BABELLEBAB by HERIBERTO YEPEZBILL MARSH reviews by offering a reading through
BABELLEBAB (Non-Poetry on the End of Translation)by Heriberto Yépez
(Duration Press, 2003)
Information on the Leading Suspects
Yép ez no poet. Es the activity of poetry escaping poetry. Is a kind of document technician and says so later. Given information systems becoming their very own climates, the need for related performances in the rain, smog, and swelter. Acts and activities of compression, inversion, spots of knotty fluctuation. All business hereafter through speeds and spaces information lives in.
The person dissipates, activities congeal, requiring language beyond multiple languages. What remains is Virilio’s omnipolitical nomad. Ascendance of virtual viability climates rewriting/-naming borders and greater-metro areas. Cross-purposes. A dream, a perspective, a flattened agenda, and marking a much-needed move from flighty dislocation to concerted locability via new economies of citydad.
Escape poetry. Document building. What the reader is about to confront is three long poems or three essays done as poetry. Devices in Prose. Writing As a Way to Design with Meaning I or Draw I with Letters. In Babel (first congress on the issue of translation), the lab of able-bodied babble. So really? Let’s give the Internet the Role we Use to Give to Voice? One imagines what gets woven through the palindrome. The project would offend the fence-mongers.
To J. Rothenberg, of San Diego, not Tijuana, From Yépez, of Tijuana, not San Diego. Of Tio Diega and Tia Diego. Not Juana Diego. Sans de ego. K? Changes in the City become “Avant-Gardes.” / But Please don’t Avant-Gard too much. I.e., Operation Gate Copper. This duration book’s a keeper.
And there is also the question of the lyrical voice of this poem wanting to know which day is going to be tomorrow but paradoxically referring to the future (“tomorrow”) using “was” (the Past).
To translate I should draw I not write. Si! Si!
So read the palindrome back and forth, up and down, along an x-mex and a y-try axis. The U.S. is as Ex as is us.
The document technician’s credo: O / What / If / Instead / Of / “Writing” / “Our” / “Poems” / We / Would / Translate / Everything / We / Think? Composition, in short, not writing. Form not as fixture but activity. Thinking, a rhythm of attention. Compoetics of scrutiny, a medium of strangeness. Knowing episodically, in the event. Aesthetic discovery = social discovery. Barbarian as Border Babel (Lebab). Each day is drawn to its scene or scene to its day the image already underway.
Language is the late stage of translation (and maybe vice versa), but not Language Poetry.
It’s a primer of sorts. A rhetoric riding through and underneath all this: tangent, ellipsis, allusion, reflection, and perhaps just one error: (Am I writing or sampling?). And perhaps another: a poem is just an efficient collection of lines. Really? Prove it.
“H” is laughter. Hahaha. (bpNichol). Jerome has a beard. (H.Y.)
English is an ironic language…?
For composition of poem and essay, we must remember that Voice: (is) / A project of translation. The pedagogical aim of the document technician is thus to bring into composition the translation project of 20th century poetics. For Literature is just remarks, and The future of poetry will be publi city. (For more information, see our website: tiodiega.com). Advert, or post-pomo promo.
Experimental poetry will have to change Philosophy’s face. But with all respect due Bernstein and Perloff, fuck that. D.T.’s are sociologists, not philosophers. And not, al(i)as, poets.
And so, one central issue and perhaps the key claim of this document: English, my way of Translating America.
Welcome to the Tijuana Poetry Scene.
An Encyclopedia of Lost Thoughts
is a writing through incorporation. I wouldn’t say “to collect disperse meanings” but rather to disperse collected meanings. In escaping poetry, one befriends the technical. The document, as a possible teaching device, a record or evidence of an event, a transcript, is equal to the decision to engineer or reverse-engineer a moment. Once the author is dead, only Email remains, and so all documents seek distribution. Distribution is, in fact, the goal of documentation. The document is authored but remains authorless or multiply authored. This is not a poststructuralist argument so much as a strategy for survival.
To assume intertextuality we need to acquire a mechanical view of language. If we consider language a flux, then the encyclopedic possibilities of language are not fulfilled: in an uninterrupted flux the verbal mass couldn’t stop to reabsorb itself, couldn’t recycle its own body in order to digest its fragments. In other words, All we do is to look after the opinions and learning of others; we ought to make them our own…. What use is it to us to have a belly full of meat if we do not digest it, if we do not transmute it into ourselves?
So yes, language returns to itself, but does that mean it becomes fragmented? Sure, We write thinking we are gonna be quoted, but speak for myself!
Throughout, wherever you see “discourse-designer” read “document technician.” One example of a fully embodied (digested and digestable) document is, of course, the Encyclopedia.
The original text. A hoax! A hoax! Since every word is already a quote, one can quote one’s Barthes and eat it too. Para Yép es no problem.
The problem, in fact, is the computer:
Writing Back and forth through the text.
Which is only possible in a computer.
The Computer Age of Literature.
A text written writing all over but which is going to be still read from beginning to end.
Read as in computers.
Or rather, read Amato and weep: the screen as a region of passions like any other in which textuality is permitted to bump up against the real. And/Or: an author: a text: a discursive intersection: a situation: a set of circumstances: an invitation: an other. And/Or finally: that a modified mind / is decidedly in the cards…
So, to translate, to translate America, to quote language, to quote it before it all dies. Is a translation is a quote which hides the comment (of the one who quotes) inside the quote itself. Translations are misleading citations. Or algebraically:
write = translate (translate [quote (comment)])
or, the essence of incorporation as appropriation, the starting point of sociopoetics: appropriation of its (kn)own pasts: texts in which we can see the visible bleeding of discourse and tradition (¿a royal disease?) and the de-formation caused by incorporating sources (¿sorcerers?) and by putting into question that incorporation.
This is the Dawning of the Age of Assembly
In closing, please note that every single text [here] was written especially for this occasion. A poem beginning I [Here] I can be interrupted at any I . POINT . I
I words I words I words I
And if the next step needs to be taken in prose, please inform the Leading Suspects. Poetry is Now Information. And Punctuation is Punk.
Other Works Incorporated:
Amato. Bookend: Anatomies of a Virtual Self. SUNY Press, 1997.
Hejinian. The Language of Inquiry. UC Press, 2000.
Montaigne. The Essays of Michel de Montaigne. Tr. M.A. Screech. Penguin, 1991.
Virilio. Open Sky. Tr. Julie Rose. Verso, 1997.
Bill Marsh lives and works in Chicago and Ottawa, Illinois. He is co-designer of Factory School (factoryschool.org) and edits the Heretical Texts poetry series. His poetry books include Tao Drops, I Change, co-authored with Steve Carll (Subpress 2003), Artificial Cinnamon Nation (Meow 2000), and Making Flutes (Potes & Poets 1998). His monograph on plagiarism detection software is on hold at SUNY Press. Write to: bmarsh[at]factoryschool.org