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Faits Divers de la Poesie Americaine et Britannique,

By Linh Dinh

an anonymous blog inspired by Félix Fénéon’s Nouvelles en trois lignes:
In the middle of a reading, the last on his Bretagne tour, M. Antin caught fire. This was at the beach house of Mme Scalapino and family, in the middle of a long sentence. “His reputation as a literary figure is forever assured,” said Mme Perloff, in tears.
According to bystanders, M. Simic was, for unknown reasons, walking and whistling down a dark street in a questionable neighborhood of Nancy. The homeless poet known locally as Fork-Face jumped from the shadows, stabbing him fifty-four times in the legs.
The poet Mme Peacock was sitting in a beauty parlor, with a large metalloid cone upon her head. When she reached inside to scratch her scalp, one of her numerous rings caught a faulty wire, blacking out the whole arrondissement. This according to the Coroner.
A nervous graduate student addressed the Professor: “How is Language poetry really radical, etc. when it’s now the most academically dependent formation since the New Criticism?” Down rushed M. Perelman from the dais, biting off the little rat’s ear.


On April last, on the street, in front of the Academy of American Poets, M. Gizzi was seen tipping his bowler to M. Gioia, who tipped his own in return. Not a trace of either one for five months. The dark jokes accumulate.
Feeling hopelessly inferior to engineers, convinced that poetry is a loser’s pursuit, M. Sutherland jumped from London Bridge, into the filthy Thames. He was rescued by the heroic M. Prynne, an engineer. Irony.
For many years, M. Knott has been denied his proper due. Wearing a wedding gown and waving goodbye to those below, he flew his home-kit biplane far out to sea. Search suspended.
“I was writing in a white heat at the bar, absorbed in my inspiration, certainly minding my own business,” protested Mlle Smith, “when the pen just kind of flew out of my hand and, well, that’s how it happened…” M. Behrle, now blind in both eyes, is suing.
100 degrees in the shade in late October: M. Watten was seen, at Wayne State U., walking in a tank top, the stump covered in gauze, where his right arm had once been. Three months ago, it had been found, deposited (but by whom?) inside a Steinway.
[]
………………………………………………………..
[And no, I have nothing to do with this project.]

Comments (82)

  • On December 14, 2008 at 9:41 pm feneon collective wrote:

    Thank you, M. Dinh, we are appreciative of your support.
    There is an entry for you, in fact, on our blog.
    We will do our best.
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 15, 2008 at 12:41 am Anonymous wrote:

    Contemporary poets are clearly more interested in writing their own history than they are in writing poetry. Hence, the Biggest School of Poetry literature has yet seen: The Careerist School.

  • On December 15, 2008 at 11:03 am Kent Johnson wrote:

    The feneon collective should write a faits divers on the crass discourse control in force at the Poetics List. The “moderators” there, it now seems, are even blocking announcements of books authored by poets M. Bernstein has proscribed.
    Long live the avant-garde!
    See, today:
    http://isola-di-rifiuti.blogspot.com/
    Kent

  • On December 15, 2008 at 11:49 am Michael Robbins wrote:

    Hilariously glum, as is his wont of late, M. Silliman links not to this masterful subversion of every type of careerism, contra glum Anon above. All too glum, the fog – the poetics of windswept fields as of tuna milk – is lifted as the Fénéon Collective (F.C., Freedom Club, Flarf Conceptualists, Fancy Candies) brings the clear weather. What elephant in the room, of marble men & maidens overwrought? You need a weathercock to know which way the blind wow. They wow for you.

  • On December 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm Bill Freind wrote:

    I think is a welcome and pretty damn funny addition to the contemporary poetry polemics. Like any good revolutionary movement, the Feneon collective will need to develop a decentralized, cellular structure, so I hereby announce that I’m forming a South Jersey cell. Our first meeting will be next Tuesday and will last five minutes, at which point the three of us in attendance will accuse each other of bad faith, careerism, and destroying poetry. Each of us will then return to our apartments, drink four Zimas and start our own blogs, which will immediately ban anyone who questions our aesthetic and political judgments. We will then haunt each others comment sections using a variety of sock puppets and spoofed IP addresses.
    Yours in solidarity,
    Bill Freind
    Interim Supreme Poobah-Elect
    Feneon Collective in South Jersey

  • On December 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    Just further evidence that poets and celebrity are more important today than poetry itself. Hey…it’s the American way!
    The medium is the message. It’s the Jessica Simpson/Britney Spears/Paris Hiltonization of poetry.

  • On December 15, 2008 at 11:58 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Um, Gary, you’re in for a shock when you get around to reading Alexander Pope. (Or William Blake, for that matter.)

  • On December 16, 2008 at 10:08 am the feneon collective wrote:

    Please forgive us, but we can’t help but share the following message, sent today from Luc Sante, translator of Felix Feneon’s Novels in Three Lines (NYRB Classics, 2007):
    “Somebody sent me the link–they’re very funny! (Such of them as I get, not having hung around the poetry saloon in a few decades.) Pedantic note I hope you’ll forgive: it should be “poesie americaine,” with an e at the end.
    Bravo,
    Luc”
    We will be correcting the spelling error.
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 16, 2008 at 6:01 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    No reason to be snide, Mr. Robbins. I ‘got around to reading’ Pope and Blake more than forty years ago. I speak not of poets who refer to or write about other poets (which, I think, would include most of them), but of this current cult of personality that so pervades the internet poetry community. Can you deny it?

  • On December 16, 2008 at 8:50 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    I can neither deny nor confirm anything whatsoever. And there may well be no reason to be snide, but were I to avoid an opportunity for snidery, my inbox would be filled with well-meaning queries regarding my health. Actually, I suppose that’s a reason.

  • On December 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm Bill Freind wrote:

    I have it on good authority (i.e., my own impeccable imagination) that “Gary B. Fitzgerald” is a pseudonym for a disgruntled former member of the Sioux Falls Cell of the Feneon Collective. He was expelled after running half-naked around the Hormel Plant while reciting Alberto Caiero’s “The Keeper of Flocks” in a fake Australian accent. While we in the Collective were not unimpressed by the gesture, we find Caiero’s anti-intellectualism to be beautiful but essentially reactionary and much prefer the work of Ricardo Reis or even Bernardo Soares. In fact, had “Fitzgerald” chosen “The Book of Disquietude” and read it in, for example, a Swiss-German accent, we may have chosen him to lead the Tulsa Cell of the Collective — a move that was endorsed by both Ron Padgett and Larry Clark.
    As it now stands, he is dead to us — although, as Jacques Derrida has noted, the dead exert a strange power.
    Bill Freind
    Godhead-in-training of the Cult of Personality
    Feneon Collective in South Jersey

  • On December 17, 2008 at 8:56 am Gretchen wrote:

    So, being a poet is about being angry at other people for being poets, and lashing out at them anonymously?
    That’s nice.

  • On December 17, 2008 at 9:16 am Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    Ce jour-là était un jour tragique. M. Robbins et M. Freind ont innocemment plumés leurs poulets et n’ont jamais vu la mule venir sur eux. La mule s’est alors écriée: Vive L’école de la Quiétude! M. Wright a volé toutes les plumes.

  • On December 17, 2008 at 10:21 am Michael Robbins wrote:

    Gary, you dog, you have out-Fénéon-Collective’d the Fénéon Collective!

  • On December 17, 2008 at 11:01 am Daisy wrote:

    Aw, Gretchen–I myself was delighted to be killed off by Les Feneons in tandem with the excellent Mme. Perillo.
    I think it’s more in the spirit of Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” only less tragic and more funny, less punk and more goth. Or something. Or something else.
    Daisy

  • On December 17, 2008 at 11:03 am Alexander Pope wrote:

    “So, being a poet is about being angry at other people for being poets, and lashing out at them anonymously?
    That’s nice.”
    Yes, Gretchen. Sad to confess, “The Dunciad” was published anonymously.
    I’m also forced to confess that I’m a much better poet than you are.
    Live and learn, dearie.
    Yours,
    Alexander Pope

  • On December 17, 2008 at 11:44 am the feneon collective wrote:

    Fifteen more faits will be up anon, making it an even one hundred.
    One hundred more (with visuals designed by one of the members of our collective) will follow over the coming months.
    yours in internet fantasia,
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 17, 2008 at 12:02 pm the feneon collective wrote:

    And thank you, Mlle Fried.
    Your gracious, relaxed disposition towards satire, which is ever, forsooth, a veneration, too, in its bite, is most eccentric indeed, in this hilariously uptight poetry world.
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Interestingly, a comment I made on Silliman’s blog to the effect that he is remiss in ignoring the F.C. blog, if he really wants to “focus on contemporary poetry & poetics,” was deleted without explanation. I know he is aware of the effort – he even appears in one fait! The links he provides cannot cover everything that happens in poetry, of course, but it seems particularly mean-spirited to so willfully airbrush the F.C. Where be the gibes, the gambols! Quite chop-fallen?

  • On December 17, 2008 at 12:36 pm Ange Mlinko wrote:

    If this wasn’t a lost Impercipient Lecture Series pamphlet, it should be. The promiscuity of the internet robs it a little of its charm, as it does most things.

  • On December 17, 2008 at 12:45 pm Boyd Nielson wrote:

    You guys are undoubtedly being hyperbolic. Pope didn’t just hurt feelings in the Dunciad; he was out for blood. There is a favorite moment of mine in Franklin’s Autobiography when Franklin recounts the story of his friend Ralph. Ralph, we learn, was “…fixed…in his resolution of becoming a poet. I did all I could,” Franklin tells us “to dissuade him from it, but he continued scribbling verses till Pope cured him. He became, however, a pretty good prose writer.”
    Pope cured him, we learn later, rather curiously: “my old friend Jas. Ralph…was esteem’d one of the best political writers in England; had been employ’d in the dispute between Prince Frederic and the king, and had obtain’d a pension of three hundred a year…his reputation was indeed small as a poet, Pope having damned his poetry in the Dunciad; but his prose was thought as good as any man’s.” So I question whether Pope’s name can be invoked until a reputation or two has actually been ruined.
    Or better yet, until we see some of the heroic filth of Book II: Envision a timed race between Flarfists and Conceptual Writers through the sewers of San Francisco. Here strip, my children! here at once leap in.

  • On December 17, 2008 at 1:26 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Exactly, Boyd, & that’s my point: people who complain about anonymous angry (& I do not read the F.C. as angry or malicious at all) poets targeting other poets for satirical purpose are simply ignorant of the history of poetry if they think it’s anything new. Indeed, it is a venerable tradition! This game is not for the fainthearted. If you want to make a name for yourself (& we all do, come on), be prepared to have barbs aimed at that name. It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine.

  • On December 17, 2008 at 1:31 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

    On this matter of Satire, may I point to my reply to Jordan Davis, down below in the Land O’ Lakes Butter post by Goldsmith?
    Kent

  • On December 17, 2008 at 1:37 pm edgar poe wrote:

    Dear Sirs,
    This feneon collective is nothing but a clique–a gnat-like annoyance which distracts our literature–
    Political sectional animosities altogether independent of the partisan animosities of England, and such as equally affect us — result in a depreciation of Southern & Western talent, which upon the whole is greater, more vivid, fresher, than that of the North, less conventional, less conservative — want of centralization gives birth to a peculiar cliquism whose separate penchants render it nearly impossible to get at the truth —
    Instance the Humanity clique — to which belong Emerson, Lowell, Hawthorne, Godwin, Fuller, Mrs Child, Whittier — a mixture of Puritanism, Transcendentalism and Credulity. — you seldom find one who is not homoeopathist, Preissnitsian, Mesmerist, Swedenborgian, or Fourierite — and who judge all literature in accordance with its hobby — even insisting on estimating works of professed art by such criterion.
    No man of genius ever emerged from a “collective.”
    Kindly,
    Edgar A. Poe

  • On December 17, 2008 at 2:11 pm the feneon collective wrote:

    The feneon collective finds disheartening the possibility that M. Silliman is deleting comments that with innocent bemusement inquire as to why he did not link to Faits Divers de la Poésie Américain et Britannique in his long Index of Links on Monday.
    And Mlle Mlinko, thank you for your kind comment. We would be delighted, once we reach two hundred, to have our faits divers published in a handsomely chaste edition, reminiscent of the Impercipient Lecture Series. Perhaps you could talk to your patron, M. Barr, and see if he might lend you some money for such a project?
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 17, 2008 at 2:16 pm the feneon collective wrote:

    Most Esteemed M. Poe,
    While you do sound as if you’d been bitten by a rabid bat, we, to a woman, salute you, Sir.
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 17, 2008 at 2:42 pm Ange Mlinko wrote:

    Touche — but your wallet wouldn’t be safe with me.

  • On December 17, 2008 at 3:04 pm alexander pope wrote:

    Sirs,
    My Great Dane, Bounce, was my companion for good reason, and my loaded pistol was also for my safety, after my “Dunciad” was published in Dublin.
    My poetry was a loaded gun, and you should look again at Edgar Poe’s life and death, who it seems you Americans smear daily, taking after cruel English opinion, or the green-faced T.S. Eliot, or the blackguard, Ezra Pound…
    Most poets are not fit for it for a simple reason.
    As Mr. Robbins says, they are “fainthearted.”
    Poetry belongs to the human heart.
    Yours,
    Alexander Pope

  • On December 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm alexander pope wrote:

    Dear F. Collective,
    Be nice to Mr. Poe. It is his bicentenary next month, after all, and the ‘macabre slur’ against him (‘rabid bat, etc’) is getting old, if you’ll excuse the expression from one so antique.
    Yours,
    Alexander Pope

  • On December 17, 2008 at 3:22 pm R.W. Emerson wrote:

    M Poe, you are an ass, as usual. Drunk again, hmmmm?

  • On December 17, 2008 at 7:33 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Um, never mind (he said sheepishly).

  • On December 17, 2008 at 10:10 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    It has been reported that M Kooser and Mlle Emerson went, hand in hand, into the famous Jabberwocky woods seeking the unconventional Taoist M Bynner. Neither had a flashlight or even a compass. They never noticed the fearsome but enlightened bear that ate them.

  • On December 18, 2008 at 8:53 am edgar poe wrote:

    Ralph,
    How’s Harvard treating you?
    Did your godson, William James, “the nitrous oxide philosopher,” live up to your transcendental standards? (snigger) All that pragmatism! All that deep depth! All that experimentation which has made school children deeper than ever! The deep depth of the unconscious mind chasing the bees and butterflies of its particulars! Awesome.
    Does anyone still read you? I suppose your “English Traits” is still admired by English royals, and Nietzsche was undoubtedly aided by the “wisdom” of you and your friend Carlyle, author of “The Nigger Question.” Do the booksellers today bind you and Carlyle in the same hefty volume, called “The Hyperbolic Early Fascism Reader?” I fear your reputation is about to go the way of Whittier and Longfellow and James Russell Lowell. Your wonderful essays ARE wonderful, and pretty, pretty enough for Whitman to steal as poetry–congratulations!–but there’s always something about them… “I am Earnest and Good! Pay no attention to my Unconscious Bile In Which I Am Sputtering and Drowning!”
    Where did they bury you, finally?
    At Brook Farm?
    Did you discover, at last, the secret of your Concord picnic basket?
    Did you ever read my “Eureka?”
    Or was it too difficult for you?
    Happy sermonizing!
    Yours,
    Edgar

  • On December 18, 2008 at 10:32 am david chirot wrote:

