“I am this urgency I make” & On the Death of the Author

by jdavidcharles

Action. Emergence. Agency. The commitment that arouses between two people, by the face of another person, the call to commit. I am talking about this poem of course but remember that I am only talking about this poem of course. Sometimes, on my more depressive days, I think the only person who has a right to talk about a work is anyone and everyone except the author. The author gets in the way so much–thus author-function. But “function”? Does the text really “functionally” permit an author to appear to emerge to the reader as Foucault would have it?

This seems far too convenient and simple. If the author-function can be anything, it is not so much this quasi-emergence of an author as the actual emergence of a textual-world–an aggragate of what we think of as author, language, culture, world. “Does the textual-world have a god?” I suppose is the real question. I align myself with Heidegger more than Barthes or Nietszche here–the author is not dead–there is a trace of an author, an actual entity with a history and existence with-in (around?) the text. Perhaps it’s best to say the text is haunted–haunted by the “idea” of an author, of authorship, of authority, and yet despite, and perhaps because of, all this, somewhere deep inside or even deeper outside, so near the edge and in front of your face that its exteriority is an impossibility, lurks the ghost-trace of an actual object of the species we call human and of the social function of author. The author isn’t dead–the author’s just a zombie.

I am this urgency I make


The night blows over

and shits itself. This is


hardness in my hand,

 a sheaf of these fingers


held to the cordage; the

break, nail-first into the hole


of it that is the world.

A solidarity to its depth.


You have got to put

your teeth your tongue


face forward into the

gash of these things.


You have got to. We

have got to take care


of this ourselves. We

have got to do something.