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The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Hey digital sailors…

The Electronic Literature Organization is proud to announce the ”The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature” and “The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature.” Below is information including guidelines for submissions for each.

http://eliterature.org/2014/04/announcing-elo-prizes-for-best-literary-and-critical-works/

“The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature”

“The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature” is an award given for the best work of criticism, of any length, on the topic of electronic literature. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation from N. Katherine Hayles and others, this $1000 annual prize aims to recognize excellence in the field.

The prize comes with a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement, and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level.

Timeline
Call for Nominations: April 15-May 10
Jury Deliberations: May 15-June 10
Award Announcement: ELO Conference Banquet

For more information, contact Dr. Dene Grigar, President, Electronic Literature Organization.

“The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature”

“The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature” is an award given for the best work of electronic literature of any length or genre. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation from supporters and members of the ELO, this $1000 annual prize aims to recognize creative excellence.

The prize comes with a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement, and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level.

Timeline
Call for Nominations: April 19-May 10
Jury Deliberations: May 15-June 10
Award Announcement: ELO Conference Banquet

For more information, contact Dr. Dene Grigar, President, Electronic Literature Organization. dgrigar@mac.com

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Published May 02, 2014 - Comments Off

Cannulated Screw

Reappearing from one of the more recent issues, Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel’s “Cannulated Screw” is unique to the Vintage DB series as the first non-fiction selection to be featured. This short but captivating piece was first published in DB 15, Spring 2012.

Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel’s most recent essay, “Liberace and the Ash Tree,” will be in the spring issue of the Iowa Review. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Whitman College. Visit her blog at kishalewellynschlegel.blogspot.com

Click to enjoy “Cannulated Screw”

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Published May 01, 2014 - Comments Off

 

SILENCIO

 

In a 2012 interview with Fact Magazine, Konrad Becker says that: “The passive consumer’s musical hell is heaven for the active listener. For me it is more about learning to listen… and for instance to explore the sound of the city… At the same time repetition is the key to an active listener experience. Even if you play the same thing twice, it will never be the same. If you play it a hundred times it will be different a hundred times. Same with repeating a word many times: you start to hear ‘other’ words instead. A verbal transformation related to what is called ‘semantic satiation’. The language code loses its meaning and a new meaning emerges.”

 

Listening to Becker’s music recorded under the name Monoton, particularly to his 1982 release Monotonprodukt07, it’s easy to understand the importance of active listening.

 

 

The music is insistently repetitive, but it’s subtle, the melodies elusive and at times opaque. It’s music whose immediacy disguises an attention to nuance that underlay the songs’ construction. All of which makes for really interesting listening—partially because it’s accessible and likable stuff, partially because it’s smart and expansive. Still, it relies on active listening—listening as a deliberate act, as an embodiment of presence, as an attuned attention to. This attention to is also important because it ties together the experience of listening inwardly to the self and its responses to its environment, and simultaneously listening outwardly to the environment in which the self resides. In this, listening becomes somatic and experiential.

 

This isn’t too far off from Pauline Oliveros’ notion of ‘Deep Listening,’ which she describes as “listening in every possible way to everything possible to hear no matter what you are doing… Deep Listening represents a heightened state of awareness and connects to all that there is.” She also writes that “Deep Listening is active.” She writes about this with a lot of depth in her essay “Quantum Listening: From Practice to Theory (To Practise Practice).”

 

 

The idea can probably be most easily (and audibly) understood in her 1988 recording with Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis titled (guess what): Deep Listening. In this recording, each of the musicians traveled to the state of Washington, and climbed 14 feet below the surface of the earth into an old military store hold for millions of gallons of water: the Fort Worden cistern. What’s unique about this space is its super-long reverberation time, which gives each of these musicians a chance to easily compose and improvise via reverberative response and communication, with lots of easily apparent feedback on the notes one plays. It’s not a space where you’d play a ton of super fast notes though—each of the notes by necessity needs to be held, sustained, and drawn out into an expansive drone that’s often as meditative as it is ‘beautiful.’ I’ve been listening to this recording, and sitting with Oliveros’ ideas, for about 15 years now, and it’s seeped so much into my own thinking about poetics and music that it’s become that much harder for me to describe its [personal] importance.

 

 

This piece is maybe the most passive, among the others in the recording. I say ‘passive’ because the performance seems subdued, even though it’s still an extended and active improvisation in that space. But it’s the space I notice most in this particular piece. Other pieces on the recording are often dedicated to generating overt, assertive tones in connection with the space, foregrounding drone. Still others make much of tactile ‘non-musical’ noises in the space. The drones in this piece stay subtle, deferent.

 

Oliveros’ ideas all stem from a moment she first used a tape recorder to record the sounds in her bedroom once when she turned 21. She remembers this moment she listened back to the recording and first heard the environmental sounds she hadn’t noticed before: “I said to myself then and there: ‘Listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening.’” This now well-known statement has since been the foundation of her musical practice, and has influenced listening-based practice now for decades.

 

There’s a strong connection between Oliveros’ ideas and those of the so-called ‘onkyokei’ group of musicians performing in Tokyo around the beginning of the 21st Century. A loosely-gathered bunch who got together at the now-defunct space Off Site, the genre’s improvised performance style relies as much on attention to the environment around them as it does to what’s actively being performed. In her essay “Disciplined Listening,” Lorraine Plourde says that “[onkyokei] has been explained by musicians and music critics in Japan as a style in which the primary emphasis has shifted from producing or performing sound, to that of concentrated and attentive listening (mimi wo sumasu).”

