Commentaries

Technicians of the Sacred, Revised & Expanded: An Announcement & an Appeal

 [The following is an early announcement of a work now in progress: the latest expanded & revised edition of Technicians of the Sacred that the University of California Press will be publishing in 2017, almost in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication in 1968.  As I launch into the work I’m posting my proposals for the book as an indication of what’s in store & in the hope, as with other assemblages of mine, that others will come forward with suggestions for materials relevant as texts & commentaries that fall along the lines of those in

Ecopoetic resurgence: feral/interdisciplinary/bioregional

Notes on ecopoetries from the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Conference (June 23-27, 2015)

investigating the feral at the ASLE 2015 conference, "Notes from Underground: The Depths of Environmental Arts, Culture and Justice." Photo by Heidi Lynn Staples.

In their plenary at the recent conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Anna Tsing and Donna Haraway oriented us toward the concept of a multi- species world making based on the ecological process of resurgence. Resurgence, they clarified, is the response to a “disturbance” – any quick ecological change, such as farming. They explained that in our management of ecosystems, we block resurgence – even though an ecosystem (and we humans) can’t survive without it.

A slowing 5: Attentive decentering (2)

Part 2

...And in this attention to being, this quiet, this un-writing, we recognize beauty. The dead fly, the seen thing, the slowing.

Attention itself, and more importantly its transformative quality, is a necessary foundation to a clear vision of non-violence. We may understand that there is a relationship between aesthetic work and ethical work. As Elaine Scarry has noted, beauty can lead to an ethical attention that is “distributional”  -- and she describes such beauty as pacific (82). Our encounter with beauty evokes a “radical decentering,” one that shifts our attention outward, unselfishly, to generosity of attention (109).

Fulcrum

Writertranslators Omar Pérez (L) and Daniel Borzutzky (R), 2014. KDykstra.
Writertranslators Omar Pérez (L) and Daniel Borzutzky (R), 2014. KDykstra.

Translator as fulcrum:  a point central or essential to an activity, an event, a situation.  Clearly the model applies to any bilingual reading that depends on a translator to quarterback the event for an audience with limited or no ability to understand the writer’s original language. 

However, this entry takes the notion of the fulcrum differently. Daniel Borzutzky has been developing a fulcrum poetics, one located among the activities & events & situations where poetry and translation balance off, moving against and with each other.

Feel beauty supply, post 5

Feeling submissive with Edmund Burke; or, love is beautiful

Readers, in my last post I began showing how examples in texts of aesthetic philosophy often betray universal human subjectivity to be limited to European white males.  Last time I shared some examples from Kant. Today I’d like to go to one of Kant’s influences, Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful from 1757. Should you ever be tasked with teaching aesthetics, I highly recommend this text. It will make your students irate and nothing is better for class discussion.