Bio-poetics is an art form not interested in some Modernist purification of the tribal dialect but instead in a creative mongrelization of the planetary genome. In Grammatical Man, Jeremy Campbell refers to “basic resemblances between genes and language that are beyond dispute” — also beyond dispute are the resemblances between living organisms at the level of their molecular components.
The tape recorder, implies Olson, makes a demand that is contiguous with the audience at the reading. It calls for the reading to become a performance, like a “concert or something.” This problem seems ironic coming from Olson, who described projective verse as a return to the possibilities of the voice and orality. I would like to take Olson’s question — and his anxiety — seriously in order to argue that it embeds both a threat to and an unacknowledged affinity with his poetics.
In response to a request to record his reading at Goddard College on April 12, 1959 (made available by the Slought Foundation and PennSound), Charles Olson quipped about the apparatus in front of him: “What happens if it just goes on and I don’t say anything?”
In her brief story “She Unnames Them,” Ursula K. Le Guin recasts Eve the primal mother as a primal liberator subverting the process of Adam’s animal-labeling. Bio-artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is pursuing a related task, engaging in acts of transgenesis, regenesis, and intergenesis via computer simulations and 3D models of newly proposed creatures. Ginsberg is a self-declared Artist of the Sixth Mass Extinction, a designer instead of a protector of biodiversity, a conservationist who works via novelty rather than nurturance.
Jake Marmer and I, on the road (as it were) in San Francisco, conversed somewhat randomly on Bob Kaufman’s “CROOTEY SONGO” and Wallace Stevens’s “The Man with the Blue Guitar.” How could these two poems connect? Maybe they don’t but we gave it a try. To hear a reading of Kaufman's poem, skip forward in the video to 25:19.