Esther Leslie’s beautiful essay on Fortini, Benjamin and Brecht is now available for everyone to read:
“Contradiction is life. Change is what is valued. Fixity of positions, certitude has no political, or living, efficacy. Dialogue is what matters – to be heard and to hear. Contradiction is in the world. Contradiction is in our minds. Contradiction is between us. That is political. Beginning again, because of all these contradictions, because contradicting is political, because the last effort did not work, did not find its audience, or found one but could not speak to it, only at it, or because there was a level of doubt that it was the right moment, and it remains doubtful that it was the right way. At least that question needs to be posed of what one does. Otherwise there is only assertion, versus belief, and all the sins of political activism from voluntarism to tailism to hectoring to the seeding of confusion to determinism to being stranded between theory and practice. We might call it being non-dogmatic. “
Official Post from Salvage Magazine: I will present my ideas as theses, in recognition of the fragmented and poetic modes of the men I discuss. And, too, as reflection of the central idea here, that of doubt – aiming at a certain non-definitive articulation, the wish to leave something uncompleted…
— I read Spahr’s collection of two long poems from 2004 (and written after 9 September 2011 and then from late November 2002 to late March 2003) at some point last year and keep returning in thoughts back to it. I read quite a bit of her writing at that point and am taking with form and subject matter, an environmental concern that decentres at once human agency/ perspective and also articulates a political concern running through it.
I am not sure yet for what, but I feel that her writing will be important for what I am doing.
The collection of thisconnection is available online here.
I haven’t quite figured out what/ how much I want to repost here, so this post may simply become a collecting point for a number of comments on it.
4 February 2019:
there is something in the ritualistic building up, then building out, then reversing which really works for me. also: the visualisation of what sentient negative space is like and how it builds a connection (which then is both lovely and doomed)
what Spahr does is exploring sentient negative space. how it connects and is animated. her negative space is of course not empty: it is air, a particular mix of elements, sustaining life on earth. the fairly simple structure of the long poem allows for repetition, a stepping aside and into a haze, a sense of knowing how to proceed, to arrive at a simple and devastating final line (which of course is not final, as she picks up again at the point at which she realises that the US will invade Iraq she continues)
expectation will recognition [blank] resolution [blank]
expectation / will
spur of the moment: i ask if i can hang out with the cabinets. i can. there is no light in the room. the heating doesn’t warm the room. i sit down opposite them. there is on them no real hue other than the grey. i kind of except for something to hit me. what can possibly hit me here? a recognition a resolution an ending. — i feel restless though: don’t want to keep staring and the familiar thought from before enters again: maybe these objects are all that they are. maybe you have seen all of them. why do you linger still? i feel hesitant to move away from them. i kind of wish they would transcend my time here with them and others. but of course i don’t know if they will. in fact i know, they will, but will i.
something in what i write and print makes me sad.
it is a soft sadness. all warm tears and shy.
it is one that can’t be social and barely bears the lunch that i later feed it
its strength and presence surprise
while i am uncertain what it concerns
it doesn’t come at the moment of writing
neither when i reread
yet it floods while i hold the paper
the writing concerns as the discussion this morning
the role of crisis, then will
for a creative process
what i narrate in the morning
i move through at lunch
yet, this time, the fear of nothing
is stronger and floods my face
all that i can think of is feeding it back into the process
of noting and depositing it right at the heart of nothing
in that, i make my own will strong and let it reach into the nothing
i discover the source of sadness within the violence of my plan the plan that would transform one to another and in the process destroy what was one the plan always hovered as the ending for what was i have hesitated for 15 months to enact it
i thought i could mitigate by recording, observing some more by attending to all that is right now and to note it all
my sadness is the recognition that i cannot
that i still do not understand its process its unfolding its becoming not understanding it how can i proceed to undo it?
will there be a point at which i understand enough of nothing to be confident to proceed undoing it to be safe in the knowledge that no harm comes to it, myself, someone
and so, that anticipated end state will not it exists as prospection as plan as utopia the current state is resolution and recognition
my expectation took me my will turns wish and remains