To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Anne Tardos: “The Poet” from "The Exploding Nothingness of Never Define"

[A preview from Anne Tardos’s latest book of poetry, soon to be published by BlazeVOX Books, & a statement about the dynamics & the nature of “the poet”, & much else.]

The poet writes dactylic syllables-eight times
Lovingly but like a shadow

Consented and conceived of melodious French and English conceived through itself and others
To cheer up the text negating its most indifferent nature as many women turn to nobility and tact

The enclosure of freedom was at its most indifferent Water didn't show such conditions of breaking out
Or inhabiting or developing a dynamic understanding

Okay so far, inevitable writing, no comments so far from narrating

I have ruined but lovingly

the dynamic of syllables and dactyls in narrating and took up next the dynamic of understanding

Tenacious tenant loving and conceived and consenting contemplating death
I have

Then they ever okay so
So I don't do not

But I write syllables dactyls eight times

Call the dynamic understanding Tenaciousness

But I write syllables and dactyls eight times
Most lovingly

Thinking in language by applying melodious French and English
A new day here
between a disturbance and a cheer Between a dinner and all the slights Between a story and many women

I see I stood up for many women
Inhabiting ok so far
so that okay okay

I have learned

Okay so good, I did because my survival is writing.

You will see I awoke from
Much much celebration you will see

Celebrated you're supposed to intentionally leave Much celebration
Spinoza said
Women turn the pump that could accommodate a new writer
Or something new like thinking of love

until the larger more than wanting
but hidden behind the static while time had to task

Editing and getting off took a jolt
a cheer up

Never developed to an abstraction as easily as

Remaining loyal to the healthy specimen
loyal but then I had to leave
A distance from the cold and women have bravely moved

From an inner organ that must overwhelm some women who turn the demons

The famous Chinese inner organs that have consented So I write a joyride:

"Inky Infinity infantilizing Insight"

Never learned to be a transformer

Feelings come out of time, she adds, she loves the tenacious lodger

at any point in itself and
men are not hidden behind my temple
only the mind's password

Behind my very concept of all this love

Followed by many women who are into preservation
And others who write in an effort to survive

I write something new. Philosophy touches all I inhabit.

I write.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Toward a Poetry & Poetics of the Americas (25): Haroldo de Campos, “Three poems & an essay toward a poetics”

Translated by A.S. Bessa
[First posted in, October 6, 2008]



Silver birds, the Poem
draws theory from its own flight.
Philomel of metamorphosed blue,
measured geometrician
the Poem thinks itself
as a circle thinks its center
as the radii think the circle
crystalline fulcrum of the movement.


A bird imitates itself at each flight
zenith of ivory where a ruffled
anxiety is arbiter
over the vectorial lines of the movement.
A bird becomes itself in its flight
mirror of the self, mature
timing over Time.


Equanimous, the Poem ignores itself.
Leopard pondering itself in a leap,
what becomes of the prey, plume of sound,
gazelle of the senses?
The Poem proposes itself: system
of rancorous premises
evolution of figures against the wind
star chess. Salamander of arsons
that provokes, unhurt endures,
Sun set in its center.


And how is it done? What theory
rules the spaces of its flight?
What last retains it? What load
curves the tension of its breath?
Sitar of the tongue, how does one hear?
Cut out of gold, as such we see it,
proportioned to it—the Thought.


See: broke in half
the airy fuse of the movement
the ballerina rests. Acrobat,
being of easy flight,
plenilunium princess of a kingdom
of eolian veils: Air.
Wherefrom the impulse that propels her,
proud, to the fleeting commitment?
Unlike the bird
according to nature
but as a god
contra naturam flies.


Such is the poem. In the fields of eolian
equilibrium that it aspires
sustained by its dexterity.
Winged agile athlete
aims at the trapeze of the venture.
Birds do not imagine themselves.
The Poem pre-meditates.
They run the cusp of infinite
astronomy of which they are plumed Orions.
It, arbiter and vindicator of itself,
Lusbel leaps over the abyss,
in front of a greater king
a king lesser great.


in this re / verse of the ego
I see you
more plus than myself
plusquamfuture minuspoet
and in the trobar clus
of this hour (ours)
incestuous sister
prima pura impura
in which
ourselves (Siamese-same)


a poem begins
where it ends:
the margin of doubt
a sudden incision of geraniums
commands its destiny

and yet it begins
(where it ends) and the head
ashen (white top or albino
cucurbit laboring signs) curves it-
self under lucifer’s gift —

dome of signs: and the poem begins
quiet cancerous madness
that demands these lines from the white
(where it ends)

Translated by Jon Tolman

In order to bring to focus a willfully "drastic selection" in the pragmatic-utilitarian terms of Poundian theory, one could name the works of Mallarmé ("Un Coup de Dés"), Joyce, Pound and Cummings as the radial axes that generate the vectorial field of contemporary poetry. From the convergence of these axes and depending on the development of the productive process, certain results, some predictable, some not, will emerge.

It is not necessary here to enter deeply into the multiple problems which the mere mention of these names together provokes on the threshold of contemporary experiments in poetry. Instead it will be sufficient to merely give some hints of the morpho-cultural catalysis caused by their works.

The Mallarméan constellation‑poem has as its base a concept of multi-divisions or capillary structure. This concept liquidates the notion of linear development divided into beginning‑middle‑end. It substitutes in its place a circular organization of poetic material that abolishes any rhythmic clockwork based on the "rule of thumb" of metrification. Silence emerges from that truly verbal rosette, "Un Coup de Dés," as the primordial element of rhythmic organization. As Sartre has said: "Silence itself is defined by its relationship with words, just as the pause in music receives its meaning from the group of notes which surround it. This silence is a moment of language." This permits us to apply to poetry what Pierre Boulez affirmed of music: "It is one of those truths so difficult to demonstrate that music is not only 'the art of sounds,' but that it is better defined as a counterpoint of sound and silence."

The Joycean universe also evolved from a linear development of time toward space‑time or the infusion of the whole in the part ("allspace in a notshall"), adopting as the organogram of Finnegans Wake the Vico‑vicious circle. Joyce's technique evolved pari passu with his own work and under the influence of Bergson's concept of "durée."

Mallarmé developed a visual notion of graphic space, served by the prismatic notation of poetic imagination in ebbs and flows which are dislocated like the elements of a mobile, utilizing silence in the way that Calder used air. Joyce, on the other hand, holds to the materialization of a "polydimensional limitless flow"—the "durée réelle," the riverrun of "élan vital"—which obliges him to undertake a true atomization of language, where each "verbi‑voco‑visual" unit is at the same time the continent‑content of the whole work and instantly "myriad-minded."

Mallarmé practices the phenomenological reduction of the poetic object. The eidos—"Un coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le hasard"—is attained by means of the ellipsis of peripheral themes to the "thing in itself" of the poem. In the structure of the work, however, what Husserl notes with relation to his method also occurs: "Said with an image: that which is placed between parentheses is not erased from the phenomenological table, but simply placed between parentheses and affected by an index. But with this index it enters again into the major theme of investigation."

Joyce is led to the microscopic world by the macroscopic, emphasizing detail—panorama/panaroma—to the point where a whole metaphoric cosmos is contained in a single word. This is why it can be said of Finnegans Wake that it retains the properties of a circle--the equal distance of all its points to its center. The work is porous to the reader, accessible from any of the places one chooses to approach it.

For Cummings the word is fissile. His poems have as their fundamental element the "letter." The syllable is, for his needs, already a complex material. The "tactical modesty" of that poetic attitude is similar to that of Webern: interested in the word on the phonemic level, he orients himself toward an open poetic form, in spite of the danger of exhausting himself in the one‑minute poem, as he faces the hindrances of a still experimental syntax. As Fano has said with respect to Webern's early works, they are: "Short organizations materializing a 'possible' and concluding on the eventuality of new transformations. A catalytic procedure in which certain base elements determine the disintegration and clustering of a substance which is transformed, without themselves being affected."

Ezra Pound’s The Cantos, in particular "The Pisan Cantos," also offer the reader an open structure. They are organized by the ideogramic method, permitting a perpetual interaction of blocs of ideas which affect each other reciprocally, producing a poetic sum whose principle of composition is gestaltian, as James Blish has observed in "Rituals on Ezra Pound."

The contemporary poet—having at his disposal a lexicon which encompasses acquisitions from the symbolists to the surrealists, and in a reciprocal way, Pound’s "precise definition" (the poetic word comprehended in the fight of an art of "gist and piths"), and also having before him a structural syntax, whose revolutionary perspectives have only been faintly glimpsed—cannot allow himself to be enveloped by the Byzantine nostalgia for a fallen Constantinople, nor can he, polyp‑like, stagnate at the margins of the morpho-cultural process which beckons him toward creative adventure.

Pierre Boulez, in a conversation with Décio Pignatari, manifested his lack of interest in the "perfect" or "classic" work of art, in the sense of the diamond, and stated his concept of the open work of art as a kind of modern baroque.

Perhaps the idea of a neo‑baroque, which might correspond intrinsically to the morphological necessities of contemporary artistic language, terrifies by its mere evocation those slack spirits who love the stability of conventional formulas.

But this is not a cultural reason for failing to enlist in the crew of Argos. It is, on the contrary, a prompting to do so.
São Paulo, 1955, 1965

[The basic book for Haroldo de Campos in English is still Novas: Selected Writings, edited by Antonio Sergio Bessa, Odile Cisneros, & Roland Greene, published by Northwestern University Press in 2007. De Campos and his brother Augusto remain two of the major American/Brazilian poets of the last hundred years, bringing poetry & poetics together.]