Category Archives: interviews

How collaborative poetry might work

The Fugalists

Rachael Berry, me, Chris Jones and Keri Highland post-gig 17.8 2013

Regular readers may know that I dabble in making my own attempts at the poetic. Recent efforts have used archive material, photography and/or multiple voices with minimalist piano. After more than a few months of working through permutations I think I’ve got a collaborative ‘form’ that works. I usually define my stuff as ‘working’ when it does what was in my head at the beginning (or thereabouts) regardless of the reaction of others- which has usually been one of mystification and/or disdain. On this occasion however, I seemed to have struck a balance between what I want to achieve and what people like. Last week-end my collaborators performed this vocal improvisation in a yurt at a local arts festival. It was the last item of the evening and I rounded things off and joined a friend outside in the gathering gloom to discuss the evening as a whole. Before we could start I was approached by a lady in her fifties who asked for my contact details, I asked her what she thought and she said the last piece really “worked” and then became quite emotional about how well it worked.

I’d liked to have been able to write this off s a single reaction but there has been positive feedback from equally unexpected quarters. I find myself to be ridiculously pleased about this but the main point of writing about it here is to try and fathom what it is that appeals and why it should appeal to such a broad group of people. I’ll start with the motivation: for many years I’ve been interested in work with multi layered vocals; I’m of the view that there’s too much of the poetic in poetry; I’m incredibly interested in what people say about their passions and how they say it.

So, the initial plan involved a collaboration between myself and Julian Winslow, a local photographer who is also my best friend. Our theme is landscape and my contribution involved interviewing a number of people who worked on or with the land in order to make a multi-layered sound file which would then be played at the same time as people viewed Julian’s pictures.

This ran alongside a series of interviews and discussions with a local musician/song writer, Keri Highland, about mental fragility. I then distilled these down to about twenty phrases each which we improvised around at a couple of gigs earlier this year. We were both taken aback by the response. As part of my collaboration with Julian we’d been recording interviews with each other as to the creative process and he suggested that I should interview others from different disciplines. Rachael Berry and Chris Jones had both been exhibiting their art at the second gig where Keri and I had performed together and I cajoled them both into a series of interviews as to their various processes, I also interviewed Keri on the same subject.

The next few weeks were spent playing the sound files and extracting what seemed to me the most honest and unvarnished things that the subjects had said and subtracting the same from the interview that I had with myself – which was essentially my response(s) to what the other three had said.

We then rehearsed once or twice a week, refining the format. I’d known from previous attempts on the landscape project that three voices talking together mostly descends into incoherence whereas it is possible to make some sense from two voice. After some tweaking we decided to alternate the two male voices (with some cross-over) whilst the two female voices should do the same. This produced a piece whereby a male and a female voice were speaking at the same time but not in response to each other. The improvised element was that people could read the phrase that they wanted whenever they wanted in response to or against what the other had just said.

After some further discussion we decided to try a fairly abstract keyboard backing. After some brief exchanges Keri came up with and recorded something that we all felt that we could ‘lean’ into and which enhanced the work rther than turning it into any kind of song.

I’d produced these events through the summer and could therefore decide on where to place this amongst the poets musicians and story tellers. Because the mental health improv had been so well received in previous gigs, I decided to finish the evening with it and was amazed by the warmth and enthusiasm of the response.

I’m still not sure why this material gets this kind of response, now why it should appeal to an audience with different interests and tastes. I’d like to think that it’s because it carries some transparent honesty that people can relate to and be absorbed in. The friend who was waiting outside the yurt is of the view that it demands some audience involvement in that people have to really listen to follow a particular thread. I think he’s right and I’m very pleased that people do seem prepared to pay attention.

The other element that is ideologically important for me in my ongoing war with the poetic is that it made use only of what people said in non-poetic and reasonably ordinary conversations. You may argue that interviewing myself is a bit of a cheat and you’d be right. The first ten minutes of my conversation with me are full of neat and pithy little phrases, I then realised that I wasn’t supposed to be making an impression and wittered on about the material that I think is incisively brilliant and the rest of the world is completely indifferent to.

I also discover that I’m on bit of mission to challenge assumptions about poetry: I red half an episode of a soap opera that I’d poeticised which was very well received and a much more standard poetic rant about cultural saturation that was inventive, lyrical and quite skilled but ws ded after about the third line of many.

The next challenge is to try and maintain the momentum without being too ambitious. The obvious dimensions that I seem to be playing with are: subject matter; number and gender of voices and the nature of the musical backing if we feel we need one. Beyond that there’s visual material but I’m concerned that this might detract from the attention that is currently paid to the words.

For some reason I’m also of the view that we should only perform this at the moment because it appears that this collective involvement / attention might be the core aspect.

A final note on collaboration, I know that some find it intolerable and other projects crash and burn due to big egos but I have to say that my experience both with John Matthias and these three have brought me out of my shell in quite unexpected ways.

John Bloomberg-Rissman and ‘In the House of the Hangman’

The following is taken from an e-mail exchange with John about his ‘In the House of the Hangman’ which is a fascinating and very much ongoing sequence:

JA-I’m currently carrying around ‘House of the Hangman’ on my Kindle and am finding it really hard to put down- I think it’s an important piece of work and I’d like to blog about it once I’ve read some more. I’m especially interested in appropriation and the criteria we use (if any) to select what is appropriated and the way we elect to ‘frame’ these selections. It is remarkable and I’d be very interested to know more about your practice in this regard.

JB-R– I’m very happy to hear that you are getting along well with In the House of the Hangman. You write: “I’m especially interested in appropriation and the criteria we use (if any) to select what is appropriated and the way we elect to ‘frame’ these selections. It is remarkable and I’d be very interested to know more about your practice in this regard.”

I don’t know how much of what follows is repetition, so apologies in advance. But.

It wasn’t until I began to “abandon” my lyric self as the almost-sole voice in my poems and to include appropriated and/or reworked material that I began to come into my own, I think. It’s not just that I’m not that interesting a person, it’s that the lyric self occupies too small a world (I’m speaking of me, now, not generalizing). I don’t know if you read Sina Queyras’ recent Lyric Conceptualism manifesto, but I see a bit of myself in that. My art is a bastardized and dirty mix of self-and-other (based on the principle that my self is just one of the others, and it need not be silenced any more than anyone else need be). So the criteria I use is a bit of a mix of “algorithm and contingency” to steal the title of Robert Jackson’s blog. The “algorithm” side is a combo of what shows up in my RSS feed every day (and I have shoved lots of sites into that feed for just this purpose – there are political sites, and art sites, and poetry sites, and science sites, etc – whatever will bring the the micro and macro news of the day). I add to that what comes to me via links from the sites in the RSS feed, email, via the books I’m reading, by what I hear on tv, what’s on my mind (current young radical british poetry, e.g.) (yesterday it was an old guy, Bill Griffiths – I was reading his Lion Man book …) etc etc. But it’s all happening in real time, meaning everything that goes into the bit of ITH I’m working on is from that day’s “feed”. The contingency aspect is this: I have given myself the freedom to choose whatever seems to be “of use” from that feed. What do I mean by “of use”? Well, I’m trying to tell the “tale of my tribe” so to speak – what it’s like to live these days. I think I told you that the title of ITH comes from Adorno, “But in the house of the hangman one should not speak of the noose, one might be suspected of harboring resentment.” He wrote that in the 50s, after returning to Germany. I think that it’s true now everywhere. So we all live in that house. And I am determined to speak my resentment. So what I choose is “of use” for that purpose. Tho of course I’m not an idiot, and I know that whine whine whine for even 2 pages would bore the hell out of anyone, so I try to hold a very wide sense of resentment, which encompasses all kinds of tones, etc. This is one reason the poets you write about are so important. They have found ways to carry the weight of living in these times without killing the reader with it. “Instruct and delight”, as the Augustans said. I don’t know about instruct, and I can’t be sure I delight, but I always recall that I’m not trying to cure the patient, just report on her/his condition. My ultimate audience, by the way, is twofold: one, my contemporaries; two: my grandsons, so that when they inherit hell from us, they will be able to say, “Grandpa knew it would be like this, sort of. He wasn’t a complete idiot.” I have found that some sources that come over my feed are used more frequently than others. That’s because what they say is on the right wavelength. The whole thing will be comprised of 2012 “sections”, which aren’t really sections, they’re just that day’s work. It’ll all be blended into one. That’s how I’m writing it. And 2012 is for obvious and quite terrifying and humorous reasons (ah, my people, the things you believe, and the things you ignore. I could weep!) (that was meant to be extravagant!)

