Friday, July 04, 2008

Some Summer Reading

While I am supposed to be writing I have also been reading. I love reading and don’t seem to be able to stop so what the heck. The three above are what has been read so far this summer. Ramapuri's text is an account of travelling to India in 1970 from the USA, joining a group of Hindu yogis and never going back. It is travel writing with a difference but it is also religious philosophy and counter culture with a difference. A clear no-bullshit telling of a remarkable story (Baba Rampuri is still in India as I blogged about recently).
A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History is not a new book (1997) but it reads like the cutting edge even today. Manuael de Landa adopts many of the best concepts from Deleuze and Guattari (Body without Organs, striated and smooth space, meshworks, deterritorialization, collective assemblages and sedimentation) to construct a swirling but coherent account of 1000 years of mostly western history. I found it a stimulating example of how to read complex systems (although it does not have an index, which may mean something).
Finally I have just started Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word, Edited by Charles Bernstein (1998), so I can't say much except that the introduction is very promising (and online).

Close Listening and the Performed Word brings together seventeen strikingly original essays, especially written for this volume, on the poetry reading, the sound of poetry, and the visual performance of poetry. While the performance of poetry is as old as poetry itself, critical attention to modern and postmodern poetry performance has been surprisingly slight. This volume, featuring work by critics and poets such as Marjorie Perloff, Susan Stewart, Johanna Drucker. Dennis Tedlock, and Susan Howe, is the first comprehensive introduction to the ways in which twentieth-century poetry has been practised as a performance art. From the performance styles of individual poets and types of poetry to the relation of sound to meaning, from historical and social approaches to poetry readings to new imaginations to prosody, the entries gathered here investigate a compelling range of topics for anyone interested in poetry. Taken together, these essays encourage new forms of "close listenings"--not only to the printed text of poems but also to tapes, performances, and other expressions of the sounded and visualized word. The time is right for such a volume: with readings, spoken word events, and the Web gaining an increasing audience for poetry, Close Listening opens a number of new avenues for the critical discussion of the sound and performance of poetry.From the Publisher

Back to the thesis.......

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