Wednesday, May 19, 2004

listening to: camera obscura; erroll garner; toshiko akiyoshi; bee gees (odessa); blonde redhead; anne sylvestre (chansons)

writing: Heidegger--re sections from Being and Time, "Phenomenology and Theology," & "What is Metaphysics?"--and Pessoa & Thoreau. Section 1: Thoreau discovers the depth of Walden pond; measures it; lost in they; provides example, maybe ideological only (practice), for movement from inauthentic to authentic being. Section 2: Pessoa lost in the "Forest of estrangemnt"; discourses on time; finds authentic being--in the moment of vision repeating and anticipating--only possible between sleep and not sleep.

And it's supposed to be a short essay.
oh well: what am I supposed to do about it? I absolutely refuse to write the typical summary of Heidegger's ideas. They are so playful and engaged--engaging even. Every so often I wake up manic: not so much in the delusional way, rather I awake as Rimbaud wanting to assign a color to each vowel. Well Rimbaud assigned vowels colors already. So I wake up wanting to leave something bodily behind. I understand the neighborhood children sneaking through our allies at night looking for some thing to break. Awful memories of beating each other bruised, pulling hair, dirt rain, and chlorine. What children leave behind adults find nutritive. Late news spectacular. Colors and vowels; well that really paints reality.

Young writers--18, 19--get Robbe-Grillet's For a New Novel. My class enjoyed a good, beginning, discussion about "realism" and "reality". What are the significant differences between the "practice of a/the real" and "the quality of the real"? R-G's chapters "On...obsolete notions" & "From Realism to Reality" are good.

They are currently writing a 600 word fragment called "Home" (thanks Brian Kitelely). The house, or room(s) therein, must play an important, though passive, part in the narrative. R-G's For a New Novel set a task: how can they write about character with attention to their expression as and in writing rather than attention to the demands of convention.

The quarter is coming to an end: one more week.
We have read: Pessoa's poetry, disquiet anthology, and factless autobiography; early sections of S Howe's My Emily Dickinson; Alice James's diary; "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"; Boisseau's Writing Poems. The poetry text served its purpose. Very good points about verse; excellently straightforward coping with scansion. Any student who keeps it rather than selling it back will have a nice reference. I needed the text as a crutch for my first intro workshop. I won't use it next time: 1. TOO EXPENSIVE; 2. Students read texts like fundamentalists read the gospels. And the latter is a shame; Writing Poems makes every effort to nudge students to wander. I know it would be too expensive; nevertheless, the majority of the poetry anthologized in the text is so typical, bland.

I learned that sestinas are great exercises.

I am still planning on responding to Hank Lazer's Boston Review article here. For now, all I need to say is: So what? What's your point? And Lazer (et al) need to wake up to the fact that there are a few programs in the US scene immersed in "new" not "hybrid" writing. Univeristy of Denver is certainly one such program. Unfortunately, a few poets and other writers from our program insist on referring to any versification that strays from conventional verse form as hybrid form. But we--the students--know better.

I am not going to address too many of his comments about academia; I honestly don't feel I have been around enough to know all the ins and outs, if you will. However, Lazer's implied definitions for "new" poetry are terribly limiting and (purposefully?) shortsighted. I have read the article three times now: he seems unaware that he excludes the reading public from participation in forming a new poetry, yet aware that writers of such poetry are in need of an audience outside of academic circles. This is not simply a contradiction. His is a claim that most academics us to excuse the co-opting of poetry by academia.

Difficult forms of verse were attempted and accepted, even patronized, by the reading public through the early fifties. Then poetry was mainstreamed, slowly but surely, by the institutions who claimed knowledge of poetics and required claimed knowledge of poetics for proper participation in poetry. Language poetry--as a writer removed from that generation of poets: they are my teachers' contemporaries--Language poetry may be the strangest form of privatization of poetry ever to exist: it is a practice both private and institutionalized. Like capital, language poetry is self-valorizing.

I hope you are teased enough to look forward to my comments...I look forward to on-going debate...poke poke...wake up sleepy blog land...

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