RE: [-empyre-] on electronic poetry

> I find this fine line between public relations and criticism very
> difficult to distinguish most of the time - particularly in the
> academic environment where everything revolves around self promotion.
> [have you been on a selection panel recently? or a publishers review panel?]

i agree it is a problematical distinction. and not only because of issues of self promotion but
of genre promotion or x promotion, perhaps. 'promotion' involves elevating one thing over
another. that may or may not be the point of many arty arguments, but usually the interesting
stuff is in the insight (if it exists) that precedes the motion, if it is something apart from
rhetoric to justify the (pro)motion.

the return to rhetoric--implicit in media such as email lists--(discussed by people such as
Richard Lanham) has many positive aspects, but one of the negative aspects is that the art of
persuasion is not exactly dominated by cogent, perspicacious, conscientious argumentation.

> It seems that the form of distribution is then critical to our
> understanding of writing and forms a greater part of our experience.
> ie. is a hypertext only possible preformed? or is it 'randomly'
> connecting events and ideas as we navigate ourselves?

my first acquaintance with working with the random came in radio, cutting up tape, and reading
ws burroughs. prior to these experiences, i would have argued against the possibility of
anything but nonsense being possible from such experiments. ws burroughs used it as a way to
'cut the tape loops in his own head', his own preconceptions about writing and literature and
poetry and story etc etc. and he noted that he and brion gysin were really only applying a
technique to writing that had been used in painting for fifty years (his book 'The Job' is
pretty interesting in its discussion of randomness, among other things).

but that doesn't reply to your question. of course one doesn't have 'the answer'. works that
involve some random aspect, well, consider the notion of a 'combinatorium'. a combinatorium
consists of all the possible points you can navigate to and all the possible ways you can get to
all the possible points. that is, in a sense, the 'space' of the piece. if the space is
sufficiently large, it is almost certain that the author will not have travelled all the routes.
but we are encouraged to get a sense of the space, the combinatorium, to feel out that space and
its drift. not by travelling every route (usually), but in a manner similar to how we discover
other types of spaces, like a landscape in a hike.

> >the works themselves will probably not survive. mine or many
> >others', particularly given that
> >they are exe's or read by other exe's. a lifetime of work can
> >eventually boil down to changes in
> >how people think of a word like 'poetry' (and its relations to other
> >words like 'art').
> well to quote Tom Waits [roughly] "we are all gonna be dirt in the ground"
> I think it's more about  the experience of getting there... the small
> moment in time...

I agree. But you asked what's in a word like 'poet'.


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