five tangents in praise of j/j hastain's livestock edition, .compilate. (available today!!), or a special episode of abc's of attention with guests j/j hastain, robert grenier, andrew peterson, joseph s. cooper, gertrude stein and the duncanator.
in the process of reading and doing the layout design of and for j/j hastain's .compilate. i was inexorably moved outward into the past and future of my relationship with poetry and thus my relationship with the world. in many ways i wanted to write a short note explaining or offering some brief insight or captivating and influential press release to share this book with the world. as i was writing these blurb like phrasings/opinions i was thrust beyond them via the texts own diverse momentums into further thought and other books. so, here, rather than condense my feelings/thoughts/impressions/relations of and to j/j hastain's writing, i thought it might be useful to map the movement of my thinking and reading...those processes being produced by the varying gestures of .compilate.'s text....as an introduction and example set, here is a short sampling of the book (please understand my personal html limitations in formatting produce a text not identical in format to the original):
from the first section:
.stolen. books. objections. personas. exiles.
membrane. junky jolted you. in groan and
localized eros. corporeality of any cicala
theory. if it matters when it goes engraved.
salted. strung together to make more than two
hundred miniaturized girls.
.with accommodations the sentences begin to shift.
.the room is opaque often laminatedly related.
something like out of the top of your. who
does the incremental switch belong to. making
beings that extend beyond contradictions in the
fashion. general constructions beading banality.
dead cats then a dress made of cast. calle as
in this to reach renee. the hospital is not
fake. the infant and its numerous furry bulks.
.nomadic taxi touch.
.sockets become unexpected shovels. the
syringe buries. impulses of sea umbrella.
waning circulature. intelligence actually dying.
the sacrilege of dedicated grosspace.
.work itself verge or spill construction.
the trusting blackened. grind to and ash.
tumultuous turning floatations into sanskrit.
or potatoes between hardening hands.
I. this text is one that co-operates with language. as i have heard mr. duncan point out in audio lectures: some "use" language others "co-operate" with it. this is something fundamental for/to me as a reader/writer of text/world. i am prompted to continue that premise...knowledge/language exists outside of myself and only in relationship to others/geographies/texts do i (whatever/whoever i may be) collaborate in meaning making....compilate. did not necessarily reveal this to me, yet .compilate. is a text that re-members this consistently throughout. and maybe that is the process that this book encourages in the experience of it...the re-membering of these polysemous cells. i am brought into the biological act of fusion, or no, something more dirty...some prosthetic or transformation process where membranes are introduced to each other and either reject or assimilate themselves. here in .compilate. i believe we as readers/writers both assimilate and reject this prosthetic membrane. we as co-participants in the meaning making process re-member and suture this monster to ourselves (willy-nilly and with momentum). it hangs strangely and comfortably off of ourselves...changes our functions as we learn its own kind of consciousness.
I. in the beginning of .compilate. the reader is given a few brief "pre" poetic texts. these texts act to me as a womb or gestational mediation system viewed from an outside...or maybe through ultrasound.... texts like: "compilate: collect+compile+grate.", "gathers things from many different sources. much duration. this matters." reveal some of the clues of the form and shape and parts of the baby/monster to come...then the book proceeds into the birth, "has no affinity / to the history book". this birthing of things collected, compiled, and grated resembles the ways i have read benjamin, arendt, and jae emerling (on benjamin and arendt). each of these authors has lauded the collector's relationship to her/his/their world...by re-contextualizing objects/words/things through a kind of "pearl-diving" into the past (arendt on benjamin) the genuine collector "exhibits a love of things, a care of things, that refuses to appropriate their alterity...in the presentation of the what-has-been, a past that was never present the as yet unlived." (emerling on arendt and benjamin). from here i suggest also that recent discussions of kenneth goldsmith's work in a parallel fashion, as well as thought in/around/about viktor shlovsky's queering/making strange/defamiliarization can be thought in terms of this kind of idiosyncratic and and times radical collecting/birthing. pulling texts/worlds together through a variety of personally idiosyncratic methods of construction/reconstruction/rereconstruction so that their past breathes in the present. In fact through reading/writing this .compilate. monster i am reminded that maybe this process--of idiosyncratic collecting--is what builds (and possibly has always built) the polysemous human conversation/narrative [and not just what is called "discourse" (but that too)]...is it only now that humans have been so easily rendered useless to their own future through the lack of attention to their past? Or have we always been so forgetful?....compilate., through its attempt at collection and dispersal, is building a narrative in conjunction and in relation to the reader/writer and their world. this monster is growing/transforming on/into us...it is re-membering itself as it attaches its history to you and your room presently.
and don't these notions/notes also reinforce similarities between benjamin's ideas about brechtian performativity and relationships between our objects, ourselves...a dialogic or polylogic dialectics of reading/writing.
(note to self: write a paper on benjamin's brechtian influence towards a performativity of the reader/writer: a benjaminian performative dialogic dialectic of reading/writing a new art-historical poeisis?wtf?.)
I. .compilate. is a text that meditates, that breathes, that sits and yet transfoms. I am reminded and sent back to gertrude stein's stanzas in meditation, a text in which language comes back to itself...back to its own breath (huh?)....the form of .compilate. is phenomenological in this sense...or attempts to be so...it does not seem like a record of meditation (though it may be)...rather it appears to me to be the enactment or embodiment of meditative states....the reader/writer of .compilate. is confronted with accumulations of meanings and contexts only to be moved steadily, if not swiftly, (on the wind horse) into others...just as during a sitting meditation one's mind may wander and body may begin to fatigue (these never being mutually exclusive), one attempts, consistently, to bring their mind and body back to the immediate moment...it is in in this sense that .compilate. seems to be operating in my mind and body...as i read/write the text i am brought back to the immediacy of each phrasing...then group of phrasings...then back. then back. again. again. consistently. back. again. .this movement is not one that gives a sense of forward linear movement...there is no "progress"....trajectories are rhizomic in .compilate....we breathe. we read. we sit. we go out. we come back. we set the book down. we go back. we hear the gong. and the music doesn't stop. rather, we experience our moments and .compilate. rests itself uncomfortably and monstrously in our breath and seats...
I. so far in writing responses and close readings/writings of texts it has been difficult for me to express specifically what it is that is happening lyrically. now here .compilate. has added another insight into where i find lyric and lyricism most intriguing. in the past year or so a handful of texts have stood out to me lyrically for the simple reason that there forms seemed antithetic to lyric or to use nezval's phrase (i think) antilyric...these texts are joseph cooper's autobiography of a stutterer, andrew peterson's anselm hollo private eye, gertrude stein's stanzas in meditation, and now j/j hastain's .compilate....what each of these texts does in their own ways is to create a music that would at first seem to be impossible. "stutterer" places reader/performer in the place of the author through the use of symbols that articulate the difficulties and seizures of his own tongue. a brief look at the text is dizzying due to the number of disruptions. yet a clear lyric is imbedded and made possible by the impediment. one finds herself working through the text in her own disruptive singing. i have spoken briefly in the past about AHPE by peterson and will again reiterate how a period after every line created a kind of stop. /and. /go. /experience. that motion becomes a kind of music of musics or musics of music as you move through...small voices combining for an overall effect of song. stein, of course, in stanzas uses almost no nouns in her masterpiece which serves to alter your presence with it...the text is most difficult to stay involved with in prolonged readings...yet its music becomes unmistakeable with all of the prepositions and articles repeating in every possibility...(in an ideal world i'd give lengthy examples of all...but...)....compilate.'s music is also at first an interruptive one as well. we are confronted and released by periods on both sides of the text...in a way framing but also a kind of punching through the page...as if the periods were holes in this fabric...or to look back to duncan again in his warp and woof lecture...this is a fabric that is hol(e)y. so even though i am in a way interrupted by its formal architecture i am pressed through these (w)holes into another weaving. into another weaving. into another weaving. and so on. and these are, ultimately, part of the same fabric. (which is why it is possible to be read at all...for anything to be read.?)...but the music is in the movement from warp to woof and back...wait...does that make sense? .compilate. is an interruptive lyric or antilyric in the sense that you come to abrupt holes (metaphorical and lyrical) that move you into and out of cushion-ey...then rocky...then velvet-ey...then abrupt sound spaces...but the only way to travel from stop to song is through those portal period holes. And those portals are revealed two-fold: architecturally [periods (punctuation and length of time)], semantically [meanings (relationally created)]. the result is a movement of sound that traverses underneath between, over and through the accumulated text...a kind of superstructure...or ego...there it! is!...the sound of compilate is the accumulative identity binding its monstrous baby system to our own as readers/writers/experiencers...the lyric of .compilate. acts as a barb extending out of its tentacles which have wrapped themselves around yr torso...sticking its lyric inside of your body this monster releases its genetic sonic fabric changing again and again the way yr ears make their sense.
I.…ralph the naropa bookstore owner while i was attending (whose been at naropa since its beginning) would bring certain books in (i can only imagine his stashes from previous 30 odd swp’s) one at a time to be found by the most steadfast explorer of books. some of us understood that if we spent the time to look (three to four x's a week) we might find some crazy textual rainbow loot! something not visible (and most likely not even there) the day or two before and placed there just for us (or so it seemed)…this is just how i came across robert grenier’s attention, a curriculum of the soul book, #28 that was put out in 1985 by the institute for further studies at glover publishing…so, here (in portland), the other day i see it sitting next to .compilate., as if placed there by the ghosts of kerouac and stein, and i pick them both up and read them into each other...and so here is part of that experience.
here are grenier narratives, IV., V. and .compilate. poems, .susceptible variations., .borderlands as in late noon., .the magma of the alley., .lace vortex., .this is a party., .so what nests after woman.:
“IV.: What’s the ‘connective tissue’? what does “it makes another syntax” mean? ‘Syntax’ & ‘narrative’ clearly indicate (?) ‘the same thing’? What a charming muddle!—Darling, don’t leave!
.invoices. repetition polarities. seek tendencies
authoring what differentiates the frogs. forums
filled with buttered corn. scrolls and apparatus.
Almost everything remains to be undertaken in the investigation of ‘narrative’—we don’t know what it is—what’s the ‘symbiosis’ between language (apparently a ‘structural event’) & human (animal, generally, huh? Semicolon; rocks?) ‘mental process’—“language”?/”mind”?(“language are”—‘in’ the brain?)? Almost everything is “in quotes” including, particularly, that previously casually supposed copy-relation among /between “language” & “the world” (now presupposed to be merely the image, purely projected by men’s and women’s wills, as language, within which ‘we’ are trapped, rather unfortunately, but within which we can alter the environment by transferring ownership or employing a competent & highly recommended gardener to reduce traffic noise?—the notion of ‘syntax’ as some total ‘governing’ language’s pre-programmed ‘narrative’ of ‘events’ arrived?)?
.borderlands as in late noon.
.what loops it to itself. a regional frothing
of circular. the revolt of parabolic literals.
playing music out of the tips. of a war
who can speak for halle barry leaving her
husband. the most complex biological slates.
What’s the ‘comparative time’? Eh!? How, then, ever know what follows? One thing after another?—“one one one”—what does that language mean? Form is what it looks like afterward, depending ‘from’ what happens?—well, then, on same old question, how such? Mark what happens, extant sort!—how ‘then’?—how did what happen?—the past, It Was—outcome of what mysterious ‘flesh’…? What made it?—something make it?
.the magma of the alley.
.form of how it does or does not respond
to the cat the henchman. the reach. akin to
over fifty. retaliations against the etymology
of darwin drawing. dissolution of embedded
organs. self-invention in break with god.
“Don’t mess with narrative!”—absolute dictum of society which would phase you in, phase you out, ‘finally’—assumption of “beginning/middle/end” & series form through which we are supposed to ‘live’, so heavy-handed & pervasive it’s not even noticed—until you step out, on occasion—with ‘narrative’ as henchman of this awful mind-control, that spreads abroad, with intent to aggrandize whatever it can push/persuade the world is this the way to—the whole thing ‘organized’—synchronized/in sequence—in our lifetimes!
.not named but nameable transmissions.
disintegrating loons taste the great arousal.
upside down pineapple. hive. closest. flute.
ferret running in its passage. they go. because
they made it.
V.: What is the passage of time to time, that's narrative, what is the order in which 'things happen', in 'language' of course--i.e. in & through language--but more primarily order of events through man perceived to share that same 'structure' that...
All writing is essentially ‘narrative’—not only storytelling/prose—but any combination of letters, that moves in time.
You always have to tell the story of.
It does its activity as a major means to salute & acknowledge, recognize & ‘define’ & manifest itself, I write.
.this is a party.
.send out the coaches. accesses of
ontology. zoo roams. protruding
reimaginings of refused vestibule.
this is a cup is an orb calculation.
caress. am still leaving. the me
of my doctored herbs.
The mere activity of a reader ‘reading’—by moving through words and syllables (at high speed or at a crawl) while thinking almost anything about/never everything by any means of what the words ‘say’, in toto—makes a small (unwritten) ‘narrative in itself’, for itself.
Essentially, the reader makes the narrative—the writer, as a reader, makes the narrative?
.so what nests after woman.
.snorting vein along the coast of your
squiggling cuerpo. ligatures activate
the temporary barn. each other politic
hygiene. shines exquisitely press-on
can’t say blatantly. moss-complications
meaning you stay if not one shape.
then dividable in the cleanest. the
final body becoming the first.
Ok, then, the issue is the same thing (as if the writer makes the story up, out of the Imagination)—its glory forth—
:: ummm, so ya....compilate. is available today!!!
email me at livestockjared[at]gmail[dot]com and order yours!
livestock editions does not charge for their books...but is always happy to accept donations or trades!!