Required Books at Penn Book Center Norton Anthology of Postmodern Poetry, ed. Paul Hoover (2d edn) (NPM): TOC Elizabeth Willis, Alive: New & Selected Bob Perelman, Iflife Patricia Spears Jones: A Lucent Fire Selected Charles Bernstein, All the Whiskey in Heaven
This syllabus is a work in progress and subject to change.
N.B. Alan Golding on the Messerli anthology a few years back: "... as a start I'd point to the title, "A New American Poetry"--with emphasis on the "A." In that title, Douglas was calling up the title of Donald Allen's massively influential The New American Poetry 1945-1960 (featuring all those crucial poets from the 1974 Stony Brook that you mention) and (1) investigating what happened next with the multifarious lines of possibility adumbrated in Allen's anthology; (2) asserting something like an alternative "tradition" (two terms--alternative, tradition--both of which obviously bear scrutiny). The goal is to represent particular lines, affiliations, developments, etc. in so-called experimental US American poetry, not to be inclusive or try to represent the range of practices that mark any given historical moment. The non-inclusion of, for instance, brilliant (as far as I'm concerned) poets like Rich and Lorde is explained by the fact that they come from very different lines (pun partly intended) from those that the anthology intends to represent. The anthology was part of a mid-1990s anthological reassessment / revisiting of the Allen anthology that includes Eliot Weinberger's *Outsiders* (hope I remember that title right) and the first edition of Hoover's *Postmodern American Poetry*. I for one think a lot of the choices in Douglas' anthology are interestingly independent and unpredictable--blessedly unaligned with the pieties of the "tradition" that he's partly representing--and I've always regretted its long-term non-availability. OK--sorry if that sounds as longwinded and pedantic as I fear it does."
Wreading assingments this week and after:
As a general rule, try to imitate the poems read either in form
or style: make poems with similar structures or apply the strutcure to a
pre-existing text (another poem from the syllabus; see wreading experiments). For this week, try to write imitations of the poems.
Journal response for this week: If this kind of material is new to you, comment on your initial reactions: anything you like or dislike, both specific and general. Of the poems in the introductory reading or by Saroyan: again, at first reading, what poems did you like best/least (or would you not make your response to specific sections of the work but to the work overall)? Why? Then try it out on Saroyan or d.a. levy or Smithson. Contrast Saroyan and Smithson (or levy). What happens when so much empahsis is placed on the visual arrangement of language? What is the relation to adverstings, graphic design, and visual art? Saroyan, Grenier, and Coolidge are not usually viewed as visual or concrete poets, if you know about visual/concrete: why?
Try the Poem Profiler as a self-test, if you have not used this before. In other words, run it on your own general preferences.
Money (1985) is a manic collage film from the mid-80s when
it still seemed that Reaganism of the soul could be defeated. Filmed
primarily on the streets of Manhattan for the ambient sounds and
movements and occasional pedestrian interaction to create a rich
tapestry of swirling colors and juxtaposed architectural spaces in deep
focus and present the intense urban overflowing energy that is
experience living here. MONEY is thematically centered around a
discussion of economic problems facing avant-garde artists. Discussion,
however, is fragmented into words and phrases and reassembled into
writing. Musical and movement phrases are woven through this
conversation to create an almost operatic composition. Give me money!
Starring: John Zorn, Diane Ward, Carmen Vigil, Susie Timmons,
Sally Silvers, Ron Silliman, James Sherry, Peter Hall, David Moss, Mark
Miller, Christian Marclay, Arto Lindsay, Pooh Kaye, Fred Frith, Alan
Davies, Tom Cora, Jack Collom, Yoshiko Chuma, Abigail Child, Charles
Bernstein, Derek Bailey, and Bruce Andrews. More information on the film
Wreading: try to transcribe segments of the soudtrack of the Hills film. Write a work in the style of Coolidge.
4. (Jan. 26) Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010): (Back to the 1960s II) TK obit Kupferg is from the prevous generation in terms of the other poets in this course. Included here to provide some context for other work presented. For context see English 288. "Morning" -- Fugs performance (with text); text 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft (1966) Kupferberg on PennSound
From No Deposit / No Return (1966) (on PennSound): Social Studies, Hidden Dissuaders, Lifetime Guarantee, Purina, No Deposit / No Return
Kupferberg frames each of the spoken word pieces in No Deposit, No Return as poems, by imaginary poets. Why? How abut 1000 Ways to Beat the Draft: what changes when that is viewed as a poem rather than prose satire. Are these works ironic, satiric, political, formal? What poetic forms are used?What is the politics? What is the relation of the politics to the form. Discuss "Morning."
