Surrealist Doodle

Surrealist Doodle
This was used as the cover of Karawane in 2006 and I have included it in on a number of bags and postcards over the years. Someone on the subway asked me if it was a Miro. I was very flattered!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Thought Language Language Thought Thought Thought Language Language Thought Writing

Week 11 - Language and Writing


It is impossible, or nearly impossible, for me at least, to talk about writing without talking about language. The two for me go hand-in-hand. I think of language as the atoms of writing.


After at least a century of searching actively for a revolutionary function of poetry, (why) have we given up? (why) have we abandoned the incomplete experiments of the past? Where and how can poetry function uniquely, in other words, what are the unique functions of poetry, as a revolutionary practice? I prefer instead to think of the avant garde as the “first wave,” the ground work of consciousness, preparing the field. The change of consciousness, overused and virtually emptied of meaning as that idea may have become, is what necessarily must predate genuine social change. It is not up to poets (or even activists, politicians or “leaders”) to proscribe where that change needs to go, but to empower the imaginations around us to imagine something new, to dream our way out of the current world, which works only for a very few people.


To restructure language is to restructure thought, to restructure possibilities. To scramble, if not permanently, which is impractical and will not lead to the world we want, but temporarily, the world as we (think) we know it, the language that binds us to the now, to put new ideas, new juxtapositions into play, new planets into orbit. This is the revolutionary work of the poet.


To. . . . . remake . . . . . language. . . . . to . . . . find. . . . . .new
. .. .creative . . . . .imagistic . . . . .practices . . . . . of language
. . . . is to make . . . . . .resistance . . . possible . . . . . . to move us
. . . . . . toward our vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . to have visions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . never . . . before . . . . possible


I am talking here about a language that speaks outside of the dominant discourse, whether racialized, patriarchal, class-based, etc., an un-discourses or non-discourse, a paradiscourse, that brings with it the chance to step outside, run alongside, that does not attempt to use the tools of power that already exist, but to forge new tools that could create new structures, new edifices not previously imagined. The techne, the tool, in many ways prescribes what can be built. We know that with new technology new ways of thinking emerge.  So why would we not want new mental and imaginative linguistic tools of our own?  As Sol Lewitt says, “rational thoughts repeat rational thoughts.” The way we think perpetuates itself, we continue to think only in the ways we've always thought.  I'm not looking then for a feminine language per se, except insofar as it might offer a resistive language, a paralanguage that we can frolic in and search for something unknown, a Dada language a non-sense that leads to sense a zaum a de-formed formalism that will birth new forms. 

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