Tag Archives: Conner Habib

If the world is ending, write a poem. Daniel Poppick on AEWCH 157!

21 Jul

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it!
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Buy Daniel’s books, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 157 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback! (Since Daniel’s books are on backorder on the site, I’m also including links to The Police and Fear of Description here, via amazon, until they’re back in stock on bookshop.org).

Friends,

I’m so excited to welcome poet and editor Daniel Poppick onto the show.

To start, Daniel reads “Rumors” which is in the style of a haibun (in the style of Bashō), which blends prose and haiku. Here’s an excerpt: “Back at Kristen’s house, staring into this oceanic jigsaw piece, I wondered how or if my friends would recount this evening to one another at some later date: who would remember things correctly as they happened, and what we would all get wrong, if we would ever verify it accurately among one another, being our only witnesses, before we slowly melted down to be sipped up by worms, the whole scene as we remembered or forgot it blown away and buried in the architecture of our dust.”

He also reads “Paradise” and “A Rubber Lion” as well as an excerpt from “The Hell Test (Seven Springs)

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Poetry as concussion
  • How do images become words?
  • How poetry allows for many many worlds and reincarnation helps us solve problems
  • Why a robot pterodactyl matters
  • How a podcast is like a poem
  • The poems we don’t get and why we still read them
  • Experimental poems as threatening generosity
  • Why poets are always writing poems about poetry
  • Hell as a technology for understanding the world
  • Two thoughts exercises on how to live

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Daniel, here’s his website, which has links to lots of great stuff – interviews, poems, essays – on it. • Some more AEWCH episodes with poets:

• Here’s an intro to Bashō, the 17th Century Japanese travel poet who was a huge influence on Daniel’s book, Fear of Description.

• If you didn’t catch the wheelbarrow reference Daniel dropped, it was to William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” which you can read (and read about) here.

• “I write poetry because I want to be alone and I want to talk to people.” – Allen Ginsburg

• Since Kathryn Davis’s novel, Hell, isn’t available on bookshop.org currently, here’s a link to it.

• “Poems in a way are spells against death. They are milestones, to see where you were then from where you are now. To perpetuate your feelings, to establish them. If you have in any way touched the central heart of mankind’s feelings, you’ll survive.” – Richard Eberhart

Until next time pals,

CH

The problem with environmentalism & conservationism on AEWCH 156 with science writer Michelle Nijhuis!

13 Jul

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Buy Michelle’s book, Beloved Beasts, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 156 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

I’m very excited to share this episode with journalist and author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting For Life In An Age of Extinction, Michelle Nijhuis.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The tensions between environmentalism and conservationism (and why I’m more pro-conservationism)
  • Conservationism as globalization and/or a transformation of space
  • The need to erode the centralization of environmentalism
  • The need for science to be met with the social sciences and humanities
  • The death of the Earth
  • Conservation as a protection of possibility
  • The problem with “deadline mentality”
  • How Michelle talks about climate change with her daughter
  • What a non-materialist climate change would look like
  • The reason why “religion versus science” is almost a straw man argument
  • How the core of cryptozoology has become a mainstream conservationist message

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Michelle, go to her website, which has an extensive listing of her (many!) article. And here’s Michelle’s discussion with Judith Lewis Mernit (about Jonathan Franzen’s essay, “Carbon Capture”) which captures the tensions between environmentalism and biodiversity quite well. Here’s her essay on the book about color that influenced Darwin.

Some episodes of AEWCH on science and the environment:

  • AEWCH 34 on how sex confronts materialism
  • AEWCH 82 on why we need to destroy the concept of nature
  • AEWCH 91 with microbiologist and geoscientist Lynn Margulis
  • AEWCH 113 with Duncan Laurie on the un-science of radionics
  • AEWCH 155 on Occult extinction

• When Michelle was talking about how we are bound to consume the environment, I kept thinking about the Friends theme-esque song “Someone Has To Die” by a band I love, The Maritime.

The Quagga Project is one of many initiatives to re-engineer species back from extinction. Sort of.

John Dupré‘s excellent essay, “Are Whales Fish?” appears in the anthology Folkbiology.

• Here are some notes on how Rachel Carson was deeply influenced by the work of Rudolf Steiner.

