LOOK WHAT I FOUND!

Charles Bernstein: the ‘outsider’ has finally arrived, but he’s a bit old— about as old as the Found Poem.

The big news at the AWP Conference this year was the hot lovemaking of Flarf and Conceptualism and the sweet, almost sexual, beating up of Language Poetry.

As Charles Bernstein, the heroic “outsider,” offers his “greatest hits” from Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux ($26 –get ’em while they’re hot!) just in time for National Poetry Month, and Rae Armantrout, the Southern California Language Poet, wins the Pulitzer, and Flarfist Kenneth Goldsmith waxes theoretical on Harriet, I can only think of one thing.

The Found Poem.

It makes me feel all toasty-warm inside.

Everybody remembers that quaint, quirky, artsy-fartsy device, right?

Grade school teachers who need to fill up an hour in the classroom can always rely on the Found Poem.

The Found Poem was amusing for a little while back in the 1960s.

Now, 50 years later, it’s the au courant big thing.

For, after all, what is Flarf, Conceptualism, and Language Poetry?

What do they have in common?

Hellooo, Found Poem.

Isn’t that what they are?

Yup.

Third grade.  Right after milk and cookies, and just before show-and-tell…the Found Poem.

This is not to diminish the importance of the found poem; the found poem is a heady idea.  What’s interesting, however, is that these theoretical juggernauts in contemporary po-biz, like Bernstein, never call what they do Found Poetry.

Why is that?

My guess is that ‘Found Poem’ is too quaint  a notion for Bernstein.  Professor Bernstein wants you to think he’s a little more philosophically profound than you are—you, hypocritical twin! who read those New Yorker poems and think they are ‘real,’ you ‘official verse culture’ idiot!

Professor Bernstein, the post-neo-avant-neo, will set you straight.

The publishing house of Farrar, Strauss & Giroux was so clever to release Bernstein’s book in April, National Poetry Month.  Bernstein might get more sales that way…and how about that every review of Bernstein’s book is positive!  How could it not be?  This guy’s good!  Dude!  For real! Bernstein, hater of “official verse culture” writes verse that is “hilarious” and “accessible!”

Take that, New Yorker magazine!

Look at what you “official verse culture” slaves have been missing!

How did John Dewey put it?  “In order to understand the meaning of artistic products, we have to forget them for a time, to turn aside from them and have recourse to the ordinary forces and conditions of experience we do not usually regard as aesthetic.  We must arrive at the theory of art by means of a detour.”

Bernstein’s long trek in the wilderness has been that “detour.”  At last we can stomach Charlie’s horrible punning…er…philosophy.

The forces of real culture have found Maurice Vlaminck’s African mask.  Now they are showing it to Picasso and Matisse.  Ambroise Vollard is having that African mask cast in bronze.

And here’s our Charlie, cast in bronze, next to it, on the wall.

The detour was rough…but he’s home.

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107 Comments

  1. April 21, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Again! Hurrah, isn’t it lovely Reader, the beauty, eloquence and idiocy all bowled momentarily bathetic but with a joi de vie also, perhaps, er, one dunno if Berner’s gorgeously indulgeable or a proper inconsequential foetry mental patient wrapped up so fuzzily in the naval of one’s own logical cosmos, t’was but dream alone that made Charles shoot right up in one;s estimation on discovering our resident ranter has took against him because

    er

    he’s a successful poet with more talent than me?

    . i met Bernie here
    when he came to Parnell square:

    I asked then and now refrain

    ‘was bernie, in the head, all there

    as a prophetical language
    mad-head who read well

    at the well of Segias;
    took a book from Colum’s home

    to read in a fort of shadows, bernie
    chuck with Charles Searles

    for king and Hal slotting
    Terry and june to moon and doing away

    in the eff off house,
    SW gate connected to a Langpo school,
    ronnie’s mate, Mr Silly, man, we blew

    that night in the Writers Centre..

    invited bernie out to Burdocks
    for fish and chips,

    his first time in that pool of light
    a black mountain guard, custodian

    of the holy word from Zukofferz
    intellectual begob we wuz blowing

    me and bernie, at the altar of
    a last minute job, five communicants,
    an audience of fawns murmering sedate

    first time bernie come, Chuck
    come and meet yr biggest fan

    Desmond Swords: I spun you one

    made sure to mention Robert, Bob
    the shepard, mister Sheppard

    Tom — UToo in the mob of fintan
    bradán feasa in the boyhood deed
    bright knowledge crane bag

    ancient hags and the hawk of Achill
    swirled above the sod — Bernie

    ‘a market townland
    is where my intellect was sharpened

    a flat body of farmland
    fringing Liverpool’s urban cloak
    tinging the Lancashire twang

    which can thicken immediately:
    the voice tweeked to sound a speaker
    spud-tame, like a lame brained div
    trained from birth to be a fully labotomised

    half-cocked bog trotting dickheads
    and/or the knob who sounds like a tit;

    gifted at carrot plucking
    swede, leek and beetroot munching
    in mud covered rust-bucket caravans,

    our dream is getting bladdered
    in the plough, the Shoe, the Lion,
    the Queens or the Cricks

    playing on a loop until pay day
    when wages are blown
    on ale and Ethel Austin wellies

    worn in the rakish manner
    of a hip Wigan pigshit shovellor
    out on the piss.

    But living in this linguistaically
    liminal hinterland, wasn’t all spuds
    and dunderheads.

    The liquid nature of the lingo
    means Scouse tones also
    freely spout

    in our slow baked brain-vacant
    bleat from the sheep fiddling field lovers
    who’d instantly switch to a city-witted

    jive talk, a street-slick trackie clad bling
    king giving it the big one about buying
    a knock off helicopter to go clubbing
    in London with..

    that was what Bernie heard, Thom..

    gra agus siochain, come to Dublin, 12 July, four provinces
    eight contendors, an honorary
    addition I can add on, talking it over at the chaps..

    Sounds about right. I mean, Bernstein as an ‘outsider’ leading the forward straights to post-avant la la language where all is equal and everyone free to fail or succeed with or without U charles bernstein, without whom there would have been no Langpo movement, period.

    The one true poet in the room everyone else copied and, like Auden, when he attained his full poetic capacity, New York Times profile, thrice on the cover of Time magazine, four times fronting AmPo pre-Flarf, always a writer of interesting copy, a poet of the first order and front rank, heir to Ashbery and now, now the whining outs as the failures who think Bernstein owes them a reason to justify their ire, begrdudgers demonising him because he never sold out, it’s just you never bought into the

    F=A=C=T language and Conceptual poetries are exactly that; not some wankathon of personal unresolved bile not yet out because yer up a wrong tube Tom, blowing foetry about a man who actually know his own mind, his rejects here our audience.

    Get over it, c’mon and sing for Chuck an old fashioned air and demonstrate your ‘crappy’ tone.

    Only acting, Graves.

  2. thomasbrady said,

    April 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Swordsie, I swear yr my biggest fan. Much thanks! I’m a little wary though, cause you do seem like one of those blokes who says things just to be shocking…and then you take it back, shame-faced…am I just a guilty pleasure…or do you REALLY love me?

  3. April 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Brady mate, you’re as real to me as yourself, luvvie. C’mon Braders, you know I love you professionally as a colleague in the forum who is my opposite. AE and Yeats, Tennyson and Hardy, Frost and Eliot, that’s us, proper poets who aren’t afraid of flyte.

    Brady, you are real. Tom Brady, I will always be Ovid Yeats to some of my early fans picked up pre-Harriet, when one was still cano or doss, whelp or bushy-tree shelterer, you know that, filidh forever Graves, that’s you, isn’t it, I’m afraid, as Paul at the New Yorker would write when in character as the Editor of that august tome, Brady my dearest deepest seeker not just the back-end of a colour from the light, but the full spectrum of your identity as America, Brady, C’mon Des is here, your only fwend in cyberville spamming with equal consistency and spur for purpose.

    To smite the fuax and appal the free, counfound the ignorant and amaze indeed the very faculty of eyes and ears, dearest colleagiate entity, unschooled in the ways of them fakes who pay to learn how it works, Creative Writing and, poetry, Tom, Brady, freind, Roman, exciting modernist willing to admit you are wrong, not old like Charles or Chris, you know, the losers who’re gonna die before we do.

    ha ha ha ha, well, that’s us winners, hey, Brady.

  4. thomasbrady said,

    April 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    don na put me on a pedi-stal, you wharf rat, it makes me uncoimftable… Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!

  5. April 22, 2010 at 6:14 am

    That’s more like it. Slip into a right Royal Question bout Poetry, Tom, half-star on this bright stage: Sport in Letters Graves, question old age and identify yourself with William le Grayve, perhaps Brady maybe one day – y’all discover you and he are relatives, and inhereit a dormant earldom in Lancashire. Maybe, now opportunity quek quek quacks on Simon Armitage Thom?

    Do you know the words, bradán feasa (salmon of wisdom/knowledge), Brady?

    The first seven year chunk it took for the filidh poets to reach the penultimate of the seven poetic grades, steps and qualifications on which the highest rank of ullav (ollamh, or poetry professor) rested; was spent assimilating into their minds, a very specific and fairly compact amount of metrical, mythological, onomastic, orthographical and toponymic information, Thom.

    Before one reaches their platform from which it were possible for a grade six anruth, to apprehend the second, four year chunk of training for the final exit into being on their own, around year twelve, with a school and plenty of students keen to learn and work in the 14 or so meters one need master to reach the bare bones of ullavic practice – one needed to spend at least three and a half years in full time study, that in practice were spread over seven six months intensive winter training at bard-school, Graves, learning the ‘correct writing’ of Orthography and a riot of writing skills one need be fluent as Gaeilge to understand at the level of Noam and Hitch operate, Brady.

    What happens, when they are on their own, from year seven and eight to least twelve, is discover if the three ‘ultimate’ apical methods of poetic composition, that Ronald Thurneyson the Swiss linguist and Celticist who learned classical philology in Basel, Leipzig, Berlin and Paris, under Ernst Windisch and Heinrich Zimmer, received his promotion (approximating to a doctorate) in 1879, and his habilitation, in Latin and Celtic languages, followed at the University of Jena in 1882, glosses:

    dichetal do chennaib, ‘extempore incantation (from the ‘tips’ of fingers and tongue) Imbas Forosnai, ‘manifestation of (good) knowledge that illuminates’, and tenm láida ‘illumination of song’,

    Three techniques of poetic inspiration and divination that the earliest literate druidicaly provenanced bards and later filidh scholl poets, would be expected to grasp shortly after exiting the eighth year of study in the Druidic/Poetic schools of the Brython whose Old English ‘grafe’ meant brushwood, thicket and ‘grove’ – and the island the name Brady comes from, Graves.

    In Middle English Norman ‘greyve’, from Old Norse greifi or Low German grëve (see Graf) – identifies a steward or overseer in charge of property. In medieval England, a grave or reeve was a town official, literally a bailiff. The s signifies ‘son of Grave’.

    The sheriff, Tom, whose German form, Graf, also refers to an overseer or lord, who in Germany, Austria and Sweden, became a Count. In France and Belgium, it appears as De Graves. There are several small villages called La Grave located in Hautes-Alpes and other parts of France. In Holland the name is found as Van Grave.

    Fionn mac Cumhaill – Fionn (bright, splendour) mac (son of) Cumhaill (female slave) anglisized — Finn McCool – and Taliesin, are among the earliest apical, top branch poet/bards, to appear in Brythonic and Gaelic myth, with seperate tales clustered arout them, when first things were recorded on these islands 1500 years ago, Thom.

    They are not only fascinating, but required ‘reading’ on the ‘writing program’ of the poets who appeared immediately out of the druids, Gravesy baby.

    Your far more famous namesake, who was connected to the German branch of the global Graves family, was certainly fascinated by all this and knew far more than we ever will, but essentially it’s Hitch and Noam all over again once we get past year eight in the original bardic writing program, unavailable in America unless you sign up with Thom Donovan Brady. Relocate to NY and crash the pad, set ’em straight, him and AB, yeah, Graves, hey, poet?

    I could go on, but will leave it there for now, because I know you are gonna win out and drop the Brady once you sight your own personal bradán feasa unique to you Thom Graves, mate.

    The House of Desmond, Tech Duinn (teach) Don Tom, tuatha de danann.

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm

      R U saying my progenitors
      Hacked limbs, owned & fuc’d slaves
      Becuz I am Thom,
      Because I am Thom Graves?

      Or were they songwriters for courtiers
      Whispering plushy psalms while Ingland rul’d the waves,
      Because I am Thom,
      Because I am Thom Graves?

      An’ R U, U, U Desmond Swordz,
      Not the one who prattles and bores,
      But the son of the one…!,
      The ultimate Desmond?

      And Chomp and Hig
      R Prime ‘A’ Barnyard Pig?
      ‘N Simon Armitage
      Wears a badge?
      This rot
      Is all U got?

  6. April 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Yo daddio Graves, drop the Brady and be yourself.

    This is more like it, an exercise and discovering who you are.

    My own journey into the light of a real identity took a very long time. I was two years on the writing program before I decided to use my mother’s maiden name, Swords, as my surname and my father’s surname, Desmond, would be the name I would use as my forename, rather than my real one, Kevin.

    In Spain it is normal practice to be known by both maternal and paternal names, something I discovered afterwards. My sister, the painter Mary Desmond, who is married to an Italian guy she has three kids with, who were all born in Spain and left there when Lucia was 8, Luna 6 and Nico 3 – told me this interesting fact.

    Part of the reason for choosing to publish as Desmond Swords rather than Kevin Desmond, is because there’s already several Kevin Desmonds more famous than myself. One is senior vice president of Operations for the Star Tribune media company in Minneapolis, another is chief in the department of transport in Seattle, and another is an author specializing in writing about speedboat engines.

    Because I was in university for the first three years learning under Bernstein supporter and English Langpoet Robert Sheppard, who gets next to zero mentions in the UK pobiz village from the thrusting mainstream souljahs more au fait with the who’s who on Facebook than the Who’s Who in American Poetry, it was the perfect low-key, more or less anonymous environment in which to test out one’s inchoate dream of learning the skills that would perhaps some day propel me to a platform where I could claim to be a real ‘poet’, and get people interested in me for my mind, rather than for my gift with a shovel or doing drudge admin duties.

