Charles Bernstein has been a central figure in the poetry debates in the U.S. over the last thirty years.  Often associated with the Language poets, he has written poetry, theory, librettos, and reviews.  Over his career, he has experimented with different techniques in poetry and different mediums, such as sound.  Early in his career, he was considered an outsider, an anti-poet of sorts, but his work has gained acceptance, as can be seen by the recent publication of his selected poems, All the Whiskey in Heaven, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and the debate that centered around his work and that of other Language poets has largely died down, though, as can be seen in several articles in this collection, critics are still trying to figure out how a poet who takes a stance against the “Official Verse Culture” fits into the American poetry scene. 
            Bernstein’s early poetic work plays with meaning in language.  He reworks syntax, challenges the notion of an authorial voice, deconstructs the reading experience, and in general upsets preconceived notions of how language signifies.  It uses a variety of techniques to achieve this disorientation or deconstruction, such as using indeterminacy, abstraction, parataxis, avoiding closure, being non-representation, using fragmentation, and being poly-referential.  It does not allow you to sit back and accept a standard narrative.  At the same time that he was writing such poetry, he was working on theory articles and fostering a poetic community by publishing others’ works, by teaching, and by reading.  His practice helped create a space for poetry outside ofany use value, of which it has little under capitalism, and helped offer poetry as a space where the individual, not the collective, was important.  His outreach projects influenced many poets, and many of his students followed his example and created presses and reading venues themselves; thus, his influence has spread widely over the U.S. poetry scene. 
            Over the years, his poetry has changed significantly, so much so that a book like Girly Man seems to rely on humor and accessibility.  Still, his themes of making a space for the individual in an consumer based society, of the importance of poetry for intellectual life, of the need to challenge mainstream thinking and power—these themes are still apparent, as are humor and playful techniques.  As a whole, the process of writing poetry is more significant for Bernstein than the actual outcome, for the process itself makes one question preconceived notions, preconceived language, or deceptive language. The process of poetry helps make one an individual, but the process of reading Bernstein’s work also pushes one to rethink ideas and words.
            Bernstein grew up in New York.  He attended Harvard and studied philosophy and avant-garde literature, working on writers like Ludwig Wittgenstein under the direction of Stanley Cavell.  Years after graduating, he and Bruce Andrews started the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine, which was a starting point of the Language poetry movement, a loose group with similar poetic penchants that includes such writers as Ron Silliman, Lyn Hejinian, Barrett Watten, Ron Silliman, Michael Palmer, and Susan Howe, among others.  After years of working in the business world, Bernstein became a professor at the University at Buffalo, where he co-founded the Electronic Poetry Center, a web site that lists resources for innovative poetry.  He has since become a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has co-founded PennSound, an extensive online library for poetry and poetry related sound files.
            Many articles have been written about Bernstein’s works, and his poetry and his theory have been the subject of several dissertations; still, this collection is the first to collect a wide variety of views on his work in book form.  Part of the motivation for collecting all of the pieces in this work is to give an overall view of his career, not just one or two aspects.  Up to now, his theoretical articles have received more published attention than his poetry, but the writers in this collection deal with a wide variety of topics related to his work and treat his poetry, theory, pedagogy, sound projects, and influences.  The book also includes poetic reactions to his work from friends to students to just poets, and the poetic responses come from writers ranging in ages.   
            The collection starts with a nice introduction to Bernstein’s work by the Caroline Bergvall that is useful both to the first time reader of Bernstein’s work as well as to long time followers.  Coming from a British poet, it represents an aspect of Bernstein’s international interests, an interest that has become more pronounced in recent years with his working with poets from many countries, from Italy to China to Brazil.  In fact, he current directs Sibila, a journal based in Brazil, with Régis Bonvicino, and in the past four years alone, he has given lectures outside of the U.S. in Korea, Denmark, France, Portugal, Canada, Britain, Sweden, China, and Finland.
            The other articles in the book cover his major influences like Wittgenstein, Marx, Brecht, Stein and compares his ideas to those of others, like Baudrillard.  The articles examine his outsider status and explore his use of poetic techniques like poly-referentiality, anti-absorption, and defamilirization.  The authors examine his use of sound, explore changes in his work, look at this composition theory, and examine his poetics in relation to reader response theory.
For example, Kimberly Lamm discusses the influence of Gertrude Stein on Bernstein’s work, claiming that Stein’s work pushed him to explore the way identity is retained in language and to critique ideas of masculinity.  Lamm argues that Stein’s works do not allow one to use contemporary notions of identity, and her works provided a starting point for Bernstein since much of his work explores identity as a social construct, one which he tries to deconstruct in his early work by writing against authorial voice.
Discussing similar ideas, Thomas Fink argues that Bernstein uses the list poem to complicate single perspectives by providing a large number of competing perspectives or objective perspectives that do not seem so objective.  Fink explores a variety of list poems in which the lists deal with war, poetic fashions, and cultural correctness.  Fink suggests that Bernstein complicates the way the reader sees the identity of the poet, but he also claims that Bernstein is pointing with the list poem to the myriad poetic selves that a poet uses, has to use, because of the nature of language.  In other words, numerous discourses occur in any given poem, acknowledged or not, and Bernstein points that out in his work.
This idea of multiple voices is explored further in Steve Salmoni’s article, for he explores the shadow of Shadowtime partially by examining the legacy of Benjamin in Shadowtime and in Bernstein’s work as a whole.  In this exploration, he shows the way the shadow can be other texts (literary, social, and/or political) behind one’s text and the way in which those things intrude or condition the text.  Ultimately, Salmoni see the shadows as a connective device constructed in a non-productive way to show us language as constructed.
Michael Angelo Tata picks up this theme by looking at  Bernstein’s pointing to the myriad voices in language, but he examines Bernstein’s use of language as open allowing for direction/misdirection and multi-referentiality and how this aspect of his work grounds it and makes it more politically useful.  Like Salomi and Fink, he focuses on Bernstein’s ideas of language, but he examines how Wittgenstein’s work provides a theoretical background to Bernstein’s ideas.
Tim Peterson’s article also discusses the political nature of Bernstein’s poetry, but Peterson tackles the question of change in Bernstein’s work from the early poems to the more recent ones.  He compares Bernstein’s defamiliarization, fragmentation, and general anti-absorptive techniques to those of Berthold Brecht.  He then goes on to ask how one reconciles the commodified self of the early work with the clear self of Girly Man.  He argues that Bernstein complicates the self of Girly Man by giving us a divided self who embraces similar liberatory strategies as the GLBTQ community.  Bernstein has essentially taken Schwarzenegger’s girlie-man slur of the Democrats as a rally cry after 9-11 for responding to co-opted language.
In a related argument, Carlos Gallego explores the function of anti-absorption in Bernstein’s work, how it both pushes the reader back from normative thought patterns and pulls the reader into the alternative patterns of the poem.  Gallego argues thatwith his focus on materiality Bernstein forces us away from abstraction and back to the real world and that this make us realize our individual importance.  In his discussion, Gallego ties Bernstein’s thought to both Marx and Wittgenstein.
Paul Stephens turns away from these two influences to explore the idea of the sophist in Bernstein’s work.  He suggests the sophist makes us questions sincerity and irony and how Bernstein’s use of the sophisthelp explain his idea community/uncommunity for Language poets.  Stephens pays close attentions to Bernstein’s use of irony and contrasts it with writers like Richard Rorty and Hegel and argues that Bernstein’s irony is rhetorical and that it shows his writing as being embedded in larger language networks.
Like Peterson, Megan Jewell startsout with a discussion of Bernstein’s place as an insider and outsider in academia, but then she takes a different direction than the other writers by looking at Bernstein’s compositional theories related to Composition Studies as taught in the U.S.  She argues that Bernstein stresses situational reading strategies and that his stress is similar to that of recent composition theorists like Gerald Graff.  She also argues that his push against a normative I, as in The Sophist, is similar to contextual reading in the academy and that his innovative pedagogy is connected to his poetry practice, suggesting that Bernstein sees the process of questioning literary practices in all aspects of his life as important.
Also quite different than the other writers, Michael Hennessey explores Bernstein’s interest in sound and recording by discussing his early work Class.  Hennessey provides close readings of each track, focusing on the techniques of recording/composition.  He argues that Bernstein’s early work in sound experimentation sets the foundation for his poetic later and for his recording projects, such as the reading series and PENN sound.
            The other articles in the book cover equally fascinating topics, such as the relation of Bernstein’s poetry to conceptual art in Allen Fisher’s article, the argument in Peter Monacell’s article that Bernstein’s work is firmly anti-suburban in nature, or the close look at visual poetic strategies that occurs in James Shiver’s article.  Overall, among the twenty-five writers in this book, they cover the most often debated aspects of Bernstein’s work, and hopefully the publication of the book will help deepen the discussion around his work, especially his poetry.
            Lastly, for me beyond the joy of seeing so many articles on Bernstein’s work come to publication, I consider this book as a tribute to one of my own influences.  I came upon Charles Bernstein’s work rather haphazardly when scanning the book stacks in the LSU library during my graduate school years.  At that point, I knew the Modernists and some of the first Post-Modernists, but I did not know many names in the innovative American tradition.  They were not being sold in bookstores in the South, and one could only get them from a small press or a library that paid attention to the small press world.  His slender early poetry volumes lead me to his theory, and from there, I became enamored of the innovative tradition in American writing and steered my own poetry and criticism in that direction.  Since then, I have talked to many poets who have similar stories, so I see this book in many ways as a response like all the individual responses contained within it.

[The Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein is scheduled for publication by Salt Publishing in summer of 2012.]

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Carlos Oquendo de Amat, a Lima street kid who published one book, 5 Meters of Poems, on a folded sheet of paper five meters long, then gave up writing to join the Communist Party, and bounced in and out of jails and tuberculosis wards in a half-dozen countries before dying in Spain just before the civil war.
--Eliot Weinberger, "On Omar Caseres" Jacket 3, 1998


Among the poets Eliot Weinberger writes of in his excellent brief essay which makes one hunger in the night, the day, all the time -- for these poems, poets, so far away, and across the mountains of another language, as hardly any of their poems are as yet available in English . . . a few stand out and one is Carlos Oquendo de Amat who stopped writing poetry at age 19 and turned to Marxist politics --

Oquendo de Anat is a living proof of the dictum of Yeats's that "The quarrel with oneself is poetry, and the quarrel with others, politics."

Inspired by wanting to read these poems I began studying Spanish in a slightly more organized way than previously, as much of what I learn is from Visual Poetry and Mail Art calls --

As one may see in the images
here, Five Meters of Poems is created as a book/poem-object in itself, with the folding accordion construction, and with the varying layouts of the lines on each page--

In terms of the layouts and the book as poem-object, the work is related to some of the other modernisms of the time, especially Russian Futurism, although these were probably unknown to the Peruvian poet.

