As/Is







11.30.2015


Lyricism and Deconstruction


Whether Deconstructionism happened to be a cohesive, authentic intellectual juggernaut movement or not is up for debate. What is not up for debate is that the central tenets of Deconstructionism— the evanescence and arbitrary nature of language, and the dichotomous push-pull both away from and towards the text and textuality— inform Posit, and The Posit Trilogy, to a very significant extent. That Deconstructionism can also apply to painting— that there is also, proverbially, nothing outside the image— makes Deconstructionist thought relevant also to the Philly Free School and Neo-Romanticism in totem. What Posit seems to signal, as a literary talisman initiating the Neo-Romantic endeavor (encompassing also, what Abby had already painted), was the reemergence of non-arbitrary language, of a kind of lyricism-within-Deconstruction, one that attempted (and attempts) to make aesthetic its own contradictions:

“I” must climb up
from a whirlpool
swirling down,
but sans belief
in signification.

“I” must say I
w/out knowing
how or why
this can happen
in language.

“I” must believe
in my own
existence,
droplets stopping
my mouth—

alone, derelict,
“I” must come back,
again, again,
‘til this emptiness
is known, and shown.

To what extent can form and formality (lyricism) redeem the arbitrary nature of the signifier? Is the lyrical signifier arbitrary? An empirical answer would have to put the truth in the middle of things— that, for instance, with “known” and “shown” in the poem’s concluding line, the sonority of the two words together (that they rhyme) makes for an effect meant to engender pleasure, and not to be arbitrary; yet, why k-n-o-w-n and s-h-o-w-n mean what they mean, rather then meaning something else, is as arbitrary as any other word, or words, meaning what they mean. Bring in, or draft, so to speak, the issue of subjectivity-in-text, the first person singular, and you see how lyricism drafts Deconstructionism, also, away from corrosive nihilism and towards some discrete affirmations: of form and formality in art as redemptive, of formal effects as meaningful against the arbitrary, and of the first person singular as a potential textual meeting place or median point around which all these imperatives assemble.