Thursday, June 01, 2006
seems like, when I write/think about poetry, the interest isn't in meaning so much, in the way of looking for treasure. meaning, whatever that dawg is, seems like a process of consideration and combination. 2 books I've been reading lately, quite different from each other, bring up something in my brain. Mainstream by Michael Magee (Blaze Vox 2006), and The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol 1 by Eileen Tabios (xPress(ed) 2006). modus operandi. both books come from a specific practice, it fascinates me how that practice proceeds. with Mageee, okay, we know that he's writing flarf. real flarf, insofar that he numbers among the actual flarf writers who know and (in a sense) collaborate with each other. the issues of Google sculpting and outrageousness are worn tires, or what I mean is, you can stare at those issues and kinda not see the poems. which don't make no sense no how. Magee's work is not simple and direct. it's poetry, not opinion. I love the density of the work. the many sources that commingle and contribute produce a shifting landscape and a lovely ride. I am finding, as I read, that the work provides answers of a sort as to how to read. there is self-reflection (the poem reflecting on itself, not the poet) within the works. if reader would kindly see 3 dimensions in these sculptures, you know, other sides and aspects, it would be a generous offer. Eileen, kinda on that note, provides context and method in her rather lengthy book. I've noted earlier that in Bay Poetics varied types of works are cheek by jowl: prose, criticism and poetry. Eileen proceeds similarly. Eileen has a process that makes me think of Olson's sense of archive. genre distinctions are muted. there are poems, collaboration, and reflection in this book. I like how that works, all tied together. her thesis, to call it that, is a use of punctuation, a conscious controlling of the poem's space. I think this is a useful consideration, or what I mean, that punctuation isn't often seen in its larger meaning, or meaningfulness. I like to see the thinking of the artist, the active process, so these 2 books work for me. I just got Punctuations, just getting warm to its invitation. I've had Mainstream a l;ittle while, and I poke at it often. it is incredibly rich and challenging. a flarf canon, if we want to call it that, is developing--gee, Faux Press has published 3 of them (by Sullivan, Gordon and Larsen--and Mainstream is a hearty addition. I hope the word flarf doesn't become a stumbling point.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
family and friends are encouraging me to get more of my work out there. this is not something I've much pursued but feel it is a real step that I should take. if you know of a publisher who might be interested in my work, or are one, I have manuscripts short and long to offer. please contact me.
Monday, May 29, 2006
this is Ben Friedlander's statement given at the OlsonNow All Nude and Paradoxical Heroin Addiction Show. I found Ben's talk engaging, clear and a nice antidote to that bloated gassy feeling. it aint my job to defend Olson, I can only advert the value I've found in my study (different from idolization) of his work. I would aver that endless remakes of Frank O'Hara are no more valuable than endless remakes of Olson. Ben (how'd I get so friendly?) marks some interesting trails one could follow. that I don't care much for T S Eliot (for instance) speaks of my taste, and my way of knowing. this fact doesn't really describe the team I'm on. okay, it marks my limitations, but I am not proud of my limitations. I think Ben Friedlander indicates some of the life still to be found in Olson's work, but if it don't work for you, that's okay too.
read one manga in which a girl in a castle-like house deals with ghosts. it's called Bizenghast, and I wonder if that is an allusion to the Gormenghast trilogy, a particularly roccoco bit of whatsis if there ever was (Dickens on acid). it's joky and weird and morbid all at once, all aimed at a younger crowd. acting like a 'rent, I'd probably (like that security guard yesterday) question how okay it might be for a young un to read this, but then I recall that I enjoyed those Charleston horror comic books, similar ilk. it just looks different from this end (old fart talking). still reading another manga, gangs and street shit. heavy. kinda Japanese Boyz n the Hood or such, young noirish. there's a lot of flourish in the artwork but I don't always get what's going on when words aren't backing up the picture. I must be hopeless.
