Monday, October 03, 2005

Jack's Sampling

Jack Ross, my predecessor at the helm of brief and the poet laurete of Mairangi Bay, has an interesting essay on Sampling up at the Titus Books site (or should I say 'down' at the Titus Books site - how does one give directions on the internet?). Jack has a been trailblazer for the literary form now becoming known as the 'page work': typically, he mixes his own writing with found texts and dismembered classics in a very clever sort of collage. And if you're inclined to dismiss this sort of stuff as incorrigibly marginal, I'm sure Jack would take great pleasure in telling you that he's made the cut for the inaugural Aotearoa Literary Map, published recently by the New Zeland Book Council (check out the Northland and Auckland section - Jack's in good company...)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack Ross is one strange egg. Speaking as someone who grew up in a pace not dissimilar to Mairangi Bay, I can say HE DOES NOT SPEAK FOR US. Poet laurete - phooey!

1:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He may be a strange egg, but Mairangi Bay has a tendancy to create those.

Speaking as a former Mairangi Bayite, I'm glad Jack's there to speak for us.

Find an alternative Poet Laureate and I'll think about it. Til then, Jack's got my vote.

5:36 pm  
Anonymous Jack Ross said...

I've got to admit that it's a bit of a shock to discover:
1/ that I'm supposed to be the "poet laureate of Mairangi Bay"
2/ that I'm "one strange egg."

On reflection, though, I don't see too much reason to quarrel with either description.

What's all this about a "place not dissimilar to Mairangi Bay", anyway? There are no places "like" Mairangi Bay! It's definitely one strange place (when you really get to know it, that is ...)

8:35 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not consider that the last two commenters respond to my rejection of the claims made for Jack Ross in a manner that is either decently sensitive or illuminating. Why is it necessary to have visited a place to know it, as Jack Ross and his supporter, whom I shall satirically call 'annonymouse', claim? I consider that I have a very good knowledge of classical Greece, after thirty-three years of study, but I will never, can never, visit that realm - unless, that is, one's deepest desires are answered in the afterlife. My position is that, occupying a part of New Zealand geographical and (therefore) culturally contiguous with Mairangi Bay, I have a more than reasonable insight into the lives of the souls who dwell there. And my view is that, for all the tenacity of his social realism, Ross is afflicted by a failure of nerve, which manifests itself as a failure of vision - as a failure to use the sensal imagination to transcend the reality he describes. To put it another way, the real Mairangi Bay does not exist. Does Jack Ross dare to bring it into being, or will he reproduce its absence by describing what 'actually' exists in Mairangi Bay? A true laurete would not choose such an ignoble endeavour. My position is clear: living in the (imaginative) Bay of Islands, I wish to recreate in my region the sun-drenched splendour of classical, Heideggerian Greece -to remake a refuge from the world, in the world. All of my work, even those portions of it which Jack Ross has parodied or (by his absence of reference to it) condemned, is directed toward this noble and not-quite-possible end. 'The grape hangs heavy on the vine' - does that by any chance ring a bell, Jack?

Note that, unlike 'annonymouse', who doubtless does have some laudable qualities, I will not run and hide:
I am yours,
Sanjay Wells
6 Rye Rd

7:48 pm  
Anonymous Sanjay, classicist said...

I see (or, rather, do not see) that Jack Ross has chosen to answer me with silence. Whether his is the sure silence of superiority or the flustered, unstable silence of concession I do not, cannot know - what is certain is that the owner and operators of this blog have made a desperate gamble of their own, and attempted to change the topic of conversation here from the failures of their literary tendency to the larger, but no less lamentable, failure of US foreign policy in Iraq: I refer, of course, to the recent post about the 'Clash of manichaeans'.
Can I suggest that a more suitable subject for political (and, indeed, literary) discussion here might be given the following logical form:

1. Are we (homo sapiens) alone in the universe?

2. If we are not alone - and the existence of countless thousands of stars a great distance away, contra Orwell's foolish talk of 'little lumps of fire a few kilometres away', suggests that we are not alone - then why have we recieved no discernable communication from an unscrambled source, across the vastness of space, or the absence of space?

3. Are we being silently judged from afar?

4. What form will our eventual (because inevitable) punishment take?

I am yours,
Sanjay Wells,
6 Rye Rd,
New Zealand

11:38 am  
Anonymous John H Appleton said...

Jack of Mairangi should definitley be spanked or thrashed or lambasted as it is clear to me - on reading his notes about samplng that not only aleins will upset by his use of sex and gluttony - oh no!! - for while claiming no originality it ivcdlear to me he has been greatly if not actually totally influenced by the style and methods of my friend X - author of the immense, complex, subtle and clearly a great work: "The Infinite Poem" - inded rather than Jack - it is Richard Taylor (for it is indeed he who is my friend) who should be on the literary map - Dr Ross -who is vastly ambitious - has "st- " - I hesitate over the word but he has clearly unrightly taken great ideas and even swathes of texts from the work of that wonderful poet Richard Taylor - to his (Ross's of course) eternal shame...

2:50 pm  
Blogger slavomir said...

'I consider that I have a very good knowledge of classical Greece, after thirty-three years of study,'

But if you were actually transported to ancient Greece right now and were walking down a hot street in Athens wearing a toga, avoiding sword wearing chariot drivers would it not be an entirely different TYPE of knowledge than you have?

'as a failure to use the sensal imagination to transcend the reality he describes.'

I did not realise there is now an internationally accepted definition of what form art must take. The social realism (that can also cause social change) of Kieslowski, Defoe, Dickins and Hugo is now not allowed? The benefits of bringing latent sexuality into the consciousness as pioneered by Freud are no longer valid?
Art has lost all it's modern 'realist muscle' and must return to the abstract idealist forms of classical Greece?



4:40 pm  
Anonymous Sanjay, classicist: said...


Dirty bastard!

Did you by any chance write the book of life? How do you know the exact layout of a Greek street, or the trajectory that an antique arrow might take across a sky that is a purer blue than ours? What I am saying, in a colourful way - yes, colour too is one of the powers - is that Greece is the property of the imagination, not anything so crude, so misbegotten, as the human past. It is the great vice of realism to accept, rather than to transcned and transmogrify, the past: think about this for just a moment, and you will find that the moment lingers, that it stretches out, as if it were lying lazily on a divan, that it yawns, and reclines - in short, that time ceases to be time, and the only reality is that of the imagination, which does not exist either. You will forgive my poeticisms, if only you are able to enter, with however much trepidation disguised as yearning, into the state, the imaginative state, which I offer for you, and which is Greece. Greece never existed: that is the glory of Greece. You see, even I can, after the interval of thirty-three years, be epigrammatic!

I am yours,
Sanjay Wells,
6 Rye Rd,

5:25 pm  
Blogger slavomir said...

'It is the great vice of realism to accept, rather than to transcned and transmogrify, the past'

But then you do not need the past to transmogriphy, you can transmogriphy or transcend anything, think of a newspaper, transcend it, imagine it's lines departing from the page and flowing loosely up to form images in the sky, you will end up in the same place as transcending ancient greece. The imagination.

Greece DID exist, that is it's beauty, it's actuality. But surely Night's with Giordano Bruno by Jack Ross was one great imaginative epic? Surely you must love it then?


6:00 pm  
Blogger slavomir said...

Dr Ross has stolen swathes of text from this Richard Taylor?
I must read him, where can I find this "infinite poem"?


6:20 pm  
Anonymous Jack Ross said...

Dear Slavomir,

Thanks for your very kind words about Nights with Giordano Bruno above. It seems that you actually have some acquaintance with my work, unlike Sanjay Wells, who types me as a "tenacious social realist" ... ("more like an anti-social realist," was the sarky reply of one friend I mentioned this to).

While I have the greatest respect for Richard Taylor both as artist and critic (and have indeed been kindly reviewed by him on two occasions -- in the old pander and in brief), I have certainly not stolen "swathes of text" from him -- or any text at all, for that matter. Nor do I think that I've been particularly influenced by the small sections I've seen of the infinite poem. After all, he would probably have mentioned any such alleged plagiarism in the reviews mentioned above if it had actually taken place, don't you think?

