Poetry as Weed

Poetry as Weed: Invasion through Hypertext

Poetry as Weed: Invasion through Hypertext

paper delivered at ASAL conference, Hobart, 2000

[This was an early stab at wondering how poetry can be didactic, not in the moral sense but the informational. The references to hypertext have quickly dated].

The rose is an emblem of lyric poetry. Gertrude Stein explained her famous line thus: ‘We all know it’s hard to write poetry in a late age; and we know that we have to put some strangeness, as something unexpected into the structure of the sentence to bring back vitality . . .’ This need for ostrananie or defamiliarisation can end up doubling the veils Shelley wants to lift ‘from the hidden beauty of the world.’

Veronica Forrest-Thomson has argued that ‘[t]here would be no point in writing poetry unless poetry were different from everyday language, and any attempt to analyse poetry should cherish that difference . . .’ There’s contrary evidence from cognitive scientists. And George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, and Mark Turner demonstrate the poetic nature of normal cognitive processes.

Rather than the anti-referential, anti-syntactic aggression supported by Forrest-Thomson and others, the expansiveness and wildness of weeds is sufficient for an exciting poetry that incorporates extra-poetic materials-one linked to a neglected line from Lucretius in Hugh MacDiarmid:

But there was one virtue the meanest allotment-holders have

Which he conspicuously lacked – they weed their plots

While he left to time and chance

And the near-sighted pecking of critics

The necessary paring and cutting.

(Hugh MacDiarmid ‘A Kist of Whistles’)

In Australia, poets like Laurie Duggan (The Ash Range) have incorporated diverse non-lyric material onto the page. I suggest that hypertext is a poor process for fiction or lyric poems but offers new possibilities for a wild, expansive poetry with diversity and weeding!

Opacity of Roses

The rose is an emblem of lyric poetry Anacreon wrote Odes about roses two thousand years before roses adorn the dense lines of Shakespeare’s sonnets. [i] From No 54:

The canker blooms have full as deep a dye

As the perfumed tincture of the roses,

Hang on such thorns . . . ‘

Such poetry flirts for explication  and in her recent study, Helen Vendler takes apart the lines above in such detail that William Logan suggests, ‘No cryptographer could be more diligent.’[ii]

‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.’ dates back to 1913 is opaque in a different way.[iii] Gertrude Stein explained her famous line to a reporter thus: ‘We all know it’s hard to write poetry in a late age; and we know that we have to put some strangeness, as something unexpected into the structure of the sentence to bring back vitality . . .’ She continued, ‘Now it’s not enough to be bizarre’ the strangeness in the sentence has to come from the poetic gift, too. . . I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.’[iv]


Vitality is a key word. ‘Rose is . . . ‘ was written right in the middle of Imagism (1909-17) which sought seeking brevity, clarity and concreteness in reaction to sentimental and ornamental English poetry.[v]

Yet it was 1913 that Pound’s collection Lustra was published containing short poems like ‘In a Station of the Metro’ and ‘The Garden’,
Like a skein of loose silk blown against a wall
She walks by the railing of a path in
Kensington Gardens,
And she is dying piece-meal
f a sort of emotional anemia.

It is a mannered poem, the last two lines so slack compared to the sharpness of melopoeia and logopoeia in the later Cantos.[vi]

It was also in 1913, that Ernest Fenollosa’s widow sent his unpublished papers to Pound. Fenollosa suggested that the Chinese script derives from a shorthand picture of the world with, an ‘original creative poetry with far more vigour and vividness than any ‘phonetic tongue’.[vii] He argued that Chinese written character ‘speaks at once with the vividness of painting’ combining both visual and temporal elements.[viii] Pound, under the influence of the plastic arts eg. cubism, was already thinking that poems could be constructed, collage like from textual fragments in what he called the ideogrammic method.

