Friday, 30th May, 2008
Archive for May, 2008
Thursday, 29th May, 2008
It’s taken a while to come through, but the new issue is up. You’ll notice there’s been a considerable redesign of the site, which, from this issue, I’ve rebuilt from scratch. The clutter has been removed, the code is clean, valid XHTML and CSS (so it’ll work better), I think it looks better, and it allows the quality of the content to speak for itself and come through to the fore.
It’s nice to no longer be working in terms of other people’s designs and code — not a criticism to those responsible for the old design or programming, but the constructivist nature of the building across designers meant that the site was inefficient, unwieldy and out-of-date. Hopefully no more.
And I just hope nothing’s broken.
Check it out at http://www.how2journal.com
Tuesday, 27th May, 2008
5. The mere fact that you think
4. Will there be a full tour?
3. I am filled with anticipation
2. I love you lick
1. True ladies feed Jesus
I hope this helps.
Monday, 26th May, 2008
A Drawing of Spirits Ending
something alone and pure
sigh a battle
you are now angels
copies of ghosts
I grieve and would forget
the poisonous song
always thinking and forgetting
now with the old
officious and abruptly sobering
there are colors in the wind
lovelier than moon rising
a new sketching
so that even night
Sunday, 25th May, 2008
With a small working note:
These poems were written using procedural methods. As part of my research, I have been interested in how the kinetic and generative qualities of certain digital media can be used as both presentational and compositional tools, creating fragments and variations of source materials. For me, Beth Ames Swartz’s use of mixed media in her paintings encourages a mixture of concrete reading and abstract viewing in which the visual qualities of the text (spatial placement and implied movement, opacity, noise) inform how the semantics of those fragments is interpreted within the wider context of the painting as a whole. The physicality of the text produces a synaesthesia and unique multi-directional readings through such attention to text in these works. For my response to Swartz’s work, I wanted to work with these ideas as a basis. I used Flash to break apart and visually reconstruct the language of the translated Du Fu poems found in the 300 Tang Poems anthology. This provided me with fragments of language as a starting point from which I could construct new poems which often distorted yet echoed remnants of the originals. It also allowed me to situate my writing in relation to those ‘problems’ encountered by translators of Chinese poetry, in terms of concision of language but also in terms of the problems of understanding when translating:
[E]ducated Chinese can read these poems fairly readily, but they are often at a loss to explain exactly what they mean. Worse still, Chinese characters link up nicely in compounds that have no literal equivalents in English.1
Rather than viewing this as a problem, placing myself in such a position provided me with a creative starting point through which to write and edit the fragmented work. Choice through chance, happenstance compounds. Writing through the new fragments produced a partly improvised, reactionary compositional method which created frequently unexpected themes, tensions, ambiguities, repetitions and variations. I wanted to maintain the synesthetic approach and sense of multiple readings and perspectives I feel are possible when reading/viewing Swartz’s paintings, and so I produced a digital setting for my work, randomly generative visual texts, as another way of approaching the text in relation to these paintings. As with Swartz’s paintings, each reading sequence is a different, multi-linear experience, with multiple entry points and readings produced through motion and space.
These poems will be published in a book responding to the work of Du Fu and Beth Ames Swartz, in November, published by Arizona State University. I’m working on a couple of online settings for the work, which will follow in a couple of weeks.
Rivers to Colour the Snow
a piece of sky
and the fierceness of angels
the talk of power this word has a new disciple –
lady, waiting for sun
the girth of glimmer
memorial girl, a dignified thunder
come back now because I am snow
charm the cold – dance like
lustre to their ten thousand unheards
mountain fruit to restore the flesh
drifting by like Emperors‘ rules
we bury the clouds
the sky had banished
their very valour is in not knowing
wealth and fame
in spite of
changes that have come
yesterday, I found smiles, and lips and offices
the marvel of bad luck
how hard it is to be God!
but now I see the distinction
ladies in the duckweed
and here you are
angels before thunderbolt
the fierceness of waters
Tuesday, 20th May, 2008
Tastier than a Carnival pie:
West House Books &
The Contemporary Poetics Research Centre
announce a reading by
KAREN MAC CORMACK
the complete edition of Implexures
(Chax Press & West House)
Slightly Left of Thinking
(Chax, UK distribution by West House)
Room 540, Birkbeck College,
Malet Street, WC1
Thursday 12th June
enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 17th May, 2008
Openned was another good one. Decent turnout this evening, perhaps due to the extra-high-profile readers. Here’s a quick recap:
Ensemble whose name I didn’t catch first. Illness meant improv insert, skillfully achieved by good conducting and keen ears. My friend commented that in all the years he’s accompanied me to poetry events, this one fulfilled his need for woodwind, string, words and jazz hats. Bravo. But it wasn’t mere Jazz Club. It was, indeed, well-crafted sonically, and Steve did a good job, meeting crescendoes like Bruce Dickinson without the plane. He looks good in a hat.
