Thursday, October 29, 2009

Intercollegiate Athletic Guide

The Rugby Player

And here is another name, a football name
something else like a tough nickname
a brown suit and slender tie

The Coxswain

Boats are quoted and ships italicized

The Golfer

Fair Isle sweaters and pea coats are function
not fashion again

The Lacrosse Player

No, never mind him
Ben Sherman jackets match Fred Perry shoes
Mohawks and leather on the other side

The Ballplayer

or a film about him
or the poster outside the theater

The Swimmer

Seen here in the convex mirror
around the corner

The Fencer

Stage combat certification
looks good on a resume

The Wrestler

With another name, wear a tuxedo
or a linen shirt and summer shoes
Here, center ring, stained glass

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In the Money (2)

Symptomatic Urn

Romantic Stumpy

Impact Yum Snort

Company Sir Mutt

Cramp Unity Most

In the Money

Clans Mash God

Cash Mans Gold

Glad Hams Cons

Scam Slang Doh

Hang Mass Cold

Sand Gal Schmo

Cads Sham Long

Clams Gash Nod

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oxford Poetics Group

we shall meet at 7:30pm THIS wednesday (but NOT the following week)

i was half-asleep last week, but vaguely remember something about bringing in extra-textual material to discuss in relation to poetics, with a (preferrably short) film screening as well (this might be a little awkward on our wee TV monitor) -- this should also leave us time to share a couple of our own or others' poems

OH, AND: I desperately need creative types -- writers, though especially artists and graphic designers -- to help out with some exciting forthcoming activist events. I'm currently trying to bring both the lovely and the hilarious Yes Men to campus over the next few months. any help always appreciated



This is for Keith mostly, will you see it? I saw your Attention Span 2009 post about von Hallberg -- whose lyric book I haven't yet read --

"Musicality authenticates poetry, a crucial function in a discourse that strains against social conventions." Von Hallberg links poetry or rather an “orphic tradition” with structures of belief that persist beyond irony and skepticism in a secular culture

OK, musicality. Because of the Rhetoric of Song class I was thinking about lyric vs. song. A duh difference between lyric and song is that songs are performed out loud and a performer and a listener are both present (epos, in Frye's terms). A lyric poem even if spoken aloud doesn't call into being the resonant frequencies associated with music. And of course it's not necessarily performative (calm down cris, I mean performative very narrowly here) though it figures or implies performance.

I want to connect the silencing of the literally performative aspect (musical) aspect of song with the paronomasia of lyric. Of course lyric *figures* the situation of song, but I mean something more literal, to do with the creative process: that when music goes silent and the potential for song is realized silently, maybe that's where we get paronomasia. The resonant energies that would have occupied musical frequencies are diverted into other sonic and semantic registers.

Reductive, and not applicable to all lyric, and totally dreamy speculation --

Sunday, October 4, 2009

revenge of the poetics group !

regular and future poetics group participants!

we will meet at my apartment this wednesday

at 7pm-ish -- methinks it will be groovalicious

note:-- for invite-only membership to the sunday-night Dandy Group
please demonstrate your abilities (red wine consumption, cigarillos,
purple velvet jacket, long swishy-girl hair, foppish walk w/ cane, etc.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Joint Effort!

I’m left thinking about Obama. And Glen Beck. And Reagan. And Clinton. And Hitler. Would you prefer Jefferson? I’m thinking of him too… Walker (paraphrasing Hesiod) suggests the world of “rhetoric” breaks into two clear worlds: in short, the rhetoric of art and the rhetoric of business/politics. That rhetoric (or whatever word will eventually become “rhetoric”) is a “pyschagoogic art” of enthralling the given audience and turning aside listeners’ minds. Literally, taking control of their thoughts and bending them to the task at hand, be it poetry or policy. That the Arts would originally be considered the “secondary” half of the two is not surprising. However, the deduction that the most-successful rhetoric of politics and business actually springs from this “secondary art” is quite interesting to me as a writer and as a teacher and as a citizen, and I think Walker and company are on to something quite empowering here. Back to Obama. He is our President because he’s a good speaker. Period. That’s it. Politics aside, what separated him from that pack and captured the imagination and support of so many a year ago was his ability to speak well. To share his vision in a way that was comprehensible to the “lore and language” (epos) of his mass audiences and supported by the “rhythmic formulae” (epea) of a sweeter discourse clearly found within our churches, streets and cultures. Our ears, suggests Walker, are trained to appreciate these “rhythms” and devices through church, ceremony, art. An epideictic code of an almost Jungian nature that the audience (must never forget the audience) shares collectively. To this, does the master speaker address.
I should just get onto my question: What rhetorical practices that we’ve encountered so far this year in song appear in your favorite “practitioner of pragmatika?” I’ve had a ball the last few days watching Obama speak (on Iran) and Beck rant on Fox. I’ve thought about the best salespersons I’ve ever worked with in the business world. I’ve thought about the “best” teacher I ever had and why... How did he speak? Question #1: What in the language of these practical speakers is similar to the rhetorical devices found in song? From repetition and cadence to expletives and hyperbaton, and everything in between. These devices are learned by the audience from ART, from the poetry of five thousand years of song and story. If Wallace speaks true, we’ll find these same devices in the next speech by your favorite (and least favorite) politician. And if, indeed, the Muses have blessed us with the gift of rhetoric to foster peace and justice on Earth, our very best leaders will those who have assimilated the very best practices of art (rather than the detached “rhetoric”propsed by Aristotle and Socrates). Question #2: As writers and educators and citizens, what rhetorical devices might we learn for ourselves and pass on to the next generation that are lifted from directly from the “bards” of so long ago and today?

As I read through Walker's essay I couldn't help but focus in on the sophist as he defines (if they can at all be defined fully) one. A "...professional intellectual, a 'wiseman,' 'sage,' or the possesor , performer, and a professor of some special skill...The sophist might, perhaps, even be a 'wizard'..." (37). This is because they seemed to translate as poets, in that a poet must be some type of wizard to pull the audience into the text/performance with grace. I use the word pull because I am imagining now a ribbon in the wind that a speaker must extend to the audience in order to reach them. The audience might not always be able to catch the ribbon (meaning the imagery or every word spoken) but that the image/text/performance is ever present, dancing before them. The subject matter in poetry can be stronger or more engaging when it dangles in from an audience, leads them to or through a story. This is most clear in poems such as Edmund Spenser's "Aegloga Quarta" and Shakespeare's "It Was a Lover and His Lass" where the story seems whimsical, fluid, song-like. And, of course these are song-like, as Spenser has a, sort-of duet with these two voices talking back and forth to one another. And as Shakespeare writes with refrain using "with a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino" Sophists are poets in the sense that they bridge the gap, or more importantly, overlap the epideictic and pragmatic speech. So, to the question. If poets like Blake, Spenser, and Donne are capable of creating poems that are "timeless," in the sense in that they "embody an ancient, ancestral wisdom," (23) speaking as "sages," how then, can modern poets such as Langston Hughes or Geoffrey Hill immortalize their poems? Are they steeped in the language of the present and is that language song-like enough to keep us from forgetting it or its importance/success as a "timeless" art? P.S. Does anyone still have the Lip Gloss song in their head? Man, I can't stop singing/humming it.