Harnessing Language Effects

Miriam Nichols in "Deep Convention and Radical Chance: The Two Postmodernisms of Robert Duncan and Robin Blaser" in W [dix] a Duncan Delirium published by the Kootenay School of Writing.

If theory taught us anything, it is that cognitive liberation is never enough: change has to take place in social institutions, not in texts. Blaser has repeatedly argued, for example, that the arts have a place alongside other practices like politics and philosophy; they cannot displace these others. This is to say that a change of consciousness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a change in the world.
It begins with ways of reading. And moves on to practices of inscription. It is a form of engagement. The power of the textual is in the redundancies that it builds.

And so for day 930

Line Ups

Rachel Giese concludes her "The New Normal: The Mainstreaming of Mental Health" which appeared in The Walrus with an anecdote which not only humanizes the content but also offers us an object lesson. Her little story is about the service in the cafe staffed by clients of CAMH, service she received and service she witnessed being given.

The woman who served me was painstaking in her attention, reading me all the ingredients in every tea on offer. It took several minutes, but no one waiting behind me complained. After I got my drink, a man entered the café in a wheelchair, cutting to the front of the line. It was a cold day, but he was barefoot, and his clothes and beard were dirty. He was agitated and muttering loudly. There was a brief, slightly nervous pause in the noisy room. Then the woman who had just served me took control. She tended to him with the same level of care, interpreting his mumbled order, fishing into his pocket for his money and slowly counting it, then carrying his coffee to the table he pointed to outside. Everyone waited as she served him. Coffee in hand, he settled down to drink it. She returned to the cash register and took the next order. It was nothing more than a small moment of kindness and grace. But in this gentrified corner of the busy, changing city, it was its own kind of revolution.

And so for day 929

Dark Stuff

What can you see in tiny steaming cups of mocha?

[...] shade
goes straight down, espresso
dense with intent [...]
From "Shade" by Jan Zwicky collected in Songs for Relinquishing the Earth

I like the arrangement here producing endwords — shade, espresso, intent — they have their own depth. Zwicky has lodged an imagist poem in the heart of a larger piece like a small cup itself with provoking aroma.

And so for day 928

The Eternal Semiosis of the World

Pat Cadigan. Synners. Local colour from the novel. More than mere colour, a contributor to the versimilitude effect.

She let the music wash over her, speed-thrash, cruise-metal, bang-rock, hard-core soul. It was almost like being back in one of those bad old Boston bars, Babe's Beantown, Harborville, Kathye's Klown, in the before-days, putting on a plain old tox — getting shitfaced, smashed, blasted, hammered — and then jumping all night to some group so hungry you got to starving yourself.
This a brilliant paragraph from so many perspectives. It is however the enumeration that first struck me and for some reason echoed with a reminder of Roland Barthes's The Fashion System (Système de la mode). It was with the help of Jonathan Culler and his book on Barthes in the series Fontana Modern Masters that I was able to make the connection between fashion signification and realism in literature. Culler quotes from Barthes:
Fashion-writing thus comes back to the postulate of realist style, according to which an accumulation of small and precise details confirms the truth of the thing represented.
He adds "Fashion energetically and resourcefully naturalizes its signs because it must make what it can of small differences, proclaiming the importance of trivial modifications." And quotes Barthes again but this time from Essais critiques "fashion and literature signify strongly, subtly, with all the complexities of an extreme art, but, if you will, they signify 'nothing', their being is in the signifying, not what is signified".

Back to Cadigan — do you get drunker knowing more slang for shitfaced? Are you more knowing if you know?

And so for day 927


From sometime in the 80s, an illustration produced for a poster for a fundraiser for an interval house or shelter.

Here juxtaposed with a poem by Li Po "Quiet Night Thoughts"
   Before my bed
there is bright moonlight
   So that it seems
like frost on the ground:

   Lifting my head
I watch the bright moon,
   Lowering my head
I dream that I'm home.
Translated by Arthur Cooper. Published by Penguin, 1973.

And so for day 926

Last of the Lost

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin quotes extensively from Doctor Richerand's New Elements of Physiology on the order in which the senses shut down upon the approach of death.

Memory is extinguished next. The dying man, who in his delirium could still recognize those who approached his bedside, now fails to recognize his closest friends and members of his own family. Finally he ceases to feel; but his senses fail in a definite order: taste and smell give no further sign of their existence; a mist veils his eyes, which assume a sinister expression; but his ear remains sensitive to sound. This is doubtless why the ancients, to make sure that life was extinct, used to shout into the ear of the deceased. When the dying man can no longer smell, taste, see, or hear, there remains the sensation of touch, and he stirs restlessly in his bed, stretching out his arms, and constantly changing his position; he makes movements, as we have already remarked, analogous to those of the foetus in its mother's womb. Death is about to strike, but it cannot frighten him, for he has no more ideas; and he finishes life as he began it, unconsciously.
Trans. Anne Drayton The Philosopher in the Kitchen.

Makes one believe that the fulness of eros resides in triggering all one's senses together much like eating with one's fingers.

And so for day 925

Chew. Spit. Ferment.

A worldwide tour of the powers of mastication.

To make liquor from grain or other starchy foods, the enzyme action of a substance such as malt or saliva must be used to change starch to sugar. When a very starchy food is chewed, either raw or after heating, diastatic enzymes in the saliva break down the starch into sugar. In this most primitive style of making alcohol from starch, the chewed mash is then spit out together with saliva, put in a container and fermented through the action of wild yeast. Liquor was made from chewed mash in Central and South America, including chicha beer made from maize or manioc, and in East and Southeast Asia. According to Chinese historical chronicles, liquor was made from chewed rice during the seventh century by the people of Primorsky Krai (the Siberian coastal region nearest to Korea and Japan), during the tenth century by minority groups of southern China, and during the Ming era (1368-1644) in Cambodia. Chewed-mash liquor survived up to the early twentieth century in Taiwan, where it was made by aboriginal peoples from their staple millet as well as from rice, and in the nearby mainland Chinese province of Fujian.
from The History and Culture of Japanese Food by Naomichi Ishige.

Reminds one of other beverages that pass through digestive passages such as Kopi Luwak coffee.

And so for day 924



A list of words, all containing the suffix -graph, to set in relation to this from Shirley Neuman in Gertrude Stein: Autobiography and the Problem of Narration.

What interested Stein [...] was [the] potential for replacing the linearity of the graph in autobiography (with its implications of cause and effect) by a multi-dimensional spatial configuration. [...] In The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, the "space of time" which replaces chronological progression in narrative provides a multiplicity of vantage points from which to perceive the persons and events of a given moment of narrative.
Neuman begins her study with Stein's experiments with the relation between the time being written and the time of writing. As she moves to the later works such as Paris, France and Wars I Have Seen she factors into account the time of readings. She concludes her book thus:
She transforms the genre into a profoundly impersonal one, a manifestation of the process of writing rather than an artifact of life. Her audience can no longer read as though it were standing invisibly "behind the scenes," part "objective" observer with his "delicate shade of superiority," part voyeur, part vicarious participant. Her readers must be her equals; their glimpses into the autobiography cannot be privileged but must be earned by the creative effort of their own minds recreating the process of Writing as they read.
This reminds one of Kaja Silverman's exposition of the three subjectivies (the speaking subject, the subject of speech, the spoken subject). See Trapdoor.


And so for day 923


The poet warns us not to "expect a catalogue of grace" which makes it weirdly difficult to quote one bit that doesn't run into the specific particulars of some observed realty. But here goes with a bit of jumping:

Everything is in the light of everything [...]
with an unfolding plenitude we are [...]
Everything, before everything, is yours
and none an island — no, none, none, not one
but is the others'. We possess ourselves
only so far as others lean to us
and draw us, moving, into their stirred house
as easily as air, only so far
as everything remains itself and sings.
It is a poem that seems to transcribe mutability in its lines and yet there is a core of material resistance. If this sounds esoteric. It is. "Everything" is by the poem's end almost a metaphysical principle. But it withdraws and "remains itself and sings." We have Robin Skelton and his editors to thank for carrying this poem over into In This Poem I Am: Selected Poetry of Robin Skelton. Just close your eyes and repeat "everything" and you will get a sense of the effect. But you will miss the particulars. For that you need the poem as whole. But beware. You will begin to see everything as not just anything. Stein's anyone and everyone, anyone?

And so for day 922

Sleeping and Thinking

Brillat-Savarin in Anne Drayton's translation of the The Philosopher in the Kitchen (La Physiologie du goût) offers the following words in the midst of a meditation upon sleep.

What of the mind in the meantime? It lives its separate life; it is like the pilot of a ship becalmed, a mirror in the night; a lute which no one touches; it awaits some new stimulation.
Our author does concede that certain psychologists "maintain that the mind is never inactive" and he goes on in the next meditation to examine dreaming. And leaves all metaphors of inactivity behind.

