THEORY NIGHT: special guest

Hi everyone:

The next Theory Night will be held at Dorsch Gallery on Tues. May 18th at 7pm. Corin Hewitt, a New York-based artist who has a solo exhibition there (as of May 7th), has chosen a reading to share with the group.  We will be reading two texts by George Kubler from his book, The Shape of Time. Reading 1 and Reading 2. To start us off, Corin will also discuss his work and interest in the text.

There will be some refreshments generously provided, but feel free bring more. See you then!

xo Ruba



Theory night response

We had a pretty good conversation on Tuesday, partially fueled by Scott’s written response to one of the readings, posted below for all to read:

Thoughts for Theory Night on “Sincerity”

by P. Scott

Jacket Magazine piece: “The Time Between Time: Messainism & the Promise of a “New Sincerity” by Jason Morris

  1. The binary opposition of “irony” and “sincerity” is utterly false. David Foster Wallace was a master of both irony and sincerity. If the sum of the poems Morris is discussing amounts to “immanent critiques of irony”, they’re either bad poems or Morris has misread them. (In the case of Joseph Massey, I know for a fact the latter is true.) If these poets are indeed “anticipating a telos of irony”, they’re full of shit. But more likely, Morris, who seems to be writing a graduate school paper, is full of shit.
  1. Seidel is eminently ironic, btw. As is Tao Lin.
  1. RE: the Greg Fuchs poem, “Charles.” It’s pretty easy to be sincere when you’re cutting up someone else’s diary. So easy, in fact, that to read such a poem within the lens of sincerity is akin to reading it as an entry in a diary, as opposed to what it is: a poem. A much more interesting reading would be to find moments of insincerity, i.e. where is the poet re-writing Charles?
  1. The whole idea of a “New Sincerity” is falsely avant-garde, and hilariously so. In fact, it makes me want to start a movement called “New Quality” in poetry, in which all the poems will be of better quality.
  1. Why is “New Sincerity” a bullshit political power-play? Just look at Matt Hart’s poem “I was Dumb with Pearls, I was Dumb” and let’s read the line “I was boiling peanuts and bluebirds for the big game on Sunday.” If the mark of the poem is its “candor”, then we must take Hart on faith that he means the speaker was actually boiling bluebirds. Even just reading an excerpt of the poem however, I can tell this isn’t what Hart means at all. (If it were, wouldn’t he give us some more details of such a shocking image?) Rather, he’s seeking to imaginatively convey the speaker’s emotional reality with candor. And thus, he’s being…wait for it…ironic.
  1. Petty observation that nevertheless reveals

Morris to be an inept

critic in speaking of John

Woodward’s poem Rain Morris contends

that the form five word

lines and no punctuation is

rigorous but really nothing could

be easier you can turn

any piece of prose into

this form without any difficulty

whatsoever it is not rigorous

the only time you have

to make a decision is

when you reach the last

line and even then you

can just keep going until

the problem figures itself out

  1. Not all “…younger American poets are writing in the wake of Language poetry”. Some of us figured out for ourselves that all of it was terrible (read: employing the exact same technique over and over without critical examination of its efficacy) and in no way forced us to rekon with it.
  1. If New Sincerity is “irony’s last gesture”, it’s still ironic. And if Morris thinks he can kill irony, I have a condo in Miami I’d like to sell him. Moreover, who would want to kill irony, or move beyond it? Even if I don’t use a metaphor in a poem, it doesn’t mean I think metaphor is worthless.
  1. Hilarious that the message of Massey’s manifesto is for poets to take off their theory goggles. (As much as I like Massey, I’m not sure that the poetry goggles have a non-theory function anymore. And writing neo-haiku, neo-landcape poems, as Massey does, seems very much like a theoretical stance.) Morris seems to be trying to do theory without his theory goggles.
  1. More critical naivety from Morris. The “artless tone” in “Self Portrait at 28” is called free verse. “It’s as if the poem’s understanding of its own obsolescence is built in”: This, too, is a technique that pre-dates Morris’s realization of its existence. See Keats, John.
  1. What Morris means by “messainaism” is actually “melancholy.” Go back and substitute each use of “messainaism” with “melancholy.” Works like a charm.
  1. The analysis of Brian Kim Stefans was actually interesting, probably because it has nothing with the proposed thesis…
  1. …until it suddenly causes Morris to abandon his thesis. Soooo, sincerity is inextricably tied up with irony? I don’t believe this for a second.
  1. If New Sincerity = “apparent formal artlessness, the interweaving of “high” with “low” concerns or images, a willingness to risk semtimentality”, then New Sincerity = Modernism. Mr Morris, you have turned in your groundbreaking analysis 100 years too late.

A.L Steiner at BFI!

Sunday, Feb. 7th
time: 4:30pm

at the BFI space
180 NE 38th St.
(upstairs in suite 210)
Miami, FL

The BFI presents: A.L. Steiner discusses her work and its many incarnations……….
including collaborations such as W.A.G.E., Ridykeulous,
Chicks on Speed, and issues regarding art and provocation

Walkthrough of The Reach of Realism

Theory Night: Feb. 9th, sincerity and art?

Hi everyone,

In response to our last meeting, people wanted to explore the idea of a “new sincerity” in art. Enclosed is a mix of reading suggested by Lori and Agustina and something else I found. I anticipate our next discussion will use these texts as a springboard for a larger conversation, so please feel free to bring anything you think might be related to share with the group. I am not really sure what “new sincerity” really means.

Here we go:

After this we will dive into the more anthropological stuff other people wanted to read.

See you Tuesday, Feb. 9th at 7pm at BFI (located 180 NE 39th Street, suite 210, Miami, FL 33137). Please feel free to bring drinks and snacks!

xo Ruba

Theory Night Update

Hi everyone, the theory night discussion about David Foster Wallace’s text in the post below will take place on Jan. 12th at 7pm at BFI (located 180 NE 39th Street, suite 210, Miami, FL 33137). See you then!