Update: go here for a definition of Oral and Visual Poetry
I've visited this topic before, but Silliman got me thinking today.
He mentions that he chose the term "School of Quietude" to piss someone off. That he was hoping a young buck (or doe?) would do the work of defining the "movement."
Lots of people say there is no "Quietude" movement. I would agree with them but add that there's not really a post-avant movement either. There are several schools within each group.
But each group can be more easily and accurately divided by a name change.
the "School of Quietude" writes oral poetry
"Post-Avant" folk write visual poetry.
The difference is pretty simple. Oral poetry can survive without the page. It may have some interesting graphical trickery (like Dante's acrostics) but it fundamentally sounds like a poem. It sounds good.
Visual poetry may also sound good but has part-to-all of its meaning tied into its existence as physical text. Take Johnson's Radi Os, for instance. Even the parts of the poem that work out loud are dependent upon Johnson's erasure of Milton. The work can't leave the page. All the work on Ubu fits this mold as well, likewise flarf and all the myriad things you can learn about by reading Silliman.
I don't wish any ill-will on the visual poets. I'm simply not one of them. I tried for a while -- if I still had my high school poetry notebooks you could see juvenilia rife with visual traps and tricks. Perhaps that's where my low opinion of visual poetry came from -- it was something I could do (with panache) at 15.
But come, those of you who felt "School of Quietude" as an insult. Tell the world we are oral poets. Noisy poets. Poets out loud. Poets of voice.