Thursday, August 27, 2009

Charles Bernstein on "disjuncture"

From My Way: Speeches and Poems:

(I like the idea of semi-autonomy as opposed to disjuncture. The paragraphs can't really stand alone. They're dependent on what comes before and after. But, still, they have some qualities of autonomy or completeness. A bit like you and me after all.) ...

Of course, I'm not scanning a single discrete object or scene. But the idea of torquing or twisting or permuting or turning or curving of angles or points of view gives you some idea of the prose prosody I'm proposing.
Now a turn or curve--that's not disjuncture. The elements are related. It's not collage.--You're driving down the street and you take a right turn. You feel the turning, the contingency of the connection as you switch directions. Or you could drive into a traffic circle and come back to where you were. You're going down the road and hit a traffic circle and loop back around to the road you were just on, except, looking at it from the other direction, it doesn't seem the same, as if it ever could. I retrace my steps to where I started, and then I realize that the essay must over.
So that's different from the rupture of radical or extrinsic parataxis, which provides a different kind of modulation, contour, and discontinuity. The relation between paragraphs is more about continuity than discontinuity but it allows a shift in its path while still continuing on, still relating to what happened before.

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