Articles

'A useful extreme'

Wendy Burk's representation of human-plant communication

Image adapted from the cover of ’Tree Talks.’

Increasingly, poets have been concerned with exploring and transforming human relations to plant and animal life, while resisting human exceptionalism and attempting to escape or minimize anthropocentrism; their practice aligns with posthumanist investigations across the environmental humanities into the manifestations among more-than-human beings of powers of mind and consciousness once thought to be distinctively human.  

Recent ecopoetics has demonstrated considerable interest in what Joan Retallack speaks of as “reinvestigat[ing] our species’ relation to other inhabitants of the fragile and finite territory our species named, claimed, exploited, sentimentalized, and aggrandized as ‘our world.’”[1] Increasingly, poets have been concerned with exploring and transforming human relations to plant and animal life, while resisting human exceptionalism and attempting to escape or minimize anthropocentrism; their practice aligns with posthumanist investigations across the environmental humanities

The New Poetry (1969)

Translated by Zane Koss

Photo courtesy of Clemente Padín.

Syntax, subordinating and coordinating conjunctions, syntagma, paramoiosis, redundancy, dictionaries, adjectivization; unifying strophes, determinate semantic groups, the subject, neologisms, verbs, reflexive anomalies, complementarity, versification; paradigms, pronouns, grammar: all in the trash! No more images induced with elements alien to their own nature; enough of metaphors, the indecisive second term of trivial identifications; enough of the elegiac excrement of a man with the face of a duck.

The New Poetry II (1970)

Photo by Paola Scagliotti, courtesy of Clemente Padín.

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,
that observe and do;
but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Matthew 23:3

The Language of Action

Translated by Zane Koss

The work depends on the act of the creator-consumer. The work exists as long as it is created-consumed. Once created and consumed, it disappears. The work is the act.

Languages employ signs to substitute objects from the external world to express and communicate messages. One no longer shows a tree, one says “that tree.” The representation of the tree by means of a sign that acoustically sounds thus, and that by social convention designates an object with certain characteristics that differentiate it from other objects that in turn count on other signs being designated, was a factor of progress in favoring the relations of production.

(Un)Disciplining the ethnographer's body

The poetics of opacity in Renee Gladman's Ravicka series

Detail from ‘Couriers reporting to the emperor,’ via Wikimedia Commons.

The racialization — and weaponization — of “sociology,” “social,” and “social science” as descriptors for poetry by people of color is particularly crude; at its foundation it suggests that their/our poems are merely collections of empirical observations, that they are self-referential expressions of social particularity largely devoid of stylistic elements such as rhythm, metaphor, etc. Stripped of poetic markers the poems cease to be poems; they become a sort of personal testimony, autoethnographies, that elicit from critics further reductive descriptors such as “cultural” and “identitarian.”

Renee Gladman’s Ravicka series almost didn’t get published. Dalkey Archive Press planned to publish the first two installations, Event Factory and The Ravickians, but then didn’t. Danielle Dutton, a consultant for Dalkey, couldn’t understand why not.