Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Alphabet

I've only read a few selections from The Alphabet and most of those I only glanced at briefly while having coffee with my friend Michael Hessel-Mial. He'd brought the book with him one day and seemed pretty excited about what he was reading. So I was delighted when he wrote me several months later and said he'd made a proposal for this conference and that it had been accepted. And I was equally delighted when I saw this flyer on Silliman's blog, just a few minutes ago.

So, here's to you Michael. And, if you read this, I still want to see what you wrote for your presentation. Maybe then I'll even make a point of diving into The Alphabet myself ...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I. First Cycle

A bearded tongue. 

II. Second Cycle

Accept it as it is.
A centered emptiness.

III. Third Cycle

A child was born.
A circular space.
A couple of nice outfits.

IV. Fourth Cycle

A defiled expression.
A disembodied head.
Aesthetic qualities.
A false terminology.
A few days later.

V. Fifth Cycle

A fierce warrior goddess.
After a minute passed.
After she fed the multitudes.
A gigantic metaphor.
A layer of wounds.
All our names were related.
Also occurring.
A lyricist and a composer.

VI. Sixth Cycle

A magnifying glass.
A minor aspect of her oeuvre.
A more complicated sense of being.
A mother who weeps.
An abandoned river bed.
An altered state.
An equal regard for connotation.
A new curling iron.
An extraordinary world.
A natural conclusion.
A new sign.
An image of the symbol.
An ink splotch.

VII. Seventh Cycle

An invariable pretense. 
A normal conversation.
An ornamental fragment of a line.
Another shadow of language.
Any way that we can do it.
A paradigm of regeneration.
A pleased expression.
A puddle of tears.
A raging flood.
A reinvention.
A rule pronounced.
A second glance.
A series of statements.
A set of press-on nails.
A severe glare.
A side table.
A silhouette of two trees.
A small figure.
As previously determined.
A sweet-faced kid.
At first glance.

VIII. Eighth Cycle

A tongue lashing.
A vast field.
A vital link.
A younger sibling.
Baggage of the possibility.
Before the apocalypse.
Beneath a stone house.
Between the North Sea and the Alps.
Between us.
Beyond the perpendicular apex.
Blame it on his mother.
Borders that still exist.
Bright lights.
Broken beneath his feet.
Broken into sand.
But she loved him.
Carved wooden sandals.
Ceding the dilemma. 
Characters in a play.
Clothes piled on the floor.
Clutching the window sill.
Coming to grips.
Compared to her dissociation.
Confronted directly.
Connecting to the stronghold.
Consistently insightful.
Contents of an hallucination.
Cutting into her hide.
Dead by means of silence.
Destructive power.
Deviations of the known.
Discovered in the role of a “center”.
Disjointed phrases.
Distress and disintegration.

IX. Ninth Cycle

Divided into three sections.
Do we like it.
Do you have a name.
Dreams and fantasies.
Dry arid land.
Ego blows.
End of the word.
Established as an intermediary. 
Every day.
Everyone looks happy.
Evidence of the tongue clamp.
Exposed by a circular image.
Extremely pleasing. 
Flashing your tiny nothings.
For a couple of minutes.
For an understandable relapse.
Form does not conform. 
For the purpose of avoiding.
Four more mouths to feed.
Four years later he returned.
From his confusion.
From the essential function.
From time to time.
From where he was standing.
Full of loathing.
Gravestones raising questions.
Ground into mulch.
Haunted by multiple losses.
He asked.
He came back smiling.
He didn’t stay.
Held in place with nails. 
He'll be staring blindly.
Her father demanded something else.
Her mother would have wept.
He supported the family elsewhere.
He wasn’t one of them.
He wiped his nose.
His arms outstretched.
His major contribution.
His predominance.
His teeth gleaming.
His white knuckles.
Hit in the head by lightening.
How it all began.
How nervous she feels.
How they were beaten and starved.
Huddled in a constricted space.
Human faces filled with emotion.
Human stones.
I bet you were happy.
If you ask other people.
I have no idea how long.
I let him hold the gun.
Implosion of form.
In a big tent. 
In a fictional account.
In order to serve.
In silence.
Intense layers.
In the altered space.
In the doorway.
In the form of an apocalypse.
In the manner of a fractal.
In the newspaper.
In the rice fields.
In these moments.
In the very center of the circle.
In which it appears.
I stepped in it.
It called out.
It looked like trouble.
It makes a nice ornament.
It seems to hang very well.
It senses everything.
It serves as my work space.
Its impetus is to act.
It's not itself.
It turned to blood.
It was an old joke.
It was a statement.
It was groaning.
It was growing weary.
I wasn't there.
I won't discuss the conflagration.
Just this once.

