How the “I” changes and how the role of poets in the digital world of 4.0 has changed. From lyrics to hip-hop, here are Gabriele Frasca’s considerations on the identity of poetry.
The power of “I”
Since the interface has replaced the piece of paper, the poet shapes his poetic world with new tools each time he composes some verses. It’s a tough life for poets who depict fantastic worlds and decorate them by placing some pieces of themselves in order to convert a resistant environment into a more modern and functional place.
It has nothing to do with current day, with its rhythms or its short-lived words: there is a lack of poetry in contemporary life, even if people need some great personalities who write down their concerns, because we all experienced a heartbreak, we see our parents getting old, the name of the streets changing. We all know what it feels like when the wall where we crashed with the scooter during our childhood has been demolished.
On the contrary, for smart and lucky people this constant meeting with the ever changing today generates in poetry a small, in-vitro landscape, built on literary customs and habits. As Rimbaud stated “I is someone else”, and this is true for Mannerism and its poets as well. However, Ion and Socrates had already found it out during the age of papyrus, in the fourth century BC. Poets are possessed by the most powerful God ever: convention. Sanguineti defined it “poetese”, and it affects every single poet. Each generation has its own “poetese”, a poet who perhaps lives in his/her grandmother’s garrett and hangs out the supermarket, a person who writes his/her poems using contemporary rhythms and lexis to describe a particular self which is not hims/hers, nor ours.
It’s the lyrical space we are talking about, which is opened even to the most absent-minded young guys, the same guys who don’t know a single thing of literature, but they are very good at rapping. They don’t feed on daily experience, they gorge themselves on specific typological-cultural references. The lyrical space is not a never-ending field, just as hip-hop. It can be compared to a harbor full of moored boats, and there is one boat with no keel and a meaningless name printed on the stern.
Whether it is a suffocating studio of a Petrarchist, who slams against the window despite the superb flight, or the grain stolen by a symbolist in the desert to give it an up-to date and meaningful name, the lyrical space is always a largely pre constituted world, a do-it-yourself box full of material. However, there are not so many things you can build with it, so the presumed poet can say “I” without risking that someone else takes away his/her pronoun.
Yet, the lyrical space as we understand it should be rebuilt; it is a fixed scene crossed by whispers, a sticker of the poet in his/her typological-cultural background, an identity of writing that is very similar to the canso (a song style used by the troubadours), an aseptic literary tale referred to a specific period of time or set of texts ordered by someone else for an even more distant reader.
Consider that in the most pervasive phase of the typographic culture, even the most self-centred person needs some notes, news and stories to tell, so his/her reader can establish a connection with the person who suggested it. Within this process, we symbolize the even distant readers who are not able to see nothing but mere words and perhaps the complexity of the whole mechanism. However, this complex movement is not the poetic ego trapped into its typological-cultural monument: it is the expression of its spectacular power. Thanks to it, we are able to perceive the gear built by the poet to chose the words for his/her poems.
What we still seek in poetry and art forms is to live beyond our own life. “I” is something beyond all that.
Gabriele Frasca with Lello Voce in Matera!
Gabriele Frasca will be with Lello Voce in Matera in a special space dedicated to dialogue and reflection entitled “Poets They Malgrade”.
Book now not to miss this opportunity!