Saturday, May 05, 2007
I enjoy Kasey Mohammad's movie encapsulations, especially lately an apparent attempt to review the entire Hammer Films oeuvre. remember when these were on every saturday afternoon, and you chose to pass them by and watch or do something worthwhile instead? I haven't seen one of them in at least half a gazillion years but now I yearn. what these films offer, and a lot of films likewise, is how the movie experience as viewer's receive it is nothing like what the filmmakers intended. where the film is supposed to be terrifying, you're laughing, where it's supposed to be lovely, you're creeped out. author function, author function. you, as a viewer, feel a release in these movies, you're untethered. you're clearly part of the generative process. whereas in poetry, don't we feel constricted as we read? the tactics by which poets try to waylay the interpretative imperative, I mean all the processes of disengagement (from) that have arisen in the this 'modern' era, to release poetry into its own world and not some critical containment, these tactics are essential in the fight. a pall of complacency hangs over poetry. it's not just academic-sclerosis, the freezing of poetry into controlled intellectual dollops, it's also emotional-sclerosis, in which poetry is seen as an outlet for emotion, and other sclerotic events as well. whereas movies can bust a move on us, or we on them. I think Citizen Kane is the corniest movie around but even in that corniness there's some power or effect that's close to the door of transcendence. I don't know what to do about poetry except open myself up to weirdness and dismay. I mean that's the ticket, rather than remain guarded or controlled. so I take these Hammer film reviews by Kasey seriously, as visions of poetry unbound. go ahead and laugh.
Erin's birthday yesterday, the big One Eight. he was eleven when Beth and I married. seems like yesterday, yet so much has passed in our lives, the three of us. I guess I don't have the words right now to speak further. we will have a party for Erin next week. he goes to a Spring Formal tonight, homeschoolers en masse. yesterday, well, we made our way to Barnes & Noble, the default place to go. for some reason, I looked avidly at the leather bound journals. I used to think such were la-de-dah, and preferred to stick with spiral bound notebooks for my limning needs. Beth got me interested in using bound journals, which I do occasionally now. one's writing changes with milieu, so to speak. I noted that Alan Davies carried a small yellow lined notepad, which, personally, I would avoid for the pages being easily detachable. but that could be an advantage. do you have funny little ways? I hate taking pages out of a spiral notebook. like it matters. but someone asks, can I have a piece of paper and I'm holding a notebook, and I'm like, er. honestly. so those journals with the wrap around leather flap and the leather tie thing seem so cool. but in sooth such notebooks are no more handy than, so I gave the temptation a pass. B&N seems like a wise and knowing place, as you scan about. quite a large display, and handy, of books on poker, for example. finger on the cultural pulse. check out the eye-popping displays and you can see where we stand. a friend of mine long ago remarked about The Gong Show that it gave us a comprehensive view of ourselves. so it's poker, and how to cook Cajun, and pilates, etc. okay, I find this fascinating. I was quite tempted by a book on gladiators. I mean, that's the weird part of history. I saw a finely wrought book about a mountain climber who, a blurbist wrote, made the most elegant climb of Everest. I don't even fathom what that means. it was an expensively produced book aimed, I wot, at a particular audience. I'm fascinated by Everest but there's a point past which I don't want to go, armchair traveler-wise. the poetry section remains dull. I should be tempted by the David Shapiro selected but it was a hardback with that kind of pre-emptive brusqueness that larger poetry publishers inveigh upon their books. it's a dust-attracting quality that puts me off. what????? I mean the smell of poetry books at the library, where they moulder unread. this has nothing to do with Shapiro, who I've hardly read. and yet, maybe it does. maybe I want my poetry books to be crappy editions, that I can scribble in, that don't have 2" margins, that... okay, I'm raving. I saw a book by Harryette Mullen, who people hold in higher regard than I do, I guess. I find her work ordinary, which, I know, is harsh. every poetry book at B&N looks tired, or nearly so. UCal came out with a paperback edition of Berrigan's collected, which, honestly, looks more attractive to me than the luscious hardback. it's smaller, handier and just seems more right. that's sort of what I mean about the Shapiro. B&N has a lot of manga but displays them wretchedly. they only show the spines, which are crowded and hard to read, so it's difficult to see what's what. I hate how you had ought to buy all 10 of the series, for just $99.99. I did see one 'starring' Avril Lavigne, who is described as a 'rebel rocker'. I don't think so but you may disagree. Beth found the graphic novel version of 300. it just lacked the splendid ridiculousness of the movie. the bloodletting, and falling into space and Rupaul as Xerxes: all that is much more visceral and effective in the movie. anyway, Erin something D&D, Beth some gifts plus a book on religion and a Terry Pratchett that somehow she'd missed and me nuthin'. we ate out at the cheap Italian restaurant in town. this restaurant supplies the center of town with the exquisite smell of garlic, tho that garlic doesn't seem to show up in any dishes. the place is always packed. we arranged Happy Birthday to be sung by the waitresses when dessert came. drove around after dinner. headed