Thursday, August 31, 2006


to last post:

bruce springsteen Nebraska.

specifically Atlantic City.

[i'm a good wife.]

reading [or i miss grad school.] or both.

(Derrida investigates the Mallarméan moment as non-event and this stems from, as well as leads to, the question of whether or not Mallarmé can have/ has had / takes place [is an event] in French literature. The question of whether or not Mallarmé has a place in French literature is complicated by roughly three interrelated and linked issues: the value and meaning of event, undecidability of text, and Mallarmé’s own aversion to author signature. )

[“nothing will have taken place but the place” Mallarmé (115, quoted by Derrida)]

According to Derrida the Mallarméan moment is a moment of crisis. This crisis is defined as “the moment when simple decision is no longer possible, where the choice between opposing paths is suspend (113).” Judgment is rendered not-possible. The fact that one cannot use judgment makes the texts of Mallarmé something that rhetoric is unable address because the very object of rhetoric is to decode: to make meaning. How is Mallarmé, or “what passes through him, what traverses him (112),” able to dismantle rhetoric? Is this dismantling merely a withholding of information? An ambiguity? Clearly it is not an issue of polysemy, not an issue of mere confusion or an opening up of possibilities so wide that there can be no absolute, it is a suspension, but does this suspension take place?

Derrida first locates “the value of event on the one hand (presence, singularity without possible repetition, temporality, historicity)…. and, on the other hand, the value of meaning: Mallarmé never stopped tracking down signification wherever loss of meaning arose (112).”

[what does it mean to stop tracking down signification? wherever loss of meaning arises? what has taken place? I mean to say, does the polysemic text take place? places? I think yes.]

With Mallarmé, or I should say, with the text of Mallarmé, there is an untranslatability. Not only from French to English, but from signification to meaning. Derrida points out that this is not the opening up of signification and referent into multiple meanings, but paralysis of meaning. the impossibility of meaning. this impossibility of decision [because one must make a decision to make meaning] makes the place of Mallarmé in literature ‘questionable,’ in that “rhetoric or criticism [has] to have something to see or to do before a text, a meaning has to be determinable (114).”
[is Derrida arguing that Mallarmé’s indeterminability makes him unplaceable? which Mallarmé is not taking place in French literature? the Mallarmé that is Stéphen Mallarmé did, in his time, very much take place in the event of French literature by way of figure: his salon’s and correspondences. this seems to me a very different question, then.]

The main idea of Mallarmé’s texts and Derrida’s essay entitled “Mallarmé” is to state that the word disappears the moment it appears. that the attraction to these texts are in the unknowing of these texts: how Mallarmé suspends meaning. how the meaning of words is [always?] a crisis. If rhetoricians are unable to read Mallarmé as understanding is impossible, and polysemy is collapsed, how then can Mallarmé be placed? “Here the undecidability is no longer attached to a multiplicity of meanings, to a metaphorical richness, to a system of correspondences (115).”
[no meaning. disintegration. liberated energy. (116)]

The place for Mallarmé has no place because Mallarmé himself believed in the absence of the author, the death of the author, as Derrida quotes in his essay: “The organization of a book of poems appears innate or everywhere, eliminating chance; and yet it is necessary, in order to omit the author…” and “The right to accomplish anything exceptional or different from the ordinary, is always paid for by the omission of the author and, as it were, by his death as such (113).”
[is the inclusion by Derrida of these quotations from Mallarmé a violation of what is meant by these quotations by Mallarmé and not by what Derrida necessarily intends their meaning to be?]

[Mallarmé’s texts do not take place, except by taking space, but do they not cause event? What then is Derrida’s essay?]

Mallarmé also writes in English, has a relationship with the English language, and uses it in his works, thereby making it not entirely French and “[f]or this reason alone, “Mallarmé does not belong completely to “French literature (125).”

Places to go :

word identity vanishes while the word itself remains.

emphasis on ‘written work’ ?

writing and death lie down in bed…. the eternal absence of the bed

is this significant? is there then no bed and is that really important at all? there is no book? what is the not-book? is the not-book “Mallarmé” ?

“role to poetic opportunity” 121

the role of the syllable in the effect of the disappearing word 115

Saturday, August 26, 2006

ah, this is the most perfect

and infinite equation: more a spiral, maybe even a homoclinic tangle .


and we got our copy of BB's new chapbook yesterday... it looks as gorgeous as it sounds.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

strangest search getting you here:

"what does the bible say about guilt and shame"


i guess it says minor american.

Monday, August 14, 2006

we are stealing from John Sakkis...

this right here:

Brandon Brown

Now available from Cy Press!

Memoirs of My Nervous Illness-Brandon Brown


A genius lives inside this illness
living large on the residue of
laundered spirits obtained on loan
in the interest of, well, interest

when my toxins began to
articulate their feelings in
representative poetry and
rhyming quatrains didn’t I go
expect some diagnosis? Didn’t I
need some tonic / help?

Five dollars payable by check or cash to Dana Ward.
Send to--

Cy Press
c/o Dana Ward
1118 Cypress St. Apt. 3
Cincinnati, OH 45206


i am writing out a check this minute. and you should, too, because this chapbook is fucking brilliant.


i have one day off this week and have decided to write a book by midnight tonight.


maggie and i have been discussing future homes for the minor americans.... so far we both agree that NY and Philly are at the top of the list. at the bottom of my list is Chicago and at the bottom of maggie's list is San Francisco. Other States on the list are MA and NC.


one of our very good dog friends, codi ficarra, is in the process of passing. we have spent a good deal of time with her this past week and also went by this afternoon. she is looking much more peaceful today than we've seen her.

we love you codi.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


OK. Given the recent and endless reports concerning the thwarted terror attacks, I'd like to propose a radical new political agenda. Let us go back in time and thwart all colonization that occurred during the last 800 years. This I think will stop the number of terrorist attacks in the West. It will force us to make some sacrifices too, like, for instance, a significantly poorer English throne. Oprah Winfrey will also have to give up her new Hawaiian house (notice its plantation stylings), and all of us will probably have to do without rock and roll, as blues will probably not be sung in the same ways. So let us sacrifice John, Paul, George, and Ringo, not to mention tacos, Indian food, and our general wealth for a new era of peace. I take it John will agree, but Sir Paul will be upset that he had to remain middle-class.

-- Maggie

PS: Duh ! There would be no Oprah Winfrey. Sorry, it's hard to imagine, but the sacrifices we will make will be worth it for our children.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006



one of my older siblings, of which i have 6, sent me this awful fwd today and it just made me sick.

a petition supporting English as our only language.

which, okay, whatever,

but then there was this fucked up little personalized story about someone's grandchild in CA not being hired as a teacher because she only had one year of Spanish and how this is somehow proof that the USA will be conquered by Mexico...

and ... wtf is THAT?

and isn't this further proof that my family has NO IDEA who i am AT ALL?

so i couldn't resist a brief, and, i think, careful response to them...

i don't know.

i know i couldn't even get into college without two years of a foreign language, and that was for my BA so where this is coming from is beyond me.


i think i just hate to see that the fear tactics have taken hold of my older brothers and sisters. it used to be okay with me when it was my Dad because my Dad fought in WWII and has a very different relationship to this country than I do at 34.

but. when it is my siblings?

civil war.

civil unrest.

i'm feeling dramatic, i suppose.

and my sister just emailed me "My bad!" and so that is better than an argument on some levels... but not as useful as a open discussion...



maggie and i are going to minnesota in october for my Dad's 80th birthday party. we are going to stay at a hotel this time because my dad goes to bed at 9 and wakes up at 4 am and this is not so relaxing for us.


i love my family.

i hate that we don't even know each other.


and one more thing...

last time they read one of my poems, a collaboration i did with suzanne stein years ago...
they asked me what drugs i was on.


there you go.



something i don't have.

i spent a few days looking directly into the sun and now i'm wondering why everything is so damned blurry.

what is going on...

small town 10 is out and you can buy it somewhere over here .

i don't have mine yet but i'm really looking forward to it.


not much to state currently.

i'm writing daily, something i have never been able to do. i have made a challenge to myself: write every day in August. and so i am trying to keep to it.

the biggest challenge is not allowing my job to drain my creative energy.


also putting together a journal. more on that later.


that really is all.

maybe more tomorrow. when i'm less tired.