|wood s lot july 16 - 31, 2008|
Entrée d`un bois
Feed My Mind
The first radio lecture
Sending and receiving
At the beginning, radio was promoted as an educational tool for the masses, the "University of the Air" was supposed to have more students than all universities of the country combined. At the first radio lecture at Tufts University in 1922 it looks as if Freud himself speaks into the apparatus of the soul - an anticipation of the powers of the libido which eventually destroys all mass education through this media?
Printed On Archival Quality Paper
Into the woods
The plan of this paper is to use Nietzsche to frame a discussion of rather more recent trends in 'structuralism' and 'post-structuralism', and to do that specifically in relation to the thought of Foucault and his transition in the late 1960s/early 1970s to a position explicitly and implicitly claiming links with Nietzsche (and then, in a final skew of direction to interpose from this debate into the topic of this book -archaeology after structuralism). The point is not to conduct an analysis ultimately justifying Nietzsche against Foucault or Derrida, or vice versa, and then to impose this new 'truth' as yet another new epistemological underpinning for archaeology - which would be exactly to fall prey to the seductive wiles of what Nietzsche calls the 'will to truth' once more 'tempting us to many a venture' - instead the aim is to consider the value that binds together such opposing positions in their mutual activity and reactivity. Nietzsche's stated aim as the overall object of his philosophy was to 'attempt ... a revaluation of all values', to question the implicit belief in a necessary moral interpretation of opposites as represented, for example, in Darwinist theory -the well being of the majority and the well being of the few are opposite views - points of value: to consider the former a priori of higher value may be left to the naivety of English biologists - All the sciences have from now on to prepare for the future tasks of the philosophers: this task understood as the solution of the problem of value.It is this spirit of enquiry this paper aims first to explain (necessarily in some detail) and then develop in relation to current debates in post-structuralism and 'post-processual' archaeology.
On victory born of deceit
I, Virtue, soak the tomb of Ajax with my tears,
Obama, The Prince of Bait and SwitchBarack Obama is the American Blair. That he is a smooth operator and a black man is irrelevant. He is of an enduring, rampant system whose drum majors and cheer squads never see, or want to see, the consequences of 500lb bombs dropped unerringly on mud, stone and straw houses.
A total of 64 civilians were bombed to death while The Times man was discomforted. Most were guests at the wedding party. Wedding parties are a “coalition” speciality. At least four of them have been obliterated — at Mazar and in Khost, Uruzgan and Nangarhar provinces. Many of the details, including the names of victims, have been compiled by a New Hampshire professor, Marc Herold, whose Afghan Victim Memorial Project is a meticulous work of journalism that shames those who are paid to keep the record straight and report almost everything about the Afghan War through the public relations facilities of the British and American military.(....)Let's Speak the Truth About Afghanistan
The war now being waged in Afghanistan by the U.S. and NATO closely resembles 19th century colonial "pacifications" in which a puppet ruler is installed, a native mercenary army ("sepoys") hired to fight, and western troops sent to crush rebellious tribesmen who refuse to follow the diktat of the imperial power.
...the book’s subtitle is (Hammertown Book 2), and continues, thus, Culley’s terrific 2003 book of that name. The back cover of Hammertown pictured what seem’d a crude and corroded gear-wheel, with each of its teeth flinging off a title in a centrifugal fit: in the wheel’s center one read: “Writer and art critic Peter Culley lives in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.” Terribly apt design for a poem or series of poems that here, in its second “installment”—the mind behind the writing is too restless and indefatigable and curious for the word—seems suddenly and absolutely capable of most defiantly rippling out through the various juggernauts of the twentieth century’s collapse and into the present to encompass the brute history and giddy trials of a whole finicky continent, and beyond. And Culley’s range of cultural reference and keenest renegade curiosity seem clearly up for the task.(....)
Peter maintains mosses from an old manse
12 or 20 questions: with Peter Culley
other books by Peter
Testifying To His Text: Primo Levi And The Concentrationary SublimePrimo LeviMonday Is anything sadder than a train That leaves when it’s supposed to, That has only one voice, Only one route? There’s nothing sadder. Except perhaps a cart horse, Shut between two shafts And unable even to look sideways. Its whole life is walking. And a man? Isn’t a man sad? If he lives in solitude a long time, If he believes time has run its course, A man is a sad thing too.