    It was a no brainer if I was to take myself anyway half-serious about this writing lark, I thought, because it allows me to be truthful and not entirely stupid about who I am. Importantly, it means when I meet people in the ‘industry’, there’s no messing about because it is straight to the surname, Desmond, which all true poets are known by rather than their forename, Tom, wouldn’t you agree?

    Also, there’s only one other Desmond Swords I know of, in Wales and very much unlike the other Kevin Desmonds because he isn’t a writer, and has no online presence.

    It felt right, instinctively to go this route really, because not only is there an immediate assistance in one’s goal of becoming a unique ‘name’, but a whiff of self-subterfuge and feeling, not smugly clever, but more in cahoots with myself on some creative journey that I didn’t know eight years ago when I decided to go with mum’s name, would turn out perfectly poetic in the long-run once I had figured it out in print and started to feel I was going to hit ollamh and finally make sense of the Irish material I’d been banging my head against like a seize for the last seven years, around September 08.

    Another reason for knowing it is a canny move, is Kevin Desmond immediately informs anyone with half a brain that I could well be Irish, whereas Desmond Swords, though also an Irish name, can equally pass for the most pukka of English ones.

    And the return of a sign from the universe that sealed it was when I first got published in print, at the National Student Drama Festival in 2003, where I went, the only student from my university to do so, and wrote for the daily rag Noises Off, whose editor is now a Guardian theatre critic, Andrew Hayden, who also doesn’t get many mentions in the showbiz world, and where a one letter omission in what got printed, Desmond words, made me conscious of the fact that the name I had chosen, also spelled Desmond’s words, for the first time.

    I didn’t see it when I chose to be known by the femmine half of my lineage, and also, if I wanted to really wind up members in the faux PC bridage who monopolise the carey sharey angles, registers and tenor in gobble dee gook, many of whom now hate me because I can pose as being more empathetic and in tune with Women’s issues and Rights and such.

    A happy byproduct of this decision, turned out to be I can start waffling about choosing my mother’s name because of the need to redress the gender hegemony generally, and going with mother over father means I am with the sisters on the barricades. I can and do weigh into other gals and guys about not acknowledging the Femminist principle generally and thus have it both ways, I discovered, over time. And not insincerely so, but with a smile and thumbs up.

    The amount of men and women who behave like men in print, who hate me, is brilliant because they get so macho-angry it allows one to show the femmine side, and being the only boy growing up with four sisters Tom, let me tell you, I am one fo them.

    There’s loads of poets and anonymous posters on the main-stages across cyberville’s village, who are in the core anti-Desmond Swords brigade, who have tied themselves into knots and corners about me, and lost sight of the fact all I care about is the Writing and am a sincere bardic bore.

    Jane Holland, I know there are lots of women (and men) who support me because I took her on and exposed her own feminist first pose. The guardian moderators who waged a sustained campaign for two years against me, that saw me having to learn how to write straight down the middle and offend no one. They ended up losing sight because once they started removing the poster rights but leaving on the writing, I knew they were beaten, these anonymous forces who can determine a poor underconfident and unsure writer’s future for good or ill, on the whim of Anonymous. Mad.

    Now the Guardian are bringing out a Poster Poets Anthology I have two poems in, that will hopefully outsell by a large factor, the various other anthologies whose poet-editors hate me because they are little boys trapped in mens bodies, unable to artuclate themselves as freely and unfettered as me, an online presence everyone has an opinion about but soesn’t mention because…I dunno.

    The lastest news is Magma blog, whose Scottish bore Rob McKenzie really hates me, along with Jackie Saphra the prissy American drip who really hates me as only a femminist with identity issues can, and the other core member of that heaveyweight and wholly subsidized mob, Mark McGuiness, plastic to the core, an author of software-code-poet who confuses getting a public subsidy with being on the open market as a bore.

    They barred me for some rubbish and only upped the interest and are reduced now to removing my writing after I always get past their censor, like Travis at the Foundation, a cat and mouse game, the last one Janet Smythe they removed an hour ago after their first blog post for a month. This was after McKenzie closed his blog to concentrate on being big at Magma, saying he would post weekly there.

    They just look like idiots because enough people have read it to think, why has that interesting, positive piece of writing talking about ‘adventurous poetr’ (topic of the post) and demonstrates with expamples, proves what he asserts and reads very well, skilled and the sort of poetry I as a reader want to buy. Mm, Desmond Swords, I wonder who he is?

    You see, after years of learning online, who I really am, not through any great linguistic gift but sheer effort, thousands of words a day carry on, I have got beyond the to and fro Hitch and Noam nonsense and just talk happy, and it’s like Obama and Clegg now in Britain, the unintelligent opponents of me, a poor online nonentity upsetting the toa of these deluded muppets who think they are poets when all they are are depressing, unexciting straights whose idea of poetry is..not mine.

    But this is all off-topic, what you really need to know and what I will tell you later, is how the myth of Finn McCool fits into finding out your poetic inner name.

    Have a lovely day.

  7. thomasbrady said,

    April 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Des,

    I have a bunch of Mayflower names in my tree: West, Moore, Eaton, Taylor, and then ugly German names from my mother’s side and the love/hate of the German in my DNA is what no doubt makes me such a deep and profound person…

    But what’s in a name?

    I’m more interested in your British ‘language poet’ education. Stanley Cavell taught Charles Bernstein at Harvard and Cavell resides in the small little Anglo/American world of analytic philosophy, Moore, Russell, Austin (who knew Chomsky), TS Eliot, Wittgenstein, which can be summed up by that fanatical belief in which words are more important than reality, where every speech is a ‘speech act’ and this myopic morbidity leads to all kinds of error…

    If you want to transplant any furious exchanges to Scarriet between you and your Guardian foes for insight and laughs, please feel free…

    Tom

  8. April 23, 2010 at 6:08 am

    What’s in a name?

    Well, if you are a person born in the late sixties/early seventies, speaking English, our surname was about it.

    You had a very obvisous problem (confirmed here with the ‘ugly’ German quip) of not liking your own name. Your ‘slave’ name them ‘orrid parents give us.

    I was the same when I started out, had an aversion to everyone on the planet knowing me the wannabe poet as ‘Kevin’ Desmond, because of life and a host of reasons too nuanced and unknown to list, I suppose, dunno, but you’re the same, you hate ‘Graves’ and had convinced yourself Brady’s the better bet, not understanding yet, it isn’t.

    The same as me. Now, I am happy to be known as Kevin because i’ve so long embarressed myself in print, i’ve got there, the salmon of knowledge, bradán feasa returned to me a very ancient knowing not many reach, i can pretend.

    In the final year with Robert Sheppard who was the primary influence upon me during the first three crucial years when I was all soft wax, unformed and tabla rosa, I was a bit too much for him sometimes, and in my performance of being a mature ‘student’ poet of 34-7, it was only natural one rebelled against the daddy poet Rob S.

    We all did out of earshot, conspiring amongst ourselves to believe he was activley pretending to be something he was not and which we would become once we left and our genius for faking it in Letters were recognized by the talent spotters who would make us an offer: Lots of money for being ourselve. Maybe get a job on the rags, maybe become the next Seamus Heaney or Ron Silliman, but whatever our expectations and fantasies were, we were very willing to think our writing tutors were the fakes and we the real deals.

    It was only after I left the debt I owe to Sheppard became clear, because though it were random chance that delivered me to my home town university at the age of 34, and though if I had my own way would have chosen to study under someone like Riordan at Sheffield, who is in a far more lyrically square-stream and huddle in the global poetry village – I would not have the grounding in avant American poetry Sheppard’s course is funded on.

    When I was reading the Rothenburg anthologies and sitting through classes on Baraka Berrigan O’Hara Olsen Maggie O’Sullivan, Louis Zukofsky and a hundred and one others whose names do not immediately spring to mind, there was an underlying sense of misplaced ire, that somehow the poet in front of me, the writing tutor, had conned me out of summat, even though I was having a great time in university and the only whinge, the overall choices of poets from Sheppard, who was basically in the opposite camp at source, than the one I was, I imagined, not realising at the time bit very accutely now: what a plonker I was.

    Mild div, still too close to the uneducated oaf who benefitted from the first term of New Labour Britain, beginning two weeks after 9/11 and there at the taxpayers expense, totally free, home town and still, hmm, don’t like it, don’t like it, why are we doing this ‘crappy’ stuff hey, Sheppard yaboo sucks.

    A total child.

    Anyway, this frisson between us was actually the very spark needed for me to feel the victim and in that role, go seek out alternatives to the Bernstein poetic on which the poetry component of my B.A in Writing Studies and Drama, is founded.

    In the second year I was goung rogue by brining in Wordsworth and other, pre 20C thinkers and prosodists to class, off-message and Cliff Yates who had to travel all the way from Staffordshire fifty miles, twicve a week, to face the class, and me, the oldest unhappy actor, silently fuming at him, Cliff Yates the Childrens’ poetry expert who marked my work, the six poems, one mark shy of a 2:1, oh what games we played and so much fun Tom, because if the course were my own choosing, I would no zilch about AmPo and not be here now, the only Irish brit getting away with it stateside at this, admittedly, very virtual level.

    Anyway (again) I said to Sheppard in one of the final classes, the theory that had come to me, and which I later captured in verse as

    silent ancestors living as the fuse of flesh life lit and left as the pyramid of history we’ve no cognisance of..

    Two parents, four grands eight greats and, because I am Irish, I stopped at 16, the great greats, or four generations from you to your great great grandparents, which in the pre-Tudor Gaelic world, consituted the smallest official, political unit of a ‘derbfine’ – a group of people, families from four generations, who were all bound and formally contracted together.

    So, I think now, after setting up my own private poetic code from the info that went in over the last nine years, I have sixteen legitimate surnames I can use as designated markers for who ‘I’ am in public when sprint at the forum of Letters with other celebrity ditty makers, and this last month of so for me, has been all about seeing how far I can wind you up with your own, ‘real’ name, and the reward is seeing you write it for the very first time.

    You writing poetry as Tom Brady, though more superficially desirable to be known as that name, it is but a dream, if you are in any way half-serious, I would argue, in truth, but fair play, call yourself what you like, who am I to order and tell you how to behave?

    The hard parts over, you have consciously acknowledged something that was puzzling to my poetic consciousness, and now it is out, the ‘truth’ we can only go forward.

    As for the conspiracy with Bernstein’s world wide web of connections and tentacles of graft and corruption, I will leave only this: an elegy for his son, by Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh, who was one of the top three Ard Ollamhs of Ireland in the whole 1200 span, poet to the First and Second Earls of Desmond in the mid 14C, his son who pre-deceased him, like Godfrey Finn O’Daly himself was thirty years before, a young poet being trained by his father –

    O cross yonder upon the hill that is the cause of my weeping,
    whosoever is glad at your completion, your setting up is my casting down.

    It is you, my beloved son’s cross, that has made me cheerless tonight:
    O firm cross by which I mourn, it is you that shall quench my joy.

    Should my mind wander from Eoghan, you recall to me his going hence:
    it is just that I should be as I am: it had been easy not erecting you.

    Sad is your recalling of grief, tho your shapliness is lovely: with you
    cross of Eoghan, above me, my wealth will fade away.

    Though they be the cause of a mighty grief, yet they are goodly ornament
    to the world – your four dark ridges, broad, even and balanced.

    O son for whom the cross has been framed as a bright and steady beacon,
    you have gotten a cross most fair and graceful, let an elegy be yoked thereto.

    This cross which I see overhead is the cross of one who was best at winning
    goodly prizes: this cross that is viewed like a banner, conceals the very flame
    of art.

    There is no need to bear witness to it either in its neighbourhood or far off
    tho it is a smooth jewel, it is sorrowful that it should be as a token before all.

    His cross above the hill-side – omen of grief to men of my own craft! – there shall be a shower of tears upon dark eyebrows when poets recognize this cross.

    For this it was raised above the ground, the student’s cross, in that this wood will be to a fresh-cheeked lad a presage of alms and prayer.

    A blessing upon the soul of him whose cross I see before me: better than
    a flood of grief, is a prayer for the graceful comely one.

    This cross whereby I have been tortured, is fashioned after You cross,
    O Lord; may he therby come to Your house, he whose cross this is.

    To stay behind Eoghan’s cross will be an opening for my grief: it is a defence
    against a host, and yet O God, it is no shelter against sorrow.

    The delicately carved cross of the youth brings more honour to the holy
    churchyard, to reverence this cross a company comes which should fill a
    church.

    He would have been the ullav of the men of Munster, though he never got
    the title of ullav, that there were no such ullav as he, O God that is the want
    I feel.

    ~

    A son in the father’s place. that were a fitting ordinance: that his father should
    be his heir, O Lord it is a cause of misery.

    While Eoghan lived, such was my love for him, I could not endure, though I do it now forever, to be two nights parted from him.

    Had any other been his teacher, I should not feel his death as I do:
    it makes his departure more distant, O God that I was Eoghan’s teacher.

    This Eoghan, with his fair locks – I must do without him: his time is over
    what more can I say? And yet what fate is harder?

  9. thomasbrady said,

    April 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Des,

    It’s kind of silly to call it a conspiracy, it just is what it is…

    I have no doubt that Bernstein was apprenticed by entanglements of which ‘mere poetry’ students are unaware…Anglo-American Analytic Philosophy created the so-called Language Poetry…Bernstein’s teachers were part of the group…J.L.Austin was British Intelligence and directly influenced by G.E. Moore, who was a member of the Cambridge Apostles which leads to the Cambridge Spy Ring, Kim Philby, Soviet agents, Bloomsbury, Bertrand Russell, and T.S. Eliot, which is ironic, because when Gerald Stern angrily asked Bernstein in 1984 to “name names” of “Official Verse Culture” all Bernstein (b’rer rabbit don’t throw me in the briar patch) could come up with was: T.S. Eliot. The politics hinted at here are too complex for most (who can’t think beyond left-right of the crudest sort).

    I don’t mean to say that these ‘entanglements’ are necessarily important in themselves, but just as pieces and glimpses of ‘how things work’ and ‘how people think,’ etc, they are helpful.

    I like what you say about ancestors and names. Yes, why should we be imprisoned by a name? Ancestor-worship can’t be a bad thing, but too much obsession with one’s ‘breeding’ is a sign of vanity.

    Brady’s not mine; it belongs to another man’s contumely; the prosody maven of Poets.Org, Colin Ward, who turns into a puddle at the mere mention of Edgar Poe, sneeringly referred to me as Thomas Brady, so I took possession of the joke; I always get the last laugh when it comes to Mr. Ward.