There are also the influences of the cinema and perhaps of the calligraphy inscribed scrolls of Japanese texts, folding and unfolding as a series of screens, with each screen intimately interrelating with the poem just preceding it and the one just following, so that each poem brings with it the energies and directions of those contiguous to it in an interplay and inter-media. This interrelationship among the poems has a connection which may be shortened by folding—in which two poems are “touching each other” at the top of the wave or mountain, and then just as swiftly made much more distant by unfolding the mountain/wave into waves of plains/planes, "folded together shortened or lengthened distances," following of “unfoldings” in which the poems aren’t “separate” but interrelated, inter-media, This interrelationship and Inter-media is also a way in which differing texts may encounter each other –by folding a poem at one end close to one at the distant other end--not in a linear progression, but as one accomplished by linkings as with hypertexts.
Far from the "centers" of art and poetry of the world of the 1920's Amat nonetheless is creating a book-poem-object form stretching out to over three meters (not the five of the title in actuality) of layouts of poetry which is as "advanced" as any writing of the period.  If not more so, in many ways also—as, like the Russian Futurists, Amat is fusing, folding together, avant-garde poetry with avant-garde politics.

Another Peruvian poet, Cesar Vallejo, was also doing this, in a completely different way, this fusing, although unlike Amat he did not hear and follow the call of one vocation at a time, but of both --

Outside of the centers of poetry and art, and outsiders to the writings of their fellow Latin American poets . . . poets like Amat seize convulsively the spirit of the times, the modern spirit, which had been first mapped out by Baudelaire in his essay on "The Painter of Modern Life."  Inventor also of the prose poem, Baudelaire indicates a triangulation of painting, poetry and prose-poetry as a method for presenting words as images not only descriptively but in the Correspondences among Symbols, which Mallarmé will later turn into radically differing forms of layouts, of font sizes, of types of fonts used and the character of the physical form of the book containing the poems . . .

The conjunction of these writings may be "seen" and "read" simultaneously as contemporary versions of Illuminated Manuscripts such as the Book of Kells, where image word and idea are all intertwined as one, yet that one teeming with a myriad smaller images, ideas, and forms on the verge of being letters. The shifting of the handwritten fonts within one letter or across several words is a much earlier version of today's uses of various fonts, layouts and sizes to create Visual Poetry or lexical poetry which aspires to a kind of visual form without the impulse of the image behind it.

Already in Amat one finds the uses of advertising, brand names, Jazz, autos, slang--all the things which William Carlos Williams in the same years was attempting for the first time in his masterpiece Spring and All. Even with these new methods and lexicons, the lyric impulse remains very much alive and forceful, and so there is a tension among the new structurings of the poem and its maintaining the lyrical impulse as songs of the new vocabularies and sounds of the modern cities . . . or rhythms of the large modern cities as Baudelaire puts it in his famous description of the Prose Poem--

It is often remarked how at many places and via many quite different persons the same or very similar ideas and images may be held simultaneously around the world; so it is that though so isolated geographically and culturally, Amat's work is taking place "outside" and in company , unknowingly, with many other poets of the period addressing many of the same questions, themselves “outsider’ in their own countries and cultures. It is as though birds are gathering in the higher atmospheres where Baudelaire's Albatross lives, --and at the same time, a bursting forth of rockets and satellites orbiting the earth swarming from the distances with their teeming transductions and translations, transposings, of the lexicons of new forms of flight—the airplanes, rockets, blimps . .

While it's difficult to find much in English re Amat, in Spanish one finds that there is also a problem in tracing out more of the outlines of this person, their life, their ideas . . . since Amat stopped writing at age 19 or 20, and his work is not only very small but also made in such an unusual form, and exhibiting as it were an outside connection with the outside world unknown to most of the audience of his area, his book is seemingly for the most part consigned to being a kind of "oddity," or "cult classic of a small band of devotees" without much attention paid to it beyond remarking on its quirks. With time I have begun to find more serious studies, which move beyond the "outsider" factors of the book's "freakish appearance and style," yet on the whole Amat's work has remained obscure and followed it appears to be by primarily the kind of cult-like lovers of the poet and his work who take the time and energy to carve these poems into the mountainsides . . .

Perhaps its the distance between oneself and the poet, the work, which draws one so strongly to an outsider figure--that is, the distances of forms and languages unknown and histories that are part of an other world and time and culture . .. perhaps it is all these distances to overcome what one has recognized in an immediate and uncanny flash of recognition that creates the power of the Outsider figure . . .and of the Outsider’s works to create its devoted followings while never attaining to the popularity of the best selling or more accepted, academic forms of writing . .

In fact, one may even say in Amat’s case, that by leaving poetry after one book, he is refusing to become a “successful professional” poet and theorist.

The Outsider then that draws one to the Outside is the uncanny semblance with the figure of one’s own being, of one's own desires, impulses . . . the uncanny recognitions of one's possible lives, shadows, existences beyond the small circle of the moment--a circle which even as it grows bigger may remain always small until meeting the poet such as an Amat whose obscurity and distances beckon to one far more fiercely than those easily reached, easily read, easily understood and categorized.

The Outsider, and the Poet of the No, of the Refusal to write in favor of being part of revolutionary actions, may also be understood in their refusal of the "easy way, the nearby, the familiar." Instead, the Outsider poet and poet of the No exemplify that shock of recognition which Melville wrote of and Emerson called an event of the uncanny--to find someone and something at once familiar and unknown, to find an immediate affinity with things very distant--and at the same so very near.

In this way, there is a flip side to the SEARCH and DESIRE, the WILL for the "taking possession of" the Outside, the outsider, the No--the flip side is that the Outsider, Outside and No are not only found rather than sought, but that they also are FINDING ONESELF--that is, they find the person in whom they recognize qualities of themselves.

Perhaps because of this mutual call and response, of this finding of the Oustider and the Outside and No finding oneself, it is possible for the “search” with its inherent drive to “capture” the Ouside to be skipped over and that these recognitions ensure that there is always an outside which is recognized and handed on from one Outsider to another--

Amat is one of the figures of the outside and of the No and one feels very much the attraction, the call of an uncanny recognition, which means more work--learning another language--and willingness to climb into the mountains where the poems are carved . . . like those immense chasm-words and letters carved in the obsidian rock Island in Edgar Allan Poe's “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket.” And which Robert Smithson thought of as “literally vast potentials for a critical earthworks writing . . .”

So—back to work as it found one-and one found it --

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The Gothic Hairstyles

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa On 9:23 PM 0 comments
The gothic culture is a mystery and this culture has its own unique features such as the development of art, music and literature that took place in this period.
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Goths had their own form of expression and we believe in the Gothic culture sometimes tends to be on the side of depression. This is not always true gothic music was also very busy with the content is good and although it is known to have a fascination with death, it is probably just the way they accept that, instead of ignore it.
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Gothic fashion therefore developed using black with other colors strong and vibrant. The Gothic always seem to have a good reason behind every move. It is believed that the Goths had a great interest in punk and fantasy, even dark.
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Gothic hairstyles also differed in their views of the medieval period to the Victorian era or even the pure punk. Discover some interesting facts about hair and gothic bites.
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Gothic hairstyles:
Gothic hairstyles of the 80 were large and had more height as well. Goths are known to dye her hair black or use bizarre shades of red and purple. We can see that Gothic hairstyles have a kind of romanticism and are striking at the same time. For some mysterious,
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gothic hairstyles needs a lot of bending and curling to get the desired effect. There are two basic concepts followed in general and gothic hairstyles, hair puffy and piled on the head can be tilted or punk look.
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Gothic hairstyles have to adapt to the little woman with the features. Great romantic hairstyles seen when used with braces. For this it is necessary to use many methods to keep the hair crimping standing. The beauty of gothic hairstyles is such that they are wild and wacky and sometimes beautiful. Gothic hairstyles, especially in the 80 years has focused on high.
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Gothic Hairstyles, goths haircut, goths hairstyle
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Gothic Hairstyles, goths haircut, goths hairstyle
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Gothic Hairstyles, goths haircut, goths hairstyle
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Things to consider when you try gothic hairstyles:
Gothic hairstyles to try, then you should consider that we had to wear curly, curly crimping the basic steps of these hairstyles. If your hair is on the large side, which would require crimping method. The way you have to comb the hair and cut also depends on the type of hairstyle that goes gothic.
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Hair extensions can be a blessing for women who like to wear gothic hairstyles, but they have short hair. These can be attached to the hair and can give you the option to remove them as and when desired. These can help you big hair style with ease.
Gothic Hairstyles, goths haircut, goths hairstyle
Gothic Hairstyles, goths haircut, goths hairstyle
Sometimes having long hair can be a bit of a problem when you want to try Gothic hairstyles. This is because the weight of your hair, it can be difficult for you to balance a large Gothic hairstyle. You should consult your stylist to find an alternative in this case. For the texture of your hair can be a solution. Texture of your hair can help eliminate excess weight of the hair. Textures simply means hair cut at an angle. It adds many layers to it and reduces the overall weight of the hair, making it easier for you to have a gothic hairstyle.
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Girls with short hair can also use the methods for crimping the appearance of swelling and even curling to complete the look. The long natural hair must be cut if you plan to take their gothic hairstyle for a long period of time.
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Punk hairstyles, gothic were on individuality. A feast of colors could be seen especially in the 1970s. Vivid blue, red and purple weird! Hairstyles punk, gothic, were cowards and how!

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Gothic Hairstyles, goths haircut, goths hairstyle

You can search a variety of style options that can give more volume to your hair Gothic hair to try. Long hair is mentioned in the Gothic hairstyle is very similar to a beehive hairstyle. Sometimes the rolls of hair can be very useful to create a look. Pin the loose curls around her head and let some long loops lying in the back.
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Gothic hairstyles are so vibrant hair type can not really use much. Attractive in their own special way, I think these are really super-smart and can turn heads towards you with the type of care that draw!


[For Parts One and Two, see here and here.]

“To be in any form, what is that?” –Walt Whitman

To be in any form, what is that? In my sense of quantum poetics, to be in any form is not only a question of the poet and of the poem, but of spacetime. To be in any form, what is that? Quantum poetics does not stop at semiotics or politics or procedure. To be in any form, what is that? By applying principles in theoretical physics to poetry, quantum poetics investigates how physical reality is assumed, imagined, and tested through language at discernible and indiscernible scales of spacetime. To be in any form, what is that? Developments in theoretical physics illustrate that uncertainty and ambiguity are expressed in physical reality, suggesting that uncertainty and ambiguity are not just modes of aesthetics but also forces within spacetime. To be in any form, what is that? Isn’t the poem always something else? To be in any form, what is that? The poem might be a shifting-eye picture keeping watch on an ideology or an un/framed protest against convention. To be in any form, what is that? The poem might be a sweet criticism of the super-serious or an unfathomable ur-song. To be in any form, what is that? The poem might be a visual translation of canonical poems created from algorithms within graphics programs that produce inky-winged humming-creatures outspreading sharp trails (see Eric Zboya). Poets are faced with their extinction when their poems stop asking their questions: To be in any form, what is that?  The questions of quantum poetics are asked in its U+F+O+L+A+N+G+U+A+G+E, which moves in scales—along with the accelerated expansion of the known universe—toward. Novelty? Isn’t the poem always something else? “… Let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles…” (Whitman again).

