Commentaries - July 2011

'These questions are sometimes mind-bending'

Susan M. Schultz & affording entrance

Susan Schultz gets good reception at Carnegie Hall (Pacific University).

Kaia Sand

Not long ago, Susan M. Schultz stood reading poetry before a class of undergraduate psychology majors, who just minutes ago were reviewing episodic memory with their dynamic Memory and the Mind professor, Erica Kleinknect. The students seemed to quickly engage this creative approach to the ideas they were studying. After Schultz read, one young man asked a follow-up question about George Oppen (Schultz had alluded to Oppen earlier). I think he asked about whether traces of Oppen's dementia showed up in his late poetry. A discussion about George Oppen! And in a psychology class! Lovely.

Collaboration and the Artist's Book

Caen & Paris, Spring 2011

Collaboration and the Artist's Book at the University de Caen, April Fools Day 2011. (L to R) Charles Bernstein, Pascal Poyet, Raphael Rubenstein, Françoise Goria, Antoine Coron, Susan Bee, Bill Berkson, and Gervais Jassaud. Photo by Kyle Schlessinger.

Program: Caen & Paris
Web site with photos and video clips: note two pages, click on "older" at bottom of page.

Attack launch (2011) & Sculpture Center reading (2010)

two videos

Laphroaig - Lagavulin - Margarita
Charles Bernstein and Josef Straub

Sunday, May 16, 2010, 3:00 PM
Sculpture Center, Queens
curated by Jay Sanders
excerpt from reading
for Emma, on her birthday: "In the Middle of the Way," "Be Drunken," "All the Whiskey in Heaven", followed by reading of Joseph Straub: YouTube: from Umbra "In the Middle of the Way," (Drummond), "Be Drunken" (Baudelaire); and"All the Whiskey in Heaven"

Attack of the Difficult Poems launch, A.I.R. Gallery, 6-11-11

In between the fold

“What is important in a text is not what it means, but what it does and incites to do. What it does: the charge of affect it contains and transmits. What it incites to do: the metamorphoses of this potential energy into other things – other texts, but also other paintings, photographs, film sequences, political actions, decisions, erotic inspirations, acts of insubordination, economic initiatives, etc.” (Jean-François Lyotard, Driftworks)

Might the book be the grounds for a poetic event, an event that not only extends outside of its pages, but an event that exists, or is folded, between the book object and another medium, space, action, technological interface? Might we then say that the poetry being written is neither in the book, nor in that other space, but in the fold between? “Folding-unfolding no longer simply means tension-release, contraction-dilation, but enveloping-developing, involution-evolution.” (Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque)

Leslie Scalapino's phenomenal essays

How Phenomena Appear to Unfold
Leslie Scalapino

2011 • 312 pp. • $24.00 • ISBN: 978-1-933959-12-2
Litmus Press  | Cover sculpture by Petah Coyne.

Scalapino is always just ahead, inventing the essay anew, as a necessary means for the exploration of consciousness, perception,  and meaning in and for language, with full engagement with, and acknowledgement of, the political valences of every poetic act as it falls into, or fails, the social. In the expanded field of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, Scalapino's essays are central: a model not just of possibilities but of "landing sites" to use the term of Madeline Gins and Arakawa.

Tracy Grinnell has done a superb job assembling this collection, which Scalapino was working on at the time of her death about a year ago. As always, Scalapino pushes beyond any easy sense of essay. What unfolds here is the startling unexpectedness of thought, articulated in visual and verbal forms that confound genre categories. In this book, Scalapino creates fields for thinking-as-perception, in which the poem emerges from the essay as counterpoint and newly forming foundation. The complex of disparate parts creates working models for a social formalism. Scalapino introduces the terms "seamless antilandscape" to acknowledge that an aversion to traditionl representation does not produce disjunction but rather a syncretic perceptual experience.

This is a touchstone work of pataque(e)rics.