Saturday, April 08, 2006

new blog, and hoping she keeps at it: hassen. her work used to pass thru on the wryting list. I always liked her writing, and a sense of personal integrity always came thru. help make her famous so publishers will publish her work.
dudes, you gotta read Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K Dick. took a while and hadn't ought to to read but distraction, other things, tired, made me go slow. the book is like totally awesome. I'm reading it and I'm, like, completely alarmed or whatever by some of PKD's concepts. it's scifi for sure but it's like horror too. f King weren't prolix and if he did scifi too... Dick's like real headlong as far as writing. in his less good books you feel his urge just to get done, move on to the, like, next one. DB's got a real neat (creepy neat) post nuke vision. I rcommend DB's awesomeness to you all.
a busy day in this stupid town. the library's booksale is today, and tomorrow. the library is all of 10 minutes away by foot, so I'm there almost daily. a large conference room held fiction, but I didn't even bother to go there (no offense, Fiction). I found the non-fiction room, which was small, filled with upright shelving and, squeezed tight with people. I spent upwards of 2 minutes in there, realized my butt was not big enough to crowd people effectively, so squirmed my way out. no doubt a goodly number of books there formerly were mine, I gave the library a ton last summer. a lot of older folks bookhunting, or rather, few if any younger ones. outside, Little Leagers gathered at the nearby ballfields. a greater gathering was for the town celebration. 231 years ago there was some sort of Sons of Liberty sort of rambunctiousness in this town. I don't truly know if it was exactly the Sons of Liberty, nor if Johnny Tremain attended, but it was that sort of thing. so the township celebrates subversion each year by reenacting what those whoevers did back them: raise a pole and stick a red wool cap atop. I hung around beforehand watching the gathering of minutemen in colonial garb. it is funny to see men with muskets walking around. I had my camera but things got boring quick enough. I went back home. Beth wanted to see this event. I've lived in this town for years but never saw the polecapping. we collected Erin and hustled over. the parade of minutemen (I don't think there was any of that youth organization stuff in this parade) was just making it to the little park at the confluence of 3 roads near the center of town. festivities began with the local priest invoking God. listen to me now and hear me later. a long list of state and town reps were introduced. I'm sure they're all Democrats, which is to say, they were taking this time away from being underfoot of the big mean Republican Party. one of these dorks, head of the town council I think, was brought in to speak. while the talking went on a few minutemen readyied the pole to be lifted into place. there was an air of anticipation. but instead of the usual few words about liberty, and even acceptably some remarks about our brave men and women in the various undemilitarized zones in our global village, he started in on terrorists. this guy got all his information regarding the Iranian hostage situation from a 1980 issue of Time magazine. our hero Ronnie Reagan. I grew up where the 1st shot of the Revolution was fired (possibly from a tavern window), and have endured my share of liberty-strewn speechifying. but I have to say the plangency today was more than I've met before. and aside from that, this celebration was getting boring. the offensiveness of the speech was the key stink, and we just left. too many words. perhaps in the spirit of this, I had to sign for a letter today from this town regarding Erin's education. they decided they want to be interested in his schooling. well not to the degree of helping with text books or any fuckin shit like that. maybe they could make a special needs student out of him (aren't all studetns special needs students, because each child actually (radically!) is an individual?). how is Erin going to learn about America being a melting pot? how will Erin discover the importance of football players and cheerleaders? in sooth we are not screwing around with Erin. here are a number of real schools that will provide accreditation of homeschool work, and it is not rubber-stamped accreditation. anyway, sometimes it seems like the local is dead.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Joseph Torra writes about the Grolier Book Shop. I used to go occasionally, with some excitement. the last time was dreary and I didn't want to go back. I first went there when Gordon Cairnie still ran the place. I didn't have much interaction with him, but I got the impression that he was crochety. I asked him, has the third volume of Maximus poems been released and he replied with a terse no that seemed to be the answer to any further questions I might have. another time a hapless fellow bumbled in, asked if the store would like to take his book on consignment. the same no was the reply that he received. once I was there reading a book perhaps by Berrigan, in which he recounts visiting Grolier Bookstore, oo trippy. the store didn't change much when Louisa took over. a shelf was given over to Women's Studies, and a cat or dog moved in. she never bothered me but once when I went in with a friend she kept an eye on him, and rather acidically warned him not to put books back in the wrong place (like it mattered there), even tho he hadn't threatened the like. I stopped making the journey to the store because I was finding books thru Segue and SPD. when I went back a few years ago, there was now a security gate. it's hard to believe but she claims pilferage has been heavy. that heavy. at any rate, that security gate took room that the little storefront couldn't really afford. she was remarkably suspicious too. so the place was anything but fun to shop in. the shop should carry on, it's a landmark. I hope the new owner understands that. a restaurant in Boston called Durgin Park is somehow famous for its rude waitresses. tourists are supposed to throng there for the pleasure of that. I doubt locals go there. Grolier was kinda like that. I don't get it. it really is a store full of poetry, tho, and that's a wonder.
the family that watches The Colbert Report together... last night Colbert's guest was a Harvard prof who's published his opinions. somehow. this guy 1st of all was peeing his pants with nerves, so he wasn't too lively. 2nd, Colbert's brain speed was outstripping the prof's by quantum, it hardly seemed fair. Colbert pretty much told the guy to say something really stupid about women's role in society and the guy obliged. if you're going to assert something of such extent as did he, you'd think there'd be some vigour. Colbert's faux caveman just danced and danced around the dead Neanderthal meat. dead Neanderthal meat was too dumb to notice, or could do nothing about it. I'd have to think that the Harvard thinktank would remove this guy soonestly from public view and stick him in a petri dish because he did nothing for the image of that ivy-walled sancutary.
this link is to a piece that Lanny Quarles and I wrote. here's the details: Jeff Harrison posted this to Wrytings-l. Lanny responded with this. I posted a reponse to that, and then... I like this process, a kind of demystified let's get going. that's why I like the Wryting list, it's chugga chugga see what's up. the negative reactions to flarf or googly stuff probably centers on some sense of how the work isn't serious or crafted or some shit. altho both Chris Daniels and Dan Hoy make a point of not even refering to the actual work in ttheir criticism of flarf so it's a bit fuzzy. in this case, the emails arrive and someone responds. the flarf list is all about that. it's fun, see, to write. Daniels' self-advertised fardels seem not so interesting. perhaps he's been palling around with Franz Wright but at any rate the funless self-ad pretty well thwarts the political vision.
thru a homeschool group we went to the Museum of Science to see a lecture on robotics. could've gotten away real cheap, even parking is cheapened. but of course there are revenue streams within revenue streams, so we didn't get away quite unscathed. still, it was fun. the lecture was hosted by... wait for it... Anthony Daniels. come on, you know: the actor inside the gold robot suit in all the Star Wars films. he was fun and engaging, no shades of Galaxy Quest here. a child asked early on, were you in the movie? oh now R2. he was fun to hear. fun to watch too, he moves like a mime. he brought on 3 MIT robotics experts who talked. one of them, a happy geek, demonstrated his swarm of little robots that manuevered around the stage. most excellent. after the lecture there was a chance for hands on/up close demonstrations. we ate lunch in the frantic cafeteria with 10,000 of our closest teenage friends. the place is right on the Charles, with wonderful Boston skyline views. we parked on the roof of the garage, where there was a terrific view of the nearby Zaiken Bridge (that's misspelled, and Google has yet to guess what I mean), the skyline, and a rather astonishingly tall crane. I had ought to have brung my camera. there was a de rigueur Star Wars exhibit that, grr, was a separate charge. it was both hommage to the movies, yawn, and some nifty interactive science stuff. the hommage stuff was interesting, actually, but Lucas has spent a wee bit too much time on such like, and on his brutal marketing quest (Mr Lucus meet Mr Gates), when he could've produced more than a gargantuan pure product of America. I mean, sheesh. Erin got into the interactive stuff, as did Beth. I was too tired but it looked fun. for an extra fiver Erin took a ride on the Millenniel Falcon. Erin went to a Star Trek extravaganza in Vegas with his father a couple years ago, came home with pictures of himself as part of the crew of the Enterprise, right there with Picard and Geordie and the rest. also, a short cd of him in a scene with Captain Kirk, superimposed on the original actor. what a hoot. so all in all it was an educational and informative time for all.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

whoopy doo. whilst working on the computator today I let Limewire dredge up all sorts of quaintness. to wit: a live version of "Hey Joe" by Richard Thompson chanelling Hendrix. "Itchycoo Park" by Small Faces, psychedelic nicety. "All the Small Things" by Blink 182: are these rascals basically just plain sweet? "A Combination of the Two" by Big Brother etc, yet another paean to the Fillmore. it all goes directly to the pod, so that dogwalking turns into a trip, man. I mean, if I have to explain...
Jack Kimball points to this post by Chris Daniels. the needle swings high on the Than Thou metre in his post, so you'll have to do some weeding. Daniels is very much right to point out the irony aspect of google-searched works. I need go no further than my own attempts at the modus. some of the things I've created read snide, even tho I didn't mean that. a certain luridness attaches to the explorations: you're listening in. yet the internet is public, e'en tho users of it forget this all the time. so yeah, one can fall into irony. irony as a means is all right, it's irony as a lifestyle where things go crap. Daniels doesn't mention specific poems, which pretty well drains his argument of insight beyond the usual righteousness of bloc mentality. "the flarfistes disrespect ordinary working people in the most patronizing manner". which is what Daniels does in this post, not to make flarf poets the epitome of downtrodden. without tuning in to the poetry itself, this whole argument just drums on as rant, which is a genre without subject. I have read flarf-type poetry that was not ironic, that was indistinguishable from 'real poetry'. I have myself written one or 2 pieces myself that succeed by the purest avowals of poetry that I can make. the assumption that those using these methods are not aware of the issues is an assumption. like Hoy's tender attributions, the claims are 2nd hand at best. Robert Fitterman spoke of how his google search works were a reaction to 9/11. "I like the personal, it just doesn’t have to be my own." I think that statement encloses the exact opposite of what Daniels claims of flarf. Fitterman made available his talk on appropriation at his reading saturday (ooops, syntax alert), and I guess I can send a copy of it to anyone who asks. or write John Dooley via the site. Daniels had ought, for as it stands, he's arguing with himself.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

...and finally Fitterman read

a day of... well it began with me thinking the clocks changed today, and I was all set to spring back, except my computer that changes automatically decided to spring forward. that caused a slight unsettling of the day, right from the start. canny readers of this blog will note that your correspondent was under the impression that last sunday was Palm Sunday. which would make today Easter. I convinced Beth of this fact, and we planned a nice Easter brunch for the 3 of us. it wasn't till this morning that I was alerted to the possibility that Easter wouldn't arrive for 2 more weeks. well yeah, maybe for those not involved with the Bramhall Orthodox Church. so anyway, things looked ripe for our actually going to a poetry reading today. the Demolicious Series runs monthly readings in the People's Republic of Cambridge. today's honoured readers were Joel Sloman and Robert Fitterman. I met and heard Joel read last year, and I've read the 1st volume of Fitterman's Metropolis. so happy happy. just needed to find he place. Mapquest came thru again, identifying the most circuitous route and adeptly using a code in which right means left. in sooth the Out of the Blue gallery is a block from Mass Ave in Central Square. I mean, like, there should be no prob finding. we parked across the street from Pearl Art Supply, something of a Mecca. the gallery is a small store front. the art on display made me feel um good about my own artistic efforts. I guess I shouldn't say that. the work probably earns the rubric Outsider Art. at least there was something welcoming about the place and the work on display, not snobby. funky would be the word. Demolicious pays next to nothing for use of the room, and that's a kind and positive thing. I paid the cover charge to the person who looked liked he wanted it. he asked me if I'd like to be on the mailing list. I did and wrote my email down. he recognized my name and I calmly replied, you know me? as if: wtf. and he was John Mercuri Dooley, co-curator. I had in fact been on the list, before my email address changed. so. we sat on a sofa in back with another fellow. I saw Christina Strong, Ruth Lepson, Jack Kimball, James Cook, which is to say, local poets who have not moved to NY. yet. Christina seems imminently aimed in that direction, howsomever. several women read open mike, all temperate in time usage. I had thoughts about narrative, that its flow can become too wearing, like water thru a channel. disjunction is a freshness. just a thought. Joel read in, or out of, a sort of nervous calm. his performative energy is tentative yet persistent. I know I'm hovering around paradoxes. I'm trying to describe his comfort in discomfort. he read a couple of works that he described as not translations but improvements. French poems that he has pulled into a different milieu. I didn't mench the cat that made its appearance. it greeted the 3 of us on the sofa but was particularly impressed by our sofa mate. who would as soon not have a cat on his lap, but there no gainsaying. the cat twisted into perfect comfort and randomly squeaked in overflow of contentment. the Cook's daughter, a toddler, puttered around at my feet, poking thru a collection of small prints, the which were luckily cellophaned. when she grew bored of that she started to fuss until Beth handed her a cow puppet that was nearby. so anyway. Robert Fitterman had planned to give a talk as well as read but decided to forgo the talk (the topic was appropriation). I believe he gave it initially at the Poetry Project. he read predominantly, if not entirely, from his still ongoing work Metropolis. I have the 1st 15 sections of the work (Sun & Moon, and out of print according to Fitterman). a 2nd volume, I don't know the publisher, offers sections 16-29. the most recent book is Metropolis XXX: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Robert, GASP, makes considerable use of internet searches in his work. he said "I like subjectivity but it dosn't have to be mine". that's pretty good. one hears earnest voices in Fitterman's work, even if they are not "his". poetry isn't opinion, I would like to remind the dunderheads. I assume Mr Kimball will supply a report of this reading that will give Dear Reader a clearer view of the event. I do not capture words auditorially well. I also can't help doodling and writing as I listen, so I won't pretend that I can crit proceedings like a pro. just so you know where I comin from. Fitterman is comfortable with bad puns: "you can't handle Duluth" and quirky advice: "don't expect anything new from the gentle cycle". there's a subtle hilarity in his work, a hilarity that simply seeps into your ken. he read several poems that are combinations, or collisions, of contemporary poets and 70s anthem rock. from the Tim Davis / Steve Miller conjunction: "some people call me the brand name Maurice". I noted from some poem this stark nugget: "Steve you are not alone". and what say such a line as: "a leper might have done the trick"? a terrifically compelling poem was a list of store names, familiar chain store names: KMart, Taco Bell etc. he read slowly, hitting full stop that left us listeners waiting for punchline, but he just read another list (repeating names). there was no pay off. and somehow the entrance of a couple of people (hopefully to the gallery not the reading) as Robert read added to the experience. is this poetry???. damn straight. he was wonderful. the humour hung on a slight mismatching whereby these internet voice meet a poetic intent. of course Robert fits things, but he does so without irony or underline. his reading of store names stolidly ignored the necessity of wrapping things up and punchlining. like I said, read Jack Kimball for a full report. I found the whole event quite comfortable, which is something in parochial ole Boston. let's assume that Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Joan Houlihan, Dave Chapelle, Josh Beckett, Lyn Hejinian, gay cowboy movie stars, the entire courageously undispirited George Mason b-ball team, Ashlee Simpson, etc etc all attended. afterwards a small gathering went restaurantwards. a 2 car carvavan found East Boston. this caravan included me n Beth, Christina, Jack, John, Robert and an Andrew whose last name didn't come my way. I don't get out much so this was wowzer. it was a great way to celebrate Bramhall Orthodox Easter. I got Metropolis XXX (Edge Books 2004), which I can't wait to read. I could write more here, if I weren't so tired, but mebbe you get the idea...