Saturday, May 20, 2006

I forgot to mention seeing Zukofsky's selected, edited by Charles Bernstein. forgive me, but it looks sparse. it's a wee frail hardback, with a design suggesting those Best-Loved Poems anthologies that you're supposed to carry around in your pocket while you wander lonely as a. all right, that's one thing. the idea of such a thin selection just didn't ring well. Ron Silliman has divagated lengthily on the subject of selecting Zukofsky, and he came away with about 3 bits missing from the oeuvre. like Olson, and in fact a lot of modernists, you don't think so much of individual poems but how the whole shit thinks. context matters with these writers. so for such writers, I say all or nothing. I suppose what Bernstein created fits neatly in a syllabus, and it amounts to another star on his cv. I think a more useful idea would be to republish Zukofsky's books as he prepared them. I know that when a poet dies, his/her work comes under a different understanding, that of oeuvre, and how the pieces fit together becoems a latter of editorial precision regarding date of composition or whatsis. Blackburn's collected went this way, with everything shifted to chronological order. Notley goes elsewise as best she can with Berrigan's collected, even repeating poems that B repeated in publication. I'm not that bothered by Blackburn's collected, but I can see the burn there. Z's selected made it to the end of aisle display, which was tragically weak (I don't recall seeing the 50th anniversary of Howl out there, for intance), and looked perfectly modest and unassuming. I don't think you can breed a new generation of Zukofsky lovers by giving them dainty samples. throw Big Blue in their path and perhaps they'll pick it up as they pick themselves up. or see if a PlayStation version can be made...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Barnes & Noble night. I used to dislike B&N but I've been inculcated. not without reservation. there were $1 books, 4 of which Beth swept up. cool and half. I got Moleskine's fancy-ass ruled journals. I have several of the hardbound journals, for various segregated usages, and these softbound charmers look good for who know what (if I indeed make th Charles Olson whatsis at MIT tomorrow, one of these cahiers coems with me). I hankered for pomes and sweated over the selection but got nuthin'. but the selection was better than. some not dead poets, even those of youth. I saw a book by Joshua Clover (UCal Press, so not a mystery), Sarah Manguso and Bill Knott. there was an effort to display the books all special-like tho octane levels vis-a-vis visual impact still wasn't exactly Da Vinci Code (which we got, Beth 1st). amongst the anthologies, of which there are many (too many, frankly), there was no Bay Poetics. I shall soon divest myself of the price of that book to own it, and feel that B&N had ought to be part of that process, as it sounds like whammer jammer. I dunno the appropriate incantation to make that happen, and, sadly, neither does SPD. someone should, tho. I wavered over Koch's collected, O'Hara's (I have his selected but do regard him as upwards of the best) and even, somehow (I've never really read her), Elizabeth Bishop. but really didn't want to buy semi-contemporary, I wanted full contemporary, non dead variety. look elsewhere, unless you consider Mary Oliver non-dead. I've gone this route before but criminy, B&N is so smart in other categories, whereas with poetry it's mostly just shovelsful of whatever's handy. as I snooped, a B&N psychopomp led a woman and young child to the poetry section. the girl was choosing the right Emily Dickinson book, went wow at the collected. and the mother was in the mode of: if my bright child says so. I finally copped nary a poem book, but relented to Naked Lunch because. at least there's some adventure there.
this piece by Stan Apps illustrates the possibilities of Google collage. the diversity of opinion that melds into this blur of voices. what a variety of articulations! Rob Fitterman's work explores similar territory. it's an uncomfortable experience, as funny or satiric as it might also be. such definitivness, yet all that definition seems for naught. Apps' piece also invokes a recontextualizing (gosh what an icky word!). every sentence could've been driven as the theme of this piece, as regular ole criticism (that is, reading this piece as straightforward crit, one could choose any sentence and ride that theme). that Apps supplies a whole bunch of themes performs a pounding on the brain: tear down the walls!!! okay, that's an old Jefferson Airplane song talking now. the point is the valid density of all this. a necessity resides in holding the varied narratives apart and respectfully secure, as people are apart, as are people are discrete. Maggie Zurawski chaunts on her blog about Mike Magee's poem, an earnest examination. I wouldn't argue her viewpoint except to suggest that she relies too much on one narrative possibility in the poem. the poem doesn't want to be channelled so severely. with Apps' piece, the pounding of the idea of flattens all opinion into a globby mass, despite how defining these opinions are. this is a tremendous sort of political unrest on display, I mean in such poetry as can embrace and comprise all this enterprise of bubbling. anyway, it's always good to take a look at just what sort of machine a poem might be.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bedside pt 2

