Thursday, March 11, 2004

I like very much what Nick Piombino has been posting lately from Debord and his notebooks, but especially this small note I am sure will go purposefully over-looked by the fury of namers-who-resist-naming in spectacular moments of being new, which is all spectacle, really.

I have been putting it punningly, concretely and irately, myself, both on Dagzine and in comments on Crony and Dooflow, but Nick is succinct and to the point. I appreciate that quality in his blog and his writing.


Although some folks may not be yet, I am sick of authors who use easy market rhetoric, puked-up on demand really, to stand in for a subjecthood that never has nor ever will exist outside of a relationship with an other infinitely more possessive and powerful than we can ever be; we live in its regard.

Such behavior is a sign of a lack of care and quite possibly a lack of desire to learn about the function of language in creating public forums for discussing such things as poetics, politics, social functions, et al

I was informed that this argument is stale. Fine. I am not claiming to be the point at which all discussions of the spectacle of naming are genidentically focused; further, I am not making an argument, merely withstanding the fashion of naming names.

We read each other for recognition of ourselves. Any claim to originality, any public claim to freedom--to freely talk, to freely write, to invent--is possibly a flawed claim because it is a grasping attempt at self-generation. A person, a poet especially, cannot exist in the new, the original, and should resist the spectacle of such purchase. Poets are umbilically tied to the City.


ME: When I read William Carlos Williams I hear my voice.

Silliman's poetry test is engaging and flawed, as he is well aware, only in his consideration that readers would read without using names. Current trend alert: Visit the Crony blog and one finds a catalog of naming: names, pseudonyms, institutions, intentions, poetry, movements, dates, geographies all exchanged for a sign of some deserved comeUPpance. All blogging in many ways is such a spectacle; I use Crony because I am in conversation with them.

But naming and naming names turns the project of poetics into a catalog of spectacular moments we are encouraged to share in stuttered-steps of bursting into the public sphere and scampering back out. The process is the sign of participating in discussion but a refusal to actually submit to conversation.

Also, Silliman's test assumes there is something to learn in a poem that can be named by comparing and contrasting a survey of possible answers. This process begs many questions about poetics itself, though these three stand out for me (again I am sure he is aware of these and more): What are you implementing to sort through the answers? Who has access to providing an answer that will be considered? How do the answers have anything to do with the poems themselves as poetic objects rather than the readers themselves as differently educated objects?

My questions focus on utility, implementation, historicity, accessibility, and psychology.

The labor I put into my writing is unnamable, is so for many authors I argue, because we all refuse to submit our vocation to an exchange the purpose of which is to abstractly quantify all labor into a numerical representation that has a pre-determined equivalency in the public market. We sell our poems and stories and critical texts on the market for the spectacle, however, in many different ways. The labor, though, that is what we discuss within poetics--not only the object often outside of market considerations but the "work" itself. Hints of Heidegger, German Romanticism, Coleridge, Fichte.

The need for a poet to name names of action as acts in public is a sign of worthless and meaningless spectacle; it is a sign of performance lacking production. It is a historic marker for the poet literal purchase of a seat on the market floor. And not the seats occupied by the masses, but the box seats that allow a snobbish dis-regard of the others the poet so terribly depends on for nutrition. Such behavior is a rejection of the quotidian and, consequently, a rejection of a self in the face of the extraordinary potential of ordinary events--events that are self-making. In such a manner of living, a person lives only in and for, not with, the spectacle. A likely statement might be a condemnation in the following form: "YOU are doing this and are free to do so but I AM doing the other." No, you are never the other, never doing the other, always determined by the other. In other words, better to work in regards to and with the other.

We need to make these distinctions as writers. Are you arguing for clout within a trade hall, purposefully entering into the realm of market rituals where signs like image and seniority, place and time, define work and labor is romanticized after-hours in a public house; or, are you busy cultivating space for yourself in regard of the other and all others in the field--learning and cultivating, digging deep down, going under--speaking what you mean to speak and yearning for the undeserved yet needed response?

The spectacle of names and the desire to move beyond simply naming and exchanging through a revolution of the everyday is not a stale arguement as I was informed, it is a vital position of intentioned daily life.

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