Poetry in an age of distraction: Jennifer Scappettone at TEDxUVA


unknown 180 degree shift and if the plan our next speaker is an assistant
professor in the Department English at the University of Chicago
she’s the author killing the moonlight modernism in
Venice the editor and translator locomotor X selected poetry and prose
Amelia for Sally and a published contributor to numerous
journals an anthropology please welcome UVA grad scholar and poet doctor jennifer’s Capitani okay so I’ve got fifteen minutes to
pitch my new idea no time to weigh but I want to talk
about poetry which Shakespeare once called a
chronicle wasted time to qualify here the idea
needs to be new but poetry is at odds with prevailing
notions have been new in a halting staccato be william carlos
williams wants me the claim look at what passes for the new you will not find it there but in despised polled why despised because in a culture that
worships speed and novelty poetry has been around as long as
language has there’s nothing novel about it whatsoever except in so far as it rearranges time poetry can outpace Standard Time which is a relatively
recent fabrication after all work and disrupt the apparent
advancement of our startling conclusions and halting
questioning Magical Feet poetry’s manipulation of time against the monotony of any metric found in
early modern expression in the and love al Dortmund nations a
renaissance publisher whose revolutionary idea half a millennium ago was to strip the
footnotes away from Dante’s Divine Comedy making the poem more akin to music and
two morals and by printing the poem in a compact italic typeface to make books that were
portable small enough to be carried away from any
death in the hands the printers mark that
appeared in al dis is books up a dolphin encircling
in anchor was meant to illustrate and
ancient adage fifty not maintain or make peace slowly by taking away the line by line
commentary that had begun to bog dante’s lines down in explanation Altis granted poetry and immediacy a
mobility in a quickness like the Dolphins while refusing to allow the difficulty
of poetry to be explained away thereby preserving the poems function as
an anchor in time demanding protracted thinking channeled into first language can seem to tumble
and Corinne or idk unfolds time back on itself and
Baroque fashion giving of PARs as it draws
attention to the sound in the materiality of our ideas in lyric poetry with the author and the San Francisco
Renaissance Robert Duncan often I am permitted to
return to a meadow as if it were seen made up by the mind that is not mine but is a maid place that is mine it is so near to the
heart and eternal pasture folded in all so that there is a hall there in that is a maid place created by light where from the shadows that are forms
far duncan’s poem pulls us into a scene in
which the archaic words therein and where from become contemporary shadows
fall because the enlightenment of poetry this obeys dawn and dusk its elimination
is not mine this expiring moment alone but I’ve are I am called to return to the fold in
this 1956 poem over and over its unfolding not linear
but Oregon me like it houses me in a music
that is familiar but changed every time I revisited
because I and the conditions have my reading are
changing like Gertrude Stein’s rose is a rose is a rose is a rose every rose delighting in
consciousness in a different moment and thereby re arisen mesmerizing through repetition and rhyme duncan’s poem invites us into a dream who secret we see in a children’s game %uh ring around roses told in lyric the tolling of time becomes
ring like cyclical as kids downs to ward off the ashes in the dark caught up in this opaque music foremost
rather than in it message I don’t know what duncan’s poem
means any more now than I did when first transfixed by its language fifteen years ago so it helps me live this world is not
conclusion says Emily Dickinson is there any broom for the inconclusive
tempo in bewilderment of poetic thought in an information society five
years ago steve Jobs claimed the Kindle would fail because people don’t read
anymore forty percent of the people in the US
read one book or laugh last year he said know even a bibliophile has to admit the
element of truth in this from every corner were offered more
hours in advance is far more spectacular than words the whole world use to be watching now
it’s multi tasking no one has time to pour through a
chronicle love wasted time instead shakespeare’s poem becomes
fodder for an advertising campaign targeting
those wasting too much time in meetings and the screen offers to sell us and no
fear Shakespeare paraphrase on accounts have historic times to go well those left cold for all of the
above can take refuge in a button at the bottom of the page
reading I’m the word to stand out in a min reading panorama
distraction language needs to deliver a takeaway it has to fit into a tweet now twitter is a wondrous thing
collapsing space spreading news and ideas but what does
and doesn’t fit into a tweet I delivered a little manifesto about
poetry at a conference last january a few tweeters sat in reserved places in
the back of the room each put in the room had only five
minutes to speak so I kept my lines short and slogan like I pledged fidelity to the shapely missive poetry in a world of prose because knowledge is
inseparable from the texture and pace if its approach I said the poet composes versus the
expectation that thought knows where it’s going knowledge is not front-loaded though the
presiding time line of production demands it be so it’s a donning ambient but non-absorbent
