Is an ethics centered around one's behavior to an Other located in language (rather than an Other who is another person) a dehumanized and/or alienated ethics, no matter how socially constructed that language may be?

I mean, I suspect it is, but I might be wrong.

Rhyme time #1

In which I provide some end-rhymes, so you can work them into doggerel.

...Barack Obama Oxford comma


Over at Gary Sullivan's place, there's an excellent post about a historical precedent of sorts for the Issue 1 affair, which involves John Ashbery.

Over at Gary Barwin's place, there are a few excellent comics which remix some election-year Peanuts strips from 1968.

Over at Gary Lemon Hound's place, the excellent ongoing series of guest blogs continues with a post in which Jason Christie talks about Ryan Fitzpatrick's poetry. He writes:

I am uneasy these days about my writing. I’m uneasy about the fact that language is at once a means of liberation from ideology and the mechanism that incarcerates me within it. Language forces me into a binding relationship with ideology that it would be irresponsible to deny. Poems that continue to operate solely on the surface level of discourse, dealing with the results of language, that continue to ignore the reality that we are entirely and thoroughly permeated by capitalist ideology, poems that continue to offer trite observations about the human condition or pithy political slogans tacitly reassure us that our way of delivering language is right without ever questioning what could be lurking in the background of our conversations. In a time defined by data and information, a time where the difference between the words swap and insurance can have drastic consequences, language is the direct route for ideology into our lives. We’re accustomed to ideology being obvious, state sanctioned political ads, marketing approved by lobbyists, down with The Man, but what happens when it is the medium as much as the message that is the delivery system?
Earlier, Frank O'Hara wrote:
However, I have never clogged myself with the praises of pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes—I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It is more important to affirm the least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and even they continue to pass. Do they know what they’re missing? Uh huh.
[Meditations in an Emergency]
Christie's sentiment is pretty common these days, I think, amongst poets of a certain stripe: There is an anxiety about achieving a particularly and politically pure writing which they know to be untenable, and this anxiety is the locus of their writing. So I'm not trying to pick on Christie here. Nor am I saying that I am not anxious in similar ways: Oh ho ho no. But still: I yearn for a poetics that does not totally regret language! And I want a poetry that is not incapacitated by its desire for perfection in an imperfect world, that doesn't try to instantiate that anxiety, but rather shows a way (or, several ways) out of it. I want to get my Wittgensteinian fly out of my Platonic bottle. Christie is "mainly interested by poetry that understands our complicated role as writers at a time when no matter what we are trying to say, we are always demonstrating our culpability with a system that benefits from its enmeshment with language and a lack of investigation of the same"; does the system not benefit just as much from our endless reverberating investigation of the same? I am interested in poetry that offers ways to cope with the system, even if momentarily -- I guess it would be too much to hope to transcend the system.

Which reminds me: I really need to finish writing my review of Maryrose's book for Agora.

(Well, OK, no one involved is a moron, not even Ron, whose take on this situation is abhorrent. I just liked the pun. So sue me.)

Collecting a few of the comments I've made on other blogs:

I respond to Kasey, who is worried about being irritated by Issue 1:

Yeah, what about those of us who aren't irritated, but pleased? Can we be irritated at Ron's post instead, which at least on the surface seems to be anti-free speech, anti-art, and pro-capitalism?

I respond to Rodney, who does a nice reading of the texts that goes beyond what is, by now, obvious:
Would it be too much for me to suggest that those who didn't realize that the connection between poem and name was more-or-less arbitrary basically don't know how to read 21st century poetry?

Well, of course it would; but there is perhaps some truth to it. (Would it be too much for me to suggest that Ron Silliman's reaction to these poems places him closer, politically and artistically, to his beloved SoQ than to anything I'd recognize as belonging to the experimental traditions of poetry?)

Your post here comes closer to what I've been waiting for (read: too lazy to write): An analysis of how the attachment of people's names to poems serves as a force that guides your reading of the text, impelling you toward reading a bit more of an otherwise self-similar text that seems immediately understood (i.e., "conceptual") (i.e., "read") upon "getting the gimmick"; but looking up and analysing the poems with one's friends' names attached brings you back to actually reading the text, actually thinking about what is going on in the text (as a text) rather than referring back to your pat conceptual understanding of the text. This motion, which undermines our sense of how a "conceptual" text operates, is what I'm really digging about Issue 1 right now.

What would be really brilliant: If they had someone actually write their own poem in the style of the other poems and insert it amidst the 3000+ poems. Who would find it?
Somewhere, I think, I also point out that Ron calls for suing these "perps" for fraudulently presenting work as his own right after explaining how it is entirely clear from the text that the claims of authorship are undermined by the text, that no barely skilled reader could possibly mistake the poems in question for Ron's, whether they knew his work or not. This might undermine his potential lawsuit, though IANAL.


Should I ever manage to claw my way towards having a "reputation" as a poet -- though that is not my goal, not my project, not anything I find worthy or respectable to do -- I hope I don't get so drunk off my presumed power that I threaten the creators of what might be the most interesting-to-talk-about conceptual poetry (that is how you measure the worth of conceptual poetry, right?) since Kenneth Goldsmith's Day (and long overdue, since we're all fairly tuckered out from discussing that doorstop) and use my eminence grise to suggest that obscene amounts of money might be made by litigating against poets, so please won't you join me?

Revel in "late capitalism" while you still can, eh? There's no poet too small to extort, or to shout down from the bully pulpit.


Nuit Blanche

Also, for those of you in Toronto, I'll be performing tomorrow (Saturday) night at 10:15pm or so as part of Nuit Blanche. I'll be part of "Fantasia Salon" at St. Thomas's on Huron with a few other local poety types. I am not going to tell you anything more until it's over.


I am proud and honored to announce that I have been included, along with a few thousand other people, in a new and exciting anthology of poetry. Issue 1 is available for download here.

Like all the contributors to Issue 1, I did not write the poem with my name attached to it. (It's on page 3017 if you want to skip right to it.) Unlike some of them, I couldn't be happier to my name attached to this work.

I have been reading Pseudo-Cicero's Rhetorica Ad Herennium for a class; I might have some quotes from it to share with you all soon. But I've been talking about how delighted I will be if someday there are Pseudo-Piuma works. That that day would come so soon was not expected however. (I knew I was being included in this project from the initial announcement, but I assumed it would be a process text based on my blog, or something to that effect; this seems to be a computer-generated text that is independent of me, beyond having my name attached.)

Anyway, kudos to editors Stephen McLaughlin and Jim Carpenter and thanks for including me in this memorable project!


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