“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, September 28, 2012

SLSA Liveblog 9: Seth Morton

“Poetry in the Rift,” SLSA (”Nonhuman”), Milwaukee, September 27–29, 2012

nihilism and poetry
rift between science and art

Heidegger: rift in philosophy in mid century
rift is back again
molecular poetics; scale terms “upward and downward”
Trakl’s poem: resting vs ambivalence of the wanderer in relation to the radiating bread
if molecular poetics scales up, to greater interests--then it is equally exposed to being ground down in the other direction
hyper specificify
poetry tends to bear down on the minute in response to the loss of something transcendent
the point in setting scalar frames against each other is to bring out the similarities
the rift: the negative space that disappears in both scalar maneuvers
what is at stake: to close the gap
by spending some more time with Heidegger’s last word
a bridging mechanism between proper and improper technics
hypernihilism (Kroger); autoimmune nihilism
Sebald and Celan dramatize the tension around the rift
Sebald responds in prosaic prosody
Celan embraces negatively
covering over a nothing that threatens meaninglessness
expose nihilism to a nothing that unravels its logic
Sebald: after nature is his first and most obvious attempt at nonacademic writing
concern with idea of poetry as a ground zero for interpretation in molecular poetics
Sebald’s sense of style seems out of place in the context of a poem
‘after” nach -- according to or temporally after
ironic death of nature
imbrication that makes it impossible to distinguish nature as such
and so can’t establish a firmanent
past life occurs ekphrastically in Grunewald paintings: dissolving natural grounding of meaning
an inhuman falling away of the molecular grounding
panic stricken kink in the neck: absence of balance in nature (Grunewald)
subject carries forth its own inhuman project, to find out how far it can go
Heidegger’s completing nihilism was only the culture’s impulse
finding a name for the nothing versus closing one’s eyes to it
rime evading signification
Celan: fallout of meaning and language to make sense of meaninglessness
“You Were My Death”
poem evacuates what is around the content
subject >> direct object >> indirect object
speaker is let go of/lets go of the world
threat of nihilism
speaker washed away in a sea of meaninglessness
Celan’s grim reminder of what the Sebald makes you think
can the circle be squared outside the active and passive dichotomy
Derrida: resurrections of vulnerable body
Celan’s inscrutability
...poems become more sparse and thus more molecular
infuriating the technics of a nihilistic culture

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