Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
from 1001 Sentences
The poet in America is often happy.
Re-reading last night Guy Davenport's Every Force Evolves a Form, after realizing earlier that that kind of discursive form has a lot of appeal to me as a writer, not just potentially or generally but does so right now at this particular moment. I've been toying with different ideas for writing projects after scrapping the Sex Hat manuscript. World Jelly is out now, and "Complex Sleep" will be out fairly soon. This other thing, 1001 Sentences, is getting close to halfway done. That's enough right now for that kind of language looking; I don't necessarily need to collect and publish all my stretchmarks. I'm taking notes/doing research for a longer piece I want to tackle in a year or two. The immediacy of poetry, which is often its draw -- to be constantly be creating the face/voice -- seems to drift my attentions away from the sort of discursive inquiries I'm increasingly wanting to develop.
Also, increasingly isolato, by choice. I wonder if there is not an inherent trouble to naming a group, to constructing a boundary: he is in Lucipo, she is not; I am a Flarfist, you are not; that is Quietude, but this is not. The question maybe is not so much 'does the name make the boundary' than 'how does the act of naming dictate the shape of the boundary.' The one(s) who claims the name guards the borders. Is the act of naming (dictating the boundary lines) anything other than a power play, however well intentioned. Eventually that boundary will be guarded. Guarded by criteria of membership, authenticity, historicity.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Happy retirement to the sweet swinging, slick picking, helmet-in-the-field wearing John Olerud. Two way star at Washington State (pitcher and hitter). Survivor of brain aneurysm (it's why he had to wear the helmet in the field). One of the few players to ever jump directly from college to the Show without putting in any time in the minors. Made a run at .400 with the Blue Jays. Clutch foundation of the Mets. Class act with the Mariners. Bowed out as a supreme platoon and bench player with the Red Sox. One of my favorites.
Also, a player in maybe my favorite contemporary baseball anecdote.
Rickey Henderson and Olerud were teammates with the Mets. That offseason, Olerud signed as a free agent with the Mariners. Rickey was released by the Mets the next season, and signed with the M's. Before a Mariners game, Rickey is talking to Olerud, and asks him why he wears a helmet in the field. "I had a brain aneurysm in college," Olerud says, "if I get hit in the head with a ball, I could die."
"Oh," Rickey responds, "that's wild. A guy a played with on the Mets last year was the same way."
"I know, Rickey," Olerud responds, "that was me."
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Active weeks on the Lucipo listsev. If you're not a jerk, you should join up.
My last three posts, out of context, give some notion of how my brain is functioning right now, and to serve as further evidence of my deep love affair with my own voice:
To echo Lord Watten, but "ideology, politicization, and old-fashioned literary criticism" ARE my interests and obsessions. It could be matter of preference, but my favorite artists seem to take on these matters pretty overtly.
I usually find myself just as much alive reading and discussing lit crit as eating a banana in my boxers. I'm increasingly skeptical of the kind of Cartesian split that would privilege either activity as inherently more alive than the other. Though it is nice to use that split if only to think of really intellectually eating a banana, or monkeying around and throwing poo in theory.
Anyway, unlike Chris, I'm an intuition freak, but I extend intuition into the bibliography of the projects I undertake. As soon as the semester is over I'm psyched to do some of that intuitive research: I've got my eyes on Joan Jonas, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Cindy Sherman as artists operating in those realms I'm interested in. I'm excited to find ways of intuitively tying my notion of their images, theories and ideas along with the other stuff I'm dragging in, like Aby Warburg, Gertrude Stein, Olson and Piers Plowman.
I actually AM planning on having a bibliography for the next big poetry thing I wanna do.
Lit crit and theory used to freak out the bubbling poet in me because I thought it was telling me everything I was doing wrong. Then I figured it out: it is! And it's also showing me dimensions and sites for doing things wrong that I would've never intuitively been aware of. More autonomy! More sites for intuition!
(PS, note to the list: I will now be retitling each post I respond to with the term "Tostian" to up its Google factor. I suggest you do the same.)
(Another note: last week of the semester, please forgive the spazzing.)
I might be old-fashioned in thinking that any art that presents itself as unpolitical is taking a hyper-political stance (most likely one that affirms the current political/social/etc. status quo by considering it a natural, a priori state).
Benjamin's essay is a great read, and isolates really interesting sites of questioning: reproducibility, aura, the "binding" (my scare quotes, not his) of art to ritual, etc. I'm not sure I buy his argument though. Reproducibility doesn't subvert the aura of an artist for me, it displaces it. Warhol again. I go to the MoMA and see the soup cans. I'm still in presence of the Warhol aura, though it is different than a Pollock aura. It's less with the creation of that particular work than the creation of the Warhol machine, and it's more tied up in personality than Pollock (for me).
Benjamin's notion of reproducibility doesn't match up so well for me with the distribution of poems online, or at least not in 99.9 percent of the cases, because the poem, no matter how it is distributed, can still be traced back to the original authorial presence. One of my interests in poems that are Google-sculpted in that in one sense they frustrate this tracing back: do you trace back to the person who collaged the poem, or to the original sources? In another sense, because the phrases originate from Google searches, Google can be used to trace the individual components back to their (pre-collaged) sources. But there's not that much aura there.
I'm not too big of a fan of finding a static paradigm to use on any work. That always seems to just privilege and re-inforce the paradigm at expense of the work. Tost say: utilize paradigms to find out the interesting lines of inquiry, but stay mobile.
Tue Dec 6 11:20:55 EST 2005
I don't think you have to necessarily have a split between what is definite and what is infinite. Instead of being binding, rules of the definite could just as easily be freeing. Asserting the infinite within the definite seems to be a timeless trope in art.
If art is ever "not-art" I think it only is contextually, because it is so tied up with "art." Both sides of the fluid divide get appropriated by the other side eventually. The "not-art" can go under different terms: commerce, kitsch, bad-art, etc. Clement Greenberg stated that art concerns itself with causes, kitsch concerns itself with effects: basically, echoing Brian, kitsch presents the effects of art without any of the work/sophistication/attention that it is assumed art must require. Then you have agents like Warhol, Koons, Flarf who recuperate possibly kitschy material in such a way that runs counter to previous assumptions, and making it quote-unquote a higher art than more overtly artistic art (like Ab Ex), if only that it takes a higher degree of disinterest to appreciate what the art is doing (this higher degree of disinterest moving you more towards the concern with cause, and away from effect).
Of course it is interesting reading Greenberg now and seeing him present TS Eliot as evidence of high art, and Tin Pan Alley as evidence of kitsch; your generic more sophisticated person of '05 would at the least place Tin Pan Alley and Eliot at the same level, and would likely prefer the tunesmith to TS, if only that it takes a greater degree of sophistication to appreciate *as art* works that weren't originally intended to circulate as art, as opposed to things like The WasteLand which has all the markings of a huge Modernist art triumph.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
1. Ted Berrigan
2. Kenneth Koch
3. Charles Bernstein
4. Amiri Baraka
5. Gregory Corso
6. Bob Perelman
7. Anne Waldman
8. Harryette Mullen
9. Aaron McCullough
10. James Schuyler
Ten Poets Who Tend to Excite Tost About 50 Times More than They Do Other Peoples:
1. Allen Grossman
2. Mary Margaret Sloan
3. CD Wright
4. George Scarbrough
5. AR Ammons
6. Robert Penn Warren
7. Anne Carson
8. Susan Howe
9. Frank Samperi
10. Rosmarie Waldrop