Friday, December 31, 2004

I have an ongoing thing, just started, that I will be posting to my site. the 1st 3 parts are here. throng to the excitement!!!
a few poems of mine now up at The Poet's Corner. I link here to the site index, as it presents quite a roster of writers to scope out. 2 of the poems are from my book, the rest are pieces that mysteriously found their way onto my hard drive. thanks to Anny Ballardini for asking!
just to admit that I haven't a lot to say about the tsunami disaster. the press of blog's currency assumes immediacy of reaction. my reaction is numbness. I can't comprise the numbers. I feel like I should apologize for that. Erin is arranging a Magic card tournament, the proceeds of which will go to disaster relief.

bridge Posted by Hello

swampy snow Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 30, 2004

this piece made me think of Jim Leftwich. or Doubt, which is the only booklength of his that I know (so much for my expertise, but honest, I never claimed). almost pulpit dissertations. I really like that. offhand I can think of Peter Ganick and Ric Carfagna as writers who have worked that way, thinking in an assertion of language. Ganick has said that his poetry is philosophy, in the sense (I assume) of working things thru. by assertion not to mean directive but clarifying. Eldon's pressing invention is also a sort of diversion or tangent, inventing a language as she goes. it is quite striking in its naturalness, tho I understand it as experimental play. I hear Joyce here, but that's a sort of training, I suppose. I mean of me if not of her. it's kind of gritty on her part to post something this long. I think the blog expectation struggles with that, or anyway, the distraction of the blog's format works against the poem. which obviously is not a criticism of her writing, but the medium. and yet, it is this fresh, diurnal medium that allows these experiments. blogs can be and are a lot of things. it is too bad that they have a shelf life. I put R&S (my other blog) into pdf formnat because I thought it was more than thrown away. the reader gotta get as serious as the various writers, what say? that's what I noticed with Alli Warren's blog, that her words stuck, were firm if not constant (what language except dead language (politics) is constant?). she's not glib but involved. I aim for that. not to say blogs aren't muchly written by the shovelful, but those of inventive means, or whose language attention doesn't accept medium boundaries: these are strike force ambient rich considerable. we should go there, you and I.
a stray thought that AnnMarie Eldon, as well as all Acolytes of Allen who read this exciting blog, might enjoy reading Jim Leftwich's work. I found reading his lengthy work Doubt an onspiring (oops, but sic!)experience. I find Leftwich to be an artist of such an energy and expanse that you feel both challenged and invited. I think there is a lot of stuff in Leftwich's work that one can take to one's own uses.
the comment to this post by Anon A Mouse asserts that AnnMarie Eldon's post is boring. Mouse hasn't the strong case of identifying him/herself, but what is boring anyway? it gets tricky, as it involves how much effort Mouse, or anyone, might put to the work in question. isn't there a semantic 'meaning' to the punctuation marks, just as exists with a conglomeration of letters? I will admit that the poetry I don't care for is that which I can't muster the effort for. take the average Robert Bly poem (and oddly enough, they are all average). when I've read them, and I earnestly did when I was scoping the landscape, I tired of knowing how these poems would perform themselves. I remember one book got to me, for it seemed like every poem was three numbered stanzas long. but it didn't seem like he worked within a form, more like he pooped out at the 3rd stanza. his numbering of the stanzas seemed like his way to push, but he just hadn't it in him. I deem that Mouse looks upon the punctuation of Eldon's poem and reads blahblahblah. which is one translation, but I don't get the feeling that it is an accurate one. the poem could be treated as code, in which each mark substitutes for a letter. or read the marks as we understand each to 'mean'. or savour the visual effect without regard to 'meaning'. I've been as guilty as Mouse with lazy attitude, but I try not to be smug about it. and it would be good to read any blog as a thing whereat one experiments.

out Posted by Hello

tired artist type Posted by Hello

wooden collage fish Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Alli Warren's blog has stuck in my head, not in the sense of meaning so much as the writing's electric means. I am not a good reader, and know that there's a lot of meaning out there that I didn't and won't get. but I am a writer, and I guess I read as one. I am reading her ebook, Yoke, which Faux/e (link to right) published recently. it's been on my computer, waiting. this is quick writing, as maybe I am quick sometimes (I mean no faux comparisons). Tim Peterson is quick too, for that matter (an autre Faux/e), turns on a dime. his critical work can be dazzling with that quickness, but I digress, and so should you. quickness might suggest cleverness, and cleverness is nice, and Warren is clever, but I detect something further to point to. she allows herself to write 1st person, which I for one have tried to avoid. knowing my weakness. and she can dash with wit without presenting a torture or picture of drama. the book's 1st poem, "The Defense Rests", begins thus:

"Call in the rocketships and plenty of rocketfuel
We’ll go on living in spite of logic"

which I might compare to O'Hara but I could also say that S J Perelman had the zest to begin his pieces with similar sudden mise en scène. I am not up to in depth at this time (or ever, to be honest), just want to indicate. it seems like there is language between and amidst us, which is interesting to observe. I don't read off the screen well, find myself too easily distracted, else I'd've discovered this writing sooner. as it was, it seeped in, from her blog. many of her lines can stand alone, tho without a sense of disruption or disjunction. I guess the reader's eye adapts to her speed. despite the speed, there is no blur. that's the artistry (argh, what a word!) to which I would especially point. so okay, that's the best I can do for now. I better get dogged about reading the Faux/e line, and other available offerings, just to catch up.
the 3 recent posts concerning David Hess's sister are really powerful. "there is no correct feeling," "I remember the eyes and not the heart staring at me." he writes here in an icy way, and I mean that in a good way. burning cold in the observation to temper the heat of his (anyone's) distracting emotion. the emotion is there, but not played. makes me think of Keats' words about the Egotistical Sublime. if David were looking for "a way to go" (maybe he's already going), this would be a direction.
regarding 3 posts down: when I use the word 'emblematic', it's code for saying that I am on a line of thinking. that is to say, following a path not seeing the map. to be comprehensive, to be fair, necessitates a sense of the map as well as the path. the countryside. the forest and the trees, blah blah. it is useful to probe, to go one way, but it is not 'the picture'. Jim Behrle is no emblem, and neither am I. not even Silliman, Dickinson, Mayer, Pound, Stein etc etc... 2 people, who I won't out, reminded me of this. I will add in my defense, as I have before, that everything I say here bears an implied question mark.

Monday, December 27, 2004

it looks like I successfully uploaded (oh the joy of using such a word!) the pdf version of R/ckets & S/ntries to my site. the file is 848 mb. please alert me if you discover some intriguing screw up. remember, I'm interestd only in intriguing screw ups.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I like this one by Jukka a lot. it should have sound. sense and counter sense, or some such.
I worked for a wine store for a long time. one of the death knell signs I encountered in the biz (from which I am long since gone) was the rise of wine writer Robert Parker (a separate blowhard from the mystery writer of the same name). Parker cannily used a 100-point scoring system to rate wines. that act took the words away: he made wine criticism quantifiable. this system proved so successful that the Wine Spectator (a real rag if ever, the Rolling Stone of wine) started 100 point scoring too. customers began seeking only 90+ wines, as if that scoring system could account for personal taste. if you read a wine's description from these eminent sources, and compared the descriptions to the scores, you'd often see a disparity. I can recall Parker awarding a perfect 100 to a wine (1990 Château Margaux, I think) that he described as having the consistency of motor oil. sounds savoury, eh? if any wine were the consistency of motor oil, which there isn't, Margaux would not be the one. but who cares, he gave it 100. naturally I have a boring point to this notice of Parker. Jim Behrle may be joking about crush lists but if so, the joke is dead and dead. unfortunately, I think people take that shit seriously. any playfulness of the exploit has oozed away by now, and we're left with these names vying with each other. like it is a privilege to make the list. I am not interested in poetry as a mild social event that will go away. I mean the dependence on the social network to make it stay around. are you interested in that? judging mostly from her blog (I haven't read a lot of her poetry yet), Alli Warren writes with an idiosyncratic and committed language. that right there is more than Behrle offers about her or anyone. is this dumbing down or a prank gone on too long? Behrle's creepy list seems emblematic of the lazy critical sense that could let a Robert Parker dictate taste (and prices!) in the wine world. Behrle squawks about Silliman's opinions from on high, but Silliman writes within a poetic engagement, not some smarmy social swirl. not that it matters, after all, one way or tother. luckily enough, poetry escapes us all.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

thinking on, Jim Behrle's snipe at Ron Silliman concerning Experimental Poetry begs the question what Behrle himself adds to Experimental. Behrle's poetry is not 'new', not in that questing sense, and neither is mine. I think Ron Silliman has been extremely persistent on the question of form and discovery via experiment. saying that Behrle isn't particularly experiemental, or that I am not, is a descriptive not a qualitative evaluation. I'm content to be less than clever in experimentation if I can do what I do well and better. to suggest that Silliman is somehow old hat is to miss something pretty large.
jinkies! nice one!!!

