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Genre and Aesthetics
Written by: L'nass Shango
What is genre no one knows, but there are these forms of poetry that are periodical carried by a movement, and that emphasizes rhymes and meters by their presence or absence, that give poetry a unique shape and a unique musical sound that culture claims as genre. These forms are social inheritances foisted onto our beliefs in exchange for the accommodations we believe we seek among the mindless herd.
New genre appears because old genres like religion are very rigid and will not adapt to internal change. Yet these rigid laws and principles that defines genre are seldom consciously made by poets but by highly selective consumers who like a style and demand more of it. No poet writes in single style, and yet poets are not given credit for several genres because every change o style does not become a genre.
What is critical to the market of genre is a type of cultural aesthetic that provides a market over which some middle presides predetermining the consistency of the product to be consumed. The artist is then forced to be creative as well to be technical, for he/she must constantly be altering the expression of his/her feelings in such a way to be consistent with genre.
While I like the sense of the preservation of history that gatekeepers of movements police, the true artist must find it anachronistic and redundant to be always made a slave to form. The artist is the first and truest maker of new paradigms, and because of him/her culture changes its language, its symbols of meaning, widens its ability to perform, and promote expanding boundaries of freedom and human possibility. Paradigms are not to be in strait-jackets.
Aesthetics is the appreciation of beauty within a cultural norm, but the artist cannot accept that freedom has a norm, for there is a norm to madness but none to creativity. What is beautiful may be human alone, and thus transcendent of the bounds of culture, breaking that mold of the human spirit that separates him/her into little enclaves dominated by the unfortunateness of nationality. The artist is first human, and the human that is the cultural being, may long to be an artist more than a citizen.
Culture give rules to genre but beauty can have no rules if it must be universal and without corruption. What beauty there be in genre then is merely transitory, as genre set its heart on being self extinguished. To extinguish genre though is to extinguish the enslavement of my soul to culture, and thus I defy this social gene that conforms me to lose my distinction and uniqueness. I have come to believe the pride we feel in culture is attributable only to the sickness culture gives to us. For why should I surrender my innate potential and me to the mob rule of an invisible collective and feel proud that I am become nobody that I should be called one of them?
I have decided that poetry have license to disobey the rules of language and set new boundaries of self, thinking and meaning for a very profound reason. Language is a social tool that boxes us into a social discourse by the use of symbols pre-loaded with meaning. Therefore I cannot by thinking or speaking mean anything to my self, so that the individualism of man is only a literary farce. Language herds us into the collective where we are oppressed by its fault and minimized by the sharing of its resources. These things poetry must disrupt by invention, and by the radicalization and esteem of the anomie.
How else will the conceit of private symbols find currency in a new vocabulary of grammar that will make men ask question of men, rather than being superficial while taking my meanings for granted. I conclude with Maslow and all the scholars who find that man is configured by actions, and that these actions are the results of needs, the physiological, and sex most explicitly, being primally the most basic. It then follows that universally similar needs should not have created different cultures but for the intervention of environment, nor do we need have a language three levels removed from us by this dissimilarity of culture. Language directly located in immediate needs may recover for us a universal tongue, and private symbols become healing of the self as of the whole. Poetry is mediated by language and its symbols, but is recommended to be cathartic and hence liberating of the soul. Genre is the privacy of a clandestine few, a clique's conceit, that cannot be universally cathartic. Hence I explore sex and sexuality as an immediate need, through its old symbols invite a new meaning to my poetry, by the forced logic that an old reading of what I write can make no sense.
Genre then will be about needs and find their hierarchy only by the prioritization of needs. Genre will be a collective meaning of needs and of such a special language of poetry by which human bounds lose their distinct boundaries and all needs become ultimately one poem. Read my poems carefully for the single meaning of a phrase and the continued meaning shifting through a range of senses from verse to verse, and all the sense gathered in the whole meaning of what I mean. How can this be beautiful you ask?
Aesthetic is the experience of being one with your meaning, for it is in the value of the aesthete that we find the true cathartism