Two talks this week at Berkeley...
5 + 5 = Poetry: Re-Imagining Russia in Contemporary American Poetry
The room was full of language poets. I think four of the 5 in 5 +5 were there. Interesting talk. Very well researched but avoided argument. I left thinking he may have a really interesting project in how international poetries get used in the US (and abused but also for the most part he seemed to be interested in the language/Russian connection for how it was a little less conservatively used than the other poetries). His work is US/Russia/China. The US has used Russian and Chinese poetries so long for ideological reasons. There wasn't much that suggested that the project is anything more than historical survey. But who knows. It could have been audience anxiety.
Lights, Karma, Action: Report from Bombay
He said he wanted to write about Bollywood film in the language of Bollywood film in the Q&A. But the talk was not in film language. It was in the language of realist novel or short story. And while it was about Bollywood, it seemed to be in the genre of fiction written in the west by literary critics. Reminded me a lot of the Kristeva novel. Or any of those other novels that came out in the 80s that were written by theorists. I was fascinated by it. And I liked how it wanted to talk about how Bollywood was, like Hollywood, an industry of class mobility for a certain sector of people. It told, instead of showed, a huge amount. Which always interests me. But mainly I was fascinated because I felt it was finally a failed experiment. And yet also so close to my own failed experiment of this long piece I keep writing. I kept having these rushes of empathy.