Crayon 5: On Beauty

Crayon Launch Party flyer
The new Crayon has been released. My poem, *subliminal city* appears there and my review of Kass Fleischer’s book, Accidental Species, from Chax Press. Here’s a full list of contributors: Beverly Dahlen, Kristen Gallagher, Joe Amato, Chris Daniels, Cecilia Vicuña, Nicole Brossard, Rob Halpern, Julie Patton, Robert Kocik, Carolee Schneemann, Sawako Nakayasu, Kristin Prevallet, Brenda Iijima, Steve Benson, Laynie Browne, Diane Ward, Thom Donovan, Alan Davies, Lisa Robertson, Michal Lando, Peter O’Leary, P. Inman, Jonathan Skinner, Andrew Klobucar, Alan Prohm, Linh Dinh, Belle Gironda, Roberto Harrison, Andrew Levy, Corey Mead, Ruth Danon, David Pavelich, John Shoptaw, Laura Sims, Sally Van Doren, Dan Machlin, Robin Tremblay-McGaw, Tom Hibbard, Stephen Vincent, Martine Bellen, Kass Fleisher, Chris Alexander, Matthias Regan, Pete Smith, Pat Reed, Judith Goldman.

It can be ordered through SPD–the link to Crayon above will take you there. Andrew sent the flyer, which is posted as a thumbnail above (not sure why it looks solarized) but I missed the launch party in New York by an ocean and a continent. Wish I could have been there to hear the latest on the workings of the Phoneme Choir (some of the earliest meetings of which I attended in a vault in the basement of a Wall street building–when Daria Fain and Robert Kocik had an LMCC Swing Space residency and built a makeshift anechoic darkroom there. ) Sorry also to have missed Julie Patton, after being so inspired by her performance at The Stone this summer.

In particular, I would have loved to hear the conversation about “Beauty, Ethics and the Political Body”–since I’ve had related (I think) questions on my mind. Living in a megalopolis in a “developing country” I’m experiencing and thinking a lot about tensions between my own desires for and expectations about urban aesthetics and the realities of a city that has no apparent plan or policies to deal with its ever expanding population and the concomitant inequalities. There are varieties of beauty here, everywhere, and some of them are typical examples of urban architectural achievement. But, many of these are also soot-stained, neglected, sometimes even abandoned, or simply so entangled with the ever shifting fortunes of the city: the rise and fall of various, dynasties, the changing path of the Nile, colonialism, the local politics of the last century–that its hard to simply experience them as “beautiful” or even to understand anymore, what that means.

I’m with you, if you find the “developing world” terminology confusing but Egypt does not really qualify as “Third World” but falls somewhere in the middle of those countries ranked as having “medium” human development indexes–a list that includes mostly African countries, as well as some from south and Central America, some from the Middle East and some from South and Central Asia. Egypt is ranked slightly above India but below the Palestinian Authority, Jamaica, and Nicaragua, for example.

Lot’s more to say about this (and I’m hoping that there are recordings of the Crayon event that will possibly pop up on the Penn Sound site–but, now I have to get some work done so I can go out this evening. Terry Eagleton is giving the Edward Said Memorial Lecture tonight at the downtown campus on “Tragedy and Terror.” No further clues, beyond the title, as to what he will talk about. I’ll report back.


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