Sunday, 31 May 2015

Stephen Rodefer

Stephen Rodefer is recognised as one of the founders of the Language poetry movement. As a student of Charles Olsen, Rodefer shares Olsen’s thematic concerns for the urban sphere, yet it is his particular interest in the de/composition of language in poetry which places him firmly in the centre of the Language school. His most famous piece is probably Four Lectures (1982), which is also the work which appears (at least in parts) in the anthology.

The work starts with a powerful piece of poetics, demanding for a new kind of poetry which is able to respond to the multi-faced nature of the modern city. As Rodefer puts it:

“A poetry painted with every jarring color and juxtaposition, every simultaneous order and disorder, every deliberate working, every movement toward one thing deformed into another. Painted with every erosion and scraping away, every blurring, every showing through, every wiping out and every replacement, with every dismemberment of the figure and assault on creation, every menace and response, every transformation of the color and reforming of the parts, necessary to express the world. Even the words and way of language itself will suffer the consequent deformity and reformation.”
A great challenge indeed.

Links: (Four Lectures online) (review of his 2000 collection Left Under A Cloud by Andrea Brady) (a short piece about an essay with annotations for Rodefer’s Four Lectures)

My response to Rodefer also focusses on the urban environment, particularly looking at the history and architecture of the tenement houses which were built during the Industrial Revolution in cities like New York, Berlin, or Glasgow. These aspects are juxtaposed with the current debate about the housing crisis in London.

~ - ~


I – Def.

Any house, building,

or portion thereof, which is rented, leased, let,

or hired out to be occupied

or is occupied, as the home

or residence

of more than three families living independently

of one another and doing their

own cooking upon the premises,

or by more than two families upon a floor,

so living

and cooking

and having a common right

in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets,

or privies,

or some of them,

II – Exp.

of all the bathrooms

rent caps and protests

and water closet

tenants in a position

outside the door,

to share rooms by sky-high

to the individual

to property,

rents and none.

renting in some 540

direct window twice as

facing the trapped

in 1,000 and 97 a month.

significantly those having hutch property

windows to  and on the increasingly

a high instance of fraught.

a year’s rent often left the architect

being to have

being to forced affordable

to rent a shared only public,

a stranger with bedrooms to be.

11 had arrangements for light rent rise as social housing closed itself.

housing converted to significantly

here that is in affordable

here that is in landlord.

these few occasions for renting room

buildings were only entered

on all fitted with a mechanical door.

affordable fours and all entry system

significantly, housing crisis

had stair head windows how to build.

thus allowing more

for generation

for thought

for rent control plans

the fresh air - the absence here.

finally explained

the high price

which having been of affordable

much lamented at by the city

officials of 1860.

IT'S WAR. 386 had arrangements

as desperate tenants

for ventilation

bidding direct to the street.

thinking of buying or close this. could

to rent take the format while still renting

a bathroom over big trouble in

a scullery with the two?

chinatown as sharing the same

rent window opening to either

rises force the front or rear significantly.

studio flat for examples also of provision


FRIDGE TO GET TO BED between the bathroom

rents rise allowing borrowed light affordable.

as tenant numbers outstrip the air was

provided significantly.

affordable supply directly from the outside.

meet the new layout as it was in 1893.

class with 8 bathrooms in the building

of landlords

all having windows

profiting from generation property.

rent rises another three. closes

evictions and on this occasion

homelessness :

with light water, why i'm joining

closets to the rear.

and the latter building for homes

having only internal london's

buy water closet with no to

let rents lighting or ventilation

double that of rest.

none of these of says

affordable flats were built with

significantly lender.

period sky-high is the importance:

why not rent of discrete toilet facilities -

get a home on the remained

cheap and live like a lord.

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