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
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
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
The poem constitutes (and is constituted by) potential energy resonating from the practically indiscernible event horizon(s) sundering the autonomous contours of discrete operational systems (subject from object from world). As a result, “the poem” is not just language (or, more radically, not even language), but precisely what is left unsaid in the thing itself (and how this excess disrupts the faux placidity of language through readerly engagement). Surplus meaning infloresces between reader, writer, and world in the relational space constituting the poem’s immanent outside, but it’s the poem itself, its words, that allow us to touch this remainder. As such, the poem is not so much cipher (concealing a singularly esoteric content), but an opening, a cut, as Fred Moten has it (after the work of Saidiya Hartman).
For a long time we have divined both order and disorder in the world and projected these as measure and excess. But every poetics led us to believe something that, of course, is not wrong: that excessiveness of order and a measured disorder exist as well. The only discernible stabilities in Relation have to do with the interdependence of the cycles operative there, how their corresponding patterns of movement are in tune.
Last week I questioned the idea of “a woman’s text” and I foreshadowed this week’s textile poetics commentary by touching on the feminist desire to legitimize handcrafts within the world of art as perhaps comparable to the idea of of “a woman’s text” that needs advocating in literature.