If Only I Had a Unifon Keyboard

Nevertheless

kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s rhapsodomancy (Coach House, 2010) occurs in my life: first, through a quick study of the Unifon alphabet, which the book presents, and then in an exercise in which I attempt to write a letter in Unifon—but that felt like looking into twin suns. In class, a few days after an AWP Conference, I tell my undergraduate students about the two new languages I had learned, Unifon and Christine Wertheim’s litteral poetics.” They ask me to write something on the board in one of these languages, so I whip out my unsent letter in Unifon and transcribe the first sentence. They were excited! “It looks like text messaging,” one student says. Yes, and we talk about alphabets as shorthand as I try to recall a conversation about Unifon’s elimination of redundancy, wincing at the memory of a lazy comment I made about democracy, and thinking about how efficiency is related to consciousness or transmission. Then, later, a friend, Bhanu Kapil, writes me an email, asking: “I have a question about what bombards the dense knot of matter to release a quantum content.” I respond by quoting from rhapsodomancy, which includes a series of Unifon letters constructed as Gordian knots:

Three Notes on Knots

Quipu is suspected to be an ancient Incan system of writing composed as knots on connected strands of rope. Most of the recovered Quipu remain undeciphered.

When faced with the Gordian Knot, which was prophesized to reveal the new leader of Asia, Alexander the Great sliced it apart with his sword, declaring, “I have undone it!”

Treated as entire poem in itself, the Unifon alphabet appears here as a series of looped and tethered ropes that, if pulled, would unravel into unknotted strands.

I continue writing to Bhanu: Speaking of knotting and unknotting, I am working on a project, “Borealis: Time Signatures,” where each iteration of the “borealis”—a legend of 23 writers who hold space in my imagination, deciphered and ciphered with words and the image of a tesseract—is worked through a series of “time signatures” or poems that enact the theories of time posited. As far as what bombards the knot to release a quantum content, I like your idea that it is a sort of light vibration—which makes me wonder, is the vibration’s propulsive energy aimed to tie or untie? What I enjoy about the Gordian alphabet knots in rhapsodomancy is that the “end” of each letter has an arrow (of time?) pulling away from the knot, so that it’s all you can do from “untying” them in your mind and imagining, then, what else is formed as they reconfigure …

I realize that if the Gordian knot in the Unifon alphabet used a linear arrow of time, such as depicted in the book, the knot would not release. In the book, time is what “bombards the knot,” and thus the arrow would have to be a different time signature in order for the knot to resolve its own paradox. One of the elegant demonstrations of eckhoff’s Gordian knot poems is that with linear arrows, the knots stick, caught in their own limbs. The assumption I made in Bhanu’s question, “what bombards the dense knot of matter to release a quantum content?” is that the knot itself must be released in order to provide a content. But poems don’t necessarily work that way. In poems, the knots get tighter, and they multiply. In my “Borealis: Time Signatures” project, I am posing distinct versions of spacetime at the end of each “letter” (the time signature) to release a novel content. The propulsive energy that bombards the knot could be aimed at both tying and untying or something else. In biological terms, some knots have knotted limbs. That the Gordian knotted alphabet poem is made of letters in Unifon, a tomorrowland “alphabet of the future” (see the book’s delightful comic book accompaniment), suggests that in order to encounter the knot’s paradox, which releases “a quantum content,” a shorthand messaging system is needed that speeds up the processing time it takes for the “light vibration” of Bhanu’s comment to reach the “dense knot of matter.” The alphabets of the future are wormholes. In rhapsodomancy, eckhoff also points out that sound poetry, by resisting linguistic logic, resonates with the unmitigated voice that shorthand seems to record. It would seem that such experiments in shorthand, or what might be called the speed of light—whether of sound or sight or thought—must extend to physical reality, including the reorganization of the self. In the future (now), poems are quantum supercomputers, where each information-bit exists in more than one state at once, making processing billions of times faster. This is not a binary language. I no longer question the motive for speed.

The Juggler

As part of my exploration of quantum poetics, I have developed thought experiments in which writing can be generated and critiqued through the context of theoretical physics and Alfred Jarry’s ’pataphysics. For example, during a summer writing workshop I taught at Naropa University called, “Quantum Poetics and New Narratives: Writing the Speed of Light,” after familiarizing student writers with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, I had them experiment with the visual and temporal spacetime of the page by writing poems that might exist in a rocket ship traveling at the speed of light, where space gets compressed, mass increases, and time slows. We also discussed a question posed by Shanxing Wang in his book Mad Science in Imperial City (Futurepoem, 2005)—“Is there a 4th person narration?”—in relation to point of view and the fourth dimension. At the end of the week, the student writers performed their rocket ship poems and higher-D narratives. The workshop was open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as to non-credit students. One student enrolled was a juggler from a travelling circus group. In other-worldly timing and talent, she juggled crystalline balls while reciting her poem, each phrase meticulously synched to the sparkling electrons revolving above her. Similarly, the protagonist and her suitor in Rachilde’s The Juggler (1900) juggle between them, through decadent conversation and letters, a higher-D language for love:

Eliante:

“I want,” she said in a very soft voice whose softness contrasted with the violence of her words, “I want you to know what I know, for you to go as far as me, I demand I have the right to demand that you choose me as I choose you. You must learn about me before you earn me! and if you are already tired, you must allow me to want it in your place!”

