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.


  1. Nadia said...

    I love that Frank O'Hara poem.  

  2. Lemon Hound said...

    Hey Chris,
    You think this anxiety is fairly common? Is it really about regret? Or a suspicion prior to creation, or is it about a narrow reception? Or expectation perhaps??

    Curiously yours,


  3. Chris said...

    Well, "common" -- common among writers of a certain stripe anyway. I think the idea that this anxiety about language's a priori complicity in the system is present in a lot of post-language writers, in how they think about poetry as politics, poetry as ethics.

    Although I'm hesitant to name names, for fear of misrepresenting people (i.e., being flat out wrong); but I'm keeping an eye out for other formulations of this idea. Christie summed it up nicely.

    I think suspicion, narrow reception, and expectation all could and do lead to regret.  


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