James T Chiampi
Primo Levi and the language of witness
Primo Levi's Last Moments
Memory and Mastery: Primo Levi as Writer and Witness
The Accident Reveals the SubstanceAsh Wednesday
To be an agrarian writer in such a time is an odd experience. One keeps writing essays and speeches that one would prefer not to write, that one wishes would prove unnecessary, that one hopes nobody will have any need for in twenty-five years. My life as an agrarian writer has certainly involved me in such confusions, but I have never doubted for a minute the importance of the hope I have tried to serve: the hope that we might become a healthy people in a healthy land.excerpt from The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land edited by Norman Wirzba
via Stan Goff
Refusal, especially of theory and thinking, takes on many forms, visceral, fantastic, and linguistic. The first two are easily traced as "refusal" manifests itself as "strong reaction," either in tossing or in the fantasy of tossing a theory book or colleague out of a window--the complement to Wittgenstein's "poker." The third form of refusal is much more difficult to locate since it appears or seems to appear as something not there or not understood or not gotten. These "refusals" are "performative contradictions" in speech. Not understanding or, too simply, stupidity follows in this direction insofar as it expresses itself by its incapacity to properly express itself linguistically. "Duh," "er," "um," are instances of this refusal, a refusal of meaning. But is it altogether wrong to refuse meaning? Let's examine "duh." "Duh." It is generally understood to be an extra or para-linguistic symptom of discourse's pause or failure—something akin to Aristotle's "mere voice" or an animal phone. It is not a word per se since it references the "unavailability" of discourse proper, but it is the title of a book, a website, and, now, included in an academic essay, perhaps not the first. "Duh" evokes presence through a feeling of absence, marking that which is unavailable to discourse or that which is obvious. For example, "'Duh' evokes presence through a feeling of absence, marking that which is unavailable to discourse or that which is obvious, duh (or 'no duh')." Since "duh" or even "no duh" is an extra or para-linguistic phenomenon expressing or performing an unavailability of or obviousness within discourse, it has theoretical consequences and, more precisely, consequences for the future of theory. "Duh," as a pause or failure or refusal, has been and remains the response to theory. This is easily testable by saying "différance" in a departmental meeting. The testable "duh" transforms into the detestable "duh" as the pause or failure turns to "duh" as the expression or performance of the obvious--"duh (or duuuh), that's theory," a revving up or a coming to realization of some awareness, however minimal or previously unavailable discourse. "Duh" is not all bad, however. "Duh" has a significant place in the discursive practices surrounding academic, sometimes intellectual, discourse. "Duh" is evocative, calling up, as it were, stupidity's rich tradition and within this tradition "duh" stands the ground of refusal. Refusing "duh" means resisting stupidity and its double, a "refusing duh," conjures up a break between discourse and world. This duality of "duh," the evocation of stupidity and its refusal, also elicits a response from knowing, stupidity's reciprocal and necessary condition.Stupidity
and at Google Book
in the newly redisigned The Quarterly Conversation
Alexander Ver Huell
Take one part gorgeous ornamental typography and one part diabolical imagery. Combine slowly over a low heat with incidental visual curiosities. Add caprice to taste. Serve haphazardly over a bed of 19th century lithographic stones. For best effect, consume before retiring.Alexander Ver Huell at The Leiden Archives
from the Buch der hängenden GärtenJustin Erik Halldór Smith is a frequent contributor to CounterPunch and 3QuarksDaily
The Book Art of Robert The, Cara Barer, and Jacqueline Rush Lee
Book art is intimate, fascinating, and transgressive. When we talk about books, we are usually talking about what’s inside, but there is a lot more to a book than reading it. Book art makes those other aspects its domain: the way books look; the way that, with their bent spines and marginalia, they record the history of our own reading lives; the way that these mass-produced objects can seem to hold not just letters but knowledge.
I never really understood why Donald Barthelme chose to re-publish his stories in collected, compendium editions, first in Sixty Stories and then in Forty Stories. The very titles of these books obscured the playful and distinctive signposts provided by the original volumes in which these stories appeared, bearing as they did such colorful, and ultimately revealing, titles as Come Back, Dr. Caligari and Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts. (Some of the later titles—City Life, Sadness—were more elegantly succinct, but they also signified a thematic association among the included stories that is lost, and to some degree impoverishes the reader’s response, when the stories are reprinted in an omnibus form.) More importantly, what encountering Barthelme’s fiction in these collected volumes, the latest of which, Flying to America, includes all of the stories not found in the first two, really threatens to de-emphasize—or even eliminate—is the more carefully calibrated iconoclasm, the redoubled assault on convention, that one experiences when reading Barthelme’s stories in their original book-bound form.
The daily barrage of bad news is really starting to get on people's nerves; it's obvious everywhere you look. Most of the TV chatterboxes have already cut-out the cheery stock market predictions and no one is praising the "impressive powers of the free market" any more. They know things are bad, real bad. That's why the business news is no longer presented like a happy-go-lucky Bollywood extravaganza with undulating females and exotic music. Now it's more like B-grade slasher movie where everyone winds up dead at the end of the show.
