NB: I converted this over-2-gig file from .mov to .mp4, so the quality is lousy. Any suggestions on how to better compress without losing so much quality?
I’m feeling a little mournful today despite the absolutely irreproachably gorgeous weather… perhaps because I had my last class meeting with my students today. You would think that after two dozen years as a teacher I would be better emotionally equipped to deal with the severances and cessations that are part of the job description, but no, really, it’s hard. These students were particularly open to intellectual inquiry and creative experimentation.
We focused on learning English through film this semester, paying a lot of attention to Lyrical Nitrate, Un Chien Andalou, Vertigo, and Mullholland Drive, as well as several avant-garde films and the 45 years of Video show at PS 1, and for their final projects, students did some wonderful creative work. Lola revisited “Grease” as a feminist benshi, Kira translated the Russian animation of Winnie the Pooh into English and dubbed in voices, Kyoung Ah made a beautiful collage video about travel (“life is a journey”), Yina made a collage video of Bruce Lee inspired by Dara Birnbaum’s Wonder Woman video, “Transformations,” Soo collaged and was pyonsa to a Harry Potter film, Yang made us all cry with his brilliantly edited video about the challenges international students face, and then Tai made this fabulous video, ” The minute when a lion is kissed by two zebras,” very much, I thought, influenced by all of the experimental stuff we’d been looking at all term.
And hey, it’s on YouTube! I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it, because IT’S REALLY AWESOMELY GREAT. I give it three thumbs up:
I just finished a new video, too: “Do Not Take Your Eyes Away From Mine,” but I need to compress it before posting it as the file is too big still… are you looking forward to it?
Terrified of any kind of lag. What’s next? Can’t bear a void. New dress made, check. New video finished, check. Book going into production? Must check with publisher. Can’t quite check, not yet. Soon. I hope. A benshi comissioned for July, OK, must get started on that. Ideas percolating. Like… how can I use the Japan trip? And plays, I need to write some more…plays…
I had the great good fortune (OK, I’m namedropping here) to hang out with Carolee Schneemann recently, and I’m trying to sound casual about that, because I don’t get into hero-worship, but still, CAROLEE IS SUCH AN INSPIRATION NOW AND ALWAYS. We know each other a little from the glitterati scene, yes, and Gary and I had her read several years ago at Segue, but there’s this wonderful coincidence, which is that one of my oldest and dearest friends, Peggy Fusco, who was my best friend when I was eight and she was nineteen (here we are in Bolinas, early 70s)
happens to be Carolee’s landscaper. So I used this double felicity as an excuse to meet Peggy and Carolee in New Paltz a couple weeks ago to see Carolee’s retrospective show at the Dorsky Museum on the campus there. I’m sad that I missed the panel on her work the day before, but was so glad to see her show. I loved the exuberance of the early assemblages, the total physical engagement of the performance pieces, the poignancy of the films, the felinity of not just her feline companions but of Carolee herself, and overall the extraordinary trajectory from flat plane to movement and dimension in her work. She is Great, and that’s a word I use with much hesitation (can I say great hesitation?)
One thing I was deliciously aware of in this show, more than I had ever been about her work before, was her sense of mischief. I don’t think I’d been aware of her positively flarfy Correspondence Course before. Can you refer to a feather duster emerging from an asshole as a kind of impudent costume? It seems to me it is. This piece, as you probably know, are real selections of letters and messages to and from Carolee, and their contents are both hilarious and enraging. Urgent solicitations of her work with no remuneration offered. Repeated misspellings of her name. The letters are accompanied by photos of Carolee in theatrical, sometimes “obscene,” poses. I don’t think you can really see or read clearly in this image, but I urge you, if her show comes to your town, O, see it, see it!
So.. having tea and cookies later with her and Peggy and a Stanford grad student who had presented on her the previous day, somehow the topic of Brakhage came up, and I asked her to reminisce. She obliged. I won’t repeat the details of what she said, because I didn’t ask her if it was OK to do that, but she had wonderful stories…and described what it was like staying (with Stan) as poor young artists on Maya Deren’s living room floor. I had one of those sweet moments of thinking of the world of art as this kind of giant house on which for a time we spend some time sleeping on the living room floor, and then maybe we rent a room, and then if we’re lucky we get to own the house and let others sleep on our living room floor, and everyone basks in a mood of gratitude and graciousness… well, this sounds too hierarchical, and also too naive, but I did feel that way for a minute, there under the flowering fruit trees.
If you will forgive a jump cut to a topic quite unrelated… I am also thinking of how much I disagree with this quote of Cedar Sigo’s (from Switchback) that I stumbled on recently on Sara Larsen’s blog:
When a poem becomes too long or crowded I begin to see I added its staircase and panels to the hallway (making it longer) out of pure desperation and wanting to sell. I have one of them removed in favor of a two-way mirror. When a poet reads a poem considered long & fat with self love it bores us. It ignores sadness, intensity and horror. If these aspects do not make you physically ill or forgotten I am forced to have the writer put down, horribly uneven parts, mirth, brilliance and luxury, not a single line added that is out of step with the band.
The trouble with so many poems, it seems to me recently, is that they have this stupid fixation on condensare; they cut too much out; they blandify. I want poems that are long and crowded and fat with all sorts of things including self love, sadness, intensity, horror, mirth, brilliance, luxury, sausage, Uruguay, typefaces,lentils,requiems, flaxseed, stumbling, violets, Gardening Tools, Swimwear, Electronics, Toys, Men’s and Women’s Clothing, Bedding, etc., etc. If you can keep the energy in the fatness, instead of resorting to that tired old trick of whittling, then you are really something, and please send me your poems to read.
two destinations I am eagerly looking forward to next month:
I wish I’d written this, but I didn’t: Drew Gardner did.
WHY FLARF IS BETTER THAN CONCEPTUALISM
Conceptualism asks what is Conceptualism?
Flarf turns poetry up to 11.
Conceptualism is never about anything other than Conceptualism itself.
Flarf is poetry. It is about everything that is not poetry.
Flarf is the court’s most feared group of space pirates. As such, it is still a member of Moby Grape.
Conceptualism courts jest, but is not Elvis’ dong.
Conceptualism is composed.
Flarf is compost.
Conceptualism employs a variety of techniques that compromise and complicate the question of blah blah blah blah….
Flarf is a tricked-out unicorn that rides another tricked-out unicorn into eternity.
Conceptualism says I want you to show me love but I don’t want to show you love.
Flarf gives you more love than you can deal with.
Flarf is a smutty, expressive swan-bear hybrid at a clam bake.
Conceptualism is a kink. The penis is Bilbo Baggins.
Flarf wants you.
Conceptualism wants to put you in a state where you want to be put out of your misery.
Flarf wants to be even fluffier.
Flarf maintains a super collider attitude towards the world-at-large.
Conceptualism wants you to know it has read Lacan.
Flarf has an anaphylactic shock for every situation. It involves the Spin Doctors or the schmear of interpretation on the bagel of social context, such as is favored by Ken Russell filming spontaneous human combustion as orc lactation. Thus, its sororal underpinnings lie primarily in the conical promise of a radioactively milk fed ethanol-fueled dinosaur, in the sense that the dinosaur as represented must contain a more or less stable relationship to Adderall, with a larger sense of relief at not having to write torturous prose in an attempt to ascribe institutionally reinforced intellectual authority to one’s self, equally stable, preferably central, in order to frame Conceptualism as a function both relevant to the fiduciary realities of the art world and the stock market of other Conceptualism readers who increase the value of the holdings by reading more at a higher price. Conceptualism repeats gestures that were vetted and digested forty years ago in the art world and displays them in the poetry world virtually unchanged: it is a remake. Poetry is too out of it to notice. And thus Conceptualism hits an intellectual pitch. The intellectual pitch, it could be noted, of the art history professor.
Conceptualism has one answer, and that is: being boring without being alienating. Through the deployment of multiple strategies that serve to present writers as destabilizing texts (extant or made) via reframed reiterations and multiple sites of rhetorical deployment, conceptualism is neo-Canadian, though it doesn’t seem to read enough Dan Farrell, epistemologically concerned with the ongoing subject and the instantiation of Sandy Duncan, in other words, the affirmative will to Sandy Duncan that manifests the fact of Sandy Duncan herself. In other words, the instantiation of that which is consciously contra-textual in the sense of all that has made text make contextual sense to Sandy Duncan, the rendering immaterial of every materiality of poetry. The contra-text being the new con-text, con-, as I have pointed out elsewhere, in the sense of Sandy Duncan.
Flarf is Fortran roid rage: leggo my ego.
Conceptualism is a can-can in the bathroom mirror, the discourse of the shave.
Flarf is gangster in the sense of the drive-by shooting during a virtual dérive. As such, it must be sans repression: Marie Osmond.
Conceptualism is Lacanian in the sense of desire by way of Jude Law by way of the petit dejeuner. As such: Donny Osmond.
Conceptualism, by emphasizing the notes on the gallery wall which spell out exactly how art is to be taken and how it was made, deactivates thought.
Flarf, by not providing a motherfucking note to tell you what it’s supposed to be, activates thought.
Flarf plays kissing cousin while playing a little too rough. It uses the language of the people when poets are supposed to seem smarter than the people. Flarf is always the first to see other poetry groups as opportunities for Mrs. Buttersworth Jell-O shot orgies, and it will stay up late and party party party. It might bleed out from the head injury later, but it’ll probably survive. Yes, it sells out — it sells out Madison Square Garden. It’s smurfs watching Point Break while reading Finnegans Wake. You can’t help but like it, can you? It wants to play even dirtier.
Flarf is the new style, center stage on the mic, And they’re puttin’ it on wax. Those who write flarf write poetry, or, to use their terminology: “You’re from Secaucus — we’re from Manhattan, you’re jealous of us because your girlfriend is cattin’. Poets with movements are the kind I like. I’ll steal your poets like I stole your bike.” Eventually all Conceptual poets will be Flarfists.
Flarf is nature. Conceptualism is denature. In this sense, Flarf is making Chuck Woolery watch them get it on. Conceptualism is a starve.
Marjorie Perloff likes Conceptualism.
Marjorie Perloff does not like Flarf.
The best conceptualism is readable and successful.
Flarf fails in doing what it sets its mind to, to be bad. Flarf is Goooooooooooood.
Poetry is Conceptualism.
Flarf is life.
Issei Watanabe, a student in Pratt’s MFA program, created the following brilliant work of conceptual art: a wedding ring formed of pure crystal meth.
Here is his artist’s statement about the piece.
A sculpture entitled “Until Death Do Us Part”
For my thesis exhibition I created a wedding ring out of methamphetamine. It is in the form and size of a traditional wedding ring, but instead of gold, it made out of methamphetamine.
The artwork is focus on issues of drug abuse and drug laws.
The idea of the work comes from the expression “married to …” which is often used to describe bonding to something, addiction, or loving to death. My artwork suggests that addicts are married to the substance they abuse.
The work highlights the range of laws dealing with drug use and drug possession. In some countries conviction of drug possession leads to a short imprisonment, while in other countries it leads to the death penalty. This artwork could be exhibited in only a few free countries.
The main purpose of this project is to expand the possibility of what art can be. I believe that artworks have the power to ask the public to think about social issues and the nature of art.
As part of my artwork I have had my blood tested for drug use. The test results, which are negative, are exhibited near my sculpture. I will not consume, manufacture, import, export or traffic in drugs. I used only a small amount of methamphetamine to apply in my artwork.
Understandably, but also problematically, the dean of his department required him to cease exhibiting the piece. Your thoughts?
I haven’t had really a day or a minute free, Ululations I know is languishing, and that troubles me, because I notice that if I don’t document what’s going on, no one does, really. Does no one else have the same relentless urge to report as I do? Is no one else afraid that fleetingness and contingency will swallow all of our brave cultural explorations, that it all will just slither down the U-pipe of rushing time? Ah well. Talking last night with dear old friend Andrea Hollowell,
who despite living in the center of Manhattan has more or less opted not to participate in the literary world, caught up in raising her two extraordinary daughters, so I don’t see her very often… but we talked about this drive towards intersubjectivity, how compelling it is, in art and language and love. She put forth the idea that mathematics is intersubjective, too, because it’s a language, but I said, no, I don’t think so, I think it’s trans-subjective… it looks for proofs and universals. Intersubjectivity came up as a topic because I was telling Andrea about an amazing two-hour interview Liz Knauer did with me on the motivations behind my pedagogy… two hours, so can hardly summarize, but it went something along the lines of “Human beings are capable of extraordinary ecstasies, but so many of the routes towards those ecstasies are destructive, to self or body or society: language, thought, culture, and interaction are the most, if not benign (at all..thank goddesses), potentially constructive rather than the inverse… and so, in my teaching practice, my aim is to help people find ways to tear little holes in the misery of daily life…” and this of course is the sister of what my artistic practice aims for as well… ironically, I was carrying with me a book on the sublime… the sublime in the contemporary context…so this desire to move up or out and burst through to something awesomely (in the antique rather than the surfy-vernacular form of the word) inexpressible is completely on my mind right now…
and I can well imagine some cynic out there asking, well then, how does Flarf fit into that desire? To me I mean I suppose it is obvious: the transformative process of taking what is most banal and forcing it into negative capability at the very least teeters on the edge of the sublime, and you needn’t agree with me, but anyway, that is how I feel. Did you all see that Charles B. is featured today in the NY Times Book Review (with a photo of him looking amazingly like Charles Bernstein, the posture, the set of the mouth)? Well, this fills me with joy and gratitude. The lead of the article: at a reading several years ago he read the periodic table off a wall poster that happened to be posted in the reading space… utter spontaneous performative brilliance. The periodic table, of course, is, already was, poetry, but it took Charles to perform that. I think someone else, Jena Osman, perhaps, has a piece based on it. The elements. They look like “facts,” but upon deeper reflection: Sublime. So much, so much, has transpired. Last weekend Ben Friedlander stayed with us.
Ben’s like my brother, really. We had so many entertaining pedantic arguments, mainly (this was interesting) about word usage. I noted that I tend to have a more elastic definition of terms that he would define very narrowly. I’m not sure what that implies about us as people, but I’m interested in how those approaches to language play themselves out in our poetries. His absolutely great reading (so well attended, my goodness, with Charles B, and Anne Waldman, James Sherry, Bob Perelman & Francie Shaw, Mark Weiss, Alli Warren & Brandon Brown & Dana Ward and and and…), which was surely the most entertaining and moving meditation on old age, illness, and death that could possibly be imagined (“advanced age management techniques” “my father was there/ but he can’t tell you anything/ because he’s lost the power of speech” I’m making up these linebreaks BTW), was followed by Fanny Howe’s absolutely great reading. I say that with some reluctance, given that institutionalized worship of any sort (Fanny H. is a Catholic) is to me deeply suspect, and Fanny’s work does reflect her beliefs. I also resist a little bit the pitch-perfect prosody of her writing, because, I think you all know this about me, I like things to be sort of fucked up, but I can’t deny it, she’s a wonderful writer, and I loved her Rasputin poem especially. I think everyone did. (“They pickled his lingam – it was so long” “a saint in ballet tights” “Rasputin’s face makes me wish I could meet him and vomit”) Gary and I wondered if she was writing about the same weird Rasputin film that we had seen… I remember in that film some of his female disciples taking on his persona and affecting moustaches, etc…. OK so as if that weren’t enough, that great reading, after that there was a little party to celebrate Katie’s birthday,
and then onto deepest Ridgewood to Space Space to hear Alli Warren, Brandon Brown, and Dana Ward read their luminous witty and penetrating poetries. My goodness. I’ve written much about Brandon B. here in this space, but you know, this was the first time I heard him read, and it in no way disappointed: “Brad’s rococo/ Angie’s a femur, fucking and scratching and acting” “constellations made of salt flex in your locks” “I think I just burped egg taint.” and did I imagine that he said “phallo-earth” or was it just fallow?
Anyway. Sharp, charming, quick, of-the-moment, I could go on with my raves. Dana I’ve raved about plenty, too, but this time, what I noticed even beyond the poetry, and why did I never remark on this before, was his reading voice. His voice is VOLUPTUOUS. I mean, right? I only wrote down two of his lines: “We know how to worry but how much is that like thinking?” and “”lust as a projection of doubt” Dana and I share many things, and I’ve blogged on that, too, but one of them, I think, is the absolute willingness to take on the performative mantle of Poet.
I mean, why the fuck not? We have so little, we might as well have Aura. These metaphorical velvet capes (the real one I suppose the only thing I actually like about Duncan, except the Stein imitations, you know?). Well, just completely compelling. And the work like haibun: contracting and expanding. This was the first time I’d ever heard Alli read, and I was bowled over by the multivalences that sprung forth… by this time I was so taken with the atmosphere of the reading, which I will get to in a moment, that I wasn’t writing anything down… her voice a little wry, a little, no, a lot, mischievous, and if she is a little more “inside herself” as a reader than the other two, well, the language was therefore able to step forward out of her as brilliantly recombined matter… where was my pen… well, she was funny and captivating, and her mind filled the room…
Space Space is pretty much a perfect place to hear poetry. No, not hear: experience. I wrote to Brandon Brown that it put me in mind of an early SF punk venue where I spent much time: The Farm… you know, rough, intimate, and full of energy and love. I am so thrilled by the infusion of much youth and inventiveness into the writing scene recently here, and the mood at Space Space was vibrant and hormonal and a little Bacchanalian, and that’s just how I like it. Ben and I hung out there until rather late and didn’t get back to Ocean Parkway until the wee hours, and we’re really too old for that. But was the weekend over? Heavens no. The next day was a birthday party for the eminent Charles B. at Mimi Gross’ amazing Chinatown loft full of her exuberant artworks and art and poetry luminaries… and Felix and I decided to present the cake in what I realized I was calling a rhumba line but should have been a conga line.
