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Constantly Bathing in the Semantic Folds of the New Lana Turner Content

By Harriet Staff

Issue #5 of the always-revelatory Lana Turner is out, and contains among its gemlike wonders some poetry from Catherine Wagner (also featured maintenant at PEN, but we digress), Claudia Rankine, Sandra Simonds, Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Jackqueline Frost, Joe Luna, Jorie Graham, Douglas Piccinnini, Cole Swensen, and Daniel Tiffany; and plentiful more, including reviews and translations, and essays from Alain Badiou and Jean-Luc Godard (the latter’s is actually written under his pseudonym, Michel Servet, originally printed in J’accuse, 1971, and newly translated by Louis-Georges Schwartz). 1971! We’d place that right before Letter to Jane/Tout Va Bien and perhaps quite near the Godard-Gorin collaboration, made under contract with publicity agency Dupuy Compton, “Schick commercial.” Did we just digress again? Because this post was supposed to point out some Lana Turner content, specifically a clear-eyed review on Lisa Robertson’s Nilling, penned by Lindsay Turner. You can’t see this online (but you can! $12 for all access)–so we’ll provide a snippet:

…Robertson derives her title from Hannah Arendt’s work on will and counter-will: “the will twists towards a consciousness of itself, away from instrumental agency, and into the stance of nilling.” A taut play between willing and its negation, nilling unites the encounters and configurations of each of the book’s essays. The first of these, a series of aphoristic meditations on reading (#20: “Reading in the dark: Here is the acutely sought ruin of identity”), is both a gendered theory of the pleasure of the text and a sensitive account of that universal experience. In this essay, and the others that expand to encompass specific texts and histories, the city, art, melancholy, gendered space, and poetic creation, Robertson neither dramatizes the problem of identity nor denies identity’s presence. Rather, her work happens inside that problem, permitting a locus for emotions, puns, reflections, and embodiment even as her nilling arranges that material—folds it, as it were, upon itself rather than around a central self, “radically opening identity as a non-teleological, inconspicuous work of abnegation, of nilling as agency.” Throughout the book, Robertson’s essays are as thoroughly conceptualized as they are acutely and gracefully felt: the stance of nilling does not (as it might) authorize an accumulation of trivia, curiosities, or accident, nor does it permit a lapse into authorial scavenging or quirkiness. In “Lastingness: Réage, Lucrèce, Arendt,” for example, the grouping of the three authors is explicitly the result of a personal history of research, reading, and chance. But such contingency is continuous with the essay’s nilling, a necessary precondition rather than a particular occasion for it or simply accidental to it. The “noise” of the Parisian soundscapes gathered—and available online—in “Disquiet” functions similarly to enfold and enable an exploration of nilling. “Noise constitutes the shared rhythm of the political,” Robertson writes. “We city dwellers constantly bathe in the semantic folds of non-communicating noise, and this is also the polis.” [...]

Please read Turner’s review in full over there. And speaking of Robertson: She also contributed to the issue, translating with Avra Spector “Notes on Baudelaire” by Emile Benveniste. A fantastic issue all in all.

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 by Harriet Staff.