Heriberto Yépez: Ethopoetics, What Is It? (Part Two)

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa On 6:31 AM

(ETHOPOETICS, WHAT IS IT?)

Etopoética, no longer an accident. At one point I-I even found it to be a word in Plutarch. It means “the poetics of ethos”, that is, the making of ways-of-being. And ethos meaning there not just one way of being but a more healthier, open, developed, complex way of being, which is described by the different schools of ancient philosophy, and where writing is considered part of epimeleia.

Poetry? Does it affect anybody? Well, yes, the poet foremost.

Experimentalism means there to experiment with news ways of life, in which language techniques play a central role in the transformation of reality.

We can define poetry as a series of techniques to construct—or if you prefer, deconstruct—the subject through concrete and various methods that involve voice, body, book, theory, therapy, vision, tradition and writing.

Understanding “voice” as the ways in which mind and body materialized, the patterns in which change interplays with memory.

Understanding “body” as not just physical body but that other body that Blake refer to, and also Whitman—and romanticism and avant-gardes in general—and from my angle Pre-Hispanic thought through notions such a “nawal”, co-body (co-cuerpo)—that is, that other body (animal, plant, object, world) that through chant, writing, love, ritual, mind, vision, ordinary life and developed spiritualism is allowed to re-unite with our recognizable (already stable) physical body. Poetics means how to increase/accept more ‘body’.

Understanding “book” as a being existing not only in materiality (that which holds ‘pages’ or can be ‘read’) but also as a symbol of a ‘book’ inside the mind, that crypto-genetic information (form-giving) that we inherit and construct through out our lives.

Understanding “theory” as the intellectual capacity to see what’s separate—from ‘ordinary world’—the vision of teos, from theoin, the divine and, of course, theos, god(s)). Only later theory was degraded as mere ‘seeing’, ‘thinking’ (rationally), ‘spectacle’ (not only in the Greek sense but also in Debord’s). Here theory is understood as the vision of the sacred.

Understanding “therapy” as just as what it means “substitute ritual”, that is, ways of channeling individuals unto their next stage of development, and doing that inside societies that lost the ritual methods of helping in that process or inside societies that surpassed the levels of consciousness that collective ritual could provide.

Understanding “vision” as the emergence of uponoia, images made autonomously by the mysterious functioning of the ‘mind’, which is two (‘female’ and ‘male’ plus ‘one’ (The ‘I-I’)).

Understanding “tradition” through its missing n, “trans-dition”, trans-dare, trans-giving, that is not only the handing down of something that involves movement, but also the giving-of-how-to-change.

Understanding “writing” as psyche-making (psychopoetics), as the intervention on the mind-as-received, psyche-as-given, the modification of “one-self” (into other-selves) through all kinds of techniques. Understanding ‘writing’ as a open process of reinventing its identity, and understanding ‘identity’ in general not as a fixed list of attributes of something/something, but identity as a series of patterns and methods of changing one-another.

Poetry then means the new-making of oneself.

Poetry as the practical—not just ‘verbal’ or utopian—invention of wholeness/otherness. Poet as technicians of the (sacred) self.

And poets as proto-poets.

Ethopoetics as a rewriting not only of ethnopoetics but everything that poetry has discovered and everything we can find out outside writing. Ethopoetics as a mutation, an accident after the big accident of the 20th Century. Ethopoetics as a rewriting of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Ethopoetics as a rewriting of religions and philosophy and social sciences. Ethopoetics as a way out of the university and the humanities, all of them part of control, part of ‘discourse’. Ethopoetics as the rewriting of the Human animal.

And if writing as literary craft still is in your mind right now—it still is in mine—just remember that’s how poetry changes: when the self modifies itself or is abruptly or slowly modified by some ‘external’ force, the page also mutates.

We need not to look for ways to (just) ‘change’ the page—the main goal of the literary world, avant-garde or not—but ways of changing ourselves and then, the page, along with other structures, will emerge in otherness.

And poetics then will be understood as the techniques to help others that are seeking/desiring to transform themselves and have a strong relation to writing.

(And if somebody has a strong relation to writing, I-I have discovered that means s(he) wants to rewrite her/himself).

(And if poetry conceives itself as a way of changing others, that's a definition that I-I would consider authoritarian—to do something to somebody else, without their open, free and clear willingness to do it (for) themselves).

And, yes, this brings politics into place. Politics understood as the production of well-being inside gatherings, not just “cities” but everywhere the plural (polis) exists.

So by “poetry” I-I just don mean “verse” but the construction (poiesis) of oneself.

And how trans-constructing oneself transforms ‘individual’ & ‘world’.

That is what ethopoetics is. A life-time project. A new science.

I-I conceived not a new literary style, school of philosophy or a combination of disciplines, but something beyond all of that, and maybe, far less recognizable, process-guided, site-specific, culturally-based, diverse, whose meaning can only be understood at its end. That’s how I-I see that which through accidents I-I got to un-cover and dis-cover.

And that’s how I-I see too the future of poetics as it is today.

I-I see fear will still dominate the last stage of this pre-human order. But I-I also see something else, I-I see a higher animal becoming visible. A general rewriting. A future radical ethopoetics brought by a collapse, a great unseen accident.

Tijuana / 2009

[The opening section of "Ethopoetics, What Is It?" appeared June 23, 2009 on Poems & Poetics.]

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