Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spam poetry - 2

Stabshank is sort of full
so a few of these guys
will be put into temporary holding cells.

The injured rioters are carted off to the infirmary
and then I await your next batch of prisoners.
I create a morgue too - I should.

Despite their detailed biographies
Cadwader started rioting
due to a food shortage
and Pritchard escaped
because I foolishly
opened his cell door.

It dawns on me that everything
that's happened so far
has been a consequence of the environment
not the prisoners.












 
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Poem nr.1: remix from the comment spam on my weblog.
Poem nr.2: remix from may spam mail.
See also:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The memory of the puddle

Quelli che son partiti - non son tornati
sui monti della Grecia - sono restati.

A puddle along a sidewalk somewhere in Russia was caught on a dashboard camera. A forgettable fact without consequences. Humble but still beautiful. The morning atmosphere, the cold, the sunrise. The contrast of clean reflection and dirty mud. A gift from the world, from modern technology. Recorded, stored and presented. We can be thankful for that.
 
If God is omnipotent and omnipresent, does he remember everything? Nothing should escape his/her attention.
What is the price of two sparrows ... one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.
Could it be that "not a single puddle evaporates without God remembering it"? Maybe the image of this specific puddle has been restored to us from God's memory. One small demonstration of the beauty of creation. We can be thankful for that.
Is it fair to an author when a whole book is interesting but only the last few sentences make an unforgettable impression? Is it fair to read the last few sentences as a stand-alone poem?
...
and what happens isn't a word,
just like clouds aren't words,
or the man driving by with his arm out the window isn't a word.
 
But they happen.
They all happen and then they're gone.
 
Clouds, people, buildings, laughter, darkness.
It all happens, and then it's gone.
 
The piece of yellow paper in the street.
The sounds of children in the distance.
It fades away completely.
 
The puddle in the sidewalk and the memory of the puddle.
And then it’s gone.
But it's not forgotten.

References:
Sul_ponte_di_Perati
Tent Rotterdam - aspect_ratio
American Purgatorio by John Haskell - Google Books
American Purgatorio - Amazon
American Purgatorio - Review
American Purgatorio - Reviews
The Possible Ties Between Illness and Success by Carlo Zanni
Carlo Zanni - Review and other artworks
The Possible Ties Between Illness and Success - Information

Monday, March 30, 2015

From a strange planet - 7

Road webcam fascination
The silent pictures of Scandinavian traffic-webcams have a strange fascination for me. I'm trying to analyze this effect. My previous analyses of the webcam obsession are here: part 6part 5part 4part 3part 2part 1. I used video, fiction, literary criticism and art to think through this window on far-away worlds. Just some events I noticed.

Webcam self portraits in shadows
  
Sudden changes in weather
 
Birds
Cyclists
 
Walkers
Sheep
Stuff being sold and bought
 
Tides rising
 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

From a strange planet - 6

Road webcam fascination
The silent pictures of Scandinavian traffic-webcams have a strange fascination for me. I'm trying to analyze this effect. My previous analyses of the webcam obsession are here: part 5, part 4, part 3, part 2, part 1. I used video, fiction, literary criticism and art to think about this strange window on far-away worlds. In this post I pick a few curiosities I noticed.

Why different?
The webcam shows a tiny segment of the world. It forces you to look deep and hard. A tiny sliver of reality that you get to know very well. I'm just as interested in the view from my window. But somehow the webcam is different. Maybe recorded pictures on a screen stimulate the analytic view more than looking out a window. Maybe it's the feeling that the webcam picture is far away and more special.

Astronomic phenomena
Sometimes the camera catches the moon or the sun. This is a sunset and moonrise at RV80 Nordvika.
And of course this easterly orientation also shows the sunrise.
People sightings
In a few rare cases there are people in the webcam pictures. Here someone is waiting at E6 Langfjordbjotn. For the bus? It does not look like a bus stop.
And at the same place someone is coming and going. Did he/she pick up something or someone? Was it a success or a disappointment? Impossible to tell.
And here someone is walking along the seaside. He is slowly approaching the webcam at Fv662 Senjahopen.

Auto-awesome

Google has spontaneously decided that some webcam pictures need to be prettified. This is the "auto awesome" function. I find it very ironic that these bleakly functional pictures have been transformed into romantic Christmas cards. (Fv662 Senjahopen and E6 Snasa)
Video glitch
And while making the time-lapse video I generated a few spontaneous glitches. These computer generated landscapes are strangely appealing and appropriate.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Putin news remix

 

Stalin had retreated to his Dacha after hearing of the first reports and after he fully realized the scope and magnitude of the catastrophe taking place. He spent days in stunned seclusion in his dacha outside Moscow.

“We were witness to his moment of weakness,” recalled Beria later, “and for that he’ll never forgive us.”

Stalin was looking thinner, haggard and hadn’t changed his clothes. He had on his face a look of fear. Mikoyan later wrote, “I have no doubt – he decided we had come to arrest him.”

“Why have you come?” Stalin asked. Molotov stepped forward, “We’re asking you to return to work.”

Stalin dithered, “But can I live up to people’s expectations? Can I lead the nation to a final victory? There may be more deserving candidates.” “There’s none more worthy,” said Voroshilov.

Molotov told Stalin of their idea to form a State Defence Committee, to which Stalin asked, “Yes, but with whom at its head?” ”You, Comrade Stalin,” came the answer, “You.”

Sources:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=197690&start=135
http://www.historyinanhour.com/2011/07/01/stalins-breakdown/

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Blog comment poetry


There is no reason for you
to have heard of the Mahabharata.
But it is universally known
in Indian
and Indian-influenced societies.

Whether it teaches you useful lessons,
or is a classic,
is completely subjective.

It is universally known
that Caro-Kann Fantasy Variation
is a viable alternative
to the mainstream Advance Variation,
and the Classical and Exchange-Panov Attack.

However, there’s no reason for you
to have heard of it.

But it is universally known
in chess circles
to practitioners of the Caro-Kann.

Whether it teaches you useful lessons,
or is a classic,
is completely subjective.


Source:
Kris and Ray Lopez on:
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2015/03/mahabharata-a-modern-retelling.html

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Topographic poetry by Peter Larkin

I discovered Peter Larkin's book of poems by accident. I was browsing the poetry section of the American Bookshop in The Hague. At first I was captivated by the wonderful cover and the beautiful typography. But then I saw the text.
Larkin’s poetry, while praised within poetry circles ... has been largely ignored, perhaps because of the naturalist focus of his work, its quietness and rather unglamorous abstruseness, or because of its minute observation of arboreal phenomena.
The poetry describes woods. Those remains of woods in our industrialized landscape. Plantations with electricity pylons. It is very recognizable but also totally disorienting. It forces you to think about landscape phenomena that you would never notice. The lines of the horizon through the trees. Roots finding their way in the soil. But you're never sure if you understand the words correctly.
It's intelligible on the level of the word ... but on the sentence and paragraph level it ascends quickly into something that, like a tree, the human may only walk around, view, dissect, or disfigure: recoverable at the necrostic root but hermetic in its ramifications.
The poems are hypnotic. Many words keep coming back in different constellations. The paragraphs read like an inhuman text generated by a Markov-chain process. They are so hard to read that I can never manage more than one page at a time. The language forces you to reverse-engineer the sentences, to solve the poems like cryptographs. What (simple) observational phenomenon is described in this abstruse language? It is punishing, but I keep coming back for more.
My other concern has been with matters of landscape and ecology, often focussing on the predicament and analogical patterning of the woods and plantations which residually border our lives. ... The prose character of much of my writing ... may also reflect my fascination ... with the possibility of exploring underlying phenomenological and theological 'arguments' in the mode of continuously noted variations and takes on 'outdoor' perception.
It is fitting that neither the reviews nor the interviews shed much light on these mysterious poems. The explanatory texts are just as complex as the poems themselves. This is good.
 
I will not try to add an explanation. I will just juxtapose a few fragments with their topographical explanation, as given by the author. It is a relief to see that there is some hard reality under the mystical revelations. But it is not mystical at all. It is what you get by looking objectively at the landscape. Wonderful!
Peter Larkin, Lessways Least Scarce Among, 2012, Shearsman Books

Topographic Note
Tuif Hill, once described as a "totally unjustifiable plantation" and now much reduced, lies near the northeast perambulation (boundary) of the New Forest where an east-west line of pylons pierces what is strictly the chin of Millersford Plantation.

The miscellaneous clumps, elongated or oblique, near Twopence Spring are also near Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire. One clump is incidental enough not to appear on the map except as a reservoir. 
Palefield Coppice lies to the north of Old Manor Farm, Haseley, in Warwickshire, and approximates to an inverted T with a footpath passing through the stem of the upright.
Coronation Spinney (though based more exactly on the adjacent Sixteen Acre Wood) is also in Warwickshire among the outlying woods of Berkswell Hall. Not in fact surrounded by wheat prairies but with fields large enough to offer that sense of open grain, except where some nondescript grassland survives.
Wotton Hill Clump, a nineteenth-century commemorative walled knot of pines now reduced to nine surviving trees, is beside the Cotswold Way where it descends from Westridge to Wotton-under-Edge.

References:
Book (publishers webpage) with downloadable sample
Interview (very abstract)
Review (short - with photograph of the landscape)
Review (of other poems - long)
Review (of a more recent book of poems)
Book (book)
Extract from book (short)
Extract from book (longer)