Saturday, August 26, 2006

Now that I've started writing, at least for the moment, books rather than collocations of poems (the now-dominant mode of writing about which I'm deeply ambivalent and glad to see refused), it has twice happened that, past the mid-point of the project, I encounter a writer so close to the expression I've imagined for myself that she will rather than would become, or have already become, we have no tense for this in english, the point-of-departure for my own writing, recasting everything I've done and setting it in motion around a far-away center. And isn't this the story with all origins, after the fact, like fate? With _Stars-Down_, my LA book, that writer was Lisa Robertson. With the genetics poem I'm now writing, it's Michel Houellebecq, whose signposts marked "this way Fascism," "this way a totally biological reification, an absolute foreclosure" indicate the spot at which I have, for the moment, planted my feet. It's this belonging to a community and to a historical moment that makes the polite and well-meaning letters from editors who like, but will not be publishing, my manuscript irrelevant, or almost.


jane said...

Holy lite fiction of rissentiment a la mode, Batman! Yr better than that.

Jasper Bernes said...

Well, I wouldn't deny that's his book, the one I just read, The Elementary Particles, is repellant and reactionary both in style and ideas. But it's a pretty interesting kind of repulsion that it generates in me. I'm not sure it's lite, rather to me a capital R ressentiment, an extremist reaction--which I get to watch as it forms--to the future as it looks from here. And a reaction that seems pretty ubiquitous. Doesn't Zizek sound like this sometimes? And the historical moment--68 and its para-years--to which Houellebecq hitches this reaction, when thought about beyond his narrow account, speaks to a different kind of hope--neither nihilist nor rationalist. Kind of like the point that Jameson makes about the usefulness of bourgeois utopias at the end of _The Political Unconscious_.

But I'm sure all this just further confirms your suspicions that I'll soon have to invoke my right to write bad poetry.

Josh said... you think the "collocation of poems" is the dominant mode and not the book? How odd—I see it oppositely, as my most recent (not all that recent) post attests. Curious to hear more about this, and what separates the book from the collocation, if you've got the time.