Filtering by Tag: inside undivided


Added on by Guy Pettit.

a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, Context & Intention by Dara Wier



wordless, speechless, without words, no words for it, silent, maintaining radio silence, reduced to silence, noiseless, still, quietude, in secret, undercover, camouflaged


There is a big difference between having nothing worth saying to say, and not knowing what to say, not saying something, and saying something literally metaphorically. 

And all of those differences among all kinds of saying, such as saying nothing and saying too much, saying a little or saying a lot, and being tantalizing and boring someone to death. 

And then there is the delight that can come with saying the obvious, what’s obvious, repeatedly.

The phrase hysterical discovery of the obvious does not mean the same thing in different locations.   

Repeatedly I remember someone saying to me, if it had been a snake, and so on.



almost no writer I’ve encountered shies away from “meaning” in their choice of epigraphs, for now I’ll stick to books, though poems make use of “meaningful” epigraphs all the time, too----the epigraph page alone, standing alone, usually set off from the book’s beginning, as a kind of gesture of atmospheric definition, or an epigraph introduces almost a host whose presence now accompanies the book into your brain (an epigraph from Wallace Stevens, an epigraph from Simone Weil, from Wittgenstein, from James Baldwin, from Sappho, from ultra classic religious texts we all know, from a song, from a name recognized to be associated with something that will be taken to be relevant to opening

the book to which the epigraph is attached


When is someone’s secret (secret handshake, secret code, secret hiding place………)

(in some sectors, say, the secret affiliations and co-operations, 

language uses to distort or extort or

otherwise unstraightforwardly fool and manipulate)

the secret place (mostly in plain sight) (to protect someone or something)  (to hide someone’s ill-gained booty)

When is it hurtful (and sometimes dangerous) for someone to keep something from you. 

When it would, if you knew what it was, figure in to important decisions, significant feelings, steps you would be taking or not taking.

I don’t know if I should be telling you this but.

I should have told you. 

I should have warned you.

I don’t know if I should be keeping this from you.


when lack of self-consciousness keeps a secret about yourself from yourself, for your own sake

when self-consciousness, which we must have, can’t help but have,

must be able to pretend it isn’t a factor,

it is imitating, you find yourself imitating yourself, your self-consciousness

becomes most of what you are

do you lose the factor of being the agent of action or thought

because what takes over during bouts of severe self-consciousness

is the shifting of yourself from agent to audience,

while you are self-consciously choosing to act or think

you are losing the one and only original impetus

as it transforms itself from subjective actor to action

& thought to observing receptor

The terrible frozen panic of:

 I see myself thinking in such a way as to be required to decide how I feel about it.


We’re always being told by so many means the significance of knowing ourselves.  To be seeing ourselves for what we really are. 

As if all that what takes is a quick look in a mirror and some minor readjustments taking into account which side of your face is which and what illusions of depth involve

and relative values of exterior surface to interior dimensions, and what else happens to be within the frame of the mirror,  and, by the way, it’s said it’s bad luck for two of us to look into the same mirror at once, and everyone’s so used to idly reading on side rearview mirrors the arresting warning that objects in mirror are closer than they seem to be


The allure we’ve felt since film’s beginnings, to see ourselves and to understand ourselves as we would be were we in a film, to observe ourselves this way, to add to self-consciousness, film-consciousness, another layer of perceived understanding and existence. 

 The thoughtless casual picturing of one’s life on film.

How common is this picturing?  What does it give us?  What does it take away?

Picturing yourself.  You see yourself as what you are, always.

That’s always been so.  It has to be done.  We have to do it.

Our mirror neurons or whatever those bits of brain are that magnetically draw us to imitate something….if not one another……..some thing……… 

why did the egyptian princess wear the headdress she wore? 

then why does monkey see/monkey do feel elementally sorrowful


why do galloping horses share so many principles of locomotion?  does the foal copy its mother?  what would it do without her? it would be fine with its built-in locomotion attributes


 Odeon Redon:  …..once he has established his own idiom…….

once he’s taken from nature the necessary

means of expression, is free, free legitimately free, to borrow

his subjects from history, from the poets, from his own imagination,

from the thousand sources of his fantasy

[once he has established his own idiom]


My whole originality consists in having made

improbable beings

live humanly

according to the laws of the probable

by as far as possible

putting the logic of the visible

at the service of the invisible.


The designation of my drawings by a title is often, so to speak, superfluous.  A title is justified only when it is vague and even aims confusedly at the

equivocal.  My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined.  They determine nothing.  They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the



Odeon Redon


…..the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing…… 






THE HUMAN INCLINATION TO DEFINE ERROR (it’s called fault-finding) (if only it were as funny as its name is)







people who don't want to be understood don't read poetry
do you understand me?


What do you think that means?”— countered with a “Did you see that?”



Added on by Guy Pettit.

a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, Context & Intention by Dara Wier

censorship, surveillance, scrutiny & camouflage (cont.)


in memory of Tomaž Šalamun who never diminished anything

"Some sentences walk in the mist, some bend strangely, I
like awkwardness, awkwardness is the crucial thing in my writing. Things
should not be clear. If clear they’re too domesticated. I dedomesticate,
invade the language, delogify." Tomaz Salamun to Brian Henry in an email




The Right to Be Forgotten



in increments, moving from shadow to shadow, stepping from corner to corner, moving from tree to tree, staying in the shadows, never stepping out of the shadows


how many times can you say it without it becoming questionably over-stated?


how what is quantifiable almost, mostly, usually, typically, most of the time

is valued above what can’t be quantified, let me count the ways



gives someone the means

to put a value on something

without all those messy and uncomfortable misgivings,

second-thoughts, multiplicities, negative capabilities, ambiguities and immeasurable omnipresent states of being


(though “state” is not what’s experienced in that fleeting sense of omniscience one ever  every now and then sees in little glimpses and can never ever be anything but glancing)


One can only say so many times:  I don’t want to know

what it is

that I want to know


(as if I’m practicing to accept the obvious

which is that mystery



is all there is, is all, just is


(to be sympathetic

when one tries

to behave as though

I’ve got the jump on something,

we’re ahead of the game, 

I’m nobody’s fool,

we don’t miss a trick,

our radar is fully functional)


(or less gently, boasting

how much you don’t want to know

(I don’t want to know, what makes you think I want to know)

can be a kind of pretending to know

there is more than what’s obviously

not all that mysterious) (& convoluted)


(and sometimes……more or less equally confusing,

this seems to superstitiously deflect


our very human touchingly needy

and at times desperately in a panic fearful

facing up to oblivion)


it’s both exhilarating and terrifying to come face to face with the immensity of life,

what follows instantaneously

that shrinking down into the essential infinitesimal it might just be me  

that does take your breath away

that is what there is to live for


(when we can’t laugh about it, when even laughter has exhausted itself and turned into something else)  (then comes the cautionary warning:  stop taking yourself so seriously)


I cannot have something to say, I cringe when someone asks me what’s the point; how come?  I suffer when someone asks what’s that book about  & why do I do that? 


I’m embarrassed, I’m at a loss, I’m used to it. 


It’s not good to wreck an illusion, it’s unlucky.


I can’t begin with something I know; I have to know that I don’t know what I want to know----that way of saying that.  That way of admitting one stares off into what’s beyond seeing.  The horizon serves us so many purposes.


One can say something (say what you will, say anything) with variations so many times one begins to suspect something is hiding something, someone is whistling in the dark (which can be a help, a way to be found, or a slantwise comfort)


Or deflecting.  Or refusing.


Who knows, hiding and deflecting and refusing and not seeing have sometimes been life saving.  And why not let that be a knowing just as knowing as any other kind.


(as the kind, for just one instance, one is wanting, hoping,

wishing to avoid;

the kind that’s infested

with ignorance,

didacticism, indoctrination, pomposity,

narcissistic self righteousness,

assumptions, presumptions, prejudice,

shallowness, stupidity and a closed mind,

that kind, the kind anyone wants to run from)

(and the kind we fear we most of all have been suffering under, we’ve participated in it)


(for instance, to be stupid is not to be incapable, it is to be by choice uninformed)  (to be stupefied, to be stopped in your tracks, to be dumbfounded, to be speechless)


obscuring  possibility can be what that is



just as much as if one were to say: this is what I know and I’m saying it,  here it is, and this is all there is


to say


as if everything about the world is ruined and ruinous


a cheat and a scandal and I will be telling you this in bright colors,


in the bright colors that light up our brains when verbal action is alive there and in brainwork motions of the electrically biological kinds


(and then there’re the times when one is pleased

to have one saying something clearly,

precisely and true to the logic it proposes;

as if sometimes what one wants

is to hear something that sounds sure and certain

in spite of/because of our wanting to remember

how we always go without knowing

how everything goes without saying


and I know it,  or let’s say someone thinks she knows it:  and so we flinch when we hear anyone say: 


and I know it before you know it,


and when this happens

when what happens happens as though one of us knows and the other of us remains unknowing,


this appears to be one of the most terrible of all problems


And that way is dis-spiriting


(not to the me me---to the other me the one who stands in for us ---in a fiction of from time to time)

when it is you (not really you) who condescends to me (not really me) and you are I

in the words previous to these (and it begins to be more trouble than it’s worth)

and you are not you as in someone’s personal self (you can say that)

but you as a useful, a useful you, a you that is useful, a  (convoluted you if ever there was one)

part of speech and way in this case to avoid saying:


and I, the author of this, knows it,  (so why would you have kept it from me for all this time) and I knew it all along (which seems kind of smug), I’ve been knowing it  (which is beginning to be unbelievable)


(maybe this is why it’s bad luck for a writer to over think


what’s going on before hand,

before the doing begins to be being done,


or why it is unlucky if one does think a lot beforehand

to not be very careful to forget all one’s thought;

to at least pretend you know nothing at all

even if you’ve fooled yourself beforehand

into thinking and enjoying it while you’re thinking it,

if enjoying is the right word for that, that you know a little something,


but about what……..what do you know…….


and the author indicates (in so many ways) that she knows it before you know it or what happens when all is good and true and right and holy and infinite:  it dawns on both at the same time (you have to spit on your metaphorical hems, you have to say something to acknowledge your lucky timing, you have to undo, in some places, the so-called jinx of that, you say it is a coincidence, an occasion of synchronicity, simultaneity, you have to buy someone a coke


I don’t want to know something before anyone else knows it.


