Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
-The (new, unexpurgated) Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
-An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Poetry (bilingual), ed. Elizabeth Bishop
-Planisphere: New Poems, by John Ashbery
-Mean Free Path, by Ben Lerner
-The Alphabet, by Ron Silliman
-Brecht and Method, by Frederic Jameson
-Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems, by David Rakoff
-Language and Mind, by Noam Chomsky
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
"I couldn't say whether the Situationists failed or not. My feeling is that when you contribute, there is no failure. It's like an unspoken law. I like your use of 'provoke.' When you provoke you have contributed. When you become a part of what happens next you have contributed." -Adam Pendleton, in conversation with Thom Donovan
"Of course, there are so many hallmark readings of a person like [Rosa Parks], because it is more convenient to deradicalize her than to radicalize her. She becomes a hero. And to be labeled a hero is one of culture's ways of depoliticizing you. You become part of what culture has dealt with. In this sense, one should always strive to be the opposite of a hero." -again, Pendleton (emphases mine)
Friday, December 17, 2010
"You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks"
"the wind like an ocean
but sometimes the sun stills it
and the surface is solid
why shouldn't life pass as in a dream
or a dream itself, there are different degrees
or different dreams reality
at one with a dream
the naked sea
(I think he means: consciousness is but a daydream, since it is clouded by our ingrained expectations of what is and should be)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
An online version of Foucault's lectures on the historical problem of truth-telling. Published as "Fearless Speech" by Semiotext(e), 2001. An audio version is also available.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Essay: What is Julian Assange up to?
"We look at a forest and say:
Here is a forest for ships and masts,
Free to their tops of their shaggy burden,
To creak in the storm
In the furious forestless air;
The plumbline fastened to the dancing deck
Will hold out under the wind's salt heel.
And the sea-wanderer,
In his unbridled thirst for space,
Dragging through damp ruts a geometer's needle,
Collates the rough surface of the seas
With the attraction of the earth's lap.
But breathing the smell
Of resinous tears oozing through planks,
Admiring the boards of bulkheads riveted
Not by the peaceful Bethlehem carpenter but by that other-
Father of journeys, friend of seafarers-
These too stood the earth,
Awkward as a donkey's backbone,
Their crests forgetful of their roots,
On a celebrated mountain ridge;
And howled under the sweet cloud-burst,
Fruitlessly offering the sky their precious freight
For a pinch of salt.
Where shall we begin?
Everything pitches and splits,
The air quivers with comparisions,
No one word is better than another,
The earth hums with metaphors.
And light two-wheeled chariots,
Harnessed brightly to flocks of strenuous birds,
Vying with the snorting favourites of the race-track.
Three times blest he who puts a name into song;
A song adorned with a name
Survives longer among the others,
Marked by a fillet
That frees it from forgetfulness and stupefying smells,
Whether proximity of man or the smell of a beast's pelt
Or simply a whiff of thyme rubbed between the palms.
The air dark like water, everything alive swims like fish,
Fins pushing aside the sphere
That's compact, resilient, hardly heated-
The crystal in which wheels move and horses shy,
The moist black-earth every night flung open anew
By pitchforks, tridents, hoes and ploughs.
The air is mixed as densely as the earth-
You can't get out, to get inside is arduous.
Rustling runs through the trees like a green ball-game;
Children play knucklebones with the vertebrae of dead animals.
The fragile calculation of the years of our era ends.
Let us be grateful for what we had:
I too made mistakes, lost my way, lost count.
The era rang like a golden sphere,
Cast, hollow, supported by no one.
Touched, it answered yes and no,
As a child will say:
I'll give you an apple, or: I won't give you one;
Its face an exact copy of the voice that pronounces these words.
The sound is still ringing although its source has ceased.
The horse foams in the dust.
But the acute curve of his neck
Preserves the memory of the race with outstretched legs
When there were not four
But as many as the stones on the road,
Renewed in four shifts
As blazing hooves pushed off from the ground.
Whoever finds a horseshoe
Blows away the dust,
Rubs it with wool till it shines,
Hangs it over the treshold
So that it will no longer have to strike sparks from flint.
And the arm retains the sense of weight
Though the jug
What I am saying at this moment is not being said by me
But is dug from the ground like grains of petrified wheat.
Lie with equal honour in the earth.