• “If we want to attain a living understanding of nature, we must become as living and flexible as nature herself.” -Goethe

Until next time, friends!
CH

Let’s move to another layer of reality. AEWCH 154: Pilar Lesko & Conner Habib

15 Jun

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 154: PILAR LESKO or TIMELINES & THE END OF THE BATTLE OF GOOD vs EVIL

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Your support for Against Everyone With Conner Habib, as well as all my writing, lectures, activism, and the rest, are what keep me going. If you support my work via patreon, thank you! And if you don’t, please contribute on Patreon today!

Thank you so, so much. Buy books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 154 via bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback.

You can also access Pilar’s amazing course, Uplevel, and get $111 off until June 30 by using the code: CONNERDANCING

Friends,

So much to say about my conversation with spiritual…worker? Attuner? Do-er? Pilar Lesko.

But first things first, it’s difficult for me to describe her. Why? Well, I talk about that at the top of the episode: she expresses a new and individuated unfolding of religion and theology and spirituality that’s happening for so many of us.

Pilar uses her own language – loops, timelines, hooks, cords, cheat codes. Instead of being wary of the mechanistic tone of some of it, we find in her a redemption of the mechanistic, in her, it find its truer form. The language opens pathways up rather than driving us deeper into the merely subnatural.

I took Pilar’s class UpLevel (You can also access Pilar’s amazing course, Uplevel, and get $111 off until June 30 by using the code: CONNERDANCING) and found myself listening, through her, to a new pathway for spirituality being formed. But not one that asked me to replace my pathway, rather I found she was encouraging me to understand my own.

I recorded this episode with Pilar on the day of the solar eclipse, as St John’s Tide approached. The date was perfect timing; I’d just gone through some absolute intensity a few weeks before, and so had Pilar.

Pilar talks about Timelines, and I knew I’d jumped from one to the next in the span of a week. We discuss what that means, exactly on the episode. We also talk about why having a huge spiritual shift doesn’t clear everything up, even as we wish it would: Sometimes when great change comes, you can feel even more acutely the aspects of yourself that are stuck in the old. You achieve something great, you create a great work of art, you get a new partner, you have a breakthrough in your understanding of yourself. Suddenly, you feel liberated, but you also notice now, since you have more light, the knots not yet untied. The parts of you living inn old or artificial layers/levels/timelines of what was real.

But the capacity of change has guided you and continues to. To paraphrase Rudolf Steiner it gives you strength to be yourself, it is now brightening and enlivening the light within you, and it is expressing the warmth from your own soul streaming through you.

I’m so excited to share this episode with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Psychic and economic warfare as a training ground
  • Condensed timeline jumping
  • The will as an inappropriate magical tool until it meets the Will
  • Why do we have to do things twice?
  • That time a cockatiel gave me a spiritual message
  • What are “timelines?”
  • Aleister Crowley and Albert Einstein being part of the same oversoul with different faces
  • The presence of the dead in Pilar’s spiritual output (and all of ours)
  • The principle of ease and its absolute necessity
  • The uses and misuses of intensity
  • How our nervous systems live on other timelines
  • The way “plant medicine” and “magic” and “manifesting” have been infiltrated
  • The higher aspect is always hotter
  • “Good versus evil is still just a level of reality.”

SHOW NOTES

• For Pilar’s site (and her newsletter, which is great), go here. Here’s her post, “’11 Secrets’ to Running a Multiple 6 Figure Business With (almost) No Social Media, No Ads, No Strategy, and in General No F*cks.” And here’s a good discussion with Pilar on the Feeling Free podcast.

• For info on GameStop, here’s a quick and recent breakdown from Financial Times, which I’ve posted here so you can see the mainstream narrative about it and just how huge it is.

• No one called to claim Gino (as I called him), but he found a new and very loving home with one of my neighbors. I guess we were both ready for new worlds.

• I talked about supernatural politics with anthropologist David Graeber on AEWCH 99. And I talked about how consensus in consciousness creates materiality on a very recent episode, AEWCH 152 with supernatural scholar Terje Simonsen.

• Please of check out the work of Byron Katie, and if you’re interested, come to the Against Everyone Salon where I’ll be doing the work with patreon patrons.

