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The Comedy Stylings of Julie Kristeva: The Semiotic and the Symbolic

Setup: In this symbiosis with the supposedly phallic mother, what can the subject do but occupy her place, thus navigating the path from fetishism to autoeroticism?

Punchline: That indeed is the question.


Setup: The precondition for such a heterogeneity that alone posits and removes historical meaning is the thetic phase.

Punchline: We cannot emphasize this enough.


Setup: Although originally a precondition of the symbolic, the semiotic functions within signifying practices as the result of a transgression of the symbolic.

Punchline: Therefore the semiotic that “precedes” symbolization is only a theoretical supposition justified by the need for description

April 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today is Jennifer Egan Appreciation Day

A Visit from the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan just won the Pulitzer Prize for A Visit from the Goon Squad. If you have not read this book, you should. You totally should. You may also enjoy my piece on this amazing novel in the most recent edition of Women's Review of Books, and I would also like to recommend my interview with Jennifer Egan, conducted in 2007, when the also awesome The Keep, was published.

April 21, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Poem I Do Not Hate: The Mermaid in the Hospital

She awoke  
to find her fishtail  
clean gone  
but in the bed with her  
were two long, cold thingammies.  
You'd have thought they were tangles of kelp  
or collops of ham.

"They're no doubt  
taking the piss,  
it being New Year's Eve.  
Half the staff legless  
with drink  
and the other half  
playing pranks.  
Still, this is taking it  
a bit far."
And with that she hurled
the two thingammies out of the room.

But here's the thing  
she still doesn't get—
why she tumbled out after them  
How she was connected  
to those two thingammies  
and how they were connected  
to her.

It was the sister who gave her the wink
and let her know what was what.
"You have one leg attached to you there  
and another one underneath that.  
One leg, two legs...
A-one and a-two...
Now you have to learn  
what they can do."

In the long months  
that followed,  
I wonder if her heart fell
the way her arches fell,
her instep arches.

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
Translator's Note

The Fifty Minute Mermaid

April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Poem I Do Not Hate: Why I Am Not a Painter

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."
"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Frank O’Hara

Selected Poems

April 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Poem I Do Not Hate: To His Coy Mistress

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Andrew Marvell

The Complete Poems

April 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Poem I Do Not Hate: Black March

I have a friend
At the end
Of the world.
His name is a breath

Of fresh air.
He is dressed in
Grey chiffon. At least
I think it is chiffon.
It has a
Peculiar look, like smoke.

It wraps him round
It blows out of place
It conceals him
I have not seen his face.

But I have seen his eyes, they are
As pretty and bright
As raindrops on black twigs
In March, and heard him say:

I am a breath
Of fresh air for you, a change
By and by.

Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs.

(Such a pretty time when the sky
Behind black twigs can be seen
Stretched out in one
Cambridge blue as cold as snow.)

But this friend
Whatever new names I give him
Is an old friend. He says:

Whatever names you give me
I am
A breath of fresh air,
A change for you.

Stevie Smith

Collected Poems

April 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Honor of National Poetry Month

8 Reasons Why I Hate Poetry

  1. It’s too short.
  2. Or it’s too long.
  3. It’s too fancy.
  4. Or it’s just words broken up into weird lines for no good reason.
  5. No dialogue.
  6. No narrative.
  7. No wizards, no space ships, no mystery-solving medieval monks.
  8. Performance poets. All of them.


April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (3)