Consciousness without reason? If consciousness requires reason, then before the Greeks invented reason, no one was conscious? (William Barrett’s argument in Irrational Man)

I am struggling to understand and define the illogical in language. Is language inherently logical?

Language and magic. Language before deconstruction. However, language is always already there. So to think of the prelinguistic is impossible. We cannot think of the prelinguistic without thinking of it first in terms of language. Things exist outside of language. Poet searches for language to describe the inhuman(defined as outside of language) but cannot. All poetry is thus about failure (which is almost a cliche now). How can the inhuman know anything about the human and vice versa? Where does the word inhuman come from? The desire for outside the self which never fully exists? Why the desire for outside? Does it help us in a biological/evolutionary sense? Perhaps the desire for outside (and the beginning of language which is the beginning of both art and religion) is the desire to alleviate the pain of death. So death instills the desire to create.

The immortal artist. Who doesn’t secretly desire it?

So many talk about being satisfied with rejection. To let the work be its own reward. It’s a comforting lie. Yes, the work is a great reward. Maybe the greatest. But why share? To make better work. And thus by making better work you make a better person? Not always. Maybe not most of the time if history is a guide. Why then “better” work. Why does quality matter? The ego at the center of it all. I live. I die. In between I create something to outlive me (child of flesh or child of words or both).

So, if the artist molests a child or marries their young daughter, do you stop listening, viewing or reading their work?

Thriller is a good. Woody Allen makes some very moving films. Larkin moves me.

So, we know we know. Art doesn’t make anyone a better person.

So, what does it do? Express failure. The only way to really express the failure of the human to understand the inhuman.

So, some great new books for christmas:

Allen Grossman, The Long Classroom and How to Do Things with Tears

and Of the Great House

Joyelle McSweeney, The Red Bird

Barbara Guest, The Location of Things, Archaics, The Open Skies

Best American 2002 (curious. Got it for $2)

Edward Dorn, Gunslinger

Octavio Paz, A Draft of Shadows

Aleksandar Ristovic, Devil’s Lunch

Oni Buchanan, What Animal

Eleni Sikelianos, Earliest Worlds

Matthew Zapruder, American Linden

Finished Paz, Grossman’s The Great House, Guest, Ristovic, Buchanan, and Zapruder. Got to get in some good reading before I start teaching next week.

“We live between the productive violence of representation as poetry and the destructive violence of representation as history” (Grossman, “Orpheus/Philomela”)

Grossman idea is keep history as representation and poetry as representation apart. The poetic principle must not enter the actual world. The regulative difference between image and fact. Shakespeare’s Titus shows what happens when the two different types of violence are not kept seperate.

I am not sure I fully understand Grossman’s argument yet. What about historical poetry? Poetry that tries to represent the historical? I am not sure what a fact is? Is history a fundamentally different type of representation than poetry because it’s tries to move in the direction of fact/objectivity whereas poetry moves in the direction of subjectivity? I realize the objective has problems (at least in the humanities. Analytical philosophy and the sciences still try for it), but there has to be a difference between moving toward objectivity and never reaching it and moving toward subjectivity and never reaching it.

I guess the violence of history is kept in check by the violence of artistic representation (the Aristotelian purge idea)?

This Grossman guy kicks some serious ass. I am grateful to Tony Tost for recommeding his work!

I wish I had more time to delve into these new books. Gotta start re-reading Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha for the Irish Lit. class I am teaching spring semester. Gotta also prepare a lecture to introduce existentialism to the freshman.

Dream 1: Stuck in a village in the middle of the desert. The village resembles the salt lake city shopping village. White church in the hills. The village is full of prisoners and I am one of them. I ask around and no one knows how we got here. The guards do not know how they got here. I ask if we can escape and the guard says there’s nowhere to go, it’s all desert. Except the church with the glowing white cross. “The church could be nothing or it could be a sanctuary,” the guard said. The guard told me we were all going to the lagoon and we would be swallowed by a giant blue snake. The choice was between the giant blue snake or the church with the white cross. All of us decided to stay in the village and face the blue snake.

Old Imac 2003

Purchased an old imac (233, 160mb ram). I hope it works well when it arrives. Tired of laptops. Pulled in by the marketing/design of the old imacs. The macs are artistic outsiders. Form and content not seperate for the mac (for pc it’s all content, form is secondary). So very ugly mass produced pc’s. So as a writer I buy an imac because imac markets to the ousider status of my status as outsider outsider poet.

On what level does the marketing strategies of the avant guarde persuade/convince young poets into their discourse communities? What are the marketing strategies of the avant guarde? Perpetual youth. Revolution. Change.

Still stuck on language. Language is stuck to me. What percentage of my brain processes images versus actually sound language? Do I see images more or hear words more? Is it possible for anything prelinguistic to be called thinking. Images without rhetoric. Can too much non-authorial intention crash the reader/writer contract? (yes, this could be market place language. But contract does not mean cash in this case).

I think maybe i’m finally done with my 1st manuscript (although it is more like a third book manuscript). Not sure. Never sure.

Can anything prelinguistic be called thinking? Can too much non-authorial intention crash the reader/writer contract? How much is too much? How much is too little?

If everything is a text, what isn’t a text? If everything is political what isn’t political? Is the political a continium? Is a text a continium? Are some texts more political than other texts or is it just a matter of different types/modes of the political. Are some texts more textual than other texts?

Why do artists drink? Is drinking marketed to the artist? I drink;therefore I am (this, that, or the other). Is drinking the drive of the mystic. The root of the artist is the spiritual (however defined). To drink to get inside or outside?

Dreamt about the word incredible last night. For some reason the in would not realign with the credible. perhaps it has something to do with reading Mr. Paz for two hours before falling asleep. The silent motor of my little word engine that could.

cheers. Happy new year. Welcome 2003. I will soon be part of the outsider community of mac users (therefore more artistic). It’s all about color. The artist as individual.

Went to a used bookstore today. I can’t seem to stay away. Almost always overwhelmed by boring poetry section. Then again in the last few weeks I did pick up:

Nice to See You (Homage to Ted Berrigan) $2

The Dada Market (anthology) $4

Routine Distortions (Kenward Elmslie) $5

Mercurochrome (Wanda Coleman) $5

Charles Simic (Selected Poems) $6

Numen (Cole Swenson) $3

The shepherd, The Hunter (selected poems of Tomaz Salamun)

So, I guess sometimes a good find happens.

I read so much theory for my MA comps I find it hard to pick up a theory book now. Don’t know if it will pass. Didn’t read any theory for two years while finishing my MFA. Got a lot more writing done. A lot more. Maybe it’s internalized.

Someone’s blog (sorry after a while blogs run together) mentioned the good fumes from decaying langauge poetry. Are we also enjoying the good fumes of surrealism and DADA poetry? Or, (i.e. the Fence debate a while back) are we misappropriating? Decontextualizing etc.

I am teaching a class in Irish literature in the spring. I keep looking for other poets from my homeland who are not elegiac etc. Surrealist Irish poet? I do enjoy Matthew Sweeney.

A lot of Irish love Billy Collins. That’s the latest innovation. Easy going poetry and confessional poetry (Rita Ann Higgins). Salmon poetry is so stuck in the past. So much Romantic nature poetry. Irish poetry is stuck. Poetry Ireland Review only publishes the poetry of limited perception. Quiet voices. The weight of tradition. The weight of history.

Paul Muldoon may be an exception and Randoph Healey, Joyce (honey press etc.)

Implied narrative. Everything has an implied narrative. That’s what I hear. Some narratives are more implied than others. How do implied narratives within lyric poetry work differently than linear, straightforward narratives. Subjectivity?

The energy of image. Image is static. Does not move much outside the poem. How to light up images, make them move. Rhetoric, a tad. Or perhaps moving image into metaphor. Details into figuration. But slippery pile-ups of images meant to resist the intelligence sometimes “work” and sometimes seem not to “work.” “work” can’t be all relative, although much of it certainly must be. Maybe dramatic situation (implied narrative) can aid the slippery pile up images meant to resist the intelligence. Maybe narrative in a straight way is one tiny slice of reality and the backlash against it is a freeing of another reality seriously neglected.

“That’s silly. ”

“Too easy.”

That’s what I hear from many people who read Nice Hat Thanks or some Fence poets. First, who says it’s easy. Second, if it’s easy what does that have to do with whether or not it’s good. Good, not best, good is different than best. Best never exists, only good. I hear defenders of clarity ringing and they say clarity is a reaction against political doublespeak. Stephen Dunn and Billy Collins are clear cutting the language.

Language, language, language.

Who said if ain’t a pleasure it ain’t a poem?

Jim’ll Fix It

A t.v. show called “Jim’ll Fix It.” Boys and girls wrote letters to Jim explaining their fantasies like drinking a fresh bottle of milk while riding upside down in a roller coaster. Other winners included eating forty different kinds of cheese at a factory in the midlands and singing with the whales in the Baltic Sea.

We always want to break out.