P       RNCU   REPO   ODER       E            P O S T M O D E R N
P  TMOD RNCU  U EP S  ODER  ULTU E               C U L T U R E
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER  ULTU E          an electronic journal
P  TMODERNCU  UREPOS  ODER       E           of interdisciplinary
Volume 9, Number 1 (September 1998)              ISSN: 1053-1920

Editors:                            Lisa Brawley
                                    Stuart Moulthrop

Editors Emeritus:                   Eyal Amiran
                                    John Unsworth

Review Editor:                      Paula Geyh

Managing Editor:                    Anne Sussman

Research Assistants:                Lisa Spiro
                                    Kate Stephenson

Editorial Board:                                           

     Michael Berube                 Phil Novak
     Nahum Chandler                 Chimalum Nwankwo
     J. Yellowlees Douglas          Patrick O'Donnell
     Jim English                    Elaine Orr
     Diane Gromala                  Marjorie Perloff
     Graham Hammill                 Fred Pfeil
     Phillip Brian Harper           Peggy Phelan
     David Herman                   David Porush
     E. Ann Kaplan                  Mark Poster	
     Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett  Susan Schultz
     Neil Larsen                    William Spanos
     Tan Lin                        Allucquere Roseanne Stone
     Saree Makdisi                  Gary Lee Stonum
     Jerome McGann                  Rei Terada
     Larysa Mykyta                  Paul Trembath
     Jim Morrison                   Greg Ulmer
                          Editors' Note
    Bishnupriya Ghosh, "The Postcolonial Bazaar: Thoughts 
    on Teaching the Market in Postcolonial Objects"
    Alec McHoul, "Cybernetymology and ~ethics"
    Benjamin Friedlander, "Poetics, Polemic, and the Question 
    of Intelligibility"
    Kevin McGuirk, "A.R. Ammons and 'the only terrible health' 
    of Poetics"
    Evgeny Pavlov, "What We Talk About When We Talk About 
    Poetry: A Recent View from St. Petersburg"--A Translation of 
    Arkadii Dragomoshchenko's "On the Superfluous"
    Rita Barnard, "Another Country: Amnesia and Memory in 
    Contemporary South Africa."  A review of Jeremy Cronin, _Even 
    the Dead: Poems, Parables, and a Jeremiad_.  Cape Town: David 
    Philip, 1997; and Sarah Nuttall and Carli Coetzee, eds., 
    _Negotiating the Past: The Making of Memory in South Africa_. 
    Oxford UP, 1998.
    Robert Elliot Fox, "Shaping an African American Literary 
    Canon."  A review of _The Norton Anthology of African 
    American Literature_, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie Y. 
    McKay, general editors.  New York: W. W. Norton, 1997.  
    Includes an audio companion compact disc with 21 selections; 
    and _Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the 
    African American Literary Tradition_.  Patricia Liggins Hill, 
    general editor.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.  Includes 
    an audio companion compact disc with 26 selections. 
    James S. Hurley, "Real Virtuality: Slavoj Zizek and 
    'Post-Ideological' Ideology."  A review of Slavoj Zizek, _The 
    Plague of Fantasies_.  London: Verso, 1997.
    Todd M. Kuchta, "The Dyer Straits of Whiteness."  A review of 
    Richard Dyer, _White._  London and New York: Routledge, 1997.
    Theresa Smalec, "The Therapeutic Stage/Page: Facts and 
    Fictions about the Dead to Stir the Living."  A review of 
    Peggy Phelan, _Mourning Sex: Performing Public Memories_.  
    London and New York: Routledge, 1997.
    Kelly Cresap, "Ride the Classics 'Coast to 'Coast" 
    [WWW Version only]
    Joel Weishaus, "IMAGING EmerAgency: A Conversation With 
    Gregory Ulmer"
                        [WWW Version only]
                      Notes on Contributors   
    Bishnupriya Ghosh, "The Postcolonial Bazaar: Thoughts on 
    Teaching the Market in Postcolonial Objects"
       o Abstract: Much of the contemporary soul-searching by 
         postcolonial intellectuals living and teaching in first 
         world locations has circulated around the question: 
         does the institutionalization of the postcolonial 
         evacuate it as a gesture/movement of resistance to 
         continuing western imperialism?  Taking the single 
         act of choosing literary texts, I chart the itinerary 
         of the postcolonial as it travels through critical 
         discourses, popular cultures and the media, public 
         spheres, and academic policies and pedagogies.  Framing 
         my inquiry in current debates on the postcolonial and 
         the postmodern, I tackle questions such as: what is the 
         purchase of the "postcolonial" in the American academy? 
         How is literary value assigned to texts in terms of the 
         transnational publishing/distribution networks, 
         epistemological and educational histories in 
         postcolonial contexts, and the doling out of symbolic 
         sanctions?  What kinds of political responsibilities 
         do postcolonial intellectuals have and to whom?  In the 
         postmodern era of global cultural economies, 
         intersecting and deterritorialized public spheres, and 
         the saturation of those spheres with electronic 
         reproductions/mass media harnessed to dominant
         (financial, military, institutional) interests, surely 
         the politics of culture must be reconceptualized in 
         transnational terms. 
         My analysis offers a two-pronged approach to negotiate 
         the problems cited here: first, the need to "teach the 
         market" along with the text and, second, the practice of 
         an international cultural studies.  Teaching the 
         politics of the academy, pedagogy and the publishing 
         industry, the relationship of academia to international 
         public spheres, and the intersections of all kinds of 
         cultural work with critical theory, along with our 
         choice of postcolonial texts offers ways to recuperate 
         the postcolonial as cultural/political resistance.  
