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Animal magnetism – a farce?
William Hughes

rendered in Dickens’s private letter is to be believed, therefore, this was no self-conscious administration of a placebo to a gullible and tired friend, and no deliberate fraud enacted against the ‘astounded’ witness. Apparently, also, Dickens’s mesmeric intervention was an act which embodied no egotistical bravado beyond an ironic suggestion that a successful author might exchange his celebrated literary

in That devil's trick
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John Kinsella

would write ‘Democracy in this form is slavery’, or an anarchy sign, or ‘voting is a placebo’ across the ballot paper. But many, many elections have passed since I did even that – now I accept the fine (enforced voting in Australia – how liberated!) and stay out of the process entirely. Any form of participation strikes me as conceding that there is a centralised authority I should placate, I should perform for. I will not. The state is wrong, and I won’t sign off on it. All those who serve the state serve its empowerment over the individual, 1 National Parks and

in Polysituatedness
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John Kinsella

computer virus is solid, and the flawed software is solid as well as the patch that repairs it. The nicotine patch, the pseudo-solid, the placebo field. Netdeath is the rejection by text of the materialism that makes it. The archives hang there, mimicking stasis. As vulnerable as the book is to fire.* Lost in the attic, it burns undiscovered, but there. * Vulnerable indeed: since the time of writing, Listbot discontinued their free service and with short notice deleted the entire Poetryetc archives based on their server. Unless they exist in vestigial form, these

in Disclosed poetics
Abstract only
John Kinsella

meant a hierarchy of form. Poetry as an emotional pamphleteering. As a placebo. The difficulty for the lyric in conveying ‘emotional’ content is that it cannot be effective if the material is not carefully controlled. The looser this control, the less we can accept the genuineness of the emotions. Anti-war poetry in particular relies on the credibility of the emotional distress in the face of war’s horror. Does Leon Gellert say what we think he says in ‘If You Were Here’? Or is he displacing, insofar as this poem is actually an extended metaphor for the isolation and

in Disclosed poetics