the way Posted by Hello

sum books Posted by Hello

cat picturing Posted by Hello

Beth reading Posted by Hello

book light Posted by Hello

cat consideration exercise Posted by Hello

Mowgli "at it" Posted by Hello

cat type ghost Posted by Hello

got any weed, man? Posted by Hello

Erin in the little room Posted by Hello

living roooom Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Alan Sondheim queried Poetics list about whether anyone is reading his work. well, he knows some do, for whenever a brouhaha developes, thrice yearly like clockwork, concerning his steady posting habits, he always gets plenty of defenders. okay, I am assuming he asks this sincerely in the sense of not being a voice or avatar. one person asked simply, why worry it. writers may get a glimmer of what readers get from their work, but response aint really a given. and why should the reader's reaction matter? I could credit Alan with with bringing in a nervous voice to his proceedings. I believe he is needy, however. I message ruled him because I don't want to feel guilty for not reading him thoroughly. taking a break from Sondheim. I have read plenty of his work.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

4 years ago, winter solstice, Beth and I were married. we were married at home. prior to that we went to North Bridge in Concord and exchanged vows. we read a couple of poems that I wrote, and one that Sheila Murphy wrote (these were also used in the actual ceremony). a pair of squirrels frisked about in mating merriment nearby. 2 pigeons did likewise. the male strutted while the female danced circles. 9 days later, penultimate day of the millennium, Erin and I had a snowball fight in the first serious snow of the year. I snuck up on him, causing him to stop suddenly and change direction. he slipped and fell directly on his knee. he broke his femur in 3 places. the 3 of us spent the next 9 days in Boston Children's Hospital. Erin endured a lot of pain. 3 external pins were placed in his thigh. because he was still growing (still is), a cast wasn't appropriate. the pins were steel rods thru to the bone, leaving open wounds. twice daily till May, these pins and the wounds had to be cleaned to prevent infection. well, while in the hospital, one pin site began to look, as the surgeon said, soupy. at that time the ambulance to bring Erin home was on the way but had to be cancelled and another surgery done. the bad pin was removed and 2 replaced it. the wound was plugged with bandage. the intern (not the surgeon, who was cool), came to look at the bad pin site. he said to Erin, this is going to feel unusual. then the intern pulled the bandage from the wound, several feet of it. Beth and I held Erin, who was screaming. Jesus! Erin had a morphine drip that he could control (regulated so he couldn't OD). one time he called out, "Beth! Allen! look what I can do". he was bringing his finger to his nose and going cross-eyed. slightly whacked out. another time he said, "this morphine is pretty good stuff!". Beth and I said "uh oh". today Beth and I go to Concord Bridge, the one Emerson called Rude (tho he never saw this bridge, nor any bridge at that locale), to renew our vows.

Monday, December 20, 2004

do you know who my monogram is?
this book is semi-important on the ramparts of esoteric current by the next pool delivery. this book is free like the wind when you park your park there. this book is a reaction to my needing a good read or something else easily squandered, dear and all. this book is something like can you see my payemnt?
let's keep the economy of poetry strictly elite.
review requests!!! give me the fuckin' book free. give me a paragraph on leeches. hey, I'll be great advertisement. truly, this is lean kabobs.
whether Ron Silliman has removed comments from his blog or the comments box provider is cuurently down, either way: what about CURTIS???. I hope he's okay. is he lost in the ozone, or limbo, or is it like in The Matrix, or that early Arthur C Clarke story??? Curtis, if you make it out, please tell us all!!!

social notes for a busy week

I refused to help Adam find Colby and Liza after Liza had me give Adam a note stating that she and Colby will never return to Pine Valley. Greenlee and I wondered if Kendall had been poisoning Greenlee. Babe, Jamie and James are in New Orleans. I continued to let Mike think that Simon and I are happily married. After surviving a plane crash, Rafi and I found shelter in a mine shaft. I'm using a hypnotized Emily to taunt Rosanna over losing Cabot. I assured Tom Ridge that he is part of the family after Ridge lamented that he doesn't feel part of the Forrester or Marrone families. My friend Paige agreed to flirt with Deacon in an attempt to cheat on Jackie. It was learned that the mystery person secretly injecting me with drugs is working for Tony. I insisted that Chloe get treatment to restore her beauty and singing voice from a doctor near Salem. Billie and I searched Tony's castle for our daughter. I crashed my car while trying to call Luke via cellphone to tell him that Laura is still alive. Working with me, Connor took Nikolas's place before Nikolas could be taken back to prison. I allowed Kristina to spend time with Sonny. I unknowingly shot at “Ruth” (Harley in disguise), and Harley fell off abridge when the railing gave way. I was angry that Michelle used the cellphone that I gave her to call Danny instead of Ed, whom Sebastian thinks can cure him. I caught up with Babe, who along with Jamie had kidnapped baby Ace (James, who is really Babe's son). I continued to hide my memory loss. I took Todd to a mountain cabin after shooting him in his legs. I was stunned when Ethan admitted that he slept with Theresa, which means that the baby Theresa gave birth to could be Ethan and Theresa's child. I plot to get a semi-conscious Alistair to tell me the one-word secret that could end Luis and Sheridan's love. I urged Nikki to tell Bobby that Bobby is the brother of the boy Nikki accidentally killed when they were children. I refused when Nick tried to get me to return to work at Newman Enterprises. I gave Britney Spears a job.
Jim Behrle writes today on his blog: "That Ron Silliman is to Experimental Poetry as Ralph Nader is to American Politics: once useful and revolutionary, now merely in it for himself and an obstacle to real change. But that could just be the Mountain Dew talking." that just takes the blog stuff too seriously. even tho he sometimes sounds like it, Silliman is not etching that blog of his in stone. he's just throwing shit out, just as I do, and Jim Behrle does. it's Silliman's poetry that is the point, the cynosure of interest. Silliman's criticism helps define for him the poetry he writes. you see the same mechanism in Henry Gould's agitation, as well: battering away at bêtes noires while turning the beam inward. it's part of the process, and we readers needn't take it seriously in the sense of drawing lines. beating up on Silliman is low entertainment (tho those are Jim's funniest comix). people have been gunning for Ron Silliman for a long time. I certainly haven't worked under such scrutiny. Silliman self-promotes of course and I dunno who doesn't. Behrle's blog has proven a good career move, so he should talk. the comparison to Nader doesn't work for me, as I never saw Nader as a revolutionary. he was a lawyer, he did what lawyers do. Ron Silliman still works his curiosity. he has a large blindspot, which is a common failing, but he remains a key experimental figure.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

When Did George Jetson Become My Neighbour?

perhaps you are hip to this already. I'm using Acrobat Reader to look at the pdf file I just made. lo, there's a feature called Read Out Loud. HAL 2001 reads it in a voice capable of some inflection. he gets confused by some words and spellings, and insists on pronouncing each asterisk that I use in rows of five to separate poems, but it's pretty listenable.
the lesson is simple: do it yourself. so much of my work goes long to very long, because of the serial thing I run with. I have a manuscript that runs 800 pages in Word. a bit much for a chapbook. and tho validation from some publisher is an inescapable angst, I don't plan to let that issue clog my arteries.
I'm putting R/ckets & Sentries into pdf format. the blog format works while in process but the backwards chronology gets a bit dippy when entries no longer occur. I've removed date stamps and am twiddling with formatting. when I finish I will remove the blog. blogs that are quiescent are lifeless. if anyone, haha, wants a copy, I will send it, but it'll be heap big file. what I further mean to do is print and bind it (somehow) and offer it to the suckers out there. seriously, this seems like a nifty project. I have no skills in this way, so I'll have to make 'em up!!!
day 2 and Curtis still scrambles: post modern, language inspired mystery writer? what madness is Ron up to, and how should I respond???

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Curtis Faville wonders what kind of comment he can make about a mystery writer........
been reading Sappho's Immortal Daughters by Margaret Williamson, published by Harvard University Press. I don't know how much of that information is actually correct, not having the book at hand, but I think I've ballparked it. it's about the perplexing variety of attitudes and understandings of Sappho over the many years. every era has its own Sappho. which is true of any writer that lasts the ages but piquantly so in Sappho's case. no wonder Stephen Vincent has been producing his Sapphic transitions. how Sappho's poems got to us is fascinating.
Black Spring Online. I bleeve I wrote a bit about this mag (print version) last summer. hte lineup:

Stephen Ellis (featured poet)

kari edwards

Jim McCrary

Steve Tills

Brent Bechtel.

Catherine Daly

Chris Murray

Layne Rusell

a good selection of writers. I want to particularly note Stephen Ellis's work. he's a friend, but I don't hear much from him lately. check out the poem "Hymn". this came to me as a printed postcard sometime ago. it shows the Ellis Method. I'm sure there's a Greek term for the rhetorical device that begins the poem; I love the effect. a looping and/or spiralling. I think of his work as inhabiting sentences tho if you could parse what he's done here, god love you. it's a tense running machine that he makes. oh, Chris Murray uses the word fricative in the poem "Baker's Dozen @ Lovin",confirming my sense that it is a dirty word: "in personal fricative".

