One of the things that studies (listening!) in indigeneity teaches us is that we have to struggle—and it is a real struggle with our own unrecognized cauterizations—to avoid absorbing cultural ideas in a way that eviscerates and cannibalizes them for our own purposes (which is so easy to do… the North American academy did it, by and large, for example, to “deconstruction,” till Derrida was left to protest and to regret he’d ever used the word). Appropriation, always a part of art-making, has to be called into question when it involves eviscerating the cultural markings of another’s speaking or inscription, particularly when that “another” does not have the same societal privilege we do, or when our privilege rests upon the crushing of theirs.
Better that we eviscerate ourselves, realize our own agency (for appropriation is always done by an agent, a decider, an ego), open out and allow the collapse of our own instrumentalized reason and force.
This is Part IV of a four-part essay that appears in Portuguese in Deslocamentos Críticos (Lisbon: Babel; São Paulo, Itaú Cultural, 2011) under the title "Obra Sonora Poética: 1980-2010." Read Parts I, II, and III.
Brazilian Poetic Sound Work: 1980-2010
In the twenty-first century, Ricardo Aleixo and younger Brazilian poets are joining veteran vanguardists such as Augusto de Campos as global players in cross-platform writing. But in the last decade, young innovative poets also have been creating a stylistic register that does not feature the prominent, material use of sound that appears to epitomize this century. Instead, they write lyric poems that are sufficiently skeptical of the mode. These poems paint descriptive, imagistic scenes with emotional resonance, and irony. They dialogue with an international roster of inspirational places and poetic predecessors, and at times fight with them. They shamelessly mull over language and the mundane. They are dystopian, but rooted in place and local light. In these ambient poems, sound comes to be important as tone.