    Tom

  10. Desmond Swords said,

    April 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    This is more like it Graves, a human note previously buried beneath screed and the treatises which previously gave nothing of your real self away to the reader.

    You could have been writing on the moon, for all the clues you gave away, but now, and in the Finch post, you are moving away from the detached remote authorial shtick and getting hipper to the law of literature being a reflection of what’s in your mind as you write.

    The danger with all of us is reaching a plateau and never progressing. Two years and a year ago, the point in your arguments were far more pleasant and exciting for the Reader, I thought (though my own course being so closely tied with yours, perhaps it’s impossible to be objective at this point) because I was fully with you, in agreement it was all a racket and you held the full jigsaw all fitted together.

    But once I got used to the arguement, it seemed to stall and stagnate, and a hitherto logical conspiratorial register that really demonstrated a very intelligent mind at play, turned a bit awf, to my ear at least. But then, we have been through a lot and are good for one another. I am not reading anyone else up to this cyberlearning of two students in flyte and walloping theoretical bells without storming off after denouncing each other as a heretic in Letters.

    And I dunno if i am totally deluded, or if what i think has some truth, but I am thinking, every poet of consequence (larf) in America, is reading our knockabout. The signs are there, (i imagine) in the text at Harriet and maybe i’m just an egomaniac confused and few are thrilled, but some inner sixth sense suggests there are fans out there willing to listen, if not appear, i pretend, daring to half-think this is the case, but tempered with 30 years of knowing i am a div who can get it spectacularly and 100% wrong.

    So, now, not knowing what to believe, forget the rest and concentrate on being happy in our own inner realm of Letters and language, love and josh, fantasy and gosh, whatever it takes to keep the lights on within our mind, feel we’re progressing, getting better at the intellectual guff, our mirage and bluff Graves, not all just smoke and mirrors, but theatre and woof.

    It was a while back now, but the place i wanted to be in for years, where it is about the writing alone, appeared with all this argie bargie and us talking, whetting ourselves on each other, and since we met, I know, this writing here I am doing ‘private’, would appear in public and get recognized as the real gear between two bores in love with language.

    Bernstein, I think he is a titan, genuinely so. Remember I met the guy in person, in a room with an audience of six, not some big whistles and bells conference hall number, and so saw him out of his usual zone, his very first time in Ireland, straight off the plane and to the reading, up the stairs and there’s me, just outside the door to the drawing room of the Georgian building, two glasses of red Writers Centre down the hatch, clutching my third with a big daft grin on my gob, he apprehending me and me him, not knowing what awaited, how big the crowd, the first sign for him would be looking good, a genuine spacer with an edge of the homeless pisshead about him, funky Dublin, first time out, and then, well, what can you say when you’ve flown half eight hours to a room of seven random strangers?

    He stuck a CD of himself in some avant arty cutting edge student university student quality vid, juddery cutting frames and typical New York School, the real artist, I thought.

    He read for half an hour, and in that time I got up twice for a refill, the room becoming more like my own front room with every glass, and then, as a test of self, at the end, made sure he got mine from memory, another titan ticked off my to-meet and ‘know’ list.

    He defintiely remembers me, and me him, whereas for you he’s only alive as a jumble of Letters Tom.

    Happy days.

  11. Desmond Swords said,

    April 23, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    As for Ward, as wiki tells us, that name in Irish comes from ‘Mac an Bháird (Clann an Bháird), one of the learned families of late medieval Ireland. The name has evolved over many centuries, the anglicized forms coming down to us as MacAward, McWard, MacEward, MacEvard, Macanward, M’Ward, and its most commonly used variant today: Ward. The name means ‘son of the bard’ and has no connection with the English name Ward, which originated from the Saxon word weard meaning watchman or guardian. Additionally, considerable numbers of Latin, French, and Spanish variants can be found in Continental records: Vardeo, Bardeo, U Bart, Wardeum, Vyardes, Wardeus, not to mention Verdaeorum familiae: the Ward family.Bhard, the bh pronounced as a V, voard, ward, a bard.’

  12. thomasbrady said,

    April 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Des,

    Yea, I know the best poets in the world are reading Scarriet now. We cater to the best, after all.

    I just read the Bernstein interview on Harriet. What a snooze-fest. B. comes across as really artsy-fartsy. Maybe he’s tired. Maybe he doesn’t care anymore. It’s tough for intellectuals these days. It’s either political red meat or this very respectful artsy-fartsy tone. Horribly polarized… and most people, terrified of red meat, politely eat their beautiful little salads…do you use a lot of ingredients in your salad, or just a few…this is actually what the interview is like…my feeling is, if you don’t have anything to say, why bother? Why pretend?

    Tom

  13. Desmond Swords said,

    April 24, 2010 at 2:26 am

    At some point, all of us cognize the boundaries and limits of Letters I think, and reach awareness that most what we write is detached from real life and a performance in our mind. One persons psychological pantomime and exhibition of the technology of the intellect. That what we say in print, though we can beleive it at the time, for me at least, I often look back and recognize the falsity and art, the techne and nuts and bolts our technology of the imagination makes and I can see how, though passionate with belief in what I wrote as I wrote it at the moment of composition, that it is all just theatre and I the actor doing it for me first. Not for any Reader but the one I create first.

    More important to me than a Critic being wrong or right, is how human they are.

    Bernstein’s interview, though the strict Critic can lay into it because it didn’t turn you on, the bottom line for me is reality’s more important and in his private family life, Bernstein has recently expereinced a tragedy of the most unfathomable, heartbreaking and sorrowful order. One that puts Writing into perspective Tom.

    As I said, I have always thought Bernstein as a poet of the top drawer, in a school of one. I remember discovering the Buffalo Poetry list for the first time two years ago and spending two nights reading from page one, at the beginning of the online revolution he made happen. A small select gathering of close colleagues and genuine freinds, and it was fascinating, instructive and brilliant, this store of writing from some of America’s finest poets, reading them in there ‘private’ mode, because then it was all new and different and invitation only, not to exclude but because the net-wide norm of now that says any arsehole can crash your party, wasn’t in place and though the negatively minded could trash it, I thought it was a gift.

    It was there I was led to one of his seminal essays, I Don’t Take Voicemail, in which Bernstein lays out his prediction of how things will happen with the then new technolgy, and he was prioved right in every instance. A true prophet in the authentic, simple meaning of predicting something that came to pass.

    I couldn’t care less if Charles Bernsteins’ writing was the best or the worst in the world, to be honest, because, as he said at the funeral:

    Dark the day when you I cannot see.

    And this writing that says it all, came from the place where no parent should have to go, because writing, Letters, as Godfrey Finn O Daly wrote, is

    no shelter against sorrow.

    What about family? Brothers and sisters? Parents? Who are they? What’s your own story, Tom?

  14. thomasbrady said,

    April 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I don’t care to get into Bernstein’s private life. It’s none of my business, and in all the years I’ve been blogging, even on Foetry.com, I always stay on the intellectual level, and never go to the personal. Letters, and an intellectual treatment of Letters, can’t help but impact the personal somewhat, that’s true. For instance, while I’m attacking Bernstein intellectually, I’m sure there are some who are saying, “How can he do that?” First, I wasn’t aware of any private issue and secondly, the business of Letters goes on. Writing comes out of tragedy; we write because life sucks. Investigate the life of ANY writer and you will find a family tragedy somewhere, some great sorrow that led to the contemplative enterprise. I have mine, and maybe because I’m superstitious I don’t like to talk about it. I can list tragedy after tragedy which my favorite writers of the 19th century suffered; horrible family tragedy was normal then, somewhat less so now, but I believe great literature is “a shelter against sorrow;” there is a “shelter against sorrow” or life would be intolerable. It might be more accurate to say all shelter is sorrow; the fact that we need shelter is sorrow, but sorrow is a shelter against pain.

  15. Desmond Swords said,

    April 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I dunno Tom. Where does the public end and the private start?

    For example, there are people who’d argue the whole Foetry enterprise got incredibly personalized and invasive.

  16. thomasbrady said,

    April 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Des, i honestly thought that Foetry was a consumer protection site and concerned itself with the nuts and bolts of reputation-making. Foetry would say X and Y were together at Iowa, but how is this “incredibly personalized and invasive?” The angry reaction to Foetry was way, way overblown…and frankly, it was the ‘cats getting caught with the mice in their paws’ who were making all the ‘invasive’ charges…the Foetry accusations were based purely on business; I was there and it never got nasty and personal, it was all ‘public record’ stuff. The site is still up on the web and can be read. I challenge anyone to show me something that was “incredibly personalized and invasive.” I don’t want to put you on the spot, because you’re probably just repeating the usual gossip, but can you name one actual instance that was “incredibly personalized and invasive?” Tom

  17. Desmond Swords said,

    April 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I agree with you Tom, but two bores in concord about how wicked AmPo is, both of us speaking as moral guardians of it, does not translate into exciting copy for the most important component in the Scarriet equation, dear Reader.

    They want spam and dazzle, psychological pyrotechnics, and if I wanted to agree with you, I can always send an e mail. No. To make it theatre and readable, let me create a fictional voice, exercise it in the imagination using the technology of the intellect and voice it in Letters here. Lets call that voice ‘I’.

    Lets pretend s/he is waffling now, ‘I’ could say:

    I dunno Tom, because I was out the loop when Foetry was the biggest thing happening in the pre AmPo days of recent history, but poetry and criticism is not an exact science in the way digging of admin is, and the space for intepretation is vast and it only takes one enigmatic persuader to convince the mob Cordle’s the devil and you’re his gimp.

    From what little I know of the Foetry pablum, there was one stella name who looked a bit dopey getting caught helping the guy who turned into her hubbie, who at the time she awarded him the prize, if they had split up instead of getting wed, has a fair argument that she did nothing wrong, strictly speaking, as she understood the rules to be.

    After that, what’s interesting is how minor the crimes were on the perp-list, becoming less and less newsworthy and, in essence, though it served its purpose, the novelty and use of Foetry is over, like soo boring. Get over it, you’re trying to flog a dead horse, ‘I’ might say, if I wanted to challenge myself by disagreeing with what I might agree with you privately, but wishing to challenge myself by conducting a public exercise, like an advocate or sophist, I’ll pit my own wit against itself because i know this is the way to behave if one desires to exercise the intellect; rather than only voicing agreement or disagreement in a few short lines.

    If the biggest story was Jorie Graham, ‘I’ might say, and you used her to take the moral highground, and for ‘superstitious’ reasons don’t want to reveal anything about your own ‘personal’ self, as if you’re gonna be the first poet to ever successfully seperate public v private, and gain fame – you’re kidding yourself, ‘I’ would say.

    No one is interested in people who don’t appear normal and human, who don’t have flaws. Indeed your Poe article above this one, ‘I’ might say, is interesting because so much of his ‘personal’ life is in there. Thomas Graves American poet, ‘I’ reckon (as a fictional psychic entity decanted into Letters, performing on stage for a reader the fantasy in a mind) aint gonna get anywhere until he starts loosening up and dropping the righteous tenor.

    People want to be entertained with either brilliant fiction or real life gaffes and slips of the rich and famous. As a poet performing in print as the morally outraged, bored and full time appalled person, you won’t get many fans, apart from other people who aint ‘happy’ about AmPo. ‘I’ would say this act, speaking from a position that plenty of others would articulate the same, comes out, not because you deeply care about anyone else and want to do the world a favour because your so humanly empathetic, but because you couldn’t give a toss about anyone else and are not happy with other poets getting on who you do not rate.

    ‘I’ would say, stop moaning and get writing the poetry and prose the people you’re jealous of, cannot ignore, and try to write happy because our writing is only a reflection of our state of mind, and if you obbsess about this now over, past it, no longer cool Foetry state, playing the outraged bore all the time – it’s s elf fulfilling prophecy.

    The more we write moaning, the less we know how to write praising and happy. The less we write praising and happy, the more we moan. The more we moan, the less interested people are in reading us, until we become a joke and no one takes any notice of us or treats us seriously as a poet.

  18. thomasbrady said,

    April 24, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Des,

    I’m suspicious of any sentiment that Foetry is “over” or “boring” or “why don’t you write poetry instead” because 1) justice is not a fad, excuse me, why is justice “over” and maybe there’s something going on right now much worse than jorie graham…we don’t know…why shouldn’t we keep an eye open?…why should fair play ever sleep? …why aren’t you happy that someone is keeping an eye on things? 2) what isn’t “boring” in poetry? A poet gives a reading and the people who show up are that poet’s students. Poetry has been moribund for years, and everyone knows it. It has no real public. 3) no one writes poetry 24/7. ‘doing foetry’ has absolutely nothing to do with writing or not writing poetry. one can easily do both. ‘why don’t you write poetry, instead’ is a red herring. You’d be more honest if you said “Why don’t you be nicer to other poets?… you’d have a better chance of getting published”… I realize that, but it’s a matter of conscience…

    Tom

  19. Desmond Swords said,

    April 25, 2010 at 12:22 am

    “after fifteen years in the Strand writing, writing, writing, I had produced little or nothing for more than a day’s notice, though feeling that I could do something better. I wanted to write, really, in books, what I thought, instead of writing in newspapers, what other people pretended to think.”

    Pat Kenny.

    The poetry police seeking ‘justice’. Forgive me for not demanding the UN widen their net to include making sure poetry competitions run in accordance with your wishes. Maybe your highness could write the legislation and give me a number prosecuting the perps?

    What planet are you on Tom?

    ‘Fair-play never sleeps’ ‘keeping an eye on things’?

    It reminds me of those passionate commited teabaggers standing round with placards with a pop art portrait of Obama photshopped with a Hitler moustache, whose logo reads ‘down with Communist govt.’

    My own opinion on this is that the most apt response when one thinks some unfairness is being enacted in the poetry world, is to write better than they who you think are the faux poets, not stand around giving them a laugh, unable to take you seriously.

    How would you feel if someone started targeting you for something you sincerely believed a fairly minor indescretion at worst; say you had knowingly littered on the sidewalk, couldn’t be bothered putting in a bin, or somehting of this order. It could be anything, the point is, someone had spotted you doing something you wouldn’t so in front of an audience, something you would have to admit, was bending or breaking the rules. And if you say you have never done anything like this, I and the rest reading will be unable to accept it because it means you’re the only person alive who has never broke the rules.

