Stephen Rodefer is recognised as one of the founders of the Language poetry movement. As a student of Charles Olsen, Rodefer shares Olsen’s thematic concerns for the urban sphere, yet it is his particular interest in the de/composition of language in poetry which places him firmly in the centre of the Language school. His most famous piece is probably Four Lectures (1982), which is also the work which appears (at least in parts) in the anthology.
The work starts with a powerful piece of poetics, demanding for a new kind of poetry which is able to respond to the multi-faced nature of the modern city. As Rodefer puts it:
“A poetry painted with every jarring color and juxtaposition, every simultaneous order and disorder, every deliberate working, every movement toward one thing deformed into another. Painted with every erosion and scraping away, every blurring, every showing through, every wiping out and every replacement, with every dismemberment of the figure and assault on creation, every menace and response, every transformation of the color and reforming of the parts, necessary to express the world. Even the words and way of language itself will suffer the consequent deformity and reformation.”A great challenge indeed.
http://eclipsearchive.org/projects/FOUR/four.html (Four Lectures online)
http://jacketmagazine.com/15/brady-rodefer.html (review of his 2000 collection Left Under A Cloud by Andrea Brady)
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2014/09/stephen-rodefers-four-lectures-annotated-ongoing/ (a short piece about an essay with annotations for Rodefer’s Four Lectures)
My response to Rodefer also focusses on the urban environment, particularly looking at the history and architecture of the tenement houses which were built during the Industrial Revolution in cities like New York, Berlin, or Glasgow. These aspects are juxtaposed with the current debate about the housing crisis in London.
~ - ~
I – Def.
Any house, building,
or portion thereof, which is rented, leased, let,
or hired out to be occupied
or is occupied, as the home
of more than three families living independently
of one another and doing their
own cooking upon the premises,
or by more than two families upon a floor,
and having a common right
in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets,
or some of them,
II – Exp.
of all the bathrooms
rent caps and protests
and water closet
tenants in a position
outside the door,
to share rooms by sky-high
to the individual
rents and none.
renting in some 540
direct window twice as
facing the trapped
in 1,000 and 97 a month.
significantly those having hutch property
windows to and on the increasingly
a high instance of fraught.
a year’s rent often left the architect
being to have
being to forced affordable
to rent a shared only public,
a stranger with bedrooms to be.
11 had arrangements for light rent rise as social housing closed itself.
housing converted to significantly
here that is in affordable
here that is in landlord.
these few occasions for renting room
buildings were only entered
on all fitted with a mechanical door.
affordable fours and all entry system
significantly, housing crisis
had stair head windows how to build.
thus allowing more
for rent control plans
the fresh air - the absence here.
the high price
which having been of affordable
much lamented at by the city
officials of 1860.
IT'S WAR. 386 had arrangements
as desperate tenants
bidding direct to the street.
thinking of buying or close this. could
to rent take the format while still renting
a bathroom over big trouble in
a scullery with the two?
chinatown as sharing the same
rent window opening to either
rises force the front or rear significantly.
studio flat for examples also of provision
rent. WHERE YOU CLIMB A LADDER ON THE
FRIDGE TO GET TO BED between the bathroom
rents rise allowing borrowed light affordable.
as tenant numbers outstrip the air was
affordable supply directly from the outside.
meet the new layout as it was in 1893.
class with 8 bathrooms in the building
all having windows
profiting from generation property.
rent rises another three. closes
evictions and on this occasion
with light water, why i'm joining
closets to the rear.
and the latter building for homes
having only internal london's
buy water closet with no to
let rents lighting or ventilation
double that of rest.
none of these of says
affordable flats were built with
period sky-high is the importance:
why not rent of discrete toilet facilities -
get a home on the remained
cheap and live like a lord.