Sunday, 30 December 2007

From "The Bitter Withy"

“And which one of you three rich young lords
Will play at the ball with me?”
“Ah, we're all lords' and ladies' sons
Born in a bower and hall
And you are nought but a poor maid's child
Born in an ox's stall”
“If I am nought but a poor maid's child
Born in a ox's stall
I'll make you believe at your latter end
I'm an angel above you all”
So he made a bridge of beams of the sun
And over the river ran he
And after him ran these rich young lords
And drowned they all three.
Then it's up the hill, and it's down the hill
Three rich young mothers run
Crying “Mary Mild, fetch home her child
For ours he's drowned each one.”
So Mary Mild fetched home her child
And laid him across her knee
And with a handful of withy twigs
She gave him lashes three.
And the withy shall be very first tree
To perish at the heart.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Quit merking my merkin

"[...] Twiddling your thumbs looking for something to do in the new year? Why don't you submit a play / short film / idea for a new devised piece for the second HighTide Festival, May 1st - 5th 2008?

Text / Devised submission deadline: January 4th
Film submission deadline: February 1st

We've already secured some world-class practitioners to lead workshops and masterclasses throughout the 2008 Festival. We'll keep [...]

Warmest wishes and happy new year,

The HighTide Company"

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Vine

By Robert Herrick.

I DREAM'D this mortal part of mine
Was Metamorphoz'd to a Vine;
Which crawling one and every way,
Enthrall'd my dainty Lucia.
Me thought, her long small legs & thighs
I with my Tendrils did surprize;
Her Belly, Buttocks, and her Waste
By my soft Nerv'lits were embrac'd:
About her head I writhing hung,
And with rich clusters (hid among
The leaves) her temples I behung:
So that my Lucia seem'd to me
Young Bacchus ravished by his tree.
My curles about her neck did craule,
And armes and hands they did enthrall:
So that she could not freely stir,
(All parts there made one prisoner.)
But when I crept with leaves to hide
Those parts, which maids keep unespy'd,
Such fleeting pleasures there I took,
That with the fancie I awook;
And found (Ah me!) this flesh of mine
More like a Stock then like a Vine.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

From "Poetry Without Organs"

By Craig Dworkin.

[...] "sixpack's relationship to Peter André's abdomen is metaphoric; to mine is metonymic" [...] Even with foods, the body in Adjunct only ever seems to drink. With little need for chewing, the foods mentioned are almost always liquid (soup, puree, yoghurt, fondue, "meat extract or homemade meat tea"), melted (butter and chocolate), or softened (enzymatic and mouldering cheeses, a banana forgotten in a coat pocket for three days until "it's black and soft") [...] Many are already "partly digested" (pap, minces, rissoles, patés) [...] The bodies in Adjunct not only take in all this liquid, but they excrete fluids at an equally impressive pace [...] The body as it appears in this book is a site of "hemorrage," "excrement," "discharge," and "excavations" of all kinds [...] If one of the sentences seems to accuse Manson by rebuking "you don't surface expressively in your poems," the poem itself is quite literally "expressive": "weeping," "leaking" and "expectrating" [...] Indeed, Adjunct details not only the expected "blood" "sweat" and "tears" (including the blood of bruises and slit wrists, spontateous hemorrhaging and nosebleeds, blisters and poisoning and donations), but the full spectrum of fluid bodily products: "urine," "pus," "phlegm" (both "snot" and "spit"), "bile," "gall," "mucous," "milk," "sperm" and "semen" [...] Characters are constantly "sick on" their surroundings ("We are such stuff as pukes are made on," one entry riffs). Another confesses that "it would be great to vomit," and after discovering a "strange burp in vomit," a "burp turns into vomit," escalating to "projectile vomiting at the dinner table" and ultimately "faecal vomiting" -- "an undigest" that links regurgitation to the many mentions of "waste" and "sewage": "shit" and "crap," "caca" and "merde," "guano," "manure," "droppings," "dung," and all tending to the extreme ("bowel too long"), the softened ("laxatives," whipped excrement), and the liquefied: infant soiling and "diarrhoea."

[...] Manson includes all manner of unhealthy retentions and emissions. The body is repeatedly subject to fluid swellings, and it further endures a wart and a wen, "watery cysts," a blister as big as a matchbox and another that bursts, the suppuration of several boils (one "persistent" and another that "bursts all over distant ;"), and a particularly gruesome "explosive pustule." [...]

Filling, swelling, leaking, bursting -- the body in Adjunct liquefies and overflows. Subcutaneous reservoirs of blood expand alarmingly, fluid spouts from unexpected sites, and the entire self, if not necessarily the actual body, is reduced to blood or excrement: "that man of blood"; "I am shit at my job"; "Dear Sir I'm shit, Love Peter" [...] However figural those expressions might be, the focus on the emollient pulps and spongy parts of the body are quite literal; Adjunct pointedly specifies the reservoirs of the spleen, bladder, kidney, liver, adenoids, as well as the lipids of "suet" and "lard," and the ominous trio of "gelatine, tallow, and semen." [...] Leaving only "grease and dead skin," the body in Adjunct continually sloughs off solid tissues [...] One finds a surprising number of depilations and exfoliations; hair balds prematurely or is shorn, nails are clipped, skin peels and flakes off with alarming insistence: "skin loosens on face"; "pieces of skin keep flaking off my leg"; "back of leg rips"; "two years later and bits of skin still keep flaking off my leg and not healing"; "Four years later and the leg is no better." [...] Or worse: "your skin goes hard and you die." [...] Or worse still: "reconstruct a Victorian shcoolgirl from fragments of skin"; "unfortunately the ears were attached to the hair"; "a band of human hair and skin was left 1.5 metres up the wall. Other human body parts, such as eye-balls, were scattered on the floor" [...] My point is not that the text can be morbid, but that the solid body in Adjunct is relentlessly disarticulated, repeatedly "broken," "irretrievably shattered," and even threatening to dematerialise completely [...] "Earless" and "headless," castrated or having "no genitals," the body's skeletal structure and extremities are unfailingly failing: brittle, disarticulated, or removed [...] Lungs collapse and are lost entirely; sections of the liver are "cut out"; legs and arms break or are amputated, leaving people "crutched" and "crippled"; toes "bruise or break"; spines are broken; digits are cut, cut off, and replaced with prosthetics; elbows are fractured, knees capped, other joints grow arthritic or become dislocated, limbs are "dismembered" or "dead" [...] Teeth are similarly at risk in Adjunct; missing, removable, decaying, toxic, blocked, no longer fitting together, artificial, and so essentially unstable that they actually define "insecurity" and "precarious" [...] And although the motivation for the sentence is comically paranomastic, even the hard encrustation of plaque is figured as soft, swollen and tender: "bubonic plaque" [...]

With its structures dissolving and its anatomy remade, the liquefying body in Adjunct resembles Antonin Artaud's "body without organs" [...]

Monday, 24 December 2007

Narrator of NBC’s To Catch A Predator’s tone subtly mocking of the half-heartedness of stitched-up would-be Internet paedophile’s attempt to kill himself by stabbing himself with the arresting officer's pen.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

From "The Cultivation of Christmas Trees"

By T. S. Eliot.

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard

Saturday, 22 December 2007

From the "Post-Marginal Positions" forum

[...] We’d like to start this conversation outside the U.S. We’re looking for co-editors for different regions to gather brief statements from local writers about feminism. We’d like to learn more about what it’s like to be a woman poet in other places of the globe, about living and working conditions of women poets in other locations, what others think can be done, if there might be anything to be done together.


If you’re interested in being a co-editor, know someone who might be, or have a suggestion or idea, we’d love to hear:

Friday, 21 December 2007

From "Jenna Bush's Book-Tour Diary of Hope"

By Steve Almond.

Diane Sawyer asks me if I feel a calling. Given all the stories in my past about being a "party girl," why am I now touring the country to raise awareness about the crisis of children excluded because they are HIV-positive? I gaze at her face—open, devout, with lips perhaps too swollen for a woman her age—and feel a lancing pity. Federico García Lorca whispers to me:

I have sung through the world
with my mouth of seven petals.
My galleys of amaranth
have gone without ropes or oars.

I have lived in the lands
of others, My secrets
round my throat,
without my realizing it, were open!

I think this is true of Diane Sawyer as well. I think the secrets around her throat are open. But I don't think she realizes it.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

From "New York City in 1979"

By Kathy Acker.

LESBIANS prefer the convoluting halls of sensuality to direct goal-pursuing mores.

Monday, 17 December 2007

This Thursday, 20 December: Opening night of Cross Kings Klinker. Terry Edwards + Plakka + Fuck Off Batman + Sir Gideon Vein + Chris Goode. Downstairs at Cross Kings pub, 126 York Way, London N1 0AX. Map / travel. Doors open 8pm, ends midnight. £5 / £3 concs.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

From "New York City in 1979"

By Kathy Acker.

Johnny like all other New York inhabitants doesn't want anything to do with sex. He hates sex because the air's hot, because feelings are dull, and because humans are repulsive.

Like all the other New Yorkers he's telling females he's strictly gay and males all faggots ought to burn in hell and they are. He's doing this because when he was sixteen years old his parents who wanted him to die stuck him in the Merchant Marines and all the marines cause this is what they do raped his ass off with many doses of coke.

Baudelaire doesn't go directly toward self-satisfaction cause of the following mechanism: X wants Y and, for whatever reasons reasons, thinks it shouldn't want Y. X thinks it is BAD because it wants Y. What X wants is Y and to be GOOD.

Baudelaire does the following to solve this dilemma: He understands that some agency (his parents, society, his mistress, etc.) is saying that wanting Y is BAD. The agency is authority is right. The authority will punish him because he's BAD. The authority will punish him as much as possible, punish me punish me, more than is necessary till it has to be obvious to everyone that the punishment is unjust. Punishers are unjust. All authority right now stinks to hell. Therefore there is no GOOD and BAD. X cannot be BAD.

