The Minor Gesture, by Erin Manning – Meeting #2 - Chapter 1 (Against Method)


(Douglas Duff) #1

The Minor Gesture, by Erin Manning – Meeting #2 - Chapter 1 (Against Method)

May 9, 2018
9:00 am MDT - 10:00 am MDT

Zoom Link :


We are reading The Minor Gesture, by Erin Manning, with virtual meeting every 2 weeks between April 25 and July 4 for live discussion. In Meeting #2, the group will discuss Chapter 1 “Against Method.”

Seed Questions

What models model you?
What else can be created, sympathetically, in the encounter?
What kind of metamodeling is possible, in the event?
What can a minor gesture open up?
How do we operate transversally to such capitalist capture?
What new processes of valuation can be explored, and what will be the effect, for knowledge, of such experimentations?

Reading Schedule:

  • Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapter 1 (Against Method)
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapter 2 (Artfulness)
  • Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapters 3 and 4
  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapters 5 and 6
  • Wednesday, July 4, 2018, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. MDT – Chapters 7 and 8 and Postscript

Note that although reading The Minor Gesture requires an effort to understand the philosophical concepts on display, one of the strengths of Erin’s writing is that she is as preoccupied with matters of practice as she is with matters of theory. The reading therefore provides not just insight into the latter, but it can be used to guide how one engages in practice. Herself a dancer, installation artist and fashion designer, she draws on these and other artistic sensitivities to illustrate and draw out her ideas. Here is an excerpt from an excellent review by Ben Simmons about The Minor Gesture :

“Eric Manning’s The Minor Gesture is the latest release in the Thought in the Act book series, published by Duke University Press, which explores how research and creation can be transformed by philosophy. In The Minor Gesture , Manning draws heavily from Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis and Whitehead’s speculative pragmatism to explore what is dubbed ‘the minor gesture’. The minor gesture is a subversive concept that refers to the fringes of perception and thought before its parsing into cultural intelligibility. The minor gesture is a force that challenges received wisdom and common sense (the ‘major’) by offering potentially unlimited experiential variations that suggest alternative forms of being, knowing and doing. In The Minor Gesture , Manning destabilises neurotypical accounts of perception and agency, and in doing so paves the way for a celebration of neurodiverse experience – particularly ‘autistic perception’. ” — Ben Simmons

Organizer: Geoffrey Edwards @Geoffrey_Edwards

(Geoffrey Edwards) #2

I’ve been thinking, @madrush, that the idea that not everything can be destabilizing is, in fact, the discussion about the Major Gesture in relation to which the Minor Gesture is, well, minor. As a thinker, writer and maker who has always been drawn to the destabilizing currents in the world, I constantly have to remind myself that most of humanity prefers stability, and that, if I were to be honest with myself, I, too, do not want my life to destabilize “too much”. The Minor as the only type of gesture would be untenable. However, the Major without the Minor is also an impoverished approach to the world, which is the point of Erin’s book I guess.

Great exchange. It is always so rewarding to hear so many different points of view in our “strange overlappings”.

(Marco V Morelli) #3

Indeed! It is taking me most of my adult life to appreciate the good order that allows for spontaneity and creativity to occur—although somehow or another, I am always pursuing the right enviroment for my work.

I think Coralee was gesturing toward this in talking about the importance of establishing favorable conditions for her own work with children. “Against method” does not mean “against structure”—but rather points our attention to how structure and order come into being, and come to hold sway. Who decides the cut? I support it comes down to questions of power, and self-empowerment, or perhaps, collectives and networks of power.

Not yet having read the next chapter, I don’t know if Erin goes in this direction, but I suspect artfulness has a lot do with a certain kind of affirmation of power. A will to power, we might say, but whose will? What wants to happen? This brings us back to the social and political—but also, I believe, to the existential and the spiritual. I suppose these are all hybrids in the end? :thinking:

I am really appreciating this conversation. Thanks, @Geoffrey_Edwards, for your ‘agencement’ in bringing it together.

(Geoffrey Edwards) #4

Here is the video from Wednesday’s session (Session #2, The Minor Gesture).

