Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Archeology, p. 28

We must ask ourselves                         what purpose is
ultimately served by this                                 suspension of
all the accepted                                              unities
if, in the end, we return to                               the unities
that we pretended to question                at the outset.
        In fact,
the systemic erasure of                         all given unities
enables us first of all                                       to restore to
the statement                                                 the specificity
of its occurrence,                                  and to show
        that                                                       discontinuity
is one of those great                                       accidents
        that                                             create cracks

not only in the geology                          of history,
but also in the simple                                      fact
of the statement;

it emerges in its historical     irruption;
what we try to examine is     the incision

that it
makes, that
          irreducible—                                  and very often tiny
                                                      —emergence.
However banal it may be,
however unimportant its consequences may appear to be,
however quickly it may be forgotten after its appearance,
however little heard or however badly deciphered
                                                 we may suppose it to be,

a statement is always an event

that neither the language (langue) nor the meaning
                                                    can quite exhaust.
It is certainly a strange event:
first, because on the one hand
                                           it is linked to the gesture of
                                           writing or to the articulation of

speech,
            and also on the other hand
it opens up to itself a residual                                      existence
in the field of a memory, or in the materiality of            manuscripts,
books, or any other form of recording;
secondly, because, like every
event,

                        it is unique, yet subject to repetition, transformation, and reactivation;
thirdly, because it is linked not only to the situations that provoke it, and to the consequences
that it gives rise to, but at the same time, and in accordance with a quite different modality, to
the statements that precede and
                                                                                      follow it.

Credit


Copyright © 2011 by Vanessa Place. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Vanessa Place

Vanessa Place's books of poetry and conceptual writing include Dies: A Sentence (Les Figues, 2006), a 50,000-word, one-sentence novel in verse.

Date Published: 2011-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/archeology-p-28