Friday, 30 June 2000

Hotel Waldhaus

By Thomas Bernhard.

We had no luck with the weather and the guests at our table were repellent in every respect. They even spoiled Nietzsche for us. Even after they had had a fatal car accident and had been laid out in the church in Sils, we still hated them.

From a letter

By David Lloyd.

You put me on the spot here, John, but I'll have a go. At one level, what I mean by the self-consciousness of the critic is that process of self-second-guessing that can afflict someone who habitually writes criticism when coming to the writing of poetry--the problem of stumbling too soon over the relation of one's own writing to others' writing that can become a certain kind of guardedness that inhibits discovery, of the crushing weight of knowing too much at the wrong moment or the distraction of too many uncalled for distractions on the horizon. But at another level, it's about what I think critics do--and what I love in good criticism--which is to bring back to self-consciousness analytically the multiple vectors that get condensed into a poem in the process of writing. That's why there seems to me something silly in recent attacks on the "interdisciplinarity" of contemporary criticism: untellable forces press in on any writing and they can be of any kind, historical, social, environmental, intimately personal or utterly general, so in principle any knowledge of any kind may be relevant to what gets fused into the poem. But the constellation that the poem forms isn't necessarily analytically available to the poet at the moment of writing, though entirely available in another sense. I don't suppose a poet can ever know too much (which is one of the perils of specialization, academic or otherwise, which is that it exhausts the energy to be widely curious), but I've always thought that Lacan's borrowing from Aristotle on chance as a way of describing the operation of the unconscious's openings and closings makes a pretty good figure for poetic intention. Lacan invokes (in Four Fundamental Concepts for anyone who wants to pursue it) the notion of tuche, which is a chance event that depends on an intention to bring it about: what occurs occurs not as the end result of what was preconceived but as a side effect that could not have occurred without the initial intent. Writing poetry is deeply intentional, rarely "inspired", but the product of constraints and focus, and yet the most "inspired" discoveries are often effects that come as if by chance. Writing is at once deeply conceptual through and through but, to assume an all too Kantian hat, never determined by a concept. In the moment of writing, certain kinds of self-consciousness, of which I doubt the critic's self-consciousness, which is the analytical version, is the only one, can get in the way of that process of tuche.

Thursday, 29 June 2000

Sleep Furiously trailer

From "Hot White Andy"

By Keston Sutherland.

I keep dreaming about you every single night last
night I you making love Stan, I didn’t know him then
it hurts, and I disappear but the nights stick.

Wednesday, 28 June 2000

From "‘say Smile’: The Many Faces of Peter Manson"

By Sophie Read.

Faces emerge, even when they are several removes from actually being there, like the reflection that ghosts the lines of the first poem in the book -- the momentary trompe l’oeil of untidily disposed stationery: ‘a white envelope glimpsed on the gas fire which I take for a mirror before realising my mistake’ (p. 5). It is a mistake the poet never seems to learn from, this over-recognition that seeks to fix features on the inanimate object; the world, here, is often made to resolve itself into approximately anthropomorphic shapes, compelled to yield an answering image to the steady regard of the poetic eye. Object permanence is that stage in a child’s development when the realisation dawns that things continue to exist -- the face of a parent, for example -- even when no longer present to the sense. The poet proceeds as if he has only just grasped this principle, and each act of recognition comes with the shock of a new revelation as to the capacities of the human mind.

Saturday, 24 June 2000

From "The Division of Labour in Society"

By Emile Durkheim.

This is not to say, however, that the common conscience is threatened with total disappearance. Only, it more and more comes to consist of very general and very indeterminate ways of thinking and feeling, which leave an open place for a growing multitude of individual differences. There is even a place where it is strengthened and made precise: that is the way in which it regards the individual. As all other beliefs and all the other practices take on a character less and less religious, the individual becomes the object of a sort of religion. We erect a cult in behalf of personal dignity which, as every strong cult, already has its superstitions.

Friday, 23 June 2000

Sonnet to -----

By Ann Yearsley.

Lo! dreary Winter, howling o'er the waste,
Imprints the glebe, bids ev'ry channel fill---
His tears in torrents down the mountains haste,
His breath augments despair, and checks our will!
Yet thy pure flame through lonely night is seen,
To lure the shiv'ring pilgrim o'er the green---
He hastens on, nor heeds the pelting blast:
Thy spirit softly breathes---"The worst is past;
Warm thee, poor wand'rer, 'mid thy devious way!
On thy cold bosom hangs unwholesome air;
Ah! pass not this bright fire! Thou long may'st stray
Ere through the glens one other spark appear."

