Posts Tagged ‘class struggle’

Excellent article in the New York Review of Books by Michael Kimmelman on Gertrude Stein and her brothers, Leo and Michael. Kimmelman explores, among other topics,  Stein’s puzzling support of  Fascism.

“What might be called the inherent narcissism of modernist abstraction, with its inward-turning focus on its own formal means and devices, its willful divorce from the sort of close social observation and proletarian politics that caused writers like Dreiser, Zola, and Sinclair Lewis to be tarred as anti-modernists, is not incompatible with the clean-sweep radicalism promised by fascism… (nor) with the notion of a centralized, supreme… authority.”

Recommended.

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Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg’s office tweeted that materials seized from the Occupy Wall Street Library were safely in storage at a sanitation facility ready to be picked up. Today, intrepid OWS librarians made the trek to the Sanitation Facility only to find a just a fraction of the library materials intact and available. Missing, and presumably destroyed: thousands of books, laptops, wifi devices, stamps, tables and shelves, archival materials, personal belongings and much more. More on this story, including pictures, here. What comes next? Dunno, but never underestimate librarians.

The New York Police Department, under the direction of Michael Bloomberg, razed the New York Occupy Wall Street site last night. Part of their work was to demolish the OWS Library and to throw away more than 5,000 donated books and many records that might have made up a valuable cultural archive. Corey Doctorow writes about the raid here. Galley Cat has more news here. More than 150 people were arrested. OWS librarians state that books and other records were destroyed before they were thrown into dump trucks. A sad day. But online OWS-related libraries are springing up. See a list here. Presumably, these libraries, because they are online, cannot be raided and destroyed.

Poet and professor Dean Rader has begun curating a very interesting forum in the public uses of poetry, 99 Poems for the 99 percent, which will run 99 poems “that address the social, political, economic, aesthetic, and cultural realities of the 99 percent” in 99 days. So far, the site includes poems by Bob Hickok, Rachel Loden, Dana Levin, Derek Mong and Matthew Zapruder. The poems are good, with more to come, but what interests me is Rader’s cr-aa-aa-zy notion that poetry, of all things, might have some legitimate use in the public sphere. Now that’s a radical idea. Go, Dean! Highly recommended.

Lament of the Frontier Guard

By the North Gate, the wind blows full of sand,

Lonely from the beginning of time until now!

Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn.

I climb the towers and towers

to watch out the barbarous land:

Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert.

There is no wall left to this village.

Bones white with a thousand frosts,

High heaps, covered with trees and grass;

Who brought this to pass?

Who has brought the flaming imperial anger?

Who has brought the army with drums and with kettle-drums?

Barbarous kings.

A gracious spring, turned to blood-ravenous autumn,

A turmoil of wars – men, spread over the middle kingdom,

Three hundred and sixty thousand,

And sorrow, sorrow like rain.

Sorrow to go, and sorrow, sorrow returning,

Desolate, desolate fields,

And no children of warfare upon them,

No longer the men for offence and defence.

Ah, how shall you know the dreary sorrow at the North Gate,

With Rihoku’s name forgotten,

And we guardsmen fed to the tigers.

— translated by Ezra Pound

What to do once you’re laid off… Hmm…  Maybe explore a new career as a hit man? Here’s a link to the very best corporate-castoff-killer book:  Donald Westlake‘s bitterly hilarious thriller, The Ax. And since you now have plenty of time to read, you  can also check out Iain Levinson’s  Since the Layoffs.

Think that out-and-out vagrancy is where we’re headed? Then revisit Steinbeck‘s The Grapes of Wrath, or maybe pick up  dumpster-diving tips from Lars Eigner’s classic memoir, Travels with Lisbeth.

Done with fiction? Settling in for the long decline?  Here’s the book for you: Capital.

First World Mofo Poets

Posted: Sunday, October 3, 2010 in Commonplace Book, Poetry
Tags: , ,

“Do quiet ruminations on “what is” provide a spiritual pit stop for readers? Today I think that’s a palliative we rich 1st world mofo poets tell ourselves. Our embarrassment of riches makes us pregnant with the lives of others, and it’s a dang heavy belly.”
— Farid Matuk