JOSEF KAPLAN is the author of
Democracy Is Not for the People
(Truck Books,2012). He lives in Brooklyn.
I Hate Job
I maintain that my labor has no bearing on my poetics.A discussion of the conditions of poetic production is only illuminative insofar asthose conditions are equitable with the poetry itself, and the poetry is understood toexist on a continuum with the life it inhabits.
is concept is at best pathetic.Within this formulation, a poetics can never rise above the anecdotal; it is merely life'sexhaust, expelled
reeking of a world in which forms reveal themselves both linearly and in good faith,
and therefore where
the immanent formal stakes of a poem needalways
nd coherence with the means of their production.
e poem is here beholdento the world.If a poem is beholden to the world, it is in service to the world.In this way we are required to be "good," and to make our poetic work be "good" or as"good" as the world we'd like to see manifest for ourselves. In this way we qualify ourpoetry.But poetry needs neither quali
cation nor inherence, and the assumption that poetry must inhabit or acknowledge the conditions of its writing is, again, a kind of devotional apology, a defense of service, and therefore cowardice.
e world does not need poetry, nor does the world desire it.Poetry that bears witness to this disinterest, that works to justify itself via the traumasand triumphs of the world, is super
cial and useless.
For this reason – that the world is not beholden to poetry – it is truly poetry’s job totear down and subjugate the world. Rather than embrace the conditions of its time, orcritically document their existence, poetry should enact a wholly negative procedure:sabotage – sabotage against the conditions of its time, against itself as work, andagainst all work as such.
erefore, regardless of truth or accuracy, I maintain that
my labor has no bearing onmy poetics. I am
not interested in means, only in the successful, annihilativemanifestation of the poem, as an absolute violence, where worth is gauged by howmuch damage that poem can do to both itself and others – preferably with regards tointerpersonal relationships and employability.