05 April 2007

books keep coming

A lot of new books in in recent weeks, like the three new Counterpath Press books (I already wrote about Laynie Browne's in an earlier post), and Harryette Mullen's Recyclopedia, Cynthia Hogue's Incognito Body, Ron Silliman's The Age of Huts (compleat), Barbara Henning's magnificent My Autobiography, Beth Joselow's Begin at Once, and Sarah Riggs's Waterwork (the latter two from Chax Press). I may never quite read every word of all of them (compleatly), but here goes one capsule take.

The Cry at Zero, by Andrew Joron
Philsophical poetics at a very high level, concerned with cosmology, the present war, Robert Duncan's "orders" of war and poetry's lack of innocence, Olson's use of symbol for "field of force," music and mathematics, a letter from Charles Borkhuis, Mary Margaret Sloan's long poem "On Method," Will Alexander's philosophy, Clark Coolidge's The Crystal Text, and much more. You will find many generous and enabling readings here, of important texts, events, and ideas.

One quotation will give you an idea. It concerns the complexity of systems — think of its application to a poem, an idea cluster, a society.
The more sensitive, the more susceptible a system is to the reshaping influence of chance, the greater its complexity. Storm-swirls, termites' nests, human moods and musings: such hierarchies of structured randomness are found at every level of objective, as well as subjective, reality. Systems of this kind are poised on the edge of chaos, and draw upon the surrounding turbulence as a source of developmental possibilities. As one group of researchers recently put it,"environmental randomness can act as the 'imagination of the system,' the raw material from which structures arise. Fluctuations can act as seeds from which patterns and structures are nucleated and grow."
from Andrew Joron, "Divinations of the Vortex(t)," in Joron, The Cry at Zero: Selected Prose (Denver: Counterpath, 2007), p. 43. The quotation within the paragraph is from S. Camazine et al, Self-Organization in Biological Systems (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), p. 26.

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