Jerome McGann

Witness Ed Ruscha and Tan Lin

Words inappropriate to the (p)age

Ruscha, Talk Radio 1987, Acrylic on canvas, private collection.
Ruscha, Talk Radio 1987, Acrylic on canvas, private collection.

What is a derelict void?

What does “museum studies” mean by “context”? What if it were “museological environment”? An artwork would be out of context until it was taken out of context. But what does it mean to take an object out of context? Or a non-object? It must be a kind of displacement that is more historical and geographical than it is temporal and spatial. Because the time of the piece must unfold in a serviceable manner, and the space must be arrayed contiguous to its virtuous features, the features that display “it,” the approximate museological environment conserves period and style. Old is good. “Modern” is bad, except as a paradigm. By paradigm here is meant “real-to-ready phenomena,” the kind that make my encounter with the object contemporaneous to it.

Talkin' Politics of Poetic Form (the recordings)

25th anniversary

New at PennSound (site link for these recordings)

a series of talks I curated in 1988 at The New School (New York) and collected in The Politics of Poetic Form, Roof Books (1990)

University of Alabama Press series: discounts on McCaffery, McGann, Silliman, Mullen, Reed

Celebrating the Publication of Steve McCaffery’s The Darkness of the Present

 The Darkness of the Present: Poetics, Anachronism, and the Anomaly
Steve McCaffery
6 x 9 · 256 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8173-5733-7 · $34.95 $24.47 paper
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8642-9 · $34.95 $24.47 ebook

“This book raises important ethical/political issues for the practice of art in the twentieth century. The Darkness of the Present calls them to rigorous attention in a series of critical studies. It finishes in a deliberate move to stand back, in order to reflect on the issues from a cool critical vantage, like Tennyson’s poet at the end of The Palace of Art.”—Jerome McGann, author of Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web and Are the Humanities Inconsequent?: Interpreting Marx’s Riddle of the Dog
Google boosk preview here.

The Invention Tree by Jerome McGann and Susan Bee

Poem by Jerome McGann, pictures by Susan Bee.
24pp, 4-color cover plus 5 4-color drawing pages , $16
order from SPD

FACSIMILE (again)

Pt. II

In my previous post I claimed that there has never been a more interesting historical moment in publishing than the present. “Publishing” is often understood as synonymous with the “publishing industry,” but in my teaching and writing I prefer to use the term inclusively in order to put small press publishing, self-publishing (including blogging and other forms of social media) and other forms of grassroots activity in dialogue with the more traditional commercial media outlets. Personal and interactive media have absorbed or trumped traditional mass media providers, and those that have survived the ‘big switch’ (as Nicholas Carr calls it) have done so by incorporating the paradigms and principles of emerging media technologies. While writers still embark on book tours to promote new titles, many publishers have cut back significantly on the budgets allotted to personal appearances, favoring virtual promotional tactics such as Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, FaceBook pages, and networked blogging. The fact that all of these tools are user-friendly and essentially free has done much to level the playing field inhabited by small presses and major presses. Where it would have been prohibitive for most small presses of the pre-personal computer era to send a poet on an all-expense-paid trip to promote their new book of poems, a similar press can now create an online campaign on a very limited budget.

Ill, Angelic Poetics (PoemTalk #48)

Edgar Allan Poe, "Dream-Land"

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Read Edgar Allan Poe's “Dream-Land” even just once and discover that it’s not at all clear if this land of dreams is the place from which the speaker has come, or is, rather, his longed-for destination — or if indeed it is the very mode and means and route endured along the way. Subject and object, both; content and form likewise; it is the process that demonstrates the importance of desired ends. “Thule,” a northerly, arctic/Scandinavian sort of zone,[1] is apparently an origin "from" which the speaker has traveled, but it is also apparently “it” — a “wild clime” neither geographical nor temporal, Out of SPACE— out of TIME.”  And “it” is also a space through which one passes.

Thomas Devaney, John Timpane, and Jerome McGann greatly admire what Poe achieved here. For them it is a matter of a sort of wild control. The poem seems to go where it will (and that’s its point) but the speed — as matter of tongue, teeth and lips saying its words — is managed at the level of the line. The poem is intensely languaged, as is the selfhood of the “I” whose journey is always already the poem. And so this work, as an act of writing, far transcends its Gothic conventions.

Ill, angelic poetics (PoemTalk #48)

Edgar Allan Poe, 'Dream-Land'

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

Read Edgar Allan Poe's “Dream-Land” even just once and discover that it’s not at all clear if this land of dreams is the place from which the speaker has come, or is, rather, his longed-for destination — or if indeed it is the very mode and means and route endured along the way. Subject and object, both; content and form likewise; it is the process that demonstrates the importance of desired ends. “Thule,” a northerly, arctic/Scandinavian sort of zone,[1] is apparently an origin "from" which the speaker has traveled, but it is also apparently “it” — a “wild clime” neither geographical nor temporal, Out of SPACE— out of TIME.”  And “it” is also a space through which one passes.

Thomas Devaney, John Timpane, and Jerome McGann greatly admire what Poe achieved here. For them it is a matter of a sort of wild control. The poem seems to go where it will (and that’s its point) but the speed — as matter of tongue, teeth and lips saying its words — is managed at the level of the line. The poem is intensely languaged, as is the selfhood of the “I” whose journey is always already the poem. And so this work, as an act of writing, far transcends its Gothic conventions.<--break->

Jerome McGann on Poe's publishing scene

Here's an excerpt from a talk Jerome McGann gave at the Kelly Writers House on April 4, 2011. You can watch the video recording of the entire talk here — and, while you're at it, grab the code that will enable you to embed the video on your blog and web page. Go to the Kelly Writers House web calendar for more information about the event and for links to the audio recording. While McGann was with us at the Writers House, he joined me and two others to record a PoemTalk episode about a poem by Poe — an episode to be released later.

"Postmodern Poetries" anthology ed. Jerome McGann

1990 "Language Poets" issue of "Verse"

Verse cover (detail)

Postmodern Poetries:
An Anthology of Language Poets from North America and the United Kingdon

edited by Jerome McGann

Verse

Volume 7, Number 1
Spring 1990


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Jerome McGann

Philology in a new key: Poe, decentered culture, and critical method


Lecture at the Kelly Writers House, introduced by Danny Snelson, April 4, 2011

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