An investigation of the multiple senses of identity for poetry, poetics, and literary scholarship. Starting with a preliminary look at conceptions of idenity in Poe, Hawthorne and Freud, the seminar will frame its considerations in terms of the frame analysis of Erving Goffman, Geroge Lakoff, and John Berger. Poetics of translation will be addressed via Yunte Huang and Walter Benjamin, as well as Pound and Zukofsky. The relation of language, ideology, gender, and identity will be considered through readings of Basil Bernstein on class codes in speech, as well as Luce Irigaray, Rosmarie Waldrop, and Nicole Brossard. Textual scholarship and the identity of the poem will be taken up via a study of Emily Dickinson’s holographs vs printed version of her poems, paying special attention to Susan Howe’s advocacy of “sumptuary values.” The status of the object of art (whether its identity is intrinsic, extrinsic, or in-between) will be taken up via Duchamp, and, in the background, Michael Fried, Robert Smithson, and Samuel Delany on Hart Crane. Another background issue is Jewish secular/ethnic identity. Two seminars will be spent on Gertrude Stein and the play of identity. There will also be case studies of poets, including Robert Grenier (class visit), Larry Eigner, Melvin Tolson, Langston Hughes, Audre Lord, Adrienne Rich, David Antin, Tan Lin, Lyn Hejinian, and Caroline Bergvall.
Some of the themes in this seminar will have been explored in other inter-related seminars: take a look at the syllabi. Also this seminar pursues some threads from "Objectivist Blues" in Attack of the Difficult Poems, itself a continuation of "The Poetics of the Americas" in My Way.
Silence remaind & every one resumd his Human Majesty
And many conversed on these things as they labourd at the furrow
Saying: It is better to prevent misery, than to release from misery
It is better to prevent error, than to forgive the criminal!
Labour well the Minute Particulars: attend to the
And those who are in misery cannot remain so long,
If we do but our duty: labour well the teeming Earth ...
He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.
General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer;
For Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars,
And not in generalizing Demonstrations of the Rational Power:
The Infinite alone resides in Definite and Determinate Identity.
Establishment of Truth depends on destruction of Falsehood continually,
On Circumcision, not on Virginity, O Reasoners of Albion!
Blake, "Jerusalem: The Emanation of The Giant Albion," copy E, object 55 (Bentley 55, Erdman 55, Keynes 55) [55, ll. 48–53, 60–6]
About the split identity
Of the People’s Poet—
The bifacial nature of his poetry:
The racial ballad in the public domain
And the private poem in the modern vein.
–– Melvin Tolson, Harlem Gallery
Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis (1974) via on-line markets: needed early in class so order now
Tan Lin, Insomnia and the Aunt [please order direct from publisher and give English Dept address if possible so publisher can send one package and save money on postage, which is not charged]
Caroline Bergvall, Meddle English [order via Penn Bookstore]
George Lakoff, Moral Politics via on-line markets. (cp.: Wiki); or excerpts of key sections for this discussion: pdf. Please note the section on academic disciplinary and gender (pp.296-309)
Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis (1974) via on-line markets
John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972) on-line markets or pdf (class only)
Wittgenstein: Duck/rabbit aspect blindness and "seeing as" from pt 2 (now called "Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment" from Philosophical Investigations, tr. G.E.M. Anscombe: pdf
A Few Key Points: Berger: three frames for social interpretations/interrogations of the art work: significance of reproduction (which can be extended to the "textual condition"), significance of the economic role (who owns the work, who consumes it and why, how it circulates); gender/class/race/ethnic/national narrative in the form or reception. Goffman: what the "event" is (including the art "object") is determined by the frame (often there is more discussion about an event than the event itself; the discussion brings the event into focus); new frames often push out other frames and some frames stick (e.g. "stigma"); frames are cued or keyed; what is out-of-frame is often most significant. Frames are related to ideology (in Althusser's sense) and also "metaphors we live by" and categories: that through which we perceive/value. Compare also Wittgenstein's "seeing as" in Part II of Philosophical Investigations and especially his notion of "aspect blindness" (duck/rabbit).
Extensions: negations of frame (negative dialectics) versus conflict between frames (Blake's contraries) vs dialog (dialectic) among frames vs serial frame (serial poetry).
Does the text frame the interpretation or the interpretation frame the text? Or is a text a work without a frame?
Critic as artist/artist as critic: both critisism and art may engender new frames or context existing frames, or both. (Cf: "Frame Lock" in My Way: Speeches and Poems)
See also: Ways of Seeing BBC version on YouTube: 1- "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction": Episode 1 1/4 ; Episode 1 2/4 ; Episode 1 3/4 ; Episode 1 4/4
2- "The Female Nude": Episode 2 1/4; Episode 2 2/4: ?; Episode 2 3/4; :Episode 2 4/4
3. "Oil Painting": Episode 3 1/4; Episode 3 2/4; :Episode 3 3/4; Episode 3 4/4
4. "Advertising" Episode 4 1/3;Episode 4 2/3; Episode 4 3/3
George Lakoff: Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things; Philosophy in the Flesh; Metaphors We Live By, Moral Politics Goffman: Stigma, Interaction Ritual, Asylums, Forms of Talk, Gender Advertisements, etc.
Louis Althusser: "Ideological State Apparatus"
Michel Foucault: Power/Knowledge
Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics and Aesthetic Theory; see esp. Jameson's discussion of Adorno in part two of The Political Unconscious.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations Sergei Eisenstein, "The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram", "A Dialectical Approach to Film Form" in Film Form Dziga Vertov, Kino-Eye
Frauds to the right of us, frauds to the left of us Ern Malley and Angry Penguins (& wiki):the complete poems "Fraud’s Phantoms: A Brief Yet Unreliable Account of Fighting Fraud with Fraud (No Pun on Freud Intended), with Special Reference to the Poetics of Ressentiment" in Attack of the Difficult Poems
3. (Feb. 4) Emily Dickinson: Dwelling in Possibility — fascicles, fragments, sumptuary value
March 4: No Class / Spring break
Virtual Seminar on Marcel Duchamp
this makes up for the missing MLK holiday seminar session
discussion of the material we take place only on-line: please post by Jan. 21
please plan your visit to the Duchamp exhibition at PMA -- perhaps we can arrange a time to go as a group.
Recommended: Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp by Pierre Cabanne, tr. Ron
10. (April 1) Re:Dis:Ability and Delire: Hannah Weiner, Larry Eigner, Amanda Baggs, Jordan Scott
Maggie O'Sullivan reads at Kelly Writers House at 6pm on April 1 and meets with talks grouo (via Danny Snelson) at 7:30pm on Tues. April 2
Jean Starobinski, Les mots sous les mots (1971): on Saussure
Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Philosophy through
the Looking Glass: Saussure/Strabbonski: pdf (Penn only): Introduction (with special attention to Wolfson) and conclusion pp. 198-201
"My viewpoint in the video is that of an autistic person. But the message is far broader than autistic people. It is about what kinds of communication and language and people we consider real and which ones we do not. It applies to people with severe cognitive or physical disabilities, autistic people, signing deaf people, the kid in school who finds she is not taken seriously as a student because she does not know a lot of English, and even the cat who gets treated like a living stuffed animal and not a creature with her own thoughts to communicate. It applies to anybody who gets written off because their communication is too unusual." (from Amanda Baggs Wiki page)
see also Wired interview
Note that Stephen Ratcliffe (poet who wrote a book on Campion and teaches at Mills) will join us for the seminar. See his work on/with Grenier at Grenier's EPC and PennSound page.
Respondent: Ashley, Thomas
Note: special event on Tuesday, April 16, at 7pm at the Kelly Writers House:
Book launch for Recalculating, my new book of poems from the University of Chicago Press.
from M. Gor’kii et al, eds, Belomorsko-Baltiiskiii Kanal imeni Stalina ([Moscow]: OGIZ, 1934) [from An Account of the Construction of the New Canal between the White Sea and the Baltic Sea]; photo poss. by Rodchenko. Thanks to Joshua Kotin.