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Friday, February 11, 2011

2011 Post 1 Update - Money, Chess, and the ongoing EMO "conversation"at Reading the Maps.

(See the hyperlink below to the debate or discussion on my interview with Jack Ross re his book EMO)

Just to let "whoever" know I am still active here. This "silence" isn't a "statement". I will do some posts soon, maybe in a few weeks or sooner (cheese making takes time!), but I have been caught up in a number of issues or events. My son and hence I and my daughter (who is doing a PhD in Psychology) and the Combined Beneficiaries Union) had a struggle with WINZ etc The end result is that an appeal we made to them (or to the Ministry of Social Welfare etc) against a decision to do downgrade my son's IB status (hence his income) was successful. I may post on that and related matters some time. During this time (and not long before Xmas!) a mains power cable here failed costing me about NZ$1000. I am in the process of getting a WOF for my ancient Holden but first up I have to find NZ$300 for an exhaust repair.

It's all on! You have to laugh!

During January I was in the NZ Chess Championships (a first for me). I didn't do well (expected result about 5 or 6/11 but I came last with 2.5/11 which was due to some factors quite outside the chess game itself - that is it was to a large extent to do with my psychological approach to the event.

One point here is that most (professional) chess players of any calibre retire well before they are 60 and I am 63. (There are exceptions e.g. two great players include Korchnoi and the late ex World Champion V. Smyslov are two). Kasparov for example retired at the age of approx. 43 and the World strongest rated Chess player is 21 years of age. Most really strong chess players are between 15 and 35 years of age, so my big rating improvement last year (I beat a number of players over 2000 ELO) is quite unusual and quite pleasing) I am now again in the A Grade Summer Cup at ACC in Auckland.

My son and I have continued walking and so on each day.

I intend to do (as well as other posts) a review on here of Jack Ross's book of Kendrick Smithyman's translations of Italian poetry (it includes such as Montale and Quasimodo and it looks very good). A point here is that ANYTHING by or about the poet Kendrick Smithyman and also ANYTHING by Jack Ross is going to be interesting (this doesn't mean everything is by either or both of them is thus "good" that is another question, but mostly whatever (but of course NOT everything) by or about either of those two writers will pretty good, and quite often brilliant.

Currently on Reading the Maps (a Blog by Scott Hamilton) there is still a debate concerning the influence of postmodernism on Jack Ross and other matters relating to an interview (that Scott posted on there Reading the Maps) I did with Jack Ross regarding his (in many ways a quite extraordinary and innovative and challenging) new book called EMO ...the comments are ongoing but seem to be fixated on questions of reality and relativism etc etc when the book itself should in fact be read despite (or because of?) all that! That is, Jack Ross's book EMO.

But the debate is interesting over there and is still burning on!.

(My review of EMO was omitted and perhaps should have been included as it shows the wider implications and interest of EMO.)

But the fact of the debate is a good sign, showing that there is an interest in that and other issues and literature /politics art etc Experimental literature? A rather vague category but perhaps that is what it is.

Get hold of Jack Ross's books, including EMO, as they are certainly unique in NZ literature. That is in terms of style (or form) and content.

So, a short comment to say I am still here and that, in time, there will be more here anon.

Regards and best wishes to you-all out thar!



Meros said...

you know, I regularly enjoy your posts on maps... reminds me of a friend of mine who worked all sorts of jobs until me was 40, was with the mongrel mob sort-of and heaps of interesting issues (and a few kids) and is now doing his pHd. he's not over 60, but he is well older than me. anyhow... I guess the debate at maps is a little ferocious at times. sometimes i prefer to swan about in the slip stream of co-critique rather than try to prove some sort of epistemological urge towards whatever...

Richard said...

Thanks Meros.

I stand somewhere between your friend and ... well, someone else! My parents were English and while I was brought up in a working class area (I came back here to Panmure)...what Maps doesn't say (and he's known me since 1994!) is that in fact my father was an architect, and we all had plenty of money and food and all the rest (in that way my childhood was stress free, and my father didn't drink or act violently (I don't think I have ever actually been in a fight in my life, I avoid that kind of thing)... and so on...I actually was kind of "spoilt" )....he just decided to buy a state house and stay here. He was also a keen National supporter (but not religious at all). He wasn't too big on Maoris if he wasn't a rabid racist and as a teenager I probably thought capitalism was the best system. Perhaps it is. Who knows? The future is uncomputable.

My mother was possibly a bit more liberal.

I grew up (a little) and I actually became quite alienated from working people (in fact all people)...but things have changed I am bit more mellow than as a teenager.

I went to Uni and studied philosophy and literature as an adult student (I was a Lineman and did an Engineering Certificate)...was going to get more into the Derrida debate but didn't really have enough time...
I have to say find a lot of Derrida etc quite difficult I rely a lot on the online Philosophy Encyclopedia etc I'm interested in postmodernism but not sure if that is where I come from...a lot of philosophy and metaphysics is a bit too rarefied and abstract for me.

But I have (or I think I have) a philosophy of my own, which I cobbled together like a magpie from all kinds of directions ...but I am not sure what it is! No idea what I believe in! (Staying alive as long as I can?! managing the plastic debts? Winning the lotto? What's it all about? Art and love?)

I was going to talk about the truth criteria in metaphysics and how I feel they meet up somewhat with Derrida and relativism etc (not that they go any way to supporting any of his views as such) but it would take a massive essay to say what I want to say...might do a post sometime...but I am not sure I would really know what I was talking about! So I will leave it in all probability...

I had some (pretty far removed) parallels with your mongrel mob bloke although I have never been
a gang member and I am not Maori!

But as to Jack's book EMO. EMO is not about Derrida! I'm not really sure what it is about but that goes for many good and interesting or absorbing books I have read... It is a very interesting book...even possibly a great book if there is such thing...certainly very unusual in NZ literature.

Maps and Jack had huge debate at one stage about postmodernism...but it was mostly beyond me..the terminology evaded me, and in those days I imbibed a lot and this didn't help my already rather challenged faculties! I was basically stupefied by it all! But Maps and Jack have interesting (if quite different) Blogs for sure.

What is or are your main interests concerns?

Richard said...

BTW to all you fascinated fans out exhaust only cost $85 so that was one blessing! So now I have a relatively quiet bomb!

Rich (ard) Meros said...

I've been reading along and posting various things under various names on maps for a while. I do remember a few other chap's chats like these ones. I have been living overseas for two years and when I was settled (in Syria and Georgia) my access was a little limited and I was trying to get my Russian together.

My interests are in the political economy of organisations. That means I am interested in the ways that people criticise (ooh-la-la, Critique!) large businesses, the way alternatives are formed (ooh-la-la Collectivism!) and the way the rich, those wanting to be rich and the contented with less exchange ideas about the values of money.

I am interested in plenty more, I suppose. Aren't we all? I am interested in leaving New Zealand forever, and also in living here forever.

In terms of the theoretical stuff we're into, I like reading books that I only understand some of the text, but where, at the same time, one page in ten will leap off of the page and seem so brilliant that it is worth the reading. Derrida does that for me, as do all the recent Frenchies and some Germans and Italians. I am thinking of Peter Sloterdijk and Giorgio Agamben. But these are not concerns.

My concerns are about love, money, disease and death.

I also sometimes like working with the Lawrence and Gibson publishing collective to release mine and others books. I like writing books.

richard lopez said...

i'm glad to see a new post, richard! don't make me wait for more posts.

Richard said...

Richard and Meros

Thanks for stopping here!

Trying get my old car working. Got the headlamp fixed. That was harder than I thought. The neighbour (a big Samoan local panel beater and mechanic who has a Maori wife and very nice children) was restoring the same model Holden (1984 Berlina but his is a sedan) at his work place and knew how to get the old bulb out etc...hmm...these days with late model cars they often replace the whole unit..very expensive. This cost me only NZ$20.

I noticed a big rust hole in the front chassis strut or by the years of wear and tear and I leave it outside (garage is chocker with junk) ...also the fuel filter doesn't look well..

Now the ball joint. Have axle stands. Have a mate who is a mechanic. Can do!

I seem to do a lot of reading but very little actual writing. The need or "push" to write seems to have either gone completely or I am just too laid back...but I will see how things go.

I spend quite a lot of time on chess.

Just now preparing to play a young player, ranked number 15 on the current NZ active list (I'm 56th), who is at our Club (ACC) and hope this time to win or draw.

These daya I use books and a computer program to prepare. The game is on Monday night.

So I need my car to get in there!

