"This Language We Come Up Against" (Kathleen Fraser)

Hartley "Textual Politics" - On Stein: "She does not write in order to
enclose (define, delimit, decipher) the world but to move within it;
in other words, she does not function according to the static
determinism of the noun but through the process of relationship." 
Juxtaposition important; meaning in relation.  Political lang poets: 
McGann, "Contemp Poetry, Alt Routes" - Lang poets repudiate linear
and/or chornological narrative, and use instead anti-narrative and
non-narrative.  Lang writing is actually constructive in its
demolition of the conventional relation between the active
(dictatorial) writer and the passive (victimized reader)--against the
"I know, you don't," "I have, you want," "I give, you take" writer-
reader relationship.  Thinks of political life and learning
(government-citizen and teacher-student relations) in the same way. 
Lang writing attempts to draw reader into production process by
leaving connections between various elements open, thus allowing
reader to help produce those connections.

Bernstein, "Whose Language" (P) - ..by leaving connections between
various elements open, thus allowing reader to help produce those
connections.  John Cage: "Studying being interrupted."

Bernstein's "Dysraphism" (B) - "I felt the abridgement of
imperatives....Morose or comotose."  (Jackson Mac Low: healthy for
meaning to think of words as sounds: "But can I specify anything
beyond sounds? Words gives "'the sensation of meaning,'" but can I
connect the meanings of the words as readily as I find their sounds

Howe from My Emily (B) - Who polices questions of grammar? Commends
"breaking the law just short of breaking off communication."  Tom
Mandel's "Realism": "The text guards the door to the reading room."

Armantrout, "Lang of Love" (P) - If lang (e.g. sexual political lang)
is forever exfoliated and encoded, then "understanding" is itself one
of those words. Coming on to you, "The boss could say / 'parameters' /
and mean something / like 'I'll pinch.'"

Silliman, "Albany" (B) - linear chronological autobiographical
narrative is bullshit.
John Cage: "Constellations of ideas (five as a minimum)."  Narrative
essence = having a goal; but, per John Cage, "Goal is not to have a
goal." "This" is the one thing that will save America.  Make it new =
renew contract with America: "Sign here and the ink will fade in
conditions of its own choosing, an icon overcome by the conditions of
its control" (Tom Mandel, "Realism"). See the back of this page.

Kathleen Fraser, "re:searches" (P) - same attitude against
chronological autobiography as Silliman. "Not random, these /
crystalline structures, these / non-reversible orders...this language
we come up against."

Carla Harryman, "Realism" & Tom Mandel, "Realism" (P) - Pomo lang is
not only meaningful but is in fact a form of realism superior to what
we customarily call realism, a mimesis (imitation) not of the external
object but of the perceptual process itself.  John Cage:
"Art=imitation of nature in her manner of operation."


                                From McGann

In an important essay, "Narrating Narration," on Silliman's work,
Bernstein points out that Silliman's nonnarratives consciously work
against "the deep slumber of chronology, causality, and false unity
(totalization)."He elaborates this idea in a general comment which might
well serve as the basis for a particular exegesis of the passage I just
quoted: "Detail is cast upon detail, minute particular on minute
particular, adding up to an impossibility of commensurable narrative. With
every new sentence a new embarkation: not only is the angle changed, and
it's become a close-up, but the subject is switched.  Yet maybe the
sound's the same, carries it through.  Or like an interlocking chain: A
has a relation to B and B to C, but B and C have nothing in common (series
not essence)." Silliman's text commits itself to the "Not this," to a
productivity that starts over and over again.  But while the work is
clearly a processive text, its movement is not governed by a narrativized
totality.  At the same time, if the work is oriented toward "the future,"
toward "what comes next," it grounds itself in both the present and the
past: what it denominates, in its first two sentences, as the "this" and
then "then." The chief effect is a brilliant sense of immediacy which is
not, however, fixed or formalized. 

[In non-chronological narrative] language is carrying 
out--dramatizing--certain fundamental realities of social space and
social relations.  Silliman's text is a vast trope of the human world. 
Events in the past continually impinge upon the present and
possibilities beyond the present: words and phrases recur in slightly
altered forms and circumstances, as do syntactical forms, images, and
sound patterns.  As a consequence, we confront time, or the sequence
of eventualities, in a highly pressurized state. 


Document URL: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/lang-poetry-summary.html
Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:27:14 EDT