This is fantastic--filled with brilliant ideas and mystique, wrapping itself into an apocryphal wet dream. Looking forward to futher exploring VolodinThis is fantastic--filled with brilliant ideas and mystique, wrapping itself into an apocryphal wet dream. Looking forward to futher exploring Volodine (& co.)'s further oeuvre....more
There is a joy in reading these, but I can't find anything beyond that to grab on to here. Sometimes that's enough, but this just seems a weirdly formThere is a joy in reading these, but I can't find anything beyond that to grab on to here. Sometimes that's enough, but this just seems a weirdly formalized sort of play. ...more
By all accounts this is functionally impossible to give a "rating" to as the rebuses are only really encoded in terms of syllabic French, and for someBy all accounts this is functionally impossible to give a "rating" to as the rebuses are only really encoded in terms of syllabic French, and for someone with as shitty French skills as me this makes them impenetrable (they're already impenetrable to certain extents for native French speakers, hence Pomerand's inclusion of the plain-text upon its initial publication). With that said:
The rebuses are certainly good looking and dynamic--in their design it seems Pomerand also actually accounts for the form of the book in their sort of design element sequence. The introduction was my favorite part of this, a call to arms of sort, very manifesto like, the contents of which are very difficult to actually see in the translation of the poem here, but even with that said Pomerand seems to be a very interesting man by all accounts (I would really love to get a hold of some of his films, mentioned by Brenez in her “We Support Everything since the Dawn of Time That Has Struggled and Still Struggles” Introduction to Lettrist Cinema). ...more
It is to my discredit that I had not formerly heard of Saenz—for reading the brief bio included at the end of this thin book, my interest is certainlyIt is to my discredit that I had not formerly heard of Saenz—for reading the brief bio included at the end of this thin book, my interest is certainly piqued. But the centerpiece here, of this brief and good looking book, is a poem in 10 parts, The Cold. Through its ten movements, the poem addresses the cold, how at first the cold brings comfort before introducing loneliness, perhaps, and an unnamed “you,” which, through the variable way that pronouns work, could stand in for the reader herself, a singled out Other that Saenz is perhaps referring specifically to (a lover, a friend), or perhaps the “you” is Saenz’s “I” itself, in a circuitous loop of direct address. This use of pronouns is further explored in the afterword.
Schluter’s afterword, diverging from the usual form of a translator speaking to us directly of the impossibility of “true” translation, does something radical: it addresses the text from the point of view of a reader. In so doing, Schluter manages to engage with the process of translation in a way that reveals the text instead of operating as a sort of smokescreen for what is actually occurring: for what is translation, really, if not a very close reading? While there have been more literary projects that explore this idea (for instance, Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl), to see this addressed in an essay following the text it speaks of is something of a breath of fresh air....more
Peak's Spectacle of the Void is the first book I've read out of the pantheon of recent horror-theory books that does an excellent job of using narratiPeak's Spectacle of the Void is the first book I've read out of the pantheon of recent horror-theory books that does an excellent job of using narrative examples to illustrate some of the concepts that come out of Speculative Realism, and some of the denser parts of Meillassoux & Brassier (for an abstraction suddenly connected to narrative becomes far more clear). It also approaches the horror text in a very contemporary manner, and illustrates how even in what is generally referred to as fantastique horror we can find a connection to reality, examining how this tenuous connection makes the horror just that--horrific. A very readable book, my only complaint is how much time is given over to plot description--I understand the necessity, but as someone who has read or seen 90% of the texts used to illustrate a point throughout the book, I found myself somewhat bored with the rehash of plot... but like I said, for someone who hasn't read or seen said texts, the plot description is essential for Peak's points to be heard....more
Odd, as the conclusion simultaneously drops in the theological insistence on Hart's part, while also praising Blanchot's unwavering devotion to go toOdd, as the conclusion simultaneously drops in the theological insistence on Hart's part, while also praising Blanchot's unwavering devotion to go to the "outside," to a "counterspirituality."
To quote the very last page:
Few people have thought longer or deeper about the relations between literature and the sacred than Maurice Blanchot. His understanding of those relations is unsettling for readers of literature as well as for the faithful, not because he is an atheist but because he takes the sacred seriously. He believes that we have lost the sacred and that this loss is a disaster. Literature now exposes us to the eternal murmuring of the Outside; it points us to a nihilism that is not the destruction of all community but a sociality that is grasped by way of the human relation.
Hart knows Blanchot shockingly well, and bringing in the Christian Mystics as points of comparison are necessary, but at times it seems like Hart somewhat detours from his point to relate Blanchot's thought to theological issues. This is not necessarily a complaint, but as my primary interest is more of Blanchot's conception of the sacred (rather than Hart discussing how Blanchot's conception of the sacred overlaps with a Judeo-Christian sense of the sacred), I found it less of interest.
