TWO OR THREE THINGS ABOUT POEMA / PROCESSO [ process poem ]
by MOACY CIRNE
OEI MAGAZINE# 66: POEMA / PROCESSO. Stockholm, Sweden. 2014. 119,5x29,5 cm. ISSN: 14045095 – ISBN 978-91-85905-69-0 “ Process Poem “ Ex. bibl. Antonio Miranda
There have been many attempts to locate poema/ processo within the field of visual arts. And rightfully so - as the last phase of concrete poetry has demonstrated, we have become more and more detached from literature. More than that: our critics have not yet fully grasped that the literary form par excellence of the 20'h century is the comic. Upon consulting Lês cheis-d'ceuvres de la bonde dessinée (Éditions Plcnete, 1967) we understand the creative importance of Gennaux, Rubino, Schulz, Soglow, of Forlani, Raymond, Silos, Rosy or Hachel. Not to mention AL Capp. ln another sphere
O Homen ao Zero (ed. Expressão e Cultura, 1968) by Leon Eliachar, despite the excessive use of words in many chapters, contains more aesthetic information than any novel published in our country during the last 10 years.
Poetry could not stay subjugated to the facile game of words that draw other words — paronomasia; associations that no longer work - or the false structural engineering that ends up in pure sterility. The crisis in poetry is simply the crisis of the word (in the poem). ln the first place, let's not lose time with Drummond and the traditionalists. With regards to Cabral - who in some instances simply improved the procedures of Drummond, through Murilo Mendes, Bandeira, Mallarmé and Valéry - we can characterize his ceuvre as an engineering formula, sometimes embodied in a progressive semanticist manner (as in "O Cão Sem Plumas"), (1) or in a semiotic concreteness (as in "Uma Faca só Lâmina"), culminating in a simple strophiclexical permutation: "A Educação Pela Pedra". We must not confuse dryness and semantic precision - in the field of form - with dryness and formal precision - in the field of the structure.
Certainly for us - politically dominated by a fascist dictatorship at the service of international imperialism - it's no longer a matter of byzantine
discussions about minar issues. But, so that we can construct a radical and revolutionary art — the only one that truly corresponds to the Marxist-Leninist theory and to the current social-political moment in Brazil — certain theoretical questions concerning the art field need to be clarified. Once those questions are raised, we can depart to revolutionary practice, in art and in politics, to “discover the truth through practice, and again through practice verify and develop the truth ... " Mao Tse-tung, À propos de la pratique, Paris, Petite Collection Maspero, 1967).
So why is poema/processo not part of the visual arts, although it is really quite dose to it? Besides the semantic voltage that characterizes almost ali of our poems, an important problem oppeors. the reading vectors. ln the visual arts we read the structure (abstract reading), that, as dynamic it can be, always entails an operational rigidity. Any compositional element, even a blank space, is a structural agent: specific colors and forms remain specific colors and forms, disallowing operational changes (options). ln the case of a process/poem we read the process (creative reading).(2) Releasing of the structures allows several readings from a given point of departure or not. In order to aprehend the global, after a first contact with the work, and depending on the poem, several readings of its diverse structures are necessary (simultaneously or not). ln a process/poem the blank, or dead space is not a structural agent — and therefore it does not require reading. Even colors and forms allow for different options (versions) to the reader/participant/ consumer. For in process/poem the information function is more important than the aesthetic function.
We further clarify with a few examples drawn from Ponto I. The poem "siqn", by Dailor Varela, features a topological program (Max Bense), with five circular structures placed on the left side of the page. More than half of the page is left blank (dead space). The structures could as well have been rectangles and triangles, etc, they could have been placed to the right or in the center; the remaining space could have been red, blue, green or yellow, could even have been suppressed (as indeed it was when it was printed in the Jornal do Brasil on December 13, 1967, and in the Correio Brasiliense on April 13, 1968). Naturally, there is aesthetic information (the circular structures) in the poern's process. The poem "usina", by Álvaro de Sá, in the magazine version replaces colar with dots. the aesthetic information has changed, but the information function remains the same. Neide Sá's code/poems reflect on the complex problem of reading directions, distinguishing themselves from the code/poems by concretist poets precisely for resolving this problem through the creative reading of the process: number I is dominated by the integration of the compositional elements, empowering a revaluation of its own code, in number 5 the placement of circular structures gradually substitutes the proposed coding, while the rotating movement of the page reveals new constellations when manipulated by the reader/participant.
