Thursday, September 1, 2011

When this you see...

Someone else already has a blog dedicated to this (and it's not Ron), but it seems like a good place to start. I've had two dreams involving Ron Silliman (don't worry, that's as creepy as it gets). The first was in 2009, and he wasn't in it, but the dream was about a form of poetry involving a system of shifting colors throughout a text, a mnemonic device that would control a system of permutations. It was clearly inspired by some things he actually said in The Age of Huts. If you write the same sentence in a different pen, is it a different sentence (forgive me, I'm paraphrasing). I began the poem, actually using the strategy (poorly described here, and for good reason), sometime around last January, and am halfway through it.

The second dream, more recent was about catching him read at an arena (and I want to say in Seattle, but, again, it was in my head). A huge event space, and we got good seats. I was excited. I will be excited to finally see him read the first week of November, in New York.

The Age of Huts may be the first book of contemporary poetry I ever picked up (though there was a stack of others to follow it). I must have discovered the blog around the same time, and shortly thereafter met the poets of Portland, and as the dialogues began, here in place, and the web in space, I found myself in awe of the side of poetry that is theory and opinion. The former I think I was predisposed to, though it was mostly private, and before I realized there was a nebulous community simulteneously here and there, it was much for general, for me, than something concerning poetry. Opinion- how can I claim to be unfailiar to its auspices. And yet it seemed to me like a large bat slowly opening its wings before me, or a sad flag sagging at first, and then beginning to beat fiercely.

One of the first things I noticed in this new world was the disdain of the various for the choices Ron made with his spotlight. The opinion of opinion. He certainly has made interesting choices on the light itself he chooses to cast, especially with his reorganization of the hierarchies of those at work into the School of Quietude and the post-avant, with a certain appreciation for the latter, though the connotation of the name is not necessarily positive from a modernist standpoint, and then the School of Quietude, an aggrandizing name to some degree, for the apparent opposition. From this vantage, I believe him to be more diplomatic than he sometimes gets credit for. I have on at least one occasion noted his appreciation for certain Quietists, so the label (basically undefined, again) does not refer to things like 'good' or 'bad' poetry.

As a poet, and critic, I think he is a practitioner of great subtlety. I see his forebear, or a very significant forebear as a writer to Ron being the composer (and writer) John Cage. He at least within his own work seems to be invested in the indeterminacy of experience, his work a chronicle of his rotating and shifting perceptions. Not non-egoic, to be sure, the tradition appears to be in the independence of each sentence or statement as it follows the last, in his long work, The Age of Huts. He at one point thought he would contain all of his work in a single poem called the Alphabet, but it doesn't seem the alphabet was large enough a signifier, as he now places the Alphabet aside Universe, alongside Tjanting and Age of Huts, as Ketjak.

Another thing I can appreciate is one who changes their mind. Creating an arc, and ark. Look forward to seeing you, and remember.

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