Either way, this is a solid book on Blanchot's work, for, as noted before, Hart truly does know and understand Blanchot's work....more
Introduction delivers the tale of a poet who encompasses the threshold of the void, the long-form poem here takes us over the threshold and into the nIntroduction delivers the tale of a poet who encompasses the threshold of the void, the long-form poem here takes us over the threshold and into the night....more
A very short introduction/overview to Lettrist Cinema and its affiliates--certainly exciting in that it reveals the political import of the movement,A very short introduction/overview to Lettrist Cinema and its affiliates--certainly exciting in that it reveals the political import of the movement, and the hyperbolic polemicism it thrived on. There's an energy I appreciate, but it seems as much of the actual aesthetic import is experiential, i.e. proto-versions of "Expanded Cinema," so there's not much hope to really experience the work now. Even re-'staged,' the energy wouldn't (& couldn't) be the same. Despite this, an important & totally overlooked moment of film that, in minor form, is finally getting some due. ...more
Jarett "suggested" I read this. I read it in more or less two sittings, and am not ashamed to say that I literally laughed out loud at points. Also, aJarett "suggested" I read this. I read it in more or less two sittings, and am not ashamed to say that I literally laughed out loud at points. Also, a YA novel that spends a chapter talking about the virtue of Kinski's acting is kind of amazing. ...more
This book moves swiftly and is a joy to read--my normal complaint of not understanding collections of poetry vs poetry books applies here, but there iThis book moves swiftly and is a joy to read--my normal complaint of not understanding collections of poetry vs poetry books applies here, but there is somewhat of a grouping structure, and the 2nd and 3rd "sections" of the book hold a sort of unified coherency, which adds up to more in my opinion. ...more
While not quiet the masterpiece that is The Decadent Gardener, it is always exciting to return to the world of Medlar Lucan & Durian Gray, in theiWhile not quiet the masterpiece that is The Decadent Gardener, it is always exciting to return to the world of Medlar Lucan & Durian Gray, in their inimitable quest for decadence and perversion. While not quite functioning in the exact same manner as the former two books, we do here find a travelogue of sorts, taken around the world with attention paid to the perverse and grotesque attractions and historical memories that haunt these locations. ...more
A great short book about contemporary cinephilia, and how the contemporary cinephile inhabits, disperses via, and is energized by the internet. Many fA great short book about contemporary cinephilia, and how the contemporary cinephile inhabits, disperses via, and is energized by the internet. Many fascinating points from an online culture of film that I've always found fascinating and intelligent, though occasionally un-penetrable just due to the sheer volume of content that is circulated daily!
Despite that being said, there's a real joy in here, and often at times I found myself comforted--when I was regularly writing about film (almost 10 years ago at this point), it was easy, but I got bogged down in a sort of meta way... this slim volume, however, seems to give me the permission I've needed to get back at it. And that, of course, made it worth the price of admission. ...more
After a 4 year waiting period, I was thrilled that the final two volumes of Thacker's HORROR OF PHILOSOPHY were finally coming out, so I of course ordAfter a 4 year waiting period, I was thrilled that the final two volumes of Thacker's HORROR OF PHILOSOPHY were finally coming out, so I of course ordered them as soon as they became available. However, this volume was far less exciting to me than the first volume--Thacker is a remarkably clear writer when it comes to the territory he's exploring, but frankly this volume didn't fully do it for me... The first section starts out fascinating by exploring conceptions of "nothing" from mystical and theological perspectives, and was a great introduction to said ideas, in a way that really connects them to theory & philosophy. However, the next section interrogates the idea of nothingness in art, and it's a bit basic in its explanations, especially since the work that Thacker uses to explore often pales in comparison to other examples that continually came to mind while reading what he was discussing (of course, Thacker's more a philosopher than an art-critic or artist, so this isn't a huge surprise). The moves into the core of the book, which is an exploration of negation, pessimism, etc, through the Western canon of philosophy, with Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel and Schopenhauer taking precedence. Unfortunately Thacker's strength is not talking about philosophy proper, as I've always found him far more interested when he's meeting philosophical concepts with ideas apart from philosophy, such as in horror narratives or mysticism. As such, the middle section (which, as I've stated is the core of the book) drags, and while I appreciate its capacity to bring together the canonical ideas into a synthesis, it's doesn't seem entirely new nor revealing, especially as the conclusive section begins by pointing out that western philosophy itself is almost a catch-22: philosophers continue trying to define presence and then end up at an impasse! With that said, I am looking forward to Vol 3, with the hope that what was addressed in this volume is put to better use there....more
After lusting after this for years, a copy popped up online not prohibitively expensive (though really, this is a book with aluminum covers, pages thaAfter lusting after this for years, a copy popped up online not prohibitively expensive (though really, this is a book with aluminum covers, pages that have the artist's blood, handmade paper made with kozo & MUMMY BONE, and it comes in a box with a JAMES LEE BYARS MULTIPLE so like shit it's not like you're just paying for a book) and I bought it for myself for my birthday (because I needed some sort of justification, trust me).
With that said, after pouring over the 2 other prohibitively expensive but available through Inter-Library-Loan books on Orr, this was PRECISELY what I wanted it to be. Granted, it does not contain all of the same contents from Eric Orr: A Twenty-year Survey exhibition: April 14-May 12, 1984 , and as such I'd still love to have a copy of this, ZERO MASS functions once again as simultaneous Artist's Book and Retrospective Catalog-- it contains a ~45 page story about JOHNNY written by Orr, Byars & McEvilley that is terrific, many full-colour plates of Orr's work (both installations and paintings), as well as other written and visual ephemera, plus critical writing by McEvilley on Orr's work.
I have expressed this before, but Orr is an artist, along with Byars, John Duncan, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Gregor Schneider and Gunter Brus who I find incredibly inspiring, fascinating, work to get lost in. There's a cross-section of a desire for experience, the void, an abstracted mysticism across all the artist's named above that I think highlights my interests in this life...
Having become fascinated by the limited examples of Gaspar's poetry in translation in variety of not-easily-found journals from the latter half of theHaving become fascinated by the limited examples of Gaspar's poetry in translation in variety of not-easily-found journals from the latter half of the 20th century, I was excited to discover this full book existed. I expected poetry, but instead a bulk of the book is, perhaps, a brilliant treatise on poetics, on existence, on what poetry is and does. Indispensable.
"Law of the least effort, second law of thermodynamics. In the promise of pure cold, the incongruity of the voice. In it light arcs just as one feels a skein of muscles under the skin. The ruggedness of stone no longer fades. And the speaker does not know, he only feels his burns. Naked as the day he was born, he is night and nothingness, sensed in the bronchi. And men leave their aseptic sanctuaries, move, meet and disappear into the unknown. But we have energy only for this flame which floods and kills. And muscles for walking towards each other and getting lost. Mouths for loving and destroying one another." (19)
"What is poetry's place among so many modes and ruses for display, communication, mastery, deception and exploitation? What function can we find for it when the Powers-that-be demand that one be found? We must resume our nomadic paths where morning's embers still smoke, and face the glow of a pulmonary sky like a burn on a face." (27)
"These anemic words, these signs so pale in appearance, to them we entrust the wound of reality. It is all that remains of your joy, your grief; a blank space stitched with fevers, a slight eddy in the air.
Reality does not need saving. It asks nothing. We are or are not the rhythm of life in the parenchyma of its changing, surging, disappearing body. These written signs form a parallel world therefore, but secreted, a strange growth, perhaps a cancer. Between the two, no break in power. The spoken or written word draws its power from life and its materials; the throb of its body hangs on life's abetting gaze. And yet this gaze which reveals it is other, shifted in its very chemistry. The motor races, the vicious circles of echoed words spread disorder among the cells and kill. Still they continue their exodus between oblivion and resurgence. Pulmonary solidarity dissolved in the unknown.
But reality itself is suddenly familiar, a way of speaking about absence. Does man's word kill it slowly like a poison in the air, like a tumour? Books should be burned. Be silent, broken in the word." (46)
"The largest disturbances, geneses and apocalypses occur for the most part in the impasse of some solitary room whose whitewash lights the precocious undertone of night.
On waste land littered with rubbish, children light huge bonfires." (58)
"Not even the rashest poets are concerned with complete explanations or with conquest. They advance obstinately towards impossible spaces outside systems, custom and security. Among what exists, ignored, ordinary, rusty. They move in regions of unbearable overflowing excess and gaping voids. Rejecting the comfort of some completeness neatly circumscribed by servile faith and practice, they welcome the high tensions of doubt, the threat of more than one blissful and blessed state; the creaking tedium of interminable suburbs, the smell of a geranium in the hangman's window." (59-60)
"There is no break in continuity between the humblest events, their matter and movement, in which I see a language, and the noblest or most abstract thought of a human organism. The languages of man are not only materially underpinned by biological working, they draw their inspiration from it in the logic of their own construction and in that of their objects; throughout their development they indirectly or directly draw their raw material and the organisation of their progress from life. As the articulation and ordering force of all that makes up man and all that man makes up from vaster regions, language, both fulcrum and inborn quality, is one with the springs of organisation which well up without a beginning in the forms and movement of the world." (61)
"The naked word you feel beneath the skin of language, beneath the noise of events, in the dissonance of a gesture. And by dint of slimming comes the rebellious frugality of the influx at the gates of everyday things. In the arteries of this mobility flows the indivisible rhythm. The female metal of the word you have not bent. A simple breathing that does without pulsations, the sudden and destructive familiarity of all that moves and does not move--a convalescence of the world.