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I've done some writing/art classes at the homeschool cooperative to which we belong. this is how I met Isaac, who was 8 when we met and now is 10. a very serious writer. his writing does a lot of processing of events in his life. his father left home for another woman, Isaac's recently suffered seizures. in his grand oeuvre (so far), there's a character called Lillist, who murders the protagonist's father, and the son strives to avenge the death. she's a witch. she gets killed but keeps coming back. ouch. later stories have been more diffuse, and include many murders and deaths. neither Beth or I have been able to do a class with him this fall. the person teaching him now is worried about his plagiarism, which is a terrible thing to do to him. he's always been honest about his source matrial. Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes are all obvious sources. his usage is no different from Tolkien's usage of material. Isaac takes elements and makes them his own. he shouldn't be made guilty about the influence these works have on him. especially if you take the matter of Art out of consideration. he writes from a tremendous necessity. anything that might forestall that can only be detrimental. but as I say, he's original, no matter if he commandeers elemenst from other books and movies. I read a piece yesterday, more clearly a poem than most of his work. you get the residue of some painful story amidst a language of dire need. he said it came from the movie House of Mirth. which I recognized as am Edith Wharton novel, tho I haven't read it. you cannot glean the plot of the novel/movie from his poem, but the poem bears an incredible sense of love and loss. I wish I could make a copy of the poem. it's not the work of a child but a poet. his spelling is creative (think Lt William Clark), often hard to make out. I'd worry more about that than his originality, but I wouldn't even worry about that.

Buddha call

"When I took the ether my consciousness amounted to this: I put my finger on myself in order to keep the place, otherwise I should never have returned to this world"
--H D Thoreau, 1/26/1856
"If an ignoramus, or an empty fool, pretend to criticize this thing or the other, you may properly confute him; but name him rarely, for fear of soiling your writings. If you are attacked on your style, never answer, your work alone should reply"--Voltaire

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Carla Harryman comments herself a distance from Ron Silliman's grand crayon marks. it is patently unfair to pit her against Brian Kim Stefans, good cop/bad cop. there's a Dylan Thomas quip about comparitive literature, to wit: compared to what? which is nicer, this unicycle or that box of matches? today Ron tells us that Devin Johnston "may just be the poet most deeply committed to the idea of repose, stillness & subtlety in American poetry since Tom Meyer." and his balloons are made of fir trees. superlative can be pretty stupid. who is 2nd best at all that? who is third? what league is this where these stats make sense? Silliman use cement in his criticism, to hold firmly, unbeatable, forever and a day. regarding his comments about BKS, Silliman did not go gingerly into that good criticism but leapt with a flunking splash. you call that a system? holy cow!!!
Jack Kimball was whimsical enough to mention my exurbian locale on his blog. a sort of confirmation occurred just minutes ago when Erin called Beth and me to the window, to see out back five (5) hulking wild turkeys. Beth had thrown a supply of sunflower seed around out there, on the theory that the squirrels were gonna get it anyway. the turkeys were feasting. I've seen a few turkeys around about but nothing this big. I figure 25 pound at the very least. they had some modest disputes over who got the choicest tidbits. they were unconcerned about the 4 of us goggling out the window. eventually I went outside and watched them. they knew they could take me so they paid little attention. they insouciantly marched into the next yard with a swagger that said if there aint food out they'll be banging on the door. I've seen deer often enough around here, hear coyote regularly and see their scat. a moose recently strode thru town, and a bear has been photographed, tho I didn't get to see these last 2. cheap thrills.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

further use of the Stefan needle. I think Silliman went a little too boolean on this one.
Ron Silliman twice uses the phrase "went to publish" today. since he did so twice, I'll assume that this isn't a typo for "went on to", tho I know I can be pretty steadfast about making the same errors again (teh teh teh, etc). its a curious verb choice. destination publish. well, it's not curious, a lot of people see Fiddler's Green in the very essence of publication, but Ron doesn't seem of that anxiety. by the way, me no mess with BK Stefan: hilarious response.

Monday, December 13, 2004

I don't write metric poetry but Mike Snider's discussion of enjambment has been useful. there are skills involved in poetry, not juts lucky inspiration. I think in terms of enjambment when I write in lines, how the syntactial event slides over the end line. I got that from Creeley, not to blame him or anything for my failings. of course, Pound told me to read Robert Browning like prose. that was a help, kept me from galloping past the meaning.
Brian Kim Stefan in the Blue corner and Ron Silliman in the Red. Ron started it. then Brian made return of the blow with right good will. Ron sounds a little out of his water. I am not comfortable outside the book and page, a lot to do with my ignorance but I think we can allow for taste. it's good to look at one's own resistance. the presentation of Harryman's poem didn't really add much to it, as I see it. there's not enough evidence given by Ron to make his point. anyhoo, interesting to see lances crossed. there's new stuff going on out there.
bedad, David Hess sends us somewhere different. I read this book lo these many many, under the spell of Steeleye Span and some of the weird ass elf-laden folk songs they rendered. wow, tho, we're talking the scholar Evans-Wentz, who was possibly the 1st to translate prime Tibetan buddhist texts into English. some of the accounts in this are spooky. there's an Irish tune called Port na bPucai (don't trust me on getting the Gaelic right) which comes with the story that a fellow fell asleep on a elvish mound, a sort of portal to their world. when he woke he had this tune in his head. another tune, a well known one called "The Gold Ring", supposedly was given to a man by the elves when he returned a gold ring to them. I find this stuff fascinating tho it's been a while since I gave it any study. I am reminded of the picture book by Terry Jones (of Monty Python), which purports to be the journal of a woman who collects specimen of the wee folk. squashed between the pages are some of her prize acquisition. quite bizarre.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

nice list of titles at xpressed, including just released ones. I've been reading Lives of the Eminent Assyrians by Jeff Harrison. a number of these poems showed up on the Wryting list but I am stunned to see how many there really are. yet another busy writer. much of his writing is narrative-infused, but these poems invoke an experimentation with statement. I think what that blurby-sounding phrase means is a jamming together of phrases to find something out of that. these poems have short lines, and the only punctuation Jeff uses is the virgule. the virgule incites a sense of balancing in my mind. not quite equation, but separating 2 elements of a whole. I recently mentioned Stephen Vincent's canny use of the half bracket. of course I, like you, have lately been giving Jackson Mac Low a read, and he uses some interesting punctuation. I really like these various usages. Jeff and I have been writing a long thing together in fits-like-a-glove mode for nearing 2 years. this work forces me to try different ways of proceeding. Assyrians challenges me now, in the sense of exciting me, to try a less narrative approach. those virgules perform, as I said, a balancing of elements (like either/or). the slash also firmly demarcates a phrase, yet at the same time, allows for serial reading. you can thus read severally: one-line poems, poems that fit between the slashes, poems that fit the page (each poem is a page long-- they all seem about the same length, so I wonder if a procedure is involved), and a 164 page poem. I'll have to print the lot out to get a better look. in august I ended Digital, and just recently capped off Rockets & Sentries. I've been happy to go without long project for a bit but now want to start again. and I want to step out of my usual. my reading time has been squeezed lately but I jumped to look at Jeff's work (among many attractions) because of a kinship I feel. I hope i can write uintelligently of other titles later. plumb tired now.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Jackson Mac Low's statement, quoted at Watten's Weekly, brings to mind what Phish do (did) in concert. the group will give a clue, such as plays a few notes of a tune, or gesture in some way, which those in the know recognize as a signal. they then do whatever act like whoop or turn around that the signal signifies. one must be among the cognoscenti but the Phish community is about sharing that. a situation is created. as with JML, I see the sitch loaded with political meaning.
J Mayhew and T Peterson on being a poet. took me maybe 2 years before I would admit to myself that I was a writer, that I wasn't just kidding myself. quite some while after that that I would offer that as what I did. especially with the assumption that the act aint real if you haven't published. the ugh question if ever one's being a writer leaks out: what sort of stuff do you write? the stuff that a person could read, I guess. to say poetry brings that loaded, self-indulgent image. my friends and I did a little publication in high school, and in doing so met a fellow who, as he declared, wrote at 3 o'clock. my friend credited this person's poems to Three O'Clock Brown. I rarely use the term poet on myself. it's more like an honorific, and a limitation. I write other than poetry. OR I am being profligate with the definition of poetry. whatever. my 1st publication was in This 3 in 1972, with Grenier, Creeley, Coolidge and, by gawd, the pre-comment box Curtis Faville!!!. my 2nd publication was in a broadside put out by Stephen Ellis's Oasis Press in 1999. he has published an enormous number of writers this way. he asked for 6 poems, printed 50 copies, kept one for archive purposes, and the rest were for me to distribute. of course I still have some. it is a tickle to publish in print, congrats to the Mayhews. it's evidence that you weren't joking when you said you were a writer. I think publishing online is still considered circumstantial evidence somehow. my grief with online simply sits with my inability to read off the screen for long. and I won't even tell you about the last time I read online work in the bathtub...

Friday, December 10, 2004

...Robert Bly, surely one of the worst minds of his generation. it is surprising how fair this assessment is. were Bly just incompetent, like, say, Amy Clampitt, you'd just pass him by. but he's this big ass voice, thundering with dull. my Spanish isn't really mine but even I can tell that Bly's just scuffing up some good poets with his translations. I suppose we can credit him with some sort of 3rd or 4th rate openness to other cultures, in the manner of Rothenberg and Eschleman, but no, I'd rather not. and then that job of giving men their penises back, yikes. I guess even he was against the Vietnam War but his anti and Ginsberg's don't belong in the same room. reading his poetry really discouraged me, when I was much more insecure about myself as a writer. I thought: I can't write like that. thank gawd.
John Latta's rumination upon youth and age in poesy world rings well. Jim Behrle's satires of Ron Silliman's multiplex reading speak to the point that keeping up with all that is going on is a huge task. I never felt anxious about keeping up but for a long time read up as well as I could. now I keep my eye out on the poetry scene, but I'm reading elsewise as well. one does what one can and one does what one needs. someone recently quoted Gilbert Sorrentino, somthing like: if you write poetry when you're 20, it's because you are 20; if you write poetry when you are 40, it's because you are a poet. I remember writers in high school and college who I knew were not going to be writers in their 40s. no need for smugness, but I persisted. anyway, I have said it before, but Latta sure reminds me of Edward Dahlberg, with his florid, cranky (and entertaining) style. Dahlberg wrote with a biblical lushness that belies his clarity. a nice pairing is Dahlberg and D H Lawrence re American lit.
fascinating, as I said before. those who haven't used a typewriter are missing out. I no longer have one, but the idea of using that (Weiner's) page is intriguing. I am not arguing against the convenience, as well as awesome potential, of the computer, and work done by hand, of course, has it own native energy. Weiner paints the page with words, and uses the red ribbon somewhat. I never saw the book version of The Clairvoyant Journal, but if it doesn't replicate the colour, then it misses something. I know that Little Books/Indians doesn't quite translate the sense of interference and disturbance with its typography. I mean it is rigid and lacks colour. some of John Bennett's work has a 3-dimensional quality. Rolling Combers (Potes & Poets Press 2001) subtly utilizes different fonts, plus John's lurid (and lovely) calligraphy, to create layers (hard to explain). Weiner's work similarly has layers. typesetting such work lessens the effects of these layers, at least for Weiner. these scans produce a much better sense of what Weiner was 'doing'. Bennett was working with the computer all along, there's no translation of his intent (well, less). see, for so long, writers worked one way, then saw their work changed when published. I don't know if Finnegans Wake should be read in its crayon version, as composed by Joyce, but I think it's worth considering how much translation of our work we need to do. I can't recall the name, or find, Grenier's boxed book, in which he shifts from typescript to handwrit. that's his recognition of the problem.
he's back and he's proud: there's a reason I kept C Annarummo's Arm Sasser link up. mimimalist isn't the right word, but trim and succinct work. none of which applies to my writing.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

an interesting Hannah Weiner link. Patrick Durgin has written what looks to be (I've only scanned it) a good introduction to Weiner's work, and several of her works are included, in original typescipts. fascinating. Jack Kimball wrote a good piece on Weiner and Alan Sondheim a couple years ago for Jacket. I must make a permanent link, for this is worth study.
Jackson Mac Low's death is a surprise as the pictures of him show such a trim person. I haven't read him well but have always identified him as an honourable presence in poetry. I admire that his experiments are engagement. I mean, his writing is 'difficult' if you are unready for it(which is a constant theme for me, I am much more disconceeted by the 'new' than I or anyone ought to be), but his writing bears such a strict intention to engage that it is hard to pass it by. I love his performance directions and explanations of method: so precise in a loving way. I don't know why the word loving occurs to me but it seems a most appropriate word for his work.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

not exactly looking to crowd my list with more blogs, but I like Mike Snider's busy blog. thoughtful people comment on his blog, which is a plus, gives a nice percolation. the Ashbery questions he dished out sure roiled up the stew. I actually don't get why The New Yorker, in its dull wisdom, saves half a column for Ashbery once in a while, tho that is just part of the question why the magazine uses any poetry for column filler, when it already has those funny whatsis items to serve the purpose. my first meeting of Ashbery was Tennis Court Oath, the simple disjunctions of which threw me for a loop. I didn't know poetry could do that. Three Poems came out soon after, which I found difficult as well but more to my taste. a little before that, I think, Richard Grossinger read at Franconia. his prose really excited me. I mean, that he was writing prose, but not so much telling a story or explaining things. this was a breakthru for me. so the length and depth of Three Poems seems wonderful in possibility. I always thought the voice in Ashbery inherently lonely, but maybe that's a bit of too close to home. I had dinner with him and a couple of other students at Grenier's when Ashbery read at the school, as I am sure I've boringly recounted, and found him pleasant and sociable. he was pleased that I and another were Leos, like him, and related this to the (supposed) Cancer birth of O'Hara (which we learn in his bio was in fact 3 months earlier). christ that's the coolest story I have in my arsenal, I canna do better. I guess I ought to get intersting or don't bother. anyway, nothing wrong with Snider wondering about the appeal of JA.

Silliman Update

today, December 7, Ron Silliman called us darlings. unless he's just talking to Curtis Faville, it means he LOVES us!!! he really loves us!!!
nice long review of David Shapiro/Peter Gizzi reading by Analagous Reading impressario, Tim Peterson. you will find a link to Jack Kimball's erudite (remember to pronounce all 4 syllables) review there as well, save me from performing excessive linkage in the fairly wee hours. wish I was there. I'm pleased to see reviews of readings beyond who was in the audience.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Mike Snider's questions here are usefully provocative but. I would answer no to all questions, however I am not interested in memorizing. I don't ask that poetry be with me like that (whereas it seems I do with music). and yet I have my love for poetry, however tainted it may be (poetry and/or my love for it). having Ashbery's lines in my head, or anyone's lines in my head, including my own lines, is not a use I ask of poetry. these questions assume that people read Ashbery without enjoyment. why assume that? if MS didn't assume that Ashbery's readers were stupid, could he come up with answers to these questions? that would be a useful exercise. we all have our criteria, really, we do. and I am not even denying that Ashbery's work tends to blur for me. Flow Chart, as I wrote earlier, dragged on for me. still, I can list Ashbery poems I like, and articulate why. and for his part in A Nest of Ninnies, kudos galore.
well, I'm going to be self-referential here, so you might wish to take precautions. because I am looking at the stuff on R/ckets & S/ntries, making me think. the Poetics list bubbles currently upon a query for serial poems. I think the correspondent sought long-in-the-making grand d'oeuvres like Cantos or Maximus, and people pulled out everything they could think of, sorta like. I think a serial poem might depend on chronology. someone cited Spicer's definition, but I don't know that. I like the effects of chronology, t any rate. much of my work leans on that. altho the recent series I did in NJ I intentionally took ome out of order. anyway, boring you (1st I imagine a reader, then imagine I bore him/her), looking at the chrono field of R&S. gives a graph of my experiences, I guess. for the most part not specified but still. a patch of poems that came after Beth and I went to WV to deal with her father's death, I wrote quite a lot. the facts of my life aren't interesting per se, we all have facts. but it is the conjunctive tension between them facts (which could be as mild as what I was reading) and my writing that is compelling. my writing, anyone's writing, coming out of that. sometimes I am 'heartfelt', sometimes ironic, sometimes oblique, sometimes flaky: different ways to deal with the facts. because it seems like facts instigate the writing. sometimes declarative, as in dealing with Beth's father's death. more often it is less definable, some adventure of language. I am not speaking of this particular to me. we write towards something definitive, not as in answers but something solid or complete or I dunno what. something. R&S was practice. I would get antsy to make at least one daily post, even if I didn't feel I had something to 'say'. I definitely believe in the practice of writing, with a novelist's kind of daily grind. not that I really work like that, I just like to see work done everyday, not waiting for those effusive, concentrated times. I haven't really looked at R&S (my gawd the typos and misspellings!!!), but I wouldn't want to cut it down. the weak poems have a point. I don't mean the reader must exult in that, I'm talking process still. I wrote this stuff casually, throwing it away really. I didn't review them much, was content to let them sail away. now I am pulling them back to shore. I wrote them, all right, but didn't invest in them in that way of writerly dedication, just wanted to get some work done.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

"The Golden Rue Devils Bring" by Jeff Harrison

I gargantuan, they in the skies
yet lower they to the ground
with gold the moonless were golden, --
me: blooded for thee a sight to enjoy,
thee, Virginia, moonless thee

if ape thinks of a palace, behold,--
at the very-most least an aviary
for letters' newborn steeds!

