Commentaries - January 2014

Madeline Gins (1941-2014)

Madeline Gins, a poet, architect, and long-time collaborator with artist Arakawa, died this morning. She was 72. The cause of death was cancer.

Stanley Diamond: PRIMITIVE, the critical term (redux)

[In the first & heady days of ethnopoetics I was led by Gary Snyder into a close association with the anthropologist Stanley Diamond, a covert poet & a major thinker on the limits & pitfalls of civilization as a state of mind & of governance.  For Diamond, while we all recognized its inadequacy, the term “primitive” remained the defining & necessary counterproposition “to understanding,” as he put it, “our contemporary pathology and possibilities.”  For me at that time the two key essays in his oeuvre were “In Search of the Primitiv

The Song of the Sewing Machine

Thinking of Reznikoff's “Amelia,” and the long essay on this poem by Richard Hyland posted here, and then, yesterday, going to a sewing machine performance of Elena Berriolo, I was remind of a song sung by Fanny Brice (1891-1951) that I have long been planning to write about — as an extension of discussion of Second Wave Modernists in “Objectivist Blues” in Attack of the Difficult Poems. I hope to come back to this song in the context of Brice’s other work, but for now, just the song:

Poetic Research Bureau

by Andrew Maxwell, Joseph Mosconi & Ara Shirinyan


Since 1999, Andrew Maxwell, Joseph Mosconi and Ara Shirinyan have curated various reading series, journals and publications in Los Angeles, often under the banner of the Poetic Research Bureau. For the last few years, the PRB has shared an artist-run storefront with the Public School at 951 Chung King Rd. in Chinatown. Self-styled “Directors,” like canvas-backed Hal Roach rascals in an industry shantytown, they plant a flag in the Northeast of the city, and think back to the precedents.

Entry 3

More on Orono

Joshua Clover has written a response to my previous post on the Orono decades conference, titled “Baraka/the divide,” that warrants one in return. In it, he describes his own positionality in relation to Amiri Baraka’s intevention at my plenary talk at the Poetry in the Sixties conference, and draws conclusions about the disconnect between academic Marxists and Third-World liberationists that persist to this day. Score a point for my argument on presentism and historicism: there is no pure present to which politics or poetry may lay claim. But first, a nicety of protocol: when I agreed to write this commentary for Jacket2, I did not imagine a debate among contributors as one of its concerns. The open comment line on poetry lists and blogs, infested by the perennial oedipalism of the sub-sub world, is now a thing of the past; it would seem the moment I put my head above the trenches in virtual space, it would be on me in a flash.