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VOTE (LIVE) 
AS IF YOUR LIFE (VOTE)
DEPENDS ON IT

We are in a bad situation, a situation not of our choosing, painted into a corner once again. But I say, friends, with the greatest conviction and enthusiasm, I am going to cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton! I have been voting in elections since 1968, the beginning of the long turn to mediocracy in the election cycle. It is a deliberately constructed mediocrity, a fabric of denial, compromise, and opportunism. Democracy is impossible, but it must be preserved! The most important thing we must do is fight the eruption of fascism in all its forms. American polity is shot through with undemocratic tendencies—is that what makes it democratic? The situation is only getting worse. Once started, political irrationalism spreads like wildfire. It is a condition of language, where words are detached from their referents and free-floating desire makes any interpretation out of them it likes. Behind these words are narcissistic identifications and hateful abjections. We have not seen anything like it in our lifetime. Looking out the window, it is a beautiful fall day in the suburbs, the traffic is flowing regularly downtown, there are mild signs of hope among the populace, life is good! The worst is over, the worst is yet to come. Here is why I am going to cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton and as many down-ballot Democrats as I can identify:

  1. Anti-fascism! A vote for Clinton is a vote against planting the seeds of fascist psychology among the unsuspecting masses. There must be decisive counter-measures to stop this threat, and a vote for Clinton is tactically the only available option. Vote Clinton!
  2. Women’s emancipation! A vote for Clinton is a vote for the continuing emancipation of women, and is framed against the most stunning public misogyny we have witnessed. We must put an end to the “normalization” of this hateful personality disorder. Vote Clinton!
  3. Anti-racism and defense of immigrants rights! Decisive action is needed in the public sphere to counter the emergence of racist, xenophobic, Know-Nothing politics and psychology. Again, we must end the “normalization” of this violently depraved discourse. Vote Clinton!
  4. Long live Occupy and the Sanders campaign! To the extent that anti-capitalist and anti-Wall Street politics are a verifiable part of the Clinton campaign, she deserves support. Vote Clinton!
  5. End war mongering and military adventurism! We must bring our criticisms of foreign policy adventurism to the only party that will listen to them. The alternative is an aggressive, bullying, reactive, xenophobic, America First politics that will lead to world catastrophe. Vote but criticize Clinton!
  6. Reject left sectarianism! We do not give up our right to pursue politics to the left of the election cycle. A vote for Clinton is an immediate tactical necessity. Criticize the left!

This is the position I am taking. It is not a matter of indifference. The election is decisive in more ways than we can yet understand. Fight fascism, end the denigration of women, racism, and xenophobia, continue to pursue social justice in the spirit of Occupy, #blacklivesmatter, and the Sanders campaign, and be vigilant toward the excesses of American military adventurism. Vote Clinton and encourage others to do so as well!

Announcing Questions of Poetics:
Language Writing and Consequences

in a numbered and signed limited edition.

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Both paperback and hardcover editions are available directly from the author; the paperback edition may be purchased from University of Iowa Press, which is offering a 35% discount for six months, and as well as at Amazon.com and other online suppliers.

See linked page for ordering information. Friends may purchase the paperback edition at author’s cost plus postage; the hardcover edition (limited to 75 copies) is available to friends for $50 and to institutions and collectors for $75.

images

Free Speech Movement
Ansel Adams
Allen Ginsberg
Black Panther Party
Robert Duncan
W.S. Merwin
Denise Levertov
Robert Creeley
Robert Grenier
1–10: “Non-Events”
… More

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. … More

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

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