Sunday, July 19, 2015

O Ye Su

The School of Quietude: Site/Sight/Cite of Origin of Silliman's Poe Borrowing

(reposted from two days ago, with images added--)

(I also include below following M. Richard's essay-excerpt, a post sent Saturday which also is about Poe and the Quiet its, the heretical Roman Catholic beliefs which were immensely popular and much used in Spain, France and Ital in the 17th Century. Aspects of the QuietistQuietists such as St John of the Cross and St Theresa of Avila. Poets of a mystical bent, or mystical in the presence of Nature, may also be a part of the Quietist heritage. A contemporary Quietist is Robert Grenier, for example.who is sometimes cited as one.)

As Maria had asked re the first use of the term School of Quietude (which i thought was the name given the Language Poets as they are with avant and post avant so quiet on events off the page)--i found it where else, detailed in an essay by a French writer!

(My Poe mania begun at an early age, was immensely aided by learning to read in French, via initially Baudelaire's brilliant translations, and from there to the great critical writings on Poe in French since Baudelaire's translations--which were accompanied by two version sof a rather fantastic bio of Poe. .)

Something i find curious re Mr Silliman's use of the term "School of Quietude: is that he doesn't seem to really know from whence it came, nor in what precise context, nor what the direction of it in the actual poetry world of Poe's time was.

That is, "School of Quietude"has been made known and discussed by persons, and al without wondering where the term came from , beyond the bland note of Mr Silliman's of it being from something Poe wrote in the 1840's (Poe could not have written anything beyond that as he died in 1849.)

Then i wondered in turn why it is that the Poe has never been delved into, as Baudelaire is often ignored in favor of "Benjamin's Baudealire."
In a sense, to found a long criticism of a School of Quietude without the precise understanding of where and when it actually occurred and in what context--and for tht criticism to continue out through 9out the vague cosmos of criticism --is to found what is supposed to have the precision of critique on vagueness.

In a way it is yet another example of the history of American criticism and treatment of Poe since Rufus's Griswold's Damning Obituary's. Poe may be alluded to vaguely since that gets one off the hook of actually having read him, or taking the time to dig into his works.

(In a Poe class some years ago there sat a direct descendent of Mr grsiwold, taken the class as he said, like a Haswthorne character, to expiate the family guilt for the murder of Poe by obituary--)

It is, after all "to know and make sure of the actuality of one's sources.".Withut really checking, you never know, the term might have meant something quite different that the version given to it today--or have been the made idea of a third person in which one has as so often prosepopoiea displacing actuality, history; with historcal persons, events. as so much fiction to be moved out of the way.

Does the whole edifice of the critique of Silliman begin to erode, corrode and beigin to melt once the vagueness of its foundations are laid bare? Who knows? Probably not--

The idea of verifying and examining and finding the sources of information and ideas is not tit picking activity, but the examination and finding of evidences with which to build a case. And often enough in many walks of life and disciplines of learning, to not be precise might cost you your head. Or all of you!

The lack of precision was one of Poe's hobby horses that he would mount when in full Tommy Hawk Man form, hatcheting the vague and lame uses of syntax, grammer, turns of phrase and often enough the evidences at least to his eyes of plagiarisms.

Not that Poe did not write "puffery" himself esp when it came to the poetry of a poetess he was thinking of wooing.

Though I shd note that, like Poe, Mr Silliman was first using the word Quiet before the emergence of the vaguely attributed-to- Poe "School of Quietude" In the entry below one may a similar development in Poe--.

This is where i found the explanation of the origin of the phrase The School of Quietude--
and following it re-posted my previous letter to distinguish Quietism from Quistude--

One should really read the essay in its entirety as Ricard details the history of a what in the US is an ignored piece by Poe, and has been read as a brilliant work in France, esp by Andre Breton who included it in his book on Black Humor, and other surrealists who found evidences of automatic writing in the tale.

