Saturday, July 15, 2017

Is there life beyond being a book?

...or books beyond books, and what would that be called? Let's be oppositive for a time and see where it takes us. Premise, that the welter of life is lived either (A) online, or (B) offline. Digital or analog. Connected or not.

I like books to be books. I tried e-reading and did not like it. I like books to be books. I have written books, self-published books, and that was okay. It was more than okay. But now I think I don't want to publish in any currently recognizable form but to release, broadcast, let go.

One writes a book. But is it a book if you do not release it as a book? It is a project, a work, a collection, an assemblage. The author - or assignor - designs a beginning, middle, and end. This effort is initiated. There is a point, urge, idea, construct. Where we had books, we now might have....what?

I feel inclined toward that what as a motivating factor. I am a poetic counter-puncher.

So, what would this look like, this publishing of a book that is not a book being published? I am in a good position to work this out having little stake in publishing for profit or reputation. But then I am not tied to being ground-breaking either. Efficacy speaks to me, and transmission of the clearest possible source, at least as I am able to make out. That's what guided the self-publishing for the past nine years. My idea, book edits, format, cover. Done. And how able being able to convert my current books, all 30 or so of them, into a new form to broadcast? That sounds like a fun bit of mayhem.

I see two threads (we're oppositive for a day, remember). Online: a website or Maybe a group page of some sort. On the analog side, a form of free distribution. Leaflets of a sort left about randomly. Planted in odd spots.

Stepping out the oppositive mode, the real questions are (A) what does all this mean, and (B) what's the writing going to look like going forward? I'll have to think about that!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Are We a Settled Fact? I think not!

Concrete Formalist poetry. I defined this page and the group I set up and the writing I do nine years ago. In that time the postings have moved toward asemic poetry and visual poems, which is interesting and relevant. So I thought to take a moment to look at the term Concrete Formalist and ask, Is that all there is to a fire?

The current statement runs, in part:

I work in form and am therefore a formalist; I happen to work in only one form; that form has strong visual markers, and is therefore "concrete." This blog also addresses concrete formalism as I perceive it in formal and informal pictorial or visual work and signature events, whether in my work or others' such as I am privileged to know.

I do not think about concrete formalism any more than I think about the term human being. So, the term appears to be a solution and a proposition and fluid in both respects. Concrete Formalism sounds like Orderly Bricks, or Art According to Hoyle. It is, I suppose, exactly those things or it is the title of a book, "book" defined loosely. I have never considered drafting rules or outlines of Concrete Formalism. I am not sure that what I am writing conforms to anything other than the rule that it should feel right, though those feelings are complicated. They have a history. They have training.

The temptation to state then that one who knows the alphabet or has access to a typewriter or iPad is a formalist (in concrete terms) does not enter here. I feel no such temptation.

I could massage the current statement to explain the non-block poems I write. I could do all sorts of boring things. The most boring thing I do - and it's not even close - is to do nothing because I doubt the work, its purpose, its effect, etc. All those nagging, debilitating writerly, artistic doubts. Boring boring boring.

Certainly the contributors to the Facebook page are not boring. You know who you are! We have 300+ members and, who knows, perhaps we help each other to feel, well, alive. I mean, I guess that's what this is all about. How else is being human bearable except to feel alive?

So. Are we a settled fact? I think not! Members come and go, and reappear. Interesting factoid: I think you are all brilliant. I can't be any more concrete, formally speaking, than that.

Merci, Felicitations, and Thank you.