Black Spring Winter 2005, Lawrence (KS) issue
Vallejo, Posthumous Poems
The Thorn, David Larsen (no home should be without it!)
Ribbons of Light, D P Porreca
Hart Crane Complete
Simple Theory, Allen Bramhall (I'm actually trying to memorize some my pomes (pax Tympani Tim)
Upanishad, pt 1, Muller trans
Baudelaire's Brain, Ivan Arguelles
The Middle, Carla Harryman
The Republic, Pay d'Oh!!!
Berrigan's Collected (nhswi)
Reproduction of Empty Flagpole, Eileen Tabios
Enough Said, Philip Whalen
Imaginary House, Diane Ward
Anatomy of Melancholy, Sir Bob B

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

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the seamy side of poetry... I like seeing the process 'in action'... WCW's postcard to Olson, of course: leave the dirt on the roots... Olson himself in those Maximus that are the barest of notes, suggestive of what he was researching...I wish we had Dickinson's fascicles (or if 'we' have them, I wish I did... with flarf, I get nervous/bugged by the criticism that can't get past the seams... Dan Hoy invented a generic unread 'flarf' poem and for that mattered imagined poet as well to criticise the motives and mayhem of his target: that's not really the seams, yet he thought he had landed a mighty solar plexus punch... I like to see the poem read as poem, not as simulacrum of some imagined critical event, some ploy of a critic in heat... the social and political occur in the poem, and need not be invented on the outside... when I wrote that I didn't want to talk about flarf qua flarf I did so so that I could use the word qua (of course) but also just to note that I wanted to start with what's on the page (or screen, whatev)...flarf has a collborative energy that I like, collaboration with those Googled souls as well as with each other flarfist... that 2nd bit of collaboration is very evident in, for instance, the New York poets (O'Hara et al.), and even those devilish LANGUAGE gazabos... that's pretty pissa stuff, that sharing and rebound... Dan Hoy did not exert himself to the point of sweating with his clumsy surgery upon flarf... the world is in the poem, and I don't mean that facetiously... with flarf, the process is up front, as also, say, Jackson Mac Low and his aleatoric work... note how carefully JML describes his method, that method is part of the poem, I mean should be read so... so when I read Mainstream with its Gidget colour scheme, I'm seeing these intersections, interjections, dare I say ejaculations, and various purposes, some of those purposes are Magee's, but like all good poetry, some of them are not, and the tussle in that midst is the point, of poetry, of reading, of taking this all seriously...
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Monday, May 15, 2006

I thought I was the only one to acknowledge the importance of furniture stores but Carl Annarummo is sniffing the same territory. or is it furniture store as movie theatre? either way...
Jukka's xstream moved, I missed the memo. but check it out. many poets displayed but I want to mench particularly Bob BrueckL, whose work shows ferocious obsession and insistence. he often works with the texts of others, riffing in high gear. he makes an unusual beauty out of the scatological. which reminds me that I think it was Robert Burns who collected a scatological version of "Greensleeves". that seems so at odds
trying to follow along with Shanna Compton's rumination on process. I say follow along as I was trying to stick with the metaphor, which is to say, hold 2 things in mind at once. it's an evolved ability, isn't it? enough people think: flarf bad, liberal bad, etc, all simple and clear cut. she makes a useful consideration, I'm not down on that. I was struck by the realization that metaphors have to break down. at some point heart and love diverge, you can't make them be the same thing. as I read Shanna's thoughts I found myself waiting for when the sewing metaphor wouldn't fit the poetry process model she had. the brilliance of a metaphor is how long you can keep it in the air, which Shanna did pretty good. Donne's almost tortured in his relentless hold on his metaphor, it's exciting to watch him stay its course. some helpful pondering in Shanna's post. metaphors are good for turning a thing around for a diffrent angle.
2 great interviews by Tom Beckett at Will To Exchange: Jim McCrary and Gary Sullivan. I'll have to rummage around for work by McCrary--I think he shows up in some Olsonian issues of Grossinger's Io and that'd be all I gots--I feel close to his sensibility. as I read Sullivan's interview, I thought that it just provides more for critics to work with other than, you know, the poetry itself. someone's going to try to hang Gary by his own petard, e'en tho the only useful petard by which to hang a poet would be the poetry itself. I think what I liked about McCrary's interview, his pleasure in poetry. if critics 1st of all evinced a pleasure in poetry, as a kinda general thing and all, I'd feel better. Jordan Davis picks out the right nugget from Gary's interview, that if people expended as much energy against the empire as against the artists, well wouldn't that be jolly. both writers love poetry and are articulate, and as always, Tom's right in it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I saw a full 20 minutes of The Brady Bunch yestreen. I truly watch little more than my daily doses of Daily Show/Colbert Report nowadays, with random History Channel sightings. I certainly have put in my tv time, I'm not painting a snob picture, just relating the current facts. so anyway, the Bradys are traveling. Mrs Brady's hugging littlest daughter and step son, who got lost in the wilderness. then the 2 charmers, Cindy and Bobby, steal hot dogs and beans from the sumptuous repast that Alice produced, to give to a runaway boy. Bobby's brilliant idea was to jam the hot dogs and beans into a flashlight!!! the runaway is an Indian, with bandana round his head. he ran away from his grandfather. wherefore? because he wants to be an astronaut. Greg and Peter find Cindy and Bobby, Mr Brady ominously arrives. he suggests that the runaway join them at their camp. he also said that Indian and astronaut are not mutually exclusive. but the next morning, the youngster is gone. and so then Alice is off to fetch water from the river, thinking about a generic 6'2" ranger with broad shoulders and a little grey at the temple, man of her dreams (now Alice), when she comes upon an Indian wearing a red shirt and with a feather in his hair. this is the boy's grandfather. then the boy arrives and then the familiy convenes then the Bunch attends a dance at Grandfather's tribe. he's Chief Something Something. Indians dance to the tom tom beat, then the chief renames all the Bradys then the Bradys join the dance then Mistah Kurtz appears. my goodness, this peyote is tasty!!!
Susan Howe blurbs for Mainstream: "Stuttering turns into syncopation in this edgily engaging collocation of accents, attitudes. occasions." that sounds right. a couple of poems already, "War Rhymes for Children" and "A Completed Portrait of Lee Greenwood" (yeah baby!!!) bring to my mind John Giorno's persistent, jerky rap. there's a Giorno poem in which he twines a bit of narrative with the words from a Doublemint Commercial (I think). memory's strained but the commercial's zinging, peppy words intruding on the narrative produced a weirdly dirty context. and Giorno's repetitions create an ominous fixation. I get a similar buzz from Magee here. you know how there's supposedly safety in pop culture, that Britney and Idol are all surface? the sort of attack Magee makes recognizes that Wolfkowitz and Negroponte are behind and underneath such havens. whoop! anywho... I'm just popping a few impressions out. I've been reading The Thorn by David Larsen (which you should buy from Faux Press, do) quite regularly, a bit almost daily. it grows and grows on me. I say that to suggest that poem books, good ones anyway, don't get done.