Maaria Pääjärvi abstrakti

Maaria Pääjärvi:
Experiencing experimental criticism

In 2008 the Finnish poetry magazine Tuli&Savu launched an experiment on criticism. Poets and critics were invited to write an experimental review on a book of poetry. Most of these reviews came out very poetic, and echoing the poetic expression they were involved with. As criticism, most of this poetic work failed, because poetic criticism turned out too vague, showing profound inability in explaining the significance or value of the work it concerned. But the experiment succeeded in bringing the idea of experimental criticism to the Finnish literary realm – even if the experiments remain few. However, just the idea of varying poetic language as the language of criticism exposes the possibilities of language in criticism and poetry reviews.

In my paper, I will consider the impact of the original work of poetry to the critic. Regularly, the critics aim is to enlighten the meanings and value of poetic work in standard prose. Thus, in the very act of reading, poetic language in itself is diminished and replaced by another language.

The use of the poetic language in criticism might open up the genre of criticism and review. The latter being quick, short-term, simplifying and even aggressive in its effort to capture busy readers’ minds, the poetic use of language might deepen and make the text of the review polysemantic, to be read more as an art form than as a recommendation or a piece of information. On the other hand, the poetic approach might put aside the judgemental act of criticising itself and pruduce mere impressions. Are there any possibilities for weighing poetry in its own language?