31 May 2012

For months now it has felt as though my writing were the key to my whole life, and the one thing holding me back.  My writing is now going easily, and since this has happened I haven't needed my extra medication daily as I had. Yet I am feeling a slight dip in mood, a reluctance to go out, too tired to blow dry a curl into the bottom of my hair or put energy into cooking dinner. I guess this means it is time to wrap it up.

30 May 2012

This story is just too cute. A six-year-old qualified for the National Spelling Bee in the US. She is the youngest contestant ever and she practices spelling words while jumping on a trampoline.

29 May 2012

My cat yeowls at other cats. He sounds like a human infant. Today the cat he was yeowling at let him sniff his nose. It was only after several minutes of continued yeowling that the other cat slowly backed away and continued on his way. What is the meaning of this cry?
A whole nest of tiny spiders just hatched on my strawberry pot. They are bright yellow.

28 May 2012

First five pages of outline sent off for reviewing. Sencha Ashikubo to celebrate!

27 May 2012

oh no... one of those panic attack things.
Here is my citation heavy attempt at an introduction. If you think you can help me along I would be happy to receive a comment. The epigraph refers to the subject of the class, which was "History and the Graphic Novel." I have found the anti-Foucault and her name is Anne Carson.
I think probably my painting notion comes from dealing with classical texts which are, like Sappho, in bits of papyrus with that enchanting white space around them, in which we can imagine all of the experience of antiquity floating but which we can’t quite reach. I like that kind of surface.
Anne Carson is both a creative artist and a scholar of ancient Greek. From the captions on a series of paintings that were expanded to form her first book of poetry, Short Talks (1992), to readings of Nox (2011) performed with her partner Robert Currie and various dancers, form has played a central role in the way that Carson conceptualizes her work. But in a 1997 interview, Carson describes Eros the Bittersweet, a condensed and rewritten version of her dissertation as “possibly the last time I got those two impulses to move in the same stream - the academic and the other.”1 Although her interviewer John D’Agata insists that some would say she has been mixing the two all along,2 Carson explains, in a more formal note on method, “my training and trainers opposed subjectivity strongly, I have struggled since the beginning to drive my thought out into the landscape of science and fact where other people converse logically and exchange judgments,” alas, “I go blind out there.”3 Carson describes writing as a process of maneuvering back and forth between a space of facticity, and one cleared of everything she does not know. She describes her facts as having an activity or movement something like a tempo, rather than coming from a place of having narrative stories to tell.4 The forms fact take for her are revealed in relief against empty space: “Once cleared the room writes itself.”5 What Carson is describing here is a place for beginning; whereas she considers herself capable of capturing a plausible surface of sensuous and emotional fact, adequate to spur others to thinking, she doubts whether she has ever finished the thinking, so as to provide the sense of emotional understanding she so admires in the writers who inspire her.6

Carson has been criticized for her use of the apparatus of fact, “serious scholarly commentaries, introductions, footnotes, appendices, postscripts, and even mini-interviews,” that seem to critic Charles Simic “annoyingly didactic and futile”7 against the backdrop of Carson’s inimitable use of language. His irritation points to the way that Carson’s texts seem to anticipate and engage an imagined reader, and critics have rejoined her on these terms, taking on the critical apparatus of reader-response.8 Yet others question why this method,9 and try to step back to respond to the fracture between what is offered and what is received. Paula Rabinowitz suggests it is “[i]n all of these efforts at retrieval and exposure, of sifting through the detritus of language as the means to bodily expression, Anne Carson finds the core of poetics, the poets’ struggle to make, as she says, ‘the profoundest of poetic experiences: that of NOT seeing what IS there.’”10 It is my argument that in Carson’s work, concealment, absence, or loss creates the subject. In Eros the Bittersweet, Carson defines eros as "‘want,’ ‘lack,’ ‘desire for that which is missing,’”11 “deferred, defied, obstructed, hungry, organized around a radiant absence.”12 The lover she concludes, “wants what he does not have. It is by definition impossible for him to have what he wants if, as soon as it is had, it is no longer wanting."13 I will develop this idea with respect to three major themes: loving with respect to distance, loving and knowing, and metaphor and the poetics of self-disclosure.

1 D’Agata 9.
2 D’Agata 11.
3 Economy of the Unlost vi.
4 D’Agata 13.
5 Economy of the Unlost vii.
6 Aikin 194.
7 “The Spirit of Play,” New York Review of Books, November 3,
8 Kate Middleton, 2. Robert Stanton and Lee Upton.
9 Middleton, Litia Perta
10 Paula Rabinowitz, http://english.umn.edu/engagement/AnneCarsonintro.html.
11 Eros the Bittersweet, 10.
12 Eros, 18.
13 Eros, 10.

23 May 2012

Library of Canada sent the wrong thesis. Fail, fail, fail.

22 May 2012

I have just received microform delivery of Anne Carson's thesis, on which Eros the Bittersweet is based. This is very exciting and thanks to the National Library of Canada's loans program. I will be able to have a better look at her sources and get to see how her inimitable style evolved from when she was just starting out.
I've made a hard edit to my library book collection and begun reading some of the ones I'd kept around for fun. Yesterday was Grafton on Vico and Descartes and people who wanted to know everything there was to know on every subject. It is liberating to just read.

20 May 2012

Finally ordered my own copy of some books I have had out of the library for a year with no real intention of ever returning them. I'm going to miss my university library privileges.

19 May 2012

I had to walk back up the hill on the grass because my new shoes made my feet bleed.
I saw a whole bunch of herons on the beach. Eight or ten of them, maybe? It was low tide and they were standing on a sandbar up to their knees in the water, circling and landing in the same area. A dog came swimming out and bouncing through the waves scared the herons away. Then he swam back the other way and scared away three more. It was a long swim but the birds had great big sets of wings.

17 May 2012

My friend Mary's been seeing and talking to our German literature professor out of class for a while now. He asked her out on their first official date when she moves to Montreal for the summer. He's about thirty years older than us, white hair. She says she thinks he's way out there in his own world (of romantic fantasy, I would add) but she's going for it. She likes fairy tales.

15 May 2012

Made a small bit of progress today. Most exciting was taking the cat on a walk in which he scared off two snakes and another cat, when he jumped up on the trailer on which she was sunning herself. My poor cat longs for feline companionship. Look at his face after he was rejected:

14 May 2012

I am a bit stuck.

At least I got some exercise today in the sun.

13 May 2012

So I guess I'm going to have to do something tonight.
I got fancy silk satin underwear that comes with its own bag. I was delighted.
I got my mom peonies for mother's day. She was delighted.

10 May 2012

My fig tree has little figs growing on it; its first crop early enough to ripen.
Existence as actuality combines two opposing factors, possibility and necessity, and thereby has a paradoxical character. This view is embodied in all his subsequent writings.
"Historical Introduction" to Kierkegaard's The Concept of Irony With Continual Reference to Socrates.

05 May 2012

søren kierkegaard and karl marx share a birthday today.

04 May 2012

kierkegaard! irony! critiquing the aufhebung and German Romanticism!
It's really satisfying to do research using books that I already own.
I have found out more about the sources Anne Carson used to write Eros the Bittersweet. The way she borrows headings from Roland Barthes' A Lover's Discourse: Fragments is more like stealing than her reading of Aristotle on metaphor, for instance, which she cites as a methodological jumping-off point for her later creative work in Men in the Off Hours. I've been combing her bibliography to Eros the Bittersweet for her sources on metaphor, plus I have a book on Sappho's fragments written after Carson's. Five books open at once kind of event.

03 May 2012

These cats weren't really friends but me and my coat mediated and they helped make my morning. A grumpy orange persian lady cat sat on my lap, but only because I picked her up and she didn't move after that. The grumpy cat reminds me fondly of the woman who taught me literary theory.

02 May 2012

PubCats! Cats in pubs, that is.

01 May 2012

It's become rather lonely around these parts with nobody commenting.