    At my blog Cronaca Souversiva Feneon (for short), you may find entries regarding various aspects of Feneon’s work, and also Anarchism in relation with the Arts and the words/weapons overlapping meanings of “detonation.” as a theme being gone into., as Feneon in his life and work is an example of one who practiced on and was charged with practice of the other.
    http://cronanasouverzivafeneon.blogspot.com
    http://davidbaptistechirot.blogspot.com
    The blog, has, as does my other one, an invitation to participants, and a number of international visual poets, mail artists, activists are in contact re contributing–so thank God for everyone it will not be just myself raving away Anarkeyologically—
    For those interested, there is a great deal more of the truly complex and extraordinarily and extraordinarily poetically and politically going on in the “Faits Divers” than simply a kind of “aesthetic pastime” or “private joke” etc
    Feneon was at once a very laconically witty man and one very serious.
    His involvement with Anarchism’s “Propaganda of the Deed” meant brushes with the Law were to be expected, and at a time when even persons very tenuously connected by some individual or rumor to do with Anarchism
    Were being guillotined or garroted.
    The whole time he was an editor, Feneon was published steadily not only writers who become quite famous soon after, but also the writings of “non-writers,” the prolific accounts of Anarchists who had traversed the continents, and were involved in Revolutions from Spain to Cuba to the Philippines and beyond—in to China.
    The next entries t be put up will contain a history of this aspect of Feneon’s commitment to both writing and Anarchism, and al the while remaining “behind the scenes” everywhere present and now where visible.
    A difference between the “Faits Divers” of Feneon and those of the collective is that the latter are closer to the brief mentions of rumors or scandals among the dinners and dances and balls of the Society Pages.
    Read in that light, their satire and epigrams display best their “comedy of manners” of the poetry worlds.
    The Anarchist critique by Reclus of specialization is in a sense “beautifully illustrated” in the Collective’s pieces.
    That is, for “specialists’ within this specialty the works will have a special meaning.
    The specialization however of the specialists within their specialty, may function also as an elaboration of the separation via specializations of meanings being open to no more than a narrow range of specialized readers.
    The inside joke aspect of the anonymous collective operates paradoxically as a form of anti-anonymity, in that it guarantees that the range of persons who may be thought to be involved in the anonymous collective is narrowed. This also functions as a way of “daring” the reader to “guess who”—
    Feneon’s anonymity, other than some rumors here and there, lasted until his death, when the scrapbooks /albums, of both his wife and mistress were found, each one having faithfully cut out and saved the entries penned by the anonymous one known only to their selves. “And the rest is history”—even thought it has taken sixty years for the current edition, the most complete yet in English, to appear.
    Feneon wrote that he “aspired to silence”—
    And the “Faits Divers” are pretty much the public end to his writing activities outside of his correspondence—
    His work participates in the Literature of the No, the “workers without works” and al those other unknowns’ non-writing for non-readers the non lines and letters of the unknown unpublished unwritten unpublished unread non literatures—
    Among whose figures one finds Bartleby—
    Feneon’s work also makes one via the pun “News” and “short stories” in “Nouvelles”—
    (The translation is misleading in that it is called “Novels in 3 lines”—“Nouvelles’ are short stories, which is directly in keeping with the “short’ aesthetic of the genre of “Faits Divers”–
    The “Feneon collective” which seems to be not at all clandestinely anonymous but quite loudly so–
    is itself among many elements examined in terms of the social geography of its founder, Elisee Reclus, one of the giants of modern geography and a Communard whose analyses are present today in a great many disciplines and put to use for a great many different economic, development and etc purposes.
    With his social geography in mind, one may find in Feneon’s “Faits Divers” a mapping of the social spaces of the times, through which his eccentric interest and delight in the seemingly nationwide spree of the destruction of communications wires and cables may be “read in a different light.”
    Within the anonymous entries in a mass circulation daily–and conservative–newspaper, Feneon is “sowing the seeds” of an insight into a means to incite a literally seizing of control of them means of production of power via the cutting down of power and communications lines.
    Since this revolt and resistance seems to be random and unorganized, that gives it an immediate interest to the eyes of an Anarchist propagandist of both the Word and the Deed.
    The “poetic style or atmosphere’ so many have noticed in the pieces and thought “haiku like”
    and strangely modern–are examined in terms of the constraints imposed by their genre (considered hack work by most writers)–and in terms of the speeds of the new communications made use of by the big daily papers–
    and also in terms of the Philosophy of Composition and Poetic Principe of Poe, which had such a powerful effect on French Symbolism, many of whose writer and poets, especially Mallarme 9a Poe aficionado) were close friends of Feneon’s.
    Poe’s theories emphasize BREVITY of composition, and that the guiding principle in composing a short story or poem is to consider first what effect it is that one wishes to create.
    Working backwards from the denouement, one then is able to begin assembling the poem or story in terms of choices made among it basic elements–for Feneon, the limited choices he could make within the limited range of the Faits Divers, already half filled at least by the demands for information which are the major part of the pieces–the ages, names, genders, professions of the persons involved, their addresses or the location of the incident, the time it took place the date and what if any were the consequences at the time of writing.
    This is to give an idea of just the tips of the iceberg of what is happening inside those ‘Faits Divers”—
    All of these things opening ever new directions as yet unwritten unread unpublished unknown and non written by non writers for the non readers of the now
    From whom the detonative possibilities may randomly or, as they have in Greece—not only emerge but explode!

  • On December 18, 2008 at 10:45 am the feneon collective wrote:

    We thank M. Raworth for his encouraging words to us and for the handsome link on his blog. (Learn, M. Silliman.)
    We thank M. Robbins, who has given us the initials “F.C.”. In England, where one of us ladies is from, this stands for Football Club.
    We thank Mlle Mlinko, again, for her encouraging words. (Mlle Mlinko, we address you directly. The feneon collective presently operates on four Fronts: One in the East, one in the Midwest, one in the Southwest, and one in London, United Kingdom. We would like to invite you to become a member of our collective. Because we sure could use a secret cell inside the Institution Art! A belles-lettres Front, as it were… Please write to us, if you are interested in our proposal, at faitsdiversdelapoesie@gmail.com )
    And just to be sure, as we have received some mails at our g-mail address that do seem to assume Kent Johnson is in some way behind the feneon collective. No, the samples he’d posted without permission at Harriet and the blog of M. Share some weeks back were from a batch of faits divers we’d sent him, asking for his opinion, as we’ve admired examples of his satire. M. Johnson, thank you for your support, but next time, please, do us the courtesy, excitable Sir, of asking us first.
    In the meantime, twenty new faits divers de la poesie have been posted today. More to follow:
    http://faitsdiversdelapoesie.blogspot.com/
    Let us now undermine the bourgeoisie,
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Oh, my, the F.C. is not Kent’s sort of thing at all. But I’m sure he’s flattered. In any case, F.C., I’m sure Ange is too polite to correct you in a public forum, but she is after all a Mme Mlinko, not a Mlle.

  • On December 18, 2008 at 1:07 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Also, “F.C.” are the initials the Unabomber carved into his bombs. I draw no conclusions.

  • On December 18, 2008 at 3:41 pm LH wrote:

    Brilliant.

