Commentaries - June 2011

Recasting poetry

'The long biography of a poem'

Kaia Sand

In Distant Reading, Peter Middleton describes reading a poem as though it has a “long biography.” This approach involves “mining what is available of the aggregative textual archive that composes the textual memory of the poem, its showing in magazines, performance, anthologies, its construal in reviews and commentaries and other treatments” (23).

Consider the long life of Claude McKay’s "If We Must Die."

Affinities, affections and elections, part one

Poetry is no fence

Border Crossing Culvert
Border Crossing Culvert

I can’t imagine I need to explain my absence from the Jacket2 site, other than to myself, but just in case... I didn’t drop off the face of the earth (as those of you expecting a twice-weekly post might have thought—though I suspect “those of you” are really only me, and long ago I ceased actually expecting to meet my own expectations, much as I might yearn—however uslessly—to do so or feel irked—however unendingly—by not doing so), but I did cross the border between San Ysidro and Tijuana through a runoff tunnel (i.e. sewage culvert) underneath a binational (trinational if you also count the strip of no-man’s land between the two massive fences as a “nation”) border patrol access road. This past weekend, with my compañero in the world of language justice organizing, John Pluecker, I worked as an interpreter with Political Equator 3, the cross-border urban ecologies conference organized by Estudio Teddy Cruz.

Modernist skin

A note on the Baroness

Irene Gammel and I corresponded on and off during the time she was writing her fine biography of the Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven. It's the only fully/carefully researched book about the Baroness that's been published. Here is the blurb I wrote for it:

On the reading group, part II

 (blank book response project, bathroom stall, Mills College)
(blank book response project, bathroom stall, Mills College)

Some notes on reading groups. Sentences contributed by others, remixed by me. For more information on participants and procedure, see Part I.

The text is a conclusion in which I’m complicit due to my silence.

If it remains in the realm of textual politics: snooze.

How this different time and attention can, and often does, generate alternative ways of proceeding (a la a community of flaneurs), about where to wander next, in the same text, in a different text, through a reading list evolving from the discovered questions and interests of the group.

Where the she meets the reader.