Commentaries - January 2008

Charles Bernstein tells us of the December 22 announcement made by Darien Credenza, head of the Amalgamated Writing Programs: a Morally Repugnant Poets-and-Theorists Exhibit will be held at the organization’s annual congress in New York. “Yes we have no ideology. We only have craft."

“It’s up to Amalgamated to determine what the correct meaning of approved works are,” Credenza said. “Anything else would lead to anarchy. Good poems have no hidden agendas. Good poems are neither for or against capitalism, patriarchy, or religion unless they clearly state that they are in the first stanza of the poem and logically develop the thesis through a combination of lucid images and narrative development.”

“‘A few theorists and poets would have you believe that just raising such questions makes you an anti-intellectual meathead in complicity with the powers of postcolonial oppression. It’s an age-old game of partisan politics to pretend that your party has a monopoly on virtue,’” said Credenza. “Only an organization such as Amalgamated Writing Programs, which is above the fray, and rejects demagoguery, has an authentic claim to virtue.”

You can listen to the entire news story here. It's the voice of Alex, Apple's new best-yet text-recognition guy. He does fairly well, although his pronunciation of Lacan leaves a little to be (as it were) desired.

1] intro the lecturer & lecture series and say nice things overall
2] from the 3rd lecture the concept of "embodiment deficit" — which is the opposite of the state in which the body responds with multiple senses to experiences taken in by the brain and body at once.
3a] Stanford's podcast series — big implicit claims
3] then explain what happens at the start of the 1st lecture & mention that the students' responses can't be heard b/c no mic/no audio recorded; he can be heard scratching at the blackboard. He's talking about the computer-screen icon and b/c his computer-made presentation can't be shown he draws it freehand on the blackboard.
4] we who experience this lecture as a podcast feel an intense embodiment deficit, and the answer is NOT better lecture-room A/V equipement or assistance, or better editing by the Stanford ITunesU people ... but
5] the embodiment surplus of the sort I have been arguing for [in this essay]

Typically the poet who wants to give regular readings has to travel a good deal. It's not surprising that a number of poets now make their verse available in blogs, as audio or video podcasts, etc. Dorothea Lasky adds a level of interest to the latter. She goes on a "tiny tour," giving readings in her own apartment, in the bathroom, living room, bedroom. With help from friends, she makes decent videos of the experience, being sure to show live audiences, sipping coffee and so forth as if they're at a public reading venue. The Philadelphia Inquirer has covered this phenomenon, in a story that mostly suppresses the condescension that typifies poetry's newspaper appearances.

Lasky will leave her apartment to come and read at the Writers House on January 17 — the slighly larger end of her tiny tour.