This poem was presented by its author Adeena Karasick at the 13th Annual Media Ecology Convention at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York last week. Unfortunately the text by itself misses the energy and dynamic quality of its oral presentation by its author, but is well worth reading in its own write……AlexK


                    Writing in a time in which the city was breaking down under the impact of suburban growth and dispersion, and rapidly becoming obsolete, Marshall McLuhan, repainted the world as a polyglossic multimedic hyperlinked conglomerate. Everything conflagrated in a gigantic intergalactic technologic nervous system. And I quote:

“These new media of ours … have made our world into a single unit….the world is now like a continually sounding tribal drum, where everybody gets the message…. all the time. A princess gets married in England and boom boom boom go the drums and we all hear about it; an earthquake in North Africa, a Hollywood star gets drunk…away go the drums again. I use the word tribal….it is probably the key word…” (Marshall McLuhan, 1960)

50 years later not much has changed:

A sapphire-studded party-planner princess gets married in                              England.

A tsunami happens in Japan.

A Hollywood starlet powders her nose…

Our lives have become a kind of carnivalesque intertextilic journey where every moment, a wriggling insignia of angles, codes, references, concentrated emanations and transmutations. And the city itself has become a multiplatform interdisciplinary repository; an archive of fragments, updates, analysis, aggregates.

The question is no longer about urban development but inhabiting a webbed network of serial simultaneity enfolding in on itself; neo-formalized fragments of post-consumerist media-infused culture.

A culture where television (as an interlinked totality) is everywhere.

A culture where Print is HOT

And I couldn’t agree more, (in my city) PRINT IS HOT
Hot Social Media Quotes

And not only is it HOT, but (according to 12th century Kabbalist, Isaac the Blind of Provence, “contains the whole universe and all the future creations,” the dense matter of the Big Bang spewing out its definitions and associations of light into the void. There is nothing outside of it / no beginning, end or containment but all is illocatable in a locus of interlocution; a diology of drifts and divergence, disintegration and desire.

And I look around now and I see

Print AND media. we text with our phones and call with our computers

I see screens. Everywhere.  (Cool. COOL media — )

rent led video walls screens india

On fridges and microwaves, in bedrooms and park benches. Screens, in your lap, in your face, on gas pumps grocery stores and airplanes.  On foursquare, Time Square, table tops n subway stops, and we, gently stroking them, big screens, little screens, flat screens and LEDs; windows; portals into new cities of being. — where you can mash up and LIVE inside language; literally inside tv film video phones and podcasts, inside music and video poems, email and blogs books that merge text and images all layered-up and transmediatic lexicons of Benjamin, Borges Baudelaire Baudrillard, the contemporary financial meltdown, fuzzy science and face-eating zombie invasions, post apocalyptic Gutenbergian globalization, The Arab Spring, London Riots, Occupy…EVERYTHING – And it may be melting the world, because

It’s hot. 

And as meaning splits, gathers and re-disseminates and all that is written and all that is performed, imaged, youtubed, twittered and tagged emerges as one text, a vortext of memes, appellations, inscription and silences.

And, just as meaning forms and reforms through the constant transformation of language, my city, my community forms and reforms around me, including me, excluding me, nomadic communities of constant change, renewal and obliteration. Technology lets me live in New York, shop in Dubai, commune in Paris, sell in Frankfurt, sun in Greece, work in Chennai through planes, trains, boats, buses, modems, hyper-links, skypes, information highways and pay gateways always searching, ever searching, through the ever denser vocabulary of re-formation that surrounds and envelopes us.

It’s HOT

And it’s Cool

It’s in and it’s out. It’s up and it’s down

It’s a media frenzy where print and image are conflagrated and erupt in a hyperlinked midrashic-infused, post-literate anti-consumerist, hyper-generative aesthetics highlighting

A global village that  localizes.


of conflated borders, (deflated borders, bankrupt Borders) that reborder in deborder, excess

Its locus in language

A Hot language  (and“some like it hot”)

an echonomismesis poesis, a cross-pollination of genre and media

Maintaining that it’s not that books (a la the Gutenberg Galaxy) are responsible for most of the ills of modern society (nationalism, war, industrialization, population explosion, the breakdown of human relations in urbanized chaos), but HOW YOU READ THEM / Where you read them.

One need interact WITH the book

For, it is NOT (necessarily) “sharp in definition [] exclusively visual and verbal, psychologically damaging and low in audience participation”!

But whether on a page or on a screen it’s infinitely expandable touchable recs/citable.


And when my city is my screen, I am fully involved with my PRINT.  texting my youtubed tumbl twitters while facebooking my slap-APPY hopstoppin’ techniverse

My reading is always a process of transformation, metamorphosis, substitution, deformation.

My Print is Hot.

Hot and difficult. It is highly syntactic, grammatical and demands a high level intellectual activity; operates with an elevated linguistic intensity, is marked by textual irregularities full of sensory overload and can cause extreme emotions.


and is reveling in its own miasma.

