Anna Moser

The essay Anna presented this evening
can be found under scholarly texts.

Electric Text Case Studies:

Veronica Forrest-Thomson, In Memoriam Ezra Pound [excerpt]:

Transpontine Ovid made his ovoid obsequies
unto the only emperor, the emperor of ice-cream.
In his elegies Teddy Bear is having picnics.
Can you find four ice-cream cornets hidden
in this elegiac picture? I pasture the pastel
colours of the heart, a part from and partial sense
of lethal elegies hidden in the provinces
of desolation and ice-cream, “the lost land
of Childhood”, and the defeated past.


He is not here he has outsoared the shadow
of our right. ’Tis life is dead not he. And
ghastly through the driveling ghosts on the bald
street breaks the bland day of critical interpretation
staining the white radiance of eternity […].


Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Cordelia: or, ‘A Poem Should not Mean, but Be’ [excerpt]:

But first and last read me, the beloved
Who was killed in the general slaughter.
But rise again like John Donne
(read him too) I, Helen, I Iseult, I Guenevere,
I Clytemnestra and many more to come.
I did it, I myself, killing the King my father
Killing the King my mother, joining the King my brother.
It is the kick, my love, and not the nightingale
I like larking up kicks myself
But not kicking.
They that have power to hurt and do so
Should not be blamed by Shakespeare or anyone else
For hurting though such is the race of poets
That they will blame them anyway.
However it is a pretty productive process
Especially if one may be plumber as well as poet
And thus unstop the drain as well as writing
Poetic Artifice “Pain stopped play” and
Several other books and poems including
1974 and All That (seriously though)
I, Veronica did it, truth-finding, truth-seeking
Muck-raking, bringing victory.


Susan Howe, Noncomformist’s Memorial, from “A Bibliography of the King’s Book or, Eikon Basilike”:

On the day of the execution [of King Charles I] The Eikon Basilike, The Pourtraicture of His Sacred Majestie in his Solitude and Sufferings, was published and widely distributed throughout England, despite the best efforts of government censors to get rid of it.
The Eikon was supposed to have been written by the King. It consists of essays, explanations, prayers, debates, emblems and justifications of the Royalist cause. […]
The Eikon Basilike is a forgery. (55)


One of Milton’s chief points of attach on the Eikon [in his 1649 pamphlet The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, a defense of regicide] concerned “A prayer in the time of Captivity,” said to have been delivered to Bishop Juxon, by Charles on the scaffold. The prayer, a close paraphrase from “no serious Book, but the vain amatorious Poem of Sr Philip Sidney’s Arcadia,” was the prayer of a pagan woman to an all-seeing heathen Deity. (56-7)


In 1680, an official edition of the Eikon, sanctioned by King Charles II, subtracted all the prayers. Other post-Restoration Basilikas and Reliquae Sacrae, some dedicated to the new monarch, included the seven prayers with Pamela’s leading the file. A great deal of energy and confusion has been expended and expounded since then; by bibliographers, scholars, poets, critics, and other impassioned crusaders, including Samuel Johnson, Christopher Wordsworth, and William Empson, over correctly identifying the first edition to carry the “forged” prayer. (57)


The Eikon Basilike is a puzzle. It may be a collection of meditations written by a ghostly king; it may be a forged collection of meditations gathered by a ghostwriter who was a Presbyterian, a bishop, a plagiarizer, and a forger. (57)


Pierre Macherey’s description of the discourse in a fiction applies to the discourse in this bibliography: “sealed and interminably completed or endlessly beginning again, diffuse and dense, coiled about an absent center which it can neither conceal no reveal.”
The absent center is the ghost of a king. (58)


Susan Howe, Noncomformist’s Memorial, from “Melville’s Marginalia”:

Wilson Walker Cowen, using Merton Sealt’s checklist (Harvard Library Bulletin 1948-50) as a guide, collected and transcribed every page from every known volume of Herman Melville’s library that Melville had marked or annotated. Only the pages Melville marked in each book are included so there is little forward trajectory to whatever novel, narrative, or poem. Each marked passage is a literal transcription from the particular edition Melville used. Because Cowen used each original’s type-set line-lengths, prose often looks like poetry. (98)


does not relate
2. For then
she would clash
with the histo-
by a verbal
in a strange
order (102)


If there are things Melville went looking for in books so too there were things I looked for in Melville’s looking. (114)


Because he stole the light
my heart is feminine
What meaning is there
In my head my clothing
Unconfined as an ocean
nerves are what they are
delusions of imagination
Hero of authentic poetry
I can compose my though
an excursus on Tradition
trace of the word city
I will dismember marginalia
‘l’ for ‘i’ and ‘i’ for ‘l’
Ophelia Juliet Cordelia (155)