Dan Eltringham - 3 Poems After Spanish Mystics

Vivesect my Sins Vivacious 
- after Santa Teresa de Ávila -

Vivesect my sins vivacious-
-ly, tan-tall video, asperous    
poor key error of nominal eros.

Vivesect voyeurs of demi-era,
of desperate eros demeanour;
a poor key vivacious in awe,
& me a meek sop of arias:
& an elk to orizon I led
in a letter tray, pusillanimous
poor key error of nominal eros.

[. . .]

mystics by Dan Eltringham - download the full pdf

New work by John Seed

from 'Brandon Pithouse: Recollections Of The Durham Coalfield'


Start of his night’s work
first task when he reports for work at midnight
collect a token he strings round his neck
identification in case of accident every day
three miners are killed (1939)
every day

then he collects his safety lamp

From a new work by John Seed - download the full pdf

about a post by Jenny Allan


“when your fill overflows with liberal concern, like a sieve you
daydream of less strain"

“with slight emphasis you deduce all it takes to lead down
indirect yarns, spinning as you go, collapsing all intolerance in a
fold away kitbag that in fact holds less than ‘every single’ but you
try not to dwell on unfeasibility

it was possible, yes yes it was, but… and the forever profitable

‘but’ summed up, as always, your exclusion

when in reality it was just a voice with no will of its own, just a

pedalling of wares along a production line you didn’t fuel

if it was possible to say yes at the right time only, and I mean 

only, you can’t imagine what a difference that would make, to 
the summing and up but also to the emphasis, always the 
emphasis: the highlighting of, the brightest part of”

“by hollowing out a stretched condition, high wires risk their
humble streak for a well intentioned aerialist

from the mounting sidelines, a plea, of sorts,
separates you from your

in this dominant coming of age”

This is from Feb 2nd, 2008, around half way through the writing of Intermittent Voices, a blog which began with goofy one-liners and meditations on Blanchot in 2006, then developed, or perhaps corroded,  until it attained the tortuously extruded shapes in  late posts like  "all is s"  (Feb 26th, 2010).

"Kit" illustrates most of the things that I love about this writing. The scena is incredibly spatial and flexed, these are sentences for the eye-muscles as well as the mind's eye.  The verb, a part of speech almost elided from much experimental writing, makes a dramatic return. But of course this heroic torqued verb usually boils down to meaning inaction. A social comedy of feeble, hapless floundering runs through these poems.  But that makes it sound as if the pratfalls don't really matter but are sort of an idyllic collapse; the emotional desperation in the "yes" and "just" and "forever" and "plea" tells a quite different story. This fumbling turns almost nightmarish, again almost ecstatic.

The desperation in this case seems to be for the kitbag to hold All the overflowing concern (so it can be folded away, naturally), but then a juggernaut rushes past (dominant coming of age) , and humility detached from its baggage  is forcibly reminded that it stands on the sidelines (which, however, are still mounting).  At any rate, this is how I'm reading it today.


links of transnational friendship

This looks like a book that is full of horizon-expanding pages. You can sample substantial chunks of it using Amazon or Google Books (which is what I've been doing).

A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Verbal Arts: Studies in Poetics), Fordham University Press, 2012

Publisher's web page:

In A Common Strangeness, Jacob Edmond exemplifies a new, multilingual and multilateral approach to literary and cultural studies. He begins with the entrance of China into multinational capitalism and the appearance of the Parisian flâneur in the writings of a Chinese poet exiled in Auckland, New Zealand. Moving among poetic examples in Russian, Chinese, and English, he then traces a series of encounters shaped by economic and geopolitical events from the Cultural Revolution, perestroika, and the June 4 massacre to the collapse of the Soviet Union, September 11, and the invasion of Iraq. In these encounters, Edmond tracks a shared concern with strangeness through which poets contested old binary oppositions as they reemerged in new, post-Cold War forms.

The book is organized around studies of six writers: Yang Lian, Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, Lyn Hejinian, Bei Dao, Dmitri Prigov, Charles Bernstein.

Author's web page: http://commonstrangeness.wordpress.com/

Detailed review by Lisa Samuels, here:


She says:

I might wish the book had been titled something like Estranging Poetries: Avant-Garde Dialectics in a Transnational Era, especially given the distancing Edmond wants to achieve from the uses to which Blanchot’s phrase ‘common strangeness’ can be put. We can imagine more dynamism in dialectics than the advice to speak to rather than speak of, so I am certainly sympathetic to Edmond’s resistance to Blanchot’s cited stance. Such a stance arguably encourages identitarian siloing, and Edmond’s book is invested in building bridges across those silos, in this case avant-garde poetry and comparative literature on one hand and U.S. Russian, and Sinophone literatures on the other.

The title comes from Maurice Blanchot's Friendship (L'Amitié, 1971, pp. 328-29)

... the common strangeness that does not allow us to speak of our friends but only to speak to them ...

Nous devons renoncer à connaître ceux à qui nous lie quelque chose d’essentiel; je veux dire, nous devons les accueillir dans le rapport avec l’inconnu où ils nous accueillent, nous aussi, dans notre éloignement. L’amitié, ce rapport sans dépendence, sans épisode et où entre cependant toute la simplicité de la vie, passe par la reconnaissance de l’étrangeté commune qui ne nous permet pas de parler de nos amis, mais seulement de leur parler, non d’en faire un thème de conversations (ou d’articles), mais le mouvement de l’entente où, nous parlant, ils réservent, même dans la plus grande familiarité, la distance infinie, cette séparation fondamentale à partir de laquelle ce qui sépare devient rapport. Ici, la discrétion n’est pas dans le simple refus de faire état de confidences (comme cela serait grossier, même d’y songer), mais elle est l’intervalle, le pur intervalle qui, de moi à cet autrui qu’est un ami, mesure tout ce qu’il y a entre nous, l’interruption d’être qui ne m'autorise jamais à disposer de lui, ni de mon savoir de lui (fût-ce pour le louer) et qui, loin d’empêcher toute communication, nous rapporte l’un à l’autre dans la différence et parfois le silence de la parole.  

Edmond's perception of the relevance of this passage to comparative literature might lead into difficulties but I think it is also illuminating.  When all is said what thrills in Blanchot's writing is its sociopathic romanticizing. (Besides, he then wrote articles, rather frequently, that spoke of Bataille, the friend in question.) It is most definitely uncertain if this is the best template for transnational friendship. For Edmond that requires a commitment to moving beyond Blanchot's binary terms. Nevertheless it seems to me that a tacit challenge persists when the Blanchot passage is invoked in this context: the siloing is there all right, but in principle its exclusivities run right across the imaginary boundaries of nation and culture.


some links that I liked visiting in the past week or two

Jennifer Cooke:

Read her poems "Congelatine" and "The Profundity of Cod" in onedit 11.


"‘Congelatine’ is specifically about Loughborough"...
Sophie Robinson interviews Jennifer Cooke:


Five more poems, in Great Works: "Honda's Right Hand Works Hard", "REEMOIR", "CARBURUNDRUM MORNS", "SONNET A", "THE SECOND DAY"


And a couple of essays:

“Public Disorder” and Poetry, 2010-2011


Statement of Contradictions (for Militant Poetics Forum)


Robert Archambeau: 

"But you’re right about this particular book of mine being mostly about male poets."
Hope Leman interviews Robert Archambeau,  - this is the interview that really pissed off Anne Boyer (according to her tweets):


Johannes Göransson interviews Robert Archambeau, touching on political poetry, the "Cambridge School", Andrea Brady, Kafka and Auden.


Elisa Gabbert:

Read an extract from The Self Unstable:


Elisa Gabbert's interventions on the New York Daily News furore. 


Date-rape on Downton?


Andrea Brady:

Read an (all-too-short) extract from Mutability: Scripts for Infancy:



A Poem By Denise Riley


Writing the one word ‘red’ on an empty page will make it start to bleed

                                                 and ooze with scarlet if left unattended.

Inserting the single word ‘grey’ in a blank document fogs up the entire screen.

Just an isolated ‘blue’ persuades the bare file to look tranquil and composed.

To write the word ‘she’ does less than you might think.  Or it does more.

To write the word ‘she’ does more than you might want.  Or does less.

What about ‘he’?  Well, what about he.

Typing the solitary word ‘indifferent’ doesn’t do much one way or another.

‘You can never get it right, can you.’  

Not as long as you think in two.  And you are in twos, poor colourless sexes.  



Download essay as a pdf

Beginning of the essay:

A room held in a great northern city; nine foot by six, a typical student squat, pipes half-smoked, bed never-made, books piled on chair and table. Two are in Finnish. The third, ‘stalely open’, Arghol takes up to shut. It is the Einige und Sein Eigenkeit [sic]. ‘One of the seven arrows’ in this ‘martyr mind’ – only this book, by renegade Hegelian Max Stirner, is named by Wyndham Lewis, and rejected. ‘Poof! he flung it out of the window.’

The gesture is timely. According to Paul Edwards, in his account of the artist, ‘Stirner probably had little lasting influence upon Lewis’. Unlike other sources Edwards cites as being central to an understanding of this radical “play” entitled ‘Enemy of the Stars’, which appeared in the Vorticist journal BLAST in 1914, Stirner is not referred to again, does not survive the particularly rough handling he receives in this play. His book is condemned by Arghol as a ‘parasite’, with all the other books in the room, ‘Poodles of the mind, Chows and King Charles’, and is therefore torn up with the rest – left in ‘a pile by the door ready to sweep out’.

But in addition to marking the author’s own break with Stirner, the incident curiously anticipates the general movement away from the philosophy of Egoism that would take place during the war. Having enjoyed a period of intense interest in the English-speaking world following the publication of Byington’s translation in 1912, The Ego and His Own was to vanish just as suddenly into obscurity again, as writers such as Joyce, Lewis and Marsden began to confront problems posed by new materialist theories of the mind (originating in Schopenhauer, developed over the course of the nineteenth-century by James and Bergson, and finding their culmination in the Behaviourist theory of the C20th). The world imagined in the play is already permeated with a strong sense of the extent to which mind is riddled with the unconscious, an ‘underworld of energy and rebellious muscle’, inextricably involved in the mechanism of a material universe in which stars are ‘machines of prey’.

Download the full essay as a pdf

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