Monday, September 28, 2009

I both love and hate waiting for books. The frustration is infuriating, seeing the postman cycle past without stopping, but the books will be amazing when they arrive. And my father is in the US at the moment, and I've had some books posted to him to save on shipping (A Selection from Carnival, by Steve McCafferey, published by bpNichol's gr0nk press, and Jed Rasula's Syncopations: the Stress of Innovation in Contemporary American Poetry).

Aside from my contributor's copies of the new Brief (see a previous post - or feel free to contact me and I'll let you know how to get copies), I'm waiting on Catherine Meng's Dokument (Petrichord), Kate Durbin's The Ravenous Audience (Black Goat Press/ Akashic Books) and Michael Leong's e.s.p. (Silenced Press). All promise to be fantastic - I'll have a review of Kate's Fragements Found in a 1937 Aviator's Boot (Dancing Girl Press) up here very shortly.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brief 38

[Cover image: Emma Smith, "Wolfwhistler" (2007)]

Editor: Jen Crawford
Number 38 (August [September] 2009)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Open Mic

Catalyst Poetry Open Mic
Wednesday 7th October, 8pm
Al's Bar, 31 Dundas St
Christchurch (behind Pak n' Save)
BYO poetry

Production, Art, Genius, the Book

Robert P. Baird has posted on Jed Rasula's new book Mod­ernism and Poetic Inspiration
and Romanticism over at Digital Emunction. As I stated in the comments stream of Johannes' post on the subject, I was surprised by the following attempt to equate "productive artist genius type" with "fighter against capitalism":

"If I were more hip than I am, I might say that the divi­sion of labor between the artist and arti­san is unthink­able out­side cap­i­tal­ism, which deploys the same split to divide a pop­u­la­tion of col­lars into white and blue."

The idea of Artist-as-genius is not only a product of Romanticism, but also early-modern capitalism, hand in hand with the genesis of copyright law. If I'm not mistaken, the whole Fluxus ethos, langpo's penchant for collaboration, and various "shared identity" projects undertaken by movements such as neoism, or John Cage, Jackson Mac Low et al working in aleatory writing, in the latter half of last century were all deliberate attempts to undermine such ideas. There is, of course room to dispute the levels of success of these various projects - Kent rightly states that it is "hard to see how two or five legal Author names on a text instead of one is really much of an "undermining" of anything". However I do think that these arguments, to a greater or lesser degree (especially around the origins of copyright) still stand.

However another thing that's been bugging me about Bobby's piece is the argument he sets out about the Idea vs. Execution:

"But there’s some­thing else in there, too, isn’t there? The kind of equiv­o­ca­tion Rasula describes isn’t just about resist­ing com­ple­tion, à la Kafka or Beck­ett or Lan­guage poetry. As I put it to John in an email, Rasula’s equiv­o­ca­tion also seems like a Trojan horse for the Andy Warhol/Factory kind of of art­mak­ing, whose directest [sic] and purest ter­mi­nus in writ­ing is Kenny Goldsmith’s uncre­ativ­ity. Once you insist that the idea mat­ters more than the exe­cu­tion, you’re not talk­ing about art, you’re talk­ing about outsourcing.

"[...] What does matter is matter: which is to say that art is dif­fer­ent from think­ing not in its made­ness (which is also a qual­ity of thought) but in its thing­ness, its essen­tial con­tact with non-​neuronal matter.

"[...] The real equiv­o­ca­tors in Rasula’s schematic aren’t Valéry or Joyce, they’re Koons and Hirst, pur­vey­ors of the $100 mil­lion idea that some­one else can go worry about putting together, just like an iPhone or Subaru."

The problem with this is, that if one hold these views about (visual) art - and extrapolates them into literature (through Kenny Goldsmith, et al.) then this brings up very complex issues surrounding the distribution/dissemination of literary works, namely through the most popular mode, the book. (this being said the criticism of Warhol, Koons and Hirst doesn't hold water, as it would require, "Once you insist that the idea mat­ters more than the exe­cu­tion", that the execution of their works is poor - and this is a wholly different matter than that of concept versus craft).

Who produces the book? And, in regard to said argument, what is the difference between, say, Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons and a Subaru?

What is really at question here is where the (literary) work exists, and how one conceptualizes the text-as-object's existence; as part of a book-object (a la Joanna Drucker's work at Granary, or Alan Loney's various presses), or as a matrix of signifiers the vehicle for which is secondary.

Susan M Schutz has posted on the issue, and has some interesting things to say about it.

I'm not going to draw any conclusions as yet, but these are interesting, and important, issues.

There's a host of good material out there on these issues. If I may recommenced any, they would be A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections about the Book & Writing Edited by Steven Clay and Jerome Rothenberg (Granary), and the Collected essays of Alan Loney, Reading Saying Making, which I suspect is out of print.

several things

Some interesting things going on over on Johannes' blog:
Discussions of Aestheticism and the 'Hipster'. I'm going to post on this stuff (and on what Kent was saying about The Artist) later today, all things being equal.

There's also an interview with Joyelle McSweeney here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Militant Dysphoria

k-punk has a great post on Margaret Atwood's surfacing:
Surfacing belongs to the same moment as Baudrillard's Symbolic Exchange And Death, Lyotard's Libidinal Economy, Irigaray's Speculum: Of The Other Woman - and Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus. Though it is A Thousand Plateaus that Surfacing most obviously prefigures - yet what separates Surfacing's "terrifying Deleuzian devenir-animal" (Jameson) from Deleuze and Guattari is precisely Atwood's refusal of affirmation(ism). At her moment of schizophrenic break-rapture, the narrator certainly sounds like a good Deleuzean: "they think I should be filled with death, I should be in mourning. But nothing has died, everything is alive, everything is waiting to become alive", but this febrile delirium is more in tune with Ben Woodard's "dark vitalism" than Deleuze, and what flows and stalks in the body-without-organs zone of animal- and water-becomings is something like Ben's sinister "creep of life". "I hear breathing, witheld, observant, not in the house but all around it." The place beyond the mortifications of the Symbolic is not only the space of an obscene, non-lingustic "life" but also where everything deadened and dead goes, once it has been expelled from civilization. "This is where I threw the dead things..." Beyond the living death of the Symbolic is the kingdom of the dead. "It was below me, drifting towards me from the furthest level where there was no life, a dark oval trailing limbs. It was blurred but it had eyes, they were open, it was something I knew about, a dead thing, it was dead."

This Militant Dysphoria, or Dark Vitalism,as a framework could contribute much to the discussion of poets such as such as Aese Berg, Ariana Reines, and Johannes Göransson; and as Dominic Fox has stated, in the Black Metal of acts like Striborg and Xasthur. Also worth considering would be the work of musicians such as Kevin Drumm, Campbell Kneale (as Birchville Cat Motel/Our Love Will Destroy the World and Black Boned Angel), Wolf Eyes, et al.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Friday

Charles [Charlotte?] Burgess at Goodbye Blue Monday

25th Sept, 10pm-12pm

Following (A reitteration)


________________________160 HIGH ST
____________xNOBBQx (AUS),
_________________BRUCE RUSSEL
____________9PM, 84 LICHFIELD ST

____________FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2009
________________________(rsvp for catalogue)

[84 Lichefield being the new HSP location]

Thursday, September 17, 2009

TS Eliot whined too much

This is the way the world

(no end__in ever so
as the bough bends)

__Whorl of words


__no whimper

Explosion effervescent

Honeysuckle, __Lilac

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I feel compelled to say that this book, [ lapsed insel weary ], is one of the most beautiful things I have read in a long time. It is available here, and the author (who curates Dusie Press) blogs here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009




K-punk on eco-politics: "anti-organic anti-capitalism"

"...I still don't think that there is anything particulary controversial about saying that capitalism is now the prime cause of climate change. Everyone - in the sense of the big Other - can accept this, which is precisely why a film like Wall-E, which places the blame for environmental disaster firmly with multinational corporations, can be produced in the gleaming citadel at the heart of capitalism. The problem is of a different order - it concerns not the belief that capitalism causes environmental depredation, but the sense that anything could be done about it. That's why I'm profoundly sceptical of any campaign based on spreading the magical elixir "awareness", with its implication that the main reason people don't live in ecotopia is that they don't "know" things, or that, as soon as they do know, a critical mass will be achieved that will force change. It seems to me, however, that the problem is not lack of awareness: the actual issues are organisational and libidinal."

Friday, September 11, 2009

[BTW, there's a Joy Division tribite band playing at Goodbye Blue Monday tonight. There good.]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two things

"....their writing is [...] a space where the Cartesian model of mind and body breaks down"
- An interview with Johannes Göransson over at HTMLGIANT. He mentions me, which feels really weird.

And I'm working on Grant/Residency.Scholarship applications at the moment, and thinking "how are people who generally give stuff to VUP novelists and the like going to react to me essentially saying "I want you to give me money to stick words together, regardless of anything, just based on the fact that it sounds cool, like Jazz" (self-caricature, but probably how they're going to react I fear).

Any pointers? Anyone?

Monday, September 7, 2009

I've been really busy lately, hence the silence. More stuff coming soon - reviews and whatnot.

I've also been playing far too much chess. If you want a game, I'm here.

Two Events


________________________160 HIGH ST
____________xNOBBQx (AUS),
_________________BRUCE RUSSEL
____________9PM, 84 LICHFIELD ST

____________FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2009
________________________(rsvp for catalogue)

[84 Lichefield being the new HSP location]