And: “…there’s value to playing around and seeing what I can do when I’m not trying to please. And there’s value to knowing that I’m utterly free, free as empty space, and I don’t have to be cautious, don’t have to be serious, don’t ever, ever have to be anybody else’s idea of poetry.”
- Jonathan Lethem, "The Ecstasy of Influence" (via monicawendel)
The REAL to-do list.
While I was travelling (Philadelphia—>NY—>Toronto), I fell into the habit of making diagrammatic journal entries on the iPad, through Paper. I’m currently using a cheap (but much loved) micro-fibre tipped stylus/pen, but if this continues, I might have to spring for one of those bluetooth enabled precision-tip things…
I’ve been reminded of Robert Montgomery's work today. (Thanks, Kathleenjoy). Gotta love the way work like this resurfaces through the internet feedback loop; tides of discovery that echo and rebound across the web. You discover something, file it away on your Tumblr blog or in your Pinboard account, and every now and again, someone in your network discovers it, independently, and summons it up again. I’m sure there’s an algorithm or theory that determines the proper amount of distance between nodes that codes for the best manifestation of this principle of echoed discovery. An alternative form of spaced repetition, perhaps?
I’d be really interested in doing something like this. Making poetry tangible; playing with installations, light, photography. Add to the someday/maybe file…
Having attended Nine Worlds this weekend, I should also start experimenting with sci-fi shorts. Do we still call it sci-fi, or is it all just speculative fiction now? Hm. I feel a map of should-dos coming on…
“When people say they want to “get fit”, what they mean is that they want to adapt their bodies to a…”
This. “The big question is: what are you adapting to?” All of those other changes in your life/career/output (etc) you want to manifest? What variables do you need to shape in order to adapt accordingly?
Thoughts on poetic computation and assistive technology. Taken out of context (see more thoughts on assistive technology here) but… mmmm.
"The linear nature of film means there’s little compromise, it is what it is, everyone gets the same experience (visually at least). However Google Creative Lab in Sydney have been exploring different ways of approaching the medium. Their new interactive cube lets the audience decide how a movie will unfold. By twisting and turning a handheld cork cube, viewers decide when and how to move from story to story, a different one being on each face of the cube. In a sense, they become the editors of a three-dimensional story, creating their own path and deciding their own narrative structure. (via The Cube | Google want you to become the editor of a three-dimensional story)”
And what about the future of the poetry anthology/collection? Imagine the cube as a way of interacting with a number of audio-visual poems…
“First and foremost, you do not have to live up to or emulate the lives of any of your predecessors….”
- Yuri Kochiyama - Consciousness Is Power
Pause for thought. So much of the time we have in workshops is short term, near field. There’s often a sense that there must be something demonstrable by the end of the workshop. There must be a poem. There must be some quantifiable deliverable. These are expectations that are either manifested through us (as facilitators meeting the brief/objectives defined by whoever it is that commissioned us to lead the workshop/lesson), or that we’ve internalised. After all, how else do we know that the idea or concept we were trying to encourage our students/participants to approach through whatever challenge we set them has been taken on? Nothing wrong with a bit of rigour— the challenge to turn in an initial draft in a relatively short period, particularly if it comes within a programme designed to support the development of a writing discipline. That said, different writers have differing levels of discipline— some of my recent experiments in facilitation have been around creating experiences that challenge emerging writers to do more, while at the same time trying to respect different writing practises. As Madden channels Martone in the post quoted above, the ultimate goal is that each of the writers I work with will continue to write, regardless, a long time into the future…
“There is no secret to creativity besides possessing a habitual work ethic. But damn. Sometimes, it’s…”
- From 'Pseudo-Structures' by Frank Chimero
My new sounds:
Eliezer Yudkowsky was once attacked by a Moebius strip. He beat it to death with the other side, non-violently. Inside Eliezer Yudkowsky’s pineal gland is not an immortal soul, but another brain. Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite food is printouts of Rice’s theorem. Eliezer Yudkowsky’s favorite fighting technique is a roundhouse dustspeck to the face.
Swoon. The list continues…
(Score 1 point for divergent reading)
“The point I wish to emphasize is not an economic one, but a human one: if you try to say too many…”
- George McKeown, via Memorable Meetings | Steps & Leaps
“I’m a writer, and don’t get me wrong: To publish a plain ol’ book that people actually want to read…”
Consider: as author, your creative endeavour as “generative, networked system” from whence the “book” is derived…
“None of the bones here remember what bodies they belong to. It is a hard thing to realize that each…”
- From ‘Prayer’ by Richard Jackson, via So Much Joy It Hurts
“Pretty good ideas are easy. The guts and persistence and talent to create, ship and stick it out are…”
If you follow me on any of my other various channels, you’ll know I’m currently in Philadelphia, checking in with Brave New Voices— an (THE?) annual youth poetry festival. I came over for it last year, when it was in Chicago, and although I’ve been involved in youth poetry and/or youth slam initiatives for a very long time now (15+ years? Nobody’s keeping count, right?) it was inspiring to see. I travelled back to London with a mind full of the desire to push things harder in the UK, to really make a difference… then got back into the grind and didn’t really live up to the revolutionary zeal I’d managed to muster through my travels. Sure, I manage an independent youth poetry community, I’ve inherited a spoken word education programme, I maintain a long-running poetry course at the Barbican, I mentor emerging poets, I still teach on an ad hoc basis, and I have my fingers in many more pies within the sector, but every now and then I have moments like this where I step back and ask what it’s all worth. Whether the work I’m doing is really having the impact I want it to. And: whether I’m doing a good enough job of communicating the vision and getting people on board.
For now, I’m simply celebrating the opportunity I’ve had thus far this week to gain some perspective. Soon enough, I’ll be back in grind mode, trying to maintain the balance between the 40,000 foot view and the attention to minutiae that keeps everything moving forward.