Articles

To ward off a diabolical poetry

Note: what follows is a transcript of Christian Bök’s talk at Avant Canada: Artists, Prophets

Being matter recorded

Cecil Taylor on/poetry

Chris Funkhouser performing at 'Open Plan: Cecil Taylor,' Whitney Museum of American Art, April 2016. Photo courtesy of Constellation Funkhouser.

After my first encounter with Cecil Taylor’s work in November 1986, I never would have imagined having a series of extraordinary experiences with him across the decades that followed. Seeing him that first time, a two-hour solo concert during a thunderstorm, I didn’t realize music could exist in such a different aesthetic universe: concert as poem.

After my first firsthand encounter with Cecil Taylor’s work in Charlottesville in November 1986, I never would have imagined having a series of extraordinary experiences with him across the decades that followed.

I 0we v. I/O

Poetics of veil-piercing on a corporate planet

Pop-up pastoral from Jennifer Scappettone, ‘The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes and Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump’ (Berkeley: Atelos, 2016), 94.

Ten years into tortuous research surrounding a modest seventy-three-acre plot of toxins sitting quiet some hundred feet from the house where I grew up, diffuse obsessive e-digging struck metal hydroxide sludge. In the wilds of Justia.com, suddenly clear-cut by my more sophisticated search strings or their more precisely targeted algorithms, I came upon a document titled “Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 987 F. Supp. 182 (E.D.N.Y. 1997).” 

Ten years into tortuous research surrounding a modest seventy-three-acre plot of toxins sitting quiet some hundred feet from the house where I grew up, diffuse obsessive e-digging struck metal hydroxide sludge. In the wilds of Justia.com, suddenly clear-cut by my more sophisticated search strings or their more precisely targeted algorithms, I came upon a document titled “Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 987 F. Supp. 182 (E.D.N.Y.

An indexical lyric

Print of ‘Lyric Poetry’ by H. D. Walker, a mural in the Library of Congress, which appears as a Detroit Publishing Company postcard. Via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Those interested in theorizing lyric must tread lightly these days, for a great deal of recent critical energy has been invested in sounding the interpretive contours of this “super-sized” modern genre. Much of this work seeks to disrobe lyric of its transhistorical pretensions, revealing by way of materialist critique that what we took for an enduring genre is actually a product of deeply codified reading practices.

Those interested in theorizing lyric must tread lightly these days, for a great deal of recent critical energy has been invested in sounding the historical and interpretive contours of this “super-sized” modern genre.[1] Much of this work seeks to disrobe lyric of its transhistorical pretensions, revealing by way of materialist critique that what we took for an enduring genre is actually a product of deeply codified — and distinctly post-Romantic — reading practices.

The sea doesn't have to be a wall

Photograph taken by Havana poet Marcelo Morales on August 14, 2015. It depicts poet Richard Blanco with an enthusiastic crowd on the occasion of the reopening of the United States Embassy in Havana, Cuba. Courtesy of Marcelo Morales.

At the function dedicated to reopening the US Embassy in Havana, Richard Blanco read from a poem that declared: “No one is other, to the other, to the sea, whether / on hemmed island or vast continent, remember.”[2His poem, “Matters of the Sea,” projects optimism about unity and renewal — or is it didacticism? — diplomacy? All of the above? 

Look
Innocence is important
It has meaning
Look
It can give us
Hope against the very winds that we batter against it.

— Jack Spicer, from Admonitions (1958)[1

At the function dedicated to reopening the US Embassy in Havana, Richard Blanco read from a poem that declared: “No one is other, to the other, to the sea, whether / on hemmed island or vast continent, remember.”[2