However, it is in relation to other questions (versions/projects) that poema/processo reveals its true character as a radical and revolutionary art of our times. lndependently of whether you consider it poetry or not, and whether you fight it because there is little or no "literary" content at all, this would only be a concern to the eternal defenders of extant structures - those who fear the new as much as they fear the living ideas of Guevara. The following proposals must be made.
Through the concept of the version poema/processo becomes socializing, in terms of art. Departing from a given matrix (process) each reader/participant has the total freedom to create new and different versions, according to his/her own taste. lt is the rational exploration of closed possibilities in the process. ln Argentina a version "1822" of by Nei Leandro would be "1816". We construct material versions. Against the unique poem.
Through the idea of the project, poema/processo becomes socialized, in terms of art. ln order to get around material and financial difficulties we publish the poetry project, which will have the sarne importance as the fabricated poem. The project must be clear and precise, and because it is a project in process it permits the reader/participant to choose his/her own personal version. Against the unique object, the project is not geared towards graphic poems, which themselves are already projects of material versions. (See also in this issue of the magazine [Ponto 2], the project of the poem "A 3a Mundial" by Nei Leandro.)
Our remarks on the "Operação/poema" by Sanderson Negreiros (also in this issue) connect to the following points
"The poet always projects - he says - the others realize the poem or do as they want to, because only in this way will there really be a 'orocess' The unique poem is soon going to become a museum piece." From our point of view the poet will only make a project - in the sense employed by Sanderson - in the specific case of the object poems; in order to overcome the aforementioned difficulties in avoiding the unique object, which is of bourgeois origin and stems from before industrial development. The graphic poems (or graphic projects) - poems for magazines, newspapers, books - will continue to be made. On another matter, Sanderson Negreiros states: "First of ali we suggest our 'projects'. Could be three, ten or two thousand." The poet should publish his projects: the reader/participant constructs his/her version, or versions, using one or more projects. But one is always departing from a clear starting point and never from a simple "suggestion". lt is a project, which is a project of a process.
From a certain perspective Sanderson Negreiros extends the range of poets, so that each reader/participant is also a poet. The "poem/operotion" has the advantage that being an active reader/participant and having understood the "project", he/she not only realizes what is indicated now, but also produces many other "projects", which he/she may hold on to until they are reduced to new concepts and/or destruction. The operation, however, is not yet well defined. The reader/participant would not only need to understand the project(s), but also the idea of the process, in order to realize (graphic) process/poems and projects of process/poems (objects). The importance of the "poem/operation", however, is undeniable.
On the other hand, we don't think that poema/processo is devoid of impact on the socio-political field, because for us art has a "socializing" and "socialized" dimension.3 Everything else would be an ideological contradiction. Wherever necessary we denounce the capitalist mesh that surrounds us. But, when we are doing this through poetry, we denounce on the levei of language. Only this way can we construct a revolutionary art.
Translation from Portuguese, Tobi Maier (with parts quoted from translations from Antonio Sergio Bessa in this issue of OE!).
("Duas ou três coisas sobre o Poema/Processo" was first published in Ponto 2, Rio de Janeiro, 1968.]
- The critic Luiz C. Lima refers to Cão Sem Plumas as having "a process of coming and going, progressive-regressive" ("A Traição Conseqüente ou a Poesia de Cabral", in Lira e Antilira - Civilização Brasileira, 1968, p. 311.)
- Here we use Wladimir Dios-Pino's terminology: a symbolic reading for the figurative, an abstract reading of a structure, a creative reading for the process.
- Álvaro de Sá, "Por que medo da vonquordc>" (Why fear the vonquord-'). The poema/processo "criticizes due to its revolutionary processes, not escaping the political topics as artists do - we do not 'profit' from a bourgeois public which calls itself left-wing, while discussing things helplessly in their seats".