Patrick James Dunagan Responds to Page 26 of The Source

One day’s set of responses @ the 26th minute of each hour to Noah Eli Gordon’s THE SOURCE, particularly page 26, during a 7.5 hour work shift 4/6/2011

by Patrick James Dunagan

Periodicals and Bindery Specialist Gleeson Library-Geshcke Center University of San Francisco

9:26 some morning momentary language from off the screen browsing: Adapt or Die & “Your challenge this week is to stop yourself from taking on other people’s crap! Pay close attention to what you feel and move slowly through your relationships. Be kind, not enabling” pretty good words to start off with.

10:26 printing hi-jinks…the urge to document all such problems in order to resolve issues of default. Given the impossibility of reproducing the systemic surprise interruptions given constraints of time and happenstance, rather summarize the plot and present the value of further study in which anything given stands good chance of remaining. That Higher Yield beyond the words as descriptors and mere place settings towards a typography which might sparkle from within being full of inner cohesion. N.E.G. swimming his lines into prose blocks leaves just such impressions.

11:26 tome time, as in where do you find the… Does N.E.G. have to dust off any of the volumes he consults as he goes along with his project, making it worthwhile to comb through counting instances of given reference? The questions remain abundant. Writing the silences, Pleasure, Come on All you Ghosts, Rough Honey: The Source one in the same, no doubt words do have a way of altering as they are altered. That sliding glass gone liquid under the hand, peeling that back being one method at work here; not just how you do it, but importantly why, this is left for contemplation.

12:26 everything has a beginning… even when started in the midst of an hour…recall that directly across the street the Philadelphia Orchestra was performing Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony that afternoon, the majesty and exuberance of the music used to inspire the overall performance. Does that change how a reader might respond? And when the text is massaged so as to breathe in bits of some other story from beyond its confines, what then? Not autobiographical, necessarily, but if there is a search going on, certainly it matters what’s happening in the thoughts of N.E.G. that day, what he may have had to eat on his way over to the stacks… just how quiet is the Denver Public Library and what’s their food policy? Libraries are in the middle of a serious debate (or lack thereof) on this issue. Down at Cal State Long Beach the library has a Starbucks, I remember going in there with my sister so she could check out Reading Zukofsky’s 80 flowers by Michele J. Leggott for my afternoon browsing before meeting up later after she finished her teaching and overseeing rehearsal duties… that guilty feeling of walking the stacks with a cold icy bit of jugged caffeine sweetness in hand. And how high the ceilings in the lobby were (no security gates, self check-out stations widely grouped apart in the center round pillars and help desks shoved far off along the side walls off of the entrance) and wide the staircases. Generous and cavernous—or otherwise— such contours of experience it seems must have found a way into The Source.

1:26 interest in purchasing a digital collection of historic maps (from the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1789-1969)? The query went out over email. A reply returned: Looks cool. Sounds expensive. But I’d at least like to know how much… “The Source is respectful of tradition,” so we’re told. And “altering nouns to read ‘the Source’ so they become reflective” has occurred at times. The project is a whole composed of days and moments of those days. The accumulated largesse of abandoned remains forms the work, much as any other manuscript. If there are surprises no doubt they are inherent by way of process.

2:26 relevancy has a mainstay grip. After two years, you have to start figuring out something to do with all the stuff that’s accrued. Make a presentation of the problems which have arisen. Ask the vital questions. Obsessively tweeting them to yourself—and if there’s no cell coverage when you’re in the stacks, what then?  Differing results… could be dithering. Word Play. An impossible number of clicks to get through, what a barrage of screens N.E.G. would have confronted had he not wandered over to the library in person! The man in the streets, the man in the stacks; having made the decision you must carry through with the Judgment, anything extraneous is free to all. Late comers best argue well. Nobody lacking permissive rights gets far past last call. Once the lights go out you’re finished middle of page 26 of the 26th book on the 26th day of the month or not. Worldcat local or something, you know the type, metadata always gets to take its turn.

3:26 a philosophy expressed through dialogue. That which exists between poet and text, there’s always a uniform and with it comes responsibility. The decision to ignore or not what is no longer an option. Mailing the book back and forth is not any less expensive (by much) than purchasing a used copy. Plentiful are the romps. Don’t mistake surface for depth when on assignment. Looking yourself in the eye, there’s the particular challenge to not be found out undone by having thought too much about whatever changes you then push through. “What’s this?” “Nothing. I fell.” “Doctor, look at this.” “hmm? It’s nothing, just a bruise.” In comes the burdening up of twilight.

4:26 OK that is it.  I have time. You find the path by looking at whatever’s at the end of your nose, book or lunch sitting on the shelf. The Source and I would sit for days on end hashing it out. We talked of Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Jeffers, Cather, etc. . . the gravitas of Pound and Eliot. I was 25 years younger then and The Source teased it out of me, a kind of gold, the empty beer cans stacking up in the kitchen, chicken bones in a heap on the work table from runs for take-out, the weak overhead light bulb sending a kind of yellow something into the air, still to be felt decades down the road, I am left sorry to have not been as serious. The Source wrote some wonderful early poems and then gave it up to the persona, lost so much in this terrible machine that grinds away day and night to suck the canto jondo out of all of us.  Do you mind the praise? The Source finds its own phrasings so well and easy. Such a wonderful crew of poetry travelers, reading now the final proofs a real achievement.

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One Response to Patrick James Dunagan Responds to Page 26 of The Source

  1. Pingback: WTF is The Source? WTF is Conceptual Writing? WTF do I do with The Source? « BIG OTHER

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