  • On December 19, 2008 at 11:16 am the feneon collective wrote:

    Numerous more at the faits divers de la poesie blog today:
    http://faitsdiversdelapoesie.blogspot.com/
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm the feneon collective wrote:

    Well! Wonders never cease:
    A major publication has written today, with expressions of interest about the feneon collective.
    We wonder if M. Silliman will link to *that* article, should it appear…
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 19, 2008 at 2:41 pm Ryan wrote:

    This Ron Silliman is rocking! Festive! http://ronsilliman.com/

  • On December 19, 2008 at 3:36 pm david chirot wrote:

    It’s truly sad that a purported “homage” to the anonymous works of Fenon’s “Fatis Divers” have been turned into a non-stop self promotion campaign by a “collective,” which in itself is an entity opposed by Feneon’s Anarchist beliefs and actions.
    The “collective’s” work exemplify a great many things that Feneon was “violently” opposed to.as a writer, art critic and Anarchist.
    But then the “collective’s” Homage is not a Homage to Feneon , but an Homage to itself.
    The campaigns and constructions of recently proliferating self/collective homages seems to be creating as it were a new genre based on making ahsitorical uses of a partioulatr antecdent from which as much as possible of the force of the original example —-let alone what Cezanne called it–is “charrrr-ect-errrre”–s drained out, to be replaced by as much of the “self-homage” as possible.
    The detonating, provoctive, theoretical, historical and artistic and Anarchist elements which are feneon, are gutted so that a safe edifice may be created of the emptied shell, redecorated and turned into a costume ball at which poets play at guessing at each other’s disguise and marvel at ech other’s robes and spangles.
    It is not ulike the famous house in Chile–which may well soon be made into a museum–described semi-fictionally in the last pages of Roberto Bolano’s By Night in Chile, a house in whcih the apsriing writer Chilean wiofe hoplds a Salon attending by the glitterati of the day, while in the basement were being conudcted tortures and themaking of sarin gase, among other things, by her American husband.
    In “real life,” the husband and wife–the husband fled back to safety in the USA –were suspected and accused of involvement in the bombing in Washington DC of the Allende former ally Letellier , and being connected with many of the most gruesome among Pinochet’s sadistic and licensed monsters in the systematic extermination of any sign of the country’s former left wing culture and politics.
    Indeed, the husband was the American-sent leader in teaching and profiferating these ideas and methods developed by the French in Algeria and taught by the Mossad and CIA at the formerly called School of the Americas.
    On the other hand, who would want to read any such things as these, when it is infinnitely more amusing to raad things in which one may find onself attending the ball?
    Many of Feneon’s friends and associates saw their lives end under the down rushing blade of the guiillotine, or expirenced the garrotte, the firing squad and the one way tickt to martyrdom in the increasing numbers of banned and dusty, furtively fingered clandesinte publications, a number of which Feneonwrote for under various noms de plume et guerre.
    To this day there hangs a cloud of suspicion over Feneon’s head for his being perhaps the bomber of a restaurant with many casualties.
    Beneath the “collective’s” amusing party surprises amid the other dancers lies a much diffrent and much darker world, which at the same time was directly linked to Mallarem’s Tuesdays and the most important and intersting painters and poets of the day.
    Today the “avant garde” keep seperate what had once been joined by the early avant-gardes of Futurism and Dada–that the word avant-garde is alkso a military term, and that poetry plays a part either for this connection, or opposed to it as Dada violently was.
    I understand the impulse behind the “collective’s” works and laugh at many of he works as much as anyone, and of course there is no need at all to be more than formally using Fenon as a turning of the “Faits Divers’Into society pages epigrams.
    At the same it is saddening, as the name of a person and their works is approrpriated to make use of the current interesest in fenon’s name, while relagating al ssle of the person and works to the non-sites of the disappeared,
    Perhaps soon there will be T-Shirts , stickers to be worn on jackets, dolls that glow in the dark or brood inside a salon library or work room like those already of Emily Dickinson and Poe–
    Pez sticks with plastic heads of the “collective” Feneon–
    why not?–perhaps a dance video and slick dj remix verision of the epigrams–
    and a special parade day held at the uinversities of a planned american tour–
    covers will come out be Emo bands and hip rockers and i crowd couples will have babies named feneon -and–fenon collective —
    the “Feneon look” will become de rigeur among certains cliiques of former Goth poetry fiends–
    the collective will be invited to give recitations for soirees of the most fascainting old dowagers and heirs–
    stock market tips and fixes on basketball games will pour in to–to tmept forth a specially nd personnaly dedicated “fay-dee-vair”
    since there are no longer journalism students to claim the fits divers for their won, now english departments will feature them in compostiion and craetive writing claases,, as some thing a bit akin to Conceptualism and not that far off from flarf–
    to turn the anonymous aspiration to silence–of Feneon
    into a noble career–
    an insight of insights in the market place of ideas–

  • On December 19, 2008 at 4:19 pm michael robbins wrote:

    I would like one of those t-shirts. And I would really like one of the glow-in-the-dark dolls!

  • On December 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm the feneon collective wrote:

    The angry comment from David-Baptiste Chirot comes as a surprise. He has been a dear friend to one of us, and this is without warning.
    His blog devoted to Feneon we very much admire, just as we have admired M. Chirot’s strange, varied, and powerful work. We urge everyone to look at this blog, study it, and seek out the resources related to Feneon that M. Chirot points to.
    We certainly do not believe that our use of the faits divers form, ubiquitously employed during the 19th and early-20th centuries (and which Feneon took to magnificent heights), in any way demeans Feneon (anymore than lesser experiments in the sonnet can demean Shakespeare!). Nor does our use of the form sully in any way the anarchist philosophy that inspired many of Feneon’s actions!
    If anything, we hope the faits diverse vehicle we are appropriating and reshaping for our own particular topoi will cause some readers to seek out Feneon’s work– which is why we prominently link on the Faits Diverse de la Poesie blog to *Novels in Three Lines* (translated by Luc Sante), the wonderful book that is our immediate inspiration.
    More faits divers will be posted in coming days and weeks, until we reach a total of 200.
    That is all we have to say on this matter.
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 19, 2008 at 6:39 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    He said it came suddenly from the shadows of the wood, was large but also small. It was vicious and dangerous but made him laugh. M Chirot lifted his stick to defend himself, but it was gone.

  • On December 19, 2008 at 10:35 pm Angela G. wrote:

    I find it repugnant and despicable that the”Feneon Collective” has used photos of Guantanamo Bay detainees, both actual and cartoonish, on the Faits Divers de la Poesie Americaine et Britannique blog. There is nothing remotely funny about the American torture of foreign detainees. What’s next? Photos of lynchings of African-Americans and then cartoonish illustrations of those as well? Despicable.

  • On December 19, 2008 at 11:22 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Uh, what? So one should not show the political reality that one is criticizing? Your comment, Angela, makes absolutely no sense. None whatsoever.

  • On December 19, 2008 at 11:24 pm Ryan wrote:

    Angela,
    Did you look at the painting?
    (And since you mentioned parody of racism, I wonder about your thoughts on the astounding Kara Walker exhibit at the Whitney.)

  • On December 20, 2008 at 9:36 am the feneon collective wrote:

    Mlle G., in response to your concern above, please do keep following our blog.
    We don’t think there is anything conventionally funny about Guantanamo, either.
    Context may unscroll, too. Comedy can be black.
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 20, 2008 at 10:32 am Bill Freind wrote:

    Given Ron Silliman’s role as a sort of People Magazine* of the post-avant scene, I too have been surprised by his silence on the F.C. But then I started thinking about the mysterious late-night phone calls I’ve received from a man identifying himself only as “Commandante Ronaldo.” Now, I can reach only one conclusion: Ron Silliman is the leader of the Feneon Collective.
    There’s an impeccable logic behind this: on his blog, Silliman is avuncular and insightful, largely refraining from the sniping and cheap shots that characterize so much of the poetry world. The F.C. is the Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll, the Azkaban to his Hogwarts, the irrational, destructive impulse that is inevitable in any totalizing discourse.
    Formidable, M. Silliman – or should I say Commandante Ronaldo?
    Yours in the Struggle,
    Bill Freind
    Assistant (to the) Subcommandante
    Feneon Collective, South Jersey
    *Perhaps Vanity Fair would be more appropriate.
    P.S. to Commandante Ronaldo: I’ll be sending you a copy of my book and feel certain that our shared revolutionary commitments will ensure a plug on your blog.

  • On December 20, 2008 at 11:01 am the feneon collective wrote:

    This will be our last public communication in this space.
    We have remodeled the Faits Divers blog so that new additions will appear at the top. New entries are posted today. More will be appearing over the next two or three weeks.
    After some debate among us (which has led, unfortunately, to dissension in our ranks and a resulting factional split), to take the blog up to 150 entries. At a future date, we will publish a total of 200 (along with accompanying documents) in a book.
    Please ignore any future communications that may come from a group calling itself “the feneon collective [authentic tendency].”
    Thank you for reading.
    http://faitsdiversdelapoesie.blogspot.com/
    –the feneon collective

  • On December 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm Angela G. wrote:

    I think Kara Walker’s exhibit is brilliant. Kara Walker is an African-American, and therefore, her work was created and intended in an entirely different context. I’m all for showing what’s happening in American prison camps around the world. In the right context. Is the creator of the Feneon Collective blog Middle-Eastern? Probably not. Chances are it’s a white male, who knows nothing of being detained in a foreign country and tortured. What analogy is there to be drawn between contemporary poets and torture? There are no captions on the photos. They were originally used in news articles about Guantanamo Bay, the cartoon is from the UK Guardian. Speaking of making sense, M. Robbins, perhaps you can shed light on how these photos were intended to illustrate the blog.

  • On December 20, 2008 at 1:20 pm Angela G. wrote:

    Ryan, Did you look at the illustration? Do you know where it came from? In what context it was originally used? If so, please explain what a political cartoon about Guantanamo Bay has to do with the Feneon Collective and American poetry and how that is an appropriate analogy.
    And Mr. Johnson, aka the Feneon Collective, perhaps you could explain it better than anyone.

  • On December 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    There will always be people who think that any attempt to expose cruelty & injustice for what they are must first gain the permission of the victims. A strange, blinkered idea, which must be of comfort to those who wish to imagine themselves victims. Of no help whatsoever to actual sufferers of injustice, of course, as anyone knows who doesn’t automatically think in such infantile categories as “white male.”

  • On December 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm "noah freed" wrote:

    Angela, I find it helpful to read the text accompanying pictures if I wish to understand how the two are related.

  • On December 20, 2008 at 7:49 pm the feneon collective [authentic tendency] wrote:

    We write to express our dismay and anger over the recent collapse of the original feneon collective.
    The reasons for this collapse will be released, on the new blog of the feneon collective [authentic tendency], in due time.
    For now, let us say that certain presumptuous members took it upon themselves to “edit” the contributions of others, which were then posted, without group approval, on the Faits Divers de la Poesie blog. In general, the literary execution of many of the faits divers presently posted is flawed and weak.
    This said, with the outrage expressed by “Angela G.” we cannot really concur. The interaction between written and visual text is often a complicated thing, Mlle G., and often, then, these interactions are more figurative than literal in nature (a rather banal assertion, to be sure!). And though they are prisoners of a very different kind from those held at the illegal torture prison of Guantanamo, American and British poets are prisoners of imperialist culture, too. Not least the hypocritical “avant-garde” kind, who like to think of themselves advanced enough to be looking down, critically, from above. Yes, they wear ridiculous hats with mouse ears, dying for attention.
    Of course, we count ourselves among them– even though one of us has two times been an actual prisoner, for political reasons, before.
    Please boycott the corrupted Faits Diverse de la Poesie blog. It is no longer the blog of any true feneon collective.
    We will have further updates.
    –the feneon collective [authentic tendency]

  • On December 20, 2008 at 8:35 pm Angela G. wrote:

    Never mind, I just saw the lastest posts. I get the point — and it’s a good one.

  • On December 20, 2008 at 10:14 pm Angela G. wrote:

    If it was the blog’s original intent is to criticize the lack of political involvement on the part of poets, that point was made a little too late. The three-line novels concerning that point should have accompanied the GB detainees photos. Otherwise, it simply read like a mockery of poets’ silly careers, lives, and blogs, using Feneon’s style.

  • On December 21, 2008 at 9:55 am Daisy wrote:

    Angela–Actually, a number of fhe poets mentioned in the mini-novels are politically active and/or write political poetry. Daisy

  • On December 21, 2008 at 10:47 am the feneon collective [authentic tendency] wrote:

    We have just seen the new entries posted at the Faits Divers de la Poesie blog.
    Please note that at least half of the new entries over the past two days were written by current members of the feneon collective [authentic tendency]; incredibly, they have been posted *after* our separation from the original feneon collective.
    In other words, the so-called feneon collective has brazenly appropriated our writing and claimed it as its own product. This only demonstrates to what unethical depths our former “colleagues” have sunk. Their project is now fully corrupted.
    Given the situation, we plan to announce, in coming days, in this space, the actual identities of those who have taken it upon themselves to steal our creative property.
    You will be surprised, we guarantee it.
    –the feneon collective [authentic tendency]

  • On December 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm MarhsallSteiner wrote:

    Wait a sec. Why is “white male” an infantile category? That’s a pretty harsh blanket generalization about white men, especially since “whiteness” is in actuality a bundle of equivalent ethnicities–the Irish, Italians, occasionally Asian Indians, and demographically at least, Hispanics.

  • On December 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm Michael Robbins wrote:

    Huh? My point, clearly, was that to think in such terms is infantile. It’s a meaningless category.

  • On December 21, 2008 at 2:31 pm Angela G. wrote:

    Hi Daisy, Thank you for your comment.

  • On December 21, 2008 at 3:11 pm Marshall Steiner wrote:

    Hmm. Would this apply to gender, sexual orientation, and class as well? After all, a welter of different ideologies are subsumed under each of those headings.

  • On December 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm Lydia Olidea wrote:

    I think that David B-C gets at the oddity of this quite well. It may be that the collection is merely a recapitulation of an historical form and style, substituting the name of contemporary poets — in which case it’s cute enough, as mild diversions go (though if this is the case, Angela G’s complaint seems well-founded). But if the project is meant to have a critical edge, it’s because it is in main satirizing poets for their political pretensions while noting that their forms of engagement are somewhere between politically fruitless and utterly blinkered? This, we trust, is the import of the images from Guantanamo et al — the political real, so distant from poets’ brickbats, from mere “language.”
    But this is where things get hinky. The supposed hypocrisy being exposed is of failing to engage in actual political acts. And, as David B-C notes, Feneon himself could scarcely be accused of this, which gives him a leg to stand on: Mallarmé himself referred to The Thirty as “angels of purity.” But as Daisy suggests, there’s no reason to believe that this author is more politically engaged than any of his subjects, and indeed plenty of reason to believe otherwise (I myself have been in jail with at least two of the poets subjected to such comic scrutiny). In short, in taking up the position of Feneon in addition to the style, the author of this present amusement merely performs the hypocrisy he imagines himself to be illuminating.
    He is merely writing about himself, since his form of “political action” resembles more a Mlinko or a Leithauser than a Feneon. Well, toujours gai, tuojours gai; this all provides its own comedy.

  • On December 22, 2008 at 10:46 am Marshall wrote:

    “By the light of phantasmagorical sunsets when clouds alone are sinking, with whatever man surrenders up to them of dreams, a treasure liquefaction crawls, gleams on the horizon: I thereby gain a notion of what sums can be, by the hundreds and beyond, equal to those whose enumeration, in the closing arguments during a trial involving high finance, leaves one, as far as their existence goes, cold. The inability of figures, however grandiloquent, to translate, here springs out of a case; one searches, with this hint that, if a number increases and backs up, toward the improbable, it inscribes more and more zeros: signifying that its total is spiritually equal to nothing, almost.
    Mere smoke, those billions, outside the moment to grab some: or, the lack of resplendence or even interest shows that to elect a god is not so as to confine him to the shadow of iron safes and pockets.”
    Mallarme, 1897

  • On December 22, 2008 at 3:33 pm david chirot wrote:

    For several years now i’ve been studying those things which language is a symptom of–
    the “unread” unwritten non writings which are below the surface of the language which is read, written, and taken to be a discourse which is so understood that it does not need to be articulated Unquestioningly believing the veracity of one’s form of discourse, the discourse becomes a viewpoint, a listening post, which can only receive those things which it recognizes. Anything said or written to the contrary is treated with ridicule,
    Outrage, shouts of “you’re lying,” from a host of persons who may ironically believe in the insincerity of poetry as a form of truth.
    A great deal of the language one reads & hears every day and “takes for granted,’ without questioning, as facts, information, is in actuality deliberately strewn with misinformation’s, dis-translations, alterations editings and “confessions” which in turn become the elements that persons use to write, listen, read with.
    In many strange ways it is surprising how closely alike are methods used in avant writing exercises and many practices used by state and military propaganda and disinformation machines of communication.
    , A great deal of what is claimed to be “resistant” or “critical” writing is instead a form of reflection of those things its “transgresses,” because of an unawareness of how similarly constructed the discourses are.
    In order to create a critique of such things as the separation of poets from events, of a lack of engagement, I have chosen to approach this question as a separation of the “avant” from the historical basis of the avant-garde—the term itself, which is military in origin and shared with poetry and art by the early avant-gardes like Italian Futurism which embraced “War, the world’s hygiene,” and Dada which was vehemently anti war anti state anti institutions anti art—
    With this reversal of terms—connecting them rather than separating-I started examining the language used in the military intelligence spheres and by extension those used in torture, ethnic cleanings, border fences, separation Walls (i.e. Apartheid), prisons, treatments of illegal aliens, the ways in which aspects that do not fit in with the accepted discourses are made to disappear, or are tortured into speaking out, confessing, being forced to speak.
    As a Russian artist says, “Language is fascism because it censors, but because it forces one to speak.”
    In order to make one’s case clear, one needs to cite specific examples rather than present a blanket statement. For example—poets in the US and Guantanamo—what is the connection, not as an “ignoring” and separation of these two elements, but what is it that connects them directly?
    Poetry—the Guantanamo Poets book and the history of its being able to even make it into being published in the US, through an incredibly difficult route, and via “non-literary translators ‘ (the military being highly suspicious and believing that poems may much more readily conceal hidden codes than another form of language, to trigger Jihadists elsewhere reading the poems–)
    Actually the translation methods are much like those in the “writing experiments” by Bernadette Mayer and Charles Bernstein which are widely used. In a sense, the military ordered translators are then are they not creating avant garde poetry of the texts from Guantanamo?
    A further linkage is how are these poems read and commented on by Americn poets?
    When faced with “bad poetry” by “bad people” “badly translated” which have already had to pass as many checkpoints almost as a Gaza does to cross the street, what are the response, the language, the “frames” by which American poets are not reading the unwritten works which are unseen before them hidden in plain site—or –completely obvious?
    In what ways do the methods of reading and writing employed by the American poets relate to the military’s way of treating them—as person fundamentally both forced to speak and unheard, unread? Are not the methods, eyes and ears of the American poets another form of unquestioning belief that these poets are n fact “guilty” without the need to be proven either innocent guilty?
    What one begins to find is that it is not simply that poets may seem unconcerned or not with Guantanamo, but that even when involved with it at the level of language, the approach to the poems begins very much with the same method of apprehension and suspicion that the military does.
    And in this way, the poets remain in isolation, because their texts are isolated from being “true poetry” and also from being “convincing”
    One of the curious aspects of this is that for the last several years there has been a continual streaming of “shocking revelations” that one memoir after another is false, isn’t by real Holocaust survivor, isn’t by a real teenager abused an driven to drugs, I not by anyone that the author has claimed to be.
    Yet before the “shocking revelations” occurred these same books had sold tons of copies and been given much air time, video time and critical pace in journal and newspapers.
    What does this reveal about the structure of belief and unbelief in relation to language which permeats American writing and reading to such an immense extent?
    Effectively it reveals not only a double standard but an immediate “suspension of disbelief when confronting what’re supposed to be “authoritative authenticate voices.” When these authors turn out to be ironically producing works which ARE associated with willing suspension of disbelief. People are outraged—because they have so unquestioningly embraced fictions…
    In the same way, there is the same unquestioning belief in Authority when certain VIPs of the poetry world write and speak about in authenticity, artifice, the “non-author” the new avant of boredom and machinery uses—al these things are believed in unquestioningly at some level as sincere even when loudly trumpeting their own avocations of insincerity.
    On the one Transparency is demanded from the military corporate State and on the other opacity is called for in poetry…
    The irony being that the military-corporate -state is itself already opaque—
    Using some of these questions and stock piling date, examples, images, texts, etc—I began creating what I call the “New Extreme Experimental American Poetry and Arts”
    This is a way of finding in examples all around things which are so obvious that they are almost never seen.
    By linking these together one may be able to examine things not as separate, which is the intention, but reflecting each other—or being directly connected even when being denied by the practitioners who unquestioningly believe in them
    Here are two examples re the Guantanamo Poets
    And at both my blogs there is a great deal more
    http://davidbaptistechirot.blogspot.com
    http://cronacasouversivafeneon.blogspot.com
    two essays published in on-line journals:
    David-Baptiste Chirot: “Waterboarding & Poetry”
    Wordforword #13 Spring 2008
    (also has Visual Poetry by chirot)
    Poems from Guantánamo
    The Detainees Speaktwo essays published in on-line journals:
    David-Baptiste Chirot: “Waterboarding & Poetry”
    Wordforword #13 Spring 2008
    (also has Visual Poetry by chirot)
    Poems from Guantánamo
    The Detainees Speak
    David Baptite ChirotNo
    KAURAB Translation Site
    David Baptite ChirotNo
    KAURAB Translation Site
    what follows is a further elaboration at the http://davidbaptistechirot.blogspot.com
    which crediets some of the literary sources and inspirations–
    Torture , Rights & Writing: “The New Extreme Experimental American Poetry”
    “As usual, the only symptoms we had were in the language.”
    –Pier Paulo Pasolini
    To degenerate as a result of the use of torture, & by its concealment & deception question human dignity & individual rights–
    In the first lines of his Introduction to Torture: Cancer of Democracy France and Algeria 1954-62, Pierre Vidal-Naquet asks “Can a great nation, liberal by tradition, allows its institutions, its army, and its system of justice to degenerate over the span of a few years as a result of the use of torture, and by its concealment and deception of such a vital issue call the whole Western concept of human dignity and the rights of the individual into question?”
    To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change
    In The Peloponnesian War, Book 3, Thucydides states:
    “To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change. What used to be thought of as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward, any idea of moderation was just an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a question from all sides meant one was totally unfitted for action; frenzied violence came to be considered an attribute of a real man. ”
    Necessity is the Mother of Invention
    These entries are ongoing found materials with which I work on various projects. They are an Anarkeyology of Site/Sight/Cites in which, by relinking the Military & Art meanings of “avant-garde,” I find different ways of investigating separations, Walls, silences, distranslations, forgeries, torture, “Newspeak,” censorship and propaganda as elements common to both war and writing/art historically & in the USA today.
    The finding of these materials and the questions they open are, I find, “necessary,” as the Formal separations of the American “avant-gardes” from the Military & external/ internal imperialist realities are among the “symptoms . . . in language” that Pasolini notes “we (have) to go on.”
    Separations in, of, and by language are “necessary” to Vidal-Naquet’s “concealment ” of “torture, cancer of democracy,” whose “deceptions” erect barriers, Walls, prisons, “Security,” Surveillance between not only the torturers and the tortured, Occupiers and the Occupied, but between actions and words, so that a culture conceals itself from itself.
    Materials & questions that are “necessary” to examine separations, concealments, deceptions that are “necessary”–
    “Necessary”–but how? For a long time I found materials but not the way, until an artist friend sent me in 2003 Distant Star by Roberto Bolano. 9/11 1973 and 9/11/2001–the link of the American backed Pinochet coup in Chile and the dawn of the Patriot Act & Shock and Awe opened this Pandora’s Box, and the connections which Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine (2007) most explicitly details the history of.
    “Necessary”–to find among the “fictional” and the “factual,” among street debris and the debris of writing & arts, these interconnections and relinkings, the symptoms in language, is a work found by what I call “Necessity, the Motherfucker of Invention.”
    In The Moro Affair, Leonardo Sciascia writes:
    “Indeed when the truth which had been confined to literature emerged harsh and tragic within the context of everyday life, and could no longer be ignored, it seemed as if it were a product of literature.”
    This “truth” ” is something so “obvious”that it becomes treated as a separation, a “fiction,” rather than a “real, true fact.”
    To work the “Hidden in Plain Site/Sight/Cite” can in this way be considered a “fiction,” compared to the “reality” of a Formal Separation which is “immune to these things.”
    Sciascia notes the “Hidden in Plain Site/Sight/Cite” in using an expression from Poe’s “The Purloined Letter:”
    “(W)hat we called the invisibility of the obvious . . . (from Poe’s Dupin) . . others have called over-obviousness . . . an obviousness linked to other obviousnesses , all of them conforming to a . . . concept of the clandestine.”
    This “invisibility” is separated from the “real, true fact,” which the account and appearances of events create as the version that is “believed” to have occurred.
    Sciascia quotes a dictionary:
    “One says: a real true fact. and such like. Real in this case seems to reinforce true, not simply as pleonasm but thus: a real true fact hasn’t simply occurred but it has occurred as it is told, as it appeared, as it is believed . . . ”
    The separation of “what is told, as it appeared, as it is believed” from what is “the invisibility of the obvious” allows for the concealment and deception Vidal-Naquet writes of.
    The entries here may be read as the raw materials of
    as an examination of these separations and finding ways to relink them in the term common to the military & art”avant- garde” in Necessity the Motherfucker of Invention’s “New Extreme Experimental American Poetry.”
    GITMOS ACROSS AMERICA–DETENTION & DEATHS ARTICLES & LINKS