 

One of the driving forces behind onkyokei at Off Site was Taku Sugimoto, whose own aesthetic within the confines of onkyokei performances might be summed up by his simple question “[d]o you think that the mysterious relationship between sounds and silence could possibly give us a new scope for the imperceptible world?”

 

 

By some onkyokei standards, this piece from his Opposite record is downright aggressive, but it’s still subdued to the point of near-silence though—which is of course the point. The simultaneous attention to silence and to the environment in which the piece is being performed makes for a specialized performance of an attention to, with both the performed clusters of sound and the place of performance becoming contiguous, integral parts of the piece, and with each being an extension of the other.

 

What connects each of the onkyokei musicians to the others I’m writing about here is their definitively minimalist approach and style. For all of the musicians, an attention to is what marks their practice: an explicitly active approach to listening as an active part of composition and performance.

 

 

. . .

 

Here’s where I point to work by a handful of poets whose writing I associate with these musical ideas in some way—either by thinking of their work as sonic clusters of sound (or text), as a connection between self and spatial relationships, as repetitive and meditative gesture, or as a form of somatic, yet minimalist presence.

 

 

Isabelle Garron, from Face Before Against (tr. Sarah Riggs) :

 

 

enter in

the station

/

 

“twice

attempt

the parallel”

 

(94)

 

 

 

will be

here-hers

plus one

 

at the modal imprecation

came to suspend

. and against which

 

 

(63)

 

 

 

. bitter night             in the black

—reversed            or the whiteness

of your oval / sliced

 

(195)

 

 

. . .

 

 

 

Myung Mi Kim, from Dura :

 

 

Before the Pacific is an ocean placed

 

 

Wrought holes at even paces

 

 

Call ancestry lost

 

 

Collapse and valence

 

 

Brevity and gesture

 

 

House with rooms cut of various sizes

 

 

An America as big as it is

 

(42)

 

 

 

Extract salt from brine

 

Dig black stone from veins

 

 

 

:            Baked clay blocks, water clocks

 

:            A rake for covering seeds

 

 

 

Slope of the street graded to the height of the arch

 

No fewer than a thousand carriages loaded with silk

 

(24)

 

 

. . .

 

 

Leslie Scalapino, from New Time :

 

 

Their going into houses killing

is the fact—

the fact is delicate—in the existence even

 

(26)

 

 

can’t be a form, which would be as: wanting to be liked

 

there are only people

as: on the brown night

 

(43)

 

 

black half circle that isn’t dawn

even, that’s there—only, no night

 

waking. town-specks in a blackness, that’s barely at the rim as

one is flying of sky (which is above—dawn’s above)

—flying in a base which is none of the black.

 

(63)

 

 

. . .

 

 

Claude Royet-Journoud, from Four Elemental Bodies (tr. Keith Waldrop) :

 

 

the noises are not distributed

they belong

 

(210)

 

 

 

first crossing.

the outside,

thought went through the roles.

 

(102)

 

 

 

passage—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the idea of place

well or a look around

 

(57)

 

 

. . .

 

On the eve of this blog post’s publication, a poet friend (thank you Lou!) emailed to let me know about a recording of a piece of music by minimalism’s great unknown composer: Dennis Johnson. I don’t have the space to write about the history of November here, but you can read about it here. And to know that this was the piece that influenced La Monte Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano, pretty much seals the deal, making it one of minimalism’s most significant works.

 

Also, the piece a breathtakingly beautiful and essential listening—all 5 hours of it.

 

- DAVID JAMES MILLER

David James Miller is a poet, musician, and educator. He is the author of the chapbook Facts & Other Objects (JR Vansant), and his writing may also be found in Otoliths, elimae, Diagram, The Cultural Society, and elsewhere. He writes from New Haven, CT, where he lives with his wife and children.

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Published Apr 29, 2014 - Comments Off

Just finished Peter Sloterdijk’s Nietzsche Apostle (semiotext(e) 2013): some sparkling reflections on fascism qua “event-culture of resentment” perfectly applicable to today’s American right wing. 1/2way through his massive You must change your life (polity press, 2013): head-scratchingly spell-binding. Started Zoë Skoulding’s Contemporary Women’s Poetry and Urban Space (palgrave macmillan 2013) — excellent meditation on polis in Notley, Samuels, Moure, Robertson & the to me unknown Agnès Lehóczky. Poetry Night Table: Pessoa’s The Transformation Book (Contra Mundum Press 2014) a delirious delight, & friend Nico Helminger’s Abrasch (Editions PHI 2014): a superb multi-lingual Luxembourg poet who needs translation into English.

 

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Published Apr 29, 2014 - Comments Off

Richard Koenig’s series of photographs entitled “Inserts” are the star of the Vintage Drunken Boat series this week. Originally published in DB 2 Winter/Spring 2001, these photographs all have an intriguing photo-in-photo element in common. Take a moment to give this beautiful, thought-provoking series the second glance it deserves.

Richard Koenig is a professor of art and photography at Kalamazoo College in Michigan since 1998 and has had his photography displayed in numerous galleries and exhibitions. This year his pieces have already appeared in both Lens 2014 in Illinois and Imagined Realities in Vermont. For more information about his work, visit his website.

Click to check out “Inserts”

 

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Published Apr 24, 2014 - Comments Off

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