[-empyre-] Starting the Third Week: Michael Boghn and Jerome Sala

Jerome Sala jeromesala502 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 02:28:16 AEDT 2016

My interests are informed by the fact that, for most of my life, I’ve
done two types of writing: one for money and the other for free. On
one hand, I’ve written direct response advertising – the kind of ads
that promise you free gifts, deep discounts or offer you chances to
win prizes. On the other, I’ve published books of poetry and literary
essays. In the spirit of acknowledging, as John Dewey once advised,
“the significance of economic factors in life, rather than evading the
issue,” I’ve tried to find ways to combine these two streams of
writing. Before getting “packaged out” of my last corporate job, I
discovered a productive way to do this: I started collecting clichés
from the jargon of digital marketing and corporate-speak, and
recombined this lingo into sonnets. As I wrote these, I’d read them to
people at work (who normally had no interest in poetry), and they’d
burst out laughing. Soon, my co-workers began supplying me with more
of this vocabulary, that they’d gather from meetings they’d attend or
from industry literature.

When I’d perform these sonnets, the audience (especially anyone who’s
ever worked in an office) would react with joy, and I’d be encouraged
to write more of them. I ended up with a series of thirty “Corporate
Sonnets.” These will be the centerpiece of my next book, Corporations
Are People, Too! U.S. law grants corporations personhood. So in this
book, I’m trying to suggest how this person might speak -- and how it
speaks us. I also touch on how the nature of the corporation itself
has changed – as it has itself exploded into a network of numerous
digitally-linked outsourced cells (thus mirroring the web itself).

I’ve thought about what people find funny in these poems (which, of
course, are meant as satire).  I interpret the laughter, not only as
deriving from recognition (of what strange lingos/forces occupy our
speech/consciousness), but also as relief. Perhaps foregrounding such
language (and thus making it visible) creates a small space between it
(and its technocratic ideology) – and whatever other identities one
possesses. Maybe this makes one feel free/separate from it, at least
for a moment. In any case, there’s something empowering about feeling
you know a language well enough to laugh at it.

I’ve posted some sample sonnets here:


On Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 10:24 AM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> n his 1954 essay "The Question Concerning Technology," Martin Heiddeger says the following:
> "The question concerning technology is the question concerning the constellation in which revealing and concealing, in which the coming to presence of truth, comes to pass.
> But what help is it to us to looking into constellation? We look into the danger and see the growth of the saving power.
> … How can this happen? Here and now and in little things that we may foster the saving power in its increase. This includes holding always before our eyes the extreme danger…
> There was a time when it was not technology alone that bore the name techie…. Once there was a time when the bringing forth of the true into the beautiful was called techie. And the poiesis of the fine arts also was called techne…."
> The "extreme danger" Heiddeger is talking about now is President Trump. He is the master "techie" of words and weaver of lies -- basically an artist of evil spirit, of bad faith singing a siren song to the dejected and hating.
> The guest contributors this week, Michael Boghn and Jerome Sala, are poets. Sala works inside the entrails of the corporate structure as data analyst and writes his poetry from there. Boghn, along with Kent Johnson, is the co-founder of the poetry blog Dispatches where, in the great anarchist Hakim Bey's (Peter Lamborn Wilson's) words, they want to create an "autonomous zone," a "pirate utopia" of poets within the structure of the internet. Dispatches has organized the first concrete reaction of "poises" in the United States to Trump's election. They are preparing an anthology  that will have I think over 200 poet's/artists' reactions to the election. It will be published the day of Trump's inauguration.
> From this point on, I will let Michael and Jerome speak for themselves.
> I invite most devoutly every member on the list to contribute to the discussions,
> Ciao,
> Murat
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

More information about the empyre mailing list