Commentaries - May 2015

Bright arrogance #10

Ostashevsky and Timerman's pirating-parroting of language

Images from The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi, Part I, Courtesy the artists

No language is one. That’s one of the more salient affirmations of Derrida’s work on translation. This multiplicity and struggle for meaning, the infirmation of a singular text, is amplified in these works that introduce images in ways that are additive, not reproductive. Eugenes Ostashevsky and Timerman’s recent collaborative chapbook The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi, Part I extends the informatic looseness of Brainard/Berrigan’s Drunken Boat to show that if language is not one, neither is it 3.14159265 . . .

Feel beauty supply, post 2

How it was possible for me to fall in love with Kant

I cannot say that I am not apprehensive about today’s post. In my letter of introduction I promised you a discussion of aesthetics, one that would begin and end with notions of poetry as “freedom,” but as I am sure you know, all freedoms are not the same. I specifically promised you the story of how I fell in love with Kant’s conception of “freedom,” but then eventually left his notion for a new kind of “freedom.” Hurston’s freedom. I am leaving Immanuel for Zora. This commentary is to make the move official, public.

My reflex, since we are dealing with philosophical concepts, is to stay cerebral and abstract, to begin and end in the text.

Black words matter

Black Lives Matter Protest

Towards the end of 2014, Writers in Baltimore Schools, a non-profit organization, held a write-in to give students a chance to explore and process their responses to the death of Mike Brown and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. The event yielded the Black Words Matter blog, where some of the poems from the event are archived. The students' work explores a range of themes from slavery to police brutality to the history of Jim Crow.

Bioregional (poetics) as body-regional (poetics)

A network of inhabitory gestures

I’m thinking about the ways poets embed themselves within and ply their awareness to particular locales, and I’m thinking more specifically of how such an embodied poetics is enacted as a healing gesture - and how these gestures connect to form a kind of bioregion, one defined by responsive organisms. It’s no wonder they are appearing often of late – it’s been almost a year to the day that we read reports of a newly-discovered crack in the West Antarctica ice sheet that threatened larger destabilization of surrounding areas, and read that a rise in sea level by 10 feet or more was deemed "unavoidable."

Local objects

The current period of globalization features massive debt-to-GDP ratios in former colonial countries. With the constant servicing of debt payments annihilating the possibility of public goods (recently here: water), tourism and remittances from abroad have emerged as the primary sources of capital for the economies of the south.