Anne Sofie and Her Stars

The intimacy of a first name basis.

There are some people I'd like to thank and since this is my pop record I know I'm allowed: Joni, Carole, Judy C, Carly, Mama Cass Eliot, Barbra et al whose songs and voices I have always loved and who certainly inspired me.
I seem to be a sucker for catalogues. My attempt at expanding the names from Anne Sofie von Otter's acknowledgements from For the Stars, her 2001 CD with Elvis Costello: Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Judy Collins, Carly Simon, Mama Cass Eliot [known simply to me and others as Mama Cass], Barbra Streisand and other unnamed stars. Which reminds o how i loved the Fauré Pavane in vocalise style from Classical Barbra (1976) ...

And so for day 1234

Never Mind Cabin Fever


In The Albertine Workout Anne Carson strings us along. In appendix 33 (a) there is an explanation of what purports to be the difference between metaphor and metonymy.

Since this question has arisen, here's the difference: in a group of children asked to respond to the word "hut," some said a small cabin, some said it burned down.
Which is retracted in appendix 33 (b)
Now that I give it a second thought, the difference between a small cabin and it burned down doesn't illuminate anything about metaphor and metonymy. It does however speak to the fragility of the adventure of thinking.
And in the very last of the appendices at the end of appendix 59, our author comments on a photograph of Proust and chauffeur Alfred Agostinelli and muses about what they may have been thinking while posing.
Or what the two of them talked about under their breath that day, as the photographer fiddled with his lenses and the cicadas sang in the hawthorn hedge and a summer afternoon at the farthest edge of human love extended itself before them into, apparently, eternity. Maybe they discussed a small cabin. Maybe it burned down.
So like the Recherche in a nutshell to carry over a little motif into different contexts and reward the memory.


And so for day 1233


Robert Glück. Andy with drawings by Edward Aulerich. San Francisco, Panjandrum Press, 1973.

The intaken breath
as the palm sweeps
From armpit to thigh
Your clear body
hangs like an amulet
around a certain lucky neck.
This is a picture in itself but wildly mind-blowing when one realizes that it is the song of a cat.
It's an evil stew
the drug makes him amorous
as the cat sings:

         The intaken breath
         as the palm sweeps
         From armpit to thigh
         Your clear body
         hangs like an amulet
         around a certain lucky neck.

Andy's forehead beads with sweat
like salt water on fresh caught mackerel.
Cat's delight. Ours too.

And so for day 1232


Timothy Eaton Memorial Church - 230 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Church of the Holy Trinity - 10 Trinity Square, Toronto

Chris Gudgeon mixes up Holy Trinity [near the Eaton's Centre] with Timothy Eaton Memorial [not so near] in his annotated anthology of Milton Acorn poems appended to his biography Out of This World: The Natural History of Milton Acorn. On page 218 he glosses the subject of "Ode to the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church" [from 1972 More Poems For People] as being "located beside Toronto's Eaton Centre." BTW one is United (with Methodist roots) and the other Anglican.

And so for day 1231

Defence and Defiance

From Kerala to Korea

The poem is about chores and the treatment of fingernails and it offers a specifically woman's perspective in its conclusion. "I Can't Grow My Nails" by Vijila translated by Lekshmy Rajeev published in The Oxford India Anthology of Malayalam Dalit Writing.

Do maintain the grown nail of at least one finger
like an iron nail
to pierce those
venomous fingers
that dare touch your body.

Complying with the poet's words,
there remains,
a nail half-broken,
to scratch, to rend.
Although the next two are not anchored in defence against violence targeting women, they too treat fingernail as weapon. They however do not bring us along an excursion of the chores that wear and tear (to end with defence); both begin with the parentage of claws.

Neither bone nor skin nor food,
fingernails are tools we mouth,

deploy, and decorate. None
of us is ever so civilized—

whatever civilized means-
that we won’t, when

need be, start to claw,
scrape, dig

from Hans Ostrom "Fingernails"
Fingernails are relentless. They are claws
Practicing for the rasp and the attack.

from "Fingernails" by Thomas W. Shapcott
Manicure Transport to Korea
The woman across from me looks so familiar,
but when I turn, her look glances off. At the last
subway stop we rise. I know her, she gives manicures


Choi Don Mee writes that some girls
in that country crush petals on their nails, at each tip
red flowers unfold. Yi Yon-ju writes that some women
there, as here, dream of blades, knives, a bowl of blood.

"Giving a Manicure" Minnie Bruce Pratt in The Dirt She Ate
Some selections from Yi's A Night Market Where There Are Prostitutes (Maeumyno ka ittnun pam ui sijang, 1991) are to be found in Anxiety of words : contemporary poetry by Korean women translated by Don Mee Choi. And yes there are mentions of fingernails.

And so for day 1230

Allergies of the Algebraic

In "The Strategy of Visual Poetry"[Horizons: The Poetics and Theory of Intermedia. 1984.] Dick Higgins establishes a distinction between geometric and algebraic approaches to composition. I know about the difference between arithmatic and geometric progressions. However I am stumped in trying to locate any antecedants or parallels to Higgins geometric-algebraic distinction. [The impetus, for me, is to trace out some precursors to the discourse on linearity in textual criticism.] This is the passage from Higgins that entices and puzzles:

[...] what syntax there is is geometric rather than, as in traditional poetry, algebraic — cumulative rather than linear. The elements taken separately have no particular power or impact. But each line gets nearly all its meaning from its relation to the others, where in traditional poetry the lines normally make some sense even when isolated. In a geometric painting, shapes get their relevance from their relation to other shapes, and in a 'Proteus poem' the pattern of the components is far more important than just what they happen to be.
I wonder how the geometric/algebraic distinction can be aligned with the remarks on catharsis:
Among the traditional thoughts of poem which a poet tends to keep as a paradigm in his mind is the idea of the poem that "catches you up, and won't let go of you until you have finished reading the poem." In our Western culture this is almost the normative view. It is the source of "power" in a poem. There is an element of compulsion which leads ultimately to catharsis, the touchstone criterion which Aristotle attributed to the tragedies of Sophocles [...] the aim of his [Aristotle's] rhetoric is to persuade. The goal of our rhetoric today is far less to persuade than to develop the mental or perceptual resource, to share the experience.
He goes on to make reference to the linear expression of an Aristotelian logic...

There appears to be invoked here a tension between the shareable and the exploitable. Reading this back into the geometric/algebraic distinction, one arrives at a sense of muddledness. What does one do with art or poetry that is persuasive in its attempts to share?

Higgins in a Something Else Press Newsletter from 1968 (in a text with a dateline of New York, December 23, 1967) gives a little bit more about this GEOMETRIC VS ALGEBRAIC distinction.
This freedom to use whatever has been proved as a sort of experience leading towards its possible inclusion in the next steps one decides to take seems to me characteristic of Geometry, from Euclid to matrix theory, as well as a key point in the new mentality. [...] The algebraic mentality is pretty much the same as McLuhan's print-oriented man, whom he explains as the end result of the books and newspapers.
This to my mind rests on some contentious dichotomies. What is interesting however is how Higgins in a dialectical movement kicks his discourse up a notch and proposes a new mentality for what he observes to be intermedia. Very interesting that the turn relies on the specifics of computer programming in Fortran.
To finish with this point, there is perhaps a common ground, in set theory, a set theory of the arts, implied by that of, for example, Fortran IV computer programming, where we say: A = A plus 1. In Algebraic logic, this is unthinkable, an obvious example of argument from shifting grounds. In computer work it means, "what was A is now to be increased by one." It indicates a mathematical usage, to the point of convention, of what I described at the very beginning as the general sense of flux, of things changing their real essence according to their usages. But in the program, each time A is increased, either by being sent back to repeat a process (repetition was a pretty dirty word in art till recently) or by constantly being made to confront itself, it changes. This allows for all kinds of juxtapositions and inter-exchanges of elements of any repeatable modulus in an argument — or in a poem.

This, intuitively or not, the poets who have given us the term concrete poetry seem to have recognized. they were and are cognizant not only of the Geometric aspect of the new mentality, but of the one we seem to be moving towards which, somehow, it's had to name "synthetic," so let's call it simply the "happy mentality" out of love for the world we're moving ever deeper into.

Little by little it becomes evident that the distinction elaborated by Higgins is simply the rhetorical work of the techniques of parataxis and hypotaxis. I wonder how Higgins's foray into the hermeneutics of computer programming might have gone if he had realized that the distinction he elaborated with reference to mentalities is from a stylistic perspective simply the categories of parataxis and hypotaxis at work. Just how style becomes the base for a whole mentality is itself a neat rhetorical trick. One I have yet to master, being of sceptical mind.

And so for day 1229

Two Functions Two Topographies

Space of memory: container

Space for memory: site of an exchange/dialogue

And so for day 1228

Time Trap Brain

Dan Lloyd. Radiant Cool: A Novel Theory of Consciousness. 312-313.

Temporality appears to us from within [...]

The continuous monotonic flux implies something about conscious brains over time. [...]

Nor can a brain, as an organ of temporality, return to a previous state, whether or not features of the environment recycle. This is the implication of monotonic temporality.
P. 300
Considered as a dimension, temporality appears in consciousness as a monotonic ordering progression. It moves in one direction without stalling or backsliding.

Temporality inheres in all presentations. However else we pigeonhole experience, it is all always encompassed in time.
White rabbits are always catching up with a possible future of being late. Well a certain one is or will always be. Always will be.

And so for day 1227

Escaping Escape: retour du détour

A long quotation from (followed by a brief observation on) Deleuze and Guattari Anti-Oedipus

The schizo knows how to leave: he has made departure into something as simple as being born or dying. But at the same time his journey is strangely stationary, in place. He does not speak of another world, he is not from another world: even when he is displacing himself in space, his is a journey in intensity, around the desiring-machine that is erected here and remains here. For here is the desert propagated by our world, and also the new earth, and the machine that hums, around which the schizos revolve, planets for a new sun. These men of desire — or do they not yet exist? — are like Zarathustra. They know incredible sufferings, vertigos, and sicknesses. They have their spectres. They must reinvent each gesture. But such a man produces himself as a free man, irresponsible, solitary, and joyous, finally able to say and do something simple in his own name, without asking permission; a desire lacking nothing, a flux that overcomes barriers and codes, a name that no longer designates any ego whatever. He has simply ceased being afraid of becoming mad.
Note the schizo knows how to leave. It does not mean that he has left or will. Questless

And so for day 1226

Renku Materials

Scraps fall out of an envelope and this is how they are put together. One block on one slip:

scent grinds you
gawking cornered
And then on a separate sheet, another round, more extended:
elbow hollow    neck crook
scent grinds you

cannot walk    cannot parade

duration is a boundary beyond simple change
On the back of the slip is the word "eros" struck out and above it a working title [?] "Fast Flesh".

And so for day 1225

Rorty Views

Like scenes pasted by chance in a scrapbook.

Richard Rorty. Contingency, irony, and solidarity.

Picture Frame
A recipe for language games.

The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that. The realization that the world does not tell us what language games to play should not, however, lead us to say that a decision about which to play is arbitrary, nor to say that it is the expression of something deep within us. The moral is not that objective criteria for choice of vocabulary are to be replaced with subjective criteria, reason with will or feeling. It is rather that the notions of criteria and choice (including that of "arbitrary" choice) are no longer in point when it comes to changes from one language game to another. Europe did not decide to accept the idiom of Romantic poetry, or of socialist politics, or of Galilean mechanics. That sort of shift was no more an act of will than it was a result of argument. Rather, Europe gradually lost the habit of using certain words and gradually acquired the habit of using others.
Snapshot of history.
Where the metaphysician sees the modern Europeans as particularly good at discovering how things really are, the ironist sees them as particularly rapid in changing their self-image, in re-creating themselves.
Stereoscopic Cameo
One moment, two points.

In a book with few allusive moments, it is worth remarking when Rorty appeals to the plot lines of an 18th-century English novel.
Such people will find Heidegger's andenkendes Denken no more urgent a project than Uncle Toby's attempt to construct a model of the fortifications of Namur.
Note worthy because in the next chapter there is a footnote that remarks upon allusion recognition (and is a gem for the people who recognized the reference to Tristram Shandy in the piece quoted above).
We Derrida admirers are tempted [to annotate] but such temptations should be resisted. Nobody wants a complete set of footnotes to The Post Card any more than they want one to Finnegans Wake, Tristram Shandy, or Remembrance of Things Past. The reader's relation with the authors of such books depends largely upon her being left alone to dream up her own footnotes.
And so we leave you, gentle people, to dream up your own scrapbooks, life and opinions.

And so for day 1224

Do you want to be my friend?

We were gossiping about a luminary looking for a companion and the conversation turned to the nature of friendship ...

