Alwaysinspiring my sense of quantum poetics is clinamen, the atomic swerve, afoundational concept in Alfred Jarry’s ’pataphysics that might be expressed in WernerHeisenberg’s uncertainty principle, a key breakthrough in quantum mechanicsthat proposes simultaneous values cannot be assigned to the position andmomentum of a physical system. If language is not merely descriptive but participatesin the formation of physical reality, then poetry might be said to constitute amanipulation of physics, which would redefine poetry as not just a phenomenonof consciousness or an ontological and/or epistemological activity, but also asa clinamatic mutation on physical reality, or what might be thought of asnature. Poetry in this context could be capable of what Christian Bökidentifies in ’Pataphysics: The Poeticsof an Imaginary Science (Northwestern University Press, 2001) as the“prohibited hypothesis” of ’pataphysics, where “the most radical gesture inscience” through the “impulse to revolutionize the condition of the species”could entail “the abolition of the species itself.” It certainly seems possiblethat the most radical gesture in poetry could destroy poetry by redefining it,as innovations in poetry might be thought of as abolishing the relevancies of itsprevious forms; this is the avant-garde. However, if poetry is a physicalmutation on nature, which includes humanity, could its most radical gesture,like the most radical gesture in science, destroy the species? If matter cannotbe destroyed but only redistributed as energy or another form of matter, thenannihilation might be thought of as an antecedent to transition, or what couldbe thought of as novelty, where matter changes, its borders mutable and adjustable.In poetry, distinct objects compared in metaphor are often changed by the actof comparison, suggestive of how molecules are changed by observation, and how,according to Heisenberg, “the transition from the ‘possible’ to the ‘actual’takes place during the act of observation.” Walt Whitman: “And now [the grass]seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.” Thus, chance could be definedas physical change—taking the form of creation, destruction, or any nuance inbetween—prompted by novelty.

In conjunction with the expanding andaccelerating multiverse, our experience of physical reality might expand andaccelerate at varying scales, including subatomic and astronomical scales andwhat we encounter at eye level. We create technologies like microscopes andtelescopes to interact more significantly with the multiple scales of physicalreality, and as such technology advances so do our capacities to create throughother mediums. One hypothesis of quantum poetics is that poetry, as amultiversal technology, ricochets between pattern and the clinamatic swerve towardnovelty within multiple scales of physical reality through known and unknowndimensions.

The Alphabets of the Future are Wormholes

Heisenberg,whose uncertainty principle was part of his development of matrix mechanics,was concerned that quantum theory does not have an adequate language beyondmathematics to describe it. Heisenberg comes close to proposing that poetry isthat language in Physics and Philosophy(1958) when, immediately after articulating this concern, he referencesGoethe’s Faust to describe hisunderstanding of the structure of language. Mephistopheles says that whileformal education instructs that logic braces the mind “in Spanish boots sotightly laced,” and that even spontaneous acts require a sequential process(“one, two, three!”):
Intruth the subtle web of thought
Islike the weaver’s fabric wrought:
Onetreadle moves a thousand lines,
Swiftdart the shuttles to and fro,
Unseenthe threads together flow,
Athousand knots one stroke combines.

Heisenberg,while arguing that science must be as attentive to imagination as to logic,also seems to be suggesting that novel sciences must be described by novellanguages. As I learned in kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s rhapsodomancy (Coach House, 2010), the alphabets of the future arewormholes: creative forms of language like poetry have the ability to not onlydescribe novel expressions of physical reality but to invent them through itsshorthand, “one treadle” moving “a thousand lines,” where a “thousand knots onestroke combines.” Since the concern in theoretical physics today is reconcilingquantum mechanics with relativity through proposals such as string theory,poetry might be thought of as an experiment in physics and physics as a fieldtest for poetry.

Physics is thestudy of physical reality. Following in the tradition of Western atomic sciencefrom Thales to Democritus, contemporary theoretical physicists are consideringhow the multiverse’s subatomic, vibrating membranes of energy—the open and closedstrings of string theory—might function as elementary constituents of matter.In literary terms, string theory could be thought of as a critical theory; itnot only describes physical elements within spacetime, such as elementary elements,it attempts to describe spacetime itself. Physicists, like poets, think throughand with multiple forms of language. One intersection between poetics and theoreticalphysics that fascinates me occurs at the scale of diction, where theoreticalphysicists describe the strings of string theory as “open” and “closed,” justas Lyn Hejinian, in her essay, “The Rejection of Closure” (1983), describesopen and closed texts. In string theory, a closed string is topologicallyequivalent to a circle, having no end points, whereas an open string istopologically equivalent to a line interval, having two end points. Accordingto Hejinian, one “tentative characterization” of the closed text is “one inwhich all the elements of the work are directed toward a single reading of it.”In addition, “each element confirms that reading and delivers the text from anylurking ambiguity.” A closed text might be visualized as a circle, as having nobeginning and end points in which to imaginatively enter or exit the text, thussituating the writing and reading of such a text within the circle’s interior,where “all the elements of the work are directed.” The open text, on the other hand,“foregrounds process,” “invites participation,” and is “open to the world andparticularly to the reader,” according to Hejinian. Open texts, topologicallyspeaking, would have end points, entries and exits in which the imaginationparticipates, multiplying readings. The open text operates outside of theclosed text’s interior circle, its extended topology uncurling into a line.Hejinian casts the line farther: “Writing’s forms are not merely shapes butforces…” In quantum poetics, I imagine clinamen as a form and force of physicalreality and poetry that can be open, closed, and/or open and closed all at onceby way of the quantum jump.

The Matrix

According tophysicist Gino Segrè’s Faust inCopenhagen (Penguin, 2008), while the mathematics used by Heisenberg’smatrix mechanics was not new, the theory itself was original for developingwhat Max Born called “symbolic multiplication,” which resulted in illustratingthat the commutative law of arithmetic (ABequals BA, i.e. 4X3 is the same as3X4) is not valid in subatomic systems. Heisenberg’s symbolic multiplicationproposed that in quantum mechanics a particle’s position multiplied by itsmomentum is not equal to a particle’s momentum multiplied by its position; inother words, a particle’s position multiplied by its momentum (AB) minus a particle’s momentummultiplied by its position (BA) wasnot zero, as it would be if the product of position and momentum commuted.Instead, in matrix mechanics, a particle’s position multiplied by its momentumminus a particle’s momentum multiplied by its position is proportional toPlanck’s constant, a physical constant of subatomic quanta that is nonzero.Since Planck’s constant is always nonzero, uncertainty is at play in measuringobservable subatomic phenomenon of the present. By invalidating causality aswell as attempts at measuring non-observable subatomic phenomenon, Heisenberg’smatrix mechanics suggests that the future position and momentum of subatomicparticles cannot be calculated because the determining elements of the presentcannot be known with certainty. This is one way that quantum mechanicsconceives of time in a novel way. Heisenberg’s quantum mechanics conceived ofspace in a novel way, too, offering a new model for how electrons moved withinatoms. In contrast to notions that electrons in atoms moved in orbits likeplanets, matrix mechanics describes the motion of electrons as jumps or leapsfrom one quantum state to another, reminiscent of clinamen and evoking thepossibility that clinamen could be a physical force like electromagnetism orgravity that exists not only in creative or metaphorical contexts, but also inphysical reality. In the framework of quantum poetics, such breakthroughs inphysics can be applied to physical reality at all of its scales, visible andinvisible, including cultural and creative scales, and, more specifically, tolanguage and what I might call its matrixmechanics, poetry.

If poetry is amatrix mechanics of language, how can interpretations of poetry be developed withcertainty if a poem’s present state (while creating or experiencing it?) cannotbe described without ambiguity? Conventional notions of meaning are dependenton linear notions of time, as meaning is arrived at, in time, aftercomprehension or examined experience. Most reading relies on linear notions oftime, as well, since grammars often follow a progression that occurs beforecomprehension or examined experience is reached. However, poetry can usurp conventionalinteractions with time when the writer-reader experiences language outside of lineartime, which might include time slowing, time speeding up, a sense of no time,or a sense of all times at once, where simultaneity occurs between time scales.Poems also work in tandem (toward unity and/or disjunction) with space in a waythat is attentive to the spacetime of the poem’s medium, which transcends physicalcontexts such as the page, screen, or voice. In poetry, as in quantummechanics, it might not be possible to forecast the future with certainty; anymeasure of a poem’s activity might only be described in terms of probability.

