29 June 2024

Jerome Rothenberg 1931–2024


The word "shaman" (Tungus: šamán) comes from Siberia & "in the strict sense is pre-eminently a religious phenomenon of Siberia & Central Asia" (Eliade).  But the parallels elsewhere (North America, Indonesia, Oceania, China, etc.) are remarkable & lead also to a consideration of coincidences between "primitive-archaic" & modern thought.  Eliade treats shamanism in-the-broader-sense as a specialized technique & ecstasy & the shaman as "technician-of-the-sacred."  In this sense, too, the shaman can be seen as a proto-poet, for almost always his technique hinges on the creation of special linguistic circumstances, i.e., of song and invocation.


In 1870 Rimbaud first used the term voyant (seer) to identify the new breed of poet who was to be "absolutely modern," etc:


  one must, I say, become a seer,

      make oneself into a seer


or as Rasmussen writes of Iglulik Eskimos:


     the young aspirant, when applying to a shaman, should

     always use the following formula

                takujumaqama: I come to you 

            because I desire to see


& the Copper Eskimos called the shaman-songman "elik, i.e., one who has eyes."


In a typical (self-)-initiation into shamanism, the new shaman experiences the breakdown of his familiar consciousness or world-view, and is led into a dream or vision at the center of which there is a often a song or a series of songs "that force themselves out without any effort to compose them."  [Thus: Isaac Tens, a Gitsan Indian practitioner cited in the accompanying text in Technicians.]  The dream & vision aspect, in fact, goes way past any limits, however loosely drawn, of shamanism, into areas where a priesthood (as developer & transmitter of a fixed system) predominates, &, on the other hand, into areas where "all men" are "shamans," i.e. are "open" to the "gift" of vision & song.

The Poetics of Shamanism (1968)

28 June 2024

Francisco Goya, La familia de Carlos IV, 1801, oil on canvas, 110" × 132", Museo del Prado

26 June 2024

23 June 2024

Donald Sutherland 1935-2024

Text of source material for Mr. X's soliloquy in which L. Fletcher Prouty, Colonel USAF describes the events in Dallas: Scroll down to "Cancelling Secret Service, Military, and Police Units in Dallas and Inserting False Actors in Their Place." The entire interview with David T. Ratcliffe is a worthwhile read.

18 June 2024

Birthday boy

Starting this year's off with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Caracas, Venezuela (2013) conducted by Joshua Dos Santos

"While the great composer was in fact born on June 17th in 1882, June 5th in the Julian calendar used in his home country of Russia at the time of his birth, Stravinsky, in his later years, preferred to celebrate his birthday on June 18th. WKCR will do the same!"

16 June 2024

Douglas Sirk's 1967 adaptation: