Saturday, August 07, 2004

btw, I was on vacation in june for three weeks. how'd you folks hold up?
Jim Behrle's cartoons about Ron Silliman's temporary (we can only hope!) disappearance from the blog scene are very funny. Darth Silliman, you are not my father!!! Silliman's bêtes blancs Curt Faville, Rae Armantrout adn Rachel Blau DuPlessis are in agitation that Ron's energy isn't behind them currently. yahonk! I felt so dumb in my roseate youth what with the writers I didn't get, a prodigious list. some who I didn't initially get, Olson for instance, nonetheless interested me. Pound aggravated me, but I worked my way thru that. the same way with Stein. Eliot just pissed me off, then bored me. etc. we create monsters with some of these people. or a tendency exists of setting up monolithic critical values. some poetry labelled LANGUAGE is just sucky stuff, okay? it happens. and yakking up critical storms just don't make things better. I found that even the writers I like mucho, say Olson, can be oppressive, even bullying, in the sense that they, finally, speak of their condition, and I as a writer am finding my own way. tra la.
I just wanted to say to everyone: I love your blog!!! yes, even you!!!
Nugs offers a Grateful Dead concert from 1971. guest starring Duane Allman. I love slide guitar and ole Duane had the chops for a certain kind of electric space out rock standard slide style that's pretty thrilling. worked well with Clapton, worked well with the Dead.

Friday, August 06, 2004

I notice on Carl Annarummo's deuxième blog that allen bramhall and henry gould will be amidst fair Cantabriggian traffic and oh wow, at Wordsworths to be precise, with a charming view of Brattle Street, and maybe just maybe a street performer, at 5:00, August 28, both of us fighting for the same microphone, New Old Poets on Display. I ran track for Mineola Prep, if you know what I'm saying. I only have one more poem to read-- how's my time?-- it's in 27 parts, part one...

later that same day...

Bernstein: Encrusted language resumes the dubious march toward...
Watten: Hold on a second, Charles, I believe you have reached a constriction in your approach.
Bernstein: I have no approach beyond the apposite infringement of detail.
Robinson: What do you mean by 'hold', Barrett? Clearly you don't mean physically...
Watten: Metaphor has become as normalized as breathing. The political contortions we accept as given fill us with a beaded sort of rancour.
Robinson: Oh, sure, you say that now.
Perelman: I believe I read somewhere that Truman Capote didn't believe in tea.
Robinson: Barrett, what do you mean by 'fill'? Should we accept that you meant something?
Hejinian: I want to hear more of Charles's sense of apposite infringement of detail. It seems to add a filigree to the pendulum of meaning as evidenced in this current conversation, and relating, of course to previous talks.
Perelman: I'm not sure of the plural for pendulum. Lyn, have you ever used the plural form of pendulum?

a voice in me sez: put down the camera and...

Silliman poem Posted by Hello

moody, just finished combing my hair Posted by Hello
I went some 15 years without really talking writing with any writers. just the way I drifted from some friends and never put myself in the way of other writers. internet's several options have enabled me to enter a 'community' of writers. the most telling thing isn't my opinion but the writing I do. I very much read and struggled with the theory written by those associated with Langpo (half the known universe). really liked the poetry talks Bob Perelman edited (Writing/Talks, Southern Illinois University Press (I didn't know there were schools outside of Cambridge!) 1985):

"Watten: Okay Charles, I really think you should purge your vocabulary of phrases like 'structural linguistics from Saussure to Derrida.'
Bernstein: I should purge my...?
Watten: You shouldn't allow yourself to say that. And that would be the answer to the whole thing. I mean, if you know better...
Kit Robinson: Why can't he say that?
Watten: Because it's not only a provisional construction, but it's an illusory and unexamined construction that you in fact know better of."

...and the boys go on...

I wasn't meaning to go this direction, as there are more vital moments in this book nthan this goofy exchange, but gee, is that your language talking or what? did you bring your language and tell it the truth? can purge be purged? we may never know...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

heck, now that I've started this links biz, oh the curse of learning a wee bit html or whatever, I keep adding more. each more means, hey, what about. ne'ertheless, Gary Sullivan is far better than me at being Gary Sullivan, I admit it, so visit his blog. I don't deserve an audience, my middle name is Horton.
shit, this blog stuff... I don't want to write no poems, I want to vent and dilate. I haven't turned my handsome nose towards The Sophist by C Bernstein in mucho years but it is locateable in the stacks and Ron Silliman has presented the case. whereas I have enjoyed and respected Silliman's work, Bernstein's has not gotten thru my aesthetic barriers. not sure why. my plump middle class values have been rattled by these two as well as by many more. why does Silliman go for me and Bernstein hasn't so much? should CB be worried? CB read a couple years ago at a Boston convocation, very well, especially a lengthy piece that, as I recall, went on to explain why it wasn't a poem (Matvei Yankelvitch's performance saturday kindled a similar if not greater fire). and I believe I'm trying to make a point here. you know, sometimes, I'm an asshole, sometimes dull, sometimes I know something. this very well could be the case with other people. christ, I don't love poetry, I love certain writing. even certain writing full of uncertainties... please visit my real wriitng sites, linked to the right. see if I have a bottom line.

where what is

Lisa Jarnot's blog is freakin'. I like Paul Blackburn. if I could've written like Robert Benchley when I was 16, I'd probably not trail into this world of poetry. it took me a long time to realize I love Gertrude Stein. Monty Python, Bob & Ray (which see, friends, which see). some aesthetic luck kept me from writing like a Beat. Robert Grenier was a fantastic influence on me, and not in the way you might think (this assertion may answer previous sentence). Charles olson in a real Gloucester subset. Ron Silliman's careful, honest weighing. reading George Butterick's Collected Poems today. something about Mrs Dalloway. America is Leaves of Grass. Baudelaire beats up a poor man. Beth, finally. I could go on.
I like this from Carl Annarummo's other blog:

introduced my poems
as "the dudes"

... I won't tell you why I like it. don't you like it?
I guess this is Carl Annarummo's new/replacement blog. I don't take change well.
okay, fait accompli: I've put Nick Piombino's blog in my links. these are my links. Nick's blog is what a poetry blog should be: poetry, theory, resources. Carl Annarummo's is also what a poetry blog should be: quick flickering things in words. my blog now has pix of my cat.

tutelary spirit Posted by Hello
Nick Piombino linked to my comments on Bossacre. 1 thing: I guess I should link to his blog. mere gesture, as this blog is barely read (but notice that I keep cranking away: bonus points for persistence!). it's only fair to look like I am reciprocating, thoonly so little. I read his blog, of course. 2nd thing: how frozen my opinions seem. I'm not going after Aaron Kiely in my comments. I do not love poetry just for being poetry, so I am going to weigh what I like and dislike. AK's strengths as a poet are his humour and flakiness, both of which I take seriously. I do not take the statement in his poem seriously, that his heart is broken. such a phrase efforts to condition a response, and I choose not to repsond as prescribed. I've read quite a few reports re Bossacre and there has been little on the negative side. I guess because such events are social, first of all. as I said earlier, where Aaron gangs agley is where I stray as well. it's useful to me to cogitate upon such considerations. it's no reflection on the event or even the poet, and I may think differently tomorrow.
Nada feeling better, Tim on vacation, Lewis sleeping or something, Mairead n'est pas ici, Lisa away, and I'm screwing around with Erin's camera

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

thinking extreme thoughts Posted by Hello
I guess I got enough pictures on this blog to really slow its load. playing with Erin's camera, dunno why I haven't done it sooner.

table view Posted by Hello

my book amongst other real books Posted by Hello

the happy hellhound, and friends Posted by Hello

world domination is serious business Posted by Hello

experimental echinacea Posted by Hello

if I weren't playing with this camera, I'd be 'working' Posted by Hello

plans for world domination going smoothly!!! Posted by Hello
reading House Mother Normal by BS Johnson. I love his Christie Malry's Own Double Entry, which is hilarious and rollicking. also was poking thru Anecdoted Topology of Chance by Daniel Spoerri et al. which is completely wonderful. DS trapped everything on his kitchen table at a certain time then proceeded to describe and annotate each item. anecdotes about how the items got there, and tangents. he was assisted by Robert Filiou, his translator Emmett Williams and the illustrater. the result is absurd and compelling. I 1st saw mench of it in the anthology America A Prophecy, then happened upon the book in a used bookstore. really a classic. I'm selling a lot of books saturday, for lack of room, thus have been going thru my collection. couple of days ago I was reading Origins of Species by that awful atheist crank and now I'm not so sure the world began 4000 years ago, but I'M NOT A MONKEE!!! I'm getting rid of 100s of books but nothing I'll miss. books I doubt I'll read again, meaning scifi, mysteries, biographies, plus books superceded by later editions. still keeping 100s of books. not offering much by way of poetry. poetry keeps, and it's doubtful I could find a market for it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