In 1913, Marinetti and other futurists were using collage (developed the previous year by Braque and Picasso) in poetry. It is a powerful and liberating technique. As Donald Kuspit comments, ‘The incongruous effects of the collage is based directly on its incompleteness, on the sense of perpetually becoming that animates it. It is always coming into being.’[ix] This brings a new opacity of shifting relations and interdependences.


Veronica Forrest-Thomson argued in Poetic Artifice that ‘[t]here would be no point in writing poetry unless poetry were different from everyday language, and any attempt to analyse poetry should cherish that difference . . .’ [x]

Cognitive scientists have persuasively been arguing for a couple of decades that language is inherently poetic. George Lakoff, Mark Johnson and Mark Turner share a belief in the centrality of ‘literary’ subjects like metaphor, narrative and imagination to language, meaning and cognition. The same year, Khlebnikov and Kruchenykh’s published Bukva kak takovya (‘the letter is such’) using the notion of ‘Zaum’, a ‘sound’ language beyond sense to crack bourgoise realism. Of course opacity can occur without obvious disruption of norms of syntax, take mystic poems, Heidegger or Emerson.[xi]

Marinetti’s, ‘Technical manifesto of futurist literature’ began ‘One must destroy syntax . . . ‘ The following year, (1913) he added to ‘Destruction of syntax, Imagination with strings, Words in freedom’ – ‘typographical revolution’ and ‘multilinear lyricism’.[xii]

Marjorie Perloff has recently offered similar criteria for a new poetic canon: ‘the materiality of language’, ‘syntactic disjunction’, ‘visual constellation’, and especially ‘the reconfiguration of lyric as speaking, once again, not for the hypothetical ‘sensitive’ and ‘authentic’ individual (‘Here’s a vision I had as I was weeding the garden yesterday’) but for the larger cultural and philosophical moment.’[xiii]

Rather than, or rather in addition to,  the anti-referential, anti-syntactic aggression supported by Forrest-Thomson and Perloff others, I suggest the expansiveness and wildness of weeds is sufficient for an exciting poetry that incorporates extra-poetic materials linked to a neglected line from Lucretius to Hugh MacDiarmid:

I will make the argument that that such a poetics can make use of the new technologies of the Net.

The Russian formalist Victor Shlovsky thought art was about making us perceive freshly by making the familiar strange. He wrote, ‘Habituation devours work, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war’ and ‘Art exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony’.[xv]

Poetry makes stones stoney. As MacDiarmid writes:
All is lithogenesis – or lochia,
Carpolite fruit of the forbidden tree,
Stones blacker than any in the Caaba . . .
(then three pages later nearly half way through)
I must get into this stone world now.
                                                                                (From, On a Raised Beach)[xvi]

Both poets were didactic but then presenting information in long poems tends to the didactic unlike more intimate expressive modes.

Ash Range

Laurie Duggan’s The Ash Range incorporates diverse non-lyric written material,  newspapers, local histories, journals and letters uses a variety of historical sources to locate a geographical, natural, cultural and poetic space.[xvii] I suspect Duggan became mesmerised by the historical research and documents because they dominate the collagist text. The poetry, text as peculiarly energised is rare and does not extrude remarkably from the collage of texts. Neither does the poet intrude his connections or emotions into the text. Ash Range does not read as a poem with regards its language and energy of rhythm. [xviii]

Paul Carter suggests the text is not so much a poem as ‘a sustained meditation on local history as a genre of historical writing.’[xix]He notes that such local histories ‘prodigiously run together historical facts, personal incidents, snippets of biography’ and ‘They mingle uncritically, biography, anecdote, reportage and photography.’

I was trying to think of other Australian poets that incorporate extra poetic material and I find it very strange that I can’t think of any examples. There are found poems, poems made from brochures, newspapers, overheard conversations, scientific reports etc. but not poems growing through the accretion of varieties of such material.

Utaniki, the Japanese genre of prose and poetry such as Basho’s narratives of journeys comes to mind. But they use oral not the literate sources Ash Range uses and place poems inside a prose narrative with historical elements. It is a mix of genres that I will argue Hypertext will be useful for.

