Poets and Critics

2011-2014 CALENDAR


February 4-5 EILEEN MYLES > + Feb. 4 poetry reading


December 14-15 FRED MOTEN > + Dec. 14 poetry reading


December 15-16 ANN LAUTERBACH > + Dec. 15, 8pm poetry reading

May 12-13 ANNE WALDMAN > + May 12 Poetry Reading, 8pm, Maison de la poésie de Paris : Anne Waldman & Patrick Beurard-Valdoye


FINAL SYMPOSIUM Dec. 11-12 COLE SWENSEN > + Dec 11 Poetry Reading, 8pm, Maison de la poésie de Paris : Cole Swensen & Nicolas Pesquès

Sept. 26-27 CLARK COOLIDGE> + Sept. 26, 8 pm Poetry/Music Reading, CLARK COOLIDGE & THURSTON MOORE, Maison de la poésie de Paris

April 11-12 MARJORIE WELISH > + April 11, 7:30 pm Poetry Reading MARJORIE WELISH & JACQUES ROUBAUD, Galerie éof, Paris


December 13 & 14 LISA ROBERTSON> Thursday December 13 7:30pm poetry reading with Lisa Robertson, Anne Parian and Pascal Poyet, galerie éof, Paris.

September 27 & 28 REDELL OLSEN

May 29 & 30 PETER GIZZI



September 29-30 VANESSA PLACE at Université Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée

June 30 July 1 CAROLINE BERGVALL at Université Paris Est Créteil

June 15 DAVID ANTIN at Université Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée

Flash Labels by NBT

Monday, December 24, 2012

Present:An Index (Looking for characters) -- Pascal Poyet

"Present: An Index (Looking for characters)" is a text written by Pascal Poyet and read by Sarah Riggs on 13 December 2012 during the symposium on Lisa Robertson's work. It is based on and written from Lisa Robertson's "Cinema of the Present" which Pascal Poyet is currently translating.

Pascal Poyet, Sarah Riggs, Abigail Lang
(c) UPEC/Nicolas Darphin

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Robertson’s « Aye » Writ in Water -- Sarah Riggs

Sarah Riggs (c)UPEC/Nicolas Darphin

Sarah Riggs, from texts of Alan Halsey, Pascal Poyet, and Lisa Robertson

When the writer’s ‘I’ only appears alphabetically, what we have is a revolution. For what is implicit in this choice of structure is an acceptance of how the text exceeds the control of the indivudual.  There is an excess of motion beyond what a text declares to know. The words go into orbit.  The letter « I » will come around again, by dint of the text’s alphabetic circulation, whether the writer is there or not.
The text, in the case of Alan Halsey’s «Towards an Index of Shelley’s Death » as announced in Revolution : A Reader, edited and reread-by-marginalia by Lisa Robertson and Matthew Stadler, is a variorum composed of  various accounts of Shelley’s « ending », including Trelawaney’s, Mary Shelley’s and Byron’s. It is necessarily plural in its sources, and plural in its directionality. Its relationship to ending is one of continuing, of ever-shifting.
Who is it who writes, when the I comes around, in « Towards an Index of Shelley’s Death » (are the answers important ? why have you even asked the question ?) ?

I am but as the shade of her
I dreaded not the tempest
I float down
Into a sea profound
Invulnerable nothings

The authors of a revolution are readers.  Revolution=a reader.  Alan Halsey is a reader of multiple accounts that filter through him.  In this sense he is as a medium. He writes (is it he ?) : « The teller is bound to the endless repetition of an evershifting story. »
In her currently unpublished Cinema of the Present, Lisa Robertson’s text reads :

You became strange, you became my eyes.
I put my studies at your disposition.
You see small mammals fighting in trees.
I see it on your face.
Periodically a building will produce an exoskeleton of great vulnerability.
I see it on your face.
Is this the surface where expression converts to love ?
I, Byronic, you said, fucked my way forward.
You were reading the city wrecklessly.

The writing surface might as well be water, for all that it is solid, who is « I » and who is « you. »  The text is structured in one part, and not stubbornly consistently alphabetically, and repeatingly, interspliced with lines. The lines of a conversation ?  Must the questions be so two-dimensional when the conversations are deeply dialogic ?  Stars and sun and moon look to each other differently from each angle, at the various moments of revolution.
Then there are lists. Sometimes, often, of three. Pascal Poyet finds them in Cinema of the Present, clusters them together, into a present which is its own index.  An index to a revolving book. Some, many, most, of the clusters are his.  Some are hers : « University, swimming pool, botanical park .»
The list is like the alphabet in that it equalizes, and renders liquid,  the playing field. Renders plural.  Each word resounds so particularly, is particulate, there is no reckless accumulation.  « I, Byronic, you »   Indeed we are fucked, and also in the most literal, pleasurable way.  A moving forward is a moving backward and around, in and out. A marginal note by LR to « Shelley’s Death » (by Edward John Trelawney, from « Records of Shelley, Byron, and the Author ») reads :

The corpse evades identity ; only
its remnant accessories assist the
ritual of identification. The 24-year-
old Keats, whose book helped to
confirm Shelley’s identity, had died a
year earlier of consumption in Rome ;
first he had chosen his own epitaph :
« Here lies One Whose Name is writ
in Water. » The statement is usually
interpreted as an avowal of Keats’s
extreme bitterness over his lack of
recognition as a poet ; Shelley himself
believed that vicious criticism caused
the turn in Keats’s illness that quickly
lead to his death. But for me the epi-
taph points to Davenport’s time-like
sea again—the indifferent inevitabil-
ity of the dissolution of self. Reading
it I feel a relief.

Reading the dissolution of self as relief. How were they able to identify Shelley’s body, wrecked as it was by a literally watery dissolution ?  (Always this wish to identify, to pin down ?)  In evidence, a volume of Keats’ poems opened in the corpse’s breast pocket. Somewhere the revolution/reader tells us, I can’t remember where or who. There is a constellation of texts, three of them, I won’t list them for you, in this book  (revolution) which is not meant to circulate by the accustomed means, relating to Shelley’s dissolution.
Whether it was Shelley’s heart or liver which survived the ocean-side cremation. LR delights in the liver. Whatever organ it was, so the text goes, Mary Shelley wrapped it in Shelley’s poetry and kept it in her desk.
The body of the text is inscrutable. No « eye » sees retinally ; no one « I » can be identified. Yes. This is a relief.

With thanks to Vincent Broqua and Olivier Brossard.

Detail from L. E. Fournier's Funeral of Shelley, 1889

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lisa Robertson and Matthew Stadler's Revolution: A Reader

The December symposium will be the occasion to discuss with Lisa Robertson her monumental collaboration with Matthew Stadler on Revolution: A Reader. 

"Revolution: A Reader is less a collection and more, quite literally, a conversation about revolution. Annotations from Lisa Robertson and Matthew Stadler—composed simultaneously and in response to one another— fill the margins of this 1200-page book, unfolding in a kind of web of argument that stitches across time and texts to make a unified, new thing: a reader"

If you'd like to read the text online, you can do so at http://www.revolutionreader.com/. If you're based in Paris, you can also order the book from Paraguay Press.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dec. 13 & 14, Lisa Roberston symposium at Université Paris Est Créteil

On Thursday 13 and Friday 14 December, we will be hosting a 2 day symposium on Lisa Robertson’s work at Université Paris Est Créteil, salle 117, Maison des Langues. How to get there? See here.

We will be meeting in the morning of December 13th at 10 am to prepare our sessions with Lisa Robertson. Lisa Robertson will be joining us at 2 pm on the 13th. She will also be with us all day on the 14th.

So far, we’ve tried to focus on the writer’s own (creative and critical) work on the first day of the P&C symposia and on broader issues of poetics and practice-based criticism with the writer on the second day. But there’s no specific preconceived program for the 2 days of the symposium: as the previous sessions of the program have shown, it seems important to let the conversation take its own course.

Selected Bibliography:

The Apothecary (Vancouver, BC: Tsunami, 1991; reissued 2001)

The Barscheit Horse with Catriona Strang and Christine Stewart (Hamilton, Ontario: Berkeley Horse, 1993)

XEclogue II-V (Vancouver: Sprang Texts, 1993)

XEclogue (Vancouver, BC: Tsunami Editions 1993, reissued by New Star Books, 1999)
The Glove: An Essay on Interpretation (Vancouver: UBC Fine Arts Gallery, 1993)
The Badge (Hamilton, Ontario: The Berkeley Horse/Mindware, 1994)
Earth Monies (Mission, BC: DARD, 1995)
The Descent (Buffalo, NY: Meow, 1996)
Debbie: An Epic (Vancouver, BC: New Star, 1997; UK: Reality Street, 1997)
Soft Architecture: A Manifesto (Vancouver: Artspeak Gallery, 1999)
The Weather (Vancouver, BC: New Star, 2001; UK: Reality Street, 2001)
A Hotel (Vancouver: Vancouver Film School, 2003)
Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (Astoria, OR: Clear Cut Press, 2003)
Face/ (New York: A Rest Press, 2003)
Rousseau’s Boat (Vancouver, BC: Nomados, 2004)
First Spontaneous Horizontal Restaurant. Belladonna 75. (Brooklyn: Belladonna Books, 2005)
The Men: A Lyric Book (Toronto: BookThug, 2006)
Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip (Coach House Press, 2009) 
R's Boat (University of California Press, 2010)
Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture (Coach House Books, 2011)
Nilling (BookThug, 2012)

Selected Essays
"Coasting" with Jeff Derksen, Nancy Shaw, and Catriona Strang. Telling it Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s. Ed. Mark Wallace. (Tuscaloosa: Alabama UP, 2002)
"The Weather: A Report on Sincerity," from DC Poetry Anthology 2001.[1]
"How Pastoral: A Manifesto." A Poetics of Criticism. Ed. Juliana Spahr. (Buffalo: Leave Books, 1994)
"My Eighteeneth Century." Assembling Alternatives. Ed. Romana Huk. (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2003)
"On Palinode." Chicago Review 51:4/52:1 (2006)

