Didactic Elegy Ben Lerner


The lyric is a stellar condition.
The relation between the lyric I and the lyric poem
is like the relation between a star and starlight.
The poem and the I are never identical and their distance may be measured in time.
Some lyric poems become visible long after their origins have ceased to exist.

The heavens are anachronistic. Similarly, the lyric
lags behind the subjectivity it aspires to express. Expressing this disconnect
is the task of the negative lyric,
which does not exist.

If and when the negative lyric exists, it will be repetitious.
It will be designed to collapse in advance, producing an image
that transmits the impossibility of transmission. This familiar gesture,
like a bold black stroke against a white field,
will emphasize flatness, which is a failure of emphasis.

The critic repeats herself for emphasis.
But, since repetition emphasizes only the failure of sense,
this is a contradiction.
When contradictions are intended they grow lyrical
and the absence of the I is felt as a presence.

If and when the negative lyric exists, it will affect a flatness
to no effect.
The failure of flatness will be an expression of depth.


Typo Issue Two