22 October 2009: The following essay on d. a. levy (from #574) is either a review I wrote for the May 1992 issue of Small Press Review (my copy of which I seem to have lost) or an expansion of it I later did. Whichever, I think I did a pretty good job on it, although no levy scholar has paid any attention whatever to it:
In #575, I passed on an anouncement P. R. Primeau and Geof Huth had posted for an anthology called The Ghetto of Concretism devoted to concrete poetry of the strictest sort--nothing but textual symbols, for instance. I don't know what came of this project or whether I submitted anything to it. Geof, like me, is great at coming up with project ideas like this that don't go far.
After an entry in which I posted Klee's The Villa R and boilerplated on and on about what kind of work it was, I reported in #577, that my Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defined "eme" as "significantly distinctive unit of language structure." Ergo, all the "eme" neologisms I'd recently come up with ("texteme," for instance, for "unit of language structure having to do with textual material") were as clear and reasonable as such words can be!
This led to the following list of coinages in #577 through #580 (inspired by "morpheme" and "grapheme"):
"techneme" for technical term having to do with language.
"denoteme" for verbal element that denotes.
"connoteme" for verbal element that denotes. (Yes, one word can be two or more emes.)
"rhetoriceme" (soft c) for rhetorical element.
"paralleleme" for verbal element that is part of a parallelism.
"poetreme" for unit of poetry.
"repeneme" (an old one) for repeated textual element--such as the alliterative l in the text, "loony lout."
Eventually, the list changed to one concern with varieties of schemes present in poems:
"poetic scheme" for any possible way a poem can be shaped as a scheme consisting of the units defining the shape--e.g., rhyme scheme. A texteme scheme will use x's or the equivalent to show where each texteme in a poem is. Or x's and X's, to indicate size. A linguexpressive poem's texteme scheme would be its overall abstract shape. A poem in general's "aestheme" scheme would be its overall abstract shape. Right now it seems to me that the only other consequential schemes linguexpressive poetry uses are repeneme schemes. Visimagistic schemes, color schemes and the like would come into play in visual poetry, and musical schemes for sound poetry, and so forth.
I decided that now that I had the terms, "poetic scheme," and "poetreme," I could get around the form/content problem by stating, simply, that every poem consists of just two fundamental things: poetic schemes and poetremes.
All these term will make more sense when I get around to making an essay of the material in #558 through #568 and #571 through #573. Note: I do believe I have more than I need--and that one or more may be ridiculous.
23 October 2009: Last night I had another of my moments of Important Versophical Insight. It came upon me that aesthetic pleasure, while necessarily sensory pleasure, could also (but needn't) be narrative and/or conceptual pleasure. A work of art may also give an engagent moral pleasure, but it needn't, and I claim that such pleasure is different from aesthetic pleasure. Indeed, if the moral effect of a work purported to be an artwork is greater than its aesthetic effect, it cannot be called an artwork but must be called a work of advocature--because its main function will be to persuade rather than to delight.
As always, I am bemused by how brilliant I consider a thought of mine--and at the same time embarrassedly wonder why it took me so long (decades) to come up with so banal and obvious a one.
(I hope Karl Kempton, who criticized me for excessive use of neologies in my discussion of aesthetics reads this and sees that while I could have called "sensory, narrative and conceptual pleasure" "initiaceptual, sagaceptual and reducticeptual pleasure," to connect it to my theory of psychology, I didn't. "Narrative pleasure," by the way, is simply the pleasure stories of people, or animals or things acting like people, as they pursue some goal and succeed or fail to attain it. "Conceptual pleasure" is the pleasure pure ideas can give one, and pure design.
Now, back to my still ongoing project to #583 for "paramorpheme," meaning "textual element other than morpheme, such as a punctuation mark, to add the list of "eme" words I expect all my visitors to have copied.
Next, the following piece, which is by Nico Vassilakis, was in two of my entries, #581 and #582:
In #584 I observed, unbrilliantly but correctly, that the (necessary) jargon or any original verosophical undertaking should be introduced gradually. In my next entry I showcased Andrew Russ's most excellent
then an entry trivial even for me on terminology followed by one where I cross swords with Marcus Bales again--actually, it was more Kaz Maslanka crossing swords with him on my behalf at New-Poetry, for Marcus was attacking my math poetry.
In #588 I discussed my struggle to find a term meaning, "text that has been poetically misspelled," finally coming up with "errographism"--"air RAH gruh FIZ 'm." I reported that I'd changed the remainder of my division of poetry by metaphor to "forsythia" in #589, and noted that a selection of my Poem poems Mary Veazey had posted at her Sticks site had gotten a nicely favorable (and, I thought, intelligent) review from Particle in Light. Finally, in #590, I wrote scornfully of a statement of Pound's, "Take a man's mind off the human value of the poem he is reading (and in this case the human value is the art value), switch it on to some question of grammar and you begin his dehumanization." Jeff Newberry had posted it at New-Poetry, asking us to guess who wrote it. I didn't know, and was very disappointed to find out Pound had said it, but opined that it probably made more sense in context than it did by itself, and that although Pound said a lot of stupid things, I still considered him one of the very few people every who had written intelligently about poetry.
24 October 2009: My next set of ten entries began with one reporting that I'd returned to my "Arithmepoetic Analysis of Color" sequence to good effect, determining all the terms of one (the division of orange), and a good half of the terms of the second (the division of green). That was slightly more than four years ago, but I haven't yet even begun to finish either of these. Typically. I added a few further comments on the unfinished pieces in my next entry, along with an epigram of sorts: "Give me a religion in which reverence is mandatory, kneeling forbidden."
In the next entry, #593, I said I believed many of my most important life-moments have occurred when I've been in books. I would now amend that to "Many of my most important and happiest moments have occurred when I've been in a work of literature, someone else's or my own." Many of my other hapiest and important moments have occurred when I've been in some other form of art. In other words, I was meant for a kind of sub-life, not life. I have a few happy, important moments in real life, too--but not many.
#594 has some works by Tommaso Marinetti I stole from a website I was directed to by Karl Kempton. It would seem that Marinetti was as important for the introduction of modern visual poetry as Apollinaire, but coming out of visual rather than verbal art. (Note, running into Karl's name in this entry reminded me of how valuable a follower of my blog he's been over its five plus years--however upset with each other we've sometimes been.)
In my next entry I posted a 1914 piece by another Futurist, Carlo Carra:
Carra is someone I hadn't heard of, or had heard of but forgotten. Great piece, although it seems to me a textual visimage rather than a visual poem. Words, yes--but no genuine verbality.
I seem at the time of these entries, September 2005, to have begun work on a serious essay on Cummings--which I discussed a bit in #596, mentioning the "mimeostream" as where the influence of Cummings has been most decisive, albeit not as acknowledged as it should be.
I featured Eustorg de Beaulieu’s pattern poem, “Gloire à dieu seul” (1537), in my next blog, stealing it and some cogent remarks on it from Geof Huth's blog. I sketched my impression that pattern poems like de Beaulieu's were not concrete poems because significantly more literary than concrete poems. I quoted Karl's disagreement with what he thought me to be saying in #598, clarifying my stand to the observation that classical concrete poems like Gomringer's "Silence," almost never contain textual elements which, by themselves, would add up to anything close to a poem, and therefore seem significantly different from classical pattern poems like George Herbert's "Altar," which contain textual elements that, by themselves, almost always add up to full-scale poems. Even de Beaulieu's is a full sentence, "Glory (be) to God alone," which makes it linguistically larger than any concrete poem I can think of, offhand. But I suspect Karl misread me to be saying pattern poems weren't visual poems, which I was not.
In #598 I also returned to my Cummings essay, posting what I said about stasguards' opinion of Cummings's influence, to wit: "As for Collins, Kenner and the other mainstream poets and critics, and professors who have rated Cummings uninfluential, I think their condition due in good part simply to their lack of sympathy for his poetry. Many academics are bothered by his romantic individualism, frequent sentimentality, and--to them--narrow interests (in spring, stars and flowers, for instance). They tend also to be too verbal to appreciate the visual aspects of his poetry, and too techniphobic to have much interest in the nuts and bolts of poetry beyond such long-familiar nuts and bolts as rhyme and meter.
"Even were mainstreamers capable of sympathy for Cummings's work, though, they would have trouble tracing its influence on contemporary poetry (because of their ignorance of the mimeostream)."
I'm now going to re-post the chapter from my Of Manywhere-at-Once that dealt with my theory of aesthetics in my ridiculously continuing hope that someone intelligent will see it and take it seriously enough to discuss it with me:
This set of ten entries from the past ended with one devoted to Richard Kostelanetz's fascinating mathematical (but not visual) poem below:
25 October 2009: The following poem, which I had in #601, having returned to my Cummings essay, seems to me about as good as a poem can be:
Another semi-amazing math poem (if that indeed is what it is, and I think it is) by Richard Kostelanetz took up most of #602:
In #603 I posted a quotation from Charles Olson that indicated he had read and made a fairly close study of E. E. Cummings, which for me was good evidence that he was influenced by Cummings, as I have always been claimed, without convincing any language poet, so far as I know. I had the following in both #604 and #605, with a few comments on why I thought it under the influence (in part) of Cummings:
In #607 I floated a few inconsequential ideas about poetic influence and originality, then displayed a poem by Stephen-Paul Martin that I think was a descendent of Cummings's poetry in #608 and made some minor comments in #609 on the correct classification of a work by Karl Young next. Then in #610 came:
which is a poem of mine whose final point I no longer understand. When I composed it, I thought the zero to the power of zero which made it equal one in the final instance of "poem" was brilliant, but it now makes no sense at all to me. That happens quite a bit with me, sometimes because of a short circuit while composing a poem that makes me think it super, sometimes a later short circuit that prevents me from understanding a brilliance actually there. I'm pretty sure it's the former in this case.
26 October 2009: At eleven this morning, a little over three hours from now, I'll be in a hospital awaiting minor surgery on my urinary bladder. Chances are good that'll I'll be back home by five or six. I don't feel much like writing a real entry now, though, and doubt I will if I'm back this evening. I have to ride to a supermarket for milk before going to the hospital, too. So this will be it for this entry.
27October 2009: Well, luck wasn't with me at the hospital: I had to spend the night there. Not only that: I'll be wearing a Foley catheter for a week, and am forbidden tennis for two weeks. I'm also Very Tired. But the surgery went well, there was just more scar tissue to slice out of me than the surgeon thought there would be. And I'm home now. I'm not up to saying more here than this, though. Tomorrow I should be.