I found Charles Bernstein's essay (Poetics of the Americas - in:
from which Keston quotes much richer and challenging than Keston's
truncated quote cum critique makes it out to be. As it happens I quote the
lines directly following those quoted by Keston in my _Nomad Manifesto_ ‹
herewith extracted with, I think, relevant context:
"A nomadic poetics will cross languages, not just translate, but write in
all or any of them. If Pound, Joyce & others have shown the way, it is
essential now to push this matter further, again, not as "collage" but as a
material flux of language matter, moving in & out of semantic & non-semantic
spaces, moving around & through the features accreting as poem, a
lingo-cubism that is no longer an "explosante fixe" as Breton defined the
poem, but an "explosante mouvante."
Useful in this context too is Charles Bernstein thinking about idiolects:
"English languages, set adrift from the sight/sound sensorium of the
concrete experiences of the English people, are at their hearts uprooted and
translated: nomadic in origin, absolutely particular in practice. Invention
in this context is not a matter of choice: it is as necessary as the ground
we walk on." Replace "English" here with "all" or "any" & you have a nomadic
Not the end of man, pace the French twisted desire for disappearnce, but,
possibly the end of the alphabet needs to be envisaged as a millennial
scenario. As Don Byrd speculates:
'The great poetry of the 1960's was created in resistance to the
alphabet as a medium that had become dangerously fluent. By the 1970's, no
one could resist. For the time being poiesis is in abeyance.
Now we gather the resources of modernism for the new medium as the poets of
the sixteenth century gathered the resources of the classical tradition.
Digital speech, musical sound, and image all merge in one grammar. The
alphabet will continue in this mix for some time, but, in popular discourse,
this obsolete mnemonic is even now largely decorative. It remains to be
found out if IBM, Microsoft, and the Turner Boardcasting Corporation have
already coopted the renaissance.'
The alphabet thus done & over with. "We'll keep it for the sake of a one-day
classicism." It belongs to a brief 2000-year history of parcellisation,
hierarchization. It's most useful fringe, its last binge being the Mac Low/
Cage investigatory methods. The suggestion here is that our space rather
than being visual is much more profoundly "haptic," sonorous."
This may or may not help widen the discussion, at any rate, CB's essay is
worth having argument with.
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