Don't Google it. Not yet. I will give you an example, and then you may Google it.
For my American Literature class I have to read some of "Tender Buttons" by Gertrude Stein; this consists of three poems or poetry collections, all of which fall under the genre 'hermetic poetry,' according to the back cover.
Here is an excerpt:
In the inside there is sleeping, in the outside there is reddening, in the morning there is meaning, in the evening there is feeling. In the evening there is feeling. In feeling anything is resting, in feeling anything is mounting, in feeling there is resignation, in feeling there is recognition, in feeling there is recurrence and entirely mistaken there is pinching. All the standards have steamers and all the curtains have bed linen and all the yellow has discrimination and all the circle has circling. This makes sand (From ROASTBEEF, a section of "Food").That is about the most coherent passage I've found in her poetry. Also witness:
Dirt and not copper makes a color darker. It makes the shape heavier andAlso, try to understand this:
makes no melody harder (From DIRT AND NOT COPPER, a section of "Objects").
A large box is handily made of what is necessary to replace any substance. Suppose an example is necessary, the plainer it is made the more reason there is for some outward recognition that there is a result. ¶ A box is made sometimes and them to see to see to it neatly and to have the holes stopped up makes it necessary to use paper (From A BOX, a section of "Objects").Do you notice the helpful punctuation? Yeah, neither do I. Also, the plainer what is made? To what result? If you will give me some sort of syntactical coherence, could you maybe give me content? Obviously not.
And it gets so-called better. I'll try to preserve form here.
"PEELED PENCIL, CHOKE.
Rub her coke.
IT WAS BLACK, BLACK TOOK.
Black ink best wheel bale brown.
Excellent not a hull house, not a pea soup, no bill no care, no precise no past pearl pearl goat.
THIS IS THE DRESS, AIDER.
Aider, why aider why whow, whow stop touch, aider whow, aider stop the muncher, muncher munchers.
A jack in kill her, a jack in, makes a meadowed king, makes a to let."
That's how "Objects" ends. I wanted to throw the book down the balcony (I was in the library, on the balcony) and then go set it on fire.
If you haven't guessed yet, hermetic poetry is a genre which deliberately frustrates meaning. It comes from being hermetically sealed, in that no air can enter or escape the container. In the case of poetry, you can replace "air" with meaning and "container" with text. It apparently means something to the author and only to the author, who uses symbols only he or she understands. Excellent, eh? What an artistic, creative, avante-garde waste of my time. If a text is not to some degree communicative, then it serves no purpose.
I recognize that this text is serving to make me think about the role of text. Can something constitute a text if it refuses to be communicative? It's the whole "what is art" question, but framed with particular facets of the debate in mind.
Anyway, it seems to serve like a failure of a Rorschach test. Some of it's scary, because it seems to have meaning, or non-meaning, which finally allows to glimpse inside the head of the speaker--and what I saw was disturbing:
Book was there, it was there. Book was there. Stop it, stop it, it was a cleaner, a wet cleaner and it was not where it was wet, it was not high, it was directly placed back, not back again, back it was returned, it was needless, it put a bank, a bank when, a bank care (BOOK, a section in"Stop it, stop it" made me think of Hollywood-style Multiple Personality Disorder. Then it made me think rape. Then it made me think a schizophrenic or OCD child rocking in a corner, asking her memories to stop it. Not one of those is a particularly fun image, really. I'm now thinking the whole thing's just about a misplaced book, but that's just it. You feel crazy trying to pin this down with meaning. "Jabberwocky" asks you to construct meaning, or elaborate on what shades of meaning are visible in the text. Building a narrative there is fun. "Book" is like a trying to make sense of a funhouse, only the doors in this funhouse can't be opened from the inside and the people in there with you haven't seen the outside world in a while. It's like trying to interpret an acid trip or measure the particles in Frank the Rabbit. It makes just enough sense that you see how messed up it is, and you can't understand, and it's scary.
I know people will read meanings into all of this. But that's just it: they'll be hallucinated readings. The meaning will not be there.
My feelings toward this style of poetry is a little strong, and it needs a strong word. I dislike the concept of hatred--I can smell brimstone when I use that word--so I don't really mean that I hate hermetic poetry. Obviously it fascinates me enough that I ranted about it. But I strongly think it's stupid.