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Month: October 2011

High Street 4.4 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Art’s project is fundamentally meliorative.  The aim of meditating about the world is finally to change the world.  It is this meliorative aspect of literature that provides its ethical dimension.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.4 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.5 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

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High Street 4.3 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Art cannot remain in one place.  A certain amount of movement, up, down, across, even a gallop toward the past, is a necessary precondition.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 4.3 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.4 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

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High Street 4.2 — Radio Stars and Hemp TV (cont.)

“Art is a true account of the activity of mind.  Because consciousness, in Husserl’s formulation, is always consciousness of something, art thinks ever of the world, cannot not think of the world, could not turn its back on the world even if it wished to.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger, emphasis in original)

High Street 4.2 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.3 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV” (cont.))

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High Street 3.10 — Downhill Racing (fin.)

“Art is always a meditation upon external reality rather than a representation of external reality or a jackleg attempt to ‘be’ external reality.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.10 — “Downhill Racing” (fin.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 4.1 — “Radio Stars and Hemp TV”)

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High Street 3.9 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“When computers learn how to make jokes, artists will be in serious trouble.  But artists will respond in such a way as to make art impossible for the computer.  They will redefine art to take into account (that is, to exclude) technology–photography’s impact upon painting and painting’s brilliant response being a clear and comparatively recent example.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.9 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.10 — “Downhill Racing” (fin.))

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High Street 3.8 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“The combinatorial agility of words, the exponential generation of meaning once they’re allowed to go to bed together, allows the writer to surprise himself, makes art possible, reveals how much of Being we haven’t yet encountered.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.8 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.9 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.))

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High Street 3.6 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“If the writer is taken to be the work’s way of getting itself written, a sort of lightning rod for an accumulation of atmospheric disturbances, a St. Sebastian absorbing in his tattered breast the arrows of the Zeitgeist, this changes not very much the traditional view of the artist.  But it does license a very great deal of critical imperialism.  This is fun for everyone.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.6 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.7 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.))

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High Street 3.4 — Downhill Racing (cont.)

“Not-knowing is crucial to art, is what permits art to be made.  Without the scanning process engendered by not-knowing, without the possibility of having the mind move in unanticipated directions, there would be no invention.” — Donald Barthelme, “Not-Knowing” (from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

High Street 3.4 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.) is posted today.

(Tomorrow: High Street 3.5 — “Downhill Racing” (cont.))


High Street 0 — Preface

“Man is so constituted that he reserves his strongest curses for the very things that keep him together and keep him alive.” — Thomas Bernhard, Concrete (trans. McLintock)

High Street 0 — “Preface” is posted today, at the top of the sidebar to your left.

(Tomorrow: High Street 1 — “Breaking and Entering”)

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For your pleasure we offer kick-boxing or skeet-shooting

“Sometimes I think that there will be a place in the future for a literature the nature of which will singularly resemble that of a sport.  Let us subtract, from literary possibilities, everything which today, by the direct expression of things and the direct stimulation of the sensibility by new means–motion pictures, omnipresent music, etc.–is being rendered useless or ineffective for the art of language.  Let us also subtract a whole category of subjects–psychological, sociological, etc.–which the growing precision of the sciences will render it difficult to treat freely.  There will remain to letters a private domain: that of symbolic expression and of imaginative values due to the free combination of the elements of language.” — Paul Valery (quoted in “After Joyce,” from Not-Knowing, ed. Herzinger)

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You can count on that

“A man whose mouth stinks has no mistress; no woman would put up with it; any woman would find a way to let him know he stinks and would force him to rid himself of that fault.” — Milan Kundera, Slowness (trans. Asher)


Sing it, brother

“People always think that a man’s fortunes are more or less determined by his appearance, by the beauty or ugliness of his face, by his size, by his hair or lack of it.  Wrong.  It is the voice that decides it all.” — Milan Kundera, Slowness (trans. Asher)


Getting it right

“[Henry] James was the most consummate artist American literature has produced. He was fastidious by nature and by early training. He had studied his art in France as men study sculpture in Italy, and he had learned the French mastery of form. Nowhere in his writings may we find slovenly work. His opening and closing paragraphs are always models, his dialogue moves naturally and inevitably,—in all the story despite its length nothing too much,—and everywhere a brilliancy new in American fiction. He is seldom spontaneous; always is he the conscious artist; always is he intellectual; always is he working in the clay of actual life, a realist who never forgets his problem to soar into the uncharted and the unscientific realms of the metaphysical and the romantic.” — Fred Lewis Pattee (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part VI., Sec. 9)

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Reason without rhyme

This week I’m posting copies of the poems I had published in the first decade of the Third Millennium (by the reckoning of the Christian Church and the Western post-industrial democracies).  These poems were all written between about 1998 and 2005.

This is pretty much the end of my previously published work, which I’ve been posting to this site since March of this year.  I have a poem, “love poem,” in the Lyrotica anthology published by Vagabondage Press, but that came out just a few months ago so it falls outside of the date range of the batch of poems I posted today.  And I have a story, “Lawn,” which should be coming out in Thema magazine’s “One Thing Done Superbly” issue any day now, if it hasn’t already.  I’ll probably post that to this site next year.

Next week I’ll probably begin daily postings of a longer work, High Street, which is a book-length manuscript that confused people such as myself might characterize as creative nonfiction.  So much for the probabilities and the confusion, then (I could be a derivatives trader).


Unpacking the object

“According to [Henry] James, a short story was the analysis of a situation, the psychological phenomena of a group of men and women at an interesting moment. Given two, three, four different temperaments, bring them into a certain situation, and what would be the action and reaction? The story was a problem to be solved. Little was to be said about the characters: they were to reveal themselves, gradually, slowly as they do in actual life, by long continued dialogue, by little unconscious actions and reactions, by personal peculiarities in dress, manners, movement, revealed by a thousand subtle hints, descriptive touches, insinuations. Under such conditions the movement of the story must be slow: in some of his work there seems to be no story at all, only the analysis of a situation. The method requires space: James has stretched the length of the short story to its extreme….  Twenty-eight of the one hundred and three stories in Henry James’s final list are long enough to appear as volumes. Yet one may not doubt they are short stories: they are each of them the presentation of a single situation and they leave each of them a unity of impression.” — Fred Lewis Pattee (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part VI., Sec. 9 (emphasis in original))

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What men want

“If a woman tells me: I love you because you’re intelligent, because you’re decent, because you buy me gifts, because you don’t chase women, because you do the dishes, then I’m disappointed; such love seems a rather self-interested business.  How much finer it is to hear: I’m crazy about you even though you’re neither intelligent nor decent, even though you’re a liar, and egotist, a bastard.” — Milan Kundera, Slowness (trans. Asher)


The soul of contention

“Hawthorne added soul to the short story and made it a form that could be taken seriously even by those who had contended that it was inferior to the longer forms of fiction. He centred his effort about a single situation and gave to the whole tale unity of impression. Instead of elaboration of detail, suggestion; instead of picturings of external effects, subjective analysis and psychologic delineation of character.” — Fred Lewis Pattee (from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol. XVI, Book III, Part VI, Sec. 4)


Rimbaud packed it in before he turned 21

In November of 1975 I was 17 years old and began writing poetry.  The following year I had four of my poems published in two very obscure magazines.  In 1978 I had another published in another very obscure magazine.  It was another ten years before I had another poem published, again in an obscure magazine, this one in the United Kingdom.  And in 1990 I had another poem published: magazine again obscure.

Those seven poems are the previously published works I’m posting this week.  They were all written before I was twenty years old.  Nearly everything else I wrote in those early scribbling days when the Vietnam War was still freshly lost and the nation was anesthesizing itself with drugs, sex, rock-and-roll and King Disco, has long since been thrown away and good riddance to it.  I would hate to think someone would have to wade through that garbage to sort it out after I die.

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