This song cut close to our tongue is unaware of indestructible preparations, of the poison-substitutes of our desires. Two continuous sentences opened in the water by the prow, wings articulated by the hollowing slit which is effaced by the loyalty of things to the laws of gravity. Your bright eye of the inexorable, of the searing confrontation in the stony night. The night when you come infinitely to meet yourself. You who do not arrive. And I express my ignored expectation, the gestures which lance us in the dark, glorious and destructible. At the height of foam where ignorance of the depths is at work.
On certain days without even warning us, the word suddenly collapses. Once more we name the resonant image, we copy out the mental sign suspended for a moment in the void, the nothing. This nothing split like a cathedral nave in an upland of rustling forests of everything that was already language before we uttered the word grass in the April rain. Thus do the starry immensities disappear in the humble track of the muscle of change. In the fleshy fibre of its brilliance, the incestuous joy of the tooth biting in the speaker's absence." (82)
"Write a poem which is not simply a record of traces, a translation of meaning or a formal arrangement, the modelling of the different layers of experience with its arborescences more or less opaque, nebulous or amorphous, of all that is the writing of a reading at another level. A kind of writing which is growth or simple movement, stemming from no centre and no beginning, its branches, its leaves and its fruit not being there to refer to something else, to symbolise, but to lead the sap and vivacity of the air, to nourish and sow its seed. And reading would no longer be the deciphering of a code, the receiving of a message; it would no longer be a question of reading from one's prudently external observation post, but of slipping into the unforeseeable progression which is, in the self-same gesture, an invention of forms and of the space which changes and forgets them. Such writing would have a porous quality and at the same time a texture rich in energy and mobility. Greeting, circulation, spurting. To read is to circulate freely between subject and object, between realms." (85)
"From well to well from mouth to mouth we keep the faith of a deep garden seam of saps buried smells budding beneath the earth's loins yet from one well to another absence was sharpened. The fevered water of a halt gave it all the brilliance of an exterminating angel." (115)...more
As I feel like I regularly voice my discontent with poetry collections, in the sense that most of the time the book as a whole is not accounted for anAs I feel like I regularly voice my discontent with poetry collections, in the sense that most of the time the book as a whole is not accounted for and as such feel likes one poem to the next has little transition, etc, I’ll save myself from overindulging in that topic here. However, with that said, there’s a variety of forms on display here and Harris’s work functions best for me in two specific modes—in an inherent verticality (which reminds me of Bernard Noël’s thoughts on how poetry repositions speech into the vertical column, thus imposing a hierarchy over speech in terms of the artistic precedent this sets—and in terms of how this is positioning language visually on the page—we see poetry as much as we can hear it) and in the prose-poem blocks that make up most of the second half of the book. Overall, the poems that stick out most pair sense of contemporary living and the problems therein, but actively reconstructed into very well crafted lines, thus positioning this far away from the ghetto of Alt-Lit. Despite the fact that it doesn’t excite me as a book, the poems on their own make a fantastic read....more
I’m a fan of gnOme Press’s project of publishing “secret” and “pseudonymous” texts, especially in an age where the ego of the author regularly outweigI’m a fan of gnOme Press’s project of publishing “secret” and “pseudonymous” texts, especially in an age where the ego of the author regularly outweighs the work itself (and as such, refuses to allow the author to be consumed into the work, which is a mark of writing that is important when considering Blanchot’s approach to literature). This short volume of 31 poems, each one seven 3-line stanzas of almost uniform line-length presents itself as the once-lost work of a Romanian student in Italy. It wears its influences on its sleeves, but that’s not important, as the work of the saints, pushing for a sort of negative mysticism, is something that one should regularly interrogate. To write as the other is to lose the self, and the loss of self is an inherent element of mysticism. While the work herein does little of interest in terms of form (for what is poetry without an attention to form, even in a formlessness), the content is fascinating....more
I always forget the name of this shitshow (which I read after getting it from the library sometime in high school) so adding this here to help remembeI always forget the name of this shitshow (which I read after getting it from the library sometime in high school) so adding this here to help remember....more