Saturday, September 09, 2006
reading some Lovecraft, wooee. fascinating, unsettling stuff. unsettling? I think I mean alarming. I've read about 12 stories, so I'm not fully possessed of his work, but even in those 12, a consistent impression of an oozy, obscene, subterranean world persists. calls to mind Poe's tour-de-force craziness Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym with its ultimate vision of a primordial underworld. Lovecraft fits right in line with Hawthorne's puritan weirdness and Poe's hyper sensitivity. he's poetic in a gripping, surreal way, perhaps as Rimbaud was. Jung would have a heyday with with these visions that seem to come directly from the unconscious. I say seem because Lovecraft is a technically skilled writer, his stories aren't simply the rantings of a psychotic. not that he wasn't, let us say, a bit touched. as who aint... I'm reading the Library of America edition, nice to see they're willing to publish the likes of Lovecraft, tho I think he certifiably rates as one of them pure products that Williams was on about. there was a period when I read a fair bit of horror. I'm not really into creepiness, but the sort of possession that occurs with horror interests me. I think it compares with Rimbaud en enfer, as a for instance, tho I don't mean that horror = poetry. a lot of horror is hokum. and you have writers like Stephen King (cripes, I read 11 of his novels one summer), who have moments that touch of the mysterious and unconscious, but then they slick it up for the cheap seats. King particularly is prolix, his books rattle on beyond the point where intensity can survive, all for the sake of summer reading. anyway, the book's chronology notes HPL roaming around New England and New York. I was surprised that he found his way to Athol, Massachusetts, an out of the way and run down factory town in the center of the state. a good place, I suppose, tho, for the Recluse Press, which published a bit of his work.
Ron Silliman's post re the Paul Butterfield Band is an odd concatenation of facts. I mean like a Wikipedia entry, that expression of the Take Your Chances School of Scholarship, somewhat obsessed yet not exactly attached. wobbly, let us say. and with errors: Elvin Bishop played guitar, not bass, had to 2nd fiddle for totally flash Mike Bloomfield. I mean, the passion seems to be in his facts, not the music. in which case, no errors allowed. a lot of times, he writes about the facts of poetry, those facts being his reception of what he has read. he doesn't express it balls to the wall, but as deeper foray into the sytematic. which makes no sense to me. he pushes his binary exploitations into fussy corners, swept clean of insolence. of course Ron has cred in the Parnassian realm, which is why his control sequences seem so awry.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I have three pieces published at Listenlight. check out all six writers but of course give awed attention to my work. I like the greyscale lettering of the titles. I've been too busy admiring my name in sans serif to read the work of the others, but I did hap upon these lovely lines by Tim Yu: "There’s a patriotic carillon concert / every evening in the perfect sky."
Thursday, September 07, 2006
well I know that Joshua Clover is smarter than me, because he could detect that the star of that teen flick now out is the hipster in opposition to my hero John Hodgman in the Mac commercials. I was about to quote a felicitous paragraph to indicate the lovely collisions of which Clover is meter, but I think it is as well to point and let you reap. I love how the cork bobs to the surface.
Antic View is up to section 91, which you are invited to peruse. I'm mostly on the defensive as Jeff Harrison curiositizes me. I think we stick on topic in a respectable way (this aint false modesty, I'm willing to declare (if it would help) my kickassness as poet). don't make me get snarly about this, I think we are writing worthwhileness, and it aint just about us.
when I 1st tried googling for interesting phrases, with the aim of poetry production, I got lousy results. I couldn't see how people were making the poems they were making by the method. as I continued efforting it, I got better. the results improved when I expanded my search parameters (I hope it'll be at least a month before I use the word parameters again, not counting that use of parameters nor that one...). I used to search just on, say, George Bush or Joan Houlihan, the 'subject'. adding another search term, like crab cake instigated a collision of what, perspective? possible absurdity. well, I guess this places that subject into a context, probably an unexpected one (note: anything unexpected in a poem is probably a good thing). and it's more interesting if that context kinda reeks in some way. you know what you'll get with Joan Houlihan and poem, or George Bush and Iraq. either they self-petard themselves or the public answers the usual yea or nay. the additional search term provides a bit of centripetal action. and the point arises that there's determinism going on. this isn't a random procedure, tho randomness influences. it can feel shaky to have an idea in mind, like you are forcing things. but in saying that, I also state that that idea can be wrenched into another direction just by what turns up. so there are some pinball bumpers in the mix. but you don't get the purity of John Cage's more fully random procedures. it's a method, with which you do what you can. or not, whatever. it's a much slower process for me than plain 'writin' the pome', what with collecting and then paring down. and it feels shaky because I'm not fully in command of the poem, if it even gets to the point of being one. bottom line is what's on the page, whatever one does. if your 1st worry point when you read is whether what you are reading looks like flarf, or language poetry, then you've flunked. sorry, we've got to be strict in these matters. I've already pointed to Rob Fitterman's lovely and elegiac This Window Makes Me Feel, a totally google-assisted affair. worries about flarf and language have gotten so internecine that if one could put on blinders and just stay focused on poem qua poem, a good service could be done. I guess even an asshole can write a good poem, anyway. down with gatekeepers! you probably don't even know who you are.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
