Page 45 - Jack Foley | The true litterateur
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NOTES


               SOURCES: “It would be necessary...” is from Wordsworth’s “Preface” to the
               second  edition  of  Lyrical  Ballads  (1800);  the  phrase  “la  brutalité  du  mot

               ‘tumeur’” is from Paul de Man’s last letter to Jacques Derrida and is quoted in
               Derrida’s  Memoires.  Derrida  makes  much  of  the  pun  on  tu  meurs.  A  few
               phrases are taken from or based on Tàkis Sinópoulos’s Landscape of Death
               (“The Sea”); the quotations about sound are from John R. Pierce, The Science
               of Musical Sound; Georges Brassens’ great song, “Tempête dans un bénitier,”
               is  from  his  Philips  album,  Don  Juan;  a  few  phrases  are  taken  from  Craig
               Williamson’s translation of Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Songs, A Feast of Creatures;
               the ballad snatches are from English and Scottish Popular Ballads, ed. Helen
               Child Sargent and George Lyman Kittredge; the quotation about “Lucienne” is
               from  Jules  Romains,  The  Body’s  Rapture;  “everything  /  in  nature...”  is  from
               Roman  Jakobson,  Six  Lectures  on  Sound  and  Meaning;  “as  the  wind  turns
               them  (leaves)”  is  loosely  based  on  Rilke’s  poem,  “Herbst”  (“Autumn”);  the
               lines about President Reagan are from a S.F. Chronicle newspaper article; “I
               tied  my  drum”  is  from  A.J.  Arberry’s  Mystical  Poems  of  Rumi,  #197;  the

               passage  beginning,  “articulation  of  sound”  is  based  on  phrases  from  the
               beginning of Coleridge’s essay, “On Poesy Or Art.” The doggerel poem, “The
               Subject Was Rocks,” has a story behind it: Many years ago, a Berkeley friend
               of mine was involved in a disastrous love affair. At its conclusion, in despair,
               he  hurled  a  rock  through  a  window  of  his  girl  friend’s  house,  damaging  the
               window but nothing else. Much later, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he met a
               friend of this girl friend’s and had a conversation with her. He wrote to tell me,
               “The subject was rocks.” My friend would have heard—as I do—a reference to
               testicles in the word “rocks.” (Cf. “the family jewels.”)


               In an essay, I wrote this about the poem:


               This  poem,  like  much  of  my  work,  deliberately  situates  itself  in  the  space
               between  performance  and  reading  silently.  William  Burroughs’  idea  of  the
               “routine”--with its suggestion of vaudeville--is relevant here. I want the piece
               to  be  read—but  I  want  it  to  be  heard  as  well.  (The  cassette  tape  which
               accompanies my book Adrift—Pantograph,  1993—contains  a  performance  of
               the  poem,  as  does  the  CD  which  accompanies  O  Powerful  Western  Star:

               Pantograph, 2000.) Silent reading will give you certain things which you could
               not get from a performance; a performance will give you things you couldn’t
               possibly  get  from  silent  reading.  Neither  the  silent  reading  nor  the
               performance  by  itself  “is”  the  poem—which  I  would  resist  calling  a
               “performance piece.”
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