PoemTalk travelled to Bard College, where we gathered with Charles Bernstein, Pierre Joris, and Bard’s own Joan Retallack to talk about Jackson Mac Low's Words nd Ends from Ez (1989). The project was composed in ten parts, one part each for sections (sometimes called “decades”) of Ezra Pound’s lifework, The Cantos. We chose to discuss the penultimate part of Mac Low's diastic written-through work, a poem based on phrases, words, and letters drawn from — and in some sense about — Pound's near-final cantos, Drafts & Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII. Mac Low’s constraint, for which he preferred the term “quasi-intentional” to the term “chance,” involved the letters forming the name E Z R A P O U N D. Words, phrases, and letters were extracted from the original cantos based on those letters and on their placement within words. Charles, Pierre, Joan, and Al Filreis explain this in detail, although we cannot quite agree as to whether Mac Low was being absolutely strict in the application of the diastic method. As Bernstein notes several times, this particular procedure is one of the more complex Mac Low used. Nonetheless, it’s the sense of the group that when semantic meaning seems to be created, it has about it, as Pierre Joris happily notes, the special pleasure of serendipity, and means all the more.
sometimes a bee’s just a bee and a sting just a sting and song just a song and sorrow just sorrow sometimes the blue just gets to you and the black an instrument of form’s indelible intransigence
October 28, 2011- January 3, 2012 Opening reception, October 28, 5:30 – 7:00 PM Screening of Pinky’s Rule, Bernstein and Sillman’s 7-minute animated drawing, at 6:15 pm sharp Bowery Poetry Club 310 Bowery, New York, NY
Emma, Susan, and I moved to Buffao in August of 1990. I did these works in the following Spring, when Emma was turning five. Some of these xerox-generated pieces, an extension of Veil, and many of which focussed on my own hand-written mss and notebooks, were collected in Ray DiPalma's Hot Bird Mfg as Language of Bouquetsin 1991 (9 sheets, stapled at top). This set of work involved overpriting, rather thant overwriting, as in Veil. The two images here are quite different that the others in this series: I overlayed a drawing of Emma's over the printout of "Emma's Nursery Rimes." The poems, from July 1990, were published as part of a collaborative book with Bee, Little Orphan Anagram (New York: Granary Books, 1997) and later collected in Girly Man. Emma always said she wrote them.
On October 11, 1990, Jackson Mac Low read from Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons for seven minutes. You'll hear the voice of Charles Bernstein as he and others (members of Bernstein's class at Buffalo at the time) scramble to find a copy of the Stein. Then Mac Low spent a few minutes discussing the "Objects" section.