(Wendy Ronitz-Baker ) #5

Will the audio only of the talk be posted too? Or just the video? I try to download these talks so I can listen in the car, but I don’t see an option to download the video.


(Geoffrey Edwards) #6

Yes I will post the audio. Sorry, I have been sick and very busy at work as well, will try to get this done tomorrow!

(Heather Fester) #7

Sorry, all, that I was only on for a limited time and in a limited way on Wednesday. It was my finals day, but instead of giving an exam, I was returning portfolios (from 8:10 to 6:00 in 10 minute increments throughout the day). The good news is that most of my students showed up on time and picked up their materials (at other schools, this hasn’t always been the case and then I’m left holding on to the fruits of all their labors, which is a frustrating feeling).

Congratulations to @Douggins for being a new father! And, I hope that Geoffrey, Marco, (and Erin) are all feeling better by now! Sorry to hear about the meta-bug. :slight_smile: Those are the worst.

@Geoffrey_Edwards says: “When you dance, Cora, or when I write, we have a whole field of knowledge of moving or writing that’s set up ahead of time. But, the field of knowledge that’s set up doesn’t determine what happens… in the writing-with and feeling-with, knowledge one draws from…”

@johnnydavis54 describes the letter as a minor gesture.

Registering both of these comments and appreciating them.

Geoffrey’s comment about the fields reminds me of Christoper Bache’s book The Living Classroom, which I’ve been working with a lot as a teacher lately. And, some of the things he describes feel useful in connection to what was discussed here about Erin’s work.

I wanted to also add how much the idea of “minor gesture” seems to resonate with Eugene Gendlin’s work (even if he’s not a direct intellectual harbinger or ancestor here).

I’m already deep in Chapter 2, so I won’t add more comments here about Chapter 1. I am realizing I want to go back and read each chapter twice to really get the near and far of it. Pages 55 & 56 are places where a lot of my excitement is located right now… The whole time I was in the MFA at Naropa, I found myself trying to enact what Erin is describing here (but I was working from a Gendlin sense of “thinking at the edge” or a broader notion of emergence). I found that, as Erin says in Chapter 2, art does have this unfolding at its core, so my project of wanting to find the path/way as art was well-situated and in good company. However, it also wasn’t understood. I would often create a rough draft that reflected this unfolding and my participation in it, and it would be received as an object. I rarely found readers who could attune to the process unfolding in the draft of a poem, for instance. That’s one of the things I appreciate about the Cosmos groups.

I haven’t yet taken notes over these two chapters, though, so I’m not bringing through Erin’s language yet. I hope to be ready to do more of that for the next call.

From the first half of the call, I wanted to ask if we were really practicing the minor gesture in our collective space, and looking for the potentiation of unfoldment, where we listen (together) to the possibilities that want to emerge/be felt/be heard. What happens when we do that? What is the processual-relational field that we have brought to life? What does it want?

I’m also curious about Undercommons, @johnnydavis54, and I’d love to have a future group around that book if there’s interest. As I was reading the Introduction, I kept feeling that there was an “odd fit” between Erin’s ideas and what I know about Moten and Hearney’s work from the Naropa community. I see it as what her work is grappling with more broadly–across books, including her activitist philosophy work with Brian Massumi. And, it appeals to me as someone asking those questions as well. But, as with my feeling about Erin, it feels like an odd eruption through the fabric of the processual field–both in my ways of working with it and hers. That may not be stated in a transparent way yet, but I can keep working on it and trying. She is working with many of the artists I studied at Naropa, so all of this is a perplexing but gratifying ripening for me.

I also noticed her work with the sensory lab, which is exciting. One of my favorite films from the Film Poetics class I took at Naropa was Leviathan (2012), which came from the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab ( I’m wondering if the sensory lab Erin is/was involved with is similar to that one.

Here are two trailers for Leviathan:


These show the “way” of the film, which is a different kind of documentary. What excites me about it is similar to what excites me about the genre of poetry known as documentary poetics (Here’s an essay on the genre–since I’m throwing down so many fancy terms: EleniCuratedPortfolio.pdf (1.3 MB) ). The role of perspective is revolutionary in these forms. Yet, I wonder whether these examples are spaces where the minor gesture and participation can be seen (as Erin alludes to in Chapter 2). My sense is that the type of art Erin is describing (especially in Chapter 2) is more trans-… (hmmm… -formal?) than what the documentary genre has yet created space for–but this genre and other experimental forms make space for a future with participation perhaps.

Sorry if these comments seem at all veiled. I’m not yet out of the field of the UCCS writing program, my writing classes, and my students. Those take up a lot of space for me, and I circulate them pretty fully and processually when I’m in them. I’d love to have the space to riff here in a more participatory way–soon, I hope.

But, my sense of things as I read Erin is that Gendlin’s felt sense could be a useful tool in this work. I wonder how this sounds to others–to practice with the felt sense to feel the minor gesture implicit in every moment of our shaping and emergence (together). Erin’s method is not something “other” or “outside” of what we’re doing, it seems to me–not something we have to choose. It is something we can orient to in any moment. And, thinking-feeling (or thinking-doing, as I believe she says) is a tool for this.

For more on the felt sense:



The Minor Gesture, by Erin Manning - Meeting #3 - Chapter 2 (Artfulness - Emergent Collectivities and Processes of Individuation)
(Heather Fester) #8

Here is a poem I wrote as part of my Naropa MFA program application packet that shows a little of what I mean about unfolding potentiality within the “way” of art:

Crinkled Page Focusing Poem (~or notes from the margins of my day, a process-infused poem inspired by a poem I read about Eugene Gendlin yesterday)

This poems starts: Crinkle of paper sadness
and a deep amber hue of light
that throws a spectrum of shadows across the page.
I see ink bound to fibers flowing into purposeful words,
sentences, uttered softly against blank space.
And, I try to remember to slow the poem down.
To hear and drink the unfolding,
to allow the proliferation of meaning
within the folds, the linkages, the interplay of words.
Backing up: This morning, I started this poem
in response the image Diane posted,
because yesterday I didn’t want to write,
and today, today I am ready, but need a push,
a shove toward the flow.

This image catches me playfully,
and I study it askance, waiting for the words to drop:
which reminds me (…)
that (… speeding up again, I can feel it …)
that I am freedom that flows into form (…)
with intention, like the prayer of a day job,
arrived at just on/in time, or
the saying tip of my favorite gel pen on my planner page,
collapsing space and time into appointments and tasks,
casually and with great looping strokes from a messy heart,
erasing what feels like freedom,
but often passes for avoidance. ( Pratyahara bliss .)

Then, I switch to email: an anxious cancellation for my first hour
appointment arrives in my Inbox from a student who resists so much.
An unexpected gift of time, though. The space to care, to create,
to nestle into those last few drops of freedom,
filtered to my tongue, which I drink the way a leaf curls
to cup the rain, hungry, natural, desperate beyond emotions.
This is the precipice before service will take me, and my personal
needs will drop away into so much usefulness, helpfulness, tasking time.
This is time, then, to touch quickly, deftly the mysterious layers
I found this morning while reading on the train–wicking those to my heart, the drops that run down the corners of my mouth and run savored trails down my chin. I can’t be the only one who thinks like this–
In the company of strangers (so often now these days).
(and a desire so much to unfold in this
kind of pleasurable time, to devote to it as though it were the
the only end rather than a finger pointing to the beginning of now,
the release of a few moments ago and the deep moisture of engagement.

Are my words clear here? I don’t think so. And, I stop furtively to consider
translation, palpate a brief feeling of how this poem could
evolve for others, and I decide instead, this time, to Play
in the moisturing deep. I abandon a closing parenthesis
mark for this thought. It hangs.
I want so much to avoid, “the next step, the one that’s closer in,”
Because as David Whyte might say: “Start there.”

( But the thread that runs through my days
and my reading and my questions,
the thread that knows me so well tugs a little tighter:
Not just this pleasure, notice the form, the structure,
the arrogance,
the broken edges, the crinkled page, the messy ledger.
The leap.
Notice the intention, the margin, the lack, the want,
the absence of filling, the stuffing full, Notice how all of it
is exactly perfect, and this time too is your time
unfolding in pleasure if you dare. Profane mundane aware. )

This morning on my news app, listening to this is a self-care
to-do task stuffed precariously between reading and work,
accompanied by walking, (slow down, sweetheart, slow down.
But, there. is. no. time. )
I heard a quote and poem that hearkened my inner ear.
It said something like life begins when we feel the urgency
that creates more life, where we utter insurrection
or signal yes. But that is a distant paraphrase and now the
poem’s gone.

To release (…) so much need. To release so much need (…)

which becomes the crinkle of paper casting
which becomes the hunger a baby cries to fulfill
which is both important to look at, important to fulfill,
important to nurture,
and important to release into and move beyond,
I think. Quickly. From the margins (…) of my day.

Will this poem find a focus? It is the focusing.

(Douglas Duff) #9

And Bache uses Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic fields, which definitely feels like a useful connection. Sheldrake is another academic type that is misunderstood for his methods that go against science proper. Thanks for this connection, Heather.

And appreciate the insight into Chapter 2. And starting the conversation here, too!

I (we) frequently scan for this frequency, especially when surrounded by like-minded, gifted and aware individuals. This attunement occurs more readily when we do take the step to “clear a space” - silence is perhaps the greatest method for hearing voices. This might be a welcome addition @Geoffrey_Edwards to our next meeting (as we have started this practice elsewhere on other Cosmos conversations). Chapter 2, though it sits here unread, practically calls out for an artful conversation.

I would have to watch this one again. It had me mezmerized throughout, but yes, I would agree it holds time and space in trans-formal (postformal? - using Jennifer Gidley’s term) experimentation.

(Heather Fester) #10

Yes, love her work too. Thanks for circulating back some of the playful openings in my post. Looking forward to our next call.

BTW, the felt sense of this book really is more aligned for me than Sloterdijk. It’s a relief to feel…

(john davis) #11

Pardon me, Heather, for riffing with your lovely lines, as my own desire to fill in some gaps, between the felt sense and of what is under our minds ( under-commons?) something does want to happen…

And what is that which makes up the schizo-techno world that we each seem to be emerging out of, as apps demand our fragile attention and news feeds distract and smart phones need recharging.?

And as we try to resist the relentless collective speed, of what Erin might call the rhythms of Capitalism, there is a solitary seeker in transit between destinations, aware of the corporate sponsors preparing a time, that is not our time.

A graceful meta-poem struggles to breathe in and breathe out, and some-kind of,what is that?..some-kind of flow state wants to arise above the ruffles of the daily surf, something just above our heads…a frustrated lyric? … an echo, a felt form from some other time…some other place…where conditions were a whole lot better…and where we can fulfill a desire to touch something that has not been programed ahead of time?

This line was the first one that caught really caught my attention and pulled me deeper into the poet’s dilemma, as she looks at the field of possibility in an unfamiliar social landscape she is trans-versing…

I hope she is not alone!

Ah, in a city of strangers…some other options perhaps?

In this recent conference call I conduct Clean Language interviews with Doug and TJ. We take turns to develop self-generated metaphors for reading at our best. You may notice as I use CL that I am asking open ended questions about each persons language, without an attempt to seek an understanding.

I imagine, if you listen closely, Heather,with your inner ear, and with slow mind, to how each person searches for his own metaphor, that space that is in between words and gesturing, this process has a resonance with Gendlin’s phenomenological approach. He is a pioneer in this kind of listening…with a third ear?

I offer this as an example of how working with our best efforts translates I believe into our best ethics. There is as we are respectful to our under-commons that a new way of becoming might emerge. Getting in touch with the stranger within as we use our language to touch our future(s) in an imaginal realm…I imagine that there is a place for us…where slow mind can integrate in a post formal appreciation for each of us…

Not waving but drowning…no…that’s not it…we are waving through the flames…no that’s not it either…it feels somehow safer and more relaxed…a womb perhaps for a gestating a new kind of time… a freedom for time…

(Geoffrey Edwards) #12

This is truly lovely, @hfester, and so honours Erin’s book and work as well, I feel. I love the rhythms here, the slow, living room rhythms that seduce one into entering into the proposition that forms the heart of the poem, the focusing. It has echoes of… I don’t know, I was trying to find the poems I felt shadowed your text, I though of Whitman, and after hunting around, Brautigan. And T.S. Eliot, because of the way you shift between the abstract and the sensual. It’s lovely to see some more or your work, I poked around on the net but couldn’t find much…

(Heather Fester) #13

Thank you for your reply that deepened the spirit of the original offering. Lovely! I’ll watch the video soon.

(Heather Fester) #14

–Somewhere in the draft…

I’ll share more soon, @Geoffrey_Edwards. I am planning to share with the writers underground something for Meta-psy (maybe) to get some feedback. I also am hoping to get my website going this summer too.

But, this poem does remind me, now that you mention it, of “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” because of the narrator’s self-consciousness… not always in a negative sense, though that’s how history has remember good old J. Alfred.

So, while I might like to say that Naropa’s MFA did something profound to my poetry writing ability after my application packet was submitted (and from which you have one Exhibit above–and one below), I learned while there (from a writing teacher named Jeffrey) that a poet’s “signature” (Auden) never changes. I’ve had to contemplate that awhile and plan to read the Auden essay that discusses signature this summer.

I also developed the idea of “poeming” as a practice over and above “writing poetry.” “Poeming” recognizes the in-process nature of a work–it is meta-aware. Here’s how I described it to a friend that I shared my poem “Self-Recogniation” with in 2010, when I was just reawakening my desire to be a writer (and you can hear my self-consciousness here, my stutter, which is also part of the draft):

There’s poeming, which can be done on the fly, and then, there’s formalizing a poem, which needs a poet’s care and attentiveness to where the poem needs to be touched, where it’s shy or insecure and needing to be unfolded… all before it is ready to be born. So, it’s early in that nurturing process. That’s not self-consciousness speaking as much as an articulation of a new understanding about what craft means and how craft serves that I’ve been working with. Part of this crafting process is grounding abstraction in both language and symbol/metaphor/play in the greater Heart/Body space. (and feeling into how it works so I can use it in my creativity workshops–5ing the intricacies of creative awakening.) I want to take an awareness silverfish, and make it a rippling expansiveness that (eventually and with practice in more and more poems) will expand in the reader’s heart/self. It’s not about catch and release in this case as it might be if I were poeming. It’s about committing to the poetic essence to see where it takes me, what it has to teach me. Emaho! :wink:

My comment, because of my self-consciousness perhaps, reads as terribly pretentious and defensive to me now. In fact, I’d probably tell my 2010 self to shut up and let the poem speak for itself. To stop filibustering so much. Or, maybe I would be compassionate toward her, listen to her words, and then let them go. We all need nurturing when we’ve been convinced that we can’t have poetry because we’re not enough–we need nursing back to writerly health. (You can’t “not have” poetry. No one can take it from you–it’s the topography of your own Being, as Heidegger said in one of his poems.) But, I did choose a very analytical friend with little to no interest in poetry to share it with, so there’s that. And, the relational field of our reading friends is another important step to claiming our identity as writers (transforming Emaho to IMHO to punctuate this thought. :wink: ) --I would tell my younger self to be very careful in choosing that hermeneutic circle. And, to proceed just exactly as she did.

I think I like when poetry is in dialogue with thought or is part of a larger conversation, the way it feels here. Maybe this is how my poetry is written and meant to be introduced into the world; maybe this is my definition of poetics.

Reflecting on my process of writing here to Geoffrey, this is how composing feels to me when it is interstitial, when it is process-aware. As I wrote this, I was in the “process” of making some cookies. So, as I stirred the batter, my mind filled in a few filaments that I realized I wanted to pull through in this response–as a paragraph, a word, and example, a quoted passage. Out of order, Outside of time. Drafting this way is iterative. (When I write drafts, I save them as iterations of the work I am pulling through.) The minor gesture is alive in the work, perhaps the minor gesture referring to the thread that is pulled, felt, nuanced, touched, leaned into, listened to–as @johnnydavis54 says, with the third ear. (I have a book with that title ( that I bought for its title alone, and it too is a type of poetics in the body of the draft.)