I think that goes some way towards beginning to answer your questions. I’d like to know more about what you mean by frame. All I can this is “how do I decide what goes where?” Well, I just pretend I’m Hannah Hoch redecorating the Sistine Chapel …

JA-I think we need a much longer discussion on the ‘House’ but I’m grateful for what you’ve said which intrigues me even more. What interests me at this stage of my reading is the way that you present or frame the appropriated material and how much of this is deliberately undercut by the authorial voice- this might not make sense but I am really interested in notions of authenticity and whether ‘straight’ appropriation automatically diminishes our very partial sense of the real. It also strikes me that you’re compiling a narrative in real time, I’m certainly reading the material as a record of my recent past- was that part of your intention?

JB-RYes we need a longer discussion. So ask away, anything. It’s kind of hard for me to understand what it looks/feels etc like to its readers. After all, to me it’s entirely transparent! (Just because I was there when I made it, so to speak). (Which doesn’t make it the last bit transparent, really)

You write: “What interests me at this stage of my reading is the way that you present or frame the appropriated material and how much of this is deliberately undercut by the authorial voice- this might not make sense but I am really interested in notions of authenticity and whether ‘straight’ appropriation automatically diminishes our very partial sense of the real.”

I have real problems distinguishing between the authentic and the inauthentic. To paraphrase a Wolfgang Tillmans book title, if one thing is authentic everything is. And vice-versa. I tend to lean towards this is as real as it gets round here, in the Simulacrum. Which, contra Baudrillard, I don’t see as a new mediated invention.I think we’ve lived within a mediated simulacrum since the day we became conscious. It’s just sped up now to the point where the focus is so blurred we notice it.

I certainly hope that what you call straight appropriation does indeed diminish “our very partial sense of the real”.* As I wrote somewhere (either in ITH or its predecessor, Flux, Clot & Froth), “I can’t make up this shit”. On the other hand, I hope it keeps us aware of what we’re surrounded by and bombarded with.

As far as the authorial voice “deliberately undercutting” things, that’s where my anger comes in. As Hans Richter wrote about dada, “We wanted to stay human!” I wouldn’t use the word stay, perhaps, maybe I’d substitute become. Or, no, some word that combines the two, stay and become. And we can talk about what I mean by human. Let’s leave it for this minute as when your daughter, say, gets to the end of her life, and lies down in her deathbed, she can say and mean ‘I’d take that ride again.’

You also write: “It also strikes me that you’re compiling a narrative in real time, I’m certainly reading the material as a record of my recent past- was that part of your intention?” Yes, definitely. I want every reader to say, yes, I lived thru this. And this is what it was like, god help us.

*I should also add that a lot of what you call straight appropriation isn’t. I do a lot of mixing and mangling of my source material, tho a lot of it indeed straight. Was that clear to you in reading? That sometimes my sampled material is not cut out on a straight line?

