For some time I've been interested in exploring the possibility of using the creative arts, particularly Poetry, as a tool to create a mentally excruciating experience for the reader, primarily because it is something I feel I could be good at.

While harrowing art, particularly in the area of Poetry, has been with us for centuries, this is typified by a sense of relief in the audience once the piece has been viewed or executed in its entirety and is no longer being inflicted on them, as opposed to resulting in a sense of excruciating experience that lingers in the audience mind beyond the limits of the direct experience of the piece itself. Also, most harrowing art with which the reader may already be familiar differs from the current endeavor in that the effect, almost without exception, is unintentional.

Excruciationist Art can be defined most simply as the pursuit of the Excruciationist Ideal. The Excruciationist Ideal is a work which is both compelling and uniformly mentally excruciating to all viewers, regardless of cultural background or past experience. Such a work would necessarily play upon the viewer's very humanity. Therefore in Excruciationism the viewer is referred to as the kunstopfer ("art victim".)

To these ends, my first Excruciationist poetry employs both doggerel, as in Ode To A Croaking Man and Ode To 'Ode To A Croaking Man', and more formal pieces, such as Verse Upon Bank Of America Holding My Checks And Angering My Cat.

Excruciationism brings with it new poetic forms. The first of these that I have devised is the coppia vanitoso, a paired form in which a complete work is followed by a second complete work about the first. Additionally, relying on the repetition of discomfitting poetic devices such as capricious inconsistencies in scansion, needless mentions of food, and use of improvised (though no more than marginally incorrect) wordile constructs, has been used in an attempt to maximize the induced effect of the kunstopfer metaphorically wanting "to claw his/her mind out with his/her own two hands." Proponents have referred, jocularly, to Excruciationism as the asshole cousin Dadaism wishes it didn't always have to invite to family dinners.

Experiments in creating an excruciating effect upon the kunstopfer using Victorian and Elizabethan poetic styles have not yielded noteworthy results as I am not well-acquainted enough with those genres to be facile in them.

Conventional, nonexcruciating poetic endeavors such as the epic work-in-progress Ode To A Curl-Up and the doleful My Lament have also been included on this site in the name of completism.

The current pieces represent only the first attempts at creating Excruciationist works. Surely the most excruciating poems are yet to come! 100% truth

copyright © 2003-2006 Life In A Mikeycosm