Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Some serious intake/output imbalances here, which this short post is unlikely to remedy. Reading, reading, reading. Reading the reading of reading, text welling in every available interstice, a feeling for the most part enjoyable if I follow these tips.

I like Jane's notion of an emergent poetics, and do indeed prefer the term to the unavoidable "avant-garde." There's a humility, and a tentative, provisional character to the former that forestalls the concretizing, institutionalizing nature of the term "a-g" which is, to my mind, not at all a-g. I also like the connotation of emergency, a state of crisis in which a previous set of laws and institutions are annulled and in which new--perhaps better, perhaps more efficiently vicious--dynamics can be set up. Of course, I have to consider the ways in which the current regime, and the more intractable machinations it sits on the surface of, has used a perpetual, slo-mo emergency as a excuse to do all sorts of things that would , perhaps, be otherwise intolerable. But the scrambled space post-emergency does seem to allow the possibility for positive change. Or call me an idealist.

I think Josh is correct in his suspicion that to identify an emergent formation is to sap it of some of its destabilizing power, to relegate it to the noun-farm of the past. Coincidentally, I just read the Williams book for class ("the leisure of the theory class)", and it's worth noting that what Williams refers to as "structure of feeling" is, technically, pre-emergent, part of a present that continually outpaces our ability to describe and represent it. Or at least that's the implication. He's unclear about whether such structures can be truly recognized in the present, inventing as they do the terms for their own recognition. Maybe that's why Jane refuses to speculate on the historical significance of the god-term in recent poetry. But that doesn't make me any less curious about the historical and physical and cultural, etc., conditions that would provoke a turn to a God-concept as Jane sees it, not a mediator between me-and-you-and-everyone-we-know but some other kind of otherwordly thing. Are we in the realm of a personal God? Would this be an attempt to counter the bland, blind whatever-happen-happens God of Bush and Co.?

Do let's go there. Tell me your thoughts on this.

Oh, and a reminder. Do come to this--

Wednesday September 21Holloway: Mark McMorris8 p.m., Maude Fife Room(315 on the 3rd floorof Wheeler Hallon the UC Berkeley campus)

and this--

Tuesday September 27Mills College:Claudia Rankine5:30, Mills Hall Living RoomFREEparty after reading

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