• I talked about navigating uncertainty in 2021 on the first episode of the year, AEWCH 136.

What if all the bad stuff is going away?

Thank you friends,

CH

The history, benefits, and dangers of the paranormal, with Terje G. Simonsen

1 Jun

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Your support for Against Everyone With Conner Habib, as well as all my writing, lectures, activism, and the rest, are what keep me going. If you support my work via patreon, thank you! And if you don’t, please contribute on Patreon today! Thank you so, so much.

Buy Terje’s excellent book and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 152 on bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

I’m so excited to share this episode with Terje G. Simonsen, paranormal/occult scholar and author of the multiple award-winning book A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal: Our Secret Powers Telepathy, Clairvoyance & Precognition.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • “All models are wrong, but some are useful” – George P. Box
  • What is the akashic field and what are our limits in describing it?
  • What does it take to be able to walk through walls?
  • Materiality as an agreement
  • The uses (and misuses) of clairvoyance
  • The military’s limits on understanding psi
  • Revelation after revelation after revelation
  • Using parapsychology to create a better world
  • Anthroposophy in Norway
  • Christian esotericism at odds with magic?
  • That time I did remote viewing
  • The paranormal as a proximity to death

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Terje, here’s his excellent appearance on Skeptiko (PS remember when Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris was on my show? Waaaay back on AEWCH). Here’s Terje summing the book up well in a short video. And here’s an interview with Terje where he discusses David Bohm and the nature of reality.

• My friend who had brain damage is Mira Bartok, author of the bestselling memoir The Memory Palace in which she details the damage a bit.

• If you’d like to learn more about G.I. Gurdjieff, this is a good place to start. And here’s a site on Padre Pio.

• I talk a lot about Daskalos on AEWCH 67 with one of his students, Daniel Joseph. And AEWCH 116 with occultist acupuncturist/veterinarian Are Thoresen remains one of the best episodes of the show.

• I didn’t know much about the healer Matthew Manning before, but I’ll be definitely be investigating!

• Want to learn more about the Servants of the Light and one of their central teachers, Dolores Ashcoft-Nowicki?

• The psychologist who posited the “trance of the everyday” was Erik Erikson.

• Here’s a little on Ulla von Bernus, but you’ll have to translate the page if you don’t speak German. And here’s an article on Milarepa, who, like von Bernus, had a change of heart about practicing black magic.

• The image below is taken from (AEWCH 128 guest) Dan Gretton’s excellent book, I You We Them, Volume 1: Walking Into the World of the Desk Killer, in the show notes of that episode, I refer to these points as “a list of factors is an inverse of spiritual development, a sort of path of black magic.”

• Norwegian psychic and healer, Marcello Haugen has a site (which you’ll have to translate if you don’t read Norwegian) and I’m now looking into his work. I love Terje’s lovely story about him and the hare.

• “Fairy bush survives the motorway planners.” I love Ireland.

• Here’s a brief correspondence between Rudolf Steiner and the anarchist writer John Henry Mackay.

Until next time, friends,
C

EVENT: Join me + AEWCH guests Heather Berg & Kathi Weeks for a live discussion on sex work as anti-work!

7 May

Hi friends,

I’ll be on a panel discussing sex work as anti-work politics as part of Seattle’s Red May festival. I’ll be in discussion with AEWCH guests Kathi Weeks and Heather Berg, as well as femi babylon and Cassandra Troyan!

The info is here, and it’s free to sign up!

Also, check out other Red May events with AEWCH guests like Dean Spade, Franco Bifo Berardi, Michael Hardt, and more!

XO
CH

Oh no I’ve said too much/ I haven’t said enough

28 Apr

Friends, what can I say? A few days ago, Against Everyone With Conner Habib got a shout out in the Guardian from one of its listeners: Michael Stipe from R.E.M.

I’m floored by this.

I am really moved and almost overwhelmed by this. This person has had such a huge impact on my life, and has provided such a profound directional force of imagination for me.

More and more, I realize that listeners and supporters of the show represent a very special group of people. You’re listening because you really care about the substance of the show. Not because it’s poppy or familiar or always easy to digest, but because you love meaningful engagement.

Just wanted to share. And to say to you who support the show, thank you for helping make the show possible.

Love.

CH

Desires, dark and light. Carmen Maria Machado on AEWCH 149!

21 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.
Buy Carmen’s books and the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 149 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan once said, “there is no other good than the one that can pay the price of the access to desire.”

There’s a lot about this statement, which is, like a lot of what Lacan said, a riddle – but one thing in it – paying the price of access – so our desires are not accessible? So we must lose something, give something to meet them? To see them? To talk about them?

To discuss all of this, I spoke with Carmen Maria Machado, author of the memoir In The Dream House, the collection of strange tales Her Body And Other Parties, and the graphic novel The Low, Low Woods.

I think what’s really interesting to both of us, and this comes up quite a bit – is how desire functions, how it is somehow always ahead of us, appearing and disappearing like a friend or an enemy on the path in a fairy tale. Sometimes it gives something to us that is useful later on. A key, a sacred object, a weapon. Sometimes it gives us a gift that leads us to being stuck. Like the fairy market where someone accepts the gift of an apple from the goblin, eats it, and wakes up 100 years later, if they wake up at all. Sometimes it has a strange shape, it frightens us.

Why should desires be like this? How do they know us, in a way, before we know ourselves?

This is a conversation that finds proximity to creation, to danger, to repetition, to the abuse that Carmen writes about in her memoir In The Dream House,and to the abuse I wrote about in my essay ,”If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love“.

How do we talk about the desire and the horror in abusive relationships while still holding the abuser accountable. How do we make the necessary move of accountability while not reducing the complicatedness of the encounter and the relationship?

Again and again, Carmen and I touch on desires and on storytelling – almost like we’re knocking on wood to allow ourselves to go forward in difficult conversation.

What do we sacrifice to know our desires?
What are the prices of following our desires
Of not giving way to them?
Of not giving ground to them?

If all that sounds dark and complex, well, it is. but this is also such a warm and friendly episode. With lots of laughter and curiosity and affinity. 

I’m so happy to share this episode with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way desire  knows itself before you know what it is
  • Why is the fox from Robin Hood so hot
  • Evading the temptation of metaphor when we read
  • The response to the subconscious is determines the genre of writing
  • Horror as spiritual narrative
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s mission of mercy
  • Sexuality as a genre
  • The imagination of the abusive partner after you’ve left them
  • The missing language of understanding for the person who has been abused
  • Why we need to talk about resilience 
  • The importance of meta-devices and melodrama
  • The Law & Order SVU-niverse

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Carmen go to her website (which has a badass picture of her in a chair). Here’s an interview with Carmen that goes horrifically wrong on Electric Lit. Here’s Carmen talking about haunted houses and horror movies on the American Hysteria podcast. And if you’d like to read one of her stories, here’s the early version one we reference the most, “The Husband Stitch“.

• My essay from 2010 “Looking at Men” describes the clouded shower glass incident.

• McArthur Award-winning writer Kelly Link comes up a lot on this episode. Have you listened to AEWCH 44 with Kelly, Jordy Rosenberg, and me? It’s awesome. Also, here’s Kelly’s essay about the “silent partner.

• Here’s an interview with the great Argentine writer, César Aira.

• It looks like Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is not available on bookshop.org, so here it is from that, uh, other place. 

• If you haven’t read Susan Sontag’s essay, “Against Interpretation,” read it, friends. And if you have read it, read it again. Same goes for H.P. Lovecraft’s essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature“.

• And the Lovecraft quote is, ““The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

• Here’s my essay “If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love” about the boyfriend who beat me up, which is mentioned at the end of Carmen’s memoir (and through which Carmen and I first communicated).

• I love author Sara Maria Griffin’s appearance on AEWCH 93. It remains one of my very favorite episodes.

• I have not yet read Jeannie Vanasco’s Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl but I definitely will now. I also (forgive me, Father!) have not yet seen Fleabag. I will, I will, I will!

• Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kantis one of the best films ever made. And also watch Lars Von Trier’s Dogville for another sort of disorientation.

Until next time friends, follow your desires!
XO
CH

Make your dream so big that you stop identifying with your struggle. I talk with rapper Vic Mensa on AEWCH 146.

30 Mar

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreakerAnchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

Buy the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 146 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback.

Friends,

Why do we get stuck in revolution?
Around the revolutions in France of 1968 – university students were staging occupations, resisting capitalism, resisting consumerism, resisting shitty art. And their resistance led to general strikes that began to threaten people and institions in power. I don’t have the space to go into detail about those revolutions here, but I want to hone in on one comment on them.

When the university students approached psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan to see what he thought, his answer frustrated them. He said, “as revolutionaries, you aspire to new masters.”

What did he mean? Lacan was addressing the way that we become so stuck in the struggle that we identify with it.

It’s a huge challenge to the thought that if we just change social conditions change, everything will be great. That just isn’t so; because we end up cleaving to our struggles and identifying with them, simply changing the social and material conditions doesn’t work.

So what’s the way out? There are a lot of components, but music, poetry, magic, art, sex, conversation, gardening, forgiveness, knowing our neighbors, etc etc. – those are a start. They allow us to create new rhythms in our lives.

I decided to talk about all of this with rapper and activist Vic Mensa – I’m sure a lot of you know Vic already, from his own music as well as his collaborations with Kanye and Chance the Rapper among many others. He’s also the co-founder of the mutual aid organization Save Money, Save Life and their Street Medics program.

We talk about how to disidentify with the enemy and our struggle against that enemy, about meditation, talking with the dead, about music as a restorative space, about the power sexuality in hip hop, and more.

Here’s a spotify playlist of my favorite songs by Vic Mensa (and his two bands) to get you started or to get you in deeper.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Mutual aid, since no one is coming to save us
  • The fear and failure of revolution 
  • Why someone can be so advanced in one political arena but so stunted in another
  • The importance of identifying with a dream instead of fighting an enemy
  • Dying before you die
  • The time Vic snuck into Stonehenge
  • How music generates emotion
  • Vic’s trip to Palestine
  • The gift of 2020
  • Calling on the dead to make art
  • Writing, fear, and style
  • The writers that compel us to write
  • Irish traditional music and rap and punk and Rage Against The Machine
  • Homophobia in hip hop and punk and the standards we hold
  • The power and threat of sexuality in rap music
  • Dr. Sebi, alternative therapies, and their dangers

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Vic, here he is talking about mental health and wellness with Rachel Hislop. Here he is having a good, extended conversation with Reza Aslan. Here’s the video for his song “FR33DOM” and here’s a performance of the same song, but at the tail end of a performance of “Shelter” with Wyclef Jean and Peter CottonTale.

• Here’s my friend Caitlin Doughty talking about the Covid deaths at her funeral home and the moment she realized no one was coming to help.

• After talking with Vic, I thought for one second, who needs Lacan when you’ve got The Last Poets? Here’s their song, “N_ggers Are Scared Of Revolution” 

• Want to check out the occultist acupuncturist veterinarian episode? It’s AEWCH 116 with Are Thoressen.

• Here’s my little essay about my encounter with Aleister Crowley’s chair.

• Abby Martin was my first ever AEWCH guest (back when the show was a web series!), and she’s still out there every day, doing amazing work. Here’s her documentary on Gaza, Gaza Fights For Freedom.

• Learn more about Julius Jones, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in Oklahoma when he was 19 years old. He’s still there, and in solitary confinement for most the day, victimized by a racist “criminal justice” system.

• Listened to Body Count’s “Cop Killer” a bunch of times during the 2020 protests.

• Here’s the video for “3 Years Sober” which, um, made a lot of people mad.

• I talked about the “desk killers” with Dan Gretton on AEWCH 128.

• Vic was hanging out with Michael K. Williams who is just… the best. Off of that, I mentioned Alex Vitale, who  I talked with about ending policing waaaay back on AEWCH 29. 

• Here’s the most balanced overview on Dr. Sebi I could find.

Until next time, friends,
XO

64-bit poetry and spells with Stephen Sexton on AEWCH 145!

23 Mar

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon Thank you so, so much.

Stephen’s book about Super Mario World and death, If All The World And Love Were Young is unfortunately not available through bookshop.org yet, but you can get it here. You can get the rest of the books (including Stephen’s first collection, Oils), as well as books related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 145 on bookshop.org.

Friends,

One of my best friends, a poet, once told me that her first word was no. She said that that was a huge part of how she became a poet – that the world wouldn’t stay in place for her without her help. There was something about seeing things differently, about the world opening up for her through a refusal to see it as fixed just by the words that had been handed to her, the explanations, the definitions and lines.

Today’s episode with poet Stephen Sexton, which features his reading of poetry from his book If All the World And Love Were Young about death and Super Mario World – each poem is named after and loosely follows a level in the game – helped me understand just how deeply poetry can go. We also talk about light, and surfaces, and the dead, and the way repetition works. He also reads from his book Oils, and his forthcoming book (out in August!) Cheryl’s Destinies.

We talk about the playing of console games as spells and as a sort of suppressed pornography, about writing an elegy of poems to put grief into a game and turning it into a monument, about the tarot and how to make a time-horse – a bridge between all forms of time – through poetry.

Stephen’s poetry gives you a doorway in, or maybe a green pipe, a portal – to a strange world that is our own world.I know that people who are interested in poetry often sing its praises to the bafflement of those who don’t read it. And I also know that so many people talk about poetry by defending poetry.But it doesn’t need a defense or de-bafflement. It just needs to be heard, read, written, gathered.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Stephen reads his poems, “Gnarly” “Groovy” “The Death of Horses” Donut Ghost House” “My Second Favourite Locked Room Mystery” “Terror”
  • How to look at the world of console games like a natural historian
  • Should we do and Siamese of Super Mario World
  • Playing video games as magic, or video games as stand-in pornography
  • A poem as a curse
  • Indexes as a map of a writers’ unconscious
  • The ghosts in Super Mario World as an approximation of our relationship to the dead
  • Does writing console us? (Also, I like the word “consolation” and console)
  • Creating a monument to the dead out of Super Mario World
  • Ekphrasis
  • Poetry that folds space and time
  • Can Nintendos understand punctuation
  • The significance of 100 year anniversaries

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Stephen, here’s his lovely acceptance speech when he won the Rooney Prize, Irish’s oldest literary prize. And here he is on a video game podcast

• And – why not? – here’s a walkthrough of Super Mario World, which helps give an interesting window on Stephen’s book and poetry, as well as digital landscape.

• “The light by which we see things is only a symbol. At the point of seeing the light, we lose it. Pur loss of the light is what we see as light.” – Massimo Scaligero

• I love that Stephen refers to Mario as a “single person in an overwhelming world.”• Have you read Annie Dillard’s great essay “Seeing” ?

• Remember Game Genie? My favorite digital djinn. Here’s how it worked.

• I had poet Zachary Schomburg on waaaay back on AEWCH 40. It’s still one of my favorite episodes. And be sure to read his essay, “Poetry As Violence” is one of my favorite essays about poems ever. It’s stunning.

• Also, here’s AEWCH 91, probably the most special episode to me; it’s the episode I made with my mentor Lynn Margulis.

• No comment on the below.

• For two examples of ekphrasis, here’s Auden’s beautiful poem, “Musee des Beaux Arts“. And John Burnside’s beautiful poem about Brueghel’s “Hunters in the Snow” is in his book Black Cat Bone, which is a lovely and dark book of poetry all around.

• Stephen’s forthcoming book, Cheryl’s Destinies – which features Yeats in conversation with Billy Corgan – inspired me to listen to Smashing Pumpkins again. Anyway, here’s one of their biggest hits, “Today” from Siamese Dream.• Go here for more on Peter Doig, plus a lot of his paintings.

• I really love the movie Older Than Ireland, so watch the trailer and then watch the movie!

Until next time friends, reach for the star,
CH

Back to the Future: Philosopher Srećko Horvat returns to AEWCH to talk with me about climate, capitalism, and reincarnation.

2 Mar

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker AnchorPatreon
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Srećko’s latest book is available here. To buy his other books, or books mentioned on/related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 143 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too. (And once After the Apocalypse is available via bookshop.org, I’ll add it to the list!)

Friends,

A few conundrums:How do we deal with the fact that we keep envisioning a destructive future, yet so few of us are acting to stop it?