The Garden

Ian Hamilton Finlay since turning to concrete poetry has used paper, stone, plaster, bronze, neon, embroidery and a garden. Little Sparta growing since 1967 contains temples, as at Stourhead, and various poem objects. A tree-seat inscription simply states, ‘of flutes / & wild roses’. Wild roses climb the fluted columns erected throughout the garden. He categorises his art as ‘neo-classical’, it critiques the Enlightenment and subsequent Romantic and Modernist movements and navigates between poetry, the plastic arts, gardening, and cultural criticism.

In 1958, Pound was released from St Elizabeths and decided to build a temple probably mindful of the church of San Francesco after he had written of the failure of the cantos. He and his daughter went to a quarry looking for suitable stone but the plan was abandoned. Gardening is therapeutic, he should have taken it up. Wittgenstein worked as a gardener in his thirties to get away from the Academy.

A main design strategy for oriental gardens was ‘borrowing scenery’ (Chinese, chieh-ching; Japanese, shakkei) that frees up the fixed space of the room or garden, borrowing the outside environment. In certain Chinese gardens the visitor was guided by the design (pathways, corridor, bridge, tunnel, pavilion, or tower) to move to certain points of observation. Osvald Siren writes, ‘The Chinese garden can never… be completely surveyed from a certain point. It consists of more or less isolated sections which… must… be discovered gradually and enjoyed as the beholder continues his stroll: he must follow the…paths… wander through tunnels… ponder the water… reach… a pavilion… from which a fascinating view unfolds… He is led on… into a composition that is never completely revealed . . .’[xx] The kind of hypertext poetry I have in mind works in a similar way using curiosity and wonder as motivation.[xxi] Despite Charles Bernstein demanding, ‘We are to think of poetry as “making a path” rather than ‘designing a garden’. [xxii]


Much innovative poetry this century, particular the longer sequence, has used paratactic structures (arranged side by side), related by contiguity as in a montage. The open form does away with traditional external forms and parts can be subtracted or added without loss of effect or changes in coherence. Discontinuity rather than any narrative or broadly linear development is central. Pound presents material in the Cantos in paratactic manner (its ideogrammatic nature most obvious in the montage of images in Canto 4) as Eliot does in ‘the Wasteland’.

Sigismondo Malatesta ruler of mid 15th C Rimini is remembered for his barbarism and patronage of the arts, particularly, the reconstruction of the church of San Francesco in Rimini. Pound was fascinated by this monument and this man who Pound saw as putting ideas into action. Pound researched details of Malatesta’s life on trips to Siena and Rimini for a Canto (that evolved into Cantos 8-11). He spent ten weeks doing archival research in 1923.

Peter Wilson writes ‘Canto 9′s raw extracts from Sigismondo’s postbag discovered in the Siena Archives, is an early indication of the heterogeneous materials The Cantos will present. From the start it probably gave rise to a particular view of the poem as a mass of largely unpoetic matter in which ‘real poetry’ may sometimes be found.’[xxiii]

And the four cantos do have a lot of lines beginning and, getting material down and letting the poetry slip in and out of the text. The Cantos are collages that no longer privileges the lyric and incorporates all matter of material, historical, archival, contemporary, everyday and elevated. Marjorie Perloff suggests that this is ‘the deeper, more lasting influence’ of Pounds poetry.[xxiv]

Michael Bernstein argues that in the Cantos Pound tried to take on the novel and cites Canto 8 when historical documents are first introduced and Sigismundo’s prose is juxtaposed with a lyric poem he wrote ‘without privileging either medium, represents one of the decisive turning-points in modern poetics, opening for verse the capacity to include domains of experience long since considered alien territory.’[xxv] It is the ideogrammatic method greatly expanded.


