Marjorie Perloff, Danny Snelson, and Nancy Perloff convened with Al Filreis at Marjorie Perloff’s home in Los Angeles to discuss John Cage’s mesostic abridgement of James Joyce, “Writing for a Second Time through Finnegans Wake.” Nothwithstanding its status as an intense selection or condensation of the original text, the resulting “writing through” is too long for PoemTalk’s signature “close but not too close reading,” so the group focuses on the opening pages of the Cage text. “Writing for a Second Time,” including the methodological preface, has been published in Empty Words; the pages we discuss (37–42) have been made available through PennSound here.
Note: Craig Dworkin, author of Parse (Atelos, 2008), No Medium (MIT Press, 2013), and founding senior editor of Eclipse sat down with me on July 21, 2015 for a conversation in Salt Lake City as part of the one on one podcast series.
It may seem obvious that media changes how an author writes, but what else does it change? What they write? Where literature appears? What literature is? How might understanding the complex and nuanced history of media help us better understand what we read? Special thanks to Orchid Tierney for requesting a post on this important topic. —Katie L. Price
This exciting news comes to us from Charlie Morrow:
ROTHENBERG CELEBRATION: On December 11, 2013, www.Misterbowlerradio.com celebrates poet Jerry Rothenberg's 82nd birthday with an online broadcast from producer Bent-Erik Rasmussen’s ICMM studios in Svinø, Denmark. Danny Snelson will celebrate by launching the digital version of Jerry's New Wilderness Letter poetry journal.
Bob Cobbing (1920–2002) — sound poet, visual and concrete poet, DIY printer, and active member of an alternative socio-poetic community in the UK — insisted that there’s no use in adding to poetry what’s already there. In “Some Statements on Sound Poetry” (1969) he wrote: “Gone is the word as the word, though the word may still be used as sound or shape.” And he added: “Poetry now resides in other elements.” In this episode, Al Filreis is joined by sound poet Jaap Blonk, phonotextualist Steve McLaughlin, and experimental archivist Danny Snelson as they approach a single work by Cobbing, “Portrait of Robin Crozier,” in an effort to identify generally those “other elements.”
'Pataphysics: A Useless Guide Andrew Hugill MIT Press: just published “’Pataphysics: A Useless Guide is a richly informative critical overview of the wide-ranging influence of (and influences on) ’pataphysics, from Groucho to Deleuze, OuLiPo, Borges, Bõk, Situationisism, SciFi, Raymond Roussel, and a wildly creative crew of fellow travelers, diviners, alchemists, and literary and theatrical pioneers. Andrew Hugill’s encyclopedic tribute shows how, for more than a century, Alfred Jarry’s precocious mind theater has remained exhilaratingly exceptional and exceptionally exhilarating.”
One day Joan Retallack decided it was time to discard some books and journals from her personal library. Among them were Martin Buber’s I and Thou; a collection of short stories by David Kranes (Utah Press, 1979) called Hunters in the Snow; a 1974 volume of poems by Richard Howard; a published interview with Rita Dove; 1981 issues of The Socialist Review and Georgia Review; an issue of the Chicago Review that included an important line of Dante; books of poetry by Maxine Kumin, Ai, Burt Hatlen and Thomas McGrath; a 1988 number of Gargoyle magazine in which was published a poem by Angel Gonzalez beginning “The most obscure things have already been said”; Nuns and Soldiers by Iris Murdoch; Explanation and Understanding by Georg Henrik von Wright (Cornell, 1971); and others. This act of elimination, which on the contrary turned out to be a recycling and an archiving, produced a poem she came to call “Not a Cage,” after John Cage.