Posts Tagged ‘power’

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.

Henry David Thoreau was born on this date in 1817, so it seems worth mentioning you can read his truly wonderful book, Walden, beautifully formatted and annotated, for free. You can also download Walden as an audiobook for free here.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” –from Walden

In a better world, we would all read Walden (and Civil Disobedience!) pretty damn often.

Excellent essay in the Poetry Foundation‘s Harriet blog about poetic fashions: why some are in, why some are out, and why some are permanently out in the great Fashion Show that is Po-Biz. Click here.


  • To be in fashion, a poet must not only write good poems, “but keep up appearances”
  • During a poet’s lifetime, fashion depends on his or her “relationship to literary power”


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

Photograph of Cory Doctorow

Nice article here by Cory Doctorow on copyright, “copyleft,” Creative Commons, etc. arrangements for artists and writers.

Takeaways: 1) No matter what you do, you probably won’t make any money (sigh); 2) Oddly enough, giving it away free may help; 3) Giving it away free means you can keep giving it away free (no corporate mega-giant evil-thing can ever restrict yr rights).

Well worth reading. Recommended.

Creative Commons goodness here.

How does artistic innovation happen? A good  guess is that it happens the way most innovation happens, from within what cognitive anthropologists Jean Lave and Etienne Wegner call “communities of practice.” That is, innovation may not be due to the isolated Rodinesque savant, but to changes in the concepts shared by the ad hoc, marginal, often fugitive groups to which the artist belongs. The group in effect shares a fantasy about how art works and then experiments on the basis of that fantasy. Power scoffs at these trivialities, of course, but in truth Art’s little riverings outlast Power’s monuments.