riots and/or poetics [8/2019]

The exact link is uncertain. But we know the Nazis loved / America; Hitler yearned to paint a twin, // a green room where the dead are everywhere. / Asked Abraham before the flame, to the obedient tribe // What are these statues you cling to? // Why calico, why Spanish moss, why the crickets scream. / Confederates raise the undead everywhere. // In a segregated graveyard, no stone reads / private or public; the local jail is everywhere. // Before another body is buried, a window is broken. / A window was broken. The window is broken. // I look everywhere for Fanon’s knife, waiting for the red locusts /to dance in the streets, after killing time. // In a high-school history class, white children raised / their eyebrows when I raised my voice. // I don’t know what they thought I was capable of; / I wish I was more capable of it.



Lyn Hejinian | Positions of the Sun

Lyn Hejinian’s Positions of the Sun is a book of twenty-six interlocking “essays with characters” that explores the mid-2000s financial “crisis” through the movements and daily lives of a wide-ranging cast of characters located in the Bay Area.

Adorno, writing about the late poetry of Hölderlin, speaks of inconclusiveness as an instrument of “the paratactic revolt against synthesis.” “Hölderlin,” he says, “so transmutes the form of unity that not only is multiplicity reflected within it ———— that is possible within traditional synthetic language as well ———— but in addition the unity indicates that it knows itself to be inconclusive.”


Adelaide Ivánova | The Hammer

i sleep with a hammer / under my pillow / in case someone / sneaks into my / bedroom again as if it weren’t / enough of a drag / to have some iron / poking my head / and there’s yet another inconvenience: / Humboldt can never show up / by surprise he runs the risk / of being hammered and then he / either dies or lives / (the quantity of energy / released by the blow of / a hammer / is equivalent to half / its mass times velocity / squared at time of impact).


Sean Bonney | Notes on Baraka

Notes and Essays on Militant Poetics: Baraka and Surrealism | Time Negatives of Universe| “Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City” | Amiri Baraka at the End of the World


Jerome Rothenberg | Polen 1931, herausgegeben & übersetzt von Norbert Lange

The author himself describes the work as “an experimental attempt to explore, and recover, ancestral sources in the world of Jewish mystics, thieves, and madmen.” Drawing from the kabbala and Hasidic lore, folk custom and historic fact, Rothenberg constructs a free-verse collage that gives voice to the interior journey between the New World and the Old.

„kam ich sattelwund / ein Jude unter / die Indianer / wos makh ikh do an dem verrikter ort /bei al di lajtn mit verrickter ojgn / s könnte Ärger geben / könnte’s könnte’s / (sagt er) ein Schatten / steigt aus seinem kasha / in der Hand sein Tomahawk / Schatten einer Axt in seinem rechten Auge / ein Füller in dem linken / wos makh ikh do“


Nicholas Thoburn | Anti-Book: On the Art and Politics of Radical Publishing

Anti-Book engages with an array of writing and publishing projects, including Antonin Artaud’s paper gris-gris, Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto, Guy Debord’s sandpaper-bound Mémoires, the collective novelist Wu Ming, and the digital/print hybrid of Mute magazine. 


Chantal Akerman | My Mother Laughs

I didn’t think I was another gender or different, not at all, I was just a gender, a good gender to me and it was my gender. A slightly neglected gender but I liked it fine. I preferred that others not be neglected but found the neglected gender suited me better than the not-neglected genders. I found my neglected gender to have a certain style. A style I like. And also it’s become habit and I didn’t think any further about either my gender or my style, I was like this and nothing more.
Finally, maybe.


Commune | Issue 3 / Summer 2019

Tongo Eisen-Martin | War Song Wearing Off
A poem for the commune. Please put all of your flags on this uptown sidewalk / And allow anyone their revenge // There is three of me in america // It is only raining one thing: non-white cops // Prison guard shadows / Remind me of / Spoiled milk floating on an oil spill // A neighborhood making a lot of fuss over its demise / A lake for a Black Panther Party // . . . except the artist got paid today. This is the part of the art referred to as / the “new junkie’s angst” // A surrealist lies to their self about political structural rebirth: / Writes, “The government senses shape and color again /  — Ideological compensation . . . and further, a new / description of Watts prophesy // This is the part of the art where clearly it is reality and not / the artist’s take on reality that has disrespected itself // There is four of me in america // This is the part of the art where we almost introduce a father // Exhausted activists write gun classes into their stage plays. // Face down, you are a midsize activist file // The poet takes over for his former self // “The secret to writing poems is to not deflect. // If you do not know anything about the color blue, / don’t go calling yourself a child at heart. // If you have never improvised an elevator ride, / don’t go calling yourself in need of prayer.” // I am the worst of your weapons, Lord // Activists Never Found, // My grandmother sees it first / The cop reads it when he retires


Mario Tronti | Workers and Capital

Workers and Capital is universally recognised as the most important work produced by operaismo, a current of political thought emerging in the 1960s that revolutionised the institutional and extra-parliamentary Left in Italy and beyond. In the decade after its first publication in 1966, the debates over Workers and Capital produced new methods of analysis and a new vocabulary for thousands of militants, helping to inform the new forms of workplace, youth and community struggles. Over five decades since it was first published, Workers and Capital is a key text in the history of the international workers’ movement, yet only now appears in English translation for the first time. Far from simply an artefact of the intense political conflicts of the 1960s, Tronti’s work offers extraordinary tools for understanding the powerful shifts in the nature of work and class composition in recent decades.


Abigail Lang | The Ongoing French Reception of the Objectivists

The 1970s or Radical Formalism: Serge Fauchereau: “the First Deliberately American Movement” / Roubaud’s Zukofsky: An Antidote to Surrealism and Anti-Pound / Anne-Marie Albiach and Claude Royet-Journoud’s Gestures: Defeating Hermeneutics // The 1980s and 1990s or Littéralité: Royaumont, 1989: Negative Modernity Meets Language Poetry / Reznikoff’s Testimony: a Model for the Second Littéralité / La Revue de littérature générale: the Limits of the Objectivist Alternative // Into the Twenty-First Century, or Testimony as a Test of Poetry:  Jean-Marie Gleize: Establishing a French Objectivist Tradition / Post-Poetry or the Pragmatic Turn

Christophe Tarkos | L’Homme de merde

In Nathalie Quintane  and Stéphane Bérard , with whom he stayed in Lardiers, Tarkos found accomplices to appreciate and to share his caustic ferocity and humor, an attribute we later find in each issue of the journal R. R. Shortly afterward, having installed himself in Marseille, ‘Christophe Tarkos’ manifested himself through performances, continuing and realizing the written projects l’oiseau vole (The bird flies) and Processe, which were published thereafter. In fact, for him as well as for many of the contemporary poets gathered in DOC(K)S  – a journal in which Tarkos published a number of poems – the writing thrives in performance as much as it does as text, and, along with 20 other examples, a performance such as “la Purée” (The purée) loses a large part of its meaning when amputated from the poem titled “le Compotier” (The fruit bowl). Moving on to Paris, and now living in the company of his future wife, Valerie Tarkos, Tarkos continued to produce such écrit-action (writing-action). In Paris, he met and began to collaborate with Katalin Molnár and Charles Pennequin around the journal Poézie Proléter, which led Tarkos to becoming interested in, as an extension of his work in sound, exploring an orality implemented in semi-improvised performances, such as ‘le Monde Magique’ (The magic world’), ‘Le Bonhomme de merde’  (The snowman of shit), ‘le pneu’ (tire), ‘je ne fais rien’ (i do nothing), “le petit bidon” (the little container) and ‘Je gonfle’  (I blow up).


Natasha Lennard | Being Numerous (Essays on Non-Fascist Life)

“Liberal centrists cling to a paradoxical progress of conservation; its believers seem to long for the halcyon delusions of pre-November 8th, 2016. The chants go up: “America was always great” (it never was); “Not my president” (he is). The New York Times proclaims, “Truth can’t be manufactured” (it can, it is, and the Times should know); the Washington Post’s new tagline reads, “Democracy dies in Darkness” (it dies in broad daylight, too).”


Jean-Marie Straub / Danièle Huillet | Writings

Straub: A political film must remind people that we don’t live in “the best of all possible worlds” . . . and that the present time, stolen from us in the name of progress, is going by and is irreplaceable . . . that they are ransacking human feelings like they ransack the planet . . . We should make people feel that the price is too high, that the only thing worth defending is precisely the passing moment, that they should by no circumstances take flight into the future.


Cecil Taylor in Paris | Les grandes répétitions

Around this time, given the economic situation, Taylor increasingly began to perform in Europe, on often-exhausting tours, and to develop the Unit music with Lyons, Sam Rivers and drummer Andrew Cyrille (documentation of this in a live performance from Paris in 1969, and the documentary produced for Luc Ferrari’s series on avant-garde music, Les Grands Repetitions, broadcast on French TV, which features footage of the Unit rehearsing in what appears to be an old chateau in 1967). Student Studies is one of the more intriguing items from this period, recorded in 1966 but unreleased until 1973. This sees perhaps the first recorded appearance of “the lick” (see below), and also a kind of interestingly glacial, slowed-down version of the compositions Taylor would play with the newer version of the Unit in the later 1960s. Listen to how responsive Cyrille’s drumming is here – such crisp snare! – and Lyons’ almost sardonic delivery of the melodic lines – the pauses giving the music a real tension, a patient building – this, it strikes me, may be due to the extremely reverberant acoustic they’re playing in – maybe they had to let the phrases hang out at first. In either case, the slowed-down approach (at first at least) allows us to hear the logics behind what would be played at much more furious pace later on, and the music feels, in a sense, more open – there are passages approaching atonality, Silva’s bass is loud and singing, Cyrille is totally on it, open yet precise, Lyons is Lyons – this feels like real, collaborative endeavour, within a heavily-rehearsed, composed framework. Shit, in its use of space, it’s almost psychedelic… (David Grundy)


Tom Raworth | As When: A Selection

As When spans Raworth’s writing of some fifty years (1963 – 2013), and from first page to last, it is clear that padding out the poem has never been an option: Raworth’s movement through time is toward ever-greater compression—a restless homing-in on a perceived center he has described as “pure politics.” Of his process, he has written: “My ‘method’ is the essence of simplicity. I write down fragments of language passing through my mind that interest me enough after thought has played with them for me to imagine I might like to read them.”


Nancy Spero  |  Acts of Rebellion & The Conversation Series

I had stopped painting on canvas in 1966 when I decided to do the War Series. It was kind of a personal rebellion against the art world and against doing any important, commercially viable work. Not that I was selling anything, but it was an act of defiance—sticking my tongue out, which I did a lot in the Artauds. I literally had a lot of tongue sticking out: they are phallic and they are angry and they are defiant tongues. They’re  also razor sharp, and it’s precisely this tongue that Artaud speaks about being castrated. But through my art, I symbolically attacked the art world. I even did this in the War Series when I did white-on-white paintings of victims around a crematorium chimney. It used just a little bit of black or red to show the figures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s