Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Thoughts with "Mr. Trololo"

Monday Thought:


The avant garde has nothing on you. You could maybe walk to work behind Mr. Trololo.

12 Comments:

At 1/25/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Tuesday Thoughts with Clayton Eshleman, Laura Glenum, and a giant Croc (at Montevidayo blog):

HOVERING LARA GLENUM
By Clayton Eshleman

Lara Glenum is crawling toward a crocodile crawling toward her.
Osmotic exchange of DNA Dodgem.
Marvelous cross-fire as head-fire, as their Nubian centuries exchange photons.
Soon the Glenum head will penetrate the croc muzzle.
Now only her feet can be seen.
Is Glenum now more alive, more griffin than grail maid?
What is her everscape?
To be green and dentilated in tongue and casing,
to have her own serpentine “around the world” yoyo uroboros?
Maximum Gaga is the grave of the literal,
of the monotale, death of descriptive cheezyness,
for the mind is now in croc goddess crawl formation
beseeching mantle to be mortar, mother to become Merlin,
or maadvark or morguetrial.
The ancient dive gate is now aslit and porous to a fin-handed leech queen
percolating limestone with a serving of menstrual mud.
Inanna as a dragonfly emblazoned on the dial of the human:
to re-evolve its destiny as a squirrel-end,
to inhabit all its Darwin nesting dolls,
to hear metaphor as imaginal transfer to the crocodile angel
pustulating in “my cunt a violent surge-hammer
in the mouth of the Redeemer.”

 
At 1/25/2011 1:13 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

I sent the following as a comment to Montevidayo, below the poem posted there (which I copied below). It's still "awaiting moderation":

I’m not quite sure how one is meant to take this poem. Is it in earnest? I hope not. I found it tremendously funny– certainly the funniest poem so far of the young 2011.

Where’s Old Crocodile Dundee when you need him? Pull Laura G. out by her feet, someone, please!

 
At 1/25/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

And by the way, the Trololo song is marvelous. Not everything in the world is terrible and depressing!

What would be extra marvelous would be to have Mr. Trololo put the Eshleman poem to the same tune and dance. In English original with a Russian accent...

 
At 1/26/2011 9:10 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

A black and sucking hole of Intentional Fallacy perhaps unfolding to Mr. Trololo's croon, Johannes Goransson responded as follows to me at Motevidayo, regarding my above comments on Clayton Eshleman's poem, and I replied, continuing (though "Awaiting Moderation"):

>Kent, I can’t believe what a traditionalist you are. Do poems have to telegraph if they are “earnest” or “funny”? I personally find that a lot of the poems I like seem all kinds of emotions (funny, scary etc).<

Johannes, that's a fair response and a good one, in fact. A lot of the poems I like bear different qualities in tension, too (which sounds *doubly* traditionalist to say, of course).

I guess I get the sense this poem is working hard for that "scary" affect, a sort of Baby-Bataille-Eating-Artaud's-Fecal-Filled-Innards feeling, or something like that, but the problem is that the scariness is overwhelmed by the utter hyperbole of the gothic-reptilian oozy-slimy "lower-body" imagery (trademark of CE, obviously--he's a great editor and heroically committed translator, but not a first-tier poet), and it all ends up as a wild toothy croc cartoon of its intentions.

As I take them... But maybe you could prove me wrong.

 
At 1/27/2011 11:47 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

[Continuing, for what it's worth, what I think is an interesting topic at Montevidayo, and posting here since there has been some echoing of themes across the two blogs. We'll see if it's posted and if Johannes answers. An Anonymous commenter said in response to what I said above, regarding Clayton Eshleman]:

>ugh, i am so sick of Kent Johnson, first-tier commenter... Kent, your like a VISA card: “Everywhere I want to be.” Any chance you can just fuck off and leave this blog?<

Well!

But as I said, the "not a first-tier poet" formulation was far from the best way to put it. And I did make clear I honored Eshleman for his significant contributions as editor and translator.