But all that aside I will keep "meditating" and mulling over things so to speak...and see if any ideas emerge on the literary front.

Richard said...

So, still mulling!

richard lopez said...

richard, reading is writing i say and when you do that the poems come when they are ready to come. i am also pretty laid-back, sometimes i despair about my writing, most times i can give a toss and know that it is what i love, the writing/reading, and it shall make itself, the writing, manifest when it wants to. i don't force it, and really, because of my attitude, i think, i don't have dry spells.

the car sounds interesting. shit, the cars here are so advanced that one needs a graduate degree to work on them.

i think of getting a skateboard instead of a hotrod or motorcycle in lieu of a mid-life crisis. besides i grew up skating and now i see they make these long, wide boards for old folks like me.

enough of my rambling. more posts please, richard.

Richard said...


I agree re the poetic process and reading writing...

I'm reading an interesting book on poetic innovation in the 21st Century edited by Craig Dworkin some of the the things in there are inspiring.

I don't fetishise art or writing or anything as better than anything else.

It (the creative process) is perhaps separated as an intense act but it is still a a part of total process.

There is a NZ short story writer I like..but reading his poetry I find is /was quite dull - predictable. I cant put him as "lesser" but I hear Charles Bernstein's "Official Verse Culture" comment.

I'll start this year with some short poems and then see what that leads me to.

Cars are also too advanced here but I am one of those persons who..well, I never saved any money in my life and mostly only ever bought very cheap old cars...

My car is at least reasonably fixable! (But I notice the rust is starting to kill it, I keep expecting them to ban it from the road...) You don't want to own anything too expensive unless you have a good bank balance! I am on a low wage provided by the NZ Govt.

Re skating , my sister was very keen roller skating and until recently used to coach skating. now it is more more ice than roller and the skates have changed... (I did a bit of skating in the 50s but I was only average)... skate boarding is quite popular round here where I am...

I spent money I had from a big house I had on a trip to NY, pleasure, booze (pleasure and pain!), accidents while boozed (fines for DIC etc and car repairs, my childrens' school fees etc)...but mostly I just squandered all my money and didn't get back into work after about 1987 when I left the Electricity Division (now privatised)...

When my marriage folded and my father died etc I had another breakdown and paradoxically, that was part of (possibly all of) what kind of energized me to write and I really started when I was about 44 or so.

I went back to uni and studied English lit. I also sued to write a poem or two a week and read them that gave me a huge one stage about 1992 I was top of the poetry hit parade!

But eventually I realised I was spending too much on booze and my health was going to suffer so (didn't want to go the way of say Jack Spicer!)... I gradually withdrew from that...

Publishing on paper (in magazine s or even in books) or even online is not so interesting to me. It lacks the immediacy of performance. (I was spoilt by it I suppose.) Performance for me was a kind of total publishing...

That said I do have moments...your interest is encouraging. I rarely hear from anyone else in the literary world. My friend Ted Jenner and I meet up from time to time, but Maps (Scott Hamilton) never phones me any more (I have to admit I am not a conversationalist and am not really very interesting to most people in person to person situations), in fact I don't have phone numbers to any literary people! They, like women (I was never very successful in that department..), avoid me in droves!

Richard said...

[This comment is so long I could have done a post!]

I hear more from "my mechanic" and one other friend who is interested in my chess and chess in general. In chess I am now the 4th strongest senior player (over 60) in rating is the highest it has ever been. [Most senior players are well below the strength of junior or young to to middle age players, but I do quite well against most of those]

This is strange as chess players usually decline well before they are 50...Kasparov retired when he was 42. Some play on but their ratings decline! Mine, quite surprisingly, increased (a lot) last year so I played in the NZ Chess Championship in Jan.

I have a game tomorrow night at my Club (ACC) against a young player who is 15th ranked in NZ...

I take vitamin B supplements including B12 which is was low once and that really increases my alertness etc and even my libido!]

So I put a lot of energy into chess...but it is a very different activity than literature. Like another world! perhaps that energy is taking away from my writing. It is a very obsessive and addictive game.

But I am garnering some ideas for some more Blog entries...
As well as reading I see "experience"..what one does in daily life, as part of "writing" and for a "writer" if one can name oneself as that, all of that is a part of what makes one writer even if one never writes again!

What I do, I copy things from things I am reading... and that is quite wide so it gives an interesting grain to what I can come up with).

But there is no one in my family who is very interested in poetry or whatever and perhaps my best friend Bill is a mechanic who virtually never reads! My son mainly plays computer games and reads about the Illuminati! (via David Icke) But he does more (he does Wing Chun and makes the dinner every day!) but is not really interested in poetry or literature and in fact most people I know are not...

The avant garde and very innovative writer Ted Jenner and I have good talks with but he doesn't have a land line phone and I refuse to ring cell phones...and no on else is very interested in what I am doing except you over there in the US! I should emigrate!! I have a niece in Las Vegas! married to some big shot in the gambling world! Maybe I can get lift over to there!

Richard said...

I remember that big debate they all had on the Poetics List when Ron Silliman proposed to start a Blog...

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora Richard,

The lines blur.

Do you have a site for your games - I'd love to have a look them.

Perhaps poemchess may take off.

Richard said...

Hi Marty Mars. My games - or some of them are on I have a mix of in wins losses and draws but I want to get more games up. The games range from about 1964 to the present!

I have 1 draw and a win over IM Paul Garbett (ex NZ Champion) and two draws vs. IM Ortvin Sarapu and wins versus FMs Steadman, Bruce Watson (two of my "great" games!) I haven't got another of my "masterpieces", my win over Bruce Wheeler (which baffled all but one of the most advanced Chess computer up yet...(played in our ACC Club Champs last year) we drew in that ...I mean in the Summer Cup I think it was...

But I am no Duchamp! His games are on there also - or some of them. He once nearly won the French Championship.

I also have a lot of bad, even atrociously bad, games (by me, I play a lot of them...) on there;...added to that I lost to Daniel Shen on Monday night..hmmm...but he is about 200 points higher in ranking than I..even (or probably because) though hes is only about 16... also have a game between Einstein and Oppenheimer, and a game by Napoleon I think, and a game won by Prokofief playing Capablanca wheh he gave a simul once in Russia...Prokofief was a very keen chess player..that win was one of the big moments of his life. He is a favourite composer of mine also.

But I think you have to join and pay ... forget how much per year and I am a member.

I toyed with the idea of starting separate blogs and one that was a bit more "flash" with facilities to play or show chess games...

I've deliberately kept this basic so that I have to "push" things (slowly, very slowly as things gestate and finally get ready to be put on here) onto the black format and its is not "smooth" and .....somewhat as some writers use the typewriter.

I'm just reading some poems by Larry Eigner who was confined to his home most of his life and influenced the language poets etc or was associated with them and probably also the Black Mountain poets).

But another writer I want to see more of is Hannah Weiner...perhaps I will do a Blog post about her. I have seen a lot of her work. (I have a page from her "Clairvoyant Journal" posted on the side of book case in my room) you can get some of it on the Poetics site a SUNY Buffalo - it is run more or less by Charles Bernstein.

It has some fascinating stuff on their electric poetry site.

She also used a typewriter (as does Will Christie of Titus books), and fonts going across the page and so on but she used to see words as in a kind of vision and those words are in capitals...fascinating visual totalality of effect and her content is also intense.

Olson and Creeley followed Mallarme etc al and extended the "open" forms... (Hence such as Eigner and Weiner). I met Creeley once. He was good man and a very great poet also.

The Eigner book I got from The Hard to Find (it was signed by Tony Green!); it was Black Sparrow Press who published Creeley, Kelly, and say Bukowksi etc (The (old?) owner of Hard to Find kept most of those for himself I think...); but I want get more of those Roof books and also the Sun and Moon...I go via ADD ALL as I also sell books by the way.

I recently picked up the entire works of Carlyle well it looks pretty complete published in the 19th Century. Got them at a local market. Unusual find.

But I almost did a post featuring a video about Tuhoe and their struggle but I couldn't get the long video to embed..

Richard said...

I have been able to make any or much connection between chess and poetry except that certain chess games are quite beautiful. But chess is really quite limited. It is like a kind of specialist and obscure "pure" mathematics...but inside that it can have great beauty.

But it is quite a meaningless game and of no value to improving the mind or anything as people think. It does no one much good.

Then that probably goes for poetry and literature also (in fact all human activities? futile? all meaningless? all life meaningless?)...except that those things can console people and so on... maybe helps them to forget death.

One thinks of say Raymond Roussell's "Locus Solus"....etc