So I did my homework. First I tried reading part of Charles Olson's essay "On Projective Verse." It kind of makes sense. I kind of like it. You can read it here.
Continuing my quest to understand the dash-ey poems I described last week, I consulted two very credible sources. Wikipedia said, "In Projective Verse, Olson called for a poetic meter based on the breath of the poet and an open construction based on sound and the linking of perceptions rather than syntax and logic." That is all Wikipedia said. Which, they were basically saying that Charles Olson was a hippie. The breath of the poet? Ugh. Although I do like the idea of "linking perceptions."
Delving deeper, I looked to answers.com:
"In his influential 1950 essay "Projective Verse" Olson defined poetry in terms of the dynamic world his contemporaries were discovering: "A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it … by way of the poem itself … to the reader." The poet's own energy as he writes is among that which is embodied in the poem. The syllable, Olson argued, reveals the poet's act of exploring the possibilities of sound in order to create an oral beauty. The line reveals the poet's breathing, where it begins and ends as he works. Conventional syntax, meter, and rhyme must be abandoned, Olson argued, if their structural requirements slow the swift currents of the poet's thought. The predictable left-hand margin falsifies the spontaneous nature of experience."
So Charles Olson is a hippie language poet. Projective verse is the language of hippie language poet/cult leaders. I think projective verse is a cult.
I like all of those ideas, and I like energy and spontenaity and swiftness, and probably I liked the very first projective poem ever written by Charles O. But now the dash-ey poems are everywhere. And now the dash-ey poems and the absent left margin are obvious; we know what they're up to; they are not performing any trickeries like we like. So why are people still writing the dash-eys? I guess it's like everything else that people are still writing, like sonnets and whatever else. I hate when something cool groundbreaking gets adopted by bazillions of people. It makes me feel so American. Like Charles Olson's projective verse will someday be part of Pepsi's ad campaign or something.
I am stealing the phrase "oral beauty," though, which sounds so wonderful and gross to me and should have nothing to do with poems.