Charles River

Charles River
Upper Limit Cloud/Lower Limit Sail


"Messianicity is not messianism ... even though this distinction remains fragile and enigmatic." (Jacques Derrida)

Monday, December 26, 2011

For The New Year

"When the bells jostle in the tower
the hollow night amid,
then on my tongue the taste is sour
of all I ever did."

-- A.E. Housman

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gnostic Frequencies

I'm delighted to announce the publication of my second full-length collection of poems, Gnostic Frequencies, from Tod Thilleman's Spuyten Duyvil. It's available through Spuyten Duyvil's website and from Amazon, and will be listed next year with Small Press Distribution.

"Patrick Pritchett’s Gnostic Frequencies boldly and brilliantly takes up the Romantic quest to make an infinite Book. Just as Pritchett’s previous volume Burn offered a visionary revision of the Joan of Arc legend, here the poet ‘rewrites the myth’ of the Archive as a self-renewing ruin of absolute meaning, ‘a scripting of / impossible flowers.’ In musical measures, Pritchett aligns ancient paradoxes of the inspirited Word with post-postmodern meditations on the virtual body. This new book stands as a major contribution to the tradition of American radical lyricism."
-- Andrew Joron

The following is excerpted from the book's End Notes:

What is a gnostic frequency? And how do we hear one? Is it the poem we tune into, in the dark? The strange language in the middle of the way, on route, that speaks from the other side of knowing, the voice (who speaks?) that murmurs, in the middle of the night, from within not-knowing, out of hope for another kind of knowing? The poem that desires, above everything else, some small vision of the otherwise?

This is a book of poems about tuning into the hidden legacies and hermetic inheritances of modernism. A book of endarkening, as Duncan might put it, of a way of knowing that is encrypted, not in musty séances and etiolated rituals, but in the quickening mysteries of logos as it arises from, yields to, and reshapes matter. Becoming gnostic means listening to the heretical speech of the caesura, to the extravagant pulses and rhythms of the unspeakable as it swirls about us, allowing language itself to speak.

The poems of Gnostic Frequencies pay tribute to the thread of hermeticism that runs from high modernism to postmodernism. They make special demands of the reader in as much as they ask her to undergo an immersion in the a-signifying stream of language as though it were a form of rhapsodomancy. They are deliberately excessive, intentionally overflowing with an excess of signification and repetition, a kind of archaic ebullience.

A gnostic poetics (always lower-case) militates against positivism, against totality, against knowing-as-such. Such a stance invites charges of obscurantism. But what gnostic poetics really calls for is not a reading of the world, but a way to undergo it. Taken together, they comprise a haphazard map of my desire to write a postmodern sophianic poem. But any wisdom to be found here will be of a purely musical, self-cancelling, order.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Task of Art

“The task of the arts is to rescue from cognitive and rational oblivion our embodied experience and the standing of the unique, particular things as the proper objects of such experience, albeit only in the form of a reminder or a promise” (7).

J.M. Bernstein, Against voluptuous bodies: late modernism and the meaning of painting

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Drafting Beyond The Ending: On Rachel Blau DuPlessis

I'm very pleased to announce the appearance of Drafting Beyond The Ending, a special feature on the work of Rachel Blau DuPlessis, at Jacket 2's site. Curated by myself, it offers thirteen essays, some of them substantial, all of them generous with insight, plus two book reviews and a new poem by DuPlessis.

My deep thanks to Julia Bloch, Mike Hennessey, and everyone else on the Jacket team who worked so hard to produce this.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Drafting Beyond the Ending – Patrick Pritchett

Un-scene, ur-new: the history of the longpoem & The Collage Poems of Drafts – Ron Silliman

Openings: Some Notes on the Political in Drafts – Eric Keenaghan

“The Force of an Intervention”: DuPlessis’ Response to Oppen in “Draft 85: Hard Copy” — Libbie Rifkin

Envoy: Postings on the Digital Form –Paul Jaussen

How to Mourn-Touch: The Redactive Prosodies of Rachel Blau DuPlessis – CJ Martin

Take Your Time: The Ethics of the Event in Drafts – Catherine Taylor

A Little Yod and a Rocking Enormity: Reading Drafts – Daniel Bouchard

Inverting the Middle: Turning Points in Drafts – Thomas Devaney

“The page is slowly turning black”: Torques: Drafts 58-57 — Harriet Tarlo

“All serifs are seraphim”: Midrash as the Angel of History – Patrick Pritchett

At the Critical/Poetic Boundary: Rachel Blau DuPlessis’ Arguments with Adorno – Naomi Shulman

Drafts and The Epic Moment – Bob Perelman

Drafts and Fragments: Rachel Blau DuPlessis’ (Counter-) Poundian Project – Alan Golding

Ghost Tracks: Reading the Signs in Pitch: Drafts 77-95 – Chris Tysh

On Pitch, with Special Reference to “Hard Copy” - CJ Martin

Debris Field – Patrick Pritchett

Draft 109: Wall Newspaper – Rachel Blau DuPlessis