Thursday 07/09 J.R. Carpenter Class Discussion Questions

One Overall Question

YOUR INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE: How does the interactive nature of the medium shape your relationship with the poetic verse? Do you think the artifacts you are able to investigate provide a spatial and emotional depth that mere words may not be able to create?


Linking Question using And by Islands & In Absentia

Vicuna speaks of the BPII’schtaKo myth, which is a “creature” created by the Europeans, whose “purpose is to eat up the indians.” It is the “hummmmm of all machines/ of airplanes and cars and so forth…/that has eaten up/ and is continuing to eat all the indians.” This creature is a monster no one can truly see or identify but it somehow eradicates and swallows a culture, and now Carpenter speaks of the relation between myth and place as well. The piece In Absentia, discusses gentrification as a type of creature no one talks about as a monster. Carpenter states that the construction of her gentrified street ripped through her sidewalks and destroyed her home. She was suddenly displaced. “When all was paved and done the sidewalks were wider and the graded curbs were edged in granite. Flowers were planted…I got my eviction notice soon after. Someone has to pay for urban renewal. I put down a deposit I’ll never get back….” Even though gentrification is advertised as a positive, productive method of cleaning up streets, eradicating crime, and creating a safer environment, gentrification = displacement for many. Financial ruin for others. Lost cultures and histories. Pain. It is the “hummmmm of all machines” (Vicuna)

Q: So, how do these two writers use the physical space of their medium to provide concreteness to these myths? Is there a taking back of power between the cracks and boundaries? Can we find a common argumentative thread between colonization/decolonization and gentrification?

On a side note, in her paragraphs that shift in And by Islands, Carpenter writes that Literature:

  • “is the attempt to interpret myths at the moment we no longer understand them”
  • “develops the failure and death of mythology.”

I’d take this discussion one step further and also question if the performance/interactive element is placed within these works because literature alone cannot harness and represent the full power of mythology?

Entre Ville

FORM: Think about the scroll feature, and the artifacts like the dog and gloves that obscure your view. Since you were unable to view the entire poem at once did you feel a level of frustration or did it elevate your experience? What about your understanding of the poem in its entirety? 

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