Poems: Reading and “Research”

The question of our respective and prospective thesis topics in my Poetics course was suddenly raised, pop-quiz style, last Wednesday. I babbled a bit about fragmentation and Chad Davidson calling poetry “the rebellion of language against the tyranny of meaning,” but all it did was remind me about how far I needed to go to think this through.

(I also thought about–but decided not to mention–Theodor Adorno, his suspicion of “identity thinking and instrumental reason,” his championing of art as “non-identity,” his decision to go aphoristic in Minima Moralia, his views on punctuation, etc.)

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Ian Bogost

Great interview with Ian Bogost, who I think I’ll concisely refer to as someone engaged, in the broadest and fullest sense of the term, with videogaming. (He’s also appeared on The Colbert Report.)

His background in philosophy and literary studies is married to his work as a videogame developer; married is the operative term, as these interests are brought together in the spirit of not interdisciplinarity but love*.

He’s written about reading online and Facebook, and his recent reflections on an as-yet hypothetical metaphysics videogame are so insightful that they almost read like pieces on the metaphysics of videogames.

I wish I could have more to say about these things I’ve been coming across lately, instead of just sharing links here and there. But I really need to do some mental reshuffling these days, with the help of these things I turn up here and there.


* Different context, but Marjorie Perloff also has an interesting article that, among other things, criticizes the unthinking manner in which the term “interdisciplinary” is often used these days.

Five Online Essays

…whose tabs I’ve now closed on my browser, though I still have to read them:

  1. “Kristeva and Poetry as Shattered Signification” by Calvin Bedient
  2. Philosophical Aphorisms: Critical Encounters with Heidegger and Nietzsche by Daniel Fidel Ferrer
  3. “Zarathustra and the Children of Abraham” by James Luchte
  4. “The Wreckage of Stars: Nietzsche and the Ecstasy of Poetry” by James Luchte
  5. “Confessionalography: A GNAT (Grossly Non-Academic Talk) on the ‘I’ in Poetry” by Rachel Zucker

Five Books I’d Like to Browse Through NOW

  1. Holderlin: The Poetics of Being by Adrian Del Caro
  2. The American Poet at the Movies: A Critical History by Laurence Goldstein
  3. Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism by Robert Gooding-Williams
  4. Thinking and Singing: Poetry and the Practice of Philosophy, edited by Tim Lilburn
  5. Early Stevens: The Nietzschean Intertext by B. J. Leggett


I assert my right to use the term “gimmickry” in a positive sense, and so:

  1. Flarf makes me larf, but I am also interested in the more serious discussions taking place here and there.
  2. Kenneth Koch’s “On Aesthetics” (a few more here)
  3. Joe Bonomo’s Installations (and here‘s a review-essay–also covering Mary Ruefle and Charles Simic!)
  4. Robert Swartwood’s Hint Fiction
  5. Joe Wenderoth’s Letters to Wendy (NOT SAFE FOR WORK)
  6. Dan Hoy’s Basic Instinct: Poems (kinda NOT SAFE FOR WORK)

Some Essays on Writing

The professor for the course I’m currently taking on Poetics (Writing on Writing) gave us an assignment: pick an essay about writing that we personally found “inspirational” and share it with the rest of the class.

While this list isn’t complete, and some of the links don’t point to the essays themselves but only to excerpts and/or commentary, here are some of those pieces, the first one being my own selection:

  1. “Got Punked: Rebellious Verse” by Chad Davidson
  2. “The Poem and Its Secret” by Durs Grünbein
  3. “The Bird is in Your Hands” by Toni Morrison
  4. “Jazz Messenger” by Haruki Murakami
  5. To Invigorate Literary Mind, Start Moving Literary Feet” by Joyce Carol Oates
  6. “Incremental Perturbation: How to Know Whether You’ve Got a Plot or Not” by John Barth

All Roads Lead to Hölderlin

I need to find the time to update this blog to seriously sit down and explore Hölderlin‘s work. That includes both his poetry and his poetics. (At some point, too, I need to figure out how to actually type the umlaut-O, instead of just copying and pasting it.)

The most recent encounter with this poet was a search result that turned up when I, ahem, searched for baudrillard samarkand to learn where Baudrillard’s discussion of “Death at Samarkand” is located (it’s in Seduction):

Baudrillard and Hölderlin and Poetic Resolution” by Gerry Coulter

Neat! I’m somewhat familiar with Dr. Coulter, as he’s rather prolific and is also the founder of the International Journal for Baudrillard Studies, for which he wrote the Ballard “obituary.”

Other recent encounters with Hölderlin include:

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