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Entries tagged with poetics
September 3, 2016
Free Speech Movement
August 16, 2016
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
August 11, 2016
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.”
August 10, 2016
Announcing publication of
Questions of Poetics: Language Writing
“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
December 28, 2015
Barrett Watten, “The Poet/Critic:
Transvaluations of Value after Modernism”
MSA, 20 November 2015
I continue my discussion of the poetics of value in modernism (Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams) in taking up political economy and poetics as twin forms of historically specific making, twin discourses of the determination of value. For poetics as value making, let me advance that the thirty-six individual essays in our recent Guide to Poetics Journal, along with the editorial and publication work involved in soliciting, editing, rethinking, and repurposing their content, counts as such. Each essay in our Guide—for example, Ron Silliman on “the parsimony principle,” George Lakoff on avant-garde framing, Susan Howe on Emily Dickinson, Lyn Hejinian on “the rejection of closure,” in the volume’s first section—demonstrates how poetry is a value-making activity, in giving value to it. … More
December 24, 2015
Barrett Watten, “Occupy Poetics:
A Work in Progress”
ASAP, 28 September 2015
This paper follows on a contribution to the EAM meeting in Helsinki that tracked two opposing accounts of language-centered writing’s influence on experimental poets engaged in Occupy movements, specifically Oakland. Moving from a materialist account of utopian possibility realized in poetic form to a combinatorial freedom associated with chance-generated strategies, the essay sought a convergence between contingent decision, radical freedom, and experimental practices among Occupy poets, focusing on poets David Lau and Brian Ang. In extending my argument, I survey a greater range of poets in the movement, beginning with Sara Larsen and Jasper Bernes, to develop a set of terms that interpret Occupy itself as informed by poetic principles. I return to the proliferation of poetics in the various Occupy sites, both to confirm the importance of a poetics of “combinatorial materialism,” and to extend the analysis of my first two examples by alternative concerns more prominent or visible in other poets. … More
May 30, 2015
A week ago, I returned from Germany to find the online poetry community in an uproar over Ron Silliman’s “Je suis Vanessa Place.” There, Silliman triangulates the Charlie Hebdo award controversy with the petition to remove Place from a steering committee at AWP, and her conceptual project to tweet Gone with the Wind in 140-character chunks over several years. Since then, a second letter campaign in part led to the devolution and canceling of the Berkeley Poetry Conference 2015 (BPC), a situation still unresolved. Silliman sees the primary issue as freedom of expression in a climate of projective and even rhetorically violent debate. Unfortunately, whatever the merits of his position—which I agree with on many grounds—his own rhetorical strategy makes analogies and leaps that are at turns defensive and projective to the point of offense to most readers. … More
May 27, 2015
an essay by Barrett Watten
The Cambridge Companion to
Modern American Poetry
ed. Walter Kalaidjian
Table of contents:
1. The emergence of ‘the new poetry’
John Timberman Newcomb
2. Modern American archives and scrapbook
modernism / Bartholomew Brinkman
3. Experimental modernism
August 15, 2013
A Guide to Poetics Journal:
Writing in the Expanded Field,
Ed. Lyn Hejinian and Barrett Watten
Wesleyan University Press, 2013
A Guide to Poetics Journal, the print component of a hybrid publication project that will be completed with its digital half, Poetics Journal Digital Archive, in early 2014, is now available from Wesleyan University Press. The press has provided a link that you may use to receive a 30% discount: use promotion code W301 at the following site: here. For more information on this venture, see the publicity flyer linked here.
Table of Contents
Lyn Hejinian and Barrett Watten
Part I: Numbers 1–4
Close Readings: Leavings and Cleavings
Writing and Method