The century, trying to bite through them, left its teeth-marks
And there is no longer enough of me for myself."
"My time, my brute, who will be able
To look you in the eyes
And glue together with his blood
The backbones of two centuries?
Blood, the builder, gushes
From the earth's throat.
Only parasites tremble
On the edge of the future . . .
To wrench our age out of prison
A flute is needed
To connect the sections
Of disarticulated days . . .
And buds shall swell again,
Shoots splash out greenly.
But your backbone is broken,
My beautiful, pitiful century.
With an idiot's harsh and feeble grin
You look behind:
A beast, once supple,
Ponders its paw-marks in the sand."
-Osip Mandelshtam, 1923
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Charles Bernstein & Youngmin Kim
Dongguk University, Seoul, Oct. 19, 2010
Charles Bernstein's talk/reading/discussion on poetry, sound, and technology starts at 40'
You can never get away from yourself
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Balakrishnan casts some warranted doubt on Badiou's efforts to find "the real" in the shape (not contents) of the Subject, which so far sounds like a cheap neutralization of clashing, temporal ideologies. But I haven't read it, yet. I can appreciate the further atomization of relativism, and indicating the quasi-absolutism of mythologies like "History" and "periods," but I think there is more to analyzing contingent experience than the mere form of communications. Are the (yes, contingent) numerical and visual data subject to a formal consensus-or-nothing test, as well?
Read the full Letter from New York, from Lana Turner No. 3
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"A gauze bandage wraps the land
and is unwound, stained orange with sulfates.
A series of slaps molds a mountain,
a fear uncoils itself, testing its long
cool limbs. A passing cloud
seizes up like a carburetor
and falls to earth, lies broken-
backed and lidless in the scree.
Acetylene torches now snug
in their holsters, shop-vacs
trundled back behind the dawn.
A mist becomes a murmur, becomes
a moan rising from dust-
choked fissures in the rock O pity us
Ignatz O come to us by moonlight
O arch your speckled body over the earth."
Monday, November 15, 2010
Some of these Daze, Granary Press (limited to 65 copies), now available in PowerPoint format
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
"To express your passion in a straightforward way, directly. It will not be interesting. They're already there, you haven't done anything to/for them. So, the... subject matter has to be transformed... something both powerful and beautiful." -Carl Rakosi, on being a communist poet
Filreis, I believe, understands this standard-bearing as more incidental (while still useful) rather than some deliberate act of pure elitism; as does Bob Perelman, who once made the aside (which I'm paraphrasing, I heard it in an interview, a long time ago): "Not enough criticism has focused on the more regressive aspects of avant-garde writers, I think."
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Place hones in on the exact "place" where has lately been my poetic consideration: the frame of art. Of course, she's done the terrific scholarship (and creative output) that I wish to initiate, but the genius of conceptualism's "unoriginality"/"uncreativity" is that, as John Cage responded to the remark that 'anybody could do that,': "Yeah, but I did." A page from the phone book is simply that, until someone blows it up or submits it to a literary journal, at which point, if given to momentous circulation among the right people, it takes on the (whether Charles Bernstein likes it or not) "honorific" classification of Poetry. I'm not summarizing her short, lucid essay (anyway, you should read it whether or not I do summarize it), nor am I remotely conveying what she delineates as "radical evil," but I'm simply appropriating a quote for my own hackneyed (and yet still developing) poetic/political agenda. And there is a lot more to be savored in this the latest (3rd) issue of Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry & Opinion. New work by Marjorie Perloff, Derek Beaulieu, Augusto de Campos, Cole Swenson, Aleksandr Skidan, Susan McCabe, and more!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
"Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century" by Marjorie Perloff, University of Chicago Press, 2010.
"What is the place of individual genius in a global world of hyper-information— a world in which, as Walter Benjamin predicted more than seventy years ago, everyone is potentially an author? For poets in such a climate, "originality" begins to take a back seat to what can be done with other people’s words—framing, citing, recycling, and otherwise mediating available words and sentences, and sometimes entire texts. Marjorie Perloff here explores this intriguing development in contemporary poetry: the embrace of "unoriginal" writing. Paradoxically, she argues, such citational and often constraint-based poetry is more accessible and, in a sense, "personal" than was the hermetic poetry of the 1980s and 90s.
