Saturday, May 01, 2010

Bill Knott Don’t Like Bloglaureates

Bill Knott posted the following in a comment on my previous post. I bring it forward here because he brings up points that I did not, plus he sounds a cranky note that I can only aspire to. Join me, fellow cranks!

the "blog poets" they nominate are alike in one way: they don't publish their poetry on their blogs or the web—

unlike them, I post/have posted ALL my poetry online for free open access and download . . .

which it seems makes me ineligible for any blogpo laureating—

surely to be the po-laur of the blogosphere, you should actually publish your poems there?

all or most of those laurpo nominees use their blogs chiefly to publicize and sell their deadtree books—

seriously: how can any deadtree poet be the laureatepo of the blogworld?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, rebate

Ron Silliman’s last minute electioneering for Sine Queyras as PL of the B was my 1st notice of this election/gameshow. Yes, I knew votes were gathered in previous years for such contest, but I thought you were supposed to regard it as a trivial internet meme and pass on to the next shiny object to come along. What this thing contains, this vote and contest, seems not just lacking in content, the notion of such playground play seems antagonistic to the value one might find in poetry. SO SAY I.

The winners of this untelevised event are Sine Queyras and Robert Lee Brewer. RLB is a Facebook friend who I know little about—this condition is probably mutual, but that is an assumption—and Sine Queyras is not a Facebook friend, who I know little about. My inability to keep up explains my ignorance of these writers. I have no prob with them and what I write here should not reflect critically on them.

But isn’t this election perfectly silly?

I mean, I feel stupid knocking it, it seems so lame to speak of. The concept of the blogosphere, by which I infer an interconnected and communicating machine of practicing poets and/or writers of such, strikes me as archaic. That dash of connectivity has dissipated.  2003 turned into 2010. I guess that memo has been delayed.

Poet Laureates were always established as part of a drinking game, so in that sense this contest works fine. Unfortunately, the mechanics of interest do not engage the depths of possibility. I know a dumbhead rule exists, that previous winners cannot win again. Which only means dilution: those winners are removed from the mix. Again, I have not read these blogs or much by way of these writers, I am just looking at the sitch.

Rae Armantrout, Sine Queyras, and Robert Lee Brewer are each single writing entities. So am I. So are everyone on Silliman’s thorough list. The evocation of hierarchy within this realm of Parnassian cloud is abject muck.

I believe Poetry has importance in itself, as the mode of transit in language. Blogosphereian Poet Laureateship is STONES IN THE PASSWAY. Come back when you have worked that out.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sixth Sense

Watched Sixth Sense today. I like M Night Shyamalan’s Signs and am willing to pursue other of his films. I do not know how I managed to miss this one, tho I do flinch when Bruce Willis is mentioned. Smart ass Hollywood Republicans give me dyspepsia. I should get over it but his insouciant smirk irritates me. Also: he mumbles.

The movie featured a lot of atmosphere, the music signaling ominously. It took me a while to get into it. Starting in media res, the movie leaves one puzzling. The bit with the failed client of Willis (Donny Wahlberg overacting, if you ask me) startles in a quizzical way. Whoa! Then Willis gets shot! Fade to months ahead.

The very first scene, when Willis’ wife seems to react to something in the basement, is a mystery that remains explained till the end. Negative Capability calling. The movie does not really begin till after the shooting, when Willis meets Haley Joel Osment.

I am amazed by films in which the child actor carries the burden. HJO did the heavy lifting while Willis floated around him. Scenes end with soft fades. Not to say that Willis wasn’t good. That floating was appropriate, as we learn.

The pacing seemed oddly laconic, despite the suspensefulness. We are aware that ghosts are about before anyone except HJO. When we actually see the ghosts, they are ordinary, tho wounded (literally). The spooks are underplayed.

The movie resonates with the hypersensitive boy who does not fit in with other children. Willis shuffles thru the story, feeling distant from his wife. The story reaches a seeming crescendo when Willis discovers what the ghosts want. He listens to tapes of the patient who shot him, and realizes that he suffered what HJO suffers: visitations of the dead. Well, I swan to John!

Willis urges HJO to fight his fear and listen to the ghosts. This brings HJO to the funeral of a girl. The girl as ghost gives the boy a VCR tape. VCRs used to be the only way people could entertain themselves. HJO delivers the tape to the girl’s father. The tape reveals that the girl’s stepmother was poisoning her.

And there is the crux. The ghosts seek help. Movie over. Except…

I was unprepared for the real ending. Willis goes home to his wife. He talks to her. During this, she drops his wedding ring. He hasn’t been wearing it! He realizes that he did not survive the shooting. He remained here to help the boy and make amends for the patient that he lost.

This sent the mind back to earlier scenes where Willis appeared but never interacted with anyone but HJO. I want to see the movie again with that in mind. It brings to mind the movie Ghosts, but much less smarmy. More compelling, it also reminds me of Turn of the Screw. Sixth Sense is less mysterious but the hypersensitive child is consistent.

The gotcha at the end, when Willis realizes that he is a ghost, really hangs with me. The movie’s sadness is unrelenting but Shyamalan handles it well, with sensitivity. I mean, Ghost ends with a malarkey note while SS seems to comprehend something human. Haley Jo Osment was terrific and Willis was not a complete dick.