And that problem, and artist building into their work the idea that I know it before you know it (and thus I will be telling it to you, or showing you, or even more hideously, I will be forcing you to see) is one of the most limiting of all for art’s expansive indications,


it is doing everything that’s important after the fact, it is a when-all-is-said-and-done time, it is putting the cart before the horse, it is ass-backwards, grotesque and probably (unless you’ve got some great purpose for it) hurtful


I guess there are always going to be those of us, those among us, who are art tricksters and while maybe they aren’t my all time favorites, maybe I like to see how necessary they are to round out any world’s collection of humanity. 


There is always someone around to remind me if I’m not being especially amused by being tricked there is always the chance I might be, and I certainly will be tricked. 


(don’t the hoaxer hoaxes for many many reasons, one of which is to remind me most of all,  I might be fooling myself) (and maybe that is a necessary reminding I should thank all hoaxers for)


The idea of forcing, of artists forcing people to see this or understand this or come to find out this (and most usually as if the artist (maybe perpetrator) sincerely (and sincerity is certainly in play) believes that there is a lot we don’t know that he will be taking the time and doing the work to show us or tell us…….the idea of “forcing” not a good one. 


(the way a stupid parent will try to force a child to open its mouth to eat)


And who first started saying writers “force” readers to do anything?  And from where does that language come?  And why talk that way?  Is there someone somewhere sometime who believes all authors to be sadistic?  Is there a masochistic reader to be found? 


(of course there is, leave them be to their own devices)


There must be.  How could there not be? 


Given we are all victims of variety.

Cautions to one another.

Seeing around us what we can’t see within us.


Who’s fooling who and for what?



Added on by General Info.

a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, Context & Intention by Dara Wier

censorship, surveillance, scrutiny & camouflage

Censorship and scrutiny (related to scrupulous, maybe, should check, will check) and surveillance, keeping an eye on each other, cautioning, being ultra vigilant (one can hear it, the disembodied voice coming over the universal speakers in the lobbies of the transportation areas).

Censorship, how do we practice it…how is it practiced…..what do we do, what does anyone do, what do they do (what would we say without THEY and how

would we say it)

how does it happen that to stop people from saying what they want to say, and to stop people from being who they want to be happens non stop.  No matter what.  Irregardless.  Drawing that line is one of the hardest lines to draw (having never worked for any organization (e.g. ACLU) but for ones in which it is generally assumed that to speak freely one’s mind and one’s minds speculations is an ordinary, almost unremarkable assumption---though aren’t assumptions always dangerously obscuring) (isn’t assuming disregarding) (all the cracks in everything)


What subtle censorships do we lend one another, knowingly and unknowingly.


Why it

is that and maybe how novels are so powerful. 

They are, for this moment, for right now, undoubtedly,

the best thing in the written world

when it comes to what it comes to concerning the never ending exponentially infinite complications of human nature. 

It sets us down in writing all in the prismatic observations (first observe this language we use everyday, then how we observe one another, and what we do with what we observe, how frangible and fragile we are, how easily everything can be broken, how generous true love is, what lasts and what can’t, who keeps who alive, who kills, who steals, who covets, who insults beyond justification, who got hurt, what reverence can never be assailed, who broke in to whose heart and mind, how can this be tangled and untangled, never.

It must be terrifying to choose to be a novelist.

Among other things.


Why, for instance, a list is such a funny object.  Just about any kind of list.

As if

listing is an act we can enlist to control the out of control thoughts our mind doesn’t stop providing.  A list is a great act of human vanity and/or humor.  It is another as if, as if this could be so.

 We are heart-breaking when we number things:  1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.

Let’s say that’s the premise
and from there let’s add all the reasons

we can think of why this is the case.  Say, we list.

And we careen.

How she fell in love with him is almost bothersome.  How he fell in love with her unfathomable.  And take it from there.


Each little segment or incident, frame and pixilated scrolling stretch of experience, depending where one encounters it, in front of one’s eyes, on the face of one’s phone (which has tended to make everyone look sometimes as if they are impersonating a 1940s movie star looking into a diamond rimmed compact), close by one’s computer screen (and how big is, the smallest laptop, the broadest table model), in the regulation or small or ultra large pages of a book, or billboard, sign of any kind (all the way in to the secret signs and glances and glimpses we give and take on any given day)----each one amounts to a piece of the (the the plot plot) plot

and with each step (no one can say what a step exactly is

or say much about it’s size)  (or any steps eventual outcome)

the story of our lives
comes into being. 
In increments. 
In impossibly stoppable (as in stop action) detail.

One appreciates the appreciation of all matters
intentional at this time. 

Because who

wouldn’t want to emphasize one’s free choice and free will in all times, all times of such regulation, intimidation, homogenization, and confusion.  And who doesn’t love one’s own agency and freedoms, from constraints unbidden.


Added on by General Info.

a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, Context & Intention by Dara Wier

at the stately pace of a caravan disappearing into an undivided somewhere, all its secrets locked, swaying with the progressive movement toward and away from.  But what is needed is some act other than pressing a button and having it all happen, some way of living into the layers as they occur and not losing momentum in order to……….
(Three Poems The New Spirit p. 30 Ecco paper)

by which I mean poems saying as only poems can what can only be contained in what poetry is.  I love the book.  And I benefit endlessly from it. 

And I know what follows is not “fair” and one should not be asked to choose, and it must be so that for each one of us at different times and in different circumstances we have variously many various responses to artificially narrow choices such as these---nevertheless for the sake of just making some ways to say some things for a while, here is this:

 What affords, promises, delivers, maybe gives us a more sure escape from ourselves:

 Reading a book or watching a film, as if I had to choose…….

Which guarantees a greater escape from one’s self (and the claustrophobia of one’s cyclical looping thoughts waiting to jump their tracks………), the book or the film?
Why and how and stories and anecdotes please in words or in pictures.  To Dara Wier at if you will.


I feel I ought to show my hand and say my peace; for me, it is always a book first though a film can have a lasting effect and cause one to take what one’s come to expect (the look and what the look resonates and suggests, why then, the book; the book, the book and anyway everyone knows no one should feel the need to choose, not in this, no good reason, though since I am thinking about what if I needed to choose, here is why and how I would).

 What if one knows reason only in its physical manifestations? 

The deaf man skins a squirrel for his supper.  Ten thousand seedlings need to be culled for a hundred to thrive.  Thorns come in all sizes.  Snakes do get angry.  It is possible to tame a raccoon. Bloodhounds howl.  At night knots knot themselves in hair and twine.  They have lives of their own. Sometimes baby owls eat one another.  They eat one another just like Russian dolls do, only in reverse somehow, Russian dolls un-eat one another one at a time. 

The girl on the Morton Salt Box holds a box on which she is holding a box which pictures her holding a box which...........and so on and on was imagination asked to minimize the image-chain-link boring through the ordinary visible into the other side of a whole otherwise extraordinary reality.  The salt box sits on the kitchen table where everyone can see it.  In plain view, pointing straight on toward one of life’s mysteries.

I liked to sit on my grandmother's bed which was situated in the middle of her room.  On flanking walls were mirrors above dressers. If you sat on the bed facing either mirror what you were given in return were infinitely smaller images of yourself drilling into the infinitely vast mirror depths.  You could be a torch on a river bank drilling its reflection as far as one can see into a river. 

You could go on as far as you were willing to imagine.

During the same time these images and instances were fascinating my days, I was deeply involved in a closet.  In its small, maybe 3 by 5 floor space, I was busy building an altar.  Eventually my private altar mimicked all accoutrement accompanying the public, operative altars I visited with relatives. 

A twig here to be a cross, some little wax figurines for saints with various names:  Saint Blessed of the Blue Nets, Saint Bill of the Fancy Shirt, Saint Marie of the Endless Hair, Saint Jerry of the Secrets, Saint Grace of the Terrible Eyes, Saint Claire of Kindness, Saint Green and Gold and Orange and Black, Saint Lynn of the little Brownies, Saint Broadcast of the Midnight Anthems, Saint Scary, Saint Nail, Saint Pitcher, Saint Pot, Saint Sink, Saint Mule, Saint Snakes Be Still, Saint Traintrack, Saint Japonica Seeds, Saint of the Furious River, Saint of Rain, Saint  Queen of Clubs, Saint Singing, Saint Dancing, Saint Sleep.

So much of which seems, then it should be film, this is all something to look at, but it wasn’t it was all in my head, pretty much, most of the time, not always.

About the same time it was as if I saw a poem for the first time.  In fact, I had seen a lot of poems. But these were the poems I really saw, I stared into them, I watched them to see what they would do.  As if I'd never seen one before.  But I had.  I'd seen them in prayer books, on calendars, in greeting cards, on cup towels, in newspapers, and in my father's schoolbooks.