Usurer, curate and merchant
The White House predicted Monday that President Bush would leave a record $482 billion deficit to his successor, a sobering turnabout in the nation’s fiscal condition from 2001, when Mr. Bush took office after three consecutive years of budget surpluses.
Water Tower and Fire Hydrant
Balance + Disorder
Notes from a life of pictures
Aesthetics of Catastrophe
My objective was (and continues to be) not only to present the images of the storm's aftermath, but to critique our reception and expectations of them as well.
Wenders' film (Until the End of the World) was first released in 1991, before the widespread explosion of the internet, but the core critique of images and their addictive properties seems even more relevant today. If images can liberate us, they are just as capable of trapping us in unconscious processes and systems of rewards and penalties beyond our conscious awareness.Photography and the Unconscious Panopticon: Part Two
Aric Mayer comments on David Levi Strauss' Click here to disappear: thoughts on images and democracy
What Barthes engages here, in an extremely systematic and rigorous manner, is nothing less than what produces the difficulty of all contemporary reflections on photography: the absence of the subject. But, as he suggests—and here lies his strength and courage—this absence does not result from disappearance or effacement, but, on the contrary, from multiplication and proliferation. As he puts it,in front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art. In other words, a strange action: I do not stop imitating myself, and because of this, each time I am (or let myself be) photographed, I invariably suffer from a sensation of inauthenticity, sometimes of imposture (comparable to certain nightmares).Photography—and the portrait as its genre par excellence—constitutes a radical and absolute destabilization of the Cartesian subject, “comparable to certain nightmares,” and not unlike the one advanced by psychoanalysis, in which “I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think.”4 Like psychoanalysis, photography shatters the subject of reason—a subject that would be complete and coincidental with itself—by introducing a plurality that is not produced by the metonymic force of unconscious desire, but by affects and the gaze: “I see, I feel, hence I notice, I observe, and I think” . It tells me that I do not exist before my image—that I exist only as an image, or, more precisely, only as a series of images, none of which are ever one. It redeems me from the immobility of a “self” and tells me that the I that is reproduced in each new image, and in every copy of each of these images, is never even one at the moment in which it poses before the camera. “I only resemble,” Barthes notes, “other photographs of myself, and this to infinity: no one is ever anything but the copy of a copy, real or mental” . Undoing every contemplative act that would presume a distance between “itself” and the image on which it focuses, Camera Lucida puts the category of an observer—as the neutral subject of a process that presumably occurs outside him—into crisis.
Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror
John Ashbery feature
The word made image
If wandering, considered as a state of detachment from every given point in space, is the conceptual opposite of attachment to any point, then the sociological form of the ‘stranger’ presents the synthesis, as it were, of both these properties. (This is another indication that spatial relations not only are determining conditions of relationships among men, but are also symbolic of those relationships.) Georg Simmel, "The Stranger" (1908)The relationship between geometric and metaphoric distance should be among the most urgent of research questions in late-twentieth century human sciences. This essay is an attempt to contribute to the ongoing and increasingly rich discourse on space in social theory, by tracing the life course of a critical concept as it has been constructed intellectually and deployed empirically. That social distance needs to be refashioned is a major conclusion of this essay, but precisely how it must be refashioned is a question that I think we are only beginning to see. Not only Georg Simmel among the founders of social theory will be necessary for this reconstruction. Emile Durkheim’s concept of "social morphology," for example, contains important insights into the relationship between geometric and metaphoric meanings of distance (Durkheim 1992). This essay, however, maintains a focus on Simmel, Park, and Bogardus as shapers of the contemporary notion of "social distance."(....)
Simmel had the brilliance to capture in a single social type, “the stranger” the basic elements of social distance. Metaphoric distance is strangeness: the “unfamiliar” (and we must take note of the etymologies here: familiar and unfamiliar are metaphoric of blood kinship). But geometric distance is the structure of everyday life in space-time that permits or promotes the formation of familiarity: ie, the stranger literally was not here when we developed our familiarity. Reciprocally, “structures of feeling” (Williams 1973) produce “structures of practice” (Bourdieu 1980), and vice-versa. A powerful exploitation of recent sociospatial theory needs to accommodate directly both of these senses of distance.
