Saturday, April 21, 2007

Day 2, Anime Boston. this time Beth joined us. Erin rushed in to see the Anime Music Awards, in which people cut up anime, add music and make their own cinematic event. Beth and I didn't really do much, walked round, drank coffee, and watched people. it's a funny invasion as it occurs in the hotel and the mall as well as the conference centre. in real life, that is. mother may not know that some of these costumes are being worn publicly. the rules slide too. seeing guys without shirts at the food court is sort of edgy in its way. and a couple going barefoot. one more or less bikini-clad female wore nose cone bra. and much weaponry was lugged about. that part makes me leery. not to go all sociological. these ridiculous weapons of vanquishment seem to fulfill something not wholly integrated or read critically. but I'm an old fart so take these statements with that in mind. from a practical standpoint, I'd not want to carry a weapon, even the smaller ones, around with me all day. as you can see from the few pictures I took, people were willing to go lengths for a great effect, comfort and practicality be damned. that royal personage below, that meant some self-sacrifice, I wot. saw him and his train thru out the con, highly visible and centre of attentiony. I did ask one person if I could take a picture. she had just posed for someone and I asked her to maintain it. attitude + attitude. surely all practice their poses before a mirror. the best picture I didn't get to take was of an angel taking the escalator down. I got bumped by the wings of another angel, which were being carried by a maternal unit. a presumably younger child sported an enormous cartoonish head of some character. the anonymity I think allowed the child to flourish (when I say child, I'm guessing 12 or so, judging only by height). waving to people and interacting without speaking. this character ran over to another anonymous one, the 2nd one being what looked to be an asparagus stalk, and using broad gestures communicated a little improv skit. I also saw a guy in character see someone in another group dressed as a character from the same anime from which he came. he loudly and dramatically confronted her about how she ruined his life and a number of other plot points. one of her friends said, the romance would never have worked, she's a lesbian. at which she kicked at him violently, almost to make me think offended. so you see the social context of this. the worst part of it all was the game room. endlessly churning loud music, and the embrace of testosterone. to my uncritical eye the games all look the same, flashing and jumping and exploding. my god, we've taken basic hunter/gatherer instincts, removed them from the football field and placed them in comfy chairs. there was cosplay ballroom dancing on view. funny to see all these characters, with their weapons, in courtly pairs. I guess I should just leave it at that. I got several manga, including Romeo and Juliet. updated to modern Tokyo, yakuza and all that. Erin performs in the very play tonight, part of our homeschool cooperative's production. Tybalt is a role that Erin savours because 1) swordplay; 2) few lines; 3)deathscene. the image of Tybalt in the manga presents this slender shirtless modern samurai with tattoo on his shoulder. and so it goes.

, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

bonjour M. Godzilla

bonjour M. Godzilla, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

, originally uploaded by allen_bramhall.

