Wednesday, March 01, 2006


JH: Very clear, thanks! So language, you think, is a human invention or was always a part and parcel of being human? Prehistoric literatures are lost, instead of non-existent? Those are hieroglyphs on cave walls? If hieroglyphs, this would lend credence to the idea that letters (as in alphabet) were originally shapes found in nature (speaking of Borges - see his "The God's Handwriting"), and also credence to the idea of the book of nature (though a more problematic, unexamined credence - since the writing of nature in this scenario was found by humans). Is the splitting of image and word something that literature does or is something the brain does in order to process information? Partitioning as a storage function? Writing a poem, though often an invention, is storage. Things stashed away take on lives of their own, as much as the mind that stores them. What are the qualities that make a stored item distinct from the mind that stores them?

AHB: The idea of storing works for me. I must say that these speculations are anything but definitive. I don't often proceed with my work with such ideas in mind, and would suspect that no one really does. I mean it's too distracting to be that self-conscious. And yet these are essential concerns. I was thinking about my visual work, in which I often do pictures of trees. Usually quite rudimentary, or child-like (consistent with my technical ability), renderings. And tho trees are powerful... um... symbols for me, I don't attach wordy meanings to these images. Such translation into words would be a dilution or limiting. I think these events of language, in which the meaning of works (whether a word, a poem, a gesture, a painting) opens something wild and advanced to us, are central intensities. The stored item is somehow the shared thing. We can have an idea of green or apple or phlegmatic and this can be brought to another person. And not just to people but the world around us. I'm scuttling about in Jungian territory, which I lack the confidence to do, so I better back off on pronouncements. Some recent talk regarding Flarf the Phenomenon (tm) has circled around the issue of appropriation. Flarfists frequently make use of texts from elsewhere (internet searches often). Have you issues with that? I mention this because the idea of right way to write a poem insinuates into such arguments. Not to lead the witness. Are there means of text-production (which we used to call writing) that you refuse to use in, shall we say, moral terms? And, given your reading interests, have you ever written in formal ways, like sonnets or such?


Post a Comment

<< Home