dreictly towards the radiant orb. what, are you stepping westward? into the New England countryside. some horsy towns, some factory owns. I love New England's factories, set by rivers. most are no longer factories but condos or otherwise used. busy little towns. and for garden artistry, just plant daffodils. pests don't mess with daffodil, and they flourish. yesterday, it seems, the season popped. verdure starting in the trees, blossoms, and bonanza of bulbs a-bloom. tis fine. drove past the hospital where my grandmother died 30 years agone. I remember the nearby apple orchards blooming at the time. I remember, too, several trips to her place to deal with her effects. on one of these trips there was the young Paul Tsongas on the campaign trail. him and another person walking along the road, chatting up whoever would meet with them. and on the way back, there they were, still plodding on, coats off on a warm spring day. Congress, Senate, a feint at the presidency, now the Tsongas Center in Lowell, as memory. anyway, the scraggly and other virtues of apple trees make them my favourite. if I must choose. the Concord River, spread very wide, looked lovely in the gloaming. then home to the nuclear dog, cat and fish.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I take my role as Boston Poet Laureate seriously, which is why I peer so carefully into the mailbox for the free books. when I say seriously, I mean I know there will be poets coming after me, aiming to kill me so that they may take my laurel crown (which, free advice, you hadn't ought to wear to bed). so with that elegant preamble, it behooves me to note that there seems to be a recent photo of the young Elizabeth Browning on Nada Gordon's blog (the cover to Foreignn Bodie). she's also correct to cite Lanny Quarles as Laureate of Comment Boxes, comments from Mars in the bestest sense. I have Folly (Roof 2007), and it is lovely and varied and deserving of far more time than I can manage it or any reading now. I think Ive said this before, but the books by known flarfists that I've read are less easily definable (prone to cubby hole) than the critico-chattery crowd might think. and let me just advert Henry Gould's publishing project. admittedly I down't own all of his book, but I have bought some and recommend all. it's a blow against empire, the publishing claque. a topic the BPL can get growly about.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
in the interest of self interest, but then, any self-promotion on my part redounds to the office of Boston Poet Laureate, and thus to Poetry in general, here's one eprson who gets it. we didn't just have a beer together, he bought. certainly I should expect free books in recompense for my being Boston Poet Laureate, but Robert Graves notes in The White Goddess that the traditional stipend for a poet was sherry or sack. sounds good, but I will by no means turn my nose up at a rum and umbrella concoction, should that be what you wish to reward me with, or even a foofy whipcreamy thing from Starbucks. not forgetting the free books. anyway, David's blog is a fun read. aside from his basebally one, he has a quirkier one: Werner Herz blog.
as Boston Poet Laureate I went to the cast party for the Shakespeare productions by our homeschool cooperative. to be honest, I went incognito. can't always be attracting hordes of people who want to meet the BPL, you know, the scene phonies, foets, ambitious power couples of poetry and the like. we showed up as the final production wound down, then helped clean the place up for its normal usage. the cast party happened in a house in the hinterlands. everyone was supplied with Google-inspired directions. about a mile down the road we saw a road that wasn't where Google believed it should be. staunchly, we followed Google's advice. we all know that Google and Mapquest make up street names and distances, and the whole online map industry has been arranged to a fare-thee-well by the big oil cartels. thus we seemed to be getting lost. so we're feeling a desperate, pay-at-the-pump lostness, when lo, up ahead, a bunch of cars parked by the road. we'd found companions in our quest. it added up to 8 cars gathered at the spot. a leadership type was on the phone, and also had the advice of an off duty policeman who'd happened by. steeled by clearer information, and the knowledge that we probably wouldn't need to eat our dead, the convoy moved on. rather humourously, we soon passed the former site of the homeschool cooperative. which, you know, could have been used as a landmark. it was just a few miles and 2 turns from there. the party consisted of just about 100 people. there was a piano, an organ and a drum set that were played most of the night, and a centrally-located pool table that maintained a crowd of avid players. the noise level, I'm trying to say, was considerable. I did speak with Juliet, the one I saw perform, because she noted in the scorecard that she does morris dancing. her voice is high and soft such that it seems inadequate for stagework but she manages to project and enunciate onstage. very talented. eventually we left for home, and found it, no prob.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
like Napoleon snatching the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, I rather precipitously grabbed the mantle of Boston Poet Laureate. I mean I'm like, what should a poet laureate of anywhere do, and more specifically the Boston one? worth a few thinks. I'm pretty sure I should get lots of free books, poetry ones, I suppose, tho I'm open to most anything. and I guess I'll promote poetry or whatever. I mean hey, poetry's great!!! anyway, if you got any ideas what I, as your Boston Poet Laureate, should do, in terms of being Boston Poet Laureate and all, send them to me, along with the free books, of course. I'm here to serve.