Saturday, January 12, 2008

there's an industrial machine called Jukka-Pekka Kervinen who creates a lot (roughly Mucho to the 7th) of digital work that doesn't keep to boundaries all too well. in addition, he makes the work of other artists available in various publishing ways. to wit, Forward/Text. this is a culling of the Wryting-L list. it shames me that I haven't made note of this earlier. Sheila Murphy, John M Bennett, Lanny Quarles, me... etc...
Jack Kimball encourages a critical eye towards the blogs here. it is good to remember that blogging is a public enterprise. and we're all in this together, in some way. taking Jack's points:

1) obits. if you haven't written about the deceased previously, then I'm not interested now. obituaries are bad writing, almost by you definition. haven't you ever noticed?

2) youtube. I don't even follow Youtube links unless a compelling case is made. I can do my own time-wasters there, if that's all it is about.

3) snaps of infants and pets. I kind of get the sense of Facebooky sharing that must inspire these offerings, and indeed my quadrapedic friends have appeared here. maybe they should remain in the wallet, unless they have the gumption of (some sort of) weirdness.

4) reminiscences. memory as authority, good point. I like when memory springs to the instant, the tangled thing brought to light once more, so I don't mind letting these things appear even here. for me, at least, that's the opposite of authority, it's the spectacularly random invoking some radical of process. as in, why this now?

I don't mean to make rules, but for sure a causal sense of the blog you write should be endemic to the process. Jack's periodic critiques of blogging are good reminders of the larger enterprise. that the solo-est of bloggers still commits to a greater world. if this anthology is to continue to fly, an awareness needs to remain, of the intersections and rebounds, conversations and interruptions, and variously charged particles...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Eileen Tabios is willing to review wines, to which I add: hey! send me a bottle, too!!! seriously, tho, I worked a long time for a wine store and can honestly say that tasting wines in a formal way enhanced my critical faculty. when I began there, I was in my early 20s with no interest in wine. bottles were always open for sampling in the tasting room (with sinks, mind you: we all spat what we sampled), and I took the opportunity. in formally tasting wines, one methodically assesses colour, aroma, and (finally) taste. I like the idea of this methodical approach. it is a way of staying on topic. Pound's ABCs of Reading similarly offered procedures of assessment, based on one's actual experience of the work. blind tastings are often great levelers of the playing field. lacking the bolstering effect of a wine's reputation, one must rely on one's senses. which is as it should be. I came to respect the critical process. customers would ask about wines and even ask, quite frequently, for recommendations. I learned to speak of each wine as accurately as possible, bringing forth the wine's qualities, not my taste. the Boolean like/dislike function is pretty boring, after all. the excitement of a poem is not simply a tripping of the I like sensor in my brain, but the experience of its whatness, if I can use such a Heideggerian sort of term. I have what I think is a reasonable resistance to Robert Bly's poetry. to speak of the clunky way he fakes his way thru a poem is not quite a pleasure, but it is still a poetic experience in which I (the Reader) enter language's potentialities. he doesn't write what I consider good poems, but his so called bad ones demarcate, in their way, what I do like. in the wine store, I found that each wine had a raison d'etre. someone could be found to like any wine, and what's wrong about that? I definitely had my preferences, and I certainly wouldn't spend the asking price for a great many wines, but I reached a point where I respected every wine for their specific qualities. the lacuna evident in (or not in...?) crummy poems expresses something dynamic even as I, maybe, figuratively fling the book aside. of course we all have our taste, which is to say our boundaries. to leave our taste in the uncomplex world of like/dislike is lazy and unfulfilling. the idea that any poem is all bad or all good is also pretty weak. the yes/no world is flat and prosy. the poetic world is an utter engagement of all salients and dimensions of language, even if it ruffles your truculent feathers.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tom Beckett dips into the new book by Jean Vengua, Prau, here. he apologizes for being fragmentary, but I think that the fragmentary approach is genuine, consistent with how we read. it is interesting to see the process of reception, rather than just the resolution of a formal essay. with time, the formal essay is the right thing, an exercise in pulling the pieces together, but a new book deserves to the darting interest of the first excited reading. to read poems is a constant revelation not a culminated static state. what bounces off Tom's receptors is by definition of interest. and Jean Vengua is a poet whose work I wish to read. I look forward to reading Prau, and Tom's ongoing divagations.