Lyric's potential

Trying to write again about Rob Halpern's work, for a festschrift being put together by Richard Owens in celebration of Rob's forthcoming book Music for Porn, here are a couple paragraphs that may relate to this commentary:

Poetic and aesthetic techniques are neither progressive or retrograde, though I can certainly think of certain poets I would prefer to attend than others, and certain art that I think of as offering more to an existing conversation. Rather, poetic techniques — whether lyrical or not — have a particular application within different historical and cultural contexts, and the poet may be judged to some extent on how they choose to apply these techniques, how they take them up strategically or practically. Beyond “movements” and “coterie,” I want to look at practices and projects uniquely inasmuch as they may be misapplied, or find their application more effective in a different social context. We might also conceive of how particular techniques of writing or art offer more or less resistance to an existing matrix of power and domination. [...]

One of the radical applications lyricism maintains is its embeddedness within specific bodies and within social space. Lyric’s potential—its empowering aspect — lies in the fact that it remains from bodily and affective predicament. Just as space is a key factor in socio-political struggle — the proximity of bodies to other bodies coproducing one another in a defined physical location, not merely virtually—as has recently been proven by Occupy Wall Street and other social movements internationally, lyric relates the body of the poet to a poetics of collective affects, both bad and good, intended and unintended, recognizable and repressed. In its reliance on sonic and rhythmic qualities, it produces what the French linguist and poet Henri Meschonnic called a “politics of rhythm.” Similarly, Robert Kocik and others have identified lyric as the privileged site of stresses counter to the belligerence and toxity of our current economic, political, and social environment. Much of Rob’s writing comes out of this preoccupation with what lyric can do, oriented by a complex of counter-hegemonic forces. 

— from Appropriation and Affective Production in Rob Halpern’s “Obscene Intimacies”