Category Archives: poetry

The Ruin of Representation in Modernist Art and Texts

By Jo Anna Isaak (1986)
An investigation of the relationship of painting and literature, and the emergence of abstraction in art and writing, discussing figures such as James Joyce, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Wyndham Lewis.

Posted in art, history, language, poetry, theory

Imagining Language

By Jed Rasula and Steve McCaffery (1998)
When works such as Finnegans Wake and Tender Buttons were first introduced, they went so far beyond prevailing linguistic standards that they were widely considered “unreadable,” if not scandalous. Jed Rasula and Steve McCaffery take these and other examples of twentieth-century avant-garde writing as the starting point for a collection of writings that demonstrates a continuum of creative conjecture on language from antiquity to the present. The result is more laboratory than inventory. The anthology, which spans three millennia, generally bypasses chronology in order to illuminate unexpected congruities between seemingly discordant materials. Thus the juxtaposition of Marcel Duchamp and Jonathan Swift, of Victor Hugo and Easter Island “rongo rongo.”

Posted in art, language, poetry, theory

Juniper Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination and the Construction of the Underworld

By Clayton Eshleman (2003)
This arresting diptych of verse and philosophical prose charts a twenty-five-year obsession with the prehistoric cave paintings of southwestern France. The region’s enigmatic art work, dating from the Upper Paleolithic era, has been a constant muse for Eshleman, whose wildly discursive style mirrors the superimposed scenes of animal herds and shamanistic figures that populate the cave walls. Breathless accounts of cave exploration appear in counterpoint with poems in eerily primordial voices. Although his thesis that all art results from the separation anxiety between human and animal is unpersuasive, there is an impressive exuberance to his efforts to trace back to this common source everything from Greek myth to Allen Ginsberg. For Eshleman, it seems, the artist’s imaginative predicament is something of a cave itself, both maze and refuge.

Posted in art, consciousness, history, philosophy, poetry