What I meant, basically, is that I see his atavistic "informe" poetics (hero-poet as excremental machine) as by and large derivative, repetitive, and dead-ended. The obsessiveness with the underworld quest, though at times impressive in energies, presumes to assert an *essence*, and in the near-demonic drive for it, the reach and range of the work becomes narrowed, forced, calcified (in this regard, interesting irony, CE's poetics are quite opposite those of Vallejo). It's not coming out of the blue to say as much. Some of the Surrealists had the conversation with Artaud, if at somewhat different levels and angles, long ago (not that I'd fully side with the Bretonistas).

Now, I understand that suggesting things like the above could hardly be popular to those sternly dedicated to worship of a more or less narcissistic aesthetics of somatic debasement and psychic regression, or whatever Viennese doctors would call it. I mean, I can understand how the toddler violence of the response above would come spurting out. But what you really have to come to terms with, Montevidayoans, is that most of you here (among excepted is Dan Hoy, whose posts are fabulous) seem tightly bridled to thrice or four-times recycled Museum tack. I mean, really: Corporate-sought Arte Povera gave us nihilistic kitsch-redemption and a "rejoinder" to Adorno/Greenberg decades back, "kitsch" now so bandied about here as new theoretical trowel. And the regression-abjection fad was sucking hard on Bataille, ho hum, back in the 80s, early 90s, most of what's not at MoMA now super hot at Christie's. Among all kinds of other neo-a-g-cover-band crapola... As usual, and true to its moniker, "rebellious" post-avant poetry comes late to the institutional party, and reveling, to all appearances, in its belatedness. It's not a pretty picture. I'm saying that this blog, from what I can see, is for the most part inside that picture.

Sorry to be such a stick in the mud about it, but that's my view. And in context of that general frame, it's really quite thrilling to be called a "Visa Card," I must say, which I've never been called before. Always up for direct conversation, sans infantile whimpering, if anyone wants to have it!

 
At 1/27/2011 1:26 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

First off, yeah, Mr. Trololo. It raises several issues, all of which I'm happy just nodding at and moving on.

As for Clayton Eshleman's poetry: I guess I'm just going to echo this: "And I did make clear I honored Eshleman for his significant contributions as editor and translator." Other than that, I don't want to step in.

Why? Well, answering that would mean I'd have to step in, and I don't know his work well enough to contextualize this "descriptive cheezyness." It reminds me of the Trololo in a way. It's meant to be one thing, but it quickly seems to be another.

 
At 1/27/2011 2:01 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

John,

That's fine if you're not very familiar with the poetry and don't want to "step in."

But in what way is acknowledging Eshleman for his significant contributions as editor and translator a form of "descriptive cheezyness"? It's quite well known he edited for many years one of the key journals and that he's long devoted himself rather heroically to translation. I'm pointing out that these are his major contributions, not his poetry. People writing criticism say stuff like that all the time, right? Or at least they used to, before the hegemony of tenure-track culture and its sublime rituals of politesse came to rule the day. Ever read the Langpos circa 70s? Mean bastards. But now they're the models of propriety, and heaven forbid anyone not observe Country Club protocol with *them*!

But so it goes. Oh, and also, just to say, I'm particularly interested in Dan Hoy's posts because he's exploring the *sociological* dimensions of the field, something which most of the contributors to Montevidayo seem either completely uninterested in or joyously oblivious to, with exception of Johannes G, all credit to him, though his stuff in that area is somewhat pedestrian, frankly.

Fact is, the libidinal pleasures of sucking on one's lower intestinal tract with high-theory enema prods of Bataillean speculation has everything to do with to do with where we are, which is the AWP, more or less, symbolically speaking.

I'm not sure if the grammar is correct in that last sentence, but so what.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

and trololo, as they say.

 
At 1/27/2011 4:05 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Hi Kent.

Apologies. You misunderstood me. The quote “descriptive cheezyness” was from his poem, and I meant it to refer to his poem, not your conversation about him. What I was saying was that I agree with you that his history as editor and translator is formidable, but his history as a poet is more problematic.

So, the answer to your question:

“But in what way is acknowledging Eshleman for his significant contributions as editor and translator a form of ‘descriptive cheezyness’?”

Has no answer from me, being not what I thought I was saying.

 
At 1/27/2011 4:12 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Ha, that's funny, John. Actually, I went out and bought my cheesehead hat today for Super Bowl Sunday. But don't tell Johannes Goransson.

Speaking of whom, he just posted an angry rant at Montevidayo, refusing to address anything I'm offering, saying that I always engage in sweeping generalizations and insults, and the rest. Here's what I sent back to him, though I doubt he'll post it. I offer this here, too, because I really think there are some deeper sociological field issues in play:

Johannes,

I wasn't referring to *poets* when I said "neo-a-g cover bands"; I was referring to neo-a-g movements in art. You are familiar with the diverse considerations of the neo-a-g, in the ballpark of such metaphorical light, right? And I used "nihilism" in reference to Fontana and Manzoni and Arte Povera (you should really look into that in regards kitsch, if you haven't)--"nihilism" has been commonly used in discussions of that phenomenon. Actually, it's been used plenty of times (though a contested term, true) in serious studies of certain elements of the early a-g and lots of neo-a-g. It's not a bad word, or something. You say I'm approaching things with generalizations, making sweeping claims. No doubt that is true, in part! Tell me where exactly you think my sweeping generalizations *misrepresent* and why, then. Tell me specifically what makes you so unhappy about what I'm saying. I thought that for a blog comment, I said some reasonably specific things, actually. I've said plenty that could open up some exchange. All you have to do is hitch up your pants and get going. But you sort of sound like you're scared stiff to get down about some things, actually.

I've noticed, Johannes, from different interactions, that you really, at bottom, don't like to be challenged in any way. You are temperamental, caustic, and cutting in your own polemics with others, but when you're challenged in any kind of substantial manner you get all uptight and scolding and start accusing people of acting in bad faith. Fundamentally, I think you are afraid to engage in real direct debate. You seek to control the discourse (from your position as blog-owner, I suppose it's your call) with personal charges and bullying claims that aim to divert attention away from the issues at hand. Of course, this is not just "you." It's a chronic condition of our (forgive the term) "post-avant." But at least, to your credit you say *something*, timid and disingenuous at bottom as your reactions often are-- most people just use the tried and trusty Power Silence tactic. Which is a hoot in and of itself.

OK, have a good night. Go Packers. And read Peter Burger, young man, just for starters.

 
At 1/27/2011 4:28 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

And further, responding to a hair-on-end comment by Johannes:

One last try: Tell me, here--

>"Why should I answer to your diarreah of "avant-garde" studies cliches?"

--what cliches you're talking about. That might give us a starting point.

Since neither you nor anyone at Montevidayo has wanted to discuss or debate, I've been posting everything over at John Gallaher's good blog. He and I don't often see eye to eye, but you might learn something from him about the spirit of honest exchange. And I'll probably publish all this, too, in Sous les Paves (with further commentary), which goes out to about 700 people now. Maybe that will help start an interesting counter-discussion about the nature of all this petit-bourgeois Necro-Narcissism-in-the-Academy-Oh-My-Death-Genitals stuff.

You know, Johannes, you really should have named your blog "Tenured Artaud."

 
At 1/27/2011 4:38 PM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

As I predicted, Johannes deleted my perfectly level and candid reply to his last, which I shared here. Talk about making your point!

You're a Scandinavian pistol and a half, M. Goransson!!

And I bid you, finally, Trololo.

 
At 2/04/2011 7:49 AM, Blogger Meg said...

I don't know but I'm hooked on Trololo.

That guy's great!

Metabdo <secret non trolling word key

Haha, ain't life great.

 

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