Leon:

 “I love you! You’re right. You’re right slowly, little by little, the way a bird builds its nest…”

In addition to such orbiting balls is Rachilde’s commentary on sexual politics and power delivered in iridescent detail:

Leon:

“I dreamed, last night, that you were like a column of smoke. You started at the center of the globe and touched the clouds. I could see the whole world in its spherical form. You, you kept your face above the column, a waxen face illuminated by pupils of precious stones, and you swayed from left to right, right to left, in an absolutely intolerable rhythmical motion. And I struggled to reach you the way one struggles, alas! in dreams, remaining immobile. The column you were, always swaying, ended up turning, the folds of long veils, those of black dresses, blended into even blacker thicker smoke, the night of the whole world turned with you in whirlwind gyrations, and it sucked in the clouds, diluted the earth. I was thinking: ‘If I fired a revolver into the base of that column, just a powder shot, from a child’s pistol, she would collapse because it’s well known in sea voyages that a canon shot fired at the base of a whirlwind makes it dissolve into a salutary little rain.’ Only I didn’t have to hand any revolver or child’s pistol suitable for reducing feminine importance. I had to suffer to the point of nausea, to the point of vomiting up my soul and is superfluity, to see you playing this trick of the column….My god, madam, how I suffered unnecessarily! and now, tired of running, your waxen face looked more human, your eyes had charming looks of pity, but you were very distant, for you seemed to diminish in a huge regression. And in an instant you were a woman, of normal height, as big as a doll. However, you seemed to leave me, to leave the world, for your little feet were distinctly placed on the declivity of the globe. I held out my arms, calling. Your face, a distant little face of agony, was transparently pale, all illuminated by two stars…then, the stars went out, the face was dead, eyelids closed and mouth twisted, your feet left the declivity of the globe, and you disappeared…completely. There remained the thick night, smoky, a globe that looked like the vulgar globe of a lamp of black crystal. And the stars, through space, to me looked like appliqué on tulle. Something even more false than your smoky dresses.”

Whether the love between Eliante and Leon is false or authentic is of less concern than the novel’s preoccupation with the role that artifice plays in the relationship between reality and illusion. In a delightfully strange illustration of this concern, Eliante, early on in the story, brings Leon to her salon where “there was one admirable objet d’art placed in the middle of the room on a pedestal of old rose velvet, like an altar; an alabaster vase the height of a man, so slim, so slender, so deliciously troubling with its ephebe’s hips, with such human appearance…” And later:

“Isn’t it beautiful! Isn’t he beautiful,” continued Eliante feverishly. “Oh, he is unique. It’s impossible to think of anything more charming. You would think, when the light penetrates it obliquely, that it’s inhabited by a soul, that a heart burns in this alabaster urn! You were telling me about pleasure? This is another thing entirely! This is the power of love in an unknown material, the madness of silent delight. He will never say anything. He is very old, centuries old, he has stayed young because he has never cried his secret to anyone.”

Eliante goes on to explain to Leon that she loves this vase, that she amuses herself by dressing him up, kissing him, imagining he’s happy.

“No! No! You don’t understand me at all…but I like you enough to explain. I am truly in love with everything that is beautiful, good, that seems absolute, the very definition of pleasure. But pleasure is not the goal; it’s a way of being. Me, I’m always…happy. I wanted to bring you here to show you I don’t need a human caress to reach orgasm….”

With that, gripping the alabaster vase, she has one. Leon is “dazzled, delighted, indignant.” “It’s scandalous! Right there…in front of me…without me? No, it’s horrible!” Eliante: “Ah! A man who doesn’t know how to watch love is so silly. You really need a lesson. Now, run along quickly…”

Like her friend Alfred Jarry, Rachilde rejects realism in favor of symbolist and absurdist approaches to narrative. Consequently, Rachilde’s writing is often dramatic and distorted, though not nearly as dramatic or distorted as Jarry’s, which is, in my opinion, spectacularly grander in formal and thematic experimentation at both the molecular scale of the sentence and the astronomical scale of concept. However, like Jarry, Rachilde constructs a relationship between gravity and the matter/antimatter on the page like the juggler-poet “keeping time” by manipulating the “objet d’art”—the word, the sound, the script, the translation—through spacetime, which, we know from developments in physics, is not empty but populated with forces such as gravity that warp it, forces that physicists think can move into the invisible spaces between universes within the multiverse. Rachild’s The Juggler, like the juggler-poet, affects gravity by performing it.

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[Taken from G. Green, Poems of a Molecatcher’s Daughter, Palores Publications, Editor Les Morton, Cornwall, UK]

Sal Madge

Sal Madge lived down Rosemary’s lonnin’
Sal Madge wuz a Gippo
Sal Madge wuz dirty
Sal Madge Sal Madge
wi’ ‘er pipe an’ her spittin’
Sal Madge wi’ her singin’ ditties
her bratful o’ coal she’d gathered from’t beach
down by t’docks at Whitehevven.
Sal Madge wuz a wanderer
Sal Madge wuz a man
Sal Madge an’ her pipe an’ her spittin’
Sal Ma-a-dge! kids ‘d shout after ‘er
but Sal Madge nivver minded thon kids yellin’
she loved ‘em cuffed ‘em collected bird shells
an’ eggs for ‘em, cos Sal Madge wuz brave
an’ went gatherin’ eggs from’t nests on’t cliffs o’ St Bees.
Sal Madge wuz born in a coracle in Irelan’
Sal Madge played a fiddle
Sal Madge wore odd shoes
Sal Madge lived in a hovel down Rosemary’s lonnin’
Sal Madge was skeert o’ no-one! Not even t’ghost
o’f ol’ Macalinden him who poisoned his wives
cut ‘em up into bits an’ hid ‘em in’t cellar
Sal Madge smoked a pipe wuz a gypsy wore men’s clothes
Sal Madge wuz a man. Sal Madge wuz lonely.

