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Poetry # 4 Kathryn Maris

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

In Lisa Baraitser’s Enduring Time, she mines the term ‘psychosocial studies’. She quotes Judith Butler from the foreword to Psychosocial Imaginaries.

But what if the relationship between the two terms (psychic and social) cannot rely on a causal or narrative sequence?...the analysis of their relation is one that tracks forms and effects of permeability, impingement, resonance, phantasmatic excess, the covert or implicit operations of psychic investments in the organization of social life, the way that organization falters or fails by virtue of the psychic forces it cannot fully organize, the psychic registers in which social forms of power take hold?

The announcement of an uneasy compatibility reminds me of Maris’ mode of linking material. Language is stripped of any potential musicality. The absence of rhyme and metre creates an immediate voice that makes an impression through the light touch regulation of sexual politics. To all the effort of ‘the labour of Adam’ Maris might have Eve respond ‘oh really?’ This attitude is evident in a somewhat blasé approach to organizing text. I’m reminded of Craig Raine’s insistence that the line is the ‘unit of sense’. Here the possibility of a ‘unit of sense’ seems too prescriptive. The lines finish within other lines. There is a concern with authority already inherent in language. One response to this situation is to freely borrow and re-purpose lines from other texts. The serious playfulness yields entertaining poems with a fresh edge.

Instead of opposition, betweeness or collision there’s a different mode of arrangement. Things are layered in easy stanzas or simply placed side by side. The Baraitser essay opens with the definition below. It seems apt to import here to describe the general mode of working material.

Trans –


< Latin, combining form of trans (adv. and preposition) across, beyond, through.

Collins English Dictionary 2009

The link below leads to a very interesting piece by Maris. Also mentions Craig Raine. I've included an excerpt.

Hayes: Exactly. It might have offensive stuff in it, but I would not use “offensive” as an adjective for any piece of art that I’ve ever made. Transgressions and transcendence, that’s really what we want, when we think about art. The status quo is real, the main floor is a real floor, but then there’s transgression, which is like the basement […] and then there’s the attic, which is transcendence. What else is there?

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