Simon Jarvis’ SYMPARANEKROMENOTIKON

The above is the second poem (of two) in ‘F subscript zero’ which was published by Equipage in 2007. I’ve written about the first poem before and had decided that the above was too introspective / self-indulgent to be bothered with. I’ve re-read it a couple of times over the weekend and am now of the view that it should be bothered with because some of the things that it does work really well.

It’s also possible/feasible to draw more of a line from ‘The Unconditional’ to ‘Dionysus Crucified’ through ‘Symp’ in terms of the way that some things are done. I thought it might be useful to highlight some of the more important obvious elements rather than to hazard a tentative guess at what things might ‘mean’.

Throats

It would appear that readers are identified and addressed as throats and, less frequently, other body parts involved in speaking (teeth, necks, palates, ventricles) as if to encourage a level of identification with the poet:

  O fellow throats! O o"'"s! Perhaps you also have known one hour 
at which no string but bitters nor no alone grunt can wring out but a tit
or perhaps you alone have also known one infintesimal "and" therefore real.

and-

Tub. Dur. Tat. I begin again. Tub. O fellow throats! lever a buccal gap to and approx mouth shape now and retch
thoughts in their proper order to the sink: improper objects to the exit hole. T

This emphasis on speech components might suggest that this is a poem to be read aloud but may also be about the vulnerability of the throat and the fallibility of the words that it makes.

This would be a difficult poem to read aloud because it isn’t clear as to how some phrases should be vocalised- ‘Hmm mph r mm/get’ or the missing word used above- and the last page contains a pattern which is a top to down phrase using one letter per line as with ‘T’ above.

Obscure words

We have a range of obscure words, I’m still defining ‘obscure’ as words that I don’t know the meaning of or need to check. There is also this line:

  as obsolete or foreign words dud or incarcerate down into a priamel and legible only as mock or booty.

which I’m taking as an acknowledgement of the difficulties presented to the reader although it does come in the middle of the obligatory ‘car’ section (see below). The OED tells me that ‘priamel’ is still being used and provides this definition- ” Originally: a type of short poem cultivated in Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries, culminating in a witty or ingenious turn of thought. Later applied to similar literary forms; spec. (in ancient Greek poetry) a device in which a number of items or options, culminating in a preferred one, are listed for comparison”. I think I’m also going to include ‘pop habitus’ as obscure because not everyone has read Bourdieu (even though they should) and not include it in the foreign section because it has now become part of English- hasn’t it?

The use of ‘vel’ as in ‘so the most important to paint / vel no-muck’ is both obsolete and obscure whereas ‘ipseity’ is just obscure. The use of ‘catachretic’ as in ‘its figuring retina-soul convert to ocean / being the thus catachretic body parts they are’ is either a typo or a bit too clever as ‘catachrestic’ is defined as ” Of the nature of catachresis; wrongly used, misapplied, wrested from its proper meaning”. The aforementioned ‘buccal’ is also obscure. I’m not including ‘interstitial’ but I do think that ‘interstitial void’ is an example of trying too hard.

Foreign words and phrases.

Regular readers will know that frequent and/or extensive use of foreign phrases is one of the things that we are implacably against. The reason for this is twofold-

  • readers who are not multilingual and haven’t spent a lifetime in the academy might feel more than a little intimidated by the use of foreign terms and phrases and may feel discouraged from reading further;
  • it is usually superfluous in that things can be said equally well in English.

There are exceptions to the second part of this when the use of the foreign term is the only way to carry the full weight of what needs to be said but these exceptions are few and far between.

‘SYMP’ starts with ‘Durch grub vers lux or lunch deflected……’ which doesn’t bode well and then we have this as a complete line-

Durch men-ya blub and men-ya langsam dop hei special ranger

I’ll freely confess that I haven’t gone to any lengths at all to work this out and I also need to point out that it was this that has deterred me from bothering with the poem until now. This is a pity because the rest of the poem desists from this kind of gesture and more than rewards attention.