day one of Anime Boston yesterday. Erin and I were joined by his friend Dan. at Alewife Station had my 1st experience of the new Charlie system. named for the song by ach I forget the same of the old folk group, about a guy who gets lost in the Boston subway. should mench that yesterday was the 1st sunny and dry day for a week or more. the new system entails buying tickets from machines. I tried and it didn't work. because of the system's newness, a T employee is assigned to explain. she said that that bank of machines doesn't always take credit cards. I moved to the other side. at which point Dan noticed that I was inserting my card upside down. when I did things right, I got my ticket. one step closer to the Jetsons. a group of young women were obviously heading towards the convention. one wore a deep green (green is the new green this year) gown, perhaps Japanese inspired. another looked Carnaby St with a short skirt, black and green striped tights and a kicky short hairstyle. there was also a guy in mini skirt and long blonde wig. he looked cold. in the sun, springtime, but without, not quite. Erin and Dan conversed with several people who were convention bound. one had been to all five of the events, which has grown steadily. Erin had pre-registered him and me months ago but Dan hadn't. we had to separate into different lines. literally lines, tape in the pattern of an oxen-ploughed field (the way the ancient Greeks read back and forth). took about 30 minutes to get thru. for my name tag I said I wanted the words Simple Theory, title of my 1st book and a phrase I like. what came out, omigosh, was Simple Fairy. which works well enough in the circs, I wot. Dan got to wait for more than an hour to get his tag. Erin and I had a quick lunch then stayed with Dan. the convention gall is contiguous and attached to a hotel and a mall, so the dress up of the convention goers was public indeed. I had my camera but didn't take a lot of pix of the dress up, called cosplay. I don't like posed shots, and feel funny surreptitiously clicking. people do ask to take pictures, at which most of the people enact well-practiced poses. it's cute, really. Dan and Erin went off on their own so gramps was able to wander. after a circuit, I went to the manga reading room. it was a ballroom in which a library of graphic novels were loaned out. this was an oddly satisfying pleasure. it was quiet, for one. and just winding yourself around an adventure seemed delicious. there were a few bean bag chairs, one of which I cornered, or you could lay on the floor or sit at a table. I read a decent scifi. according to plan, Erin forgot his cellphone. I periodically went parental and checked in on them via Dan's phone. a beautiful courtyard that I spent considerable time in last year was unavailable to the public as yet. I talked on the phone with Beth outside the foodcourt, doing my best to get pictures of the pigeons who thought that I was a pigeon, e'en tho I had no food with me. we met briefly for some food intake mid afternoon. I read another manga, watched an anime, wandered. when I connected with the boys again, I found that Erin had bought himself a pair of cat's ears and tail, which he wore. frabjous day, all around. no doubt details will assert themselves eventually.

Friday, April 20, 2007

not a poetry weekend this time around, it is Anime Boston. Erin and I go in with a friend of his today, I don't know what else the ensuing days. camera, iPod, notebook: not so much that I'll get bored but that all this is around and about. I'll want to transmute, and a bit I'll want to chill. Erin will be in, and all around. must remember cell phone, too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Real Life, Inc.

Beth and I were leaving the medical building over to the hospital and saw before us a car on the walkway up to the door. the car had to have driven up an unpaved embankment, an oddity. as we came close, a woman on the passenger side spoke to us. she wanted to know if this was the right entrance. I tried to explain that the proper entrance was below on the other side of the building, where there's a drive up entrance. she said that her husband had rushed off to the bathroom, he had a colostomy. he was 85. herself, she was there for tests. she has cancer. she started to get upset. why did he drive up the embankment, she asked. she needed a wheelchair to get about. this was the 3rd time the cancer had appeared. Beth calmed her by saying lymphoma can be beaten. the woman responded to the sympathy. we determined that I should fetch a wheelchair and the woman could get to the lower level via elevator. as I rushed off, I met the man coming back. I'd held the door for him when we were leaving. he'd found out where he was supposed to go. so they would drive down to the proper entrance. he was concerned about getting down the embankment, as there wasn't a lot of turn space and he was afraid he'd hit something. Beth and I coached him back and into the sharp turn so that he could drive down. as he was doing this a nurse rushed up to say that the particular lab may not be open and that they should go across the street to another building. a bit after that another nurse had something stupid to say to Beth to which Beth politely answered go away. it was all just heartless squawking for two overwhelmed and worried people. luckily Beth and I were able to help. I mean, better us than someone saying you can't park there. the relief they felt was palpable if perhaps only short-lived. when they finally drove off I had a burst of tears. imagine how scary their lives are. when you think of Western medicine, does sympathy or empathy come to mind? of course not. it's a machine that performs these medicinal services. assuming these services are efficacious--and it's a real debate how efficacious chemo, for instance, is--to what degree does the medical profession serve the emotional needs of the patient, and of the patient's loved ones? it's not just that you go thru these stressful procedures like chemo (the woman lamented that she'd be losing her hair again), but that you do so in such a heartless (that word again) environment. however nice drs, nurses and tech folk might be, you are still just one more item in a healthcare assembly line (let's don't even get into the matter of insurance). that couple was so defenseless. you wish there were children to help them in their need. now I have to bring this to writing and poetry. because you can think of writing, or art generally, as a luxury. in a world of these sadnesses, what does a POEM do? the simple answer is that it does what it can. we can honour a poem for being a thing, a human made thing, that reacquaints us with language's intensity. poems, and the their language, are relievingly real in that sense. we can see words presented as important virtues between and within us. isn't it tiresome to the point of something terribly worse to hear worry about ambitious poets, foetry, scene phonies, and all such minor human frailties? a view of poetry as something so gruel-like and dim, a joust of unevaluated responses. demeaning arguments of envy and powerless invective are just the lazy stink of poetry held too close to our natural weakness, without comprehension of the limits involved. part of me writes poems to be famous, to be loved, to be respected, to say something: of course I'm not perfect. I honour most, however, that part of me that doesn't hold those aspects so tightly, that finds a poem (mine or someone's), and respects its moment. simply so.

