Wednesday, 27 August 2008

architecture for cartography (6/8)


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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.

HOT WHITE ANDY
? – 4
? – Y
? – 10
? – N/A
? – 6

1943, CAT’S HANDS
? – 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”.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Am I in a good, or bad position? The people (ie. me) demand to know.

T x