Thursday, October 19, 2006


JH: Does disjointed narrative offer only layers, and no linearity? Diagrammatically, the disjointed narrative goes down (and up), but not across? The reader can read the movement from end to end of each line or section, and how much traveling time is needed for a coherent narrative? Emotional content here is important, as emotions have their own time which the poem can borrow. Emotions call up associations: how do emotional associations differ from literary associations, that is to say, allusions? Literary, in the previous question, includes the historical - anything received from a text. Literary allusions, to me, are as personal as emotional associations. Is it, then, appropriate to treat literary allusions and emotional associations as two things? Or is the nature of allusion/association emotional? Is it literary, as we have no evidence of association outside of literature (the earliest record of allusion is just that, a record, a written document - this hypothetical and legendary earliest recorded instance of allusion. By extension, or regression, association goes no earlier than the first poem/song - perhaps association, in the form of metaphor?, was the impetus of this first poem.)? Association cannot be proved to another person; association is indistinguishable in speech or writing from invention. Allusion can be proved by comparison with a prior text. Texts that mention emotional responses can be consulted to give credence (or doubt) to someone's claim of emotional response. We have learned to love allusion, hence the emotion in emotional associations?
AHB: I see disjunction going across (to the reader) in packets, chunks, phrases. not as a kit but as an assembly. that sounds like a rocky metaphor. I'm trying to intimate the immediacy possible with disjunction. rather than taking each step toward a place of meaning, one teleports. I don't know how emotional and literary associations differ,except that the seed of literary allusion is shared, however the resultant impression grows, whereas emotional, personal allusion begin singularly. I suppose it's the diff between collective unconscious and unconscious, tho I don't want to throw a Jungian (or any) veil over the discussion. one sees that interpretations to an artwork situate in a neighbourhood, that people at least tend to see roughly the same work, tho there are degrees of similarity, and some people are in left field (with Manny Ramirez!!!). (somewhat personal allusion). what I mean is, there is a core something that travels between us, however much we personalize the meaning. the word meaning, ach, it's a troublesome word. I think an artist doesn't so much give meaning as process. shifting the governance of one's mind to another way to understand. less direct, more enveloping... I think of my own writing, the act of, and it doesn't feel like I try to convey meaning as much as open a door or light a path. that the thing made conveys, but I only have so much control of the conveyance. a poem of yours, posted to Wryting-L, yclept “Babylon is falling to rise no more” shows the lack of control (I wot):

A lamb, am I, to witness Babylon is falling to rise no more; a lamb to witness as a cat may look at a king; with the descent of Her last tower Babylon, I'll claim, disappeared hugely with such a burst my ear has a wolf's pang for its like again.

* * * * *

I love these little prose snatches that you write. did I say prose? I infer a larger work of which this is intimation. not really, insofar as I don't know whether or not such a larger work exists. but allusions arise in this work, and lacunae exist that I (the reader) wish or need to fill. my thesis here is that you present this text (however you created it) to the reader with the idea that the reader would (or would have to) fill in the gaps.


At 11:41 PM, Blogger Clifford Duffy said...

Allen as I said, I'd been wanting to come in on this conversation for a while now.. so here am I .... _ and JH _ hello_ this idea of disjointed narrative fits well with the idea of transversality . Its a notion developed by Guattari, Felix, in several bks he wrote as well as the better known ones he did with Deleuze. I think the idea that the narrative not only goes side to side as in the trans-verse, but it goes back forth up|down inside|out and prob. takes several other shapes as well. Its really a Joycean thing (Finnegans Wake) as with the permutations of narrative which occur in the emotional and literary associations_ allusions, as you say. I would suggest there are other lines cutting through and between these more conventional notions of association. Why limit the semiotic to the linguistic? it includes other things , or matters besides the textual _ the outside as Guattari would have named it, as he and deleuze named it. The between and the trans-versal let language go around the molecular and cut across the page as linear, and not even Burroughs machine to cut text goes farther. Why limit oneself to the saying of an essay and its talk sof prose linearity when we neither speak or think this way, and certainly our bodies don't think in linear trajectories. Often literary texts seem to feel bound to hold themselves down to the conventions of mouldings, right, whereas this notion of the cutting across transversal brings something else to bear on the writing. Im thinking of what happened about 100 years ago with the cubist work of Picasso and Braque. People often draw comparisons with the poetry of Appollinaire and Cendrars seeking out parallels, but I think its just there that it fails, the problem, perhaps being that even in texts as varied as those of Cendras,Appollinaire, Jacob one still sees a signifier called meaning dominating the furrow. Of the text. limited by metaphor. when what is called for is, or are, machines that take us outside of the whole are, the whole domain, and even beyond the idea of a whole greater than its so called parts. A part equal to a whole would be a better practical idea. AS well Im not sure personal associations with words carry that much weight over time as the collective enunciaters take over, and idiolects are lost... but that is of course one domain where poetry has tried to mark out a territory to wit, of accent and tracing a mark in the path of speech. Before metaphor there are machines, and machines are not metaphors.... Indeed the combinations of the differing semiotics demonstrate how language is just one of the several dozen and more semiotics there are at work even in a given text. So instead of Dylan Thomas' claim "man be my metaphor' we might hear something like language be my trans-verse, in addition to it being the site of a thousand tiny sexes, and genders... for now...

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Allen said...

thanks for this expansion of the topic, Clifford. the matter of meaning has actually been kind of uninteresting for me. puzzling what the author meant. you know, the way novels are about man's inhumanity to man, or whatever they told me in English class. I don't know what I mean in my writing. I have a sense of my position in the writing, but not the kind of guts the writing has has. I mean beyond my hopes, which are kind of meaningless, albeit powerful as an instigation in my life. that is, there's something else powering the effort of the writing than a presentation of meaning. I have read zero Deleuze/Guattari, and can only dimly light theoretical writings in general, so I speak here from a vantage of weakness.


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