Oy, lots and lots of ground to cover this week. I must make good on my promise to finish off "Poetry and Amino Acids", some news about Vrzhu authors, and with luck a little dissection of some phrases. You'd think, with Monday being a holiday celebrating Rutherford B. Hayes, Millard Fillmore, and, greatest of all, James K. Polk, that I'd be completely assured of being able to make a fulsome and satisfying post. However, Monday included:
--dinner to include broccoli raab with sundried tomatoes and pignoli.
So we'll see what we can git to, though some of what needs to show up here is, by blog standards, old, old news -- I'm just not fast enough on my feet for the response time standards of the blogosphere. We'll see how I feel, and if any of this falls into the tedia of something like yesterday's TV dinner (you ate the apple crisp first, didn't you), then feel free to skip ahead or out altogether.
BUT not before this Important News:
The second part of an interview with Vrzhu author, raconteur and thoughtful respondent, Hiram Larew here (first part here) -- this is really a wonderful interview -- and a profile of Mr. Larew here (which was pointed out in the best selling Silliman's Blog Here).
The Future Of Poetry/Poetry Of The Future: markets, contests, DIY, constraints, and Amino Acids Part Two
Synthetic Genome: Signed, Sealed, Decoded
You were expecting poetry, perhaps? The secret messages hidden in J. Craig Venter’s synthetic bacterial genome have now been revealed. They are Dr. Venter’s name, and that of his research institute and co-workers.
How does poetry get out into the world? We discussed this briefly here. For manuscripts, there are contests, or some sort of Do It Yourself publishing.
Much the same problem inhabits publishing or otherwise getting poems out there separately. You can submit to journals, or find some venue of your own. Richard Brautigan, I believe, used to sell his on the street corner in San Francisco. There are increasing numbers of poets who put their poems up on their blogs or other internet space.
And is goes without saying that regard for these methods toggles back and forth from legitimate to substandard/vanity, from totalitarian art vice grips to fawning & begging.
Poets are always interested in two things: ways of writing poetry (broadly, constraints) and places for their poetry to be read. For publication in a literary journal, there is the external constraint of the preferences of the editors/journal on the kind of poem accepted, and these can be either explicit or inchoate.
The internet has made a significant expansion of poetry's availability and the ecosystem of poems possible, not just self-publishing but also online journals, online submissions, and even search engines as generators of poems.
But where will the next poetry market be?
The answer is . . . inside!
but, Vrzhu, you ask, where is this inside whereof you speak?
The article up above is the clue. The Venter Institute has engineered the complete DNA of a bacterium. Proof of this is in certain "watermarks" embedded in the bacterium's DNA, which use the call letters for amino acids to spell out words.
And here we find both our market and our constraint. When genome technology is sufficiently commonplace, poets will be able to publish their poems as part of the DNA of bacteria! Poetry bookstores could become poetry tubestores where you could go and buy a petri dish of W. S. Merwin, or a prepared slide of John Ashbery. The old guard will complain about the innovative experimentalists flooding the market with non-narrative, anti-lyric spirochetes. Meanwhile, in winter months we'll catch a bad case of the "flarfs."
Here's the constraint. Dr. Margaret Oakley Dayhoff, the originator of bioinformatics, invented the one letter code for the amino acids that encode DNA. The letters of the alphabet missing from the amino acid code provide the lipogrammic constraint for using this method of publishing. Here's a list of the amino acids and the letters with no amino acidic referent:
A - Alanine
B - Asparagine
C - Cysteine
D - Aspartic Acid
E - Glutamic Acid
F - Phenylalanine
G - Glycine
H - Histidine
I - Isoleucine
J - -
K - Lysine
L - Leucine
M - Methionine
N - Asparagine
O - -
P - Proline
Q - Glutamine
R - Arginine
S - Serine
T - Threonine
U - -
V - Valine
W - Tryptophan
X - -
Z - Glutamine
Everyone, exciting opportunities await you in the dynamic new field of Synthetic Biopoetics!
So Late to the Party That There's Only Ritz Crackers and Tonic Water Left -or- On the So-Called Absolute Materiality of the Signifier.
There's been a lively scrum all over the poetical blogosphere the last couple of weeks about what is and what is not meant by the term "post-avant." This post started the conflagration, which was taken up here, here, here and here. Among other places. Chris Tonelli sums it up nicely and even-handedly at the Pshares blog (does that "ps" in Pshares stand for some sort of psychic ability?! If so, Chris puts the "chic" in "psychic").
For the most part, I like the answers given by the esteemed Ron Silliman, though I doubt that the problem with teaching reading is an over-emphasis on the instrumentality of language. But certainly poetry-phobia is inculcated in most schools.
But this phrase disturbed me:
". . . the absolute materiality of the signifier, the physicality of sound and of the graphic letter, is the one secret shared by all poets to which nonreaders of poetry seem literally clueless."
I know I'm reading too much into this, because, as we all know, poets are and must be aware of the materiality of words -- their sound and look -- as integral to the art of poetry, though of course there are varying degrees of this. But there is no "absolute" materiality of the signifier. There's always a balancing act between foregrounding the word's thinghood or the word's meaning-containment.
To be continued . . .