Saturday, December 31, 2005

Beth's in New Jersey helping her mother, so Erin and I are batching it here. and what we done, went to the local Chinese restaurant. which was pretty busy, as I expected. tho moreso than I expected. they arranged to have takeout orders picked up at the motel across the street, and still it was mobbed. and people would be astonished that it was busy, like, who knew that Times Square would be crowded on New Years Eve either? we were given a ticket with the number 6 (I checked to be sure it wasn't a 9) on it and were warned of a 30 minute wait. the tickets were random numbers, it turns out. we went into Radio Shack next door, where we were informed that it was closing in 1 minute. in which time we still were able to buy an iPod dock for Erin. when our number was called, the hostess asked if a table down in the back near the mural was okay. sure. we would've taken a table by the kitchen, even in the kitchen, but it was nothing like that. the mural was pretty good, in fact. we went specifically for the buffet, which, if you had Erin with you, you'd do too. the restaurant was pushing buffet anyway. there's a Chinese restaurant in Clarksburg WV that we've been to a couple of times. strictly buffet. the decor is Chinese, the wait staff is Chinese, but the closest you get to Chinese food there is chop suey and egg rolls, otherwise, it is fried chicken, mashed potatoes and the sort of stuff you'd expect at a potluck supper. not to say it aint good. I've seen signs in WV for both a Chinese restaurant and an Italian one adverting to the establishment's excellent fried chicken. with extra salt, no doubt. but anyway. or dot dot dot, I should say, nodding a wink at Eileen Tabios. Erin had a daiquri, sans alcohol. he shows no interst in alcohol, but more than once wait people have assumed he was of drinking age. being some 8-9 inches taller than my extremely normal height and all. a couple of very large parties came in, and our waiter served one of them. at which point we saw him no more, except sprinting by. now I'm right tired, as the year ticks to a close. I know Lindsay Duff or Hilary Lohan is on one of those New Yeas shows, but I'll have to pass. I miss those I miss.
Ron Silliman's going all Jim Carroll, remembering them that died this year. my father died his year, but he died and died before that, he slipped away. that Creeley aint around to be Creeley anymore, in just that way: it's a loss. it's not personal tho. I was remembering today the nurse's aide shaving my father, using her own razor because my father's was too noisy. such a tender gift. that may've even been the day he died. Creeley was almost entirely a book to me. his death is sad for those who knew him, but I still have the books. whereas when my father died, I stopped being a caregiver, my life shifted. the loss is a found, la vita nuova. natch to think this, on the year's ultimate day.
Guy Davenport wrote a defense of Cummings, if defense is the correct word, which kinda surprised me when 1st I read. it was more like a reminder that Cummings has something to offer, and I guess I hadn't bothered before to notice. I don't think I'm the only one who, when young, took the example Cummings offered to release from much dictated form. one could rumble the lines and jolt syntax, if so minded. not to say I really did. not till I read Creeley, perhaps credit Williams too, that lineation of my poems started to have an 'ear'. before that, linebreaks were fairly random. yet still, Cummings helped get the enforced Longfellow cadence (listen my children and you shall hear) out of the way. Cummings' tweaking of form sometimes comes across as superficial, by which rather ordinary expressions are tarted up artily. but sometimes, I note, there's a sense even of Stein in his work. seems like he deserves a better reputation. not to say he aint a profit-maker nowadays, but in the the, oh god, canon sense, he seems to have something to add. to us thorough moderns, post moderns, whatever the hell it is and we are now. sometimes I wish I were taught poetry, so that I may have been given a more thorough opprtunity. not to say that the meander by interest method hasn't its pluses. the whole idea of canon: it should change daily. think of that sponge Berrigan...

Friday, December 30, 2005

well okay. 5 years ago today was the 1st snowstorm of the year. Erin and I were throwing snowballs at each other. Beth and I had been married 9 days, as of solstice 2000. I backtracked on Erin, surprised him, and he attempted to change direction. instead of that, he slipped on ice and fell directly on his knee. unsurprisingly, he yowled. surprisingly, his yowling didn't abate. finally it dawned on me, stupid me, that this was an injury of note. 911 bought the cavalcade of emergency help. Erin was hauled to the hospital in an ambulance. his femur broke in 3 places. we spent 6-7 hours at suburban Emerson Hospital (where I was born, as it happens) before Erin could be transported to Children's Hospital in Boston. when the ambulance arrived, Erin said I should ride in back with him, because Beth had plenty of previous opportunity with Erin. not ambulance rides, but as mother. so the ride in, whilst snow still fell. a sliding drive, according to Beth in the front, we in back couldn't tell. a wait in the emergency room of Children's, then met a couple of young surgeons, and Erin was admitted. I want to cry now. we promised him that we wouldn't leave him. he got a room, and we dozed and worried till 5 in the morning, when the surgery occurred. 3 pins in his thigh, sticking out, holding the bones together. open wound, you understand. needing to be cleaned twice a day. official beginning of the millennium, Beth and I in Erin's room, watching the fireworks of Boston's First Night thru the window. but then I was kicked out, only one parent could remain in the room. I attempted to sleep on chairs in the hallway, finally found a gurney that wasn't headed to surgery. and the waiting of waiting, after that. Erin was set to go home a couple of days later. an ambulance was due in half an hour. the surgeon came in to inspect the wound. the wound was, as he said, soupy: infected. which meant another surgery, with 2 stainless steel pins to replace the infected one. and more days recovering. so that it was 9 in all before Erin could go home. and I never left there. and we finally got home. my brothers had taken over care for my father for that time. we got Erin situated in a rented hospital bed. I collapsed in tears. it's all dramas I write. caring for my father, now Erin. and somehow, at the same time, my brothers weren't so supportive. imagine this. the 4 pins in Erin's thigh were removed on his 12th birthday, May 4. I remember this and, I remembe this and... holy shit I have lived!
I notice that Lanny Quarles has a link to Wryting-L, which is a writing home for Sheila Murphy, John Bennett, Alan Sondheim, Lanny Quarles, Jeff Harrison, mIEKAL aND, et alia, even including yours truly. the individual works have their weight, and the twining of these works into a greater collaborative whole is fascinating
copped the song "White Bird" by the group It's A Beautiful Day, circa late 60s. a pretty song that natheless institutes some psychedelia in its rise. you can imagine people getting stoned, or tripping, with the dulcet tones. tho I dunno if I ever did, I did little of either. the original had acoustic guitar (the guitarist was classical trained) and violin soloing. live version has electric guitar (same guitarist), much crunchier and more psychedelic. I hear there was in the 90s a club mix, which I can't imagine. funny how in the 60s there was such emphasis in pop culture on mind-expansion, and that stuff. that the concept was such a piece of the scene. IABD imploded apparently due to crushing ego of leader David LaFlamme, the singer and violinist. I gather it was his wife Linda who wrote and arranged the songs, and certes the guitarist was pretty good, but LaFlamme wrestled for control of the name and in the process the group got screwed by the same management thief as done in Moby Grape. don't ask me why this all fascinates me. definitely a time thing going on, the intimacy of music's presence and present (being I was 17 when the 60s ended). in 1999, I saw Phish in concert, in Providence. where I, in my 40s, was double the age of just about everyone there. did I feel like a narc? hey radical friends do you know where a hip guy like me can purchase some mary jane? I enjoy illegal drugs a lot!!! the scene was Deadheadish, or hippie revue. somewhat anyway. there were kids, I mean young teens, sprawled unconscious on the floor, along with dancing maniacs. it was 3 hours of dancing, which was wonderful. looking out about the crowd swaying and pulsing. Phish in fact started slow, several of their funkish trance music stuff. that hit a solid groove but wasn't inspiring. when they hit their stride, it was breathless. new people kept taking the seat next to me. one guy came in late and asked me to review what he'd missed. a guy in front of me borrowed my pen after each song, so that he could write down the set list. a teenager asked what I was writing during break, and would've been more impressed if I were producing a setlist or concert review, rather than poetry, or whatver the hell I was scribbling. and somehow, this does relate to poetry. the time place, the music place, the poetry place, they merge and touch. all that flippancy of youth that those 60s groups evinced, and the hippie swing, and the drug culture, they hardened into the world. I never bought into a whole lot of that, but it remains a still whatsis in front of one, and the words that put one there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tim's rumination on modernism is a nice clarity thru the trees. my entrance into poetry was so confused, that I couldn't even approach terms like modernism, let alone post-mod, for umpteen if not more. (holy shit The Eagles are lame). the cipher of Keats = the cipher of Williams, and the cipher of Stein, omigod. it was all fog thru which I somehow decided to find my way. divining how these words are made more serious than speech, which is 1st a belief that such writers are attempting that and 2nd finding my way to the solid discovery. of course the big distraction of those who could answer, sometimes glibly, or with the weight of their personal academy. but instead, almost by luck, something sudden happens.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I'm just glad Paypal let me know that my account, which I forgot I even had, is under siege by foreign criminal types. all I have to do is let them know my old and new passwords and they'll sort it all out nicely. it's a relief knowing there are folks watching out for you.
I mean talkin. Beth's niece had flight out at 7 this morn, changed to 7:20 by the Ice Deity visiting Logan. so everyone hauled out of bed at 5, or before. normal for me, but for 3 sleepyheads: grit the teeth. a nice quiet run to the airport, Zakim Bridge looking lovely. curbside disembarkation, with me lugging the luggage, Erin intent on the bathroom, Lexie with her carry on and fussing with papers. quite a crowd, poorly delineated into functional energy. that is to say, lots of travellers, many of whom quizzical, and not enough airline folks. grokked how to check in, got boarding pass, then an amusing wait in line to check bags. Beth found us, which caused a woman in back to complain that we'd all cut into line. then we moved to another more efficient line, even the one we belonged in. a guy wanted to know why he couldn't get in line over there, only to be told it was for a different airline. but didn't you guys merge? riposted the fellow. that ploy didn't work. another person reserved seats (on november 9) but hadn't paid, and those seats went elsewhere. the guy said his vacation to Vegas (Lexie was heading to Vegas, then the hop to Reno) was screwed up now. the person he spoke to said she was on vacation. no happy camper, she complained about coming in on her day off, to this. off went Lexie. security isn't too much hassle now. later, we went in to Best Buy, because Erin's computer has a complaint and an old one of mine contains a fine load of stuff that somehow wasn't backed up. that old one, see, was minding its business a couple years ago, when some power cords caused a tripping situation, which ended in the cracking the laptop's screen. the drive survived but all that lovely Bramhall data denied me for lo these years. yet no rush to extricate. Best Buy, by gum, was totally crowded. apparently Boxing Day a day late. luckily the fix it folks were just normal busy. the people in line to exchange their gifts for something better had themselves a goodly wait. serves them right, the ingrates.
nice to see Ron Silliman follow my lead regarding Berrigan's collected. I'm still just poking thru it but it's an event, a lovely book. and I'm amazed that 69 comments have attached themselves to Franz Wright's invective. okay, I know there's a tendency towards the commentose when folks add their 2 pennies on Ron's blog. still, Wright's fireworks are pretty corny, like Limbaugh on an offday. I'm not rounding into the guy, I'm just surprised that people let their buttons be pushed. the best reply is Ron's: let the reader who can read assess the power of Wright's language. it's a middle class challenge that Wright plays, he's working in the realm of mere propriety. which is an easy score. that should be obvious. I'm saying nothing about his poetry, or anything else that he's written, I haven't read it. it's a fine line sometimes. Jim Behrle is certifiably funny, that piece can't be ignored. he just has to keep this Wright model in mind, because it is this easy to get sappy with one's display. we all know this, we're all guilty now and then, if not more often. like I said before, I don't know why Wright goes off. what he writes is clearly generic, so one can guess that the irritation is unexplored. there would be more energy (delight) if he knew the source of his irritation, methinks, it surely can't be Silliman.
Prose too is a kind of prosody
I got 100 Essenetial Modern Poems from the library the other day. fresh this year and edited by Joseph Parisi, 'former editor of Poetry Magazine'. just to see. not much to see, unsurprisingly. like any anthology, you can argue the selection. I'll accept a rather formalist sense of modern in Parisi, and not expect Olson, Zukoksky, Stein and basically the writers I've read and felt to be essential. I don't know why Dorothy Parker's bit of doggeral called "Resumé qualifies as essential. don't worry, Ogden Nash is here too. and so forth. I find myself much more interested in oeuvre than these greatest hits, even accepting that these hits are as essential as Parisi thinks they are. one or 2 poems by Ashbury, Stevens, Plath, Eliot (Prufrock!): it just don't add up to any sense. both O'Hara poems are good--I'm trying to think of poems by him that aren't of interest--but I want to see the context of his work. this selection speaks nothing of essence. a piece of "The Bridge", a chunk of 'Howl', random selections from HD, Moore, Wliiams, Pound. the youthful kitten here was born in 1952, a bit hoary maybe. the cover says these 'memorable masterpieces' are here 'to read, reread, and enjoy', and that's okay. except that of the roughly 80 poets represented here, no more than 1/3 have I felt inspired to study. not to say I prove myself a scholar in my reading, nor bereft of prejudice, but I've tried to follow the energy. so that, by my lights, is a rather rum percentage of dullmeisters to present to folks as essential (bedad! "Miniver Cheevy'!!!). full bios accompany each author's selection, which must account for at least 2/3 of the book's 300 pages. so there's a sense that the poems themselves lack the weight to carry the book. the marketing of this book, then, is not poems but poets. because, one infers, poetry itself hasn't enough charm for the intended readership. maybe this book aims too stupidly, maybe? step one, quit feeling pressed to include. step 2: honk on the poems themselves. step 3: ride the wave. that's how it should be done. god forbid that lazy professors stick this book in the syllabus, to quell the possible enthusiasm of yet another generation. but they will.

Monday, December 26, 2005

I've added more to this thing. see if you care.
I found the song "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Great Blue Something, your standard story of one hit wonder. I dunno why I like the song. it begins with strummy acoustic guitar and sensiive guy voice, which bodes smarmy, in fact is smarmy. and the words are clumsy and whiny. but the chorus is built on enjambment, which propels it, and the overdriven electric guitar serves the song nicely by crunching on the smarm. so you can feel an emotional basis, and thank god you're not hearing it sung in a little folk club by the heartbroken singer. quite a number of covers of the song exist (assuming they're all actually the same song). another sweet little song is "There She Goes", but there's less guilt in liking that one. that too has numerous versions. I can't remember who originated the song (like, can you?) but I don't want the version by that Sixpence group. I assume I will tire of snaring this sort of stuff. I just found Phish doing "Mmmmmmbop", albeit as if James Brown were singing it. I used to have their acapella version of "Freebird", with the guitar solo fully rendered. dum dum de dum, wastin' my time.
I believe yesterday was Christmas. tonight we will do some Hannukah with friends. Erin came down with something a couple days ago, which included a fever of 105. his fevers tend to run high, and linger. when Erin's appetite diminishes, you know he's ailing. his cousin has shown symptoms, and Beth and I have felt incipient funk. in fact, I feel teetering toward... but anyway, a nice quiet holiday. both Erin and Lexie got iPods, and I discovered how Erin gets his tunes: by filesharing. I found loads of stuff that I used to have on vinyl (12" black disks), which, to my mind, covers fair usage. oh, I copped a few things that may not fit that rationale. interesting to see who does what covers out there. I was surprised to see that Fairport Convention apparently did "All Along the Watchtower". the song has in fact been covered numerous times but Hendrix's version would scare me from any attempt. I guess you gotta feel you can do the job. I've taken teh holiday as a ime to read. I'm reading a bio of E E Cummings by Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno as well as The Enormous Room. I've had the novel (I'll call it a novel) for years but couldn't start it. it's terrific. Cummings' tone is a neat mix of ironic, sardonic and even whimsical, which he handles very well. I hadn't thought how local Cummings was, in the people's republic of Cambridge. he went to the same high school as my father, tho years earlier. funny to think of Cummings sharing the stage of a Cambridge Social Dramatic Club production with Tom Eliot, which neither poet apparently remembered. I also read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, an absolutely hair-raising account of a disastrous climbing season on Mt. Everest. the most unnerving part concerns a pair of Japanese climbers, basically a side story to Krakauer's main narrative. things had already gone bad for the 2 expeditions in which Krakauer was mixed, they were either slinking down the mountain or getting tapped on the shoulder by a hooded figure (if you haven't read any of Terry Pratchett's fantasy novels with Death as a character, I highly recommend). these Japanese reached the summit at around 11:30 pm. night climbing on Everest??? and during an intense storm. on their way up they found 3 Ladahki climbers barely alive, and felt no compulsion to help them in any way. nor on he way down either. in Krakauer's party, 2 climbers were left behind in what was termed mountain triage. it was at least understood that more help might arrive later. frankly, everyone's up there immersed in their own personal view of death, I can almost see the attitude of everyone for themselves. one of these 2 climbers in fact survived, incredibly, albeit much amputated. he wa brought into camp near death. during the night his tent blew down in a gale and he was left to the elements for three hours, unable, due to frostbite, to do anything. this stuff fascinates me, tho I have no interest in climbing, especially no interest in high altitude, no air, extremely cold climbing. I have previously had the bejesus scared out of me by The Perfect Storm, movie, book and documentary. the wee fishing vessel bouncing around and under inconceivable waves is just too intense for this homeboy. I had a qualm or 2 when we zipped out of Gloucester Harbour on our whale watch last summer. no rocketships for me either. I thinmk I am equal to walking the dog right now.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


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christmas eve Posted by Picasa
we got a new car recently, and the salesman, who lives in Waltham, I forget why, said his friend/neighbour was a Pulitzer Prize poet. reeling in some info that I sponged in my neverending quest to be slightly informed, I guessed Franz Wright. bingo. I've never read his work, but his vituperative prose is 2nd rate, if this chunk is representative. gotta focus that anger, Tex. you know, like a laser. hoping stray schrapnel hits one's foe is inefficient. I don't know why I even bring this up, or why Wright is in such a stew. Waltham's not such a bad town, with the Charles winding thru.

Friday, December 23, 2005

dunno why I haven't put a permanent link to this blog yet. il s'appelle Peter Ciccariello. quite stunning and grand work.
Inferno by Ivan Arguelles (imagine 2 dots over the 'u', I forget the code for that) arrived a couple days ago, Beatitude Press 2005. Arguelles' work is intense, highly wound up but scholarly as well. there's an intersection of the sacred and the profane that's rather startling, Madonna as in Mother of God and as Material Girl. there's a centripetal force to his writing, and expansive outreach at the same time as an inward pull. John Bennett supplies a really nifty intro, to the book and to Arguelles, much better than I'm doing here. I'll just add that Arguelles is a writer who can negotiate the whole Inferno/Purgatory/Paradise trip (the other 2 parts exist but I don't think they're published yet). Bennett also did the cover art, with his totally whack calligraphy & rubber stamp wildness.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

we saw Chronicles of Narnia. the ads or trailers that I saw, it looked like LOTR. it has some grandiose moments but is more intimate than anything. I have only read Wardrobe, Witch and Lion in the series, and I did so in my 30s. it was never beloved for me. I didn't dislike the book but wasn't inspired to finish the series. I find the Christian allegory distracting, constant replacement of x with y. it's kind of deflating, too, all these fantastical events and characters turned into sunday school verities. not to say I dislike Lewis, but I think there's the danger of overplaying one's hand when allegory gets going. 1st thought: New Zealand is now established as THE location for fantasy. 2nd thought: oh to be a foley artist. a foley artist is someone who adds explosive sounds to every possible sound on a soundtrack. someone blinks and there's an explosion. seems like nice work. I can't remember what the movie was in the thrilling array of previews, a sucky animated hunk of Disney crap. oh yeah: Curious George. I fear Disney is going to do what they did to Winnie-the-Pooh. don't go: make them stop! and hey, check out this amazingly original plot in another choice upcoming: Queen Latifah has 3 weeks to live so, chuckle, she decides to blow her money on GOOD TIMES. can you imagine the hijinx??? hahahahahahahaha. whew. that's nothing like what the 3 Stooges did in 1939, or those 37 other movies. great twist on St Francis of Assisi's famous rejoinder. gotta see that one. but back to Narnia. it looked good enough. it seemed to lack scale tho. not till the end did we start seeing crowds, e'en tho it's about the world at wr. before that, it didn't seem quite large enough. there were some uneasy moments with the children, Lucy and the faun, Edmund and the Witch: a predation element. Santa Claus handing out weaponry was an interesting touch. all I want for Xmas is an AK47. I don't remember how the books handled that. goes along with the view that our jihad is better than yours. religious Texas Death Match, woo hoo. I remember the phrase 'righteous anger' in Perelandra. you can do anything if you're right. which is certainly common thinking but not exactly challenging to the moral muddle. Aslan seemed merely pompous thru out the movie. okay, he let himself be killed, but he had that covered. that angle seems kinda weak with that other guy as well. if you know death aint death, then dying aint no thing. quod erat demonstratum. so quit being so dramatic about it. Lucy was the most consistently noble of the children but gets pushed to 4th place quickly, and Peter unconvincingly becomes the King of Kingness. he is about 14 steps down from Viggo in terms of born to be king. the White Witch was icky enough, and she handled her swords nicely, but the whole game seemed rigged. I hope your sunday school isn't taking you to a matinee because I think there are holes in that part of the flick. it looked good, mostly. I can get into this stuff actually but when the brain goes back on, it all seems weak. LOTR was eye candy most of the way, but it sure hurt at times. I have little interest in the presumed excesses of King Kong. George Bush is a movie.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

by the way, happy anniversary Allen and Beth
you gots to admit Ted Berrigan reading The Sonnets is Niftyville. the intro is fascinating. he's respectful of the masters yet wants to squeeze into the realm himself. that kind of love and fame thing. and very conscious of a thing called being a poet, which he honours with seriousness.

Penn Sound also has Koch (who I don't mean to put in opposition to Berrigan, honest). gosh he has a nice voice. and listen to the audience, you can tell they are ready to laugh. which is a really nice thing. not that every poet should be funny, but that there's an expectaion of pleasure, surprise, energy.
new at Antic View. of course you must check it out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

there's nothing better than linking to someone who just linked to you, and I do so with modest aplomb albeit also as if I've been in the endzone before. so thanks to Eileen Tabios for instigating this excess. dot dot dot. I used to work in a wine store, in fact they let me make displays and create signage and woohoo. I never gave it the rocket science treatment, but still, I thunk about it. so I can criticise the situation. you see the gears working at B&N, with lots of room for Eragon and Hairy Potter, highlights beamed on Jessica Simpson's latest philosophical disquistion, perhaps a cookbook or 3000 to catch the eye, what has William Shatner written another book? and so forth. when it comes to the world of poems for sale, it's a matter of letting the big poetry cartels dictate. way too much poetry lite, like that one: Most Famous American Poems, or some title like that. quality assured poems, as you grit your teeth. a Ted Kooser book was stacked near that end display looking more like a discard (Ted who?) than something exciting and worthy of Christmas of Hannukah overkill. I'd've stuck a sign saying Pullet Surprise on the stack. for those who wanted to get their kid something certifiable. if you wanted to move them books, that is. in other sections of the store, you know why the book is there: Tom Brokaw wrote it, or the cover's cheesy, or Oprah blurbed on it, or the words Stephen King are readily apparent: you know the drill. but in the po section, and it surely is po', you wonder who slept with who to get some of these books on the shelf. I'm not talking qualitative, I'm talking marketing, the lifeblood exercise. it's not like you can't entertain people with Koch and O'Hara. there was a handful of copies of In Memory of my Feelings which, after Beth efforted to remove the plastic wrapper, proved to be O'Hara plus art from famous 60s artists. you only knew this was prime stuff from the $90 price tag. why not underline its yumminess? Lorine Niedecker's was available and her work, if not pizzazzy in the sense that Jennifer Aniston is pizzazzy, is clear and resilient for any honest reader. like, you can read her poems and not feel like they didn't teach you how to read, even tho they did. Bloom's anthology is clearly a piece of crap, he should fire whatever grad student made that selection. it gears up in handy form a good sense of how damn boring poetry is. I'm not talking crummy writing, I'm saying the collection asserts nothing but the bad side of tenure. poetry as the cod liver oil of literature. and so forth. and yet, people want to buy poetry books for their sensitive children, or for their sibling who came back from college all a-buzz, or simply for that certain someone adventurous enough to read something other than the televised brands (did I see some tome cowritten by Ed Asner, a defense of liberalism? you bet I did!). Cambridge still has its sacred Grolier Bookstore, a poetry bookstore, which sounds good but the shopping experience suggests gulag. so B&N, which in its corporate soul just wants to see books fly out the door, should be at least a chance, but it lags with the poetry field. B&N is an egalitarian place: if the product can be productive, it fits. but the store itself should offer some thinking into the mix, instead of waiting for a snob like me to come sniffing. I saw maybe 5 poetry books that I'd get if I had Johnny Damon's potential contract. honest to gosh: too many slump poets, and too little interest by the people in charge of adding sizzle to the steak. how unAmerican. it's a Pickett's charge you suggest, Eileen, but you got the energy. I got your back, for what it's worth.
went to Barnes & Noble yestreen. they got the thing right, pretty much. you step in and smell Starbucks coffee: good start. I do not actually look at many books. I just don't have the time or focus to read all the history I want to, or the science books, or fiction. I hate to admit that, but that's where I am. I almost got a book by James Hillman, who is a Jungian therapist (albeit one quite willing to criticise Jung), but the book was made of crappy paper with a crappy binding: what's the point. especially as Hillman is someone I'd underline a lot. I saw Kenneth Koch's collected and was this close to getting it. it just didn't excite me in the way Berrigan's did, however. I was bemoaning (you should have seen me bemoan!) the lack of a collected Berrigan years ago. it's not that I don't like Koch, it's just that he's on a different level of need for me. the Koch doesn't identify the editor or anyone involved, which removes a personal aspect from gthe project (it shouldn't but it does), whereas Berrigan's is a family affair and it shows. plus Notley's introduction has some useful comments to make. I was surprised to find a selection (or was it a complete) of Djuna Barnes. fault to me, I've never read her. sprinkled thru the book are photos of her, making the book seem like a biography. Laura Riding is of interest, but right now I'm suire I can't read her. what I've read of her is tortuous, tortured senteces, fascinating but such as my attention span can't render properly. see, I wasn't desperate to get anything. Sylvia Plath's journal looked interesting, as did a book by Kenny Goldsmith in which he gathers daily weather reports together. his projects are fascinating altho I wonder if we have to trust their actuality. keeping the scope up the way he does would seem to take mucho time. his book in which he gathers all the words he hears for a week: how the fuck could he do that? granted computer and granted some people have mighty fine engines, but still. I got none of those books. nor Mary Oliver's plethora. what's her hold on the po book public? the end display didn't seem to get marketing's full attention. MO was there, a selected and a collected Dickinson, Bloom's ridiculous Best Poems ever. the double dip of Dickinson is a waste of space. I'd do Plath and/or Ginberg there, and not MO, who seems low octane however well regarded she might be. trying to move some units, folks. I'd put Koch there, because it's a giftie sort of event. I suppose Bloom belongs there, in lieu of a more exciting anthology. nothing edgy about ranking on Bloom, but let me do so anyway. yes, "Song of Myself" makes an appearance, but no, not the whole thing: there are other warhorses to appease. long ago, on Jerry Garcia's birthday (and mine), the radio station that laughably still calls itself the Rock of Boston, decided to play "Dark Star" in tribute. oh, about 12 minutes in, the announcer jumps in and says, well enough of that. this station was the edge, of sorts, back in the day, but now it's all perfunctory. economic forces dictate, and that's what it feels like to put only part of Whitman's poem in. cripes, it's one of the poems Clinton uses to get chicks, so it has historical value. I'd like to go thru the whole anthology and determine which choices Bloom was guilted into and which set his dinghy rocking. altho frankly, does anyone think he even looked at the galleys? like any CEO, surely he trusts his grad student minions to get the job done. so what book did I finally get? Area of My Expertise by John Hogdman. I saw him on the Daily Shiow, where he was extremely funny. his book is an almanac of facts, such as: a list of all 51 state flowers, and one of all the presidents who had hooks for hands. we ate dinner at an Indian restaurant. on our way out, a manga display pulled Erin and the rest of us into a little bookstore. Lexie found 3 books by Dave Pelzer, who chronicles his life dealing with abuse. Beth got a couple Terry Patchett books to give as gifts. the cashier said, these are wonderful, referring to the Pratchett books. Lexie thought she meant the Pelzer books. she says it's a fascinating series. the cashier says, they're so hilarious, and Lexie fogs over, err... umm...until I explain.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

friday night we fetched Beth's niece from the airport. she's spending Christmas with us. her family stopped doing Christmas because the tensions of the season came to dominate too much. it was her idea to quit it, as a young girl. but she's excited to come back to it. our tree's been up a while. the youngest daughter of Israeli friends helped us trim it. the family's been in the US for 5 years, and before that Singapore. I don't know if the girl, 9 years old, was even born in Israel. Christmas is a fascination for her, unsurprisingly. obviously the matter of Christmas is a tough one to negotiate but honest, we're not inculcating. Dana was bubbly excited when she came over to trim the tree. she said unwrapping the ornaments was like opening birthday presents. so the house is in festive mode. Beth's niece was due at midnight, requiring a visit to Logan in its rare comparative quietness. while we waited, an alarm sounded and the escalator from where we expected Lexie to appear stopped. then an airport worker pulled the security fence closed. Beth goes to the worker and asks, where's my niece? and Lexie comes along from another way. so there, just as magical as that. and not enough sleep. and then our Christmas party. a feature of which was drumming. my drums were not on display but a request came from the younger children. so I hauled out my congos, bongos, domubek and other hand drums. now, all the boys are in Erin's room playing Magic cards and vid games but just about everyone else ends up drumming. I mean, go figure. and it went on, gosh 45 minutes or more. even with some rave-like dancing and ululations. it's so weirdly unselfconscious. cripes are we boho or what? I've always observed that drums are tempting: when people see them, they want to make a little noise. and not enough sleep, once again. this is my poetic milieu. it works for me
the collected of Berrigan and Koch appear simultaneously and, having to prioritize, I chose Berrigan. not to implement a dualism, that's Ron Silliman's job, but Berrigan's more 'important' to me. and part of that is merely that Koch has been more available to me than Berrigan, easier to find his books. both books are unquestionably events. as opposed to the yearly Best American Poetry, which srikes me as a grim escapade for those profs too lazy to implement their own reading list. also, the anthology for those needing cv material. lark on. I will get Koch's book as soon as I can. I like in both him and Berrigan how their work is centred on adventure. I aint even seen Koch's visual work to speak of, that's a further element of adventure. I got Koch's New Addresses from the library the other day. I'm geting kinda leery of thin hardcover poetry books from major publishers, there's such an air of dry formality to the packages. it's grim to look at the credits for Koch's book and see APR, Poetry, The New Yorker. good for him, I guess, because he got paid, but to think an inarguably great writer (our greatest? what a dopey thing to say) is stuck in the evident morasses of those rags (no, The New Yorker aint a rag, but its column filler stance toward poetry is bogus) is just a little depressing. I liked Koch's addresses altho reading thru the book, I got a feeling more of exercise. a trifle prefunctory. but I was glad the book was thematic, and not just recent scrapings. which goes back to the nature of those big pub po books. everything looks so damn formal.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

my great good blog

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a couple of new sections to Seize Song. it seems to be part of the season, plus I may have a touch more time available.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christina Strong and ambient Boston po-culture. this here hub of the universe can be pretty Podunky. here's an old poem (from my book), vis-à-vis.

Spontaneous Commons


along a slated angle and at the speed of dormitories, we are mixed with pleasure and the season of trust. we made Harvard Yard an ape testing the limits of portable knowledge. gaining a pig by training its master, we learned a horizon. integral tools love in the way that people steam the windows with shame. but then, Harvard has practiced lilacs for so long. a deed is made of glass, or cushions the softly flowing Thames. Thames equals Charles, any day now. a place that was nowhere came on strong, but we are made for mattresses. when the time is right, and all that structure studies us, we'll mail in the response clause. Harvard dangles with the new acid, the ivy climbs higher. which is better, after all, when fog closes the neat stores and we eat our neighbour's dog. tremendous whistles act like racoons, tho les contagious. and thru it all, sheep were friendly today. sudden distribution factors get to know us, or the balance of knowledge on the head of a pint. washing casuistry with something that was here yesterday, beer, then relaying the matter to the Dean of Something, with fresh underlines attracted to all the right nouns. this strange agate means more than economy does to the cat. sad straits of affairs, as one might say, on the way to class. acting on impulse never filled a balloon so rationally as trying to negotiate the stairs. the choppy waters of the Charles must prove a point, we haven't time just now.
at Bemsha Swing, there's a perplexing pop music vibe concerning Kenneth Koch. seems like a disservice.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


further tree Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005

yeah so well like anyway... adventure! friday, amidst the snowstorm, I bethink me to go to the library and at least drop off books I had and get in a bit of snowy trudge. the library is all of ½ mile away. snow plunged at a fancy rate. there was some 6" on the sidewalk. and yes, the library had closed. tho just as I got there, a delivery truck arrived and a librarian stood in the doorway to receive the delivery. I deposited my books in the book drop and turned to go, only to see Beth drive up. she had determined to go to the store and thought mayhap I would like a ride home. the snow fell quite hard at this time, visibility was remarkably low. we couldn't see the supermarket as we turned into the parking lot, and couldn't tell it was open until we reached the door. but all was well: we got the all important laundry additive and not, like, an emergency jar of mayonaise, and headed home. which, it seemed, others were doing as well. we called the car dealership to find out exactly how to turn on 4-wheel drive adn, like, can you do it on the fly. yes you can and we did. we went a ways till traffic stopped due to cars lacking traction, tho our chairot was fine. the best sight was seeing a fellow walking down the street with a jaunty gait, his phone to his ear, and a happy expression on his face. whoever he spoke with made the snow go away. we finally copped out of the jam and took the long way around. home was where we left it. yesterday, after noon, Beth and I headed to the mall. given our previous visits this holiest of Shopping Seasons, we were surprised at the crowds. there was a line in the parking lot. a policeman directed traffic. some spaces could be seen in one area but the cop wouldn't let us turn there. instead, we got to circumnavigate the entire lot, all around the mighty Burlington Mall. humanity had decided to congregate. piles of snow cut down the parking potential. in some cases, cars weren't so much parked as abandoned. after that satisfying tour, which took maybe half an hour (Seattle Slew couldn've done the distance in 90 seconds), we headed up the road to Michael's Arts and Crafts, where Beth got some items to spice up the wreath, then a walk down to Panera for restoring coffee and bagel, then across the lot to Ethan Allen's so that Beth could ogle furniture. when we left, the sky was a blaze of psychedelic orange and red. I just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


tree Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 09, 2005

Jeff and I, 2000 miles apart, took writin'pills, and so we be up to installment 49 as of still this day, combining coaxials with data bases for a supreme run of the mouth (plural). please read with excitement.
I've been out to lunch for a while but the 47th installment of the Bramhall-Harrison Death Match (yclept Antic View, pardner) is now up.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pete Muppet

I think that all meat deserves a chance

I think an offer of meat will be the puppets

I think meat has begun to play

I think because of meat in Scottsdale, Arizona

I think January meat in 1980 called in the original ramparts of immaturity

I think low abrupt meat played respectfullty

I think the meat of brothers have played drums

I think they have begun the meat in June, in 1980.

I think the first meat was all heart punk, with vocals

I think meat in their delivery was unsolved

I think the meat of bigger deposits

I think The musical meat was most times vibration neck

I think the meat has been colored with a element thin and that froths

I think that is abandoned meat of ghost

I think their meat cathartique and explosive matter have attracted etiquette attention

I think acrylic punk meat has released dissatisfying result

I think the meat has codebreak

I think The fascinating experimentation of the meat is psychedelically acidic
interesting writing, links, stuff: Zasusy

Sunday, December 04, 2005


vintage cloud Posted by Picasa

Charles O remix Posted by Picasa
Ron Silliman bespeaks Charles Olson at his blog of centrality, and the collective performs center ring commentary. their exercise is their exercise, but I like to hear Olson mentioned in this day that is today. I know O is a geezer now. like, he died and all. and he was big, dig yoiu know? I get tired about hearing about. but he stewed away. he was a weird ass goofball like Jung was. but likewise willing to leap. flaws, shit yeah. but I love to read him, I love to hear him. he was working at it. writing as scholarship, scholarship as poetry, poetry as something...useful?. he was a different shithead from Pound. and when I say shithead, I mean, who among the angels can hold on to the light? human flaws are an old story, cultural flaws persist. the Santa Claus squared of post pastmodern poemetries. yup, it's all there. and the poetry is there, too, and has been a light for me. what writer has troubled you so much that you just kept going? that's the measure. it's not a competition.
nice to see a good professional review of David Larsen's The Thorn. it's a take notice sort of book. Larsen, I assume, is somewhat younger than 175, the age Christina Rossetti will be tomorrow, yet his book is a mature work. there's some visualities in the book, and I look forward to more from him. he's someone to keep an eye on. better still, he's someone to read with your best game as a reader.

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dog Posted by Picasa

mosaic Posted by Picasa

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Saturday, December 03, 2005


at home with the tree Posted by Picasa