Posts tagged “poetry”

Out and About: Tamara in NYC

Last week Julie and I got to take a bite outta the Big Apple and take in the sights, sounds and sensations of the city streets. Here are a few highlights and memorable moments from the adventure…

Fired folks aren’t the only ones profiting from their appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice. I am not convinced that a restaurant appearing on this show implies endorsement of a quality culinary experience and while the stock photo certainly has the flavor of Reality TV, it doesn’t say “appetizing” to me.

These guys were camped out in front of a Foot Locker store in anticipation of the arrival of the new Nike Foamposite Galaxy a week later. I imagine this is very common, but I honestly can’t think of anything in life that would compel me to camp on a city street for one week.

I initially appreciated the tenor of this little letter to Residents until I got to the end. From, Porter. felt so impersonal! Unless of course, that is his name…

Poetry in motion! Thumbs up to the NYC Department of Transportation for adding a little beauty to the urban landscape.


A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
Thomas Mann


Poet Kenneth Goldsmith calls himself an “uncreative writer,” and his works include: everything he said for a week; every move his body made during a thirteen-hour period; a year of transcribed weather reports, and the September 10, 2001 issue of The New York Times, transcribed.

My first reaction to Goldsmith’s work was that it seemed like a good piece of conceptual art scamming, but then I heard him read one of his transcribed weather reports on the radio.

Before he read the piece, Goldsmith explained that the process of transcribing these artifacts creates an experience for him of the poetry in everyday language use. And it was true-as Goldsmith read the weather report, in a fairly rapid, uncadenced style, I was struck by how vividly evocative the place names, the verbs of wind and temperature, the homey advice to “stay indoors” all were.

I think what Goldsmith is doing is a word-focused parallel to what we do in contextual research practice: we carefully observe and document the everyday, as much as possible suspending our own preconceptions of what is and is not significant, in order to see in new ways.

When I was younger, I effortlessly seemed to think in a more lyrical and poetic way than I do now. My hypothesis has been that this change is a result of being more involved with “putting my hands on things” than I was in my 20s. My creative energy now goes much more towards describing and solving problems-juxtaposing complex alternatives, articulating ideas that have the potential for real impact-and there’s just not the same kind of energy available for playing with language.

I’m happy with the direction my way of thinking has evolved, but at the same time, I feel a certain sense of loss for that earlier version of myself, and the ease with which I used to make words do tricks.

Hearing Goldsmith reminded me that I needn’t draw a hard line between between playing with language and solving problems, between the lyrical and the practical-that it’s all out there, evocative and full of potential.


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