Anine Boston Day Three. today all three of us went. lovely day in Boston, bright and springy. Erin rushed to a workshop on Photoshop while Beth and I parked and moseyed in. looked in on the artist's gallery, where artists hawk their wares. there was someone who made metal bracelets and such. he had a chain mail vest on display, a handy piece of clothing. and I'm sure there are people hankering for it. I saw a tshirt that I misread as Harvardtard which just seemed too wonderful, so I got it. turns out it reads Narutarded, a pun on Naruta, an anime. but I stand by my reading, those Harvard Tards. we got a few other shirts. I also got a messenger bag with Samurai Champloo graphics. I don't know what Samurai Champloo is, but thought I came away a winner. Beth engaged the security guard at the convention hall entrance about the festival. he agreed that there was plenty of weird on display. he has a 12 year old who's mighty into anime. he was concerned with the sex and violence of some of them. I haven't seen much anime, nor manga neither, but I see a range of tastes. the offence of s&v depends on how stupidhead it is um done. there's a Japan=exotic equation that enters a bit. some of the exoticism is romantic, some an excuse for the lurid. I don't mean to generalize because I can see generalities here don't have much meaning. I mean, I was labouring to distinguish an anime crowd (being as I knew little about it), but that generality died on the vine. from what I've seen, not a lot, anime partakes varyingly of fantasy, sci fi, noir and other tributaries. as I looked at the crowd--and why do I sound so anthropolgical?--I wondered what was style and what was costume. I'm sure some percentage of the attendees to the con were let us say overly committed to some fantastic ideal. but mostly it looked like a lot of fun, and I'll reiterate that it seemed like a Phish concert in it's cheerful vibe of community fun. something bracing there for the younger ones, the teens, in that community. common language, common sensibility, a reassurance. I'll cease with the Oprah report. I feel strongly how teens need empowerment, a pat on the back okay. not to say my own efforts with a teenager have been shining, in fact I don't know how I can be so thick. but guilt aside, for now. Erin got these cat ears to wear, along with his sunglasses, wristband, headband, styling. yesterday, I asked Erin what character he'd dress up as, were he to do so, and he replied dude, I am a character. which he is, plus 6'4" and 250, a big sweet kid. Erin saw a chess match performance, kinda like the chess game in Harry Potter, with live pieces, while Beth and I savoured the sun and tall buildings around us. last bit was video awards. and then to home. I know I've transmitted my interest poorly here. it's fun to see the committed interest. plain enthusiasm is rare in the poetry crowd. cripes, I was introduced to Bruce Andrews once, and he gave me this competitive crapoo that was not indicated by anything I offered. some kind of careerist thwarting or poopoo on his shoes, ker-rist, where's the love? so, I suppose it's a boring question, why poetry is such a precious connection. I mean, why so scenic, if you get my drift? why the barriers? why isn't poetry exciting? why would the minority of Bruce Andrews feel so secure (where secure=insecure)? oh I know, anime and manga are highly commercial, to the yuck degree, but still. love's love, finally. I respect that love. I have my crankiness, and ignorance, my limitations, but I do feel I can support. I can hold back my anxious side to see the energy of excitement. I commend the excitement. I'm not an anime proselyte, but I appreciate the openness evidenced by those who do love anime. looking for that in poetry world.
just finished The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev and G Weston DeWalt. Boukreev being a participant in that tragic climbing season on Everest 10 years ago. I read Jon Krakauer's account last winter. shades of The Ring and the Book, the stories differ considerably. there's no question that when it came to rescue, Boukreev was the only one of the 2 expeditions to make an effort, and he brought 3 people in. this was after hitting the summit himself. the conditions, especially lack of oxygen, saps everyone, physically and mentally. so it's a push to lay blame. shits happens. Boukreev said that on a previous high altitude climb, he actually gained weight, even while his companions were losing as much as 20 pounds. the food he was eatng was much better than what he could get at home in Russia. it appears that commercial considerations played a negative part in events. language too was a roadblock. lingua franca, I take it, was English, in which many people, including Boukreev, were not strong. I'll bet there's some cultural confusiuon too, like what the Sherpas understood as their role. before the assault on the summit, there was a sighting of a star or something that the Sherpas read as a bad omen. astronomically speaking, nothing likwe that should've been in the sky. oh boy! I think it was Whymper attempting the Matterhorn who claimed to've seen glowing crosses in the sky. I believe in both a polar assault and I think one on the Matterhorn, when things were very rough, the expeditions would count off to make sure everyone was still there. in each case, they consistently counted one extra person. I haven't read that much mountaineering stuff, and have no interest in doing any of it, but it fascinates me. we had a neighbour when I was growing up, Woodrow Wilson Zayre, grandson of the president. he and 3 others made an illegal attempt on Everest. they snuck in, may not have used oxygen, got into trouble before reaching the summit and made a radical descent. Zayre called the technique anti-belaying, and explained that it was another word for plain old falling. but all survived. I recall the book by Zayre, Four Against the Mountain was pretty good. anyhoo.
I was just cycling down towards an intersection when I saw a widdershins car pass thru the intersection, rockily drive onto the sidewalk at a brisk speed, and run over something before stopping. water gushed from under the car, I dunno if that meant the car hit a hydrant. as I witnessed it I wondered if the driver had fainted or otherwise become incapacited before the accident, but the driver, a young woman looked shocked but aware. a couple of guys who'd been on a bench nearby came rushing up. I turned and saw the driver, in a band outfit, and an older woman get out of the car. presumbably that was a student driver. she burst into tears and was hugged by the woman. I didn't know what I could do to help but saw up ahead a police car coming along. I pointed towards the accident, which from a distance didn't look like one. the police car stopped and I told him that there was an accident up ahead. even as I watched the scene unfold I wasn't sure it ws an accident. reckless, or careless, perhaps, driving onto the sidewalk like that (the street is wide enough to accomodate parallel parking). the abrupt stop (by brakes, I think) convinced me that it was untoward.