riots and/or poetics [7/2020]


This racism is scattered, diffused throughout the whole of America, grim, underhanded, hypocritical, arrogant. There is one place where we might hope it would cease, but on the contrary, it is in this place that it reaches its cruelest pitch, intensifying every second, preying on body and soul; it is in this place that racism becomes a kind of concentrate of racism: in the American prisons, in Soledad Prison, and in its center, the Soledad cells. 
If, by some oversight, racism were to disappear from the surface of the United States, we could then seek it out, intact and more dense, in one of these cells. It is here, secret and public, explicable and mysterious, stupid and more complicated than a tiger’s eye, absence of life and source of pain, non- existent mass and radioactive charge, exposed to all and yet concealed. One might say that racism is here in its pure state, gathering its forces, pulsing with power, ready to spring.
It is too obvious that the legislative and judiciary systems of the United States were established in order to protect a capitalist minority and, if forced, the whole of the white population; but these infernal systems are still raised against the Black man. We have known for a long time now that the Black man is, from the start, natively, the guilty man. We can be sure that if Black people, by the use of their violence, their intelligence, their poetry, all that they have accumulated for centuries while observing their former masters in silence and in secrecy—if Black people do not undertake their own liberation, the whites will not make a move.     Jean Genet | On George Jackson  ⇒⇒⇒



Peter Weiss | The Aesthetics of Resistance, Volume II

“Volume II (trans. Joel Scott), initially published in 1978, opens with the unnamed narrator  in Paris after having retreated from the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. From there, he moves on to Stockholm, where he works in a factory, becomes involved with the Communist Party, and meets Bertolt Brecht. Featuring the narrator’s extended meditations on paintings, sculpture, and literature, the novel teems with characters, almost all of whom are based on historical figures. Throughout, the narrator explores the affinity between political resistance and art—the connection at the heart of Weiss’s novel. Weiss suggests that meaning lies in embracing resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that we must look to art for new models of political action and social understanding. The Aesthetics of Resistance is one of the truly great works of postwar German literature and an essential resource for understanding twentieth-century German history.” ⇒⇒⇒


Émile Pouget | Direct Action

“All are interested in the figure of Émile Pouget, the late 19th and early 20th centuries anarchosyndicalist whose publications, including Le sabotage, Les lois scélérates de 1893-1894 and L’action directe, are fundamental to the anarchist movement in France. Christophe Hanna entitled his first theoretical monograph about the political potential of contemporary poetry, Poésie action directe, after Pouget’s pamphlet, and Jean-Marie Gleize reproduced a version of L’action directe in his poetic review Nioques, a few years later.” ⇒⇒⇒


Mike Davis & Jon Wiener | Set the Night on Fire / L.A. in the Sixties

“Los Angeles in the sixties was a hotbed of political and social upheaval. The city was a launchpad for Black Power—where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation. The city was home to the Chicano Blowouts and Chicano Moratorium, as well as being the birthplace of “Asian American” as a political identity. It was a locus of the antiwar movement, gay liberation movement, and women’s movement, and, of course, the capital of California counterculture.
Mike Davis and Jon Wiener provide the first comprehensive movement history of L.A. in the sixties, drawing on extensive archival research and dozens of interviews with principal figures, as well as the authors’ storied personal histories as activists.” ⇒⇒⇒


Martin Nowak | Social Poetics

“Social Poetics documents the imaginative militancy and emergent solidarities of a new, insurgent working class poetry community rising up across the globe. Part autobiography, part literary criticism, part Marxist theory, Social Poetics presents a people’s history of the poetry workshop from the founding director of the Worker Writers School. Nowak illustrates not just what poetry means, but what it does to and for people outside traditional literary spaces, from taxi drivers to street vendors, and other workers of the world.” ⇒⇒⇒


Bob Kaufman | Collected Poems

“But poetry has always troubled the deathly givens of “common sense.” Beaten, jailed, and subject to electroshock, Kaufman lived out the reality of racial terror in his body. Yet he turned his status as marginalized outsider into a condition of freedom. Kaufman’s poems are a series of contained explosions of the psyche, of the social, of the poet and the people “spread-eagled on this bone of the world.”” (David Grundy) ⇒⇒⇒


Jerome Rothenberg | A Book of Infernos

“A man with three mouths  / once imagined // sucks out the life from those / he swallows // the privilege of the rich / escaped & safe // the sky no longer / beckoning // who hide behind / each other // driving back / the dark invaders // they are the final guides / for this inferno // guarding what they build / & plunder // under a black sun / that will lead us // to another world / a gilded hell // the hungry earth / absent a dream // unable to call us / home” ⇒⇒⇒


Louis Armand & John Kinsella | Monument

“Rambunctious, Ritalinned, minding Rimbaud on the 5.15 – / terrain overglossed, botoxed, lypsincing to airbrush, a / reputation for depixellated swimsuit issues – snout as / salient as the trough; Bo Derek and canapés at No. 10; / risible as art, but as fiasco a one-up on the man-ship – / tantamount to forking a pleb at the gates, egging-on / sensibility to the test. Knees up on the backbenches. / Redolent with turps, the stiff upper. Painted mustachios; / touchy and hyped, after the public rip-off saga; boys’ own / team-tagged. Training night on the National Express. / Soon as the lights went out, you know; the conductor, / remiss but alert. Chaos downunder. Rummaging. / Rushing. Each with their cross to bear; slaves / to the demands of a T-Square, felled by a T-Bone.” ⇒⇒⇒


Tripwire 16 | Performance / Writing

“Tanya Lukin Linklater (with Michael Nardone), Jibade-Khalil Huffman & Simone White, Jean-Thomas Tremblay, Claudina Domingo (trans. Ryan Greene), Kim Rosenfield, Nathan Walker, Liz Knox, Rona Lorimer, Léo Richard, & Hector Uniacke, Mohamed A. Gawad & Dalia Neis, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge & Teddy Yoshikami, interviewed by Michelle N. Huang, Kyoo Lee and Jocelyn Saidenberg, Adriana Garriga-López, Gabrielle Civil, plus a Kevin Killian Tribute, with Eileen Myles * Scott Hewicker * Cliff Hengst * Karla Milosevich * Craig Goodman * Michelle Rollman * Anne McGuire * Wayne Smith * Tanya Hollis * Steve Orth * Lindsey Boldt * Maxe Crandall * Arnold J. Kemp * Carla Harryman, Lee Ann Brown & Tony Torn * Susan Gevirtz * Laynie Browne * Patrick Durgin * Norma Cole * Jo Giardini. & reviews: Jessica Lopez Lyman & Jocelyn E. Marshall on Gabrielle Civil, alex cruse on Merce Cunningham, Rob Stanton on Anne Boyer, Jack Chelgren on Miyó Vestrini, David Grundy on Stephen Jonas, Virginia Konchan on Sarah Vap.” ⇒⇒⇒


Christophe Hanna | Poésie action directe

“Texte théorique proposant de nouveaux outils de réflexions sur l’idée d’efficacité politique des ” écritures poétiques “, à partir des notions de virussage, de contamination et de “spin” (technique de manipulation de l’opinion par le truchement des médias). Ici sont convoqués Jakobson, Denis Roche, Francis Ponge, Lautréamont, ainsi que les principaux représentants de la poésie contemporaine actuelle.” ⇒⇒⇒


Kim Myhr | pressure clouds passing crowds

“Inspired by meeting poet Caroline Bergvall in 2015 and the music of Robert Ashley that I was listening to at the time, I was wanting to make a longer, slow-moving piece centered around a speaking voice”, says Myhr. “The composition is in six parts, but the parts all blend into each other so that they feel like one slowly changing state of mind.” The result is a triumphant achievement where music and text appear inextricably bound up with each other, with Bergvall’s hypnotic voice and incantatory delivery acting at times like an additional musical instrument, while the string quartet’s stabs, drones and glissando slides provide emphatic punctuation and rich musical counterpoint to the evolving story, which is itself a complex layering of sound and sense, discourse and narrative.
Unusually, neither music nor text appears to have have the upper hand. While either could be appreciated on its own, to be read or listened to as self-sufficient entities, they seem to work symbiotically, one medium echoing the other as first words, then music initiates a fresh departure into a new movement. But ‘pressing clouds passing crowds’ is not a ‘setting’ of Bergvall’s words. “I had in fact composed all the parts to the music before any text was written”, Kim Myhr says. “Although I did have the sound of Caroline’s voice, which can be both brutal and empathetic at the same time, in my head while I made the music. After a few days conversing together in London, Caroline wrote words relating to the general character of the music and our conversations around it. : something suspended in air, personal yet universal, a sort of sensual confusion of the subjective and the objective.” ⇒⇒⇒