  • On December 23, 2008 at 8:16 pm David Harrison Horton wrote:

    To keep the record straight, the collective thinks it behooves me to remind folks that before the Faits Divers were a blog, the collective initially and anonymously contributed many of the early entries to my zine WORK (no. 10).
    David Harrison Horton

  • On December 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm Sean Brady wrote:

    How is satire writing about oneself? How do we know what actions–legal or illegal–the Feneon Collective has or has not engaged in? These novels-in-three-lines, while playfully utilizing Feneon’s format, constitute a new art form, one that relies on wit and imagination as opposed to journalism. (Not that journalism cannot at times employ these tactics.) It seems odd, then, to critique these “novels” by comparing them to Feneon’s, or to the theories of the original composer, when the old and the new “novels” arise from a unique soil and bend toward a unique sun.
    Yes, these “novels” can be considered comic, but in the way we might consider Donald Rumsfeld with a pair of hedge clippers stumbling through a nursery comic. There’s humor but with a certain tension or threat involved. That gives them their bite. Ah, but I’m satirizing here a political figure, which is considered fair game, while poets, as we all know, rise far above such pedestrain traffic.

  • On December 28, 2008 at 10:16 am Ikkyu wrote:

    In his introduction to an anthology of Buddhism in contemporary American poetry, Gary Snyder writes the following about me:
    “Ikkyu, a fifteenth-century Japanese Zen master and a fine (and strikingly fearless) poet himself, laughingly ridiculed his fellow poets, knowing as he did the distractions and temptations that might come with literary aspirations. His ‘intimacy with demons’ is not to be seen in the light of the occidental romance with alienation, however. In Japanese art, demons are funny little guys, as solid as horses and cows, who gnash their fangs and cross their eyes. Poetry is a way of celebrating the actuality of a nondual universe in all its facets. Its risk is that it declines to exclude demons. Buddhism offers demons a hand then tries to teach them to sit. But there are tricky little poetry/ego demons that do come along, tempting us with suffering or with insight, with success or failure. There are demons practicing meditation and writing poetry in the same room with the rest of us, and we are all indeed intimate. It didn’t really trouble Ikkyu.”
    Mr. Snyder is right: it didn’t really trouble me when I was alive, and the work of the Feneon Collective doesn’t trouble me now that I’m dead. This whole blogging thing is new to me, but I’ll be sure to tell my buddies Han Shan, Buson and Li Po about this bolt and maybe they’ll agree to add a thread.

  • On December 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

    Ikkyu,
    And it’s a darned good anthology, if I say so myself.
    Thanks for remembering it!
    Kent

  • On December 28, 2008 at 7:13 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    “I am troubled.”, Ikkyu said. “Demon’s have been whispering to me while I sleep and tickle my ears.” “Don’t worry,” M Ginsberg replied, “just write me a letter.”

  • On December 29, 2008 at 11:48 am david-baptiste chirot wrote:

