Alex Caldiero’s Performative Poesis: The Makar, Making, and Mormonism
Alex Caldiero’s work emerges from a rich performance ecology that consists of many different influences. One of these is the figure of the pre-modern bard, whom Caldiero calls a makar (mah-ker). Makar is the Middle English antecedent of maker, although makar is still active in the Scots language where it’s used in reference to a poet or bard [see here, especially]. Caldiero may have assumed the title in an attempt to establish kinship with a primitive (prime-itive) culture, its language, and its poetics. He may have also taken the name to skirt around the social and cultural limitations related to calling oneself a poet, including the stigma attached to practicing an art that some say is dead and that others associate with greeting card sentimentalism or the horrors of high school English. By moving to avoid these limitations (albeit at the cost of having to endure others [like being what Scott Carrier calls a “categorical conundrum”]), Caldiero becomes better able to critique common conceptions of poetry while he at the same time foregrounds the term’s origins: the word poetry derives from the Greek concept of poesis, which signifies the process of making.
Caldiero’s self-affiliation with Mormonism brings an additional level of signification to his focus on making. In particular, his poetics seem to be in conversation with Mormon theology’s teachings about Deity; these include the following:
First, that the Gods are Makers: they create and they procreate.
Second, that God isn’t a singular Entity acting as lone Creator but is part of a coterie of creative Beings acting in concert, a Community of Gods.
Third, that the Makers have created and peopled not just this world, this universe, but many worlds and many universes.
Fourth, that Creation doesn’t occur ex nihilo: rather the Makers build things from materials extant in expansive cosmos.
Fifth, that Creation unfolds in an eternal round: the Makers’ creative acts occur in the present progressive tense, that these Beings haven’t just created, they are creating.
Sixth, that humans are the Makers’ offspring; as such we have the making gene in us and by virtue of heredity and training, we can emulate our Parents and become Makers ourselves.
My paper will explore the relationships among Caldiero’s performative poesis (which he calls sonosophy) and the figures/ideas I’ve described above: the makar (the pre-modern bard), poetry as the process of making, and Gods as Makers.
Seuss-style, I respond to Ardis’ question with three things (I was going to add my comment to the post itself, but my response grew beyond comment-length; hence, this):
Thing One: I don’t think it’s productive to argue that all mash-ups or remixes suppress the urge toward originality and self-expression. I’m thinking here of seven instances—four specific and three more general, though even as I think I stir up more instances—in which artists/creators have, to various degrees, remixed different aspects of culture or other preexisting materials in order to create something new: Continue reading ““Something Fresh Out of Something Stale””
More than a year ago I wrote about the possibility of a mashup of Mormon literary works a la Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Now, this past week I came across an that not only argues for “repurposing” other works, but advocates using these techniques in education.
Mormon Artist Magazine interviewed me for their latest issue (Issue 10). You can find my interview here.
Mormon Artist Magazine Literature editor and fellow AMVer Katherine Morris suggested I post here at AMV questions and answers cut from the interview. So, for your reading pleasure:
There also seems to be an underlying theme of agency in your writing: “[I]t enables those who read or hear it to create choices for themselves”. How does the concept of agency inform your writing?
The “It” here refers to “sustainable language.” Sustainable language is creative, proactive, productive language that effectively sparks others to create their own risk-choice spectrums and generate possibilities for themselves. It’s the language of life. Sustainable language goes out on its faith in others’ creativity, creative drive being a far more commonplace phenomenon in all levels of society than is popularly supposed. Good language–sustainable language–allows for that creativity and invigorates human agency. Continue reading “Mormon Artist Magazine interview–three cut Qs & As”
for Stephen Carter in partial fulfillment of a promise
but especially for greenfrog, who showed me a bit of backbone
When a subject and object look at one another, there is no subject and no object, there’s only relation, the scope of which extends beyond either creature’s ability to fully grasp it. You can’t grasp it, but you can step out to meet it. If you do, prepare to catch on fire “¦
When I was in my early twenties, two events ignited my life. The first involved a disagreement with a close friend whose feelings of friendship toward me had cooled. I was changing, growing up a little, I guess. I think my friend no longer felt needed, and feeling needed was important to her. My feelings of deep friendship hadn’t changed, yet somehow that didn’t matter, not to her. Why not? I wondered. Why shouldn’t my feelings matter to her? Continue reading “Pillars of Fire”