Wreading: write your own poem realted to these.
5 (Jan. 28)
Ron Silliman and Bruce Andrews
PROLOGUE for Silliman and Bruce Andrews: Mario Savio's 1964 speech, Berkeley"free speech" movement:
Discussion: Is there any connection that
you can sense between Mario Savio's "Free Speech Movement" speech (clip
above) and the work of these poets? Does the work of these two poets
open up or require different approaches to reading than other writing
(poetry or prose)? If so, detail. Andrews has written very long works,
for example The Millennium Project: what does this scale suggest
about readability: does is encourage you to read in different ways or
does it test the limits of the readable? Ketjak is structured
around each paragraph doubling the number of sentences from the
previous paragraph and including all the words from that paragraph: how
does knowing this affect your reading? What is your reaction to this
kind of programmatic form? Jeopardy has an alphabetic
arrangement: how does this effect your reading? Discuss and compare the
essay styles of the two poets and comment/respond on their essays: what
do you agree with most or least? These are both white male writers; how
is this (if it is) reflected in their work; is this significant for a
reading of their work? Wreading: Try writing a work in any of the styles of one
of these poems. Sample and recombine the poems to make a new work. Use
material from Andrews to created a Silliman poem and vice versa (eg
compose a Jeopardy-like work with words from Silliman). Procedural form (writing a poem according to some prescribed
numeric pattern): try for example a Fibonacci (cf. Silliman’s Tjanting):
1,1,2,3,5 to construct the units of a poem: words, phrases, lines,
sentences. Invent new material or use anthologies for source
texts.The Andrews System: Use a small cut-up blank pages or pad
or memo book; over the week, write down from a couple of words
to at most a couple of phrases on each page. Shuffle the pages
to lose any temporal sequence. From the results, compose a poem.
Compare The Last Poets to Scott-Heron, & the others to both of these. How do the politics of these poems hold up over time, how do any limitations or problems strike you (can there be aesthetic value as against political value)? Compare written texts to performances: is this a lyrics vs poem issue?
12. (Feb. 23) Elizabetth Willis class visit Willlis reads at KWH at 6 Alive, selected poems, at Penn Book Center
Close Listening interview and reading at Willis PennSound page EPC page
The class will consist of discussion with WIllis. In addition to commentary post, send a few questions you plan to ask to list.
13. (Feb. 25) Bernadette Mayer (EPC author page)
NPM & FOSC (689)
PennSound Close Listening interview and PennSound page Mayer intro by Peter Baker (DLB): Access via Gale Literary Resources Center about Mayer Memory (via Ecplipse) (read opening pages, as time permits) Mid-Winter Day (via Twenthieth Century American Poetry e-site) (read opening pages, as
time permits) (note: for all poems on this site: use "text" view to get
rid of the line #s. Respondent: Ray
Further optional readings: More Mayer at "Twentieth Century American Poetry" (via library e-recources), included her selected poems.
Nick Piombino: "Writing and Free Association" and "Writing and Self-Disclosure" in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E #s 1 & 3. Discussion: compare and contrast Hejinian's measured and programmatic vs Mayer's "free" associative style (as in Memory). Which is more personal? (warning: sophistical question).
Write an argument against Hejinian's view of closure.
Discuss the role of memory in Mayer and Hejinian. Wreading:
Write an imaginary dialogue between Mayer and Hejinian.
Or, it's a classic of Eng. 111: do a "free write": write as fast
as you can without thinking/analyzing/trying to direct thoughts for at
least one hour.
Write down autobiographical fragments and order nonsequentially with repeats, as in My Life.
Serial sentences: Select one sentence each from a
variety of different books or other sources or from the anthologies. Add
sentences of your own composition. Combine into one paragraph,
reordering to produce the most interesting results.
SUSAN HOWE: Thursday, March 10, 8:00 pm, Temple Center City Campus, room 222
16. (March 15) Susan Howe Thorow (1990) (pdf)
NPM (poems and poetics) & FOSC (275) EPC page PennSound, esp. LINEbreak program Poetry Foundation
•if you can, go to March 10 reading and write a report
how does Howe relate to the poets we have read so far? Repondent: Martha
22.(April 5) Artists Books
We will meet in the library for this session. Respondent: Eleanor
Drucker/Bee, A Girl's Life
pecial focus on books by Johanna Drucker,
Scalapino, Hejinian, Berssenbrugge, Howe, Susan Bee, Arakawa/Gins,
Alison Knowles, and various Granary books collaborations by the poets
otherwise on the syllabus.
Don't pick this one as a "respodent": I'd like each of you to
pick a book to "present" at the meeting and we will go round for one to
the next. Feel free to pick other books artists books from the
collection. I am suggesing Drucker, Bee, Granary, and Arkawa/Gins just
to keep it managable.
Books can be viewed in Van Pelt room 502, far east side of the 5th floor (Rare Book Reading Room) Hours: noon-4:45 Mon-Fri.NOTE LIMITED HOURS!
Johanna Drucker's Artists Book site (but view books in library)
Arakawa/Gins: The Mechanism of Meaning (but view book in library, though not on reserve; it's at the Fine Arts Libary): 14 sections on-line, each with multiple images available by clicking dots on top: look at images full size; note the link breaks after the 14 sections.
Susan Bee & Johanna Drucker, a Girl's Life Bob Perelman and Francie Shaw, Playing Bodies Johanna Drucker, The Word Made Flesh Jen Bervin, The Desert ALison Knowles, Time Samples Emily McVarish, Flicker Emilie Clarke and Lyn Hejinian, The Lake Johanna Drucker, Testament of Women Johanna Drucker & Brad Freeman, Emerging Sentence Johanna Drucker, History of the/my Word Johanna Drucker, Luminous Volumes Johanna Drucker, Night Crawlers on the Web Johanna Drucker, Simulant Portrait Susan Bee & Charles Bernstein, Little Orphan Anagram Charles Bernstein & Susan Bee, Log Rhythms Jerome Rothenberg & Susan Bee, Burning Babe & other poems Clay, Steven, Granary Books, When will the book be done? Golem by Jack Spicer from Granary Mimi Gross & Charles Bernstein, Some of these Daze
23. (April 7) Steve McCaffery, John Yau, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Dialect / Ideolect / Other Language / The Real
PMP (poems and poetics), FOSC (1008) DLB/Gale intro
at PennSound: LINEbreak
"The Unreadable Text" from Code of Signalspp. 64-99 (pdf) "The Kommunist Manifesto or Wot We Wukkers Want": MP3 & TEXT. This is a translation into Yorkshire dialect of Marx & Engels' Communist Manifesto Homolinguistic translation: "101 0s 1n" (1979) (3:08): MP3
"Namings" (1997) (14:00): MP3 "The Curve to Its Answer," from Theory of Sediment, & audio: Jan. 11, 1985 (5:10): MP3 (Live at the Ear) "Cappucino: a Suffix Structure" (2009) (2:55) : MP3 Zaum Acrostic for Marjorie Perloff (2009) (5:29) : MP3 Opening pages of "Lag"
26. (April 19) All the Whiskey in Heaven from Penn Book Center. A discussion of my book. Not necessary to post anything -- just be prepared to ask quesitons iin class.
27. (April 21) Patricia Jones class visit 6pm reading at KWH
Reading: A Lucent Fire In addition to commentaries, please post a couple of questions for Jones.
28. (April 26) Last Class
Contemporary Chines Poetry, with class visitor Li Zhimin
of Li Zhimin PennSound page
Yunte Huang, SHI
Li Zhimin -- KWH lecture on Chinese & Western poetry, published in Internationa; Literary Quarterly, 2010. Mao Zedong (1893-1976), selected
poems; notes; collected poems
Xu Zhimo (1897-1931), Ji Xian (b. 1913), Gu Cheng (b. 1956): pdf
from Michelle Yeh anthology.
"Mity Poets" PM2 pp. 752-769, esp: Bei
Dao (b. 1949), "The Answer" and Bei Dao in Jacket;
Haun Saussy on Bei Dao's "Huida/The Answer" and
Mang Ke "Apeherd" (PM2)
Gu Cheng (in Yeh
pdf above) Shu
Ting in PM2 and also her work in the Michelle Yeh anthology: pdf
Yunte Huang, Intro; Original
Huang Fan (b. 1963), "Poetry's
Che Qianzi (b. 1963), "Flower
of Two Persons" (1990);
Yi Cun (b. 1954), "A
Poet's Remark on a White Bird in Winter"
Yunte Hunag, from SHI Ma
Lan, selection Xu Bing: "Art for the People" (flag reads as English) & "New English Caligraphy" & images (Square word calligraphy), "Your Surname Please" Xi Chuan and here Yao Feng Li Zhimin -- a selection and
in Chinese Chinese + American poets reading at St. John's Cathedral in NY, 2015, for Xu Bing's "Phoemix" and with Bei Dao. • Mao is considered one of modern China's greatest
poets: how is his role as a major (and, to put it mildly, troubling)
political leader and revolutionary reflected in his poetry? What
role does poetry play in his political leadership? Is there a
conflict between being a lyric poet and Mao's political ideology
• Discuss Huang's approach to translation, taking up our
discussion of translation in the second class.