The Day Mam Saw t’Pig in’t Bath

Now I telt ye about me mam wokkin’t fingers t’bone
up at Mossop’s farm? Aye well, when la’al babby was born
she’d walk up there from Moor Row – 3 miles there. 3 miles
back – wi’ one la’al lass in front o’ her – me other sister – me
brudder at schoowel an’ one in’t pram. Well! One day such
a yellin’ an’ a cussin’ came from t’ direction o’t bathroom –
Aye they were well off folk, not like me mam an’ da’
they ‘ad a pump in’t yard an’ a stone sconce in’t back kitching –
well! Mind them Mossop’s never used it tae get weshed in, no!
they used it fer t’ salt pig in! an’ me la’al sister, she wandered in
an’ saw it liggin’ in’t bath,– liggin’ full stretch covered in salt
wi’ a lace caul splayed ovver its fyace like Miss Havisham –
her out o’Dickins.

How Mam would go on’t Coalboats to Douglas, Isle O’ Man

an’ dance in’t Palladium an’ Gaiety
at seaside towns on’t Isle o’ Man
just across the Irish sea
an’ she’d swing her legs
ovvert’side o’t boats an’ settle down
an’t men’d fuss an’ pet her –
she wuz on’y fifteen an’ a fine dancer
– like her ma’ afore her – dancers from Sligo
Gippos horse dealers Romas tinkers an’ me da’
a Black Irish frae Spain his hair black an’ curled
like an Astrakhan coat me mam loved to stroke
in Sarah Belle’s pawn shop on
molecatcher’s wives nivver could afford a astrakhan cwoat –
aye but I mind he once gev ‘er a coat made out o’ moleskins.
Well, she’d go on’t boats to Douglas, swing her legs high oh as high!
an’ kick an’ bend
an’ flip her pretty frilled dresses up up
way above her thighs
an’t men loved to see her
Belle Sauvage
they thought it was a stage name
but it wuz me mam’s own –
an’ she’d come hwome, exhausted, exhausted
wi’ a la’al  bit o’ money tucked in ‘er knickers
to gi’e to her ma an’ her da’

Of me Uncle, who wuz a Poet

Granda Fitz’s brudder, Joe, wuz a poet.
He’d mek up poems as he strode out
fine as fine along’t lanes to St Bees
ol’ top hat he’d found in a ‘edge
pushed back on ‘is head
an’ a whistle in his hand
an’ his eyes mad as a blackbird’s caught in’t rain.
‘is hands flutterin’ like birds
‘is hair listenin’ to’t wind
an’ his mouth would oppen an’ close like a babby bird’s
an’ his worms wuz words
‘is catterpillas wuz rhymes an’ starlins!
‘Is poems were ‘is way of lettin’ t’jackdaws in ‘is head out for a while
before they locked ‘im up again in’t workhouse.

Muttonchop

wuz a mate o’ me dad’s an’ friend o’ no one.
He wuz a man who once lived in’t big house
up top o’ Sowerby Hill.
A man who’d knawn ‘good times’ mam said,
but me da’ said he was born wrong side o’t track
an’ I wondered which track?

The one by Nana’s house at Corkickle station
where lupins grow so high so high
right up to me oxters?

Or the track that Donkey Dave ga’s on
when he teks his donkey an’ cart along t’lane
to Nethertown, sellin’ eggs an’ spuds an’
owt else he can find liggin’ round in ‘t hedgerows?

Which track was Muttonchop born
wrong side o’?
With his battered top hat
an’ his rusty fob watch case
empty of tick tickin’ hands
an’ gold chain.

NOTE


The preceding follows the dynamics of regional & dialectical poetry as carried over into contemporary experiment, a work that might be compared with Steve McCaffery’s classic translation of the Communist Manifesto into Yorkshire dialect, shown previously in these pages.  Of her own experience with this, Green writes:


“A couple of years ago a poet friend suggested that I write a collection of poems in Cumbrian dialect. It later transpired that it was a deliberate attempt to set me off on an exploration of Richard Hugo’s assertion that music comes first - ie that in making a poem, rather than attempt to hammer music into truth, a poet’s more likely to succeed if he or she coaxes truth out of the music. By challenging me to revisit the unique voices and dialect of my family and culture he felt I’d stand a good chance of accessing and working with the music. He was right.


“He'd opened up the floodgates -- the floodgates of memory, remembering Mum's tales of 'when she was a lass, in Whitehevven' and in turn of her memories and stories she'd been told by her grandparents who'd 'come ovver frae Irelan' on the Night o't' Big Wind, or't Potato Famine.' Tales absorbed by my child's ears as I'd attentively listened. Her voice, her memories became part of my fabric, my identity/identities. Later, as an adult the voices of my parents and grandparents came back to me, their West Cumbrian lilt multi-syllabic to my South Cumbrian, more Lancashire-fed, ears and tongue. In West Cumbria toast became 'to-a-wust', loaf transformed into 'lo-u-waf'. The music did come first.”

Geraldine Green was recently awarded a PhD in Creative Writing Poetry from Lancaster University, UK, comprising a new collection of poems, “The Other Side of the Bridge,” & a Reflective Thesis, “An Exploration of Identity and Environment through Poetry.”  Her latest book, “The Other Side of the Bridge” will by published in Spring 2012 by Indigo Dreams, editor Ronnie Goodyear, & she is now working on her fifth collection of poems, Salt Road.

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“On Vicarious Causation”

Mindless atoms and billiard balls.
Autistic moonbeams entering the window of an asylum.

Fire and cotton.
A hailstorm smashes vineyards,
or sends waves through a pond.

Human consciousness
is on exactly the same footing
as the duel between
canaries, microbes, earthquakes, atoms, and tar.

Resume the offensive by reversing
our curfew in an ever-tinier ghetto
of solely human realities:
language, texts, political power.

Mailboxes, hammers, cigarettes, and silk garments.
We need an everyday relationship with leopards or acids
before staring at them
or developing a science of them.

Yet the tribesman who dwells with the godlike leopard,
or the prisoner who writes secret messages in lemon juice,
are no closer
to the dark reality of these objects
than the scientist who gazes at them.

