Monday, 6 September 2010

Norman Howard & Joe Phillips: Burn Baby Burn (ESP-Disk' 4033)

If you want to experience music as an outstanding form of listening, hear how these four virtually unknown musicians fill the space by their conversation – collective improvisation at its best – on this 1968 recording by Norman Howard, Joe Philips, Walter Cliff and Corney Milsap: Burn Baby Burn.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Many Have No Speech

Ernst Meister: "Viele..." (from Sage vom Ganzen den Satz, 1972)

haben keine
Wär ich nicht selbst
satt von Elend,
ich bewegte
die Zunge nicht.
Translated by Tatjana M. Warren with Robert L. Crosson:
have no
Had I not
my fill of misery,
I would not
move my tongue.*

Good verse is sometimes good because it provokes certain questions that are almost objections. An unquenchable thirst for the words of a silent partner.

One's "fill of misery" – would it not rather render utterly speechless? Or is the "fill" a saturation of such a sort that it comes after all the miseries, a deluge of misery that leaves nothing but the speech – words totally transformed in their function and depth – or depthlessness?


How to speak for the sake of the other who has no speech, without pretending to speak for the other (or: in place of the other – you cannot – even if you cannot avoid it, either)? A question – perhaps without an answer – that remains crucial for democracy.


* Quoted from Michael Mantler's website:

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

How to Avoid Avoiding to Speak?

How to speak so that one makes way for silence, instead of "giving voice"?

How to avoid speaking in such a manner?

Reading Gertrude Stein's "Poetry and Grammar" (1934)

The paperback just arrived from the UK, with a slightly torn cover but cost only £ 1.51 plus shipping.

Asked myself what's the difference between an article and an essay, or an academic lecture and a poet's. Argumentative rigour against freedom? But what if the subject, theme, topic requires freedom in order to argue with rigour?

Found an answer, reading further.
And what, said I, well he said, when a train was going by at a terrific pace and we waved a hat the engine driver could make a bell quite carelessly go ting ting ting, the way anybody playing at a thing could do, it was not if you know what I mean professional he said.*

An allegorical answer. I am myself using poetic license now, by not replying to it, but leaving it and letting it resonate by itself.

Another quote, the author quoting herself and making good use of the quoted allegory, this exemplary resonance being from How to Write:
Battles are named because there have been hills which have made a hill in a battle.**

The last thing I would like to do is to mix the genres, to encourage "essayistic style" or "poetic license" in academic writing. Fortunately, in doing literary criticism, we can always quote the poets and still keep the registers strictly apart from each other. It is through an encounter with the other that one can learn one's own (a liberal paraphrase from Hölderlin via Heidegger).
* Lectures in America (London: Virago, 1988), p. 225.
** P. 226.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

On "Depressive Realism"

A quote from the Wikipedia article on Depressive realism:
Dykman et al. (1989) argued that, although depressive people make more accurate judgments about having no control in situations where in fact they have no control, they also believe they have no control when in fact they do; and so their perceptions are not more accurate overall.

Huh? If someone believes (s)he has no control when (s)he actually does, does (s)he really have control and reason to believe (s)he's in charge of the situation?

This brings Kafka to my mind. Not primarily his novels and short stories themselves, but Max Brod's anecdote about the seriously ill writer asking his friend to "burn it all". Fortunately for us, Brod had a more accurate perception.

Or maybe it is not a question of "control" in the first place? Kafka knew he wasn't "in control" and, still according to Brod's testimony, he was terribly concerned about hurting the posteriority with, precisely, the accuracy of his perceptions.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Thanks to Kimmo Kallio for the link to the article about Sarcasm Mark, ending with the following comment: "The symbol currently costs $1.99 to download – a price that many may think deserves a SarcMark of its own" (

Notice also the tiny (R) sign. By linking the image here, I'm probably violating a copyright... so they might charge me a lot more than $1,99...

(Voir aussi: lien interne)

P.S. Check out also the comments to Telegraph's article... heehee...