The Darkness of the Present
Poetics, Anachronism, and the Anomaly
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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I want to offer my sincere thanks to the editors of the books and journals who first published earlier versions of some of the materials in this book. Chapter 11 appears for the first time in English. Chapters 3 and 9 appear for the first time in print. All other chapters have...
Introduction: Linearity, Anomaly, and Anachronism: Toward an Archaeology of the New
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Many of the chapters in The Darkness of the Present started life on emergent occasions, the details of which can be consulted in the acknowledgements section. Some have appeared in earlier versions and these I have chosen to update; accordingly most are substantively revised and altered (mainly by amplification). As such, they might...
1. Cacophony, Abstraction, and Potentiality: The Fate of the Dada Sound Poem
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First let me offer a necessary prolegomenon. This chapter relies heavily upon quotations from Ball’s diary—which was published posthumously (in abridged form) as Flight Out of Time—for precisely the same reason as Ball’s fellow Dadaist Hans Richter relied upon it. As Richter...
2. Corrosive Poetics: The Relief Composition of Ronald Johnson’s Radi os
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This chapter is divided into two separate but related parts. The first revisits the over-theorized matter of periodization to take issue with the accuracy of the label “postmodern” in its specific application to much recent North American poetic practice; the second examines Ronald Johnson’s 1977 Radios as a complex intertextual enterprise whose...
3. Interpretation and the Limit Text: An Approach to Jackson Mac Low’s Words nd Ends from Ez
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It would be perfectly in order to approach Jackson Mac Low’s poem Words nd Ends from Ez (WNEFE hereafter) as an exemplary text of neo-picturesque detail, embodying the variety and fragmentariness that forms the central core of picturesque poetics (outlined in chapter 9); it would be equally pertinent to examine the affinities between Mac Low’s work and Ronald Johnson’s method of corrosive reduction..
4. Transcoherence and Deletion: The Mesostic Writings of John Cage
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take this short epigraph by H. Leivick that prefaces Harold Bloom’s Kabbalah and Criticism as my entry into the semiology of John Cage’s mesostic (medial-acrostic) writings. My point of reference will be his mesostic treatments (called by Cage the “writing-through” method) of Finnegans Wake, a text conceived by Joyce on the wrong side...
5. A Chapter of Accidents: Disfiguration and the Marbled Page in Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
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This chapter digresses from contemporary matters in order to delineate the odd trajectory of a single wordless leaf in Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman; I conduct this exploration according to Jarry’s ’pataphysical rule of the anomaly, which governs exceptions and is the subject of chapter 10.1 At the same...
6. From Muse to Mousepad: Informatics and the Avant-Garde
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The institutional origin of the avant-garde is well known; its formative impetus being none other than Napoleon III who in 1863 set up the Salon des Refuséesas a deliberate countermove to the jury tampering of the then director-general of the Imperial Museums of Paris. The Salon exhibited Manet’s new painting Déjeuner sur l’herbe to a scandalized...
7. Parapoetics and the Architectural Leap
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The death of God, the end of Man, the end of theory, the death of the subject, the death of art courtesy of Hegel, the death of man courtesy of Foucault, the death of Marxism courtesy of North American English departments, the end of narrative courtesy of my friend with a smile like those horses in Picasso’s “Guernica”: having survived a tedious...
8. “To Lose One’s Way” (For Snails and Nomads): The Radical Labyrinths of Constant and Arakawa and Gins
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Hermann Kern concludes Through the Labyrinth, his magisterial study and exhaustive cataloguing of that eponymous architectural form, with a short chapter on the labyrinth “revival.” Since 1982, Kern contends, “a renewed interest in labyrinths has swept the globe” (311). Although his catalogue is daunting, neither the contributions...
9. Difficult Harmony: The Picturesque Detail in Gilpin, Price, and Clark Coolidge’s Space
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So far there has been no attempt to historicize the work of Clark Coolidge beyond the 1960s; his early work is usually considered inaugural of a minimalist and disjunctive non-referentiality, and he is seen as a pioneer of, or fellow traveler with, Language writing. Jed Rasula’s “News and Noise: Poetry and Distortion” is an interesting..
10. The ’Pataphysics of Auschwitz
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Ever since the mind developed as a machine to think without fingers, ’pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions, has been around as a renegade rationality whose project has been the ludic anamorphosization of truth, science, and their reactionary structures, regulatory ideals, and compromise formations. Ludic? By all means...
11. The Instrumental Nightingale: Some Counter-Musical Inflections in Poetry from Gray to Celan
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My argument in this chapter presupposes the validity of a crucial distinction between the semiotics and the acoustics of poetic music; the former is evident in the discovery by English poetry (largely via Swinburne and Tennyson) of an accumulative continuity through symphonic syntax, which is found residually in much subsequent procedural..
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Modern & Contemporary Poetics
Series Editor Byline: Hank Lazer and Charles Bernstein