Wednesday, September 23, 2009

David Wolach on his Occultations

David Wolach has made interesting mention of the Nonsite Colletive in relation to his Occultations, a book which I would recommend, especially for those interested in intersections between cultural politics and visionary poetics. Here is an excerpt from Wolach's full essay, which can be found online here:

The work of those who have contributed to Nonsite Collective—Rob Halpern, Taylor Brady, Kaia Sand, David Buuck, Jules Boykoff, Thom Donovan, Eleni Stecopolous, and others--gives us a related, but higher-stakes and, I think, richer poetics in this regard. A couple years into exploring these questions, Rob Halpern invited me into the conversations that Nonsite was (is) having. The discussions have been enormously generative, as Nonsite was (is) asking, in various ways, those very questions: what the use of our explorations might be, how metaphor (here, in contemporary experimental poetries) obscures and yet has the potential to reveal that which is obscured—those sites and nonsites (i.e., systems of power/powerlessness mapped or made perceptible) that are socially invisible (Zukofsky: "As the eyes / near wreck / to create"). In their draft proposal, Nonsite affiliates write: "[Nonsite] will activate affinities between an array of efforts to make perceptible, apprehend, map, or narrate consequential social phenomena and occulted disasters." Reading this, having a book called and dealing with occulted disaster, really excited me, and nearly immediately Nonsite conversations complicated the project. And so Occultations, indeed the poems here, have become more than insular explorations; they've become conversations and at times critique of how and whether poetry is in a position to "make perceptible" or "narrate" "occulted disasters."

So, beyond the more obvious interest in the occulted disaster—here, in these poems, the languages of "news by internet" and "poetry while fucking" and "shotgun healtcare" and “pharmaceutical discourses” rehearse a flaccid attempt to lay bare to a capital-driven wartime suffering and know if not acknowledge the econsystems of those who are completely other—I'm also interested in poetry as occulting itself, or, perhaps more precisely, the degree of inertness the contemporary western poetic black market expresses in the face of systemic/global disaster—what Buuck (The Shunt) dubs “war dash time.” Are we, in fact, in asking these questions, our own category errors?
--David Wolach

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