Perloff traces this poetics of "unoriginal genius" from its paradigmatic work, Benjamin’s encyclopedic Arcades Project, a book largely made up of citations. She discusses the processes of choice, framing, and reconfiguration in the work of Brazilian Concretism and Oulipo, both movements now understood as precursors of such hybrid citational texts as Charles Bernstein’s opera libretto Shadowtime and Susan Howe’s documentary lyric sequence The Midnight. Perloff also finds that the new syncretism extends to language: for example, to the French-Norwegian Caroline Bergvall writing in English and the Japanese Yoko Tawada, in German. Unoriginal Genius concludes with a discussion of Kenneth Goldsmith’s conceptualist book Traffic—a seemingly "pure’" radio transcript of one holiday weekend’s worth of traffic reports. In these instances and many others, Perloff shows us "poetry by other means" of great ingenuity, wit, and complexity."© U. of Chicago Press
+Upon preparing for his Soviet Union tour as a cultural ambassador, and amidst the Little Rock Nine incident, Louis Armstrong decided to cancel at the last moment, expressing contempt for Eisenhower's indifference to the blatant, unconstitutional prejudice ensuing there in Arkansas. "It's getting almost so bad a colored man hasn't got any country," he said. Of course, whenever mentioned on radio, television, or in the press, his status as a whimsy, delightful old singer-trumpeter man retains the untroubling sheen it had back then (for whites and, in their bewilderment, for blacks). We can observe the same significance for the dixie and ragtime genres as well: fun, easy, sounds nice in the background, but, mostly, requests no urgency. Again, the fetishized nature of MLK Day is an easy pill because all one really has to know is that Dr. King gave some weighty (but for our purposes, triumphant, agreeable) speeches, had "A Dream," and now the stratified society and opportunities are no more. (Phew!) Dab that brow, we're all living in an anybody's world without race-catering or predesignated modes of living, working, etc. We can look back and think, "Yep, I heard you loud and clear. Now please, let me continue unmolested by pleas for socio-economic reconfiguration."
+I'm interested in how one of the commentators described "Strange Fruit," when sung by Billie Holiday (though Columbia wouldn't dare record it, for fear of a wholesale boycott the South), as "the first protest song." Now, of course the very Orleans-Creole, slave-hymn roots of the Jazz/Blues genre included (just as poetic/allegorical) protest content. I won't make a huge fuss about his comment, except to say that a "defining" moment in any cultural history must somehow exist purely in terms of audience. Heaven only knows how popular such protest hymns (disguised, hidden from "my Massa") were to however many pre-Emancipation African-Americans there were. Of course, their history is somehow unrecorded and supposedly distinct from ours. The good-hearted commentator probably meant it was "the first protest" song to be composed and presented in such a way the white majority would find attractive tonally, yet disturbing and offensive subtextually. (We only need a futile scan of the numerous "Greatest Hits" volumes of Holiday's repertoire to notice this. "Strange Fruit" isn't there). It is, indeed, a beautiful, beautifully sad song:
- Southern trees bear strange fruit,
- Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
- Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
- Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
- Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
- The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
- Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
- Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!
- Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
- For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
- For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
- Here is a strange and bitter crop.
+Finally, during the Coltrane chapter in episode nine of Ken Burns' JAZZ, Wynton Marsalis describes Jazz in the only way it (as a sprawling category of disparate genres and influence(e)s) can be described:
"Jazz music is existence music. It doesn't take you out of the world, it puts you in the world. Makes you deal with it... It's not a religiosity of 'thou must,' but of 'this is!'"
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Blurring the Line Between Apps and Books
the smashed writer/programmer distinction, by making the author literally approachable through the book which is installed as an app (with communicative capacities)
The Medium: E-Readers Collective
the marketing of a work/passage by the populist (and, yes) compositional practice of readerly highlighting, here called "crowd-sourced literary criticism"
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Tonight is a Smörgåsbord of great new music, visual art, and projective curiosities at the Venue.
Monday, October 18, 2010
“I wanted to draw on Arab tradition and mythology without being tied to it,” he said, adding, “I wanted to break the linearity of poetic text — to mess with it, if you will. The poem is meant to be a network rather than a single rope of thought.”
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
"Literature and the arts have a dimension unique in the academy, not shared by the objects studied, or 'researched' by our scientific brethren. They invite or invoke, at a kind of 'first level,' an aesthetic experience that is by its nature resistant to restatement in more formalized, theoretical or generalizing language. This response can certainly be enriched by knowledge of context and history, but the objects express a first-person or subjective view of human concerns that is falsified if wholly transposed to a more 'sideways on' or third person view. Indeed that is in a way the whole point of having the 'arts.'"
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Rather than an acute sense of the responsibilities of the reader, there's always room for that on those of the writer; which Philip Roth succeeds:
"'Writing a book is solving problems,' he said. 'You don't think about your place in this or that, or prizes, or reviews, or anything. It's the last thing that's on your mind, it's the work that is on your mind.'"
(titles by no means rarified or novel)
Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat
The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History by Jill Lepore
The Coming Insurrection (Semiotext[e]/ Intervention) by The Invisible Committee
Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems by David Rakoff
Half Empty by David Rakoff (the first chapter did it for me)
Political Writings 1953-1993 by Maurice Blanchot
In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich
This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff
James Baldwin: Collected Essays (Library of America) by James Baldwin
Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook ed. by Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins by Bob Blumenthal
Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds
Le Style Apollinaire: The Writing of Guillaume Apollinaire by Louis Zukofsky
Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word ed. by Charles Bernstein
The Alphabet by Ron Silliman
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Charles Bernstein insists that for Oppen, the "loss of the 'transcendental signified' does not necessitate the abandonment, or absence, of knowledge but its location in history, in 'people'. This view entails both a rejection of the crude materialism of things without history and the crude idealism of history without things... an ideal communication situation... The autonomy of the root, of the individual, allowing for the music of the social, the numerous." -from the essay Hinge, picture, published in Ironwood 26 (1985)
Friday, October 1, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
BALDWIN: "Entirely. The two roles are completely unattached. When you are standing in the pulpit, you must sound as though you know what you’re talking about. When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway."
BALDWIN: "I don’t know, I doubt whether anyone—myself at least—knows how to talk about writing. Perhaps I’m afraid to."
INTERVIEWER: "Do you see it as conception, gestation, accouchement?"
BALDWIN: "I don’t think about it that way, no. The whole process of conception—one talks about it after the fact, if one discusses it at all. But you really don’t understand it."
Paris Review: The Art of Fiction No. 78 (Interview with James Baldwin)
U.S. Wants to Make it Easier to Wiretap the Internet
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
-Steve McCaffery, from his afterword to Verse and Worse: Selected and New Poems of Steve McCaffery, 1989-2009
-The Other's Language: Jacques Derrida interviews Ornette Coleman, 23 June 1997
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Also, I hope more Floridian Dems show up in November than did this August.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Scholars Test Web Alternative To the Venerable Peer Review
What they won't tell you is how much, surely where the humanities are concerned, the (quite often "uninformed") academy owes to independent scholarship by dedicated, acutely studied, and non-funded outsiders who perhaps, if placed before a tenure panel, would stand out as anything but amateurs. I don't mean to say that the bureaucracy and benchmarks should completely disappear from selective reviewing, but if the professional gatekeepers want their institutions to continue providing dynamic, challenging, and (yes) with-it learning opportunities, they should be less afraid of having to trudge through the great influx of truly original ideas and perspectives that exist with or without academist sanctity. Of course, such a meager proposal would require professionalized scrutiny before even being considered, since, as Laurie Anderson puts it:
"Only an expert can see there's a problem,
Only an expert can deal with the problem."
Monday, August 23, 2010
The point is that I still cannot be satisfied (as though I should be, right?) with the attitude best described/excused, I think, in Sontag's preface to Barthes' Writing Degree Zero: "Someday perhaps a demystification of the myth of 'art' (as an absolute activity) will be possible and will take place... At this stage, only new myths can subdue—even for the brief time to permit contemplation—the old myths which move convulsively about us." And, for the moment, what to make of our myths (ours as in theirs: the avant-gardists, the conceptualists, the New Left, who itself is convincing, yet so rife)? How to parse through those that demystify, and re-mystify? What would the artistic community make of the opinion that many such delineated titles/distinctions constrain and control interests and stand in the way of objective (or solipsistically subjective) interpretation, and therefore we might do well to be rid of them? It's an unheard discussion, thus far, what with the partisan gape wrought by a politics/poetics that cannot seem to address their own anachronisms.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
"Given its 'less is more' layout and primary-color palette — red, blue, yellow, black — THE FIRST SIX BOOKS OF THE ELEMENTS OF EUCLID... prefigures the art and design of 20th-century avant-garde movements. Yet although the illustration on the title page is the spitting image of a de Stijl and Bauhaus design, the mid-19th-century publishing date disqualifies it from being 'modern' in the Museum of Modern Art sense of the word."
Far from critiquing those two radically minimalist visual art movements, the reviewer subtly refers to the peculiarly "modern" conceptual fetish for recycled content that, in a panoramic inhale, cannot be located without a hot "new" label denoting the current aesthetic fashion. (Heller also shares my obnoxious compulsion for quotation marks without specific indication of an actual source). Which leads me to an old, but as yet unsated complaint: the inundatingly prevalent 20th century habit of unnecessary (and only sometimes deserved) nomineering—sorry, seemed apt—, especially by Modern avant-gardists who by mid-century (though pre-dated, I think, by de Saussurean linguistics, but certainly by Wittgenstein) made such a stink about the imposing, capitalist ethos of NAMING, and yet were often themselves strong proponents, if not originators, of arguably undue classifications; from art coteries, to genre, to poetic practices, concepts, etc. I can appreciate Charles Bernstein's "Nude Formalism" as (I think) a satiric usage, but his own self-promoting "radical legibility" lines up right alongside other neologisms that (rather than draw attention to the thing/idea in question) stand vertically as monumental signposts of and for themselves: Concrete poetry (understood, but did George Herbert need a title to elucidate his typographical innovation?); the Objectivists (whose practices I esteem to Stein-esque heights, but who obviously knew racketeering); the Beats (and Kerouac never did hear the end of it); Language Poetry (at least not an audacious title for this disparate group of writers, though it's somehow considered distinct from the practices of Stein). I don't mean to rail against the clutter of conceptual mythologies and strikingly similar/overlapping -isms, as though they just plain bother me. If artists want to corral an audience through the capitalist marketing practice of ostentatious packaging, that's fine, so long as they recognize their complicit role in product/service pandering. But save the radical-aversion-to-capital-interests-and-the-overdetermined-object bit. It isn't parody without an object to inveigh. It's cute is what it is. Cute enough to fetishize, to sell. And I don't mean dollars, but sensibility. (The battle lines are drawn in the surrounding ethos, aren't they?). Help me out, name-manufacturers: why?
Saturday, August 21, 2010
© Greg Eason
U.S. Anti-Islam Protest Seen as Lift for Extremists
-“'For the first time, anti-Islamic rhetoric has gone mainstream,' he said. 'What this really does is weaken the moderates and undermine their credibility.'”
(Note: the potential for indicative transference in "their credibility")
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
-The Grecian Urns' new "Love Dream"
-DVR (roommate is a cable guy, thanks roommate)
-Cheap Malbec from Mendoza
-Getting caught up in:
Kristine Moran @ Booooooom
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Computers at Home: Educational Hope v. Teenage Reality
The bewildering question, I think, isn't, "who didn't think One Laptop Per Child would nourish mind-capital for the respectively less informed," but rather, "what does this make (to outsiders) of the freedom of information philosophy we so dearly pride against a hyper-regulatory inaccess paranoia a la Beijing?"
-“there was no evidence linking technology immersion with student self-directed learning or their general satisfaction with schoolwork.”
Saturday, May 29, 2010
(The real excuse is that Roland Garros devours more of my attention at the moment)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
At Wimbledon: Tennis Poetry
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Debate: incarcerated higher ed. aspirants vs. "theory-happy academics"
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
"Dithyrambs have gotta connect to bricks." -from Class #33
[And I haven't seen Howl yet, but despite its juristic intent I already feel David Cross would've captured Ginsberg better than Franco, in irony as much as likeness; cheers for the glossy, poseur over-dramatization of lives of artists. Coming next year, the heartrending story of Lyn Hejinian's struggle against the construct of genius in My Life.]
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
"I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."-Letter From Birmingham Jail
"It's all right to talk about 'long white robes over yonder,' in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here. It's all right to talk about 'streets flowing with milk and honey,' but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can't eat three square meals a day. It's all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God's preachers must talk about the New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do." -"I've Been to the Mountaintop"