Your remarks on the thisness of reality and experience seem to me absolutely spot on, by the way.

Live long and prosper!

yours, jack

10:43 am  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Jack hasn't stolen from "The Infinite Poem" because - as it is fundamentally a conceptual "event" or textuation-it both does and does not exist-it has no beginnng middle or end-but to the extent that it "began" if aything can ever begin, it incorporated methods similar to sampling as descibed by Jack (that is - like many 'avantgarde' predecessors) I have utilised 'stolen fragments' of all (many) kinds of writers and writing styles etc (there is a similarity to jack's sampling here - and method of turnign the tables had also occured tome -but I -I'm not sure of Jack's approach- but I don't necessarily acknowledge or even remember who I have stolen from - and I don't "steal" necessarily because the fragment or whole text or whatever is "great" or even good, but so I can add a varying texture of ideations or 'timbres and tones' which interract in the total sphere of the concept I an enacting if I am and when I am enacting that sphere)-but these writings I "steal" or borrow from (who owns the language?) were or are from anywhere -no hierarchies -and then my (practice of) feeding them back - in a more or less random way - into the text or texts-if we are being serious about this -the difference is that I have no plan as such for The Infinite Poem - it is processional and provisional and also I often fragment the fragments that I steal-also I- like T S Eliot and many since-believe that 'great writers steal and the lesser writers merely imitate' (take with pinch of NaCl) - I have no problems with Jack "swatching" me - now the point here is-or one point is-that such plagiarism or "swatching" is really meaningless as each writer-no matter how aleatory he or she is-has a particular stamp we cant aviod or "stamp out" -hence-to date no one has quite implemented or enacted he "Death of the Author" (if that line is useful-it has some good aspects - an idea I do find interesting ... via Roland Barthes-perhaps there are generic similarities on some levels bewteen Jack Ross's writing and mine-but The Infinite Poem has-for now -my "stamp" on it and Jack has his own view of the world imprinted in his works; but I think we coincide in certain areas.

And I think Jack and I have both been too busy and self absorbed to take too much notice of each other - but indeed Jack is doing some profound work (I have liked all his works that I *have* read but I haven't had time to study all of them fully either -but "City of Strange Brunettes" and "Nights with Giordorno Bruno" are two favourites with me. Jack is highly intelligent writer, greatly read, poetic in the true sense, but also 'profound', and a major writer in NZ.

9:09 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

In addition - The Infinte Poem is under a continuous process whether I am writing it or not and 'sampling' or collaging stolen writings is only one device fact one idea I began with was that I wanted to conserve all conscious traces - and in some cases certain fragments or whole pieces of "great" writers were used -now new ideas have entered into The Infinite Poem...

I suppose that it is a fact that to some extent -however small - all writers are influenced by other writers..but there has been ltle "influence" as such (maybe there has of that has come via ideas expressed or via reaassesing my ideas when I have seen Jack's books)...but I began The Infinite Poem in 1992 - well before I met Jack Ross.

But undeniably there has been some mixing and sharing of ideas...

9:17 pm  
Blogger Richard Taylor said...

But I do feel very sttongly about that invidious Appleton character...

9:23 pm  
Anonymous john h appleton said...

john h appleton

It always gets down to name calling with you poncy Academics. I have already, by implication, "praised" your works - but some of you need to realise that there is a real world out there.

But I still acknowledge the sad greatness of Rciahrd Taylor and am beginning to gain some respect for Jack Ross.

But I believe he lacks "engagement". However it seems he is mellowing.
I will say no more. I ingore Taylor Richard's 'invidious' remark - he is briliant but inherently unstable - I should know we two have clashed swords for so many years. On balance an interesting personage, and despite his irascibility and myopia and bumbling and general fuzziness: he has streak of brilliance, rather like Burt Munro of the "Worlds's Fastest Indian". If only he could "get real".

9:36 pm  

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