Susan Briante
Notes Towards a Poetics of the Dow

When one is a woman, when one is writing poems, when one is drawn through a passion to know people today and the web in which they, suffering, find themselves, to learn the people, to dissect the web, one deals with the processes themselves. To know the processes and the machines of process: plane and dynamo, gun and dam.

                                                                                — Muriel Rukeyser

I am thinking about money. Why must she behave this way?

I have written field notes on globalization, strip-mall histories. Now I have an obsession.

In May 2009, I began recording the closing number of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. I’ve plugged those numbers into Project Gutenberg, Bartlett's quotations, and various search engines to reveals lines from Paradise Lost, phrases from the Bible, many unexpected sources. I allow those texts to exert their influence over a series of poems much in the same way the closing number of the Dow exerts an influence over our lives.

Every day has a number attached to it. Great additions, subtractions. This is not just an aesthetic problem (see Ashbery). There is a “natural impulse toward the boundedness of closure.” The bell rings, trading stops. But “the world is unfinished” (Hejinian). Across the dateline, markets open. Both the rivers and their banks are moving. The poem remains incomplete. The trading day long over.

I do not believe if I follow the Dow I will become enlightened, but I often check the numbers, sit for meditation.

Even when we think we are at the end, there are decimals.


« home | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | next page »