UK WA, the British Library's Wayback Machine, has an interesting set-up going with the Argotist Online and its e-books. Every time UK WA saves the Argotist Books-Index page, it saves all the book pdfs at once, right along with it. Though the book pdfs do also get their own, discrete URLs in UK WA.
The desire to lay down a gauntlet, in 2019, in English-language poetry, about formality and its importance, is a complex one. So much ground has been lost around formality in poetry over the last century that it is difficult even to know when, how, or why to start the process. If I deem it efficacious to be blunt, it is for the simple reason that millions of blunt weapons have been employed, in the United States, for the purpose of killing off the highest forms of artistic formality (in poetry and elsewhere), so that I am simply matching the energies and task-forces arrayed against me. So, to be blunt: poetry that does not employ heightened language, and which does not seek to incorporate musical effects, is worthless enough in the world to be considered both parasitic, and a form of anti-poetry. Furthermore, the ability to incorporate musical effects on a high level into poetry can only partially be learned: those who perform this task at the highest level are generally what could be called gifted, or talented, individuals. What this implies is, as is anathema to the parasitic forms and cabals who enforce them, which American and English-language poetry has accrued to itself in the past hundred years, and is also a mastering of the obvious: poetry requires talent, giftedness, something innately built into individuals. The idea that, in poetry, there is no talent, there are no individuals over anyone else, is a satanic denial of all that poetry can accomplish when it is handled by the right individuals; and the sense of formality in poetry, ability to artfully incorporate heightened language, is what distinguishes the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the gifted from the impostors (whose elision of poetic music can be construed as an attempt to sanitize poetry, for the greater good of entities, such as corporate ones, who are afraid of artistic formality at its apogee).
In an era less debauched, these things would not necessarily need to be said. But, as I have said before in other places, century XX was a radically inane time for serious art in general. Century XX poetry in the English language, even the corpus which is supposed to be of note, is mostly formless garbage. When poetry loses its connection to music, heightened language, and the sublime which inheres in musicality, it also loses its connection to individuality, and the giftedness of individuals. The anti-poets are there, with the ulterior motive of attempting to destroy poetry from the inside out; and, for many decades, there has been no one there to stop them. The formal tasks I have chosen to perform are arduous ones, including the odal task inherited from Keats; and the task of expressing how far English-language poetry has fallen over the last few centuries is arduous, too.
First Friday, Olde City, autumn: I watched Abby
seduce a curator in the Artists House Gallery, clawed
my way past buskers & vendors, up again to Logan
Square; up 21st Street, over to the Franklin Institute,
out onto the Parkway, where a slight tilt will show
you the Art Museum; back over & around, & wandered
into my flat. The soft October warmth told me what
I needed to hear, for a hot minute: eternity, ecstasy,
elevation, riding waves on an ocean of buildings.
A general recession of waves was latent, built into us,
destined to pinch some of us to death, but in the end,
it didn't matter— Abby's striped, clinging gown that
night, leaning towards maroon & plain red, marked my
brain as permanently made incarnadine, for her & us—