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"Arch of Enjoyment" — For and Against Henri Lefebvre
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Ted Landrum

Among the golden rules of poetry, two are about to be broken, or at least bent. One demands brevity, the other shuns explanation. Nevertheless, I shall risk introducing a long poem, with a tedious explanation:

"Arch of Enjoyment" is one in a series of experimental "archi-poems" bending not only rules and ears but (possibly) discourses. How? By attempting to open heuristic thresholds where the poetry of architecture and the architecture of poetry meet in a mutually enabling encounter.1 This is an encounter which, in spite of involving considerable eccentricities, and embracing contradictions, I associate (from beginning to end) with a middle way. By intimately engaging with foundational texts, and transforming them through dialogical inquiry, these "midway radicals" (as I also call them) strive both to find and to create—or rather, to invite—synthetic re-understandings constitutive of a (simultaneously) common and uncommon ground.2 If so, these re-understandings take place: midway between poetry and architecture, poetry and prose, making and re-making, reading and writing, and (perhaps most importantly) between readers and writers.

This project has developed from a working hypothesis: that it is not possible to adequately communicate what matters most concerning architecture (especially architectural qualities) in straight prose; rather, for this (and similar challenges) we require poetry, and all that it allows. In truth, such distinctions are rarely so simple. All prose involves poetry, since language is inherently metaphorical, multi-vocal and polysemic, richly layered with ambiguities and contradictions, and always subject to interpretative tensions and potential aporias resolvable only by imagination and the willing suspension of disbelief. Inversely, as Dante argued in the Banquet, all poetry builds upon the underlying agency of prose—common literal, or effectively transparent, language. In other words, as in any room with a view, lucidity comes from a combination of direct and indirect illumination, but the contents of the room gain their nuanced depth through latent obscurities, shades and shadows, which illumination, however bright, will never fully erase.

The following poem, a found-erasure poem, takes as its source the middle chapter of Henri Lefebvre's Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment,3 and proceeds, chiaroscuro-like, to blacken out all but a few suggestive details found by reading, by sampling, or by weaving if you will, a middle path down the page. Thus, the resulting poem may be read as a (second) translation, one that is both a poetic intensification, and an unfinished renovation of its prose source. I say "unfinished" because, by design, archi-poetry requires creative participation of the reader.

1. On architecture and poetry, see Alberto Perez-Gomez' Built Upon Love (MIT Press, 2006); and Jill Stoner's Poems for Architects (William Stout, 2001).
2. I borrow the phrase from David Leatherbarrow's Uncommon Ground (MIT Press, 1999).
3. Henri Lefebvre, "Chapter 11, Architecture" in Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, trans. by Robert Bononno (University of Minnesota Press, 2014).

"Arch of Enjoyment"

now gave way to larger need
now to ur if
space of enjoyment

it will not sever roughly
from matters we have taken carefully

filtered by fun to function
in line with line we find
a city within
pleasant almost

where the social oval
invented the geo
option the re artly
co slam example

the ear
ur rounded by the vast park
intended to archi a succession of rooms
hallway and vestibule
half an acre pools together
paraphernalia for word rooms

each the caldarium
ear to be stadium

or we say a mosaic fountain
painting with din a room art park
where meet and talk a public we made
making us
offer enjoyment

perhaps paces about them

they were in a sense
the place
prepared itself
for sensual

may already co in this

they themselves approach ero
architecture polymorpho
valent art

here is an art
ur re built under the centuries
these were collective works

human sculptors
who were familiar with meanings and scenes
play a primal architecture
by the act of love

together with all the refinements
diaphanous movement of the world music

times' matron sometimes the mistress
of dizzying images
responded with omni

in the hand of space
seated on sleep
is it not an example of an art

where a space of sensuality should be
looking for it
tended in contact

acts in a setting
carved into the sensual profusion
disappear beneath that pleasure

animals joy and love the path to through
it was able to make
beings re ecstasy an ecstasy
the flesh but an absolute art

silent about this
beautiful more or less us ecstasy
on their faces
cosmic as a sphere
forms make love with the same joy work

the here space is limited
by the body of the other

merely to impart this truth
the city
architecture serves
situated within
occupies that text we re posit

its owner
built texture
an archi archi
directed toward a swell typo

between urban and rural
archi ification does get us
susceptible existence

either it results from building influence
or over a slender margin
blished to span according to a pre
and so on

architecture plays
by being urb ject to a sting plan

it is this that makes the distant
near appear
its influence takes place

to abolish all forms of the former
re dominant force
of the city in uniform

require diversity double
a city in the city

often inspired by myth topia
building an entire city

utopia as cosmological consideration
into the urban core

being transposed in ink
as more

city is read
in spatial practice
pace of habit

multi fun
by others in search
can speak
an archi enjoyment

ready based on a vague fun
these archi considerations lead us
to the city as
an archi wish to will
revolutionary arts
forgotten in the construct
constructed for you

will be offered part of you
will be able to

scribes over inkers

dancing a building of here art
we ask dance more from the arch house of pleasure

a gentle shore
excited the artery

the flash of charming archi
ably began to build
world for a graduated flame

we are not far here
from the similar
a pleasure for the work of passions
into the record of question
to the depths of connection

does not in any way resemble
one of our buildings

establish a great experiment only
or a pal

some difficult society must differ

families having verse
gain ground

archi ification
peri ification
the multi mordial external internal synth alog

the other world starting
from the point of archi
marked by actical fun
internal on the other
laws of fun

archi ification
would be the surprising
laden with space of enjoyment

not entirely convincing

ledge space of the pan
responding to between

clearly different
taken to be the analog
can differ and yet

an upright stone
part whole
designates the analog
partially apparently

logy with metaphor
stood as

magic the wide range of
communicates contiguity syntagmatically
by contra mime paradigm
and mediation
was a time to heal

touching magic
by contact
with analogy

participating in life or play
toward the world
recounts a different drama

toward the sting
operating within

archi mime

umph pending
enables the archi base

co ur alog do


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