this is Whimsy speaking. it occurs to me that I used to do something similar, with the journal I hand writ in the 90s: I kept track of whatever came over the transom. for me it would include rumination on New Yorker ads, with a sort of corallary of doing precise decriptions of scratch and sniff perfumes, asserting as best as I could what the olfactory bulb registered. also surveys of catalogues that flooded in was a natch for scribble scribble. plus stupid moveis, occasionally tv shows, the weathrer, oh yeah and books. I had mucho fun doing this, but I see it can be something of a service, as I read Jeffery's take on the modality. I've never seen BAP, and there's a chip on my shoulder saying (chirp chirp) that I don't care if I never, yet I think it is nifty that there's a receptor, not merely a satirist, on call for when the next Best presumes to appear. what if opinions weren't dramatic, for instance? or crucial, in a ductile way. what if opinions flickered into more chemical responses, or do I mean less chemical? the image I want to foster, is of taking the matter as it is, within human type limits, of course. rather than performing god duty, gatekeeper shit. as in here's what my receptors got, within their paltry human limits. misreading is kinda what we all do, that's the adventure. but misreading as a stupid ploy to self-generate, as a political ignorance: that sucks the berry bush. it's rough enough when someone doesn't grip what's on the page, but that's the challenge we all accept. it's the sweating the criminally inferred into a box beyond the page that brings the stink. unsurprisingly, I've wandered here, but I think I can at least acknowledge a reasonable process in the postings at Whimsy Speaks. I hope my own muddle brings a beam once in a while.
been having dental fun. a tooth broke after fillings (misspent youth) gave way. and the tooth couldn't be saved, so it was pulled last monday. and because of the mysteries of dry socket (dry soscket = pain), I've been back twice already, to inspire healing and be done with it. so okay, I have whinged: with pain you grow. anyway, when I was waiting the other day, an elderly womnan came in with her son. she talked loudly so getting swept in was unavoidable. she was nearly deaf so everything her son said had to be repeated. and her memory was porous, so his every question met with a cheerful, blithe even, I don't know. the son was not the usual one to deliver her places. a daughter, somehow unavailable, was the regular one to perform ferrying. he spent most of the time consulting his daytimer and asking her about her schedule, which consisted of upcoming medical visits, of which she had plenty. his mother asked about the rest of the family, and neighbours, happy to chat. the doctor appeared and she greeted him happily, introduced her son the replacement ferrying agent. all this is quite familiar to me. today another elderly woman was in. she was less frail. she was trying to schedule some dental work for her husband, who was in the car (I saw him as I entered). he had lots of doctor visits planned as well. she was concerned that the dental work that her husband needed would prove too much spread over 2 visits. while she was negotiating, in comes her husband. he used a cane, and wasn't too wobbly, but he was out of breath just from the trip from the car. he inquired where the bathroom was then told his wife that he left the car unlocked because he had to go to the bathroom in a hurry. I have no graceful synthesis to make of this. parents of special needs children have a way of finding each other. at least, when you are feeling down about the difficulties, you find someone who's had similar experiences. same goes for those who care for their parents. I remember once seeing a woman helping a much older woman along the sidewalk, I'll assume mother and daughter. the mother walked with difficulty. I think I was waiting for them to pass, not hurrying them at all. the daughter looked at me and smiled a smile of consummate patience. I could only think how often my emotion was embarassment or frustration or just plain weariness in similar circs. I know that's not cutting myself slack, but you see, it all is very hard, very very hard.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I have been reading Allen Ginsberg recently. I forget how good his good work can be. verymuch like Whitman in tht way, and in a few other ways as well. it's pretty amazing to think that Ginsberg was on the Merv Griffin show in the late 60s talking about the greenhouse effect. he states that he wants to illuminate humanity, and made a pretty good effort. in his best work, like Kaddish, Sumflower Sutra, Howl, America, his release is awesome. and it occurs to me he was about the same age as Whitman when the Good Grey wrote his best work. Ginsberg strips himself in a, well, generous way. it's not confessional, because he isn't trying to validate. it's his buddha side. in his lesser work, his insecurity takes over, and he's wishing to write a poem. he didn't really skill up in his technique. his poetry doesn't grow much after the 50s, or does anyone think so? I think his politics are the prime engine of his work, his politics and his buddha nature. it all gets messy because he was such a celebrity. one gets distracted by that stuff. back when he trimmed the beard and started wearing suits, a reporter asked what it was all about and Ginsberg answered, I'm in drag. that quote got twisted into, life's a drag. but it wasn't for him. he was an instigator, a Trickster. aside from those poems where he's firing on all cylinders, I find his journals to be his best work. most natural for him, I mean. because he not only instigates, he receives. I must've given away my City Lights editions when I got Collected but those pocket-sized books, less drossy, are the way to read him.