Commentaries - April 2017

What will poetry be in ten thousand years? (9)

Kristen Gallagher

Cueva de las Manos - Santa Cruz, Argentina, ca. 7300 BC

Writing is a roll of the dice every time. The results will most likely be lost, but, hey, once you know you’re going to die, then to hell with it, right? Admit this, otherwise you’re not really doing it.

Post-ecopoetics is a guide for thinking the longevity and durability of the poem in deep time. I have asked a number of poets and scholars to serve as additional guides by asking them to respond to the following questions: “What will poetry be in ten thousand years? If you wrote a poem that you knew would last ten thousand years, how would this impact your writing?”

Each of their responses will be posted as an individual commentary linked to this series.

What will poetry be in ten thousand years? (8)

Dale Smith

Cueva de las Manos — Santa Cruz, Argentina, ca. 7300 BC

Ten thousand years is a test of imagination. By then the time of the body and the temporal duration of my individual consciousness will have been absorbed into a large plume of smoke or have been consumed wholly into the earth. There is no posterity.

Post-ecopoetics is a guide for thinking the longevity and durability of the poem in deep time. I have asked a number of poets and scholars to serve as additional guides by asking them to respond to the following questions: “What will poetry be in ten thousand years? If you wrote a poem that you knew would last ten thousand years, how would this impact your writing?”

Each of their responses will be posted as an individual commentary linked to this series.

Dale Smith:

What will poetry be in ten thousand years? (7)

David Huebert

Cueva de las Manos — Santa Cruz, Argentina, ca. 7300 BC

Practically speaking, writing something I knew would last ten thousand years would be terrifying to the point of paralysis. I certainly wouldn’t be able to write anything resembling poetry or human language, because I don’t believe such things will last ten thousand years, or even one thousand. I think, not originally, that simple images, music, and math would be better modes of communicating with the deep future, where what we now call the “human” most likely won’t be recognizable, and certainly won’t be listening in any familiar sense.

 

Post-ecopoetics is a guide for thinking the longevity and durability of the poem in deep time. I have asked a number of poets and scholars to serve as additional guides by asking them to respond to the following questions: “What will poetry be in ten thousand years? If you wrote a poem that you knew would last ten thousand years, how would this impact your writing?”

Each of their responses will be posted as an individual commentary linked to this series.

David Huebert:

What will poetry be in ten thousand years? (6)

Charles Bernstein

Cueva de las Manos — Santa Cruz, Argentina, ca. 7300 BC

If a poem fails in a forest because no one who hears it, is it still a poem? If a poem denies time, is it any less timely? Might we speak of a timely poem but also an untimely one? The more a poem is in time the more it becomes part of the folds and veils of deep time

Post-ecopoetics is a guide for thinking the longevity and durability of the poem in deep time. I have asked a number of poets and scholars to serve as additional guides by asking them to respond to the following questions: “What will poetry be in ten thousand years? If you wrote a poem that you knew would last ten thousand years, how would this impact your writing?”

Each of their responses will be posted as an individual commentary linked to this series.

Charles Bernstein:

What will poetry be in ten thousand years? (5)

Lynn Keller

Cueva de las Manos — Santa Cruz, Argentina, ca. 7300 BC

Like any writing, a poem has an imagined audience. But the poem that would last ten thousand years — who or what would encounter it? And what would they do with it, how process it? Would they have access to the languages we speak and the symbols with which we write? 

Post-ecopoetics is a guide for thinking the longevity and durability of the poem in deep time. I have asked a number of poets and scholars to serve as additional guides by asking them to respond to the following questions: “What will poetry be in ten thousand years? If you wrote a poem that you knew would last ten thousand years, how would this impact your writing?”

Each of their responses will be posted as an individual commentary linked to this series.

Lynn Keller