The Ironic Midden
While in PoemTalk Rachel Blau DuPlessis brings the group's attention to this gesturing that seems to self-reference, Charles Bernstein nuances DuPlessis' (and the documentary's) interpretation with a more anti-essentialist (or anti-lyrical) reading: "[Olson] is suggesting that the I in that is the resistance to the present, the possibility of what the future could be, and also the recognition of the past. . . . He's explicitly rejecting the idea that it's about him in just some biographical sense." Later, Bob Perelman will comment upon the "ironic midden" to which the deixis of this section of Maximus ("Plus this--plus this:") contributes, undoubtedly related to Williams' "of this, make it of this, this/ this, this, this, this ."
I will be talking about this "ironic midden" and the possibility of tracing it throughout history, from Shakespeare to Ron Silliman, this week at the Motto Temporary Storefront in Brooklyn. I will be introducing my new multimedia essay on literary minutiae for Triple Canopy--"The Quiddities," in addition to other related events.