Thursday, July 29, 2010

Paper topic(s)

For my final project, I’m torn between two possible topics (or possibly two sides of a combinable topic).

1. I want to experiment with the presentation of text. I want to conduct a series of poetic experiments that explore the idea of what a page is and can do. I want to, for example, see what happens if I write a poem that’s meant to appear on transparencies, so that both sides of several pages are visible at the same time—how would this both enrich and complicate/problematize the idea of the page and the poem. What if I write each word or line of a poem on index cards, which the reader is then required to put in order for herself? What would adding illustrations do to a poem? It’s similar, in a way, to Micah’s project, except that I’m less interested in the concept of the book than I am in the construction of the page.

In terms of the final paper, after conducting and documenting the experiments, I will write a critical preface to the work itself, both discussing the ideas I used in the making of the creative project and tracing the philosophical concepts involved, using several essays from A Book of the Book, particularly Michael Davidson’s “The Material Page,” the Sieburth essay on Mallarme (and possibly some outside reading of Mallarme as well).

2. I’m also interested in the intersection of authorship and chance. I want to write or otherwise generate a series of poems through methods of chance (dice, counting, cutting, the I Ching, etc) while documenting my experience of being, more or less, out of control of my own poems. I will most likely do some form of editing on them afterward to see what I can make of the raw material of the chance-made poem, also documenting the changes and how the two texts intersect and diverge.
The critical preface, in this case, would include the essays of Burroughs and Mac Low and others we read for class, and also possibly the work of Tristan Tzara. I want to think about, in this case, how we define the question of authorship (Howe’s essay on Dickenson might help here too).

The first one seems like more fun, but the second more practical. Can the two be combined?

Paper Topic

If I can, I would like to take a more creative approach to the conference paper. I was intrigued by the Smith essay "The Book as Physical Object." I would like to experiment with the different binding styles and see how these might influence the poetry I will write in them. For example, the Venetian Blind seems to be a good fit for the sonnet form. Writing a Venetian blind sonnet could be approached in different ways depending on if the writer composes the poem and then builds the book or builds the book and then composes the sonnet in it, physically writing on each strip as the composition builds. These types of decisions could shed some light on the ways form influences production, not just form as sonnet, sestina, etc., but the physical form the poem will be presented in. To aid in the construction of my books I plan to make use of the large format printers we have in the AIS computer labs where I work(we have glossy and matte paper, gloss might be nice for covers and such), which adds a technological wrinkle to the conversation. So my paper would include the poems written and photos of the books constructed, documentation of the creative process, and a critical/theoretical treatment of the topic.

the poem as experience?

An endearingly formalist professor once defined a poem as “not primarily sentimentality, emotion, or elaborate language but rather the meaningful relation of an experience.” My paper is a reaction to this definition, that, for a long time, was adequate for me. This paper in many ways charts my own journey through the poetics of experience as its troubles not only its reduction of what a poem is but also of how this definition places limits on what counts as “experience.” I argue that traditional definitions operate from an assumption that there are only a certain number of stock experiences that are considered “poetic,” and only a certain type of person, therefore, can have these kinds of experiences and render themselves poets. Drawing on our own experiences in concrete poetry, language poetry and digital poetry, the paper explores poetics that attempt to disrupt the poem/poet relationship and challenges the traditional role of poetry as referent to experience. Part of this paper will be a discussion of how embodiment relates to experience in poetry, taking into account that every poem, even if it does not “meaningfully relate" an experience, still has the potential to produce an experience itself and to give its (w)reader/perceiver an experience that is of the poem. This argument repositions poetry as a creative and evocative force that has implications for voice and audience as well as the body in poetic space. The paper ends somewhat as it begins—in a classroom, considering the ways in which educators might re-imagine a poetics that empowers students to create experiences that may not fit nicely on the traditional line.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Conference Paper Topic

Vanja Duka- "English and Globalization"
My primary question is the effect of globalization on the politics of foreign language learning. Primarily, I will be looking at the effects of capitalism, which I think I cannot evade here at this point: to what an extent globalization, and consequently capitalism, influence the English language learning. Once I define the crux succinctly, I will expand the point and mention the following points: the English language learning across the globe as the main consequence of the above mentioned political and social trend, English-only policy, and lastly, monolingualism in the United States, as the most obvious trend based on the English language learning policies that are based on globalization and expanding capitalism trends. In order to substantiate my claims better, I will be looking at some of the essays in The Language Book. None of the essays address the point directly, but I think I can draw my unique outlook based on some of the claims from the essays found in the book. For example, I can use Ron Silliman's essay where he talks about the dialectical process in order to explain the social origin of capitalism. He goes on to say that "capitalism has its own mode of reality which is passed through the language and imposed on its speakers" (131). So,the language seems to be the carrier of social change; the social changes happen by way of the language. My particular stance in this situation is: if we accept that fact, what are the consequences? If a language is the means of changes, what happens when capitalist social trends are so visible in the English so as to lead to the obliteration of other languages but English?

Conference Paper Topic

Justin Crawford – Website Writing

What I would like to explore in my paper (if all possible) is digital writing, yet more specifically, using websites as a source for an author. Websites would allow an author to not only create a visual space (text, fonts, photocopies, photographs, drawings, collages) yet also an audio space (sound files/bytes, songs, sound effects, readings/voicings). An author could have readings of his/her work saved as sound files, photocopies of handwritten originals, and also produce written texts on the site that may also include drawings or photos that could tie into the work. This could be a form of self-publishing or self-promoting already published work, so the author essentially creates a living space that can constantly change, upgrade, reduce, and shape itself on a regular basis as along as the author knows how to create the space or has someone create the space for them.

The argument would be for the next step of digital media writing that could be a living space for work. Revisions could be a constant update (regardless if the work is published or not), and an audience (though not completely necessary for the website to have a purpose) could interact, post, blog whenever they feel like to create a true writers’ community. The particular texts that I would like to look at would be Glazier, Kac, Bernstein, “The Book as Machine,” “The Book of Bean,” and “The Artist’s Book by Idea and Form.”

The conference paper’s objective would be to interpret a praxis of website writing that could rationalize writing as changeable/living in the constant community of readers and writers in the new digital age like e-readers changing books, the website “book” could be the new “storage space” for writing and a new form of the “artist’s book”.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Full House reference quota for this class now taken care of, wanted to know if you all could get the first link to work for the cut-up generator. I could get the second one to work ... sometimes, but not the first. I was going to include a cut-up of various wikipedia pages that all were linked to one another through hyperlinks, but the generator just kept giving me back three words. Fail.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

the book in the Books

Jesus holds one in all the old PR releases.

Monks made, brightened, and saved them.

It's the one Spanish word the Shaman uses

(Arturo always taught us Spanish was the language of prayer).

But what do the Books say about themselves?

"Religious," as a wise person said, kinda means "gathered around a Book."

What might we catch books doing inside the Books that have guided so many human spirits?

How does the idea of a book surface in the message of the Book?

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Book of the Book presentation

I am thinking about the following possible topics for our tomorrow's discussion on A Book of the Book. There are plenty of interesting stuff to consider and reconsider while thinking on the timelessness of the book. Firstly, why is reading a book a performance? How can the concept of the "symposium of the whole" fit into our discussion on multiple writings? If writing is considered as a universal human constant, can we distinguish the beginning from the end? Is there an end? Since reading is a human activity, every person experiences entering a new book differently. How does then reading experience of prose and poetry differ? Is it different or not?
Reading and writing is considered as an act of performance. Can we then view a page as a space, a very active space? Like I said, a reader will decide how to read a book--vocalization comes into play. If we take the statement that "a book is more than the sum of its parts," what aspects of reading should the reader take into account most? Different cultural contexts can determine different readings as well. In North American society, the book is a central archetypal of culture and society. What does it say about the book itself and reading a book? What is the significance of a book?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Performed poetry?

I wanted to post a link to the Youtube channel for the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival, which is the largest poetry festival in North America (and happens to take place in my hometown). They videotape all the evening readings, and they've been slowly making them available online. Some of them are more avant-garde (however we define it) than others, but I thought it might be interesting in terms of poetry as a performative art, linked to breath and to song. The Joy Harjo segment is really interesting.

Visit the Geraldine Dodge Youtube Channel

The Allowance Of Fluidity

So something that I'm still working on in relation to the readings is how the authors imagine "poetry" (or more generally art) and therefore where they see these artistic manifestos, philosophies, and various pieces of praxis as applicable. It seems like a lot of them are dealing mainly with what we would more generally call a poem, but the theories in the poems or the theories about poetry seem to encourage a more universal reading. Do you all think that is accurate? If they texts are meant to be more grandly applied what would that mean to you all in terms of understanding or the ways in which you would be critical of them?