And so for day 921

Building and Being

Lew Welch in the conclusion of How I Read Gertrude Stein offers a picture of the artist not as a tortured soul but as a builder.

And if you listen long enough you get the whole of art from her. You get no rule-of-thumb formulations, but you get thousands of ideas which you yourself can apply. You can build your own art, because she has shown you that art is what the artist makes it, and that artists are just like everyone else. You may not build anything that anyone else wants, or finds exciting, but that is just one of the rules of the game. No one can ever know, while he is building something, if it is the thing that must be built, that everyone will one day recognize as being the thing that defines the time in which it was built. But you go right on building, because if you are building something you are most like yourself, and after all what else can you be?
I like how this passage moves from learning something through a continuous building to a question of authenticity. Which is posed as a question. Because it is a question, I note a slight edge of hesitancy. It could very well be you most unlike yourself when you are building.

And so for day 920

Scarry on Beauty

First delivered as a Tanner Lecture, On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry has two parts: "On Beauty and Being Wrong" and "On Beauty and Being Fair". The argument in the second part is etymologically driven and phenomenologically derived. It is a remarkable feat to link beauty with justice through subtle shifts in a semantic field.

The notion of a pact here again comes into play. A single word, "fairness," is used both in referring to loveliness of countenance and in referring to the ethical requirement for "being fair," "playing fair" and "fair distribution." One might suppose that "fairness" as an ethical principle had come not from the adjective for comely beauty but instead from the wholly distinct noun for the yearly agricultural fair, the "periodical gathering of buyers and sellers." But it instead — as scholars of etymology have shown — travels from a cluster of roots in European languages (Old English, Old Norse, Gothic), as well as cognates in both Eastern European and Sanskrit, that all originally express the aesthetic use of "fair" to mean "beautiful" or "fit" — fit both in the sense of "pleasing to the eye" and in the sense of "firmly placed," as when something matches or exists in accord with another thing's shape or size. "Fair" is connected to the verbs "vegen" (Dutch) and "fegen" (German) meaning "to adorn," "to decorate," and "to sweep." [...] But "fegen" is in turn connected to the verb "fay," the transitive and intransitive verb meaning "to join," "to fit," "to unite," "to pact." "Pact" in turn — the making of a covenant or treaty or agreement — is form the same root as "pax, pacis," the word for peace.
It would be a stretch to allow the argument to rest on this relay. Scarry will examine other links based on a typology of thing, beholder and creator.
When we speak about beauty, attention sometimes falls on the beautiful object, at other times on the perceiver's cognitive act of beholding the beautiful thing, and at still other times on the creative act that is prompted by one's being in the presence of what is beautiful. The invitation to ethical fairness can be found at each of these three sites [...]
It is easy to follow Scarry through this trajectory though I somehow find myself resisting her critique of those that invoke the danger of reification in regards to beauty. The old fashioned notion of idolatry is worth broaching.

And so for day 919


If the cogency of the incoherent can be compelling what is there to commend the command of coherence?

The answer resides in the relation between force and the dissipation of form.

What is thrown away is what is collected. Rejection rebounds into projection.

With assurance continue to decompose. Risk composure. A gamble on adhering reassembly.

Stickyslashes, virgulesgluing.

And so for day 918


Briefly, alliteration abbreviates the breakless breath in a tug that permits the round: voice joining voice in a game that is more trip up than catch up.

skipper shipper
skirt shirt
Following a long line of feeling recalling the rupture rapture of an earlier inscription of “sheer” an imitation of Robert Creeley’s Pieces races to enjambement
glint on glass
sheer as slick as sheen
sheer as pure
as transparent
sparkle sharp sheer
And in some made up language
translates as
drunken daffodils
sodden ground
rain Sorge
And so for day 917

Salty Passions

Peter Kline in The Everyday Genius makes a useful observation about how theory cleaves to practice. Theory often meditates between two practices or two aspects of a multi-player activity. Kline is concerned with the connection between thinking about learning and reflecting upon teaching:

Take a notion about learning, turn it over, and what you will see on the other side is a notion about teaching. That's because any attempt to understand learning usually derives from someone's effort to teach something. And in practice, any theory about learning worth its salt will be based on the desire to teach and the practical experiences of teaching.
The mention of salt and the divergent vision of salaries (salt payments) troubles the easy insistence on passion (sans recompense) and is worth taking with a pinch of salt. Look at how the "what" - the something that was the object of a someone's effort to teach - disappears into desire and practical experiences. Odd formulation given how very much of Kline's book leads one to observe carefully the dynamics of a situation and invites a full bodied interaction with the learning environment. What — there's the rub.

And so for day 916

Materiality of Language

One of the best examples of the materiality of language at work has been provided by Adrian Miles in a posting to the Humanist discussion list. Humanist 26.663 "digital materiality"

A simple example I use with undergraduates. In a lecture I ask "What rhymes with shop and you buy at the butchers?" Someone answers "chop". I repeat this until the whole room replies with "chop", I then ask "what do you do at a green light?" And the room replies "stop". Most have no awareness of the error until I point out that they would have failed their driving test.

The point? That there is a material facet to language that is present, easily able to disrupt logic, reason, the rationale, that it has its own pleasures of the body (it can be carnal and corporeal) and its own resistances. After all only some things rhyme with each other, intonation can fundamentally change meaning, and as Derrida in Limited Inc demonstrated, even accurate quotation is no guarantor of the integrity or sovereignty of reason. (Or I could use Kristeva and her notion of the chora as a way to think about a materiality outside of the rational.) These material aspects have qualities and they push back, offer resistance on their own terms [...] In many ways it is what it means to be an artist in any medium, to live with the materiality of your medium so you learn how to listen to it.
I flunked the driving test, captivated by rhyme, I said "stop" [the effect is even more pronounced as the eye scans ahead and finds the word - silent reading is no safeguard of sense].

And so for day 915


I recently found myself recommending a neat site for the grandchildren of my sister. (Parks Canada has great site on the Burgess Shale with a virtual submarine ride. See http://burgess-shale.rom.on.ca/en/index.php).

My repeating this here serves as a pretext to introduce an image the reproduces my mother's hand written note on the Irish potato famine and immigration to Canada. She was ironing one day in the early 70s and she heard a piece on the radio and transcribed the particulars for me and I have kept the item tucked away in a Larouse dictionary through countless moves over the years. If I recall correctly there was a theme of social justice in the remarks made by my mother as she passed on the note about 1846. Something about the duty of welcoming.

Never undervalue the impact of the hand written note.

And so for day 914

No Quotation Recommendation

Kuldip Gill's posthumous Valley Sutra (Caitlin Press, 2009) reminds me of two other books of poetry. The first part of Valley Sutra is called "The Mill Town" and because of its focus on locale and people in a specific region of British Columbia it reminds me of Daphne Marlatt's Steveston. The two are distinctly different in style but in ethos they resemble each other with how through the poet's voice people and place garner attention to both their specificity and their transcending the local. The second part of Valley Sutra is given over to poems centred on a criminal but which reflect different points of view. The reader of Canadian poetry would make the connection between "Bill Miner's Notebook" and Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. There is even one poem in a style developed by Ondaatje as he says in the Afterword to the 2008 edition "I attempted everything. I took a stanza and wrote it backwards and in one case I kept the result". Kuldip Gill picks up the form and makes it her own.

Elsewhere I have praised Kuldip Gill's earlier work Dharma Rasa. I liked her then. I like her now.

And so for day 913

Speculations Chronotopological

We are infected.

"retrochronal semiovirus, in which a time further in the future than the one in which we exist and choose infects the host present, introducing itself in simulacra, until it destroys all the original chronotocytes of the host imagination"

Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr. Fiction 2000 eds. George Slusser and Tom Shippey (U. of Georgia Press, 1992) p. 26
Symptom: we have begun to speculate on Buddhist underpinnings to Russian logic and mathematics that would have influenced Bakhtin's chronotope studies.
Besides the Asiatic Researches (issues as early as 1799 are quoted by Schopenhauer), it can be seen from the same list [of best books on Buddhism] that in the middle period of his lifelong and careful studies of these problems there followed a better acquaintance with the Mahāyāna sources, mainly of Tibetan Buddhism, thanks to the outstanding scholarly services rendered to the promotion of Asian studies by the Russian St. Petersburg Academy. The high standard of the internationally organized research work carried out by this Academy and the fundamental importance, even today, of some works, especially the Sanskrit Dictionary (in seven volumes) and the famous series of the Bibliotheca Buddhica, should be better known and appreciated by Buddhists in Asia. [...] The books published in the 20th century (down to 1930) by the leading scholar of that Academy, Th. Stcherbatsky, and his collaborators (Rosenberg, Obermuller) on special problems of Buddhist philosophy (Buddhist Logic and Epistemology, Nirvāna, and detailed analysis of Abhidhamma terms and implicit philosophical questions) may rightly be considered as the most concise Buddhist studies that the West has produced down to the present time.

Bhikkhu Nanajivako Schopenhauer and Buddhism (Kandy, Ceylon: the Buddhist Publication Society, 1970)
Just one more take on twisted time.

And so for day 912


Involved. Attached. Applied.

Engagement is a construct involving three dimensions: behavioural (involvement); affective (personal attachment to others, such as teachers and classmates); and cognitive (application to learning). Engagement is critical because it makes a difference to academic achievement and fosters in students a sense of belonging and self-worth. In addition, 'engaged learners are doers and decision-makers who develop skills in learning, participation and communication that will accompany them throughout adulthood.'

(From Australian Directions in Indigenous Education 2005-2008)
Applied. Attached. Involved.

And so for day 911

Comprehending Through Creation, Collaboration and Communication

This bit on the Categories of Knowledge and Skills

The achievement chart identifies four categories of knowledge and skills that are common to both the elementary and secondary panels and to all subject areas and disciplines. The categories, defined by clear criteria, represent four broad areas of knowledge and skills within which the expectations for any given subject/course can be organized. The four categories should be considered as interrelated, reflecting the wholeness and interconnectedness of learning. The categories help teachers to focus not only on students’ acquisition of knowledge but also on their development of the skills of thinking, communication, and application.

The categories of knowledge and skills are as follows:

Knowledge and Understanding: Subject-specific content acquired in each grade/course (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding)

Thinking: The use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes

Communication: The conveying of meaning through various forms

Application: The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts

In all subjects and courses, students should be given numerous and varied opportunities to demonstrate the full extent of their achievement of the curriculum expectations (content standards) across all four categories of knowledge and skills.

(From Page 17 Growing Success (Ontario 2010)
Reminded me of a graphic I produced a while ago about the various activities that a digital humanist (or general cultural worker for that matter) engages in: six moves.

At the base is reporting and connected to it are: Assessing, Accessing, Linking, Switching, Building.

And so for day 910

Digital Materiality

Read in the Globe and Mail

Quebec is touting its cool climate, plentiful water supply, relatively cheap, clean and reliable electricity supply and attractive high-tech talent pool as reasons that make the province the ideal place for the high-heat generating, energy-hungry data warehouses.
Made me think of apocalyptic visions where the power supply is cut. Odd little world when a plug makes one think of memento mori.

And so for day 909


Patricia Young has a lovely poem in An Auto-Erotic History of Swings which has the speaker in love with a mushroom collecting girl. The poem is filled with mycological references: morels, puffballs, hens of the woods, slippery jacks, cauliflower fungi. The ending is very smart. Our speaker turns into a treasure, a mushroom picker's treasure.

for I am sick as an old conk, darker than a truffle
buried in damp earth. For love of the mushroom

picker I lie on the forest floor and break down break
down break down into a pestilence of sweet rot.
The lusciousness achieved by the repetition and the enjambement is an echo of the "Fruiting Bodies" of the title as they ripely burst.

And so for day 908

Digital Virtues

The following comes from a rather lapidary text from 2001: Per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality.


In a way it is a meditation upon the micro-theatre of navigating cyberspace. Each tiny moment is an encounter with decisions and such decisions can be figured as the exercise of a given virtue. It is a glimpse at agency.

Meet the digitalized cardinal virtues.

Prudence is responsible for juggling bonds that link the here and the not here, for the means that link the this and the not this, and the norms that link the now and the not now. Prudence asks the question: is this or is this not the correct question. Prudence invites us to choose between concentrating on time, on person or on place.

Fortitude deals with cognitive overhead with a fight or flee response. Fortitude is concerned with space. Fortitude asks whether to stay or to go. Fortitude manages bases.

Temperance asks whether it is time or not. Temperance manages messages and cues.

Justice assesses who counts as a person and by which names they are to be known.

Their portfolios can be shuffled. Prudence need not be the exclusive metacognitive virtue, that role can be played by the time management guru, Temperance. Fortitude is sometimes needed to ask the question about the question. Justice can sit in judgement, of course.
The text of course needs to be aerated, supplied with examples.

And so for day 907

First Letters First

Phil Hall ends "Adios Polka" the opening poem of Killdeer with the observation

 there is nowhere to go off
but wordward
And so it is no great surprise that a line from earlier work (White Porcupine) comes to mind:
that is distance or history — histance or distory
whose play with the signifier exemplifies a kind of word work that mimics a natural process:
the idea dies
 then the animal inside the idea
crawls out & clings
I want to signal here the delicate play that Hall's poetry makes with line indentations. It creates a rippling effect down the left margin — it is more noticeable on larger runs of text than those quoted here. Not all the poems play with such lineation which makes it distinctive when deployed.

  First character first, be it a blank space.

And so for day 906

Algebra Builds Homes

I have blogged before about Sachiko Murakami's online poetry project http://projectrebuild.ca and now I have the pleasure of quoting from the book Rebuild.

Let the home stand for us
Let the beauty of our form be complex. Let our complexity be known.
This is from "Let The Home". I like how a simple statement with a hint of algebraic form gives rise to the the sonorous repetition of "let" and "complex". Such simple means to achieve an intricate structure. And very reflective of the way in which metaphor works.

And so for day 905

Wonder of Words

Diana Kuprel and Marek Kusiba in their translation of selections form the poetry of Ryszard Kapuściński (I Wrote Stone) render a stanza from "The Laws of Nature" with economy and attention to the sparseness of the gesture being described. We can sense the stretch of the reach:

the word
an appearance
an attempt to grasp
the ungraspable
This is the middle stanza of a poem devoted to silence and the failure of words or at least to the tendency of words to lead to temptation and dead ends. I like how the middle is about the attempt and it is only later that judgement intervenes about success or failure.

The Kapuściński, especially this particular stanza, reminds me of a passage in J. Edward Chamberlin's If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? Finding Common Ground which is more positive in tone and yet equally fascinated by the wonder that is word use.
We recognize the strangeness of reality in the strangeness of our imaginations; and this recognition comes to us in moments of wonder.

All this happens within the traditions of words and images and sounds and movement in the arts and the sciences that together constitute our cultures and give shape and character to our communities. It is these traditions that have permanence, that define what is worthwhile in our lives, and that prevent us from being immobilized by a dumb despair or (what may be worse) mobilized into a blind fury. The only education that matters is the one that teaches us how to watch and listen to them, for it is the ear that is sensitive to sound and rhythm, and the eye that is attentive to pattern and design, that make available their imaginative resources and the nourishment they provide, and that show us how to take comfort in contradiction.
One is lush. The other spare. And in both we have the eye and the ear working together but not necessarily in tandem.

And so for day 904

Doreen Dotto

Celebrating Couples. I like the composition on this card announcing a photography exhibition at the Photo Passage at Harbourfront. The layout nicely frames the subjects in a bed with an amazing headboard with scroll work and beneath the photo is the reproduction of their handwritten comments about life together.

We've lived together for five years with
a cat and a dog in an overpriced Toronto
We have the same birthday
We are always polite
Oh... and one of us tells really excellent jokes
Yeah... and one of us laughs a lot.
Linda & Maria
There is a timeless quality to this piece of ephemera. And that is abetted by Doreen Dotto's website where her exhibits are simply listed without dates. http://www.doreendotto.com/about.html

And so for day 903

Walking Reading Writing

Feel free to wander through the alleys and avenues of this paragraph.

In The Practice of Everyday Life, de Certeau refers to "the long poem of walking" as a series of rhetorical strategies expressed in physical space: at street level the body turns, detours and returns in the same way a phrase manifests, inverts and completes itself on the printed page. In this sense walking is at once lyrical and vividly metaphorical: we leap ahead, retrace our steps, omit passages, take shortcuts, lose ourselves, experience surprise and become open to discovery. In short, we walk in the same way we read — and for that matter, write.
From Amy Lavender Harris, Imagining Toronto.

And so for day 902

What Poets Do

There are some wonderful passages to lift from Guy Davenport The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays. One occurs in "Spinoza's Tulips" [an essay on Wallace Stevens] where the world nourishes the work of cogitation:

[O]nce it is understood [...] Stevens's use of landscape in practically every poem can be seen as the mundus eternally feeding the mind, the vital and proper traffic between reality and the imagination.
And that ethereal connection gets translated into a cornucopia in "Jonathan Williams"
The poet in our time does what poets have always done, given a tongue to dumbness, celebrated wonderments, complained of the government, told tales, found sense where none was to be perceived, found nonsense where we thought there was sense; in short, made a world for the mind (and occasionally the body too) to inhabit.
And to belabour succinctly I repurpose this quotation from Clint Burnham Be Labour Reading
a UFO lands and
we fight to give it
tourist brochures
As mundane as they may be "tourist brochures" take skill to write (and often to read). It's what poets do.

And so for day 901