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Messages - JGalmitz

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Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 04, 2014, 09:37:55 AM »
Just one further observation. And this is on point, on all fours as they say.
If we take the prominent theory of language as propounded by De Saussure in the early part of the 20th C and continued as ground for the writings of Derrida, Barthes, et al, how are we to ever define excellence or rather recognize it outside of a language system.
Okay, so we stay within language. That's fine.
But the most telling thing De Saussure said was that language was arbitrary, unmotivated, meaning there was no natural relationship between the sound-image, the idea, and the thing referenced thereby.
Words were negative; that was their essence. What he meant was that all words and their components are what they are because they are not something else. When we read or hear we distinguish difference, not sameness. What this entails is that language has no positive existence.
If there is no positive existence to language and its components, then we can only understand excellence as not not excellence.  Which is fine, but different than giving a positive spin to excellence and then finding positive examples of it.
With this in mind is excellence in haiku whatever is not not excellent and if so we would have to have examples of the not excellent, but this would lead us, would it not, in a circle, because not excellent derives its meaning from what it is not, which is excellence.
So? Please continue on with your examples, examinations, opinions, judgements, and so forth.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 04, 2014, 07:51:21 AM »
At this juncture, after all is said, which excellence are we discussing. The Greek and Roman conception? The Japanese, referred to I believe as Shibui.  Since we are talking about an art that many or some feel should be modeled after the original wouldn't it be wise to differentiate cultural, historical standards for what excellence would mean in the context of a 21 Century Japanese poetic form and what its original meaning was for the Japanese in the 17th Century and earlier? Or is it perfectly fine to simply use our discretion and our personal understanding of what is meant by excellence to address excellence as an issue?  Will the starting point not wholly influence the result of the response?  What do you think?

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 03, 2014, 09:48:03 PM »
Thank you Philip for the gentlemanly response.
Frankly, the only reason I felt some ire was because I had just been discussing Pound and what I took as his Excellency's haiku in the Metro.
And, I have to admit to having miffed the fellow who wanted me to read a haikuist's essay on whether or not Pound's poem was "actually" a haiku.
So, I took your remarks as further flurries of bullets over my head.
Actually, I was glad to read Riding in particular- you are quite right, she does illustrate her point the better of the two.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 03, 2014, 11:16:17 AM »
Would it be too far off topic of excellence if I mentioned my father's telling me as a boy that Ty Cobb was so disliked that at his funeral only 2 men showed up. And, if my wife, who is 8 years older than me should pass away before me, then there will be no one at my funeral- so so much for Ty Cobb and determination and kindness.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 03, 2014, 11:13:23 AM »
Well, Richard, off topic or no, I couldn't imagine going to another site when what I wanted to talk about was referenced (literally) in this thread.
Now, as for Karen Cesar: the !! is because nothing more than Karen acknowledges my existence, quotes a poem I wrote and all in all knows my work.
As to literal, well, there's an interesting problem, because the original meaning (and that's all we have isn't it?) of the word is reference to what is said in Scripture (as opposed to interpretation of it, allegorical readings, mystical readings, and I would add exegesis), and also refers to what is literary, belonging to letters or writing, and in this etymological sense, yes, I have no problem with the literal.
On the other hand, I take what you mean to be that realism as a form of literalism means the vacancy of language when used or the transparency of the world and what is referred to in the use of language and no I do not hold to that view.
Yet, if you know, as you know, that words always refer to words and more words and never reach finally their destination in the thing referred to, but only in a referent (meaning) and not the "thing," yes I agree with you.  But, interpretation is available, I am saying, even in realism to something non-literal, but let me not be too coy here.
As to baseball haiku, no I don't recognize its excellence, yet there is in it- inter-textually- reference to Coover's Universal Baseball Association, Inc., and perhaps Shoeless Joe Jackson, and all the narratives that combine in the give and take of announcers doing a baseball game.  You have a literal book about baseball in the greatest book of haiku about baseball ever written (the only one of course) and does it not bring with it the entire history of the game and the history of history that was coexistent with it?
Or am I playing too much here.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 03, 2014, 10:06:57 AM »
and to light the molotov cocktail
I would add that the cut
does not the thing make
that I have used ambiguity
the indeterminacy of language
as the american way of stopping
the mind- what someone called aesthetic arrest ( i thought that was joyce's).
To think that the dash, ellipsis, whatever take your choice
brings us before the Almighty, the Void, the Supreme, etc.
is the most presumptuous thing I have
ever in my long life heard;
what audacity to think that this particular
between- as if every single letter beside what it is
not is not how we distinguish difference and identity
and this dash dot dot is the Ultimate bespeaks a naivite
that I cannot fathom.
to speak of the dao god help us
there is a leap between every letter and every word
so I don't write haiku anymore- turned to short short fiction
and free verse just to get away from the sledge hammer
of this tiny tiny little bitsy poem

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: March 03, 2014, 09:51:01 AM »
Response to P. Rowland re me and the 1927 commentary of the language orientation of language :
I have to say, Philip, that I am all too well aware of what Riding and Graves were speaking of: after all, in the early 1980s I had already read F. De Saussure's lectures, and if I might be so bold, if anyone had been paying attention to my ouvre (dare I?) they would have noticed that around 2005 or so I was already moving in the direction of language poetry in haiku (with Driftwood, A New Hand, For a Sparrow), to be followed by nothing but language poetry haiku. Well versed in semiotics, as well, and the entire language philosophy and self-referentiality mentioned as early as 27 by R & G.
So, it was surprising, me thinks, that as usual all that could be found to represent my contribution to haiku in the recent anthology and even the H21 was one poem and then a few that were hardly representative.
My problem with the quote from R&G was its speaking of Pound et al as dead letters: what nonsense and self-promotion. After all, language either does or does not refer and though it always has a meaning, a referent, it does not have a reference (directly) to a world, given that language is non-motivated, negative in so far as words do not bespeak things, negative insofar as non-mirroring is its ambience.
So, whether or not, say Pound and the Imagists, including WCW, thought there was or was not a world to which words referred and could come closer to, the very nature of language kept their language self-referential and non-enclosed and finished re interpretation.
Whether there is realism or not does not matter given the self-signifying nature of language, right? It is always language speaking itself, never achieving a cinch with the world- even the basic premise that language is abstract and cannot refer to individual existences should suffice to close the argument on realism.
Anyway, thought I'd champion myself,since I've always felt, and not with delusion, slighted and underestimated and over-looked in the slums of haiku. Thank God for Karen Cesar!!

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 27, 2014, 06:00:53 AM »
Sorry, Gary, but I think I'll pass on Nick Avis's opinion about Ezra Pound.
All the best to you,

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 26, 2014, 08:38:17 AM »
Not to kick a dead horse, but we shouldn't forget that while language (never mind the exclusiveness of poetry, since, at least according to the philosphy of Bernstein and Riding and Graves, what they say about poetry applies equally to all language) may never be about things, it sure does help in the language loop (besides the fact that Bernstein et al are speaking in the Swiss, French tradition, not the Anglo tradition).
WC Williams, for instance, a writer surely of dead proportions- NO THOUGHTS BUT IN THINGS- god what an idiot, was a doctor and it certainly helped to have words refer to body parts and not just be sprung newly minted creatures in themselves on pages, else he wouldn't have been able to deliver Allen Ginsberg and serve all the sick in Paterson, N.J.
All this is not exactly in keeping with Wittgenstein either is it?  A man who speaks a language knows the language- enough said.  Bernstein could learn something himself from Williams- the world is built upon these non-existent, non-referent bearing things called words.  There would be no world to be separate from words if not for words (which built the world).
Dead of not, modernist or not, obsolete or not, Pound's Metro is still the greatest haiku ever written in the English language says I.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 26, 2014, 08:26:05 AM »
The didactic (could it be?) poem by Bernstein is interesting, as is the essay by Graves and Riding, but just a few words about them.
Naturally, or unnaturally to be more accurate, language and world never meet, so it is "true" that the "ideal" modernist poem would not refer to nor need confirmation re relativity towards another world than its own.
However, the problem, at least as I see it, is that language, the new language-event, the creature in itself, however framed and referenced always will reference a world that while self-referential nevertheless refers to an image-idea of a world for which and from which it derived.  In other words, while language never reaches a referent it always has a signified, a reference to such.
So, the use of their word "subject," for instance, really means "object," doesn't it? The "dead" idea of a subject; but subject is interior? or does it mean subject as in object, that is, what something is about?
Funny, but if you read some of the poems of Riding and Graves you will find that they must- there is no other recourse in language (because it has "meaning") always mention, refer to a subject that is both in the poem and something thought of (meant- referent) outside of the poem): example, "dream" or "the world and I" or in "due form," whatever. In short, though the modernist poem may be referring to itself and language and events within the poem alone, it cannot help but, it cannot separate itself from what I take, perhaps incorrectly, as the basis of language, its reference, even if abstractly and not precisely, to things. Though each word may have only a sound mental-image and a meaning ( a reference) and no referent, nonetheless all words seem to yearn ( is that not what Riding writes in The World and I?) for such a relationship.
As to calling those who wrote high modernism, Pound for instance, writers of dead poems, if there was any fairness in the evaluation and not an attempt to usurp the time to themselves and their writing- think of pan here and how he became the devil with the advent of christianity- well, they would merely apply their own standards, as would Bernstein, and show that in Pound's/Eliot's poems, whatever the prejudice they claim existed in these poets, they would show, repeat, how the poems worked as poems only can work, that is, just the way they say they do and that these high modernists' works were new word-thought events, too,did not refer to a separate subject, etc.
As to Stevens, why yes, indeed, he makes it quite clear that human creation is not natural but brings nature to order, as in In Jar and The Idea of Order, and The Blue Guitar, et al.  But just look at those words- are they not sounds, i.e., mental-images, with reference and meaning, though lacking in a referent (an outside object; words as mere approximations always yearning for their imaginary solids).
So, interesting quotes indeed, Philip, and interesting thoughts, and thanks for that.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 24, 2014, 05:13:26 PM »
and with all due respect, perhaps I am a culture vulture and nothing more, but Anita Virgil's rules for haiku lack the substance and insight of the lineage of poets and critics since Ezra Pound's Metro and their assessment of it.
I mean if we compare the poem Virgil is offering a variation on, that is, Chiyo-ni's
things picked up
 all start to move
 low-tide beach
I think we can see that
"everyone stoops," is kind of funny and ungainly and hardly in keeping with the original.  Especially when one considers that besides bending the word "stoop" also implies a loss of dignity (it doesn't seem a well-chosen word).

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 24, 2014, 05:06:30 PM »
While there were photographers who might be called artistic before Steiglitz, I think it is historically indisputable that he was responsible for the creation of photography as a medium capable of art as much as painting and sculpture.  With the aid of Edward Steichen, they created 291, on Fifth Avenue, an art studio that contributed towards the acceptance not only of photography as a legitimate art form, but also championed the modern art movement, which was in its beginning stages. It was at 291 that the works of Picasso, Rodin, Brancusi were exhibited. It was through the offices of Steiglitz that photography and modern art gained credence in the early 20C.
As to Pound's Station of the Metro, it was no fluke. He was working on theories for imagism and vorticism and it was through, at this time,  the (perhaps poor) translations from the Chinese of Ernest Fenollosa and his work The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry that Pound came to write the poems of Cathay (which WCW called amongst the most beautiful poems every written in the English language) and his haiku- The Metro.
As to not giving proof, well, I am really much too tired to have to convince anyone of anything they won't be convinced of anyway.  Let us just say that the haiku "the apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet black bough" is so fraught with a veil of ambiguity, undecipherability, as well as clarity and precision and that that contrast is repeated incrementally and variously in the second portion of the poem, not to mention that forever after "black bough" has belonged to the man, it didn't seem necessary to have to justify the statement I made.
Actually, it was through Pound and this poem that Pound released the ideals of modernism on the world: " to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome."
The poem and its relationship to imagism inspired the writing of WC Williams, H.D., amongst others too numerous to mention.
As to the next fifty years, I think there was Paul Reps and then the Beats and after, well, that's up to you how you see it.  But, as to the use of concision and parsing of language to the bone in Metro, not to mention the absolute exquisite beauty of it and the comparison of the vague faces with fallen petals and the darkness of the station and the wet black bough, well, tell me pal what isn't there to like and what poem can you find to put up against it?
As to Basho, well, he wrote in Japanese, so as to whether his poems were equivalently beautiful is beyond my ability to say, as I do not read Japanese.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 24, 2014, 11:34:33 AM »
Just a short note without gloss:
when a poet, writing in whatever form or genre (hey, wait, I thought the idea of genre had been dispensed with decades ago {which would make this whole section obsolete} uses words and images that are so distinct and cannot be used again without recall of the original - BLACK BOUGH -  for instance, you know something is going on there.  I mean what else do we see when we look at trees in rain and snow and and and Black Boughs and u can't use the phrase and you can't find a suitable substitute.
So much like Williams's "glazed with rain water." Such a line will always be at your tongue in your hand at your penpoint and you can't use it it belongs to someone else already.  That's poetry.
And for those with the temerity to have claimed that Williams's first line "so much depends" was dispensible ought to go back to school or else study or read a bit deeper.  The whole fucking poem depends on depends.
Much as "there was a jar in Tennessee" by Wallace Stevens.

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 24, 2014, 11:22:02 AM »
Thank you, Gary, for your comments and salvation.
As to photography being around much longer than haiku, it's not quite accurate.
If we recognize Alfred Steiglitz as the man most influential in admitting photography into the modern art world, we can see some of his early "art" photography beginning around 1894.
Pound's Station of the Metro was published in 1913. Not that great a difference in time from 1894.
And, I would say, without proof, that Pound's poem Metro remains and probably will always remain the greatest English language haiku written. 
As to haiku being a religion- something taken up by others and kicked into infinity- I can only say God help us. It seems to come mostly from non-Orientals, that is, those whose religious background comes from the monotheistic religions, because with their statements come a lot of sound and fury and in the East, well, the Dao doesn't care.
Anyway, thanks bro.  I still write haiku occassionally and enjoy doing so.  Why not?

Field Notes / Re: Field Notes 5: Criticism
« on: February 24, 2014, 07:08:54 AM »
I hope this last post of mine is not the kiss of death.
I say this, not as wish-fulfillment-but as my experience has been that whenever I say something it ends up being the end of the long line of thoughts that preceded it.
I hope that is not the case.

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