As early as 1913, in the Notes on Logic, Wittgenstein wrote, ‘In philosophy there are no deductions: it is purely descriptive. Philosophy gives no pictures of reality.’ Wittgenstein later remarked ‘Do not forget that a poem, although it is composed in the language of information, is not used in the language-game of giving information.[xxvi]

Albert Lord argued that Homer’s catalogue of ships was not historically accurate, based on his studies of Serbian oral poets which suggested historical accuracy is not a feature of oral epic, which ‘presents a composite picture of the past’.[xxvii] However, Hope, Simpson and Lazenby showed that the list does represent previous city states from the Mycenean period [xxviii] However, giving pleasure was seen as the proper function of a poet. Louise Pratt points out that truth (aletheia) is never mentioned as a function of poetry in Homeric poetry and only mentioned twice in all archaic poetry.[xxix]

The Modernists used vast amounts of information from mythology to science with a wide variety of references. A poetry more constructivist than that Wallace Stevens in the poem, ‘Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction’ suggests when he writes, ‘it must be abstract.’

MacDiarmid wrote in ‘The Kind of poetry I want’ – a didactic ars poetica:
            Taking in the whole that explains the part,
Scientifically accurate . . .

Though taking in the whole is the business of philosophy or the social sciences not poetry and is not identifiable with the reductionist program that science has pursued so successfully. MacDiarmid wanted ‘a poetry of facts.’ ‘I want a poetry of fact and first-hand experience and scientific knowledge that is right about every technical detail’ [xxx] Bunting asks, ‘Has any poet since Lucretius used the vocabulary of science with such skill as Hugh MacDiarmid?’[xxxi] But his later poetry demonstrates that facts can suffocate the lyrical and emotional intensity of poetry.

MacDiarmid is forthright about the kind of poetry he does not want. He praised the first volume of Ian Hamilton Finlay but when Finlay moved to making concrete poetry, MacDiarmid denied it was poetry.[xxxii] He wrote to Tom Scott who was editing the Oxford Book of Scottish Verse, ‘[Finlay’s work] has nothing in common with what down the centuries, despite all changes, has been termed `poetry’ . . . I am utterly unwilling to have any poems of mine included in an anthology in which any of Finlay’s productions are also included.’[xxxiii]

Poetry on the Net

Much poetry on the net is merely copied onto a page with basic html code and does not use the medium in any inherent way but poetry that does often concrete in nature.

The term Docuverse was coined by Ted Nelson to describe a global distributed electronic library of interconnected documents, in other words a global metadocument.

Nancy Kaplan ‘A significant feature of hypertext environments is their capacity for inclusion: they want to construct vast and necessarily unfinished collages of documents to represent the knowledge (and the agon) of a discipline.’[xxxiv]

Roman Ingarden and Wolgang Iser point out that we create any literary work in the first place, we plug all the gaps. [xxxv] This leads to multiple experiences of a poem say, just as hypertext leads to multiple experiences. Reading a poem on the net will be a different experience (whatever the delivery system) just as listening to a scop is different to reading a sonnet or reading the Cantos that require rereading, some explication work with piggy back guides, dictionaries etc.


As well as opening up a ‘docuverse’, the other most useful property of New Media is interactivity. Literature is intrinsically interactive, from Wolfgang Iser’s phenomenological theory of reading to its deictic elements, as Elena Semino writes. ‘Deictic elements are among the most obvious aspects of language that bring attention to the interactional nature of language.’[xxxvi]

Ted Nelson invented the term ‘hypertext’, defines it as ‘nonsequential writing – text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen. As popularly conceived, this is a series of text chunks connected by links which offer the reader different pathways.[xxxvii] Text chunks are shrinking; hypertext has become more than linking URLs, jumps and connections are viewed as open ended possibilities of varieties of conceptual linking via:
•          a new URL;
•          a new html page;
•          a pop out or roll over; layers or timelines;
•          images, diagrams, cartoons; or
•          music.

