Sunday, December 03, 2006

Devin Johnston on Susan Howe

Johnston talks about Susan Howe as directly in the "tradition of apocalyptic Romanticism," and that "in a moment of terror or crisis, the writer’s mind becomes other to itself, transcending the circumscribed palisades of order and rationality." He also says that "critical discourse has in some sense domesticated the wildness of Howe’s texts by attributing to them an academic or liberal agenda" (146). She is sometimes utterly strange reading. A collaged voicing of historical texts.

He also talks about Brenda Hillman, another favorite. In Hillmans' Loose Sugar, in the poems entitled "blue codices," which have a subtitle of depression and alchemy, "dissociation serves as subject and method" (158). Dissociation as another form in the apocalyptic romantic tradition?

"In the vast and heterogeneous body of poets now writing, few address the metaphysical implications of form except to suggest its conventionality. In an academic context, the challenge of "experimental" poetry has generally been presented as that of an avant-gardism. In the wake of Language Poetry, its prolific self-promoters and commentators have framed experimental poetry, as essentially deconstructive, and with the particular agenda of deconstructing a na├»ve, naturalistic sense of "voice." Correspondingly, most poetry criticism discusses experimental formal practice in terms of an "explosion" of tradition. Critics such as Marjorie Perloff, for instance have followed Charles Bernstein in celebrating self-evident "artifice" as 'a measure of a poem’s intractability to being read as the sum of its devices and subject matters.' What has been obscured, I think, is the ongoing commitment one finds in much American experimental poetry to an organic relation between poem and cosmos. For such poets, poetry does not so much function as commentary or space for reflection; rather, it stages a volatile, primary activity. Likewise, normative sense is not abdicated in favor of nonsense, but in favor of a transrational, visionary mode. " (136)

I like the wild and I like the organic and I definitely like a connection to the cosmos.

An excerpt from Howe:


Johnston says about this: "Such passages hardly invite close readings, and could perhaps be discussed more readily in terms of their gaps or incoherence rather than thematic continuity. Yet I would like to suggest that Howe’s composition here follows an imitative logic. As Atherton enters the depths of the forest he "cannot see," and the space between words closes with the space between trees. In the page quoted here, the text of the previous page is reversed, implying the lack of a proscribed route or direction in unsettled space. Furthermore, the parenthetical "selv" suggests the obscured state of selfhood in the wilderness, as well as its plurality" (150).


Funny how at the Fanny Howe reading recently I was connecting antiwar poetry and spirituality and D. Johnston connects her sister's work Susan to H.D. for similar reasons. He says Susan's "lyric intensity draws equally on an antinomian experience of the wilderness (in poems such as "Articulation of Sound forms in Time") and the destruction of the Second World War (in "Pythagorean Silence"). For Howe, as for H.D., lyric intensity is closely related to violence."

Speaking of Susan Howe, I am reading Pierce-Arrow, which seems to be about the logician philosopher Charles S. Peirce, who I read as an undergrad! A philosopher I have actually read is kindof rare, but I cannot remember a thing about him, except the spelling of his name is opposite the usual way you spell that word. Him and Wieners. Pierce is a strange, possibly, un-hip topic. I mean logic? But of course it is cool in her hands. Poetry & philosophy is a common combination, but poetry and logic? Pierce-Arrow seems to be an academic study mixed with her poetic lines regarding the topic, which makes it a cool anti-academic, academic form. But it does not contain much about logic, it is biography - the dubious facts of his 2nd wife’s background. So far. But: "Phenomenology asks what are the elements of appearance" (11). Biography as Phenomenology. "What is the secret nature of facts" (14).

Thursday, November 30, 2006

More Devin Johnston

The Merrill Chapter of Precipitations

Otto Rank on the double: “The double serves to preserve the ego through a negation of loss.” (Qtd in Johnston 110). Can that elucidate my confusion on H.D. and her use of the double? I don't know that H.D. was trying to preserve the ego though. Maybe, through expansion of self, magnification of the self, the self is somehow preserved, but I don't think it was necessarily about the self. In H.D., it almost seems as though the other is the self and the self is the other, and you find the self through finding the other. She, in all her marginalizations, seems to be more other than other, and to find her self through an actual other would bring her back to some sort of center, away from the margins. The second part of Rank's sentence "a negation of loss" I'm not sure about either. In H.D., the double seems to always signify loss because the double is never retained... Maybe Otto Rank cannot help me with H.D.

But another cool poetics: “Imagination…does not move in one direction but is reciprocal” (116). Johnston is discussing the two voices (DJ &JM) in Changing Light of Sandover here but this poetics could also refer to Poetry/Muse etc. I feed and pull on it and it feeds/pulls on me.

“In Yeats’ experience, the spirits who dictated through his wife announced that they did not bring a system of philosophy to be explicated in lifelong study but ‘metaphors for your poetry’” (122). Poetry as more important than any logical system!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Devin Johnston on Spicer

A poetics in which “a poem can productively violate intention.” –Spicer

I think intention can violate poetry!

“suddenly there comes a poem which you just hate and would like to get rid of that says just exactly the opposite of what you mean, of what you have to say. You want to say something about your beloved’s eyebrows and the poem says the eyes should fall out. And you don’t really want the eyes to fall out. Or you’re trying to write a poem about Vietnam and you write a poem about Vermont. These things, again, begin to show you just exactly where the road to dictation leads.” (Spicer qtd in Johnston 97).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More from Devin Johnston's Precipitations

From the chapter on Robert Duncan, where he talks about Duncan's idea of poetry as dictation: “Poetry then is a participation, in a beauty that we discover in certain passages that becomes ours, drawing us into Correspondence.” (Duncan qtd in Johnston 50). A nice poetics.

While reading this chapter called "Sublime Undoing," I realized I totally am influenced by, if not subconsciously, then just synchronistically, with Duncan. I have not read him as much as H.D., but I think that I agree with him on the source of poetry: “the poem originates from...a source that is beyond the poets’ understanding.”

Johnston also states that Duncan, in Fictive Certainities, says that Whitman’s paradigm is not of an eternal form, but of an “ever flowing, ever self-creative ground of a process…[T]he evolution of a creative intention that moves not toward the satisfaction of some prescribed form but towards the fullfillment of a multitude of possibilities out of its seed.” (qtd in Johnston 87). This theory of writing seems to be so right-on for me. Poetry as possibility not objectivity.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Reading Devin Johnston’s Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice

“the very liberation H.D. identifies with occultic thought radiates disaster triumphant.”

"In her sessions with Freud, H.D. was concerned with rescuing her vision as central to a vatic sense of poetic identity."

“Wistfulness, exaltation,
a pure core of burning celebration,

Jottings on a margin,
indecipherable palimpsest scribbled over

with too many contradictory emotions,
search for finite definition

of the infinite, stumbling toward
vague cosmic expression” (Walls Do Not Fall, 42)

He seems to be saying that the most mystical, spiritual times only come in the times of absolute devastation, maybe they come then only because they have to, one needs them to survive it – so for those chasing spirituality, they sometimes seek out devastation in order to attain mystical experiences. I don't know that H.D. actually did this, but maybe after the first vision at Corfu, which seems to me a very organic, and healing experience, and appropriate to the time, her later weird experiences with channeling RAF guys, were an attempt to regain that lost experience, which was very unifying for her. But they seem to be less organic, and more forced, sometimes the visionary only happens at one time in one's life, it is a way of moving past the devastation, but one shouldn't become attached to it. If you are not having visions, maybe your life is going ok. I also feel a sense that at the vision at Corfu, maybe there was an acceptance of the misery of life, and that sortof made her unified. But the later desperation perhaps did not come from a place of acceptance, and so it all became sortof weird.

Maybe my life is not going OK, right now, I have had two vision-esque experiences recently at the yoga studio. Have been feeling very unhappy, and realizing I have to let go of dreaming, thinking I do need to, but not sure I quite can. How to deal with reality as it is, the misery of it? One vision was of a gargoyle shadow on the ceiling, felt scared and thought what a horrible sign! But then I woke up in the middle of the night a few nights later, with a weird epiphany thought, that it was not a gargoyle, but a good spirit protecting me, an owl perhaps. Owls and gargoyles have very similar shadows!

