Fragments as Compositional Style

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Composition as Fragments- List and Thoughts (January 2015)
  • Maggie Nelson- Bluets
  • Susan Sontag– anything, but the second diary is the best. To pair that with her essays of the period re: photography, film, and visual art is mind-blowing.
  • Jenny OffillDept. of Speculation
  • Emily DickinsonEnvelope poems. The essay by Susan Howe is worth the price of the book. Just Google the terms “Dickinson” and “envelope poems”…you’ll be amazed.
  • Wittgenstien– especially his writings around culture and value…but the Tractatus and Investigations are both consumed with language and are basically amazing.
  • And of course…some others I’m thinking of as I write…Emil Cioran, Paul Valery,

Maybe, we are writing more like we think. This is my thinking about any postmodernistic trend that has turned to many individuals writing in fragments. I believe the fluidity of the writing tool (computer) and the publishing tool (internet) have allowed writers to start creating as the thoughts come. That is not always a good thing…bad writing, etc.

Also, it could be the result of really looking at our collective cultural history in a fragmented way. This is how history is largely taught, completely separate from art, from mathematics. We spend a great deal of our lives (if we are even interested in these things) in realizing that Van Gogh was painting his masterpieces at the same time as Jack the Ripper was murdering (thanks to Patton Oswalt’s new book, Silver Screen Fiend, for this reference). What we have from the past prior to publishing seems to disappear.

Even film and music succumb to decay in memory and in practicality-

Example 1 (film created from the destruction of the actual film…like a distorted memory)- Bill Morrison’s Decasia

Example 2 (disintegration of tape, played as it self-destroys)- Basinski’s Disintegration Loops
As usual, I’m just jotting these thoughts as they arrive, with little to no editing…and, this will make little to no sense to anyone else. It is probably just a map of my thinking about random ideas. Obviously, fragments and decayed artistic works and memory are possibly linked but not in any really tangible way. At least, I can’t communicate well enough to make the link tangible at this time.
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