    Maybe pissed in the pool, or urinated up an alley when drunk, or not drunk, but some fairly, in the grand scheme of reality, incosequential; when placed next to the destruction that came out of the Bush axis of greed and irresponsibility.

    Say some people knew what you’d done and started up a website about you jaywalking, demanding your head on a plate. All i’m saying is, this is what many reading will think the Foetry movement was like. Overblown. It served a purpose in cleaning things up, but the primary actors now are like a one hit wonder flogging a dead show. Do you really think that if someone in the poetry world is going to bung one of their pals a few thousand dollars by way of a prize, they are going to do it openly and leave a trace?

    Get real. If A wants B the winner, they’d appoint a judge they know will arrive at this decision without having to explain the rules of how it’s done. You might catch a few idiots, but the days of bagging the Jorie Grahams of this world, a long gone sailor.

    The games moved on. Foetry had one big fish, that’s it, get over it.

    How about making it a capital offence to read to someone who gets bored with you?

    As I said Tom, you were the most unfairly treated of the three of us, because you actually never came within a mile of being unpleasant to anyone on Harriet.

    You made muppets out of them fair and square and they hated you for it, so acted underhandedly to oust you. Now they are smiling and happy because you lost your cool when isolated and the joy of your writing withered when you had no one to play with.

    They win if you moan, because their whole goal is to see you unhappy, like they were when you were having a great time walloping them on Harriet.

    I’m being very general here, when I say ‘them’ I mean the average American MFA thruster who buys into the poetry world you exposed as a con. But you should change tack, just write great poetry, you only have to do a few, not instant, spontaenous spam poetry, but stuff you keep to yourself. This is the best advice I’ve read. You can google it and find out the writer yourself.

    ‘Coming to writing as I did rather later in life than most writers, and being without education, or training so to speak, or indeed any of the usual literary familiarity which even working-class writers may get a touch of in London, and at the same time deeply longing in my own seemingly tinpot way to avoid becoming a hack writer, no matter how successful, but rather hoping perhaps to write one book or even one story that would be of itself alone I must now say that I had a difficult road ahead of me.

    But at the time, by the blessing of God, I could not see the road ahead, but only where I stood (it hasn’t changed of course as I write) and that didn’t seem too bad. But there was not question of making big decisions, being full of determination or much of that sort of thing (although to tell the truth I did occasionally indulge myself in day dreams) for I was still by nature lazy, and not given to summoning up that obsessive effort, which most writers find necessary to get a thing done, so what I had to do, and which I believe I learnt to do naturally, was to learn to love writing.

    Or perhaps what I mean is that I made the daily practice of it become second nature to me, as it were, so that any day in which I didn’t write or at least turn to my writing was a sort of cipher day, marked by a sense of emptiness. I also surrounded myself with numerous minor disciplines – such as setting my writing things and a bicycle lamp beside my bed, and told myself I was to sit up and write in the way I could get up in the night – and at the same time I tried to free myself from my many bad habits, such as being too soft with myself, putting things off, and being content with a page or so of writing and nesting back as it were. But i could not have done it with effort alone – I feel it needed love, a muddling along discipline, and the Holy Ghost.

    (Anyway, although the following has just come to me as sort of afterthought, and has perhaps little place now, I would most earnestly plead with any young writer starting out, or any already along the way, do not give them your all. By that I mean do not pour every drop of yourself into some medium for immediate use, such as journalism or the like – people do this with a plan to become independent and then write their big book: this connot work – or even novels for your public. Always put aside some special offering of writing for God, a writing that will never be read by others whilst you are alive, and which may in its way contain your simplest yet purest and fullest thoughts – or better still your words and deeds. This will not only be a practical help in the long run, but is a sort of moral reservoir from which one can draw strength to go on.)

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      Des,

      My position is not “overblown,” yours is.

      Harriet is not lauging at me, I’m laughing at Harriet. Please get it straight if you want to play my straight man… sheesh.

      If you care more about George Bush than Jorie Graham, what are you doing here?

      You silly man…

      Tom

  20. thomasbrady said,

    April 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    “There are times when I think this interpretation business is designed to kill the text dead by smothering it in excess verbiage.”

    –Bill Benzon

    Yes, Bill! Exactly the game of the New Critics, the Modernists and their Analytic Philosophy teachers/pals.

    Steven, thanks for linking Valve. I LOVE that discussion… and tell Bill I love the way he thinks. I’ll admit I’m more on his side than yours, but I understand your side always wins among poets because you make the scientist a villain, and most poets are in it for the anti-reason and anti-science mysticism. Guys like Charles Bernstein and the whole avant crowd of course want to be thought of as ‘profound’ in a ‘scientific’ manner, but as soon as someone like Benzon begins to ask questions and expose some of their ‘science,’ they just wave him off, ‘aren’t you forgetting, I’m a poet, too?’ it’s just an elaborate ‘have my cake and eat it’ smokescreen, unlike Poe and his Dupin, for instance, where the desire to solve mysteries is sincere.

    I have more of a fondness for Bill’s ‘string’ than your ‘puddle w/ drips’ simply because your analogy of a poem as a watercolor doesn’t hold for me. A poem is NOT a watercolor and if you want the sort of aesthetic pleasure that a watercolor brings you would ALWAYS choose a watercolor, even a bad one, over a poem, which will NEVER succeed in the least like a watercolor. It’s just a plain vanity of some poets that they think a (bad) poem of theirs is not really a (bad) poem because IT’S REALLY A WATERCOLOR, or it should BE READ AS IF IT WERE A WATERCOLOR and that’s how it succeeds! A poem with a lot of ‘imagery’ and ‘color’ does not work because it’s READ AS IF IT WERE a watercolor, and never will. The Queen’s speech in Hamlet, for instance, reporting Ophelia’s death–a ‘watercolor’ passage in literature if there ever was one–relies on temporality, on it’s linguistic string-order for its effect.

    But again, I’m stating my prejudice right off the bat, and you do hold your own with Bill and the others in that discussion, which I really, really enjoyed!
    Thanks again.

    Tom

  21. April 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    “I’ll admit I’m more on his side than yours, but I understand your side always wins among poets because you make the scientist a villain…”

    No, I make “the scientist” a clueless dilettante who reveals his/her barely-masked disdained for the finer points of an Art and practice that is beyond his entry-level skill-set. The default presumption being that anyone who has mastered the ins and out of (say) biochemistry should be able to relax with a little “Art” kinda stuff at a level that the average Artist should be impressed with. Not so. Vastly differing disciplines necessitating vastly different talents. As I put it to Bill: even if you can “explain” Love on a bio-molecular level, how would that enrich my experience of Love.

    Art gets very little respect in Late Capitalist America; the Materialist Obsessions make it so. The true Artist must remain vigilant/militant on this score. The dabblers will have to learn to pay attention.

    Btw, I really appreciated what Foetry accomplished re: Famous Hair Poet Jorie Graham’s Watergate. It was much-needed. The corruption is a stepping stone to worse debasements. Look at where Pop Music is now and you’ll know what I mean.

  22. April 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    erratum: “disdain” (and wherever else… my daughter wants me to join her in the garden and I’m zooming!)

  23. April 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    “A poem is NOT a watercolor…”

    Never claimed that. I said we *read poetry* closer to the way we view a watercolor than taking the bits in as an orderly string of sequenced data… we (or I) scan ahead and behind and even skip lines down-stanza and jump back again while reading. It doesn’t come in one-word-at-a-time and the words aren’t passing through a detector, they are accumulating in my memory. I think my puddle analogy is much better. The “string” analog would work better with a simple scanning device.

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      I was careful to make that distinction, though: I did say ‘read as watercolor’ not ‘is watercolor…’

      I think Bill’s point is clear: the mind and the poem are not the same. To say the poem is read as a string, i.e., temporally, is correct, I think, in terms of describing the way we fundamentally receive the information of the poem, and then, in the mind, yes, your objections, nuances, etc are valid. But I think it’s fine to establish, as simply as possible, the objective existence of the poem first, before we go on to more complex considerations…

  24. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    A slender pamphlet titled “The Poetry of Richard Milhous Nixon,” compiled by Jack S. Margolis, was published in 1974 by Cliff House Books. From the first page: “The material included in this collection originally appeared in The Watergate Transcripts, released by President Nixon. Each selection is reprinted in its entirety. No words have been added or omitted, and the punctuation has not been altered in any way.”

    Here is a sample:

    TOGETHER

    by Richard M. Nixon

    We are all
    In it
    Together.
    We take
    A few shots
    And
    It will be over.

    Don’t worry.
    I wouldn’t
    Want to be
    On the other side
    Right now.

  25. April 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    “There are times when I think this interpretation business is designed to kill the text dead by smothering it in excess verbiage.”

    Which is, ironically, exactly what Bill is doing; he just prefers his own lexicon while doing it. Notice that the text object under discussion wasn’t even an actual poem and that Bill’s essential point is that there’s no way to tell. Which speaks (slim) volumes.

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 25, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      But isn’t the WHOLE QUESTION whether it is ‘an actual poem’ or not? To assume that the text object is NOT ‘an actual poem’ betrays a lack of scientific curiosity, methinks…

      • April 25, 2010 at 5:04 pm

        Because “scientific curiosity” is, again, not the point. I don’t have “scientific curiosity” about sex while I’m doing it with my beautiful wife, either: science won’t add to that pleasure. I’m not a scientist (though I have a decent science education under my belt); I’ve no interest in pretending to be one. How did “scientific curiosity” become a criterion for depth or reach as an Artist?

        Eh?

  26. thomasbrady said,

    April 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Steven,

    I knew you would say ‘I don’t make the scientist a villain,’ but you do!

    Here’s your own words:

    No, I make “the scientist” a clueless dilettante who reveals his/her barely-masked disdained for the finer points of an Art and practice that is beyond his entry-level skill-set. The default presumption being that anyone who has mastered the ins and out of (say) biochemistry should be able to relax with a little “Art” kinda stuff at a level that the average Artist should be impressed with. Not so. Vastly differing disciplines necessitating vastly different talents. As I put it to Bill: even if you can “explain” Love on a bio-molecular level, how would that enrich my experience of Love.

    You reduce ‘science’ to mastery of ‘biochemistry’ or some other narrow subject but I’m thinking of a broader application of ‘science,’ one more ‘amateur,’ if you will; I use ‘science’ to mean ‘innocent curiosity’ and ‘radical common sense’ and ‘consistency’ and ‘the ability to see both forest AND trees’ etc …where you are applying it simply as ‘knowledge’ of textbook ‘biochemistry…’ or some other ‘field’…now perhaps you think of ‘poet’ where I would say ‘scientist’ but we shouldn’t get hung up on the nominalism…I believe that there IS a place where we can talk about art scientifically, sans objections of the artist re: all the profound nuances that the scientific view cannot possibly comprehend…I just don’t trust the artist who pushes away the scientist on principle…

    In my scientific purview, I would analyze love not necessarily as the biochemist would, though that might help, but in any particular manner that made sense.

    As for “Art gets very little respect in Late Capitalist America; the Materialist Obsessions make it so” It depends on what you mean by ‘respect.’ Did cave paintings get ‘respect?’ They probably did, but I still wouldn’t want to live back in the days when cave paintings got ‘respect.’ Is ‘finding art’ everywhere we look (‘found poetry’) a protest against ‘late capitalism’ or rather a natural outcome of ‘late capitalism?’ And which of these two is ‘showing respect’ for ‘art’ and does it matter, if ‘respect’ is truly important in the ‘found poet’s’ vain thinking?

    Yea, 500 years from now, when Jorie is famous only because of Foetry, she’ll thank us…

    Tom

  27. April 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    “In my scientific purview, I would analyze love not necessarily as the biochemist would, though that might help, but in any particular manner that made sense.”

    Tom, can’t really debate this point with you if you’re willing to define “scientific” in so broad a fashion; it would therefore include almost anyone doing almost anything and coming to almost any conclusion. I’m only arguing that to “understand” Art, be an Artist. The better Artist you are, the greater your understanding will be. It won’t come from quantifications. Bill’s approach to the found text proved that he doesn’t understand Lit as an Art (rather than a data-delivery system) well enough to make interesting points.

  28. thomasbrady said,

    April 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    But what do you mean by ‘be an Artist?’

    The broadness in your statement ‘be an Artist’ is more broad than mine.

    I certainly do NOT mean by ‘scientific’ what you say here: “doing almost anything and coming to almost any conclusion,” which is VERY unscientific, indeed!

    A scientific insight can, in a moment, cancel out a lifetime of artistic study. This is, unfortunately, the risk we take when we become an artist! A scientist implicitly understands this. Why can’t the artist? Because the artist is the vainer creature. But vanity is very close to attraction and affection and love. As an artist, I know this. (wink)

  29. April 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    “A scientific insight can, in a moment, cancel out a lifetime of artistic study.”

    How so, Tom? Example…?

  30. April 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    (And then you can show us an example of Artistic insight canceling out a lifetime of scientific study! Hey: guess what: they’re too far apart to cancel each other. Laugh. I think I see where your prejudices point and you’re just confirming my diagnosis of Late Capitalism’s inability to fit Art into a useful framework…)

  31. April 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    (I was waiting for the response to the previous bit but I’ll just dive in)

    “But what do you mean by ‘be an Artist?’

    The broadness in your statement ‘be an Artist’ is more broad than mine.”

    Well, say we were talking about sculpture: my statement would mean that by learning the principles of the craft and then mastering these to the extent that the rules of the craft were no longer a limitation (or even a nemesis) but an ally, instead: you’d be functioning as an Artist instead of a mere chiseler. There is an apprenticeship to serve in every form.

    I can go at some length about the twenty years it took me to master the specific little sub-category of text-Art that I am now good at writing; I have achieved a measure of control. The point is that Bill (and people like Bill) is a dabbler in the Field-and-its-Questions of Art; he manufactures some authority with the expedience of a preemptive attitude (Hackademic maneuver #1) , not with the evidence of any particular wonderful work in text as a form. He wouldn’t try to get away with that with (again, say:) molecular biology. That’s because he *respects* the Science and is casual (with his condescending “fascination”) about the Art.

    It’s a pervasive attitude problem. Art/Lit is rotten-to-overflowing with people with no particular talent/understanding because they mistakenly think it’s a relatively easy practice to take on and thereafter get attention with. They generate a bizillion metric tons of shite every second.

    Art becomes a lost Art.

    Sucks.

  32. thomasbrady said,

    April 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I’ll give you an example: Kepler’s science canceled Aristotle’s art…for what can we call outdated ‘science’ but art?