Despite the obvious importance of the lecture form to Simmel, in the study of `classical sociology', the original mode of presentation of his texts has been largely ignored. However, eye-witness reports of Simmel's lectures suggest the folly in such neglect. For example, Emil Ludwig has argued that the essential difference between Simmel's lectures and his written work lies in the relative accessibility of his lectures compared to the density of his texts. Indeed, he suggests that `the diffi- culty of his [Simmel's] style of writing . . . is resolved when the speaker resolves the sentence'. While Ludwig focuses on the new perspective gained by the vocalization of the text, Paul Fechter describes the role that the physical presence of the body played in articulating Simmel's ideas:. . . one watched while the figure on the lecture platform became the medium of an intellectual process, the passion of which was not only realized in words, but also in gestures, movements, actions. When Simmel wanted to reveal to his audience the heart of a thought, an idea, he didn't just formulate it: to an extent, he raised it visibly with his hand. His fingers stretched outwards and upwards and then closed again, his whole body turned under the force of his uplifted hand, in which the problem rested.Curiosity having been aroused by these descriptions of Simmel's lecturing style, this article examines the dissemination of Simmel's sociological thought through the medium of the lecture, focusing on the production, reproduction and reception of sociological ideas, and foregrounding the physical presence of the body as an essential element of the lecture, distinguishing it from written forms.
Within & Beyond the Wall
Three Poems From Some TreesGrand Abacus John Ashbery Perhaps this valley too leads into the head of long-ago days. What, if not its commercial and etiolated visage, could break through the meadow wires? It placed a chair in the meadow and then went far away. People come to visit in summer, they do not think about the head. Soldiers come down to see the head. The stick hides from them. The heavens say, "Here I am, boys and girls!" The stick tries to hide in the noise. The leaves, happy, drift over the dusty meadow. "I'd like to see it," someone said about the head, which has stopped pretending to be a town. Look! A ghastly change has come over it. The ears fall off - they are laughing people. The skin is perhaps children, they say, "We children," and are vague near the sea. The eyes- Wait! What large raindrops! The eyes- Wait, can't you see them pattering, in the meadow, like a dog? The eyes are all glorious! And now the river comes to sweep away the last of us. Who knew it, at the beginning of the day? It is best to travel like a comet, with the others, though one does not see them. How far that bridle flashed! "Hurry up, children!" The birds fly back, they say, "We were lying, We do not want to fly away." But it is already too late. The children have vanished.
with catalan translation at the barcelona review
“There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.” So begins Crowds and Power, Elias Canetti’s monumental meditation on human nature. What might Canetti have to tell us in the U.S. about our situation post-elections 2000 and 2002, and post-September 2001? At a time of increasing mass movements world-wide and of intense religious and cultural antagonisms, his insights into the human condition offer an illuminating perspective on the apparent political motivations of the current U.S. administration and their potential outcomes. A Nobel Prize winner who grew up between the World Wars in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany and was forced to flee Vienna when the Nazis came in 1938, Canetti spent much of his life thinking about the great catastrophes of his century. His assumption—who can doubt it?—was that “There is no other hope for the survival of mankind than knowing enough about the people it is made up of.” His experience, research, and reflection led him to conclude that a foundation block of the human psyche rests on our impulse to come together into crowds and to extend them through time. A universal fear motivates that impulse: the terror of an unknown touch that threatens predatory seizing, tearing, dismembering, and incorporation.(....)
The End of Modernism
Canetti's novel never fails to elicit rather strong opinions. Recently in the New Yorker, David Denby declared it "a long, provocatively odd, and emotionally demanding novel." Remarkable amidst the variety of these distinctly unambivalent reactions is the fact that readers have tended to see Auto-da-Fé as a compellingly contemporary work, and in one notable case, even pronounced it a "postwar novel." This is an understandable error. Canetti did not really gain wide recognition until the early 1960s, when his quixotic anthropological study Crowds and Power first appeared. Implicitly addressing the Cold War stalemate, and hailed as "above ideology," this much-discussed book was bound to encourage readers to associate Canetti in the first instance with the burning issues of that bipolar world, rather than with prewar modernist fiction. Yet placing Canetti the novelist alongside the likes of such unmistakably postwar writers as Grass, Böll, and Christa Wolf was probably more than an oversight. Those who read and reviewed the novel at this time, including those who certainly knew of its Weimar-era origins (such as Hans Magnus Enzensberger), were in fact quite prepared to view it as a work chiefly about contemporary society. It may be that "social relevance" was already becoming a dominant criterion of literary achievement, even before the student movement established it more firmly. And it may also be that some critics simply mistook the date of republication—it was reissued in the wake of Crowds and Power in order, in part, to capitalize on that book's success—for the original date. Whatever the case, nobody seemed to miss the modernist context of the early 1930s, when Canetti actually wrote what would be his only published novel. (....)
Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street)
As I’ve said, I did not always think of my life as a prison in which all actions are determined according to a random pattern thrown down by an unkown and insensate authority. Indeed, when I was young I saw myself as a masterbuilder who would one day assemble a marvellous edifice around myself, a kind of grand pavilion, airy and light, which would contain me utterly and yet wherein I would be free. Look, they would say, distinguishing this eminence from afar, look how sound it is, how solid: it’s him all right, yes, no doubt about it, the man himself. Meantime, however, unhoused, I felt at once exposed and invisible. how shall I describe it, this sense of myself as something without weight, without moorings, a floating phantom? Other people seemed to have a density, a thereness, which I lacked. Among them, these big, carefree creatures, I was like a child among adults. I watched them, wide-eyed, wondering at their calm assurance in the face of a baffling and preposterous world.
One should never read a single book at a time. In the act of reading multiple texts, aleatory encounters between texts are produced like sparks arcing across two separated wires. There is no method here. Where in when such a spark will leap is not subject to calculation or prediction. Rather, such sparks are purely a product of chance. And, of course, it is necessary to add the caveat that it is impossible to read a single book at a time. As Freud famously observed in his allegory of the Roman city, and Bergson in his cone of memory, the past co-exists with the present, such that any act of reading is necessarily saturated with all the previous texts one has encountered. Yet even here the points at which texts touch one another, the point at which virtual texts and actual text touch in singularities, is entirely aleatory and without calculation. Perhaps there must be an Idea, Problem, or Multiplicity at work in Deleuze’s sense of the word– a problematic field –that presides over the genesis of such relations. The principles of auto-synthesis are murky.
1930s: The Making of "The New Man"
...brings together more than 200 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs by artists from Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain, France, Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Here's the thing: nobody needs me or Bernie Sanders to tell them that it sucks out there and that times are tougher economically in this country than perhaps they've been for quite a long time. We've all seen the stats -- median income has declined by almost $2,500 over the past seven years, we have a zero personal savings rate in America for the first time since the Great Depression, and 5 million people have slipped below the poverty level since the beginning of the decade. And stats aside, most everyone out there knows what the deal is. If you're reading this and you had to drive to work today or pay a credit card bill in the last few weeks you know better than I do for sure how fucked up things have gotten. I hear talk from people out on the campaign trail about mortgages and bankruptcies and bill collectors that are enough to make your ass clench with 100 percent pure panic. None of this is a secret. Here, however, is something that is a secret: that this is a class issue that is being intentionally downplayed by a political/media consensus bent on selling the public a version of reality where class resentments, or class distinctions even, do not exist. Our "national debate" is always a thing where we do not talk about things like haves and have-nots, rich and poor, employers versus employees. But we increasingly live in a society where all the political action is happening on one side of the line separating all those groups, to the detriment of the people on the other side. (....)
Bloodied by "facts on the ground" in Iraq and Afghanistan however, and despite imperialism's much-vaunted technological superiority, America's techno-warriors continue searching for "Holy Grail" solutions to the political quandary they have confronted since the Vietnam war: how to achieve "victory" in environments that have proven themselves deadly quagmires, humiliating object lessons never learned by the world's sole "hyperpower"?(....)
Take a long, hard look at a killed Iraqi child. Tell yourself that this is not your doing. Soothe yourself. Tell yourself you are not responsible; it's someone else's doing. It's an insurgent; it's a bad American airstrike; it's George W. Bush. It's someone else who did it, not you. Then, once you feel all better, be sure to vote for the candidate who will tell you what you want to hear: we need to leave Iraq, or we need to stay there. It's all the same: seeds from the fruit of a poison tree of lies that will, themselves, bear lies tailored to your need for self-exoneration.
Richard Oelze Paintings & Drawings from the 1950s & 1960s
an exhibition of more than 40 works by a one-time Bauhaus student whose early contact with the works of Dalí, Ernst and Magritte made him one of the few German artists with direct contacts to and affinities with the Paris Surrealists.
anderbo magazineConfidence Comes Easy Marge Piercy Some things are naturally vigorous. They encroach, they ooze confidence. Some beings act entitled. Wisteria climbs all over every shrub and tree it can reach. It smothers. Yet I welcome its twilight shade on a hot tar afternoon to hide me from the lava sun under its arbor. The kitten arrived yesterday at one p.m.
Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street)
Providence Baroque:In a terrific interview (c. 1983) in Gargoyle, Jaimy Gordon discloses Keith Waldrop’s impeccably taut definition—“A novel is that literary form into which you throw everything that’s captured your attention in the last five years”—and delineates a fine crosshatching (amounting venerably to a “mount,” an implacable hillock, an uppity rearing steed of a place, good for seeing) of English idiosyncratic rhetors (Francis Bacon to George Meredith by way of Richard Burton, Sir Thomas Browne, and other such renegade “writerly” types—none’d cop to speech as a viaduct for the sentence, or the way it burrows in all twisty and athletickal and brute, like a mole, to follow the grand excursionary force of the mind it is out doing the “scouting” for, unsure of its end . . .) It’s a sublime and intelligent romp, the interview, puts a genial cuffing to the critical boosterism of “deceptively simple style,” that kind of pathetic glomming (by editors and readers alike) to the systematically dull under the faux assurances of “clarity.”
