert Irwin, David Hockney, and Lawrence Weschler, life and art cease to imitate each other. They simply converge."
"Now light and time, stripped of purely metaphysical functions, are agents of a new opening to language, reconfigured on patterns of incongruities and asymmetrical viewing that mark the true experiences from which the poem arises. Looking at "Le Repos Du Vieillard" is not to see rest but a portrait of imminent death, skillfully delineated in shade and tones as though we were looking a surrealist painting; a transformation of stillness and finality of life into ghastly insect body and of the place of death (“a house of cards”) itself into Tartarean hell."
All I’m doing is gazing into a gaze. His gaze, the gaze of a dead man. I want my vertigo to be symbiotic, but I never met—and never will meet—Larry Levis.