The image of Poe in the US today is dicscolored by one of the most damming obituaries in history, Rufus Griswold's defamatory and inflammatory "burying" of the actual Poe and putting in ts place the insane drunkard, author gimmicky talest that onlyFrench people pretend to elevate to the level of Great Literature.
Personally i think much of Poe's writing in terms of its ideas, concepts, paradoxes, uses of codes and anagrams, studies of writing is til considerably in advance of the most "postmodern" and "avant ' works. Robert Smithson noted how Poe's "Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" could be used as excellent thinking for criticism on Earth Works.
He is also the first, as William Carlos Williams notes in his chapter on Poe in In the America Grain--the first American critic who really went for the jugular on the importance of grammar, syntax and form in American Poetry, and thus became known as the "Tommy Hawk Man" (Hatchet Man today) in American Literary History.

It should also been noted, re M. Richard's brilliant exposition, that one should also note that one of the reasons that Poe hated Boston was that it was there that his mother died, under his watchful eyes as a very very young child. Poe''s first book of poetry was ironically published in Boston--ironic, as his description of the Transcendentalist poets living in the area was "The Frog Pondians."

(Hawthorne used the Transcendentalists' journal The Dial as a soporific, to rapidly send him off into hitt afternoon nap worlds---)

All the same,Poe gave some very well received and, for him, lucrative readings in boston . . .

here is an excerpt from "Aeeant Bubbles" by Claude Richard, and following it re-posted my previous letter to distinguish Quietism from Quietude--

rhe excerpt from

Arrant Bubbles:
Poe's "The Angel of the Odd"

Claude Richard

Université de Montpellier, France

really excellent essay by Claude Richard, at the time (1969 at the Universite de Montpelier (The town Vermont's State Capitol is named after.)

Text: Claude Richard, "Arrant Bubbles: Poe's 'The Angel of the Odd'," Poe Newsletter­, October 1969, Vol. II, No. 3, 2:46-48

Next on our hero's indigestible bill of fare came Henry T. Tuckerman's Sicily, a romance set in the exotic landscapes indicated by its title. Tuckerman should be remembered for sharing with few others the honor of being alluded to in one of Poe's poems; in "An Enigma" we may read these graceful lines:
The general Tuckermanities are arrant Bubbles — ephemeral and so transparent (8).
In a little known article, a review of Isabel; Or, Sicily, published in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for July 1839 (V, 60), Poe had somewhat qualified the meaning of the word "Tuckermanities." But nowhere do I find a hint that he deemed the work boring; the tone is amicable but for one unfavorable remark: Sicily is a travel book on which an incongruous romantic story has been clumsily superimposed so that the scenes belonging to the romance and those belonging to the notebook are artificially welded together into one single narrative, the main trend of which is lost under the "grossly inartistical" coincidences. Tuckerman should also be remembered as the editor of a literary journal who rejected "The Tell-Tale Heart" with the following commentary: "If Mr. Poe would condescend to furnish more quiet articles, he would be a most desirable correspondent." Poe's response was, "If Mr. Tuckerman persists in his quietude, he will put a quietus on the magazine of which Messrs. Bradbury and Soden have been so stupid as to give him control" (9).
It is not, I think, too farfetched to surmise that "The Angel of the Odd" was written in ironic response to the writers associated with the works mentioned at the very outset of the tale. First, the members of what we might call the "school of quietude": the word "quiet" often crops up in Poe's reviews, invariably attributed to a certain group of Boston poets and critics. Tuckerman, of course, was a Bostonian and had been the editor of a very quiet review, [column 2:] The Boston Miscellany, with which Poe was very familiar.