Bernadette Mayer | Memory

“In July 1971, Mayer began experimenting with her memory. She shot a roll of 35mm film each day, and kept a rigorous daily journal. The project resulted in a staggering total of 1,100 photographs and nearly six hours of recorded poetry.
In February 1972, Memory was shown at 98 Greene Street, an art and performance space in New York City. The unedited photographs were mounted in order, with the recorded narration playing in the gallery. Since the original showing, Memory has been exhibited in various condensed forms, including a 1974 version titled Remembering, and a text edition released in 1975 by North Atlantic Books.” ⇒⇒⇒


Danièlle Huillet/Jean-Marie Straub | Schriften

“Die Filme von Danièle Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub sind, biographisch und politisch bedingt und gewollt, in Deutschland, Italien und Frankreich entstanden — auf Deutsch, Italienisch und Französisch, entsprechend der Originalsprache der literarischen Vorlagen: Böll, Brecht, Corneille, Mallarmé, Vittorini, Pavese, Fortini, Kafka, Hölderlin u.a. Die drei Sprachen finden sich deshalb auch in der Schreib- und Pub­likationspraxis von Straub / Huillet, die die Arbeit an den Filmen begleitete. Zur unermüdlichen Bemühung, die »vielen« zu erreichen, »denen man seine Filme schenken möchte«, gehörten für Jean-Marie Straub und Danièle Huillet nicht nur das Reisen mit den Filmen, die Anwesenheit und das Gespräch mit dem Publikum — so oft wie möglich —, sondern auch das Schreiben, die Mitteilung über Zeitungen und Zeitschriften, Fachpresse, Tagespresse, Flugblätter, »graue Literatur«. Über die Jahrzehnte entsteht ein sich schichtender Kommentar zu den Filmen: Erläuterungen, Zu­eignungen, Polemiken, Verteidigungen.” ⇒⇒⇒


Moyra Davey | Index Cards

“Moyra Davey repeats herself. Or, as she puts it, she “cannibaliz[es].” She reframes beloved references across her repertoire of media. In various interviews, in one of her essay-films (Les Goddesses, 2011), and in her writing in her new collection—Index Cards, from New Directions—I find a sentence attributed to German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder: “The more honestly you put yourself into the story, the more that story will concern others as well.” In Index Cards, it appears twice: in the essay-script for Les Goddesses and as an epigraph for “One Year,” the brief contents of a notebook that she kept in 2012–13. In the second instance, the quote is slightly expanded and, one assumes, more accurate to Fassbinder’s original statement, as if it’s been verified, rather than casually remembered: “I’d say the more you put yourself into the stories, that is, the more ‘honestly’ you put yourself into the story, the more that story will concern others as well.”” ⇒⇒⇒


Alain Badiou | Migrants and Militants

“In this short book Alain Badiou argues that our way of thinking about migration should be governed both by an ethical duty to welcome the migrant in the name of hospitality and also by the urgent need to put an end to the global capitalist oligarchy that has produced the migrant as a figure of contemporary crisis.  For the ‘migrant,’ argues Badiou, is in fact a nomadic proletarian.  Today, our homeland is the world, and any meaningful politics must include those who come to us and who represent the universal nomadic proletariat.” ⇒⇒⇒


Hervé Guibert | To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life

“Guibert died after achieving an uneasy sort of celebrity. “To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life” lightly fictionalized the final days of the philosopher Michel Foucault, Guibert’s neighbor and friend, called Muzil in the book. The book is a homage to a friendship as well as a record of its gaudy betrayal. Guibert revealed to readers that Foucault did not die of cancer, per the public record, but of AIDS-related complications.” ⇒⇒⇒

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