Literary Movements, Academic or Not
Still, failing to find a definition for "conceptual poetry" is no matter: ask a roomful of literary scholars and poets to define what poetry is and the conversation will go on for hours, become quite heated, and resolve nothing.
I noted in Haki R. Madhubuti's introduction to Don't Cry, Scream, published in 1969, he begins: "The most significant factor about the poems/poetry you will be reading is the idea. The idea is not the manner in which a poem is conceived but the conception itself." If this has some relation to "Conceptualism" or not, I don't know; or if, perhaps Don't Cry, Scream, a groundbreaking text in its day, contributed something toward an ur-text for the movement—as I understand the group's usage of the term. (The fine distinction his words point to reminds me of the academic type that dissertations and theses get written for and PhDs awarded for; but, though on occasion I sat beside the Third World Press table when Non Fit Press was an active force in marketing my books, I don't recall hearing "Conceptualism" proclaimed.)
I returned to Madhubuti's text because I vaguely remembered in his introduction—from which I quoted in my essay on McKay—that he had mentioned, if not answered, some of the same ideas which, as I mused in that recent post about Gringpo, perplexed me two days ago.
Madhubuti writes—and I quoted—that "blackpoets deal in the concrete rather than the abstract". I suspect Madhubuti speaks for himself (or for the himself he was in 1969), and may not even endorse the ideals of "Conceptualism" either. Pura especulación one might say. The questions are academic, and I intend to leave them; but nagging incongruities kept fluttering back into my mind, even as with the Chesterton posts a while back, demanding their vent.
Elsewhere I saw a proclamation that "Conceptualism [in art] derives from [Marcel] DuChamp." If that is the case, I don't wonder if Metamodernism, as a movement, arises in response to or in counterpoint of, Conceptualism. "Metamodernist" poetry possesses, or at least proclaims, its own merit; I've been unable to find comparable examples of poetry from "Conceptualism". The "metamodernist" motto, presumably, would have to be: Before DuChamp!
Movements belong in academia: where else does one hear of Pound's "Imagism" today, or any of the other movements he founded?
That being said...
The above photo is of the lobby after the memorial gathering held for Sheldon Patinkin two nights ago—an important figure in Chicago theater. I did not realize—my only brief encounter with him took place before he became the entrenched figure at Columbia College that the evening's many speakers and attendees gave testament to—just how entrenched in academia he was; though his early roots (I believe) lay outside that.