Commentaries - November 2009

Roger's angelic writing

I'm reading Roger Angell's annual languid and trope-filled round-up of the baseball postseason. This time C. C. Sabathia wears pavilion-sized pants and throws a ball that comes at you like a loaded tea tray falling down an elevator shaft.

Live chalk writing event

Tan Lin, et alia

Tan Lin's Chalk Playground and LitTwitChalk. November 14 brought a live poetry chalking event at PS 2 in New York. Here are photos. Tan writes: "Charles [Bernstein] and Bruce [Andrews] have particularly stunning work, as does Joe Amrheim who chalked an enormous Futurist manifesto."

The live chalk writing event is part of the Performa events this year. It's the leading performing arts biennial in the US and about 55 or so NYC poets participated. This event was co sponsored by a number of Asian American organizations including the Museum of the Chinese in America, the Asian American Writers Workshop, and others.

The Performa 09 CAST included: F Alarcon, Bruce Andrews, Charles Alexander, J Amrhein, Susan Bee, Anselm Berrigan, Charles Bernstein, J Blachly, Lea Ann Brown, E/G Bumas, Eleanor Clark, C Churchouse, K Estefan, Rob Fitterman, S Gambito, Kristen Gallagher, P Javier, De-Quan Jenkins, S Jost, A Lin, J Legaspi, A Maier, D Machlin, S Naeem, J Perry, G Picinic, D Rosenfeld, E Sanchez, B Sanders, K Sanders, O/P Shao, J Sigler, Lytle Shaw, Danny Snelson, J Tsuei, D Yarbrough, H Zhang.

Giving thanks at PennSound

We at PennSound wish you a happy Thanksgiving by way of a new episode in the PennSound Podcast series. Here we feature excerpts from six poems of giving thanks. Hardly Rockwellian but we think you'll be stirred by this little grateful anthology all the same. I'm especially moved by Robert Creeley's poem here.

This is the 19th in our podcast series. For links to all the others, just go here.

American poetry after 1975

American Poetry after 1975
Duke University Press
a special issue of boundary 2
(Volume 36, Number 3, Fall 2009)American Poetry after 1975
Duke University Press
a special issue of boundary 2
(Volume 36, Number 3, Fall 2009)
Paperback - $14.00
0-8223-6719-X
[ISBN13 978-0-8223-6719-2]
225 pages

It's entirely on-line via University of Pennsylvania library e-resources under "boundary 2 / Duke University Press Journals":
http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:3262/current.dtl

The Duke University Press page for the book: link.

Contents:
Charles Bernstein / American Poetry After 1975: Editor’s Note / 1
Jim Rosenberg / Bios / The Logosphere / The Finite-Made Evolver Space /3
Peter Gizzi / Eclogues / 9
Christian Bök / Two Dots Over a Vowel / 11
Lytle Shaw / Docents of Discourse: The Logic of Dispersed Sites / 25
Tracie Morris / Rakim’s Performativity / 49
Jennifer Scappettone / Versus Seamlessness: Architectonics of
Pseudocomplicity in
Tan Lin’s Ambient Poetics / 63
Craig Dworkin / Hypermnesia / 77
Jonathan Skinner / Poetry Animal / 97
Herman Rapaport / A Liquid Hand Blossoms / 105
Kenneth Goldsmith / In Barry Bonds I See the Future of Poetry / 121
Joyelle McSweeney / Disabled Texts and the Threat of Hannah Weiner / 123
Brian Reed / Grammar Trouble / 133
Juliana Spahr / The ’90s / 159
Al Filreis / The Stevens Wars / 183
Nada Gordon / Not Ideas about the Bling but the Bling Itself / 203
Marjorie Perloff / “The Rattle of Statistical Traffic”: Citation and
Found Text in Susan
Howe’s The Midnight / 205
Elizabeth Willis / Lyric Dissent / 229
Tan Lin / SOFT INDEX (OF repeating PLACES, PEOPLE, AND WORKS) / 235
Benjamin Friedlander / After Petrarch (In the Rigging) / 241

- - -

The abstract of my essay:

The Stevens Wars
Al Filreis

What reputation and influence has Wallace Stevens had in the years since 1975? The infamous Stevensean disaffection has tended to prohibit definitive legacy, and yet this, in the end, has been productive, forestalling closed arguments among poetics Lefts and Rights, keeping Stevens's work from theoretical alliances until past the point when such would fix its standing in contestations between, for example, theoretical as distinct from historical approaches. To the extent that Stevens can seem anything to anyone, the legacy is of little impact. The many imitations of Stevens's special rhetoric tend to riff on a single poem or idiomatic stance, quick-take attempts at posing in a particular ironic position, one abandoned as quickly as assumed. Among contemporary poets whose own writing contemplates Stevens's overall position, however, a larger pattern does emerge—two Stevenses. First, a meditative Stevens: unagonistic, verbally ruminative, romantic (but called "postromantic"), a repository of human responses, post-Christian yet lyric—a poet whose verse does not make truculent, discordant claims but rather "eke[s] out the mind," forming "the particulars of sounds." Secondly, a languaged Stevens: theoretical, serial, and nonnarrative, metapoetically radical, sometimes satirical (and antinarrative), always obsessive about the state of poetics and insisting on consciousness of the compositional mode as itself a pressure inducing the poem to be composed—a poet whose middle and late seriatic styles befit rather than reject the cyclonic modernist historical modes adopted early and briefly by Eliot, grandly and insistently by Pound, and later by Williams.

flingy unholy alliance

The New York Times lead, for a story published in 1995: "One of the gossipy curiosities of 20th-century philosophy is that Hannah Arendt, the German-born Jewish philosopher remembered for her fierce and unforgiving attacks on totalitarianism, had a youthful fling in the 1920s with Martin Heidegger." Here is a link to that story, and here's a response to the matter by Aharon Meytahl.