    Art is simply outdated science—and we have more faith in art which we don’t know is obsolete yet. The art which never becomes obsolete will one day be known for what it really is: science.

    There’s no such thing as “Artistic insight;” once art becomes truly insightful it turns into science.

  33. April 25, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    “Art is simply outdated science—and we have more faith in art which we don’t know is obsolete yet.”

    Utter nonsense, Tom! Utterly utter, I must say. You’re referencing a period in Western history when Science, Religion and Art were, indeed, fused; the eventual separation of Science from the other two is the bulk of the history of technology (with the Scientific Method a major milestone). The separation of Art and Religion is the cusp we call Modernism (add a “post” to that if you like).

    Viewing, say, Egon Schiele’s or Henry Miller’s or Ann Sexton’s or Philip Roth’s (ad inf) work through the lens of your pronouncement will provide fairly hilarious results. You don’t understand Art, apparently, at all: the pursuit of Aesthetic Sublimity (or its simpler pleasures) has ZERO to do with what they’re doing at CERN tonight or with “Progress” (as it’s understood in the scientific sense) at all. Zero.

  34. April 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Why are you even bothering to run a site with a putative focus on Poetry? Why not do a site about… hmmmm…. molecular biology? Wouldn’t you be happier?

  35. April 25, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I’ll tell you one thing: I now fully get the formerly inexplicable crush on Billy Collins! laugh

  36. April 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Well, looks like I won’t get a response on this one, so I’ll finish my thoughts on it and bugger off (unless summoned):

    “Collins explodes the nostalgic notion of the good old days, or good old golden age…”

    With a shrug says, “Hey, you can’t step in the same river twice; nothing to get ‘mopey’ over!”

    Irony in poetry (like emails) needs a key, internal to the poem, to work; a dissonant signal (like, erm, “Portland”?) that divides the text at least in two: the “send-up” vs “intended meaning”. Otherwise, Billy is counting on us to know a little something about Billy’s outlook in order to measure the intended degree and target of the irony. The word “moping” does not, in and of itself, indicate that the moper is falling for one of the more insidious traps of Classicism.

    It’s my opinion that choosing between a crappy poem, and a better one, to make the same point: why not opt for the better one? With vital, rather than banal, language. Why take aim at a middlebrow misapprehension with a middlebrow poem? Is it the convention of talking down to the anti-intellectual American reader that enforces an unspoken rule that formal richness/variety/invention can’t deliver the “message” without causing sales to drop?

    “…one could fault Collins for the awful line, “as frequently as rain occurs in life” but this would be to miss the point. Such ‘badness’ contributes to the necessary looseness, which in turn contributes to the trust between author and reader; such badness is like air in food which gives it lightness.”

    Tom, I think one could rescue any shiddy pome with this maneuver; what’s the point? This is just tortuous Crappist Apologia.

    “As long as Collins works in stanzas, he doesn’t really need the line, or he can get away with lines of no interest whatsoever, such as “the walls and windows now.” His lines can have no interest, the lines of a Billy Collins poem can be invisible, more or less, as long as he uses stanzas; few critics really understand how Collins’ poetry can even work.”

    Billy’s poems “work” by being harmless/unchallenging and mediocrity-affirming to an intellectually-insecure (in fact: hostile) public with zero tolerance for being educated in anything other than career-advancing topics. Billy’s pomes are very long greeting cards; some more clever than others. What’s the mystery? And the ugly part is the “if so many people like it, it must be good” swagger that means Big Time Professional Wrestling is better than a 60-minute interview with Eric Satie. Well, fine. What can I do about that? No biggie. I’ll just bitch about it when the subject comes up. Like now!

    • April 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      ooops.. I meant this on the BC thread!

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

        That’s OK…understood this belongs in Billy Collins thread.

        Now, here’s the thing, Steven: Because you can quickly sum up the essence of the Collins poem, you believe this somehow invalidates it…but this is the error the New Critics made…and here’s my reply to the New Critics: Ease of paraphrase in no way determines the worth, GOOD OR BAD, of the poem.

        Here’s the point: Poems are not made for YOU; they are made for people. If Billy’s poem is ‘easy’ for you to grasp, it is perfectly valid for YOU to dismisss the poem, if that’s how you see it, but it is NOT, in a SCIENTIFIC OR CRITICAL SENSE, a fault of the poem, if it IS accessible to others, and if we read Billy’s poem with this IDEAL AUDIENCE in mind, we find the poem is excellent, as far as we can say it is. There’s no pleasing the individul mind, for neither science, nor excellent art, is FOR THE INDIVIDUAL MIND; it is for the IDEAL MASS OF HUMANITY–this is what poetry is for, not YOU, who are in a position to dismiss the Collins poem, because it is too ‘easy’ —-for who? for… YOU.

        LIkewise, we find that YOU (surprise) are terribly fond of difficult poems of which the MASS OF HUMANITY puts no stock in. This, and here’s the crucial point, does not make YOU right and the MASS OF HUMANITY wrong; it doesn’t make you wrong and them right, necessarily EITHER…but…

        In his ‘Essay of Criticism’ Pope warns against the critic who finds fault in a fastidious way with a work which is excellent in its general sweep…I think with Collins you are missing the forest for the trees… what Collins does may LOOK easy, but it’s not…

  37. thomasbrady said,

    April 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Henry Miller, Philip Roth, Anne Sexton, Egon Schiele are important artists as much as they are scientific.

    I never denied that art can be entertaining in non-scientific ways just as a good dinner conversation with good wine can be entertaining, or lying on your back and looking at clouds can be entertaining…but there’s a scientific underpinning to everything and to defend science as I am doing is NOT anti-art, as you seem to think, and the fact that you seem to believe that I am somehow anti-poetry or anti-art just supports my argument…

  38. April 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Tom: you’ve got your own taxonomy here. Fine with me! But, seriously… “there’s a scientific underpinning to everything”… as a practice or an underlying/ultimate physical reality? If you’re saying it’s both: no.

  39. April 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    “I never denied that art can be entertaining in non-scientific ways…”

    One final bit before I take my wife and daughter on a lovely twilight walk: Art and Entertainment provide two different pleasures.

  40. thomasbrady said,

    April 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Twilight…you must be in europe…or africa…it’s still a beautiful blazing afternoon where I am, and my family is embarking on a short drive to another state…

    Thanks for visiting, Steve..!

    It’s been lovely…

  41. April 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Berlin! (I don’t have the proper footwear for Africa; I only just finally got the snowdrift-bestriding boots off).

  42. thomasbrady said,

    April 26, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Berlin…never been…und ich spreche deutsch…!

    I’m in Portsmouth, New Hampshire…cute little town…historical…the local bookstore has a signed book of Michael McClure poems…I didn’t know he was alive…McClure pitches for Scarriet Poetry Baseball…and plays music with Ray Manzarak…his novel was in the window of the bookstore, too…along with a couple of Pinksy books…

    going to take a dip in the hotel pool…woo hoo

  43. notevensuperficial said,

    April 26, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Surely in practice, “art” and “science” overlap in the sense that one is not done completely externally to or absolutely differently from the other.

    For example, the play Hamlet. Here’s four interpretations:

    1) It’s a play about a royal family and the turmoil its members and ‘house’ (and, less so, the state it rules) finds itself in.

    2) It’s a play about a young(ish) man whose sexual interest in his mother enables him (accurately) to suspect her of having colluded with his uncle in the murder of his father, preliminary to marriage between his mother and that uncle.

    3) It’s a play about a lesbian, disguised as a man, who preserves the secret of her identity at the expense of a violent dissolution of her family.

    4) It’s a play about Japanese ducks bicycling to a rock concert.

    Each response, each act of literary criticism, is to be judged – in itself and in comparison to each (and any particular) other – . . . on what grounds? The same grounds as the claim one makes for the existence of a strictly private sensation?

    Well, the “grounds” for coming to terms with an interpretation of Hamlet would have to begin and end with: the play Hamlet. ‘This point of view is in accordance with what in the play?’ ‘What, in the play, could lead to a reasonable commitment to this perspective? What, in the play, contradicts this perspective?’ And so on – one’s subjective reaction is caused by and, in dialectical turn, returns to resonate with some particular text(s) of the play.

    Someone else can test one’s advance of any of the four interpretations of Hamlet – by seeking, in the play, evidence that does somehow lead to that interpretation – or evidence that that interpretation is false, unlikely, petty, or so on.

    (How the evidence of the play relates to some particular interpretation – well, “interpretation” is more grist for interpretation, but that’s no argument against the extra-subjective fact of the play itself, nor an argument against the consistency and cogency of any number of interpretations, even mutually contradictory interpretations.)

    So, by understanding the literary text itself as being what interpretations of it are somehow ‘about’, there’s a basis for considering literary criticism to have an empirical focus, which would be entwined with some more-or-less rigorous orientation towards any interpretation of that data. Literary criticism has raw, non-observer-generated data, to which some method(s) are subjected, which method(s) do – or fail to – guarantee the discrimination between falsity and truth as to the meaning (for a conversation partner) that the critic has gotten from the text.

    Well, there’s the literary-critical analogue to the ‘part of world – hypothesis – test’ process familiar to scientists, where the “part of the world” is, say, Hamlet, the “hypothesis” is some particular interpretation, and the “test” (for both the critic and any conversation partner of hers/his) consists of a directed return to the “world”, the data, of the dramatic poetry itself.

    Of course the analogy isn’t perfect – it’s not an identity. But the literary critic proceeds, however guided by unquestioned sensitivity she or he feels her/himself to be, in the manner of a rigorous laying-out of that response to Hamlet – like a presentation of a demonstrated hypothesis.

    Although literary criticism is not a science (or concatenation of sciences), nevertheless, there is scientificity to it, just as conducting experiments is not an art, though, without question, there is art to being a skilled scientific experimenter.

    • April 26, 2010 at 10:22 am

      “Although literary criticism is not a science (or concatenation of sciences), nevertheless, there is scientificity to it, just as conducting experiments is not an art, though, without question, there is art to being a skilled scientific experimenter.”

      NES, the weight of your argument rests on the convenience of near-meanings. I didn’t sign up for a debate on “scientificity”.

      Tom commits to a clear-cut worldview (below); I prefer those to word-games (unless the word-games are brilliant) in a debate:

      “I’ll give you an example: Kepler’s science canceled Aristotle’s art…for what can we call outdated ‘science’ but art?

      Art is simply outdated science—and we have more faith in art which we don’t know is obsolete yet. The art which never becomes obsolete will one day be known for what it really is: science.

      There’s no such thing as “Artistic insight;” once art becomes truly insightful it turns into science.”

      I disagree with this Worldview, but I respect Tom for having the courage to answer my argument directly, and on the actual terms of the debate, without building rhetorical loopholes into his position. Otherwise, it’s just not very interesting to argue. Or, put it this way: I agree with you.

  44. notevensuperficial said,

    April 26, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Whoa – I didn’t realize that that proposed interferometry between the valences of “art” and “science” might so dangerously threaten “to kill [those words] dead by smothering” them.

  45. Desmond Swords said,

    April 26, 2010 at 9:46 am

    The original Latin meaning of the word ‘science’, scientia “knowledge,” is from sciens (gen. scientis), prp. of scire “to know”.

    Art’s Latin etymology, ‘ars’ means “art, skill, craft,” in Sanskrit it routes to “manner, mode;” and in Greek arti “just,” artios “complete;”

    So Science is the art of knowing and Art is the science of original ‘creation’.

    Is there a scientificity to literary criticism, notevensuperficial?

    Well, semantically speaking, this statement communicates nothing, because ‘scientificity’ isn’t in the dictionary and is, therefore, a nonsense word that has no meaning. Ergo, not even superficial discourse can be conducted notevensuperficial my darling Tom, I mean Alan, I mean Andrea.

    Do you mean, notevensuperficial: Is there a science, an Art of knowing one need possess, to practice literary criticism?

    Well, a very dear Anonymous comrade, anytimefranes, atf, on a lit-crit portal elsewhere notevensuperfical, sums it up:

    ‘A surgeon who would feel too squeamish to use a scalpel on a patient, would not be able to save his patients’ lives and so s/he must put these immediate feelings to one side and cut through the flesh to get at the condition that is threatening the patient.

    The literature critic is similar, s/he must not be so affected by the content of the piece of text that s/he is unable to look at it as ‘literature’.

    I believe the best way to tackle a poem is to take opposites sides in a debate, so that every angle is explored…even though you might not believe in the arguments you are putting forward. That is debate and it can’t be said that anyone in a debate is expressing true feeling. Debaters take sides the opposite to what they believe for the sake of exploration and developing the skills of argument. Every piece of literary writing is an act of rhetoric and it’s purpose is to convince, but it convinces best by using the rhetorical devices that poets/speakers develop in their craft.

    If you go to the theatre and see a character going off to drink and dance after just burying her husband you do not say the actress is a very bad person, you ask if she played the part well. In the same way when you come across a poem, you have to see it as a persona of the author using his linguistic skills to try to achieve an effect. You may disagree with the effect or you may find fault with the way it is done, technique, but you are not really being asked to stand at the graveside and reveal your feelings, that is a fallacious approach to the poem. An objective air of detachment is required to judge any work of art. If you go to an opera, you don’t say oh, I hate that man because he is unfaithful to his beautiful wife, you ask if the voice is right and if the part has been played well.

    Emotional responses to poems are inevitable but these must be kept to a minimum so that objective standards in art are established.

    I am doing what criticism requires of the reader, looking at effects and seeing how these are wrought and here as I’ve said I see some good usages in language but also some negative and that’s what i try to do, get a balanced view.

    Once you engage with literary criticism you find it is never enough to ‘like’/’love’ a poet or poem; you’re expected to take the critical/analytical stance, that is to see where the poet falls short as well as where he succeeds.

    For example, William Wordsworth is fine with me but not perfect (is any poet so?). but where one poet succeeds another fails. His poem: Surprised by joy – impatient as the wind, an elegy to his daughter (who he barely knew):

    Surprised by joy -impatient as the wind
    I turned to share the transport – Oh! with whom
    But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,
    That spot which no vicissitude can find?
    Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind –
    But how could I forget thee? Through what power,
    Even for the least division of an hour,
    Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
    To my most grievous loss? – That thought’s return
    Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore
    Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
    Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
    That neither present time, nor years unborn,
    Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

    This particular poem has some nice points but all in all it comes across to me as self-promotion. WW puts down a lot of words and in some of his poems one quatrain follows another like the steps of a walker on a long day’s walk…each step leaving a large print but adding such a tiny bit of significance to the overall journey that it can be tedious to trace him along the way.

