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The Peril of the Poetry Reading: The Page Versus the Performance
Contents:


  1. New Dimensions, Volume One: A Poet Speaks
  2. Notes on Prison Camp
  3. Home - Button Poetry
  4. On Politics: Karen Volkman

Here, experience, danger, dangerous experience, has no outer form. Will one return? Will one write them? Will they write oneself? Will risk remain limited by risk? Return and put life in the context of risk, on the line. Risk is one off. It's once, and is not even once.

Risk can come once and only once, come about. It's behind the writ that touches on the line. So, the incidence of the text, is this very touchline.

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New Dimensions, Volume One: A Poet Speaks

The writ, is writing on this touchline of risk. It's not fortuitous that the title of a poem becomes Fear Not, and it's first line begins with the imperative verb fear not. Literature is right here, fear not! I'm trying to open a door To say something else someone else to say what can no longer be said. A door that opens, and converses. A door that is a word. A door that speaks and gives word to and becomes the other. Talks to the other. Another door that is the other. Change and evolution begins in the text, and from the text. From here on, a revolution is shaping up in the text.

If mother is the tongue and we in it, then where would be the mother? Where would we be? Where are we? Where in the mother, are we? Where, our language? We are after-words, exiles, far-aways, what is our intersection? Mother, is our distance. So what is distance? Or who is it? Distance is the presence of the other, distance is in my being there and in your not being there or vice versa, distance is here and there, the distance of here and there, me here, you there, between us nothing but distance.

Mother is the tongue, mother is the body, the tongue and the body are absent. Mother is absent. The mother's tongue, the mother's body are separate, unlikely. Separation from the mother's body is the beginning of exile. From the outset of birth, the child learns negation from the mother's body. All of a sudden at birth, we're in exile, we're distant, we are narrators, we narrate what in the distant past, we have lost out of hand, and so invoke in the text, to call out the lost one, to find the lost one, that is the pleasure. And to substitute the mother's body, the mother's gender and sexuality, we exchange with the word, the gender of words, going from sexuality to non-sexuality, and returning, giving words a gender, making a mother of words.

There is memory, there is forgetting and then there is remembering.


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To distance is to mediate and then to call forth the immediate. In this immediacy, that happens sometimes, literature offers the taste of pleasure. Lets think of secrets and hermetics. A literature that writes the secret but does not divulge it. Lets bring democracy to bear here. The choice of why desire a secret or why not. There is a literature that is written in code language and thus is mysterious.


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  7. The reader's pleasure would be in confronting the mystery, in grappling with secrets that are never revealed. A literature that shares its secret with us, but what secret? The secret that says behind me hides another and yet another and so on. Doesn't the mother's gist in this book of poems, speak of this secret? The secret of mother, as the source and reservoir of the secrets of language.


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    Had promised the bicycle and father flustered and never got twenty Out of the bike that he never bought him Years later I fell down so bad my mother came grand My son who'd become three Was going to count on mother's promise Grandmother was walking past her kindness Final results given him twenty and summer was spraying sunlight when suddenly the sky covered in crows What a hundred excellent croaks it gave!

    When I have no sure To keep a favour for later I hold no hand in the style of please To put on the hair of relatively. Absence, displacement, manipulating the make up of a sentence, swapping parts of speech, word jumps. These are some of the events evident in these sentences, which can be seen or read as poetry of falsehood. Here the syntax and tone of words have lost their age old structure.

    The classical structure, ordinary combinations and customary images are jettisoned. Society makes standards and is, therefore, after the stamp of approval. It looks for introduction and recognition. Society evaluates, media, newspapers, magazines, television - advertise the standard, imperialise the standards and everyone everyone?

    Even the poet and the writer become standardised. Because they seek approving and approval.

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    Because they run after society. But the dangerous poet, draws away from the standards. His job is not to follow the society. Maybe his job is to drag society behind him.

    Notes on Prison Camp

    So we manipulate grammar which in Persian is the "order of tongue". We manipulate the order of language to manipulate the order of the world. That is to change the truth of the world, like a sentence we put as a spell on the world. There is no longer an ultimate truth. In every standard, there is a past. The standard in arts has fabricated art museums. Museums are places that exhibit artistic standards.

    Home - Button Poetry

    Viewers are assured that they are viewing something that carries the stamp. Because the works are time honoured and passed the tests of worth and therefore proven to have "artistic value". In poetry too museums have taken shape in the taxidermy of dried up words - poems whose life is in their absence of life.

    The poetry of risk obliterates the promise of the pre-approved. Poetry of risk is not an "also ran", i. If you are the promise why then am I so settled? The poetry of risk distances itself from the well trodden and the well known, i. Perhaps it's necessary to think about being multivocal, an alternative form of thinking. We find in the poem Absurdity, a new opportunity to find forms of multiple voice.

    Shame owes a jugular to this sleeping of yours pity the jugular you ain't got. A voice speaks in black letters, whom does it talk to? To someone, to me, to you, to them. It puts you in place of the interlocutor. It speaks in the present tense. And just as her sentence finishes, the blue voice begins. The beginning of the blue voice is the ending of the black. The blue voice emphasises that the expression of black has joined the past. It's a response, but a response that is un-addressable.

    The black voice, is a lone authoritative voice that speaks, interrogates and demands an answer, but hear it cannot. What is blindness? It's a sound that uninterruptedly and in one breath ushers forth. It is nothing but itself. It interrupts the reigning voice, that of the other. No dialogue or conversation instantiates between the two voices that usher forth in parallel, two powers that fight each other to be listened out. The blue voice whispers. On the night of October 11, Walter Benjamin living at the concentration camp, has a dream. It's a dream that I have perhaps every five years and revolves round a hub of "reading" This was the only thing that I could "read".

    A conversation revolved round this topic for a while Es handelte sich darum, aus einem Gedicht ein Haistuch zu machen. Among the wormen, there was a very beautiful woman lying in her bed. Hearing my explanation she suddenly made a lightning move. She pulled aside a bit of her sheet cover. Not to show her body, but to show the pattern on the sheet". From the concentration camp, Benjamin who is German writes a letter to Gretel Adorno which uses the French word Fichu that simultaneously means a headscarf as well as finished, ruined.

    Benjamin says, all this finds meaning only in French. Similarly the dream and its interpretation only make sense in this language. His dream was calling for a language to be recounted in, to find meaning. One year after this dream Benjamin was "finished" - dead! A dream thus visited the future and wrote it. Even for once, let's see what possibilities exile offers poetry and the poet. Yes, I agree with you until quite recently the poetry of exile was exiled from poetry.

    However, exile is the place of experience and fresh poetic possibilities - as indeed we always are in exile. First we are exiled from the mother, and then draw away from society and its language, though the latter could be a voluntary exile, and then we find ourselves in a different clime, amid different lives. When poets of risk go in exile they bring new experiences to bear on poetry. Experiences made incidentally possible only in the dimension of distance, the same new life.

    New atmospheres of life, creates new lives for text, for diction and so for poetry. Fresh combinations, fresh language and fresh imagination, these are the makings of life in exile. The poet, converts the experience of exile into the experience of poetry. From the Punto Banco table sloppily to pass by The fifty pence machine to fumble by. Exile, is the language of the other and adds the possibilities of the other language. The poet implicates everything in his poetry. Life goes on in exile, but we have witnessed how often life in exile is not drawn into poetry.

    Poets of risk, bring details of exilic experience into their poems, pose anew the dangers of exile such as being bipolar which incidentally the poetry of s removed Post 90s poetry is after depolarization. Asylum means laughing and crying and then laughter and stubbornly carrying the day into midnight and then the dawning of then and then what?! In Nadezhda Mandelstam's memoir Hope Against Hope , his wife speaks of the romance of the word and the devotion it compelled from so many in the midst of the harshest persecution.

    The poet's fascination with Dante's animating of impulse and energy, the poesis of "phonetic light" and crystal complex structures, shows him linking the great writer to the same spirit of aesthetic exuberance that characterized the years preceding and following —and to the darker, more anguished impulse that shaped his late poems. While Mandelstam never adopted the radical style of a Mayakovsky or Khlebnikov—virtually all of his poetry is rhymed and metrically regular, a fact often buried in English translations—the poems perform astonishing upheavals, cataclysmic resistances, within their taut constraints.

    Joseph Brodsky describes the late poems of the Moscow and Voronezh Notebooks as "an incredible psychic acceleration," a "honing of speeds.

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    Or even more simply, as justified caution. The poet demands we resist these reductions. Apparent, certainly, is his empathy for the medieval exile adrift in political corruption. But the interlacing of these two poetic velocities outpaces parallels; it cries for collaboration, for a dynamic launching of the fluid, unstable form underlying the circumscriptions of structure.

    Traces of this insurgence inhere in a human and artistic conversation accomplished across centuries and space, in the tangle of speech-roots that grow and reach. Then it turns out that the word is much longer than we thought, and we remember that to speak means to be forever on the road. In Their Own Words. Latinx-Caribbean Poetry. Black Poets Speak Out.

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    On Politics: Karen Volkman

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