Maggie O’Sullivan, whose work I have heard read on several occasions, is perhaps my favourite poet to hear read outload with voice. She is such a good reader of her own work, and it reminds me how much I have to work on my own delivery. O’Sullivan read from All Origins Are Lonely, which bears familiar phonetic play to earlier works, apparently embracing misheard and colloquial phrasings, jarrings and tensions in language. O’Sullivan’s voice carries through musical wordings, and often pretty odd phrasings, in a way which jars beautifully. An example might be how she delicately pronounces the phrase “abattoir voltages”. Lovely, indeed.
Part of the O’Sullivan reading, aided by Bernstein
David Bowie recently said, “if I were Justin Katko, I wouldn’t leave the house,” and I see his point. I’d stay in and sing meself opera. 8-bit videogame, suicyclical opera.
It was a whistlestop tour of the opera, at just under ten minutes, and so lots of the text was flixed thu at CRT rates. Justin recently posted the intro on the British Poets Listserv:
The Death of Pringle,
in which is related the Discursive Alignment of the Battlefield to Come. Our Story takes place in the Environs of Southern California’s Salton Sea, a World unto itself, where a Party of Alchemical Topologists and Real Bureaucrats have Launched an Imperial Scheme for World Domination. With the Power of a Mysterious 4-Dimensional Dust, an Infinite Research Grant, and a Fortified Lab Complex, these Imperial Mother Fuckers have acquired a Total Copy of Washington DC’s own Sonny Bono Memorial Park, binding it to the Interior of a Transparent Virtual Reality Sphere, and accessing, by means of this Chamber, a Fundament giving Real Physique to Architectures which until now have been merely Spectral. The Roll of the Great Plan continues. A Synthetic Atmosphere of Electro-Magnetized Dust is to be installed over and around the Sea, hermetically priming this Zone for Discrete Terraformalization. Upon the Accumulation of Power to the Critical Degree, it is their Vile Intention to Sublimate the Sphere’s Outputs into the Atmospheric Dust Particles, saturating the newly Truncated Sky with the Pure Stuff of the Virtual. Thus, the Entire Region takes on the unique Ontological Function of an Augmented Total Copy of the Sonny Bono Memorial Park, scaled Two Thousand Four Hundred and Eighty One Times its Actual Size. The Sea is converted into the Park’s Kentucky Bluegrass when the Mother Fuckers fill it up with Rotting Meat and let it grow its Own. This One Celestial Seed, bound in its Glowing Atmospherics, will Detach from the Earth to Propagate the Long Aether. The People, whom the Mother Fuckers have Tempted into Passive Alignment with Indefinite Free Lunch, must tend for Eternity the Park’s Banal Landscaping. And so goes the Evil Plan, but not unchallenged. A Pringle vested with the Power of Speech has Freed itself from the Lab Fortress, being one Pringle who has undergone Purchase and Storage, Stocked in the Laboratory as an Object of Experiment. Upon Escape, the Free Pringle brings News of the Imperial Machinations to the People. The Poets welcome this Talking Commodity and attend to its Speech; but the People, blinded by the Ease of their Freedom, fail to Listen to this Piece of their Food. It is thus that the Fate of the Commons and Autonomy itself is an Imperative Function of the Efficacy of the Poets’ Song. Will their Lyrics be well enough Advanced to Hijack the Technoitopian Scheming of the Imperial Mother Fuckers? Can a Pringle really DIE?
Who the fuck knows, but this question now seems pertinent enough to pursue.
You gots a good voice for singing, too. Proof (and reactshun documentashin):
And the music was awesome too. Bring on Opera 2.0.
Charles Bernstein, of course, a pro. Steve wisely skipped to the end of the intro and guaranteed I got the last train home. Bernstein read from a variety of work from over the last 15 or so years. Here’s how he could have introduced himself:
The email and list poems I found myself perhaps least receptive to from Bernstein’s reading. In spite of my line of poetic/digital interest, I find it hard to be convinced by spam-mail poetry, or the use of spam language. Perhaps part of my skepticism for this lies in the fact that spam language is, in and of itself, already deliberately disjointed in its quest to slip through the spamfilternet, making it’s re-presentation unremarkable unless it’s deflected elsewhere. Though Bernstein’s take shot through noise and into pockets of meaning in a way which was interesting (also reminded me in parts of the performances I’ve heard of Steve McCaffery’s Carnival) I still find email language a difficult one to use, but Bernstein’s was hardly a predictable take. Though I enjoyed the semantic implications of the “like” poem, though I didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as the poems from which the above decontext springs, and the excerpts from “Girly Man” which was great finish to a great evening’s reading.
Tuesday, 13th May, 2008
Saturday, 10th May, 2008
Thursday, 8th May, 2008
No. Sophie is software “for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment.” Sophie’s goal
is to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of people and institutions and in so doing to redefine the notion of a book or “academic paper” to include both rich media and mechanisms for reader feedback and conversation in dynamic margins.