X. Tenth Cycle

Just this once.
Keeping up the charade.
Kind of like a repetition.
Languages with the same last name.
Largely unpopulated.
Left to die.
Like a bird.
Listening to voices.
Look at the screen.
Man woman.
Menaced by psychosis.
Modeling her dream on a question.
My eyes, my eyes.
My feet crossed at the ankles.
My voice steady.
Networked and programmable.
No material.
No reference except for myself.
Not associated.
Nothing like my counterpart.
Novelty of exposition.
Objects transformed.
Obscured by rain. 
Odd phrases.
On a beach
Opportunities for growth.
Our clothes.
Our faces.
Our guns.
Our house is full of flies.
Our intention was not to please.
Our record of inscription.
Our shoulders were touching.
Out in the kitchen.
Outside the moment. 
Over there.
Owners of the language.
Pale and deranged.
People inside our circle.
Perfect for something.
Poised as if dying.
Predominance of a specific value.
Process of searching.
Projective power.
Put it on the kitchen table.
Raised in small villages.
Read sequentially in the proper tense.
Replaces the outside world.
Scattered at our feet.
Senseless questions.
She fell instantly in love.
She felt no lightness of being.
She is ready.
She replied quietly.
She said it is going to swallow him.
She still hasn't answered his question.
She wakes up extra early.
Shrinking and delinquent.
Sitting quietly on the floor.
Six months from the outside world.
Someone who frightens her.
Someone who is entirely different.
Sometimes in belief.
Sorting out all the tangents.
Space has become confused.
Stereotyped and inadequate.
Stiff from time .
Still fragrant and green.
Such as it is.
Such promise.
Supranational spaces.
Surrounded by a concrete fence.
Sweet grapes filled with healing.
Symbols of apotheosis.
Taller and also stronger.
Tapping at the windows.
Thank you very much.
That's how it goes.
The actual calling.
The beginning of the end.
The commotion over there.
The contract and the white spaces.
The dangling streets.
The door of their apartment.
The experience.
The first bombs.
The first cycle.
The first three paragraphs.
The fraying edge.
The function of a crippled dog.
The illusionist.
The invasion of comprehension.
The meaninglessness.
The mighty waves.
Then softly repeating.
The object of her love
The outside and the individual. 
The poverty of frequency.
The power to preserve.
There are more than three distances.
The referential function.
There is nothing more to say.
The retractable lens.
There was nothing special about it.
The same expression.
The same people twice.
The temporal pause.
The tongue of nations.
The very desk.
The voice on the radio.
The whole damn surface.
The woman.
They are at a party.
They eloped.
They were living in Berlin.
They wondered.
Think of a time.
This is worth knowing.
This time is different from the other time.
This will not seem so negative.
This would imply he hasn't understood.
Those who are hurting.
To codify.
To consume.
To damage property.
To destroy.
To feed the crowd.
To feel more involved.
Together at each lull.
Tongue of the belt.
Tooth wounds.
To show you how it feels.
To superimpose ourselves.
To the detriment of being.
To the expressed object.
To the left and right of vacancy.
To the observation.
To which everything is related.
To whip the child repeatedly.
Treated as an object.
Two lanes and a cell phone.


Three streams of thought: typography and reflection. Unceasingly developed. Understanding the individual movements. Undetectable moments. Very seriously. Visions of the center. Watching them die. We can't understand anything. We deserved it. Weekdays and Sundays. We have been at it for aeons. We laughed repeatedly at every opportunity. We should be thankful. We spoke in his absence. We were shooting photos. What are you doing today. What did he say about the production. Whatever he meant by that I don’t know. What is behind the camera. What she called the calamity. What surprised you most. What they meant. When he pronounced his purpose. When he spoke coherently. When I drove to the shore. When time disambiguated. When we were still a bar code. When we tested for depth. When we were just being born. When you squinted. Which lasted for about an hour. Widespread approximations. With a cork screw. With frayed cuffs. Within its own realm. With jealous pleasure. Without confusing. Without fruit. Without knowing. With the genuine article .With the other stragglers. Woman man. Word as an object. Words relating to time. Yellow jogging shorts. Yet again. You opened up by chance. Your mouth is an eye. Your tongue is spatial. You don’t have time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Deflected from our own Recollection

A decibel which was never sounded
apart from something and not only
sounded but wrung proddingly
was not heard. The event
of its unnoticed creation
was post-existing, very much
like the unexpected
crash of its unremarkable
making–a word never formed
nor something on which
thoughts linger. Unexperienced
and unrecollectable, the moment
is unperturbed, indefinable.

"But the water surface ripples,
the whole light changes"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"... exactly as resembling, exactly resembling, exactly in resemblance exactly a resemblance, exactly and resemblance ..."

