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/ubu editions

The Chinese Notebook
Ron Silliman

30 Pages

The third and final section to appear in /ubu from Silliman's seminal, long out-of-print book The Age of Huts ("Sunset Debris" and "2197" appeared last year), "The Chinese Notebook" has become a key text for Language writers, being part manifesto for a deterritorializing and reference-troubling aesthetics and part meditative and procedural exercise, forming an important bridge between New American poetics of the "daily" (think Whalen, Kyger, and Ginsberg) and the hardcore constructivism of Language writers like David Melnick and Barrett Watten. Most distinctly, "The Chinese Notebook" is a poetic insistence, an act of positioning poetry as more than a tributary of philosophy but philosophy itself, and of form being as troubling a determiner of genre as content (Wittgenstein's numbered aphoristic works provide the gravity, here). This poem had the force of both a treatise and an anthem, and counts as one of the most influential of the Language School.