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"Though we keep company with Cats and Dogs": Onomatopoeia, Glossolalia and Happiness in the Work of Lyn Hejinian and Giorgio Agamben.

I recently published an article on the work of Lyn Hejinian and Giorgio Agamben in Jacket Magazine.

Take a look at it here: "Though we keep company with Cats and Dogs": Onomatopoeia, Glossolalia and Happiness in the Work of Lyn Hejinian and Giorgio Agamben.

It fuses together some central elements of Agamben's work on the poetic word, and Hejinian's provocative theory of happiness.

Effectively Agamben's conceptualisation of poetry as a potential modality for an alternate form of life as thinking breaks down into the study of four elements.

1. the poetic word (onomatopoeia, glossolalia, xenoglossia, the semiotic and naming)

2. Enjambement

3. Caesura

4. Structure/Rhythm, what I call projective recursion

Placed together these form the basis for what I call logopoiesis in my most recent work, that is what has been called elsewhere by Heidegger and Badiou, poetic thinking.

I think now there is material on all four elements posted on the blog in relation to various contemporary …

Projective Recursion: The Structure of Ron Silliman's Tjanting

A new article commissioned for Jacket Magazine on Ron Silliman is now available here: Projective Recursion: The Structure of Ron Silliman's Tjanting.

It is part of an excellent special edition on Silliman's work.

The piece is especially important as it is the first time I have tried to formalise my ideas about Agamben's theory of poetic structure in terms of analysis of a specific work of poetry since my work on this area in my recent book The Literary Agamben: Adventures in Logopoiesis.

Under Glass: Agamben and the Museum

As ever in Agamben's philosophical archaeology there are, according to him, two contesting theories of poiesis in the period of aesthetic modernity. The first concentrates on the role of the artist as god-like being of creation (the sovereign or common).  The second on the art object itself as thing unto itself (artistic bare life or the proper).  Naturally the two positions are connected in that, as we always see, god needs the world to give his power of making specific instances of operativity, while the world needs god to retroactively found its power of particular making.  In this way then we can 'easily' read Agamben's first book The Man Without Content in light of one of his most recent, The Kingdom and the Glory.  If we were to do this then we can say that the universal power of creation founds of course every specific object created, but that without these objects created pure creation remains merely a potential and thus inoperative.  There is, therefore, no r…

Ontological Whisperings: Agamben and the Name

Ontological Whisperings Only, of the Literature of Exception

Now entertain conjecture of a time
When creeping murmur and the poring dark
Fills the wide vessel of the universe. (Henry V, Act 4 Prologue)

Can one found a literary theory based on the topographical specificities of the political that Agamben describes in the Homo Sacer project?

Thus far there have been few attempts, aside from Lee Spinks essay ‘Except for Law’ which looks at Crime Fiction in relation to the politics of exception. It is perhaps surprising that this has not yet occurred in any concerted fashion. In the first instance, the narrative of Homo Sacer ought to be provocative of fictive narratives: a despised central character who, although the lowest member of society, contains within him the cipher of absolute power and the very continuation of the state as we know it. It has almost the scent of melodrama about it and certainly echoes numerous famous narratives of doubling such as Frankenstein, Caleb Williams, Co…

Literature and Life in Agamben

The prominence of the literary in the philosophy of Giorgio Agamben is extensive, sustained and fundamental. His first book, The Man Without Content (1972?), is a dramatic critique of modern literature and the visual arts. Since then he has published a number of works solely or mainly about poetry and literature: Stanzas (1977), Infancy and History (1978), Idea of Prose (1985), The End of the Poem (1996), Profanations (2007) and Ninfe (2007). These works constitute a third of his total published output and by far the most sustained engagement with literature of any contemporary philosopher. More than this, away from these explicit statements on literature, the majority of Agamben’s other philosophical works depend on central readings of literary texts. These facts alone are reason enough to attempt a full-length study of the literary Agamben. They argue, by implication, that Agamben’s work can only be understood if this large body of material is read alongside the more widely dissemin…