№12 2022

УДК / UDK: 82-1


Author: Aleksei E. Masalov
About the author:

Aleksei E. Masalov, PhD Candidate, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya pl. 6, 125047 Moscow, Russia.


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In this article the author analyzes the interaction and mutual influence of such ways of speaking, which we call Language Writing and metarealism, which he reveals on the example of the poems Sun (1987) by Michael Palmer and Oil (1999) by Aleksei Parshchikov. Palmer's poem is a decentralized statement in which syntactic interruptions, complex symbolism, and an abundance of references create an embodied heteroglossia. The catastrophe of the meaning and the assembly of voices here are somehow structured by the central symbol — the Sun — from the headline of The Sun newspaper of July 22, 1986 (“A headless man walks, lives / for four hours”) to the artificial light of consumption centers. And the semantics of dying, references to Baudelaire in the poem, as well as Palmer's separate “Baudelaire Series” somehow admit that one of the many overtones of Sun poem is “The Voyage”, the final text of Fleurs du mal. Marjorie Perloff points out the difference between the approaches of Palmer and Parshchikov in the article “Russian Postmodernism: An Oxymoron?”, where, comparing their texts, she writes that the approach of the second is closer to Arthur Rimbaud, not the split subject Language Poetry. However, the similarity and differences between the approaches of Palmer and Parshchikov are similar to the similarity and differences between Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, when both use the mythopoetics of swimming as death, but incomplete, or rather incompleting. But if the first include it in the context of criticism of commodity fetishism and the subversive power of allegory (according to Benjamin), then the second in the context of “clairvoyance” and observation of the “black and cold” waters of capitalistic Europe. So the poem Oil by Parshchikov is close to the poem Sun by Palmer both in the depiction of the world in a frozen catastrophe, in the collapse of the language, and in the political dimension. And as in the poem Sun through heteroglossia, the symbolism of the crisis meaning, a permanent apocalypse Palmer creates political criticism of the symbolic order of the consumption society, including intellectual commodity fetishism, as in the poem Oil with a multilayered image of raw materials, including as an ideological concept, Parshchikov opens up new ways for analytical political poetry.

Keywords: Language School, metarealism, split subject, catastrophe, political poetry.
For citation:

Masalov, Aleksei. “Dialogue between Language School and Metarealism: Sun by Michael Palmer and Oil by Aleksei Parshchikov”. Literature of the Americas, no. 12 (2022): 102–114. 


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