Disruptive Juxtaposition

Friday, January 07, 2005

How much for your movement's nom de plume?

In the library today after teaching a primo class (I thought), I thought I'd pick up some more books on postmodern poetics to add to the stack of theory I've already accumulated for the upcoming Exam (capital E very much intended). And I found in that section of the 4th floor a book called The Ghost of Tradition: Expansive Poetry and Postmodernism, which, far from being the sterling encapsulation of the poetics I myself am trying to construct and foreground w/tradition (even the ghost of), which is to say a poetics of expansive reach and encyclopaedic scope, turns out that the ed. of said volume (one Kevin Walzer) and others before him chose to label as the "Expansive Movement" NOT the kind of poetics I'm after but rather a needless conglomeration of New Formalism and New Narrative, neither of which I deem worthy of a new designation whether alone or taken in concert.

None of this is to say that New Formalism / New Narrative are poetic movements that lack virtue or verve; quite the contrary, I think that these schools stood and stand as necessary corrective measures to the overabundances of confessional, Deep Image, et. al. schools of free verse that came to monopolize the market after your Eliots and Pounds but mostly after your Lowells and most recently especially your Collinses. Yay for meter & rhyme redivivus, in short - especially when aimed toward the (post)modern situation. In general, of course, this is not the poetry this American moment requires... another story, that; more to the point, why, why, did they have to term this movement "Expansive" when it is anything but, and when, most of all, it would have an ideal term for the theory and praxis I am now daily laboring to craft and authenticate, which is a hard row to hoe with no catchy term for the late-night circuit to bandy about? Because, as we all know the renegade avant-gardists know, "Have term for school of poetics, will bandy."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Top Five Songs of the Past Week (with Brief Rationale)

5. "Surf's Up" from Brian Wilson's Smile. Better than the version on the Beach Boys' Surf's Up album. "Columnated ruins domino" wins the Baffling-But-Eventually-Insightful-Lyric Award.

4. "How to be Dead" from Snow Patrol's
Final Straw. Can the relationship song be forged anew by a Brit-Rock band post-Coldplay? Snow Patrol says, Anything they can do, we can do better. Cheers, SP .

3. "More Like the Moon" from the
More Like the Moon EP by Wilco. Loop this song for an hour or so and poof you're by the ocean, finding lost shoes of your own. Spare and sorta timeless.

2. "Shelter From the Storm" from Bob Dylan's
Blood on the Tracks. This song needs no further praise, really, but revisit the moment when Bob describes himself as "a creature void of form" before rhyming with the titular phrase, "'Come in,' she said, 'I'll give ya shelter from the storm," and ah isn't that what it's all about?

1. Every song on Iron & Wine's
Our Endless Numbered Days. In here lies a sort of sedate yet hyper-aware sense of love and mortality that's grounded in the most reflective of country (think "Long Black Veil" vintage Johnny Cash) but totally transcends it. For now I'll call it shoegazing post-country until I absorb more of it's superlativeness. Beware, however: This Album Will Make You Weep (even in the car).

Monday, January 03, 2005

Out of Place

On the taut white bed

the blue-black blue jay’s feather

with lighter blue striations

looks like a neat rip

wormholing to another dimension’s

outer space nebulae as

lithographed over our own,

and the coastal scene

in which the delicate

abandoned hermit crab

shell makes sense

collapses according

to the room’s four walls

that allows me to see

the salt bay through the pine barrens.

What token or memento

beckons of the eyries we clung to

before the leaf-like

letting go, slow

zigzag glide to a

stillness? Whatever it is,

it’s intangible, the line a bird

leaves in the air, or that

the pine will draw.

A bamboo shoot

tilted in a snifter

lowers this island into the water

so it seems that just over the edge—zoom!—

loom the green mists of China.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Reflections on "Law & Order" (1)

In "Law and Order" 's New York, time exists - it brings in new DAs, sends off detectives, allows the sedate, droopy Det. Lennie Brisco of the early 90's to sour into the smirky dropper-of-asides of the early 00's - but always gets pressed by the same template of the show's format. The steady setup of each episode imposes a sort of timeless quality on the whole human institution of transgression and justice. Dick Wolf has taken some hits for keeping that setup so regular, but it's that very regularity Wolf insists upon that not only echoes the titular order but also articulates a rather fetching accidental metaphor: life is chaos / crime-filled, and makes sense through routine alone.

Not that time can't occasionally be indicted. Rest easy, Jerry Orbach.


By the way, this is a picture of your Disruptive Juxtapositioner. This picture may change; I'm trying to use this here Post #1 as a shortcut to posting pictures w/in my Blogger template.