Flow and Fold

Not a wonder that my reading stumbles and sees "loss" for "less" in these lines from Suzanne Buffam's Past Imperfect from the sequence entitled "Inklings": "to retrieve it you'd think / we'd be gifted with less."

Earlier we encountered this in "Sire Gromore Somyr Joure" which builds upon delicate repetition that becomes slowly attenuated.

Knees were for kneeling. Lashes were for looking
at the sun. The river was slow and it hurried.
And later the notion of loss bites again in the conclusion of a poem called "What is Called Déjà Vu"
like a dream inside which a crouched
animal is awaiting
release, recognition.
Its little teeth glisten.
Same familiar facility with repetitions and alliterations and the zest of the zinger.

And so for day 1844
31.12.2011

Putting and Retrieving

This in response to a call issued in Humanist 30.757 hands on

Willard,

I want to add some remarks about the relation of craft to orchestration.

You characterize Tim Ingold's take on the implements of writing:
But he also comes down rather hard on modern interfaces for writing -- the typewriter and its digital imitation -- which do rather badly in comparison with pen and paper. He does not mention the mouse.
You wonder "what would be a persuasive answer to his objection".

I think it begins by noting how pen and hand like typewriter can display in space a many-voiced text. Ingold [in Making] cites Heidegger to the effect that 'modern man writes "with" the typewriter' and emphasizes that "with" is placed under quotation marks by Heidegger. This invites also thinking about writing "with" pen. A direction that Ingold does not take.

Pen and paper can involve many inks, many pieces of paper and many scripts (cursive, blockprinting, etc). Typewriting can involve carriage returns, spacing, backspacing, strikeouts of various sorts and on some models different colours. A word processor provides a full symphony of typographic effects.

I stress the similarities here to raise the question of telos. If the end is to capture the many voices in one's head then the putative superiority of one mode over another strikes a rather strange note.

Of course in an entirely oral situation we can imagine the assignment of various parts to various groupings of people in a choral round. Thus in certain ways the pen wielder is akin to a conductor.

Following Heidegger, Ingold asserts that the hand can hold and the fingertip can merely touch. But what of counting with one's fingers or committing to memory a list with places reserved for each item on each finger? "With" indeed.

We place an idea or a voice in a certain locale in the world and then retrieve.

I would venture that placing is akin to craft and retrieval involves orchestration.

In any event, I find it difficult to sustain the narrative of decay that Ingold invokes ("The drift of technological enhancement has been to substitute touch sensitivity at the fingertips for the sentient correspondence of telling by hand.") as I key in the words that were written by hand out of print in the library copy of the book. The line breaks shift. Migration is the standard.

In the fingertips is the charm of voice.
Intriguing interplay between rest and migration — the words are always already reconstellating.

And so for day 1843
30.12.2011

Nothing and Essence

This takes its force from being set in a parenthesis.

George once again eschews experience as having nothing to do with the present moment. (Isherwood himself, it should be observed, "formed" fairly early in life into the person he would forevermore be. He was an emotional prodigy; and to a prodigy, experience is indeed nothing.)
From 50 Gay and Lesbian Books Everybody Must Read edited by Richard Canning — Patrick Ryan on A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood.

And so for day 1842
29.12.2011

Not a Nautical Term

I thought the "veronica" in Eamon Grennan's "oystercatchers in flight" (There Now ) was a word capturing the manoeuvres of the birds.

[…]
         a band of oystercatchers faces all one way
into a nor'wester so shafts of windlight
         ignite each orange beak in this abiding
tribe of black till you clap and their risen black
         turns white as they veronica on wind and
[…]
But what was an effect of wind was also an effect of light. The pattern of the birds — black turning to white — is likened to a sweat-stained shroud but perhaps more aptly to this definition of veronica: in bullfighting, a slow movement of the cape away from a charging bull by the matador, who stands in place. [said to be by association of the attitude of the matador with the depiction of St. Veronica holding out a cloth to Jesus] (New Oxford American Dictionary).

Not a nautical term. No.

And so for day 1841
28.12.2011

Time-Space and Story Curves

Paul Ricoeur Temps et récit I

Ce qui fait énigme, c'est la structure même d'une image qui vaut tantôt comme empreinte du passé, tantôt comme signe du future
Trace and sign take on some ample wings in the context of verbal constructions.

See Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics
Text-time is thus inescapably linear, and therefore cannot correspond to the multilinearity of 'real' story-time.(2)

(2) One should note, however, two factors which tone down the irreversibility of text-time: (a) the fact of writing and hence the possibility of re-reading; (b) the existence of quasi-spatial patterns which establish supra-linear links, e.g. analogy.


And so for day 1840
27.12.2011

Make Space for the Girl

Found poem.

I've come from him
and how close to me
he remains.

someone, somewhere,
will look for me and
I will be found
From trans poet, Gwen Benaway Passage.
First stanza is the last stanza of "Nightfall" p. 69
Last stanza is the last stanza of "What's Wild in Wild" p. 21

What is ostensibly a "him" referring to the lost ("divorced") lover is inscribed in such a way to reveal an intriguing (unconscious) introversion of the mourned object: "in cold light, a marker for how far // I've come from him / and how close to me / he remains" — that gap produces a displacement if not condensation of the signifier — another him may be lost.

Thomas Pavel, Fictional Worlds
[T]here is no guarantee that all sentences of the text can be traced back to one and the same world, or to the same universe.
And as we learn here, pronoun reference can shift. Pavel reminds us "referential behavior includes a creative, risk-taking aspect, as well as a tendency to settle down into conventional patterns."

And so for day 1839
26.12.2011

Golden Dragon Dining Guidelines

In case you don't know how much to order:

HOW MUCH TO ORDER

All our foods to take out are put in paper pails of pint and quart measure of standard size and will stay hot for an hour but may be reheated, if necessary, in double boiler or saucepan over a slow fire only.
In this era pre-microwave oven, there are also recommendations as to when to order.
WHEN TO ORDER

We recommend calling for your food after your table is set for serving, to give you the most Delicious Hot Meal.
No eating from the carton, eh.

And so for day 1838
25.12.2011

On the Temporal Nature of Coming Out

A digression from an essay on the various versions of Adrienne Rich's "Heterosexism and Lesbian Existence" [said essay about the shifting valence attached to gay men as characterized in its various emendations of the footnotes] …

For every impasse, a digression. Coming out stories are narratives of separation, passage — risk taking — into uncharted territory. But not always against the grain of connecting with our past. For our coming out stories also reflect how we found the resources to step out of time. Through the telling we become our own models experiencing history not as then but as now.
The temporalities of "coming out" would involve a recuperation of the past. Though not always.

And so for day 1837
24.12.2011

Mere Pattern

Wendy Steiner. The Colors of Rhetoric

It is the norms of pictorial realism that allow us to see process in pictures; without them we see mere pattern.
This takes on a certain coloration when one considers the earlier considerations on chance and its psychological dimensions:
If we accept pure randomness we risk appearing as bewildered ignoramuses; if we insist on finding the allegorical system behind it all we become dreary pedants […] The double threat of exhaustion and boredom continually stalks the reader of nonsense.
Voilà - the connoisseur of nonsense like the fancier of pictures is at home in mere pattern and in process.

And so for day 1836
23.12.2011

Flaneurie Fancies

Jonathan Raban
Soft City

living in the city is an art, and we need the vocabulary of art, of style, to describe the peculiar relation between man and material that exists in the continual creative play of urban living
this i take it also references the destructions of the urban fabric and how they modify the traversals

And so for day 1835
22.12.2011

Skipping Stones

salvaged from some scribblings

to fling a fossil into eventflowness

the failure of gravitas to sedimentalize flight

pared
as if the truth had not been told

20/11/98
captured and released

And so for day 1834
21.12.2011

The Built Whorl

Jeanette Winterson
"The Semiotics of Sex"

Art is not a private nightmare, not even a private dream, it is a shared human connection that traces the possibilities of past and future in the whorl of now. It is a construct, like science, like religion, like the world itself. It is as artificial as you and me and as natural too.
Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery

And so for day 1833
20.12.2011

Time-travel Tricolon

Camella Grace
on Timothy Leary
Design for Dying

He was a man who touched the future, studied the past, and sculpted the present.
Notice how fragile the construction is. It requires the casting of the future-past-present in order to solidify its rhetorical strength. Any other order smashes the implied narrative that peering into the future through an observation of the past yields to moulding the present. We are brought back to our implied point of departure. The present is the past of the future.

And so for day 1832
19.12.2011

S-o-r-t-i-n-g Sort of Thing

Robert Bringhurst

SOME REFLECTIONS ON
READING AND WRITING
CULTURE AND NATURE
   &
SORTING THINGS OUT

The cover title is nicely "sorted" on the half-title page.

READING


WRITING


CULTURE


NATURE


SORTING


SORTING


SORTING
A fine production from the Rochester Institute of Technology Press to mark the presentation of the Frederic W. Goudy Award to Robert Bringhurst.

And so for day 1831
18.12.2011

Group Dynamics: Micro Trio

a run found at bottom of a note on agents and worlds

clay / clef / chef
The group becomes intriguing when one considers the French word for "key" and its pronunciation. I do find the visual translations engrossing.

And so for day 1830
17.12.2011

Jogging the Memory

Two lines linked or subtly severed? In my mind these lines from "Old Song, New Song" merge on a scene of an outdoor social under resinous boughs.

a whiff of pine —
didn't we meet at the strawberry tea?
from Yoko's Dogs Rhinoceros

Yoko's Dogs is a collaborative group of four poets—Jane Munro, Susan Gillis, Mary di Michele and Jan Conn—dedicated to writing in Japanese forms.

There's more to admire. I thought it quite elegant to repeat the turtle-skunk figure in the context of both love and desire. The double take is delightful.

"the turtle buries its eggs / the skunk digs them up — / such is desire"

"love is also / the turtle buries its eggs / the skunk digs them up "

And so for day 1829
16.12.2011

Lingua Franca Revisited

Language Wars: Is English bound to remain the dominant global tongue?
Stephen Henighan

This summer, in Russia, I saw something different: crowds of Chinese tourists entering shops and restaurants, typing their orders into their iPhones in Mandarin, then pressing a button to translate them into Russian and holding up their screens for Russian clerks and waiters to read. Plenty of trading took place, yet no one uttered a word of English. Translation technology that dispenses with the burden of cross-cultural verbal communication at a basic level may yet rein in our language’s global ambitions.

http://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2015/11/language-wars/
Reminds me of how very similarly Chinese script works across dialects: as a bridge.

And so for day 1828
15.12.2011

A Column Electrified

This bit from Hal Foster The Return of the Real: The Avant-garde at the End of the Century has been reproduced with line breaks set at intervals similar to a newspaper column.

Out of similar symptoms
McLuhan arrives at a different
diagnosis. As in the spectacle of
Debord, so in "the global village"
of McLuhan: distance, spatial as
well as critical, is eclipsed. But
rather than separation, McLuhan
sees "retribalization," and rather
than criticality lost, he sees
distraction transvalued. Oblivious
to Benjamin, McLuhan develops
related ideas, often only to invert
them. For McLuhan new
technologies do not penetrate
the body "surgically" so much as
they extend it "electrically." Yet
like Benjamin he sees this
operation as double: technology
is both an excessive stimulus, a
shock to the body, and a
protective shield against such
stimulus-shock, with the stimulus
converted into the shield (which
then invites more stimulus, and
so on). […] Mcluhan sees this
extension as an ecstatic body
become electric, wired to the
world, and sometimes as a
"suicidal auto-amputation, as if
the central nervous system could
no longer depend on the physical
organs to be protective buffers
against the slings and arrows of
outrageous mechanism."
Hamlet be damned. Foster's choice of verb (seeing) to describe McLuhan's meditations on technology displays the latter's occularcentrism and it is but a step to an analysis of phallologocentrism. Foster continues with brio:
With these contradictory tropes of extension and amputation, McLuhan remains with the logic of technology as prosthesis — as a divine supplement to the body that threatens a demonic mutilation, or a glorious phallicization of the body that presupposes an horrific castration. Operative in different modernisms, this logic presumes both a male body and a split subject, a subject in lack (indeed, in McLuhan the subject remains a Hamlet wounded by slings and arrows).
Foster goes on to question whether or not we have today exceeded such a logic. A question for 1996. And a question for now?

And so for day 1827
14.12.2011

Ordering Counting Questioning

John Cage

Would I have to know how to count in order to ask questions?
A line sandwiched between the following:
Would I have to know how many questions I was going to ask?

[…]

Do I have to know when to stop?
As recorded in the "Composition" section of Silence

And so for day 1826
13.12.2011

The Voices of Here We Are

This passage takes on an added dimension when we note that the reader is none too sure what voice belongs to the pronouncements.

This is not a university: it is a sanatorium.

[…]

Here we are, and my father is looking more and more like an old book on a library shelf. Here we are, and there is no going back and no going forward. In this sanatorium the greatest kindness is that there is no time and no place: there are only books. There are only books and the doctors and patients who with infinite care and reverence, watch over them so that they will last, so that something will survive.
The Impossible Mourning of Jacques Derrida. Sean Gaston doing the voices…

And so for day 1825
12.12.2011

Catalytic Middle Term

This is a question:

It looks like a set of words in a column: manuscript, oratory, scholarly ap[aratus].

Position is important. The question: how does the practice of oratory reflect upon manuscript culture to produce the scholarly or critical apparatus? What is implied in the reading top to bottom is the operation "followed by" and what is generated by this group is a challenge to a historiography of rupture where oral cultures are disrupted by the coming of writing — all accomplished with a memorable trio.

And so for day 1824
11.12.2011

The Context of Contest

There is for me a very interesting accidental in the text of "Film as Dialogical Art: Bakhtin, Pragmatics and Film Criticism" by Janina Falkowska a paper presented at the 1991 "Interaction in Process" Colloquium of Comparative Literature in Canada and published in Volume XXII Number 2 (Fall 1992) of Comparative Literature in Canada - La Literature Comparée au Canada edited by Joyce Gogin. This is the bit that interests me:

The dialogical nature of Bakhtin's concept of Word can be compared to a pragmatic understanding of the communication act with its sender, receiver, message and contest [sic].
One first believes that "contest" has been substituted for "context" and overlooked in the usual reliance on automated spellcheckers. But the passage continues and raises the spectre of struggle.
Bakhtin's model seems to extend this concept beyond the rigorous perception of the communication act as existing in an actual speech situation. In its most general terms, the dialogic views language as social practice, as the struggle between language systems within a particular socio-historic context. To enter that struggle as a language user means to engage in speech as citation, for any linguistic utterance involves the adoption of, as well as the response to, prior speech. Speech as interlocution becomes an ideological form which both reveals and produces the subject's position within a social system.
Leads me to pose the question of what type dialogical situation exists when the very context is contested.

And so for day 1823
10.12.2011

The R i c h :: The P o o r

The title is mathematically inspired: Peano Curves and Cantor Dust. Infinite occupations of space and infinite recursive reductions. But its tone is political.

Peano Curves and Cantor Dust

I ride the subway
The rich do not

I frequent the delicatessen
The rich do not
The caterer makes a house
call with a set of delectable samples

I ride the subway
The poor do not
They walk blocks and blocks
through slush in sneakers
lined with plastic bags to reach a food bank, a soup kitchen, a place of rest.
I had originally posted this as an index.html file to a subdirectory to offer to anyone who would truncate a url to see something unexpected. http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/portfolio/ Time to bring it out of the shadows. And apply a transformation to some key words. A translation, if you will.

f o o d   s o u p   r e s t

f   o   o   d     s   o   u   p     r   e   s   t

f     o     o     d       s     o     u     p       r     e     s     t


And so for day 1822
09.12.2011

Number One Advice for Living a Writing Life

His first tip for aspiring novelists:

One: work every day. Get into the habit of it. Work, when you don't feel like it, when you've just broken up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, when you're feeling ill, when you've got homework to do. Put your work first. Habit is your greatest ally. Get into the habit of writing when you're young and it'll stay with you. Sixteen is a very good age to start.
Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman: a life in writing The Guardian, March 3, 2011.

And so for day 1821
08.12.2011

Agency Located

A question and answer that arose in contemplating Doležel's work on possible worlds and fiction.

Q. What is between the universe and the world?

A. Agents
But how does an "agent" arise? A fold in the fabric of the universe …

And so for day 1820
07.12.2011

Erosion Erased

one of those small slips of paper containing a line i can't quite trace

the landscape
never left off
leaving its traces
mine? another's? ours?

And so for day 1819
06.12.2011

Coping with Copying

Pick your adventure.

re (coop) eration
re (coup) eration
Recuperating from a transcription error?

And so for day 1818
05.12.2011

A Dearth of Photocopiers

Mario Livio recounts this episode in the life of Évariste Galois. It strikes me as possible only at a time when paper was expensive and the making of copies labour-intensive.

In June 1829, the Academy of Sciences announced the establishment of a new Grand Prix for Mathematics. […] The work was entered in February 1830, shortly before the March 1 deadline. […] For reasons that are not entirely clear, the academy's secretary, Fourier, took the manuscript home. He died on May 16, and the manuscript was never recovered among his papers. Consequently, entirely unbeknownst to Galois, his entry was never even considered for the prize. […] You can imagine Galois's anger when he learned eventually that his own manuscript had been lost. The paranoid young man was now convinced that all the forces of mediocrity had untied to deny him a well-deserved repute.
The Equation That Couldn't be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry

And so for day 1817
04.12.2011

They, The Other Gender

I always thought "one" was a lovely gender neutral word to cover either "he" or "she". Others have taken to using singular "they" (which has support from grammarians going way back). Others use gender free pronouns such as "hir".

Why not import?

I am brought to this question by a poem by Bänoo Zan which begins "Bitter dark / my hair" and ends

Ou has always
liked
esh coffee.
With a note indicating that "ou" is the third person non-gender specific pronoun in Persian and "esh" is the third person singular non-gender specific pronoun.

The full poem appears in From the Root Zine Issue #1 ::hair::

And so for day 1816
03.12.2011

On the Nature of Polls

Charles Bernstein

What seems to be discouraged in American politics is any active participation in the designation and description of public policy issues — a ceding of authority that politicians, journalists, and the public are forced to accept if they are to play the political roles to which they seem to have been assigned. The poll remains the most conspicuous example of this disenfranchising process, for polls elicit binary reactions to always-already articulated policies — a stark contrast to proactive political participation that entails involvement in formulating these policies — including formulating the way they are represented.
A Poetics (Harvard University Press, 1992)

And so for day 1815
02.12.2011

Situatedness

Ian Gold and Suparna Choudhury
"Losing Our Heads"
Literary Review of Canada

Contemporary neuroscience is what the brain looks like through a keyhole. It is the science of the brain in isolation. The brain, however, is not isolated; it is situated. It lives in an environment-first and foremost, in a body, as well as in a physical, social and cultural milieu — and this environment matters to our understanding of what the brain does. A full description of brain function, therefore, will have to be an expansive one that includes neuroscience as well as a characterization of those features of the world — especially the social world — that matter most to the working brain.
http://reviewcanada.ca/magazine/2016/12/losing-our-heads/

And so for day 1814
01.12.2011

Discourse: what is it?

In an interview with Claude Bonnefoy, Michel Foucault gives us a view of what discourse is and what it is not. First step is to note the plural.

Les discours ne sont [pas] seulement une sorte de pellicule transparente à travers laquelle on voit les choses, ne sont pas simplement le miroir de ce qui est et de ce qu'on pense. Le discours a sa consistance propre, son épaisseur, sa densité, son fonctionnement. Les lois du discours existent comme les lois économiques. Un discours, ça existe comme un monument, ça existe comme une technique, ça existe comme un système de rapports sociaux, etc.
In English, we have kept the plural but displaced it a little onto the final iteration.
Discourse is [not] just a kind of transparent film through which one sees things, not merely the mirror of what is and what one thinks. A discourse has its own consistency, its thickness, its density, its functioning. The laws of discourse exist as economic laws. Discourses exist like monuments, exist as technics, exist as systems of social relations, etc.
Michel Foucault. Le beau danger.

And so for day 1813
30.11.2011

Flavour Syntagms

Nelson Handel. "Frontiers of Flavour" in The Walrus June 2005

Though a science, flavour creation is to some degree a literary conceit. To understand it, you must learn to speak it trippingly on your tongue. Every act of tasting has syntax, a succession of distinct flavour sensations that unfold through time. For flavourists, each expresses itself like a well-constructed line of poetry, a series of metaphoric descriptors that attempt to limn the playful dance of experience happening in their mouths. When you eat a strawberry, you don’t apprehend strawberry, you experience a series of stimulations from sweet to sour to lemony to green to hay to sweet, green, sweet, sour, and so on. These are called flavour notes.
Slow-down appreciation releases the complexity of the succession. Interesting way in which the flavour syntagm launches memory in an almost Proustian gestation.

And so for day 1812
29.11.2011

Strident Limpet 1998 Style

Doug Guildford

… between natural and cultural preoccupations …
Doug Guildford splits his time between his studios in downtown Toronto and on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. His practice is rooted in drawing, entrenched in print making and allows for obsessive crochet projects. “My drawing and print work wash back and forth between natural and cultural preoccupations and relate directly to my ongoing body of crocheted sculptural pieces that I refer to as Nets.” His work comes directly from time spent between the tides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Guildford believes in the essential value and the ultimate futility of work.

Open Studio (Contemporary Printmaking Centre) statement
It's the symmetry and the heavenly phallic connotations that led me to clip and save this image from Xtra! No. 362 (September 10, 1998).

And so for day 1811
28.11.2011

Defrosting Frosty

"Thaw" by Brian Jones opens with a memorable image that is eye-popping.

Suddenly the air is careless, generous,
caressing where it gripped. On lawns
the snowmen shrink to tiny pyramids
their eyes frizzled coke roll out like tears
Stuck with an impression of cartoonish strangulation. Must be that caress that turns dangerous. Reminiscent of Browning's Porphyria's Lover.

And so for day 1810
27.11.201

Attracted by a Cover; Entranced by Images

I love the format of this London Magazine edition of poems by Brian Jones. The book feels mid way between a pamphlet and a chapbook but at 56 pages plus end matter it's a book in a neat compact space.

It's more than a pretty package. Take for instance these lines from "Death of a Cat"
Insisted to the last on standing
And walking with frail dignity to its water
In its usual place in the kitchen, disdaining
The saucer we had thoughtfully set near it.
Rings true for any one who has had to witness the slow decline of a pet cat. Also rings true for any one attuned to the many stories of felines and their independent nature.

Jones's line breaks recall the unsteady cat — the verses almost topple over. An impression aided in part by the long vertical format.

And so for day 1809
26.11.2011

Mourning Impossibility

Sean Gaston. The Impossible Mourning of Jacques Derrida

That is what "literature" and the study of literature (which is so often working with the dead) does: as soon as I repeat a story or a narrative, as soon as I cite and recite, as soon as I encounter the elusive resistance of the idiom, the part becomes greater than the whole and the future of the past becomes ungovernable, unbridgeable, unfillable, inventive and the boundaries of the so-called "work of mourning" — the idealization and interiorization of the dead by the living — become untenable, unworkable and mourning becomes impossible, interminable, without rest.
Key for me here are the words "I" and "inventive". What happens in the after of the "as soon as"? I may have repeated but who listens? And then what?

Invention negates the unbridgeable. It creates a place to ford. Invention defeats monumentality. The obstacles are circumvented. This is the work of mourning that never ends. It is not a disaster. It is work. Simply work. Ongoing.

Encountering impossibility is not itself impossible. It bears repeating.

And so for day 1808
25.11.2011

First Garden

Found a picture from the early 1980s of myself in my "first" garden. Not the first garden I have ever visited or weeded. But "my" first. I was living at 199 King Street in Kingston, Ontario, and under the shade of the trees what flourished was the zucchini patch as evidenced in the photograph. The beans fell prey to the squirrels.

That early success may explain my love of vines and climbing plants: akebia, clematis, aristolochia. Though I must admit in the small confines of the current garden on a small Toronto lot the emphasis is on the upward thrust. The lavish horizontal extension of the summer squash belongs to the past. And so we adapt.

And so for day 1807
24.11.2011

Disappearing Act

Got you covered.

All day long
wearing a hat
that wasn't on my head.
Jack Kerouac American Haikus

And so for day 1806
23.11.2011

Of Books and Dimensions

Spotted this on our street.

Rather fanciful to think that this particular TARDIS is indeed bigger on the inside thanks to the imaginative realms opened up by the books it houses and circulates.

I have almost begun a collection of these sites of exchange: charmed by the mighty Little Free Library and its incarnations.

And so for day 1805
22.11.2011

Routes to Artistic Perfection: To Question, To Philosophize

In the essay on Winckelmann, he writes

Again, it is easy to indulge the commonplace metaphysical instinct. But a taste for metaphysics may be one of those things which we must renounce, if we mean to mould our lives to artistic perfection. Philosophy serves culture, not by the fancied gift of absolute or transcendental knowledge, but by suggesting questions which help one to detect the passion, and strangeness, and dramatic contrasts of life.
Walter Pater. The Renaissance.

And so for day 1804
21.11.2011

Invitation to Invention

Fabricate.

Create complex security questions: "If you have a security question on your account like 'What's your mother's maiden name?' make sure it's not actually your mother's maiden name because information like that is quite easy to compromise,” said Taylor Smith, a University of Waterloo Master’s student.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/hackers-messed-with-the-wrong-guy-waterloo-computer-science-student-1.3058315
The name of your invisible friend might be …

Still don't quite follow the logic of compromised information whether truth or fiction it's still leakable.

And so for day 1803
20.11.2011

On Structures Appropriate and Effective

Let The Power Fall
By Robert Fripp
As posted to Netime
By Geert Lovink
1997

1 One can work within any structure.
2 One can work within any structure, some structures are more efficient
than others.
3 There is no structure which is universally appropriate.

19 Reciprocation between independent structures is a framework of interacting units which is itself a structure.
20 Any appropriate structure of interacting units can work within any other structure of interacting units.
21 Once this is so, some structures of interacting units are efficient than others.
The document Let the Power Fall by Robert Fripp
http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9707/msg00094.html
was included in the album of Frippertronics called "Let the Power Fall" (1981)

And so for day 1802
19.11.2011

Errata

I've seen this quoted as "Creation Is A Constant Correcting Of Errors". That needs correcting. It is "drawing" that is the subject of this characterization and the generalization to "creation" is far more tentative…

Drawing is a constant correcting of errors. Maybe a great deal of creation is actually that. There’s not really a point when you are suddenly aware there is nothing more to correct. And if you were aware of that, that would probably be very bad.
John Berger in an interview with Newsnight's Gavin Esler in 2011

And so for day 1801
18.11.2011

A Tale of Two Spaces

Daniel Tammet
Born on a Blue Day

On the library at Salt Lake City where he met fellow savant Kim Peek

The huge space was infused with daylight and I felt the familiar tingle of tranquility inside me. Libraries had always had the power to make me feel at peace. There were no crowds, only small pockets of individuals reading or moving from shelf to shelf or desk to desk. There was no sudden loud outburst of noise, just the gentle flicking of pages or the intimate chatter between friends and colleagues. I had never seen or been in any library quite like this before; it really seemed to me like the enchanted palace of a fairy tale.
On supermarkets
For a while we shopped each week at our local supermarket, as many people do. However, I would regularly switch off and become anxious and uncommunicative because of the size of the store, the large numbers of shoppers and the amount of stimuli around me. Supermarkets are also often overheated, which is a problem for me because my skin can become itchy and uncomfortable when I feel too warm. Then there are the flickering, fluorescent lights that hurt my eyes. The solution was to go instead to smaller, local shops, which are much more comfortable for me to use, are often less expensive to shop in and support small businesses in our community.
Would love to do an experiment that hooks up heart monitors to people passing through the built environment and plot the different heart rates in different places.

And so for day 1800
17.11.2011

Dust Washed

Edward Thomas has a keen observant eye. This is the ending of "Tall Nettles"

This corner of the farmyard I like most:
As well as any bloom upon a flower
I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.
Selected by James Reeves for Penguin's Georgian Poetry anthology.

Young nettles in springtime do make a fine potherb. Dustless.

And so for day 1799
16.11.2011

Resequencing

Debbie Strange's tanka appeared in Literary Review of Canada and are also accessible on the blog Warp and Weft - Images and Words http://debbiemstrange.blogspot.ca/2016/11/the-literary-review-of-canada-november.html

Vanishing Point

the last
grain elevator
demolished
our little town sinks
further into dust

we leave
wild blanketflowers
on your grave
hoping deer will come
to keep you warm

trees stand
against the horizon
so far
and few between
but, oh, this prairie sky
I would reverse some lines and reorder the tanka:
so far
and few between
trees stand
against the horizon
vanishing point

our little town sinks
further into dust
the last
grain elevator
demolished

hoping deer will come
to keep you warm
we leave
wild blanketflowers
on your grave

but, oh, this prairie sky
This all began with thinking about the place of the arresting image of the demolished grain elevator and then the replacing carried on and on out to a vanishing point… still lost in the grandeur of the sky.

And so for day 1798
15.11.2011

Shapely Sentence Quiz

Walter Pater in The Renaissance provides this neatly balanced assertion.

He is before all things a poetical painter, blending the charm of story and sentiment, the medium of the art of poetry, with the charm of line and color, the medium of abstract painting.
This is about:

A) Botticelli

B) Da Vinci

C) Michelangelo

D) Picasso

And so for day 1797
14.11.2011

From Trickle To Puddle

Karel Čapek
I Had a Dog and a Cat

I have never meditated before on how to get a dog from underneath a table, I suppose that it is usually done by sitting down on the floor and expostulating with the animal, using intellectual and emotional arguments to get it out. I tried it both with a generous and commanding voice; I begged and bribed Minda with lumps of sugar, I had a go at making a little dog of myself to entice her out. When all attempts had failed, I threw myself under the table, and dragged her out by the legs into the light. It was a brutal and unexpected violence. Minda stood on her legs, humiliated and trembling like a virgin in disgrace, and she strained out of herself her first reproachful little pool.
Thus begins a lasting relationship.

And so for day 1796
13.11.2011

Subduing the Sofa

Given the handsome design on the cover this is one I would love to encounter while unpacking my library as Walter Benjamin does

I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am. The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order.
Where would one put Hollandsong by Marvyne Jenoff?

She writes in "Moving Up"
the huge new sofa
topples the room with its black
weight, moves in a changing
gravity as we rearrange
and finally give up on balance, unpack
little things,

our thousand
books to the ceiling
dusted one by one,
they get us back in scale.
Imagine books taming the furniture… for what is a surface without its volume?

And so for day 1795
12.11.2011

Repackaging

Jeff Derksen segment from "Interface" in Dwell (1993)

Almost a non sequitur. The target is neoliberal globalism.

I bought your book for a quarter.

My body's attached to my leg, to a genetic history, to a parallel sentence structure stretching over the horizon.

"A reader must face the fact that Canadian literature is undeniably sombre and negative, and that this to a large extent is both a reflection and a a chosen definition of the national sensibility."

Cheerleading is a growth industry in the U.S.

I'm stepping aside here, just to say that if it's not my job, I'm not going to do it, and if it's not my arm I won't twist it.
A way back into the grid of these declarations is via the source of the quotation — that bit about sombre CanLit is from Marie Mulvey-Roberts The Handbook to Gothic Literature quoting Margaret Atwood Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature and now reproduced by Jeff Derksen. And that may not be the author's route. Mulvey-Roberts and Derksen may have gone directly to the source independently. But they chose to quote the same package.

I didn't buy the book. I borrowed it from a tax-supported library. Furthermore not Dwell but the publication of "Interface" in The New Long Poem Anthology.

And so for day 1794
11.11.2011

Four Skills

Remarks to Humanist stemming from a course about online learning

http://dhhumanist.org/Archives/Virginia/v13/0246.html

Namely a "translation" of the four literacy skills [reading, writing, speaking, listening] into four multimedia skills (i.e. more than applicable to verbal arts). I've manage to rename them thus:
  • reading parsing (attentive to breaks & groupings)
  • writing scripting (writing as a score for performance)
  • listening observing (careful looking too)
  • speaking performing (evident bit to storytellers)
Evidently there is a theatrical model at work here.

[...]

the course participants who somehow got me to discussing the four language arts during a discussion of Andy Lippman's definition of interactivity and how it is built out of contrasting conversation with lecture. Interactivity modelled principally as interruptible conversation may not sufficiently value certain skills such as listening. Of course most of the Lippman material has come to me through a single source (Stewart Brand's The Media Lab) so there is a bit more research to do here or a least some caution in any further write up of these cognitive explorations.
parsing - reading
scripting - writing
observing - listening
performing - speaking

interesting typology that holds up well

And so for day 1793
10.11.2011

Levity in the House

What I find remarkable is the carry over of the joke from one day to the next. First instigated by the Minister in referring to Charlie Angus as that famous cartoon character Charlie Brown. And then he the next day alludes to the Minister as being Lucy with reference to the famous stunt of pulling the football out from under the luckless Charlie but in this instance displaced to pulling the ball out from under Indigenous children and youth.

Oct 4, 2016

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice was regional chief of the AFN when it took the government to court to end systemic discrimination against first nations children, but now her government has ignored two compliance orders to address the crisis of children at risk. She has the responsibility to ensure that the government meets its legal obligation, and pretending that an under-funded plan written in the final, dying days of the Harper government was somehow a response to the ruling in January is not acceptable. We are talking about children here. Will the minister respect the tribunal? What steps will she take to restore credibility in the House regarding these broken promises.

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the assertion by the minister across the way is absolutely false —

Mr. Warkentin: Minister?

Hon. Carolyn Bennett: The member. One day, Charlie.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker: The minister knows we do not refer to members by their first names. The Honourable Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Charlie Brown.

Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Hon. Carolyn Bennett: Mr. Speaker, this government promised a new relationship with Indigenous people, a new way of doing things. We prepared for and then accepted the ruling of the tribunal and are committed to ending this discrimination. We have made immediate investments in child and family services on reserve, and we are working with First Nations communities and the key organizations-

The Speaker: Once I have the Minister's attention, I would ask her not to refer to other members as cartoon characters either.


Oct 5, 2016

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker, according to Cindy Blackstock, the Liberal government shortchanges First Nations students by $130 million this year in foster care under Harper's plan. On education, the Prime Minister promised $2.6 billion over four years to First Nations students. An INAC document showed the Minister was given the plan to follow through on this promise, but the Liberals once again decided to pull the football out from under First Nations children. They stretched that promise past the next election, shortchanging children by $800 million. When it comes to priorities, why squeeze money from children suffering under this broken system?

Hon. Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member will recognize that the document was dated the day after we were sworn in. First Nations deserve the best start in life, and this begins with properly funding education. That is why budget 2016 provided $3.7 billion over five years for kindergarten to grade 12 first nations, which includes providing $824.1 million to implement first nations-led transformation in education and 118 school-related infrastructure programs. We will work nation to nation to ensure the goals set by first nations are achieved and First Nations-led initiatives are supported.
And what would Linus say?

And so for day 1792
09.11.2011

From Light to Light to Light

I first came to the poetry of Iqbal through the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and this couplet from a ghazal [translated by K.C. Kanda] triggers for me a host of reflections on the image of the candle.

The love whose candle can be snuffed by a random gust of death,
Can't enjoy the thrill of waiting, burning, blazing, all through life.
A similar sentiment is captured in the Taoist adage,
Mieux vaut allumer une bougie que maudire les ténèbres.

Lao-Tseu
And the refrain of a song from 1970 comes to mind
Melanie Safka
Candles in the Rain

Lay down lay down, let it all down
Let your white birds smile up at the
Ones who stand and frown
Lay down lay down, let it all down
Let your white birds smile up at the
Ones who stand and frown
And if collecting such instances is a waste of time…
'Not worth the candle' is ultimately of French origin. It appears in Randle Cotgrave's A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, 1611, where it is listed as: "Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle."

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/260900.html
Make a wish. Blow them out.

And so for day 1791
08.11.2011

At the Core of Apple: More "Apple"

In reading Phyllis Webb Naked Poems (1965) I am at ease imagining a pair of lesbian lovers in the opening sequences. I take my cue from assuming that the poem's voice is like that of the author female and that the introduction of "your blouse" marks the addressee as a woman too.

An there's that bit about the apple - pure bravura - that via a lesbian theme brings to mind Sappho

What do you really want?

want the apple on the bough in
the hand in the mouth seed
planted to the brain want
to think "apple"

Phyllis Webb Naked Poems
Like the sweet-apple reddening high on the branch,
High on the highest, the apple-pickers forgot,
Or not forgotten, but one they couldn’t reach…

Sappho translated by A.S. Kline
Such textual encounters are spotted after having long ago absorbed The Highest Apple: Sappho and the Lesbian Poetic Tradition by Judy Grahn — absorbed in the sense of being keenly on the look out …

And so for day 1790
07.11.2011

Don't Throw Out That Old Edition

Joy of Cooking

It boasts 500 new recipes for a total of 4,500 "recipes for the way we cook now". It's the 75th Anniversary edition. It's good but (like those dictionaries that feature new entries without telling which one's they've dropped) it is of its time.

Chicken Pot Pie description from the 1964 (reprinted 1974) edition that has sat on our shelves and has been often consulted these low thirty plus years:

An easy dish if you have precooked chicken or beef and precooked pie shells. We find the precooked shell more convenient and tastier than the crust which has to be exposed to long, slow cooking.
Not a mention of precooked pie shells in 2006 (the 75th Anniversary edition). There the bottom is crustless.

We do gain a whole section on pat-in-the-pan crusts. And this very useful piece of advice on timing:
Baking time will vary according to the material from which the pan is made. —> If it is ovenproof glass or enamelware, cut the baking time indicated by one-fifth to one-quarter.
Whatever volume you may have at hand to consult, there is of course no substitute for reading and research (and practice). Looking at the pictures doesn't suffice. The Joy of Cooking is blessed with a lack of food porn. There are other books for luscious extravagant illustration (or even elegant line drawings such as Amy Vanderbilt's book with drawings by Warhol).

Still holding on to the various editions. They all deserve shelf space.

And so for day 1789
06.11.2011

D E B B I E

Excerpts from Lisa Robertson's statement in The New Long Poem Anthology Second Edition edited by Sharon Thesen.

Writing Debbie, I researched the linguistic pressures of epic genre on the internal structures of subjectivity, gender, history, and memory.

[…]

In Debbie, the narrative itself is structured as dispersal and digression; this tendency is decorated with poems practising a provisional lyric closure, with typographical dexterities, and also with the construction of a persona, "Debbie" who might lightly embody the renewed, political potential of a lyricism which can embrace notions as disparate, yet necessary, as justice, desire, and collectivity.
There is something intriguing in that order — the hint of a syntagm — justice, desire, collectivity.

And so for day 1788
05.11.2011

Spoilage Avoidance

Spoiler alert — damage control demanded.

The quality of vegetables depends much both on the soil in which they are grown, and on the degree of care bestowed upon their culture; but if produced in ever so great perfection, their excellence will be entirely destroyed if they be badly cooked.
Eliza Acton. The Elegant Economist.

And so for day 1787
04.11.2011

Trading Marks

From Editing Canadian English 2nd Edition

Trademarks

11.37
Many publishers prefer to substitute generic terms for trademarks when the context allows:
soft drink or cola for Coca-Cola
jeans for Levi's
plastic wrap for Saran Wrap
photocopy for Xerox
The Canadian Press Stylebook lists many generic equivalents as well as number of former trademarks that are now unprotected and in the public domain. These include escalator, nylon, and raisin bran. The CPS (Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties) lists generic as well as brand names for drugs.

11.59
The owner of a mark uses ® [®] if the mark is registered, or ™ [™] if it is unregistered, to indicate its intention to defend the mark. No one else is required to use these symbols.
Product placement takes on new meaning.

And so for day 1786
03.11.2011

Building Metaphors and Explaining When the Blow Over

Joseph Boyden
From Mushkegowuk to New Orleans: A Mixed Blood Highway
Henry Kreisel Lecture 2008

And so maybe these two stories, both absolutely true, serve as metaphors for my life thus far. Maybe. But one thing I have learned as a writer is not to push a metaphor too far. What is the fun in setting something up in word pictures only to go ahead and explain it? Let the reader, the listener decide.
In my reading I note a slippage between pushing a metaphor to explaining. They aren't exactly the same type of activity. As Boyden himself demonstrates in the lecture you can push a metaphor to full blown manifesto. And some will argue that manifesto is a type of explanation. Indeed it's a type of blueprint as demonstrated by the title of his manifesto which concludes the lecture: "If At First You Don't Secede, Try, Try Again".

And what is the fun in explaining this push from metaphor to manifesto? Except merely to chuckle, praise the method evidenced in any carrying through and to go ahead and explain and realize with a wry smile that there's more, always more.

Push it further than too far. Like witnessing a hurricane (New Orleans) or spring break up (Mushkegowuk). There is something sublime in the disintegration of language that has been piled up. It is worth sometimes risking the entropy of explanation [which I hereby distinguish from "explication"].

Maybe I'll consider writing a manifesto for explainers. Maybe.

And so for day 1785
02.11.2011

Tragicomic Faces

Paper cutout from 1970s.

A study in symmetry

And so for day 1784
01.11.2011

Dogmas and Catechisms

Philip Levine in A Walk With Tom Jefferson has a pair of poems that resemble the pairing of Milton's Il Penseroso and L'Allegro. They are a dog poem about karma and suitably entitled "Dog Poem". The cat poem can be read as its companion piece in a more intimate key. It revolves around the remembrance of a single cat named Nellie, now deceased. The cat would swat at the poet's writing hand if the lines became too long. A compositional practice that became "A Theory of Prosody" as the poem is named. The practice of short lines celebrates its absent muse and the poem ends on these brief but pleasing notes:

She's dead now almost nine years,
and before that there was one
during which she faked attention
and I faked obedience.
Isn't that what it's about -
pretending there's an alert cat
who leaves nothing to chance.
The dog poem is less sanguine about the inter-species relationship. After presenting a catalogue of grievances, that is the misdeeds of countless canines, the speaker dreams of being reincarnated as a lion and the dogs reincarnated as him. It's all very droll.
If I must come back
to this world let me do so as the lion
of legend, but striped like an alley cat.
Let me saunter back the exact way
I came turning each corner to face
the barking hosts of earth until they
scurry for cover or try pathetically
to climb the very trees that earlier
they peed upon and shamed. […]
[…] give them two big feet
and shoes that don't fit, and dull work
five days a week. Give them my life.
A life of neither Miltonic contemplation nor Miltonic mirth. A life devoted to the feline.

And so for day 1783
31.10.2011

Beneath Context

I really want to shorten and heighten the breadth to which this insight reaches:

Spring doesn't begin on the surface; it comes from below.
But that would slight its place, its rootedness to a specific time.

In the documentary Rivers and Tides, sculptor Andy Goldsworthy describes working with bracken whose stalks go black underground during the winter.
I think we misread the landscape when we think of it as being pastoral or pretty. There is a darker side to that. I think at this time when spring is beginning that it doesn’t begin on the surface, it begins below, so this idea of finding evidence of that heat within the ground, in a way is my way of understanding what is going on at the moment. And even though these are stalks from last year’s plants and will not grow again this year they are still connected to that root system underneath the ground and the idea that what happened last year is being repeated this year and it’s going to come through this.
Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time, 2001, directed by Thomas Reidelsheimer.

It begins below: but where does it end?

And so for day 1782
30.10.2011

Just What the Doctor Ordered

The small promo movie that comes on the CD informs us that

the album is about bringing everyone to a room of poisons and remedies.
My favourite track and how I got introduced to the work of Carl Hancock Rux is "Eleven More Days" and its chorus
Eleven more days in the city
Eleven more miles to roam
Eleven more prayers of pity
Eleven more stops to home
The album: APOTHECARY RX (2004)

What I found astounding is that the beginning sounds like the fade out from another song urging us to "walk this way".
On "Eleven More Days," the contrast of generations, religions, races, and social statures is played out on subway platforms, playgrounds, apartment stoops, prisons, and in the streets. While Rux iterates the terrain and circumstances in his landscape, a stunning gospel refrain sung by a chorus of female voices emphasizes the place of intersection, the place of hope, the place of loss, and even deliverance while contrasting contrapuntal synthetic rhythms slip around basslines and indeterminate sounds.

http://carlhancockrux.com/apothecary-rx/
Rx

And so for day 1781
29.10.2011

Shape & Weight

Yvonne as a model.

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't confess to knowing a French woman or two who was fat all her life. We had a great family friend called Yvonne, who reveled in food and wine more than almost anyone else I have known. What excitement it was, both vicarious and actual, to share a meal with her, which I did many times before her death some years ago at the age of eighty-four. Yvonne knew she was not svelte, but her shape did not develop from a loss of control. Particularly after eighty, she simply had learned to derive so much genuine pleasure from food and drink, such a sense of vitality, that the payoff of typical compensations didn't measure up in her mind. It wasn't that she was always gaining weight; she had of her own free will set her equilibrium higher than that of most women, and she loved every day of her life. She was unusual in body, but in her spirit she could not have been more French.
Mireille Guiliano. French Women Don't Get Fat.

And so for day 1780
28.10.2011

A Nostrum

Or why the Humanities matter even more now (good to revisit platitudes for they can be touchstones despite their limits)

I point to the words of Walter Pater at the end of the chapter on Pico de la Mirandola in Renaissance ...

For the essence of humanism is that belief of which he [Pico] seems never to have doubted, that nothing which has ever interested living men and women can wholly lose its vitality — no language they have spoken, nor oracle beside which they have hushed their voices, no dream which has once been entertained by actual human minds, nothing about which they have ever been passionate, or expended time and zeal.
A voice for diversity to add to the chorus.

And so for day 1779
27.10.2011

The Demise of Capitalism

This from 1965 …

But the erosion of the market goes deeper yet. For the introduction of technology has one last effect whose ultimate implications for the metamorphosis of capitalism are perhaps greatest of all. This is the effect of technology in steadily raising the average level of well-being, thereby gradually bringing an end the condition of material need as an effective stimulus for human behavior.
Robert L. Heilbroner, The Limits of American Capitalism.

Note it's "well-being" not higher wages. And the timelines are longish: "For roughly the past century and a half the dominant system of economic organization in most of the the Western world has been that of capitalism. In all likelihood, barring the advent of a catastrophic war, capitalism will continue as the dominant system of the Western world during the remainder of this century and well into the next [21st century]."

Something to work for: shifting the ideological construction of the concept of well-being.

And so for day 1778
26.10.2011

Heaving Heavy

Kate Eichhorn
Fieldnotes, a forensic
(BookThug, 2010)

In light and lighter weight are sections that read as if definitions from a dictionary or instructions from a screen play (shooting script). I skip over them noting their presence and think of them as marked off areas to be disinterred. I am consoled by what I read as comments on the process of reading the near unreadable:

Fieldwork necessarily includes failures in reconstruction. Also excessive pleasures. Confusion. Today it was the expression of an absent field. The women gave me means (not memories or dates). Lower bodies vis-à-vis shoulders. Memories vis-à-vis hips. A network of palms. The inner surfaces of fingers. Viscerally stepping beyond the sway of order, proprioceptive more than visual. I felt the weight of reading these patterns.
The body is locked in. It provides traversal of grids. See how the "weight of reading" is elaborated:
Monitoring forearms down routes. Distal ends leading toward paths. The gravity of conduct. Contact. A smile or gaze intricately twisted out from an upper torso. Ephemeral cairns. Unreadable. Still in motion I stretch to graph these principles. The density of this telling of subjects, objects, selves etc.
Note the lack of comma between "selves" and "etc" — it's as if the subject-object were welded to an interminable series.

And so for day 1777
25.10.2011

Time Displacement and the Numinous

A story counted by Gossamer Penwyche is recounted by Terry Boyle in Discover Ontario: Stories of the Province's Unique People and Places. The story leads to a realization about temporal displacement.

The experience: "Several hours had lapsed while I had noticed only a few minutes."

The lead-up:

Then the song ended and the hawk let out another cry. The hawk stretched its wings and took off suddenly, flying directly towards Gossamer. She explained, "I threw my hands up to protect myself. It came so close that I could feel the rush of it its wings on my cheeks as it flew by me. My fear turned to amazement when I caught a glimpse of the hawk's large, fan-shaped tail. It looked like a feathered cape or the train of a doll's dress. I was so startled that I slipped off the rock and fell into the stream. I was certain that I heard children's laughter as I struggled to sit upright, waist-high in water. I looked all around me for the source of the laughter but saw no one."

[…]

Gossamer, instead of feeling puzzled by this loss of time, felt only disappointment.

"I wanted to be in that weird and wondrous place I had been in just moments before. I wanted the magic to return. My fairy encounter, for I have no doubt that is what it was, has hunted me all my life."
A great blue heron wadding and spearing a frog. A snowy owl taking flight over a ploughed field exposing mice. A loon dive and surfacing.

All moments that could pass unnoticed without attention. And a modicum of familiarity with one's surroundings and a sense of safety … Gossamer's experience is set in a place where she is "alone and unafraid" playing in one of her favourite haunts.

Setting and set.

And so for day 1776
24.10.2011

Iconoclastic Considerations

Comment to Calamity Jane's
July 2, 2003
CONVENTIONS OF EKPHRASIS
http://calamity.wordherders.net/archives/000422.html

Don't quite know how this one would fit into your typology.... the narrator contemplating a possible painting-to-be as a type of "projective ekphrasis" There is an example in Joyce Cary's The Horse's Mouth.

I wonder if one might capture the deontological aspects of your typology but considering a "table of attitudes" (degree of control over, fascination with, etc) in a table where the attitudes would be correlated to the status of the object of ekphrasis (exists, doesn't exist, might exist).

It seems your project might be facilitated by a consideration of Lubomír Doležel's possible worlds narratology. It seems that ekphrasis calls out for a treatment in terms of the intersection of Doležel's four modal systems:

alethic (possible, impossible, necessary)
deontic (permitted, prohibited, obligatory)
axiological (good, bad, indifferent)
epistemic (known, unknown, believed)

I like to recast the epistemic in terms of "known, knowable, unknowable". It seems to bridge considerations of ekphrasis with questions of iconoclasm. Which leads me to ask if the proposed listing of ekphrastic conventions is also an entry point into cultural values pertaining to visual-verbal translations....
I appears to me now that that trailing phrase about cultural values is about the verbal-visual relations as structured as permissible and possible. A society that construes the relation between verbal and visual renditions as impossible is also likely to interdict other crossings. [see McLuhan's eye-ear dichotomies tied to his Catholicism …] There are other types of iconoclasm besides an outright destruction of images; making them impermeable to words is likewise a smashing.

And so for day 1775
23.10.2011

The Tip

Either of tongue or finger

Fingerspitzengefühl

Intuition is counter-intuitive: while it appears to be quick and spontaneous, it actually takes effort, calculation, and memory.
Charles Jencks. The Garden of Cosmic Speculations (London: Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2003).

Akin to sprezzatura and always having a ready word beyond the tip...

And so for day 1774
22.10.2011

The Island: Name Written but Unpronounced

Speaking of reading "Sirocco"…

In none of the recordings of Robert Penn Warren that I have heard (from MIT's Vault and from the Caedmon Poetry Collection) does the poet pronounce the name of the island he has written in his poem — he simple says "the island".

But there it is in the Collected Poems.

But there it is hanging in the Paris Review when "Sirocco" was but a section of "To A Little Girl, On Year Old, in Ruined Fortress"

Giannutri

And so for day 1773
21.10.2011

Mayonnaise and Liaison

Nigel Slater. Appetite "June"

A typical June meal for friends might be the classic asparagus, salmon, and strawberries hat trick. Hardly original, but who cares when such glories come together for such a short while? The salient point is that the meal should be one of understated perfection — don't even think of apologizing for your lack of originality — so you can make your own mayonnaise and serve nothing fancier than a simple, ice-cold salad of lettuce, cucumber, and watercress. The berries must be sweet, ripe, and unblemished, the cream yellow and old fashioned, and offered in a generous quantity in a pretty pitcher. If you are going to serve a meal of such classic nakedness, then make no attempt to get fancy. A last-minute panic ("am I doing enough?") into doing two deserts or a fancy salad will miss the point. This sort of simplicity only works if you keep to the rules, and one of those is not trying to gild the lily.
Note the two markers of bonding: a meal for friends; making one's own mayonnaise.

And so for day 1772
20.10.2011

Treading Stupidity

Charlotte Shane. "Anne Carson's Splintered Brilliance: On the pleasures of poetry that deliberately defies our comprehension". New Republic.

https://newrepublic.com/article/139103/anne-carsons-splintered-brilliance

Calling one’s self “stupid” is akin to saying “my mind doesn’t work like that.” It’s a way of recognizing the distance between the functioning of your mind and the functioning of someone else’s. An experience of our own stupidity, then, is a privilege afforded to us by the best art and maybe especially by the best poetry: We are granted the opportunity to swim a lap in the pool of someone else’s brain, if we can
Back stroke, crawl, butterfly, breast stroke. Drowning.

And so for day 1771
19.10.2011

Connections, directions, corrections

Some one sent me a link to "The career advice I wish I had at 25" by Shane Rodgers. It seems to populate many management sites all over the World Wide Web. This is the one item on the list that caught my attention.

6. Management is about people, not things

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that all people are equal, behave the same every day and have a generic capacity to perform. Humans are simply not made like that. Business guru Jack Welch says the workforce consists of 20 per cent of people who are high performers, 10 per cent that you should get rid of and 70 per cent who do okay. The problem is the 70 per cent. Most managers want everyone in the 20 per cent. We need to be careful not to believe that the 70 per cent are underperformers. Sometimes we need to celebrate the competence of the masses not the superpowers of the elite. As managers, we are not managing things, we are empowering people and making the best use of whatever it is they bring to the table.
I wrote back to my interlocutor that this interesting take on managing performance might lead to some advice for managers about the interactions among themselves. I remarked "Seriously though - I think (from my limited perception from the outside) managers are very hard on managers - we as staff rarely hear managers celebrating each other…"

And of course there is the important aspect of sincerity and specificity:
Beware of the "Praise Trap"

It is important to reinforce when children have done well and worked hard. Reinforcing this by saying "you really worked hard on that puzzle, didn't you" or "I see you've collected all of the cars and put in them in the basket, that's wonderful Jack!" is much more informative than "good job tidying" or "you are so smart." The first type of praise encourages the child and fosters motivation from within (intrinsic motivation), whereas the second type of praise can lead to children looking for reward or praise which typically means they work less (extrinsic motivation).

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/Clinton.pdf
The article not only has some insight on praise and providing positive feedback it also invites people to consider their C:D:C ratios. That is how much of their interactivity is devoted to

Correction: Direction: Connection

Let me direct you to the early education site for more info on C:D:C including video where Dr. Jean Clinton explains the differences between connecting and directing.

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/positive.html

And so for day 1770
18.10.2011

Documentation, Discussion, Doing

We begin with the material fluency and move to interpersonal collaboration for the pursuit of projects…

Beyond working in small groups, a key feature of Reggio schools - and prime example of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983) - is the emphasis on using high quality clay, paints, wire, fiber, pens, and hundreds more "materials" including music, dance, and conversation as stimuli for children to learn to express themselves skillfully. Reggio educators say children learn "100 languages."

[…]

Another pivotal Reggio innovation is documentation through which teachers encourage children to listen to themselves as a way to pursue a project thoughtfully. Teachers carefully listen to children, record what they hear, and select children's words, photos of them working, or their work product to display on a large panel. The purpose is to provide a way for children to reflect on what they have done by analyzing and interpreting what they see on the panel. Exchanges among children and with their teacher are lively! Documentation enables children to find meaning to their work and is a way to assess children's capacity at a particular time. Moreover, it gives visitors a window into the school and is a powerful draw for parents, an impetus for the deep ties that develop between families and school.

Ann Lewin-Benham, Starting Smart: Twenty-first Century Early Education
http://www.education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Journals/Fall2010/Lewin-Benham
I emphasize that the discussion begins with the child's interaction with high quality materials.

And so for day 1769
17.10.2011

Maturely Premature

Hokusai's jisei (death poem) has been set to music by Karl Jenkins in his Requiem.

hitodama de / yuku kisanji ya / natsa no hara

now as a spirit / I shall roam / the summer fields
Though my demise is not for all appearances imminent I have tried my hand:
he reads signs /
has become a sign /
always pointing elsewhere
Of course I could ascribe it to Barthes and begin a whole genre what if so-and-so wrote a death poem.

And so for day 1768
16.10.2011

Fragment Underlining Unrolling

I have on occasion examined the results of my cutting paper into smaller sizes for note taking and list making. Sometimes I observe that the results offer a kind of poetry.

And on this one occasion I returned to underline the preserved text — a way of punctuating and so reading by emphasis … almost like the negative space of silhouettes.
The perception of the world as ever changing, ever requiring the human being to be alert to the requirements of proper relations, means that views from every vantage point are valuable in making decisions. While older persons are generally thought to be wiser by virtue of their longer experience, the perceptions of children and young people are not discounted. The roles of teacher and learner in an Aboriginal world can be interchangeable, depending on the context.
Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996)
Volume 1 - Looking Forward Looking Back
Part Three: Building the Foundation of a Renewed Relationship
Chapter 15 - Rekindling the Fire in the subsection "Words Are Not Enough"


Further comments on this passage: http://berneval.blogspot.ca/2011/09/what-is-taught-and-what-teaches.html

And so for day 1767
15.10.2011

Beyond the Sphere of Touch Typing

I have come across a delightful book on the art of writing (Your Penmanship by Kathleen U. Ockendon) which offers a neat little analogy for academic activities and scholarship. As well it has as a swell opening chapter called "Making friends with your pen". In the introduction, Ockendon writes:

Though we can, of course, take pleasure in the work of craftsmen whose methods are unknown to us, yet it is only after we have begun to manipulate their tools and wrestle with their problems that we come to realise in full the measure of their achievement, and our appreciation of their worth increases with our skill.
It lives by its word and teaches how to trim a quill pen as well as how to shape letters and curlicues.

And so for day 1766
14.10.2011

Disappearing Young Men: Sister Uprising

Einstein on the Beach

(Both texts written by Mr. Samuel Johnson)

OLD JUDGE : PARIS (In Original 1976 Production)

When considering the best liked cities on earth, Paris looms large among them. Paris is one of the world's greatest tourist attractions. And not without reason, for Paris has much to offer. Paris does not have a multiplicity of skyscrapers like New York, but it has much beauty and elegance. And Paris has an illustrious background of history.

In Paris there is a number of young men who are very beautiful, very charming, and very lovable. Paris is called "the city of lights". But these young men who are very beautiful, very charming, and very lovable, prefer the darkness for their social activities.

One of the most beautiful streets of Paris is called Les Champs-Elysées, which means the Elysian Fields. It is very broad, bordered with trees, and very pleasant to look at.

One of the most beautiful things of Paris is a lady. She is not too broad, bordered with smiles, and very, very, very pleasant to look at. When a gentleman contemplates a lady of Paris, the gentleman is apt to exclaim : "oo la la", for the ladies of Paris are very charming. And the ladies of Paris are dedicated to the classic declaration, expressed in the words : "L'amour, toujours l'amour !"

A Russian man once said that the eyes of a Paris lady are as intoxicating as good wine, and that her burning kisses are capable of melting the gold in a man's teeth.

In Germany, in Italy, in Congo, in China, and in the United states, there are men who say : "If you've never been kissed by a lady of Paris, you've never been kissed at all."
OLD JUDGE : ALL MEN ARE EQUAL ( Alternate Speech, From 1984 Revival )

"In this court, all men are equal." You have heard those words many times before. "All men are equal." But what about all women ? Are women the equal of men ? There are those who tell us that they are.

Last week, an auspicious meeting of women was held in Kalamazoo. The meeting was addressed by a very prominent lady who is noted for her modesty. She is so modest that she blindfolds herself when taking a bath. Modesty runs in her family. She has a nephew who is just ten years of age. Sometimes, the nephew says "I'm going to the forbidden name store." The little fellow is too modest to say "I'm going to the A & P." Well, here is what that modest lady said to the gathering of women in Kalamazoo :

"My sisters : The time has come when we must stand up and declare ourselves. For too long have we been trodden under the feet of men. For too long have we been treated as second-class citizens by men who say that we are only good for cooking their meals, mending their socks, and raising their babies.

"You have a boyfriend, and he calls you his queen. Then, when he marries you, he crowns you. These are the kind of men who, when they become romantic or, I should say, when they are in a certain mood, they want to kiss you and kiss you and kiss you again.

"My sisters, I say to you : Put your faces against it, and, if the man takes from you without your permission, look him squarely in the face, roll your eyes at him, and say to him ‘How dare you, you male chauvinist pig ! You put that kiss right back where you got it from.’

"My sisters, we are in bondage, and we need to be liberated. Liberation is our cry. Just yesterday, I talked with a woman who is the mother of fifteen children. She said ‘Yes, I want to be liberated from the bedroom.’

"And so, my sisters, the time has come when we must let this male chauvinist understand that the hand that changes the diapers is the hand that shall rule the world.

"And now, my sisters, let us stand and sing our national song. For the benefit of you who have not yet memorized the words, here they are :
The woman's day is drawing near, it's written in the stars
The fall of men is very near, proclaim it from your cars.
Sisters, rise ! You flags unfurl ! Don't be a little girl.
Say "Down with men, their power must end : Women shall rule the world !"
Paris and "a number of young men who are very beautiful, very charming, and very lovable." on the one hand; on the other the battle cry of sisters. Are we to take reported speech as satire?

And so for day 1765
13.10.2011

Erasing Erasure

Jennifer Biddle
Dot, circle, difference: Translating Central Desert paintings
in Cartographies: Poststructuralism and the mapping of bodies and spaces edited by Rosalyn Diprose and Robyn Ferrell
(1991)

Unlike in northern Australia, where images figured historically upon more permanent materials (bark or wood), Central Desert images were drawn in the sand or on the body. It wasn’t until 1971 at Papaya that an art teacher, Geoff Bardon, in inviting some men to paint the school walls, was instrumental in these designs being rendered transferable to canvas. The creation of the acrylic painting as object of attention, comment and permanence has shifted the focus of interpretation from that of the productive aspects of these paintings to that of interpreting their status as product. This is a problematic status for images historically marked by their capacity for erasure — images that are produced within performative or enactive contexts where the production of the designs (who is allowed to mark whom with what and when) is inseparable from the ensuing product itself.
Juxtaposing here with remarks about another artistic practice.
By far the most studied aspect of bebop improvisation is the use of precomposed figures and quotations, selectively borrowed from other musical compositions. the surface repetition, and the use of recognizable quotations — sometimes called licks, tricks, patterns, motives, riffs, or crips by musicians — are distinctive features of this genre.
In Basquiat's work, originality is defined by premeditation, imitation, and even the repetition of certain compositional elements.

Jordana Moore Saggese Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art
If you are still wondering about the juxtaposition, see Japingka for artwork by Australian Indigenous artists. Watch the images move. Be moved.

And so for day 1764
12.10.2011

Impaired or Wrecked

my mind catches on a phrase "wrecked cognition" and lifts it from its context to a place of thinking about how at any time any one of us may be considered as disabled…

Haryette Mullen
Muse & Drudge
In Recyclopedia

odds meeting on a bus
the wrecked cognition
Not much to find at present about "wrecked cognition" but "impairment" is a useful bridge word that led me to a reference to this book now in its second edition Bathing without a battle : personal care of individuals with dementia edited by Ann Louise Barrick et al. and its support material which taps into our collective desire for humane treatment for all…
This battle that often occurs between people with dementia and their caregivers is in most cases preventable. The source of the distress is often the caregiver imposing his or her duty to get someone clean; even when that someone is reluctant or distressed. The caregiver may feel bound by cultural, personal, or supervisory influences to "get the person clean" in some predefined time frame using a set method. Unfortunately, this lack of flexibility can have unpleasant results for both the caregiver and the person they are bathing. However, we believe that bathing can be made into a more humane, gentle experience for persons with dementia.

http://bathingwithoutabattle.unc.edu/about-bathing
Before this useful reminder of cultural imperatives, the battle is described as an escalation of conflict:
Each day hundreds of thousands of people with dementia are bathed against their will. Their overt or nonverbal refusals are often ignored, and they are removed without permission from their beds and wheelchairs and taken to an often cold, impersonal, frightening shower or tub room to be scrubbed down. As a result, the refusals escalate to verbal and physical resistance, and finally to combativeness. The experience is frustrating and dangerous to caregivers, who become the targets of hitting, spitting, biting, and verbal attacks by the person who they are only trying to help. In the fields of nursing and medical research, such behaviors are called "agitated" or "disruptive", and the impact of such behaviors on caregivers is immense. Nursing assistants report being routinely distressed on the job by patient hitting, verbal aggression, and screaming.
I get edgy simply reading this. Coercion: the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

And so for day 1763
11.10.2011

Stanza Stance

Stanza means room. In the valley of its making one finds a room of one's own to share, to let …

What does it matter if I don't exchange names with a man, if I never see him again, why should that lessen the value of the pleasure we give one another, a bodily pleasure and also a pleasure of knowledge and recognition? "Now we have met, we have look'd, we are safe," says Whitman, our great poet of cruising, who doesn't hesitate to use the word love for transient encounters between otherwise strangers. Like the stanzas of a poem, which offer such unlikely, durable shelter from the crash of public speech, the cramped spaces of back rooms and toilet stalls serve not to lessen value, but to concentrate it. As is the case for poetry in the valley of its making, cruising offers an experience that might look like privation but feels like luxury, a hidden richness, a secret world.
Garth Greenwell
"How I Fell In Love With The Beautiful Art Of Cruising"
Buzzfeed
https://www.buzzfeed.com/garthgreenwell/how-i-fell-in-love-with-the-beautiful-art-of-cruising?utm_term=.vp3VzzDk9#.dlpLqqA96

Greenwell leads me to return to Earl Jackson Jr. "Explicit Instruction: Teaching Gay Male Sexuality in Literature Classes" Professions of Desire: Lesbian and Gay Studies in Literature edited by George E. Haggerty and Bonnie Zimmerman.
The cultural and psychological significance of gay male pornography for its intended audience cannot be understood within normative heterosexual morality. In its role as a medium for self-understanding within a repressive social regime, gay pornography configures visibility in its erotic and political senses.
And brings me to share with trepidation an image of the cover of the first porn mag that I bought as a very young man in small town Kapuskasing ...

Putting the carnal back in carnival?

And so for day 1762
10.10.2011