Hypertext novels and lyric poems have been written but George Landow suggests, ‘Hypertext linking, reader control, and variation not only militate against the modes of argumentation to which we have become accustomed but have other, far more general effects,…the text appears to fragment, to atomize, into constituent elements (into lexias or blocks of text), and these reading units take on a life of their own as they become more self-contained . . . ‘[xxxviii]

There can be a doubleness in electronic writing just as Postmodernism suggests, writing is about a subject, but also about the medium itself. This denies Sven Birketts’ claim that ‘If the print medium exalts the word, fixing it into permanence, the electronic counterpart reduces it to a signal, a means to an end.’[xxxix]

Interactivity mixes with information in the web. In ‘The Archaeology of Knowledge’, Foucault points out that a book ‘is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network. . . [a] network of references.’ [xl]


Politexts are multiple iterations of the ‘same text’. Nancy Kaplan writes, ‘Perhaps paradoxically, this is the very feat at which the printing press has been said to excel — multiplying a text by producing a prodigious number of exact copies. But with electronic technologies, some have argued, the tools of reproduction will devolve to the multitudes, restructuring the conditions under which texts are created and circulated. Hence, anyone can, theoretically at least, access, replicate, and retransmit a text.[xli]

MacDiarmid wrote a perfect poem:
I found a pigeon’s skull on the machair,
All the bones pure white and dry, and chalky,
But perfect,
Without a crack or a flaw anywhere.

At the back, rising out of the beak,

Were twin domes like bubbles of thin bone,

Almost transparent, where the brain had been

That fixed the tilt of the wings.’[xlii]

Kenneth Buthlay comments ‘The above is the poem that Ezra Pound and the imagists talked about but did not write, in which ‘the proper and perfect symbol is the natural object.’[xliii] Only, MacDiarmid didn’t write it. Apart from the first line, it all derives from a short story by Glyn Jones. This example of an imagist poem was prose.[xliv]

Pick a subject – dentistry

Poetry can tackle any subject. Lucretius expounded the philosophical and scientific thoughts of Epicurus. Erasmus Darwin’s ‘the Botanic Garden’ is an infamous long poem in grotesque couplets on scientific classification of plants but in terms of information, it’s hard to beat Solymon Brown’s epic.

In 1834, in the Knickerbocker, a New York literary magazine a reviewer wrote,  ‘Forsaking those beaten paths in which the children of song have been prone to expatiate, our author has chosen for himself a solitary way, wild indeed and rocky, opening to anew and unlabored field in the varied landscape of nature.’

The poem was DENTOLOGIA :¬A Poem on the Diseases of the Teeth, and their proper Remedies:

When first I saw her eyes, celestial blue,

Her cheeks’ vermilion, and the carmine hue,

That melted on her lips :¬- her auburn hair

That floated playful on the yielding air;

And then that neck within those graceful curls,

Molten from Cleopatra’s liquid pearls;

I whispered to my heart :¬- we’ll fondly seek

The means, the hour, to hear the angel speak; . ..

As if to quench betimes the kindling flame

Of love and admiration :¬- for she spoke,

And lo, the heavenly spell forever broke,

The fancied angel vanished into air,

And left unfortunate Urilla there :

For when her parted lips disclosed to view,

Those ruined arches, veiled in ebon hue,

Where love had thought to feast the ravished sight

On orient gems reflecting snowy light,

Hope, disappointed, silently retired,

Disgust triumphant came, and love expired! .  . .[xlv]

Tom Raworth an innovative poet writing a kind of Language poetry back in the sixties writes very in the poem haiku:[xlvi]

as the rain comes down

time under pressure

dawn, and the green butterflies

crossing the ice-cap

tracked down by process

inside the dentist’s peephole

, but i fixed him good

spinnets of silver

one hair caught between my teeth

whose? i’ve been away

the wax filtered sounds

earth where imagination

spreads a boned circle

a mould of eyelids

under the singing emblem

cough, and he dropped them

the problem of form

within this limitation

she drops a sylla

Charles Simic takes a more cautious approach in the poem, ‘Prison Guards Silhouetted Against the Sky’,

.  .  . This morning I was in the dentist’s chair

When his new assistant walked in

Pretending not to recognize me in the slightest

As I opened my mouth obediently . . .

