Friday, April 27, 2012

Faith, hope, praise become the dead weight of the lyric..

I wish that Nilling had arrived prior to the first draft of my Lyric Conceptualism manifesto because there are many lines, many thoughts that complicate and extend the ideas gathering there. She is a model lyric conceptualist. An appreciation of reading. Not an appreciation of reception, but a reveling in process. An awareness and acknowledgement of influence. A rigorous inclusion of others. A call and response to present and historical thinkers. A willingness to move beyond the known. A way of writing what she wants to think about. Not what she knows. A respect for and resistance to the notion of mastery. Of having mastered and let go. Ongoingness. Lastingness. A poetry with a sense of urgency that is defiant in its will to “illustriously useless poesie.”
On Lisa Robertson’s Nilling : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wee visit, Toronto

Heading over to my favourite bookstore in a few minutes. Always a risky proposition...hard on my pocket book, good for the soul. Then The AGO to see the Iain Baxter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Reviews: A Tortured History - The Atlantic

In general, John Updike favored the nice-guy approach to book reviewing, one that favored and coddled the author and limited the reviewer. He had a set of standards—his "rules" of reviewing—that clearly arose out of his experiences as an oft-reviewed author. They go something like this: 1) don't review books you have any personal connection to; 2) quote the book; 3) quote the book; 4) no spoilers; 5) quote the book; 6) review the book, not the author's reputation; 7) praise unsparingly; 8) leave tradition, schools of criticism, and political/social ideas out of it; 9) remember that books are meant to be enjoyed, 10) quote the book.
Book Reviews: A Tortured History - The Atlantic

And do check out the On Reviewing columns to the left.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fuck yoga

When poets turn to fiction : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Latest post over at Harriet. I find myself constantly wanting to apologize for not writing a big important boy novel about ideas, or a funny novel about a whimsical girl. Why is that? Everyone seems to have an idea about what a novel should and more emphatically, should not be.
Novels, to my mind, are a way to enter into the minds of people. They are a way of condensing worlds. Not necessarily replications of reality, but versions, slices, illuminations. And they are an opportunity to see the surface and also to tunnel under it. I want to see people in action, yes, but I also very much want to know what they are thinking. I want to see what gets in their way and how they handle it. And as Gertrude Stein points out in Wars I Have Seen, I want to hear about what they are eating, where they are walking, how they are sustaining themselves, what random thoughts appear in a flash, to aid or make more difficult, their journey.

When poets turn to fiction : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Sunday, April 22, 2012

If it walks like apocalypse: Dennis Lee’s testament : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

I still think artists are having much more success tackling environmental issues than poets are. Non-fiction writers too for that matter: David Abram, Bill McKibben, here at home Charlotte Gill perhaps. Or, as Darren Wershler Tweeted recently, quoting Lisa Gitelman, "there is no Shakespeare of climatology”: only premodern science has authors in that sense . Interesting.


Here's an excerpt from my piece on Dennis Lee over on Harriet last week:
What happens when language fails to comfort? This dedication to seeing the thing through, even as one feels loss, or one feels pained by the process, is admirable. And it’s likely how we get to such a fresh approach to speaking about the planet. Christian Bök quotes Lee in his review of yes/no here on Harriet a while back:  “it isn’t enough just to speak about the pressure we’ve put on the earth; language itself was under the same pressure, and I had to listen as intently as I could, to discern the new forms it was taking.” There is a deep relationship between language and nature, but also between language and the destruction of nature and of our world. There is a need for equally deep listening by us. How to undo the knot?
If it walks like apocalypse: Dennis Lee’s testament : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On Reading Stein : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

In which I recount reading Stein at Poetry Foundation and upon reflection, do so with altogether too many "I"s. Ick. Bad Poet. Bad.