I’m fully aware that this practice isn’t going to change anytime soon but that doesn’t mean that it’s an okay or reasonable conceit even though it has a long pedigree and is considered conventional by some. I take some encouragement from the fact that this particular trait doesn’t seem to have been inherited by the younger group of poets recently anthologised in ‘Better than Language’.

To try and bolster my case, I would argue that there are other ways of saying “The remainder is imperfect repetition of the immergleich novel in episodes of pluswert night on night” and that this ‘mix’ just feels awkward.

Cars

Simon Jarvis poems usually contain reference to the British road network and/or cars. Simon has explained this in a recent interview and ‘SYMP’ contains this oddly powerful passage-

 Twigs and parts of a wire cut off some sections of a removed area just over by where the cars
could not be said to wait or stand but were: could not be said in an emphatic sense to be
more than the vehicles shining with all flung work of gorgeous metals not less barbaric than alien
in surfaces of almost wholly suppressed colour singing out as brightly to the abstractly possible sight
as obsolete or foreign words dug or incarcerate down into a priamel and legible only as mock or booty.

What I think I admire most about Jarvis’ work is his ability to be cerebral, lyrical and appropriately odd at the same time- “all flung work of gorgeous metals not less barbaric than alien”- ‘gorgeous’ really shouldn’t work in this context and I have yet to work out why it does.

So, the use of pattern, the continued references to roads / cars and the use of verse to do philosophy are all developed here in advance of ‘Dionysus’ as is the use of myth (in this case the story of Actaeon’s death) to do more complex things. The descending ‘ATTEONE MORTO’ down the lines of the last page anticipates the much more complex patterning in Dionysus but both poems seem to be pointing in the same kind of direction.

Superabundant thought, an open letter to Simon Jarvis

Dear Simon,

Thank you once again for responding to my questions, I know that (for the right reasons) you had some anxiety about this and I’m sure that many of the bebrowed readers found your answers both enlightening and stimulating, I know that I did. In response I’d like to expand a little on my poorly framed observation about the amount of thought that goes into your work. I’m going to try and avoid the philosophy and theology words in what follows because they’re not helpful to me in this instance and I don’t want to get bogged down in abstraction.

I like poetry that makes me think and challenges me to think in different ways and some poetry is very good at kicking off thoughts that feel as if they’re cascading through my head. There’s a passage in Paradise Lost that does this, one or two Celan poems, some late Prynne and some John Matthias as well as ‘Mercian Hymns’. So, I know this process, I’m familiar with it and obtain great pleasure in reading and re-reading. ‘The Unconditional’ does this and so does ‘Dionysus’ but in a different way.

I want first to talk about the effect of ‘The Unconditional’ which I’m now reading slightly obsessively for the third time. First of all there’s this very atmospheric depiction of provincial England in the rain which informs the ‘action’ as it unfolds, then there’s this middle-aged, middle class sense of defeated self-loathing together with the fact that each character is a cypher with more fallibilities and anxiety about those fallibilities than strengths. The depiction of Agramont’s inner workings is especially astute.

These factors set the ‘tone’ and provide a sullen backdrop to the extraordinary digressions that fill all 242 pages of this obstinately metrical work. As you know, I found the digressions initially quite difficult to negotiate but now they seem to make complete sense and my initial bewilderment has changed into what feels like the start of a serious engagement. The thoughts cascade and go to a range of different places raising for me questions of identity, my own entirely ambiguous relationship to this country which is now undergoing a kind of nagging re-evaluation and the knowledge that many of us of a certain age go on in our ways with no expectation of change, the way that you suggest that life becomes process.

There’s also my love of the long poem and the things that have been done with it since Homer started the Western ball rolling. I am going to use this platform at a later stage to develop my feelings about what ‘The Unconditional’ does to the genre / breed but I am very fond of the way that the poem undoes much of the contemporary vein. I haven’t yet mentioned the road and it’s speaking role which is both startling and accomplished (if a little bonkers (in a good sense)) and I’m very grateful for your eloquent explanation of your rationale.All of this is more than enough to be going on with but I know that I am going to have to start to pay attention to the music.

