Friday, November 15, 2013

"With new artifacts
A modern cave"


Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

audio ergo sum

Saturday, July 27, 2013

doggerel for thematics; or the endgame of "détournement? I don't believe you!"

a brief reply to Kent Johnson's thoughtful Notes on Safe Conceptualisms, first delivered on April 26th, 2013, for the symposium “Lament of the Makers: Conceptualism and Poetic Freedom"––my response will not be revelatory for those familiar with the statements Johnson has chosen to (selectively) read.

-first, KJ juxtaposes the anti-subjectivity of North American ConPo with earlier, more legible praxes (in Russia) of “cultural and political critique,” then faults Perloff and Dworkin for their “registers of such ‘we came first’ claims on Unoriginality.” So there is a break, apparently, but ConPo practitioners/readers should not mention it… Meanwhile (in the same introduction to Against Expression that Johnson cites, I presume) Dworkin makes several nods to earlier poetic “modes of [lyrical] noninterference”: Charles Olson, John Cage, not to mention the impersonal reframing techniques of Conceptual artists like Elaine Sturtevant. “[W]e hope not only to sketch certain legacies but also to demonstrate that particular techniques and devices––such as appropriation or transcription, however novel they might seem––always have precedents.” Such tactics, Dworkin adds, are not of themselves significant, "but they do always signify; their meaning simply changes with the cultural moment in which they are deployed (context, again, is all to the point). […] in the end, the figure of the uncreative writer is hardly new. Jorge Luis Borges’s Pierre Menard, for instance” (“The Fate of Echo,” Against Expression). So much for Johnson's suggestion of a haughty "we came first" ethos.

-then, he insists that Goldsmith’s Benjaminian analogy “that the computer is now to writing what photography was to painting” is unsound because, per Johnson, ConPo “advocates a poetics that decidedly embraces the representational, recycling dynamics of the camera/Internet, analogously mimicking its protocols, forms, and effects.” That representational is a slippery signifier. While various impersonal reframing techniques are used by poets within/without the affiliations of ConPo, the “representational” and “allegorical” mode of Conceptualism––at least as theorized by Place and Fitterman, while Dworkin suggests elsewhere there is no "C"onceptualism, only conceptualisms––foregrounds a necessary dialectical failure inherent in modes of representation/embodiment––“Note: embodiment = failure.” Conceptual writing seeks to demystify representation through semiotic glut and tautological banality: “Note the potential for excess in allegory. Note the premise of failure, of unutterability, of exhaustion before one’s begun” (Notes on Conceptualisms, emphasis added). Representation as trope, language as simulacra––Robert Smithson, via Dworkin: “LANGUAGE to be LOOKED at and/or THINGS to be READ.”

-on the other hand, I think Johnson and others do well to consider the obvious questions (posed much earlier by Bob Perelman and others) about Lang- & ConPo practitioners' embrace (gestural, degenerative, complicit, or otherwise––reformative?) of academic and cultural institutions: "What are the longer-term ramifications of the Academic climate for so-called 'oppositional' poetry? What about the discourses (teaching, theorizing, historicizing) that compose its practices, as well as their reception (their criticism, archiving, ranking, distribution, that is, on their reinscription). To what extent might we begin to see the Academy, in other words, as a normalizing, disciplining habitus of avant poetry’s historically agonistic dispositions, and with what long-view consequences for its dissident articulations?" At least he is considerate in his approach to academia––"Thank goodness for scholars, because things are more complicated than ever, and we need them urgently"––and after all, please list for me, if you can, those radical cultural and sociological theories and institutional critiques brought into existence without specialized learning and/or the time and funds afforded by an academic research position... That said, I think even Goldsmith or Place would agree that some of the most interesting poetic achievements have existed both within and without academic patronage. (For all the self-righteous ire directed at Charles Bernstein's Penn professorship, few realize/admit that he never went for a graduate degree).

-as for decrying "programmatic statements" in the posturings of Place and Goldsmith (because let's only consider the usual suspects when assessing a movement), with their supposed replication of "cultural effluvia," it's worth pointing out that in the recent wave of defensively totalizing affirmations of Poetry-as-such––which Bernstein argues, "is not, for me, an honorific category"––very few poets today seem willing to ponder, much less challenge, the tacit notion that poetry suffices as a mode of critique without reflexive awareness. If Conceptualism à la Place seems less than concerned with the delimiting walls of MOMA or the Academy, it is perhaps due to a distractingly serious investigation of Poetry (itself an institution) which seems often to put off examining its own ideological predispositions. Place's enactments of complicity are not only gestural, but interrogative: "One learns not to avoid the trap, but to walk into the trap and see if it can be trapped" (interview). How can a poetry that remains self-unaware, blinded by its own delusions and ignoring its own pretensions to creativity and originality, function as a viable critique of cultural-political valorization and subject-interpellation? It is this implicit, unquestioned "nature" of poetry that comes to the fore in the act of reframing: "Poetry is that which occurs within the institution of poetry. That is to say, form is not inherently important, words are not necessarily significant, language is utterly irrelevant, 'I's can be put out with impunity, there can be nothing but thick-skinned idiotic literality, and [yet] it is still poetry because it exists as poetry" (Place "A Poetics of Radical Evil," Lana Turner no. 3).
-finally, while Johnson's piece was intended for a symposium and therefore can get away with being overly general, is it too much to ask for critiques of Conceptual writing-as-such to start discussing actual examples of conceptual or post-conceptual writing rather than vague assertions about mere "programmatic statements"?


