Introduction #2 Country Girl #3 Pictures and Early Words #4 Big Words 5

Avant-Garde Journalism: Hannah Weiner's Early and Clairvoyant Journals


Clearly, the event of composing the typescript of the Clairvoyant Journal was an event with at least three vistas: the notebooks or present unseen (de-personal and motivated transcription), "large printed words" most likely seen from within on her forehead, and the words "seen" in the course of typing. These latter two "vistas" point to a clear "undividedness of the sensing and the sensed," but it is only through "sentences" - normative syntax - that the first "vista" is separated from or integrated into the critical event of revision. "Revision" is a loaded term here, of course. But rather than lose oneself in speculations regarding the critical motives behind the features of the extant typescript, one must observe that the possibility is hence established for a simultaneously critical and lyric event. As the person emerges, the lyric "voice," composed in "regular" type, betrays the indeterminacy which is disguised in syntactic excess (or absence vis-à-vis the prose sentence) and engages the intention we read as such. The indeterminacy appears in relief with respect to the sentence, but not in lieu of it; therefore, there is little or nothing semantic ambiguity or syntactic disruption have in common with indeterminacy, per se. Indeterminacy would here be that intention that is compelled by an atelic necessity to integrate the formal and the phenomenal into an "I can." And I can think of few better articulations of any critical project than: "What I think about sentences comes from my understanding through [not of] clairvoyance..."

"Pictures..." opens abruptly: "See word HEALING on phone" (1). Various attempts to establish and re-establish the temporal juncture from which the narrative voice "speaks" are as clouded by (syntactically normative) disruptions as is the compositional event;

Should I see palmist today? Another day. Never. NEVER appears in air.

Had dream about palmist. She told me to look in my address book where I would find a message to myself. It had something to do with printing corrections on the manuscript legibly and large so they could be read by a typist for the final copy. (1)

Before long, "printing corrections" appear as an integral facet of the narrative;

Want to buy sheet. Saw tiny flowers print, lights dim on blue. Thought I got a negative on that blue yesterday. Or plain pale blue? Ouch! zaps (zaps are like static electricity shocks) on right side. Yellow or pink print. YELLOW on gate. Don't want yellow anyway. Is it tiny blue or muted pink? Get another like I have? Another store? Go to dept. store and really obsess? Magnifying bubble on DEPT. STORE printed on edge of pants. If I could print neatly like the spirits. Wavy zap right eye on word spirits. Who then are you? Name yourself.

[...]

Who is choosing me sheets? Writing on me pants? And why not chants on me pages here. Direct imprint from the heavens. (2)


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