I, more, I inched all drenched
blooded for thee a sight to enjoy
but glumly she bird then just die

* * * * *

I don't really know why I asked Jeff if I could post this one particularly, because so many of his poems interest me, and for that matter, quite a number of pieces by others on Wryting could be picked out. I like the language here, grand and slightly ludicrous. I divine that Jeff bears an interest in English poetry 17th to 19th century. I like the tension of the lines, with their defiantly firm yet skewed syntax, and implosive beat. I hear it declaimed slowly, portenously, I suppose. and Virginia, which he frequently mentions in his poems: a person, a place, a state of mind?
I've been reading Christophe Tarkos, who died recently. Roof released a selected of his work in 2000. he was only 40. his 1st book appeared in 1995. at the time of publication of this volume, he'd published 25 books. obviously the selection barely scratches the surface of that output. one might note a resemblance to the work of Alan Sondheim. really wound up, intense production. challenging and experimental. there's a solid intro by Chet Wiener, who is also one of the many translators involved, which include Stacy Doris and Norma Cole. great energy. Charles Bernstein wrote to the Poetics list: "Our poetry has suffered a blow. But Tarkos's work already shows a means for recovery." I dunno why people say things like that. obviously Tarkos gave us a ton of stuff, so that 1st sentence sounds overblown. and that's assuming Americans (if that is the 'we' he means) are that interested in what the French are doing. we should be, of course, but I don't think we are. I find Tarkos's work worthy of study, but the 2nd sentence sounds overblown too. I really hate eulogies.
I'm saving R/ckets & S/ntries to my hard drive. that means copy the archives and, maybe this is anal, reverse the chronological order, so that earliest post is 1st not last. Blogger should allow the choice. I like the project of R&S. it gave me a daily push. blogs are process. they depend on fairly regular postings. there's 600 pieces on R&S, but I get the feeling that once I stop adding to it (which I guess I have) it will lose relevance. same for this blog, for any blog. I'll probably deep six R&S once I've gutted it. I mean to start something else but I don't know what. how about a fuckin' crush list, something smarmy like that?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I may stop R/ckets & S/ntries, feeling like I've played it out. I sure didn't expect to write a talk blog (this here one). I want to try something different, tho I dunno what. R&S began with the name, that's how Blogger does things. and having that name, those words, I set forth. 600 some poems with R and/or S in mind as I wrote. I meant it as an exercise.
"...if what we mean by Flow Chart is a non-narrative experimental epic-length poem that is somehow about the thinking of such a poem into being, hermetically sealed behind the forehead."--Ange Mlinko at Minor American. that last phrase is especially apt.
another blog by Jukka. a presentation of mail art, which is a nifty form of collaboration, tho sooth to say I've never done it. I missed mimeo too. there are a lot of people out there just cranking away, making art. it's an affirmative energy. you know, I am taken by the large selection of blank books and journals at Barnes & Noble. people presumably are filling those things. poetry, diary, notes on the search for the Holy Grail or the map to Pirate Eddie's pirate treasure. I use those things occasionally, especially travelling. with mail art, the sense of audience is very specific. which digs into some of Henry's (and my) sense of poetic directive. that the interchange of mail art lessens the desperation of publication, for iut becoems a sharing between friends (or at least likeminded). gifts more than competitions. even tho there is no market for poetry in the sense of money, there's this highly driven marketplace, of people trying to be seen and heard. the drive of that scene can bend people. so that a need to please arises. I suppose this is the decorum of which Jonathan Mayhew speaks. some of that is zeitgeist, the mode of our listening in the current noise. mail art is a giddy pleasure, you can see that in Jukka's site, in Ross Priddle's. a comfortable sharing. vispo (which mail art is a part), as I was saying re Geof Huth, is playful. the play is serious. a great visual adventure.

Friday, December 03, 2004

beguiling Sapphos by Stephen Vincent. Armand Schwermer was joking some in The Tablets, part of their charm, but the sense of what is left out also resonates. as here with the Sapphos. the tautness, mouth agape, partially worded. that may be why I like the half bracket SV uses. visually it's unusual, not just the uncompletion, but that it faces left, as if containing nothing, not even the possibility. yet there is an outside to that boundary, where the poem words itself.
Brian Kim Stefan givesn us Howl One Letter At A Time. literally! brought to mind the great bit by the great great Bob & Ray, The Slow Talkers of America. in which Ray impatiently interviews a dedicated member of this club. BKS's piece is rather transfixing. there's a click as each letter appears, at irregular intervals. and it goes on.
rather than wiggle in the comments box, I'm just too LARGE for that, I'll write here concerning H Gould Enterprises's fitness tests for poetry, which I guess I'll quote:

"1. failure to acknowledge the difficult technical challenges to good writing in general."

Whitman and the Beats gave some people the idea that poetry just was a matter of exultant overflow. sometimes that works but a lot of time, burbling logorrhea results. I did that for years, god help me. doesn't seem like Rimbaud did tho. there's some lack of detachment in this failure, as in: attachment to the assumptions listed below.

"2. failure to recognize the serious themes of great poetry : magnanimity, justice, vision (Dantean terms).

less sure about this point. there's a lot of highly localized poetry about Me and My Feelings out there, but there seems to be plenty of poets who recognize the listed themes as essential to their work.

"3. assumption that poetry is a means and not an end : a means to social conformity & worldly success."

I sure enough believe this. I believe there's a poetry fast track out there, and a lot of riders, hungry nervous eaters. crush list be damned. I see a lot of anxiety about publication, and not just publication but right kind of publication, ie, not self-published, not online, but 'Real Publication'. people sweatin' their reps. there aren't many Dickinsons out there.

"4. assumption that poetry is a means and not an end : a means toward expressing sour, narrow-minded resentments, rather than exploring paths toward the amelioration of conflict & suffering."

I think a lot of poets express sour narrow-minded resentments, but I don't think Poetry does. which, I know, sounds rather stupid to say. what I mean is: I don't see that stuff so much in the poetry itself. and frankly, good old Berryman was full of that too, so was Pope, Pound, Byronshelleykeats, etc. the crummy poetry we read has more to do with the 3 other tests, perhaps especially #3.
comfort from The Onion: "Remember: Insomnia is only a problem if you are employed or have a reason to live."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Nada Gordon's smart. she got to the phrase "Keep transvaluing those values, people" before I did, andf I'm not saying I'd ever get there. transvalue, wow, a life in a river. I don't know what Ron Silliman means by "Specificity is perhaps the simplest test of a good writer". does this simple test actually perform adequately? fog bunion. RS's poetry is specific, and it is a lovely thing for it, but I am not sure what the weight of his hauling means. there seems to be enough written in the world by Someone about Joan or Johnny Situation. my love is three green tales in the often remained morning. Nada's smarts are not overlay, I guess that is where she loses Ron. Ron writes with mayonaise over the hunk of toothsome meat.
this is really neat. a child does art because it is fun. the meaning doesn't even need the word meaning to intrude, the work is done and there it is. IS. I know Geof Huth is serious, but at bottom, he's damn well having fun. he takes what-if-I, and does something with it. I think vispo depends on that strength of action. look at Jukka's sites, or Ross Priddles collation. the big poetry cartels ought to start taking notice.
Steve Tills is onto something. Stephen Ellis is a wonderful writer. a poetry of terrific energy. Stephen writes almost in run on sentences, but not in some drizzling excess way, but with spiralling intensity. a concatenation of propositions that don't resolve until the poem's end. the resolution itself is process, I think. thoughts, instigations and ramifications twisitng together into a Fulleresque energy knot. Tills makes a point that younger poets can't write thusly, a point I would shy from. tempering in the crucible, if that is where tempering occurs, strengthens, and Stephen's work shows evidence of crucible. I would say that experience more than age performs that tempering, witness, say, Rimbaud, who gives a pretty good sense of his visits to Hell. and from the opposite side, Wordsworth became a mushy fuddy duddy in his old age. the more important point is how rich, intense and powerful Stephen's writing is. the book Steve Tills discusses is unlikely to be available. I mean if you wrote to Stephen, he would send you a copy, but I don't know if the address there in Chauncey Ohio is current. Stephen's work is available at Alterran link to the right, and he has a book published by Spuyten Duvvel. recommended!.
in answering Laura Carter's plea about lineation I surprised myself in boldness and presumption. sure that we all have our ways and aims, and my prosiness won't necessarily serve another poet's needs. it is good to see such a question raised tho. one sees enough poetry the lines of which are just the product of wider margins (ie everything in Poetry Chicago). I have wondered why James Merrill bothered with the trick of metre in his ouija board poem, for the import of that work did not seem to be in how he managed metre. I got sick of his slickness, would have preferred prose looping the story out than his precise cleverness within a dull form. Amy Clampitt is my favourite bad poet for she writes a stultifying prose but soups it up by making it look like poetry. in truth her poetry consists of run on sentences and every punctuation mark she could find. the lines are convention, like capitalizing the 1st line. back in my typewriter days I used to send adding machine tape thru the machine. you know, like Kerouac, but he had wider paper. I got 2 or 3 words per line. sometimes forcing the issue that way helps rearrange your thinking. voicing the work helps too. you can do such things as counting syllables or words per line, why not. one wants to feel the poet thunk about the matter, that received wisdom didn't steal the day.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Tim Peterson hits a good one. I think I'm a philistine, being lax or slighting. I feel really "specific-to-a-life but inarticulate". and that it is my 'courage' as a writer that I can live (write) with that. beyond that, this piece/post by Tim lives in a tension of divergence and change that I admire. where the wrong word is right becaue of its right to be wrong. it's work, so far as I know, to write that way. I do sometimes, but don't know how to stay in that. to stay, ahhh, on message. well I am reminded to reread Tim's ebook (advert Faux/e Books)(and the others, it's a nice slew of recently released). this blog, may I remind you thousands of readers, is a work of process.
Laura Carter seeks lineation expert. HEY!!! I can HELP! it's called forget about it: it is called prose. it is called prose until you hear it. it's called prose upon the full page. it's called tension carefully distributed in time. lines are part of the visual time that you hear. Dickinson carefully dropping a beat from the hymnal rhythm, and Creeley so relentless in the fete of pulse. I'm serious here. the craft is hearing, which sure was a slow process for me. altho Creeley's evidence always seemed a bright good clue. it was a slow great breakthru when I realized that I could just write prose and aim for writing well, and see how that makes a music. I practiced at that, even (or especially so) when I was writing wine descriptions for the wine store I worked at, public writing of that kind, and strove to tighten and function in the world of that. I don't think enough is said about just 'writing well'. just letting the music find itself. Olson reminded us that there's a right hand margin too, not simply in the sense of Whitman's surge but something of music too. wish yourself Elvin Jones or other drummer (rock drummer Dave Mattacks too) for some constructive DElineation of space. remember lines are visual as well as heard (herd?). practice. look at me giving advice, hahaha! but wait, how would Jordan Davis answer????? the stern post goes into the nexus channel, yes yes yes, and Kenneth Koch died on sunday.
another David Hess moment. "false is the idiom of sincerity", that's a good one. I consider my poetry political in a half-assed way. I am not as astute, let us say, as Kevin Magee. yet I can work in that. and look, the sincerity of my saying how half-assed I am also suggests that I am fully assed in these matters. false sure is the idiom of sincerity. into my ardent maturity I seem to be more oblique in my constitution of political. poetry doesn't need opinion, gets clogged with it, and yet, I do need opinions. as a writer, I need to plunk my feet somewhere, but poetry isn't guided that way. there's a part of me that 'cares', and there's a part that 'cares about caring'. it's a tricky negotiation of impulses, yet poetry is here and there thru all. probably more poetry is ruined by sincerity than insincerity. isn't flarf the poetry of insincerity or have I misread? Ed Dorn in fact was talking this matter of sincerity, regarding anti-war poetry, in one of the interviews I just read. some while ago David Kirschenbaum put forth a series of poems, perhaps on his blog, that were cards he wrote to his mother while she was ill. certainly there is love in this, but I found the idea disagreeable. you know, making hay with this emotional opportunity. when my mother was dying, sometime in her last week, I told myself I would not write a poem to her. I would not use the occasion. probably 12 hours after her death, I was writing that poem I forbid myself. at least I kept it to myself. I thought David's poems were flat, too dependent on that sincere element. sure there's a power to a parent's illness (Stephen Vincent just put up some Walking Theories to/with/about his mother that are lovely and touching), or the ghastly politics of war. I guess the writer must recognize the nature of her/his own sincerity, needs to be that alert. poetry doesn't need to be propaganda. one's sincerity pushes one towards propaganda.
all righty then. with the help of blogger's whimnsical sense of humour I managed to post the same thing 3 times, a personal record. cause for celebration!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

back from the Jersey Shore. productively lazy the past week, tho I'm pretty tired now. read and wrote and made numerous walks on the beach. read Flow Chart by the Big A (Ashbery). the 1st lines, about the published city, made me want to jump for joy. it made me think of Crane at his best and St-John Perse (who I've read in French, tho not for years). we slip thru that big city there on rt 95 to get to Jersey. formerly we opted to avoid all that city stuff on our visits by slicing across NY to the corner of PA then cutting back thru NJ. a lovely farmland tour but quite long. well the reason for that route choice was traffic concerns, and sure we had a slow go in getting to and over the GW Bridge. and my point, as I ramble, is how lovely the city is. and so essential, like it or not. I found Flow Chart quite compelling for a while, then it seemed a little pointless. or not so much that but that it lacked tension. something to unify the memorable sentences. because I hear JA as a voice, a voice, in fact, I recognize in my own writing. I don't mean as influence (that's another matter) but a sense of place amidst shifting and loss. I'm just writin' when I write, but I note (afterwards) the address of my work, the tendency towards we, and see JA at that same um problem. I guess I caught the flow part of the poem, but not the chart. I felt a lack of handholds. I don't know how to love the whole poem, but some moments of it are thrilling. I also read (usefully) Hegel and Lenin, and produced 30 some poems circling around those (including JA) nodes. well bully for me! in fact I like the poems quite a bit. I also read Basil Bunting, which is still difficult for me. like ith Pound, I have to step over all sorts of allusions and references that are outside my ken. which means the work is cut out for me. I also read interviews with Ed Dorn. keeping up with poets is hard work, hard finding their works and hard affording it. I have nothing of Dorn's more recent than late 70s, I guess, which hardly represents. but I like him, whatever his errors. Gunslinger is a 1st class hunk of something. I 1st met it in Grenier's class, tho not more than a mention I'm guessing. me, I'm okay with narrative. feels like a terrible thing to admit in this new day but there we are. Mr Silliman reminds us that Grenier does not deny his debt to Lowell. I guess it is okay to go our merrie ways.

Monday, November 22, 2004

remember: Trib won't be soothing, blessing, saving you for the next week. you'll have to go it alone. I seem to be dunked in Lenin lately. try to get thru it all.
I guess I hate eulogies. Lucia Berlin lived in whatthefuck. this is stranded, not flim and flam work in a life of each moment. a writer who cleaned, who did for. this isn't touching but a lot of other words. a lot. she was good, good enough. I guess there was trouble to relate her. the schemes are in. Creeley weighs in with metronome. just some bourgeois damage. goodbye, if it's decent.

Lenin Doubt Supplied By Trial

Lenin was for toppling. he came out of the sunset, rather spare and included in something made like something. this is very indignity, said Lenin to comrade, but the address rose over frozen waters, seas forever denied access to party favours. this is choice as a colour told to be unknown, remarked Lenin, understood as a powder killed with kegs. our jury rigs steps of dance on trim lifting sustainment, said Lenin as natural as a candidate for porridge. how many clusters deny the very fact of the address? the people are twined by certain gummy shadows. a war grows over Iraq, called the war on Iran. Iran is a bed of nailed. its terror of function becomes the country’s side order of frying. Iraq as any one knows, remains a poor Iran station. Lenin has to adjust. the imperial buttress knows neighbours, relations, stumps of school chums. someone is able in burial, runt class. someone collides with the theory of colliding. Lenin matters as a judge for social chewing. what is wheat? what real rye will fill the federal bread? for instant cheer inside of numbered Presidential Library, and the extreme choice of furnishing scores of glum cadence, the voter popularity string swiftly digests the trash. this trash is a marvel, cries Lenin, the exhausted destiny of periods in sentences. jeers recorded for later were really clear in stopping reaction to endive. endive, said Lenin in one moment, will save us. yet the question of all that time, who are us? we were reading carefully for a flight while nothing seemed so rosy as the morning dew. how curious to read along these lines, said Lenin, at the back of the first book.
Chris's comments on Jukka's vispo are sharp, and certainly better spoken than I could do. it is interesting to take Jukka's several blog projects together. there's a sense of experimention with them that I think of as more scientific than avant-garde. tho his interest is aesthetic, of course, there's a formal curiosity at work that strikes me as scientific. I mean nothing pejorative here, it's a close attention and a working. Jukka offers hypothetical questions such as, what are words without meaning, and, how much does syntax hold us together, then proceeds to experiment. the motivation is artistic in the sense of pleasure involved. as is pretty evident here, I have a stupid curiosity. I do not 'think it thru', I ride it. which is just another way.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

lenin Posted by Hello
watched a documentary on They Might Be Giants last night. I love them. I even have a modest TMBG story. while working for the wine store years ago, I waited on a woman who's check read either Flansburgh or Linnell and who lived in Lincoln. I knew that the Johns hailed from Lincoln, so mentioned that the woman's name sounded familiar re TMBG. she was the mother of one. the boys had just been in Lincoln for their 10th reunion. which I suspect was less grim than Janis Joplin going to hers (check it out motherfuckers: I'm famous now). like Richard Thompson, their words have a literary feel. not so much that their songs are poems, which I think really not, but the care in the words chosen shows thru. I own none of their cds and am not expert in their ways but enjoy their work immensely. one song last night was about James Polk, based on the dry info you get in civics textbooks. another song I recall speaks of the sun as a glowing ball of gases, and the planets around it. the lyrics, in fact, come from a Golden Book kid's version of the universe. getting a band wasn't a bad thing. I continue to be leery of tape machines, drum machines (ick!!!) and keyboards that do everything. at least, in live performance, I will pass on that stuff. since I am speaking of music, Erin played a cd by a group called The Darkness. when he put it on I thought it was some 80s band, which is consistent with Erin's taste. I am sure the band listened heartily to AC/DC (as well they should). the vocals changed my assumption. the singer periodically switches into a weird falsetto that I've never heard the like. mostly it's true falsetto (huhn?), not screeching over the amps. pretty tasteful music, crisply done, but I would tire of it quickly.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

reading an interview with August Kleinzahler in Capilano Review (out of Canada). he cites Bunting as a major influence. who does that? honestly, I haven't gotten far with Bunting, tho I see the tensile strength in his writing. impatience serves me ill. especially as Guy Davenport and Jonathan Williams make Bunting sound gorgeous. I mean to pull Bunting out soonestly and give a better reading. poetry qua poetry throws me sometimes, when the sound is so important as meaning. AK is rough on the LANGUAGE poets, McCafferty, George Bowering and others. the mood of sanctity often prevails, so that we let respectfulness replace a plain enjoyment. LANGUAGE poetry is good because it's supposed to be, etc. just after John Cage died, I attended a recital of 2 of his piano works. audience sat on folding chairs at New England Conservatory. those chairs squeaked with the slightest move, so you felt oppressed not to move. could hear 'real' piano music practiced elsewhere in the building. outside the noise of city traffic, including sirens (Harvard's Sanders Theatre is right across from the Cambridge fire station, if you want the occasional hell burst at the wrong moment. I witnessed such eruption during a delicate, lovely viola piece, but the violist kept playing). the piece was about 27 notes, played with utmost seriousness. the concert notes did not explain the method by which the pianist struck notes. the concert notes purplishly suggested these pieces were about death, which struck me as blurb talk. I mean yeah, in a boring way, death. I guess it's not the word 'death' that don't work in that asessment, it's the word 'about'. the generral constraint of the event was heavy. the squeaky chairs, the seriousness and respect. I felt like I should've stood up, like at a Quaker meeting, and declare that this was a political moment. we were all frozen in respect. I'm not ragging on Cage, for I think there is something there but the audience sat awed in a stupid way. the sense of environment in between the 27 piano notes shuld incldue a living audience, not cardbored (sic) pictures of intellect. it seems true that the LANGUAGE poets, those willing to use that aegis, have shown some intention of branding. a thing called Language Poetry is talked into existence, and it certainly has been sold. tho really, it's the critics of Langpo who buy, part of the industry. lines drawn, and off we go. I thought Bernstein was smart and funny last week, of course he is, but as I think, there's also something glib and self conscious in his work. I think AK is right to point at the L-Poets in this way. I have been improved by my immersion in Language poetry, but it has has been a distracting element in the landscape as well. anyone can be disjunctive, for god's sake. so, basically, I'm hooting with AK on this. and who cares, and yet, lalala...
Kevin Magee is such an intelligent poet. he's not just writing with schoolish smartness, and he's not just writing pretty, like we so often do. he writes intently within conviction. he reveals a dynamic relationship to the texts he uses and refers to, and his points don't seem to be just talk. I wish I had books of his, to wrestle with.
I liked this by Lanny Quarles but couldn't get Blogger to cooperate earlier (post damn it, POST!!!).
good point from David Hess. maybe in 4 years the Democrats will find a candidate with ethical charge. no, he was not a good candidate, only better than the alternative. yesterday a neurologist said a prescription drug could slow my father's memory decline, but could not 'improve' him. I think of Kerry as that drug: no wonder cure. does he really think an encore is available?
I hope The Legion (of my fans: the readership) has been dutifully viewing Ross Priddle's blog. what a grand variety of work by the many, variations on a theme. I particularly liked this by Priddle himself. cognizant erasure.
some of the Faux/e publications are pdf files, some html. I would sooner see all pdf but I dunno what exigencies might exist. I like the design of these works. in Tim Peterson's, the titles plant themselves all over the page. the text of Stephen Vincent's poems is blue highlighted. it occurs to me occasionally that my word processor easily allows for all this typographical messin' around, yet I rarely mess. 50 years ago Olson was advocating going weehah with the typewriter's potential. Susan Bee got me thinking in this avenue last week.
is flarf method or is it a name for something that looks like that? I only have a superficial sense of what it is. it seems like abject hilarity on the poetry field. I say abject to indicate some of flarf's sweat: not all fun and games. I pointed to KSM's piece a few posts down, and see it as genius. Gary Sullivan has produced pieces that are wonderful, and as I construe, flarf. but I must admit that I flinched to see the flarfiness of Michael Magee's collected plays at Faux/e. let me invoke the name SJ Perelman, who, I believe, harboured pretensions of literature, as in to write (but never did) the Great American Novel or some such (he was an advocate of Joyce)(the aim should've been to write the Great Irish Novel: there's the space of real engagement). or Flann O'Brien, who did write pissa 'literature'. I guess the bothering of me is the social highlight that flarf obtains. a determined shared code among friends. a school. argh. re flarf: earnest surprise isn't really surprise. I'm only partly criticising Magee's work. and I'm a little pissy.

Friday, November 19, 2004

well I can hardly keep up with Faux Press production, but check out Stephen Vincent's Sappho poems. a process is involved, including attention, respect, and ear. does that makes sense, or does that just sound like the rest of my ramblings? his work is a matter of looking into the eyes of the 'others' to see his own light. good!
I think I should inform the hordes of BramhallManiacs that my delightful blogs shall be quiescent next week while Beth, Erin and I party down with Beth's mother and aunt. yes, that means no new incisions into the deltoid muscle of PoetryTown, USA, no self conscious ramblings into 'intellect', no perceptive stumbles into grum studio, no news of dear old, no embarassingly ineffective self promotion, none of the joyful spray you've come to expect from Tributary, your one-stop Poetry Blog. sorry, folks, you will just have to go it alone next week. however, I must remind you that this would be an excellent time to read (of course I mean reread) the archives, take notes, ponder the intricacies of my thinking, study the poems and correlate their existence as compared to real poems from real poets, etc etc. yuh, I feel like I've given you enough stuff to get thru the comibg week. and I've warned you early, so that you won't bounce to this site on tuesday and say, hey, what up? and feel like the world done you wrong...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

from Jack Kimball (la casa pantaloon), this could be rejoinder to almost anything someone might say to you: "Aren't we getting a little too attached to the lab specimens?" Jack should write a book or something.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Emily Dickinson reflected a clarification. I dreamed that she lived in a secret room in my house. she might've: there was room. and the inner workings of which she adverted, selected, trim into an instant. perhaps she mutters, and I am only ambulatory. the maze makes sense. we've seen how the maximum collides with astonishment, and every direction is a place. reverence simply names one place. Emily points (we call her Emily, just that near). Emily is dear, without being protective. her house is a maze, as we've heard, likewise that house in which I was raised. I grew timely, in one same small area. did someone say local is best? Emily's place was an intersection, which is easy to understand in the light of this November day. I think she tells me something but let's allow her to place words in their chosen clouds. events sparkle, because rain soaked the diurnal flower, now sun catches on. there are no real secrets, just places to turn to, as the time fits.
not to bore 'you' (reader?) but: the Stevens thing is response to the Wallace Stevens response (see below). the Gertrude thing tripped along after. and then I remembered me some whole bunch of poems I writ and a lot posted to lists. many were 'about' specific philosophers (Hegel, Kierkegaard, etc), which series branched to poets and painters too. some 25 poems as I recall. the funny thing being that I hadn't read any of the philosophers (I had read the poets). so it seemeth the only versions I might have are stuck on a computer that may be deadsville, so I just checked Google's archive of listservs. I guess they work went mainly to Subsubpoetics, which appears unarchived. what motivates me is curiosity more than a desperation about the loss. dum dum de dum.

further aesthetic

Gertrude Stein’s miffed register in loping settlements near a good river. how does that spell the love that bears at least three names (while people busily count)? streak across the implement sky, dawn action that has a rosy sentiment for the joy of word or two. the river’s handy because there was a day when Matisse and all the bones had to leave and Picasso hopped a train. in the share of telling all the times free from rage or blight, there’s ritual pulling out the blocks. we’re in there, held to high standards or the coaxing of good weed in the garden at your rightness. doesn’t this cheer up in time, sport of poems read across the face? a point of taking a noun along the road you go.
a Kasey S Mohammad classic. I didn't grok the method of production at the time, don't have flarf fully compressed into my little braincase even now, just loved the piece's sinuous wildness. it actually captured the list dynamics. flarf wears thin for me but this is a nifty piece. and BTW, you can only join Imitation Poetics if you're asked. keeps the bloodlines safe.