Joan Houlihan complains, ‘To rebel against the denaturing of poetry into prose, and not just into prose, but in many cases, into badly written and uninteresting prose, seems futile when such renowned poets as Simic can write [the poem above].[xlvii]

There cannot be a position on what poetry should be written, all kinds can be interesting. Thoreau and Emerson wrote poems that are neither as interesting nor to my mind as poetic as their prose works. We have to be ready to find poetry anywhere.



[i] The rose the poet’s song perfumes

And in each muse’s bosom blooms

How sweet to seize the blushing prey,

And snatch it from the thorn away.

Anacreon, Ode 51, 5th century BC Translated by Addison, 1735.

[ii] William Logan, ‘The sins of the Sonnets’ Parnassus Vol 24.No1, 1999. p268. Take for example, No 54

The rose looks fair, but fairer it we deem

For that sweet odour which doth in it live.

The canker blooms have full as deep a dye

As the perfumed tincture of the roses,

Hang on such thorns . . . ‘

[iii] ‘A rose . . . ‘  not published until 1922 and made famous when used on the cover of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas It is in the poem ‘Sacred Emily’ – she used it in various reprises up to the 1939 children’s book The World is Round.Sacred Emily is included inGeography and Plays, Four Seas Co., 1922. 178-188. Reprint: U of Nebraska Press, 1993. p178. In 1927, she writes, ‘Suppose, to suppose, suppose a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.’ ‘An Elucidation’, by Gertrude Stein, Transition, 1 (Apr. 1927), p75.

[iv] Gertrude Stein quoted by Thornton Wilder in his introduction to ‘Four in America’, quoted by Susan Howe in Archaeology, in Code of Signals: Recent Writing in Poetics. Ed. Michael Palmer. Berkeley : North Atlantic, 1983. p208. It is not the red of mimesis but of language. Stein’s poetry does not inform the reader of her likes or dislikes, the language is foregrounded and attempts to use biography to tie down meaning dubious. Helen Sayre comments ‘Whether anybody knew, in 1914, of Stein’s affection for roses is another question.’ Stein had just bought a Gris cubist abstract called ‘Roses’. Helen M. Sayre, ‘The Artist’s Model’ in Gertrude Stein and the Making of Literature, Eds S Neuman & I Nadel, Macmillan, 1988, p26.

[v] Imagism is associated with Hulme, Flint, Pound, HD., Joyce, Amy Lowell and W.C. Williams.

[vi] Pound suggested three aspects of prosody:

Melopoeia, wherein the words are charged, over and above their plain meaning, with some musical property, which directs the bearing or trend of that meaning.

Phanopoeia covers images, anything from simple and straightforward description to complex symbols and use of metaphor.

logopoeia covers the intellectual range, notably connotation and collocation, among which also punning, all the way through etymology to cultural history.

[vii] Ernest Fenollosa, The Chinese Written Characters as a Medium for Poetry, ed.

Ezra Pound, City Lights Books, 1936 (1919).

[viii] Fenollosa, ibid, p.9. The Chinese ideographic method, in Fenollosa’s and Pound’s view, relies in its juxtapositions on a close observation of natural processes. They believe that this is the way Chinese characters are formed: the juxtaposed parts of ‘materials’ form the images that imply ‘immaterial’ relationships. By putting the ideas of things together the Chinese written language can point to concepts and universals.

[ix] Donald Kuspit, ‘Collage: The organising principle of art’ in Ketherine Hoffman Ed. Collage – Critical Views, UMI Research Press, 1989.

[x] Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Poetic Artifice: A Theory of Twentieth-Century Poetry, pxi, Manchester University Press, 1978.

[xi] Lee Rust brown points out ‘The Emersonian sentence uses everyday words yet occludes their façade of easy clarity in order to restore the brightness . . . of an original language, of communication of the first importance.’ Lee Rust Brown, The Emersonian Museum, Harvard UP, 1997, p147.

[xii] Following F. T. Marinetti’s, The Futurist Manifesto, (Paris) Le Figaro, February, 1909 came The Manifesto of the Futurist Painters,  (Milan) February, 1910. Signed by

Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini

included among the 8 principles:

Destroy the cult of the past, the obsession with the ancients, pedantry and academic formalism.

Bear bravely and proudly the smear of “madness” with which they try to gag all innovators.

Regard art critics as useless and dangerous. See Humphreys ibid. The typographical reality of the alphabet was first emphasised by Mallarme late in his career.

[xiii] Marjorie Perloff, ‘We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Poetry: Some Aspects of Literary Journalism’, PN Review 115, May/June 1997.

[xiv] A Kist of Whistles, p17, W Maclellan, 1947

[xv] Victor Shlovsky In ‘Art as technique’ in Russian Formalist criticism; four essays,’ Ed Lemon & M Reis, P12, University of Nebraska Press, 1965. He thought aesthetics distances ourselves from the everyday mundane

[xvi] >> We have difficulties knowing how to behave in, work with, answer to objects and a world without language that cannot answer back. It is the cause of our environmental crises, a distancing between us and the world through arms length technology and civilisation. >>

[xvii] Laurie Duggan, The Ash Range, Picador, 1987.

[xviii] It is a long work, and without ballad forms it is questionable how one can write long poems since what characterises poetry is its intensity. Hence, the success of haiku. Short but in fact one of the most complex forms in terms of formal compositional rules. The problem of long poems is a large topic of its own.

[xix] Paul Carter, ‘Non Sequiturs : A Discussion of Laurie Duggan’s The Ash Range’, Overland; 1987; no.109, December p.67-69.

[xx] Osvald Siren, Gardens of China, Ronald Press, l949, p. 4.

[xxi] ‘The world of art is the object seen sub specie aeternitatis. The usual way of looking at things sees objects as it were from the midst of them, the view sub specie aeternitatis from outside, in such a way that they have the whole world as background.‘ Wittgenstein Note Books. Hypertext uses the world as background.

[xxii] Charles Bernstein p39. >>

[xxiii] Peter Wilson, A Preface to Ezra Pound, Longman 97

[xxiv] Marjorie Perloff, ‘The Contemporary of our Grandchildren’, in Poetic Licence: Essays on Modernist and Postmodernist Lyric’, p122, Northwestern Uni Press, 1990.

[xxv] Michael Bernstein, The Tale of the Tribe: Ezra Pound and the Modern Verse Epic, Princeton UP, 1980, p39-40

[xxvi] from Zettel. Wittgenstein later argued that there is no philosophical knowledge, the task is rather to clear confusions in rules governing how we use language. Speaking is not translating wordless thoughts into language, the limits of thought are determined by the limits of expression. Language expands both the intellect and the will, we can plan ahead.

[xxvii] Albert B. Lord. “Homer, the Trojan War, and History.” Journal of the Folklore Institute, 8:85-92. p91, 1971

[xxviii] Simpson, R. Hope and Lazenby, J. F., The Catalogue of the Ships in Homer’s Iliad Oxford UP, 1970.

[xxix] Louise H Pratt, Falsehood and Deception in Archaic Greek Poetics, Uni of Michegan Press, 1993. . Mentioned once in an ambiguous reference in Hesiod’s Theogony and the other in connection with praising a victory in Epinician. In Hesiod, all nine muses are concerned with beauty not accuracy.

[xxx] MacDiarmid from his autobiography, Lucky Poet, Methuen, 1943.

[xxxi] Bunting adds, ‘Pound and Zukofsky have sought a poetry of facts too.’ Bunting on MacDiarmid, Agenda Vol 8/3-4, Winter 1970, p117&119

[xxxii] His second book, Glasgow Beasts, an a Burd (1961) is written in an opaque working-class Glaswegian dialect first began his interest in visual elements, a series of papercuts.