Dr. LisaRandall, the Harvard particle physicist I saw lecturing on CERN just before theLarge Hadron Collider went operational, called herself “a model builder.” Askingus to use our imaginations, she showed us crude graphs of open and closedstrings in string theory to illustrate the hypothesis that our universe is alow-gravity universe while other dimensions in the multiverse, which are called“branes,” are high-gravity universes. I was interested in her arguments as wellas how she presented them, taking note that she used two-dimensional illustrationsto portray eleven-dimensional concepts. Considering the homophonic relevance ofthe word “brane” as well as Heisenberg’s concern that quantum mechanics requiresa language beyond mathematics to describe it (like poetry?), I have decidedthat I, too, am a model builder. I construct poems that construct me—

In my sense ofquantum poetics, which I think of as a mode of examination that appliesprinciples in theoretical physics and ’pataphysics to poetry, the cultural and creativedimensions of physical reality are not as distinct from physics asdiscipline-specific discourse would have us assume. Quantum poetics posits thatpoetry and science are activities linked through what Jarry calls “imaginarysolutions,” and that this exchange between disciplines is not metaphysics but Jarry’s’pataphysics, where exceptions are the rule. Such exchanges invite more significantconversations between disciplines, or what might be thought of as translations.There seems to be a belief among poets that the best translators of poems fromone language to another are poets, since those who write poetry can representchallenging or traditionally un-translatable forms and concepts usingapproaches from poetry that a poet would understand in a way that someone whodoesn’t write poetry might not. Translation is also a political discourse withits inherent focus on expanding communication and experience between cultures.It might also be a conceptual discourse when translations are attempted betweenwhat are usually thought of as distinct modes of inquiry, as in quantum poetics.The ordinary risk of translation in any of these contexts might be that the translationfails at adequately communicating or representing what’s being translated.However, thinking of translation in terms of success and failure doesn’t takeinto account self-reflexive translations and how translation might operatewithin gradations of success and failure. Perhaps due to the inescapable resultof mistranslation, the act of translation is thus always a creative act,evoking more questions than it can resolve, questions that imagine solutionsthat ask more questions. This is one outcome of reaching across forms in themultiverse. Imaginary solutions multiply.

Therefore, indefinitely:


’Pataphysics isthe physics of poetry….

[Parts one to three of "Quantum Poetics," as well as examples of Catanzano's poetry, have appeared elsewhere on Poems and Poetics.]

