Ezra Pound famously said that literature is “news that stays news,” but recent experiments in poetry and the sciences allow us to enlarge the statement to bring information theory and biology to bear on the issue—in particular, through the information theory–based model of self-organization from noise, which offers a way to look at language as an art material as well as a mode of communication. These essays explore contemporary poetry and translation through this lens.
Anyone with an open-ended excitement for language will find more than enough new things to think about . . . Chopping language down to two core events (noise and information), Swensen describes its art and practice with a concise effectiveness I’ve not encountered in five years of englishing and continental philosophying at the university level.” —One Librarian’s Opinion
Each page of Cole Swensen’s collection of essays, Noise That Stays Noise, offers insights that can productively reorient and refresh one’s relationship to literature; it’s a book that one reads, in large part, by looking up, blinking at clarifications that feel at once precise and incendiary. —Zach Savich, Kenyon Review
Noise That Stays Noise, University of Michigan Press, Poets on Poetry Series, 2011
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