It's necessary to go to as many extremes as possible.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

From "Epithalamion"

By Edmund Spenser.

[...] That all the sences they doe rauish quite,
The whyles the boyes run vp and downe the street,
Crying aloud with strong confused noyce,
As if it were one voyce.
Hymen io Hymen, Hymen they do shout,
That euen to the heauens theyr shouting shrill
Doth reach, and all the firmament doth fill,
To which the people standing all about,
As in approuance doe thereto applaud
And loud aduaunce her laud,
And euermore they Hymen Hymen sing,
that al the woods them answer and theyr eccho ring.

Friday, 14 December 2007


By John Wieners.

O poetry, visit this house often,
imbue my life with success,
leave me not alone,
give me a wife and home.

Take this curse off
of early death and drugs,
make me a friend among peers,
lend me love, and timeliness.

Return me to the men who teach
and above all, cure the
hurts of wanting the impossible
through this suspended vacuum.

From "The Field of Cultural Production"

By Pierre Bourdieu.

[...] the economy of practices is based, as in a generalised game of 'loser wins', on a systematic inversion of the fundamental principles of all ordinary economies [...]

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

From the makers . . . of Frances Kruk . . . & Sophie Robinson . . . comes . . . the etc.

Royal Holloway Poetic Pricktease MA at The Foundry, near Old Street, tomorrow (Thurs 13th).

Saturday, 8 December 2007

From "Adjunct Travesty"

By Peter Manson et. al.

The great this otter's Gerald Theriault began to commemory of Adjunct. I don't have fall. Back of small undulation. It come to grip now. United a sing a god. A mallow Neville. Boredom results. Lager slush-puppy. The police word 'fractal' in the 90s. Longueur stands composition of A Void. STILL MAKING EXCUSES: Peter Manson Crater, under too small girls since 1990. Obscene runic inscription examination of her husband's smile.

Friday, 7 December 2007

From "Crown"

By J. H. Prynne.

[...] oh why as the
hours pass and are drawn off, do the
shoulders break, down to their possessions,
when at moments and for days the city
is achieved as a glance -- inwards, across,
the Interior Mountain with its cliffs
pale under frost [...]

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The Materialist

By Ann Yearsley.

Behold yon wretch with silent horror fill'd,
And sullen in extreme! His doubts are hell,
Whilst each discordant pow'r of his dark soul,
Performs its office but to yield him woe.
Vile ravager of Order! who shall hold
Thy line of false Morality? Who boast
Of Virtues which exist without a cause?

Perfection, be it trifling as the mote
Which revels in the Sun-beam, cannot own
Its essence self-originating. Vain
Are all thy pleas to social rules of Man!
Vain are thy toils in Science! Vain the web
Hoary Philosophy shall ever spin,
If, in thy future views, thou ne'er canst form
Some good to hope for!

Monday, 3 December 2007

From "The Social Contract"

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Grotius denies that all human power is instituted for the benefit of the governed. He cites slavery as an example; his commonest mode of reasoning is to base a right on a fact. A more logical method could be employed, but not one that is more favourable to tyrants.

It is therefore doubtful, following Grotius, whether the human race belongs to a hundred or so men, or whether these hundred men belong to the human race, and he seems inclined, throughout his book, towards the former opinion [...]

Friday, 30 November 2007

From "Dictes Moy: Ballad To Lost and Jaded Time"

By François Villon trans. Jean Calais.

Where is Arembour who took Maine?
And where is the bonnie Joan of Lorraine
whom the English fucking burned at Rouen?
Holy Jesus mother of God where did they go?
But then where is all of last year's snow?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

It's been five days since Ron Silliman posted his generous review of Damn the Caesars, Vol. III.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

From "The Numbers Trouble with “Numbers Trouble”"

By Jennifer Ashton.

What they [Spahr and Young] offer are numbers suggesting that at the present moment women are getting something closer to 25% of the poetry pie than half of it.


But while it might be interesting and even salutary in some contexts to see a truly accurate picture, I want to make clear from the start that the accuracy or inaccuracy of that picture is completely irrelevant to the argument of "Our Bodies, Our Poems." If it were relevant, I might have done what Spahr and Young seem to think I should have done—I might have had a lot more to say about feminism. (In that case I also would have had a lot more to say about the degrees to which feminism has and hasn’t been able to further the causes of social justice. And about the value, for example, of a feminism that concerns itself as much with whether women poets get equal time on Ron Silliman’s blog as with the discrepancies between the wages men and women earn for the same work—and that concerns itself more with both of these than with the social and economic structures that prevent most people, men and women alike, from ever having such concerns to begin with.)

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Look at meee!: notes on Cambridge Poetry (5/5)

15. Of Complicities, it is necessary to ask, first, the proof that these are plural?, and thus in principle may admit of degree; & second, allowing them distinguishable, what law makes the complicity that poet’s who hath writ it?; & thirdly, whether or no Complicities, which are of men, but are said to be of words, lure us into the Pathetic Fallacy, whereof RUSKIN puts, “The crocus is not a spendthrift, but a hardy plant; its yellow is not gold, but saffron. How is it that we enjoy so much the having it put into our heads that it is anything else than a plain crocus?”. Had but these few things been well considered, without looking any deeper into the matter, it might perhaps have kept men from running into those gross mistakes they have made, concerning Complicities.

16. To which let me add, connected with Complicities, is Ethics, as it would be erected in LENIN'S bespoke range, Что делать NEIL PATTISON? & Что делать SOPHIE READ? &c., viz. Good & Evil established on their true foundations. And seen by this light, the proposition made, of Complicities being properly of words, not men, may be thought shallow, liked by the villains who'll protest, "'twas not I spoke thus, but my mouth: I make no cause with him." Moreover, RODEFER hath put, in THE CHICAGO REVIEW though not that lately of controversy, an account of how poets' structure is as martial as our words, which is more particular. Critics of this kind, how short soever they fall of satisfaction, are sympathic with me, & will own with me this principle. The risk of Complicities is just that: political labours, a consolation by nature, may falsify themselves as complaisance, & thereby straighten the labourer's views, so he who consults his intelligence, consults only its consolations. But should this danger be found small, or a method devised, to restrain it, then Complicities would have nothing left to threat.

18. Connected with Philosophic Song are Prosody and Syntax. What is contended about these is hid from us, but we partly bait it out, with what it hates. The plain of the case, that is hated by the philosophical songwriters, that hath its roots in the controversy of CAMPION and DANIEL, is this.

19. Thought (says the bait, to the tuneful philosopher in his burrow), when metrically made, benefits not a jot as thought, by or for its metricity. Allow that PRYNNE’S thought is judicious; and allow, because he joins so oft with the tabletalk WORDSWORTH, & POUND, & MARLOWE, & MILNE, &c., while it crisscrosses under that of ARISTOTLE, & HEIDEGGER, & RORTY, &c., & MARX, & TROTSKY, & WEBER, &c., in an hum, that it is rare. Allow next that his versification of it is sly, & far-sighted. Allow finally, with greater risk, that its meaning cannot be, practically, divided from its particular shapes, but must needs be within some particular force of words, that does well or ill or indifferently move the affections of men, in particular places; & that it were a stupid superstition, if it might even in principle, be so divided, for it would vanish, as trivially & verily as that, which if we removed its matter, would cease to be yak. For the baby in the bathwater, it is said, is gilled. But thereafter allow no more.

20. JARVIS puts, “If there is to be a real relationship between philosophy and poetry, it must be one in which poetry can sometimes think better than philosophy, or at least think things that philosophy cannot. This is one problem with philosophical aesthetics as the means of managing that relationship: in it, philosophy is the knower and art is the known.” He that shall carefully peruse JARVIS in Critical Quarterly 40, & SUTHERLAND in The Gig 16, & MOI’S The Kristeva Reader, will be able to satisfy himself whether this is more than the bait will allow. Enmity between them, if it begins, is without exit. The reason is because, the things that are fought for are not the same, merely in the same places, & with the same names, which sounds an absurdity, when spoken of things in a man’s neighbourhood, but a likelihood, when spoken of things that are foreign or imaginary. But let this pass of metrical setts.

21. Connected with Utopia, there is Ideology, and the chance of room without, or I had better put rooms within, for False Consciousness is jump with the lip of the world, and wants secure wastes without, but hath only quick bubbles within, which break. Idealism is joined with it, whereon arises the indifferent controversy of the Language poet, who it is said hath a dot-matrix print-out of a child’s smithereens, and when he, with prudent Tip-Ex and stipple, hath swapped their places, says, I have a picture of a rainbow. SUTHERLAND puts, “Normal language, like capitalism and of course as a constituent part of it, is transcendentally hospitable. It is Whitman’s cosmogonic melos and Judith Butler’s infinitely promiscuous selfhood in perfected carbon burlesque: everybody’s autothanatography. It always eats Shklovsky’s Defamiliarization Salts for breakfast.”

22. Among all the tentacles’ insupperable mixing, Utopia, & Syncrenism, are braided up their full extent, or I should say, that of whichever is shorter. To have an Utopia is to live in unlimited grace, & Syncrenism, is when the same state obtains, but it is limited to those who seek Utopia.

23. SUTHERLAND dedicated his Roger Aisles, to “us,” after the fashion of PROUDHON, or “U.S.”, after that of MARX, but I have not the text to hand, nor will till READINGS’S mince pies are digested; & the prudent WILKINSON puts, “[...] I meet difficulty with the pronouns, both on top of things and obliterated, displaced, dispersed [...] I find it absurd to write ‘we’; by turns I dominate and succumb, or even in the same moment. And in this country, at this time, ‘we’ hath lost all possibility of adventure.” I think it is a strange imperfection, that the same men, who formulate works of so virtuoso a toleration, should overrun in cycles the estimation of good things with so violent a censure, as though it must please none else, because it likes not us.

