[-empyre-] week four: Pain, Suffering, and Death in the Virtual

Maria Damon damon001 at umn.edu
Wed Oct 24 13:53:43 EST 2012

Dear all,
I've been very moved by the range, quality, and seriousness of the 
inquiries and revelations here in these past weeks. The intensity of the 
participants' commitment to exploring these questions posed by Sandy, 
Alan and us guests has left me wondering what I can add.
I keep returning to the experience of remorse, which I first mentioned 
some time ago. The bitingly anguished regret that often has no basis in 
wrongdoing, that is, no precedent (but that doesn't mean no cause) for 
which remorse is the appropriate response, is one of those existential 
enveloping conditions that swoop down like a weather system but that 
feels personal.
Remorse is connected to death, it is a wanting to follow someone into 
the grave, a form of survivor guilt. Remorse, etymologically to "bite 
again," or "re" in the sense of emphasis, redoubled self-biting, only 
one letter (mord) away from death (mort), and a very close letter at 
that. Biting oneself as a symptom of mourning or grief. Somehow remorse 
is connected to abjection, to "bare life," to stripping away the 
comforts of denial, creature comforts that enable a turning-away from 
the basic unease and suffering that characterizes our experience of 
life. As if we were to blame. Are we?
Remorse is a hangup, a habit, a deceitful friend that tears your flesh 
at the first opportunity, just so s/he can comfort you afterwards.

On a different but related note, I read an account of Brian Kim 
Stefans's talk at one of the EPoetry conferences, in which he exhorted 
epoetry and digital arts to "embrace the dark side." Yes, yes, and yes. 
Fewer slick surfaces, more abrasions, more acknowledgment of wounds.

On 10/22/12 8:29 PM, Alan Sondheim wrote:
> The fourth week of October's -empyre- discussion will start tomorrow, 
> continuing with the topic of Pain, Suffering, and Death in the Real 
> and Virtual. The guest will be Maria Damon. Her biographical 
> information is below. I've followed Maria's work for a long time, and 
> it has always amazed me; it has a poetics all its own, brilliant and 
> surprising.
> - Alan
> Week 4 - Maria Damon (US)
> Maria Damon teaches poetry and poetics at the University of Minnesota. 
> She
> is the author of The Dark End of the Street: Margins in American Vanguard
> Poetry and Postliterary America: From Bagel Shop Jazz to Micropoetries,
> co-author of several books of poetry and online projects with mIEKAL aND
> (Literature Nation, Eros/ion, pleasureTEXTpossession, E.n.t.r.a.n.c.e.d)
> and one with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen (Door Marked X), and co-editor, with 
> Ira
> Livingston, of Poetry and Cultural Studies: A Reader.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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