Thus breaks thy friendship on my sinking mind,
And lures me on, while sorrow dies behind.

Wednesday, 21 June 2000

From "To A Sensible But Passionate Friend"

By Ann Yearsley.

--- such souls as thine must languish,
Like majestic ruin lie;
None but equals share thine anguish,
Fools deride thy deepest sigh.

Yet Philosophy despairing,
Mourns thy richest feelings lost;
When from self-denial veering,
Thou'rt on storms of passion tost.

Shou'dst thou view a weaker spirit,
Moving in her sphere confin'd,
Be it still thy greatest merit
To forgive, and be resign'd.


"Thou'lt know, indeed," it answers with a groan,
"The pangs of death too sure shall be thy own;
Pains yet unfelt must seize thy every part,
And Death's cold horrors hover round thy heart;
Thy dying eyes fix'd on some darling friend,
While strong convulsions their wild orbs extend;
One gasp, and deep eternity in view,
The soul shoots forth, and groans a last adieu.
I dare no more---but Oh! too curious maid,
Seek not to pierce th'impenetrable shade
Which wraps futurity; thou 'rt sure to die;
Rest there, nor farther search, nor question why;
Scan not Omnipotence---of that beware;
Oft the too curious eye is dimm'd by blank despair."
Farewel, poor Ghost! ye horrors of the night,
Begone, nor more my shudd'ring soul affright;
The question unresolv'd I soon shall know,
Then let me haste from this sad scene of woe.
Henceforth, vain Pleasure, I renounce thy joy,
Enchanting Fair, who tempt'st but to destroy;
Ye thoughtless maids who transient dreams pursue,
No more my moments must be lost with you;
No more my soul in empty mirth shall share,
Or fondly relish pleasures ting'd with care.
And thou, all-merciful! omniscient Power!
O teach me to redeem each mis-spent hour;
In youth the mind's best gifts most strongly shine,
Ah! let them not too suddenly decline!
In mercy add a few remaining years,
The grave shall lose its sting, my soul shall lose its fears.

From "Flowers of the Free Lands"

By Thomas Bracken.

Who raised the curtain on the knightly age,
With its chivalrous, brave, and gallant men;
And who, on hist'ry's most prosaic page,
Shed golden lustre with his magic pen?
What giant turned the distant tide of time,
And swept the vessels back which sailed of yore
Down its swift current to the shadowed clime,
With freights of rich romance and ancient lore?
Ask Fame, and she will point with loving pride
Across the ocean, to that island spot,
Where Poesy and Genius, side by side,
Embalm the memory of Francis Crot.

Monday, 19 June 2000

From "Political Theology"

By Carl Schmitt.

Precisely a philosophy of concrete life must not withdraw from the exception and the extreme case, but must be interested in it to the highest degree. The exception can be more important to it than the rule, not because of a romantic irony for the paradox, but because the seriousness of an insight goes deeper than the clear generalizations inferred from what ordinarily repeats itself.
By Erin Mouré.

[...] I record them with a bad accent,
ill at ease & out of ammo.
Even history books invent fresh causes, sources, continually
reasonable men.

From "The Mind Doesn't Work That Way"

By Jerry Fodor.

I don't mean to go on about this, but it's a widely advertised piece of neo-Darwinist anti-intellectualism (see, e.g. Patricia Churchland 1987) that "looked at from an evolutionary point of view, the principal function of the nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . . Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost." The consequence has been a long-standing alliance between Psychological Darwinism and Pragmatism (see, e.g., Dewey 1922), all of which us Enlightenment Rationalists find simply appalling. To repeat: there is nothing in the "evolutionary," or the "biological," or the "scientific" worldview that shows, or even suggests, that the proper function of cognition is other than the fixation of true beliefs. This characterization of the (alleged) proper function of, "domain general" on the face of it. So Cosmides and Tooby can't have the premise that "there is no domain-independent criterion of [cognitive] success or failure" for free; they need to argue for it.


Thursday, 15 June 2000

From "Conceptual Poet Lives"

By Nicholas Manning.

[...] This weapons systems has evolved over the years, having been heavily modified after the early discovery of hidden alien designs in the basement of Jack Spicer. Following these advancements, Conceptual Poet’s standard offensive weapons have remained rather stable. They include the Reassembler Ray – which allows for quick Oulipean procedural collage even in the most extreme circumstance of Mainstream duress – and the standard-issue MEDGs (MacLowe Erasure Dispersal Grenades), which are fired from the palms of Conceptual Poet’s gauntlets.

Other weapons built into various incarnations of the armor include the Syntax Dissembling Beam-Projector in Conceptual Poet's chest. The beam is made up of pulse bolts of SIS (Synergistic Internet Sourcings) that pick up procedural energy (but not lyrical energy), so that they hit harder the farther the reader sits from his or her HPSM (Home Poetry Screening Module). Other capabilities of Conceptual Poet’s standard suit include: Ultra Rime-Riche Disrupter which, used in conjunction with the AAAD (Alliteration And Assonance Detector), allows Conceptual Poet to create and disrupt multiple IFs (Informational Fields) simultaneously, regardless of the quotient of Area Specific Anti-Lyrical Datum Hook-Up. He is also able, at propitious moments (such as during the recent Buffalo special-deployment) to engage a Holographic Search-Field Modulating Generator, which enables close to unlimited “I’m Feeling Lucky” poetic functionalities. Conceptual Poet is also equipped with 6 high-frequency Faux-Prosodic Metrical Decoy Devices (FPMDDs). These are often able to confuse Conceptual Poet’s most resourceful Mainstream enemies, leaving them open to later, standard attacks of MacLowe Erasure Dispersal Grenades.

In addition to the general-purpose model he wears, Conceptual Poet has developed several specialized suits for (respectively): Sonnet and Established-Form Deconstruction, Procedural Repetition, Unboring Boringness, Situationism, and a high-level DDD (Dada Distanciation Device). These suits may in turn be fitted with such extras as the 2008 synergistically modulated re-issue of Poetry Foundation Sweeping Pronouncement Blogging Capabilities.

For a time, due to an artificial system installed after he suffered extensive damage to his original nervous system during the second L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E War ("Equals Equals 2"), Conceptual Poet had superhumanly acute powers of sensory perception, unemotional detachment from constructed notions of “the Reader”, world informational network-synergy (largely a product of the 2006 discovery of the Apps World Poetic Data Assimilator), as well as extraordinary awareness of the physical processes within his own body, as well as those within the Internets.

After being critically injured during a battle with the 4th generation Quietude-enhanced Glück clone, Conceptual Poet injected his nervous system with a modified Cartesian Self And Organic Pronoun Canceling Virus (known as the “Contemporanis” process) which not only saved his life, but gave him the ability to store the inner layers of the Conceptual Poet armor in the hollows of his Lyrical Central Core-Modulation Disruptor, (as well as control it through direct Romantic Emotion Inhibiting Impulses). Conceptual Poet can thus now control the layer of affective armor underneath his skin, and make it emerge from numerous exit points around his limbs as a gold-colored neural interface under-sheath. While in this form, Conceptual Poet has technopathic control of the armor and can suit up at any time (see previous reference concerning the “Buffalo” deployment).

Furthermore, the “Contemporanis” process has increased his body's recuperative and healing abilities. He is now also able to connect remotely to external communications systems such as satellites, cellular phones, computers and interactive workshops throughout the world. Because the armor's operating system is now directly connected to Conceptual Poet’s nervous system, its response time has been significantly improved. (Because of this amelioration, for example, Conceptual Poet is now able to produce in the environs of 23.2 to 23.7 million PATWs [Poems Against The War] each second).

New improvements are also scheduled: for instance, a newly integrated Critical Field Preparation Module is scheduled from Copper Canyon Biotech Industry's R & D Division, for the summer of 2009.

Friday, 9 June 2000

From an interview with Kristin Prevallet

What I mean by “disrupt the state” is that poetic thinking -- which is separate from the poem itself -- involves a group of people who are entertained by serious inquiry, alert to the propaganda façade, and able to see the universe in a molecule… it’s activating and enlarging a mind that can connect patterns of experience with systems of meaning. This means that a lot of people embody poetic thinking, but don’t necessarily bare their thought in a poem. It’s these people, aware of the matrix while still living within its illusion, that disrupt the state. Disrupt at the level of psychic revolt.

Tuesday, 6 June 2000

September Morning

as the window opens the sun slides along the wall
the bird simply steps from the ledge, out
being dead
is not to be able to brush the dirt from your fur to
have slugs
on your eyes

now, the early morning, the children
stand, looking, in
slippers on the wet grass

nearly covered i am afraid to drop earth on your head
the sea, the sea fills the whole horizon

Sunday, 4 June 2000

From Scientific American

In general, men surpass women in rapidity of auditory action and, consequently, in speed of work, but are inferior to women, perhaps, in power of sustained attention.

