30.12.02

AMERICAN TECHNOLOGIES ARE BEING CLONED

False or true, it is no accident that the announcement of the first human cloning was done in a sort of Broken English.

American technologies are going to start to compete with America. Or to criticize it or to win over American culture.

American technologies (like English, Media, Airplanes, American Technologies of the Self-Foucault)—are being cloned in other places for other purposes. America is to blame. America gave the idea that the world needed to reproduce the American way—but that’s getting out of control.

A world full of “Americans” is nothing but a nightmare. Mutations.

24.12.02

HUGE DIFFERENCE

Joyce’s Ulysses was not a work built after Homer’s Odyssey but after Virgil’s Aeneid.

Joyce followed Virgil in constructing a work using Homer’s book as model.

Joyce imitated Virgil not Homer.

16.12.02

FERLINGHETTI IN MEXICO CITY

Last Thursday Ferlinghetti read in Mexico City, in a place called Bellas Artes--reading there means the Canon Welcomes You.

Generación (a Mexican counter cultural magazine) had a number dedicated to Ferlinghetti. I was invited to write something but I decide to skip this one. (Don't wanna be confused with a new beat lover--I mean I respect beat poetry but...).

The Mexican main translators of American poetry participated in Ferlinghetti's event: José Vicente Anaya, Alberto Blanco, Sergio Mondragón. They also had some jazz.

Ferlinghetti read 11 poems, including one titled "History of an airplane" (on 9-11). When asked what were his feeling that morning, Ferlinghetti said to a Mexico City newspaper: "I felt it was the beginning of the Third World War... The war against the Third World".

This comment, of course, is going to make him popular in Mexico, because since 9-11 anti-American feeling has come to new levels, something which I think American don't know.

When asked what was the best thing about the beats, he responded "The development of a very open universal consciousness, capable or revealing the message of what came to be the hippie generation. In a way, the beats were the hippies of the Stone Age"--

"And the worst part?"--to which he replied--"The worst? That they died too soon"

Is it true?



MEXICO AFTER 9-11 AND SOME REASONS WHY PERFORMANCE POETRY IS NOT RESPECTED SOUTH OF THE BORDER

After 9-11 a possible deal in immigration issues between Mexico and the U.S. was put to rest by the Republican party, economy in the border came into a new recession and racial tensions grew--immigration officers now threat you like dirt all the time--crossing the border has become a nightmare (before 9-11 one could cross in 15 minutes, but now you can wait in line up to 3 hours because of heightened “security measures”). All of that has created even more contempt against Americans.

Vicente Fox' telephone call to Fidel Castro before attending a summit in Mexico some months ago (April 2002)—a summit in Monterrey where Bush was also coming--had a lot to do with this rise of Anti-Americanism also--Fox was recorded by Castro and then the tape was released to the Media.

So we all heard our president asking Fidel to leave our country before Bush came, to make things easy for Mexico--not have problems with the American president, who might get angry, according to Fox, if Castro stayed here--so that recording was perceived as the first proof that our government receives direct orders from Washington.

(After that call, by the way, the Cuban and the Mexican governments, have come close to ending diplomatic relations).

The day we all heard our president lying in the Media (telling he never asked Castro to leave), and then heard the recording, I knew we had sunk to a new level of anti-gringuismo...

--And because of the horrendous tradition of Mexican politicians using voice to hide truth, that day I also knew the use of voice in Mexican poetry wasn’t going to get better.

Here any person who uses voice to deliver a text is seen as a demagogue.

In Mexico, Voice is not trusted.

THE C.I.A. AND MEXICAN LITERATURE

This last November the biggest book fair in the Country, the one held in Guadalajara was dedicated to Cuban literature. We had several scandals dealing with who was and who was not invited—some say the Mexican Government used the fair to improve relations with Cuba, and that the Cuban government has too involved with what writers were chosen to represent Cuban Literature in Mexico—for example not having too many writers from the Cuban exile.

The book fair became a circus. The day that the main Mexican lit-magazine (called Letras Libres, a magazine which derived from the Octavio Paz school) was presented there because of it’s especial number on Cuba, a big group of leftist activists interrupted the reading, stopped it and accused that magazine of being funded by the C.I.A.

Which is a silly accusation from the Left, but tells a lot about how Mexican literature works, right?

Yes, Right.


10.12.02

1. THE DISCONTINUITY OF POETIC COMPOSITION

A friend wrote yesterday in her site about the next stage of weblob-writing. Once weblogs have shortened the traditional intervals between production/publishing/distribution, she feels the next step has to be the total eradication of the difference between writing and publishing—both need to be simultaneous, which means the Net viewer could see on the monitor how the writer is constructing its text right there, word by word, letter by letter, changing its order, correcting—rewriting.

[No copy-paste allowed]


That would not only teach us a couple of style tricks, but also would show how writing is a slow and/or erratic construction—as opposed to that romantic notion of spontaneity as the primordial rule of the game.
        The jazz player or the shaman are no more the paradigms of poetic composition. Now the DJ paradigm seems to rule: composition through the mix and remix of fragmentarium. Language not as a natural flux, but as a reconstructed sequence that creates (like films or electronic music) the illusion of undivided movement.

| A deposit.

Kerouac-Ginsberg’s notions of spontaneous overflow, JazZen-like-poetics, does not hold anymore after the obvious discovery of language as a recycling system of quotations. There can be no flow where something is made out of parts |

—This mechanical view of language would be shown by live-Internet-transmission of the development (however fast) of writings—the replacement, mistake and drafting system through which a text is produced. They would be publicly observe the construction of writings just as we observe in the streets how skycrapers are built.

                                [Reality (Word) Shows]

| Writing | is | always | discrete | . |


2. WEBCAMS ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH
TO FINALLY OVERTHROW THE NOTION OF AUTHOR


If we see in the near future the face and body of the writers right there on our monitors—see them at the exact moment they are creating their essays, poems or novels—thanks to webcams (for example)—

we would then realize their faces—their labor—does not ever correspond to that romantic imagery we have of the writer when creating—we would come to realize how incompatible some of the meanings portrayed in the text are with the ‘person’ constructing them.
        The face does not match the page.
           (Borges was wrong).

—after seeing that incompatibility we would never again believe a text reflects or expresses the individual “behind” it—

on the monitor we would just see somebody working—impersonally—arranging words on a keyboard.
      Nothing else.


THE LEADERS OF EXPERIMENTALISM

American poets from the LangPoe and the beyond-scenes are one of the most experimental contemporary constellation of writers

But..! :

1. They are still writing.
2. They are still writing in their mother tongue--thus enjoying the last remaining benefits of absorption, speech based grammar, and the rest of the luxuries that “naturally” come with Mommy Tongue.
3. Most of the time they write using paragraphs or lines.

And they call themselves the experimental?

Lang-and-Post-Lang-Poets should write in Spanish, Portuguese or at least in German.
     Then I would call them, the true leaders.


A MODEST PROPOSAL TO ABOLISH TRANSLATION

One of the reasons I like Jonathan Mayhew’s weblog is that he takes the risk of translating American poetry into his Spanish. He, btw, does a good job.

Translating a second language into one native tongue has been an act of Domination. I now have in mind Nathaniel Tarn’s ideas on antitraslation (resisting translation to prevent imperialism) and, of course, Edward Said’s Orientalism.

Translators should permanently work the other way around they normally do. Not to continue using their knowledge of another language and culture to completely change them into their own linguistic and cultural codes.

[And doing that making a translated culture unrecognizable to itself! Isn't it paradoxical? And a sufficient argument to abolish Translation?]

Translators should worked more translating their mother tongue into second languages—languages they are never going to fully dominate. That would take care of most of the hidden agendas involved in translation activity.

You wanna learn another language? Write in it—instead of just using second languages to keep your original language sharp and well fed. You're never going to learn another language. That's the beauty: to never forget other cultures are different from us, and we can never, and should never overpower them.

If translators would start to translate their literature into second languages [or even translate second literatures into third languages], the resulting text would be almost all of the time fallible—a text which the other language and culture could laugh at—slick down—a text in which they can act upon, instead of just suffering an unilateral transformation—a text that shows to the other culture the misunderstandings foreigners have of their language and world—a text the other culture would have to rewrite—a translator that would be a translator of himself and his culture—a translation that would have to be re-translated by the other culture—a complete translation process.

This is far more interesting than what we do all the time. "Translation" sucks.
THE MENACE OF THE MÉNAGE A TROIS!

The Spanish-English relationship always ends up in a threesome.

But neither likes Spanglish [the uninvited third party].-

That’s why the two (three!) of them rarely have any good sex.

9.12.02

ANYONE?

I don’t understand why Armand Shwerner isn’t a bigger reference in contemporary American poetics. Was he a creep or what? He basically made fun of regular ethnopoetics-or “translation”--with the Tablets. And as the Cantos, Stein or Olson, contributed some resources to make the page a more self-reflexive verbal space.

Schwerner should be more (visibly) popular. He should even have some boring disciples.
WEBLOG WRITING

Weblog writing is always an E-Go! Construction Site. It may turn out to be the Electronic Return to the Lyrical I.

(An Authority one needs to follow closer. ¿Daily? An e-list by itself!)

But beware: Weblog writing is always recruiting.
THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD

Thanks to websites (including weblogs) readers are now considered nothing but traffic, visitors or hits.

This is something that makes me happy. As a reader and as a writer (and as an intermediary between those two monkeys--as a translator), I'm of the opinion that the Reader has been overrated. So to see the Reader transformed into "traffic" is more than ok.

Is this rank reduction of the Reader a revenge by the Dead Authors Society?


8.12.02

"AMERICAN POETRY" AS LOWER CLASS

There's one Mexican lit-prejudice against American poets. To a Mexican intellectual or reader, an American poet is always a potential "beatnik".

I wrote a small book on American counterpoetics from Olson (and some notes on Stein, Pound, Hughes, etc) to the period before LangPoe. And every time somebody comments my book to me, American poets in general are regarded as "beatniks". As if this was a lapsus Mexican readers don't want to leave behind. Some of the magazines have even commited that mistake in print.

("Beatnik" meaning that in the unconscious of the Mexican Intelligentsia, an American is almost every time a poet of lower class ideas, has a tendency to consume drugs and is somewhat or completely gay. Ah! and He Uses a Lot the Microphone and is Exotic!).

One of the few times Octavio Paz made a reference to Ginsberg was when he was laughing of what he called the "Peruvian Ginsbergs"--meaning that paying attention to American counterpoetics could transform you into a llama, or into an even slower and less intelligent beast--the donkey or "burro" as it is described in Mexican English. Reading American literature is bad for our National Tradition.

(Let's called that the Taco Bell Reading Degree).

To Mexican Mainstream intellectuals, American poets are of less importance than European ones. There's a big sterotype--produced by the Left's dislike of everything American (including their poets); the European model that shapes the Mexican intellectual (A French is always a Friend but an American is almost by sure a Gringo), the language barrior (of course) and that the Mexican groups that have come close to American literature in general (fiction included) have not been the "Right Ones" (according to the Mexican Republic of Letters Endorsement System): Mexican dirty realism, feminists, national beatniketas--etc. So the silent idea is: Something Wrong Happens When Mexican Lit Get`s Too Close to American Authors--Don't Do It Compadre!

When I wrote that book (an introduction on American counterpoetics) I even invented one American poet--knowing almost no reader would notice that joke on the history of our binational lit-relation.

The stupid prejudice about what is/are the American avant-garde writing scene(s), of course, is not going to change. Mexican translators are not that interested, and Mexican readers think authors like Bukowski, Burroughs, Carver and Kerouac are either a blessing or an insult coming from Spaniard presses. (LangPoe has no relevance yet).

So American poetry is even a thing related to the conquistadores and the Old World.

Another important reason American poetics have not been interesting to the great majority of Mexican writers is that American writers don't know a word of Spanish.