Friday, 29 August 2008

from "bisect duality"

By Make Believe.

Ee-yi-ee-yo-ee-yi-yay-ee-yi-yay. Ee-yi-ee-yo-ee-yi-yay-ee-yi-yay. The Puerto Rican twin sisters introduce a tongue-twister. My stomach and brain swam as one and the same. Well this one pinked / paved / puked at my blister while this one played shell games with names. Can’t tell a fantasy suggested from a fantasy projected, from a cinema seat ejector. I see the birds between your face and name. This kind of day old waitress has been cussing for tips. Can’t tell a fantasy suggested from a fantasy projected, from a fantasy neglected. I see the birds between your face and name. When I bisect duality. Kurt Kobain lives! Kurt Kobain lives! I see the birds between your face and name. Ee-yi-ee-yo-ee-yi-yay-ee-yi-yay. Ee-yi-ee-yo-ee-yi-yay-ee-yi-yay.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

architecture for cartography (6/8)

View Larger Map

The informal ontology of Duncan’s glosses emphasises influence. Poets are generally grouped according to his sense of their common conditions, with priority given to common influences.

Many of us will prefer to sidestep ontological questions if possible, and instead develop practices for dealing with an object set assumed to contain incommensurabilities – to contain areas which cannot be translated into other areas via any conceivable intermediary (see note 1). I am taken by a reverie in which there is a glowing input slot. Sliding Andrew Duncan’s cartographic spirit through the slot projects onto the page the map discussed (conference-call happy-slapped) in these posts. But we can slide anything into the slot – retask kipple, nonchalantly. What we are developing under that scenario is a physics of poetry. Cartographic methods are made available to us like bits of matter, and we don’t have to know our methods to employ them. If they produce interesting results, we tend to retrieve them from the glowing slot and inspect them more thoroughly. All results are interesting at least in the sense of informing what we are prepared to feed the glowing slot next.

Cf. Gary Sotto: “the cricket pavilion manufactures c.3,000 curfews p.a., / mostly for industrial purchasers. I pawn Irwin’s edges.”

Physics can be approximated by shoving maps up bespoke rules-governed practices i.e. language games. Atoms of poetry should now be formalised as a matrix of top trumps. What categories?

Or opinionated detail could be teased out as follows. Two poetic atoms (poets, poems, readings or whatever) are rated in five or so secret categories. The names of the categories are secret, the assigned values are not.

? – 4
? – Y
? – 10
? – N/A
? – 6

? – 4
? – N
? – 3
? – 7
? – 9

The subject is asked to develop a theory or a sense of a system which would subsume these two atoms as these values, and to apply it to a much larger set. Thus perhaps judging that Keston’s “Hot White Andy” and Peter’s “1943, Cat’s Hands” are equivalently ‘charismatic,’ the subject decodes the first category.

Or discourse analysis, borrowing techniques from psychology to have a stab at a methodology of immanence. Is that an oxymoron.

In developing and occupying such practices, we'll probably find affiliations between pairs of poets are easier to swallow than schools or camps or whatever. Our matrix should not insist on “transitivity of proximity”; i.e. in our matrix, the distance between A & B and between B & C should not fix the size of the neighbourhood which includes A & C. Should the soon-to-be-completed largest ever Linear High-Energy Bonus Dormitat Homerus Accelerator at the Birkbeck College’s Centre for Research in Poetics discover R. F. Langley (Cambridge School) and Ted Hughes (Anthropological Narrative: waaaay over on the other side) to be basically the same deal, no other poets should have to shift their locations to accommodate the findings. (I purr off “insist” “fix” and “have to” because actually we probably want the proximity between given nodes to be influenced to some degree by a notion of neighbourhoods (i.e., if Ted Hughes does have a lot to do with R. F. Langley, that alone is sufficient for him to have something to do with anybody else who has a lot to do with R. F. Langley)). We’d need more dimensions than are restful to depict this; that problem withers under a pinch of magic clicksy dust. Poet x is selected as epicentre, the neighbourhood which displays around x accurately conveys information about relations with x, but only approximates the relations of the neighbourhood’s organelles to one another. To confirm in detail its insinuations, the map's reader selects different epicentres in turn. Perhaps a jiggle or a colour code indicates how much of the database information is conserved in the inexact part of the display. Playing with literature map gives you an idea of how it might work.

Just now it was as convenient as it ever has been to say “Sliding Andrew Duncan’s cartographic spirit through the slot projects onto the page the map discussed in these posts.” What does that even mean, though, and is it blatantly a lie? Cuz somewhat contra, Duncan’s map isn’t actually a situated and partial view of the domestic poetic landscape. It sure purports to be, and intimates fragments of the conditions of possibility of what it purports to be. I think we could get closer to its claim if we drew up Andrew’s The Failure of Conservatism in Modern British Poetry as a vast one-sheet hypertext – an armoured spider-diagram – perhaps beginning by ennumerating and interconnecting all of that work’s propositions, and then working out what truth-bearers remained and how to incorporate them. To be fair to the reductive project, this would need then to be shrivelled, but instead of scratching out and Tippexing the prima facie petty, specific, obiter, the colour, flavour, diversions and so on, we would rigorously remove information that is entailable, however convulutedly, from the final surviving core (a hermeneutic circle of deletion). The artefacts uncoverable by this process would be weird, difficult to use, unlike the things they are about, and radical as if glimpsed through noumenal aura. In these respects at least, they would perfect qualities of a successfully-imparted necessarily-partisan perspective. They’d thereby have a better chance of communicating its doubly-private character (you might get at this idea with “doubly-partisan,” or “doubly-subjective,” or “doubly-provisional,” or “doubly-partial”). So (1) any item of the manifold (“the poem of his bereaved friend,” for example, or “the poem he does not like,” or “the poem he wrote about for Jacket magazine”) contains a private content over which a public holds administrative power, in that there exist definite rites for its inspection and manipulation with Duncan as obligatory celebrant (for “the poem that he read” it is riteful to ask of him, but not necessarily of anyone else, “what did you think of it?”), and (2) a private content in excess of this, consisting in the provisional aspect of the relationship to the capricious and shadowy object. Cf. Buckerton: “the ground the candelabra takes / only the rose can hold.”

Here's a map of some poets:

Emily Critchley lat.:-6.75 long.:-4.31
Posie Ryder lat.:-8.88 long.:-6.92
Lara Buckerton lat.:-6.50 long.:-9.08
Sophie Robinson lat.:-8.75 long.:-7.79
Steve Willey lat.:-6.00 long.:-6.92
Ron Silliman lat.:-8.38 long.:-7.79
Jeremy Beardmore lat.:-9.75 long.:-7.85
Kai Fierle Hedrick lat.:-6.38 long.:-6.77
Francesca Lisette lat.:-7.50 long.:-7.59
K. Lorraine Graham lat.:-8.00 long.:-8.26
Jessica Butler lat.:-4.25 long.:-6.56
Jonathan Stevenson lat.:-8.38 long.:-6.10
Tom Chivers lat.:-4.25 long.:-3.23

Note 1: E.g. I sympathise or at least commiserate with the instinct that the only elements worth "adding" to the manifold are those that at least undermine cataclysmically its ontological protocols. Cf. maybe Chris Paul: “cartological backwater ode: / toward the necessity of the new it is then: as imperative jus where do you debord for eg funct it funct it to spell me the seizures and squalls of then t'were to say it in which case the new has no epistomological urgency so 're mapping some half submerged palaces civic palaces in the absence of social hay cultural desire/need p(l)ay-off this is not the required: midst correlation harbingers of the unknown, as petrarch became step 1 renaissance, or cross joyce, pound, step 2 toward some international, or other, and others: unless the new is essentially uncertain there is no call for jus what will you extant, as there be shake downs in the future summoned that are, as of, halflight, draws them into net gleam of themap form obscure”.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Tim Atkins's Folklore, John Wilkinson's Down to Earth, Geraldine Monk's Ghost & Other Sonnets && a bunch of others just been published by Salt.

Monday, 25 August 2008

jonathan stevenson's facebook quotations

"As soon as I walked in I felt everything was going to be alright."

"I am from IRAN. My neighbor to the east, AFGHANISTAN, does not remember one year without war in 50 years, and my neighbor to the west, IRAQ, is covered with blood. Now it looks like the time has come for my country--IRAN. What can I do to save my family? What can I do to save my home, to save my country? I can do nothing. What about you?"

"There weren't enough shovels"

"Failure to protest robs us of our most important source of power and completely undercuts our story. The absence of significant protest against U.S. climate policy and continuing engagement in polite civic discourse tells Americans eloquently and emphatically that we don't really believe what we are saying."

"Everybody leaves /
If they get the chance"

"I've yet to see the official photo, taken by a man on top of a ladder, but from my position just a few feet lower, it seemed doomed to fail visually - as do most such clever ideas thought up by publicists."

"I'm probably not the first to suggest this, but could Boris be Lord Mayor instead? That way he gets to wear a funny costume and go to lots of posh dinners etc., but he's only responsible for one square mile."

"We're all fucked. I'm fucked. You're fucked. The whole department's fucked. It's been the biggest cock-up ever and we're all completely fucked."

"One day/ it will happen"

"It is not that reality doesn't exist - it is more that by itself it doesn't really matter."

"You're disgusting, but I love you.
Well, my disgustingness is my best feature."

"By taking action wearing traditional burglar outfits we hope to highlight the outrageous theft of the Iraqi people's oil"

"In the time between my short haircut and my long haircut, I like to stay worthwhile"

"Don't get any big ideas/
They're not gonna happen"

Friday, 22 August 2008

preemptive vengeance

If you're in Edinburgh, go and see Royal Holloway Theatre's production of Darning Jilly. It's a mess, a phasing goulash of nasties and red-shift rant-statuary, teeming with OTT wit, vivesection-lyricism, cheap gags, dear dry-heaves, Kane-tooled koans, and - despite the mercurial character-forms and allegory-spasms - somehow abounding with twist & revelation. All with the faintest burble of Boosh in the background. The look is the "a bit like being shrunk teeny and told to run through somebody's body from the feet to the mouth for charity" look. It gets quite fast and shouty-overlappy in places, I can't decide if that's a production concession - the only way of getting through so much monstrous capillary-rich syrup - or a necessary dynamic in a play partly about patriarchal systemic shouting-down. What if you were to take systemic culpability at face value, would it be OK to go around killing people? Probably. A kind of comparative tidiness of thesis slides in during the final bits, a snarky blade snicking against every rib: something like, gender is our basic social antagonism, more fundamental even than the distinction between the perpetrator and the victim of violence. And the men are left in control of science, history, leisure and celebrity, or so they seem to think, but there are a few loose ends. Um five stars.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

architecture for cartography (5/8)

No poet, no artist of any art, has her complete meaning alone. Her significance, her appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the existing poets and artists. You cannot value her alone; you must set her, for contrast and comparison, among the existing. I mean this as a principle of æsthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that she shall conform, that she shall cohere, is not one-sided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them. The existing order is complete before the new work arrives; for order to persist after the supervention of novelty, the whole existing order must be, if ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work of art toward the whole are readjusted; and this is conformity between the old and the new. My poems barge through the door like Playa Kane:

At stake beyond the commonplaces is whether the cohesion of co-constitutive aesthetic burbles is always by alterations “ever so slight,” and if they are, whether those gradually contribute to grand contributions, or do they rather oscillate around equillibria, and whether or not artists or others can predict, prepare for or execute such alterations, and in the main, whether structuralist commonsense can only make a slogan about how meaning surely totally must like happen, like out there, via a crystalline vacuum capitalising on the verisimilitude of its relational content, or can structuralist commonsense be the beginning of actually seeing and influencing meaning happening as structure? Can I write the texts that are aesthetically necessary to the texts that are politically necessary? Could Marx have written a Marxism unusable by Stalin, sort of in the spirit of Gram or Excalibur? Can you write something that self-destructs at time t using discursive resources alone? What text would maximise violence to Down Where Changed, would most effectively efface it? The bumper sticker "Jerome Prynne is a heaven-taught ploughman"? Your work, the Jo-Jo the Rabbit of poetry, don't run its mouth no more.

The mapmaking yen is historically implicated in designs for mercantile / military dominance. A 360˚ question mark hovers over the suitability of Duncan’s map as intelligence. Should someone carry out a nuclear poi strike on, oh I dunno, bottom left, Avant-Garde Pastoral, what happens? The gist I get from this thing is that Thomas A. Clark, Peter Larkin and Martin Corless-Smith would be supplanted by reserve Avant-Garde Pastoralists not yet marked on the map (see note 1). What would happen if we gavelled them relentlessly? Could we eventually produce a blank space there? Would some new school pass remark-threshhold (see note 2)? Cf. Sean Bonney's "recent irruptions of unmeaning / in Kabul etc, where / we have never been, / have made poetry obsolete: /but still my red shoes / would go dancing [...]" and "[...] poets report for immediate termination [...]".

More generally, how accessible is each node from the others? Neo-Romantic Dylan Thomas is placed quite close to the Underground + British Poetry Revival node. Does this indicate the relative ease with which he could bend his practice to its will / with which we can critically reappraise his signifance into its provenance? Or do lines and arrows indicate the only permissible avenues of movement? – if so, Dylan would have to circumlocute East through Jungian-Mythic country (slay Haslam 5,000,000 XP), round Void Cape, then pass South-West into Folklore-Folksong beforing travelling up through Protest Poetry and Pop Lyrics. Andrea Brady, Peter Manson (again) and Stephen Thomson are written in a crabbed hand in lemon juice between Tom Raworth and Ewart Milne – what’s the significance of this? A kind of sleeper cell? Why two Peters? What could change about the map to make it of more use to scouts? Cf. Lara Buckerton: "[...] my cunts for scouts not hearts were set to lutes [...]".

Here’s me imagining us zooming in a little on the lattice of tensile value, and seeing how junctures co-constitute. Suppose that you are trying to decide whether to read some poems by Robert Creeley or Stephen Rodefer. It’s a difficult decision in this scenario, because neither is obviously better than the other, and because they write very different sorts of poetry. Further, you know that your choice will in a sense be automatically right: if you read Creeley, you will learn to like Creeley, Rodefer likewise. So we’re dealing with meta-preferences – not what you'd like, but what you'd like to like – with nested and dynamically-linked preferences. Now let's imagine that before you make a decision, Redell Olsen begins to publish her work. Let's also imagine that Stephen Rodefer and Redell Olsen are similar poets – they write the same sort of poetry, not different sorts of poetry like Rodefer and Creeley – but that Stephen Rodefer’s is much better. You probably possess a cognitive bias – and you probably don’t know that much about it – such that Olsen’s emergence would lean you towards Rodefer, not Creeley (I haven’t found this bias taxonimised – Dan Ariely mentions it in this lecture). We’re quite used to the idea that good works tend to get imitated more, and that such “imitation” functions a bit like “praise,” even when it supersedes the original. I’m proposing a mechanism which runs this relation in reverse: imitating something may valorise it, not through the implication that a judgement has been made that it’s good enough to imitate, but by a synchronic quirk of our cognitive apparatus (see note 3), which is effective regardless of our beliefs about how the texts influenced each other or how in general they do. This is part of the way influence works. And it’s part of the way the anxiety of influence works.

Here's a partial list of overlapping reasons to choose reduced visibility or invisibility, or crudely, REASONS TO NOT PUBLISH. (This forms a kind of tightly paranoid and loosely anthropic response to a sporty remark jUStin!katKO emailed me about “sharing.”)

(1) To evade some alert, punitive power – like an oppressive state.
(2) Paranoia.
(3) The writers undervalue their texts – for instance, they take them for something unreadable, or occuring in abundant natural deposits.
(4) The texts are injurious personal literature.
(5) The writers forget that they have written the texts, or lose their manuscripts.
(6) They want total control control over who sees their texts.
(7) The texts are morally corrupt.
(8) The writers desire and have no reliable access to anonymity / pseudonymity.
(9) To be able to include roughly meta-textual elements. For instance, to be on hand to answer questions. Or to have the text only visible as performance.
(10) The writers want their peers working in a similar mode to flourish (or more generally, to get receipt of the visibility back-flow, whatever it is).
(11) They are reluctant to obviously improve on the work of yet-living elder writers.
(12) To deprive an object of criticism of something, perhaps attention / drive / dignity / interim knowledge of its weak spots.
(13) As industrial action. Or as something slightly offset from a strike – figurative or knowingly-futile industrial action.
(14) For aesthetic purposes in which priority is given to an aesthetic object other than the text: for instance, the privative “unpublished” becoming a component of a conceptual artwork. Cf. Kenneth Goldsmith, TNWK, Helen Bridwell.
(15) To try and win prizes / recognition for a more mature debut.
(16) The writers anticipate the re-use of parts of their text.
(17) The writers aim to be skinned and prolific enough to self-influence out of view, and to a degree to skip phases of literary history. For example, in 1905, Hans Arp sits down quietly and begins to internally emulate Dadaism, then Surrealism, and then in 1920 stirs himself and begins to write and publish Situationist texts. Cf. The Unconditional.
(18) Lair exstispicy.
(19) The work is unfinished. Is anyone not working on a massive epic at the moment yo. Afric elf.
(20) The work's not yet begun.
(21) Conviction that “finished” criteria do not exist (or are variable or not yet known).
(22) The writers await a formal moment. For example, the texts are occasional verse composed in advance of the foreseeable.
(23) More confidence in verba than in res, or in expression than in content. In other words, the writers are concerned that their texts will punch above their weight, will be more persuasive than they deserve to be.
(24) As marketing, to concoct an air of mystery.
(25) As previous, but without intended release. The writers find it pleasant to live in an air of secret industry, and find actual secret industry as the simplest / most convincing method of affecting it.
(26) A kind of “chastity fetish” – the writers delay until they involuntarily and in a frenzy visibly jet their texts. For pleasure, for instance.
(27) As previous, but with the frenzy conceived of as systemic – for instance, the writers want to keep alive the chance that their texts are stolen and published without their permission, or are plagiarised.
(28) Memento mori: the writers want to remind themselves they will not outlive their lives.
(29) More generally, the writers don’t trust themselves to be as virtuous after they publish the texts.
(30) Even more generally, any apprehension relating to the personal effects of fame / failure, or of critical praise / neglect.
(31) The writers don't wish to distract somebody. For example, the writers don't wish to distract their friends or allies, who to the writers' thinking have shit to be doing.
(32) The writers hate poetry / literature / art, and desire to see other things flourish at its expense.
(33) Uncertainy – what will happen?
(34) An instance of 33: what will happen to existing work?
(35) Another instance: could visibility block the creation of something better? Such blocks could operate by putting writers off certain practices in the spirit of ‘it’s been done,’ or by luring writers into unrewarding imitative practices.
(36) Or a definite conviction that something bad (like in 33-35) will happen.

At least two things can be pulled from this list: a sense of how publishing and not-publishing don't really identify independent spheres of action, and a way of rationalizing your hunch that tomorrow everything might be different (see note 4).

The minimum for going beyond structuralist insight is that our materials perform structuralist commonsense on our behalf. So we can attach this second desideratum to our prospective ontology / get-out-of-ontology-free card. The things which go onto our map must be fundamentally structurally interdependent, in a way that permits sudden drastic reshuffles without warning, when a new thing erupts into visibility.

Note 1: Peter Riley, perhaps? Gerry Loose? Peter Jaeger? Sharon Morris? Jeff Hilson, Dorothy Alexander, John Wilk ah forget it.

Note 2: “If too much bad verse is published in London, it does not occur to us to raise our standards, to do anything to educate the poetasters; the remedy is, Kill them off” – T. S. Eliot. The first paragraph, tweaked, is also by Eliot, from “Tradition and the Individual Talent”. Another possibility of course is that after the strike nearby names would detatch from their clusters and wobble across to the carnage. Those near to the strike include Colin Simms, Adrian Mitchell, Michѐle Roberts, and Basil Bunting. The rubric would change to reflect this gang. It’s just conceivable that a kind of recruit-teleport shockwave would cherry-pick serviceable exemplars from wherever – John Wilkinson, perhaps? We can’t hope for exactness after trauma. Cf. Lewis on relative closeness of possible worlds.

Note 3: There’s a striking parallel in democracy theory, to do with the Condorcet criterion. And Chantal Mouffe writes persuasively about the recent success of Right Wing populists in Europe against a background of consensus and third-wing politics and bland centrism. More about this later hopefully. I think we’re pointed that way. Christ though eh.

Note 4: Cf. problem of induction obv. And how much can publishing and not-publishing overlap? The trolley problem is one way into the literature on philosophy and psychology of privative virtue. Here are a few variations:

"A trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You can divert its path by colliding another trolley into it, but if you do, both will be derailed and go down a hill, and into a yard where a man sleeping in a hammock. He would be killed. Should you hop to it?"

"As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you – your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you hop to it?"

"A luminous transplant surgeon has five patients, each in mortal need of this or that organ. Unfortunately, there are no organs available to perform any of these five transplant operations. A healthy young traveller, beaded, just passing through the city, comes in for a routine check-up. In the course of doing the check-up, the doctor discovers that his organs are compatible with all five of his dying patients. Suppose further that if the young man were to disappear, no one would suspect the doctor. Should he hop to it?"

Saturday, 16 August 2008

ballad of a truck by the river

By Paul Goodman

No, ah cain't afford to get a hard-on, boss,
it cost a nigger money to screw
an ah cain't make a livin in dis town
count o dis yere Jim Crow.

So ah sits here out o mischief in de sun
an meditatin dis an dat
jes' avoidin any lil fancy
as is liable to get my nuts hot.

But if yo wanna fuck me, sho,
ah likes to feel a white man's push
as got a job an ain't ascairt
to dirty yo pants cause yo can wash.

To make me feel dat ah belong
white man's cock is better'n pot
an it usually don' cos' nuthin
which usually is what ah got.

De river's bright today, ain't it?
it hot in de back o dis yere truck.
Jes' shove it in. Ah recollec'
when ah was a kid ah had a big cock.

My mammy when her knees was spread
an she solid wi' dat man
she said dat she at rest in Jesus
like a turnip in de groun'.

An when yo push it in an out,
boss o New York town,
ah be so happy an belongin
like dat turnip in de groun'.

Lyin yere grinnin an watchin de river
fo company while ah gets fuck
is jes' like home where I was born,
some niggers dey got all de luck.

Friday, 15 August 2008

inside the coach

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

'Tis hard on Bagshot Heath to try
Unclos'd to keep the weary eye;
But ah! Oblivion's nod to get
In rattling coach is harder yet.
Slumbrous God of half-shut eye!
Who lovest with limbs supine to lie;
Soother sweet of toil and care
Listen, listen to my prayer;
And to thy votary dispense
Thy soporific influence!
What tho' around thy drowsy head
The seven-fold cap of night be spread,
Yet lift that drowsy head awhile
And yawn propitiously a smile;
In drizzly rains poppean dews
O'er the tired inmates of the Coach diffuse;
And when thou'st charm'd our eyes to rest,
Pillowing the chin upon the breast,
Bid many a dream from thy dominions
Wave its various-painted pinions,
Till ere the splendid visions close
We snore quartettes in ecstasy of nose.
While thus we urge our airy course,
O may no jolt's electric force
Our fancies from their steeds unhorse,
And call us from thy fairy reign
To dreary Bagshot Heath again!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The launch of Peter Manson's Between Cup and Lip , from Miami University Press, is tomorrow, August 14th, 7pm Vic Bar, Tron Theatre, Glasgow.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Stephen Rodefer's Call It Thought is out from Carcanet.

Monday, 11 August 2008


Sean Bonney's Baudelaire in English is out from Veer Books.


We are five people deeply concerned about climate change who had intended to take time off work to spend next week at the Camp for Climate Action near Kingsnorth in Kent. In the past few days, however, we have been made the subject of pernicious legal restrictions that prevent us from legally attending the protest at Kingsnorth. Yorkshire police have banned a number of people, including us, who recently took part in a peaceful protest on a coal train outside Drax power station from attending the camp in Kent. Originally the restrictions went so far as to confine us to our homes for the duration of the camp. Those severe restrictions were challenged and eventually dropped, but we are still barred from setting foot in the area of northern Kent where the camp is taking place.

The movement to stop E.ON being given the green light to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth is of vital importance. But the climate camp is designed to challenge not just the expansion of coal but the idea that progress can only be attained through growth and the extension of "free" market ideologies. We need new ways of thinking and acting that put people and the planet we all live on back at the heart of things. We need a just transition away from fossil fuels. That is the singular and urgent task of this generation and that's what the Climate Camp is all about.

For that reason, on Monday at 3pm we intend to breach our bail conditions and join hundreds, maybe thousands of others at the climate camp. We do not take this decision lightly; the legal implications are very serious. We may be arrested and jailed for our determination to be at the camp. The thought of going to prison even for a short period is daunting, but we cannot accept the logic of bail conditions that stop us attending a legal event at which Royal Society professors mix with families. Scientists tell us that from this week we have just 100 months to solve climate change. That's not long; from this moment on every week counts.

Ellen Potts, Oli Rodker, Jonathan Stevenson, Paul Morozzo, Mel Evans

Sunday, 10 August 2008

architecture for cartography (4/8)

It’s the only thing on my wall help. Andrew Duncan can’t fuck up – it’s his tailpipe – but I’m having trouble with his Chicago Review map, its disingenuity being (uncontroversially) aargh shit die.

It’s nowhere actually labeled “map” or “diagram” or anything like that, so I’m electing to treat it as a picture of why it’s a very bad idea to try to represent Styles of British Poetry 1945-2000 on a two-dimensional matrix.

Or, OK, it is a map, and it does relate styles pretty accurately, but a “style” is not what we thought – a “style” is something a bit OMG Gid Prom-esque and degenerate, some grave reductive error of which we are now suitably warned.

Or, OK, it is a map, but a cartographic reductio of the spatial metaphors controlling the kind of misleading formal stipulations of festal enz-in-deyselves endemic to “survey” criticism (Piers Hugill’s Epistle to the Italians, perhaps, or Sam Ladkin and Robin Purves’s intro to the Chicago Review itself, or even parts of John Wilkinson’s impassioned but wayward essay on Andrea Brady’s Embrace).

And if I were Geraldine Monk I’d pinch his cheek right off, so there’s that (Geraldine holding a cheek).

Whatever else it is, it is clearly also a gag, which makes me consider what aftermaths could spoil it.

Its gaggy core consists in funs poked at a notional serious plan – perhaps impracticable in its seriousness – for the visual or plastic representation of anything important in or of contemporary British poetry. This is as upfront as I get that I am perturbed and somewhat weirdly hurt to find myself written out of the ranks of the other Jungian-Mythologists such as Elizabeth Bletsoe. Actually making these serious plans could atomize the gag in an unease beam (cf. a “nun” gag treated as a cue for an anecdote about my auntie who is a nun: implicitly disavowing the laws constituting nunness in the gag language game).

So first thing is, draw up some protocols which crystallise elements for implicit exclusion or for admission and situation in the array: draw up what you could crudely call the ontology of poetry.

Ontology might focus on writing (practice, peer polity, influence – see note) or on reading (rhetoric, listening, reception, interpretation). The former focus might produce a schema showing ‘where poetry’s going,’ & the latter, a schema helpful for ‘finding your way around the scene’ (i.e. more swiftly get to grips with some poet encountered for the first time).

Dissemenation / community – presses, reading series, etc. – could also found an ontology. Dissemination generally originates and frequently continues in a spirit of inclusiveness and hybridisation. (I’m thinking in particular of London stuff – Crossing the Line, The Blue Bus, Openned, 14 Hour and La Langoustine Est Mort – perhaps the mix motive is less prevalent elsewhere). To a somewhat lesser degree, any minimally-grim faction or poet takes pains to bargain influence from throughout the contemporary landscape. It is often precisely to assure herself that she is reading and writing eclectically that she proposes and recognises genre boundaries.

So from the inside, any standard-issue atom of poetry is catholic and category-defying (see note 1). From the outside, they are all sectarian and pigeon-holed with an ease which makes the ecumenical impulse so pervasive in the first place. Eh . . ? . . wha? . . .

Everything collaborates to form the divisions and the margins that everything ignores. To thoroughly spaff Duncan’s gag, we’d also want to want an ontology, or a set of practical substitutes, that could cope with this dynamic.

Note 1: Cf. Duncan: “THE UNDERGROUND: [...] Tom Raworth and Allen Fisher constitute a whole universe of discourse, building an equivalent of the whole cosmos within poetry [...]”

Saturday, 9 August 2008

architecture for cartography (3/8)

Their criticisms must be understood as newly-recruited to this speculative parallel history, and their tone as a products of their times. In the A4 Moleskine which I typed them from, there also exist:

(1) c.11 pages of pupal, shrill and heartfelt “ideas” re. possible solutions to long-solved or long-dissolved problems of poetics and aesthetics, viz. the relationship of politics and poetry, the death of the author, the purpose of syntactic disruption, the limit conditions of the poem or of art, questions of “meaning” and “aboutness,” &c.;

(2) c.9 pages of fragments of, & notes towards, the never-quite-abandoned Tragedy of Beyonce Knowles, 90% innocuous despite fusty pop allusions (Razorlight, Asterix and Obelix, David Blaine). In one erotic scene having lost his erection the hero restores it by smoking a Marlborough. Another episode is enlivened by the antics of a gypsy thiefess. A sub-plot is outlined involving a comely barmaid who goes too takes her teasing of the novel’s protagonist and his side-kick too far, and gets what she both deserves and really wants. There is one casual reference to a character who uses a wheelchair as a big gay roller-skate;

(3) c.3 pages of broken Youtube embeds;

(4) c.10 pages + scattered marginalia comprising never-used and entirely lifeless conceits, each containing some recognisable ingenuity or manoeuvre, or if not recognisable then recallable, or if not that, then obscurely traceable as a whiff, a faint acridity from linguistic frictions: “military equipment seeks like,” “save on preparation time, cook your tongue,” “too gagged to shag,” “death is driving second,” “bowling ball cut,” “not the sharpest stool in the bucket,” including many exploratory and only tentatively meaningless metaphors: “throat tastes like a blowpipe,” “a womb like a clogged outbox,” “a death the size of a stomach,” “sandbags under the eyes,” &c.;

(5) c.12 pages consisting of the first two-thirds of a political essay which begins, “The negro suffrage movement has now gone too far to be disposed of by the overthrow of its arguments, and by a mere indication of those which could be advanced on the other side. The situation demands the bringing forward of the case against negro’s suffrage ; and it must be the full and quite unexpurgated case,” which was ultimately published under the moniker “Helen Bridwell” as the pamphlet “THE SUFFRAGE QUESTION AND THE ARGUMENT FROM CUSTOM”;

(6) c.3 pages outlining the screenplay Totalled, an early MS of which would later end up on the desk of J.H. Prynne to be plagiarized by him as “Plant Time Manifold Transcripts”;

(7) c.5 pages comprising c.3.5 merry tales, each revolving around an instance of acute falseness by a woman, which I recall intending to complement with about seven others, the design of the set being to illustrate completely the typically female equipment of impulses. Thankfully I stopped there, and the 3.5 are as yet unpublished.

Friday, 8 August 2008

architecture for cartography (2/8)

Substantial fragments of these posts were created just after the publication of Duncan’s map in the Spring 2007 Chicago Review. At that time, the formalised study of rationally-differentiated poets, to adjust where necessary the estimations they had accumulated in the wild, and to produce in a naturalistic manner a revised schedule more sensitive to the varying requirements of democratic flourishing, required such a map. For want of Duncan’s map, some other’s, or some other thing of his, the question of the cash / poem origami golem, beamed into the places of the poet, had historically received the greater attention.

The situation today is somewhat changed. Duncan is by now no more pernicious to the domestic circle than is my defective moral equipment. What argufication failed to amend, free evolution turned, tendency by tendency, and with only the mini turns of a calligrapher, into a public good. My copy of the map is still on my bedroom wall, but my bedroom wall is on the wall of every form room in England.

My question is roughly: had the map been barred as leading to tranquillity, would there have been any palliative or corrective appropriate to the discontents of students of poetry as their estate then stood? That question is my rationale for extending the original fragments. Most of the expression in them is florid, so straightaway I’ll try to state one or two of the intuitions which underlie them.

The paths going between, on one hand, criticism and poetics, and on the other, the poetry they purport respectively to describe and serve, are boggy and wibbly, and perhaps freight on them gets smashed up or sucked up. A statement about a poem may be more or less true than another, but the scale on which these “mores” and “lesses” get staked , and the qualitative distinctions for which they proxy, should properly be objects of contention — or at least of scepticism (see note 1).

I also felt that the phenomenon of each poesy-trope being surrounded by a little cloud of incompatible poetics-tropes, all with mysterious and therefore potentially similar or incomparable fidelities to their hub, while a law (perhaps constitutive?) required us to behave as if only one or two items (see note 2) in each periphery existed, was similar to the phenomenon of practicing politics in a liberal Western Capitalist democracy. Poetic desire and programmatically-freed political desire both have a ramified structure (see note 3), where the joints are epistemological fogs or placeholders for historical circumstance. Publically-communicable political identities, like criticism / poetics, mess up and miss out usefully-configured ambiguities in the phenomena they recruit as their origins.

I thought that Duncan’s map might have something to do with it, partly because it seemed so out of order and yet so constitutive of the order it was out of: though students of poetry go about its land with the aid of such maps, and swap them in pairs and factions, there is something weird and wrong about trying to provide such a thing en masse, even with the caveat of its partial origin or the implicit corrective jostle against the different maps of its recipients.

These intuitions are faffy, and louche in that they imply we need to sort out certain understated and intractable philosophical problems, associated with reading and writing, as a prerequisite to morally adequate political performance, which is plainly untrue and we all know or are one or two harmless and spine-free cuntholes OCD-securing their livings by implying that.

It’s kind of interesting how the link convention developed “you can find out more here,” rather than “you can find out more there. ” Presumably it comes out of “click here.”

So in the update spirit, if you like me are finding the interpollatory^3 interregnum and interpollatory^2 eggnog-alternating travellator somewhat tedious – and by definition you can’t – then a few years back Jeff Hilson wrote this book whose only consequence is it would seem so rude not to return it and forget all about it and now publishes it every few years under different titles, most recently Reality Street.

The really exciting thing is the frictionless page-turner and this is in the days before covermount. You can find instructions how to obey hyperlinks are here. It's arguably maplike. He hit upon it while he was trying to write this book that turns you gay cerebus paribus called Get Gay! and I’ve typed up the only bits (GETGAY.pdf) that don’t get properly scrubbed; if you find them vaguely familiar it’ll be proof of what I’m no doubt saying. So we were thinking we could set up ritual gladiatorial combat trap at The Foundry near Old Street tonight using a variant of compresence theory in which love is the glue of being to rinse Jeff's quail myrmidoxies of their notorious vigilance and complex stamina instead of bundle theory ontology (i.e. objects consist of and in their qualities and nothing else – no “bare particular” say) and stop him and it forever. If you can’t make the ambush we’re having the same ambush on Thursday at the Whitechapel art gallery, this time with Marianne Morris. Frances Kruk has a new book out too, it could well be the same thing, you can get it here or by buying anything with her interposed between you and the thing that you’re buying for Darkness Commodities but if it’s a Light Commodity when it goes through it will turn into Xena by Crot & Noir & al. instead. It’s a good way of telling which are which if you don’t mind getting the books a lot.

Also I’m doing a reading some time in December organised by Peter Philpott. Then maybe he (you know, Peter, Jeff, etc.) could do something worthwhile like edit a “map” book of sonnets. Since some of these would no doubt slip through the safeguards – otherwise the ontological wins – they wouldn’t all be “proper” sonnets, e.g. some of Tom Raworth’s fourteen-line sections would be included. Then we could imaginatively (or literally, if it were distributed in easily-editable format) find-replace “sonnet” with prayer, song, machine for thinking, vow, suicide note & idea &c., and we’d have all our poetry – specifically poetry – needs satisfied so completely that whatever was left over would be incredibly useful to scrutinise in order to determine what poetry is.

Note 1: For comparison, a text (a map maybe) that claims to teaches you to ride your bicycle to The Officer’s Rune in Threadneedle Street may be horribly false (e.g. “swirl left at the Nerve Henge”), but truth is a far more robust discursive-systemic possibility for it than for a text which claims to teach you to ride your bicycle (learnt by doing). Are (existing) literary-critical discourses more like the former or the latter?

Note 2: Remember, by “item” I mean nothing like “interpretation,” perhaps something like “manifold of interpretative possibilities.”

Note 3: Or perhaps, are structured like Opening Theory in Chess.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

architecture for cartography (1/8)

01 - Timothy Button, Johnny Goldsmith (age 25), Sharon Catriona Philbin
02 - James Cummins (age 27), Mark Lynch-Brown (age 34)
04 - Thomas Marks (age 24)
06 - Jade Watts (age 22)
07 - Art Win
08 - Sara Hanna (age 24), Mary Dunn (age 21)
09 - Mike Wallace-Hadrill (age 24), Emily Marr (age 24)
10 - Steph Elstro
11 - Eric Ewing (age 26), K. Lorraine Graham
12 - Maura Hamer (age 22), Benjamin Ramm (age 26)
14 - Camilla Hicks (age 25)
15 - Allison MacInnes (age 25), Jordan Butterfield (age 24)
16 - Anna Bingham (age 25)
17 - Ruvan Mendis (age 25), Carl Stabler (age 25)
18 - Kseniya El Tünde, Adrian Pegg (age 26), Matt Clothier (age 27)
22 - Patricio Norris (age 26)
24 - Lou Kosak (age 24), Kitty St Aubyn (age 25), Nicolo Machiavelli (age 24)
25 - Kendal Chalk (age 25)
27 - Cicely Hayward (age 23)
28 - Luke Kennard

02 - Laura Thrussell (age 24)
04 - Brett Dunn (age 22)
05 - Malcolm Phillips (age 32)
07 - Melisse Morris (age 25), Sophie Read
08 - Eleanor Harries (age 25), Dan O'Huiginn (age 25), April Swain (age 25), LokLing Tang (age 20)
09 - Pilar Tschollar (age 22), Alan Thomson (age 26), Ed Lunken (age 24)
13 - Andrew Broekelmann (age 25), Angus McKnight (age 25), Sophie Robinson
14 - Pierre Joris (age 62), Öykü Potuoglu-Cook
15 - Whitney Knowlton Rothe (age 25)
16 - Helen True (age 23)
18 - Mary Bruton (age 22), Andrew Worster, Viktoria Bagach (age 20)
19 - Tom Raworth (age 70)
22 - Sam Queen, Anna Cranmer, Mairead Byrne
23 - Dominic Hinton (age 25)
24 - Dusie Press (age 82)
25 - Gavin Leonard, Jody Porter (age 26)
26 - Francesca Sophia Alys Fennell (age 23)
30 - Krysto Nikolic (age 24), Sam Andrews
31 - Peter Beentje (age 25), Vernon Baxter (age 24), Emma Dean (age 23), Ryan Dobran (age 26)

01 - Laura McAllister (age 24), Jacqui Meyer (age 27)
03 - Kirstin Hollingsworth (age 23)
05 - Ron Silliman (age 62)
06 - Jenny McDonald (age 26)
07 - Sofia Apospori (age 23)
08 - Krista Davies (age 23)
09 - Maja Gray (age 26)
10 - alex prentiss
12 - Andrea Brady (age 34)
13 - Richard Freeman (age 82)
14 - Hannah Smith
16 - Rebecca Peatman, Marco Martini (age 35)
18 - Guy Mozolowski (age 26)
20 - Camilla Sutherland
22 - Claire CC Lindsay (age 23)


& Hazel Smith.

Tonight, Xing the Line, The Leather Exchange, Leathermarket Street, London, 7.30. Go yo.

Also I am pissed to just miss Chris Goode’s cover sessions in Edinburgh. Underjerk. More info on his blog post pp. 804-5. But then definitely, definitely Darning Jilly, running 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 August in C Soco after lunch. Written by Aerin Davidson & directed by Sophie Robinson & Tom Pinhorn.

My most powerful and trusted friends:

1. Sam Andrews, 30 points (status: somebody)
2. Céline Jacobs, 29 points (status: somebody)
3. April Swain, 25 points (status: somebody)
4. Henry Lindsay, 24 points (status: somebody)
5. Nick Carbo, 23 points (status: somebody)
6. Stewart Home, 23 points (status: somebody)
7. Rosalie Leach, 22 points (status: somebody)
8. Samantha Beale, 22 points (status: somebody)
9. Leah Moore, 22 points (status: somebody)
10. Philip Nikolayev, 21 points (status: somebody)

I am at position #202.

I’m doing some readings. On Saturday the 16th August I’m the trauma bard at a yoghurt-fletcher’s ball in a Homerton glittersquat. Entrance by invite & I have these invites & I’m not going out of my way to invite anyone so if you want one yo girl wanna hang hit me back holla. Sunday 31st August, with Liz Bentley, Tom Bell, Kirsten Irvinga, Saran Green, at Utter, Arcola Theatre, Dalston, from 5. And me & Jonathan Styles & maybe F. Kruk are also doing things on 21st December, 3-5 in Café Oto Dalston. That’s the goat’s birthday.

Friday, 1 August 2008

12.00-6.00 pm
Sunday 3 August
Arnold Circus
London E2 7ES

Stuart Calton, Phil Davenport, Maggie O'Sullivan
7.00 pm
Wednesday August 6

Frances Kruk & Hazel Smith
7.30 pm
Thursday August 7
15 Leathermarket Street
London Bridge SE1 3HN