A splendid extravagance of language, a brilliant eye for colors & for details, the objects/detritus/treasured things of the visible. Yes, the reinvention of the “lyric,” whatever that means–or a loving caress of the body of the sensual world. A splendid extravagance of forms, as well, from reinventions of the cante jondo to love songs built on syntactic games.It seems a done deal that in our current poetic culture, “lyric”—except for the 87.9% for whom it’s still just oxygen—connotes “extravagance,” color & glitter, and a predilection for the (always almost excessively) sensual, along with the notion of “reinvention,” with its insinuation of a rescue operation, like you get on those well-intentioned radio stations that boast they’re “Keeping Jazz Alive.”
I don’t think Scroggins is saying exactly this, or that someone would necessarily be off-base if she or he did. But it bubbled in the background while I read his post, conditioned in part by the way I’ve heard Peter Gizzi’s work described elsewhere, partly by the half-cocked idea I have of New Brutalism and the New Sincerity and their quick roll off the glass mountain of the “new lyric.”
What is this “new lyric”—I mean the reinvented one you can indulge in now without feeling like you’re turning your back on 120 years of heavy linguistic invention—and why is it packaged as “sensual”? Do we need that materialist, semi-Marx gloss to work off our guilt about singing? Has the lyric gone totally emo? Or can it still be show tunes, like Elmslie?
And while we’re at it, who’s this “Cante jondo” when she’s at home? And have you read yet The Poem of A Life?