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Beverly Dahlen and Leslie Scalapino

I stumbled on a book of Beverly Dahlen's _A Reading 1-7_.

So far, I am really enjoying it. I just finished reading Leslie Scalapino's:
1) Way
2) How Phenomena Appear to Unfold
3) New Time.

I've also listened to the Kenning cd of Scalapino reading Way quite a few times. For some reason I hear Scalapino's voice when I am reading Dahlen. The sentence constructions feel similar. The "how" of it (meaning the syntax etc.).

I realize Scalapino is swimming through Buddhist philosophy and Dahlen seems to swim through (among many things) feminist psychoanalysis, but I wonder why their sentence structures and my reading (overlaying) of voice connects them as intimates?

I don't get the same sense of similarity in "voice" with Susan Howe or Bernadette Mayer.

I don't know enough (I never do) to know if there are some philosophical connections (and epistemological methods) that Scalapino and Dahlen hold in common?

I am also wondering how to select what to read. I read bits of theory, but cannot sustain a full blown reading project of say Jameson or Marx. I read bits at a time. I keep coming back to poetry (most times the critical lyric). Don't know why my mind cannot sustain long periods of theory/philosophy any more.

Sometimes I worry I don't have enough grounding in continental philosophy to write "good" poems (Derrida etc.)

On the one hand: "You don't need theory to write poetry"
On the other hand: "The critical and creative are not opposites."

The two hands don't cancel each other out. But I wonder if getting my philosophy "second-hand" via poetics is the same as getting it closer to "first-hand" via texts written by full-fledged philosophers?

In other words, is there a fundamental difference between "using" the philosophy of Wittgenstein and reading the philosophy of Wittgenstein?

If you "use" a philosophy is it possible to misappropriate it? If so, how can we know when we are misappropriating the language/ideas of a philosopher if language creates ideas as much (or more) than ideas are translated into language?

In other words, is misappropriating different (ethically) than mistranslating? If translating is more than a one to one correspondence (i.e. context) are all misappropriations also a mistranslation?

I do like the word Way. I travel from the bottom of the Y up to the forked path. I do this many times a day. Contrary to the pseudo wisdom of Mr. Frost. I hate FROST!


emily critchley said…
In answer to your 'musings,' you definitely do NOT need to read the philosophers (esp the ones you cite: marx etc!) to 'get' the poetry mentioned. i speak having spent a good 2 years reading the continentals: heidegger, arendt, merleau-ponty, barthes, derrida, wittgenstein - all the names traced in the poems by the subjects of my phd: scalapino, lyn hejinian & rosmarie waldrop. &, while it was interesting &, sometimes, enjoyable, it muddied the waters which, as you say, scalapino (& others) swim(s) in, rather than KNOW(S) authoritatively about.i ended up puzzled by what are definitely creative leaps - far better, realer ones than the original philosophy actually. & had to abort, critically speaking.
Charles Bernstein confirms your anxieties too: "Recently, a scholarly poet friend was telling me that he thought he would have to undertake 2 years of background reading in philosophy and lit theory and linguistics to find out what L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E was all about." He argues that, had his friend done so, "he would have read far more comprehensively in [the] area than most of the poets published in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E." (_A Poetics_).
You see/ hear similarities between scalapino & dahlen probably because they both lived & worked in the san francisco scene for many years, & share many poetical, & feminist orientations. they also both skirt round the phenomenon which was /is LANGUAGE poetry, while bernadette mayer is most definitely a New-Yorker - 2nd generation NY school. i cant remember the other name you mention & dont want to go back to your page in case i lose everything just written.
but hope this helps anyhow. keep on. enjoy your enjoyment of WAY (word & book). & best grease to your elbow. emily
emily critchley said…
Having posted the above, i just noticed how LONG ago you made your original comments.
so sorry, the best things.. etc. etc.

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