Dogs do not make contact
with the full reality of bones,
and neither do locusts with cornstalks,
viruses with cells,
rocks with windows,
nor planets with moons.

A strange new realism
in which entities flicker vaguely
from the ocean floor:
trees, mailboxes, airplanes, and skeletons
lie spread before us.
Real zebras and lighthouses
withdraw from direct access.

Corrosive chemicals lie side by side in a bomb –
separated by a thin film eaten away over time,
or ruptured by distant signals.

We are always conscious of something,
always focused on a particular house, pine tree, beach ball, or
     star.
The pine tree stands in relation
to neighboring trees, mountains, deer, rabbits, clouds of mist.

How do sensual objects manage to couple and uncouple
like spectral rail cars?
A metaphysics of artworks, the psyche, and language,
and even of restaurants, mammals, planets, teahouses, and sports
     leagues.
Philosophy clearly differs from activities
such as singing and gambling.

I may be sincerely absorbed in contemplating glass marbles
arranged on the surface of a table:
this austere, Zen-like spectacle.
The glass marbles themselves
are sincerely absorbed in sitting on the table,
rather than melting in a furnace
or hurtling through a mineshaft.
The marbles are sincerely absorbed with sensual objects.

If we carefully frame the marbles
with bookends or melted wax,
if we heat the tabletop,
or render its surface sticky or granulated
by pouring different materials nearby,
the final question is whether the marbles
can make a distinction
between the table and
its hardness, levelness, solidity,
and lack of perforation.

We do not step beyond anything,
but are more like moles
tunneling through wind, water, and ideas
no less than through speech-acts, texts, anxiety, wonder, and dirt.
We do not transcend the world, but only descend
or burrow towards its numberless underground cavities –
each a sort of kaleidoscope
where sensual objects spread their colours and their wings.

Human mortality is just
one tragic event among trillions of others,                               
including the deaths of house pets, insects, stars, civilizations,
and poorly managed shops or universities.

An archipelago of oracles or bombs
explode from concealment
only to generate new sequestered temples.
New objects, however, are the sole and sacred fruit
of writers, thinkers, politicians, travelers, lovers, and inventors.

Until now, aesthetics
has generally served as
the impoverished dancing-girl of philosophy–
no gentleman would marry her,
but all admire her charms.

Commentary

While it is common for visionaries to find themselves immersed and perhaps lost in a cosmic and transcendent One, it is perhaps a bit less common for them to find themselves transformed by a vision of absolute immanence and irreduction. Yet one day, in 1972, while driving through Burgundy, that’s what happened to Bruno Latour. He was 25 years old, highly educated, and destined for success. Yet he found himself utterly at odds with all he was expected to accept. As he describes it, he pulled over to the side of the road, and

I … simply repeated to myself “Nothing can be reduced to anything else, nothing can be deduced from anything else, everything may be allied to everything else.” This was like an exorcism that defeated demons one by one. It was a wintry sky, and a very blue. I no longer needed to prop it up with a cosmology, put it in a picture, render it in writing, measure it in a meteorological article, or place it on a Titan to prevent it falling on my head. […] It and me, them and us, we mutually defined ourselves. And for the first time in my life, I saw things unreduced and set free.

According to Graham Harman, “The term ‘Latour Litany’ … was coined by Ian Bogost of Georgia Tech in reference to the long lists of entities found in many works of object-oriented philosophy.” Latour Litanies are Whitmanesque in that they contain multitudes. But they are distinctly and purposefully and politically non- (not anti-, simply non-) anthropomorphic. They propose and exemplify what’s been called “the democracy of objects” – humans, of course, constituting an object among others, none of which are in any way privileged. Perhaps the Latour Litany is a very appropriate type of vision for our time, which has been called the time of the “hyperobject”. Timothy Morton, who coined the term, writes, “Hyperobjects are phenomena such as radioactive materials and global warming. Hyperobjects stretch our ideas of time and space, since they far outlast most human time scales, or they’re massively distributed in terrestrial space and so are unavailable to immediate experience. …” Perhaps the Latour Litany is an appropriate poetic form for us living through this precarious era in which everything we don’t notice, everything we thing we’re above or below, could lead to unutterable destruction.

Perhaps (Harman again) “This is why Richard Rhodes finishes his description of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima with the following colossal Latour Litany:

Destroyed, that is, were not only men, women and thousands of children but also restaurants and inns, laundries, theater groups, sports clubs, sewing clubs, boys’ clubs, girls’ clubs, love affairs, trees and gardens, grass, gates, gravestones, temples and shrines, family heirlooms, radios, classmates, books, courts of law, clothes, pets, groceries and markets, telephones, personal letters, automobiles, bicycles, horses—120 war-horses—musical instruments, medicines and medical equipment, life savings, eyeglasses, city records, sidewalks, family scrapbooks, monuments, engagements, marriages, employees, clocks and watches, public transportation, street signs, parents, works of art.”

[Short bio notes] Though Bruno Latour specializes in the anthropology of science, his work has always included philosophy, history, sociology and politics, and has been influential in a wide range of arts and disciplines. He "is currently occupied mostly with the AIME (An Inquiry into Modes of Existence) project and with the SPEAP (Experimentation in Arts and Politics) program at Sciences Po, which brings together a small hybrid group of students from the fields of art, design, architecture and the social sciences to tackle the three domains of representation practice: science, politics, and the arts." The quote is from his website, and has been slightly modified (http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/8).

[Graham Harman is an object-oriented philosopher who, in addition to his own recent works such as Circus Philosophicus and The Quadruple Object, has written books on Heidegger, Latour, and Meillassoux
.]

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