jim leftwich on mg’s “glitchasemic2” (in diaphanous press, fall 2017)

glitchasemic 2
Marco Giovenale
glitched asemic writing 7.17 x 9.98 cm.


“climbing high mountains / tryin to get home” — repeated four times, in Blind ​Willie McTell’s voice, as my first thought when looking at this glitchasemic (later in the same song McTell sings “I am bearin’ the names of many, tryin to get home”)​.​
i have to force myself to think of Bill Beamer’s “​​dritings”
and of Marco’s “​​drawritings”​.​
both of these configurations seem foced in the extreme,
radically constructed, so much so that i would prefer something
that didn’t even attempt a seamless hybrid​,​
maybe “writrawings”​.​
i know exactly where i am here, and it is in the midst of a swarming
excess of meanings, as far from the experience of something “having
no semantic content” as i could possibly be.
the late re-definition of the term “asemic” to mean “having no specific
semantic content” doesn’t solve this problem, it merely redefines the
prefix “a-” as synonymous with “poly-“.​ that simply doesn’t work.​
McTell’s voice in my mind makes me think of Ginsberg/Trungpa’s axiom
“first thought, best thought”. “was it even my thought?” is what i am thinking now?
i don’t think so.
it wasn’t even my second mind, to offer a nod to Howlin Wolf, it was
a spontaneous association while looking at Marco’s tiered glitchasemic.
the image is beautiful, stratified and slowly receding, blips and
scratches of the once-written, now a scree and a talus of broken
I am bearin’ the names of many, tryin to get home.
​it has been suggested by some that the​ asemic is a return to or a glimpse of the pre-written, but i don’t experience it that way and i find it disingenuous to attempt to persuade myself that the asemic is the pre-written whether i experience it that way or not.
i experience it, always, as a failed attempt at achieving the post-written. it is not driven by nostalgia or regret, it is driven by anxiety and aspiration. it is a writing against itself, not a writing prior to itself. as such, it exists precisely as a variety of writing, and the mind responds to it by reading, i.e., by giving off meanings like a fire gives off smoke.

i have been working with and against the idea of asemic writing for 20 years now, using the term asemic writing for all of those years. in January of 1998 i ​said in an email to Tim Gaze that ​”the asemic text would seem to be an ideal, an impossibility, but​ ​possibly worth pursuing for just that reason.​” ​ that’s what makes the idea of asemic writing interesting. it is a specific failure of writing, and will always be so, and we have known that all along, from the outset of our activities. asemic writing is the embrace of a potentially beautiful failure in writing. it will not ever be what it says it is. that’s the only reason to ever want it.

— Jim Leftwich

jim leftwich on mg’s “glitchasemic1” (in diaphanous press, fall 2017)

glitchasemic 1
Marco Giovenale
glitched asemic writing, 7.17 x 9.98 cm.


not quite oceanic (i am only exactly this willing to invent and simultaneously discard the self-consciously awkward neologism “beachic” to situate an author just slightly outside of the desire for a post-initial condition once upon a time labeled the “oceanic”), from across the greenway and the grey street we are given a view of the beach sloping gently down to the sea. where would the mind like to be? perhaps across the grey street, on a second floor balcony, sipping a deliciously warm American beer and gazing out over the lesser forms of tourist below. where is the mind likely to find itself? this is the question always asked of us by the asemic: where exactly are we, as individual humans reading and refusing to read, immersed at any given moment in the mediating mannerisms of our incessantly languaging selves? we are probably on the beach, looking at the ocean and thinking about the balcony. asemia is the empty street just slightly behind us.

–Jim Leftwich

not a comfortable plateau (three notes) / jim leftwich. 2017

1) we should not feel like the practice/process of asemic writing has reached a comfortable plateau

2) responses to asemic writing will always be intensely subjective

3) the idea of the post-asemic has more to do right now (november 2017) with the potential responses of readers/viewers than it does with the appearance/presentation of whatever we are still willing to call asemic

on two asemics by differx / jim leftwich. 2017


1) https://slowforward.net/2017/10/19/i-0108-untitled-asemics-on-apricot/

2) https://youtu.be/kGVTRNXOtpg

with both of these, i ask myself: “what am i being asked to think?”

and, with the apricot poem, i feel i am being asked to think about Barthes and his distinction between the apricot and the onion, as a description of the kinds of texts we might have before us, and how we can go about reading them.

then, with the eat asemic / orange videopoem, there is the question of surface, which is where we write, and depth (or volume), which is where we find the nutrients of a reading (where reading = eating).

for the first poem, the apricot poem, we are treating the pit (pith) as a surface, and writing on it, so even the traditional “readerly” text can be and will be (must be) read as if it were a writerly text. that is in fact how things are done these days. as for the asemic element, we find it (once again) mysteriously synonymous with polysemic. it asks us to think about the possibility that there is another kind of text, and another kind of reading, beyond or more likely beside the readerly and the writerly.

the eat asemic poem is yet another question about the beside-space of the readerly and/or writerly text. if we remove the surface of the text from the substance of the text, we find ourselves within a shamanic ritual of reading, eating the body of the god. as for the surface, where asemic research resides, it is process, and is processed. once asemicized, it will be discarded as waste — which permits us, finally, to rescue the prefix “a-” from its forced residence as a subcategory of the prefix “poly-“. from there, we acknowledge the rhyme of “orange” with “range” and carry on with the poem, following it around  through and as a life.

— Jim Leftwich

issue #46 of “otoliths” is now live

Otoliths issue forty-six, the southern winter 2017 issue, has just gone live, featuring works from Charles Wilkinson, Paul T. Lambert, Seth Jani, Cameron Lowe, Cheryl Penn, Obododimma Oha, Sacha Archer, Dennis Vannatta, Fotis Begetis & Jack Galmitz, Penelope Weiss, J. Ray Paradiso, Graeme Miles, Karl Kempton, Tony Beyer, Brandstifter, Texas Fontanella, Steve Dalachinsky, Cecelia Chapman, Sanjeev Sethi, John Crouse, Jim Leftwich, Federico Federici, Laurent Grison, Tyler Pruett, Pete Spence, Drew B. David, Steven Earnshaw, Michael Prihoda, Anne Gorrick, Meeah Williams, Anwer Ghani, Lakey Comess, differx, Jill Chan, Daniel de Culla, Michael Flatt, Olivier Schopfer, Lana Bella, Jake Berry, gobscure, Jonel Abellanosa, Tony Rickaby, Darren C. Demaree, Martin Christmas, Kyle Hemmings, Lachy McKenzie, Demosthenes Agrafiotis, Ian Ganassi, Thomas M. Cassidy, John M. Bennett, Diane Keys, Clara B. Jones, hiromi Suzuki, Jeff Bagato, Howie Good, Leigh Herrick, Matthew Woodman, Javant Biarujia, Raymond Farr, Iliana Theodoropoulou, Philip Byron Oakes, Seth Howard, Claudia Serea, Stanford Cheung, M A McDonald, Joe Balaz, AG Davis, Felino A. Soriano, Veronica Mattaboni, Carol Stetser, David A. Welch, David Lohrey, Stephen Nelson, Jim Meirose, C. R. E. Wells, Willie Smith, M.J. Iuppa, Susan Gangel, Kevin Tosca, Tom Montag, horace sternwall, Sabine Miller & Carole Kim, Márton Koppány, Jack Little, R. Keith, Chris Brown, Corey Mesler, Jeff Harrison, Leigh Williams & Melanie Klein, Keith Kumasen Abbott, Eric Hoffman, Brendan Slater, John Vieira, Bob Heman,  A.A. Reinecke, Alain Joncheray, Caoimhe McKeogh, Mark Staniforth, Marcia Arrieta, Mark Cunningham, Rupert Loydell, Andrew Darling, Danny Blackwell, Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, Lee Nash, Jesse Glass, Eileen R. Tabios, Johannes S. H. Bjerg, Indigo Perry, Timothy Pilgrim, John Pursch, Edward Kulemin, John Levy, J. D. Nelson, Marilyn Stablein, Gale Acuff, Katrinka Moore, Adam Levon Brown, Owen Bullock, Ryan Clark, Michael Brandonisio, David Baptiste Chirot, Olchar E. Lindsann, & Tom Beckett.