Ron Silliman kindly read and responded to
Lewis LaCook's interview with me in the recent issue of
He said that when he saw that Lewis asked me whether Ron would
ever write in code, in the budding genre of hypermedia that this
would be as likely as his taking up the trombone. He disagreed
with LaCook's sense that I have envisioned blogging
as a new genre of writing, and Ron's
feeling is that blogging is more comparable to giving a
poetry reading than offering a new form . I
thought that Ron's reference to an instrument that is rarely used
as a solo instrument perhaps has to do (unconsciously) with a view
of writing as being something one might do in concert with others,
but that one performs, essentially, alone. Of course, as I see it,
it is just this assumption
that blogging undermines, an aspect of blogging that Ron
may be eagerly participating in without
necessarily wanting to recognize or perhaps acknowledge.
In the pre-blogging view of writing, writing was a solo activity.
Each writer reads each writer,
and each takes a turn onstage, reciting their "own"
words on the stage. Each acknowledges the echoes in
all the others' works, but each
"plays" alone on stage. Such writers as Jackson Mac Low
have made bold attempts to undermine this view of performance.
Mac Low does this in so many ways, not only in performing his
work aloud with others, but frequently "writing
through" other writers. But even in Mac Low's masterful work,
the activity remains "solo." My sense of the situation
right now is that blogging has the potential of bringing about
dramatic changes in such assumptions.
The poliical implications are powerful, particularly in that
torturously unresolved, complicated, universal and
literally explosive issue of competition,
that powerful but wily stimulant,
which, like so many other short term highs,
indulged in, takes its participants
right down that slippery slope
into exclusion, domination, cruelty,
violence. The poetry community,
while no doubt having its
issues, is hardly vulnerable to critique
in this area at all
by comparison to the global
corporate world, and to the antics of
blood thirsty nationalists.
Yesterday's post (Saturday, October 18, together with that
of Friday, October 17)
from Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego)
is exemplary of the kind of spontaneous
collaboration I am thinking of
(I don't pretend to speak for Priego
here at all, and wouldn't want to try, and whose work, as much
as I admire it, I don't, as
yet, know very well. This is merely a "tune" I am hearing
in my head, that I have improvised, reading through
his blog post):
Priego quotes an intensely
lyrical philosophical passage
from Luce Irigary on the
multi- dimensional aspect of time.
Next, a brief diary entry. A cross-section
of a day in EP's consciousness, open, funny,
dream-like, intimate. The implication
from #2 (I have to work a bit more on section
1) is: one moment in a person's life cuts through
an entire spectrum of their experience.
A self-portrait, not quite a caricature, but more
than a sketch.
Then, a quote, an intensely
in a sentence,
from Amy Bernier's Moonshine Highways(Amy Bernier).
Finally, Priego quotes Derrida, but in Spanish!
My thought was: he is
following through on Heriberto Yepez' open
challenge to "US- and only US- land" poets.
The understated plea
here is: reread Derrida, but in another
language, for example,
Then, maybe you'll be
able to hear him again, and,
familiarize yourself a little
further with the language
of an enormous number
of your closest neighbors .
It is just this sort of spontaneous
act of publishing, an improvised sudden
jump cut across temporal boundaries
and genre categories, writing through the work
of a few other writers, a kind of musical/
thinking/conversing/envisioning, that excites me
about the collaborative possibilities
of blogging, that I think Ron remains
skeptical about. But Ron is a wily
theorist. He wouldn't throw down
a gauntlet like this to discourage,
is my sense of the situation,
not at all. He is following
every nuance of this form,
he is listening to every moment
of the game
(the "words" and "the music")
as intently as anyone,
maybe even more intently. And if he
ever picks up that trombone, watch out:
the whole orchestra may suddenly join in
and jam on and on into the bloglinked night...