Commentaries - September 2011

The savage of dessavage

Steve Savage, S. Savage, Dessavage,  approaches language biologically, fielding the morphology of its formstructures, the physiology of syntax, the anatomy of lexicon, the behaviour of its phonology, the origin and distribution of semantics. Language at the level of the syllable and letter is recomposed into many possible DNA structures, that may grow, move, behave unpredictably. At times, syllables are synthesized to create new beings of linguistic behaviour across the lexical barriers of French and English, or even the authorial personas of S. Savage and Dessavage:

“Aux à tête res seized and synchragon freed into this dreala. Recoud from a holverte de terre, I feel the kerméable. My blood dinaut hole the veson. Parror cet animage, our son heul scent foretold. Un ordre d’onk mule des corded. Morning attraivée du parfur seen through the fingem legal fills cagesoximité. Dense crow maçon du mineraain, their mouth catcoleil se dilue des fouths of bouche recouvals.” (S. Savage, from 2 x 2)


We recently uploaded a recording of Wyatt Mason talking about Rimbaud. The event took place in November 2005, and the audio is here.

Wyatt is a contributing editor of Harper's where his essays regularly appear. He also writes for the New Yorker, the New Republic, and the London Review of Books. Modern Library has published, in three volumes, his translations of the complete works of Arthur Rimbaud. Translations of Dante’s Vita Nuova and Montaigne’s essays were in progress last I checked, as was his book of essays about American fiction.

Oh, yes, and I'm proud to say that Wyatt was once my student here at Penn.

(Please note: the beginning of the recording is over-run by the intro music we used to use at the Writers House before programs began. Sorry about that. Be patient.)

Elementary processes in poetry / redefining the field: Vlado Martek & Croatian conceptual poetry 1970s to now

by Dubravka Djurić


Vlado Martek was born in 1951 in Zagreb. He graduated from the University of Zagreb, major in Literature and Philosophy. From 1975 until 1978 he was a member of informal Group of Six Authors, and had shown exhibitions-actions with them and initiated the magazine-catalogue Maj 75 (May 75). He has shown his work in a number of solo exhibitions. By vocation Martek has been a (pre)poet and multimedia nomadic author. His work includes actions, agitations, ambiences, murals, poetry, texts on his own work (metatheory),texts on other artists (metareview), graffiti, land art, graphics, painting, author's books, sculpture, poetry, and objects. Since 1979 he has been working in a public library. 

In this text I would like to speak about Vlado Martek primarily as a poet. This may seem questionable, because it might cause the impression that his varied and comprehensive oeuvre is in this way reduced to just one field. However, it is important to speak about Martek as a poet, because in this way the radical imperative of defining the field of poetry is imposed upon us. In order to attempt to do that, I must first briefly outline the institutional field of literature, and within that, the field of poetry in the context of the influence that cultural studies have had on the study of literature.

Buffalo Poetics Program's 20th anniversary

Robert Creeley and Susan Howe with me at 438 Clemens Hall in December 1992; Susa
Robert Creeley and Susan Howe with me at 438 Clemens Hall in December 1992; Susan Bee’s painting in the background.

Robert Creeley, Susan Howe, Dennis Tedlock, Raymond Federman, and I (working with Robert Bertholf in the poetry collection) started the SUNY-Buffalo Poetics Program 2o years ago. Our founding moment was more an act of will and imagination than a bureaucratic act; we came into existence by declaring ourselves a program.

Joel Kuszai on Close Listening

© Bernstein/PennSound 2011
© Bernstein/PennSound 2011

Appearing on Close Listening with Charles Bernstein, September 12, 2011

Program One: Reading from Accidency

  • complete reading (24:55): MP3

Program Two: Conversation

  • complete conversation (43:19): MP3