    “Faits dit vers” comme “faits d’hiver”—
    “Mais ou sont les neiges d’antan?”
    Le collectif dit “Feneon” est plutot une groupe de “fais-neants” qui n’appartient point des “nouvelles,” mais de la tradition des epigrames de Martial.
    Comme disait Fellini au sujet de son “Satyricon,” ‘c’est un film de la science fiction’ la mise-en-scene duquel se trouve au passé.”
    Blaguer le blogger-!
    A few “faits divers” re the FC-
    Though working overtime, the Feneon collective’s goal of being mentioned on M Silliman’s blog has yet to bear fruit. Disgruntled workers staging a strike, set upon by goons, burned in effigy their FC bosses, who called in the Riot Squad. This incident, it is hoped, will finally draw M Silliman’s attention.
    Anonymous donors, an anonymous Monk informs visitors, created the Shrine for the purpose of ten times a day prayers, the invocations of which are for Perpetual Notice to be taken of the FC on every Poetry blog, especially that of Canon Silliman.
    Confusing epigrammatic satires of poetry cliques with social activism and avant-gardism, the FC asserts its “news items” exemplify Pound’s “Poetry is news that stays news.” Anarchist youths, chased by FC Police, are distributing FC tracts to the needy for use in litter boxes and parrot cages, chanting the slogan “Who needs yesterday’s papers.”
    Having taken Secretary Rumsfeld under her wing as a 21st century Marinetti, Dr Perloff has won a no-bid Federal contract for the Stanford colleagues’ Institute of Opacity. Its Secrecy, Neo-Futurist Rumsfield jokes, “will top that of the Situationists’ “Bureau of Secrets.”
    Applying for a Grant, the FC had described itself as a contemporary blog version of Martial. Enraged that a sardonic bureaucrat awarded instead a “real Martial Arts program,” the FC’s counter-attack has run afoul of a Ninja Anarchist Study group’s “hand delivered” “Propaganda of the Deed.”
    Billed as an Exhibition of American Avant Poets’ Portraits, with Surprise Readers,
    The Anonymous Gallery’s show is being held liable for the “psychological war fare post traumatic stress disorder” produced by the poets’ having been locked into a Hall of Mirrors and blasted with tape loops of their own readings.
    The FC today began a Letter Campaign to collect signatures demanding the President and Supreme Court decree that the FC be a daily feature on Silliman’s Blog, the Poetics List and all other US poetry blogs. Under subpoena in the bribery investigations of Gov. “Blogo” the Illinois based FC may turn State’s Witness in exchange for this Federal favor. The FC denies any connection between these two ongoing stories.
    In the early 1950’s, one of the Italian Neo_-realist directors proposed the idea of throwing a camera in the air; whoever caught camera would then be a director, a cameraman and simply film whatever was the course of the person’s day. (Several “natural” wags over the years have remarked that in Italy this is much easier to do than other countries, as Italians are “born actors/acting” and the beauty of the landscape and arts surrounding them make them “natural born” visual artists..)
    (Naturalism however, is not the same thing as Neo-Realism–)
    teachers of many spiritual traditions the world round have remarked to the effect that the person who prays in public prays not to the Divine, but to that spirit of egotism in themselves which demands that all around take notice of one’s great piety.
    Or, as the poet has it–“Methinks he doth protest too much”–
    The Feneon Collective so called is not a “new form” creating, but following in the old Roman footsteps of Martial (Although one might claim that the epigram in terms of epitaph–and epithet– is far more ancient, and is found first expressed in Archilocus’s verse.)
    The more one travels into the “future,’ the closer one becomes to the past.
    The continual promotional campaign of the “anonymous” blogs of an anonymous collective is a constant cry for attention, the opposite of Feneon’s “I aspire to silence,” which led him to not long after the writing of the faits divers to abandon al writing except for letters to friends and business associates.
    Feneon is a writer whose trajectory is towards that “I prefer not to” of Bartleby marked by the encounter with Rimbaud’s “I is an other,” a “some one else” than “simply” a writer. Rimbaud went into gun running and coffee exports, the trading of trinkets and interior explorations whose accounts he sent to the new Geographical journals in France. After their minimal success, he abandoned these writings also. Feneon, the greatest art critic in France since Baudelaire, except for the rare catalog descriptions done for the auctions of friend’s collections, or notes for the art gallery in which he became a professional seller for the last decades of his life, also abandoned even the anonymous and pseudonymous writings of his artistic and anarchist past.
    One of the major contradictions of many American poets’ works for over thirty years has been the constant assertion of “the death of the author,” the “critique of the self,” which have produced such opposite effects such as the advertising campaigns of the “Conceptual” works of Kenny G, the promotional forays of the Flarifists and the publicity driven “anonymous” FC.
    “Be Street Smart. Don’t Get Caught”– was a sticker and t-shirt distributed by the anonymous Coup de Grace over twenty years ago in Boston.
    This was also Feneon’s credo, until he was under the splotlights in the Trial of the Thirty, a publicity which sent him further into anonymity with the “faits divers” and his not long after realization of the aspiration to silence.
    Look at it this way: does a person who wishes to be anonymous go about loudly trumpeting themselves, demanding to be heard on every blog and TV station and radio feed possible? To be like the “anonymous” Joe the Plumber and sign record and book deals, become a paid political pundit on Fox, or eventually run for some high degree office—
    This is where, to me, the “anonymity” and “death of the author” und so weiter, perform the function of the “plant” who “magically appears out of nowhere, a no one, “un homme qui-conque” “una donna senza nome” “a face in the crowd”—and turns out to be—a star!!!
    Using this model—a great favorite at concerts by Bobby Blue bland and B.B. King was the “Viola” who just so happened to be seated in the crowd as an anonymous Sister—and invited to come shyly onstage– could SING—and I mean, REALLY SING!—“as well as any professional”—because she was indeed just that—this was done so often and so well that it became in itself an enjoyable feature that though everyone knew, all acted surprised by the Violas, as a tribute to the skill with which it was pulled off year after year over hundreds and hundreds of shows—
    Using this model of the plant, what one finds is that the “dead authors” now plant themselves as an “anonymous” face in the crowd, which is invited—by themselves—up onstage and turns under the spotlights—into a star!! An American idol!!
    Another aspect of this “anonymous and hitherto unknown star hidden in our midst”—“just dying to be discovered” (the death wish of the “dead author”–?)—is that when using or citing earlier examples as models, such as in this case, Feneon, what is invoked is not the actual reading of Feneon’s works and ideas, but the projecting on to him of the “anonymous” “dead author’s” desires to be READ, not as a long buried classic brought to life largely by the actual death of the original writer–, but as an INSTANT CLASSIC—
    Recognized and feted NOW—
    In a bizarre and paradoxical way, the “attention deficit disorder’ which Americans are portrayed as having “en masse” as Whitman wd say– (to the great benefit of the pharmaceutical and health care guru industries–) is producing a drive for more than the “fifteen minutes/ seconds of fame” Andy Warhol once promised to be deliver to every one someday.
    This drive for a more lasting and higher staying power as an attention getter may be examined then as the exploitation of “gimmicks” and “shticks” to keep the audiences’ eyes focused on one, as being a proven and dependable deliverer of the goods.
    In this case, anonymity becomes a gimmick rather than an actual demonstration or investigation, just as the loud noises of the Flarfists and Conceptualists are mechanisms of “career advancement” and “placement in anthologies,” or recognition as the “most prominent spokesperson/s for the new movement” and so on—
    It is as though the “dead authors” are even more ego obsessed than those critiqued by the “critique of the self,” and so, like the Living Dead, keep on “coming back”—
    As sequels, prequels, post prequels, reverse engineered retro futurist post romantic chance operations pre programmed for post operative self examinations in the gigantic mirrors of the self—a Narcissus providing its own Echo—
    And who knows, perhaps applying at some point MARTIAL LAW—
    “In honor of Martial—“
    “Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English as Martial) (March 1, between 38 and 41 AD – between 102 and 104 AD), was a Latin poet from Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan. In these short, witty poems he cheerfully satirizes city life and the scandalous activities of his acquaintances, and romanticises his provincial upbringing. He wrote a total of 1,561, of which 1,235 are in elegiac couplets. He is considered the creator of the modern epigram.

  • On December 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

    The above by David-Baptiste Chirot is really quite sharp, and some of the pieces very funny. And he makes some excellent satirical points! (Also, as I’ve mentioned, his Feneon blog is a must see–probably the best collection of Feneon materials on the web.)
    I see that the Faits Divers blog is now up and running again, with more entries.
    Curious doings…
    Kent

  • On December 29, 2008 at 10:33 pm john wrote:

    “[Martial] is considered the creator of the modern epigram.”
    While Martial codified the modern epigram, Greek poets Lucilius and Nikarchos gave the form its satiric, comic spin a few decades before Martial. This is from Nikarchos, trans. by Robin Skelton, from the Penguin edition of “The Greek Anthology,” edited by Peter Green:
    If blocked, a fart can kill a man;
    if let escape, a fart can sing
    health-giving songs; farts kill and save:
    a fart is powerful as a king.

  • On December 30, 2008 at 1:30 am john wrote:

    p.s. I, too, enjoyed David-Baptiste Chirot’s post.
    Just wanted to put a word in for the Greek Anthology, not take anything away from the great Martial (or the pointed, delightful puns thereon).

  • On December 30, 2008 at 2:34 pm Kent Johnson wrote:

    Oh my.
    Someone has just told me (my source is unimpeachable) that a prominent member of the Flarf group has threatened suit against the feneon collective.
    Kent

  • On December 30, 2008 at 3:18 pm Doodle wrote:

    But they’d only ask for a Photoshopped dollar in damages, one presumes?

  • On December 30, 2008 at 4:54 pm "noah freed" wrote:

    A lawsuit? Let it come down, as the murderer says in Macbeth. It will be terrifically entertaining for you (I mean, for the Fénéon Collective) & frustrating & embarrassing for the plaintiff. I doubt he or she will bother, but you should definitely encourage him or her, as if it went forward it would be tossed as frivolous, & you might be able to claim some damages. The person can’t really think being satirized is actionable? If he’s a known poet, he’s a public figure, even if a terribly inconsequential one, & courts have consistently ruled in favor of artists in such cases. Quite hilarious. And surely guaranteed to draw even more satire down on his head, I would imagine.

  • On December 30, 2008 at 5:25 pm "noah freed" wrote:

    … and why is it, I wonder, that the humorless Flarfistas so promptly threaten legal action at the slightest provocation — these poets whose art is entirely based on the unsanctioned appropriation of others’ discourse? How can it be that they who prankishly — sometimes quite amusingly — attempt to subvert the dominant solemnity of contemporary poetics are the first to seek recourse in the most oppressive of state institutions when someone dares to make fun of them in return? How insular!

  • On December 30, 2008 at 5:46 pm john wrote:

    Lawsuits! Now we’re talkin’! Let’s get some good avant-garde high dudgeon going.
    Next up — a duel!
    With unsold copies of each other’s books as weapons.

  • On December 30, 2008 at 7:14 pm Gary B. Fitzgerald wrote:

    The Supreme Court was at a loss. What a strange case! The Flarf group was suing the Feneon Collective. The Collective countersued. The School of Quietude submitted a ‘Friend of the Court’ brief recommending that they all be hung from the beams of the theater in Stratford-upon-Avon. M Whitman scratched his head and turned away. Mme Plath started laughing. It was reported that M Thoreau vomited on his shoes.


Posted in Uncategorized on Sunday, December 14th, 2008 by Linh Dinh.