Before Naropa, I couldn’t call myself a writer or a poet–or not without mounds of qualifiers and modifiers. I guess I thought a writer was one who could “get it right” in the sense of conventional writerliness–someone who has mastered something and didn’t have to fight as much wordiness in their drafts as I did. Or, who would have twice as much grace in pairing or choosing words. Something like that. I listened to @madrush’s introduction of himself on Call #2 above as poet and writer, and I felt happy. My friend Vid helped me listen to my own impulse to become more of a poet, to claim the title (like a true wrestler would). I told him that listening to David Whyte’s What to Remember When Waking made me feel like I was coming out of my skin. He suggested I write a poem to find out why. I was scared to share it with others, but it’s the poem I shared with my analytically-minded friend, circa 2010. It’s certainly not my first poem, but maybe it was my first since giving up on being a writer/poet. At any rate, it made a difference for me.


The silvered fish surfaces in morning air
a thousand sunrises reflected in scales
and each scale a thousand meanings for words
whose muscled bodies dart past my fingertips.

There is only a moment when wisdom breaks through,
its breath in shards of dark shattering light
inside my skin. It glides toward air it doesn’t need;
through instinct, it surfaces from stillness.

The knife-heart break when wisdom emerges
is impossible completeness, depth staring shock.
I am that moment when I cannot breathe,
that dark, instinctual luminance, a shock of recognition.

Around the time I wrote this, my English department chair was dying from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a fact I wasn’t dealing well with or dealing with at all–and it was compounded by a series of other deaths of colleagues at my school around the same time. One of his friends collected letters from us to give him. He too had been a writer, but had written about the futility of writing or of thinking oneself a writer. I shared this poem with him then in my letter. I was terrified that others would think I was giving him “advice” about how to approach death. But, in the letter I said that I thought I needed to go back to school to get my MFA, that seeing his struggle had reminded me of how precious life is–and our true wishes… and that had been mine.

Does the poeming poet revise? Well, Jack Kerouac’s dictum “first thought, best thought” sounds like advice against, but it’s not. It’s about trusting the instinct to capture the glint out of the corner of one’s eye, to put it down, to work with it. Then, as Erin Manning’s process can guide us to unfold it, one can midwife a draft to its pleasant stopping place.

Here’s the second draft of the fish poem:

The silvered fish surfaces in morning air,
a thousand sunrises reflected in scales
and each scale a thousand meanings for words
whose muscled bodies writhe at my fingertips.

There is only a moment when wisdom breaks through,
its breath a thousand shards of dark shattering light
inside my skin. It glides toward oxygen it doesn’t need.
Through instinct, it surfaces from stillness.

That cold-hot break when wisdom emerges
is a shock of impossible completeness.
I am that moment when I cannot breathe,
that dark, instinctual luminance, a shock of recognition.


To notice the minor gesture is to dive into the drafts. To be with the drafting, iterations, process. Our attention, as @johnnydavis54 points out, rarely allows for that these days. It is hard to share “process” with others.

I realize as I’m writing this that this is a type of response to Geoffrey’s prompt after our first writers underground call. @Geoffrey_Edwards said :

So I have an idea. Why don’t we take up this idea of « revelations », whether these are dreams, visions, poems, vignettes,… whatever, and write something or bring something along these lines that is either or both « expression of self » or « finding common ground », to our next online meeting. I’d also like to give more space next time to those who didn’t read this time, so that we can nurture each others’ work more fully.

