Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Maybe Too Far Out



This Sunday is the last day of my modern poetry course. I've thoroughly enjoyed being exposed to poetry I would have never in a million years read voluntarily. And there's no likelihood that I'm going to be gravitating automatically to avant-garde poetry once the course is over and done with. I'm perfectly happy with my Thomas Lux, Tony Hoagland, Bob Hicok, Stephen Dunn, et al. I'm not sure I want to be setting myself a task every time I read a poem, which is what it is with a lot of the poets I've encountered in the course.

And then there are the ancillary things you run across while reading the assigned critical essays. Such as the work below. This is a piece of art (and I'm afraid I use the term advisedly here) by Martin Creed. Here is the title and decription.

work illustration
Martin Creed: Work No. 79
Work No. 79
Some Blu-Tack kneaded, rolled into a ball, and depressed against a wall
1993
Blu-Tack
Approximately 1 in / 2.5 cm diameter

You know that stuff you use to hang pictures or other things on walls without nails? (Susan and I call it "ticky-tacky.") Well, this is piece of it rolled into a ball and stuck on a wall. Now, admittedly the color coordination is nice. And I'm advanced and enlightened enough to know not to dismiss this out of hand as "not art." But, and here comes the confession, I do confess to requiring some learned critic explain to me why this is art. It's perhaps a bridge too far for me . . . maybe too far out. Maybe along with the other baleful effects of aging, one loses one's facility for refined discernment. For I suspect that about 99.78 percent of the people in the world, finding this on your wall would wonder what in the hell you've got a glob of ticky-tacky just sticking there for.
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