Something Aesthetically Pleasing

Wallace Stevens was a good Christian woman. we knew it. we slept until stars, that map, then reread the message. that Wallace Stevens, his emperor was insane. we weren’t, however, interested in language, only the time around it. that Wallace Stevens in that Hartford, he knew the reward in tumbling verse destitutions. we were worried to think of poetry again. it was book for a month of belonging, then steam rising, then clear attitude as political as marching into a room. it was a drain on the economy, which that celebrated Wallace Stevens fed into the machine. numbers clicked with resonant care. we wanted to have a tine on a fork, a serration of a knife, and oh the concave spoon beginning. is sense a portion of our trust? it could be, maybe must be: when we read into the territory and forget fear; when we deliberate in a political condition, and still say our names; when we indicate with a cousinlike approach to the literary mayhem. we stay tuned with the easiness. Wallace Stevens led all back-aches with precision. he elevated the common blackbird to auditory allusion. he screwed on the cap of a jar, in the clouds surrounding Mount Chocorua. he claims his pen name twice a day, while we read in the river. the water swells our books hideously, but we love the last word.
duly reporting 3 more e-books from Faux Press. I am particularly taken by Carl Annarummo's idiosyncratic chips from the larger diadem. seemingly mild little poems that don't go away. I prefer the real quirk, not the store bought kind.
sympathetic with Henry's outlook. of course I am pleased that I haven't shown up on Behrle's year end crush list yet: obviously I've got a high placing in the offing. being marginal in a marginal genre, wow, that's something for the self-image. for myself, I figure I've got a handle on my own integrity. I might as well take that as my point of pride. I have not applied myself to the appeal of public preferences. which is the underscore of Henry's remarks here and elsewhere. yeah but why bother to write what isn't going to be read? I don't know. that question doesn't seem to come up when I'm writing. I think I'll change the colour of the navbar.
finished reading some essays by Baudrillard on terrorism. he removes some over-inflected or outmoded presumptions from consideration, and isn't afraid to be outrageous. his outrageousness is a daring to speak beyond the niceness of discourse. he's not being offensive but daring. also reading CS Peirce, and Charles Bernstein's Content's Dream. oh and Barthes' take on pro wrestling. wrestling is gaudier than it used to be but it hasn't changed much otherwise since Barthes wrote almost 50 years ago. for a week, I won't be a caregiver, probably won't have to cook, won't blog, will have time to read. I look forward to that.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I like this poem, and swing at and with Stevens. I equate it more with Stephen Vincent's transgressions than my own twitting, as in Code of Law or the spam letters (which, I admit, I like, but I know they are lowball, playful entries). we borrow language from each other. we listen and hear what we hear. I don't see this poem as correction but an active relationship, as Vincent's with Zuk and Sappho. Casey Salagaj approaches Stevens while choosing another path, not exactly 'up to date', but like that. must be a good English class, that. I never, well well well, took a formal college English course. only a few years ago did I realize how vital Stevens is to my poetry world view, likewise with Stein. I like this poem as earnest of learning. I am 52 and officially got my bachelor's degree 2 weeks ago. I took the slow boat. I would like to've been 22 and capable of hearing Stevens (and Stein, and long list), but I had a lot to learn just to begin. at the Bernstein/Bee reading (thinking more of the Bernstein part), I at 22 would've had a hard time 'understanding'. I know I am hiking off from my original 'point' here, I'm just struck by the intelligence I see around, and which I lacked as younger person (maybe still lack). I would say Chris Murray has some good class there. I feel sometimes, well if I'm a writer, you too can be. I think that even while feeling that I am a definite and pointed and engine in life writer. I mean oh yeah I'm a bad ass, but also, how tenuous to think that there is a there there. anyway, good work Casey, good work Chris.
linearity or not at Bemsha Swing. brings to mind Sentences by Robert Grenier (url to online version to the right). of which Ron Silliman has written considerable and usefully. when I was at Franconia College, Grenier was writing the works of Sentences. he showed me a pile of his 5X8 cards and said 'I don't know what to do with them'. sometime later he displayed the cards on the walls of a hallway. that's still determined but allows one to browse and light upon poems in an order of your choosing, at least a little freer than a 'book'. that linearity is hard to fight. The Cantos are numbered, which tells you to read that way. but a more random read is possible, and probably a way not to get bogged. I like narrative but I guess with a post-Einstein sense of time. The Martyrology by bp nichol allows for multiple readings, set up like a hypertext. I think the inevitable ordering is a product of the reader, the reader's own need.

"All night long
I was a Eumolpidae
as I slept
putting things together
which had not previously
fit"--Charles Olson, MaxPoems2

Code of Law

Code of Law now online here at my site.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

code of law = something I done last winter, prior to a certain little computer going belly up. it's a modern realization of Hammurabi's Code. I thought they were gone but discoverr that they are archived by Google as posts to Wryting list. I did about 150 with I think 100 still to go. dunno if I'll bother, or how much I'll post but, like, I'm in my own little world. I can do anything!

code of law

1. If anyone made jelly of another, putting a cranberry upon him, but he cannot prove it, then he that made jelly of him shall be put on television.

2. If anyone bring a mackerel against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river like a partridge, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his crayons. But if the river prove that the accused is not a partridge, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put on television, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the cranberries that had belonged to his accuser.

3. If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elderberry bushes, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to on television.

4. If he satisfy the elderberry bushes to impose a fine of pumpkins or mackerel, he shall receive the fine that the action produces.

5. If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear on his television, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the television studio, and never again shall he sit there to render judgment on the commercials that may be broadcast.

6. If any one steal the cranberries of a temple or of the court, he shall be put on television, and also the one who receives the cranberries from him shall be put on television, even the nightly news.

7. If any one buy from the Bunsen burner or vacuum cleaner of another man, or without witnesses or a contract speak to pieces of silver or gold, or play Monopoly with a male or female slave, or an ox or a sheep, a complete asshole or anything beginning with the letter 'q', or if he take it in charge to speak of Rush Limbaugh's courage, he is considered slightly off and shall be put on television.

8. If anyone steal puddles or piles of damp leaves, or an ascot, or a picture of a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold therefor; if they belonged to a freed man of the king orof a sports star he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay the thief shall be put on television.

9. If anyone lose an article or pronoun, and find it in the possession of another: if the person in whose possession the article or pronoun is found say "A puddle sold it to me, I paid for it before witnesses," and if the owner of the article or pronoun say, "I will bring witnesses who know my underwear," then shall the purchaser bring the merchant who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner shall bring witnesses who can identify his property and his underwear, and bring also a keg of beer. The judge shall examine their testimony -- both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the witnesses who identify the lost article or pronoun on oath, then open the keg of beer. The merchant is then proved to be a thief and shall be put on television. The owner of the lost article or pronoun receives his grammatical necessities, and he who bought it receives the money he paid from the estate of the merchant.

10. If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the witnesses before whom he bought the article or pronoun, but its owner bring witnesses who identify it, then the buyer is the thief and shall be put on television, and the owner receives the lost article or pronoun.

ceci n'est pas un amendment

first and ten
meant Congress
shall make no

law respecting
an establishment of
ore prohibiting
free exercise:

thereof abridging
the freedom of

the press right
of people peaceably
to petition
for a dress
of grievances.
maybe I should make a dictionary of typos. how to correctly misspell and mistype words.
my notes are scribbly from last night, as in, I wonder what I thought of that...

Bernstein read a lengthy war poem. you could say it was an anti-war poem but I think that's a weighted subjectivity that serves merely to simplify. I don't think that's Bernstein's point. it was a list poem, war is, war does. "war is the extension of prose by other means" was a good line. somewhere along the way he said (not in that poem) "paintbrush is the forest of society". from the Drucker/Bee artist book: "Becky her best friend for life was in mega trouble", with an accompanying children's book girl image. Bee's work is full of sweetly alarming points of odd recognition. noir and fifties ads combining in a feminist vision. Bee said her work has been described as "feminist assemblage" which I guess she didn't disagree with but flinches some from the determined nature of such a phrase. it seems like the nature of Bernstein's work that nuggets jump out of the disjuncive mass. there's a lot of play ("the puppy is the father to the dog") and sudden pile ons": "efficiency without reason is desperation". sometimes the work seems too facile, sometimes too hard. I think he thinks too much. Bee really didn't have to explain much, you could see that the pleasure is as she said, in bright colours and odd, weird images. with Bernstein, it's a little like he has to explain why funny is funny.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

back from Bee/Bernstein thing. the event was at MIT, which I understand is a famous college or something. it's not in a part of Cambridge that I know well. I got directions to the reading from whatever online map function. these directions invented at least 2 roads that could not be found. you have to admire the spirit of enterprise to do such a thing, but it made Beth and me cranky. of course we consulted passersby, who mostly hadn't heard of MIT. we arrived a bit late but luckily the event started fashionably late. we missed nothing. Susan Bee began by showing slides of some of her work and discussing it. I appreciated her low key sense of artist, at least as presented. she repeatedly spoke of her pleasure in weird images and garish colours. I think it gets down to that simplicity. that the larger statements that artists make about their work--transformative, disintegrative, whatever those words are--are secondary to teh pleasure of colour and sound and shape. even Barett Watten ha a core of monosyllabic responses. Bee's work, which tends toward assemblage and collage, is funny, pleasing, strange and amiably disturbing. I tried to take notes but that's a matter of choosing to hear everything or write down some. she showed collaboartions with Bernstein, Susan Howe, Johanna Drucker and, not yet published, Jerome Rothenberg. her work with Howe challenged her for she and Howe differed on how to do things. no disagreeably so, but Howe, working in a largely historical mode or reference, had a specificity that Bee didn't quite grok. understood but wasn't ruled by. which was an interesting point to consider. I enjoyed her work and its possibilities. I like narrative art, which hers is. she uses a grid to separate elements, much like a comic strip. Bernstein read a bit of his words in their collaborations, then we took a break. bathroom sequences were set in motion. 2 doors set side by side, that didn't look bathroomesque. only close up could one see the words men and women. if that is indicative of MIT thinking, the school may need a semiotic overhaul. Bernstein's set included slides of f his work with the artist Richard Tuttle, including a translations into 3-d of a Bernstein poem. he read several poems while sildes of Bee's works were displayed. this worked quite well. Bernstein sat in back (where the light was better), so we weren't distracted by him and could enter the visual/verbal experience more wholly. he read a considerable portion of the libretto from one of his operas, I think the one about Walter Benjamin. it was a good performance. he's exceptionally funny, which is never bad, but also professorial. it's a heady combo of qualities. his reading is well-rehearsed and articulated. a refrain in the libretto sounded like either made up words or foreign at the least. he enunciated carefully and rhythmically. I'll have to write more later, as I am sleepy, but I found myself wanting to do different work after seeing these two. it was a nice event. the audience was weighted young. why aren't more older people attending? this may have something to do with Boston's poetry scene. parochial attitudes abound here. the reading lasted 2 hours, which is generous. in 2 weeks David Shapiro and Peter Gizzi swing in. that should be a whizbang. if we can get there, we will. I'll try to write better tomorrow.