17 August 2011
Notes from Pornotopias
Rob began his talk on Sunday by asking us to respond to a one-word writing prompt: "pornography." In response, I came up with the following questions for myself:
*In what ways is desire instrumentalized (or not) in pornography?
*What are we *seeing* when we view pornography?
*What is the role of abstraction in pornography?
Once we shared our responses, Rob began reading from a set of notes that drew from his recent Naropa workshop and his forthcoming third book of poetry (available later this year from Nightboat), Music for Porn.
Here's what I could get down(!):
*What is the relationship btw. what we imagine to be "pornographic" and what we're doing in our writing?
*How do we address the generic expectations we come equipped w/ when we confront "erotic" material?
*Life of the Black Tarantula, Kathy Acker
"Self expression" is a lousy habit, "identity" is another
So-called self-expression hides how "personal life" is "social life"
*Maybe the so-called "social good" is really a social violence?
*Rob's provisional definition of the "pornographic":
"A violence present in any social institution in which the most personal is mediated by the most impersonal"
(or something like that?)
*Oppen: "There are things we live among and to know them is to know ourselves" // what if these "things" are bodies? sexualized bodies, dead bodies, our own bodies, etc.?
*In order to know myself, I must know these things, these bodies, the apparatus of the social that mediates on behalf of? for? between? these bodies.
*Lyric as an organ of sensation: to register these things in the poem
*Apparatus of mediation determines what can be seen or known before we really know it // Poem as organ can "know" apriori?
*"Violence," as a concept, is working overtime: much too abstract a term to do the labor we ask it to do
*Whitman's Civil War poems: wealth of affect
What are are these poems asked to do?
Do they have a healing function?
Are they a healing agent for the nation?
*Jean Genet's Funeral Rites: How do I mourn the lost love without my mourning becoming instrumentalized or "useful"?
*"I get off on relating to invisible suffering and then eating what I produce" // from the proem to Music for Porn?
*Lyric, as an organ of sensation, draws bodies (imagined or otherwise) into relation // Music FOR Porn: as a stand-in but also as oorganized stress to frame/organize experience
*Organ of sensation: making coherent apriori to processed experience ("thought"): organs can do work we can't access