    WW deals with people of the periphery of communities and in a tone of pious homily. he is always the perfect man, kindly and solicitous but do his pictures really show us the insides of his characters or are they pious paintings, embossed with the glitter of his own sentiments? wordsworth is wordy but often not worthwhile, as he has so little to say, and when he looks sees little more than his own pure soul which he is altogether too generous in showing us. we seldom get to know anything about him as he really is but much about him as he would want us to believe he is. some call it ‘navel-gazing’ but best leave the final verdict to Byron. political evasion or timeserving, mystification of nature and unrealistic stress on the self outside society.

    His own passionate self in communion with nature is all very well but, life goes on.

    Any Time Frances, notevensuperficial, and this:

    “Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truths, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned. The revolt of individualism came because the tradition had become degraded, or rather because a spurious copy had been accepted in its stead.”

    Yeats.

    Have a lovely day in new England.

  46. notevensuperficial said,

    April 27, 2010 at 4:39 am

    “near-meanings, word-games, rhetorical loopholes”

    No; quite the contrary; only trivially. That is: “art” and “science” were discriminated in the (skimmed?) post whose conclusion you quote; “art” and “science” were talked about straightforwardly; there were no “loopholes” (which is not, of course, to say that there were no points of possible disagreement), except in the sense that no use of language is so clear as not to admit of “rhetorical” lassoing.

    Specifically: what gamesmanship provoked this bandy harrumph?

    “I didn’t sign up for a debate on ‘scientificity’.”

    You participated (are participating?) in a “debate” depending on ‘what is art’ and ‘what is science’ and ‘how do “art” and “science” differ’ and so on – scientificity is absolutely what you’re already compare-and-contrasting to “art”.

    “to answer my argument directly, and on the actual terms of the debate”

    “Art” and “science” were exactly the terms of the response whose cowardice you condemn. You and Tom have been talking about whether and how “art” and “science” are superior/inferior to, or subsume, each other, with respect to world-disclosure and, I think, to how each of you wants to live.

    Well, I doubt the premise: I think “art” and “science” mutually imply each other, or one is found wherever the other is practiced – and that’s directly what I started by saying. That is, I picked up what you two were saying to ‘each other’ and responded directly to the terms ‘art vs. science’.

    Here, Steven, let me try again:

    Every thing people do which admits of being a ‘well’ or ‘poorly taken’ action has artistry to it, by virtue of which the actor could have done it better or worse or could judge it to have been done well or ill. Every action people willfully take is also guided in a way that unites means with ends more or less rigorously.

    All the acts we take which do not result in art objects or artistic performances still have the aspect of “art” to them, but not so much so that we take that thing or deed out of the flow from which it arose and say, “Art.” Likewise, all the acts we take are, to some degree methodologically rigorous, even that great majority of actions which aren’t part of a process of forming an explicit hypothesis and demonstrating its falsity or (provisional) truth.

    Washing the dishes, say, or dropping a transmission – these actions, while not generative of the spectacle of Art or adding to the body of Science, nevertheless are done more or less beautifully and with more or less methodological rigor. To me, there’s artistry and scientificity to washing dishes and wrenching your car (though I’m not arguing for abandoning the categories or comparisons between them – just for complicating your and Tom’s ‘art vs. science’ conversation).

    Now, I don’t think this point is either merely rhetorical or uninteresting. (‘Brave’ I can’t really worry about appearing . . .)

    —–

    nota bene I post at the Guardian Books blog (and other places) as “deadgod”. The reason I didn’t take that blognym here is that some rat bastard took the handle in the wordpressverse – and registered a blog under it, without ever starting up said blog, that I could tell. Whatever.

    (To check the locus amoenus of my wordpressonym, see The Gay Science, section 126.)

    • April 27, 2010 at 9:15 am

      Deaders! Good to see you in another Dimension! The GUblog experience is just too fraught with the free-floating animus of the Internet… make one carefully-considered comment and waste the rest of your day “defending” one sentence in it from nit-pick-wits, etc.

      Listen, first: I am not anti-Science. That would be akin to being anti-arithmetic and therefore silly. I just think that the two (Art, Science) are quite clearly distinct and while they can be made to overlap via semantic bridges, the one can’t reasonably be contrived to supersede the other. Whereas Tom seems to be arguing that Science will eventually supersede Art… which I find A) logically absurd and B) worrisome as an attitude.

      Again: I think Americans are deep in a phase of quality-of-life-strangling Materialism. Children are not raised with a sense of the Life-deepening possibilities of Art. Neither are they aware that great (or even Good) Artistry is a rarefied thing requiring decades of learning/practice. The Anglo-American sphere, in the main, figures art as Self-Expression… an extension of Therapy Culture and a stealth corollary of the Hysterical Egalitarianism which holds Artistic Talent and “Elitism” as similar sins. Before I argue further, (my) definitions to clarify my terms:

      ***Science as a body of knowledge describing (attempting to describe) the universe as quantifiable objects, forces and processes according to laws which transcend (whether or not they are apprehended by) human consciousness.

      ***Art as a body of human-consciousness-contingent objects and practices focused (often, but not exclusively or necessarily) on Aesthetic goals.

      I think I can separate the Magisteria (deliberate evocation of SJ Gould here) on the grounds of those definitions. They may well overlap (as everything in Life must) but not more than gourmet cooking and bio-molecular science will; the knowledge-base of a practitioner of the latter won’t make him/her a wizard at the former. The Aesthetical bit is key and ineffable and its own long journey which deserves far more respect than Tom seems willing to grant it.

      Also, again: Tom: I think your take on the history is shaky on all that or you’re just being disingenuous when you conflate 16th century science (which really was largely Art and Magick) and the 21st century motor of industrial technology we know today.

      • April 27, 2010 at 9:46 am

        (re: my definitions: the point is to exclude casual versions of Art and Science to focus the debate; ie, I think learning the best way to wash the dishes via trial and error and the eventual accumulation of knowledge on that subject is not SCIENCE any more than wiping the dishes gracefully is an ART. That was my originally point: “Scientificity” bloats the range so much that the debate becomes formless; “Scientificity” can include a squirrel learning where the best nuts are or a 5-year-old discovering that a candle flame hurts. I mean all caps SCIENCE… the fortress of WESTERN INDUSTRIAL PROGRESS and so forth.)

  47. notevensuperficial said,

    April 27, 2010 at 6:45 am

    Kevin, sure, there’s scientificity to literary criticism – methodological rigor, testing of one’s hypothesis(es), systematically responding to counter-arguments (including taking up their compelling elements, to the point of ‘changing’ one’s mind), and so on. To me, it’s the scientific quality – the systematic rigor, the way that it admits of being tested, as it were – as well as the beauty, the artistry, of critical writing, that make it worth reading, when it is.

    Put it this way: the scientificity of literary criticism is – along with its communication by means of beauty – what makes it more than merely the impressions on one that one has the energy and will to spew back.

    “‘scientificity’ isn’t in the dictionary”

    That’s a shame.

    “semantically speaking”

    No, Kevin, etymologies – even usefully historical ones – are not the whole of meaning, of the meanings that even could be found in “dictionar[ies]”.

    Semantically speaking, “scientificity” could mean, to you, ‘science-ness; the essence or nature or vital element of science or of a scientific process of acquiring knowledge’ — would, if you used dictionaries as a starting point. Which, usually, you do . . .

  48. April 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

    erratum: “That was my originally point:…” Christ, I wrote that like a German! Laugh.

  49. thomasbrady said,

    April 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Reading this discussion I almost feel like blurting out “Truth is Beauty, Beauty, Truth!” but I won’t. Instead I’ll try to say something more original:

    Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth. What did Pope say? Teach people by making them unaware you are teaching them. People are stubborn and proud. Science could save the world tomorrow but for our proud and stubborn nature. Think of all the problems in the world and yet think of all the ingenuity and wonder; the scientific accomplishments of mankind are staggering, but so are mankind’s acts of cruelty and stupidity. This has to give one pause. What is it that makes us so glorious and so wretched? When we are scientific, we are glorious, and when we are not, we are wretched. Clear away all the sociological/psychological jargon and we all know in our hearts (even our sentimental hearts) that this is true. Science is our glory and Art attempts to make us scientific on the level of our unscientific nature.

    Because I feel this way, I disagree with the first part of Steven’s argument and agree with the second part:

    1) I think Americans are deep in a phase of quality-of-life-strangling Materialism. Children are not raised with a sense of the Life-deepening possibilities of Art. Neither are they aware that great (or even Good) Artistry is a rarefied thing requiring decades of learning/practice.

    2) The Anglo-American sphere, in the main, figures art as Self-Expression… an extension of Therapy Culture and a stealth corollary of the Hysterical Egalitarianism which holds Artistic Talent and “Elitism” as similar sins.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Materialism, per se. I don’t trust the term “Life-deepening possibilities of Art” because I’ve seen too many examples of superficial people who are extremely musical, profound, etc. But Steven is spot on in what he says in part 2.

  50. thomasbrady said,

    April 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

    The child must do something but doesn’t want to do it.

    What the child must do is science. What the parent does/says to convince the child to do what must be done is art.

    Science is natural, but seems artificial because experiments must be ‘set up.’

    If our fathers came on this discussion board right now, using our names and adding “Sr.” so it would be clear who they were, this would be such a startling occurance that it would have scientific interest. How would the fathers argue? With their sons, or against them? Would they embarrass their children in a disagreeable way, or would they embarrass their children by agreeing with everything they say? To observe the behavior of the fathers (and sons) would be akin to a scientific experiment—and such a phenomenon (how parents & children interact) is also the key to all drama, all ‘art.’

    Such ‘experiments,’ however do not naturally occur.

    The fathers will not come here.

    But the need is there.

    So art exists.

  51. Desmond Swords said,

    April 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    ‘science-ness’ is a more skilfull choice deaders, because scientificity has twice more uneeded Letters in it than sceince-ness.

    scien- you can guess these five letters mean ‘science’, but -tificity, eight letters, three more than scien- which onlt serves to clog up, whereas science- seven letters, -ness, four, three less, not more and the -ce at the end of scien, make the word science, so the speck of doubt in scien- is removed.

    ~

    The blog of Magma poetry magazine, do not tolerate my writing there, because I’ve had run ins with three of the four people editing it, and it’s brilliant because I can just post under another name and see if it fools ’em, before going straight into the bardic waffle, which they immediately remove, usually after it’s been read and therefore adding a frisson to the Reader experience, there, deadgod my darling who I lurve more than HenryLloydMoon, who i must admit, though it’s not against the law, and arguably unimportant, certainly to anyone but the anonymous writer who nicked the handle and has been composing poetry under it – I saw pinkroom on Magma, who last clicked away my Janet Smythe posting rights just over a week ago, and tried to post the below on Magma, as HenryLoydMoon, on the thread Janet was speaking on, titled: Should Poets Be More Adventurous in their use of Form.

    One of our number had left a short poem, the first of its kind I’ve seen there; because the crowd there is square-stream and serious, who’d only publish a poem with whistles and bells, officially so to speak, in a reputable venue, ideally for money, and if not because of the prestige the perceive as part of the village pro- band.

    One says I should,
    p’haps then shudda?
    Another says, I’m sorry,
    but you never should say, “should”.
    All this bossin’ ’bout the formin’
    makes me shudder
    cos the provin’ of the puddin’

    Is, is it any bloody good?

    pinkroom

    ~

    A swell of joy occured and I knew it was time to toss another play, so thought, how can I get passed the eyes who are getting sick of it now; all this non compliance on my part, writing when they clearly don’t like one’s writing.

    pinkroom, clearly has a readership her or himself, and i am guessing the editors would be au fait with the name, coz all the squares read McRumens, just don’t talk about it.

    So, i thought, what a laugh to nick one of the anonymnous poster names, chose HLM, whose identity originates with either John Herman, Shaner
    Al Ramrus, Charles Shyer or Alan Mandel, who all wrote the turkey of a film of the same name, starring Jack Nicholson.

    I then thought, imitate pinkroom, and got one of their poems pink posted in the haiku and senryu thread from Jan 09.

    Saturday Swimming

    A child in water
    kicks down towards the bottom,
    brings back silver smile.

    Head down, race is on
    chaser tries to catch the chased;
    result in balance.

    Poolside, parents wait
    awkward, the shallow water
    leaves small dignity.

    Clock ticks off hour
    for some too early
    for others too quick.

    Each time, swim further.
    the time honoured way
    to independence

    ~

    I sent this, but they are too clever I think and haven’t let it through. The ‘a’ mistake perhaps

    The Billy Mills Guardian Poster Poems is a great place to experiement, and it’s a fantastic place where anyone can poast. There’s a freindly set of regulars (hi pinkroom!) and Billy’s very welcoming.

    There was a haiku poster poems last year, and the theme has often been to try a set form. This is one I wrote for a haiku thread that’s in the forthcoming Guardian Poster Poet Anthology. It’s only a bit of fun. Any profit it makes is going to their Katrine project.

    Weekend Spinning

    A bird flapping
    towards a bright
    moon, balanced

    in awkward light
    shallow water
    below its wings

    tiny bird in flight.

    ~

    DSRialto has also been blocked from posting at Crown’s dump. So, i won’t be coming back and would be very grateful deadgod, freind, American, blog-comrade, if you could announce this latest ban, which was for erm, beats me – and let the Reader know, please.

    Have a laugh.

  52. Bob Tonucci said,

    April 27, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Here’s a found poem — this is from the inscription on the statue of A. Philip Randolph in Union Station in Washington, DC.

    At the Banquet Table

    By A. Philip Randolph

    At the banquet table of nature there are no
    reserved seats. You get what you can take, and
    you keep what you can hold. If you can’t take
    anything, you won’t get anything; and if you can’t
    hold anything, you won’t keep anything. And
    you can’t take anything without organization.

  53. April 27, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Tom!

    “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth.”

    As in Guernica? As in anything by Rothko or Kandinsky or Lucian Freud? What’s the “scientific truth” conveyed by the works of Kara Walker or Odilon Redon? Sorry, but that’s plain nonsense. And the Aesthetic experience of the painting in the Lascaux caves can not be separated, “scientifically”, by the aesthetic experience of of gazing upon something by Klee, despite the intervening 30,000 years (whatever the figure is): what “scientific truths” can these paintings *all* be transmitting? They are objects of contemplation, not models of DNA or the neutrino.