Wonderfully witty conversations filled the air, including Tony Torn’s idea of creating the I-Albatross, an electronic device to hang about one’s neck, and a lengthy discussion of the regrettably normalizing tendencies of the television show “What Not to Wear” (a subject of a blog post here some months back). Everyone was dressed up, especially Kenny Goldsmith, in a black and white paisley suit, aww yeah)
and I can’t help but note that both Cheryl Donegan and I showed up in rather sophisticated indigo frocks…
You would think that after all this I would need to rest. But “resting” wasn’t on the agenda. Monday night the cast of my play Distraction (which I wrote in the early 80s!) came over to my place to rehearse our performance that took place on Wednesday, to which I’ll get presently. Well, that was great fun. I wish I could spend more time rehearsing plays in my apartment. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about? Gary as Bystander, Sara Wintz as Soprano, Cori Copp as Alto, and Marianne Shaneen as (barely disguised autobiographical character) Romantic Phase. This play, which Kevin Killian and David Brazil so kindly included in the Kenning anthology, really experienced a pheonix rising; I never thought it would ever be animated by human beings again since (as I said in my intro to it on Wednesday) it had been slated for performance at the old Intersection for the Arts when it was on Valencia St. in SF but I had an absolutely “bone-crushing” crush on one of the actors, Jules Beckman,
who is now a celebrated circus performer and contact improv dancer in the south of France, and this led to trouble, and the cast mutinied, and the production fell apart, and I couldn’t see it cast otherwise (I have this horrible muscular memory of saying, to the guy who booked events at Intersection, “It was perfectly casted,” and he said, snottily, “It was perfectly cast,” a taste of my own grammatical pedantry, I guess). But, oh, I loved what all of this cast brought to the roles! Sara and Cori as these wicked faux-rational kuroko, and Gary doing the role as Jimmy Stewart, and Marianne totally hamming it up as a kind of combination of P.B. Shelley and Shirley Temple. Tuesday I suppose that I rested a little, for once, and then Wednesday was the Poetry Project event. Maybe I’ll report on that later, but it might be inappropriate for me to do so, since I had a hand in two of the plays, and I would actually like to end this post by eliciting in the comments section someone else’s impressions of the event, which I thought was pretty glorious, if I do say so myself. But I mean it’s the first Saturday in nine weeks that I don’t actually have to go to Segue, and the weather’s not so nice that I am obliged to go outside, and Gary’s off at MOCCA, so I can actually stay home and work on a movie project I’ve been meaning to get to, and I can maybe finally put that side zipper in the rose-print frock I’m working on, at least, if I stop this blog entry now and refocus my attention…
Come celebrate the publication of
The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater
April 7, 2010
The Poetry Project
The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church
131 E. 10th St. New York NY 10003
212-674-0910 | firstname.lastname@example.org
This reading will celebrate the release of The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater 1945-1985, a superb documentation of the emergence, growth, and varied fortunes of the form over decades of American literary history. The largest and most comprehensive anthology of its kind yet assembled, the volume collects classics of poets theater as well as rarities long out of print and texts from unpublished manuscripts and archives. Editors David Brazil and Kevin Killian will be joined by some of the contributors who will read or perform their work. With Bruce Andrews, Charles Bernstein, Nada Gordon, Ted Greenwald, Sonia Sanchez and Fiona Templeton.
I will be directing a scene from a play I wrote in my early twenties, which, believe me, was a long time ago. Stars will be Marianne Shaneen, Cori Copp, Sara Wintz, and Gary Sullivan. I will also play the role of coloratura soprano Jenny Lind in Charles Bernstein’s play, “Entitlement.”
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, Icelandic Flarfist and innovator extraordinaire, interviewed here in English.
Gary’s intro for Lynn:
Lynn Behrendt is the author of 4 chapbooks: The Moon As Chance, Characters, Tinder, and Luminous Flux. A full-length collection, petals, emblems will be published this year by Lunar Chandelier. She edits the Annandale Dream Gazette, an online chronicle of poets’ dreams.
Of all of the value categories we speak of with respect to poetry—prosody, use-value, torque, relevance, “new”ness, etc.—the most difficult to pin down or describe, and thus perhaps among the least written and spoken of, must be “urgency.”
“It starts,” as Lynn writes, in an unsigned epigraph to her most recent book, Luminous Flux, “with this ache to tell you something.”
But can we assess urgency? Like pornography and art, will I know it when I see it?
Let’s put it this way: Most works of art, whatever fabulous things they may do for us, however relevant or exciting they may be, don’t necessarily feel as though the maker had no choice but to put this particular thing down, NOW, and in just this way. There’s a certain edge, for want of a better word, to a few things that maybe we can all agree on: Carolee Schneeman’s Interior Scroll, Ted Berrigan’s Sonnets, Charles Mingus’s Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Kathy Acker’s Great Expectations, Chantal Akerman’s Letters from Home—work that is as emotionally charged as it is psychologically, philosophically, and formally so.
As Nada wrote on her blog when she first read Lynn’s Luminous Flux: “It pulsates.”
Published—self-published, I believe—in an edition of 20 copies, Luminous Flux is one of the rare books of poetry in recent memory that completely blew me away. Every line of this amazing poem simultaneously sings and sears:
I’ve got my scythe & I’m not afraid to use it
template of sound scraping
owl streaked sky
put this in her pipe & smoke it
choke weed persuasion
ranked quantitatively but not qualitatively
subordinate ratio of somber to pubic
I’ve said nothing, nothing at all
shift to tropical city
sound of hoofs […]
yellow silt starts to gather at the edge of every image
too old, I’m too old, too polished
I can’t stop & don’t really want to […]
I am just temporarily sheathed
Reading each line feels like I’m suddenly fully awake, until the next line, which makes me feel even more so. I’m fully conscious of the language and am totally there for it, imagining not Lynn’s influences or references or sources or methods but what it is that makes her alive.
I love this book. It is a real honor to have Lynn here to read for us today.
My intro for Vanessa:
Vanessa Place, co-director of Les Figues Press, author of Dies, a sentence, La Medusa, and (with Robert Fitterman, Notes on Conceptualisms, is also, in the words of sociology professor Barry Glassner, a “brilliant defense attorney.” Her newest book, “The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law,” has been called essential reading for “anyone interested in criminology, specifically including legislators, judges, attorneys and prosecutors.” As a lawyer who specializes in defending sex offenders, she subjects language and representations of events in language to intense scrutiny, and cannot help but question the fabric of language that we call law and truth. Her vocation requires toughness and brilliance, qualities that Vanessa and her writing fairly exude.
I put out a call on facebook for contributions to this introduction, and here, barely edited, are friends’ contributions;
The rarest of writers–twinly gifted in lyricism and criticism.
militantly essentialistically chilly
K. Silem Mohammad
Sexy like a hand grenade.
definitely the sharpest blade in the cookie jar.
Vanessa Place’s writing exposes the most wretched, most dangerous moments in language. In STATEMENT OF FACTS the quotidian is anything but — each moment of transcription, of testifying, of witnessing, dangerously re-inscribes and reveals the terrifying nature of language itself.
her coining of the term “subjective correlative” in dies. the guyotat-like bulimia of her baroque, brilliant binges. the dizzyingness of la medusa and dies. how she theorizes glorious failures. one of the only american intellectuals who mirror the french feminists – theorist as well as stylist. sly and wicked.
When asked how she managed to write a ‘grammatically correct’ sentence 50,000 words long, Place replied, “Well i believe that the comma splice is not un-grammatical.” So i guess we can say, ‘Very Liberating.’ If we were an undergraduate who didn’t care about proof reading.
& ‘Why didn’t i think of that?’ If we were James Joyce or Marcel Proust
(a very, very good thing)
Place is bulimic: bouts of excessive overindulgence are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. She understands language as pus in which one might expectorate or rather suppurate words. Her writing alternately oozes primordial mud or turns into a stainless steel transcriptive implement.
embraces underbelly’s underbelly
Scary good scary.
So: darkness, sharpness, coldness, terror. Vertigo, severity, slyness, ooze, explosions. Vanessa is formidable. All she has to do is shine her dark light onto language, and we see it: naked, phosphorescent, shivering. baroque, abject, magnificent.
And here she is today to shine her dark light onto us.