Michael D. Main is a Language Poet, educated at Indiana University-Bloomington. A West Coast writer, he currently lives and writes in the small commercial crab fishing port of Newport, Oregon.
Originally from the Midwest heartland, he is a past recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission.
In 1996, he was among the first writers in the U.S. to mount a literary web studio offering electronic multi-media text/graphic presentations.
Main’s current project involves producing works to empower and further explore the dynamics of Language Poetry.
Main believes that a genuine avant-garde Language Poet movement can embody a realistic prospect for cultivating adept levels of revolutionary linguistic practice. Main’s experience with Language Poetics suggests to him that it is fully capable of bringing writers and readers to levels of linguistic energy, intellectual discovery, and emotional joy that must be critical to the survival of any advancement of adept and alert culture in the early 21st Century.
“My most recent Language Poems (and – “(In)Sens(e)lms” – my third book project in total) work to themselves inherit, as it were, the shape shifting ability of the 'creaturely' fonts and forms of the physical universe we inhabit and to which we are witness, even as its progressions also dive beneath the lexical struts which shore up wordful significations.
“Bringing the reader to fuller realization and appreciation of such realities implies a need for seemingly violent upheaval and transition in the art as language stream- and so I feel that placing music and mirth into the flow of texts is a means to mediate this fury into expressions of seismic, linguistic play.
“Such play takes place in an existentially manifest ‘surfaced loop’, the loop of the text composition itself which is “surfaced” on the display or the page wherein, even though the surfaces of the verse line may, by turns, rotate inside out and outside in, there will nonetheless remain a sense of poise (if not security) in which the reader can be carried on the mother’s back of the living artifact, the vehicle, the poem . . . an art form whose implicit promise toward each reader is not to break apart into insignificance, nihilism, fear, or despair.
“To put it another way, the Castle of Life and Language rots if the air stops circulating, if the owl’s wings are no longer heard flitting out and in through the open windows, and if a threshold number of creatures who live within a stone’s throw of the moat have forgotten how -or are afraid – to mock the whinny of the heavy, overbearing stage horse.
“Perhaps none of this may be obvious to a credentialed, closeted academic creature who has for half a century neglected to wash the windows of his domicile . . . or to set foot in a barn when the animals are neglected and hungry.
“In the pieces which comprise “(In)Sens(e)lms“, I am working to seize and manifest poetic language as it appears spontaneously in consciousness prior to the point where the internal ‘censor’ of socio/cultural grammar and lexicon “formats” language into ‘approved’ forms of expression.
“In a sense, James Joyce was attempting to do this in FINNEGANS WAKE. However, in Joyce’s project, he was working things out into the open in the context of an ongoing narrative -thus still natively linear- flow (‘page left’, then ‘page right’, and so on). My project looks toward a rather different goal- to eject the temporal and dictatorial ‘director’ in “writer-as-consciousness” and reverse it to play out (execute) in this manner: “consciousness-as-writer“. What I am seeking to express is in no way a “story”. Neither a ‘story of the day’ nor, as in Joyce, a ‘story of the night’.
“I am looking beyond both for what I might call an “LDI” – a ‘Language Dance Imprint’– which sings at the very foundation of consciousness as mind is experienced in its moment-to-moment linguistic advance to a personal conceptual reality. It would be an error to define this as a “dream state”: it is, if anything, the reverse, a kind of enlightenment state where the sentient being is alive and writhing on the floorboards with language roots that are sprouting up from the timbers.
“Though I consider my work Language Poetry, my goal here is not to contribute to so called “anti” poetry, nor do I in any sense intend to foster a nihilist stance. My aims are toward stimulation, rejuvenation, and the repair of linguistic awareness, leading to re-energized and newly valid intellectual and literary cultures.
“I seek and intend hilarity as both lingual “seeding” tonic and emotional restorative. I also intend to ‘ventriloquize’ discordant voices, and yet I am not pointing toward the bathetic, the awkward, or the railing approach.
“My word coinages, misspellings, and wordplay are not necessarily intended as oppositional – I feel no need to “fight” an “Official Verse Culture” which I see, in any event, as irrelevant and expiring quite on its own accord. My coinages are expressions, I believe (as I stated above), of a consciousness as mind is experienced in its moment-to-moment linguistic advance to a personal conceptual reality. Again, I regard my third book project as an applied practice of ‘joyful assistance’ to the ultimate purposes of Language, not a project of either open or concealed warfare against the status quo. As I [Michael Main] publicly stated in a comment of 27 August 2010:
“If we attempt to demonstrate the failure of language merely through the pathos of an ‘anti’ stance that employs comic, else lethal instantiations of our own failed language, if we cease to believe that language is an adequate instrument of expression and human communication, we summon horrific realms of isolation, and, ultimately, we are left to command our own utter ‘disuse’ as human beings.
“Perhaps this is the goal: to compel a retraining of the critical sensibility towards greater complexity and a broader contextualization, or rather a new idea of context, seen in maturity as something neither imprisoned simply inside the language of a text, nor outside it in society.”
– Michael D. Main | Observations on the book project: “(In)Sens(e)lms” |
Main’s third book of Language Poetics — “(In)Sens(e)lms” — is to be made available as an e-book at a future time.
Five poems from the working manuscript were published in the Caketrain literary journal:.Caketrain – Issue 10 – January 2013.
Copyright © 2020 by Michael D. Main. All rights are reserved. Michael D. Main holds the copyrights to all works authored by Michael D. Main, including and not limited to all his poems, notes and photography posted on this author website. No part of these publications may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, republishing, recording or otherwise, without express written permission from the copyright holder. Be aware that although these works may be freely accessible on the World Wide Web and may not include any statement about copyright, the U.S. Copyright Act nevertheless provides that such works are protected by copyright laws.
“It is, if anything, a kind of enlightenment state where the sentient being is alive and writhing on the floorboards with language roots that are sprouting up from the timbers.”