Lisa Robertson on Pennsound; click on image to be redirected to the Pennsound website:

Friday, October 12, 2012

David Herd on Dell Olsen's Punk Faun: The Patron and the Snare

 The patron and the snare:
Punk Faun and the constraints of utterance

(c) http://redellolsen.co.uk
If I read the cover copy of Punk Faun correctly, the masque we have in front of us is a set of instructions. Or at least, if it is not precisely a set of instructions, it is a form of utterance in which the instruction is prominent. The work was commissioned, we are told, by Isabella d’Este ‘for the walls of her studiolo’. What we are also told, however, is that ‘in this written description (for the first time available here within the text of a popular edition) she details her request for a masque of grotesque pastoral and mythic proportions’. ‘She’, if I follow the syntax right – and the twists and turn of voice through syntax seem to be a central consideration here – is Isabella d’Este and ‘this written description’ is the text in hand. This is a striking premise. ‘D’Este’, as the cover copy clarifies, is to be taken as the work’s patron. What the account also makes clear, however, is that as patron she plays an unusually active role in the construction of her commission. Consider, by contrast, Lewis Hyde’s remark on patronage in the context of his discussion of the gift:
Where an artist takes a second job, a single person moves in both economies, but with patronage there is a division of labour – it is the patron who has entered the market and converted its wealth to gifts.[1]
Hyde doesn’t dwell on patronage in his consideration of gifts and his remark is therefore something of a casual aside. What he proposes is a division of labour whereby in a system of patronage it is the patron who occupies the market economy, freeing the artist to articulate according to the logic of gifts. What this division amounts to, as Hyde presents it, is something like a creative firewall, the patron enabling creative agency to occur.
            This is not a view poets have always shared. In ‘An Epistle to a Patron’, F.T. Prince, like Olsen, presents a dramatic monologue in which the demands of the patron have to be negotiated and met. The question on Prince’s mind, or on the mind of the artisan he voices, is how to adjust to the fact of the patron’s power. The answer is complicated:
                                                                       Save me, noble sir, from the agony
            Of starved and privy explorations such as those I stumble
            From a hot bed to make, to follow lines to which the night-sky
            Holds only faint contingencies. These flights with no end but failure,
            And failure not to end them, these palliate or prevent.
            I wish for liberty, let me then be tied[2]
It is difficult to read the tone of Prince’s artisan’s remarks, and it is certainly by no means clear that the last phrase here – ‘I wish for liberty, let me then be tied’ – is in any simple sense an expression of ironic resentment. Prince’s subject, as he invokes a patron, is the relation of art to power, the degree to which art reflects the agencies that are the condition of its coming into being. Prince, in other words, like Olsen, is interested in the way art takes instruction. A crucial difference is that in Olsen’s text, as the cover sets it up, the patron figure, the agency of instruction, is more visibly implicated in the act of expression. Who is talking, we are invited to wonder, the putative artist, or the person who pays the bill?
            The appearance of the patron is only one of a number of extraordinarily deft anachronisms in Punk Faun – the self cancelling title being a case in point. Consider also the word ‘snare’, which appears in the title of two sequences in ‘Punk Faun’. In the first place we are given, as title, ‘snares for silence in required voice’. The phrase puts one in mind of Cage, not just because of the mention of silence, but because the ‘required voice’ – somehow pre-instructed – is something like a prepared piano. The opening poem of the sequence enacts such constraints:

            Snares for silence
            Snares for noise

            exclude welcome
            welcome excludes

            against its own
            own extreme falls

In this short poem we are given two rhetorical figures, the parallelism of the opening couplet and the repeated chiasmus of the second and third couplets. In the context of poetry these are tangling manoeuvres, forms of expression that compel language back onto itself. In other words, we are snared, and so the ‘snare’ of the title, and of the ‘required voice’, is doing active work in the poem.
            The second time the word ‘snare’ occurs, it also does substantial work. The sequence in question is titled ‘ballet snares industrielle’ and it opens by insisting on the term’s rhyming possibilities:
                                                           in lair  snare
                                                           wares  beware
Again, in something like an exercise in chiasmus, the end of the poem reverses the terms:
                                                           wares  beware
                                                           snare   in lair
Between times, between these iterations of the ‘snare’ rhyme, ‘Punk Faun’ is at its most conspicuously antique. It is never simply antique, but in this sequence we are in a ‘glade’, then ‘return to hunt’ and we are told that ‘distance is/ measured by/ horns sounding/ give tally’. Somewhere amid the snares, then, we are thrown back to an earlier moment of expression, a moment, without too much forcing (I think) that we might associate with Thomas Wyatt. Here’s the first verse of Wyatt’s ‘Tangled I was in Love’s Snare’:
            Tangled I was in love’s snare,
            Oppressed with pain, torment with care,
            Of grief right sure, of joy full bare,
            Clean in despair by cruelty
            But ha! ha! ha! full well is me,
            For I am now at liberty.[3]

Wyatt’s rhyme words are of interest here: ‘snare’, ‘care’, ‘bare’, ‘cruelty’, ‘well is me’, ‘liberty’. We are not, it seems, far from ‘ballet snares industrielle’, and not just because of the vehemence with which the ‘snare’ rhyme is insisted upon, but because of the irony with which its apparent opposite, liberty, is presented. Or as Olsen’s poem elsewhere has it:
                If unfettered her
voice requires

            bodies rendered
            needy incomplete

            I am not proposing that Olsen alludes to Wyatt here. What I do want to observe, through the association, is that like Prince in his ‘Epistle’, Olsen’s subject in Punk Faun is the relation of art to power. Wyatt is interesting because that relation was, relatively speaking, transparent. In the courtly condition in which he operated, he owed a debt of allegiance to his patron, Thomas Cromwell. When Cromwell died he was free, and therefore vulnerable.  That framework of allegiance, with all its constraints and expectations, is mediated in poetry by a set of restrictive verse forms.
The value of glimpsing such a figure amid his operating conditions is that it – the glimpse – allows us to contextualize the contemporary moment of writing. What Olsen presents, across the sequences of Punk Faun, is a poetry no less framed by its relation to power. That power is less obviously focused, more difficult to bring into view, than in other settings; it exists in the chains of command that issue in the instruction to consume. In part, then, by contrast with other moments (one might also mention the several acts of homage that make up the sequence ‘as performed in our own person’), what Punk Faun sets out to do is inscribe the conditions (for which read constraints) of its own utterance. What Olsen gives us is a poetry in which power is constantly crossing the line, and through whose discourses we can only be offered the briefest sightings of other modes of life. The word snare, as a delicate loop, relates back ultimately to the Middle Dutch word ‘harp string’. What ‘Punk Faun’ presents is a language in which line by line, and to brilliantly stimulating effect, the two meanings are shown to converge.

David Herd

[1] Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (London: Vintage, 1999), p275
[2] F.T Prince, Collected Poems 1935-1992 (Manchester: Carcanet, 2012), pp14-15
[3] Thomas Wyatt, The Complete Poems (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd), p262

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sarah Riggs on plurality in Redell Olsen's SPRIGS & spots

The question of plurality in Redell Olsen’s SPRIGS & spots is pivotal
because of the text’s emphasis on reproduction, repetition, multiplicity of machines
with respect to the manufacture of lace.  I have decided to isolate the aesthetic
sibilance  and slip-sliding of plural nouns detached from hands as they recur in varieties
of printed fonts (though her historic fonts are not reproduced here--only some of the emphases). I want  to underscore how Olsen is doing important work with respect to plurality and hierarchy—that the machines that liberate also generate an anonymity of labor—and the relative anonymity of a “speaker” in this text resonates with the sense of an assemblage of parts which obfuscate and render dense any notions of individual writers.  It is in this
spirit that I do one patterned assemblage of words from SPRIGS & spots:

SPRIGS   spots  Weavers  SPRIGS  spots
Bodies  Sleeues  Skirts  Knots  Roses  Gloues
Lace-Chambers  landscapes  seascapes activities
spots  sprigs  motifs  ruffles  years  spots  sprigs
props  spots  sprigs  sprigs  spots  paintings
periwinkles  Subjects  arches  executions  colours
oils  pastels  hands  shoulders  grounds  f r a m e s m i t h s
operations  years  spots  thirds  heads  Red-Coats  hands
years  spots  motifs  sides  loopes spots  sprigs  machines
hangynges  arms  operatives  legs  backes  doublets
dubles  spots  sprigs  workers  complexions  splashes
spots  troops  revolutions  stones  shoulders  shrouds
words  sides  sides  convertors  lines  parts  insides
0’s  strips  cards  Sprigs  improvements  bars  threads  note-
books  Sprigs  leaves  fibres  patterns  flowers  leaves
spots  honeycombs  stoppages  worts  spots  sprigs
Sprigs  edgings  machines  holes  instructions  disks
quantities  forms  threads  bobbins  bands  intricacies
advertisements  lacers  breadths  cards  advertisements
appliances  standards  times  insides  edges  breadths’
symbols  results  operations  numbers  operations
advertisements  communications  rollers  appears 
Workers  Makers  carriages  patterns  makers  parts 
postures  garments  parts  sprigs  spots  spots``

Sarah Riggs

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just out: Salt Companion to Charles Bernstein, ed. William Allegrezza

Publication Date: 25-Sep-12 | ISBN: 9781844714858 | Trim Size: 228 x 152 mm | Extent: 388pp | Format: Paperback / softback

“What we have here is the ideal Primer for the Gradual Understanding of Charles Bernstein: the coverage is wide, & all you need is “to be ready, not prepared.” You will not be asked to lounge on the couch as nobody remembers its colors, but the essays come in all colors, except sad. Enjoy, & then get back to the poems.” —Pierre Joris

“A major poet for our time — & then some – Charles Bernstein has emerged as a principal voice –maybe the best we have – for an international avant-garde now in its second century of visions & revisions. It is in celebration of this that the Salt Companion to his work appears here, to show him in a trajectory from an American-centered language poetry in the 1970s to an active & significant relation to a constantly renewing & expanding global poetry in which his singularity has played a vital role. What becomes clear in these pages is how his generosity of mind & spirit continues to enrich us all.
” —Jerome Rothenberg

William Allegrezza 1

Charles Bernstein Or An Insistence To Communicate
Caroline Bergvall 6

Either You’re With Us And Against Us: Charles Bernstein’s
Girly Man, 9–11, And The Brechtian Figure Of The Reader
Tim Peterson 11

The Cave Children Of New York Are Never Free
Miekal And 30

The Metaphysical Mouth And The Asylum Of The Everyday: Charles
Bernstein And Contemporary Continental Philosophy Of Language
Michael Eng 35

“Gazoop” Replaces “Is/Are” “In A Restless
World Like This Gazoop Gazoop”
Madeline Gins 55

Girly Men Ballads: (Il)Legible Identities In
Charles Bernstein And Gertrude Stein
Kimberly Lamm 57

That Poem For Charles Bernstein
Lars Palm 85

“Spectres Of Benjamin”: (Re)Presentation And (Re)
Semblance In Charles Bernstein’s Shadowtime
Steven Salmoni 86

What As Poetic
Steve Mccaffery 111

Taking On The Official Voice: Charles Bernstein’s Poetic
Sophistry And Post-Process Writing Pedagogy
Megan Swihart Jewell 114

From The Alphabet
Ron Silliman 134

Beyond The Valley Of The Sophist: Charles
Bernstein, Irony, And Solidarity
Paul Stephens 140

Poem For Charles
Ray Craig 169

To Think Figuratively, Tropically: Charles Bernstein’s Post-9/11
Grammar And Pragmatist Lessons In The Age Of Baudrillard
Jason Lagapa 172

Charles Bernstein’s Anti-Suburban Poetry
Peter Monacell 192

Some Nouns
Donald Wellman 207

From A Philosophy Of Poetry To Poetry As Philosophy:
The Dialectical Poetics Of Charles Bernstein
Carlos Gallego 208

Content’s Profusion: Noise, Interruption And Reverse
Peristalsis In The Poetics Of Charles Bernstein
Michael Angelo Tata 234

Charles Bernstein In Buffalo 1999–2004
Kristen Gallagher 261

Charles Bernstein’s Catalogue Poetry
Thomas Fink 269

Readdressing Constructivism And Conceptual
Art:Aspects Of Work Factured By Charles Bernstein
Allen Fisher 286

Circles From Which
Maggie O’sullivan 301

Visual Strategies: A Line, A Verse, Something On Paper
James Shivers 302

After Residual Rubbernecking (A Speculative Non-Serial Anti-Romance)
Erica Hunt 340

A Life, Spliced: On The Early Tapeworks Of Charles Bernstein
Michael S. Hennessey 344

Notes On Contributors 370
Credits 376
Acknowledgements 377

order  from Amazon

cover photo by Emma Bee Bernstein

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Redell Olsen's film poems

Still from Neptune's Daughter, 1949

The 2 day symposium on Redell Olsen's work ended on a screening of two of her film poems: The Lost Swimming Pool (London, 2010), and bucolic picnic or toile de jouy camouflage (2009). To see the films, click on the titles, which will redirect you to Dell Olsen's website.

"The Lost Swimming Pool (London, June 2010) was a site-specific Installation and performance (for Esther Williams and the Lost Olympics; and for Jane Holloway and Elizabeth Jesser Reid). In part an homage to Esther Williams who would have represented the US as a swimmer in the 1940 Summer Games had they not been cancelled, and an examination of women’s physical education at the moments of the founding of Bedford and Royal Holloway Colleges.

Project conceived and directed by Redell Olsen in collaboration with Libby Worth, Gillian Wylde, Ruth Livesey, and Drew Milne."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thursday 27 September, 7:30pm @ galerie Jérôme Poggi: Redell Olsen and Charles Robinson

Double Change vous invite à une lecture de

Redell OLSEN

Le jeudi 27 septembre à 19h30

115/117, rue La Fayette – 75010 Paris - Tél. : + 33 (0)9 51 02 51 88
M° Gare du Nord ou Poissonnière – Parking Vinci rue des Petits Hôtels

Lecture bilingue.
Entrée libre.

