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Showing posts from October, 2007

Charles Bernstein, Introduction

Bernstein’s three collections of poetics statements and contributions to the important collection The L=A=N=G… Book have set the agenda for a contemporary, postmodern, experimental aesthetic His comments on absorptive poetics have set the standard for a postmodern poetics developed from the modernist conception of estrangement to be found in Russian Formalism and of course then picked up on by Brecht amongst others. Bernstein on absorption: “By absorption I mean engrossing, engulfing completely, engaging, arresting attention, reverie...: belief, conviction, silence. Impermeability suggests artifice, boredom, exaggeration, attention scattering, distraction, digression, interruptive, transgressive, undecorous, anticonventional, unintegrated, fractured, fragmented...: skepticism doubt, noise, resistance “ (Charles Bernstein, A Poetics Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992) 29. Bernstein is committed to poetry in all its possible manifestations and several impossible Throug

Charles Bernstein and Language Poetics

Have been teaching Bernstein for some years now and last year included him on my MA in Contemporary Literature and Culture at Brunel University, West London. Thought I would post these notes as a general introduction to Charles' work. This begins in a very rudimentary style desgined for all kinds of students who have not encountered Bernstein of Language poetries before. 1. Context: Introduction to Language poetics So-called Language poetry emerged in 70s West and East Coast USA around journal This and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E I was ostensibly reacting to the predominant free verse, confessional mode of English language poetry to be found across the US and UK poetry scenes As a group it looked to build on the formally innovative and socially concerned poetry of American modernism Picking up on the postmodern innovations of New York School poetry, the groups however had a political edge Founder poet Bon Perelman defines the Language programme as the following: “breaking the automatism of th

PJ Harvey, White Chalk

Grow grow grow wet toes aligned at the edge of a void as clams like limpets at the rocktide's lapline jump and make something project out into what was not the void until you happened and like a waveretreat cleaved that into empty sfunny the hallway didn't seem so empty until we inherited this hideous armoire an impassable thouroughfare become itself a placeless place my kids are stranded in the lounge we cringe and scrape the stairway's foot stamped once in anger now planted then blooming Legends: MAKING IS NOT ALL IT'S MADE OUT TO BE ANYONE CAN EXPLODE THINGS HAPPEN, TRY STOPPING THEM bravery comes in the lingering copse of the faithful not to break nor fashion but hold on there on that upturned hull skyborne rescue is not for the likes of us rather we stubborn we clutch to a boat's expanding shell while the swell below becomes continuum no, it isn't in the throw nor in the wreck as such but how the swell begins to build to gather rise and fill beneath our

From "lines out of space"

fast (food) thoughts burgerking has suffered a complete makeover fu- cking horrible it is but then it must be hard to come second in late monopoly capitalism as they call it now to us lot or sometimes yes I call it globalisation but no do not know what that actually means ends was so simple, supply the demand but in BK at KX what exactly is the demand for fake lichtensteins on the walls? oh where is the new real? to add insult to injury or perhaps spicen [sic.] up this hyper-real salsa, that by the way is when the attractions of reality very real though they are are outstripped by those re-presented by art or the media with chilli added , the latest burger is the Mexican big spicy which not only is- n’t Mexican (burgers aren’t) but you have to specify that you want it regular (a beat) big regular! or big large that is an option too and it is all about that isn’t it options I mean? and outside you can buy crack&sex fairly easily which is also tempting but one must resist because I a

Legends

To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer. To be a great writer one must first learn to be a bad writer and never become a good writer.

Badiou on Deleuze

These are my notes on Badiou's book Deleuze: The Clamour of Being. They are more detailed than I thought and supplement the very popular notes I already have here on Deleuze. Badiou, Alain. Deleuze: The Clamour of Being. Trans. Louise Burchill. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000 there are two paradigms that govern the manner in which the multiple is thought…the “vital” (or “animal”) paradigm of open multiplicities…/ and the mathematical paradigm of sets, which can also be qualified as “stellar” in Mallarmé’s sense of the word (Badiou, Deleuze 3-4). · his analysis of Deleuze in the opening pages is designed to re-situate his thought in relation to the traditional metaphysic of the one, expressly so as to undermine the belief that Deleuze’s work is “devoted to the inexhaustible variety of the concrete"” (Badiou, Deleuze 14). · thus the role of multiplicity here is to liberate being from such variety in an ascetic purification which Deleuze calls being chosen by the

Beckett and Badiou, by Andrew Gibson

Am writing a review of this great book and as usual well over the word limit so thought I would post the full text here before I have to cut half of it out and inevitably totally change it. I am posting it because in the months to come Badiou's conception of poetic thinking will make more and more appearances here and Gibson's book is a great introduction to that. Book Review: Andrew Gibson, Beckett & Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency (Oxford, 2007). This is a rare book in modern times, an academic study of unflinching seriousness, resolutely RAE unfriendly at nearly 300 pages, and one of the few examples of literary criticism that one needs to own and return to and over time. In fact it is not one book at all but at the very least two. In the introduction Gibson himself admits that “my book might be thought of as Janus-faced,” adding “it has a revolving structure, turning alternately in one direction and another.” (B&B 5). Thus, as the title suggests at one moment t

Legends

Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.Every great writer must experience at least one apostasy of sense.

PJ Harvey, White Chalk

2. Dear Darkness Dear darkness we are timorous at your edge ledged in metaphysically small walled by our illimitable perimeters of theme and its counter bound to a dream of light frightened by their shadow play Dear darkness we are hardly here fear of the unknown has had us thinned pinned to an apocalypse of sense henceforth unable to approach to stroke you, riotous material feral and fecund, tattered and unwhole Dear darkness why is it they tell us that you fall stalled by metaphor and the promise of relief stolen from potential torrents of sodden word worried leaves returns from beyond the woods hooded eyes and opened cheeks Dear darkness I am laid out on a thought of boat floating on your bottomlessness caressed by lapping's lapping happy to slide beneath or 'tween your tress trees that bear your fabric on their crown bend low then let their old defences down dear darkness, it is true

PJ Harvey, White Chalk

For some reason, before even listening to more than a couple of tracks, I knew I could write poems to each of the titles of PJ Harvey's lastest album. So here goes something. 1. The Devil The devil' shobbled sold bad boots by farrier jones evil is still got meaning he spouts as he limps to town shitting-stoke-wankshafted-up-twat-on-bastarding-trent or anywhere really' show he talks The devil' sscuppered bought bad debts by broker james even evil got the blues he wails as he punishes a piana or anyone really' show he works The devil' ssozzled fed bad booze by barman jessie even evil got to die he chokes as his vomit'sinhaled not anything really' show he joins 'n dis joins one shoe shed a sepia key plucked fingerfree wettened words that stink of gutsn yeah brim stone if you like, oh 'nd our happiness

Lines in Space

How I imagine Michael, liking my poem not quite enough to... It was perhaps my finest moment. PN Review, in particular Michael Scmidtt, almost published one of my poems. They liked the work but not quite enough to publish it. Like O'Hara I am too hip for the squares to square for the hipsters. Anyway, it was more than Stand could be bothered to say so in honour of meaningless honours here is my most successful work of art. It is untitled or better tri-titled: "ein augenblick in der lichtung" silence a fire’s percussive click cuts the ciccada’s strum Zum Zirm one in the dog valley it is night here last night to be exact all is unwrapping in real time then before the storm in cloud above mountain on an off like a faulty fluorescent light in a summer abandoned porta-cabinã (It’s not as if I am trying to kill romanticism) or not it does not have to be that way for you I am not so convinced it was really that way for me impermeable logic, all can and should be otherwise "