Here Comes Jaimy Gordon
... trade publishers are resistant to certain qualities of prose: the dense, the opaquely inward, the flamboyantly learned. Either the editors are unable to read these themselves, or they can't believe their clientele will read them, and they advance statistics, some highly suspect, to prove it. Of course an independent-minded or powerful literary editor will from time to time see such a book to publication, and in fact the literary establishment traditionally keeps a small kennel of difficult prose stylists behind, or rather in front of, its main house, piously praised though unread. (How long the conglomerates will continue to keep up genteel appearances in this fashion is another question.)Gargoyle
The more you read, the fewer are the traces left by what you have read: the mind becomes like a tablet crossed over and over with writing. There is no time for ruminating, and in no other way can you assimilate what you have read. If you read on and on without setting your own thoughts to work, what you have read can not strike root, and is generally lost. It is, in fact, just the same with mental as with bodily food: hardly the fifth part of what one takes is assimilated. The rest passes off in evaporation, respiration and the like.
Schopenhauer's Recommendations To Beckett“an intellectual justification of unhappiness – the greatest that has ever been attempted”
Barbershop Through Screen Door
The Image in French Philosophy
The discourse of the ‘materiality’ of language and thought is part of a broader trend in twentieth-century philosophy and aesthetics: the attempt to resurrect matter from a long period of oblivion and disparagement and raise it on a pedestal as the only thing that can ‘save’ us from a totalizing and telegraphable reality. As we shall see, this ‘recuperation’ of material reality demands that philosophy do away with the distinction between mind and matter, subject and object, by attributing the characteristics of one to the other i.e. by relativizing differences in kind are reducing them to differences in degree.(....)
For Georges Perecwriting under constraint
archived thread at the electronic book review
Rooms for Tourists
In our decade, the romantic tide is out, and the constructivist, materialist, and formalist tides are in. One would rather find and assemble than mine or dredge up. Originality in the old sense of a “soul-making” activity is replaced by invention, constraint, and gamesmanship. We are not at play in the fields of the lord, but the static, self-interrupting planes of the internet. In Heidegger’s terminology of facticity overwhelming poesis, this is a bad thing. It means there are no shadows at play in the Lichtung, or clearing. (The Rilkean formula might be: Achtung + Lichtung = Dichtung.) In Constructivism, everything is unconcealed, in the open, and obvious. We can see this difference more clearly, perhaps, if we limit our attention to the black on black and white on white paintings of Malevich and Rodchenko. Both were intent on a new society’s new art by way of mathematics and surface. Malevich: “I have transformed myself in the zero of form” (Lavrentiev 15); Rodchenko: “Art is one of the branches of mathematics” (Lavrentiev 15). But almost immediately there was a bifurcation. Malevich was more interested in the finished work of art, a geometry that is inscribed by style, aesthetics, and, according to Alexander Lavrentiev, the “emblematic identification of black with iconic power and white with eternity” (15). What’s the sum of a black painting divided by a white painting?Paul Hoover's Poetry Blog
Belief and Poetry
Mrs. Benjamin F. Russell
I had lived always among the trees; and when, at last, I came out onto the Plain, my head reeled and I was sick. The uninterrupted light was, in its novelty, nearly fatal—a plague of nettles, a yellow noise, a magisterial voice deaf to all human entreaty. I mean to say that I had not, until that moment, seen the sun whole and undivided. Always, it had hidden behind a screen of foliage or, in winter, bones of twig and fescue. The light was thin and strained. A dusk even at midday. To see it, all at once and of a sudden, was a blow to the senses—not just to my eyes, though they stung and the light turned black within them, but to the other organs of sense through which the world invades and trammels up the mind. I was like one struck down by it, as Saul had been on his way to Damascus. I smelled light like a rust or mold, tasted its bitterness, and felt it against my skin—hot and barbed.
There is the river we know, and there is also another river.
Richard Wilson, a close associate of Orson Welles throughout the 1930s and '40s, tells a terrible tale of neglect: the entire, priceless archives of the Mercury Theater (from scripts to props) were kept in storage... until, finally, there was no one to pay the bill any longer on the storage facility. One wonders: how many such cultural archives - of avant-garde groups, arts organizations, publishing houses, film companies - have vanished, been dispersed or junked, precisely because, a few years down the track, there was no 'guardian' left who was willing to pay the storage bill for the sake of posterity?(....)
As its loose frame indicates, this volume is a collection of essays providing specialists' syntheses of broad areas of inquiry, rather than an overarching narrative. Organized thematically, around such matters as manufacturing and labor, trade and government, serial publication, ideologies and practices of reading, and cultures of print, and moving, generally, from economic and institutional history to cultural history, each of the eleven chapters (many divided into mini-essays by various authors and all supplemented by rich bibliographic essays) is charged with covering the whole period. The most elegant essays—among them, Meredith McGill's on copyright, Bruce Laurie's on labor, David Henkin's on urban print, Louise Stevenson's on books in the home, Susan Williams's on authorship—offer a panoramic history in and around the period and zoom in on representative events. Henkin, for example, contrasts the Philadelphia the friendless young Benjamin Franklin famously encountered with Horace Greeley's New York a century later, which welcomed that ambitious youth with a riot of raucous and abundant signage. Like these wordy urban streets, the capacious "book" takes in a wide range of cultural forms and locations, from the African American Amos Webber's diary, kept from 1854 to 1903, to the professionalization of learned culture through journals, research universities, and scholarly societies, to the circulation of religious tracts in staggering numbers during the same period.
The failure of the great experiment in mass incarceration is rooted in three fallacies of the tough-on-crime perspective. First, there is the fallacy of us and them. For tough-on-crime advocates, the innocent majority is victimized by a class of predatory criminals, and the prison works to separate us from them. The truth is that the criminals live among us as our young fathers, brothers, and sons.(....)
Create an illicit capitalist economy in the hands of extra-legal cartels embroiled in competition with one another, with that competition delegated down to those lowest in the hierarchy, and you get a great deal of violence in the process. I strongly suspect that states which impose drug laws are well aware of this, and that their function is to facilitate a strongly interventionist police force with ready-made pretexts for detaining and imprisoning people considered dysfunctional to the society's requirements. It keeps 'problem' populations, generally the urban poor, under tight surveillance. It criminalises them before they have necessarily even broken the law.
via Mrs. Deane
John Haines - Nine Political PoemsNotes on the Capitalist Persuasion John Haines I. “Everything is connected to everything . . .” So runs the executive saw, cutting both ways on the theme of all improvement: Your string is my string when I pull it my way. In my detachment is your dependency. In your small and backward nation some minor wealth still beckons – was it lumber, gas, or only sugar? Thus by its imperial logic, with carefully aimed negotiation, my increase is your poverty. When the mortgage payments falter, then in fair market exchange your account is my account, your savings become my bonus, your home my house to sell. In my approval is your dispossession. II. Often in distress all social bonds are broken. Your wife may then be my wife, your children my dependents – if I want them. So, too, our intellectual custom: Your ideas are my ideas when I choose to take them. Your book is my book, your title mine to steal, your poem mine to publish. In my acclaim is your remaindering. Suppose I sit in an oval office: the public polls are sliding, and to prove I am still in command I begin a distant war. Then, in obedience to reciprocal fate, by which everything is connected, my war is your war, my adventure your misfortune. As when the dead come home, and we are still connected, my truce is your surrender, my triumph your despair.
Leaves from the Buddha's GroveThe nature of the mind is un-born.The "Hsin-Ming" or "Song of Mind"
assembled by Anders Honoré
That the Nazis were studying sleepers in 1944 seems to surprise Martin, but those of us who’ve read Gravity’s Rainbow realize that WWII was more than a war, it was the world we come from, it was the egg opening, it was the hatching of our common psychotic global humanity, a synergy of endorphins. Our erections were wagging as the bombs were dropping. So of course, humans were guinea pigged on all levels, for all purposes, because this is how control happens, honey. Now, let me strap you back into your cot...
...in the exercise of violence over life and death, more than in any other legal act, the law reaffirms itself. But in this very violence something rotten in the law is revealed, above all to a finer sensibility, because the latter knows itself to be infinitely remote from conditions in which fate might imperiously have shown itself in such a sentence. Reason must, however, attempt to approach such conditions all the more resolutely, if it is to bring to a conclusion its critique of both lawmaking and law-preserving violence. In a far more unnatural combination than in the death penalty, in a kind of spectral mixture, these two forms of violence are present in another institution of the modern state: The police. ....Long Sunday Symposion on Walter Benjamin's "Critique of Violence".
