Funeral rites

On Nanni Balestrini's 'Blackout'

Nanni Balestrini’s Blackout is a requiem for the generation of 1968, whose hopes and ideals were exhausted by the time of the poem’s composition in 1979. The original impetus for the poem was the blackout in New York on July 13, 1977, that lasted for twenty-five hours and drew widespread media attention due to countless episodes of violence and looting. 

To understand Italy one must understand the United States. — Sylvère Lotringer / Christian Marazzi 

Notes on nonsense

Illustration of creatures mentioned in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky,’ by John Tenniel.

Adjacent to the house where I once lived, with its four residents and one other volunteer, sat a private cottage where Joe lived in a world of his own making. The idiosyncrasies of this world formed around the ceaseless churning of Joe’s brain as it reframed his memories through the lens of his particular paranoias and neuroses. Like a tangent, Joe always ran adjacent to what was around him. 



The technological poetics of Thomas Weatherly

Thomas Weatherly’s literary productivity during the last stage of his life is an important chapter of work. His last years of truly phenomenal creative output also reveal the limitations that still prevail in the ways literary value is often measured and respected, especially in scholarship on African American writers.

Emails to Lauri Scheyer (Ramey), 2005–2014

Note: Below are excerpts from four emails written to Lauri Scheyer (Ramey) between 2005 and 2014, including reflections on Weatherly’s writing process, friends and enemies, family, aging, poetic form, teaching, and first arrival in New York (during which “I rewrote [Allen Ginsberg’s] Howl; Kaddish a great poem didn’t need revision”). Sometimes it feels as if we heard in these emails a speaking voice, fragments of an ongoing conversation constructed of anecdote, reminiscence, description, opinion.


On Jenny Xie and the fate of the flâneur

Photo of Jenny Xie by Robert Bredvad.

It’s 1967, and Guy Debord, grumpy but prescient, senses a change in the air. Throughout his treatise The Society of the Spectacle, he attempts to show how mass media and late-capitalist modes of production degrade social relations. Together, they reorient human organization around images detached from lived reality. Their slogan: “What appears is good; what is good appears.”

Perceptual distance may turn into mental distance,
and the phenomenon of disinterested beholding may emerge,
this essential ingredient in what we call “objectivity” — Hans Jonas[1]