Saturday, 7 December 2013

Coleridge’s Early Empiricism


The new ebook from Argotist Ebooks is Coleridge’s Early Empiricism by Jeffrey Side

Description:

This study examines the influence of empiricism on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry up until 1800, at which time he deserted it for transcendentalism. This is not to suggest that he was completely an empiricist before 1800, but that his empiricism was somewhat tempered by transcendentalist influences. Therefore, the relationship between “empiricism” and “transcendentalism” in his thinking with regard to poetic composition is problematical. Coleridge became a transcendentalist poet and thinker, whose Biographia Literaria was partly intended to demonstrate the malign effect of the Locke tradition on poetry. Even so, that book is partly a work of self-correction. There is ample evidence of Coleridge’s immersion in empiricist philosophy in the 1790s, as well as in the kind of scientific enquiry that was thought to be congenial to that philosophy.

Available as a free ebook here:


Full Argotist Ebooks catalogue here:



Saturday, 28 September 2013

Shadows of the Future

Shadows of the Future, an anthology of Otherstream poetry, edited by Marc Vincenz with an Introduction by Bon Grumman, has been published by Argotist Ebooks, and can be downloaded here:



Argotist Ebooks’ catalogue can be found here:

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What’s in a Name?: The Art & Language Group and Conceptual Poetry

In his essay, ‘Charmless and Interesting:What Conceptual Poetry Lacks and What It’s Got’ Robert Archambeau asks: ‘In what sense is pure conceptualism poetry, beyond the institutional sense of being distributed and considered through the channels by which poetry is distributed and considered?’ The answer to this question would clarify the relationship between conceptual poetry, conceptual art and the generally accepted definition of poetry as being specifically a literary art whereby language is utilised aesthetically and evocatively.

That some of the concerns and practices of conceptual poetry are not new in the world of conceptual art needs no extensive repetition here. However, it is interesting to note that in relation to conceptual poetry’s use of texts and lexical elements to comprise its works, a fairly recent historical precedent already exists. This can be seen in the theories, practices and works of 1960s conceptual artists such as Lawrence Weiner, Edward Ruscha and Robert Barry; and also in the theories, practices and works of the conceptual art group known as Art & Language, which was formed by Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Harold Hurrell and David Bainbridge in 1968. Others affiliated with this group, included Ian Burn, Michael Corris, Preston Heller, Graham Howard, Joseph Kosuth, Andrew Menard, Terry Smith, Philip Pilkington and David Rushton. These artists were among the first to produce art from textual and lexical sources.

The notable similarity between the theories of this group and those of conceptual poetry’s is that the group developed, extended and championed the conceptual theories that were initiated by artists such as Marcel Duchamp. The group also held the view that the practice of art should be systematically theoretical and entirely separated from concerns relating to craft or aesthetics. These and other ideas appeared in the group's journal, Art-Language, the first issue of which appeared in 1969.

A direct parallel with the works of these artists and those produced by conceptual poets is not my intention here. There will be differences in scale (both physical and theoretical) and presentation between them; suffice to say, that the common element they share is that of a conceptual approach to their works, and as such, this leads us back to Archambeau’s question (‘In what sense is pure conceptualism poetry, beyond the institutional sense of being distributed and considered through the channels by which poetry is distributed and considered?’), and also one that I would like to ask. If it is at all possible to agree that both the Art & Language group and conceptual poetry share similar theoretical stances and working practices, then in what sense is the work produced by conceptual poetry more suited to be called poetry than that of the Art & Language group?

In one of the two Facebook discussions I took part in recently about Archambeau’s question, it was mentioned by someone that the term “poetry” was merely an honorific one, conferred by the academy on what it deemed was poetry: the logical extension of this being that if the academy should deem, for instance, a text-book to be poetry then it would have to be accepted that a text-book was, indeed, poetry. In response to this, someone else mentioned that the approach of the literary theorist Roman Jakobson was more reasonable, in that Jakobson saw poetry as marked by specific functions in language rather than by an arbitrary redesignation by the academy of general texts. I agreed with the latter.

