Saturday, February 20, 2010

In(ter)ventions Day 3 Part 3

Panel 3 - Where goes the sentence? Language in a material world
-Moderator: Stephanie Strickland; Panelists: Craig Dworkin, Maria Damon, Adeena Karasick, and Stephen Osborne
--Craig Dworkin gave a great paper about the sentence and cultural grammar. i hope the paper is published; it was dense and i need to hear or see it again before i dare write on it.
--Maria and Adeena gave a joint poetic performance on the words Shmata & Shma'ata. There was a sense of play, but also urgency, Adeena's delivery was quick, occasionally hard to follow. There was a study of etymology and of tradition. Ragman was invoked.
--Stephen Osborne claimed that Canada has no urban narrative, that writers aren't using verbs in the way he would like them to, and that narrative is dead. He launched his blog and a discussion of new media followed. The audience was invited to comment on how twitter uses the sentence. A few people made points about cell phone stories, but it seemed like a somewhat odd discussion to me. Then again, i grew up in a fairly wired environment.
--Kenny Goldsmith won the panel (from the audience) when he said that he teaches his students to do overtly what they'd otherwise do covertly: steal. He said "forget verbs, language is active today."
--J.R. Carpenter noted that in Hebrew, the word for "word" is the same as the word for "event."
--i wanted to ask the panelists to give their definition of a verb, since everyone seemed to be picking up on Osborne's verbal criticism. i was taught that a verb is a word that can be/is conjugated. Any word could be a verb if positioned as a verb in a sentence, because parts of speech are relative. Osborne seems to have a formula for how many verbs should be in a sentence, and which types of verbs count as verbs (he doesn't like "watch" "stand" or "sit" apparently), though i didn't follow him closely enough to figure out what that formula was. He was too old-school for my tastes.

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