a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate and Context | Dara Wier
I’ve been intending to be calling a prose book I’ve been keeping INSIDE UNDIVIDED for as long as I can remember. And I’m hosting a seminar at Flying Object this semester (2011) that’s juggling and looking over and considering CHANCE, chance operations, text-generating actions, generative procedures, inevitability, fate, luck, fortune, future-telling and self-erasing and/or revealing productions.
Flying Object has generously invited me to post notes occasionally. So here I am with my head full of notes that have been flying around in our seminar’s conversations and in conversations that inevitably include continuing to notice what we’re noticing. Like so many things, once you think of looking for something, you find it, stumble upon it, seek it, everywhere. The coincidences can cause one’s brainwaves to shudder.
These posts will often be pieces pried out of what’s inside that undivided book. Parts and pieces. A scrapbook, a cellar, an attic, a barn, a self-storage unit, a repository, a location in which to keep, save, salvage, sift, simmer and steal. Keep, keep hidden, keep safe, keep continuously somewhere. Stealing from one’s self, self-thievery, self-banditdom, a bandit mind, a possible.
I’m going to call these things (in a hopeful way, with a little superstition thrown in) quasi-potential-microscopic-epiphanies….
A list of possible pieces of the puzzlling conditions we’re establishing:
why……………….. if we are to feel
we can believe in what we cannot prove
or seen proven
we are provided continuously
with contradictions, multi-dimensional contradictions
whose vanishing points never vanish, whose vanishing points surround us
and it so happens that it is in these chasms, these ruptures, these rips in some of our most ordinarily accepted veils we are finally in the position to feel something extraordinary
it is in that space in which contradiction and multi-dimensional paradox can be apprehended
we are most vulnerable, we are more receptive, or receptors are more sensitive, we are more available
to shocks of feeling our being is inside all else
we are a droste effect!
it is worth seeing how one can create circumstances, how
when art generates circumstances favorable to these conditions
in which one is more likely to be inside mystery……….
in which one can be near mystery, up against it, nearby…….
now is has to be, it is inevitable, that it’s the time to repeat Keats……..
(god, if Keats hadn’t written this, what could I be thinking …….oh, I see, I take comfort in knowing Keats feels this way too! It makes me feel really close to him and makes me feel continuity of desire stretches by means of poetry through eternity)
(I love how he says “not a dispute but a disquisition” and I love how he mentions “the Penetralium of mystery” and I like when he says “obliterates all consideration”) Keats:
I had not a dispute but a disquisition with Dilke, on various subjects; several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare posessed so enormously—-I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason—–Coleridge for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge. This pursued through Volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
I am also interested in how quoting lends its authority in such a way that saying first hand sometimes doesn’t. I’m interested in agency. I’m interested in a history of an inventory of inspiration from Divine ones, to Muses, to other authorities, to Chance Operations and Combinatorial Procedures and Chance. And I’m interested in hearing back from you with advice, suggestions, tips, turns, thoughts, speculations and any other sort of comments.
John Cage: They [I Ching] told me to continue what I was doing, and to spread Joy and revolution.
John Cage: One must be disinterested, accept that a sound is a sound and a man is a man, give up illusions about ideas of order, expressions of sentiment, and all the rest of our inherited aesthetic claptrap. [FO]
Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of Hannah, Reverse Rapture, and Hat on a Pond. She teaches in the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Her awards include the Poetry Center and Archives Book of the Year Award, a Pushcart Prize, theAmerican Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.