This is dedicated to the WORDS & PICTURES DAY SYMPOSIUM (happening at Flying Object, November 8th, NOON to NINE) HOSTS Laura Warman, Delia Pless, Sarah Nichols, Molly McArdle, Christopher Griggs, Patrick Gaughan, Elmira Elvazova, Max Cohen, Andy Bowers, Colleen Barry


And to Dorothea Lasky


Added on by General Info.

a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, Context & Intention by Dara Wier



“It is an intuitive journey that takes us through the killing of a
parakeet with an ax, and the thinking of shrinking something out
of existence, and registering pigeons at a hotel, and a dog stuck
to the ceiling by its back, not to mention a room overgrown with
grass...But these are only stations of the journey. I'm not sure the
journey has a psychological end; it probably has only a mortal
end.” (a salute to Russell Edson, it's him talking)


of the many many essential paradoxes poetry lets us live with, is the
one that involves the complexities associated with poetry's private
and public nature, in public it is the most private, its privacies would
not be were they not public


as if anything written must or should justly represent, reproduce,
reiterate or reenact----- reality.

Though any writer or writing has often been praised most of all for
this recreation and reiteration, as if everything needs to be underlined
in order to be preserved for all time, or to be understood

while at the same time anything we introduce via combining anything 
we gather by means of any means becomes and is reality

Which leads to our being so often asked to decide what's real---in
surprising ways this underlying broadly articulated notion keeps being
asked of anyone who writes (well not everyone, but too many)

what reality anyway......... is this one, that one, another one, some
other one..........

which quickly is answered: it depends on who you are

That is, that reality, that reality over there, 

the one something written can point toward 

or anyone standing can walk over to.

Writing's not ever only just been

 or aspired to be just any superficial mirror. 

But facing mirrors will land one smack in the middle of the illusion of

(in the depths of the mirror though.......that will come on as another
story altogether) (a traditionally told looking-glass story)

(how our current rearview mirrors come with warnings that objects in
mirror are closer than they appear) (and in the convex mirrors, other
edges come near to us)

Referring to what in an everyday way, casual way, comes to us with
"real" or "reality" attached to it, 

things related to that may turn out to be the least things

I've heard how people like to say, as if this is big compliment: she
really captured the reality of that
dynamic.....impossibly vivid situation

As if reality were fugitve, something feral, ever shifting, elusive,
maybe illusive-- as in now-you-see-it-now-you-don't

which it is

Still, there can be a case made for it being itself just as it is with no
need of capture or reiteration. Who ever says there is THAT need?


On the other hand, nothing beats saying the obvious when it comes
to seeming to say what's marvelous


Another case can be made that what writing should do in fact, for
ever for why not----is defy reality, is to transform reality beyond
recognition, to disguise reality, to trick it out or make it once again

What's the point 

of it all (one big huge time capsule----not to knock the concepts time
capsules embody) (a good time capsule is such a human thing)


if what's to be found in writing isn't something we find nowhere else?


It's not realistic, there's no evidence in reality, no justification to say
we are immortal and yet there are the writers in prose and in poetry,
in every kind of mixture.......hinting how after the first death there is no
other means nothing if not after the first death there ought to be a
clearly marked escape route, or at the very least a very good
consolation prize

and there it stands something behind which there is nothing

That writing can act as if we are immortal, or at least let us imagine
what forever and timeless infinity seems to be------ 

that we defy gravity, that time isn't the time that we experience in
everyday day to day ways 

(and like, the depths of a mirror, the depths of time encompass
forever in the here and now) (and in like there is possibly everything)
(that mirror)

to not take infinite immortality literally, please as if it could


if we lived before----what if we pretend we do, but we don't,

if we could, but we can't, 

if we imagine we do, and we can--suppose 

we lived before this sentence, not this one, the one coming, had been
composed and distributed: --before this sentence (a sentence about
how bad its author feels about Karl Ove's popular books):

"The novel strikes me as a giant selfie, a 3,600-page blogologue. Like
mumblecore or reality television, it’s premised on the notion that all
you need to do is point your camera at the world and shoot." (I think,
apologies for not knowing exactly, this was in THE NATION)

What if we lived without/before selfie, blogologue, mumblecore,
reality television
and without going too much retro math, our camera--
- what would that sentence be saying? What if instead some other
things would have to be said? Because all that wasn't available.
What might these be?

(aside: the opening 30 or 50 or so pages of Ove's first book of his
many booked sequence makes for very very good reading and so
it goes, those few pages set a precedent by which all of the books
benefit from a boy's imagination, curiosity, nearness to mystery and
sensitivity or susceptibilities) (I'm a fan of those books)


When ever I encounter in my mind, or see and understand to be

by the words of another, 

how pervasively we can't do without this reminds me of, I worry. 

I worry how thoroughly the high speed transformation of one thing
into another blurs both (also can highlight commonly embodied or
high contrast qualities, yes this same action produces some terribly
fine combinations)

Think of how fearfully one hears: you remind me of
your________________ (you decide who or what to denigrate
in this little verbal equation)........, your work reminds me of
____________________ and there it all disappears in that single
minded concoction.......

on the other hand....

(when is it good to recognize how two things, two people resemble
one another............) (it feels deep down animal instinct necessary,
say before we had names, before we had mug shots, before we had
human language, we still needed to recognize what it was we were

if something doesn't yet exist, how foolish is it to speculate about it? 

which makes no sense

making no sense, spending time in the zones of so-called

why poets have especially loved how Keats said how negative
capability is.........of course.....of course a poem will doubt, will
embody uncertainty, will yearn to be near can't do

without these qualities and be its better self...

it's a poem, for god's sake, it's going to be ornery, perverse, difficult 

(as in difficult child not as in difficult class assignment),

impossible to pin down, annoyed by categorizations, willful,
dangerous, striking, arresting, purposefully inexplicable, resolutely
impossible to pin down, without a point, beyond understanding......

[To be understood......I realized while listening to two painters and
one poet adamantly say they do not want to know what is understood

that it was being understood that to understand is a deadend, 

is a sign that something, once it is understood, is over and done with

and that is the problem with that, that it is over and done with

it would be better if instead of understanding being involved with an
immediate conclusion, it instead referred to an eternal action, 

as in, understanding as continuous thinking

immediate conclusions can send any artist running away for another

....because when one is assuming something is settled ----there
isn't much to do with it.........that is the conclusion, and not the



Added on by General Info.

a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, Context & Intention by Dara Wier


Emily Dickinson’s collected poems do not include any words that begin with the letter “X”.

When I ran across the phrase making sense of the world (in a book about indexing no less) I wondered if I'd often, it can't have been ever, had that feeling, and I thought no.

 I can't begin to explain why or how I came to be one of those for whom making sense of the world has not seemed an option.

What----I say, can you call yourself a writer and not want to make sense of the world?  I don't know.  The desire to make sense of the immensity, mystery, ever changing, surprising, mind boggling, soul stirring, brain rattling this of this world has never been an option. 

I respect most people who try to make sense of this world.  No, maybe what I mean is that I respect that they do try to make sense of this world.  I admire the relentless passion with which humans relentlessly pursue sense.  I do.  I envy some for whom attempts to make sense of this world bring them right up to the brink.

The brink of what?  Not for me to know.  I remember the first time I ran my index finger over the surface of a mobius strip (first named in 1858, upon being discovered simultaneously by several mathematicians) (only one of them got his name afixed to the strip with the half-twist turning it into a so-called non orientable object) over and into an almost universally enjoyed metaphysical party trick.

The ant I felt I was being led to believe I can be, started one place and wound up right back where it started having touched both sides of this paper strip (not once knowing what it was doing).

While I relished the pleasure dimensional defiance seemed to confer, I didn't think I could make sense of the world. 

To be real, to make sense.

To say something is real causes confusion.  Say such and such is real

and everyone's sense of reality is shaken

maybe to the core, maybe so quietly and thoroughly it will never be the same again, maybe beyond repair

maybe all for the better, maybe beyond good

To call anything real puts pressure on me

to think that saying one thing is real seems to being saying there is something else

and maybe that something else is not real


and maybe exhilarating

Is this true----if there's real must there be an unreal?

It's pretty impossible to think that there is anything that is not real.  So it must be some kind of deeply understood figure of speech.  Our deeply loved brain playing with paradox as it often prefers to do.

Who says there has to be a frame of reference?

As if

there could ever not be a frame of reference.  There is always a frame of reference.

Too much narrowed everything and magnified nothing.

To not talk about an idea, is that the same as to not have an idea?

If you can't start anywhere you might as well start somewhere.

Can you make something that serves as, functions as, a conduit that leads to the opposite of the other end of the distant future of something to begin with?  Is this possible?  Is this desirable?  Is this the mobius of logic having its way with my brain?

(confession:  in the flesh I could never execute a somersault or tumbleset or skin the cat, in my brain the feeling does exhilarate and amplify)

Parallax.  A set of instructions to generate........what?

What is your minimum requirement?

What if there is nothing to disrupt?

Okay, beholder.




He was always saying he was an open secret, he suffered from collateral damage, there was nothing but unintended consequences.


The hypothesis is

that the gravitational interaction is mediated

by an – as yet undiscovered –

elementary particle, dubbed



the idea of returning to a poem or piece of prose again and again is not by repeated encounters will you unlock its secrets, at last, finally, once and for all, it's because with every reading your brain is newly wired, because your ever changing brain will not be still, and your encounters will be shaded by your never static state of mind



why words are attracted to one another, how

on account of reading MOBY DICK (in an excellent lab lead by the amazing poet Seth Landman) this happened to me, and I am okay with this:  thinking about gravity and why it always feels the same, and why it doesn't seem to hurt (unless you fall through space without your assent, as you trip or take a fall or crash or succumb to something......)

"fleeting impressions floating on a sea of poorly made waters"


It isn't so much that a so-called mixed metaphor is bad (a mixed metaphor can be a combination of disparity that only reckless genius will conceive (or stumble upon) (and when conceived and executed----- on purpose) (on purpose is a sure story to behold))

Naturally an unmixed metaphorical passage can be satisfying the way following a long wave materialize, move and break can be satisfying.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ____________________________________

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ a problem with having a problem with what is called linear

once something has happened

then and maybe only then

is it possible for a human mental experience to be, to become non-linear

before that it was linear all right

which would relegate ideas of non-linearity to what’s over, or as they say, consign it to the past which maybe is why so much talk about non-linearity seems ultra sentimental, ultra nostalgic, ultra regretful, though it is like so many justifications for why art acts one way or another: rationalization based on past observation combined with vast generalization of so-called Reality

to once upon a time to once upon a time which turns out to always be about time that is over

to when it is over

for when it is no longer needed by time

for time to have something to hold onto

for time to have something to do with

then it is no longer linear

which may mean everything over’s non-linearity sometimes will at times make some kind of sense

~~~~~~~~~~~~ the relief one feels when making sense makes no sense at all when one can enjoy the luxury of that, when one can live with that, when that gives way to no next steps

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ stairway to Charter House at Wells Cathedral

a sea of steps

wondrous as it fulfills a terror-inducing vertigo’s fantasy fulfilled in a good solid beautiful sensible way

this has no possible linear interpretation, nothing otherwise than a time/space vortex conspiring


Artemidorous’ Oneirocritica (Oxford U. Press) Daniel E. Harris-McCoy

Dreaming and Historical Consciousness in Island Greece (Harvard U. Press) Charles Stewart ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hello, Apophenia,

You have saved my life more times, on more occasions, than I can count or name.

You have offered me Sense of a kind I can’t (don’t want) to conjure or contrive.

(why I don’t want to do this, why should I do this when it is done relentlessly without me, without my interference, with no doing on my part, the role one assumes or accepts, say for instance, being in a conventional audience, another story, a story for another time)

Someone somewhere at some time said the word “Apophänie” in order to say that there are characteristics at the onset of delusional thinking, that at the onset we don’t offset and are not off put or otherwise unsusceptible.

apophany from apo + phaenein

there is the opportunity to:

Experience delusion as Revelation.[4]

As opposed to epiphany which is somehow supposed to be not delusional, rather it is supposed to be: delusional’s partner:

apophany does not provide insight or interconnectedness, sadly this is what is said about apophany

it’s more apt to monotonously cause one to think one is experiencing Meaning

which it is said can be self-referential, solipsistic, paranoid:

“being observed, spoken about, the object of eavesdropping, followed by strangers”.[5]

A common example of perceived but non-existent patterns are paranormal sightings, including sightings of ghosts, Unidentified Flying Objects, cryptozoology, etc.

See divination See gambling See religious experience See synchronicity See conspiracy theory

See pareidolia See put it in writing See better not waste one’s time See what a surprise See a sudden awakening unaccountably everywhere at once (in which actually appears two times) (which is actually where and when everything actually is) See

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ sensation one’s brain is having when one is reading something or listening to something one knows is standing in for something else when one thing is said in order to avoid saying something else it depends so much on one’s tone in the prose or poetry whether or not doing this substituting is a powerful, fearful, I dare not say this, this is too much to say, I have to say something else that will instead having been said make room for what I’ve avoided saying this is not the same sensation as having no words for something


art-making of a so-called outsider has often been attributed to, said to be a consequence of isolation when it’s equally plausible that isolation is a result of art making which isn’t necessarily a bad thing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Joan Jett The Runaways Cherry Bomb for #19


Dara Wier is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and You Good Thing (now available from Wave Books). 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, the American 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.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ____________________________________

a chameleon has a master who places it on plaid.  It is first frenzied, and then it dies of fatigue

(Jean Cocteau in an interview for PARIS REVIEW)


I had a friend one time who told me she and a friend would be having tea, something they did once a year, always on the same day, I wish I could remember the day’s significance, if it had any significance in particular, it probably did.  During the tea it was their habit to introduce to one another beta they bought for the occasion, to watch them fight to the death as any self-respecting beta will do if given half the chance.

My friend seemed to be telling me this to convince me that she was a very interesting person, who did significant things, who could report on these things to others, who didn’t have ordinary feelings.


who hasn’t been mesmerized by a murmuration of birds–what with their scale-free correlationwith no, almost no, degradation as information moves through the flockwith the newest supposition or guess that they co-ordinate with their 7 nearest neighbors

This scale-free correlation allows birds to greatly enhance what the researchers call “effective perceptive range,” which is another way of saying that a bird on one side of a flock can respond to what other birds are sensing all the way across the flock—on the flock’s other side–away from where–

this is how thinking of words in motion in multiple uncountable and when truly active unpredictable combinations and meetings, ship-in-the-night slips, gives poems their kinetic and otherwise uncanny and mysterious ways


Theoretically the person who’s reading a book or pages in a journal or this, is invisible to the one who’s responsible for the book or pages, the words.  Theoretically the meeting between reader and what’s read is anonymous, invisible, unquantifiable, (e.g.

when where why howhow longwhat speedwhat intentionwhat circumstanceswhere does it matterhow sowhat for

reading alone, one never seems alone when one is reading


Naomi, Louisiana  1950s/1960s

Where we had a pet alligator

we kept an alligator penned up & prisoner

it lived pitifully in a pit by the corner of a barn

We threw it leftovers and fish and animal insides

we cleaned out for cooking

It hissed at us when we came near

The most horrendous, possibly traumatic, I would say so, yes,  memory associated with this:  my cousins and uncles clubbed a hundred or so domestic rabbits one morning; cleaned them, threw their skins and insides to the alligator, sold the rabbit meat from our roadside stand and set the alligator loose.


The Animal Club

a small club, an exclusive membership, my father, my mother and me, based on my love of animals and animal spotting, I was between 4 and 8 then

my father was president, mother secretary, me treasurer, presumably because our club was without funds

the club was my parents attempt to convince me that we were a family, we had a purpose

but we did have funds and eventually I stole them to use for a purpose I believed amounted to something


talking English with and otherwise communicating with animals


becoming a panther

this I had to do when it was called for to protect my children


this bears on why we might put more pressure on, have more attention for, attribute more purpose to,  etc., one word more than we might multiple words

Marilynne Robinson’s idea:

The Bible is terse, the Gospels are brief, and the result is that every moment and detail merits pondering and can always appear in a richer light——-we can bring our own feelings to bear in the reading of it.


It’s not the end of the world to say, Maybe I don’t like what I’m doing all that much but I have to keep doing something until I start doing something else, with perhaps the result I will like it.


I’m thinking it is really necessary to determine not so much the nature of things but the nature of one’s relationship to things.  Is one also a thing?  Yes.  Living, moving things, “breathing” things, yes.  And one’s relationship to our perceived nature of time.  Time may be most flexible and inflexible, ineffable, so strict, unforgiving, completely a figment, it is maybe the mystery underlying all mysteries, very likely.


on p 73 in The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt:

Others suggested that if you could perceive the smallest particle of a man, you would find an infinitesimally tiny man; and similarly for a horse, a droplet of water, or a blade of grass.


I guess it’s inevitable one thinks of Frankenstein’s nameless creature

(I am thy creature, I ought to have been thine Adam, instead I am your fallen angel whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed)

when one thinks about collage, assemblage, cut-up, mash-up, juxtaposing, and puzzling combinations of…………

one thinks of creation

one thinks of what comes into being

Impossible not to pity the creature

whose whole complete being

comes from something we recognize,

something in itself something,

something already a lot like something

we are making something out of and

we are making something into.

Other things as well.

How something comes into being.  Why someone feels as if owning up to source material is imperative or leastways interesting.  That.

Interesting.  Why so interesting, why so documentary, why so time laden and burdened, why so earnest and hard-working in time, why so accountable, why so singular, why so obsessive, why so narrowed, why so analytical, why so self-conscious, why so difficult, why so impossible.


cut-ups and cut-up collections

and this song:


Dara Wier is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and You Good Thing (now available from Wave Books). 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, the American 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.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ____________________________________



so someone says:   that painter doesn’t achieve perspective by the usual means, no lines of perspective to be seen; that painter achieves perspective by juxtaposition

you take this and you think that’s not so difficult to move into another setting, to imagine, to believe, a sentence might be thought of as a line of perspective


a sequence of words might be achieving depth by means of being next to one another

by being together so closely so that no light can get through between them


Thus begins the era of verbal narrative. 


As in to imagine is to pretend to believe.

(to imagine to imagine to believe)


what it must take to say one has faith in X, in ________, in anything


What’s thoroughly enticing about saying one’s stealing.  Writers are always saying they’re stealing.  Fine.  Steal all you want.  No one really cares if you steal or not, not ultimately.

Not eternally.  Meanwhile

you are involved in moving things around. 

I Covet. I Envy. I love Forbidden things. 

Why has it always been that what one’s stolen seems somehow more wonderful than something one’s not stolen.  

I wonder if the motivation to steal is at least as important as what’s stolen.  

What’s stolen as in a stolen kiss, what’s so sweet about that, it is, stolen kiss is possibly revered beyond given or earned kisses, and two who kiss forbiddenly steal the kiss (the literal kiss that could have been, they together steal it from someone else), they have a conspiracy of kiss stealing in action, it is very ordinarily very exciting, it is often fairly dangerous

what can be stolen as in intrigue, a heist, a caper, a hidden love, the dark end of the street, forbidden love, etc.


a category:  books one feels as if one’s read but most likely haven’t

      I feel as if I’ve read GULLIVER’S TRAVELS.  


Referenced in a footnote in MANY SUBTLE CHANNELS (Dana Levin Becker, HUP, 2012), (See Part III, Chapter 5 in a certain edition of GULLIVER’S)

