Rockers, artists pay tribute to James Joyce with massive project

“What I found out,” says Pyle, “was that there were all these niches and subcultures — dead heads, punk rockers, out-there artists, avant-garde classical musicians, Robert Anton Wilson fans — and within their subcultures ‘Finnegans Wake’ has a lot of importance. ... What I think happened was we were able to bring together a bunch of niches, people who were interesting and also supportive — that cult thing, when you’re really into something, you’re really into something. We brought together those people as both audience and contributors.”


A note to Bob

Dear Bob,

the world seems so messy without you, and we all miss your social commentary and King Kong like presence on the underground. Raw heads still turn to you for the clearest perspective on any particular issue, be it concerning intelligent signals from outer space, the perils of totalitarian government, any conspiracy you can think of, no matter how wild or crazy (as nothing could be stranger than the truth) We miss your humor and willingness to confront the boogie man in every corner of the cultural living room, where others fear to tread.

new readers are discovering your books daily, both fiction and non-fiction (oh whats the difference these days?) i dream of picking apart the bride of Illuminatus with a 10'000 strong, open on-line community, and to witness the films and games and weird works dedicated to you light up your face. Shit, it's easy to forget how well you're ideas are preserved due to your due diligence when writing. You might chuckle to see us all pushing onwards into the dark woods with the world on our shoulders, taking on the TSOG with art and magic. May you rest in peace, and continue to extrude your ubiquitous entanglement with those who wish to tune in. Please visit at any time.

--Steve Fly



In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

INTRODUCTION THE TALE OF THE TRIBE "I hold that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that the phrase 'a long poem' is simply a contradiction in terms. . . . If at any time, any very long poem were popular in reality—which I doubt—it is at least clear that no very long poem will ever be popular again." —Edgar Allan Poe, "The Poetic Principle"

1 "A heroic poem, truly such, is undoubtedly the greatest work which the soul of man is capable to perform." —John Dryden, "Dedication Of The Aeneis"

2 In 1920, Georg Lukacs published a critical study entitled The Theory of the Novel. The subtitle of this work, "A historicophilosophical essay on the forms of great epic literature," announces Lukacs' decision to treat the novel as the fundamental form of epic literature in modern writing. Subsequently, he justifies this decision, explaining: The epic and the novel, these two major forms of great epic literature differ from one another not by their author 's fundamental intentions but by the given historico -philosophical realities with which the authors were confronted. The novel is the epic of an age in which the extensive totality of life is no longer directly given, in which the immanence of meaning in life has become the problem, yet which still thinks in terms of totality.

3 The conviction that verse could no longer deal adequately with "the extensive totality of life" (while the novel was now 

4 · INTRODUCTION regarded as uniquely suited to attempt such a task) was by no means original with, or restricted to, Lukacs. Rather, he is representative of a widely shared attitude: a narrowing of the sphere regarded as "appropriate" for verse, which any poet seeking to equal the breadth of scope and subject matter of great novelists was compelled to confront. In 1917, when Ezra Pound began to publish his long modern verse epic, The Cantos, he was distinctly nervous about the problematic nature of his undertaking, and in the unrevised version of Canto I, he speculates whether it would not be wiser to "sulk and leave the word to novelists."

4 As late as 1922, after he had already completely revised the poem's opening and published the first eight Cantos, Pound's correspondence reveals a man still anxiously defending the ambitious intentions of his work-in-progress: "Perhaps as the poem goes on I shall be able to make various things clearer. Having the crust to attempt a poem in 100 or 120 cantos long after all mankind has been commanded never again to attempt a poem of any length, I have to stagger as I can." (L:180) Underlying both Lukacs' critical pronouncement and Pound's initial self-doubt is a questioning of the essential nature of poetic discourse, of the formal limits within which the special language of verse must move if it is to remain faithful to its fundamental character as poetry. The question is really one of "decorum" in the full classical sense, an attempt to discover anew which modes of literary presentations are intrinsically most suitable to the different areas of human experience. By the end of the First World War, a verse epic was not so much a form as an oxymoron, an anachronism that seemed to violate what many poets as well as critics had come to regard as the characteristic structure and horizon of poetic discourse. Edgar Allan Poe's strictures against the long poem in "The Poetic Principle" (1848) exercised a profound influence throughout the nineteenth century, especially upon the decisive figures in the development of modern French verse— Charles Baudelaire, Stephane Mallarme, and Arthur Rimbaud —but, in their own writings, Poe's argument was taken up as only one aspect of a fundamental upheaval in the connection between language as a literary, poetic artifact and the INTRODUCTION · 

5 world of quotidian reality. At bottom it was the representational nature of artistic language that was challenged, the traditional conception of verse as a mimesis of some external, and consequently independent, event. For Mallarme the poetic text was neither the discoverer nor even the celebrant of previously existent values: it was their sole originator, at once the source and only locus of meaning. The words of a poem, an incantation and hieroglyph, were absolutely divorced from their usage in the mundane world, and art, rather than offering an articulated duplication of reality, was seen as itself conferring the only reality, the only authentic and absolute form of being attainable.


Kurt Vonnegut on Paul Krassner and his poster - Fuck Socialism

by Kurt Vonnegut
Paul Krassner, 63 at this writing (1996), old enough to be my baby brother,
in 1963 created a miracle of compressed intelligence nearly as admirable for
potent simplicity, in my opinion, as Einstein¹s e=mc2.  With the Vietnam War
going on, and with its critics discounted and scorned by the government and
the mass media, Krassner put on sale a red, white and blue poster that said

At the beginning of the 1960s, FUCK was believed to be so full of bad magic
as to be unprintable.  In the most humanely influential American novel of
this half century, "The Catcher in the Rye," Holden Caulfield, it will be
remembered, was shocked to see that word on a subway-station wall.  He
wondered what seeing it might do to the mind of a little kid.  COMMUNISM was
to millions the name of the most loathsome evil imaginable.  To call an
American a communist was like calling somebody a Jew in Nazi Germany.  By
having FUCK and COMMUNISM fight it out in a single sentence, Krassner wasn¹t
merely being funny as heck.  He was demonstrating how preposterous it was
for so many people to be responding to both words with such cockamamie
Pavlovian fear and alarm.

What hasn¹t been said about that poster, and surely not by Krassner, is that
its author was behaving harmoniously with most of the Ten Commandments, the
Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States and the Sermon on
the Mount.  So, too, were his now-dead friends Lenny Bruce and Abbie Hoffman
and Jerry Rubin, roundly denounced and even arrested for bad manners and
impudence, and now mourned and celebrated as heroes, which indeed they were,
in this important book.  They were prophets, too, at the service of humanity
in jeering, like the prophets of old, at mean-spirited hypocrisies and
stupidities and worse that were making their society a hell, whether there
was a God or not.

And this book is emphatically not nostalgic, but raffishly responsive to the
here and now.  Nor are decades like chains of knockwursts, sutured off from
one another at either end.  To think of them as such, the 1950s, the 1960s,
the 1970s and so on, is merely a mnemonic device.  The only 1960s people are
those who died back then.  Everyone alive today has no choice but to be,
like Paul Krassner, a 1990s person.  Krassner does a good job of that.  So
should we all.

I told Krassner one time that his writings made me hopeful.  He found this
an odd compliment to offer a satirist.  I explained that he made supposedly
serious matters seem ridiculous, and that this inspired many of his readers
to decide for themselves what was ridiculous and what was not.  Knowing that
there were people doing that, better late than never, made me optimistic.