also reading Blue Book by Steve Benson (The Figures/Roof 1988). I don't know much about him, have only one other book of his. he gives detailed description of the provenance of each work. Jackson Mac Low often does a similar thing, and it's not just useful in a Paris Review way, how the author works, these notes on process seem part of the work itself. I like this bit concerning the piece "Blue Books". which was/were written in those blue examination booklets you face in school. he recalls how these blue books would excite him creatively. "I used to get unembarrasedly absorbed in pursuing trains of thought along the paths of spaced-out, pale blue lines on those fields of cheap white, often recycled paper. To me, it was a crapshoot whether the TA or professor would later upbraid me for my ignorance and self-indulgence, admire my expansiveness and subtlety or just puzzle irritably over my chamelonic shifts of argument and handwriting. Whether I'd studied a lot or not at all, the passing out of the blue books was the occasion for a blankly, secularly devil-may-care and almost awestruck acquiesence, as I couldn't guess in advance what structure or insights would inform my argument, by what abjectness and astonishment I could expect to site [sic?] my remarks." which just sounds jolly fun and adventurous. picture of him on back cover, tiny b&w, him in shaded doorway. uh, hi.
a period of scattered reading for me lately. was reading Zukofsky's A, after Stephen Vincent's mention. what got me into Zukofsky were his long thin poems, that are both spare and expansive. I have periodically taken on A but it is monumental and I could use more mapping. read a little Galway Kinnell, a poet that seemed to be present back in the 70s. I mean, ther he was, not that I liked his work. popems carefully mined from experience and critical values, something like that. which sounds positive (transform those words into a blurb) but I just think of such writing as precious on the dull side, or just distant from my interest. I don't mean to clobber. the craft is to set up a persona of experience, something like that. draw on one's reading and general art exeriences, chopped the lines just so, whatever. I read a little Plath and found myself taking to it more than I expected. those poor poems are inescapable from the life story we've got of her. but she has craft. I think she, like Hart Crane, held onto the patriarchal too much. both seemed burgeoning to break from that but didn't quite. just leaping from tree to tree for me...
I've created a newpost: executive writer type. as executive writer type I (or whoever follows me, when by term ends) will keep track of the non-executive writer types. I'll learn firsthand what the capital of Spain is (or was, as the case may be). I'll be there 24/7, staying alert, working as conduit sometimes, as viaduct other times, even introduct as needed. if the rope for bell needs work, I'll be there. I'll be other places, too, putting out fires or starting them, depending on situational necessities. you can email me anytime with concerns or proclivities. hey, if we're not all one, then we are two or more!
Lisa Jarnot is all over the place, which is a good thing, so I advert her blog.