ive I said thinking needs to found its own
idiom continually to be thought a few days later via Storify thread
posted to Facebook I learned that this discussion had been
tweeted as kinda on Twitter Bligh of them but strictly speaking those
sentences were short enough to tweet so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about
poetry and the awesomely on Twi double what’s the difference on the one hand
poetry exists in a relationship to constrain similar to that of Twitter fourteen
lines in the sonnet ten syllables in a line 140 characters
in a tweet both thrive on density both poetry and Twitter keep time poems
have been reminding us for centuries to car pay DM to Caesar literally to pluck the day as we would pluck roses before
they die twitter keeps us attuned to what’s
happening moment by moment in hash tag global cognitive space on the other hand poems force those searching for an
instantly legible message to stop in their tracks and did in again and again and again and again such anchoring is anathema to the
industrious amnesia digital feeds that require burling
further and further and further just access yesterday’s news this one word poem from 1965 by Arum cerulean expands time in space by expanding the silence in the word for
light in an instant even in being apprehended
instantaneously like an advertisement civilians dilated
word makes room for a temporal wedge in which we dwell in puzzlement resisting the deadening
linear model oven light moment in time it makes the case for continuing to
return to poetry in search of the awesomely on Twi double now well poetry moore’s us in time
against instantly legible sound-bite it is
always existed in response to sociological and
technological advances from elders with his portable dante
through the future if who sought to liberate language in
utterly new poetry that took speed as it’s gone the futurist manifesto famously declared
a racing car more beautiful than the we need
victorious amor 3 and said we wish to sing the praises
have the man behind the steering wheel poetry has constantly to reinvent the
wheel in 1914 Apollinaire built on the future
is dream have a wireless imagination by taking the radio movement radio waves
from the Eiffel Tower and the surrounding noise have the
modern metropolis as the model for this hallowed ground a
poem telegram for his brother Albert across the
Atlantic Ocean in mexico and today at the forefront of digital
technology and composing with code electronic writers like judge Morrissey
make sentences and even tweets downs against ending on the World
Wide Web I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m my poetry rearranges time by
manipulating the directions of our attention to reconcile today’s reading tempers
trained by digital navigation and scanning in a crowded visual field with a very different experience have
time I had when Excavating & ancient Greek garbage
dump in Morgan Tina sicily as a UVA student twenty years ago my poem exit 43 was conceived as a mixed
media archaeology of the landfill and opera pop-up windows implicates the reader in labyrinthine search for a buried past it comes out a research into the
landscape with my childhood and exit off with an expressway in New
York where wire manufacturer had illegally
dumped tens of thousands of times up industrial
sludge into a landfill next to my elementary
school making for air land and water so
polluted that the Environmental Protection Agency
declared the site one of the most toxic in the nation this history was entirely invisible to
the neighborhood so the poem gives voice to bury
discussions have the disaster questioning the equivalences industry
with progress by rearranging the waste products have
language grafting bits have archaic lyric
pastoral poetry onto a barrage of EPA data from research but both online on the ground and implicating the reader
into a search like some Allison Underland searching for meaning and following
detours in and dead and time in this poem is not so
much cyclical as vertiginous the poems were meant for moment by
moment improvisation in order to be read and
scored for a chorus voices so I’m going to play a couple
love fragments recordings from my collaborative
performance with the deforming ensemble ingrown that did much I’m well E as ok here your in a poetic panorama that is in completely virtual and
language both archaic and tactically out-of-date and new and time in the poem lurches and
looped back on itself continually as wheat roll for responsibility and send recollecting again and again and I’ll demonstrate how this navigation
works in the online version of the poem are I’m them mine mom my low yen yen mom home home home mom home mom I’m if we make the time for homes in a culture distractions if
we permit them to baffle ass and stop us in our tracks we just might find William Carlos
Williams words prophetic it is difficult to get the news from poems yet man die
miserably everyday for lack have one is found there thing

2 thoughts on “Poetry in an age of distraction: Jennifer Scappettone at TEDxUVA

  1. Thank YOU.
    My mind works & thinks similar to how you speak.
    Yet my words form spoken sentences tainted by school day's grammar rules.
    Therefor when I attempt to speak the poetic romances of my rhythmic mind's ecstasy on even the most mundane topics or items,
    All meaning & value is lost to furled eyebrows, half smile frowns, & faces turning away to stare at mindless screens.
    So, perhaps I may fare better upon tracing my brain thoughts upon the almighty screens they yearn to watch,& silence lips.

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