‘You think this is poetry’: Liang Luscombe in Conversation with Chunxiao Qu

By and | 15 February 2023

‘Sex and Love’, Chunxiao Qu, 2022.

LL: (Laughs) In your logic poetry, do you talk about the sentence structure in that way with Juhani?

CQ: I always talk to him in that way. If he tries to bullshit me, there is no way, because I can figure out what he is saying. That’s what logic is. I tell him: ‘Even though you’re a professional at logic, you can’t bullshit me. If you let me find a paradox or a contradiction, you are bullshitting me.’

Every poem I wrote is true – in fact, a tautology. I find it kind of boring because you know, when every sentence is true, it’s not very interesting; it has no drama.

LL: Oh course, poetry drama queen. That is something that I wanted to ask you about, specifically the drama aspect. In one of your poems, you say you wanted to taint poetry?

CQ: First off Liang, don’t you think my poems are not really poetry?

LL: Well, you said it was poetry, so I read it as poetry. Whether it is good poetry, that’s a whole other thing (laughs). What do you think it is?

CQ: I just like to challenge readers by calling it ‘poetry’, but I don’t really think they are poems at beginning when I started to write those sentences. But I think like this about the question of art also. When someone says, ‘This can’t be art’, I think, ‘Why not?’ Like what’s the definition of poetry? Liang, I just saw your short film Malamadre (2022) last week and I think we have a shared idea of, ‘Why not?’

LL: I love this phrase. My video works often bring together things like The Muppets puppets and television sitcoms, things that sit more within popular or low culture.

CQ: Yes, yes. Sorry, I didn’t mean it as a bad thing. I’m doing similar things, it’s a more critical and challenging mode, I think.

LL: But for me it must be done in both a low-fi and high-fi way at the same time in the work’s production, it’s that combination that allows us to think through conventions of taste and genre.

CQ: I agree, it needs a bit of contrast. It’s just like if it’s low and low and low, then it’s really low. Because to me, the idea of poetry could be the snootiest form of work that can often be the most boring. I want to be offensive. I think so much poetry is just so boring. No more words to describe it. I mean, I don’t know how people feel about my poetry, to be honest. I’m not responsible for that. Sometimes I’ll make stupid jokes, but you do that a lot in your work too. I wish someone would say to me: ‘You think this is poetry? Fuck you!’

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