For the record, here is how I chose to read the poem:

Mama loves you best because you are Spanish
Mama loves you best /because you are Spanish
Spanish /or which/ or a day
But /whether or /which or /is languish
Which or /which /is not Spanish
Which or /which not a way
They will be manage /or Spanish
They will be which /or which manage
Which will they /or which to say
That they will /which which /they manage
They need /they plead/ they will indeed
Never to which /which they will need
Which is which is not Spanish
Fifty which vanish /which which /is not Spanish

On Reading Stein : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What are we talking about when we talk about Lyric? A response to Kenneth Goldsmith's Response to the Lyric Conceptualism Manifesto

One of my central questions then, is can we really posit a binary that asserts a lyric impulse, or lyric creativity as opposed to what might be termed non-lyric, or “uncreative” creativity? Is this what conceptualism has developed in resistance to? What are we talking about when we talk about lyric? Lyric, or identity? As Lisa Robertson pointed out recently, they are not at all the same thing.
What are we talking about when we talk about Lyric? : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Soft Grid: A Response to Sina Queyras’s Lyric Conceptualist Manifesto : Kenneth Goldsmith : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

The conversation over at Harriet is getting quite interesting.
Queyras’s manifesto primarily hinges upon one sentence: “The Lyric Conceptualist is not necessarily a feminine body, but it has the stink of the impure, a certain irreverence for the master, therefore it is by default, feminine in construction.” Accordingly, second-generation minimalism in the visual arts—also known as post-minimalism—is an historical precedent to what Queyras is proposing for conceptual writing. Her use of the pronoun “she” throughout the manifesto is telling: in post-minimalism, the most compelling work was driven by a feminist preoccupation of deconstructing procedural and rational processes that were identified with masculinist tendencies in a largely male-dominated field.
The Soft Grid: A Response to Sina Queyras’s Lyric Conceptualist Manifesto : Kenneth Goldsmith : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

While you are there check out Rodrigo Toscano, Martin Earl and Bhanu Kapil in particular.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

365 Ruined Sonnets: Notes & Conversation with Stephen Collis

My second Harriet post of the month.
In a statement attached to the “365 Sonnets I Destroyed” Collis says the idea came while he was between projects and wanted to try a daily practice. “The idea of sheer, un-productive practice attracted me–the idea of writing and destroying what you’d written, just to ‘get better,’ the arrogance, and preciousness of that, I took from Pound.” The sonnets are quite visually stunning, and well titled: “Sonnet expressive of the creative process (into which doubt creeps),” and “Sonnet in which ambitions are proclaimed (with ironic, self-mocking undertones).”
365 Ruined Sonnets: Notes & Conversation with Stephen Collis : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Monday, April 09, 2012

Lyric Conceptualism, A Manifesto In Progress : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Here's an excerpt. Read the entire thing over at Harriet. Happy Poetry month.

The Lyric Conceptualist has moved beyond the indigestible and the unreadable, in fact, beyond all gestures that have made pleasure the enemy of reading.
Still, the Lyric Conceptualist remains true to her politics of inclusion, appreciating the thinkership of conceptual poetry, the revelations in mass assemblages that concretize the ephemeral textuality of daily life. Yet she stubbornly continues to bask in the reverie of solitude.
Lyric Conceptualism indulges in the excess of language while appreciating the clean lines of the minimal.
Lyric Conceptualism does not confuse clarity with simplicity.
Lyric Conceptualism rejects naïve notions of truth and beauty.
Lyric Conceptualism is not simply expressionism.
Lyric Conceptualism does not accept that content does not matter and still appreciates the way that content does not always matter.
If the Lyric Conceptualist lives in a forest it may be a concrete one, or a forest planted and coiffed by humans as much as animals, though she is not ready for the merely virtual or textual.
The Lyric Conceptualist likely has one foot in the gallery and one foot on the earth. She can make the distinction between floor and ground. She knows a book and how to read one in myriad forms.
Lyric Conceptualism understands that insight and revelation are difficult to come by no matter how the poem has been conceived.

Lyric Conceptualism, A Manifesto In Progress : Sina Queyras : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Ode to Poetry - Sharon Olds and Ghostface Killa

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Making Art from Art

Making art from art has never been more exciting. Or, perhaps we just have so much to work with. And it seems to me that what conceptual art/writing does best is help us take scale into account. Such as we can take scale into account. Is this a non-lyric gesture? I would argue no, not at all. The conceptual gesture might actually be the lyric move of the teens...thanks to @alienated for the link.

Rear Window Timelapse from Jeff Desom on Vimeo.

Monday, April 02, 2012

In which Hemingway does Hemingway without knowing he is doing Hemingway

It came to me in a haze.... or how not to describe your book before you begin a reading... Though the modulation is kind of nice "Enjoying the action of THE PIGEONS!" Oh, and then there's this: