[-empyre-] Belated hellos

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Sat Oct 12 09:10:10 AEDT 2019

Hi Maria,

Happy to see you contribute to this discussion, the elusive flow of mind
play., that brings word play, or vice versa.

The Turkish poet Orhan Veli placed awkwardness on the left hand:

    My Left Hand
I got drunk
And thought of you.
My left hand
My awkward hand
My poor hand.

Emily Dickinson says, "I play at Riches -- to appease/ The Clamoring for
Gold -- play, an alchemicall gold to transform the world. That is the
revolution, I think, the world was talking about.

The poet Seyhan Erozçelik says,
blowing a fuse
words are morphing into toys... and start flying." (*Rosestrikes and Coffee

"The secrets of a language're hidden, in another language,
oh, tantra
the secret of my heart!" (*Io's Song*)

"tantra": weaving in hindu, also wave, music, from the into-European root
"tenure" which means extension (desire)... which in the West is contained
in the word "*con*tent" with the residual pun "con*tent"*: ""In thine own
bud buries thy content" ("Sonnet One, W.S.)

Maria, all my life, having earned my living through antique oriental
carpets, I am very aware of the materiality of textile, and the incredible
beauty they may achieve. In fact, essentially, am I not after a decorative

To be continued...


On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 5:21 PM Maria Damon <damon001 at umn.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Empyre 1 poetics and play
> Belated hellos, all!
> I am so grateful for the opportunity to interact with ideas here that i
> almost don’t know where to begin.
> It’s always *awkward* to introduce oneself (Truong Tran: “You begin with
> a foundation premised on shame”),
> but *awkwardness* (that weird mash-up of eagerness and diffidence) is
> often an initial stage of play, of making, of thinking, and especially of
> introductions.
> Awkward: *awk (adj.)*
> mid-15c., "turned the wrong way," from Old Norse afugr "turned backwards,
> wrong, contrary," from Proto-Germanic *afug- (source also of Old Saxon
> aboh, Old High German apuh, Middle Dutch avesch, Dutch aafsch), from PIE
> *apu-ko-, from root **apo-
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/*apo-?ref=etymonline_crossreference>*
> "off, away."
> *Apo*, in turn, “forms all or part of: ab-
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/ab-?ref=etymonline_crossreference>; abaft
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/abaft?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> ablaut
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/ablaut?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> aft <https://www.etymonline.com/word/aft?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> after
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/after?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apanthropy
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apanthropy?ref=etymonline_crossreference>
> (“aversion to human company, love of solitude”); aperitif
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/aperitif?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> aperture
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/aperture?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apo- <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apo-?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apocalypse
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apocalypse?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apocryphal
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apocryphal?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> Apollyon
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/Apollyon?ref=etymonline_crossreference>
> (“destroying angel of the bottomless pit”); apology
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apology?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apoplexy
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apoplexy?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apostle
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apostle?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apostrophe
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apostrophe?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apothecary
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apothecary?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> apotheosis
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/apotheosis?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> awk <https://www.etymonline.com/word/awk?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> awkward
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/awkward?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> ebb <https://www.etymonline.com/word/ebb?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> eftsoons
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/eftsoons?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> of <https://www.etymonline.com/word/of?ref=etymonline_crossreference>; off
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/off?ref=etymonline_crossreference>; offal
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/offal?ref=etymonline_crossreference>;
> overt
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/overt?ref=etymonline_crossreference>.”
> With all this catastrophic baggage, how can we help but want to run away
> when asked to account for ourselves? Let’s take refuge in *play*, as we
> do in our teachers, our body of resources, our communities, however flawed
> or tenuous:
> And guess what? *Play*’s ultimate etymology is, fittingly, uncertain!
> play (v.) <https://www.etymonline.com/word/play#etymonline_v_16469>
> Old English plegan, plegian "move rapidly, occupy or busy oneself,
> exercise; frolic; make sport of, mock; perform music," from Proto-West
> Germanic *plegōjanan "occupy oneself about" (source also of Old Saxon
> plegan "vouch for, take charge of," Old Frisian plega "tend to," Middle
> Dutch pleyen "to rejoice, be glad," German pflegen "take care of,
> cultivate"), which is apparently connected to the root of *plight* (v.), *but
> the ultimate etymology is uncertain*…
> But, on the other hand, on the very same website:
> plight (n.1)
> "condition or state (usually bad)," late 12c., "danger, harm, strife,"
> from Anglo-French plit, pleit, Old French pleit, ploit "condition" (13c.),
> originally "way of folding," from Vulgar Latin *plictum, from Latin
> plicitum, neuter past participle of Latin plicare "to fold, lay" *(from
> PIE root *plek-
> <https://www.etymonline.com/word/*plek-?ref=etymonline_crossreference> "to
> plait")*.
> (That Proto-Indo-European is an entirely speculative endeavor makes it all
> the more appropriate for this kind of diasporic play, which maintains a
> fraught/speculative relationship to points of origin.)
> Too much already here to unpack. That “play” and “plight” should form the
> two-in-one Janic nexus that indicates both joy and implicitly-bad condition
> –“danger, harm, strife” –should come as no surprise, and its embeddedness
> in “plait,” or braid, further underscores the indivisibility of putative
> opposites. I read this most poignant of Walter Benjamin’s exhortations as a
> declaration of the value of cultural and artistic play and resilience:
> “[The spiritual stakes of revolutionary struggle] manifest themselves …
> as courage, humor, cunning, and fortitude.” Through “humor” and “cunning,”
> *play* takes its place as necessary for survival and resistance.
> Complementary colors collide to create the braid’s ornamental qualities.
> The fold (“pli”) invites a Deleuzian insight, which perhaps someone else
> can further unfold, exfoldiate, or un/revel. If “the fold is an event” then
> so is the playful gesture, so is the untenable plight.
> The idea –or maybe “impulse” is more apt –that we are braided into a
> narrative that far supersedes us is catalytic to my making process. Though
> always starting from a place of doubt, of shaky awkward shame, i stand
> perpetually half-submerged at the edge of the great expanse of the sea of
> linguistic and material poeisis, looking out at the exhilarating and
> frightening endlessness. (Material: of the mother, the sea, la mer.)
> (Truong Tran: “I was playing around with language in the hopes of getting
> inside of language” oh yes.)
> When i weave or write, i never know what i’m doing: does anyone? One
> starts from impulse, and it’s in the making process that uncovery is made.
> I don’t consider myself an artist, a poet, a scholar (though i’ve been
> trained as the latter) but rather a fellow-traveler in all regards. This
> frees me from having to live up to standards, from having to take to heart
> the intimidating competitions set up for artists, poets and scholars. I
> enjoy making things. I enjoy collaborations. My primary collaborators in
> the word have been mIEKAL aND, Adeena Karasick, and Alan Sondheim, all of
> whom are admirable risk-takers in their flamboyant contributions to verbal
> sub/cultural production. They help me realize effects i could never achieve
> alone, wouldn’t even know how or where to begin. As a semi-young person i
> had a private dream of having a house made of jewels. When mIEKAL and i
> made the online version of *Literature Nation *with* Hyperpoesy* (
> http://joglars.org/literature_nation/litnat/index.html) I realized that
> this was my house of jewels. The audio gifs no longer work on my laptop,
> maybe on no one’s. But the house of jewels lives in my mind.
> Late in this mesh of musings, let me ask for help. I have been trying
> without much success to theorize the text/textile nexus from a variety of
> approaches. I am experiencing frustration. I thought that maybe a rigorous
> investigation of metaphor would get me someplace, but I’m stalled out over
> my indignation at text-workers having colonized textile metaphors for their
> own purposes, rarely understanding the material aspects of their somewhat
> glibly appropriated figures of speech. Some exceptions –rigorous
> thinker/makers on text/textile –include Francesca Capone, Elizabeth Barber,
> Jen Bervin, Cecilia Vicuña, Jen Hofer, Jeffrey Gibson, whom am i leaving
> out? I would be grateful to expand my set of references.
> Is this an introduction? Let’s play...
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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