(pure eloquence)

The Four Horsemen (1982) Steve McCaffery, Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, bpNichol

Steve McCaffery: Carnival (2009)

Hannah Silva: Panopticon (2010)

Logos Women at the Colour out of Space Festival (2009)

Jaap Blonk, performing Kurt Schwitter's Ursonate (2007)

Nicola Prangione: VOCECEVOVOCE (2008)

Gertrude Stein: If I Had Told Him a Completed Portrait of Picasso

Or in the words of Hugo Ball, as spoken at the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916:

           "gadji beri bimba
                     glandridi lauli lonni cadori..."

Friday, March 11, 2011

The destruction of language [aphasic paradigm]

adjective [quantitative specific capitalized] noun [singular] article [definite] noun [plural capitalized] verb [auxiliary past third] verb [past] preposition [locational] article [definite] noun [singular] punctuation [stop] break article [indefinite capitalized] noun [singular capitalized] verb [past third] adverb [locational] punctuation [pause] preposition [accompaniment] adjective [qualitative] noun [singular abstract] punctuation [stop] break article [definite capitalized] noun [plural capitalized] verb [auxiliary past third] verb [past] punctuation [pause] verb [past] punctuation [pause]verb [past] punctuation [stop] break article [definite capitalized] adjective [sequential] noun [singular] article [indefinite] noun [singular capitalized] verb [past third] adverb [locational] punctuation [pause] conjunction verb [past third] article [definite] noun [singular capitalized] punctuation [stop] break break adjective [collective relational capitalized] noun [singular capitalized] verb [present plural third] adjective [restrictive] noun [singular] space preposition [denotative] noun [singular abstract] punctuation [pause] punctuation [expressive referential separation] conjunction [situational] pronoun [singular impersonal] verb [past third] article [indefinite] adjective [qualitative] adjective [qualitative] noun [singular] conjunction [temporal] article [definite] break noun [singular capitalized] verb [past third] adverb [proximate] punctuation [pause] pronoun [singular capitalized] verb [auxiliary future first] verb [present] article [definite] adjective [qualitative] conjunction adjective [qualitative] noun [singular abstract] preposition [locational] adjective [possessive] noun [singular] preposition [continuance] article [definite] noun [singular] pronoun [singular capitalized] break verb [present first capitalized] preposition [causative] article [definite] adjective [qualitative] punctuation [pause] adjective [qualitative abstract] noun [singular] punctuation [stop] punctuation [expressive referential separation] break conjunction [capitalized] punctuation [pause] punctuation [expressive referential separation] verb [auxiliary transitive] pronoun [singular] adverb [behavioral qualitative] verb [present singular second] article [indefinite] noun [singular] punctuation [pause] name [male] punctuation [interrogative] punctuation [expressive referential separation] break conjunction [capitalized] punctuation [pause] preposition [denotative] noun [singular abstract] punctuation [pause] punctuation [expressive referential separation] verb [present first pronoun-implied singular] pronoun [singular second] punctuation [pause] article [definite] adjective [qualitative] noun [singular] preposition [denotative] noun [plural] preposition [locational] article [definite] noun [singular denotative] noun [singular] verb [auxiliary present third] verb [past] noun [singular abstract] adverb [temporal] break preposition [transitional capitalized] article [indefinite] adjective [qualitative] noun [singular abstract] punctuation [pause] adjective [attributional] preposition [transitional] article [definite] noun [singular] preposition [locational] article [definite] noun [singular denotative] noun [singular] pronoun [singular relative referential connective] verb [past third] adverb [locational] punctuation [stop] punctuation [expressive referential separation] break break preposition [locational temporal capitalized] article [definite] noun [singular] article [definite] noun [plural capitalized] conjunction article [definite] noun [plural capitalized] verb [present third] adverb [qualitative] preposition [locational] article [definite] noun [singular] punctuation [stop] break article [indefinite capitalized] adjective [qualitative abstract] noun [singular capitalized] adverb [compound locational] verb [auxiliary habitual present third] verb [present] punctuation [pause] punctuation [expressive referential separation] conjunction punctuation [exclamatory] conjunction punctuation [exclamatory] punctuation [expressive referential separation] break conjunction [capitalized] article [definite] noun [singular capitalized] verb [auxiliary present first] adverb [negatory] verb [present] punctuation [stop] break break conjunction [capitalized] article [definite] noun [singular capitalized] verb [present third] adverb [locational abstract] preposition [locational] article [definite] noun [singular] punctuation [pause] break adverb [similarity capitalized] pronoun [singular capitalized] verb [present third] adverb [locational abstract] preposition [locational] adjective [possessive singular second] noun [plural] punctuation [pause] noun [plural] punctuation [pause] noun [singular] punctuation [pause] conjunction noun [singular] break pronoun [singular capitalized] verb [auxiliary present second] verb [past] pronoun [singular first] preposition [denotative] article [indefinite] adjective [quantitative] noun [singular] break pronoun [singular relative referential connective capitalized] verb [auxiliary present third] adverb [negatory] verb [future] adjective [negatory qualitative abstract] break preposition [continuance] article [definite] noun [singular active] preposition [denotative] noun [singular] punctuation [stop]

