Saturday, July 01, 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

under review

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I've had Musee Mechanique by Rodney Koeneke (Blaze Vox 2006) for a while, reading it in my poky fashion. I really liked Rouge State, his 1st book, from Pavement Saw (2003). here, he's doing these flarfistic modalities and executions that have been discussed and HOYed by the child himself (I mean Dan Hoy beginning to read). I think methodology has been overweighted, flarf-wise, insofar as Koeneke's pre-flarf work rings well and with amplitude, just like this consciously flarf-inflected work. I for one am tired of the debate re the political lines of making poems the right way. the right way appears in the poem as poem, live electric. see, it's just a wasting to need all this defensive intro, hoping for readers who will just handle the trouble as if it were worth it. I mean, a poem in sight, thus to comprise what it has. it is ever fucking thus, I know, this prevalent resistance, which is such a historical truism that it shouldn't need to be iterated. and yet boundaries, ugh, how we sanction their security. perhaps I could speak of the poems now. 1st lemme say that this book comes across somewhat as a companion volume to Mainstream by Michael Magee, insofar as both share a Blaze Voxian look, and they clearly endure with a flarfian metre. also, both have useful, thoughtful afterwords, removing smoke and mirrors from the equation. both credit the flarf list of the time, where a collaborative energy prevailed. but having said that, let me acknowledge that these are separate works that needn't be lumped. needn't, that is, unless you're working on your crappy grad thesis, good luck on that, or feeding Harold Bloom his latest 'ideas. I'm still at the superficial stage with this book. I do not want to be definitive, I've seen where that shit goes. I like the frisky multiples of distraction that bubble up in this book. the poet survives incoming, if you see what I mean. all the cultural shit and busy busyness. kitty + pizza, for instance, howe'er canst one make poem from that??? poem, is the reply. a section of poems is entitled On The Clamways, referring of course to On The Nameways by Clark Coolidge. which is a fun, snapping release by CC, after tome after relevant tome of big stuff. Koeneke rings the friskiness that Coolidge explored (language as immediacy), but scoots along as well with a preposterous clamminess. why clams??? and then you realize that clams are dirty, funny, unexpected. "And by the way, clam culture as it happens / Is ruled by this bitchy little number called 'Snappy / the Clam'." why yes! much variety imbeds itself in CLAM. notice how hilarity cues something dismal and politically crushing. notice how innocuousness borders on desperate, and desperate gives you republicans. I'm not chatting up Helen Vendler here, nor trying to formalize. I like the idea of the reading process as adventure, somewhat courageous (don't make a big deal of that, please), and possibly even enjoyable. I'm saying read with adventure, because here we have that exactly. so this isn't a review of Rodney Koeneke's 2nd poetry book, it is more an advocation of the reading process, which invites feelings of curiosity, openness and confusion. I needn't refer to Negative Capability, need I? a poem is music, surprise and hilarity, which is to say a healthful disaster of formalized expectation. approach, I'm saying, these poems thusly, and see what wiggles. I sound blurbish here, but I only want to suggest an evolving process begun. these poems are really really, and the book as well.
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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

last year Jordan Davis posted a picture of his son looking out on a jostled, ramshackle view of things (the world). this photo seems to follow that one. a zigzag path, lines pointing every which way. the play area looks more like a stockade, and the path veers away. whereas the earlier picture showed wonder, this one shows rigidity and restriction. striking.
I like this reminiscence by Joel Sloman. rumination from a distance in time, tho time's got porous boundaries so... I think particularly for writers, because the word/thought thing (we think (a lot) in words), have this slippery what time is it quality to deal with. is this my thought now or it is from then: that sort of fluidity. I am fascinated by all my visual work (paintings and collage), even the crap, because of the immediacy and visceral effect of colour and form, whereas I choke on the crappy writing of (my) yore. I think that's in the nature of writing. when I used to enter Grolier, not often but always with anticipation, it was a stunning world of discovery. when I visited saturday, it was different. I put aside that the selection needs refreshment. I give Grolier a mulligan on that point, assuming that some funding will now be ultilized for improvement vis-a-vis. I now know the names better, whereas back in the day I'd have to pick up and peer thru a Mary Oliver book to see what up. so the magic... and yet... magic is the word, really, at the risk of sounding like some dread provocateur of poetry. in his post, you can see the younger Sloman struggling with... something. I recognize that. it took me a long time for my intelligence to catch up with the dynamic energy of writing. I wrote lots and lots but, you know, please don't look at it now. young writers (poets especially), unless they have a keen ability to imitate and pastiche (a legit learning means), must suffer thru a period of blurry amorphousness based on the sore point of what, exactly, a poem is. I envy those who seem so clear on the concept, but on the other hand, no I'm do not. I want to go as long as possible without firming up my definition of poetry. method is adventure or, you know, why bother. anyway, thanks to Joel for the madeleine.