Saturday, 3 June 2000

From "Modernity, labour and the typewriter"

By Morag Shiach.

[Margery Davies] points to a range of factors that led to the expansion of office work in the early twentieth century: the increase in the size of major companies, the development of national and international markets, the growth of marketing and of "scientific management" all produced greater volumes of clerical work [...] this requirement was partly met by women, who were anyway cheaper labour [...] Many writing machines were invented before Sholes's, but his was developed at a time when the expansion of office work meant that investment in this new technology could be secured. The entry of mowen to the office and the development of the typewriter were thus related, but the entry of women into the office was by no means an inevitable result of the invention of the technology [...]

Women's entry into the office and their increasing role as typists were seen as neither natural nor inevitable. It is, however, the case that the percentage of women among clerical workers increased dramatically in the first half of the twentieth century, from 13.4 in 1901 to 59.6 in 1951 [...]

Women's entry into the office coincided with a broad reorganisation of clerical work and the production of a much more rigid office hierachy. The distinction between the secretary and the typist was crucial at this point: the "secretary" was still more likely to be a man until at least the 1920s and there was little mobility between the two grades.

From "The Shape of the Signifier"

By Walter Benn Michaels.

Indeed, the whole point of posthistoricism is to understand all differences as differences in what, who, or where we are and thus to make it seem that the fundamental question -- the question that separates the postideological left from the postideological right -- is the question of our attitude toward difference: the Left wants to celebrate difference, the Right wants to overcome it.

Friday, 2 June 2000

From "Cocksure Women and Hensure Men"

By D. H. Lawrence.

And when it has collapsed, and she looks at the eggs she has laid, votes, or miles of typewriting, years of business efficiency -- suddenly, because she is a hen and not a cock, all she has done will turn into pure nothingness to her. Suddenly it all falls out of relation to her basic henny self, and she realizes she has lost her own life.

From a letter

By A. E. Housman.

If, as I gather from what you say, printers no longer print from MS, then I should be obliged if you did the type-writing, though it will not be more legible than the hand I write literature in.

From "Modernity, labour and the typewriter"

By Morag Shiach.

In his analysis of the discourse network of 1900, however, Kittler stresses the precariousness of meaning: this precariousness is expressed through an understanding of writing as fragment, as a moment of order against a background of chaos. For Kittler, writing becomes detached from subjectivity in this period and is no longer experienced as the expression of an inner self. Instead it is experienced and understood as a recalcitrant material substance, as impersonal, as constantly threatening repetition and meaninglessness.

In this theorisation of modernism, the typewriter plays a key role. It is a form of writing that severs the link between the eye, the hand and the text. It mechanises the act of writing and destroys the illusion of an immediate link between language and the self. As David Wellbery sums up Kittler's argument: "In order for this detachment of writing from subjectivity to occur, however, inscription had to become mechanized, and this happens with the typewriter" [...] The typewriter thus becomes the archetypal modernist technology, staging language as process, as structure, as apart from the self. And this technology has a particular significance for women in Kittler's account. He sees the typewriter as disrupting the epistemological and affective link between writing and the mother's voice. He also sees the erosion of the authority of the author as opening up a space for women's writings. Finally he connects the typewriter to new educational opportunities and new patterns of labour for women: "Apart from Freud' it was Remington who 'granted the female sex access to the office.'"

From "Dada and After"

By Alan Young.

A history of the Underground is traced in a well-informed but occasionally ill-tempered and unreasonably argued book Bomb Culture (1968) by Jeff Nuttall who was himself a leading figure of the movement. The Underground was a loosely organised group or series of groups, and inculded at various times poets formerly of the Liverpool scene, writers associated with Michael Horovitz and his New Departures and Live New Departures, and with Bob Cobbing, the bookshop Better Books, and the Writers Forum. Stylistically these writers of the sixties can be linked with the pop-culture and the Neo-Dada techniques of the fifties. However, some of the performances in public and the uses of Dadaist methods reached levels of shocking violence, hysterical anti-bourgeois virulence, and anti-art which have been equalled in this century only by Dadaism and Surrealism at their most extreme.

From "golgotha"

By J. F. Hendry.

"A set dog barking at the rat of heart."

From "The Two Breaths"

By Charles Kingsley.

“LADIES […] I must apologise if I say many things which are well known to many persons in this room : they ought to be well known to all : but it is generally best to assume totatl ignorance in one’s hearers, and to begin from the beginning […] every time you breathe you breathe two different breaths; you take in one, you give out another. The composition of these two breaths is different. Their effects are different. The breath which has been breathed out must not be breathed in again.”