0 Response to 'Amy Catanzano: Excerpt from “Quantum Poetics: Writing the Speed of Light” (Part Four)'

Post a Comment

Tattoos Picture Page 1 Tattoos Picture Page 2 Tattoos Picture Page 3 Tattoos Picture Page 4 Tattoos Picture Page 5 Tattoos Picture Page 6 Tattoos Picture Page 7 Tattoos Picture Page 8 Tattoos Picture Page 9 Tattoos Picture Page 10 Tattoos Picture Page 11 Tattoos Picture Page 12 Tattoos Picture Page 13 Tattoos Picture Page 14 Tattoos Picture Page 15 Tattoos Picture Page 16 Tattoos Picture Page 17 Tattoos Picture Page 18 Tattoos Picture Page 19 Tattoos Picture Page 20 Tattoos Picture Page 21 Tattoos Picture Page 22 Tattoos Picture Page 23 Tattoos Picture Page 24 Tattoos Picture Page 25 Tattoos Picture Page 26 Tattoos Picture Page 27 Tattoos Picture Page 28 Tattoos Picture Page 29 Tattoos Picture Page 30 Tattoos Picture Page 31 Tattoos Picture Page 32 Tattoos Picture Page 33 Tattoos Picture Page 34 Tattoos Picture Page 35 Tattoos Picture Page 36 Tattoos Picture Page 37 Tattoos Picture Page 38 Tattoos Picture Page 39 Tattoos Picture Page 40 Tattoos Picture Page 41 Tattoos Picture Page 42 Tattoos Picture Page 43 Tattoos Picture Page 44 Tattoos Picture Page 45 Tattoos Picture Page 46 Tattoos Picture Page 47 Tattoos Picture Page 48 Tattoos Picture Page 49 Tattoos Picture Page 50 Tattoos Picture Page 51 Tattoos Picture Page 52 Tattoos Picture Page 53 Tattoos Picture Page 54 Tattoos Picture Page 55 Tattoos Picture Page 56 Tattoos Picture Page 57 Tattoos Picture Page 58 Tattoos Picture Page 59 Tattoos Picture Page 60 Tattoos Picture Page 61 Tattoos Picture Page 62 Tattoos Picture Page 63 Tattoos Picture Page 64 Tattoos Picture Page 65 Tattoos Picture Page 66 Tattoos Picture Page 67 Tattoos Picture Page 68 Tattoos Picture Page 69 Tattoos Picture Page 70 Tattoos Picture Page 71 Tattoos Picture Page 72 Tattoos Picture Page 73 Tattoos Picture Page 74 Tattoos Picture Page 75 Tattoos Picture Page 76 Tattoos Picture Page 77 Tattoos Picture Page 78 Tattoos Picture Page 79 Tattoos Picture Page 80 Tattoos Picture Page 81 Tattoos Picture Page 82 Tattoos Picture Page 83 Tattoos Picture Page 84 Tattoos Picture Page 85 Tattoos Picture Page 86 Tattoos Picture Page 87 Tattoos Picture Page 88 Tattoos Picture Page 89 Tattoos Picture Page 90 Tattoos Picture Page 91 Tattoos Picture Page 92 Tattoos Picture Page 93 Tattoos Picture Page 94 Tattoos Picture Page 95 Tattoos Picture Page 96 Tattoos Picture Page 97 Tattoos Picture Page 98 Tattoos Picture Page 99 Tattoos Picture Page 100 Tattoos Picture Page 101 Tattoos Picture Page 102 Tattoos Picture Page 103 Tattoos Picture Page 104 Tattoos Picture Page 105 Tattoos Picture Page 106 Tattoos Picture Page 107 Tattoos Picture Page 108 Tattoos Picture Page 109 Tattoos Picture Page 110 Tattoos Picture Page 111 Tattoos Picture Page 112 Tattoos Picture Page 113 Tattoos Picture Page 114 Tattoos Picture Page 115 Tattoos Picture Page 116 Tattoos Picture Page 117 Tattoos Picture Page 118 Tattoos Picture Page 119 Tattoos Picture Page 120 Luxury Villa and Home Page 1 Luxury Villa and Home Page 2 Luxury Villa and Home Page 3 Luxury Villa and Home Page 4 Luxury Villa and Home Page 5 Luxury Villa and Home Page 6 Luxury Villa and Home Page 7 Luxury Villa and Home Page 8 Luxury Villa and Home Page 9 Luxury Villa and Home Page 10 Luxury Villa and Home Page 11 Luxury Villa and Home Page 12 Luxury Villa and Home Page 13 Luxury Villa and Home Page 14 Luxury Villa and Home Page 15 Luxury Villa and Home Page 16 Luxury Villa and Home Page 17 Luxury Villa and Home Page 18 Luxury Villa and Home Page 19 Luxury Villa and Home Page 20 Luxury Villa and Home Page 21 Luxury Villa and Home Page 22 Luxury Villa and Home Page 23 Luxury Villa and Home Page 24 Luxury Villa and Home Page 25 Luxury Villa and Home Page 26 Luxury Villa and Home Page 27 Luxury Villa and Home Page 28 Luxury Villa and Home Page 29 Luxury Villa and Home Page 30 Luxury Villa and Home Page 31 Luxury Villa and Home Page 32 Luxury Villa and Home Page 33 Luxury Villa and Home Page 34 Luxury Villa and Home Page 35 Luxury Villa and Home Page 36 Luxury Villa and Home Page 37 Luxury Villa and Home Page 38 Luxury Villa and Home Page 39 Luxury Villa and Home Page 40 Luxury Villa and Home Page 41 Luxury Villa and Home Page 42 Luxury Villa and Home Page 43 Luxury Villa and Home Page 44 Luxury Villa and Home Page 45 Luxury Villa and Home Page 46 Luxury Villa and Home Page 47 Luxury Villa and Home Page 48 Luxury Villa and Home Page 49 Luxury Villa and Home Page 50 Luxury Villa and Home Page 51 Luxury Villa and Home Page 52 Luxury Villa and Home Page 53 Luxury Villa and Home Page 54 Luxury Villa and Home Page 55 Luxury Villa and Home Page 56 Luxury Villa and Home Page 57 Luxury Villa and Home Page 58 Luxury Villa and Home Page 59 Luxury Villa and Home Page 60 Luxury Villa and Home Page 61 Luxury Villa and Home Page 62 Luxury Villa and Home Page 63 Luxury Villa and Home Page 64 Luxury Villa and Home Page 65 Luxury Villa and Home Page 66 Luxury Villa and Home Page 67 Luxury Villa and Home Page 68 Luxury Villa and Home Page 69 Luxury Villa and Home Page 70 Luxury Villa and Home Page 71 Luxury Villa and Home Page 72 Luxury Villa and Home Page 73 Luxury Villa and Home Page 74 Luxury Villa and Home Page 75 Luxury Villa and Home Page 76 Luxury Villa and Home Page 77 Luxury Villa and Home Page 78 Luxury Villa and Home Page 79 Luxury Villa and Home Page 80 Luxury Villa and Home Page 81 Luxury Villa and Home Page 82 Luxury Villa and Home Page 83 Luxury Villa and Home Page 84 Luxury Villa and Home Page 85 Luxury Villa and Home Page 86 Luxury Villa and Home Page 87 Luxury Villa and Home Page 88 Luxury Villa and Home Page 89 Luxury Villa and Home Page 90 Luxury Villa and Home Page 91 Luxury Villa and Home Page 92 Luxury Villa and Home Page 93 Luxury Villa and Home Page 94 Luxury Villa and Home Page 95 Luxury Villa and Home Page 96 Luxury Villa and Home Page 97 Luxury Villa and Home Page 98 Luxury Villa and Home Page 99 Famous People Page 1 Famous People Page 2 Famous People Page 3 Famous People Page 4 Famous People Page 5 Famous People Page 6 Famous People Page 7 Famous People Page 8 Famous People Page 9 Famous People Page 10 Famous People Page 11 Famous People Page 12 Famous People Page 13 Famous People Page 14 Famous People Page 15 Famous People Page 16 Famous People Page 17 Famous People Page 18 Famous People Page 19 Famous People Page 20 Famous People Page 21 Famous People Page 22 Famous People Page 23 Famous People Page 24 Famous People Page 25 Famous People Page 26 Famous People Page 27 Famous People Page 28 Famous People Page 29 Famous People Page 30 Famous People Page 31 Famous People Page 32 Famous People Page 33 Famous People Page 34 Famous People Page 35 Famous People Page 36 Famous People Page 37 Famous People Page 38 Famous People Page 39 Famous People Page 40 Famous People Page 41 Famous People Page 42 Famous People Page 43 Famous People Page 44 Famous People Page 45 Famous People Page 46 Famous People Page 47 Famous People Page 48 Famous People Page 49 Famous People Page 50 Famous People Page 51 Famous People Page 52 Famous People Page 53 Famous People Page 54 Famous People Page 55 Famous People Page 56 Famous People Page 57 Famous People Page 58 Famous People Page 59 Famous People Page 60 Famous People Page 61 Famous People Page 62 Famous People Page 63 Famous People Page 64 Famous People Page 65 Famous People Page 66 Famous People Page 67 Famous People Page 68 Famous People Page 69 Famous People Page 70 Famous People Page 71 Famous People Page 72 Famous People Page 73 Famous People Page 74 Famous People Page 75 Famous People Page 76 Famous People Page 77 Famous People Page 78 Famous People Page 79 Famous People Page 80 Famous People Page 81 Famous People Page 82 Famous People Page 83 Famous People Page 84 Famous People Page 85 Famous People Page 86 Famous People Page 87 Famous People Page 88 Famous People Page 89 Famous People Page 90 Famous People Page 91 Famous People Page 92 Famous People Page 93 Famous People Page 94 Famous People Page 95 Famous People Page 96 Famous People Page 97 Famous People Page 98 Famous People Page 99 Famous People Page 100 Famous People Page 101 Famous People Page 102 Famous People Page 103 Famous People Page 104 Famous People Page 105 Famous People Page 106 Famous People Page 107 Famous People Page 108 Famous People Page 109 Famous People Page 110 Famous People Page 111 Famous People Page 112 Famous People Page 113 Famous People Page 114 Famous People Page 115 Famous People Page 116 Famous People Page 117 Famous People Page 118 Famous People Page 119 Famous People Page 120