DIVINE DISCONTENT is a series of pamphlets, produced by the writing collective Black & BLUE, in November 2015.
These 17 fragments TAKE THE FORM of essays, prose-poems, stories, plot-outlines, notes, thoughts, media-collages and ideas. They can be READ as a sequence or as individual pieces of writing. They can ACT as individual messages or signposts toward other texts, works, or events. They can be FOLDED, TAPED and SENT as postcards. They can be PUT-UP, COPIED, CIRCULATED or BINNED. They are RELEASED anonymously, with peace to the reader.
Rikin Parekh Corbyn’s election feels like the tectonic plates of British politics have suddenly shifted, pricked blood-eyed awake, after 30 years of dark slumber. To those of us on the left, the awakening feels like a vindication of all our frustrations with the political establishment post-Thatcher, and the first feint of hope that our despair may soon be answered.
Carmen Wright Liberal Individualism is no longer seen as an ideological perspective – it’s more like a kind of saliva: necessarily released to chew the food of everyday life. To not get bogged down by the torturous absurdity of the workplace; to not gape at the strange authority that the downright mundane has come to emanate; frankly, to get anything done in today’s world – the supremacy of Individual Identity must be thoughtlessly absorbed and naturalised, its ideological disposition quickly made invisible.
BLACK & BLUE IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS ON THE THEME M E M O R Y
// Black & BLUE is open for submissions of poems, fiction, textual-art, fragments, lyrics, dialogues, drama, social-media-collages, notes, prose-poems, letters, fables, lists, transcripts, accidental work, political slogans, single lines, found-pieces, other media.
Simon Whitaker If memory is imperfect, where does it gets its scuffing? In Personal Helicon, Seamus Heaney shows us recollection as an act of reading, and pulls a very special vanishing act: in moments of memory brought to life with an astonishing vividness, the scuffing lies not in the act of recollection, but in the very substance of what is remembered. In reading this poem, it is the language itself which is dark, and the lesson for memory is profound - our memories may be broken by an inherent rift in what is remembered, rather than a failure of our own minds.
Harriet Hill-Payne In Thesis IV in On the Concept of History, Walter Benjamin quotes from a poem by Gerhard Scholem, Greetings from the Angels, written in response to a Paul Klee painting, Angelus Novus, which was owned by Benjamin and entrusted to Scholem. Benjamin folds Scholem and Klee's angels into a new angel of his own - the angel of history. As the angel of history looks on the 'smashed' wreckage of the past, the image of the angel itself is also fragmented within the text. I am interested in how we can use the specific meanings generated by each to think about the potential of Benjamin's angel.
Kayte Ferris Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’ has for some time been a poem responded to with rolled eyes. Perhaps because it regularly appears on first year undergraduate surveys with a “here you go, this is feminism, now let’s move on to John Agard and race”.
Harriet Hill-Payne My first thoughts, too, were to do with the untrustworthiness of memories - not only in the sense that they are slippery, evasive, problematic, but also in how easily they can be falsified - I am sure that most of my 'memories' of my childhood I have constructed later out of stories other people have told me, taken from photographs, or borrowed from films or books. I think that idea of memory being 'late' is really interesting - it seems to me to have its own kind of temporality - memory 'takes you back' to a particular moment, in that Proust/madeleine type of way, but the very act of 'taking you back' points to your own presentness, so it is sort of a reminder of now time through regression.
Camden Arts Centre brings forth an exploration of the intimate and expressive space within Simon Martin’s ‘UR Feeling’. Bodies clash and intertwine. Their surroundings bare yet colliding. Testing the boundaries of the relationship between body-situation, Simon Martin allows an opening question of ‘R U Feeling?’
Dane Weatherman I started by thinking about the word memory and connected it with a poem by Holderlin called ‘Mnemosyne’, a Romantic poem written in 1805, just before he went mad. Mnemosyne was an ancient titaness who embodied memory. I like the shared roots between the greek Mnemon and our word Memory, I really like the beauty of the mn, the beautiful dual sound of the m and the n, the repetition of sound within the word with the m recurring.
Alice Popplewell W.G. Sebald’s On the History of Natural Destruction considers an absence in Germany’s memory of its own history. Despite the immense cost to lives and buildings in the wake of the bombing of Hamburg and Dresden in 1941, there are few accounts of the event and its aftermath. Sebald writes that this absence continues until 1947. Memory seems to cease for six whole years.
Miriam Tobin Having written a dissertation a few years ago on the shift in representations of memory between modernist and postmodernist writing, I’ve been thinking about why it is a subject that I was and continue to be drawn to. I became interested in the way modernist fiction is obsessed with subjectivity and the faith that writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf had in being able to capture the unstructured movements of our minds.
When Muhammad Ali lifted the Olympic torch in Atlanta, 1996, it was as momentous an occasion as it was touching. For, just as when Ali accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2005, the event was symbolic of how the American establishment had finally managed to capture and cast Ali in their own desired image – a man who they had spent years, public money and federal investigations on, in trying to tie down during the ‘60s, without any success at all.
For me, the figure of the Shakespearian fool has always epitomised revolution. As one who exists in the margins, the fool shares a border with madness and sanity without fully characterising either space. This makes him extremely difficult to pin down.
This essay is trying to read the Paris events of last month (the attacks and the aftermath) through a cursory look at a few arbitrary, but strangely connected texts, scenes and events: King Lear, Les Fleurs du Mal, alongside Marx. But its argument is based on two big assumptions… First, that the production/reproduction of what we call “western values”, such as free speech, is no different from the constitution of our current capitalist mode of production.
Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha can be seen as the anti-bildungsroman. If we take the bildungsroman to mean not just ‘the growth of the protagonist’, but instead read that genre within the context of the Western principle of constant progress—both for society and the individual—then Siddhartha’s journey and its eventual climax contradict the traditional growth expected of a protagonist. Whilst Siddhartha does indeed maintain a strong individual authenticity and develops a profound autonomy, the text forces the reader to abandon their traditional lens and follow the Eastern path Siddhartha takes.
The unique charge made by last Tuesday’s Senate Select Committee report on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program is not that techniques of ‘enhanced interrogation’ (EITs) were used against terrorism suspects. Instead, the accusation is that the reality of ‘enhanced interrogation’, as it was performed, differed in both nature and consequence from the theoretical form of which policymakers and the public had previously been made aware.
Our conceptual horizons tend to provide us with a sense of revolutions as fast things. Speed (if not velocity because direction is not always present) seems to be the central quality of revolutions as we understand them. The French revolution of 1789, the Haitian Revolution of 1791, and the Russian Revolutions of 1917 are all lightning fast events in our historical imaginations. Their aftermath may take a long time to work through and their results may be contested but the events themselves are flashes in historical time.
In 1949, Theodor Adorno famously suggested that there could be no poetry after Auschwitz; a claim that Anselm Kiefer has agreed with wholeheartedly. If taking poetry to include visual art however, on first viewing one could presume that Kiefer’s works are about nothing but the Holocaust.
This grotesque scene is the climax of a vision by the peculiar hero of The Magic Mountain. Acting on an impulsive desire for isolation, Hans Castorp skis off into the mountain from which the novel takes it name. He is soon enveloped in silence and snow.Recklessly he presses on, congratulating himself on testing the edges of the human experience.However, the onset of a storm means that he soon becomes lost.Too late, he realises that he has pushed himself to the absolute brink of his physical and mental capacity.As lucid thought slips away, his unconscious takes centre stage.