Friday, May 28, 2010


This poem is one of a series of television poems. It began life as automatic writing, a real time recording of what the television shows and what this viewer thinks and feels in response to what he sees. Then some time later, when all that watching and recording is over, rewriting begins. This is not so much a case of undoing what is already there, but of taking up, extending and developing themes that are already present, whether in the images themselves or the mind of the viewer, and also making what I hope is good poetry. I am not concerned about how much is imposed by me as viewer and how much is interpretation of the material viewed. It is probable that something of both will be revealed.

I find it is best to watch with the volume down. Switching channels when bored is inevitable, even if the practice may have deleterious effects on one’s concentration span if indulged in too habitually. In English we call this practice ‘channel surfing’; the French call it ‘zapping’. The philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis has coined the term zapanthropus to designate the sort of human beings who give themselves up to and are characterised by this habit.

I wonder whether all viewers are driven to make some sort of unifying sense, even if subconsciously, of the montage of story and image that they consume and in part construct. I wonder whether viewers should attempt to do so, or whether the more liberating approach is to allow the disparate and disjointed to remain disparate and disjointed. What sort of liberation would that be, and liberation for whom? And if we do endeavour to construct a meaning for the whole, can we be sure that this meaning is ours and not imposed upon us by others who only seem disparate but in fact have the same agenda, the same world-view, the same all-pervasive sensibility?

Jeff Klooger’s poetry has been published in his native Australia and internationally. Recently his work has appeared in The Liberal (UK), The Stinging Fly (Ireland), Sketch, dotdotdash, Cordite Poetry Review and Otoliths. His other interests are music and philosophy. His book on the ideas of the Greek-French philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis was published in 2009.

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