Commentaries - March 2014

Gwendolyn Brooks's 'Riot' and the opt out

picture by Jeff Donaldson of AfriCOBRA

As we’ve been writing about our thinking over the last few years, we’ve been attempting to understand what sorts of forces shape poetry. We have often turned to political economy to attempt to understand the impact of late 1970s precarity on the genre. At other moments we have attempted to understand the poetry institutions — its conferences and its foundations and its not for profits and its publishing houses and its creative writing programs in higher education and its distribution modes and also its DIY tendencies.

Finishing Cavafy’s 'Unfinished' (five unfinished poems from C.P. Cavafy)

Trans-compositions from Greek & commentary by George Economou

David Hockney, from 14 Poems from C.P. Cavafy 1966-67
David Hockney, from 14 Poems from C.P. Cavafy 1966-67

[These five poems are based on diverse drafts and fragments preserved in the Cavafy archive and published along with proposed reconstructions in the collection of thirty texts entitled ATELI POIEMATA (Unfinished Poems) edited by Professor Renata Lavagnini of the University of Palermo (Athens: Ikaros Press, 1994).  “The Newspaper Story,” the first poem in Lavagnini’s Greek edition, appeared earlier on Poem

Geomantic riposte: 'Rapturous Chronicles'

Chalmers Arts Foundation Fellow Judith Ariana Fitzgerald is one of our most neglected national treasures in Canada, and has over thirty works to her credit, including poetry, biography, anthologies, and children’s books. Short-listed for (or recipient of) several major honors including the Fiona Mee, Trillium, Governor-General’s Poetry and Writers’ Choice Awards, Fitzgerald is perhaps best known for her newspaper blog/column that fearlessly achieves the remarkable feat of raising The Globe & Mail to the condition of poetry.

Richard Foreman: Note on ZOMBOID!

Richard Foreman includes these note to his theater work ZOMBOID! in his new collection from Contra Mundum Press –– Plays with Films, edited by Rainer J. Han­she. Thanks to Contra Mundum and Richard Foreman for permssion to publish this excerpt here. Check out Contra Mundum's other titles, including Nietzsche, Wordsworth, Pessoa, Bates (on negative capability),  and, one I am eager to see, the first substantial translation into English of the great Italian poet Emilio Villa. 


Notes on my next project, ZOMBOID!

Amongst the many possible strategies
of "spectator oriented" art — two seem to me to stand out. In one style — the spectator is carried on a rollercoaster through various pre-determined emotional focal points. In the second, more meditative style, events are slowed up and relatively detached from each other so the spectator can project his or her own depths, resonating with the presented "material."

'The binary is only a metaphor' — SS Prasad

The snail's shell is a spiral, a repeating pattern in the natural world
The snail's shell is a spiral, a repeating pattern in the natural world

I first began this commentary by writing about poetry and quantum supercomputers as well as the failure of Western science from Democritus to the present day in perpetuating the belief in elementary particles, spanning from the atom as the central concept of materialism in Greek philosophy to the open and closed strings in contemporary string theory. (More on this later.)