–Kenneth Koch, “Permanently

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dada dump (and a re-boot)

Looking back at this blog over the last few weeks, it's apparent to me that I haven't actually written anything in awhile. But what I had intended to do (and didn't) was post a few more profiles of notable artists associated with Dada, then contrast their collectivist, random, and very expressive approach to that of Marcel Duchamp's "non-retinal" conceptualist approach, all as a means of differentiating "concept" and "expression" within a broader umbrella of aesthetic experience not limited to the visible qualities of an art work.

Unfortunately, I left town for nine days and kind of lost track of what I was thinking about on this topic. Or, for that matter, how I was going to relate it to poetry.

If you're one of those rare people who find this topic interesting, then you might see where I get hung up: "aesthetics" presumably precludes "concept" as an integral aspect of aesthetic experience - at least according to Kant and like-minded others. And, from a different angle, there are probably those who work in conceptualist modes that would scoff at any notion of aesthetics when considering the significance of conceptual art.

All of which I find absurd. Why? Because my own idea of aesthetics involves the perceivable structure of patterns - not confined to meaning, beauty, or any of the human senses - that can be appreciated as art. And I think there is a huge amount of overlap, so an opposition between aesthetics and conceptualism is, quite frankly, a false dichotomy.

Or, as Henry James asserted in "The Art of Fiction" (concerning the validity of experimentation by novelists): “The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.” To which I say (concerning the validity of artistic experimentation in general), Amen.

Beyond all this, I'd also like to argue that the "anti-art" of Dada might actually be considered "anti" only in the sense that it purposefully violates all preexisting notions of what art was supposed to be in its own particular era, i.e. that "art" was bound to formal appearance and craft (as fashioned by the artistic genius of notable individuals) even when the formal structures of these art works were highly innovative (as in the case of Impressionism, for example).

In other words, while Dada eschewed the conventions of craft, they still produced art which could be appreciated from an aesthetic point of view, i.e. "what meets the eye" is still the object of art. In Duchamp's case, however, he confounded the eye and directly engaged a world of human concepts and social dynamics that is only referred to by the art object. Which is to say, the "structure" of his art exists in the non-material (and very complicated) realm of human social experience as it is metonymically referenced by the object of art.

All of this, of course, constitutes a large mouthful of assertions that I don't currently know how to support. I also don't know if anybody else finds the subject half as interesting as I do. Still, it's a significant topic that is worth exploring, especially when considering the hegemonic realities of contemporary art and poetry. Or the fact that "conceptual" and "aesthetic" approaches don't appear to get along very well, at least not as well as they should.

In the process of studying this issue, I came across an essay by Marjorie Perloff that is far more interesting and relevant than anything I could personally write concerning the difference between Duchamp and the Dadas. If the topic interests you, I highly encourage you to click on this link and give it a ponder.

On a related note, Michael Solender and Lynn Alexander recently invited me to become a regular contributer to Full of Crow's On the Wing. The reason this is a related matter is that for my first essay there I want to explore conceptual art - focusing on Duchamp - as a type of "aesthetic" that -- while being neither visual nor representational -- still creates "beautiful" structures through a reflexive form of metonymy in which "what meets the eye" is considerably less important than what meets the interrelational core of a radically expanded concept of human subjectivity and social experience.

The challenge of course, is how to create a reputable argument for the appreciation of conceptual art as an aesthetic experience without making an intellectual fool of myself in the process. I'll post a link if and when it gets published.

In the meantime, I want to "re-boot" this blog and begin examining contemporary poetry as it is presently being written and published on the internet. Having recently posted the press release from VIDA concerning gender bias in established lit journals, I'll probably turn my attention toward writers who not only happen to be women but who also happen to be terrific poets.

Specifically, I'm thinking of writers like Kim Addonizio, Arlene Ang, Venus Khoury-Ghata, or Denise Duhamel. But if anyone wants to offer any other suggestions, I'm all ears - post it in the comment section and I'll take a serious look at the work of any poet you put forward. And, while you're thinking about that, why don't you take a look at a few varied works of creative brilliance and humor from Kimberly Kaye: Banjoetry

[Sometimes I hate it when people are waaay more creative than me ...]