N.B. An earlier version of this post inexplicably omitted what, for me, is The Book of the Year, namely Robert Duncan's Collected Later Poems and Plays. Peter Quartermain's work editing the two volumes of Duncan's poetry and plays has been nothing less than heroic and lovers of Duncan owe him a profound debt of gratitude for his meticulous care and his, as usual, brilliant essays.
Bookslut: THE READER AS COLLABORATOR: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JARED SCHICKLING AND KRISTINA MARIE DARLING
THE READER AS COLLABORATOR: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN JARED SCHICKLING AND KRISTINA MARIE DARLING
Kristina Marie Darling is the author of sixteen books, which include Melancholia (An Essay), Petrarchan, and a forthcoming hybrid genre collection calledFortress. Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo.
Jared Schickling is the author of several books, includingATBOALGFPOPASASBIFL: Irritations, Excrement & Wipes and The Pink, and the chapbook Prospectus for a Stage. A critical work, The Paranoid Reader: 2006-2012, is forthcoming. He is an editor at Delete Press, eccolinguistics, andReconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics and Poetry / Literature and Culture. He lives in Lockport, New York.
Darling: All too often, the reader comes to a poem and finds that all the work has been done for them. A linear narrative, clearly defined terms, and a lucid explanation of what things "mean" are already there on the page. What I enjoyed most about your new collection -- which consists of hybrid genre prose, footnotes, found text, and struck-through lines of verse -- is that the book's collage-like quality demands a more active role on the part of the reader. Rather than presenting the reader with a clear-cut explanation of things, you invite them to participate actively in the process of creating meaning from the text. In many ways, it is the reader who actualizes your poems. Do you envision your work as collaborative in nature? Does the collaborative element in your work extend beyond the reader, encompassing other literary and cultural texts as well?
Schickling: To start with, I should say how glad I am to be talking with you about your work. This is a very exacting question, and I promise to try and keep up...
Lately I have been thinking about "quantum entanglement." Basically (ha!), when the quantum elements of two subatomic particles, such as electrons, and it has also been observed in diamonds, become "entangled," then what you do to and observe in the one will absolutely predict what its entangled partner will subsequently exhibit: the inverse of that observation. This despite the unique existence each entangled particle may experience, and it can occur instantaneously -- faster than the speed of light, the Constant, which is a physical "impossibility" -- whereby observers conclude that quantum entanglement is not merely about some message being sent from one place to another. Instead, one can create or teleport the state of matter to elsewhere by purposefully manipulating the entangled counterpart here. Physicists speak of this as mere information transfer, feeding the dream of quantum computing, to bypass satellites. The phenomenon, though it sounds far out, was discovered by Einstein a century ago, who didn't like it and disbelieved his findings, calling it "spooky action at a distance" (ironically, the concept was the same desperate speculation Newton had given for gravity, what he couldn't explain, and which Einstein sought to debunk in his General Theory of Relativity). Edwin Schrödinger, who argued this aspect of quantum mechanics with Einstein in letters, wrote in an article: "I would not call it one but rather the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics, the one that enforces its entire departure from classical lines of thought." Quantum entanglement has been "easily" produced in laboratory and accidentally "harnessed" in manufacture for some time, while the instruments of entanglement in particles are photons -- light, essentially. The phenomenon was essential in the functioning of the first transistor-based computers and the creation of lasers.
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