Self-interview about Pastoral Emergency

Rather than repeat Tristan Tzara and William S. Burroughs’ idea that language is a virus, I contaminate you. If you’ve been tagged, the game invites you to please tag 5 of your blogging friends with these questions.


What is the working title of the book?

Pastoral Emergency, it’s my second poetry book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Reading a lot of children’s ABCs books as a new father, I stumbled onto the abecedarian form. Also, working with the Chicago-based writers loosely organized as The Next Objectivists, my interest was piqued in Oulipo and Conceptual Writing techniques in generative systems and collective authorship. Chaucer’s “An ABC”, Zukofsky, Silliman, Inger Christensen, Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping with the Dictionary, Matthea Harvey’sThe Future of Terror/The Terror of FutureJessica Greenbaum, Tom Disch’sAbecedary

Theoretically, the pastoral emergency—that is living us—challenges contemporary poetry and poetics in two ways: (1) the breakdown of hermetic communication between the thing and its meaning in the traditions of semantic narrative, and (2) the unprecedented climate change which I think-hope I can help to fix by modeling an ecological and global consciousness. Since 1916—through DADA-Surrealism-Fluxus-Situationist International-Third Cinema-Ecopoetics-Ethnopoetics-Language Poetry-Post-Avant—aesthetics has been protesting for more ethical ways of being and acting. It has never been more urgent to live and perform between the cage of negative capability (with its comfy cul-de-sacs and paradoxes) and the cage of logos (with its unconsidered relations between cause and effect such as the relation between art and war).

What genre does your book fall under?

Genre Poetry. It’s right next to Genre Fiction. It’s still falling, though, so watch your toes.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Wallace Shawn. If he’s unavailable, maybe a young Richard Dreyfuss with a film noir cast of Peter Lore, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Ann Savage, Joan Fontaine, and Gene Tierney (one for every letter of the alphabet). Co-directed by Fellini and Godard with cinematography by Chaplin.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A documentation of contemporary eschatology, Pastoral Emergency performs a mustering up of courage to face the Saussurean crisis (the arbitrary relationship between sign and signified) interrupting the tradition of narrative illusion-making and immersion-bating as well as the ecological crisis brought to us by our faith-sponsored big-tent productions of the apocalypse.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Two years and two children.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Raymond Queneau’s “Exercises in Style” (thanks to Larry Sawyer), Georges Perec “A Void” (thanks to the Next Objectivists), Linh Dinh “Everything Around What Empties Out”, Chris Tanasescu’s “Nomadosophy”, Tristan Tzara, Vanessa Place, Craig Dworkin, Kent Johnson, Cecilia Vicuña, Rosmarie Waldrop.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book does not discuss mimesis but mimics the absent border between inner and outer nature.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Agency, Pastoral Emergency must be published with metaphysical agency.

Biography after Communism, Call for Submissions: by July 1, 2013

Dear reader:

Attached is my formal call for submissions to the bilingual anthology I am editing of post-1989 Romanian poetry, called: “Biography after Communism: Romanian Poetry after 1989”.

Biography after Communism, Call for Submissions with Watermark

You are cordially invited to read and consider the attached invitation. Please feel encouraged to forward the invitation to other Romanian poets and translators and to publish it on blogs and list-serves.

Thank you for your consideration,

Gene Tanta

Poetry Reading w/ discussion

You are cordially invited to a poetry reading by Dr. Gene Tanta, American Fulbright Scholar 2012-2013. Please feel encouraged to spread the word.

I plan to read a few im

agistic and surreal poems from Unusual Woods, my first poetry book, while discussing the writers influencing these poems such as Charles Simic, Linh Dinh, Rosmarie Waldrop, Russell Edson, Tristan Tzara, and Urmuz. I also plan to read from my just-completed second book of poems, Pastoral Emergency, which brings together Oulipian and Conceptual Writing to put into play possible new ways of conceptualizing the dual crises of ecological and linguistic instability. Some of the writers influencing this project are Raymond Queneau, Georges Perec, Vanessa Place, and Craig Dworkin. Also, I’ll be making fun of Stalin.

Poetry Reading w/ discussion
Wed 16
January 2013
6:00 pm
Sala de Consiliu
7-13 Pitar Mos St
Bucharest, Romania

Beyond the Hills

We just saw Beyond the Hills. The sound was bad at Patria (here in Sector 2, Bucharest) but it was good, brooding, and long with a little too much pulpy flash adding cheap drama to an otherwise satisfying self-flagellating existentialism. The situational humor was there but hard to hear due to the placement of the speakers. It’s hard to be existential without surround sound.