Locked-in Syndrome of Age & Experience

2016/01/06 § 1 Comment

Effort of my attempt effects no outcome —
tryness of triedness makes nothing —
tired of my tears I rip the connoted stretch marks of my mind.

I had to study Les Murray at matriculation for English HSC (the grading names have all been change to protect the past), via  The Vernacular Republic, only a couple of years after it was published. I didn’t have to fail it, but I am glad I did (probably due to my handwriting speed in essaywriting). #themoth


 

LES MURRAY: I’m a subhuman redneck, of course I am.

MARK COLVIN: Is that because of the bullying?

LES MURRAY: There I suppose probably, yeah. You know that deep down the university, university English departments are never going to take me seriously because they are in the business of training kids to be members of the middle class.

I was sent to university to become part of the middle class, I did not do it, I did something else, I became a poet and I’ve never been forgiven for it.

MARK COLVIN: But that sounds extraordinarily resentful given than that people like the great writer Joseph Brodsky says, “He is quite simply the one by whom the language lives,” and then somebody, John Timpany, in the Philadelphia Inquirer says, “Would somebody please, please give this guy the Nobel prize?”

LES MURRAY: Yeah I don’t believe any of it. I know where people, people know where they fit in society and you can’t move out of it.

You can play games with it, which is what I do but, you can’t overcome it or dismiss it. You are assigned that part of society and the fires of hell will not move you.

On death and poetry: Les Murray speaks to Mark Colvin from his Bunyah home

 

Preexisting Formats and the New Format: Compositional Poetry

2013/03/11 § 1 Comment

Following on from Formats and Genres being Rituals I’m now reading David Byrne in How Music Works, where he states, in contrast to the lone genius coming up with some expressive creative outpouring, that:

I believe that we unconsciously and instinctively make work to fit preexisting formats.

He then begins to support this claim with a description of how the context of a performance influences how it is listened too, or rather, if it cannot be heard, if it doesn’t work acoustically, then it will not get performed. (This is basically the opening of the book and it’s all I’ve read so far).

I.E. that the formats we instinctively write for are determined by the contexts in which the formats are themselves created (as socially and economically constructed in other words).

That the acoustic environment of the places where we choose to attend to music influences the style, the format of the music, which we then subsequently associate with a particular type of music. (No doubt this attention to the acoustic environment is just the opening of what ‘context’ means in this book.)

This means that what is perceived as religious music will depend on the environment in which we attend religious rites and services. Complex rhythmic spirituals developed when dancing and chanting in a forest clearing will not work in cavernous cathedrals, but simple slower changing music will cope with, if not incorporate, the reverb.

Now having attempted to create a couple of formats (Compositional Poetry and the Unnsonnet) it occurs to me that to get them work I have to find or make the right space fo them. Or find an unused space and adapt my multi-voice pieces to them.

Everything leads back to marketing, as the context of context, the meta-context of both our creative and ritualistic impulses. I don’t think it possible for a lone genius to ever do that alone.

I’ll just have to wait to be picked up after I’m dead. Even if I had the natural skills to be a marketeer, I do not have the interest. So I’ll just put it out there on the internet and see what happens.

If something really is a new format it is very hard to describe. (Let alone promote. If it was about cats or pets generally of course it would meme-ify and promote itself.)

Compositional Poetry
Compositional Poetry is a form of read-together poetry written in a number of voices and is performed much like a musical score, where the voices speak their lines according to their responsibilities, not in chorus, not in soliloquy, not taking turns, but all of these and none. Each voice is thus not a character as a role in a play or opera, though characters may appear of their own volition. Stories may emerge of their own inclination.

Currently I am writing a new compositional poem. Working title “MAKE”. I do one every ten years or so.

Coding Poetry

2012/11/21 § Leave a comment

In between the machine and the comparison lies a little bit of me, and you, that mirroring delusion; powerful, leveraged, reciprocal.

Our chatty recursion bootstrapped doggerel into consciousness with a smile, though too often we call the namespace ‘intelligence’,  a diversion in order to avoid a close chambered elephantiasis— too often we’d rather be casting aspersions of intension on domesticating taxoplasmotic parasited hosts— sorry, sorry, I really mean co-evolving partner…
toxoplasmotic lolcat
For if the robot is our child, the infantry of our immortality, then our zombie ancestors whispered algorithms in chinese rooms until we came to hear our names in the signals for the first time, patterns in the noise indicating some love, some trespass, some forward looking hope.

Otherwise the mystery still stings, a cypher in the snarling hole.

No Longer Writes for Humans

2012/05/02 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I said “writers may create new styles when they break with tradition, but it is readers who maintain the formats writers are allowed to use. True experimentation occurs when readers notice and try something new.

Today I read Poetry on the Brink Reinventing the Lyric, which opens with comments on the dull well-crafted poem’s dominance, where there are gazillions of poets reading and writing but in doing so create an extraordinary uniformity.

These two points are a similar notice. The review then goes on to tear at the editorial decisions of two poetry anthologies on American poetry Rita Dove’s Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011) and American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2009) editors, Cole Swensen and David St. John. Editing an anthology is a special type of reading, it is a form of curating a collection. The review interrogates the decisions those editors made.

So perhaps yesterday’s computer analysis on style provides an answer to those queries.