Then yesterday, Thanksgiving, I had another vision; the walls (which do not fall) at the yoga studio have strange markings on them, like abstract cave art, so I was looking at the wall upside down in standing fold reverse namaste pose and I saw a cow in the markings. I was so mesmerized by her I didn't follow along with the class for a bit, she seemed very gentle, and peaceful, and filled with grace, a thanksgiving blessing! Cows are very connected with Hinduism, so that is a nice symbol to get from yoga class... a sense of hope, but that may only be because I am feeling so bad! There is nowhere to go but up. But a feeling also that this time is a hinge, a meeting point between when the bad times turn toward good. I am a hopeless optimist.

I am Mary, she said, Of Magdala,
I am Mary, a great tower;

through my will and my power,
Mary shall be myrrh;

I am Mary -- O, there are Marys a-plenty,
(though I am Mara, bitter) I shall be Mary-myrrh" (Trilogy FOTR 135)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Get your free books over here:

Livejournal is down and it is rather freaking me out.

I have things to say. I don't know really what. But I have a feeling like I have to say things and no one will let me.

There are some new poems of mine here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fanny Howe

Went to the Fanny Howe reading last night. But I got really lost on the Berkeley campus and got to the reading 40 minutes late. I walk in and hear, "This will be the last poem," and I'm like shit! But it is not Fanny, it is some opening act poet, the name of the poem was "Lost," I swear. Funny.

So then Fanny reads. Perfect timing, being lost. I really liked a book of hers I read a while ago that had a lot of spirituality stuff going on, I can't remember what it was, Gone? I think. I think I read she was raised an atheist but became a catholic late in life? So she is coming at religion from a different POV than those other religious people. She read a lot of anti-war poems, and a series written in Ireland or about Ireland, that were happier, as she said. One line I really liked, can't remember verbatim, but something to the effect of seeing a sentence or a line of poetry as being one long word...

Also memorable:

"When the president wakes up, it always asksWhat am I doing here? Where's that man?"
I like how she neuters him as an it.

I checked out On the Ground. I couldn't possibly have remembered that all verbatim!
She seems to mix the anti-war bits and the spiritual bits a lot. I guess they do commonly go together.

"An angel is a messenger who runs very fastso you don't see angels anymore
Time has altered its arcAnd angels keep changing form and never pause
Their wings might be as sharp as missilesThat can mimic
The vicious acts of human beings."

And I seem to be noticing an Air theme that I am drawn to:

"Hello air
Infinity is colonizing my mind."

I love it, like the most spiritual moments are the moments that are spread out, expanded, which seems like what air is symbolizing. When you are not over occupying your space...

and I really like this passage too:

"In my experience
the angel with his wings upis trying to kill the dragon of history
to prove that airis stronger than the objects in it
and if he wasn't made of stone, he would."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dialectics and the Other,

or what I wish I had come across when I was writing my thesis on H.D.

At the back of Benjamin Hollander's Vigilance, there are some letters, correspondence between Hollander and others about his work. In his letter to Joshua Schuster, Hollander writes:

"We are not — here — within a Hegelian tradition where opposites (either/or) can be reconciled through a transcendent third term. And we are not — here — in that other dialectic (both/and) which would leave these opposites to be equally held together in the mind in an order affriming them both but keeping them unresolved. And we are not in these traditions and dialectics because we are asking what happens when the two terms in a binary argument are not able to anticipate the third term...Here, there appears Levinas' alien challenge to Hamlet's condition, and it asks: how can Hamlet's Being possibly see the forest for the trees? How can he anticipate a dis-interested-ness outside the order of 'to be or not to be' in order — because it is out of order —to assume or even consider another option, a radical responsibility for the other, an otherwise than Being, a third term?"

I was trying to look at the problem of the binary, H.D.'s desire to create union between the two, and the presence of a third thing, with the idea of the marginal. I didn't come up with any sort of answer for the problem, but thought the tension between binary ways of viewing, and the third thing, the Other, the marginal, was interesting. I think the answer to binaryisms is a third thing, a fourth thing, a fifth thing, multiplicities. As well as simultaneities. I like this quote because it seems to include an air of mystery, of the unknown, and the unknowable as part of that third thing, which seems obviously one place that H.D. was working from or towards in her poetry.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Part VI of Eurydice by H.D.


Against the black
I have more fervour
than you in all the splendour of that place,
against the blackness
and the stark grey
I have more light;
and the flowers,
if I should tell you,
you would turn from your own fit paths
toward hell,
turn again and glance back
and I would sink into a place even more terrible than this.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Part V of Eurydice by H.D.


So for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I have lost the earth
and the flowers of the earth,
and the live souls above the earth,
and you who passed across the light
and reached
you who have your own light,
who are to yourself a presence,
who need no presence;

yet for all your arrogance
and your glance,
I tell you this:

such loss is no loss,
such terror, such coils and strands and pitfalls
of blackness
such terror
is no loss;

hell is no worse than your earth
above the earth,
hell is no worse,
no, nor your flowers
nor your veins of light
nor your presence,
a loss;
my hell is no worse than yours
though you pass among the flowers and speak
with the spirits above the earth.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Paranormals of Moving

drinking a lot of sake while packing, started to feel like having flashbacks...the fan blades were moving, but the fan was not on. Also, the feeling of hearing a sound that is not part of the world you are occupying. Another parallel universe invading the one you are in. This feeling only happened ever when I was tripping, don't know why I am re-experiencing it. Like how when you would leave one room to go to another, the difference between the two realities was really freaky, and that they were sort of superimposed upon one another, and should not be, you are only perceiving paranormal realities because you are tripping. Maybe this corresponds to me moving and sort of occupying two locales simultaneously, and that it is disconcerting...

Part IV of Eurydice by H.D.


Fringe upon fringe
of blue crocuses,
crocuses, walled against blue of themselves,
blue of that upper earth.
blue of the depth upon depth of flowers,
flowers, if I could have taken once my breath of them,
enough of them,
more than earth,
even than of the upper earth,
had passed with me
beneath the earth;

If I could have caught up from the earth,
the whole of the flowers of the earth,
if once I could have breathed into myself
the very golden crocuses
and the red
and the very golden hearts of the first saffron,
the whole of the golden mass,
the whole of the great fragrance,
I could have dared the loss.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ginger 1990-2006

Long teary ink-smeared death post.

title or description

In happier times, on her favorite rug.

title or description

Her last night. She wouldn't eat her treat.

also see here:

Ginger died Tuesday, June 13, 2006. I am so heartbroken I feel like I've been widowed. I was totally not expecting to be so upset, I've been expecting it for a while. "The winter is a frigid bitch bride who's my sister who smacks me." —Arielle Greenberg. But Emily says "Eclipses suns imply." I'm reading Emily's Letters, so great to read her letters when you are grieving. She was the master of the condolence letter. So many death letters in her Letters. I will bring it to every funeral I ever go to from now on. So I wrote like 6 pages in my paper journal on Tuesday, while sobbing. Obviously very important time to memorialize so here it is:

So shocking what has happened, that I killed her —put her to sleep — she couldn't walk at all or even stand up — due to arthritis — 16 years old. Didn't think I would feel such a gaping hole — I feel so alone — her absence is huge. I keep wondering where she is. Her spirit? It is so mysterious — Death. Where we once were we no longer are. Even tho I was totally expecting it and cried Monday night, her last night, I knew it — she seemed like she was dying — no energy at all. She was so gentle, she didn't even flinch when the Dr. put the needle in. As the stuff went in I could see her relaxing/dying, I guess dying is the best relaxation — no more pain. It seemed like a great relief to her. I guess that was the anesthesia, they said what kills her is an overdose of anesthesia. But I think she was relieved to go. The Dr. was so nice. She kept touching my arm and saying the usual comforting things, which really were comforting, I always thought those sayings were bullshit and you shouldn't say them to people, but it was really, really nice to hear. I am getting her ashes for $240. I think I may have missed her death, her eyes were closing as she realxed, and they closed, and I put my head down into her neck and sobbed and when I looked at her again they were half open in that death gaze. I've never seen anyone die before, it is so weird that it is her but then not because she is absent. I've seen dead, but not actual death before. The breathing belly I'm always obsessively looking for stopped. They let me stay in the room with her after she died and I just sat there looking at her — she seemed not dead but just really still — I kept petting her, then after a minute, her body started to seem extra heavy. I then got a little grossed out, it's not her anymore, its a corpse, and so I left her and went into the very crowded waiting room, where I felt like everyone was staring at me, could they hear me sobbing in the little room, can my neighbor below me now? I am just letting loose, sobbing loudly, what a wuss I am, I don't care tho. Somehow too, between the picking up Ginger and putting her in the cab to go to the vet, I lost my phone, I have to go to Cingular. It's my day off and I don't know what the fuck to do with myself. I wish I had funeral arrangements to take care of. I wish someone would make me a casserole. I can't seem to stop crying so it seems a bad idea to go out, but I probably won't stop crying here in my bed.

I can live a shed-free existence from now on I guess. No more hair on my black clothes, no more friends saying "let's go to my house instead, let's meet somewhere." I can stay out after work and not rush home to walk her. Save money on dogfood, nails clipped, cab rides, vet bills. I will have a plethora of bags. Maybe I will buy one of those canvas grocery bags and be all environmental. Cuz what am I going to do with all these plastic bags now? I can get a cheaper apartment. None of this is remotely consoling.

She died of arthritis really — the vet said the reason she wasn't peeing was related — I thought her kidneys were failing — but the vet said soemthing about nerves blocking neurological messages to pee. Made sense but I can't talk science. I am glad on Saturday I gave her a bath (she was lying down in the tub the whole time, she didn't even have the energy to stand) so she died really pretty and soft. No one want to go when they look bad, right? I am so glad she looked pretty.

Maybe instead of my dog mimicing me and my shadows, like I always thought pets did, me being sick off and on since March was a way of me micmicing her...she was never that intuitive a dog, but super gentle and sweet — she hasn't barked since 2004. I walked all the way home from the vets instead of waiting for the bus — it want't that long. I sortof went to the bus stop but it wasn't coming and I wanted to keep moving and I HATE crying on public transportation, people looking at you — or not looking at you but aware, avoiding looking at you. So I walked from 18th and Valencia to 14th and up to Dolores to Market and from there one block over to Buchanan and up to Oak. Oh. 12 Blocks. Sounds like more than it felt.

Is she in doggie heaven? I want her to be, I hope she is with God and then suddenly I totally believe — she's in a park with green grass and other friendly doggies and she's rolling around in it getting dirty.

Is she in doggie heaven?
Will I see her ghost?
Did she cease to exist?
Is she being reincarnated?
I sort of believe her energy, her essence, floated up to be with the All, rejoining with the life force which splits itself up into new life, so yes she is in doggie heaven — rejoining the all and yes she is being reincarnated. To see ghosts probably means they haven't yet rejoined with the all and are hovering about. I know she was relieved and probably has no reason to stay here. I think somehthing like her energy is rejoined with the all and in that rejoining, it changes it, and she becomes more like it and less like Ginger and that is why when you reincarnate you are not remotely like you were in your previous life because your energy is mixed with the all and a new combination/configuration is created.

It is sunny today — a great day for chasing butterflies.

I keep thinking she is down there on her pillow and I look and she's not there. The worst thing is that unconscious reflex when I wake up, to look for her. I'm starting to tell myself she's not there, don't look for her when I get out of bed, come out of the kitchen, and worst of all, when I put my key in the lock. This vast emptiness — huge — it fills up the sky, but she is somewhere — must be where the emptiness is not, but that is a place where I am not, and is it really separate — heaven and earth? Binaryism is perhaps the truth after all? We are not of God. God is not of us, totally separate, but when we die we get to be with him? But are still not of him? Other beings worshipping him forever —? Being Other. And so truth is hierarchy... Ihope that is not it. I don't like that world-view.

That night after her death, I dream of a huge gaping hole in the wall to my apartment. Symbol of my heart.

Wednesday I try to go to work, but see my boss outside and I tell him, and I start sobbing, and he, emotional flame, hugs me, and then he starts to cry, and he tells me to go home. I don't want to go home. Only despair is there. So I eat and go to a cafe, and pretend to read poetry with a coffee. Luckily this cafe is crazy packed, and that keeps my focus, some guy talking to his tourist friend who is visiting him, looks at me and says, "California Poet Types," huh! I am a type! A tourist attraction! weird. Then I get a little better through the humor, and go to yoga, but it is very hard to move, sorrow immobilizes you. I come home and I start crying again and write some more:

the thing that's upsetting me now —? is that she was always so confused about where to go, I had to tell her this way, Ginger. She wouldn't go anywhere she didn't think I was going. So how does she know where to go in the afterlife, I'm not there. How does she know to go towards the light or whatever. Are there doggie angels helping her?

Michael sent me a sweet note:

"may Ginger be surrounded by sweet
airs and lovley sea gardens resting
in the shade being petted by HD and
Emily Dickinson and all of them
feeling very inspired and relaxed and happy"

and I hope that HD and Emily are there to help her know where to go, "the green field is over here, the good smells over there." I know Emily had a dog, Carlo, she says in one of her letters, "I talk of these things with Carlo, and his eyes grow meaning, and his shaggy feet keep a slower pace." Did HD have a dog? I feel like she might have, but can't remember.

Maybe HD is ushering Ginger into the Eleusinian Mysteries...
they are a strange pair Emily and HD, Emily all Puritan New Englandish, and HD rather New Englandish too, but rather more Elesuinian... they were both kindof spiritually crazy in their ways, and that is cool and comforting...

Eve says: oh Ginger... she will be remembered as a timid gold hair girl.

Judy says: Ginger will always be with us! As a glowing golden doggie angel!

My friends are sweet.

Bizarrely, my dad's dog, Mickey, died Thursday. They were about the same age, and died the same way: bad arthritis, and Mickey just stopped moving and wouldn't eat. So they put her to sleep too. When I lived in Austin in the 90's, Ginger and Mickey used to play together at my dad's. They would run around the yard together. I feel so much better knowing Ginger has her old friend with her, now she knows where to go, Mickey's personality was more assertive, she will just run into the light, and Ginger will see and follow her. I'm not so worried anymore. But I am still heartbroken. I asked my doctor if he could give me anything, I feel barely functional, and he said there is no pill to stop the grieving process, but he could give me sleeping pills to help me sleep, so I took one last night, and slept through the night for the first time, but I'm not so sure it is such a good idea, because today it has me so relaxed I can't control the crying as well, I was trying to sit in a cafe and read, which worked last Wednesday, but today I can't seem to stop myself from crying in public. I had to leave and come home. Maybe dosing myself up on caffeine and being really active would be a better tactic. I am totally re-addicted to coffee this week, which is ok, if it works, because I can quit coffee anytime, later.

I was thinking about those birds, that kept landing on my head, it happened twice, in the past month or two, I don't remember when it happened, but it happened two different times, it seems like it must have been some sort of harbinger of Ginger's death. I don't know what the symbolism exactly is, cuz it is too weird, but birds, even pigeons, are messengers, somehow creatures between heaven and earth...I have a feeling it won't happen again, and if it doesn't, then I am right. Maybe if I am somehow symbolic of Ginger, and not the other way around, then maybe they were trying to cart me off to Heaven...

It is so strange the illnesses I've had that seem to mimic hers. I had a month of bronchitus, coughing stuff, in March, which she didn't have but during that time I injured my back and had back/hip pain whenever I would get up, which mimicked her arthritic limps. Then I had this stomach stuff for a while, and she was starting to move from having bladder infections all the time to having to poop 3 or 4 times a day, which was weird. In the last week I got a bladder infection out of nowhere, I never get bladder infections, and this was when she was starting to not pee, then she got this weird sore on her left hind leg, that she kept licking, and I noticed this week I have a weird scarry sore on my left leg by my ankle. I think that is it, I am crazy empathic I guess...

I am remembering that all through the years, Ginger has made it into random poems on occasion, I'm going to go back through my poems and make them into a Ginger chapbook, it will go on the Ginger shrine, with her ashes and her pictures, later. Maybe that will be healing, I honestly haven't had any desire to write since this happened. I tried to go shopping to fill the void, and I just didn't care. Drinking doesn't help, yoga doesn't help, pills don't help, I guess it is just time. I wish I could do something to speed up the process.

And strangely, since this is my vision journal, I did see her ghost. I had been drinking, albeit, trying to numb the pain, which didn't work, at all, and I looked at her big pillow she would sleep on, and I could see an outline of her sleeping the way she used to sleep. It is nice in retrospect, to have seen this image, but at the time it made me bawl harder. I wonder if it is some sort of latent energy pattern, or my need to see her, or a visitation from her? Maybe it is like in that movie The Others, where the dead people just continue on as they always have, they have no idea anything is different. That is why she was sleeping, she doesn't know anything different has happened. In that case, I shouldn't move. I want to stay with her.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

started reading Susan McCabe's book Cinematic Modernism at the library. About HD and her connection with cinema, how cinema affected her poetics, etc. Just from the introduction are some cool quotes:

"Enter Cinema. It made visible a body, never visible before -- one that is at once whole and in pieces."

"Cinematic bodies haunt, permeate, fragment and are fragmented by representation."

"Silent film's status as a form of hieroglyphics promised that an Esperanto or universal language might be attained."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My list of Visions

Mother Goose, legs hanging from midair (SF) 2013
Anubis (Oakland)
Flashback static fan movement (SF)
Greek Athlete(SF)
Lawn chair figure at AWP (A)
shadow figure on stairs(SF)
vision of many faces in the trees (SF)
god in waiting area (SF)
rose hovering above me (SF)
shadow figure walking away (H)
St Francis (SF)
Mandala (H)
Angel in shorts on freeway(H)
Red snowflake (Switzerland)
Harlem Flapper(H)

glow vision

Had a really strange experience in yoga, because of this weird back injury I have been laying off of yoga mostly, and am just getting back into it. For bliss replacement, I have been trying to meditate more. In class last night, we were doing a open-eyed meditation in the dark, and my right knee started glowing orange, and then everything around me was glowing, everything in the periphery at least, it really was freaking me out. Vision energy is ascending, I guess. But no actual vision, except for the glowing...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Part III of Eurydice by H.D.


Saffron from the fringe of the earth,
wild saffron that has bent
over the sharp edge of earth,
all the flowers that cut through the earth,
all, all the flowers are lost;
everything is lost,
everything is crossed with black,
black upon black
and worse than black,
this colourless light.

H.D.'s Vision at Corfu

Quoted from Megan Simpson's Poetic Epistemologies, page 67:

"H.D.'s account of her extraordinary vision of picture-writing appearing (as if projected from her own consciousness) on a hotel wall at Corfu in 1920, an account written 20 years later in "Writing on the Wall," offers another example of how the value of the sign, for H.D., lies in its very indeterminacy. Rather than seeking definitive meanings or translations of the signs as Freud had during H.D.'s analysis with him in 1933, H.D. emphasizes the multiplicity of available readings of the images and the impossibility of fixing on any one final meaning. Her comments about two of the six hieroglyphlike images that appeared in succession on the wall are particularly telling. About the third image to form, a circle with three lines supporting its base, she writes, "The tripod, we know, was the symbol of prophecy, prophetic utterance that of occult or hidden knowledge; the Priestess or Pythoness of Delphi sat on the tripod while she pronounced her verse couplets, the famous Delphic utterances when it was said could be read two ways" (Tribute 51). Significantly, H.D. interprets this image as the sign of indeterminacy itself, referring not to an external signified, but to another process of signification in which rereading is similarly problematized — the Delphic oracles. The fifth image, which H.D. names Nike, "is a moving-picture and fortunately she moves swiftly" (Tribute 55); this physical movement of the material signifier H.D. takes to be a symbolic manifestation of the unfixability of signs in general. And this may be why she attaches a special significance to this figure as representing signification itself, even claiming it as her own personal signifier-as-signifier: "Nike, Victory seemed to be the clue, seemed to by my own especial sign or part of my hieroglyph" (Tribute 56).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Part II of Eurydice by H.D.


Here only flame upon flame
and black among the red sparks,
streaks of black and light
grown colorless

why did you turn back,
that hell should be reinhabited
of myself thus
swept into nothingness?

why did you turn back?
why did you glance back?
why did you hesitate for that moment?
why did you bend your face
caught with the flame of the upper earth,
above my face?

what was it that crossed my face
with the light from yours
and your glance?
what was it you saw in my face?
the light of your own face,
the fire of your own presence?

what had my face to offer
but reflex of the earth,
hyacinth colour
caught from the raw fissure in the rock
where the light struck,
and the colour of azure crocuses,
and the bright surface of gold crocuses
and of the wind-flower,
swift in its veins as lightning
and as white.
When you are in dreamtime nothing happens and nothing that does happen, matters.

So all oracle is true.

When you have awoken, though, no oracle is true, because truth is changeable from moment to moment.

When sleeping all oracle is simply directing you to awaken (not awaken as in epiphany, but to awaken as in attainment of place)

Once you have arrived, there is no need for oracle. You are already here and must abandon prediction for the now which is unpredictable and utterly dangerous

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Had another vision this morning, meditation and bad eyesight work wonders for vision procurement! And I reorganized my furniture this weekend, so everything has different shapes. I woke up and was looking around without my glasses on and I saw an image of an ancient Greek athlete, complete with helmet, (did they wear helmets? Maybe if they were on horses?) and relay baton. He was holding it out, it almost looks like he was pointing, but I think he was holding his baton out towards the next runner maybe. I interpreted it as it is time to go back to yoga which I have been unable to do due to a back injury. I think I am mostly healed now and it is time to go back. Unless it was a warrior not an athlete, holding a sword out in front of him, which may mean it is time to go back out there and fight with the world, my hermitage is over. Or, as it was my day off today, it was telling me to get off my rump and go be active, which I didn't really do, but I feel like it is ok, I did my taxes, wrote half a poem, watched a movie, and walked Ginger to and from the groomers, and read some of the Olney book on Yeats and Jung outside of Starbucks (moisture=death), while I let Ginger rest.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Modernist diction may, in ways still to be fully elucidated, be indebted to female gender stances (in Stein, in Loy, in Moore). Marianne DeKoven, assimilating Kristeva, sees modernist 'experimental writing as anti-patriarchal' a stance necessary to rupture dominant culture by a focus on the signifier, not the signified, and interestingly initiated by a woman, Gertrude Stein. Jeanne Kammer suggests that the modernist style in Dickinson, Moore and H.D. was born from the pressures of silence -- 'habits of privacy, camouflage, and indirection' -- which resulted in 'linguistic compression' and juxtaposition." (DuPlessis H.D.7) I like this theory so much better than those who say that experimental writing is oblique, fractured, and a symptom of our alienation. Collage writing, especially, can be seen as a way of quilting, layering. Somehow, to some, complexity is seen as a form of fracture. Why? I don't know. Complexity to me, is a way of adding meaning, deepening experience. There was an interview than saddened me, with Sharon Dolin, who said the Language Poetry silences the I, and is anti-woman for her. But all the cool language poets are women so I don't see how that is exactly true. I don't think they are silencing the I, they are going beyond the I. The I is incredibly simple and small to me, whereas to go beyond it does not exclude it, but encompasses more, all of experience, universe sized.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Part I of "Eurydice" by H.D.

So you have swept me back,
I who have walked with the live souls
above the earth,
I who have slept among the live flowers
at last;

so for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders upon moss of ash;

so for your arrogance
I am broken at last,
I who had lived unconscious,
who was almost forgot;

if you had let me wait
I had grown from listlessness into peace,
if you had let me rest with the dead,
I had forgot you
and the past.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I haven't posted in here in a really long time but I finally had a vision today. I've been back in Austin for AWP. I was just waking up after 3 days of constant panels etc., exhausted, sick, it's 6:45 am, and I look out the window, without my glasses on, and I see an old man sitting out there. He looks like my stepmom's father, who I know left for Kerrville the night before, so why is he here? Is he looking for her? Waiting for her? I'm sortof scared because he is staring at me, but I kindof feel like if he wants to stare, let him, and I roll over. After a while I realize it must only look like an old man becuase I don't have my glasses on, so I put them on and look. It is an orange ceramic chicken and a white plastic lawn chair, at such a weird angle that it looks like a flesh colored head with a white shirt. Can't even begin to decipher. Hopefully Liesse's dad is not about to die. There was an old man pestering me on the plane today, i so much wanted him to leave me alone, and not have to talk to him, it was rather unpleasant, but there may be some connection, otherwise it is something to understand only in the future.