In light of this, it seems to me that given that there is no significant difference between the work of the Art & Language group and that of conceptual poetry, for the work of the latter to be designated as poetry whilst that of the former is not, seems a peculiarly inconsistent and whimsical act on the part of the academy. It seems to me, that neither the Art & Language group nor conceptual poetry can accurately be described as producing works of poetry, given that they are both operating from within a conceptual art aesthetic and theoretical stance.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Ann Bogle Apologises to Me—Sort of

Ann Bogle emailed me recently to apologise for her part in a public dispute we had with each other last year. For those interested, here are links to my blog posts where the dispute is explained:

“Response to Ann Bogle”:


“Second Response to Ann Bogle”:


“Third Response to Ann Bogle”:


In her email of apology Ann said:

“I apologize to you for an event that led to other events in August last year. I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread. It was not appropriate to bring it up there or to air it. It was in a flaming thread that you initiated because I had persisted in adding comments about Prosetics (my coinage) in poetry contexts, most particularly, in The Argotist Group.

Country Without a Name will become a book this year to be published by Veery Imprints. Acknowledgement of Argotist Ebooks as its first publisher will be included in its pages. I appreciate your steadiness in working as an e-publisher and your own poetry, when I can find it, and I wish I could find more of it. We were indeed allies and I hope you will view it that way once again.”

In response to this, I replied:

“Thanks for your apology. I can only accept it, though, if you are willing to make it a public apology. I will then accept it publically.”

Ann replied:

“I will post my apology, first, along with this note, mine, second, in response to yours of today, July 5, 2013, at Ana Verse as a Page (rather than as a blog entry) called “My Apology to Jeffrey Side” -- unless you have had thought of de-posting the several blog posts that critique me and Bobbi Lurie. Then our posts will not be permanently available on the Internet, as per Bobbi's request. Perhaps you plan and prefer to leave your critiques of us posted as an explanation of part of history.

In keeping with the artistic design of Ana Verse, the related entry I wish could remain at Ana Verse is “American Candid” -- that I view as a spontaneously-written collaborative play and that I de-posted at the request of Bobbi Lurie, who has asked both you and me not to use her name publicly in any connection with the word “psychotic,” for reasons she had stated in a comment she at first allowed to be posted at Ana Verse following my single-entry response to you and that she later asked me to de-post because her name appears there in connection with the word “psychotic” -- as do these THREE or FOUR emails.

Please let me know your wishes”.

She then posted her apology at her blog, notifying me thus:

“Jeff, there I posted my email to you verbatim:

http://annbogle.blogspot.com/p/my-apology-to-jeffrey-side.html”

I replied:

“I am satisfied with your posting your apology email at Ana Verse but please amend the sentence:

‘I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread.’

to:

‘I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread, and misrepresenting what you said about her in relation to the word “psychotic”.’

And also amend the sentence:

‘It was in a flaming thread that you initiated because I had persisted in adding comments about Prosetics (my coinage) in poetry contexts, most particularly, in The Argotist Group.’

to:

‘It was in a thread that you initiated because I had persisted in adding comments about Prosetics (my coinage) in poetry contexts, most particularly, in The Argotist Group.’

Also please remove my email address from the header of your apology email.

Once you have made these amendments (and not reposted “American Candid”) I will post your apology at my blog, with a note saying I accept it. I will also remove the several blog posts that critique you and Bobbi Lurie.”

She replied:

“I'll amend the Apology I posted without the word “flaming” in it as a compromise; otherwise, STET, no mention of the word “psychotic”.”

“STET”, for those who don’t know, means: “let it stand”, and is used as an instruction on a printed proof to indicate that a correction or alteration should be ignored. So here, Ann has agreed to remove the word “flaming” from one sentence, but not to amend the crucial sentence:

“I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread.”

to:

“I hope you will accept my apology, in particular for bringing up Bobbi Lurie's email correspondence with you in the OtherStream thread, and misrepresenting what you said about her in relation to the word “psychotic”.”

I replied to Ann:

“I can’t accept your apology without your mentioning in it the reason why I was in dispute with you in the first place, namely that you said that I had called Bobbi “psychotic”, when in fact I only said her later emails to me were. It is perfectly possible for someone’s writing style to be “psychotic” when they themselves are not. I made this clear to you at the time.

Without your apology being amended in this way, I can’t accept it, nor can I remove my blog posts regarding the issue. For me to accept the apology as it stands, would mean I would have to leave my blog posts in situ in order to contextualise your apology, which you probably wouldn’t like.”

Ann, however, was adamant that no further compromise on her part should be made, replying:

“Jeff, it's okay to me if you do not accept correct apology, but it's a shame in terms of peace and friendship”.

Her apology (albeit without the inclusion of the word “flaming”) can be found at her blog:

“My Apology to Jeffrey Side”:


In this apology, she also links to another part of her blog where she has reproduced fully the thread from the Otherstream Facebook group that initiated my dispute with her. That she should do this after both Bobbi and myself requested she not do so, demonstrates a lack of consideration, especially towards Bobbi whom, as far as I can tell, Ann has no grievance with. Incidentally, as far as I know, no one who has taken part in the thread has given her permission to publish their private comments in it. This probably constitutes an infringement by Ann of Facebook’s privacy policy, which she might or might not be aware of.

Given this, and her apology being incomplete, and possibly insincere, I am in no reasonable position to accept it as an apology.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Nothing New under the Sun

Here is an article written by Kenny Goldsmith praising Richard Prince who has made a facsimile copy of The Catcher in the Rye, inserting his own name in place of J. D. Salinger’s.


Goldsmith writes:

“A few months ago, a friend pulled off her bookshelf a new appropriation work by Richard Prince, one so radical and so daring, that I almost couldn’t believe it was by the same artist. The premise of the book was achingly simple: a reproduction of the first edition of The Catcher In The Rye, identical in every way except the author’s name was swapped from J. D. Salinger to Richard Prince. The production value of the book was astonishingly high, a perfect facsimile of the original, right down to the thick, creamy paper stock and classic typeface.”

It is peculiar how Goldsmith forgets to mention his own book Day (another work of “unoriginality”) being similarly appropriated (though in a far more ironic and conceptual manner) by Kent Johnson, a few years ago, who, I think, might have been the first person to do this sort of thing with a published book.

It appears nothing is original in conceptual art anymore, even when it’s trying to be unoriginal.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Chicago School of Poetics Scholarship Program Appeal Campaign

Poet and founder and director of The Chicago School of Poetics Francesco Levato, has asked me to spread the word about the School’s scholarship program appeal campaign, which I am very happy to do. He also mentioned to me that he and Larry Sawyer, the School’s co-director, have been teaching from Argotist Ebooks’ catalogue. This is great news, and shows great faith in the ebook format as a serious medium for the presentation and of poetry. This is what he says in his email:

"It's been a while since I last emailed, and I believe it was about teaching from Argotist Ebooks at the Chicago School of Poetics. Both I and my co-director Larry Sawyer have taught from your catalogue, and, of course, really appreciate the work you put out. I'm writing now to ask if you might consider helping us get the word out about a scholarship campaign we are nearing the end of for the School. We're trying to raise funds to offer full scholarships to poetry students in financial need. Do you have an email list you regularly send to where you might mention the campaign? If this is something you wouldn't be comfortable doing I completely understand".

Here are the full details of the campaign:

With your generous support, the Chicago School of Poetics will be offering full scholarships for Master Classes (with poets like Eileen Myles and Charles Bernstein) and regular 8-week courses for the 2013 school year. Just $10 can help students in need attend classes. Please donate at:

http://www.indiegogo.com/CSoPScholar

The campaign ends February 22nd.

"This is what a school truly should be—think of Black Mountain College—beyond all the boundaries & borders". (Ron Silliman)

The Chicago School of Poetics (CSoP) is an online and on-location school that offers compelling poetry classes without the MFA time commitment, pressure or price tag. With an emphasis on craft, instructors at the School focus on the merits of student writing on its own terms. It’s not the typical creative writing workshop! Courses offered at the School allow students to refine their work in a collaborative—not competitive—environment. We don’t teach creativity. Courses allow students to understand the writing process from the inside by observing firsthand how the instructors work in order to gain the critical distance necessary to write more resonant poetry. The School also offers genuine community. On-location courses offer valuable face-to-face contact and online courses offer valuable access to the vibrant community of Chicago poetry for anyone worldwide.

www.chicagoschoolofpoetics.com