A friend can save you from your better self.
But notice that the crossing over from capability to action depends upon the friend: you may or may not be saved.

If you have a flair for conviviality and a penchant for charming acquaintances, your own better nature may be a talent for friendship. In which case, your best friend may be the one who declines to become your friend.

To tackle from another angle, let us quote Denise Riley quoting Merleau-Ponty from the Phenomenology of Perception
Nothing determines me from outside, not because nothing acts upon me, but, on the contrary, because I am from the start outside myself and open to the world.
Riley, attuned to liminal matters, places the quotation in an endnote and repeats it as the epigraph to a subsequent section of her book, The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony.

And so I can become and not become my own best friend and with some of my other friends I partake of the merriment of being giddy and dizzy for a long time but not forever. And "companion" is a lovely synonym since it betokens a journey, denotes company along the way.

Attributed to Charlie Chaplin: "A friend is a sun without sunset". That's a scorcher. I think I prefer companions. And the lingering pleasure of sunsets.

And so for day 1223

Reaching For Shore

To paraphrase Stephen Scobie from The Rooms We Are

The rocks are not the sea
The waves are not the land

This is dialogue
Frank O'Hara Meditations in an Emergency "On Seeing Larry Rivers' 'Washington Crossing the Delaware' at the Museum of Modern Art"
of a crossing by water in winter to a shore
other than that the bridge reaches for.
And Scobie again "another" from The Rooms We Are
All that is long past.     Blank pages
filled with the finest lines will not recover
what we gained in our loss.
I like how in O'Hara the words inspired by a painting carry us beyond considerations of pigments and pictures to poetry itself seeking the unbridgeable and it is with Scobie that we find that writing will not suffice. Not suffice for the paradox of living while at every moment slowly dying. Inarticulate. Impossible crossing.

Forever in dialogue.

And so for day 1222

Narrativity and the Open

Elsewhere I have argued that narrativity is always at hand whether it is the the possibility of weaving a narrative or embroidering narration — as a species humans are in touch with how objects yield events and events become reified; we play with names and sequences interchangeably.

Kristjana Gunnars Reading Marcel Proust in far more elegant style makes a similar case.

It is perhaps impossible to exist without something taking place. To be outside of story would be to not exist.

What confuses is that stories never end. Fictions are false because they provide false endings. There is always a next day: just as the idea of the end of the universe can never gain currency, since it is forever trailed by the question of what is behind the end of the universe.
Earlier in the book there is a passage that provides an example of continuation at work/play. Proceeding a contrario, we follow the next twist...
[The character from Kierkegaard] knows the verity of his own feelings by his reluctance to articulate them. The more he speaks of his feelings, the less real they will be. Love will be spent in the speaking. Transferred out of the nervous system into language, where it will exist in a disembodied form.

But perhaps his trepidation results from the opposite: what he fears is the possibility of bringing his feelings to life by naming them. In language there is self-invention. The fear of creating a relationship where there was none before. Of making a fleeting evanescent relationship, which like all human affairs drifts in the smoke of time, permanent. By writing something you make it eternal.
And open to tagged on interpretations, extrapolations and other sundry extensions.

And so for day 1221

Marking Time Passing

One line from Brian Fawcett Permanent Relationships

dewwet morning
What is amazing here is the simplicity of the means (rearranging the inter-word spacing) and the richness of the suggestiveness thus generated. "Dewwet" evokes that moment where the droplets have begun to slide and form larger wholes — think of the slick on grass or the pattern of the condensation on a windshield of a car — the dewwet is a moment observed from later in the morning — at least, it is so if the new compound word is an image of what it describes. And by its precise attention to a moment in time it is attuned to process and the passage of time.

Another example from Whisk by Yoko's Dogs (a writing collective composed of Jan Conn, Mary di Michele, Susan Gillis and Jane Munro)
all day snow falling
falling into the night
The reduplication of "falling" echoes the continuous movement of the snow and the carry over from ending one line and beginning the next adds to the continuous movement. It just doesn't stop. Day and night are stretched.

And so for day 1220


Lipogram: a text in which a given letter or set of letters is deliberately left out (Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics)

Absence Where As (Claude Cahun and the Unopened Book) by Nathanaël (Nathalie Stephens) preserves the French in its Englished form and presents the following lipogrammatic play

fa ille
"FA ILLE" stands as the title of a section of the book. And at first seems to be a simple illustration of "broken" [faille] by placing a space like a missing link in the chain of letters. It is only later that the reader comes to understand the omitted is "m". "Not so long ago, I pointed to the minute distance between la famille (family) and la fa ille (fault line ... flaw ... rift)."