Monday, August 02, 2004

this guy Stephen Vincent is so sensible (word I used for Hassen as well) that I must point. semper fi and grounded.
and I wonder at method. do people scribble in notebooks or type on a machine? pretty early on I gravitated to typewriter. I liked the machine, the noise, the speed. by hand feels different, tho I do lots by hand. it took me years to get comfortable writing poetry on the computer (once they invented the darn thing). too fast for one thing. if I was writing in lines, it just seemed like the wrong tool to use to do that. my prose blocks, which kinda define my writing, came about from using the computer. I can, now, limn on the computer, but more naturally I prose. what is the capital of Spain?
I may be excessively (self) conscious that the qualities I criticise in others (talking writing particularly) are the selfsame that trouble my own work. I am not as funny as Aaron Kiely, but I have certainly hoped my words could be important. I think I move toward an abandonment of that sense. my 'political' poems are more like tones within the argument of the two (or however many) sides. I mean I see that happening, that my beliefs carry less and less weight in the poem. or at least, I cannot be convincing. I think I am on to something. there is an energy to transfer, and it aint Allen's opinion, much as I like my opnions. I don't so much write poems to Fairport Convention or Rosa Parks anymore. I don't think it is ultimately important poem wise, that my feelings are hurt, or my father's fading, or I am morally opposed, or Elvin Jones made drum sing, much as these may be in my life. the poem's mechanism has an energy of its own, doesn't need me getting in the way.
glad I attended the Massacre. I felt lucky to squeak the time I had there. left suddenly saturday because Beth was sick, and kinda had to skedaddle sunday. hung with David Hess a little bit and post mortemed. thru him met Hassen, who I didn't get to hear read. (what's my damage, anyway?).I've corresponded with her a little, having seen her writ on Wryting-L (not recently, alas). I found her sensible and direct, nice qualities. me, I'm inward to the point of boring sometimes. buy me a beer.
well I remember Harvard Sq from the late 60s, you might see someone with an acoustic guitar, say. a 4-piece jazz band regaled nicely on saturday, with electric guitar, sax, upright bass and full drum kit. the sophistication of that. a guy looked like he was in a trance playing one of those Chinese stringed instruments. fun.
I wrote a lot of these little poems the last 2 days, in my new notebook. the thought came that I might write the poems I mean to read at my reading as I'm riding in. let's be daring! but I'll probably resort to greatest hits.
I am leery of 1st person poems. well, I acknowledge that I frequently use 1st person plural. by design, too. but I think I heard too many poems this weekend that were more like personal weather reports. stuck in the flat territory of how 'I' feel. O'Hara succeeded in that because his tone was so subtle and varied. his 'I' was very social and encompassing, rather than invested. my use of 'we' is something of a version of Personism. I just thought of that, maybe I'm hooting. I see the LANGUAGE revolt to be partly a way of dealing (getting rid of) that weighty 'I'. tactics of restraint. if the point becomes that your foot aches, mom died or your baby done left you, the poem will be whiny. accepting these issues into the poem differs from adverting them. the poem aint about you, it's about the language around you. insofar as poems are about. I didn't like Aaron's heartfelt poem with the repeated the phrase 'breaks my heart' because it was trying to put something across. I don't doubt his sincerity, but his broken heart was a matter of moments, a literary device. we all do this, but we should be wary. Aaron is making the language say something, which is not how poems work. I mean, poems have their own life. of course I want to write anti-war poems as well, but I'm trying to step back from that and let the poem make its own way.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

more Massacre, arriving mid Kimball. Jack is a careful, thoughtful reader. I've heard him read cold, other people's stuff, he's good. funny and glancing. I think of Jack as warmer Ashbery. I first read Ashbery in college, and the sense of distance (Tennis Court Oath) disconcerted me then, tho I was easily put off by strange and new then. he read at Franconia, and I met him, dinner at Grenier's, and he was quite friendly, but his reading, in an awkward room and not many people, was shy and inward. anyway, Jack's the bomb. now, I didn't see no Brian Kim Stefans, who I had hoped to hear, so maybe he missed the event. curst be the day. Matvei Yankelevich wrote seques for his poems. my brain is too muddled right now to describe properly but he'd read a poem and place it in the past, so the present seemed past. acknowledging all the tics and cliches of readings. I'll try to write of this better, for it was clever and it worked. I'm looking at the schedule and it was adjusted. so the blur now aint resolving. Aaron Kiely is very funny but his serious poems are an effort, self conscious. his Breaks My Heart poem is a weak incantation. or I should say, such incantatory effect won't work if written on the shirtsleeve. I have my doubts about John Taggart's use thereof, too. anyway, I'm watching glib carefully. Noah Eli Gordon read strong, especially a long piece (a chapbook) by Chris Rizzo. I'm sorry but I cannot be sure whose name belonged to what reading memory here. might've been Chris Jackson who read with english, that is, lots of hand, shoulder, head movements as accents. made me think of Joe Cocker. which distracted me at first, then I got swept in. I think it was Matthew Celona who started with a poem in another langauge or just made up syllables, sounded dada, thus different, that was cool. his play was lengthy and could've taken a trim but largely hilarious, Bush 41 and Bush 43 talking nonsense. now I remember that someone named Meghan, nott on the schedule, read. aha. anyway, the room was full, stuff happened. is poetry a gulf to fall into or leap over?