Turning now to ‘Dionysus’, the effect is different, in that there’s almost too much stuff going on for my brain to cope with. I’m thinking of this as a kind of extended christology which uses the figure of Dionysus as a way of talking about some aspects of faith and how these might apply in the present but I’m also very conscious of the literary tradition which seems to be a continuous presence. I’ll get on to the Dionysus/Christ device shortly but there’s also Dionysus’ foundational role in Greek drama and the relationship between classical devices and the 17th century masque together with the use of dialogue in Dante to make a point. This, as a setting, is more than enough for my small brain but we also have the ‘past in the present’ monologue and the radical use of form throughout.

In terms of thematic concerns, there’s the figure of the returning / sorrowful god and godly sorrow and kenosis and the workings of grace together with liturgical practice, the role of the cross in contemporary culture, concerns about imperialism, the compromises that we all make with the current economic order. There’s also the underlying anxieties about the preservation of the authentic but this is probably straying into areas that I’d rather avoid just now.

I want to use one specific example from the dialogue between Dionysus and Pentheus as an illustration of superabundant thinking-

ORIGEN, great in kenosis, knew how Christ emptied himself into Hell and there crucified you, the least underling, slave to implacable masters.
Stories for bedtime! He is away with the fairies if he thinks that. Where is his map of the place, where is his Lethean Sat Nav? Where are my wounds?

(I have retained the line length but the WordPress monster won’t let me do the Greek characters which denote that the first line is spoken by Pentheur and the second by Dionysus).

In these two lines you cover a huge swathe of Christian debate and controversy. Initially I thought that the sat nav conceit was more than a little naff but (because the thoughts have cascaded) it now makes more than a degree of sense about the past in the present, about forgetfulness, about guidance in the afterlife etc etc. The line also has the perfect finish in terms of a reminder of what’s at stake and the nature of the scorn poured on both Pentheus and Origen (as you might have gathered, I tend to be on Origen’s side which is where the element of challenge comes in). There was a time when I thought that kenosis was too obscure a subject for contemporary poetry but now I think that it might be more relevant than ever, especially in terms of emptying out self-interest so as to better heed the demands / needs of the other so I’m intrigued by this occurring prior to the harrowing of hell.

These two lines are representative of the superabundance that occurs throughout ‘Dionysus’ and, for this reader at least, this must be seen as a significant and lasting achievement because you manage to point in many directions at once without losing sight of the ‘thrust of the whole’.

And, I haven’t mentioned the colours of the cars……

John

Interview with Jonty Tiplady pt 1

For those who are not yet converted, Jonty Tiplady makes most ‘innovative’ poetry look tired, he is already establishing a new kind of arena that does the playful and the profound in equal measure and provides a quite scary coda to these tumultuous times. He’s foolishly agreed to answer questions on a piecemeal, step-by-step basis.

Why do poetry- what is it that attracts you both as a reader and a poet?

Here we go, on the fly, 03 February 2012: first of all, thanks for asking. Thank you for the question, I mean. It’s of course a good one. I’ll try to answer with some things I perhaps haven’t quite said or thought before, since otherwise why answer? I like your blog, by the way. It seems important that it exists. Thank you for it too. Why do poetry: I am not sure, first of all, I ever do. My first perhaps obscure instinct is to say poetry is not something I do, it’s something I try, for quite precise reasons, to undo. I have been writing poetry since 2007. Pretty much the first poems I wrote were published in Zam Bonk Dip, by Barque Press, in 2008. Things happened quickly. My name suddenly changed, or my ‘author’s name’ changed, from Jonathan to Jonty. Jonty is a sort of cartoon Viking nickname I’ve had from age zero. When I lived in Paris, nobody would call me Jonty. I was not gentil, I could not be for them (‘tu n’est pas gentil’). Perhaps when I write, then, it has something to do with a sort of fire I feel myself catch through gentleness. Being worthy of one’s name. Poetry is a making, a producing (poesis). But almost nothing attracts me as a reader of poetry except a desire shown to somehow gently ferociously unmake things, unproduce them: how to undo, deconjure, graze, grace, heartfreak, headbang, make impossibly pop. I feel more khoratic and motherly towards poetry than fatherly, and perhaps that has to do with names. I do believe in the magic of names, and that a lot of writers and poets write through or against their names. Amy De’Ath has just done a typically wonderful reading online of a poem called ‘The Undersong’ I wrote a few days ago. That happened for various reasons, but one was that I felt the words needed to belong to the other, that they had to be handed over. I don’t really listen to pop music now, not much anyway, it’s as if I can’t cathect in that direction anymore (same with football), but I used to a lot, and I’ve been thinking a bit about that Stone Roses song, ‘Don’t Stop’, which actually goes backwards. There is a ‘step backwards’ in the very first line of Zam Bonk Dip. I feel I had in mind a sort of beautiful reversal, what early Prynne almost calls a last most beautiful return, an unproducing, an undoing, a sort of peeling back which is impossible, and in which poetry might look as if it is becoming more effusive than ever (like now) but is actually as if singing in itself ripped to the outside of no longer needing to do. I imagine that poetry has always been that more than ever, and that nothing has changed, but also that everything has changed, and that what was always more than ever is now more than ever more than ever. I mean, we’ve run out space, and that changes everything, even poetry. If I am attracted to poetry still, it’s as a form of confrontational beauty or affirmation, needed, not needed now, because we no longer live in endless time, with endless resources. Take my poem, burn it, put it in your heart, but don’t buy it or read it, is that the effect I want? After the initial prosodic run on the fall of wall street in ‘The Undersong’, which is extended in other versions, my effort was pretty much to interrupt myself, like sticking smiley stickers all over a beautiful elephant. There is no more time to just want to go to the wind farm, we have to actually go there, even if we can’t. In fact, and still on the fly, unedited, to what extent should poetry now be a form of total ecological critique and nothing else, one that makes eco-poetics look like micro-marbles on the burning hull of a volcano? Should poetry be something like what Nicholas Royle would perhaps call a total veer? I’m influenced a lot by Nick Royle, his new book Veering, in some ways more than most poets. He’s one of my favourite poets in fact, and he doesn’t yet write ‘poetry’, as far as I can tell. I ask myself if poetry should not do or be a total critique of poems, and other poets. What would that look like? Is it socially bearable? Should it be? When? Do you know, John? The first premise leading nowhere seems to be: ‘capitalism is the problem’ — unless capital itself has been listened to, and poetry alone perhaps can’t do that. I am going fast here, but a lot of this is in the first part of OK KOSMOS, advertisement, avertissement, just now published on the truly beautiful The Claudius App 2. I am thinking at the moment a lot about how poets seem always to be plugged into something: either it’s a highly evolved caste-like digitalised form of Prynne-ism, for example, or a sort of hybrid zombie form of post-deconstruction; but really of course it’s all that and more, or could be. Why be plugged into just one current? Isn’t that an effacement of the state of the world anyway? Isn’t that just a career safe-guard, the sort of thing that makes everyone want to efface the state of the world, and just get a career and forget all about it anyway? Black out into dentistry, Marianne Morris says somewhere. If I don’t quite do poetry, it’s because I want to stay committed to this moment just before, a sort of zero-dimensional non-poetry I can’t know about, before I get fully plugged in to any one set of social facts and figures, which always happens anyway, but not always like this. This is perhaps what I’m starting to mean, in OK KOSMOS, by the ‘khorasatiric’. I want to stutter like a fractal miracle in language: ultimate trying. Definition by negation is not enough. Will this do to start?