To render in English is a challenge. And in the end it is by substitution rather than subtraction that we arrive at some semblance of a cognate.
bro ken
bro kin
So the first step was to take the breaking to the visual aspect of the word which yields "bro ken" which semantically exposes the "bro" of bromance and brotherhood along with the "ken" of knowing. We bring back the family with "kin" and use italics to mark the break in "brokin". And so we skim the skin of language.

Trying another poet and going from English to French: Harryette Mullen
Supermarket with the dropped "u are". Almost impossible. There are two directions tugging...
Vous êtes
Reduplications may come close to the effect of overlay of S*PeRM**K*T and SUPERMARKET.
And if one is to enter wholly the neologism phase, one can tack on the verb "to be" (être) one comes close to the suffix for shop (boulangerie, bijouterie).
Not quite satisfying. We are far from the procedures of the lipogram. And still missing the sperm element. We begin again taking advantage of some mirroring effects: giving the supermarket a proper name...
Supermarché Spermeville
We have lost the inflection towards being. It is almost impossible to bury the "tu es" in the "supermarché". And so we turn bilingual and bring back the English in abbreviated form "u r"
Spe salvi. By hope in markets we are saved. But the sperm has wiggled away again.

And so for day 1219

Idioms: Jazz & Blues

Legitimation. Appropriation. Acculturation.

Processes. Signposts. Ways.

Norma Cole in To Be At Music: Essays & Talks quotes and demonstrates in her style ...

"A rhythm which cuts and defines another rhythm must leave room for the other rhythm to be heard clearly." (John Miller Chernoff, African Rhythm and African Sensibility: Aesthetics and Social Action in African Musical Idioms)
Gregory Ulmer. "Choramancy: A User's Guide" in Mind Factory edited by Louis Armand identifies a melded sensibility (jewgreekcreole) and relies on jazz & blues traditions to do so ...
"The questions of how Haitian Voodoo came to the continental United States, and the question of why jazz originated in New Orleans, are in fact parts of the same question. Jazz and rock 'n' roll would evolve from Voodoo, carrying within them the metaphysical antidote that would aid many a twentieth-century Westerner from both the ravages of the mind-body split codified by Christianism, and the onslaught of technology. The twentieth century would dance as no other had, and through that dance, secrets would be passed." [Michael Ventura, "Hear That Long Snake Moan" in Shadow Dancing in the USA] Jazz is exemplary for us of "possibility," the modality of "perhaps" organising the temporality of the event. What happened in music may continue in consulting and in every other discourse and institution, as "we" become jewgreakcreole. Syllogism may become syllojazz.
On the next page
The emergAgency goal is to fashion a consulting practice from the lessons of "blutopia," combining the two major impulses of African-American music: "a utopian impulse, evident in the creation of imagined places (Promised Lands), and the impulse to remember, to bear witness, which James Baldwin relates to the particular history of slavery" [Graham Lock, Blutopia: Visions of the Future and Revisions of the Past in the Work of Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, and Anthony Braxton] "Blues" is not feeling "bad," but what you do about bad feelings.
Acculturation. Appropriation. Legitimation.

And so for day 1218

Pedestrian Pleasures

After a period of being incommoded one turns to the papers to reconnect with the world and learns of a new footbridge. Marcus Gee in the Globe and Mail devotes a column to the opening of the footbridge that crosses under the Gardiner Expressway. The creation of architect John White is quite remarkable.

It is designed so it can be winched sideways on beams to allow for maintenance on the Gardiner, which lies just 200 millimetres above. [...] Look up and you see the concrete underbelly of the expressway, a unique view of that colossus. Look down through the tall glass walls and you see the traffic on Lake Shore Boulevard streaming by.
Toronto has its very own bridge of sighs.

