Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dallas Wiebe & other Stuff

As you probably already know, Plato would have allowed no poets in his utopian Republic. He had his reasons for keeping them out. I should say that he had his wrong reasons for keeping them out. I think about things like that, you see, because I’m a famous poet and I’m in the Republic. Not only am I in the Republic, I am the Republic.
I’ve become a “national treasure.”

from The Light of the Republic by Dallas Wiebe

Reading all of Dallas Wiebe’s writings, at least the short stories which are the bulk of it, can bring you to a place in which the variety in these fictions is experienced as chapters in one long novel (albeit one in which there are occasional digressions). Characters come and go over time. They mature, grow older and die. They speak in catalogues; of family connections; of towns and streets with those curiously comic Dallas Wiebe names, real places and invented ones, a geography in which most of these stories take place; of a great variety of political and social issues, and what emerges, even in the most disparate tales, is a kind of world view. It’s the literal view of Skyblue...

from Dallas Wiebe's Long Novel by Toby Olson

A Saudi woman received a death threat last week after she appeared on “Poet of Millions,” Abu Dhabi’s version of the game show “American Idol” — which features aspiring poets instead of singers — and recited a poem attacking clerics for “terrorizing people and preying on everyone seeking peace.”

Canadian poet Christian Bök wants his work to live on after he’s gone. Like, billions of years after. He’s going to encode it directly into the DNA of the hardy bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans. If it works, his poem could outlast the human race.

Kafka's Midrash on Jonah -Norman Weinstein

The sole way to avoid being swallowed up by the world is to render yourself indigestible.

Of course by doing so you end up with a worse fate since when the earth refuses to swallow you, heaven must.

& since heaven, by definition, can digest nothing still resisting its stranglehold

you end up at the merciless world's mercy & will only note be digested by concentrating every waking thought heavenward

So the faithless find faith by turning away from all exit signs

Boltzmann's multiverse


J.E. Stanley said...

Re: Christian Bok
Cool! Bok's work deserves to last a few billion years. If you don't believe me, check out his amazing books Eunoia (which he worked on every day for seven years) and, my favorite, Crystallography.

In fact, I'd advise you to order these books from Mac's Backs asap (Suzanne is the one who introduced me to his work).

Shelley Chernin said...

I heartily second Jim's recommendation and further recommend that you not miss any opportunity that you might have to hear Bok read. His sound poetry performances are outstanding.

Anonymous said...

Dallas Wiebe is on terrific creative writer - a Univ of Cincinnati Prof - now retired - who is credited as an North American Oulipo*, a movement from which Bok also borrows.

*(French pronunciation: [ulipo], short for French: Ouvroir de littérature potentielle; roughly translated: "workshop of potential literature") is a loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers and mathematicians which seeks to create works using constrained writing techniques. It was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais. Other notable members include novelists Georges Perec and Italo Calvino, writer Harry Mathews, poet Oskar Pastior and poet/mathematician Jacques Roubaud.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau