I read Writing Is An Aid To Memory in college for a class. Not forced -- I loved it.
And I picked up a copy of The Cell for my trip to Hungary. Didn’t like it as much -- probably because it was more accessible
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177403 - I think the layout is incorrect
At some points in Lyn Hejinian’s long poem of 1978, Writing is an Aid to Memory, our quest for meaning can be momentarily suspended. The poem, in general, is a powerful, avant-garde challenge to the dominant paradigms of semantic production, transmission and reception especially in terms of subjective meaning and its generation through the processes of recorded memory. In this attack on normative semantic structures in writing it is typical of a number postmodern American poems from poets working in the seventies, developing what we now call Language poetry, a group which must count Hejinian as one of its core members and which also includes poets of international repute such as Charles Bernstein, who I will come to later. However, like most of radical works of modern poetry, with some careful consideration meaningfulness is to be found in areas such as associative patterning, repetitious leitmotifs, graphematic innovations, excerpts of ‘prose’, accumulation of effects that allows for a familiarity to develop, certain well known avant-garde and Language-orientated prosodic techniques and so on. Then, finally we have what we might call the conceptual/semiotic guarantee of the poem: if it is line broken, with a title, stanzas, and a last line, we can begin to subdivide the single work into units of significance that, through established conventions of analysis, can be seen as exemplary, important, revealing and so on. We can also call the entity as a whole the poem, and all that that means.
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