Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Continuing not Completing: On Heidegger, Holderlin, Marx, Creeley, Nonevents, and collecting lines

I am working through a close reading of Heidegger's Being and Time and Marx's Capital : may explain my recent silence.

Though, silence is good, though

and I get to read my friends' posts
and I get to let your words settle without settling
and I get to differentiate indifferently
and I get to consider my vocation

I have wanted to continue working on my ideas re: Silliman's anonymity and Snider's further comments on poetry and the market. Names and Markets. Systems.

For all of the vanity in the field, there is significant new work to be done as a community. Working on asking questions

How can we deformalize poetics?

When I commented that poetry has gone missing from the market, I wasn't commenting about the poetic object and/or the poem as a commodity that can and is exchanged as both use-value and value. etc. Though that is important, I am commenting on the disappearance of poetry--doing poetry--from the public sphere as other than a commodity. (Kind of like the disappearance of certain forms of ecriture.) Best American this...Best American that... and folks don't even know the work is edited. It is assumed that a method actually exists to write "the best" and the form itself for "the best" becomes the thing itself in the market. Same goes for "American".

Robert Creeley's "America"

America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.

Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world

you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.

People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.

Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back

what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.

I love the last couplet, will repeat it before continuing:

"what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be."

Let "People"="It"

to be it

to be being it to be
to be it being to be
to be to be it

to it to be
to it be being to it
to it being to be to it

to be being

to it it
to people people

and to recollect that one DHLawrence complained Americans don't know the meaning of IT ("A Spirit of Place")--in my comparison, the meaning of it is the meaning of people. We took America's word for it. And thus the problem: we have the tool, language, but not the thing itself. America took it by way of exchange. And this isn't some relative--timeless, arbitrary, spaceless--exchange in the neoclassical sense. This is a purposive failing to grasp IT.

Can we know what America took and takes in exchange everyday if we do not know what it is that is being taken in each exchange?


I haven't even mentioned Poets. I am addressing language itself. Poets write regardless of the market. If a writer is a writer in the world not just alongside it or with it, then that writer writes regardless. But the product and the producer: we need to carefully examine the relationship of these two distinct entities.

In our capitalist market economy, the public sphere is a market--a safe market. Poetry isn't safe. It isn't obvious. Nevermind grasping "nonevents". The poem itself is a nonevent in that it is a thing, maybe an item at times and always an object. Apparently, I can grasp a poem. But I cannot grasp writing one.


Ernesto Priego at Never Neutral is working with Holderlin. E, I am re-reading Hyperion right now. Holderlin and "grasping". I will have to write about that in the future.

Thinking of Holderlin:
The meaning of poetry may be that poetry is the one differentiated in itself indifferently. A place must exist where the poem begins to be a poem, where the poet actually differentiates subject and object, and that place may be an in itself--a one indifferently differentiated. The rest is cultivation as revision.

As a phenomenon it--the meaning of poetry (a poem?)--certainly shows itself from itself; within poetics, it certainly lets itself be seen in the manner it shows itself from itself; in the world, it is itself held out from nothing.

Drew Gardner's line, "poetry has the capacity to deal with the nonevents of life in a way that other art forms [cannot] possibly manage" is worth problematizing further. John Latta refers to Gardner's claim as "axiomatic." If Latta is correct, then the statement needs no further discussion, is for the most part self-evident. I think the line about poetry's capacity to deal with "nonevents" is a statement about events that poetry actually handles, grasps, confronts--give it the gloss you prefer for the moment. Nonevents are, in fact, known to us because of the events that concresce out from them.

1. that poetry has a "capacity" does not go without saying.
2. that poetry's capacity is finite, in that it "deals", does not go without saying.
3. that poetry's contents deal "with" life rather than "in" life or "for" life does not go without saying.
4. that nonevents are not events, historical or otherwise, needs discussion in context with the claim.
5. if capacity is taken to mean a quality or state of being, some potential energy directed towards a quality about Poetry that Gardner sees as having use, then it is not apparent what that potential is other than it is directed at something referred to as a nonevent.

I think we can move away from axioms and back towards the poem as a physical substance, a body as text, that reflects light from another physical substance, a body as poet.


Poetry irrupts into being from nothing.


What erupts out of being from poetry?

And the limits, the boundaries,
whether body or border,
are market limits to some extent.

Because the term NONEVENT sounds to me like a market term.

(Consider what Thoreau does with economy in Walden or Emerson with the individual in "Experience" & "Circles." I am thinking of these three works in context with much of what came above, not simply the last bit.)


For now, I am going to have to resort to blogging as purging myself of my reading and I will get back to the social critique later. My students, too...they are working hard with me and so I will be blogging with them at Blog of Disquiet. So much to do. Makes the Cynar go down better at the end of the day; or, lacking Cynar, Campari. mmmm...bitter.

"The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as "an immense collection of commodities."--Karl Marx, opening line of Capital

An exercise
An immense collection of lines

Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,

so much depends

the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

It is remarkable how quickly they learn
But if they learn and it is very remarkable how quickly they learn
It makes not only but by and by
And they can not only be not here
But not there
Which after all makes no difference

No, hardly, but seeing he had been born
In a half-savage country, out of date;
Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn;
Capaneus; trout for factitious bait;
    nor is it valid
       to discriminate against "business documents and

school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
    a distinction
  however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
    result is not poetry,

From no nowhere not near the sea
on blue field flax

The day is promising
Along comes something--launched in context
In context to pass it the flow of humanity divides and on the
    other side unites
All gazing at the stars bound in a black bow
I am among them thinking thought through the thinking
    thought to no conclusion
Context is the chance that time takes

The world is a round but
diminishing ball, a spherical

ice cube, a dusty
joke, a fading,

faint echo of its
former self but remembers,

sometimes, its past, sees
friends, places, reflections,

talks to itself in a fond,
judgemental murmur,

it goes on buzzing in her ear,
it changes the pace of her walk,
the torn posters in echoing corridors

spell it out, it
quakes and gnashes as the train comes in.

Nothing is slower than the limping days
when under the heavy weather of the years
Boredom, the fruit of glum indifference,
gains the dimension of eternity

where you
refute me,
to the letter.

I have strange power of speech;

Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
     themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.

So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed--see here it is--
I hold it towards you.

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