    “People are stubborn and proud. Science could save the world tomorrow but for our proud and stubborn nature. Think of all the problems in the world and yet think of all the ingenuity and wonder; the scientific accomplishments of mankind are staggering, but so are mankind’s acts of cruelty and stupidity. This has to give one pause. What is it that makes us so glorious and so wretched? When we are scientific, we are glorious, and when we are not, we are wretched.”

    Tom, it’s easily demonstrable that Ethics and Science are, again, two different fields (hello Hiroshima! Hello Nazi-pain-experiments-constituting-the-original-data-base-for-Bayer Aspirin! Hello Napalm).

    I don’t think you’ve thought about these things with enough depth.

  54. thomasbrady said,

    April 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Steven,

    You use my definitions against me by giving examples of ‘art’ and ‘science’ which do not meet the criteria.

    Rothko???? There’s more in the world than is dreamed by Rothko’s philosophy. You would probably retort ‘There is more to Rothko than is dreamed of in your philosophy…’

    I’m trying to clear away a lot of verbiage and you’re cluttering things right up again. Ethics v. Science? The ‘art’ of Rothko? Do you see what you are doing? You are taking sub-categories and turning them into major ones. You are blurring and slurring my argument quite deliberately before we even define the basics.

    I think we need to take things a little slower. I’m not ready to accept your assumptions, as correct as they may seem to you. This is what I mean about ‘stubborn’ and ‘proud?’ You won’t be ‘taught’ by me. LOL My fault.

    Tom

  55. April 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    “You use my definitions against me by giving examples of ‘art’ and ‘science’ which do not meet the criteria.”

    Well, that’s because my argument is with your definitions, surely; you’re demanding that I first agree with your premise before I can attempt to refute the points you derive from the premise? Erm, clever, Tom, but I’m afraid it won’t fly (laugh).

    Tom, I think your lexicon/taxonomy is a little too idiosyncratic for me to find a way to argue with you based on it, actually. Why you pick on “Rothko” for special opprobrium I can’t fathom… he’s one of literally millions of *known* examples that prove that your assertion “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth” to be arbitrary at best and demonstrably False in essence; when I demonstrate this, you cry “foul”.

    You argue impressionistically but with great passion… good way to start a Religion but not so hot as intellectual debate or criticism (I imagine you have a problem with the word “intellectual”, too…). Still, it’s nice that you never seem to get too het up and tetchy… that’s rare!

  56. April 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    What’s your “background”, by the way? Now you’ve got me curious. What was the family attitude towards Art and Artists when you were a kid? Were you taken to the museum on family or school outings, from time to time; were there Art Books lying around at home?

  57. April 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I’ve forgotten! Do we open our eggs on the large end or the little one?

  58. thomasbrady said,

    April 27, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Steven,

    “We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.”

    –Mark Rothkowitz (Rothko)

    Rothko may not look ‘scientific’ to you, nor to me, either, but that doesn’t mean that artists don’t finally believe their significance is scientific.

    You cite things like Hiroshima and Nazi ‘science’ as a way to refute science, but is this fair? I said right from the beginning that human beings behave in a manner that is stupid and cruel at times…are you saying that this stupidity and cruelty are directly linked to science???

    I also said scientific study is difficult because experiments must be ‘set up,’ science is simply not that easy to do…it doesn’t just ‘happen,’ and of course there are bad experiments and experiments that fail…

    Tom

    • April 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      “Rothko may not look ‘scientific’ to you, nor to me, either, but that doesn’t mean that artists don’t finally believe their significance is scientific.”

      Which Artists, Tom? When? And who cares if some do or don’t? We aren’t debating about the belief systems of specific artists, I’m merely claiming that your claim that “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth” isn’t true, doesn’t make sense and only seems likely out of the mouth of someone with little or no access to Art, Artists and any form of Art History worth the title.

      If you took Art seriously, you wouldn’t, perhaps, find the nerve to make such bold statements without even casual evidence to back you up. It’s as though this stuff came to you in a trance! laugh

      “You cite things like Hiroshima and Nazi ‘science’ as a way to refute science, but is this fair?”

      I’m not “refuting” Science, I’ m refuting your claim that “When we are scientific, we are glorious, and when we are not, we are wretched”.

      “I said right from the beginning that human beings behave in a manner that is stupid and cruel at times…are you saying that this stupidity and cruelty is directly linked to science???”

      I’m pointing out that Scientists have visited cruelty upon the world (just as Scientists have brought many of us longer lives and various conveniences) and that the practice itself is neither “glorious” nor “evil”; the scientific method is morally neutral. This doesn’t disturb me; it doesn’t keep me awake at nights; it’s just part of my argument of your selectively-uninformed assertion that “”When we are scientific, we are glorious, and when we are not, we are wretched”. I suppose it depends on your definition of “glorious”, but I think of the Scientist who performed Radiation experiments (and bio-warfare tests, too) on unsuspecting subjects to be fairly non-glorious.

      “I also said scientific study is difficult because experiments must be ‘set up,’ science is simply not that easy to do…it doesn’t just ‘happen,’ and of course there are bad experiments and experiments that fail…”

      Non sequitur? Can’t see how that’s on the Table of Contention, Tom. Was I at some point claiming otherwise?

      “I’m trying to clear away a lot of verbiage and you’re cluttering things right up again.”

      Your method for doing this is making wildly improbable statements and trying to get them accepted as givens. Which is, again, traditional with Religious types (and their children) but not the best way to garner credibility with someone with more than a High School education.

      • April 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

        damned erratum (as ever): “it’s just part of my argument AGAINST your selectively-uninformed assertion…”

      • thomasbrady said,

        April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm

        Steven,

        “Which artists???” Which artists express themselves scientifically??? You don’t know any? And you accuse me of not knowing art history??? You’re joking, right?

        Let’s start with Da Vinci…if you have a couple days, I’ll list some more…

        Tom (shaking head in disbelief)

        Perhaps instead of accusing me of knowing little about art, it would be more instructive if you defined art. Let’s try that, instead.

        It also seems very much that you can’t quite bring yourself to say it, but that you very much want to say that science itself is stupid and cruel…

  59. notevensuperficial said,

    April 28, 2010 at 5:24 am

    gusty, I didn’t suspect you of being dogmatically “anti-Science” – though (what I see all around as) dogmatic tut-tutting at science is part of what I was reacting to. (Give up on the Hubble telescope, because it costs – what – a wing on one stealth bomber-fighter? Quit building the supercollider in Texas to spend the money – a thin dime to the Franklin – propping up “investment” on Brickwall Street? Vote for corpo-copromanes because they promise ‘to believe’ that fossils were put in the dirt to test your faith??? . . .)

    As (I think) you were irritated by earlier, I want it both ways: I want absolutely to argue against a deconstructive blurring of the distinction between methodological rigor and making world-disclosively beautiful art – they are different. I also want “art” and “science” not to be compare-and-contrasted without a constant return to their practical equiprimordiality and entwinement.

    Maybe too much to have, but, to me, not too much to ask. [smiley-face here]

    Washing the dishes isn’t “art” or “science” – but there’s elegance and rigor to doing it well as opposed to poorly. The roots of what we reasonably separate from the mundane by the names of “art” and “science” are shot through – I’d say ‘constitutive of’ – every purposeful thing we do.

    (Rather than, as you imply, being guilty of watering it down, I’m probably sugaring the Mountain Dew.)

    • April 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      Smiley-face accepted, Deaders. I think it’s more that you’re *caffeinating* MD, but…

      • April 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm

        Btw, I was such a science prodigy as a kid that I was seriously considered for a job in the radiation department of a major metro hospital when I was thirteen. I’m no Baptist/Luddite/Hippie. And I can still explain to you why the tendency of the semi-well-read (and pseudo-philosophical) MFA to invoke, at cocktail parties, “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle” concerning the behavior of anything other than sub-atomic particles, is silly! laugh

  60. notevensuperficial said,

    April 28, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Kevin, consider this actuality embedded in Latinate word-building: adjective + [i]tas. (As in that very sentence.)

    So: ‘scientific’ + ‘ity’. Scientificity.

    Why not?

    The “-ce” at the end of ‘science’ is a Gallicized – that is, Latin Ebonics – evolt from scientia, a change that was loaned – I guess – whole-cloth into English. I don’t think there are any “extra” letters . . .

    You know, sifting the dust on the floor of my memory, I think the “rat bastard” was probably . . . me. I doubt if I realized I was taking a blog-title as well as the blogonym – I first was on-line in any way anywhere a few months earlier, in the late summer of ’07, and I still haven’t figured out, err-and-error style, how most of these functions are made to function.

    If so, you have as good a chance as I of coming up with the “deadgod” log-in code at WordPressworld – have at it!

  61. notevensuperficial said,

    April 28, 2010 at 6:05 am

    How to Close In On an Open-ended Egg: or, Poetry Found in a Poem

    “I meant what I said, and I said what I meant:
    An elephant is faithful – one hundred per cent.”

  62. Desmond Swords said,

    April 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    You should go and post it on a thread titled Spoffle, Squodge, Copropody, calling for self-invented neologisms deaders, at the Dublin poet-critic’s blog, Georgia Sam, curated by Hull University’s David Wheatley.

  63. April 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Steven,

    “Which artists???” Which artists express themselves scientifically??? You don’t know any? And you accuse me of not knowing art history??? You’re joking, right?

    Tom, you didn’t read my comment closely. This wasn’t a literal dare to list such Artist-cum-Scientists (from centuries ago); the point was that it’s irrelevant to your assertion that “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth”. LIsten, if you want to make the case that Science and Magic are interchangeable, you can go back to roughly the same era; you can even cite the fact that Issac Newton dabbled in Astrology and Alchemy. Proving what? Certainly no blanket statement to the effect that “Magic exists as another means of conveying scientific truth”.

    “Let’s start with Da Vinci…if you have a couple days, I’ll list some more…”

    Try to focus on *this century* if possible; I made the point, very early in this debate, that Science and Art (and Religion) were, *a few centuries back*, rather difficult to distinguish from one another with any precision. This is no longer the case.

    “Perhaps instead of accusing me of knowing little about art, it would be more instructive if you defined art. Let’s try that, instead.”

    Did that up-thread:

    ***Science as a body of knowledge describing (attempting to describe) the universe as quantifiable objects, forces and processes according to laws which transcend (whether or not they are apprehended by) human consciousness.

    ***Art as a body of human-consciousness-contingent objects and practices focused (often, but not exclusively or necessarily) on Aesthetic goals.

    “It also seems very much that you can’t quite bring yourself to say it, but that you very much want to say that science itself is stupid and cruel…”

    Bad job of mind-reading, there, Tom. I want to say no such thing. I don’t find it difficult to say the things I want to say; I said this and meant it: “the scientific method is morally neutral.” Do you disagree?

    I don’t need science to be “stupid and cruel” in order to make the point that your assertion that “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth” is nonsense. If you want to argue as though the past four centuries never happened, that’s your prerogative. But you’ll need to get some followers who are swayed by your Charisma (as opposed to your shaky purchase on The Facts) before this rhetorical strategy will earn you roars of uncritical approval! (laugh again)

    • thomasbrady said,

      April 28, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Steven,

      Before you assert ‘art as science’ as ‘nonsense,’ you need to clean up your definition of art…”Aesthetic Goals?” That’s a tautology. Art’s goal is to be aesthetic? And “Art as a body of human-consciousness-contingent objects and practices???” This could mean absolutely anything. In my best German accent: Hrrmmphh!

      Let me also quote the entire paragraph of what I said:

      “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth. What did Pope say? Teach people by making them unaware you are teaching them. People are stubborn and proud. Science could save the world tomorrow but for our proud and stubborn nature. Think of all the problems in the world and yet think of all the ingenuity and wonder; the scientific accomplishments of mankind are staggering, but so are mankind’s acts of cruelty and stupidity. This has to give one pause. What is it that makes us so glorious and so wretched? When we are scientific, we are glorious, and when we are not, we are wretched. Clear away all the sociological/psychological jargon and we all know in our hearts (even our sentimental hearts) that this is true. Science is our glory and Art attempts to make us scientific on the level of our unscientific nature.”

      Also, why do you negate examples from the past? That’s a strange tic of yours. Something is only valid if it happened 50 years to 5 minutes ago? Tell me how that works? Truth operates on a stop-watch?

      Tom

      • April 28, 2010 at 8:26 pm

        Tom: erm… yeah.

        I’m being Saint-grade patient trying to explain the obvious fallacy in your claim that “Art exists as another means of conveying scientific truth” when anyone with five minutes to waste on this “debate” (and one trip to a museum or gallery under his/her belt) can come up with enough examples to the contrary to invalidate your (frankly bizarre) claim.

        Please illuminate the “scientific truth” that Basquiat was conveying. Ditto Eric Fischl, Egon Schiele, Berthe Morisot, Amadeo Modigliani, Romare Beardon, Chaim Soutine…

        My “negation” of the past is spookily related to the fact that your claim only comes *close* to making sense four or five hundred years ago, when Science, Religion and Art (not a helluva lot of Abstract Expressionists working for the Vatican in 1507, Tom) were not easily distinguishable on a technical level… but, even *then*, claiming to Da Vinci himself that his work on the Sistine Chapel existed as “another means of conveying scientific truth” would have struck him as strange, unless the “scientific fact” you mean is that God created Adam with a gesture or that Adam and Eve were forced from Paradise in their naked shame. Stare as hard as you like at the ceiling: nothing about Bernoulli’s Air Principle or Planck’s Constant up there. It’s a narrative based on a Creation Myth.

        The “problem” with the past (say, the 15th century) is that it is very different from the present, as far as SCIENCE AS A PRACTICE AND A BODY OF KNOWLEDGE GOES. Surely you get that.

        Now, either you’d like to define 99.99% of Art after Cranach-the-bloody-Elder as “not Art”, or your premise is nonsense. The reason I’m being nitpicky about the difference between 1600 (death of Giordano Bruno) and 2009 (launch of the Planck space craft) is, erm, you know… Science has come a long way since then, and philosopho-rhetorical divigations (and/or Biblical scholarship) are no longer the chief engine of “scientific discovery” and the Arts and the Sciences have since diverged rather dramatically.

        There are Artists who use technology in their work; this does not mean, therefore, that the work is meant to transmit a lesson in a scientific principle. James Turrel’s Rodin Crater is not meant to “convey a scientific truth” and, even if it were, that would mean more about James Turrel’s work than Art itself.

        Also, using the word “Aesthetic” to qualify a definition of Art is only “tautological” if there is no other possible objective in Art… which isn’t the case. There are schools of Art meant to raise political consciousness (for example) by *eschewing* the Aesthetic (or condemning Aesthetics, or Formalism, in general, as “bourgeois”) which is why I qualified the statement with that parenthetical.

        Would Man Ray’s Fountain have fallen under the purview of the following definition of “Aesthetic”? Or how about, even, the German Expressionists…?

        ” 1 a : of, relating to, or dealing with aesthetics or the beautiful b : artistic c : pleasing in appearance : attractive
        2 : appreciative of, responsive to, or zealous about the beautiful; also : responsive to or appreciative of what is pleasurable to the senses

        — aes·thet·i·cal·ly also es·thet·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb”

        Nope.

        I’d only change my definition of Art this way:

        ***Art as a body of human-consciousness-contingent objects, ACTIONS and practices focused (often, but not exclusively or necessarily) on Aesthetic goals.

        (in order to include Performance Art)

        “This could mean absolutely anything…”

        Not if you actually understand the standard definition(s) of every word in the statement… no.

  64. April 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    ah, my lovely errata: “RODEN” (not Rodin) Crater (Freudian slip?).

  65. April 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    So, I just got this link in my email… please notify as to which of the Artists listed therein are “conveying scientific truths”:

    http://www.kounterkulture.co.uk/event/fresh-cream-ii

    Also, let’s go back to an older assertion of yours (because this part of the debate is obviously futile):

    “Henry Miller, Philip Roth, Anne Sexton, Egon Schiele are important artists as much as they are scientific.”

    What could you possibly mean by that?

  66. thomasbrady said,

    April 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Steven,

    If you remember how things began, you linked to another discussion which you took part in and I sensed immediately your anti-science bias and it turns out I was right. You are hysterically denying my very simple premise: science civilizes us and so does art—in a different manner. This is something even a child can understand, but you won’t allow my premise to fly because you know it denies you an escape.

    As I said at the very beginning, artists like Bernstein and Rothko (and Pound, etc) make all sorts of scientific claims, explicit scientific claims in their manifestos, and when asked to defend their “science,” they run as fast as they can into the realm of “art.” Perhaps you are agreeing with me, here, and in this same spirit you don’t trust ME because HERE I AM making scientific claims. But you’re confusing what Bernstein does with my more general claim. The SHIFTY behavior on the part of artists was the issue I was addressing. As you know, pictures and poems and films can be expressive in the way a dinner conversation can be expressive, without rising to the level of art/science. The whole point of abstract art was to be expressive in a pure manner, in a manner not like a dinner conversation, and that purity was an attempt, a scientific attempt, to isolate, pure artistic expression. Once you posit the scientific nature of the enterprise, you must be prepared to defend it scientifically. This is true in 1400, 1500, 1900 and 2010. I can understand if you don’t trust the artist who makes scientific claims. But I wasn’t doing that. I’m simply laying down a very, very general premise. You don’t seem to be able to grasp my idea of art AS science. I didn’t say art IS science.

    Art has a scientific function AS ART, and this is true NOW as much as it was then. Art can FAIL as science, but that doesn’t mean the impulse isn’t there. The art which attempts to be anti-scientific is still wrestling with science, and thus being scientific. Art can’t just ‘lie there.’ As soon as it claims to be art, it has to answer to science. Go to a museum and you’ll see. The exhibits and the paintings all have texts which explain and justify their existence, no matter what era they are from. Why is this concept so repellent you? You really haven’t explained at all why art is so DIFFERENT today. You can’t, of course; you are satisfied to point to Cranach the Elder or Egon Schiele as if your sweeping, artificial, Art 101 gestures have any meaning beyond a kind of snide hipness. Is this the church v. skyscraper view? Oh, things were prettier back then!! LOL Art has its own Art-Vision that is Advancing and Progressing thru History, regardless of ANY scientific claims? LOL Can we please pretend words still have meaning? Or has ‘modernism’ made us totally mad?

    You are running from my rigor. You think that I am saying that if a person hums a piece of melody to themselves, they are being a scientist and they are not merely humming a piece of melody to themselves for the hell of it. You are saying, ‘aww, leave me alone. Let me hum to myself if I want and not have you identify it and theorize on it.’ But the humming cannot escape my rigor. The humming is scientific before it is artistic. The more informal and ho hum the humming, the more scientific it is. Read Shelley’s “A Defense of Poetry.” This will give you an idea of what I’m saying.

    Tom

  67. April 28, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    “Art has a scientific function AS ART, and this is true NOW as much as it was then. Art can FAIL as science, but that doesn’t mean the impulse isn’t there. The art which attempts to be anti-scientific is still wrestling with science, and thus being scientific. Art can’t just ‘lie there.’ As soon as it claims to be art, it has to answer to science. Go to a museum and you’ll see. The exhibits and the paintings all have texts which explain and justify their existence, no matter what era they are from. Why is this concept so repellent you?”

    It’s not “repellent”, it’s confused and idiotic and kinda overwhelmingly egocentric in a fundamentalist way. Were your parents Baptists?

    “You are saying, ‘aww, leave me alone. Let me hum to myself if I want and not have you identify it and theorize on it.’ But the humming cannot escape my rigor. The humming is scientific before it is artistic. The more informal and ho hum the humming, the more scientific it is.”

    …eh… wha?

    “You are running from my rigor.”

    If I run from anything about you, Tom, I promise it’s not your “rigor”.

  68. thomasbrady said,

    April 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    We almost broke our record for number of visits yesterday.

    Steven, people are reading you, but repeating what I say and going “wha?” isn’t going to cut it.

    I’m afraid your time is almost up…

  69. April 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I’m afraid my “time” *here* is already up, Tom! Larf. You’re on your own, baby. I “like” you… there’s something endearing about the whole thing… but arguing with you is like trying to give a hamster a haircut. Ie: not unless I’m getting paid for it…

    Cheers!

  70. thomasbrady said,

    April 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Steven Augustine gives a hamster a haircut…

    “Were your parents Baptists?”

    LOL

  71. XJKenneth said,

    October 19, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    [url=]mpz2catolog.info[/url ]online game now!
    game

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 20, 2010 at 12:14 am

      I forgot all about this intriguing thread…

    • Noochinator said,

      October 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

      “What’s the frequency, XJKenneth?”

  72. thomasbrady said,

    October 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Des and I, we used to talk… on poetry, pubs, and kings!

  73. Sorcheve said,

    October 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Yes, I can

    OKEJ:
    Embogs
    …yeah!

  74. thomasbrady said,

    October 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    BILL JAMES STAT WE’D LIKE TO SEE:

    Giants win last night, 11-7, replicating almost exactly the ratio of the two teams’ payroll amounts for 2010.

    Texas scored aproximately 60% of the Giant run total last night. Texas spent 59% of the Giants’ team salary total for the season.

  75. updalReldnene said,

    March 30, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Уважаемые будущие игроки нашего проекта Lainter. Interlude x7. http://lainter.ru
    (exp/sp/adena/items/spoil/quests): 7 / 10 / 10 / 7 / 3 / 7

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    Открытие планируется 16 апреля этого года! В течении этих двух недель мы до конца доработаем сервер и отредактируем его параметры “Некоторые из них, мы обсудим именно с вами, так как мы делаем сервер не для администрации, а для наших игроков!

    Мы рады представить вам профессионально собранный и настроенный игровой сервер за долгое время, который доставит вам одно удовольствие. На нашем игровом проекте, вы сможете прочувствовать все тонкости этой замечательной игры. Ежедневные эвенты, мощные битвы, красивые осады, войны кланов и т.д.

    Сервер расположен на мощном оборудовании в дата центре Москвы

    Opteron 8350 2*4 16Gb DDR2 PC6400 4SAS с подключением к порту в 100мбит, что позволяет выдерживать онлайн до 3000-4000 игроков, а профессиональная настройка параметров и тонкостей системы, позволяет играть спокойно без лишних нагрузок и лагов на нашем проекте.

    Сервер защищён от DDOS атак, а так же от сторонних и читерских программ, которые как то влияют на игровой процесс.
    “Мы действительно заказывали услуги для DDOS атак, на наш сервер, для тестирования возможностей нашей защиты и мы успешно смогли выстоять это испытание.”

    Немного о тонкостях нашего игрового сервера, что выделяет среди других:

    Профессиональная команда администраторов

    Профессиональная команда администраторов

    Дорогостоящая защита от DDOS + защита от нечестных игроков

    Стандартное время баффов

    Возможность входа, только в 2 окна «Преммиум аккаунты не подсчитывает»

    Новая система заточки «На каждый уровень, свой процент – Подробнее на форуме»

    Минимум доната “NPC в городах + Alt+B”.

    на 99% работающие skills и quest “1 процент доработаем с вашей помощью”

    Ежедневные евенты CTF, TVT, DM, LH, а так же L2day и тыквы

    Стандартный Interlud, ни каких крыльев, дасков и прочей лабуды

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    Дополнительные вопросы, вы можете задавать в этой теме или создать новую.

  76. Goshan said,

    March 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Уважаемые будущие игроки нашего проекта Lainter. Interlude x7. http://lainter.ru
    (exp/sp/adena/items/spoil/quests): 7 / 10 / 10 / 7 / 3 / 7

    Мы долгое время и долгие месяцы, разрабатывали и дополняли наш сервер и теперь он готов к старту

    Открытие планируется 16 апреля этого года! В течении этих двух недель мы до конца доработаем сервер и отредактируем его параметры “Некоторые из них, мы обсудим именно с вами, так как мы делаем сервер не для администрации, а для наших игроков!

    Мы рады представить вам профессионально собранный и настроенный игровой сервер за долгое время, который доставит вам одно удовольствие. На нашем игровом проекте, вы сможете прочувствовать все тонкости этой замечательной игры. Ежедневные эвенты, мощные битвы, красивые осады, войны кланов и т.д.

    Сервер расположен на мощном оборудовании в дата центре Москвы

    Opteron 8350 2*4 16Gb DDR2 PC6400 4SAS с подключением к порту в 100мбит, что позволяет выдерживать онлайн до 3000-4000 игроков, а профессиональная настройка параметров и тонкостей системы, позволяет играть спокойно без лишних нагрузок и лагов на нашем проекте.

    Сервер защищён от DDOS атак, а так же от сторонних и читерских программ, которые как то влияют на игровой процесс.
    “Мы действительно заказывали услуги для DDOS атак, на наш сервер, для тестирования возможностей нашей защиты и мы успешно смогли выстоять это испытание.”

    Немного о тонкостях нашего игрового сервера, что выделяет среди других:

    Профессиональная команда администраторов

    Профессиональная команда администраторов

    Дорогостоящая защита от DDOS + защита от нечестных игроков

    Стандартное время баффов

    Возможность входа, только в 2 окна «Преммиум аккаунты не подсчитывает»

    Новая система заточки «На каждый уровень, свой процент – Подробнее на форуме»

    Минимум доната “NPC в городах + Alt+B”.

    на 99% работающие skills и quest “1 процент доработаем с вашей помощью”

    Ежедневные евенты CTF, TVT, DM, LH, а так же L2day и тыквы

    Стандартный Interlud, ни каких крыльев, дасков и прочей лабуды

    И другие плюсы, о которых вы можете спросить на форуме или почувствовать в игре

    Дополнительные вопросы, вы можете задавать в этой теме или создать новую.

  77. markbright said,

    April 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Hey y’all! My name is Mark. This looks like a great webpage. I cannot wait to search around.

  78. Smootttaums said,

    May 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    A ten year old student in Jack Dailey Elementary School is so envious of his classmate’s pearly whites that he tried to steal his braces!

    Edison Montgomery found Daniel Henry’s teeth to be perfect despite the braces that partially hide her now perfectly aligned teeth. Montgomery found it so perfect that he actually decided to steal Henry’s braces while on camp! Both students were on a camping trip sponsored by the school when Montgomery tried to remove Henry’s braces while the latter was asleep with the help of pliers. Henry woke up and grew scared when he found Montgomery on top of him with pliers on his hand. The camp facilitator’s were quick to respond when they heard Montgomery’s cry for help. When asked, Daniel Henry confessed that he didn’t mean to harm his classmate, he was just plain envious of his teeth.

    Orthodontists in Las Vegas, Nevada’s Hansen Orthodontics were shocked with the news that one of their clients experienced such thing due to having nice teeth. They offered to check out Montgomery’s teeth to help him have the perfect set of teeth that he so badly wanted. Hansen Orthodontics also offered their services pro bono. So if you want the set of teeth that people can get envious about, for Braces, Retainers & Oral Hygiene and for the best Orthodontists in Las Vegas, Hansen Orthodontics is where you should be headed to.

    Log on to http://www.hansenortho.com/ for more details

    • Nooch said,

      May 27, 2011 at 12:02 am

      A product and service so copacetic,
      Why,—it’s almost poetic!

  79. 'Found poem' support said,

    June 1, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    We can no longer
    do
    those things
    a young civilization
    can do —
    win
    wars,
    write
    memorable poems,
    expel intruders,
    live within our
    means,
    execute
    great feats of engineering.

    Once, in the
    first
    fine
    careless
    rapture
    of civilizational youth,
    we could
    do anything.
    Now we can
    do nothing.

    Once
    we
    civilized
    wild expanses
    and
    humbled
    great military empires.
    Now
    we
    insult
    our ancestors,
    wrestle
    with codes
    of tax and regulation three inches thick,
    and dicker ineffectually with barbarian chieftains.

    John Derbyshire

  80. July 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    A Found Poem Taken From Marginal Comments That Composer Robert Graettinger Scribbled To Himself On Some of His Colored-Coded Scores

    Remember walking home last night
    All kinds of inner things poking through
    The open sea and woods and hilltops. Perhaps a big wave, then
    backwash during which the cello enters
    immediately a whole golden universe that is brutally interrupted
    Climax is after the peak is reached, then make it to the oblivion
    that you so seldom achieve
    those fool birds again
    Clean all of this shit up today

  81. Traizania said,

    December 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Всем привет!!

  82. fhannahz said,

    January 22, 2012 at 8:38 am

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    • thomasbrady said,

      January 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      LOL

      Great found poem!

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    January 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm

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