When we talk about systems that (like capitalism and patriarchy, for example) that are oppressing us, do we mean they’re…like…spiritual forces? Invisible vague laws of social nature? What?And how is being separated from so many people we love affecting our notion of space and relationship?

To answer these questions, and in what I hope becomes an annual tradition, I invited philosopher, author, and activist Srećko Horvat back on the show. You might remember out first conversation, about a year ago, was on AEWCH 107, just at the start of the global crisis in 2020. Well, obviously, things haven’t resolved themselves since then, and it’s because we haven’t taken steps bold and miraculous enough.Srećko is not a class reductionist nor an identity politics thinker, but instead, (like Michael Hardt on AEWCH 120) Srećko brings together strands of ,any different aspects of being human – philosophy, art, music, poetry, activism, economics, politics, and more – and tries to survey our current, future, and past predicaments. His new book After The Apocalypse brings his multi-layered perspective to the apocalypse, which, Srećko reminds us, has already happened:

People huddled in tents in their houses in freezing Texas evenings. Empty streets. Lines for groceries at Tesco, where the food is all wrapped in plastic. Borders closed. The threat of disease at every turn. Riots against murder by the authorities. This is what it feels like to be in an apocalypse.

So what about after? Can there be an after?

The answer is yes, but it will take a liberation of time and space and a reinvention of the political, economic, and cultural realms.So… let’s get to it.

PS: After the Apocalypse has a playlist, which I’ve replicated as much as I could on spotify. Here’s the playlist for the book.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What we mean when we talk about capitalism doing things
  • The destruction and seizing of time
  • Why reincarnation matters
  • How to deal with knowing an end is approaching but still needing to live in the now
  • Does “climate change” help us take action? And how are climate change and failed communism related?
  • Why science can’t save us (and in fact can do a lot of harm)
  • The return of the power of the state, and the public health utopia
  • Silence as a commons
  • The need for mutual aid
  • What the world should have, but refused to learn, from the HIV crisis
  • How to liberate “problematic” thinkers
  • The importance of working with the dead
  • How do we use the tools we have without reinforcing the terrible structures the tools come from

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Srećko, here’s his lecture, “The Virus Mythologies,” where he breaks down the signs and signifiers And for a quick summary of his other work, you can read Subversion!. Here’s Srećko in conversation with Brian Eno about his book, Poetry From The Future. And here’s Srećko more recently (in January 2021) discussing the tangle of issues we’re in with his collaborator, Alfie Brown.

• I wrote about Wittgenstein’s quote – “When we think of the world’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going in now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a curve, constantly changing direction.” – and how it relates to the current crisis for The Irish Times.

• I talk with economics researcher and author Conor McCabe on AEWCH 76 about the entangled relationship between money and time (it’s one of my favorite episodes!). And I talked all about the way the vision of the Earth changed when we landed on the Moon waaaay back on AEWCH 5.

• Some of Günther Anders’s work is available online in translation here.

• Here’s a story on the the Tallaght wetlands. I can’t find the information on the murder investigation there, but I did read it shortly after the wetlands were destroyed. If you find an essay on it, send it along!

• I haven’t yet seen The Midnight Sky, but, okay, Clooney and sci fi. And here’s the trailer for the other movie Srećko mentioned, Space Sweepers.

• Here’s Walter Benjamin’s Theses On A Philosophy Of History. It’s, for me, one of the most influential theoretical works. From the essay: “The only writer of history with the gift of setting alight the sparks of hope in the past, is the one who is convinced of this: that not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious.”

• Bill Gates’s crazy plan to block the Sun is underway. Steiner’s warning (from 1913, I believe) is a bit complex if you don’t know the anthroposophical lexicon, but: “…the Ahrimanic beings strive to ensoul the living limestone with a kind of astral rain… If the Ahrimanic beings could realize their hopes the whole of humanity would gradually be dissolved into the earth…”

• I still can’t believe I got to speak with Fugazi/Minor Threat frontman and Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye on AEWCH 119. Really.

• Oh, Snapcase, the hardcore dreamboats. Here’s probably their most famous song, “Caboose,” and here’s their spotify page.

• A short, smart, (and still somewhat objectionable) response to philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s take on the pandemic in the Irish Times.

• Here’s a little on the Human Interference Task Force.

Until next time (get it?)
XO
CH