Michael Cross

Prolegomena to (Any Future) Process Poetics

Kharis

Pt. 11

“Pandora Attired,” engraving by William Blake after a drawing by John Flaxman.
“Pandora Attired,” engraving by William Blake after a drawing by John Flaxman.

Umwelt

Pt. 10

Jakob von Uexküll’s Jackdaw
Jakob von Uexküll’s Jackdaw

A pioneer in the field of ethology and biosemiotics, Jakob von Uexküll’s work has fundamentally transformed the way we understand the animal’s spatiotemporal extension by razing anthropomorphic perspectivism in the sciences, complicating our relationship (or lack thereof) to our nonhuman animal compeers while forcing us to rethink deeply internalized notions of anthroexceptionalism. 

[T]he spider carries within its web a complex picture of the prey it is to capture — its web is a map of and a counterpoint to the fly. — Elizabeth Grosz[1]

We may assume that where there is a foot, there is also a path; where there is a mouth, there is also food; where there is a weapon, there is also an enemy. — Jakob von Uexküll[2]

Abyss

Pt. 9

‘Vantablack’ (blackest ever black)
‘Vantablack’ (blackest ever black)

We are so deeply mired in our philosophies as to have evolved nothing better than a sordid version of the void: nothingness. Into it we have projected our uncertainties, all our ills and terrors, for what is nothingness, ultimately, but an abstract complement of hell, the performance of outcasts, the last-ditch effort at lucidity mustered by creatures unequipped for deliverance?  — E. M. Cioran[1]

Caesura

Pt. 8

Raine Vasquez, “Caesura" (2012)
Raine Vasquez, “Caesura” (2012)

The poem’s forcefield qua khôra, Plato’s “placeless place,” functions as an interstice — an opening or clearing rather than a “site” — defined by indeterminate plasticity and mobility rather than the rigidity of fixed “ground.” The malleability of the poem’s frame opens to a play of transecting forces — an unsettled interval, an open orchestrating lines of force to produce “tension between the homogeneous world and what finds no place in it.”

The poem’s forcefield qua khôra, Plato’s “placeless place,” functions as an interstice — an opening or clearing rather than a “site” — defined by indeterminate plasticity and mobility rather than the rigidity of fixed “ground.” The malleability of the poem’s frame opens to a play of transecting forces — an unsettled interval, an open orchestrating lines of force to produce “tension between the homogeneous world and what finds no place in it.”[1] This interplay of forces produc

Forcefield

Pt. 7

Tobi Trübenbacher, “Aesthetic Magnetic” (2017)
Tobi Trübenbacher, “Aesthetic Magnetic” (2017)

It’s fashionable among politically militant avant-garde poetry communities to insist on the inefficacy of the poem, primarily because poetry, we’re told, is ultimately powerless: it lacks the necessary force to fundamentally alter material conditions on the ground, and as a result, it’s all but impotent in the face of supposedly “real social forces.

Art comes from the excess, in the world, in objects, in living things, that enables them to be
more than they are, to give more than themselves [] Art is the consequence of that excess, that energy of force, that puts life at risk for the sake of intensification. — Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth[1]