Friday, September 02, 2005


Well, the thing to do now is to read Fascicle.

I just read Tony's essay "Blowing up Just to Say Something to Us". It challenges me to think about the thesis that Flarf poems (especially those written by means of Google searches) "establish a community not just among the readers of his poems, but also among the readers and the speakers/sources of his poems."

I once looked very closely at Tony's "I Am Not the Pilot" on the assumption that this thesis is true. But the closer I looked the more I realized that if Google searches allow the poet to "enunciate a wider range of emotions than most poems are willing to offer" it is not because they allow poets "to access social climates and circles that – whether because of geography, race, class or inclination – [they] would not otherwise access".

I need to spend some more time with "Blowing Up" in order to make this point clearer. This is really just a promisory note to myself to use my reading of Fascicle to get a better grasp on the relation between the poem and the community that produces and consumes it. After all, I do believe that a poem articulates community structures in some sense (poems are emotional notations, emotions are moments of the Self, and the Self is embedded with the Other). I think my issues here will revolve around the idea of the "language of original sources".

The emotion noted in the poem has an only accidental connection to the emotion displayed in the sources. None of the poetry of the poem can be traced back to the sources and nothing ought to depend on any "awareness" of the sources. Not even the general awareness that there are (or even may be) such sources, i.e., that the words "lead separate lives outside" the poem.

Naturally, I do not want to suggest that nothing interesting can happen if you use Google to assist the reading of a poem. But consider the difference between using Google to read one of Pound's Cantos and using it to read "I Am Not the Pilot". Hmmmmmm...

Okay, that's what I have to consider in more detail.

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