Entry 25: 17 Reasons Why!

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Reason 1: Language writing should not be understood in merely formalist terms.

Reason 2: It is a consequence of the cultural logic of the period(s) in which it was written and has its influence.

Reason 3: But, we must ask, what is a cultural logic, and how many of them are there to name?

Reason 4: If Enlightenment is a cultural logic, not just an abstract universal, the poetics of this situation are yet to be found out.

Reason 5: It is not exaggerating to claim these debates have scarcely been engaged, and will continue past publication of this volume.

Reason 6: The relation of Language writing to identity is a major motivation, as is the question of free speech as liberationist goal.

Reason 7: The politics of neoliberalism in relation to Language writing’s use of political economy is a primary critical focus.

Reason 8: It shows how specific forms of community and identity are made and contested in the process of group formation.

Reason 9: Periodizing logics and claims of succession, of one avant-garde after another or by institutions, are called into question.

Reason 10: The irreducible crux of my argument is a rejection of the concept of period style and the opportunistic use made of it.

Reason 11: Poetics should not be confined to literary examples but extends to other genres, media, and life as it is lived.

Reason 12: A poetics of negativity works across genres and media to contest false positives in stylistic or institutional terms.

[To be contd.]

 

Entry 24: 17 Reasons Why!

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17 Reasons Why! 

“17 Reasons Why!” is a key site in the cognitive map of San Francisco during the period in which Language writing emerged, the 1970s. The cryptic formula, for which no adequate explanation has been given, overlooked the Mission District at the intersection of 17th and Mission—and yet also seemed hardly to be there. Its address was always already iterative and non sequitur, always a prompt for questioning. I left the Bay Area before it came down in 2000, but it has a solid place in the firmament of urban legend, as in this article, from which we learn: “The 17 did refer to the fact the store stood on the corner of 17th Street. But what were the reasons? ‘People would ask what the 17 reasons were, and we would guff it off. There were no 17 reasons,’ [the former owner’s son] said.”

[To be contd.]

Announcing publication of
Questions of Poetics: Language Writing

and Consequences

 

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Questions of Poetics is full-on Watten, a book with sharp edges, relentless intelligence, and an unwavering conviction that the arts have serious work to do.”
—Peter Nicholls, author, George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism

Questions of Poetics represents a major statement by one of the highest profile poet-critics of the day. Its arguments concerning genre, form, particularity, and negativity represent a solid, easily grasped, portable way of thinking about the ongoingness of the avant-garde, its continual diversification and reinvention. Moreover, Watten offers a persuasive reappraisal of Language writing and its place in American literary history.”
—Brian Reed, author, Nobody’s Business: TwentyFirst Century Avant-Garde Poetics

Official release date: September 1, 2016. For the University of Iowa Press flyer, see here; for ordering options, see here.

DREAM

Broken headline column:
“YOU ARE GO
IN TO END”
Allen Ginsberg dives through the space hatch.
I watch him from the rim, hear his voice
trail a statement “MAN ISSSSSSSSSS . . . . . . . . ”
as he disappears into dot-hood.
The Poets—Anne Waldman, me, “all The Poets”—float
in interstellar space—a substance I
can touch, a fine sheen. & then I’m up against the sun,
its soft orange neon glow. “THE SUN,” I say, “IS BIG!”
Pause, a chair sails silent past me & into solar radiance.
“CHAIR INTO SUN!” I remark (a parody of big
poetical remark).
Then I am back on Earth,
speed-skating on the “Power-Cones.”

—from This 8 (1977); see also Portrait and Dream, p. 154

I had come to New York with a purpose—to visit Ted Greenwald, whose health had been failing (see here), and to make contact with people and see art (see here). I was not expecting to see Bill, whom I knew had been living partly in New York but whom I had not seen for some time (not since we read at MOCAD in Detroit, an event so poorly framed and executed—not by Bill, of course, who sounded great—that I only remember it with displeasure). One of my contacts mentioned that Bill would be reading with Kyle Schlesinger at a gallery in Chelsea, and sent an email with time and place, to begin at 5:30. … More

I was in New York for a purpose—for one thing, I had not been for a while and it was time to catch up. At a conference in Boston, I received a phone call from Kit Robinson, in the middle of a session on surrealism no less, that Ted Greenwald’s health was failing. I made plans to visit as soon as the semester was over; a day was arranged, a plane flight, a hotel booking, and other appointments fell into place. I’ve outlined what I did over the four-day weekend here. The time was specified for 2 P.M. Ted was chipper over the phone: “I have an earlier appointment, but I can see you then.” He books his time like a New Yorker, I noted; I don’t, in some unstated way assuming every event is its own uniqueness, even if that has long since become unworkable as a way to manage time. (So it came to pass that I work the day shift on the assembly line of Modernity Inc., headquarters in Detroit. But what’s the difference? Differing cultural styles of time management all depend on the same passage of time.) I was nervous about the event; he had not overprepared it. … More

920x920

Bill Berkson Memorial
San Francisco Art Institute
24 July 2016

Moses Berkson
Nathaniel Dorsky
Duncan McNaughton
Mac McGinnes
Clark Coolidge
Norma Cole
Doug Hall
Joanne Kyger
… More

          Bavarian-American Academy
          Summer Academy
          Florida International University
          Miami Beach, 5–11 June 2016

Martha Schoolman
Heike Paul
Meike Zwingenberger
Margarethe Schweiger-Wilhelm
John Landreville
… More

          Berlin (23–30 May 2016)

Scott DeGregoris
Donna Stonecipher
Manfred Uhlitz
Shane Anderson
Ulf Stolterfoht
Christian Hawkey
Uljana Wolf
Florian Werner
Josepha Conrad
Dorothee Haffner
Susanne Reumschüssel

          Paris (30 May–1 June 2016)

Linda Watten
Hélène Aji

… More

Thursday, May 5

Michael Gottlieb

Luc Tuymans @ David Zwirner
Tracey Emin @ Lehman Maupin

The Tale of Tales, dir. Matteo Garone (IFC)

Friday, May 6

Michael Golston
Bruce Andrews

Unfinished @ Met Breuer
Andy Warhol, Electric Chairs @ Venus
Jean-Michel Basquiat, images and words @ t/k
David Hammons @ Mnuchin
Allen Jones @ Michael Werner
Anne Collier @ Anton Kern
Richard Serra @ Gagosian
Sigmar Polke @ David Zwirner
Mike Kelley @ Skarstedt
Jasper Johns @ Mathew Marks
Carlos Motta @ PPOW … More

American Comparative
Literature Association

Harvard University
17–20 March 2016
(after On Kawara)

Johannes Göransson
Jonathan Stalling
Brian Reed
Anastasiya Lyubas
Liansu Meng
Anthony Abiragi
Anna Horakova
Hongjian Wang
Omaar Hena
Michal Wenderski
… More