In contrast, The Columbian Magazine, in which "The Angel of the Odd" was first published was a very un quiet New York review edited by a true-blue New Yorker, John Inman. At that time, October 1844, Inman was one of the most rabid of the "Young Americans," a democratic set whose main literary foes were the Boston poets of the school of quietude and the "raving, ranting" Bostonians. Poe took an active part in the squabble between the "Young Americans," who were the proponents of a muscular and popular literature, and the Boston poets, who were attached to a more genteel, more traditional, more quiet conception of literature (10). The leading critics of the Boston school in 1844 were Rufus W. Griswold and Henry T. Tuckerman, the authors of the two most conspicuously placed books in the list presented at the beginning of the story. If the satire on Tuckerman and his like seems too sly to be easily grasped and the conclusions too farfetched, it should be remembered that Charles Frederick Briggs, in his hilarious satire on New York, The Trippings of Tom Pepper, introduced Tuckerman under the name of Mr. Wooly, "the quiet critic from Boston, author of 'A Few Calm Thoughts on Literary Creation ' " and that these two adjectives, quiet and calm, were felt to be quite sufficient to enable the reader to recognize him immediately (11). Thus, "The Angel of the Odd," whatever else it may be, seems to be one of the skirmishes in the literary war between two cliques distinguished by two different conceptions of literature and culture.
I even wonder if Poe did not, with characteristic generalization, write the story as a satire on all New Englanders, the "crazyite" inhabitants of Concord as well as the "quiet" Bostonians. For another way to be incomprehensible, by Poe's lights, was to be a New England Transcendentalist.

This may explain why the Angel was given a Germanic accent. It is well known that Poe had a rather superficial knowledge of German culture but that he kept deriding the mystical trend of German philosophy even in his favorite critic, A. W. Schlegel (Works, XII, 131). In Poe's words, the Germans are "ranting and raving" just like Carlyle. We should remember that in Poe's peculiar vocabulary Carlyleism means "rumbling obscurity" — that is to say, a kind of redundant style (in imitation of the Germans) concealing intellectual vacuity which he describes in one of the Marginalia in words that closely parallel the description of the voice of the Angel: "The Carlyleists should adopt as their motto the inscription on the old bell from whose metal was cast the great Tom, of Oxford: 'In Thomae laude resono. Bim! Bom! ' and in such case 'Bim! Bom! ' would be a marvelous 'echo of sound to sense ' " (Works, XVI, 167). The voice of our German angel is described as "that which proceeds from an empty barrel beaten with a big stick; and in fact this I should have concluded it to be, but for the articulation of the syllables and words" (Works, VI, 105). These extravagant obscurities proffered with "owlish airs" remind me of the style of "certain members of the Fabian family — people who live (upon beans) about Boston" (Works, XVI, 166). These people have specialized in "Schwärmerei," that is to say "sky rocketing criticism." Most evidently these are the Transcendentalists and their Boston critics "who have a notion that poets are porpoises" for they are always talking about their running in "schools" [page 48:] (Works, XI, 177). Poe once described them as the critics of the Bobby Button school. Bobby Button himself is described in a way that reminds one of our Germanic Angel of the Odd: "Bobby Button is a gentleman with whom, for a long time, we have had the honor of an intimate personal acquaintance. His personal appearance is striking. He has a big head. His eyes protrude and have all the air of saucers . . . ." (Works, XI, 177-178).
This portrait, written a few months before "The Angel of the Odd," is to be found in a review of William Ellery Channing's poetry. (William Ellery Channing the Younger was another "ranting Bostonian.") The review is a very funny spoof of the literary "school" about Boston, as opposed to the school in Boston, and the portrait of Bobby Button seems to be an earlier description written with a similar touch and in the same humor as the portrait of the Angel.
It now appears that Poe's satire operates on two levels: the Angel may appear as a Transcendental critic using an abstruse, unintelligible German cant to justify the extravagant works of Boston writers whose romances are crowded with coincidence and unlikely events. On this second level, in fact, the tale appears to be a parody of the genres honored in and about Boston by the critics of the Bobby Button school.

