Friday, August 7, 2009

some thoughts on disjunction

Kenny Goldsmith, Anne Boyer, and Nada Gordon are talking about "disjunction".


--when I write blogs or "prose", it is when I am collaging material together the most. I write sentences and ideas as they occur to me. I stop one thought in the middle to go start another one, then stop writing that one to go finish the initial one. Then I sort of copy and paste these random thoughts together. None of my blogs show you sentences as I originally conceived of them. And this is "normal". Most people write like this (at least to some extent).

--The experience of reading my poetry, on the other hand, is so disjunct precisely because they tend to be linear representations of my writing process.

--There can ever be any poem so disjointed that it doesn't become a pattern when it is read a second time.

--I think "disjuntion" is too unspecific, especially when applied to Modernism as we often want to do. It is wrong, I think, to say that what is unique about, say, the Waste Land is that it draws upon multiple "disjunct" sources and collages them together.

I mean, this is the foundation of language, the metaphor. Take two dissimilar things and compare them for the purpose of creating more meanings.

--I seriously doubt that an given Shakespeare play draws from less disjunct sources than T.S. Eliot.

--As I'm writing this, The Waste Land seems much more like an early expression of globalization than an early expression of "disjunction".

--Modernism was not, then, the era of "disjunction". Rather, modernism expanded the repertoire of junctions that language/art/poetry is "allowed" to make.

and "changed" might actually be a better word to use than "expanded".


--What bothers me on some level about the words "junction" and "disjunction" being used to describe poetry/language/etc. is that it implies that there is some "true" or "real" fabric that is being cut up and spliced together in various ways.

It gives this idea that a collage is somewhat less of a "real thing" than the things it splices together.

As if language were "whole" before modernism.

--In my reading, what the modern/post-modern poetries do is not make language disjunct, but embrace language as disjunct.

In this sense, I don't read Kenny Goldsmith saying "disjunction is dead" as meaning that the disjunct experience of language is dead. Rather what is "dead" is the need to constantly portray language as disjunct.

--Language, whether it is in "normative syntax" or "disjunct syntax" is entirely fabricated.

--Disjunction seems to have more to do with the experience of a thing rather than with the thing's making.

________
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Modernism/postmodernism failed, on some level, to reveal language as constant disjunction.

This is seen at some level in the poetry of the American Hybrid, whose editors set up this dichotomy between pure "sense" (inhabited by the "SOQ" and "traditional" poetries) and pure "nonsense" (inhabited by "experimentalists" and langpo). By identifying a "hybrid", what really happens is that a conservative view of language/poetry tradition as a stable structure is reestablished.

And by creating such forcefully disjunct reading experiences, modernism/postmodernism actually (albeit unwittingly) enforced the idea that everything before was "whole" and "coherent".

That's not intended to be a "calling out" of modernism/postmodernism. I tend to love what I just called "forcefully disjunct reading experiences". It's just that I reject the characterization of disjunction as having been new or unique to the modern period.

anyway...

2 comments:

odalisqued said...

"In this sense, I don't read Kenny Goldsmith saying "disjunction is dead" as meaning that the disjunct experience of language is dead. Rather what is "dead" is the need to constantly portray language as disjunct."

Yes I agree with this, too -- but more than just it being dead there is an actual positive need to bring what already exists as fractured together, or at least this what I was saying in the conversation over dinner that I quoted on my blog which somehow became a discussion, though how I don't really know.

I do think, however, that human perception of experience & culture)can be different from era to era, and that technologies concurrent with modernism had something to do with "disjunct" "parataxis" etc. rising up noticably in the work (also this has something to do with why we might end up doing something else with our work).

Iain said...

This post doesn't really do a good job of clarifying that I also think "that human perception of experience & culture" as you say "can be different from era to era, and that technologies concurrent with modernism had something to do with "disjunct" "parataxis" etc. rising up noticably in the work".

I don't mean to say that the "disjunction" of Shakespeare is no different than that of T.S. Eliot. But I don't think that the difference is the actual presence of disjunction. I think that the difference is that modernism saw the need to make the reader experience that disjunction that has always been a part of the writing process.

and certainly I think that the reason modernism saw the need to portray this disjunction was a result of the era's technologies that changed the "perception of experience & culture".