REDELL OLSEN a publié plusieurs livres de poésie dont *Book of the Fur* (Rempress, 2000) et *Secure Portable Space* (Reality Street, 2004). De 2006 à 2010, elle a été rédactrice en chef de *How2*, revue en ligne dédiée à l’écriture poétique et critique des femmes. Redell Olsen a aussi publié des essais critiques dont les derniers portent sur Frank O’Hara, Abigail Child et Susan Howe. Ses projets d’écriture les plus récents sont orientés vers la performance, les films ainsi que les collaborations qui naissent de lieux précis. Citons *Newe Booke of Copies* (2009), *Bucolic Picnic (or Toile de Jouy Camouflage)* (2009) and *The Lost Swimming Pool* (2010). *S P R I G S & spots* (Cambridge: Wide Range Chapbooks, 2012) présente le poème composé à partir du film muet *Lace* (1930), lu lors de la projection du film en 2011. Elle collabore souvent à des projets collectifs comme l’exposition et l’édition du livre *Here Are My Instructions* (avec Susan Johanknecht, Gefn Press, 2004) et *The Lost Swimming Pool* (2010) (avec Ruth Livesey, Drew Milne, Libby Worth et Gillian Wylde) qui associait textes, films, sons et chorégraphies pour une installation dans une piscine désaffectée. Avec Drew Milne, elle forme le groupe les *Electric Crinolines*. Avec quelques collègues, elle fait partie du Centre de Recherche Poétique de l’Université Royal Holloway (Londres) et co-dirige la série de lecture POLYply. Directrice du Master de Pratique Poétique à Royal Holloway, Redell Olsen s’intéresse aux méthodes pédagogiques expérimentales dans l’enseignement de la poésie et de l’écriture. La maison d’édition Subpress vient de publier son livre *Punk Faun : a bar rock pastel*.

Redell Olsen est l’invitée du program Poets & Critics de l’Université Paris Est qui consacre deux journées à son travail les jeudi et vendredi 27 et 28 septembre. Informations à http://poetscriticsparisest.blogspot.fr/

CHARLES ROBINSON est écrivain, auteur de trois livres : *Génie du proxénétisme* (Seuil, 2008), *Dans les Cités* (Seuil, 2011), *Ultimo* (è®e, 2012). Il réalise aussi des objets numériques : *Les Questions écureuil* (è®e-numérique, 2012). Et des objets sonores : *Dans les Cités* - pièce radiophonique (France
culture, Atelier de création radiophonique, 2012).


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Redell Olsen's *SPRIGS & spots*, the movie: *Lace* (1930)

On Sept. 27 & 28, we'll have the occasion to discuss, among other works, Redell Olsen's S P R I G S & spots (Cambridge: Wide Range Chapbooks, 2012) written for the silent film Lace (1930) & first performed as a voiceover to the film in 2011.
Here's a chance to see the film. (Source: British Film Institute National Archive)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Redell Olsen's *Punk Faun: A Bar Rock Pastel* now out

Redell Olsen's book Punk Faun: A Bar Rock Pastel was published in August by Subpress. Avalaible from SPD books.

This work was commissioned by Isabella d'Este for the walls of her studiolo after she attended a daylong screening of Matthew Barney's Crewmaster at The Roxy in Brixton, London, and a few weeks later stumbled upon an artist's talk by Raphael on Ed Ruscha's painting "They Called Her Styrene." However, it was her experiences that same evening in a karaoke bar off Oxford Street that convinced her to go through with her planned idea and to approach a writer who could carry out her design for a bar rock pastel. At the time of the commission the patron was herself concerned with the plight of deer on the roads of Europe and North America and was an ardent campaigner for the introduction of sonic deer deterrents based on installations pioneered by Max Neuhaus. In a drawing, now unfortunately lost, and in this written description (for the first time available here within the text of a popular edition) she details her request for a masque of grotesque pastoral and mythic proportions, a cloven poetics that would feature commerical activity to be streamed live on the walls of her studiolo. She similarly required the inclusion of players as ordinary citizens—or often as ordinary citizens as artists—"got up in devious animal brocade," to perform whatever forms of cultural consumption, display and collection they encountered over the duration of their everyday experience, all this for her personal entertainment and meditative consolation. D'Este paid for the work upfront safe in the knowledge that she had purchased a piece of poetic invention in which even the title was against itself.

Read excerpts here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sept. 27 & 28, Redell Olsen at Université Paris Est Créteil

On Thursday September 27 and Friday September 28, we will be welcoming Redell Olsen for a two day symposium on her work as a writer, critic, artist and lecturer. Where? Université Paris Est Créteil, salle 117, Maison des Langues. How to get there? See here.

Redell Olsen poetry books include: Book of the Fur (Rempress, 2000) and Secure Portable Space (Reality Street, 2004). From 2006 - 2010 she was the editor of How2 the online journal for modernist and contemporary poetry, poetics and criticism by women (For an overview of the issues which she edited and her previous articles see here). She has recently published articles on Frank O'Hara, Abigail Child and Susan Howe. Her recent projects have involved texts for performance, film and site-specific collaboration. They include: Newe Booke of Copies (2009), Bucolic Picnic (or Toile de Jouy Camouflage) (2009) and The Lost Swimming Pool (2010). S P R I G S & spots (Cambridge: Wide Range Chapbooks, 2012) contains her poem for the silent film Lace (1930) which was first performed as a voiceover to the film in 2011. She is a frequent collaborator on projects such as the exhibition and bookwork Here Are My Instructions (with Susan Johanknecht, Gefn Press, 2004) and The Lost Swimming Pool(2010) (with Ruth Livesey, Drew Milne, Libby Worth and Gillian Wylde) which comprised text, film, sound and choreographic practice towards a site-specific installation in a disused swimming pool. With Drew Milne she is one half of the electric crinolines and with other members of the Centre for Poetics Research at Royal Holloway, University of London she co-organises the reading series POLYply. She is the MA director for the MA in Poetic Practice atRoyal Holloway and remains committed to exploring radical strategies of pedagogy in relation to the teaching of poetics and writing. In 2012 Subpress will publish her long awaited Punk Faun: a bar rock pastel and there will be a new book of recent work from Mountain Press.

here are my instructions. Eds. Redell Olsen and Susan Johanknecht (London: Gefn Press, 2004).This can be obtained by writing to SusanJohanknecht of gefn press.
Secure Portable Space (Reality Street, 2004) Available from http://www.realitystreet.co.uk/redell-olsen.php

An interview with Redell Olsen and poetry readings on Penn sound http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Olsen.php

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Not, A Conceptual Art Poetics" by Dell Olsen

Peter Gizzi and Stéphane Bouquet read at galerie éof on May 29

Jean Cocteau's Threshold Song : Orpheus (1950)


Robert Hampson on Peter Gizzi's Threshold Songs

Peter Gizzi: Threshold Songs

The volume inhabits the poetic world of the four elements – air, earth, fire & water – that is also the world of atoms & electrons, particles & waves, DNA &CGI.

It is a work of mourning - from the technology of hospitalised dying:

When those green lights flash & blink, is that it? When the ‘it’ continues strangely for a bit, then falls into a line, is it over?

To the mythic realm of Orpheus, of Thoth & Anubis of the Egyptian death cult, of Charon and Mercury, of the Bardo Thodol. Myths of attempted (& failed) rescue & recovery of the dead; of judgement; of the process of dying & the liminalities of the after-death:

Is there a world?
Are they still calling it that?

The after-death of Bardo – with its lights & colors – that maps onto modern clinical accounts of the brain closing down – is also the poetical world of this volume – but cut with folk tales in their multiple versions.

Between the dedication ‘called back’ and the epigraph from Beckett (‘a voice comes to one in the dark’), the volume situates itself at the start in the liminal space of grieving and haunting – the two-way movement between our yearning for the dead – and the dead haunting us: ‘felt presences/ behind the hole/ in the day’. Gaps & absences, but also revenants, ghosts, memories – the otherwise present.

At the same time, the poetry apprehends another threshold: ‘death we carry/ within us’: the nature of living in time:

now that you’re gone
& I’m here or now
that you’re here &
I’m gone or now
that you’re gone &
I’m gone what
did we learn?

In short, negotiating the facts of ‘time-based carbon life’: a relationship to mortality that is a way of valuing life.

A childhood world of snowglobes, Pinocchio, cartoons as trace. At the same time, what seems often like a non-specific location that crystallises momently as New England through specifying lexis. A planetary awareness of ‘deep space’ – ‘stars scattered’, ‘solar wind’, ‘planet spin’ – Pascall’s terrifying interstellar spaces – but also a vantage point – like the posthumous perspective – a distance – like the mediated vision of lens & telescope.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

David Nowell Smith on Peter Gizzi's "Correspondence of the Book" in A Poetics of Criticism

On Coherence and Correspondence: Peter Gizzi.

In the blurb to A Poetics of Criticism, we are told that the essays collected within, including ‘Correspondences of the Book’, ‘perform the compositional mutation of enacting as they tell... explore the fluidities and possibilities within a poetics of criticism’. I must say I’m always suspicious of the language of enacting and performance, not out of some conservative grumpiness but rather the opposite: a worry that latent in the enactment-telling distinction we actually find form and content being replayed, when at its most powerful ‘performance’ should be able to short circuit such a reductive approach. And yet, reading ‘Correspondences of the Book’, I find myself in the slightly invidious situation of asking at certain moments, ‘what is the main claim?’, or ‘what is the central argument?’. Maybe this is a hangover from endless weeks of marking student essays, but I think it might point to something more interesting happening in Gizzi’s essay (if ‘essay’ it is). As it strikes me, the essay uses the declarative sentence, the assertive judgment, in such a way as to imply a ‘content’, but sets up correspondences between these declarative sentences which will resist their cohering into an ‘argument’. The sentences claim something, certainly, claim a good many things, but they do not thereby become ‘claims’. The essay demands that we read within this double-bind.
And so, the question I wish to pose of this essay is the following: in what ways does this essay cohere? What kind of coherence is at issue?
Firstly, we can note two apparently conflicting assertions on coherence, given in close proximity:

            The true test of poetry is in its ability to endure and cohere in time (180).
            Do not try to make it all cohere (181).

There is another disjuncture in these two assertions: both come after a citation, the first from Jack Spicer, the second from John Ruskin. Yet if the latter is paraphrase, the former does not, at least at first, bear any obvious relation to the Spicer quote: To make things visible rather than to make pictures of them (phantasia non imaginari). If this is to be a claim about coherence in time rather than about making-see versus representing (lamp versus mirror in Abrams’s famous distinction) then sotto voce the correspondence of quote and paraphrase demands us to surmise that making-visible, even visibility itself, are temporally conditioned.
Perhaps a key word here is that almost inconspicuous ‘all’: the coherence of poetry is not a totalising coherence. Again, it strikes me that what is at issue is time: to make ‘all’ cohere will not allow for temporal change; coherence must ‘endure’, rather than impose itself as a single moment imposes itself over time.
But does this insight into time itself, as it were, endure throughout the essay? What I’ve identified here, somewhat tentatively, is a thinking of ‘in-time-ness’: coherence is always temporal. Yet when Gizzi speaks of the ‘real’, he suggests this lies outside time. Here I see a series of associative moves which I suspect come from Lévinas. We start with the ‘image’ (how does this relate the ‘picture’ that Spicer denigrates for poetic phantasias?), ‘which is always the image of the face—our own and those of our masters—[and] remains broken and separate from ourselves, yet intact over time’. This sentence, or conjunction of sentences, points in far more directions than I can pursue now (‘our masters’ not only indicating a troubling presence of political authority but also relating back to the mastery of Dickinson’s robin, and setting the two into correspondence; the disjunction of the face meaning we are always outside ourselves, even in that marker of our identity—the face as point of contact and entanglement of inside and outside). My question is the following: how does ‘remain[] … intact over time’ relate to ‘endure and cohere within time’? This is less a question of verbs (remain intact versus endure and cohere), than of prepositions: ‘over’ versus ‘within’. The former points to an outside of time which the latter will not. Lines later we find this train of thought developed:

Here the real or the face of the other—like the sun—is too much to bear. It must first be refracted inwardly to be recorded or translated into a site of writing in order to be seen or witnessed in time (183).
Here I am reminded not only of Lévinas, but Kant’s account of the noumenon, which lies outside of time, and is what is truly real, but which we never experience except within time (our a priori intuition). Or perhaps, given its unbearable brightness, we can think of Plato’s ‘Cave’ allegory, where we must look at shadows because the pure ‘idea’ is too blinding (remember also the visual trope of eidos, image). So maybe the coherence of poetry in time is a function of writing itself, which is a refraction into time?

Jasper Johns, Study for "Skin" 1, 1962
This then refers back to the essay’s provocative opening assertion: ‘The surface of meaning wears a mask, and it is only with long attention that the actual face of the poet comes through the mask of lines’ (179). Does this mean that we, as readers and critics, are ultimately looking through the poem, searching for the poet behind the lines? Is this akin to the ‘real face’ which we can only see ‘refracted’ in writing and time? Of Dickinson, Gizzi says, she ‘transforms her language to reveal her more subtle mind. Her ability is to make her language become her feeling mind’ (181). Again, the surface of meaning wears a mask, and that mask is language. And behind language lies mind. Yet at the same time, we see this mask merge into the face behind it, which must trouble the surface-depth opposition out of which it is first articulated. Because here language is not the mask of mind but the mind—and the mind is no longer simply the mind, but a ‘feeling mind’. So Dickinson’s language in fact transforms the parameters of what mind is.
There are many other things to say of this essay, and the web or constellation of correspondences it sets in train: in particular the different vectors pursued by ‘correspondence’ itself: epistolary and epistemological, as well as its echo of Baudelaire’s forêts de symboles. And if I have focused on its reflection on time, then we also find running alongside this a dense working of tropes of space, place, distance, and the body. In particular, that if writing is a refraction into time, it is also the filling of a void between self and other, a spatial refraction. And finally, that paradox by which such refraction (also called ‘to displace an object into art) is the only means by which one might encounter ‘our first light when we were the things themselves’.
But to finish I want to return to the question of enactment. Gizzi’s essay is not simply a reflection on correspondences, but an enactment of correspondences, and which coheres not as a system (even if I have tried to tease out a latent epistemology within it) but as it enacts these correspondences. On the one hand, the pronouncements on surface, on the real, on the mind—all these imply that enactment is a surface effect, a process, which refracts the real but does not constitute it. On the other, there are certain cruxes where language does become transformative, where its enactment will dissolve the conceptual boundaries within which it is supposed to function. Is this tension irresolvable—that is, does a criticism of enacting correspondences live within this tension? Or is the ultimately of criticism-as-enactment to move off from this tension and dissolve the oppositions—surface/depth, time/real, image/making-seen—themselves, and find an anterior point of coherence?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peter Gizzi : Correspondences of the Book

From A Poetics of Criticism, eds. J. Spahr, M. Wallace, K. Prevallet & P. Rehm, Buffalo, Leave Books, 1994.


Reprinted with kind permission from Peter Gizzi. (c) Peter Gizzi