And so for day 1217

Miracle Mile Plus

Worth a field trip: Canoe Landing Park

Attractions conceived by Douglas Coupland: Tom Thomson's Canoe and the installations around the Terry Fox Miracle Mile which are erected as way-stations around the perimeter of the park. Photos mounted out of reach of would be vandals; photos of iconic items or moments in the life/run of Terry Fox function as reliquaries particularly the "Lucky Sock" worn and stained and described by the plaque at the foot of the installation. Searching for images of the Lucky Sock installation, I came across charmgirl13's Flickr album from winter 2010 which documents another of the the installations "Food Fight" that registers the teenage exuberance by displaying an impressive array of diner food that would have been ingested to fuel the run — burgers and such — (the image is almost an advertisement) and the accompanying plaque relates the stories of decorous food fights to relieve stress.

Words and images in public space... within a walkable round.

And so for day 1216

Little Billboards

Over the years, I have changed the signature block on email messages. They often contain a witty saying and a url.

Here is one from the close of the last century, anticipating an active century to come

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
20th : Machine Age :: 21st : Era of Reparation
Earlier I struck a Kantian note:
Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

Wondering if...

mnemonic is to analytic
mimetic is to synthetic
And here's a twist on the hocus-pocus of the art of persuasion:
Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

Skill may be the capacity to manipulate perceptions of knowledge.
Magic is.
And with the usual continuity of the moniker "Scholar-at-large" with a tag from a brief intellectual itinerary.
Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality
Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks
Who knows what permutations are to come?

And so for day 1215


We have a record of the discussion of the second session at the 1970 colloquium at Cluny on "literature and ideology" [Littérature et idéologies. Colloque de Cluny II. 2, 3, 4 avril 1970. La nouvelle critique. spécial 39 bis]. These discussions are as interesting as the presented papers and sometimes quite revealing as to the intellectual roots of some critical concepts.

Julia Kristeva quotes the first of Marx's Theses on Feuerbach to introduce a notion of text as activity or practice.

Le défaut de tout matérialisme passé (celui de Feuerbach compris) c'est que l'objet, la réalité, la matérialité ne sont pris que sous la forme de l'objet ou de l'intuition, mais non comme activité sensible humaine comme pratique. C'est pourquoi le côté actif est développé de façon abstraite en opposition au matérialisme, par l'idéalisme — qui naturellement ne connait pas l'activité réelle, sensible, comme telle. Feuerbach veut des objets sensibles — réellement distincts des objets idéaux — mais il ne saisit pas l'activité humaine elle-même comme activité objective. Il considère donc, dans l'essence du christianisme, le rapport théorique comme étant le seul vraiment humain, tandis que la pratique n'est saisie et fixée que sous sa vulgaire et judaïque forme phénomenale. Ainsi ne comprend-il pas la signification de l'activité révolutionnaire, critico-pratique.
After citing this, Kristeva invites us to consider these remarks in the context of signifying practices:
Transposons cette réflection sur le terrain de la pratique signifiante — nous trouverons le texte
Marx's Theses on Feuerbach seeks to establish due regard to practice.
The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism — that of Feuerbach included — is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was developed abstractly by idealism – which, of course, does not know real, sensuous activity as such.

Feuerbach wants sensuous objects, really distinct from the thought objects, but he does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity. Hence, in The Essence of Christianity, he regards the theoretical attitude as the only genuinely human attitude, while practice is conceived and fixed only in its dirty-judaical manifestation. Hence he does not grasp the significance of “revolutionary”, of “practical-critical”, activity.
Practice occurs in a zone of strife. That zone is within and beyond the reading subject. See "Textuality" entry by Manina Jones in the Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary Theory: Approaches, Scholars, Terms (1993).
[...] subversion of the principle that any text can function as an object whose meaning is coherent and self-contained. [...] Textuality in this context describes the tendency of language to produce not a simple reference to the world "outside" language but a multiplicity of potentially contradictory signifying effects that are activated in the reading process.
Kristeva's "transposons" makes it sound so easy. And it is if one remembers the collective notion of "let us transpose".

And so for day 1214

Frye Reading Delany

Northrop Frye's annotations to Samuel R. Delany's Neveryóna consist mainly of marking passages of interest with a vertical line in the margin. There is one comment of note. Under the epigraph from Shoshana Felman (Turning the Screw of Interpretation), Frye [p. 77] writes "he reads the damnedest books".

Here then is a selection of the selection curated by Northrop Frye.

