Number 1/1994
Editors: Ken Harris, Jim Leftwich

Extracts and comments--

You probably have it, but in case you don't here's some of it:
(maybe you'll want to get it--or maybe you'll want to avoid it)

John Noto:


This poe-ssay will present a freewheeling overview of the current state of affairs within the avant-garde scamming on the millenium. Its major theme is the merging of currents stemming from the streams of gestural abstraction (a la Diane Ward, Leslie Scalipino and Michael Palmer), along with what I see as its theoretical counterpart - analytic post- structuralism (i.e., "deconstruction") and the larger post-modern discourse on language, aesthetics and technology, and of neo-surrealism and speculative poetry (a la Ivan Arguelles, Will Alexander and Adam Cornford), into a larger river fed also by rapids of cyberpunk-bloodied magnesium knuckles, new-narrative rockin'-the-multi-gendered-casbah fiction and megawatt-outrage outings in performance poetry, as well as the con-fluencies of mass-media and high-tech aesthetic expression in the facsimile-space of the urban simulscape embracing the world today, flowing into the mouth of a vast delta in four dimensions to form a new synthesis on the movement tip jarring awake the traditional demarcations between prose and poetry and their eponymous hero, the revitalization of lyric singing which wells from below the belts of young turks whirling in the visceral passion integrated in neuro-linguistic glycerine at high decibels, exploding off pages to perform laser surgery on the body politic and trachea, that rose-quartz snake, unholy grail, utterance- plagued follicle, mythic horn of plenty - PRINT: Air-induction vents denotation. Body creates mind." [p. 10]

"Besieged by the McPoetry of the MFA programs on one side and the mediocrity of second generation cascades of "language" writing on the other, we have set our sights on maverick waves of light volleying down the funneled stretch at the end of centuries, the approaching millenium darting in our sights like a target in some anarcho-erotic liberation arcade. We've triggered the stun-gun vibrational to frequent flying, jumped through the scan into vehicles: DRIVE." [p. 17]

David Hoeffer:


OK, we all agree it's time - way past time - to put poetry on a plane to its next destination.

[Wait a minute! are we riding or flying? Is it a bird or a plane...or a car? aside: Not to worry, Jack's drivin'.]

Definition of terms

Readers will note the terms "cyberpunk surrealism" and "New Synthesis" (carried over from Talisman #11). [more on Talisman #11 later] They name the new poetry under consideration here. A less bulky equivalent is "squawk." [p. 19]

"Squawk is paginated cyberspace. Poems in its manner are a pavement of voices, perfectly at home in the shopping malls of our youth and ferociously rooted in semi-pop culture: punk rock, cyberpunk speculative fiction, performance art, comic books, Saturday Night Live humor and assorted right and left-libertarian impulses." [p. 20]

"Faithful to its sources, the squawk aesthetic is chaotic - it orders itself along unpredictable lines without taking long hermetic vacations." [p. 21]

"Its forms are provisional, its content - even its _emotional_ content - subject to revision and refutation." [p. 22]

"Blink and you're certain to miss the fun." [p. 22]

[Blink. Blink.]

"Self-conscious practitioners include Will Alexander, Andrew Joron, Darin de Stefano, yours truly [David Hoefer] and, in an adults-only pure form, John Noto. Unself-conscious fellow travellers include David Fox and G. Sutton Breiding, and probably many others who would blanch at the thought of being associated with any tendency whatsoever (and who've made the same discoveries independent of any propaganda on their behalf)." [p. 20]

OK, now that "we all agree" what it is (supposed to be), i.e., uh, what? "it's time - way past time" to read a little:

The first few lines of THE BRILLIANT OUTSIDE by David Hoeffer:

"You're into the breach like a flying wedge, light armor somberly knocking
       up flesh.  I follow with sunscreen and life-sustaining canards.

Your minutes are mercury.  I live in a five-year plan.

I'm bored again, horny for boots and a triumph between your breasts.

Last night was virtual sex with Raincoat Christ and Vagabond Legend.  We
       awoke moist and buoyant, covered with the exhaust of dreams.
       Through the window, the sun's aorta, white times itself."  
                                                              [p. 18]

The first few lines of OPENING KIM - MILLENNIAL FALCON by John Noto:

"Reciprocating envelopes of flesh,
overlapping atmospheres threaded with collapsible
thicken with a resonance, and sweat,
multiplying the possibilities for a shift in the auras
of skins.

Tracking implausible overlays of arms and legs,
radar-mosaics shift into place,
creating molten abstractions harboring faces."
                                          [p. 90]

The first few lines of BIO-LUMINAL SELF-SEEING by Will Alexander:

"Snow eyes wafting
through volatile glycerine placebos
staring out
at triangular alien charismas
at marsh rabbits
centripetally spliced
flayed ozonal nerves
always looking
for saffron blows
for bursts
for micrometer hinges
so as to chew on 
insoluble terror"

(Others represented in JUXTA #1: John M. Bennett, Jake Berry, Susan Smith Nash, Michael Basinski, Peter Ganick, Thomas Lowe Taylor, Spencer Selby and many more.)

Not to seem sectarian, Michael Leddy's response to work in Talisman 11 is included:


"I'm wary of group-formations, particularly those that seek a claim on the reader by declaring that other possibilities are now history, a new writing's past. I'm wary of claims that "the dialectic of textual practice" is moving "ineluctably" toward one's own project (Joron 211) [in Talisman #11], though it must be nice to know that the future is on one's side. I'm wary of writing that announces its aims and procedures with manifesto-like certainty. (I like John Ashbery's statement of poetics, only partly disingenuous, I think: "I really have no idea why I write, or what I am doing when I am doing it.") And I'm wary of a fascination with "the Inhuman, that aspect of the Real which lies beyond language" (Joron 210) [Talisman #11]. Ted Berrigan, in the poem "Mi Casa, Su Casa": "I want human to begin with."

Looking at the new-synthesis poems in Talisman 11, I find numerous echoes of Ginsberg, much Corso-like extravagance of diction, various surface resemblances to Burroughs. Often the writing suggests a relation to "slam" poetry, overwrought or not wrought enough...." [p. 23] [Do we group together, or grope? Do we issue manifestos, or manifest toes?] "Group-identities can serve to get work read, but what work do they do after that? [What other work is there?] Do they foster autonomous and divergent growth among writers?" [p. 24] [Growth...of course: growth! InSufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Tomorrow will be difference, (difficult) but will it be growth? Better be, I'd say! (But will it be read?)] (Among writers. Among readers?)

Strong, independent, blond, tanned by the wind, Sundance squats, squints warily at the rapidly approaching cloud of dust...says, "Who _are_ those guys?"

Hero ego quotes the greats, "Shucks, I ain't ever been no _member_ of nuthin', I jes been _me_!" [I mean, if you're great, you don't need to join, right?]

The problem is, there's not much new (talk) to talk about here or there-- but you can could always change de wurtz, alter the vocabulary, make up a new lingo.

Squawk! Say/sing some old love song, some old corn field, some old experience(s). But, I mean, we're bored with that/this, aren't we? And what is there but this/that? Well,...there's stir up the pot, russle up some new grub, make up a new brew, piss on the fire, circle the wagons, turn on the TV, check out the local Mall.... Or Be a Cowboy; or Be a Reader.

But, I been to the Mall.

"This town sure is boring without a _Mall_."
(from the movie "In Country").

                              Wish there was something 
                                     new to do

                                Won't change till we're 
                                    bored with it...

                                        Be bored!



see also: JUXTA Electronic in GOL Zine Archives