It's the perennial thorn in the colonialist's side. It's the war that won't go away. It's a wasp sting that swells, slowly choking the life out of the sting's recipient. It is the nearly seven-year old occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and various NATO allies. Nearly forgotten by most Americans, the situation in that country has taken headlines away from the occupation of Iraq because of the resurgence of the anti-occupation forces. (....)
nil scrap value: silvertown
While it may be tempting to mock the anti-modernist claims documented in Counter-Revolution of the Word, Filreis’s sober approach acknowledges the social cost for many poets. Ludicrous attacks on formal innovation become ominous when they cost someone a job or erase significant poets from cultural memory. But beyond the prices paid by individual poets, demonizing aesthetic invention and poetic difference has broader ramifications, from the diminished intellectual fare served up daily by the mediocracy to the stunted—and stunting—conception of literature promoted in too many classrooms.
Bexhill Seaside Pavillion
The Poem Politic X: A Note for Future HistoriansKeith Wilson, Again
Everwhat, poems by Clayton EshlemanPlacements I: "The New Wilderness"
reviewed by John Olson
Everwhat is a flip-flop of the word ‘whatever.’ ‘Giorgio Agamben focused my attention on the word ‘whatever,’’ writes Eshleman in the note section in the back of this collection, ‘in the opening essay in his The Coming Community. (University of Minnesota Press, 1993).’ Agamben’s use of the word ‘whatever’ is itself a reversal; he inverts the popular meaning of ‘whatever’ as a token of indifference — ‘it does not matter which’ — to its opposite: ‘being such that it always matters.’Seeds Of Narrative In Upper Paleolithic Imagery
At The Locks Of The Void: Co-Translating Aime Césaire
Reading Translations of César Vallejo's Poems
Wind from all Compass Points
Ever since I discovered the poetry of César Vallejo in the late 1950s, I have intuited that poetry is at a very early stage in its potential unfolding. The depth of "I" has only been superficially explored. Ego consciousness is inadequate to write innovative poetry. Rather than the Freudian hierarchical model, a kind of totem pole consisting of super-ego, ego, and unconscious, I would propose the antiphonal swing of the bicameral mind which in a contemporary way relates to shamanism, the most archaic mental travel. While the idea of poetry as a spiral flow, with simultaneous interpenetrations of what we call perception, intuition, feeling, and imagination, is too demanding for most writers, I think it may be one key in enabling a poet to write a poetry that is responsible for all of his experience.
Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld
AbstractOpen access for critical and cultural theory: Open Humanities Press
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Charles Wright, Six PoemsIn Memory of the Natural World Charles Wright Four ducks on the pond tonight, the fifth one MIA. A fly, a smaller than normal fly, Is mapping his way through sun-strikes across my window. Behind him, as though at attention, the pine trees hold their breaths. The fly’s real, the trees are real, And the ducks. But the glass is artificial, and it’s on fire.
Beyond Power/Knowledge [PDF]"Police are, essentially, bureaucrats with weapons"
an exploration of the relation of power, ignorance and stupidity
This essay is not, however, primarily about bureaucracy—or even about the reasons for its neglect in anthropology and related disciplines. It is really about violence. What I would like to argue is that situations created by violence—particularly structural violence, by which I mean forms of pervasive social inequality that are ultimately backed up by the threat of physical harm—invariably tend to create the kinds of willful blindness we normally associate with bureaucratic procedures. To put it crudely: it is not so much that bureaucratic procedures are inherently stupid, or even that they tend to produce behavior that they themselves define as stupid, but rather, that are invariably ways of managing social situations that are already stupid because they are founded on structural violence. I think this approach allows potential insights into matters that are, in fact, both interesting and important: for instance, the actual relationship between those forms of simplification typical of social theory, and those typical of administrative procedures.(....)
State of the Onion
We're now in year 8 of the Onion Era: the era in which Onion articles have consistently proved more accurate than the stuff you read in mainstream newspapers.
You are informed that human beings endowed with language were placed in a siluation such thai none of them is now able to tell aboul it. Most of them disappeared then, and the survivors rarely speak about it. When they do speak aboul it, their testimony bears only upon a minute part of this situation. How can you know that the situation itself existed? That it is not the fruit of your informant's imagination? Either the situation did not exist as such. Or else il did exist, in which case your informant's testimony is false, either because he or she should have disappeared, or else because he or she should remain silent, or else because, if he or she does speak, he or she can bear witness only to the particular experience he had, it remaining to be established whether this experience was a componenl of the situation in question.
It’s a bitch to talk to you about those ghosts you discovered. Without really wanting to, you realized you had a past that you didn’t know about. Finding that document in the book in the bedroom probably wasn’t the best way to face a story that we hid for so long (the dates, the events, the people, the photographs of an unfamiliar place, they didn’t seem to have anything to do with you).It wasn’t the best way to discover the truth in those yellowed newspapers, either. And besides, how would you know what awaited you in the archives? Maybe there, my dear Irving, you found impersonal stories that made you anxious. It was your collective past, the emotions of your family that inhabited every note.