Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Not So Scholarly Scholarly Debate

Don't know what I could really add to your comment, Ange. I like the work of dead people most these days, though that wasn't true when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I read dead people and my friends' work if they send it to me. This I guess started because I realized towards the end of college that I had no idea how to situate historically the stuff I read by people 20 years my senior. And I was in a Comp Lit program so I got out of lots of survey classes, though now I wish I had taken them. First I was too cool to read the dead. I wanted the NOW. And then I grew up and I almost only want to read the dead. (Though I'm really liking Bob Dylan's CHRONICLES, but that in fact is mostly a book about all the books he read while writing songs and he liked really old books. He likes his authors really dead.) Right now I am plodding through Paterson and Fagles' translation of The Odyssey and Dylan in between looking for a place to live. I can't think of much more exciting reading.

Somewhat in opposition to what I just said (I think but maybe not): I heard some NEW GREAT great work this week at Jocelyn Saidenberg and Brandon Brown's series @ New Langton. It was a poetry reading that was amazingly refreshing. I think some people might have really not liked it but I dug it big time. The first reader was Brandon Fowler aka BARR. He was I guess a "rapper" but it was not really like anything I've ever heard. I guess it was a little bit like a Beastie Boy writing for an LA or NY art gallery audience. It was very alive and funny and a lot like screaming really complicated ideas in a fifteen year old's vocabulary really fast. Funny and smart and really really alive. Suddenly felt like language was joining the conversation other artists are having here. Like art was all one. Not like here is a great painting that is pushing the idea of beauty and here on the next page is a stodgy poem mostly useful to separate the news article from the ad (ie NEW YORKER) but like language was in the same conversation paint was having. OK. He was followed by Caroline Bergvall and Fowler really warmed up the audience. Everyone was very receptive to Caroline's work -- to the performance of it. Lots of cheers. It was music. Both their languages were music though it was all mostly language. Sound poetry. And Caroline's work I think of more as sound pieces than written pieces. So much of it is about the way she uses her mouth to say it. This is especially obvious in pieces where she uses different languages in single sentences. The joke is the sound of the french and english building a single structure together. It sounded fantastic. Like an audible cultural pingpong. Humorous. Sonorous. Sensual. The reading made me feel as though poetry were up to date. Alive and well. Like I could bring my movie friends to a poetry reading and it would all be one big discussion. They would get poetry like the way they get movies. I'm tired. Hope this is clear -- somewhat articulate. Sleep well.


myshkin2 said...

Came across this blog--compelled to reply (because I have a coreczka named Magdalena)...Curious about this whole modernism/post debate. Curious enough to listen to a tape of Bergvall (from the Penn archives) and also able to read along from a print version (EPJ). In partial agreement (might have preferred more sound and less meaning )though it seems an extention of some of the stuff Jerome Rothenberg was doing almost 40 years back. (and he is/was more modernist in approach than post--applying what, the Cobain test? Anyway, very interested this discussion. btw, came to poetry via Spicer, though have since--sadly--left him behind. M/2

Anonymous said...

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