“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, May 3, 2013

Secret Life of Plants Liveblog: Knowing (Maureen McLane)

Jeff: you may have heard the plants singing in the background.

"Ballad Rhizomatics, Planty Mesh: Toward a Compositionist Poetics"
ecology without nature: a post-natural moment. Are we post-plant?
I would say that in many ways I am pre-plant. Yet you have to interact with them to live.

I might have to think of the plant unconscious. Not unrelated to Jameson! Plants have been thinking poetry for a long while and continue to.

Michael Martyr, plant thinking. My own work is infested with plants.
Louise Glück, "The Red Poppy": "The great thing / is not having / a mind"

"OK Fern"by McLane "Tell me what to do / / With my life"

<< critique >> composition

no way out of projection--this indeed is the medium for acknowledgment of common life
pathetic fallacy: an implicit mapping of interdependence, "the mesh"

Up with vibrant matter!

Latour. We are closer to 16th than 20th century.
Deleuze and Guattari: "follow the plants"

ballads. C17, "The Three Ravens" (and McLane plays it on her traveling guitar)
(and gets us to sing the refrain)
the song is about a doe lifting up a knight's head and carrying it to a lake...
typically glossed as a species of avian poetics; elegy
yet there is a tree and a green field; in the phrases "on a tree" "down in yonder green field"
cf Wordsworth's Immortality Ode "there's a tree of many, one, / A single field which I have looked upon, / Both of them speak of something that is gone"

Is this plant thinking or WW ventriloquizing plants?
the plant world coexists with this reflection
an anatomy of anthropomorphizing logic
the trees talk to each other and themselves, to electrochemical receptors
as well as to us

ravens in the ballad or the ghostly speaker of last section of poem
unexamined animism informs our readings
tree and field as infrastructure of poem

plant positionality: remap the mobile relations of the mesh
presupposition of green space in ballad (eg Robin Hood)
"down in yonder green field" "down-a down" type of refrain
 down into darkness on extended wings (Stevens)

moving down; trajectory and field

ballads don't talk about nature; they evoke genre, species, type, specimen
an oak, a rose, a briar

>> Barbara Allen ballad C17
spurning sick man then soon dies herself in erotic remorse
unmotivated plotting (cf Shakespeare)
seasonality: "twas in the merry month of May" etc or Martinmas

fifth stanza: "She walked out through the green green fields / She heard the death bells knellin' "

Barbara and death bells
called into being as a relational field only because she walks through it

means to planty ends: burial, plants grow up church wall and out of grave
rose and briar not <> dead humans
rose and briar not figures for Barbara and William
more like a mapping (Martyr)
ballad networking
floating stanzas of rose and briar in balladry (>> lots of other ballads)

humans as resources for co-living
like ballads: ramifying feedback loop

in medias res quality of ballads en route to other ballads and performance

Scottish variant "The Twa Corbies"
crows peck at eyes
final stanza: beyond satire, cynicism, elegy: mineral realities of bare bones
persistence of wind blowing

balladry follows wisdom of plants
rhizomatic: bring into play different regimes of signs and non-signs
ballads as intermezzo
in and of the mesh

Mesh by McLane

No comments: