Sunday, January 3, 2021

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Poetry Makes Things Happen by Jim Leftwich

 Poetry Makes Things Happen


For Jim Leftwich, the boundary between poetry and criticism, or more accurately, between poetry and writing about poetry, is extremely porous. This book should make that very clear; in fact, here it is sometimes hard to tell whether a text is “original poetry” or his writing “about poetry”. Which suggests that the distinction may not be all that important. (Another such book is one he wrote focused on my own work, or using my work as a springboard, Containers Projecting Multitudes: Expositions on the Poetry of John M. Bennett, 2019.) This is perhaps an outgrowth of his practice of making “hacks” of others' poetry and texts, which is in itself a means of entering into, and remaking aspects of, another's work, using a wide variety of processes ranging from the arbitrary and deliberate, to the improvisational and purely intuitive. What this does is to turn the process of writing about poetry on its head. Instead of applying a preordained critical method or theory to a text, Leftwich presents, as it were in “real time”, an account of what it was like, of what happened, when he read the text. We thus have a narration of a real experience of reading. For me, and for many of us in this new literary avant garde, this is vastly more interesting and useful than the use of a text to support or illustrate a particular literary (or other) ideology. Leftwich's work in this regard is unique, exciting, and represents real progress in the “problem” of “how to read poetry”, and of how to write it as well. -¬ John M. Bennett

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Asemics in Popular Culture: SNL on the Aesthetics of Meaning ... / EZE, 2020

 Art can be a protest against convention, but art also defines its own conventions just as it is defined by convention. Does art escape convention? Asemics, as art, certainly has its own conventions. But what happens when asemics operates as a means to unground a convention? Does the ensuing criticism move into the circuit of State and Nomad as defined by Deleuze and Guattari? 



The "XXL Rap Roundtable" skit from Saturday Night Live (December 12, 2020) makes a point of posing an asemic performance in a genre against the genre itself. How does asemics operate socially, politically, culturally, and artistically? Asemics here can be taken to be non-sense, i.e. words, utterances, songs, ... without [apparent or shared] meaning. [Note that semantics can be, but need not be, invoked here.] 

And is the point at which performance within a genre establishes itself as contrary to convention, i.e. as not [presently] defined by that genre, a type of asemics as it disrupts the mode of meaning offered by the genre? Or do we need another term other than asemic performance for this use of non-sense?

SNL's XXL Rap Roundtable: Pop Culture Asemics

To what end is asemics as non-sense, as an empty placeholder of the formal, as disruption a method?

Monday, November 30, 2020