24. The judicious taxonomer makes mention too, in connection with Syncrenism, of RETALLACK’S Poethical Wager, which is the thought, that to responsibly litter a fag, it were the reverse of common judgement, & also a thought to succeed it, that to temper all my tools, great conflagrations probably in my wake were a perfect forge.

Look at meee!: notes on Cambridge Poetry (4/5)

14. DIGRESSION. The strings are some of the propositions so evidently agreeable to it, and so heartlike to its chest that nobody can deny them to be drawn from thence; yet also Performance Writing; the Mouthy & Inky Existence of a Poem; its Defamiliarisations; the Life of its Author; the Thinness of its Membrane; HOWE’S Impasse; Google; Bathos; Posterity; Comedy; Situationism: Er Now What?; Dada: Gub Now What?; and other hairs, are inside it, whose reach, and knottiness, and place, I give my detractors to extract to research; to make spectacle of how little they thwart me; but let school-men pass.

Look at meee!: notes on Cambridge Poetry (3/5)

12. I own that the unnameable thing which is as unnamed by Cambridge Poetry as by New Textual Obscurantism, (& unnamed, more or less, by privative,) wants precise boundaries. It wants, I confess, even a heart; yet it is shot through with numerable heart strings, that I call Difficulty, Complicities, Philosophic Song, Utopia, and Syncrenism.

13. Connected with Difficulty, there is Researches, whereof JARVIS spilt his ink, & Stupor, whereon SUTHERLAND his quill, for a Quid. Read also PRYNNE’S For The Monogram, & MANSON’s Adjunct. There is also annexed Accessibility, which calls “Why, what a king is this!”, so ASTLEY & PATERSON go to it. Why man, they made love to this employee! But let this of love pass.

Look at meee!: notes on Cambridge Poetry (2/5)

6. So I am out of the ordinary course of my nature, in contending that the latest diseases of UKPoetry, that shocked BERGVALL, proceed from the poisons of sectarian doctrines, and not intersected material.

7. In the town of Cambridge, not to injure magical oaks, that are plentiful, buildings are devised like alphabetical letters, and labours are under way, to print an “S”, which may house seventy-five men, on West Road, & where oaks grow up such that, it is plain, Cambridge will say SOUP. But let this of soup pass.

8. The eyes of man, fitted to perceive, & his hands to take, the middle-sized equipment, that is most useful to survival, are ill-adapted to perceive, or be at home with, the frailties and inconveniencies of an atom, a star, or a great system wherein the honest contention for this fashion, or that, is converted to contend for the skirmish of fashions.

9. BRIDWELL says, and many think, that the jumble of atoms of criticism, that ill or well clarify, or blur, this poet or that, or this, that, verse, work, book, form their General Character, only on sociological ground, or others will say material. But, there being many material things, such as atoms, and stars, and systems, wherein we have very imperfect notions, or none at all, our reason shows us but Fortuna and the barbarian. Then each man looks barbarously to his interest, and is as swift to enmity, as to alliance for enmity; whereof THE PYTHONS put:

10. All this is the reason that, the sinuous rock of THE STEPHEN HAWKING BUILDING &c. I ban from these considerations of CAMBRIDGE, as though only the ploughman’s pains, the reaper’s and thresher’s toil, the brewer’s sweat, the townie’s broken bottle.

11. When 'tis done, the most blinded of contenders cannot miss several abstract Notions, which draw together, like droplets on a pane, to construct a General Character, purified of those influences, from which proceed UKPoetry's ballast of ballots. And yet, because poets are so undetermined in our nominal essences, which we make ourselves, if several were to be asked concerning some oddly-shaped foetus as soon as born, whether it were a poet or no, it is past doubt one should meet with different answers, which could not happen if the nominal essences whereby we limit and distinguish the species of substances were not made by poets with some liberty, but were exactly copies from precise boundaries set by nature.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Look at meee!: notes on Cambridge Poetry (1/5)

For We, or wii; I have not the text in hand.

1. I have been five years among the poets, they hold publicly their bunches, in the city of London, oftener than the saints had days; I learnt to murmur today to thus-and-such’s back, how grossly he’s imposed, with a great hope, of his tomorrow murmuring it to mine.

2. This partage of attention, after the fashion of those loaves, and fishes, that our maker parted, poets have made practicable with a compact, either express or tacit, that includes one duty in special, either necessary over a poet, or closely joined with his preservation, of subscription to Listserv, e.g. UKPoetry that is administered by TUMA.

3. On UKPoetry, those disputes that are managed by a several and inconsistent law, are determined, in the initial offsets of law on law, to converge to tabletalk, or bend their nerves to bloodshed; “Doth this milf seem sour to you?”, &c.; but let us see what the duty of lament requires.

4. I concern myself so closely with the sociological, what the crass call the contingent ground of our labours, through my mask of BRIDWELL, that when I hang her up to go to my bed, she yet tics with those beliefs, in the darkness with hisses like grains down an hour-glass.

5. Bridwell’s network today is trod by the judicious CRITCHLEY, SCHULTZ & RILEY, & many others, & I am frighted, by the sudden enlargement of its traffic & the widening of habitual ways for unfamiliar freight, to consider what waste I might make use of, to regain solitude, and sovereignty.

Friday, 23 November 2007

From "Notes on the History Plays"

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (on Richard II).

II. Constant overflow of feelings; incapable of controlling them; waste of that energy which should be reserved for action in the passion and effort of resolves and menaces, and the consequent exhaustion, as in the threats of III. ii. 36-62 and throughout.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

A Note on Bile by Emily Critchley (1/2)

Her sequence contains four poems, “Repeat Reclaim Regurgitate!,” “The indicible (for Caroline Bergvall),” “Dear J H” & “[edit] Criticisms (a prynne tribute band).”

They are mostly in the open field, hypertextual, palimpsestual, macronic, multi-coloured, many-fonted format I by now associate with Emily’s “OK so like bluetits pit wire on wire, in must, but please let there be more to it than ‘since we are seeing the meadows newly blossoming, / you could have some things for me at the back of your vag’” attack-pluralism.

“Repeat Reclaim Regurgitate!” is a shadowy & provisional criticism of certain tendencies, which it may or may not identify with Keston Sutherland’s poem Hot White Andy (“& where does that leave us poetically in 2007 Keston’s poetry seemed to scream?”). It probably does make the identification; one of its quotations (nearly cited – I suspect the omission was accidental) is from Jennifer Cooke’s recent essay on Hot White Andy, which appears in Complicities ed. Ladkin & Purves: “[…] performing this unpleasant consequence of capitalist thinking entails replicating it […].”

Skimming that essay just now has sharpened my sense of what “Repeat Reclaim Regurgitate!” is about. Jennifer turns the hoary idea about satire’s structural affection for its objects into an idea about complicit critique (not her term). She applies it to Hot White Andy, identifying its critique with an analysis of love as narcissism crystallising in a matrix of substitutability, & identifying the mechanism of its complicity with the authorative self which in Hot White Andy is still staying on your sofa, and also, sort of, the man behind the iron curtain (see note 1). Emily’s poem deflects & scatters the force of the prose criticisms it draws on.

“Dear J H” & “The indicible (for Caroline Bergvall)” are probably pretty minor – grace notes filliped down others’ oeuvres. As a pair, they seem to suppose a zero sum game: as if praise in one sector were impossible without compensatory aggression in another. “Dear J H” is a short prosaic lyric – vaguely redolent of a Ben Péret ad hominem, but more passive-aggressive – that contains two echoes of William Carlos Williams’ much-parodied “This Is Just To Say.” The allusion (it makes sense to think of it as an allusion to the parodies, actually) is evidence of thoughtlessness & remoteness, which may have been planted, as part of an anti-art or otherwise deflationary scheme. “The indicible” also has a conspicuous deflated component – it’s a mash-up of found texts. “Constructed from fragments collected from an internet search on the word indicible.” It’s a faintly funny poem, hinting that the Untellable (see note 2) is really just in [sic] Google? My copy contains a typo (“[...] in reponse to her [Caroline Bergvall’s] attention to suffering [...]”).

Note 1: The first identification seems much more plausible to me that the second: I’m not sure complicity happens through mechanisms, exactly (not her term). But I may be eliding Jennifer’s point with some of the famous bits of the Language programme, all that anti-Romantic hypernormative ego stuff. Cf. for the Hell of it this from Nicholas Manning's blog:

"[...] The last question concerned the idea of a lack of “unity” to Dale’s transcription of sense-data, which led to me being called ‘totalitarian’ (see on this Godwin’s Law) I think this is the most important point to clarify, as I wasn't at all meaning to imply that poetry needs to seek a sort of Schillerian, and thus fundamentally Ienaen, High Romantic unity, which has so fundamentally and comprehensively been undermined and showed to be dangerous and destructive, and of course I’m in with the Althusser/Adorno anti-Heideggerian lineage [...] But of course I wasn’t talking about this sort of all-subsuming epiphenomenal neo-Platonic Plotinian One! I was just meaning to question the value of such an annotative poetics, if we don’t dig down into such annotations, perhaps via a more englobing formality or praxis. I know Adorno especially wouldn’t want us to reject a complex formality or governing poetic teleology just because of the risk of it being, or becoming at some stage, hegemonic . . . Perhaps it’s a risk we sometimes have to take [...] All of which doesn’t quite yet make me a Fascist . . . I think [...]"

Note 2: L'indicible, the untellable, unspeakable, unsayable, etc. Here's Caroline: ‘The question is not so much to represent as it is to conceptualise identities that are not socially or culturally “presentable" [...] to allow for the whole of language-use to be coloured by homosexuality and its residues of unnameability. Such an agenda is as conceptual as it is political. It’s set up as a posture of writing and works against the social paralysis of representation. It isn’t so much about the figuration or representation of a body type, but rather about language behaviour in relation to censored realities and the way this in turn creates body types’ from ‘ex/cre/men/tal eating’ (from an interview with Marjorie Perloff. Thanks Sophie rriaow).

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Saturday, 17th November
Marianne Morris + others
Hosted by Jody Porter & 14 Hour
Upstairs at The Griffin
93 Leonard Street

Thursday 22nd November
Readings by
19 Gladstone Terrace
9.30 pm

Friday, 23rd November
Marianne Morris, Timothy Thornton & Keston Sutherland
The Erasmus Room
Queens' College

Wednesday, 28th November
Carol Watts & Sarah Riggs
The Calder Bookshop
51 The Cut
London SE1 8LF
(nearest tubes Waterloo and Southwark)
(Andrea Brady's Wieners talktalk is filliped from this day)

Friday, 16 November 2007

From "Ed Dorn Live: Lectures, Interviews, and Outtakes"

Ed. Joseph Richey.

[…] be that as it may, Tom Raworth was hatched in Donald Davie’s and my brain […]

Thursday, 15 November 2007

From next month, you'll be able to use your Oyster Card in Black Cabs.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A Note on "Mortared Penne: Ha Ha Ha" (3/4)

“Penne” jollies into the Maddy history in a fully crass, fannish and hyperconsumptive mode. Madeleine’s first explicit appearance is an exploitation of that "creepy little girl trope" (cf. Regan, Lavinia) to suggest, in the most idiotic of twists – the kind of twist indigenous to rock-paper-scissors – that the real threat comes from Madeleine herself:

A blowtorched Madeleine McCann starts punching
you in the face; you are terrified; she, looking all
cut-together and emo, takes a scalpel and “Oh […]

“[C]ut-together,” see note 1. The Maddy history became its own prequel as a whodunit, so also as a supernatural slasher why not. As gorenography why not.

As SF why not – actually, because The Independent front page today can’t decide whether it’s a tabloid pisstake (see note 2). Obviously The Independent should have Tabloid Fridays, and obviously the Maddy history, in its connections with those who care about it, has stipulated utopian journalistic relations (which would be science fictionalised if they were applied to, you know, the Olympics). But it’s newsy, Toal’s poem, not a poem concerned with newsiness (see note 3). Its tendency is to “turn all problems into epistemological problems” but not – as Keston mad in hind when he fused that raze at the recent [nay antickUser:SmackBot] Woetry and Pizardry conference in Warwick – to turn all epistemological problems into problems. Not, that is, narcissicm illimitable qua iterable epistemological pseudo-problems, spuriously about the spuriously ethical spurious possession of actual inferable pain (see note 4). As Toal’s poem works its optative anti-Nativity down into elegy and decathexis, it reveals two emphases which are utterly main within 20th Century philosophy downstream from its “practice” turn. Emphasis on (1) somatic knowledge and other non-propositional knowledges; emphasis on (2) confabulation and the construction of memory. What the poem notices is that the former emphasis can be corrective on the latter, and what that means for grief.

Note 1: In all the paper, suggests shreddy “cut-up” like Burroughs Gyson et. al. & also “I feel cut-up” (& then put back together again: pysche cut-ups). But obviously basically it’s the cinematic thing: cf. cutaways, jump cuts, match cuts, cross cuts, uncuts, cute, final cuts. Cf. “Nancy asks, ‘What became of representation itself at Auschwitz?’ (34). Knowing that the camps at Auschwitz destroyed the possibility of representation by destroying subjectivity (and all that that entails), the essay wants to argue that art can still be made — even art about the camps. Nancy suggests that representation can be taken in two ways — one in which all absence/difference is scrubbed out by representation’s claim to exhibit the truth, and the other, in which it is absence itself that activates and sustains the representation” (Google, pp. 1-2).

Note 2: 16 Nov. “Astounding new figures show record numbers of migrants are crossing the world in search of better lifestyles. Should they be welcomed? Are they parasites? Or should they all go back to where they came from?*” Then a big picture of the Union Jack and then a huge footnote: “* That’s Britain, by the way.”

Note 3: Though in the last bit, a child can exist not “only on paper,” but be brought forth from paper, following a weird reflexive ceremony. We have now received the R3 DVDs for ADR and Litigation for Insolvency Practitioners. If you would like to borrow one of these, please speak to your local office training contact or Victoria Mandleson in the CF learning team. Can whoever still has my Garden State etc. Some early jUStin!katKO stuff about Martha Stewart could perhaps be differentiated from Toal’s poem, as being both newsy & concerned primarily with its newsiness. Who is it that poemified a copy of the NY Times or something (when he should have been spuzzing praxis Tip-ex o’er Europe’s Bic borders (“wet dream” contra “wet fart”))?

Note 4: The sentimental moment of the “one can nothing but one does what one can” crew does reveal itself. The “fail again. Fail the same” crew. The peripheral flake of the Splintered Left crew.
It’s the extravagant rumour that Madeleine has escaped the poem's determination of her, and it’s syntactically melded with the hearsay that a “wet snore” escaped her – i.e. that she succeeded in absolutely relinquishing certain aspects of rhetoric so as to gather cosmic res gestae to her and utter indubitable speech.

The emanations of “a shit-in” can be teased into streams of these fragrances at least:

(1) Inversion / negativity (“I fucked up; it went in instead of out” (jUStin!katKO)).

(2) Long-term, messy political struggle (a “shit-in”: a sit-in that turns into a squat).

Excretion toggled is secretion: Kate “secreted” Maddy when she was born and arguably when she died. Brian Kennedy, an uncle of Kate McCann, called that allegation “repulsive,” telling the BBC, “The notion that even accidentally they killed their daughter, hid her body, then put her body in a car hired 25 days later while the glare of the international publicity is on them, and when they are always with friends and family, is fatuous beyond words.” Like “secreted,” “mortared” and “escaped” are kinda set up in the poem as autantonyms (like “enjoin” and “dust” and “quite” and “cleave”), meaning respectively “cemented together / blown apart” and “emerged from my living child / was beyond the talents of my child’s corpse”.

Just as the visitor to Bentham-Foucault's panopticon internalises and makes permanent the guard's intermittent gaze, so the visitor to Toal's Maddie-Land internalises the indubitible, engrammatical “promise syrup” (a.k.a. Toal's “wet snore,” Justin's “rebel yell,” the glue which he or she exudes in order to make irrevocable and unmistakeable commitments). He or she “shits in” or “secretes” this promise syrup, “ending up” back at the starting point, facing the same ensemble of agent-principal and commitment problems. In a moment of piss-weak Glenda, Good Witch of the North bathos (“you had the affiliative sociotechnologies you needed all along”) the pertinent obstacles to emancipation are fatuously restylised as perfected emancipatory techniques. I don't know what the point is of this procedurally distended instantaneous round-trip, this going back for the keys you actually had, this media orgy Groundhog Shadowrout of the concept. In the interim Maddy has seriously become something tapping against the window. With a great deal of luck, maybe well-meaning agents will coordinate their crucial acts on the basis of the private - even the completely opposite - meanings they attach to “public signifiers.”

Note 5: Optative meaning here basically in wistful patterns, decathexis meaning reeling in your feelings about someone or something in the face of its imminent loss, The Independent thing and the Victoria Mandleson things being basically irrelevant, bathos meaning anticlimax, engrammatical being a smug neologism after engram, which is basically a hypothetical bit of memory gristle, Groundhog Day also alluding to the film with Bill Murray by the same name, somatic meaning bodily, confabulation meaning bullshit, res gestae being a sweet legal category of difficult-to-misinterpret speech acts, treated as more-or-less impervious to Chinese Whispers effects, & a lot of this sounding like a rehash of my undergrad dissertation on John Wilkinson (PDF) & hopefully a pre-hash of the final episode of Architecture for Cartography, purposes crossed.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

I'll do all that other stuff, look at this.

MILOU: Stand down.

[violins sound.]

MILOU: This is a technology which could produce missiles as well. Stand down.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

From "Childhood"

By Luke Kennard.

[...] The boy with glue on his jumper made bats
By paperclipping moths to the backs of mice.


I did my best to detach him,
But we remained friends until he joined the army –
Or what he thought was the army;

It was actually just one of many armies [...]

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Talks. Talks.

Two events on Wednesday, 14 November. Which will be better.

1) Free Sophie Robinson on ‘Techno/gender/mess: Digital poetics & politics.’ Room B20, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London. Closest tube Russel Square. 7.00 pm. Or maybe 7.30?

2) Free Ken Edwards, free Jeff Hilson, and free David Miller. Calder Bookshop 51 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1. 7.00 pm.

Thursday, 8 November 2007


Crossing the Line, 7th December:
Chris Paul & Philip Kuhn
The Horseshoe Inn
26 Melior St
Nearest tube London Bridge.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

A Note on Mortared Penne: Ha Ha Ha (2/4)

The “snore” is fakeable evidence of sleep and unfakeable evidence of life, the phantastic “wet” version, unfakeable across either asserted matter (see note 1). The “child” is Madeleine McCann. “Ethical thinking in poetry tends to demand extravagant repudiation even of the most diminutive injustice, it makes so much depend upon even the smallest hurt, the smallest expense of spirit, partly because poets are committed to an indigenously stupid assessment of the relationship of law to power” (Keston in this Quid). The obvious extravagance which “Penne” withholds, about two-thirds of the way through in all directions, is a “critique” (see note 2) inflicted through the little pang or sting whose stifling is usually taken to be a condition of possibility of such a critique. There is a whiff of naff about Maddy, as though her history beckoned the cultural critic with disproportionate solicitude. “C’mon, be unflinching! C’mon! *pants*.” I get a weird sense, probably from without the poem, that Toal is not portraying Madeleine’s disappearance as exemplary or paradigmatic, nor concerning himself with the “smallest expense of spirit” of her abuse and death, so much as sulking that his daughter also vanished on 3 May 2007 in the resort of Praia da Luz in the Algarve, Portugal, and nobody really cares.

Note 1: I can't exactly remember why I thought this, when I wrote it. It had to do with "wet fart" and "wet dream." I suppose there are no comparatively reliable procedures to verify the claims "I farted" and "I had a dream about sex" (against those to verify the claims "I shat myself" and "I came in my sleep") from an observer perspective. (In Habermasian terminology, to query the first pair leads at best to discourse, whereas it is possible to query the second pair without suspending communicative action?)

In following this lead, I probably homogenised night emissions. Aren't the cocked sub-we often forced to hazily recollect dreamt orgasms to definitively taxonomise a given residue or smell? Also, this allusion of Toal's, to the gas or smegma libidinal anti-aubade, makes me wonder a bit about the "wet blanket" and "wet the bed" angles, and really about the contribution of the whole bed and sleep scenario generally. The contrarian cat-napper who dogmatically insists he or she did not nod off (which vignette's abundance is ensured by waker's grumpiness) certainly fits in with his theme of sedulously operationalized self-doubt. David Foster Wallace has a dense and meticulous -- fuck it he's dead, a Wallacian -- account of contested snoring, which I think also involves child sexual abuse. Wallace's story (I'm pretty sure it's "Oblivion") culminates with the pathological transcendence of the Sleeping Couple into a public, and into a scientistically administered and chronicled setting. But in the ordinary course of things (it draws its own ordinary course of things, that's the point) the claim "I wasn't snoring!" comes packaged with its own pragmatics: we can plausibly dramatise, with unusual momentum and ease, the entire contemptible, heteronormative or heteronormative-imitative, bourgeois marital conundrum, its petty ethical phenomenology and its social and economic root systems. Language with that quality, I get the impression, is somehow particularly privileged or exploited in the Prynne-Keston-Toal Rubick's line of influence. How or why I dunno, although the obvious suspicion is idealism-smuggling, via artificially upping the proportion of language that happens to have manageably elegant relations with its various concrete instances.

Note 2: Racism, bread and circuses, prurient prudishness, Spectacular multiplication of innocence, degradation of vanguardist thought (Maddy as Lenin), cud activism, cud class consciousness, cud morality, etc.

In "Unsuitable for Ladies" (ed. Jane Robinson)

By Selim.

When you comed to me
I’m forgit every things
I’m forgit smile the moon
I’m forgit my silf
Because I rimimber
You sweetly smile.

If I forgit you
I’m forgit my life
I don’t forgit you for ever
Because I love you

When you came to me
The stars cames whith you to me
When I see you
I see the moon
When I see you I see the moon

I see every things so sweetly
I see the moon but
I don’t feeling by it

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Historical Materialism 2007 is happening this weekend -- 9-11 November, Friday to Sunday, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (nearest tube Russell Square).

Monday, 5 November 2007

Note on Mortar Penne: Ha Ha Ha (1/4)

I’m not sure if Jefferson Toal’s poem, “Mortar Penne: Ha Ha Ha” will repay the kind of sustained attention I’m going to give (a bit of) it. “[...] no criticism, only anecdote and enthusiasm [...]” (Andrew Duncan about Tom Raworth). “[...] heartscuff [...]” (Sophie Robinson, about “[...] skinnybeast [...]” perhaps).

It is like the poems by Keston Sutherland. I don’t know what to say about that except to log it – all the poems in the Brighton Quid are like them a bit (but see note 1). The features this poem shares with loads of Keston’s are its mesmerising unpredictability, its weird funniness, its weird beauty, and its weird pathos. I mean each “weird” as predicatively and as non-redundantly as I can – if you like, picking out the subset of weird funninesses from the total set of possible funninesses; whereas weirdness is usually implicated in an explanation of how a thing comes to be funny or beautiful (perhaps less so with pathetic – though you hear “weirdly moving” a lot), I have in mind a weirdness which is not constitutive in that way – so, a weirdness which doesn’t get overdetermined by the fact that “. . . but it works!”. My suspicion (which I’m not getting into here, see note 2) is that such weirdness happens through anarchist not marxist instincts – emerges on poems through their “wanting” to be the culture of anarchist counterpower.

The syntax of “Mortar Penne: Ha Ha Ha” inherits from Jeremy Prynne’s stuff via Keston’s. The first part of that transmission is not quite “influence.” Keston’s syntax sometimes solicits a tactic which Jeremy’s often leaves you no option but to adopt (note 3). There’s a kind of flip-filter which makes influence-talk disingenuous.

This last ditch tactic is to consider all the poem’s language – words, word clusters, letters maybe (see note 4) – as particles with definite histories and potentials within Total Discourse (justly weighting their comparatively insignificant appearance in this text). This exhaustive “consideration” is clearly not possible, so syntax generates prior priority, the authority of which is resisted to a different degree and in different manners by each atom. Some words can’t quite be put. See note 4.

The syntax in “Penne” is not actually that fucked. But this might be an example:

[...]oats in the air;

could you...? / or perhaps you’re barely there
anymore, just a mortared wet snore fuck’d
with tape escapes my child a shit-in; [...]

The last bit is an archaistic (cf. "fuck’d") version of the sentence “a shit-in escapes my child with tape.” Or (and/or and/or) it’s saying, Oh yeah? Now think this motherfucker: "just a mortared wet snore fuck’d with tape" (subject) "escapes" (ditransitive verb, see note 5) "my child" (primary object) "a shit-in" (secondary object). But it’s more a limb unclaimed, hermeneutically perfuming the room, so that for example “wet snore” more securely recalls “wet fart.” To the unprejudiced eye.


Note 1: I mean you could say oh such-and-such a poem is an exception (Luska’s, Michael’s, Maura’s . . . the list is endless) or so-and-so’s bequest, while conspicuous, has little to do with how that poem really works (Toal’s maybe (this figure is called occupatio apparently)), or protect the proposal from its risked cattiness by reasserting the death of the fine Author, or in some other way commend the separation of powers in matters of value and of possibility, or remark that folk theory about literary influence tends to resist input from its paid theorists, excepting perhaps a wee don in the direction of Harold Bloom, which paid theorists are in turn insufficiently alert to post-Kuhnian philosophy of science, possibly also speculating as to the half-life of such a dynamic, with and partly via pondering re the capacity of the afterlife of such a system of resemblances to retrospectively undo the self-sameness of its originary, like, columna ceruli, perhaps you could hold up a superstructure to nature, and glory that the IP law of science shits on that of art, and perhaps you could wallow in them, in that turd of compartmentalism confounded, that golden professor, but my reluctance to do it is because it would not be ending up gathering together the fragments of the good life that are still possible in the conditions which obtain. Duck it (food), let’s “bo!”, goaling.

Note 2: And I’m sort of working on fleshing out that suspicion with respect to Keston’s stuff, maybe. But I should be doing work for my course or writing Dog Puke or Xena or Hax not this tapas. Eek. Weirdness also kinda jockeyed for irreducibility in Sean Bonney’s talk on his Baudelaire poems on Wednesday. Sean was talking about Baudelaire monging out in his room feeling a bit weird and going around like a semi-respectable hack and feeling a bit weird then too. More on this in part two I think.

Note 3: Cf. Ben Watson's chapters on Prynne in Art, Class & Cleavage.

Note 4: Of course, syntax is already decisive respecting what atoms there are. A kind of hermeneutic sphere, is what I’m describing. Yo, did I mention this tactic is a mother-fucking-father approach? If you volunteer it to, syntax will put the “care” back in “careful” . . . but all that appears where Language poets or their strawmen put “readerly freedom” is “best practice.”

Note 5: Ditransitive, meaning takes two objects, e.g. "Charity gave Prudence AIDS."

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Thatuth Thimble

Ken Edwards, Jeff Hilson and David Miller will be reading at the Calder Bookshop (also known as The Bookshop Theatre), 51 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1, on Wednesday the 14th of November, 7.00. Nearest tubes: Waterloo, Southwark. (The bookshop is across the road from the Young Vic Theatre.) Free admission. Ken Edwards will be launching his new book of anti-narratives, Nostalgia for Unknown Cities, published by Reality Street.

Friday, 2 November 2007

What do people think? Can a beard hold you back in a City firm?

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Friday 2 November, 8 pm: Crossing the Line / double book launch:

Tim Atkins's "Damn!" && walks into the bathroom –
had a lot of friends calling him in – so his face
is savede as, but yeah basically shouldn't have been
"spat"-vacuuming the eggcup I
now want to fight an electrical fire with.
So makes "A word, once sent abroad,
flies irrevocably" & "my wine
doesn't mellow / in a Laestrygonian vat" look
back like it did before.

As for his friend. Do these ones. Bed rooms. Hall way.
Never meet tns&$^)(*%huaesnt!)&$ha[l[foeuce asnothuen
an English Oulipoem I liked. Do boo the cud
bis going by with aped ids.
Girls who eat their feelings, girls who
don't some macrophage aisles
predator ramp he slit taught meat home . . . closes
her robe and
glides to jagged moves of quaker. All in
Philip Terry's needs, right?

Upstairs at The Horseshoe Inn
26 Melior Street
London Bridge

3 min walk from London Bridge tube: use the St Thomas Street exit.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

‘’Beat up the Poets: What I did to Baudelaire and Why’
Council Room,
Malet Street.
7.00 on Wednesday
31 October 2007
All welcome

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A deader writes



An evening of very happy materialistic psychodialysis with Justin Katko & Jamelia Wigmore on tonight the 30th October at 6pm shar in



At which event you'll also be able to buy


A collection of poetry by persons based in, or recently based in, or recently debased in, or serving to induce a preliminary or light anesthesia prior to total anesthetization in, Brighton UK.


Fabian Macpherson
Luska Mengham
Mike Wallace-Hadrill
Maura Hamer
Michael Kindellan
Nathan Blunt
Jennifer Cooke
Jonty Tiplady
Anna Ticehurst
Jefferson Toal
Meredith Okell
Lianna Valenti
Gareth Farmer
Alex Pestell
J.H. Prynne.


Saturday, 27 October 2007

A Note on Your Lastest Sequence

Jockritik Kamelia. Get inside that concept. Move that concept. I want you to hit that concept with reckless abandon. Rape that concept. I’m not here to fuck around this week. Now you may be. But I’m not. I want you to fucking fear that concept. Fear will make you invincible. You won't believe what that concept is capable of. You can't imagine what that concept can do. Fucking eat it. You are to cunt it in the bastard, Jamelia, are you fucking listening to me? After my funding failed I had to wait around for a fucking year in decathected canonicity lek. You’re not putting me in that fucking position again. I am not here to get my ass beat by fucking idealism. I will run you into the fucking ground. This is absolute fucking bullshit. You will goddamn pay for it like you won’t fucking believe. There’s a lot on the web about it.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
8:00pm - 10:00pm
The Erasmus Room
Queens' College


Ian Patterson,
Luke Roberts and
Peter Larkin


[To get to The Erasmus Room, the PLACE of this event, cross the Mathematical Bridge, turn right along the cloisters (Cloister Court), take the first archway on your right into a small court (Pump Court) and go up the steps at the far end of the court. Head up the stairs.]

A Note on Googling Yourself on the Hour and Half Hour

In the Swedish dubs of the Care Bears, for unknown reasons, the villains Dark Heart, Coldheart, and No Heart all got the same name - “Hjärtlös” (“Heartless”). In Lenin’s handwritten manuscript of 1916 he used the title we’re familiar with – Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. But when he published the pamphlet in 1917 he called it Imperialism, the Latest Stage of Capitalism (cf. Rudolf Hilferding’s Finance Capital, the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development). An early English translation, appearing in a number of different editions in Britain and the United States, converted “Latest” into “Last”. After Lenin’s death, the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, for unknown reasons, put out a new edition of the work in which “Highest Stage” was substituted for “Latest Stage” (following Lenin’s earlier handwritten manuscript), and the work has carried that title ever since. The effect is to label a piece of analysis as if it were a splat of eschatological tapas.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A Note on Redwall (3/3)

This is the only Redwall book to use profanity. While the rats are chasing Basil around the church, one says "I'll stick his damned guts on my pike." and shortly after Constance takes the phony plans from Sela, Sela thinks, "Damn that badger's hide!". Also, the late King Bull Sparra was called an ass but it was in the sense of "stupid".

A Note on Redwall (2/3)

  • Killconey the ferret is sometimes referred to as male, but other times as female, which is a printing error.
  • Matthias was able to land in the mouth of a cat, indicating that the cat/mouse sizes were the same as in real life.
  • A horse was big enough to draw a cart that carried an entire army of rats.
  • Constance the badger was described as far bigger than the mice and rats repeatedly, able to carry a fish in her mouth that the mice couldn't move. She also lifted a table, and was able to outfight rats while unarmed.
  • Foxes are indicated in Redwall as not inherently evil. It is mentioned that Abbot Mortimer used to trade tomes with "wandering healer foxes". Sela The Vixen's brood of foxes was referred to as a bad lot, indicating that they were an exception and not the norm. In all later books in the series, there has never been reference to good foxes.

A Note on Redwall (1/3)

Brian Jacques' Redwall, the first in the series, contains a number of anomalies: departures from the large and otherwise fairly consistent world which emerges during the series. It's worth briefly collecting the most conspicuous of these.
  • Redwall is the only book in the entire series that makes any mention of domesticated animals. Animals mentioned in this book - but never again in the series - include horse, dog, cow, and pig.
  • Also, the Abbot mentions a "village where the dog and pigs reside", perhaps implying human habitation. In the the books following this, the world of Redwall is inhabited only by wild fauna.
  • Additionally, Methuselah claimed that one of the accounts of Cluny came from a town dog. The horse present in the early chapters was the size of a normal horse, and the wagon it pulled was scaled to the same size - an entire army of rats was able to ride in it. Also there was a mention of cows that trampled through a village. However, Brian Jacques did not expect the book to be published, and excluded references to humans and many larger animals in later books.
  • The beaver in Redwall is the only one to appear in the entire series. Its species has not been mentioned since.
  • Bees can communicate in Redwall, indicated by a statement at the end of the book where the Guerilla Shrews learned to speak the bee language so they could trade and argue. This was not noted in other books.
Sascha Akhtar, The Ex-Men, Chris Goode + INUA PHAZE (see Sascha's comment).
At the opening of the second season of

Saturday 3rd November 7.30pm
£5 / £4 (concs)

Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, WC2H 9BX
tube: Covent Garden / Holborn

Monday, 22 October 2007



Saturday 27th October, 10-7.
Queen Mary & Westfield College,
Mile End Road, E1.

Near Mile End / Stepney Green / my specklike landlady's house.

ROOM 304

12 noon – 2pm
Were the first humans anarchists?
Radical Anthropology Group

2pm – 3pm
Anarchist Quiz
Martin Howard - Freedom
Teams up to five

3pm – 4pm
Resisting the Olympics - Tenant Resistance to Global Property Speculation Techniques in London's East End
Gascoyne Estate (Hackney) Tenants' Association

4pm – 5pm
Casualisation: What is it and how to fight it.
South London Solidarity Federation

5pm – 6pm
Setting Up & Maintaining a Local Anarchist Newsletter
The Gagged Collective (South Wales)

ROOM 305
12 noon – 1pm
'An Anarchist FAQ'

1pm – 2pm
The Myth of the Nation - Nationalism and Fascism

2pm – 3pm
Housing Co-ops, worker co-ops, social centres and Radical Routes - a quick guide
Organised by Radical Routes Housing Co-ops

3pm – 4pm
The NHS is 60 – a subversive history
Organised by Radical History Network of North East London

4pm – 5pm
Anarchist world revolution ...

5pm – 6pm
Organising as healthworkers IWW (UK) IU 610

ROOM 306

12 noon – 1pm
What is the relationship between Art and Anarchism?
Barry O'Dea

1pm – 2pm
Preserving our Cultural History

2pm – 3pm
Workers Councils – Fortresses of Freedom?
Workers Council Socialism

3pm – 4pm
Overcoming Alienation: From commodity fetishism to freely associated labour

4pm – 5pm
Why anarchists should organise locally
Haringey Solidarity Group

5pm – 6pm
Building A Revolutionary Union for Education Workers.
Education Workers' Network

ROOM 324

12 noon – 1pm
Activist Trauma Support

1pm -2pm
community activism: co-operation without compromise?
Haringey Solidarity Group & Workers Solidarity Movement

2pm – 3pm
Men and feminism Workshop (everyone welcome!)
Social Ecology London.

3pm – 4pm
Organising for Anarchy
Anarchist Federation

4pm – 5pm
The Other Campaign - Mexico and beyond.

5pm – 6pm
An introduction to Direct Action Casework
London Coalition Against Poverty

ROOM 325

12 noon – 1pm
Red Black and Green - An Introduction to Social Ecology
Social Ecology London

1pm – 2pm
The Summit Against Everything Voices of Resistance from Occupied London

2pm – 3pm
Bash the Rich
Ian Bone

3pm – 4pm
Militant Research & Radical Theory

4pm – 5pm
Launch and Talk by new autonomous class struggle magazine

5pm – 6pm
Anarchism and The State of Terror


12 noon – 1pm
Camden Parasites by Daniel Lux

2pm – 3pm
Rossport Solidarity Camp: Anarchists and community struggle in the west of Ireland.

3pm – 4pm
No Borders

4pm – 5pm
Doing it ourselves – Workshops for changing the world


12 noon – 1pm
No Sweat and IWW
Fight Back Against Starbucks

1pm – 2.30pm
Armed resistance to Francoism
Stuart Christie

3pm – 4pm
How the Working Class Went Global
Paul Mason, author of Live Working or Die Fighting

4pm – 5.30pm
My Dearest Enemy, My Dangerous Friend
Dorothy Rowe


Lecture Room 2
11am - 12 noon
The Battle For Broadway Market. 2006
Emily James, 58 mins.

12noon - 12.30pm
Underground Londoners - cleaning the London Underground
Dagmar Diesner and Klara Jaya Brekke, 29 mins

12.50pm - 2pm
"Our Oil and Other Tales"
Elisabetta Andreoli, Gabriele Muzio, Sara Muzio, Max Pugh

2pm - 2.30pm
Raise the Rates
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

2.45pm - 4pm
Occupying Nothingness

4pm - 6pm
Las Libertarias
Vicente Aranda 2004

Sunday, 21 October 2007


Bill Griffiths
A Commemoration
Readings, recordings, music and appreciations by poets, friends and family will be held on Saturday, 17th November.
2-5 pm.
Council Room,
Birkbeck College,
Malet Street,
London WC1
(Nearest Tube: Russell Sq. or Goodge St.)

Refreshments, Battenberg cakes and other favourite cakes of Bills will be served.

All welcome.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Les Figues Press

Saturday, October 20, 2007
8:30 p.m.
Teresa Carmody, Vincent Dachy, and Vanessa Place.
Reading and Conversation
Limited seating, email to get on the guest list.
At the Shunt Lounge near London Bridge tube.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Pin Bun

Turns out Alex's birthday is next Sunday, so we can all go & see Steve Aylett (& Paul Foot) after all. I'm very anxious about it. Steve is probably the most significant living English novelist, and I have a feeling the gig is going to be terrible. "Featuring appearances by the hellish Lord Pin." I don't want it to feature those! Plus what to get Alex.

Steve Aylett
The Troy Club
CROBAR (near Foyles)
Manette Street

From around 7.30pm. On 21 Sunday October (with Paul Foot) and December 2, 2007. Books for sale also. Featuring appearances by the hellish Lord Pin from LINT. Nearest tube Tottenham Court Road.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

From "The Wealth of Nations"

By Adam Smith.

[...] the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life [...] But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it [...]

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Feminist Fightback conference

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2007
Time: 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: University of East London, Docklands campus, 4-6 University Way, London

Organised by a group of Socialist Feminists including the Education Not for Sale student network, Feminist Fightback 07 aims to bring together feminists from a wide range of perspectives to debate ideas and develop practical strategies for fighting women's oppression and exploitation.

Fightback 07 will build on the success of last year’s conference, attended by over 220 people, which gave rise to several activist initiatives including the March 3 2007 Torch-Lit March for Abortion Rights. This year will continue our campaign to defend and extend abortion rights; our discussions will include:


Plus screenings:


Feminist Fightback’s supporters include the National Union of Students Women’s Campaign, the RMT Women’s Committee and the International Union of Sex Workers.

Monday, 15 October 2007

From the "Hands Off Iraqi Oil" newsletter

Speaking tour: contact or call 020 7403 3738 to invite a speaker. Deadline for invitations: 6pm, Friday 19th October.

In September, Iraqi civil society and the global anti-war movement scored a major victory against the occupation’s oil privatisation agenda, when Iraq's Parliament failed to pass a draft oil law in time for General Petraeus' report to Congress.

If passed, the law - which was written in secret under intense pressure from the US/UK governments, the IMF, and Big Oil - would have allowed multinational oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon to take the primary role in developing Iraq's oilfields, under contracts of up to 30 years.

Passing the law was one of Bush's "benchmarks". However, despite massive the military and political violence of the occupation, and relentless pressure from Washington, a combination of grassroots opposition (from the Iraqi oil unions) and internal conflict (within the Iraqi Government) has derailed the law, at least temporarily. Nonetheless, Iraq's oil ministry is now saying that it hopes to sign contracts with foreign firms, law or no law, and with Iraq still under foreign occupation.


Big Oil - with US/UK assistance - is, in effect, trying to force privatisation on the Iraqi people. Indeed, according to a recent poll, 63% of Iraqis believe that Iraq's oil should be developed and produced by Iraqi public sector companies, rather than foreign companies.
To build the campaign to stop the theft - including a national day of action early next year - Hands Off Iraqi Oil is organising a whirlwind UK speaking tour, to take place during the last two weeks in November.

Speakers include GREG MUTTITT (Platform) - author of 'Crude Designs: The Rip-off of Iraq's Oil Wealth' (, and one of the world's leading experts on oil and Iraq - and renowned activist and journalist EWA JASIEWICZ, recently returned from the 'Iraq Petroleum 2007' conference in Dubai [...] In 2003 Ewa spent 9 months living in occupied Iraq, working with the Iraqi oil workers union and she is the co-founder of the union's UK support committee Naftana (see


To invite a speaker to come and talk to your group, please e-mail or telephone 020 7403 3738.

Please specify:
* which group you are from
* the likely size of the meeting etc.
* any date preferences / dates to avoid during 14 - 28 November
* your e-mail and phone number

Deadline for invitations: 6pm, Friday 19th October.

For more information and background see

"We call on all people who want peace and organisations which opposed the war to help us in our struggle" - Hassan Juma'a Awad al-Asadi, President of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions

Sunday, 14 October 2007

I particularly enjoyed Rosheen Brennan's farewell tour. She morphed into Rosh Jobinson.

From "The Gay Science"

By Nietzsche.

The greatest weight. -- What if, some day or night, a demon were to sneak after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you, "this life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything immeasurably small or great in your life must return to you – all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over and over, and you with it, a speck of dust." Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or did you once experience a tremendous moment when you would have answered him, "You are a god, and never have I heard anything more godly." If this thought were to gain possession of you, it would change you, as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you want this once more and innumerable times more?" would weigh upon your actions as the greatest stress. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

Saturday, 13 October 2007

From "The Myth of Mars and Venus"

By Deborah Cameron.

A kros -- the word which means 'angry' in Tok Pisin [...] -- is a monologue in which one person complains about another's behaviour, generally in highly abusive terms, and often at considerable length (forty-five minutes is not unusual). It is delivered from inside the speaker's own house, but is intended to be heard by the entire village. The rule is that the target may not answer back, and nor may anyone ese on their behalf. If the kros turns from a monologue into an argument, there is a good chance it will degenerate into a physical fight. Gapuners prefer to let the speaker go on until she feels she has said all she needs to say. Her grievance, now a matter of public record, can if necessary be addressed later through more diplomatic channels.

I have used the pronouns she and her in this description because the kros, almost without exception, is a women's genre. (Widowers may occasionally have a kros; other men who feel the need generally get their wives to do it for them.) In one kros recorded by the anthropologist Don Kulick, the speaker, Sake, turns on her husband, Allan, after an altercation which begins when Sake falls through a hole in the rotten floor of her house (a house which Allan built, and is in theory responsible for maintaining). In the ensuing conflict Allan hits Sake with a piece of sugar cane, while she threatens to slice him up with a machete and then burn the house to the ground. When Allan leaves the house, Sake begins a tirade of abuse. The following [...] extract gives the flavour of it [...]

You're a fucking rubbish man. You hear? Your fucking prick is full of maggots. You're a big fucking semen prick. Stone balls! [...] Fucking black prick! Fucking grandfather prick! You've built me a good house that I just fall down in, you get up and hit me on the arm with a piece of sugar cane! You fucking mother's cunt!

[...] when western women behave in this way, they are usually considered to be adopting 'masculine' traits. In Gapun, by contrast, women whose language is direct, aggressive, abusive, and obscene are not thought to be acting like men, They are thought to be doing what comes naturally to women. [...] Men pride themselves on their ability to express themselves indirectly, controlling their emotions and concealing their real opinions to avoid provoking conflict. Women on the other hand are uncooperative and belligerent. As Kruni, one of the older men in the village, told Don Kulick: "They don't suppress their hed [wilfulness] one little bit. No way. Talk kros, bad talk, that's the way of the women, their habit. They don't have any save [judgement]."

Friday, 12 October 2007

From "cowl"

By Frances Kruk.

hurt is the only subject, asshole
only object will bang
your face & make you eat it
in spite for talk
can only besmirch
spreads a fake benzene glare
n trucks through every enzyme

I Am Not Feeling Well

I have been exposed rapidly to three major publications chocka with scene & interests. VEER AWAY glossy, A4, fragrant, Ceri Buckmaster, Aodan McCardle, Anthony John, Ulli Freer, Mike Weller, Diana Godden, John Sparrow, Doug Jones, Sean Bonney, William Rowe, Morris Scully, Stephen Mooney, Jeff Hilson, Carol Watts, Bill Griffiths, Lawrence Upton, James Harvey, Harry Gilonis, Redell Olsen, John Hall, Natalie Dung, Piers Hugill and Adrian Clarke. Seems to me editorial blame lies mainly with Mooney, though Rowe, Hugill, McCardle etc. are in the background somehow. Free. A tentacled Polaroid suggestive of the London scene. Some visual stuff & some slightly visual stuff (e.g. Freer, Sparrow & Bonney). Some lyric. Some concrete (e.g. Harvey, sort of). Some cutup (e.g. John, Weller at least), procedure, permutation, iteration stuff. Translation (e.g. Bonney, extremely sort of, Gilonis, Rowe). An interest akin to pyschogeography (e.g. Mooney, Hugill). Prose from me, VEER AWAY “[y]ou easily extracted my juices.” (The dodo died. Then Di died, and Dodi died and Dando died . . . Dido’s dildo died down . . . Dodie must be shitting herself. “Your cunt organizes itself into the shape of a face”). Ceri Buck’s transcription of her notes from a panel about art & activism & then from a squatted social centre is “almost magnificent but definitely, definitely, not quite” (Chris Goode about something by Kent Johnson) &, you know, its labour is identical with that cognition most intimately entangled with political agency . . . isn’t it? Sets a high bar between critique and cud critique, right? C’mon guys let’s play ball & win this thing.

Pilot is a box of booklets by Simon Perril, Sean Bonney, Emily Critchley, Kai Fierle-Hedrick, Matt Ffytche, Giles Goodland, Jeff Hilson, Piers Hugill, Reitha Pattison, Frances Kruk, Natalie Scargill, Marianne Morris, Scott Thurston, Neil Pattison, Sophie Robinson, & Harriet Tarlo. It’s fucking marvellous – I’m just trying to get some cluster spirit going. I think the original title of one of Marianne’s poems “On The Third Day Joe Rose Again” has been little improved by this Ingrid. Emily Critchley is conducting a kind of “The Nymph's Sociopoetic Intervention in the Passionate Shepherd” (James Harvey & Natalie Dung) through When I Say I Believe Women i.e. she is questioning the strength and extension of the claim that texts like, say, “Scum” (Will Rowe) are somehow alike to texts like, say, “La Belle Dame Sans Mercy” (Keats); that is, she is trying to administer a stain to the family resemblance vouchsafed in the signifier“poetry.” One of the things about canonical poetry is that we are not surprised to see it again. Distribution in actual lattices of hermeneutic sails and membranes, she find out about it, all my fault. It (Pilot) gives me less the vibe of a box set, which it physically resembles, than that of having a lot of e.g. those Very Short Introductions To … s, a kind of satisfying sense of a benign manifold, carefully fairly laissez-faire, with just enough homogenising cosmetic interference to foreground distinctions among its aesthetic cores. Laps. The retro-crap magic trick diagrams used for the covers interested me; because they give a way in to the work; & because they're this weird combination of explanatory and obfuscatory.

Plantarchy, advance copy with the edge all gloopy, looks nuts. Haven’t got it with me now, but I remember it was full of Britishers. Pretty sure Frances Kruk, Sean Bonney, Rachel Smith, Piers Hugill, & Camille PB or coupons coupons maybe. Keith Tuma’s poem “I am not Jow Lindsay” a fucking idiotic lie. Allen Fisher on William Burroughs. An e-mail from Keston Sutherland speculatively slagging off Vispo. This interview with Helen Bridwell – uncorrupted by booklearning, & that chastity peaking with respect to the term “immanent critique” around which her interview mainly swivels – somehow seems OK when it appears here; hextic.

Maybe more when I’ve read them.

Mini-update: Plantarchy: "Work by Frances Kruk, Allen Fisher, Susan M. Schultz, Piers Hugill, Camille PB, Kent Johnson, Kirsten Lavers, Helen Bridwell, Stephen Perkins, Peter Manson, Keith Tuma, Caroline Bergvall, Linda V. Russo, Sean Bonney, Rachel Smith and more."

Last Night at the Foundry

Harry Gilonis wasn’t fucking kidding when he blurbed that Sean Bonney “sometimes parties as though he were [Rimbaud],” it’s this daft totally unembellished channelling event, I hate it, because I don’t speak French, and besides which it’s weird, and astral Ménilmontant or whatever superimposes really badly onto Shoreditch so it’s most of the evening stuck walking onto a bollard (see note 1); the point is now I am bad wrack, crotsom, a sleepy little turd slipped into my Toilette & Douche U-bend cubicle for another three hours during which I will try to print some little signs saying YT and BAD and BARQUE and OPENNED and LES FIGUES and FABER & FABER and then round the corner to RED LION SQUARE and maybe Geraldine Monk and Sophie Robinson and things like that. The Clarke / VEER AWAY launch last night was good; Adrian’s exacting “post-borders,” strictly “under ratified suns” & then sort of about ten readers in under an hour. Some pieces did it for me more than others & some readers did it for me more than others but there was nothing intolerable. Most readers read from VEER AWAY, so you could play with following along or not. John Sparrow’s, along. Jeff Hilson’s, not. Ways to agree to attend. This classic-liberalist damage-limitation approach to even the paramount “tinpot elsewhere” (A.C.) is a bit miserabilist but I don’t feel very well. Paul Sutton characterised Jeff’s poetics as “fractal complaining” & later said something about a weird apocalyptic SF background to the In the Assarts / naïve sonnets sequence; I get that too: nowhere is the sight of a flayed mutant explicitly mentioned; Stephen Thompson may soon be claiming in print Jeff makes "good use of the things that he finds / the things that the every day folks leave behind" or maybe I misunderstood; here some bits:


"as if we are walking in a Norman forest."


"Or let them roam on lonely moats.
A vast moat beautifies
where she is going.
Is where she is going far?"


"I love thee castration & often tell
The maiden tries it & goes away."


"I know a man he pulls his mittens off
to tie the faggot up."


"But he was pre-radar
& she already spigot mortar.
They used to play
'she got the gun knowledge
I got the original caput she evolved from.'"


"Are they medieval people talking
oh Barbara
do you think we'll ever
move normally?
and the space between them.
My sonnet is
just the two of us surviving on a borders franchise
when you rang.
About the tower cranes on the estate."

Note 1: Cf. Steve Willey’s Battersea project, an attempt to -- which consumed his mind and body.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

From "The Politics"

By Aristotle trans. Natalie Dung.

But if there be some person, or more than one, although not enough to make up the full complement of a state, of such superlative virtue that the virtues or the political capacity of everyone else admit of no comparison with his or theirs, he or they can be no longer regarded as part of a state; for justice will not be done to the superior, if he is reckoned only as the equal of those who are so far inferior to him in virtue and in political capacity. Such an one may reasonably be deemed a god among men. Hence we see that legislation is necessarily concerned only with those who are equal in birth and in capacity for statecraft. But there is no law that embraces men of that calibre -- they are themselves a law. Any would be ridiculous who attempted to make laws for them: they would probably says what, in the fable of Antisthenes, the lions said to the hares who asserted their claim to equality with them. And for this reason democratic states have instituted ostracism. Equality is above all things their aim, and therefore they ostracized and banished from the city for a time those who seemed to predominate too much through their wealth, or the number of their friends, or through any other political influence. Mythology tells us that the Argonauts left Heracles behind for a similar reason; the ship Argo would not have on board someone so vastly bigger than the rest of the crew. Wherefore those who denounce tyranny and blame the counsel which Periander gave to Thrasybulus cannot be held altogether just in their censure. The story is that Periander, when the herald was sent to ask counsel of him, said nothing, but only cut off the tallest ears of corn till he had brought the field to a level. The herald did not know the meaning of the action, but came and reported what he had seen to Thrasybulus, who understood that he was to cut off the principal men in the state; and this is a policy not only expedient for tyrants or in practice confined to them, but equally necessary in oligarchies and democracies. Ostracism is a measure of the same kind, which acts by disabling and banishing the most prominent citizens. Great powers do the same to whole cities and nations, as the Athenians did to the Samians, Chians, and Lesbians; no sooner had they obtained a firm grasp of the empire, than they humbled their allies contrary to treaty; and the Persian king has repeatedly crushed the Medes, Babylonians, and other nations, when their spirit has been stirred by the recollection of their former greatness.

The problem is a universal one, and equally concerns all forms of government, true as well as false; for, although perverted forms with a view to their own interests may adopt this policy, those which seek the common interest do so likewise. The same thing may be observed in the arts and sciences; for the painter will not allow the figure to have a foot which, however beautiful, is not in proportion, nor will the shipbuilder allow the stem or any other part of the vessel to be unduly large, any more than the chorus-master will allow any one who sings louder or better than all the rest to sing in the choir. Monarchs, too, may practice compulsion and still live in harmony with their cities, if their own government is for the interest of the state. Hence where there is an acknowledged superiority the argument in favor of ostracism is based upon a kind of political justice. It would certainly be better that the legislator should from the first so order his state as to have no need of such a remedy. But if the need arises, the next best thing is that he should endeavor to correct the evil by this or some similar measure. The principle, however, has not been fairly applied in states; for, instead of looking to the good of their own constitution, they have used ostracism for factious purposes. It is true that under perverted forms of government, and from their special point of view, such a measure is just and expedient, but it is also clear that it is not absolutely just. In the perfect state there would be great doubts about the use of it, not when applied to excess in strength, wealth, popularity, or the like, but when used against some one who is pre-eminent in virtue- what is to be done with him? Mankind will not say that such an one is to be expelled and exiled; on the other hand, he ought not to be a subject- that would be as if mankind should claim to rule over Zeus, dividing his offices among them. The only alternative is that we should let nature take its course, and all joyfully obey such a ruler, and men like him will be permanent kings.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Tuesday, October 16th, 8 pm,
The Erasmus Room, Queens' College,
Neil Pattison, Josh Stanley & Simon Jarvis will be reading.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

From "The Transatlantic Divide: Why are American and British IPE So Different?"

By Benjamin J. Cohen.

Once upon a time, it was possible to joke about the epistemological differences between economics and political science. A political scientist, one quip had it, was someone who thought that the plural for anecdote was data. The economist, by contrast, was someone who might not be able to remember your phone number but was willing to estimate it for you.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

The Small Publishers Fair

Event takes place next Friday and Saturday, during the day at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, nearest tube Holborn. I’ll be on a stall representing for yt communication, Bad Press, Openned, Barque Press, & Les Figues w/ maybe one or two cudbots from Critical Documents, Arehouse.

Saturday’s readings:

2.00 Sophie Robinson (Americat triumphant, will waddle in heraldically rampant & do the whole reading like that), Rosheen Brennan (says in spectacular finale she'll morph to a civil serpent before your cozened eyes, thinx there are “emergency exits open in her night” (Jeremy Reed) but hasn’t read Misery (Stephen King) closely enough), Steve Willey (something’s snapped inside him – see what’s left), John Sparrow (promised not to breathe lattices of luminous pre-linguistic jelly again then laughed)
2.30 John Bevis (not John Bevis but John Bevi, pl., live on their backs on the sea)
3.00 Eugen Gomringer, talk and reading (no data on this operative: assume he ghost wrote To Pollen)
4.00 Ken Edwards & David Miller (Ken may army at us, bare; David always frisbees mouthfeel discs where they don’t belong)
4.30 Les Coleman (when he is old, he will warp purple)
5.30 Jeff Hilson (the only American ever buried at the Kremlin) & Marianne Morris (pissed so hard on a lamppost it fell down, nailing in a bollard) & maybe Mike Sutherland Wallace-Hadrill (toy gid), & maybe Emily Critchley (sloe djinn) in the audience
&& final slot, Ulli Freer, me Crotter Crotter & others (Adrian Clarke?) ...

Friday, 5 October 2007

March for peace on Saturday, 6th October

11:00 Assemble at Tate Britain
12:05 Monks will drop petals over Westminster Bridge to symbolise the lives at threat in Burma
12:20 The march will come to a stop outside Downing Street where campaigners will tie their headbands onto Downing Street Gates
12:45 Rally at Trafalgar Square

For a map of the route, please visit: /

Organisations supporting this march: Amnesty International, Avaaz, British Muslim Forum, Burma Campaign UK, BDMA UK, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Crescent Network UK, Federation of Student Islamic Societies, GMB, GNNSJ UK, Hindu Council UK, Human Rights Watch, Muslim Council of Britain, NUS, Prospect, Sikh Aid, Sufi Muslim Council, Support the Monks Protest in Burma (Facebook), TUC, Union of Jewish Students, United Nations Association of the UK, Unison, Unite the Union, Waging Peace.For more details please contact:020 7324 4710/ 020 7324 4716