Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Hard core blogging 1

Things I've been meaning to ask people:

Hugh Thomas: Hugh is a mathematician and poet whose areas of research are algebraic combinatorics and algebraic geometry. I'm curious to know, especially in light of the fronticepiece of his chapbook, Mutations, what sort of thinking he's done with respect to geometry, grammar, and syntax. I tend to think of grammar spatially, and I wonder what sorts of ideas mathematics could bring to this thinking. I also wonder if Hugh has read much Clark Coolidge.

Rachel Zolf: Rachel is, I believe, working on a manuscript that involves a critique of "plain language" in the context of bureaucratic writing. I remember when Darren Wershler-Henry and I were discussing type faces for my book, I surprised him by telling him I'd been thinking of my writing as more bureaucratic than humanistic. This, I suppose, had to do with the fact that much of Said Like Reeds or Things engages my work as a copy editor. I like the idea of somehow bringing my writing and paid work closer together, of processing my paid work through my writing, and I'm guessing that Rachel has some good ideas in this regard.

(Sidenote: I think also that questions relating to how other poets make ends meet are interesting, not only in that they might yield some practical ideas relating to jobs but also because I'm curious to know if, how, and why people impose a barrier between their writing and what they do for money, considering that the latter, for most I imagine, takes up a significant portion of their lives. Escape is, of course, a valid approach. So is just not thinking of work when writing. I want to move further toward some form of realism though, and I figure negotiating the relationship between my work and writing is an important part of it.)

This is meant to get me moving on these questions. I'll ask Hugh and Rachel directly. I've been delaying though, possibly because I'm aware that the discussions these questions could give rise to would set me well on my way toward a new project. The blocks we put in our own way, eh.

Coming soon: an account of last night's Lexiconjury reading.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mark--

I have been reading your blog, so I thought I would respond to your comment prior to being contacted directly.

My feeling is that many of the poems that I write are only very slightly conditioned on the fact that I also do mathematics. However, I do sometimes try to write poems which incorporate mathematical features, and the frontispiece to Mutations is one of those. Part of my reason for doing so is that I think mathematics contains many interesting ideas which aren't generally easy for non-mathematicians to get access to. So part of what I do is to present ideas that come from mathematics in a way that might be more accessible, more useful, to those without conventional training in mathematics.

Like not writing about math at all, it's another kind of escape, because I can put together mathematical ideas in ways that wouldn't be acceptable within mathematics.

Another motivation for me for this kind of writing is that there are to be a number of people out there who have expressed interest in the results of these explorations.

I definitely don't feel like I have any systematic approach that relates the domains of mathematics and poetry -- I just find the possible connections to be an interesting zone for experiment.


12:50 AM  

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