Friday, January 30, 2009

Note from the Midwest

Zack Pieper, of this band, may finally be getting a Patersong out. He writes:

"Riles and I are kicking around some Paterson ideas.
He is reading Book 1 now. He's not really familiar with
modernist poetry, but he certainly is versed in modernist
composers! We talked about what Williams might be doing in a
musical sense. His syllables fall on off-beats sometimes sometimes
not. They are sometimes "haunted" by pentameter. But so is a
lot of the best prose. I think. But they are PHRASE based, & are susceptible to
changes in texture, changes in tempo. The music's got
to serve the words in a project like this. Fit tightly.
PRECISELY BECAUSE what all those guys like Kreymborg and
Jolas and Wallace Stevens too, saw in Williams WAS
his subtelty of measure, the WAY the words really WERE
the music, they did not alude to music, nor make a
kind of formalistic PARABLE about the ideas about
music or 18th century ideas bout music and theology,

No he did not do this did he? He was (I bet) a pretty
insufferable inscruttable old prick. A safe man, a cautious
man, with a sentimentality more urbane than Whitman's.
A statesman in disguise. A Yankee Norman Rockwell doctor.
But he saw the WILDNESS underneath the bland pastoral.

Have you heard Reich's version of The Desert Music?
Not bad. But: I HATE HOW IN "Poetry/Song"explorations
the human voice is so often detached, floating above
and separate from the unpopulated dreamy or romantic
soundscape below rendering it into "atmosphere"
DEAR GOD I HATE ATMOSPHERES! I want to hear a fat magic
marker scribbling on paper, you know? kind of Alban Berg
meets Cecil Taylor, BUT with a logic that follows
the WORDS. When he gets measured, when he gets prosaic
the music does. The music dissapears inside the words.
Not vice versa."


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A House Call Brings Two Worlds Together

A colleague, Bill Seaburg, handed me a copy of House Calls with William Carlos Williams, MD without much explanation. The black and white photo on the cover (and those within) gave it the aura of an old book, as did the map of New Jersey and environs in the inside covers (no routes 78, 80, 95; airports signified by a propeller plane icon.) As one pages through, however, various anachronisms emerge: a car’s aluminum sunshade (on a blob-shaped hatchback); satellite dishes sprouting like mushrooms from siding; signs for free cellphones, pawning playstations. The back of a Tastykake van may give us the sense of old times and regional snacks, but the Butterscotch Krimpet on it can only be a product of computer design (in the foreground, a sign for “Official New Jersey Inspection Center,” hanging by two chains, is evidence of the more hand-painted artistry in past signs.) The authors have decided to hide the copyright info on the final pages (2008!), leading me to believe that this confusion was intended. Also hidden in the back is a note on the method, which is psychogeographical in spirit. The writers acquired records of addresses to which Williams made housecalls, and then took pictures of what they found there. So the gap between these two worlds, between what Williams must have seen when approaching each house and the site as it stands now, is as much the subject of this thin book, as are the poems and reflections that make up what at first seems just a simple tribute to Williams as doctor, poet, and Patersonian. Yes, Patersonian, because one of the things the book also makes clear is how much footwork this Rutherford doctor DID do in Paterson, at all hours. So hopefully, this quiet psychogeographic research project can heap a little of the deserved shame on the current citizens of Paterson who refuse to accept Williams as one of their own, even as he worked its inner chambers and touched "the secret of that form/interknit with the unfathomable ground/where we walk daily and from which/among the rest you have sprung/and opened flower-like to my hand."

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Sharp Sparkle (No Snark)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 9


Monday, January 19, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 8

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 7

Thanks Luke for letting me borrow your projector when mine died.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 6

Friday, January 16, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 5

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 4

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 3

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 2

Friday, January 09, 2009

Paterson Datum no. 1

The big question: first of all, need I belabor the following, or can I have the license to let the data speak for itself? Because, the second question, more to the point (and you've heard it before here) is whether I need to pull this whole thing together. It was Williams' problem, and I knew from the start it would end up mine as well. Would the ultimate solution be to merely let this blog trail off into data fragments without explanation, causing many new visitors to think they had happened upon some elaborate splog? Is the line between blog and splog all that clear when we are questioning the nature of the data itself, wondering, as Williams did, how to leave it the hell alone, and not constantly try to sing it into being? I keep happening upon various thises and thats on the harddrive, touches and encounters that are interesting, but unassimilable; and even the patently "uninteresting" junk snaps or aborted recordings have some interest if only because they point to the limitations of my own personal filter. So maybe I'll end up floating them more frequently. And maybe that will buy me more time to work on a larger synthesis. Which will in the end just be postponing another disintegration. Ah, the games we play.
This is a cloud in Paterson.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

unworldly love that has no hope of the world that cannot change the world to its delight

At about 22 minutes in this July 1987 class on Williams by Ginsberg, he talks about what he calls "Paterson: The Wanderer (A Rococo Study)," although in other places on the web I only see it referred to as "The Wanderer: A Rococo Study." Nevertheless, Ginsberg describes it as the early poem (1914? 1917?) that explains "how [Williams] got to be the great poet of Northern Jersey." Also in this file: Wordsworth and spots of time, Williams and Zen ordinary mind ("If you want to get high, don't; if you want to get high, get down"), Williams as super8 artist super haiku artist sound haiku artist.

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