Jeff T. Johnson

Janky materiality

Artifice and interface

We live in machines but are not machines. Restless forms imagine new presents, where past and future meet. As becoming-digital beings, we retain and engage the problem of embodiment, which needs a world, needs other forms, needs to die. Death is our stake: neither early nor late.

Poetry is music, and nothing but music. — Amiri Baraka 

Poetry is heard; it is the heard thing. — Erín Moure

Materiality and embodiment

Filter, impose, trespass (PoemTalk #131)

Rachel Zolf, 'Human Resources'

From left: Jeff T. Johnson, Whitney Trettien, and Amy Paeth in the Wexler Studio of the Kelly Writers House.

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Jeff T. Johnson, Whitney Trettien, and Amy Paeth joined Al Filreis to discuss a passage (pp. 73–79) from Rachel Zolf’s Human Resources (Coach House, 2007). Human Resources offers a critique of corporate language as inimical to poetic language, yes — and yet Rachel Zolf strongly undoes any such easy distinction. The work insists on the reality of nonsubjective language, managing to coerce this aspect of meaning up to the writing surface so that we can no longer repress its inhumanity even as we inevitably find ourselves seeking the poetry in it.

Death's head, proud flesh

A 'Trouble Songs' addendum

Jeff T. Johnson

Jeff T. Johnson presents “Death’s Head, Proud Flesh,” a new installment to his “Trouble Songs” project addressing the recent deaths of both David Bowie and C. D. Wright.

Last May we published “Trouble Songs: A Musicological Poetics,” Jeff T. Johnson’s sprawling “investigation of the appearance of the word trouble in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music.” Announcing the piece on PennSound Daily, our own Michael Hennessey hailed the article as “a remarkably ambitious and capacious project that brings together the all-too-often disparate worlds of contemporary poetry and music.” “Within,” he continued, “we find Johnson deftly discussing John Ashbery, Amiri Baraka, Caroline Bergvall, and William Carlos Williams (among many others) with the same skill he dedicates to St. Vincent, Dock Boggs, Amy Winehouse, and Johnny Cash.”

'Trouble Songs'

A musicological poetics

Trouble Songs: A Musicological Poetics is an investigation of the appearance of the word trouble in twentieth- and twenty-first-century music. It is a book-length project, comprised of three parts, each broken into modular chapters, or Trouble Songs, which build on one another as a series of albums, but are also intended as remixable and programmable singles. What follows is a compilation that spans those three parts.

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