• Compare the "Misty," "Language/Original
Poets," and Li Zhimin. Do a close reading of a poem from
each group, perhaps using the poem profiler. Discuss the politics
of poetic form in the poems (how the chosen forms reflect political
or social perspectives).
• Li Zhimin will be talking about the influence of Western
poetry on modern Chinese poetry. One example (somewhat negative
in his view) is Xu Zhimo's idealization of Cambridge Uniiveristy,
But the influence is reflected in the selection of contemporary
poets. What qualities in these poems reflect a distinctly Western
and also a distinctly non-Western approach to poetry?
Write imitations of a couple of the poems in this week's reading.
In other words, change the subject or place but write a poem
in a manner as close to the "original" as possible.
For those of you who know any Chinese at all: do new translations
of the poems for which the Chinese is provided
As a final post, please give your response to the course, focussed primarily on the poetry and poetics, but also the class and listserve discussion of the poetry and poetics, the web-based syllabus, PennSound, and the wreading experiments. Chart changes in your thinking about poetry and poetics from before the class began to now. Thinking back on
all the poems read and heard, discuss/revisit some of the work that stays with you the most. If you were to change any part of the syllabus, what would you change? One final question (after Robert Duncan) and specifically
in respect to the focus of this course: What don't you know?
What would you like to pursue?
Nathaniel Mackey Nathaniel Mackey (EPC page)
PMP (Poetry and Poetics), FOSC (1028) PennSound;
of specific interest here, beyond the Close Listening show, is the relation of "Chant des
Andoumboulou"("Song of the Andoumboulou"), at end of PennSound pages, to
Mackey's poems of this title. Plus "Close Listening" show
Note: go via library e-resources Project Muse to get the special issue of Callalloo & other essays on Mackey (see esp. Mackey issue and Brent Edwards essay): these articles are listed on EPC page but must be accessed via library Muse pages. Mackey interview at Contemporary Literature (2012)
Mackey on duende, "Cante Moro"
David Melnick David Melnick (EPC page) (1938- ) Ron Silliman's overview of Melnick's works Read opening pages; beyond as time permits: Pcoet Men in Aida (homophonic tr. of Illiad) via Eclipse: Men in Aida, Book One ; Men in Aida, Book Two
A Pin's Fee (pdf) (1987-88)
further reading: Mark Scroggins on Pcoet, including some biographical information
•Use the poem profiler on Pcoet and discuss results
•What meaning do you find in the poems of Pcoet; what formal devices do you find?
•Give your reaction to homophinic translation; for those of you who know the Zukofsky, dicscuss in that context.
Robert Kelly's Celan supplemental readings on Celan: optional!: Paul
Celan (& Gale bio): "Todesfuge" audio
(and other poems) & (commentary); Sprachglitter (commentary)
source for Celan sound files and poems]
Charles Bernstein, "Celan's
Folds and Veils" (from Textual Practice 18:2,
"Todtnuaberg. "The Medidian" (1960), tr. R. Waldrop (note the book) How do Kelly's translations differ from Melnick's or (for those of you familiar) Zukofsky? Even though this is a “translation,” does it have its own agenda? Does is operate on its own level or the same level as Celan's original work? Or both? Why only the short poems of Celan? Why not the longer ones too? Finally, does the knowledge that the words are approximations of German sounds enhance the sonic effects? Or, as Dragomoshchenko hinted, are the languages different enough that any attempt at approximation is primarily gestural rather than actual emulation?
"My viewpoint in the video is that of an autistic person. But the message is far broader than autistic people. It is about what kinds of communication and language and people we consider real and which ones we do not. It applies to people with severe cognitive or physical disabilities, autistic people, signing deaf people, the kid in school who finds she is not taken seriously as a student because she does not know a lot of English, and even the cat who gets treated like a living stuffed animal and not a creature with her own thoughts to communicate. It applies to anybody who gets written off because their communication is too unusual." (from Amanda Baggs Wiki page)
see also Wired interview Baggs contorversy & her response in comments