p> Re: mourning & poetics‏

From: Poetics List (UPenn, UB) ( on behalf of David Chirot (david.chirot@GMAIL.COM)
Sent: Sat 7/04/09 10:50 AM

re grief i think the greatest line i read in English is the last line of
Faulkner's the wild palms
"between grief and nothing i take grief."
 Edgar Allan Poe, whose bi-centenary it is,  wrote an immense amount on grief
throughout his work and it is really his main theme, subject--source of
energy--"mournful and never ending remembrance' as he wrote--
"death looked gigantically down"
 a language of mourning and "working through it" in the sense of Freud's the
work of mourning (which could also be thought of as the work of morning, in
the way that Poe's morning on the Wissihican puns on Mourning on the
is Robert Smithson's work and writings with earthworks, in which the
mourning for the destruction of landscapes and earlier earthworks such as
Indian mounds--is "worked through" by bringing Earthworks art to collaborate
with the landscape itself using technology and yes also the corporations
responsible for the disasters--to work together to create a new landscape as
it were "out of the shell of the old" as the Wobblies say--
the mourning of the earth and the Morning of Time--in conjunction --the
mourning of the Goddess, Mother earth, the creation--and how to work with
the earth in "working through it together' with the humans who have brought
the mourning about--
Mohamed Choukri's great work For Bread Alone is a work of mourning re his
brother, killed y their father --and at the same time a morning as the
twenty year old illiterate Mohamed Choukri decides to learn to read and
write and become a writer--in classical Arabic, too--very difficult for an
educated person let alone an illiterate street person--
i know it is not poetry but then prose is often just as or more poetic than
much poetry-so i'd include the novel by the great Catalan writer Merce
Rodorede, Camellia Street 
Whitman wrote many mourning poems including the famous one for Lincoln--
   Robert Frost's Death of a Hired hand though dirge like is certainly a
mourning expressed throughout without intruding--

mourning and grief--and the ancient Greek dramas and poetry have some of the
in the western languages that have read
   "At five o'clock in the afternoon" the famous Lorca poem re a bullfighter
killed in the ring--
   a lot of Dylan Thomas' poems are the refusal to mourn, which is
paradoxically form of mourning----"Do not go gentle into that good
night',  "Refusal
to mourn the death by fire of child in London" etc—
   One moment of grief I recall very specifically is the last few lines of Toni
Morrison's Sula—
 And the horrific killing of the children in Jude obscure by their own
   And the greatest one I know
              Shakespeare has many a fine farewell in his poetry and plays--   "Death letter" by Son House—you can find him singing it in various versions
on you tube
When i first heard of quietest poetry i thought it meant the language and post language writers as they're so quiet & absent from everything happening off the page of their work
(Ironically if not a "lyric self" perhaps more like the lyric ego??---I don't know-though involvement with writer and words on page to the exclusion of the world in many ways beyond the immediate self—seems to be a major part of both language and what siliman calls quietist poetry
Actually there is a real Quietist Poetry, and a historical Roman Catholic heresy called Quietism, which is the practice and belief in attainting a state of perfection during life, a state which is sinless and is found through a passivity and contemplation in which the emptying of the mind and annihilation of the self make possible a perfect union with God. Quietism as a movement was very strong and widespread in Italy, Spain and France in the 17th Century and its influence has been found in writers who weren't directly Quietist yet share many of the beliefs and express them in their writings—St Theresa of Avila and St John of the cross for example.

There are also besides this 17th century existence of Quietist that had to be violently executed so to speak extracted from the main body of the Catholic Church—other much earlier strains of a Quietist form which did influence and grow into the Christian Quietism. The earliest forms are along the lines of the Stoic Philosophy and later its Roman descendents, which is how it must have "hooked up" with the Christian version.

A Quietist in a Christian sense then and not necessarily be a Christian, but is a Mystic, one who attains the union with God, or the Cloud of unknowing, the Spirit, and this occurs while the person is alive; it is no a heaven above but one here below—that is one of the heretical aspects of it as well as the idea that one may fuse with God in the manner of a personal individual contact as is the mystic experience, called Quietist or not.
In Louis the XIV's time, many prominent persons became Quietist, so it was under the protection of the king, and at the same time considered outlawed.
A poet like Gerard Manley Hopkins of r example might be thought of as a Quietist andand the Divine being. d also the poets whose work involves a deep fusing with Nature as an energy of (Inscape) spiritual power outside the human self before which that self must be sacrificed to break down the barriers between the human being
(In other words Quietism and Quietist poetry is transgressive, is about the attainment of non-self, which might be accept by Siliman after a fashion, yet the fusion with a Divine Spirit , something far greater than human being—perhaps wd not be so much accepted.) Though of course it is pretty idiotic of me to pretend to speak for Mr Siliman! O I apologize if the speculation "crosses the line."!--)
I don't see much difference between siliman and a quietist of the kind he describes, which is quite different fro the heretical form of Quietism. (Robert Grenier might be considered a Quietist poet of the heretical kind--)

and just wrote a piece re a poem by nada Gordon and one by James Levine being pretty much the same despite one of them being Flarf and the other supposedly conventional (each form, movement, style, establishes its own conventions and then has conventions to hear them discussed in the conventional manners--)

 It's very good to hear from you Mary Jo!
 And "glory Fourth"-!


please: a bit shorter, david :-) thanks !D-B Chirot: IF 6 WAS 9 : Hiroshima & Nagasaki 6 & 9 August 1945- Physics, Poetry & 9 who survived both blasts

IF 6 WAS 9 : Hiroshima & Nagasaki 6 & 9 August 1945- Physics, Poetry & 9 who survived both blasts

"IF 6 WAS 9" --Jimi Hendrix



6 August 1945–Hiroshima–Eyewitnessed & “After” Effects in Poetry–Olson, Jack Spicer, Yasusada & Sciascia

The anniversary of Hiroshima 6 August 1945 8:15 a.m. and of Nagasaki 9 August 1945

Sembrar la Memoria

This is in four parts–
one of which, longer & with images- is found here, at this link:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Before “Curveball”: The “After” Effects Poetry of Baseball, the Radio, Espionage, & Hiroshima—Moe Berg, Jack Spicer, Araki Yasusada

and three shorter ones which are here below–
eyewitness accounts by survivors of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Leonardo Sciascia’s The Disappearance of Majoranna & Trying to Prevent the Bombs
Olson’s Projective Verse–& from Prevention to Pre-Emption
the following excerpts are from Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki Personal Experiences of Nine Men Who Lived Through the Atomic Bombings
Robert Trumball, E.P Dutton, 1957.

Ten years after the bombings, it was learned that a search of all Japanese records indicated that 18 people had survived both the Hiroshima and the Nagasaki atomic blasts. An extensive search throughout Japan located eleven of the 18. Nine agreed to speak of their experiences.
The bombs dropped on the two Japanese cities are barely firecrackers compared to the weapons that the USA and Israel are discussing dropping on Iran. Radioactive elements in weapons used in the First Gulf War and since in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the as yet unknown, uniidentified Israeli weapons used in Lebanon last summer, have been causing new forms of illness, as yet inexplicable burns and wounds for which there are no cures as yet. The effects of nuclear weaponry being dispersed, in smaller doses, across populations and soldiers, using persons as “living laboratories” of effects bringing slower or faster deaths, polluting gene pools, and, via human waste, corpses, planting the poisons in water supplies and the soil.
Populations and landscapes made radioactive, slowly burning alive, without having to drop the bombs first.