Allegorical writing (particularly in the form of appropriated conceptual writing) does not aim to critique the culture industry from afar, but to mirror it directly. To do so, it uses the materials of the culture industry directly. This is akin to how readymade artworks critique high culture and obliterate the museum-made boundary between Art and Life. The critique is in the reframing. The critique of the critique is in the echoing.

Note the desire to begin again.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

evade rank lint

Come20 shadow20 come20 and20 take20 this20 shadow20 up20 ,63 .1 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

feel like your new self again

diet pill for the internet

The Deletionist is a "concise system for automatically producing an erasure poem from any Web page" developed by Amaranth Borsuk, Jesper Juul, and Nick Montfort.

-it makes your twitter feed more digestible:

-& speculates about the fate of neo-liberal politics ("o Democracy"):

-lest is mo

Saturday, June 8, 2013

of, relating to, or functioning as an adjective

Sunday, May 26, 2013

sea birth

"The purely kitsch

                 is far more real, far more compelling than

                               to have become a distant mimicry of itself"

excerpt from a novel I've been working on

Months pass.

Friday, May 10, 2013

[cataract of self-licking envelopes walks into a bar]Po

this is one of the poems "made" within some procedural experiments I was doing for a seminar paper for a class on Black Mountain Extensions, taught by Hank Lazer at University of Alabama in Spring 2013. the governing principle is the notion of "productive misunderstanding" and the repeated human tendency for mishearing speech, rendered as essentially paronomasic. at the time of writing I was thinking about Susan Howe's notion of “Cries open to the words inside them” along with John Taggart's fascination with Rothko's Old Glass method, "applying thin washes of paint, one over another, and often allowing some of the colors in the bottom layers to appear through the top coat of pigment." precedents include Louis Zukofsky's Catullus homophonic translations (1969), Caroline Bergvall's "A Cat in the Throat" (2009) and Kenneth Goldsmith's "Head Citations" (2002). taking Spicer's Cocteauean radio literally, I manipulated pop radio lyrics using voice-to-text transmission software––a technology so precise that several deliberate muffling effects were necessary to produce any distortion whatever (it seems humans are still better than machines at mishearing speech––good job, humans).

            for Kelly Clarkson

art on 1 a bereft a Honda
gist unswath offend of mine

texting birth in webcam lives
owls penned more stove my laws

writing was playing a cravat
shadowboxing the author half

running her crew relaxed
honest most are long term

hatchet mall brand lending co.
to not my need for searching slow

know that you know this Marla
how old is told what supposed to be raw eat

cache my beret
no one came holy book for that
cook's mother left

well-known god Newtown
itch not a cell phone now

good good to the love of found
halving heart now a waitlist cloud

waking consulate one account
ah stand-in restive my tongue

nothing home with the windows down
lethe footprints all overcome

keeping food catacombs around
our will stand auroras of mall life

calling all bros put on your grope
earnings cruising for sex Google Earth show

no other to know thesis malware
I run be cold what's a pose to be run

cash mob arrest
no one canola bath

I am .com for that
cause small pariah

hola I'm gonna come
is not the same phone now

oooooo helped easy inner roomy thing

curtain Marlboro writing your girl
turning on cheek for circle satchel

know it you know this is all fire
I won't be cold for who posted these rights

catch mon perrier
no one could hold new doc

ongoing conqueror
text small breasts

when loading Gitmo Dow
it's not the sun pool noir

cuts madre
no one came home the fuck

ah ingot I'm for that
(catch no catch) catch my breath

won't let 'em get me down
it's all so simple now

Saturday, May 4, 2013

from Work to Text, from Text to Audition

Joshua Liebowitz "Musical Drift: Toward a Method of Sonopoetics" in issue #29 of Evening Will Come at the Volta

(a little more interesting than what Perloff did/didn't say about lyric poets' "feelings")

Friday, May 3, 2013

The spreading is different

my review of Steve McCaffery's Every Way Oakly: Homolinguistic Translations of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons

Monday, April 22, 2013

review of Norton Anthology of PoMo Poetry (This article appeared in the May 15, 2013 edition of The Nation):

Monday, April 1, 2013

call for sublimissions

follow updeates by "likening" us on effacebook

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

this line repeated in my brain for at least two hours last night, keeping me awake. I seriously have no idea why tho

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    ce     mo
ec     ho

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013