alright. so. hi. this is coming later than i meant it to, but whatever.
hello! and welcome, again, to the return of the vicarious mfa. [hopefully by keeping the same title, the posts will be easily accessible through the search bar conveniently located at the bottom of this blog.]
first week is down. so.
The Beginning of the End
Listen. Richard Howard is adorable. He is. Google Image search that shit.
Bam I did it for you. Motherfucker was dressed all in red. Red glasses, red and white striped shirt, giant red ring made of some sort of plastic [all of these also the same shade of deep red, or like a mix of alizarin and cad red medium fr anyone out there that has any idea what i'm talking about], [also the glasses were the same as that picture above, just red], red pants, red socks, and red suede slipon loafers that might could be called driving togs, those ones with the bumps on them. Anyway. This ain't a fashion blog. This here is about Literature and shit. So. I am going to probably just transcribe my notes. Maybe later I'll talk about the reading [Jekyll + Hyde] after it's discussed. ALSO IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS OR THINGS YOU'D LIKE ME TO BRING UP PLEASE LEAVE A NOTE THANKS HEY HIGH FIVE. alright. NOTES:
[some of these will be quotes. a lot will be unattributed. if you would like to attribute them, feel free.]
[NOVELS ARE EPICS FOR A FALLEN AGE.]
[movies, apparently, are not actually [books]]
[Morel was French and when he studied he studied cretinism]
[Lombroso was Italian. Possible pinnacle of some such.]
[Degeneracy was all around]
[Degeneracy as a form of common sense]
[One strength of common sense is that it cannot be reduced to a unity of coherence. That it can allow for contradictions.]
[We have no intention here of coherence.
We are here to observe the ways in which things fall apart]
[Consolidation in the form of methodological rigor.]
[A faith in interpretation as a means of therapy
of trying to coax meaning from disparate troubles]
[The losses become inseparable from the paradigms that named them]
[Masculinism as [being] flawed with degenerism [with degenerative -isms]]
Alright. So a note on this format, that will probably not last past this post.
So I bought a bunch of notebooks and didn't notice that they were all blank and unlined.
And so I organize my notes in boxes and connect the related boxes.
I'll post pictures at some point.
And right so anyway the content.
All this was, the first class, was Howard talking about the class. About the time period. About what we were going to try and do, and discuss.
Tuesday we'll talk about J+H so the next post will be more in depth in terms of discussion.
The word [jingoism] kept showing up. By that I mean Howard would mention it, and chuckle. [Jingoism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy". In practice, it refers to the advocation of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safe guard what they perceive as their country's national interests, and colloquially to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others – an extreme type of nationalism.
The term originated in Britain, expressing a pugnacious attitude towards Russia in the 1870s. During the 19th century in the United States, journalists called this attitude spread-eagleism. "Jingoism" did not enter the U.S. vernacular until near the turn of the 20th century. This nationalistic belligerence was intensified by the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbour that led to the Spanish-American War of 1898.] thank you wikipedia.
Poetry Seminar: Meter, Rhythm, and Form
[here on referred to as PROSODY]
Seriously I have like no notes about this class. I am kind of terrified of this class. My notes really read
[This is terrifying + I am terrified]
I am far less so now. Donnelly passed out a bunch of old English ballads about death and murder and madness. So I've decided that for this class, since we're going to be dealing with form, and writing a poem in a different form each week, that to make it fun for myself, that I am going to write all of them using the form of the murder ballad.
I will probably focus more on the American murder ballads, like Crow Jane, In The Pines, Goodnight Irene [suicide as a sort of murder], Deep Blue Sea [drowning as a sort of murder], and also traditionals like Mad Tom of Bedlam.
After this post and another Bourbon and Ginger I am going to diagram plot points and imagery in the various forms of these Ballads.
These will probably end up as poems in themselves, or maybe as a part of that whole digram hybrid essay thing that I think I'll try for. Hopefully if I have time I'll do two. One on murder ballads [the idea of bearing witness to them as a sort of essay on them] and one about various ways of drowning [probably just a multipart poem about drowning. whatever. being swallowed as a form of murder and burial.]
[poetry as a form of justifiable speculation]
[also called a LIE.]
[I want to say that it is possible there will not be very many notes for this class. Form and its study is weird for me, and what I may end up doing is just posting about the form we studied for the week, using my murder ballads as examples, and explaining it that way. Hopefully that's cool. If not, well, skip this section. Whatevs.]
Avant-gardes, and Then Some: 20th-Century Experimental Poetry
This is a class that will have lots of notes.
So Welish is awesome. Really. She spent the entire two hours essentially summing up the Calinescu reading [transcribed below in notes that will likely be as abstract as the Howard ones. Don't worry I made real notes on the reading about Imagism, because I got excited.] and when I say summing up I mean for a little under an hour and a half she quoted and discussed the entire reading. This woman can pull quotes from her head, while making eye contact with you. She looks like an older bride of Frankenstein. Listen. I mean this in the most sincerely complimentary way possible. There is this intensity to her that is pretty incredible.
Notes on the lecture, then notes on the reading about Imagism.
[Marjorie Welish is so fucking smart.]
[[the idea of placing]L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E in a narrative is hilarious.]
[the avant garde as the [forerunners of the new]]
[that which defies traditions + thwarts convention]
[JUNKS THE PAST] V [MAKES THINGS NEW]
POUND___________MARINETTI [fuck marinetti + fuck futurism btw]
[will not aban-______[burn the museums]
[from all of this we get [where does the new come from?]]
[Sorry. I don't think that'll format how I want, and so fuck it, much like a lot of the avant garde, you gotta fucking work for that note.]
they were devoted to that impossible concept of futurity
\that the future is something that the present must address
\that the present must legislate the future
[[the avant garde] as an extreme contract with that which will be.]
also there is nothing reasonable and there is nothing subtle about that which clings to a strict dogma
[THAT HIPPIE SHELLEY]- advocates through the [i missed the word] of imagination rather than through reason. That we should be working towards the possibility of the infinite or the transcendent [how are these things the same? how are the different?]
[olinde rodriguez] ghost writing jew
[robert owen] fucking commie
[the avant garde is just a heard of independent minds]
[it is less purely academic [according to Calinescu's work, which places the notion of the avant garde firmly in a cultural context, insisting, in a way suggesting a man who has found all other avenues of analysis exhausted, that the avant garde, being itself a reactionary dogma, must and can only truly be understood in terms of that which is is reacting against] as it is a cultural context]
and then came Rimbaud.
and the came Mallarme.
So before the Imagism reading I'm going to talk about Baudelaire and Mallarme and Rimbaud, who vehemently objected to the notion of the avant garde, which at the time, sought to unite art and politics. To use the arts as a tool and medium of revolution.
These writers found the notion offensive.
I am using this word because I cannot physically display on the internet the way I feel about it, the ways in which I agree with them, and how offensive to me personally the notion of using art in that way, for this notion of hamfisted social change by a rabid mass of indignation, but whatever. Let's be fair. Shit has its uses.
alright ok, notes on imagism!!!
[the avant garde is a reactionary movement]
[this is their definitive characteristic]
[it is interesting to note, or consider, the ways in which the avant garde is terrified of change, of no longer being avant garde, and so will attempt to vilify the new [see Pound's frequent declarations that all others were simply watered-down Pound's], and how this is retarded. How this is retarded both in the colloquial sense of it being fucking stupid, but also in the fact that it is the act of slowing down progress by dragging it down and through the mud.]
[once again noting that the avant garde is as subtle as a brick through with FUCK YOU painted on it. [or, alternately, I DO NOT LIKE YOU NOT DO I APPROVE OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING OR ANYTHING ABOUT YOU WHICH I FIND TO BE CONTRARY TO EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD ABOUT LIFE AND LIVING AND I WILL DO TO YOU WHAT MY BRICK DID TO YOUR WINDOW AND I WILL SWEEP YOU UP AND PUT YOU IN THE TRASH WHERE THE YEARS OF HISTORY WILL BURY YOU UNKNOWN]]
[Tenets of Imagism as agreed upon by said school when first made new]
 Direct treatment of 'the thing', whether subjective or objective.
 To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation
 As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in [the] sequence of a metronome.
and, because it's always easier to say what we are not,
 Use no superfluous words, no adjective which does not reveal something
 Don't use abstractions such as 'dim lands of peace.' It dulls the image. It mixes abstraction with the concrete. It comes from the writer's not realizing that the natural object is always the adequate symbol.
 Go in fear of abstraction. Do not retell in mediocre verse what has already [i wrote always and crossed it out] been done in good prose. Don't think any intelligent person is going to be deceived when you try to shirk all the difficulties of the unspeakably difficult art of good prose by chopping you composition [again here i put conversation] into line lengths.[..]
Don't imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music[, or that you can please the expert before you have spent at least as much effort on the art of verse as the average piano teacher spends on the art of music].[..]
[for that one, I inserted the brackets. I found the first part to have meaning to me, and the second one to have less meaning. I understand what they are saying. That this shit is hard fucking work and is about putting in the fucking hours. That you need to do it until it becomes the mode in which you think and in which you process. That it is a thing that you cannot shake. Like how you drift off practicing fingerings without conscious effort. This makes perfect sense. I just don't like the way it's phrased.]
as all this was beginning, they were exposed to the first British exhibitions of cubism + of futurism + in this certainly was a thing that meant a thing.
[began in Britain with Pound, spread to America, more on that soon, pinky swear.]
["Schools + coteries were very much in the air"]
[One published in public, Pound + his poets disagreed.]
[Pound split, crankily, to found Vorticism [which I won't go into because whatever I don't care]]
[Amy Lowell took over. Shifted to U.S.A.
in 1917 she said 'the collection has done it's work']
Alright how fucking bad ass is that.
How many fucking people have the balls to say 'we made it new, and now there are other people making it newer, and we did out jobs, and we are going to cede the title of [the new] to these people, who are making new what we made new in ways we could never imagine' and so they retired
and they [this is of course me being idealistic but whatever] got down to the real work of [learning to live] with what [they] had done.
Then there were a bunch of notes on how to be hard in poetry.
Gene Morgan, if you are reading this, email me and I will send you the official list on how to be hard in poetry.
The Sarah Manguso
I don't really know what to type about workshop.
It was good.
The class, for me, was really helpful and responsive, The Manguso steared The Discussion when necessary, primarily focusing on the idea of whether or not the class felt i had earned the use of the word 'forever' at the end of the last short adventure. [After nearly ten minutes, no consensus was reached.] [This was brought up because The Manguso stated that there were words that she generally outlawed in her undergraduate workshops, primary among them: [always], [forever]] [obviously this means i am going to write a poem for workshop titled always forever, because I am a dickbag, which is a bag filled with dicks.]
Things said in class that were worth writing down:
[What to say when we have nothing to say to each other]
[Not all movement is progress]
[What could be more performative than grace?]
[this last one the only one not uttered by The Manguso, but muttered by a Welshman during the discussion of the final couplet of a poem in which a man says the Lord's Forgiveness for his bounty, and the Welshman interpreted this as the man taking the forgiveness as his bounty, as opposed to asking for forgiveness for the killing and cleaning of the doe. Which is what the poem was about. The killing and cleaning of a doe. And listen, although I don't think it was the meaning of the poem at all, it is a way more interesting read, and also it gave us that awesome line above, and so whatever.]
Ladies and fucking Gentlemen, I give you the first official week of THE RETURN OF THE VICARIOUS MFA