Arriving today + Reflections

Jakobson - On Language

…and wonderings about language as a tool and an abstract medium.  Wondering if in the endless bewilderment of experience – of living – rife with woundings and joys – we move to shared media, providing communally devised realms in which to re-vision, simultaneously creating new life, wherewith and wherein to investigate and inquire, to dig and dig and…

Language as constructed or agreed-upon and functional (tool) medium.

Then there’s this full of resonances and also contributing to the reflections – required text of a current course:

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles
Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles

…and I quote:

“As the reader gropes the stacks – lifting books and testing their heft, appraising the fall of letterforms on the title page, scrutinizing marks left by other readers – the more elusive knowledge itself becomes.  All that remains unknown seems to beckon from among the covers, between the lines.  In the library, the reader is wakened from the dream of communion with a single book, startled into a recognition of the word’s materiality by the sheer number of bound volumes; by the sound of pages turning, covers rubbing; by the rank smell of books gathered together in vast numbers…the physicality of the book is strongest in libraries, where the accumulated weight of written words seems to exert a gravity all its own.”

“So the library is a body, too, the pages of books pressed together like organs in the darkness…[in libraries] I can fool myself that the universe is composed of infinite variations of a single element – the book – that I, too, am made of books, like the person in Giuseppe Arcimboldo‘s painting The Librarian

Archimboldo - the Librarian

“…a person made of books; his is not a single book but a whole library”

“I have the distinct impression that the millions of volumes may indeed contain the entirety of human experience: that they make not a model for but a model of the universe.”

“…texts, fabrics to be shredded and woven together in new combinations and patterns…”

“everything in the world exists to end up in a book” (Stephane Mallarme)

“With their leaves of fiber, their inks of copperas and soot, and their words – books are an amalgam of [Roger Bacon‘s] three classes of substance capable of magic: the herbal, the mineral, and the verbal”

“For any question, the library offers no hope of a definitive answer…unlimited and cyclical”

“Together they tell us stories that they could not tell alone”

library pic

“In many places, the volumes are thick with dust, pocked with the holes left by insects,

which are almost as hungry for books as I

-all quotes except where noted – Matthew Battles Library: An Unquiet History

And somehow I can’t help but think the interface and interstice of languaging matter in this way – a way that provides comfort and the slightest skin of distance from the raw inside of skin – inseparable recursions – but mediated immediately – kind of like magic; a LOT like alchemy; always experience – but less abrasive or intrusive than “direct.”  Perhaps paint, light, cameras and brushes, clay, etc – any art that borrows matter outside the body – similarly provides a soluble, gentled, media through which to live forward…

…in other words…are our preferences for embodiment a part of what define us as artists in the societal mesh?  The media through which we most naturally express or experience or embody indicative?  Textuality as embodiment for the writer; clay, stone, marble, etc. for the sculptor; movement for the dancer; oil, pigment, brush, etc. for the painter; lines for the draughtsman and so on…

 

Seasonal Survival: Autumn Reading

Survival Supplies – Seasonal Semester

 

The way I go about selecting what I “need” to be reading ends up functioning by the time the list competes its way out to also be a “Recommended Reading” list, as if the titles that capture my attention withstand engagement and require careful full attention clearly I’ve decided (for me) that these books are worth adding to my internal world.  So the purpose of periodically posting the books I spend time in each week (usually for a few months), is both a bibliography to the thought that comes out in my writings, as well as an “I think these books are worth anyone’s time” should you share some of my interests.  That being said, it is August, and I’m in a full week of graduate school (full-time) after over 15 years of private personal schooling within my home and 16 years of marriages, parenting and retail employment.  Reentry is daunting, particularly as technologies of education have changed radically, so all my moments are being rearranged and reallotted, but I need books and literary languages for so many things in my life (indeed, for quality of life itself), that my body demands I make moments for all it craves throughout every process.  The following is what lines my desk as “essential” as I enter this Fall semester (many are repeats – not quite finished from the busy Summer):

This time, from left to right around the perimeter:

Christoph Niemann: Abstract City

Jonathan Safran Foer: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Michael Chorost: World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the     Internet

Gerald Edelman: second nature: brain science and human knowledge

Antonio Damasio: Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

Norman Doidge: The Brain that Changes Itself

Mengert & Wilkinson, eds.: 12×12: Conversations in 21st Century Poetry and Poetics

Michael Holquist: Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World

Michael Chabon: Manhood for Amateurs

Viktor Shklovsky: Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar

Lyn Hejinian: The Language of Inquiry

Octavio Paz: Convergences: Essays on Art & Literature

Ronald Sukenick: narralogues

 

Fiction:

Ben Marcus: The Flame Alphabet

Lance Olsen: Girl Imagined by Chance

G. Gospodinov: And Other Stories

John Gardner: The Wreckage of Agathon

Lynne Tillman: This is Not It

David Foster Wallace: The Pale King

 

Poetry:

Wallace Stevens: Opus Posthumous

William Bronk: Life Supports

Larry Levis: The Selected Levis

William Stafford: The Way It Is

Edmond Jabes: From the Book to the Book

Arkadii Dragomoschenko: Xenia

Rosmarie Waldrop: Curves to the Apple

 

Miscellaneous:
Edward Sapir: Language

J.R. Firth: Speech

Ann Smock: What is There to Say?

V.N. Volosinov: Marxism and the Philosophy of Language

H.L. Hix: Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes

M.M. Bakhtin: The Dialogic Imagination

Maurice Blanchot: The Infinite Conversation

Richard Rubin: Foundations of Library and Information Science

Cassell / Hiremath: Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century

Carol Kuhlthau: Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library & Information Services