Fashioning and refashioning

itself as  part of the cultural fabric. It IS my cityscape                                        


(For i read the city and city reads me)

And so you gotta remember it’s not just the transcendental or cultural, historical, ideological or psychoanalytic deduction of a work but how it plays out; your interaction with it, its performance — so

it’s not just The “t-t-t-t-telephone”, modern painting, and television

that highlights a sense of connectivity, but

all “electric and tactile”, i inhale my PRINT, feel it against my skin, on my tongue in my throat, engage with it. Viscerally, actively with every breath of my body, i taste each letter

And THIS – the mother of neces sity

A lingually messy CITY

Of synchronicity, historicity, reciprocity

And cannot escape it.

So even though I find this particular binaric opposition of McLuhan’s a little upsetting, what IS interesting is that

the world  IS rapidly becoming a global village, a BLOGAL VILLAGE, in which we enact a hyper-modernized, technomediatic tribalism. But, it’s not through an overthrow of typographic and literate communications (with its seamless web of kinship and interdependence.) –

But an INCLUSION OF TEXT AND IMAGE. A merging of the oral, the written, the encrypted and performed; all that is sacred, grotesque and graphematic. And it IS everywhere.

Now, (as a good portion of us here), I live in New York City. Continually bombarded with what’s outside, inside re/scited in a scite of excess and desire, consumption Re-sited in infinite translation. Re-fertilized with every look, gaze, panoptically re-creating its own borders, orders, limits, laws, flaws  / forging its own auto-correcting tribalism

The city is alive, inside its language.

all twittering and blogoscopic

low-lying and  high-def. The television is everywhere My city is my screen.      My locus in language. On iPods, Pads smart phones.

And I take in my city. A village of COOL IMAGES and HOT PRINT.

All webbed up and buttoned down, intratextual and hyperlinked

It IS an intra-galactic lexical plexus

of screening media

a misc-en-sceney panacea

cannibalizing itself through its own lateral feed nodes,

all mythinformed and tweety

like a chatroulette stalker

sucking on its own

saucy posturing of

geographies of content

And as McLuhan (as urban prophet visionary) saw —

“The answers are always inside the problem, not outside”.

And like knowledge itself,  “expands exponentially”.

And we are now living [Ne pas de hors text], in a tetratic vortext –

with no core

a “global”

where my APP is bigger than your APP

And we are living

“ON THE EDGE”                                                                                                                       the edge the edge the edge the edge

— of all that is hot AND cold,

full of print AND media. All that is urban and suburban and global and all that is tribal, rivaled, malleable, saleable, viable

And through all that is twittered and youtubed foursquared and flickred                        i am

hanging on a moment with you

In an infinitely shifting screen of urban suburbia comprised of a globalatti of illicit tribalism; living somewhere between my 144 characters, interactive e-books, googley-eyes and tricked tweets, my city is a telemediatic global village

Where PRINT IS HOT. YES! So Hot its burning through its own platform; setting my screen on fire. Through a hyperlinked interactive mode of webbed linkages of interaction and connexion, insurrection, reflection ideolection suspension,


Foraging in a village that exceeds spatiality, locality, dimension.

Temporally and graphically ever-expansive,

where my cityscape, a lang’scape inseparable from the media that expresses it.

So, it’s not just that “The Media is the Message”

But en medias


In the middle of things. And this message never begins ab ovo, ad initio but en medias. In an “excluded middle” of conflict flashbacks, references, journeys, modes mid points looking ahead, looking back, sideway through dramatic webs of relations


massaging my language which is

creating its own urbanity

So, in this age of google-obsessed twitter tinged trickled tweets of post-literary construction, what is the cityscape? Whether it’s weaving an intertextilic lexicon, a web of contradictory discourses or using technology to insert itself into, and explode traditional ideology, concerning locus

(because out LOCUS, our place, our CITY is always already a colloquy of illocatable locution) – [[And what road is it we aill be crossing?]] “we [are looking] at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future”.

We see that the future is always a-coming, en arrivant, arriving, la-venir, is always coming and arriving from itself; engages in a process of production inscribed between promise and promiscuity; re passed in a repast of all that’s both measurable and immeasurable, I-touching its way through a “post-literary” technoversive generation of  iteration; dissemination and creation

And any way you look at it,

There is Hot Print in the City

(running wild and lookin’ pretty)

expanding and contracting;                                                                                                       infinitely re-forming.

Re-framing the village.


This work debuted at Signals from the DEW Line: Art and Poetry in the Global Village: Marshall McLuhan Centenary: Panel on Cityscapes, November 7, 2011 University of Toronto Conference Center , and is in the process of being published.


Adeena Karasick is an internationally acclaimed and award winning poet, media-artist and author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory, most recently, Amuse Bouche: Tasty Treats for the Mouth (Talonbooks 2009) and The House That Hijack Built (Talonbooks, 2004 as well as 4 videopoems regularly showcased at Film Festivals world wide. All her work is marked with an urban, Jewish, feminist aesthetic that continually challenges linguistic habits and normative modes of meaning production. Engaged with the art of combination and turbulence of thought, it is a testament to the creative and regenerative power of language and its infinite possibilities for pushing meaning to the limits of its semantic boundaries.
Her writing has been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “plural, cascading, exuberant in its cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) “a tour de force of linguistic doublespeak” (Globe and Mail) and “opens up the possibilities of reading” (Vancouver Courier). She is Professor of Global Literature at St. John’s University in New York, and co-founding director (Minister of Semiotic Turbulence) for KLEZKANADA Poetry Festival and Retreat. This Poem is forthcoming. Fall 2012.
Adeena Karasick’s website:

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