Dear Kent Johnson and Andrew Felsinger,

Poetry is not an architecture, but you can claim it as a symptom if you like. Poetry as architecture is not a new theme, nor is it particularly enticing today in a world where architecture claims a unanimous poetic vision. I can't think of any current architect who does not claim some poetic insight into their work. Put down that pen and build something and show us what a real poet you are. Poetry can certainly be effectively extended into architecture, this I do not dispute, but it's "archi-texture" as you mention is an extension that must be critiqued if it is to be embraced.

Poetry is in fact the opposite of architecture, as poetry is fundamentally destabilizing, disorganizing, collapsing. Poetry dislocates its object and interrogates it with the bright light of the imaginary. But architecture, whether it claim instability (deconstruction) or not, always crosses the threshold into the real if it is not simply to remain a poem (and thus "incomplete" as architecture). So no, the "realization" of the poem is not an architecture. It *comes before architecture*. And that is why it provides us with a way out of the architectural metaphor, which opens as much doors as it closes. That is why poetry, by dislocating its object, actually formulates in effect a "counter-object," an imaginary object that does not remain merely subjective (for it is composed, written or spoken - that is, named). Poetry is not simple dislocation which is at the same time relocation (deconstruction), but it takes the "object" of dislocation itself, transposing this object out of its very dislocation. Or, if you will, it is an *object without objectivity*.

So then poetry is not merely abstraction, abstraction from architecture, abstraction from self, abstraction from nature, abstraction from language. Poetry must be concrete, but not necessarily a form of concretization (that itself defines architecture). I am a big fan of architectural theory, but I have yet to see any major use of poetry in architecture that has made me rethink poetry (although it has made me rethink architecture). I take for example Bernard Tschumi's quote describing his architectural perspective as "Not the conditions of language but the language of conditions" to be a good example of the distinction between poetry and architecture. Architecture takes the poetic object and turns it into a question of conditions. Poetry, to be effective, dwells in both conditions; or, if you will, the *conditionality* of conditions. Poetry uses architecture but only on its own terms, that is, such architecture already arrives displaced within the poem. The best poetry does not mourn this displacement or claim triumph because of it, rather it takes it as a starting point to both interrogate this condition and radicalize it. For *architecture is fundamentally bound to realization, while poetry is fundamentally bound to radicalization*.

But what then is the architecture of the question mark? The architecture of this: ? - the angle itself, the curve and flow, the opening of a circumference itself that leads to an opening of the word. At least, if you will, it is more a question of poetry than is the architecture of an examination.


Joshua Schuster