“Instantly the sky was blanked out by the incandescent white light of the monstrous fireball. Scientists estimated that the ball was 250 feet in diameter and a hundred times as bright as the sun, with a heat of 1,000,000 degrees Centigrade. he same as the sun’s interior There was a roar of sound that is indescribale. for there is nothing with which it can be compared. Then came a wave of concussion that instantly leveled 6,820 buildings, and badly damaged 3, 750 more. The earth for a mile around the blast center was bombarded with deadly gamma rays and neutrons and showered with radioactive fission products.. The fireball sucked up millions of tons of dust and pulverized debris that quickly began to form the the great, ugly mushroom cloud. The city fell under a dark pall, and a muddy rain began to fall . . .
“In the city of approximately 255, 000, more than half the population was instantly dead or incapicitated (dead above 64,000, injured 72,000). Casualties who escaped death in the blast were badly burned. or injured by falling timbers, or flying glass. No city was ever more prostrate. All means of comminication were gone. Seventy per cent of the fire fighting equipment was destroyed, and 80 per cent of the fire-fighting personnel were killed, wounded or otherwise unable to respond to the emergency. Concussion had broken the water mians, and pipes were melted in the incredible heat. Many burning buildings were inacessible anyway,blocked off as they were by the debris of fallen structures . . .
“Of forty-five hospitals, only three were left standing. Only twenty-eight out of 290 physicians in the city were unhurt, and 126 of the 1,780 nurses . . .
“With all facilities virtually nonexistent, the city was at the mercy of the flames, and by two o’clock in the afternoon the six islands (of the city) were a sea of fire. Terror was heightened by the flaming windstorm caused by convection as the air was drawn at thirty to forty miles an hour to the blazing center of the blast . . .

“The door facing Yamaguchi opened, and five boys, fifteen or sixteen years old, came running out. They were unclothed except for torn underpants, and Yamaguchi saw that theywere covered in blood . . .
“‘I had never seen such a horrifying sight as those five shivering boys. Blood was pouring in streams from deep cuts all over their bodies, mingling with their perspiration, and their skin was burned deep red, like the color of cokked lobsters. At first it seemed, strangely, that their burned and lacerated backs and chests were growing green grass! Then I saw that hundreds of blades of sharp grass had been driven deep into their flesh, evidently by the force of the blast.” . . . . (these boys had been inside a small factory building–not outdoors)

“Hirata set out for home . . .
“‘There was not a house standing as far as I could see . . . Although I knew the city well, it was actually difficult to find my way, for al the familiar landmarks were gone, and the streets I often walked were now buried in debris and ashes’ . . .
“Hirata noticed, with a shock, that there wasn’t a living being in sight. “It was as if the people who had lived in this uncanny city had been reduced to ashes with their houses,’ he said . . .
As he moved slowly through the ashes, he came to the first ghastly dead.
“‘The first was a little boy,’ he recalls. ‘He was completely naked, his skin was all peeled off as if he had been flayed, and the nails were falling from the ends of his fingers. His flesh was all deep red. When I first saw him I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a human being

“‘There were numberless injured persons all around me, lying on the ground, some held down by fallen timbers, all screaming and shouting for help. I saw that they were all still alive,m but horribly injured. Many looked like ghosts, with the skin peeled off their faces and hanging down over their shoulders like thin silk pennants. All those facing in the direction of the blast had their exposed skin torn off in a thick layer whgich had blown back. The sight left me numb with horror.’ . . . .



In Leonarado Sciascia’s beautiful book The Disappearance of Majoranna, he has a vision born of the startling synchornicity of information recieved during a telephone call with his own researchs into the mysterious and never solved vanishing of the great Italain physicist.

It is Sciascia’s growing conviction that Majoranna “faked” his own death/disappearnce in order for him to retire completely from the world to an obscure Monastery, there to finish his days in the Peace of the Spirit he so desperately needed. For it is also Sciascia’s belief that Majoranna, very early in the 1930’s, during the period of his stay with the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, had foreseen the Atomic Bomb and all the dread implications that its unleashing had in store for all life on Earth.

Sciascia posits that Majoranna, and Heisenberg also, being possesed of this knowledge, and loyal citizens, one of a Fascist country, the other of a country about to become so, determined never to reveal what they knew to anyone, in the desperate hope that this would prevent the A-bombs ever coming into existence.
Having reached nearly the final goal of his enquiries, the visit to the Monastery where Majoranna may well have lived, the telephone call informs Sciascia that there is also a rumor about this monastery that the pilot of the Enola Gay, which dropped the Bomb on Hiroshima, had also been a resident at the monastary for a time, and most likely seeking the same Peace as the physicist.
For Sciascia even the possibility, however remote, however imaginary, of the two men encountering each other in the obscure monastary, is a Vision of such powerful symmetry and “complete sense,” that it’s taking place in such a manner outstrips any “factual proof” of it’s having “actually occurred.”

For Sciascia, this Vision presents the quantum leap of the fictional, the imagainary, into a Truth which is, in fact, “irrefutable,” given the scantiness of “the evidence to go on.” For this Vision complements that Vision in which he finds Majoranna and Heisenberg foreseeing an event which they think they have a chance however small, to prevent occuring.

For the writer, this makes of these two physicists the truly great ones of the Atomic Age,, the ones who knew , yet refused to share the knowledge, how to make the Bomb and open a new age of unimaginable horrors.

Their forseeing of the A-Bomb and efforts to prevent it, has since been turned into a different form of foresight in relation with Nuclear wepaons. This is the kind of accelearted, forged, creation of the threat of a Future Bomb which has to be prevented by the pre-emptive strike made by a bomb already in existence.


This “saving of lives in danger in the future” ” by killing a great great many in the present, is related to logic claimed for the dropping of the two nuclear bombs on Japan, If the bombs could bring a stop to the war, this would mean the saving of perhpas millions of lives, so that the killing of some hundreds of thousands would be “worth it.” By this line of reasoning, it is not the dead who “count,” but the living. Lying inert, the “body count” of the dead do not represent Death in this vision, but instead New Life, all that Life of the Present and soon to be Future Saved by the Light Flash which “recorded” the “last living instant” of the immediately about to be dead in the form of shadows imprinted in walls.


Olson’s “Projective Verse” Manifesto and Accelerations of American Speeds into Annihilations of (Others’) SPACE

Although he did not realize the fact until some time later, Charles Olson completed Call Me Ishmael, his study of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, on the day that the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

That clear morning in Hiroshima, the Nuclear Holocaust of the Gates of Hell opened, unleashing the heat of a new sun in a flash of light, a heat different in kind from the Hells of the Fire bombings of Tokyo, Hamburg, Dresden,and so many others. This was a Heat which continued burning long after, in the cells and tissues contaminated by radioactivity. From the first instant, the human organism began the processes of mutation which themselves mutated further in the Nuclear Accidents of Three Mile Island and in the huge area affected by Chernobyl.

For Olson, Melville’s Pacific voyage in Moby Dick becomes the final stage in the Westward movement which finds itself in rejoining the East. The horizontal “BRIDGE” of vehicular modes of transportation, with their speeds which steadily abolish ‘SPACE,” the American “Fact,” turn into the vertical trajectory of Time in the airplane. The planes in the Pacific take off from the Carrier, itself a huge floating Bridge, from whose horizons are launched the engines of flight, carrying in their ever increasing speeds the annihilations of Space and the dawn of continuous global Real Time, in which it becomes possible to create the global “Accident” of Nuclear Total Destruction.

In the “Projective Verse” Manifesto (1950) Olson writes, (after Edward Dahlberg) ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION . . . get on with it, keep moving, keep in, speed, the nerves, their speed, the perceptions, theirs, the acts, the split second acts, the whole business, keep it moving as fast as you citizens . . . always one perception must must must MOVE, INSTANTER, ON ANOTHER!

The acceleration of PERCEPTION–”split second acts, the whole business,” –links the Poetic Projective avant-garde with that of the military, in which perception has always meant death. To be the first to perceive the enemy’s movements, locations, encampments, strategies unfolding, is to be instantly setting the lines of sight directly at the target. To see at ever greater speeds, to See First, is to be able to AIM DEATH. To perceive is to annihilate.

As the world becomes ever more saturated by perception, the Open Field of a Projective Verse becomes “completely exposed” to the perceiving eyes of a myriad machines at a myriad angles and distances, continually “lining up” the trajectories of high speed death. Yet–what if the Perception finds no target to be aimed at? No reason for an attack, “nothing to shoot for?”

Since the target is already “taking place, existing,” as a concept, what remains is to fill in the blank spaces where the unseen target “should be.” To “fill in the blanks” when Perception “comes up empty,” the resort is to a conceptual language with which to “forge” the Seen into the Unseen, to impose objects and “readings,” “information” where there is none. If Nature abhors a vacuum, the conceptual Perception cannot stand to “see a blank space” where the target it conceives of “should be.”

To “forge” is to “forge” full speed ahead in Time, planting ahead of time what one has set out to find, and, finding it, being able to claim a complete “coherence” in one’s methods and in one’s “ability to not only See, but FOReSEE” the “dangers that are now exposed as having been there all this time.”

To conceptually be filled with a “Vision” which is confronted with “a blank,” “necessitates” the construction in language of “evidences, proofs” which “show” that “something is there,” even if cleverly concealed or camouflaged, since one KNOWS it must be there, it will be there, and what is a blank shall be filled with the CERTAINTY of a target.

Emerson wrote in “Nature,” that the “blank and ruin we perceive in Nature is in our own eye.”
In the rush to annihilate, such thinking in itself is an enemy. The “blank and ruin” of a Perception which “comes up empty” needs to be replaced by the blank and ruin of a Perception which is seeing the blank and ruins it has created, by destroying what it has “planted” and “forged” as a target to annihilate.

The work of Perception turns from “seeing what is there,” to Projecting into the blank spaces what is Not There, in order to see what it is one needs to see to go about destroying it.

By these accelerations “hurried on” by forgeries of the required evidences, it is possible to manufacture “the presence of Unseen, Unheard of, previously non-existent and undreamed of Threats of the Utmost magnitude” where in fact there is “nothing. “Nothing,” that “blank and ruin” is no longer THERE, nor is it any longer a “blank and ruin within my own eye” when the Secret of the Forged Eviodences become “revealed”–not the Scret of their forgery, to be sure! But the Secret that where everyone has found “nothing,” one has inded ben proven to have such a superior acutiy of Vision as to see what is THERE among the appearnces of the Not There.

This method seeing the There in the NOT There, also accelerates Time, for what one is seeing is not the “blank and ruin” of the present at all, which one has so stuffed and filled in. It is instead the FUTURE one sees, the blank and ruin ofone’s own landscapes, unless the THERE of the NOT THERE, aka the NOT YET THERE, is attacked pre-emptively.

By means of the pre-emptive attack, one “realizes” the concrete presence of indeed “real” blanks and ruins, whcih “prove,” indeed, that the “blank and ruin one sees in one’s own eye,” is not a Nothing in the present, but indeed a great Something in the Future whose presence one has produced as the Now.


Among the “reasons” given to “justify” the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was that they would stop the War, and so save an immense number of lives.

Rather than contemplating the number of the dead, the wounded, the radioctively sick, the traumatized and the sufferings of those suddenly afflicted by mutations, one was to “overlook” these corpses and see instaed all the vast returning American soldiers and the still living Japanese as indeed the signs of Triumph of the A-Bomb.

By reversing the “body count” of the dead into that of the “countless numbers” saved, the Peace the A-Bomb brought could be seen to be the Saving of those living “who are not dead ”

By envisioning the A-Bomb as a Saviour, “only called upon in the last resort,” the language has been formulated with which to begin the series of forgeries and “alarms,” which have already been in the building stages for at least over four years now, to pre-emptively attack yet again. And this time in Iran.

In the Light of the New Sun of the Nuclear Bombs, it is not Death which Mushrooms and Clouds the Skies, but the Saviour, the Sign of a God to the living.

“Let there be light”–

please: a bit shorter, david :-) thanks !! D-B Chirot: THE CINEMA OF DISPPEARNCE--Edtions de l'heure 2009