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Home > The Graph Poem > The Graph Poem Operational Reflections. I. Maudelle Driskell and David Wolach

The Graph Poem Operational Reflections. I. Maudelle Driskell and David Wolach

September 24th, 2014 margento Leave a comment Go to comments

In Maudelle Driskell’s Talismans (The Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series, Volume VIII. Brookline, NH: Hobblebush Books, 2014) the gradual transition from talismans, charms, and relics (or rather remnants of mythologies and rituals) to scars and then to disease experienced either as a patient or as caretaker/medic/rescuer is what perhaps challenges computational analysis the most. The engine of this transition is gender renegotiation within childhood and animal (toy) memories, fairytales, and allegories. This makes the collection more complex and problematic to computational analysis (as well as perhaps to any other critical approach actually) than other ones having similar subjects. Still a potentially more seminal comparison that we’ll have to process will be the one with David Wolach’s Hospitalogy (Grafton, Vermont: Tarpaulin SkyPress, 2013)–the book that (as we find out from the substantial concluding critical essay/statement “Musicked, Acknowledged”) was mostly written in hospitals and hotels as a sequence of “letter-notes, scraps, and song-like things” aiming at a “‘poetry of disablement’ or ‘disability.’”

Unlike Driskell, who is very good at using contexts and vaguely outlined but deeply impacting relationships to explore the volatile identities and inner landscapes of her speakers, Wollach is impressively professes that “[I] [p]erhaps explore the erotics, therapeutics, and contradictory impulses of clinical disclosure […] where the roles, personae, and systems of power of the doctor and patient […] seem, in the after-word of their telling, to intertwine, mingle, in a sense fuck their way out of their own use-values into a sphere of confessed exchange.  Perhaps not.”

Confession in particular triggers some of the most mesmerizing of the jazzy suites in which Wolach bends both morphology and syntax in manic relentless and yet so relevant a fashion.  “i’s matter, con/ fessional grade junk, no/ one single payer/ plenty to go round// bar room con/ fissional up/ ends in urinal migraine/ sans f/u pissing away yr liquid” or the brilliant “some i’s fess up/ for what has yet to apo/ logos i’s o u pre/ tense as add vertised.”  This is also a radical example of the difficulties we shall have to deal with in the Poetry Computational Graphs project when processing the diction of certain poets and assessing diction-related commonalities among poets.

Wolach is also extremely relevant to our graph poetics in at least one more respect.  As he “confesses,” in this book he “quote[s] or riff[s] on several made things” by other poets and writers, but in ways that are not always very clear (from literal quotes, to variations or “riffs” to “pieces of overheard language”), as “one way of tracing what ‘friendship’ or ‘common’ might mean.”  Not only we have here a poetics of commonalities that is also at the heart of the graph poem project, but also a way of writing that traces and follows such links while exploring, performing, and developing those commonalities, as the contributors to the graph poem have done before.  “I take Hospitalogy to be, as any of the writing I inhabit, collaborative: the trace or tracings of these correspondences and resonances.”

One of the authors Wolach draws consistently on is the well known poet-theorist Fred Moten.  We will back on the latter and particularly on his poetics of communities and performance in/as the poem.

 

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