[xxxiii] 1965, Letters 703, quoted Mark Scroggins, ‘The Piety of Terror: Ian Hamilton Finlay, the Modernist Fragment, and the Neo-classical Sublime’, http://webdelsol.com/FLASHPOINT/ihfinlay.htm   DL. 16.2.99

[xxxiv] Nancy Kaplan, ‘E-Literacies:Politexts, Hypertexts and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print’, originally published in Computer Mediated Communications Magazine, March 1995. revised September 1996. Jerome McGann suggests we use the new technologies for critical editions of Burns’s work in audial forms, the text of Blake’s ‘Songs’ in colour facsimile and Emily  Dickinson’s work that uses the physique of the page. ‘The computerized edition can store vastly greater quantities of documentary materials, and it can be built to organize, access, and analyze those materials not only more quickly and easily, but at depths no paper-based edition could hope to achieve.’

Jerome McGann ‘The Rationale of HyperText’, http://www.iath.virginia.edu/public/jjm2f/rationale.html.

[xxxv] Roman Ingarden rejects viewing reading as a contemplation of a finished product, suggesting instead, that the reader creates the literary work as an aesthetic object. Ingarden says A story begins with old man was sitting at a table. well we know it’s not a chair but is it wood, iron, three legged or four? The Literary Work of Art p246-54 (1931), transl. 1973. Wolgang Iser goes further in seeing Ingarden as classical in seeing the author’s and reader’s intentionality as explaining the process of reading. Iser talks rather of the indeterminacies: the gaps, negations and hidden implications as the dynamic elements of the literary text. The Act of Reading, 170-179, 1978.

[xxxvi] Lit communication is seen as context free in sense that both writer and reader are dislocated in time and space Definite articles, personal pronouns, demonstratives, tensed verbs contribute to deixis (Greek for pointing with a finger) , reference made to a situational context. Elena Semino, Language and World Creation in Poems and Other Texts, Longman, 1997, p57.

[xxxvii] Ted Nelson Literary Machines, 90.1, Mindful Press, Sausalito, CA. 1990.

[xxxviii] George P. Landow, Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992, p52. (Also published in hypertext form.)

[xxxix] Sven Birkerts, ‘The Gutenberg Elegies – The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age’, Faber and Faber, 1994.

[xl] Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, p92-3 1978.>>

[xli] Nancy Kaplan, ‘E-Literacies:Politexts, Hypertexts and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print’, originally published in Computer Mediated Communications Magazine, March 1995. revised September 1996.

[xlii] Selected Poems p55, Macmillan, 1934

[xliii] See Kenneth Buthlay, Hugh MacDiarmid, p89, Oliver & Boyd, 1964

[xliv] MacDiarmid did apologise for ‘unconscious plagiarism’. He also gave the poem a Spanish epithet that means, ‘the dead eyes open of those who live.’ There are other examples, In ‘The Kind of Poetry I Want’ (1961) MacDiarmid projects himself as being: Not like a man who works that he may live/ But as one who is bent on doing nothing but work, which is direct from Thomas Mann’s story Tonio Kroger. Hypertext encourages such plagiarism as universities have discovered the net allows.

[xlv] DENTOLOGIA :¬A Poem on the Diseases of the Teeth, and their proper Remedies, By Solyman Brown, A.M. With Notes, practical, historical, illustrative, and explanatory, by Eleazar Parmly, Dentist. New¬York. Peabody & Co. 1834. from Jacksonian Miscellanies is a weekly* email newsletter presenting short** documents from the United States’ Jacksonian Era,

[xlvi] Tom Raworth Tottering States, Paladin, 1988, p29. And yes this is how the poem ends.

[xlvii] Joan Houlihan, ‘On the Prosing of Poetry: How Contemporary American Poets are Denaturing the Poem’,http://webdelsol.com/f-bostoncomment.htm DL 3.10.99


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