Spread, spread, spread that death butter
Read a nice interview at HTMLg with Johannes Gorranson. I’m looking forward to reading his unsustainable new book. Made me think about some things. I share his discomfort with the label “experimental”, which has very strange connotations, (dismissive, I would say), as if this kind of writing has a hypothesis. I guess I kind of like that idea, but people don’t usually realize that many experiments are done for the sake of experiment, not for the sake of its hypothesis or result. Mostly, it’s uncomfortable because it is, as he says, a huge word that says very little. Other than that, the experimental/avant-garde is also no longer possible. The linear idea of progress and new-ness is, on this day and age, backwards. Arriere-garde, however, is relevant. Or derriere-garde, I like to think. Lucas sees the lyric poet as the power bottom.
And the plague of literature (“too much shit is being published”) I think is a very unique plague in that it is extremely proliferative but not quite massively contagious, maybe because capitalism has built-in containment cells and plumbing, which we even build ourselves out of guilt and reflexivity (art is useless) to flush the shit out of sight. You almost have to want to be sick to get sick, because some work is required to actually expose yourself to the gaping wound of “experimental” writing. Poetry especially is already seen by many to be an archaic art, yet I believe it has never been richer, like a huge, dark compost pit. I doubt that there has ever been a time when so many different aesthetics are given their own chance at incubation. There are hundreds of small presses and micro presses. Most people do not know or care about their existence. Being both dead and alive at once is anachronistic (oh yes, I read McSweeney’s The Necropastoral in the bath the other day). You are at once within time and without, historical in more than one sense.
Genre has also become a dirty word because it acts as a container.
Carinna Finn (who has a blog I love) says “…perhaps so many people insist on defining genre in singular, palatable terms because the contagion of multiplicity poses a threat to what James notes above as “the constraining humanist need for ‘voice.” “The Voice,” attached to a body which has a lifespan, can be easily made safe via an act of canonization, like J says — classics are dead. I wonder, then if one can take a sort of fossilized genre and bring it back into a state of becoming through decay, radioactivity.”
I was once told that capitalism is at once the most revolutionary (forward) and anti-revolutionary (backwards) system because it allows for the bacterial/exponential production of “revolutionary” ideas and simultaneously, because it enables so many revolutions/overthrowings, it entails that each has an extremely short lifespan. One always makes way for the next copy. Capitalist existence is a very insectal, vermin, microbial existence.
This year is supposed to be the biggest year for mosquitoes yet. In the spirit of the plague, I have “published” myself on lulu as an experiment in futility and fertility: