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"There Is No Content Here, Only Dailiness": Poetry as Critique of Everyday Life in Ron Silliman's Ketjak

"There Is No Content Here, Only Dailiness": Poetry as Critique of Everyday Life in Ron Silliman's... ANDREW EPSTEIN n the midst of his 1978 prose poem Sitting Up, Standing, Taking Steps, Ron Silliman offers the following passage: Tuesday, a.m. What, alarm, ceiling, clock, dull light, urine, toothpaste, blue shirt, jeans, water for coffee, bacon, eggs, soy toast, phony earth shoes, bus, another bus, typewriter, telephone, co-workers, salad, ice tea, more co-workers, bus, ambulance on freeway, another bus, a beer, chicken, rice and squash, today's mail, feces, TV, glass of Chablis, darkness. (Age 298) This appears to be a record of a relatively uneventful day: it moves, from the moment when the buzz of an alarm clock first stirs consciousness, through a litany of daily activities, such as brushing one's teeth, commuting on the bus to and from work, eating meals, using the bathroom, and going to sleep. Because the piece also happens to be an experiment in writing a poem completely devoid of verbs, it narrates the day's story solely through nouns, which results in a kind of list of things, objects, and small-scale events. The passage contains little one might think of as "poetic" or "beautiful"; the details of daily life remain rather defiantly untransformed, neither aestheticized nor turned into metaphor or symbol. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

"There Is No Content Here, Only Dailiness": Poetry as Critique of Everyday Life in Ron Silliman's Ketjak

Contemporary Literature , Volume 51 (4) – Apr 2, 2011

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Wisconsin Press
ISSN
1548-9949
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Abstract

ANDREW EPSTEIN n the midst of his 1978 prose poem Sitting Up, Standing, Taking Steps, Ron Silliman offers the following passage: Tuesday, a.m. What, alarm, ceiling, clock, dull light, urine, toothpaste, blue shirt, jeans, water for coffee, bacon, eggs, soy toast, phony earth shoes, bus, another bus, typewriter, telephone, co-workers, salad, ice tea, more co-workers, bus, ambulance on freeway, another bus, a beer, chicken, rice and squash, today's mail, feces, TV, glass of Chablis, darkness. (Age 298) This appears to be a record of a relatively uneventful day: it moves, from the moment when the buzz of an alarm clock first stirs consciousness, through a litany of daily activities, such as brushing one's teeth, commuting on the bus to and from work, eating meals, using the bathroom, and going to sleep. Because the piece also happens to be an experiment in writing a poem completely devoid of verbs, it narrates the day's story solely through nouns, which results in a kind of list of things, objects, and small-scale events. The passage contains little one might think of as "poetic" or "beautiful"; the details of daily life remain rather defiantly untransformed, neither aestheticized nor turned into metaphor or symbol.

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Apr 2, 2011

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