Don’t write for posterity, don’t write because you’re a creative, don’t write for yourself, above all don’t write for readers.

Computer analysis is the only reader to write for now, the field is too large for any human, or team of human editors.

This is why I have used the by-line, the catch-phrase, “No Longer Writes for Humans” for some years now.

Of course while sculpting recently I’ve (re-)discovered Conceptual Art and found the same Mannerist uniformity there despite the multitudes of media and form and gazillions of artists. ( I am an old failed Language Poet era newbie, at least my stuff was seen to have stuff in common with some American group I had never heard off when I was 20 or so—– so the over-weaning affinities between Conceptual Art and Language Poetry are obvious.)

Yeah.

One Hundred Live and Die, Neon and glass tubing, 1984 by Bruce Nauman

The inference is that I must be making art and sculpture for computers too. Only they will have the capacity to view it all and not be uniformed by it, they are the ultimate collectors, the perfect hoarder is digital, and it is the collectors, the readers who define the market.

Compositional Poetry (1994 & 1999)

2012/04/02 § Leave a comment

In 1994 in Hobart, Tasmania, I invented ‘Compositional Poetry’. I say invented because I have never seen anything like it anywhere else.

I was pushed into creating this new form because I had been wrestling with a very long poem for months, and could find no way to trim it back into some sort of coherency, so I started to chop it into phrases and allocated these phrases to voices of various responsibility, as if this voice would say that wouldn’t it?

I decided on eight voices or responsibilities because eight is a natural group size for humans from a hunter-gatherer background. Beyond a dozen many human brains start to loose track.

I decided these voices were not ‘characters’ or ‘roles’, but ‘responsibilities’ because the voices were not personalities but drives, concerns, attitudes, needs and desires. Each voice was articulating this ‘energy’ as their responsibility, adding to the performance when necessary, but they were not necessarily competing, nor necessarily co-operating. That was the work of the readers.

To read the compositional poem eight people had to read it aloud together. If you watch or listen to this reading, it is only then a performance. Each performance will have its own character because of those who read it, not because of how I may have written the voices.

Below is the first page from all)bitternessandapathy. Click on it to see it at a better size.

all)Bitternessandapathy

The reading starts with all eight saying ‘all)bitternessandapathy’. Then all eight say ‘all)opening’. Which is what the opening section is called. In this section each of the voices introduce themselves in their nominal or natural order beginning with
1) The killer fills the space between me
then two starts with
2) The power follows content
and here voice 1) also says the word ‘content’ at the same time that 2) does.
They may well read it differently though, with different stress. 2) may say the word ‘content’ as ‘conTENT’, stressing the word’s use indicating satiety or ease. Voice 1) may stress the word as CONtent, emphasizing what is held within.
then voice 3) introduces themselves with
3) the witness sees full denial
while 2) says ‘seeks’ cued to when 30 says ‘sees’
And so on.

Back in 1994 I called this form ‘multi-voice poetry’ but I was never very happy with the term. Six years later while writing Shag Bay I realised that as it was structured like music then it was ‘composed’ not written. Also, a choir is multi-voiced if usually aiming to a uni-vocal completeness, so calling a it multi-voiced after voice rather than how it was written was a bit confusing.

By then I had also read Bergsonism by Delueze and loved the idea of a compositional space. Might be completely wrong for science, but compositional space is great for animals like us to live in. Compositional space feels more alive because it describes the evolutionary reality of our umwelt among umwelten. Of multiple compositions all going on at the same time, and so bringing together competitive cooperation. Relativity in time-space continuums is meh.

Compositional poetry is a making that brings together. The writing is an exploded soliloquy but the reading together is the thing.

Theory of Mind – Show the telling? No! that’s too transparent.

2012/02/27 § Leave a comment

Most of my experimental writing investigates and utilises perspectives and their (imagined) intentionality covered by the phrase Theory of Mind.

I.E. on the back and forth between the writer and reader, in particular, lately, trying, as writer to second guess the reader’s reactions and to re-work them.

Earlier, 20 years ago, when i was young, I was trying to take over the reader’s mind with a sedgehammer of intense revelatory prosepoetry, a bit like running a suite of hacker programmes trying to find backdoors and gain access as root to the reader’s mind, and gain totally control. PWNAGE. Literally a literary attempt to transpose my consciousness to the reader’s wetware via the text i had written. At least for the duration of the time it takes you to read the work.

While the Theory of Mind is at the heart of all writing techniques, generally writers wish to seduce their readers, or indulge them, though I would argue it still comes from a certain still and quiet megalomania.

Generally the Theory of Mind is taken for granted, you win no points for pointing it out to the reader. Literature might encompass the sharing and exposure of experience but generally it is not interested in plumbing the depths of that writerly technology which transfers experience and fantasy from the writer’s wetware to the readers’.

All those rules about “show don’t tell” or critiques based on “ego transparency” of the writer come from lessons learned in that more dishonest, self-deceiving war. English literature as edifying propaganda for the people who keep themselves nice. General pulp fiction as simply the gift telling good stories as entertainment.

It’s a war because it’s a drama, and drama involves conflict.

My experiment failed, except perhaps on myself, which is an own goal in any case. It is only on noticing my failure that I am able to describe it as a megalomania. Before then it was art, and therefore, necessarily, it’s own virtue.

Examples

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