The fish image I included here was the impetus for the poem “Self-Recognition” above. It was an image on Vid’s facebook page that came to me when he suggested I write about how listening to David Whyte’s audiobook (and wisdom) felt like “coming out of my skin.” It’s a shame he isn’t in this group to play with us–I invited him to do so (Vid not David Whyte), but I imagine he has too many things going on. Anyway, he is/was reading another of Manning (and Massumi’s) books right now, I think. He’s a poet, too, in his own right/rite. He also introduced me (with a few other friends, some of whom I’ve invited here to play as well) to Gendlin’s work.


silvered fish in morning air
sunrise scales
a thousand meanings
muscled bodies at my fingertips

wisdom breaks through
a moment

shards of dark
my skin

we glide toward

through instinct
surface from stillness

impossible completeness

that moment when I cannot breathe

instinctual luminance
a shock

I decided to try another draft of the poem using more of the ear I’ve attuned after Naropa. The first draft felt overwritten to me. This one, still too fresh to tell if this is the arrangement I want. But, something with more space to breath for sure.

When I share some of my other work with the writer’s group, I’ll be sharing some of my Naropa stuff. It’s less “whole” in thought or sentence or structure or meaning, more of a trace against the words, less skillful or confident in some ways too.

I also wanted to add an essay related to the Leviathan trailers above. It was the liner notes that went inside the DVD case, and I think you will enjoy reading it. But, I haven’t found it yet. Will come back here to post when I do.

(Heather Fester) #15

I found the Leviathan essay and scanned it. Very short. Here it is: leviathan essay.pdf (244.8 KB)
[sorry for the quality of the scan–I think some of the words are faint, and it is already hard to see because the liner note type is so small.]

And, I wanted to include a quote with my reply above that one of my teachers at Naropa shared with me when I said I didn’t know what poetry was anymore after all we had read and studied in the experimental tradition:

“That… was from Wang Ping when I took her workshop during SWP. NOt sure if there is a quote but it’s about writing like a flood, where everything is moving, getting kicked up, being transported downstream… Then the waters settle, the silt sinks to the bottom of the riverbed, and the water is clear. Clarity comes after the flood.”

(Wendy Ronitz-Baker ) #16

Thanks Geoffrey!

But no hurry. I am still reading Chapter one :wink:

Thank you for putting this together. I really enjoyed the audio from Meeting #1.


(Geoffrey Edwards) #17

And so I listened to this with. a great deal of pleasure, @johnnydavis54, and like a good student, I tried to follow along with the exercise on my own, but guessing what you might say, John. What I need to do now is to try to make a drawing.

Here’s what I wrote :

And When I am reading at my best, that’s like what?
…I am moving-with the writer’s thinking as traced by the sense and sonority of the words, I am co-dancing.

And what is the tracing like? It is like a trajectory, or a set of trajectories, traced by the points of my attention.

And the trajectories have a shape? They curve in packets like a body’s movement, arms in one way, legs in another, head in another, maybe a couple of tentacles that also move, my genitalia also move, like a modern danse, but somewhat akimber, in resonance to the work, but in awareness of my body status as well.

And what support do you need when reading at your best? To be left alone, allowed to concentrate, attend to, the reading.

… I need to work on this a bit more to fill out the image. I sense you are steering things somewhat with your questions, and I have had to do this intuitively instead…

(john davis) #18

I love this response, Geoffrey, and you are developing the co-dance! I hope you will fill out the image and post the drawing . A drawing or a sketch or even a clay sculture, something that makes sense to you. What you offer is an excellent example of what I would call self-modeling.

Steering has a cybernetic feel to it that is accurate. As a co-modeler I am paying attention to what the speaker is paying attention to and then I ask a question that points our shared attention to what else could be paid attention to in the perceptual space of the person’s metaphorical landscape. Comfort with not knowing and ambiguity is an important aspect of the process. Clarity emerges out of a relaxed curiosity and a trust in the vitality of the patterns that connect.

So there is often a pleasant feeling of being partnered with the other person as we steer one another’s attention in a field of possibility. I am almost always surprised by what emerges which is often unpredictable. CL has a resonance with the 2nd order cybernetics of Bateson and Von Forester. I hope when we call our next CL meet ups that you will join us.

I have also been interested in developing a clean language exercise for the underground writing group. Thank you for your support and keep up the good work. You have very good instincts!