[p. 56]

for you know that the very gods of our country are represented as patient, meticulous craftsfolk, who labor at the construction of the world and who may may never be named till it is completed
We skip ahead and we quote a bit beyond the bar in the margin to give a flavour of the passage.
[p. 245]

"sometimes I think there must be nothing to the world except stories and magic!" (She'd never thought anything like that before in her life!) "But I guess stories are more common — while magic is rare.
[p. 338]

and all speech is, after all, about what is absent in the world,
A few more marks in the pages that follow to references to the empty and the absent. Let us retrace some earlier marked passages.
[p. 156]

No wonder the Empress and the Liberator both decry slavery, when this is such a far more efficient system. You know where most of the iron for these little moneys come from, don't you? It's melted down from the old no-longer-used collars once worn by —

[p. 166]

My dear, sometimes I believe we shall lose all contact with magic. When that happens, civilization will have to be written of with other signs entirely.
[p. 198] Inline correction of a typographic accident [Frye adds the "l"]: "lest she be thought less wor[l]dly than she was". But the context is about words and irony and yes a certain worldliness.
  • camel driver curses: "The brutal repetition of their invention and invective alone keeps such curses from being true poetry."
  • same men in the arms of women: "beg their mistresses to whisper these same phrases to them, or plead to be allowed to whisper them back, phrases which now, instead of conveying ire and frustration, transport them, and sometimes the women, too, to heights of pleasure"
  • the paragraph with the wordly/worldly crux
  • the conversation continues about what might mean the "use of terms of anger and rage in the throes of desire"
And so for day 1213

Revisiting Rapunzel

Stanley Kunitz in his forward to Beginning With O by Olga Broumas helpfully points out that the poems inspired by fairy tales also pay homage to Anne Sexton. As Kunitz remarks they "pay Sexton the tribute of imitating, though not without significant variation, her adaptations of fairy tales".

Take Sexton's lesbian take on Rapunzel

Give me your nether lips
all puffy with their art
and I will give you angel fire in return.
By the end of Sexton's poem the lesbian liaison is broken up. Broumas's speaker ends with the figure of a multiplication and ever more Sapphic coupling:
[...] I'll break the hush
of our cloistered garden, our harvest continuous
as a moan, the tilled bed luminous
with the future
yield. Red

vows like tulips. Rows
upon rows of kisses from all lips.
Broumas pegs as her beginning, an epigraph, the opening lines from Sexton: "A woman / who loves a woman / is forever young." Perennial. And for this I take as my text this bit from Stanley Kunitz 1977 forward
Because of their explicit sexuality and Sapphic orientation, Broumas's poems may be considered outrageous in some quarters, but I believe they are destined to achieve more than a succès de scandale. We shall all be wiser and — who knows? — maybe purer when we can begin to interpret the alphabet of the body that is being decoded here.
And so for day 1212

Anybody's Everybody

Juliana Spahr based on her reading of the autobiographies and the multilingual context of the composition of Stein's work argues that

It is not that Stein's fragmentation is in itself necessarily revolutionary, but rather that her alignment of it with immigrant and other nonstandard Englishes provides a new perspective on the ramifications of fragmentation. And most importantly, it points to the importance of linguistic patience and respect in a country where everyone might not be fully fluent.
From "'There Is No Way of Speaking English' The Polylingual Grammars of Gertrude Stein" in Everybody's Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity.

And it so happens per chance that I come across in the same day's reading a quotation from Denise Riley (The Words of Selves) as selected by Norma Cole in a talk collected in To Be At Music
Any I seems to speak for and from herself; her utterance comes from her own mouth in the first person pronoun which is hers, if only for just so long as she pronounces it. Yet as a human speaker, she knows that it's also everyone's, and that this grammatical offer of uniqueness is untrue, always snatched away. The I which speaks out from only one place is simultaneously everyone's everywhere; it's the linguistic marker of rarity but is always also aggressively democratic.
Last word to Spahr on Stein
It [Stein's work] turns populist speech patterns into art. It argues that this art which appears strange and unusual to some can have roots in the common, the everyday, can include everybody. [...] We cannot afford to overlook works that suggest alternate ways of speaking English. Or, in other words, if Stein is not the democrat that I am arguing her work suggests she could be, still there is much to be learned from the anarchic democracy of the works themselves.
One can. Learn. One did. And does.

And so for day 1211

Not Choreography

Some one sitting there could invite ghosts to dance. He was sitting there almost like being a ghost himself. Almost ascending in a wheelchair. He had switched from composition by interrogation. Almost such a lovely word. A dip from the universal all to the democratic majority of most. A peninsular word. See he was making them no inviting them to dance. To believe in some sort of fluidity even the flash of an eye lid closing upon the egregious share of every blunder. Blunder bladder it swells a dip. To be believed. That's why he would issue invitations. Who would see those invitations. Sway of hand. More of a conductor than dance master. Choreography is by tradition off stage. Presto.
And so for day 1210

Mapping Echoes

Jay MillAr "Author Photos" False Maps for Other Creatures.

a landscape is a line one understands
and how one stands
echoes for me bp nichol

A / LAKE / A / LANE / A / LINE / A / LONE

which is engraved in bpNichol Lane near Coach House Press.

And I am sure there is an allusion in the poem by Nelson Ball


from the chapbook published by Stuart Ross under the Proper Tales Press imprint.

And we come back to Jay MillAr who reminds us we are always
skimming a fraction
of some structure
from "Hovercraft" in False Maps for Other Creatures.

And so for day 1209

Weak Ties

Clive Thompson in Smarter Than You Think: How technology is changing our minds for the better in the chapter on "Ambient Awareness" rehearses the sociological literature on the strength of week ties; he does so along with compelling anecdotes from social networking. Let him explain:

Granovetter pointed out, your friends have an informational deficit. They're too similar. This is the principle of homophilly: Socially, we tend to be close friends with people who mirror us demographically, culturally, intellectually, politically, and professionally. This makes it easy to bond, but it also means that we drink from the same informational pool. [...] Weak ties are different. These people are, as Granovetter pointed out, further afield, so they're soaking in information we don't have and moving among people we don't know at all. [...] The ties are weak, but they are rich conduits for information.
I wonder how might this apply to the intellectual ecology of discussion lists where time and again one experiences the synapse effect — a subscriber asks someone off-list about a particular question which answer then gets reported back to the list. The human interaction "jumps" the medium. The social in social media is not in the network or platform per se but in the discussion triggered by the traces. Cloud Chambers.

And so for day 1208

Doing Things

Notes made on June 23, 2003, and now brought forward — a bringing forward, a thing we do with things.

Read a piece by Stevan Harnad "Categorization as Cognition" in which he lists five things we can do with things.

Seeing (Perceiving)
I wonder how such a typology could be made dynamic. The list can easily be shuffled. For example, in the hand written transcription that I had made earlier today I placed "manipulating" after "seeing". I can imagine manipulation in the mind's eye. Harnad's piece seems to imply an evolutionary path from sensation to language use. I think it may be off in terms of missing out on multimodal comparisons and in terms of the missing aspect of time — how before & after is accompanied by a during. I might even venture that we as humans are hard-wired for process-processing. [This is the remark that I find really interesting.] Worth revisiting Harnad's thoughts as a conversation by the four cardinal virtues.

And so for day 1207

Over Observation

Open Mind, 2014
Yoan Capote

From a blurb:

A labyrinth based on a drawing of the human brain in which people can walk through. As they walk around the maze, participants are metaphors for neurons transmitting information. This work inspires dialogue on the interrelation among people.
The Yoan Capote "brain" might be interesting from way high up from some window in the surrounding high rises — you would then see its layout. It is worth noting that from the ground, you are able to come in and wander around in any direction — the "brain" didn't have the traditionally preordained paths of a labyrinth. The cerebral part done in silver sat above the anchoring poles. I suspect that given the appropriate mass of people milling about with the requisite illumination from cellphones one could be led to reflect upon firing synapses. (I offer pictoral evidence of the crowd-brain analogy but even this documentary evidence of moving people as firing neurons would benefit from a crane shot.)

And so for day 1206

Under Observation

he would wander the halls not sure if the humming he was producing was for himself or some audience he would find beyond the doors the doors at the end of the hall a pair of doors would swing outwards into the light of another hall another hall running perpendicular to the one along which his feet now shuffled

he felt as if he never would come to the T to the junction and yet the humming matched the white noise of the fluorescent and he knew yes he knew that there was "to bend the puppet" he had shuffled down the long fluorescent hum of hall to come upon that phrase just how does one bend a puppet it's not the puppet that bends it bows the bend is in the flick of wrist a hand puppet without strings a Punch and Judy show of precarious costuming constricting a subject self by the really only means possible in an act of objectification

Makeup: he wanted to have blue nails.


And so for day 1205