04 January 2012

Favorite Things 2011: Brian Ang

Writings are my aids to my memories of crucial favorite things in 2011.

I worked on three books of poetry:

* Communism (Berkeley Neo-Baroque, 2011) came from studying contemporary philosophy, especially Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, and Giorgio Agamben and especially Badiou’s Being and Event which I used to rewrite Louis Zukofsky’s “‘A’-9,” and Michael Palmer who I consider to be an exemplary “philosophical” poet which enabled me to make something severely different.

* Pre-Symbolic (Insert Press, forthcoming 2012) came from studying Zukofsky’s “A” 22 & 23 and repeating it with my own form and materials, a reverse crash course through 2500 years of history.

* The Totality Cantos (in progress) is the sequel to Pre-Symbolic, a poem conceptually and interchangeably about everything, the synchronous archive of present knowledge, emphasizing the unprecedented access to knowledge enabling the construction of the most encyclopedic poem ever written. In addition to researching hundreds of subjects in arts, economics, history, law, philosophy, politics, religion, and science, the poem’s studies include Bruce Andrews’ The Millennium Project, his most recent major work with brilliance on each of its thousand pages; Rachel Blau DuPlessis’ ongoing Drafts, masterful “weak” poetry enabling me to do something severely different and monumental; and Barrett Watten’s criticism especially concerning differential poetics and knowledge, concerns that my poem investigates to connect, from Poetics Journal 10: “Knowledge” and in The Constructivist Moment: From Material Text to Cultural Poetics.


* I delivered my paper “‘Quindecagon,’ Alain Badiou, and Strict Constructionism” at the Alphabet Symposium at the University of Windsor which motivated me to finish Ron Silliman’s The Alphabet and study right-wing judicial theory to undermine it.

* I reported on the “Can Art and Politics Be Thought?” conference, the Durruti Free Skool, and Occupy Oakland for Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion which helped me capture their experiences and better understand them. I wrote an essay called “Poetry and Militancy” published in Lana Turner 4 which helped me self-reflect and figure out how to proceed in my work.

* Since October I’ve been writing a commentary series for Jacket2 called “PennSound & Politics.” I’ve long considered PennSound’s materials as a personal advantage as poets surprisingly don’t study it as much as they might, and I produced PennSound’s Fall 2011 Featured Resources. The labor of writing about PennSound’s materials has strongly sharpened my sensibility.

Editing: * I launched my journal ARMED CELL. Its influences include Try! and With + Stand for their DIY aesthetics, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and THIS for their polemics, and Lana Turner for its poetic engagement with contemporary philosophy.

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