Becker mentions “die-sized blocks of wood that contain all the words of their language, in their several moods, tenses, and declensions, but without any order”.

This, I would say, definitely produces good feeling.  Satisfactory feeling. Acceptable. To imagine all the words on blocks of wood, thrown about, waiting to be used for building.

However, it could be otherwise; anyone might feel anxiety over not knowing what one’s read or not. 

And not in any way enjoy the instability of this quasi-knowledge.  

Or reading that might have been done.  

Or possible books

which have possibly been read

by people who are possibly alive 

or possibly sometime to be born

(one reason it is admirable when one keeps track, typically in a notebook’s listing, of every book one has read) (truly or by means of wishful thinking) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home…. Maybe it is a good thing for us to keep a few dreams of a house that we shall live in later, always later, so much later, in fact, that we shall not have time to achieve it. For a house that was final, one that stood in symmetrical relation to the house we were born in, would lead to thoughts—serious, sad thoughts—and not to dreams. It is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality.

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

THE POETICS OF SPACE, in which Gaston Bachelard goes deeply into what space can do for intimacy.  He is always wanting to know (and us to know) what sort of immensity will become of intimacy.  As a paradoxical combination (immensity/intimacy) potentially will do,

Bachelard’s investigations serve their purposes)

The drawer next to a bed.  Someone’s lingerie drawer. A sock drawer.

Someone’s empty suitcase (or is it empty, is it).  Someone’s briefcase.  Someone’s satchel. Someone’s catch-all kitchen drawer.  The space (or drawer) that lures you over and over again to examine its contents.  To get on intimate terms with it.  To discover what intimacy feels like by means of it.  (he also likes attics, hallways, corners, he also gravitates toward other small spaces, you can imagine)

Intimacy, which Bachelard continues to explore in his POETICS OF REVERIE 



when you see or sense a sonnet’s end coming your brain shifts gears and just as leaving anywhere anytime requires an endless variety of shiftings, when you know the end is coming or you’re walking out a door or the proceedings are obviously concluding……some of us are very good at saying good bye, others of us complete failures, certain circumstances produce easy clear simple conclusions others complexities unending 


related to paralyzing self-consciousness:

Auden:  The girl whose boy-friend starts writing her love poems should be on her guard,” (1948) perhaps he really does love her, but one thing is certain:  while he was writing his poems he was not thinking of her but of his own feelings about her.


while self-consciousness is well tended in William James’s VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE


and similarly:

Auden quoting St. Augustine: I would rather be deprived of my friend than of my grief.





We are reminded that early modern printing houses and bookshops coexisted within the master’s household.  The necessary everyday work encompassed both housewifery (food, lodging and laundry for family and apprentices) and business (minding the shop, keeping accounts, taking in and distributing copy, dealing with customers).


Le Lionais:  (translated by George Agoston and Pauline Bentley-Koffler, found in MANY SUBTLE CHANNELS)

I have never turned on a light switch in a darkened room without the sudden flood of light releasing in me an undeniable emotion, the impression almost of having witnessed a miracle.


Here are Harry Mathews and John Ashbery talking (The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Vol. 7.3, 1987; reprinted by Dalkey Archive, for CONTEXT, Dalkey Archive website)

HM: I think that’s what’s hard to . . . Readers get worried about reading something right or wrong, they don’t trust themselves in the act of reading, and so they don’t let that process work for them. They try to piece together a sense by taking out the elements that are used in . . .

JA: That’s certainly particularly true of poetry, where people will go to any lengths rather than actually read the poem, such as read a thick book about it. What’s the position of Oulipo in France? How’s it regarded by writers in general?


Here comes Allen Ginsberg talking about writing:

The problem is then to reach the different parts of the mind, which are existing simultaneously, the different associations which are going on simultaneously, choosing elements from both, like: jazz, jukebox, and all that, and we get the jukebox from that; politics, hydrogen bomb, and we have the hydrogen of that, you see “hydrogen jukebox.”  And that actually compresses in one instant like a whole series of things.  Or the end of “Sun-flower” with “cunts of wheelbarrows,” whatever that all meant, or “rubber dollar bills” —”skin of machinery”; see, and actually in the moment of composition I don’t necessarily know what it means, but it comes to mean something later, after a year or two, I realize that it meant something, clear, unconsciously…. Because we’re not really conscious of the entire depths of our minds—in other words, we just know a lot more than we’re able to be aware of, normally—though at moments we’re completely aware, I guess.

and earlier he’d said:  Usually during the composition, step by step, word by word and adjective by adjective, if it’s all spontaneous, I don’t know whether it even makes sense sometimes.  Sometimes I do know it makes complete sense, and I start crying…..

Because I realize I am hitting some area which is absolutely true.  And in that sense applicable universally, or understandable universally.  In that sense able to survive through time–in that sense to be read by somebody and wept to,

maybe, centuries later.  In that sense prophecy……

(excerpts from 1967 interview reprinted in WRITERS AT WORK, PARIS REVIEW series)


Dara Wier is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and You Good Thing. 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, the American Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Her forthcoming collection You Good Thing will be published by Wave Books this spring. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Something we tend to do a lot of–experience apophenia– and it seems the only questions might involve when is too much apophenia too much–can there be too many connections or too much meaningfulness–ever——and what is “abnormal” meaningfulness—-ever——–

apophenia comes around: the “unmotivated seeing of connections” accompanied by a “specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness”



Professor Summerlee gave a snort of impatience. “We have spent two long days in exploration, ” said he, “and we are no wiser as to the actual geography of the place than when we started. It is clear that it is all thickly wooded, and it would take months to penetrate it and to learn the relations of one part to another. If there were some central peak it would be different, but it all slopes downwards, so far as we can see. The farther we go the less likely it is that we will get any general view…You area all turning your brains towards getting into this country. I say we should be scheming how to get out of it.” “I am surprised, sir,” boomed Challenger, stroking his majestic beard, “that any man of science should commit himself to so ignoble a sentiment….I absolutely refuse to leave until we are able to take back with us something in the nature of a chart.


This is the epigraph that sits on top of the FOREWORD for Alberto Manguel’s and Gianni Guadalupi’s THE DICTIONARY OF IMAGINARY PLACES (1999).

______________ aside: irregardless of THE DICTIONARY OF IMAGINARY PLACES:

where apophenia comes around: the “unmotivated seeing of connections” accompanied by a “specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness” is the world we inhabit, when someone connects and means, especially when these return the thrill of an essential experience of presence, I am glad, grateful, curious, something has registered: alive ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is the first entry in THE BOOK OF IMAGINARY PLACES:


ABATON (from the Greek a, not; banino, I go), a town of changing location. Though not inaccessible, no one has ever reached it and visitors headed for Abaton have been known to wander for many years without even catching a glimpse of the town. Certain travellers, however, have seen it rising slightly above the horizon, especially at dusk. While to some the sight has caused great rejoicing, others have been moved to terrible sorrow without any certain cause. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

& emulous: eager to imitate, equal, or to surpass another. ~~~~~~~~~

(carving by Pamela Glaven for Flying Object’s 3rd year launch) (photo by Pam Glaven) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

HERE IS VLADIMIR NABOKOV WRITING IN speak, memory: (he’s writing about writing his first poem)

………A sunset, almost formidable in its splendor, would be lingering in the fully exposed sky. Among its imperceptibly changing amassments, one could pick out brightly stained structural details of celestial organisms, or glowing slits in dark banks, or flat, ethereal beaches that looked like mirages of desert islands.

[and here is the part that astonished most of all:]

I did not know then (as I know perfectly well now) what to do with such things — how to get rid of them, how to transform them into something that can be turned over to the reader in printed characters to have him cope with the blessed shiver — and this inability enhanced my oppression.

[and he continues, atmospherically accurately:]

A colossal shadow would begin to invade the fields, and the telegraph poles hummed in the stillness, and the night-feeders ascended the stems of their plants. Nibble, nibble, nibble — went a handsome striped caterpillar….as he clung to a campanula stalk, working down with his mandibles along the edge of the nearest leaf out of which he was eating a leisurely hemicircle, then again extending his neck, and again bending it gradually, as he deepened the neat concave.

(p. 165, SPEAK, MEMORY, Everyman’s Library, first included in Everyman’s in 1999)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ a little bit about irony: how it accounts for us our reduced appreciation of what we, in our overly rational mind activity, call “opposites” –irony lets us appreciate these not as opposites but as unalike parallel states of being, e.g. let’s you look at both of them without being blinded by either (when often, when irony is worth the bother, one should be blinded by each) (when one is bothering about or concerned with giant things (death, murder, envy, damage, love, lost love, power, betrayal, truth, beauty, lies, value, etc.) is a resort to irony necessary)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~when a story in a book takes a turn

when circumstances make for anxious emotions

when one foresees what has to come or has to happen

when one wishes it were otherwise or accepts it (as fate? yes, fate of the fictional kind, the metaphorical sort) (the might as well be kind)

this constitutes a story

because one feels as if it matters


Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse 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, the American Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Her forthcoming collection You Good Thing will be published by Wave Books this spring. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

after listening to Caryl Pagel read from her new book EXPERIMENTS TRIED AT MY OWN DEATH (Factory Hollow Press), I asked her to kindly send me something written about what she said, here is some of what she said about visions, apparitions, hallucinations & body:

VERIDICAL HALLUCINATION: when one experiences a hallucination–a three-dimensional visual scene that looks like but does not actually exist–which later comes true.

CRISIS APPARITION: a scenario in which one is suddenly struck with the certain knowledge that someone they know or love is in trouble, has been harmed, or has died. For example, you wake up in the middle of the night with an anxious feeling about Uncle Joey, and the next day find out he was hit by a car at that instant.

VISION: a vision is–in my experience–something less tangible, less measurable or defined, but more stunningly physical. It is the absolute (bodily) knowledge of something that you cannot possibly know. It is an unearned–unexperienced, unempirical–understanding of events in the future, or occurrences that exist outside your limits of perception.

BODY: what holds you down.


We had to find some less reasonable ways to tell if a poem is finished.  Stick a broom straw in it, if it comes out clean, run a clean thin knife blade into it, if it comes out clean, gently push down on it with one of your thumbs (the one you trust the most), see how much it gives.  This last one seems to indicate one can like one’s poems, rare, medium or well-done.  This seems possible.


We feel strange when we write like this:

A life that is not metaphorical is not worth living.

Hyperbole is a swinging door.

If you’re carrying a tray, back out of the room.

Leave argumentative positions aside.

Let the little pugilist wither on the vine.


One day as I was spending some time in Emily Dickinson’s house, because I live in North Amherst which is part of Amherst and near enough to Emily’s house, I’m often taking guests to her house, and sometimes going on in and doing the tour of the house with them,  …….

the docent, the tour guide who saw me disinterested in her guidance…….because I’d been there many many times before and I always have a sad habit of thinking when I’m there I wish they would take everything that is a replica out of the house, let the house be empty, for which it would be more haunted, and stop saying this is what it would have looked like, this is a replica of her, here is an imitation of, this is what it would have been in…….

(that is all so distracting)

anyway, what the docent said to me when she left her charges to linger over a glass box of relics, first class, second class, third class, all kinds, she said, as she wandered over to where I was looking out a window,  she said…….I lived in this house longer than Emily Dickinson ever did.


Marcel Duchamp’s “retinal flutter”

The art critic who asked that an artist not “intrigue us with associations with things we can experience more authentically elsewhere”

(to be considered when considering “this reminds me of……..”)


Why would we bother to have memories if we weren’t meant to have them?

The question is what do we do with them?


It’s a fairly tough calculus of calibrations you’ll need to be adjusting in order to tell the difference between memories that are necessary and memories that are expendable.


How a single night in a poem is an eternity.

(or it at least presents us with the thought of how things might be were we to imagine something eternal)


What is it if you really have forgotten something and you don’t know what it is that you’ve forgotten.  It is truly lost on you.


There come times when I know I have wasted my entire life believing it to be most desirable to lose myself in others’ thoughts.  I am always inclined to do this.  Lost in others thoughts seems to be where I am most at home.


I am so glad you are good-natured because otherwise you could bedevil anyone with how you say what you say such that anyone might believe everything you seem to believe.


The lengths we go to identify with one another.

There is an excellent essay about this in the most recent jubilat, Lee Ann Roripaugh’s POEM AS MIRROR BOX:  MIRROR NEURONS, EMOTIONS, PHANTOM LIMBS, AND POEMS OF LOSS AND ELEGY


And all we do to construct individual character, and what we’re born with, and what we do with that……..

the wonderful way someone can be saying:  Who Are You?


How we have to sometimes pretend we know everything when we know nothing.

We have to pretend we know everything when we know nothing.

We do so many things to make ourselves feel as though were are having an illusion and

living through something in the same instance.


A formula:  believing the opposite of what you know is true

What did she say……..she said  that the great thing about lying is that the more you lie, and the farther away from the truth you get,  the more certain you are of what truth is…or something like that.


Technique, ways of doing things, is the subconscious, if one were to do this this way.  It might seem technique (or manners, style, or means) is too dry to be called sub-anything.  It’s not.  It’s what lets all the words in the world settle down briefly, momentarily, what happens might be thought of as something similar to what happens when a bird lights on a branch, or a fencepost, or a fire escape, or a wire, or when a big flock of birds do these things, even more so.


Veering into the flock, The Swarm School.



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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier


Here is Walter Benjamin (yes, that one) saying this about reading:

For a week you were wholly given up to the soft drift of the text that surrounded you as secretly, densely, and unceasingly as snowflakes.  You entered it with limitless trust.  The peacefulness of the book, that enticed you further and further!  [...To the child] the hero’s adventures can still be read in the swirl of letters like figures and messages in the drifting snowflakes.  His breath is part of the air of the events narrated, and all the participants breathe with his life.  He mingles with the characters far more closely than grown-ups do.  He is unspeakably touched by the deeds, the words that are exchanged, and, when he gets up, is blanched over and over by the snow of his reading.

(ONE WAY STREET AND OTHER WRITING, translated by Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter, NLB, 1979)


Our chief want in life, is, somebody who shall make us do what we can. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803-1882)


this Emerson sentence above, really surprises me, though I gather the “somebody” could be anybody including one’s self, and I guess must suggest someone doing something for someone, doing something out of love, or a wish for someone to be pleased with you (or more) on account of what you do, serving as inspiration and inducement


Here is something from Jean Braudrillard’s 1968, THE SYSTEM OF OBJECTS

The degree to which a machine approaches perfection is thus everywhere presented as proportional to its degree of automatism.  The fact is, however, that automating machines means sacrificing a very great deal of potential functionality.  In order to automate a practical object it is necessary to stereotype it in its function, thus making it more fragile.  Far from having any intrinsic technical advantages, automatism always embodies the risk of arresting technical advance, for so long as an object has not been automated it remains susceptible of redesign, of self-transcendence through incorporation into a larger functional whole.  When it becomes automatic, on the other hand, its function is fulfilled, certainly, but is also hermetically sealed.  Automatism amounts to a closing-off, to a sort of functional self-sufficiency which exiles man to the irresponsibility of a mere spectator.  Contained within it is the dream of a dominated world…………


Automatism hopes to avoid chance, contingency, coincidence, incorporation of “mistakes”, and much else.


I think when someone says “and the astute reader knows this” someone is talking about the unspoken understanding writers have with writing and with anyone who’s reading.

And I agree whole-heartedly about emotional truth, which is really another way of indicating, hey, anyone out there reading this, I respect and count on you, I thank you, I appreciate you, I rely on you, and so on.  It is your brain I’m relying on to read this.  It sems so self-evident.

(and I am not pulling the wool over your eyes, or condescending to you, or having one over on you (is that a phrase???? oh my god) or otherwise keeping from you my true feelings about you or this piece of writing), and, yes, in fact I am thinking about you, I rely on you, I thank you for lending me your brain for this while, without you once I’m done writing something, it is pretty much done unless or until someone else, not me, reads it.


Now this conversation also  opens up a whole other can of worms.  What about the emotional extortionists out there……you know the ones…….they routinely dupe others…….ahhhhh but they do know something about human nature and its willingness to be duped or fooled or tricked or played with or befuddled and mystified.

(see Andy Kaufman quoted in inside undivided #13) (my first book begins with a little epigraph anecdote that REALLY HAPPENED, one of the first poetry readings I ever attended included the poet’s introducing his parents who were in the audience; the poet then read poems about his brother’s suicide; it was excruciatingly awkward and difficult to listen to the poems after the poet’s introduction of his parents, I don’t think necessarily the poet was cynically extorting emotion, the poems were almost too naive to bear that……I don’t know, this is what this is, an incident, a curious incident that taught me something I can’t completely articulate)


I respect a magician, an illusionist, an impersonator, (but probably not an imposter), maybe certain hoax perpetrators; I respect sleight of hand and drawing and paintings’ illusions of so many kinds, though there scale alone tips the balance & corrects any misunderstanding (whether magnified or miniaturized).

It’s said over and over and over again how and why and when INTENTION is inconsequential.  I don’t think so.  I get why this is said.  I get the warning saying it intends.  I get how, in fact, saying this says that beyond intention (one’s intended) there comes a judgment, and other means by which value is assigned.


Serendipitous encounter with Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language installed in a hallway and alcove at MOMA.  We were going to see Cindy Sherman show and did see it, nice and early in the morning and from back to front so the rooms were empty up until the very end.  I’m crowd-o-phobic so ways to avoid crowded gallery rooms economize on xanax.  Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language shows letters and words behaving as material objects. It is like being in a seriously well made series of places or spaces in which letters and words get to be themselves.


Here is something from there:  from Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language.

Organized by Laura Hoptman, assisted by Eleonore Hugendubel

We really liked spending some time in this collection’s gatherings.


El Lissitzky:


in what circumstances is meaninglessness possible?  (this has nothing to do with above show, in fact EcstaticAlphabets/Heaps of Language seemed all about meaning.  As in something along the lines of:  I mean what I say.  I meant to say what I said.  I mean, I mean to mean that.  There, now that word’s transforming beyond this moment’s understanding)


pronouns prompted by a remark by Lesle Lewis  (Alice James:  lie down too; Landscapes I & II; Small Boat), Lewis remarked how she is suspicious of you no, no, maybe it was it she was suspicous of, I am partial to listening to what Lewis is thinking about.  I thought these things:

you I’ve always been partial to (because probably my original association with it is as it’s used vernacularly, as in when we talk like this:  you know, you go to the grocery store, your car breaks down, you can’t find a ride, you deal with it  (it is a substitute for the more elegant one).  (one deals with it)

My family (this family is my old family back in Louisiana) talk has an odd verbal habit. My family often and typically refers to itself as they.  As in, go see if they have any milk in the icebox.  “They” so strange.  Also in south Louisiana talk there is a tic, a habit, that goes like this:

Me, me, me I’m going to get me some of that milk, me.    (me is used so much as an amplifier, repeating modifier of a musical kind)  I’ve always loved the me that comes at the end of the sentences.  I like that, me. it, first of all comes to mind:  Simic’s poem all abut it in RETURN TO A ROOM LIT BY A GLASS OF MILK, (the poem is called The Point, check it out.  I love all pronouns, I do.  They are strange little words and they do strange big and little things.

Here is what I think they do:  they say to us:  hey you, you know what I’m standing in for, your brain can do that switch, hurrah for your brain, look at that, your brain can do that.  Ha.  Pronouns should get a whole lot more credit than they get, they are workhorse words, look at them, they do almost anything.for us.

Maybe another thing to think about are the verb pronouns:













I can’t help but like thinking that those words function in some (not explicitly but interestingly) ways similarly to words like, what, that, these, those, and all.

And then there are the nouns, like for instance thing.  It stands in all the time for so many things.

Maybe I think articles are more problematic!  (handling articles involves such delicate operations)



Faithful pareidolia  eastern standard time

to practice it faithfully, to make a practice of it, to see what it, that, shows, does, is






does any of this have anything to do with our current political situation, ah, to call it a situation is fraught



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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier


Fear of Flowers


from Guillaume Apollinaire’s CALLIGRAMS

Your smile charms me the way

A flower charms me

Snapshot you are the brown mushrooms

~~~~~~~~~and also this line:

I know a sciomantic but I didn’t want him to interview my shadow.


Skeletons in the Closet


On one level we all know this stuff already—-it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables:  the skeleton of every great story.

- David Foster Wallace


echopraxia  (compulsive repetition of actions by someone else)

echolalia (compulsive repetition of words spoken by someone else)


maybe someone else might be yourself in a certain frame of mind

possibly more consideration of mirroring and synchronized behaviors

swimming, dancing, mugging, mirroring, modeling after, staying in synch, some dancing, marching, square dancing, contra-dancing (fear of), in unison, saying out loud the same words with a significant number of other people, congregating, & harmonizing


Errol Morris provides all this: (but I’m breaking it up into pieces)

In “A System of Logic: Ratiocinative and Inductive” (1843), John Stuart Mill quotes Thomas Hobbes (from “De Corpore,” 1655).

“A Name,” says Hobbes,

“is a word taken at pleasure to serve for a mark,

which may raise in our mind a thought

like to some thought we had before, and

which being pronounced to others, may be to them a sign

of what thought the speaker had before in his mind.”


…… a name is a mark that allows us to recall a former thought

……what do we do about

the endless beliefs and associations that piggyback on names? What role do they play? What purpose do they serve?


and then there are also those instances when one word blocks another word, one word puts a wall up between you and other words you know are there but you can’t see them or find them until that word that is standing in the way dissolves or disappears or becomes see-through enough to no longer be hiding that other word

whether this is an interference or a fortuitous additional

context, which often is the medium in which tone shows its hand,

will tell


it might be a worthwhile experiment to consider:

never saying and, even more difficult,, trying not to think:  this reminds me of……aiming one’s recognitions elsewhere

or more probably, more likely to be able to be set upon:  only saying and only thinking:  this reminds me of,

this might be another way to consider this human habit, to practice it so fervently it transmogrifies beyond its usual results  (and it will not be always grotesque)


(aside:  Sherwood Anderson’s WINESBURG, OHIO begins with and continues with and ends with some defining characteristics ofgrotesque:  something along the lines of:  when any human chooses to believe one thing and one thing only, what she believes and she herself, become grotesque)


why when one thing later in a poem (or prose) reminds us of something from the same poem, only earlier (a motif is coming into being, either a motif of sound or a motif of words or a motif of associational images and/or ideas…….a sequence of thoughts)


why this kind of action can be a convincing means by which to keep  my attention on what’s inside a poem instead of being reminded of something/anything that is outside the poem, even if the former is not always preferable to the latter

(I know, I know it is funny and odd and speculative to say that a poem has an inside and an outside); let’s say it does in this less than infinitely dimensional way, a pause, a scratch, a missed beat, a skip, a rhythmical stir, another sort of tangent, a tangent of another kind) (a temporary stay, an artificial pretending anything can be stopped) (for the sake of at least a lull in thinking’s continuing)


even if the latter is not always preferable to the former


any instance of something repeated in a poem or prose marks a split second use of our traditional time consciousness register: remembering

when recognition ignites:  anything repeated– memory recalls its appearance

prior to its subsequent appearance, this helps encourage me to feel as if my

mind is engaged with what I’m reading, while working in one of the tens of

thousands of ways minds do, in this case, any mind’s recognition via an act

of memory (or recall)


maybe we couldn’t have a single next thought were we unable to practice acts of recall, maybe music would be unintelligible to us…..

(and we do have an almost sub-sub conscious recall of what any word is saying, it would be a much more sluggish world did we not)


when does a digression cease to be a digression and what sort of chain reaction seems involved in this

(see Fischli & Weiss:  THE WAY THINGS GO)  (in which very little is randomly arranged)


random arrangements?


very popular contemporary use of pivot,

it puts a positive spin on a change in one’s anticipated course of direction, because it is sport derived there is a more gaming strategic hint in its

delivery & reception, direction and suggestion


I’m asked to say something about turns and swerves in poetry.  Pivots will work out with other nuances implied in each case… has to see how things play out, what comes along, who takes up what is up, and to where does she take it


change my mind, and a changing mind’s turning, twists, skips, bumps, pauses, rushes, directions, and course of action




a word that’s offered (by Arthur Koestler by way of  Jeremy Millar), is

bisociated which I guess suggests there can be permutations to that word as needed, trisociated, octosociated, quasociated,  omnisociated, which refer to what happens when a spectator’s mind is understood to be actively, freely, involved:

while his intellect is capable of swiftly oscillating from one matrix to the other and back his emotions are incapable of following these acrobatic turns; they are spilled in the gutters of laughter as soup is spilled on a rocking ship



Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse 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, the American 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.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier



For I had placed myself behind my own back, refusing to see myself.  (St. Augustine)



based on a true story

based on the true life story of

what is it about wanting to know if it really really happened

what does saying it really happened do to our sense of what we are experiencing

that makes it different from believing that what we are experiencing is made up

why do we want to know if something is made up rather than known about and transmitted or transferred or transformed via artistic means

why do we want to know where something comes from

why do we want to know something’s origins

why do we want to know where someone comes from

why is origin significant

what does origin tell us about how we feel about something

how does, when it does, the fact that origin is significant alter our experience of any given piece of art

(or anything for that matter, we want to know the source of our food, we feel it matters from where what we eat comes)  (at one time the more exotic something was the more desirable it was, not so much any more, (see mirable…..see wonder cabinets…..see marvels…..see esoteric collections…..the more rare it is the more desirable it is) (think of someone you know who is allergic to anything that he registers as popular)

how does knowing something’s origins affect how we think about what happens to something during transportation

If art comes from human’s desires to know something, almost anything, then when and how does art’s origins play into what we take away from any artistic experience

why are there and surely have always been artists whose stated intentions are to rough us up, make us raw, (presumably because being raw implies being vulnerable or being “open” or being……..what…………..raw as an artistic metaphor was used a lot a long time ago, e.g. the raw and the cooked, Dionysian and Apollonian, or unadulterated, unmediated, (found?)  (found and re-located?), untouched, virgin wilderness, experiencing something under the impression that one is the first one there, why then we say we discovered……..


maybe origin is the beginning of tone and how something is meant and what is meant is taken


I just read:  (a) The brain dislikes unique vantage points and (b) prefers generic ones.

I don’t know if I believe that.  I don’t know that my experience would lead me to that conclusion.

Unless I take this to mean because the brain tends to prefer generic vantage points, being aware that this inclination leads to a dulled, robotic, mindless, circumscribed awareness of existence should caution me to seek unique vantage points in order to stimulate my otherwise lulled brain.

I don’t know.


Is this true?


from V.S. Ramachandran’s THE TELL-TALE BRAIN (Norton,  2011):

………….one of the most important laws in aesthetic perception: the abhorrence of coincidences……….

….to use a phrase introduced by Horace Barlow—-”a suspicious coincidence” …….And your brain always tries to find a plausible alternate, generic interpretation to avoid the coincidence. 

 (click image for the Kanizsa Triangle)

Kanizsa Triangle –

…………..the illusory triangle described by Italian psychologist Gaetano Kanizsa.  There really isn’t a triangle.  It’s just three Pac-Man-like figures facing one another.  But you perceive an opaque white triangle whose three corners partially occlude three black circular discs.  Your brain says (in effect), “What’s the likelihood that these three Pac-Men are lined up exactly like this simply by chance?  It’s too much of a suspicious coincidence.  A more plausible explanation is that it depicts an opaque white triangle occluding three black discs.”  …… can almost hallucinate the edges of the triangle…… this case your visual system has found a way of explaining the coincidence (eliminating it, you might say) by coming up with an interpretation that feels good.


What do you think about Andy Kaufman?  Or more truly, how does thinking about Andy Kaufman make you feel?

What do you think about Donald Judd or more truly how does thinking while seeing Donald Judd’s work make you feel?

What do you think about Frances Stark?  Or more truly how does reading what Frances Stark thinks about make you feel?


(and possibly worth considering might be this:  some of us want other’s ways of thinking and ideas to mix, mingle and possibly alter ways of thinking our private personal brain knows, practices, does and possibly will do while there are others of us who wish to keep contained and unaltered what we perceive to be our personal private brain space in its state of equilibrium one wishes to maintain, on another hand either of these two alternatives can be active in a single human mind’s variously perennial necessities or inclinations)

(is one thing about emotions that an emotion can not sustain itself, an emotion always turns into another emotion, an emotion’s duration is limited to that emotion’s peak’s sustainability until exhaustion or extinction, if only we each had a privately-set, customized, emotion detector, ready to relay to us calibrations, sequences, predictions, warnings, etc., based on your previous history, extreme joy of this magnitude inevitably changes into sustained sorrow bordering on despair; but despair wears thin eventually giving way to sliver and hints of hope, which will prevail mildly followed by extreme registers of the deepest doubts over-lapped somewhat by intermittent regrets only to be interrupted by sudden awe, and so on.


“I am not a comic, I have never told a joke…The comedian’s promise is that he will go out there and make you laugh with him…My only promise is that I will try to entertain you as best I can. I can manipulate people’s reactions. There are different kinds of laughter. Gut laughter is where you don’t have a choice, you’ve got to laugh. Gut laughter doesn’t come from the intellect. And it’s much harder for me to evoke now, because I’m known. They say, ‘Oh wow, Andy Kaufman, he’s a really funny guy.’ But I’m not trying to be funny. I just want to play with their heads.”   Andy Kaufman (1949-1984)


“This could become a gimmick or an honest articulation of the workings of the mind, which derives from a comment written in the margin of a used copy of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1955 novel The Voyeur. Stark transcribed the annotated page of this find into a drawing in 1995.”  ART IN AMERICA, Nancy Princenthal, 2011)


how ordinary inspires extraordinary

how what’s there can inspire what’s not there




The Gates of the LYCEUM


You can only be a foreigner in a language other than your own, Jean-Pierre says in “Poto and Cabengo” 1980 non-fiction film about twin girls in California who had made news for speaking a language they have invented, always an option—-

for twins, lovers, friends, gangs, schools, cliques, bands, clubs, anything that can be named as something unified within something else, it is either within something that it is against and apart from, or it is within something it is singular with, or it is without notice yet still severely limited by its defining collective adherence (and sometimes enforcement) to a set of ways of seeing, saying and having the world.


See THE SILENT TWINS about twins who communicate with only one another until adolescence and then they become arsonists….a book by Marjorie Wallace, followed by a documentary, early 1980s


as in a distillation of didacticism

(as in utopian writing, etc.)


part of a modernist tradition of innovation by distillation

a few notes from a set of lectures by Kirk Varnedoe (PICTURES OF NOTHING)

initiating the long tradition within modern art of the subversive joke, of anti-art—art that deconstructs and disengages the category of art itself

We often characterize what is new by its abandonment of the things that we know. That is why we have the horseless carriage and the wireless phone.

a residue of the Dada tradition, turning art into a joke, negating the work of art by turning it into a performance, so that the work itself hardly mattered.

because it is not an optical style of painting, it is an actual optical experience. It points toward uncertainty, as opposed to anything essential or concrete. One does not know what is concave or convex, present or absent, tangible or intangible. [in in this case a discussion of west coast minimalist aesthetic or anti-aesthetic] [where-in] purification and reduction lead to a loss of certainty, a kind of ambiguity and disorientation that is exactly the opposite of [someone's] assertive engagement with weight and physicality, with a standard foot-on-the-ground experience.

….. Duchamp‘s anti-art utilized the arbitrary as a demoralizing device, whereas Cage uses chance and the arbitrary as a device of revelation and the marvelous. Cage’s 4’33″transforms negation into acceptance


whether that’s so or not is not yet something to be determined, at least not by me


the same contemplative power of the void


Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse 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, the American 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.


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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier


Rosamond Purcell, Lawrence Weschler, good people doing amazing things


Daniil Kharms

Matvei Yankelevich:

“…A work of art has to exist in the world as an object, as real as the sun, grass, a rock, water, and so on. It must also possess a ‘slight error’—–in other words, to be ‘right’ it has to be a little bit ‘wrong,’ a tad strange, and thereby truly real. Art, for Kharms has an ‘independent existence’…”

(p. 13, TODAY I WROTE NOTHING: THE SELECTED WRITINGS OF DANIIL KHARMS, edited and translated by Matvei Yankelevich)

This is important, this distinguishing between kinds of logics we can encounter:

“…Kharms seems to have absorbed quickly all the new ideas in the artistic air at that time, and these served as a springboard for his idiosyncratic aesthetic theories that would center on fragmentation and disruption, and the autonomy of art from logical thought, practicality and everyday meanings…”


And I can’t help myself, I am going to be typing here a lot from Matvei’s intro, it is good to think about it:

………Beckett and Ionesco didn’t  like Martin Esslin’s: “Theatre of the Absurd” label either.  But Kharms and his “school” are not around to complain, as their writings didn’t reach the West until long after most of them were dead.  The domestication may be pardonable, but it’s not subtle.  To quote The Village Voice writer on the the OBERIU poets, “Their shit is hilarious.  But it got them killed.”  We stumble on (or over) this kind of oversimplification again and again in our culture’s popularization of difficult writers in difficult times.

In fact, Kharms consistently denies us our desire to draw any moral conclusions from his work.  “What big cucumbers they sell in stores nowadays!” the writer exclaims after one of his characters beats another to death with an oversize cuke.

A series of events in which one character after another meets an accidental and senseless demise concludes with the lamentation:  “All good people, but they don’t know how to hold their ground.”………………Every fable ends with a false moral, or none at all.

By imposing a logical reading, this “translation” does violence to Kharms, for whom  chance itself is a transcendent category; error and accident, the very glue of the universe, constitute manifestations in this world of the miraculous, which is otherwise hidden in some parallel dimension behind or beyond mundane reality.


…… the chance encounter on an operating table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella………(Lautréamont?  or Rimbaud?)  (who should I think of when I think of this)

and I like to think of this, or at least two of three parts of this, however the part I prefer not to think of is necessary to the equation of all 3 together, I guess










Manufactured spontaneity, what is there about it that is not the same as spontaneous spontaneity?  Each is fine in its own way.

Bi-furcations of functional passageways lead to ever more difficult to maneuver portals.  To get to the source of a river one manages and navigates and follows ever more narrow waterways.


scale for books investigating borders of bitter cynical misanthropic points of view:

(* indicates degrees of biting/grilling evidence of evidence we can be understood to be a difficult species)

* mild




*****satisfyingly hyperbolic

tiny sample:


etc.  noticing there is no poetry there, correcting this indicatively:

C.P. Cavafy **** Emily Dickinson ****

Walt Whitman * James Tate ***

(addendum:  “scathing” on certain occasions may be exchanged for “painfully realistic”)


from an interview in a recent TINHOUSE (out of Portland, Oregon)  by Tony Perez in which he interviews Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad of Radiolab:

TP:  When do you know that it’s done, that it’s perfect?

RK:  That’s Jad.  I’ll make suggestions, but he doesn’t have to take them. It’s up to him at the end of the day where our final beauty rests.  Though, it’s interesting to me, either because he’s seduced me or because we were doppelgangers from the beginning, we often agree.  It’s one of the crucial things whether you’re making a movie or a radio show—-and maybe it’s true about writing—-to know when you’re done.  It’s sort of like flower arranging.  You have elements.  You put them in a bowl.  There are incomprehensibly large numbers of combinations that could be made, but at a certain point, you feel somehow satisfied.  It’s a mysterious feeling.  And if you feel satisfied together, it’s a doubly mysterious feeling.


At my outpost, my secret headquarters, I am always waiting for something to come along.  Waiting on the banks of a river provides this luxury, there will always be something coming.  And it may be coming from far away.

It might be coming from Minnesota (land of a thousand lakes) (and CONDUIT and RAIN TAXI and THE LOFT and Minnesota Center for the Book and The Walker Center for the Arts and The Ashbery Bridge and  Coffee House Press and Greywolf and I think, but maybe I’m remembering wrong……..Quaker Oats…, that can’t be, can it……….) and Steve Healey’s great book TEN MISSISSIPPI, for one.

I know people throw things in a river, I know weather put things on the water, I know things and people fall in the water, I know some things are meant to float by (appearing first from around a bend to the north and then disappearing eventually around a bend to the south) (one of the bends is called Jesuit Bend, this is where a little mission church sits mostly empty except for when a priest manages, often for a holiday or a holyday to come by to say a mass or something).

Driftwood’s allure.


What to do about flotsam and jetsam?  The exponential potential of all that.


Here’s Ron Padgett’s translation of Pierre Reverdy’s THE WRONG SIDE RIGHT SIDE OUT   (The Brooklyn Rail Black Square Editions,  2007)

He climbs without stopping, without even turning around, and no one but he knows where he is going.

The weight he pulls is heavy but his legs are free and he has no ears.

At each door he called out his name.  No one opened.

But when he knew that someone was expected and who it was, he knew how to change his face.  Then he went in, in place of the person who wasn’t coming.


Dara Wier is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse 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, the American 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.