2.13.2004

two early responses to Paul Lake's poetry & science essays at CPR

a bit of back story: I feel it is outrageous how this neocon review of poetry has featured mostly male poets and reviewers

I have applied to review several times -- Garrick usually askes for sample after sample, more than five, and then claims to lose them, or just doesn't reply

while Dana Gioia claims he is politically liberal because he protested the Vietnam War and reads Weldon Kees, there are a few neoformalists who admit they are politically conservative, among them Paul Lake

there is an odd way that Lake has totally ignored all early 20th century pacifism (ie, DaDa), all feminist movements in Europe and North America in the 20th Century, all criticism and science in the first three years of the new century, and the entire history of technology / applied science in order to make his argument... this is in line with the new mission statement of CPR, which associates little magazines with modernism (not, for example, pound's "verse that print bred" but "unpopular" "little" magazines

"originally conceived to publish the difficult art of the Modernists... ended up making literature itself inaccessible."

[there are some strange echoes of Kirby Olson as well! for example that there are no feminist thinkers post-1950 / Simone de Bouvier, or that her book is necessarily the only and most central one -- at least he has that --]

This is a stealth blog since I don't spend time on it and stopped using swquakbox.

I've corresponded with Paul Lake about poetry and science, and I do remember checking his books from the library -- I'm really about poetry, technology, math & logic, never pursued study of hard science, and have no graduate education in tech. My expansive poetry / neoformalist cred comes from I think going to too many readings at the Nicholas Roerich Museum (around the corner where I lived for a time) for the wine & cheese, paintings along the lines of Stanton Macdonald-Wright later synchromist Buddhist style, and Roerich's early set designs, even before Dana Gioia took it over.

I'm going to be in Chicago at AWP on two panels, one on reviewing (the panel I designed), and one as a last minute substitution for someone on the ELO new media panel. I think the guy who founded it.

Oddly, N. Katherine Hayles, who took over the ELO, also assumed control of the reading series I was running at the UCLA Hammer museum, at least for this school year.

There are some strange things about the review, as you know, the focus on fiction, focus on the early 17th century and late 20th century science but not recent science, no technology, and only poetry from the early 20th century.

For me, tehnology has very little to do with science, but it is the theory -- mostly of mathematics and physics -- and the applications of that theory -- mostly in technology, which is more important to writing than the much-ballyhooed documented results of experimentation according to the "scientific method." Thus, I am more interested in the history of ideas, for example, than the history of technology -- of use of those ideas, but I am very very interested in all sorts of applications of ideas, too, including those in the writing / technology nexus.





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