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.