Commentaries - September 2016


I read this last night at the Poetry Project memorial for Ted Greenwald.

He is gone now
Taking his body with him
When all the time
I thought it was
The beauty of his mind
I loved
       ["Off the Hook" in
Common Sense]

I first met Ted Greenwald in 1975, in and around the Poetry Project. He was my guide to much of what interested me among the local poets: he never hesitated to say what he liked and didn’t in the poems and people around us. It’s not just that he didn’t suffer fools easily, but he was hilarious in skewing pretenses and false premises. We always had a good time talking, with my indirectness dancing with his blunt wisdom like two people doing the cha-cha on the point of a fountain pen.  

Refraction: Other bodies, liminality, and Ricoeur

This series started with the intuition that certain works of art to which I am drawn translate the world for and through the liminal body, offering articulations that refract the straightforward, the literal, the dominant. What is the role of ambiguity and the inarticulable in these refractive poetries? Why are these qualities especially poignant for artists from the margins?

Eduardo Kac: Line-editing the book of life

Bio-poetics is a genre verging on a discipline that enlists laboratory techniques to achieve its creative ends. The metaphor of subject “matter” is literalized: spores and viruses are a “robust media” according to Joe Davis,while Roy Ascott refers to a new frontier of “moist realities” and “wetware.” “Wet paper” spun from a cylinder printing-press is a writer/reader barrier in Walt Whitman’s frustrated depiction, but wet media in bio-poetics is a source of continuum: the visceral matter viewed, manipulated, and written-on is made of the same substance as the writing, dissecting hand.