         While as critics we take on an immense task of cultural 
         imagination that charts, analyzes, critiques and 
         catalogs, as teachers we must hunker down to a set of 
         strategies that combat institutional and market 
    Alec McHoul, "Cybernetymology and ~ethics"
       o Abstract: By working from the etymology of the word 
         "cybernetics" and its variants, this paper opens up the 
         question of the ethics of the cyber as its "ethos" in a 
         quite specific sense.  That ethos has to do with the 
         ways in which all things cyber are far from being the 
         antithesis of the "human."  On the contrary, in Wiener's 
         original sense, which refers to "the entire field of 
         control and communication theory, whether in the machine 
         or in the animal," the cybernetic includes the human.  
         However, this does not mean a complete identity between 
         humans and those few machines that are also and 
         incidentally cybernetic.  The human capacity for 
         reflexive accounting marks a critical difference.--am
    Benjamin Friedlander, "Poetics, Polemic, and the Question of 
       o Abstract: In this paper, I address the uneasy balance 
         between critical and poetic language and the potential 
         contradiction between these two modes of expression that 
         poets entertain when they set about writing their 
         "statements of poetics."  More specifically, through a 
         close reading of Ron Silliman's brief essay "Wild Form," 
         I show how such statements enact this uneasy balance and 
         resolve this potential contradiction most decisively in 
         their underlying formal patterns.  In the case of "Wild 
         Form," this underlying pattern takes the 
         quasi-dialectical shape of two see-saws balanced on a 
         third see-saw, a pattern which bears a strong 
         resemblance to the quasi-dialectical progression of 
         Silliman's long poem _Tjanting_.  It is this formal 
         resemblance, I argue, more than the polemical content of 
         "Wild Form's" various statements, which vouches for the 
         continuity and seriousness of Silliman's work.  Indeed, 
         given the willingness and even eagerness with which 
         Silliman embraces the risk of confusion, it is only by 
         attending to such structural repetitions that the deeper 
         aspirations of his critical and poetic projects can 
         become intelligible.--bf
    Kevin McGuirk, "A.R. Ammons and 'the only terrible health' of 
       o Abstract: Since the early 1980s, critics have typically 
         defined the postmodern in poetry by opposing the 
         postmodern text (usually the long poem) to the 
         postromantic lyric.  It's interesting, then, that while 
         his critics divide into a group of lyric critics (Bloom, 
         Vendler, et al.) and a few %isolatos% working out the 
         operational procedures of his longer poems, A.R. Ammons 
         has worked in both modes since the early '60s.  This 
         essay examines a different opposition within Ammons's 
         writing: on the one hand, the "swarming profusion" 
         (Ashbery) of brief lyrics and longer poems together; on 
         the other, a handful of much-anthologized *works*, poems 
         that in cadence and statement propose to transcend the 
         open totality of his poetry by knowing it better than it 
         knows itself.  In his verse "Essay on Poetics" (1970), 
         Ammons declares that "abandonment / is the only terrible 
         health."  The lyrics, accordingly, are mere trials and 
         re-trials which repeatedly abandon the romantic drift 
         toward epiphany, while the long poems aggregate but 
         refuse to comprehend.  Taking the late elegy "Easter 
         Morning" as my example of a *work*, I argue that Ammons 
         elaborates not simply two literary modes, but two 
         discursive healths or "fatalities": the fatality of 
         death (with its correspondent elegiac *work*); and "the 
         only terrible health" of abandonment which is, in 
         Baudrillard's sense, a continuing fatality because it is 
         banal.  In the first, the object is the subject's 
         mirror; in the second, the object is not the subject's 
         mirror, and so the poem must again and again abandon 
         both the object and the poem of the object.  In 
         returning to the scene of childhood loss, "Easter 
         Morning" proposes to close a circle and resolve the 
         problem of the whole poetry, but can do so only by being 
         incommensurable with it.--km
    Evgeny Pavlov, "What We Talk About When We Talk About 
    Poetry: A Recent View from St. Petersburg"--A 
    Translation of Arkadii Dragomoshchenko's "On the 
       o Abstract: Today poetry is something unnecessary, 
         *superfluous*.  Confined within the conventional bounds 
         of *writing*, it has been barred from naively 
         questioning its own nature and the limits of its scene.  
         Yet poetry does not err in any projection of its 
         questioning itself because it is the unconscious of a 
         society, the four-dimensional landscape of an impeccable 
         action.  It is the fullest *absence*--above all, of 
         representation.  Meanwhile, the desire for 
         absence--stasis, Logos, Fullness, death--is accompanied 
         by the insurmountable fear of transgressing the line 
         that separates from it.  The poetic non-journey of 
         non-transgressive transgression is always a return to 
         its own beginning.  It is the experience of 
         insufficiency.  Every word, even if preceded or 
         followed by another, speaks of "not connectibility," 
         "not compatibility," of rupture.  "On the Superfluous" 
         is a paratactic rumination on poetry and parataxis.  It 
         examines the residual surplus of insufficiency that 
         poetry accumulates in the idle melancholy of its endless 
Copyright (c) 1998 Postmodern Culture & Johns Hopkins University

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