Monday, April 16, 2007

in the interest of offering resource beyond my sterling opinion, the site Andrea Brady mentioned (lots of British authors) is Archive of the Now, not of the Unknown, as I misremembered it (Archive of the Unknown sounds like a Dead Can Dance song). further, Brady read this piece at the reading. this version includes notes.
I'm so excited that Days Poem is alive. during its composition, I didn't know if it would end. when it did, I didn't see a hopeful situation for getting its 800+ ms pages published. both Jack Kimball and Lewis Lacook published small portions at their respective online enterprises, and I periodically sent bits to the Wryting list. I pretty much sat on it otherwise. I would bring it up occasionally, more to remind myself of the accomplishment than to "sell' it. the hat is off to Eileen for being open to a work that in its 2 volume published form registers nearly 1000 pages. that says commitment. I shouldn't harp on its size because I think the poem dances lightly despite its bulk. it pleases me that Erin performed the cover design. and at a key point when techno help was needed, Shanna Compton cheerfully supplied it. so a hat off each to Erin and Shanna. I hope those who read it enjoy it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


A Two-Volume Poetry Collection by Allen Bramhall:

494 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9709-1798-0
Price: $28.00

441 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9709-1799-7
Price: $28.00

Meritage Press ( is delighted to announce a PRE-RELEASE SPECIAL OFFER for a unique and ambitious two-volume collection by Allen Bramhall: DAYS POEM. Mr. Bramhall describes his project with:

"Begun casually, the writing of Days Poem quickly grew into a daily necessity to write, even to plug onward. In this way, it resembles a journal or novel, tho it claims neither genre as its own. It started with an idea of writing large and embracing extent. It settled (and unsettled) itself within the compelling philosophical argument that it is what it is. The thrill of relentlessness and perseverance pushed it until, you know, it came to an end. As the writer of these pages, I wanted to play with hobos, and bears, and Tarzan & Jane, and Walden Pond, and all the words in between. I wanted a little amazement in every day."

BIO: Allen Bramhall was born by the banks of the Concord River in 1952 and has lived in Massachusetts ever since. He was educated at Franconia College and Lesley University, and in non-academic places as well. / Simple Theory / (Potes & Poets Press) was his first book. He maintains a blog called Tributary, and a life with Beth and Erin.

To celebrate the release of Days Poem, Meritage Press is pleased to offer the following PRE-RELEASE OFFER:

To order a single volume, a 20% discount and free shipping/handling (about a $3.00 value) for a single-volume price of $22.40

To order both volumes, a 25% discount and free shipping handling for a 2-volume price of $42.00

This offer will be good through May 31, 2007...and is expected to be the least expensive rate for purchasing the book(s). Please send checks made out to "Meritage Press" and mail to

Eileen Tabios
Meritage Press
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Rd.
St. Helena, CA 94574

This offer is good throughout the United States; Meritage Press will take international orders but will have to adjust shipping/handling costs. If you wish to place an international order, or have any other queries, please email

Beyond the expiry of this PRE-RELEASE OFFER, Days Poem will be available through the publisher (email or you can order through Meritage Press' Lulu account at:

Days Poem, Vol 1:

Days Poem, Vol 2:

went to a poetry reading of Jordan Davis and William Corbett this evening at the Plough and Stars. the reading occurred sans Jordan Davis, who apparently got rained out, presumably like our Red Sox. I smell controversy: this is the 2nd flarf poet this year who failed to show at the last minute. at least I've seen Jordan read 3 times before. Corbett I saw at Olson Now last may, where he was emcee. anyway, I gather the weather elsewhere is as advertised. hereabouts it is still merely intimation of Weather Channel excitement. Corbett mentioned seeing Jim Cantoro of TWC sending in a report from Gloucester, Cantoro being a harbinger of meteorological mayhem. Sean Cole was in the house with headset and microphone, absorbing the sounds for WBUR. Corbett began by reading "Toast" from Jordan Davis' Million Poems (Faux Press), a longish New Yorkish poem. he followed that with a Lowell poem and one by Wieners. the Lowell poem was surprisingly effective. I say surprising because I've never really enjoyed (cottoned to) Lowell. but with Corbett's reading, I got a nice feel for Lowell's writerliness, that he (Lowell) strove with his work, wrangled with and rewrote it. Corbett read everything with an easy almost glib freshness that was easy to take. I hardly heard the Wieners poem because I got to thinking of a wonderful one that my friend Michael read to me, from an I believe out of print Wieners book. that poem was a letter from Gerald Ford to Wieners, which was hilarious and also seemed to be a canny extension of Spicer/Lorca. Corbett spoke of having Del Ray Cross in one of his classes. Cross, according to Corbett, would go to the MIT library and read everything, as if everyone did that. I like that innocent sense of finding his own way. Corbett's own poems were brisk and discursive. shall I mention who I recognized in the audience? Michael Franco, Mike County, Michael Carr and Joe Torra. I don't have a scorecard so I might have missed some. Corbett mentioned the gruesome fact of 600 copies of James Schuyler's letters, that Corbett edited, being pulped. those letters are terrific so it's sad that they found no home. I m earnest to get to more readings than I have. poetry does happen in this city, it's not all in New York.
found 2 reports on CR readings at other venues, here and here. different, useful views. the 2nd one, by Julia (dunno her), is interesting because she actually gets what's going on, yet feels confused and resistant natheless. I mean, she acknowledges certain pleasures but allows her dismay of confusion (cue Negative Capability) to taint the experience. I often have that same dismay, but have learned to say it's okay. anyway, you're not supposed to like everything, but you can accept the potential validity of different means.
consulting my notes for the reading friday but I don't take many being as the choice is take notes or listen to the poets. 1st, my Bark Books = Barque Press, run by Brady and Sutherland. note that Quid, published by Barque, can be read in pdf, older issues leastwise. Sutherland, in his introduction, referred to "tumescent invading China". he also used the phrase "romantic gargling". Brady mentioned a website that she has called Archive of the Unknown, but I can't find it. the reason for this may be that 1) I mistranscribed the name, 2) she wasn't talking about an online site, 3) whatever. Chris Good was the missing poet. I wanted to ask Manson if his reading of Good's poem replicated Good's style but when the opportunity arose I determined it was a vapid question and shied from an encounter. I don't think his language is excessively slangy or ensconced in dialect but I did flash on Burns and Clare (when is English not English?). Brady and Sutherland are clearly academics, a term I use here descriptively not judgmentally, whereas Manson is much less so. a stout and stocky fellow, balding, he wore a black t-shirt with a Chinese character on it and was pretty unprepossessing until he began reading. a cheerfully inquisitive Brit (I am aware that this distinction of their foreignness that I make sounds like I'm about to intone a phrase like nappy-headed), taking another 5 minutes to ask a question, noted Manson's more direct approach than Sutherland, to which Manson replied: "don't under-estimate the obscurity of my writing". Manson and Sutherland were placed in the same Venn circle on the diagram that came with the Chicago Review, a circle that they shared with J H Prynne. I don't recall how that circle was designated. Brady was left out of the diagram. not the only worthy who missed the cut.