Habits of energy and rashness at 100
The current “Poetry off the Shelf” podcast from the Poetry Foundation is a discussion of the current state of the manifesto. Mary Anne Caws (whose Manifesto I happily own and whose pages make me laugh out loud with delight) is interviewed by Curtis Fox, and we get to hear Charles Bernstein read from Marinetti’s great futurist manifesto at a recent MoMA birthday celebration. We’re celebrating 100 years since Marinetti published it.
Here are the first three ironic/unironic dicta:
1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.
2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.
3. Literature has up to now magnified pensive immobility, ecstasy, and slumber. We want to exalt movements of aggression, feverish sleeplessness, the double march, the perilous leap, the slap, and the blow with the fist.
From Art in America’s coverage of the event at MoMA celebrating the 100th birthday:
The MoMa event was a collaboration between the newly established Modern Poets series (an attempt to revitalize Frank O’Hara’s legacy within the institution) and Poetry journal. The journal had commissioned eight new manifestoes on poetry, four authors of which, with different ideologies and stylistic approaches, were invited to the event. Joshua Mehigen, A.E. Stallings, Charles Bernstein, and Thomas Sayers Ellis each read Futurist manifestoes and finished the day performing their own works. It kicked off with Bernstein, a legendary L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet, declaiming in full, high-pitched throttle Marinetti’s original manifesto. Nonplussed by it all, the passing crowds simply stared at him.
Above is a reproduction of the manifesto as it appeared in Le Figaro on February 20, 1909.