Tuesday, June 02, 2015

New Books by Eileen Tabios

I Forgot Light Burns (Moria Books)

Against Misanthropy (BlazeVOX[books]

Two new books by Eileen Tabios. One is a collection of poetry, the other a collection of interviews with and statements by Eileen. I think Eileen makes little distinction between the genres, and first name basis seems the only basis with her.

I Forgot Light Burns is the poetry collection. Eileen used a poetry generator to create this work. The generator randomly selects material from a database of 1146 lines. Each block of text begins with the words I forgot. Pages consist of one to many such blocks. Each block could be considered a sentence, simple or complex. In the first section the blocks end sans period, elsewhere with an em-dash (my favourite punctuation mark!). You could consider each block a poem, or each page, or each titled section, or the whole book. The door is kept open that way.

So there we are.

The first section (of three, not counting afterword) bears the title “I Forgot the Flamenco Red”. Inspired by if not an ode to red toilet paper that Eileen managed to discover in Spain and is pictured on the book cover. The lines here generated all begin with “I forgot Red”. Here are some random selections:

I forgot Red for the slithering snake freezing to S in Espana [from this I see this weird ass tp pulled sinuously from the roll]

I forgot Red of black heels stamping concrete

I forgot Red of Guernica

I forgot Red as the roses sacrificed to the spiders by the winemaker

This section strikes me as more thematic than the other two.

Many lines carry a sad, surreal quality. There’s an intimacy in these lines:

I forgot a child crayon to form a heart—

I forgot instructing saliva to wait—

I forgot minarets growing within muddy pools—

A few lines seem directed, as if the author were trying to say something. These satisfy me less than the oracular ones that seem to arrive from who knows where. I should add that within the context of random origination—math types always say there is no such thing as random, don’t they?—the compelling voice would want to speak as well.

Against Misanthropy (subtitle A Life in Poetry) is, as I did mench, interviews and statements. Eileen is much thoughtful on the process of writing. Writing seems too delimiting a term to enclose the artistic, political, cultural, aesthetic, and humanistic concerns of this author. This book offers an engaging sampling of her thoughts and concerns. Eileen Tabios engages and supports poetry with unusual zest. That zest shows in every page of this book.

I was about to get wordy but the three words I just used, engages, supports, and zest pretty well map the territory. Lively statements and lively replies about poetry, people, and world. Do drop in.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Finally saw this second Avengers movie. It was okay. I’m not really keyed into the grand intertwining of story lines. That’s Marvel’s contribution to comics. I didn’t savour the lengthy plot lines when I was 13, and haven’t changed much on that. But anyway.

We got to the theatre early enough to sit thru ads for tv shows. Sorry, not about to watch. The theatre, by the bye, has undergone a redo, to the degree of electrically-powered lounge seats and room for my legs. Wowzer!

In the previews, there’s a movie about a boxer. Rocky redux. To keep custody of his daughter he has to beat the champ. Okay chumps, buy that one again. Old never gets old.

Looking for something else to buy again? Try more Terminator. I never saw the previous, altho of course I have absorbed them all thru cultural osmosis. Arnold’s back. It looks like the same old shit, albeit with shiny new graphics. And while I cannot abide Arnold, his acknowledged status as a cultural thing works well in the two minutes that I saw. Jurassic Park has also received a reshine.

Adam Sandler sits in the middle of a movie in which aliens invade Earth using video game characters such as Donkey Kong and Pac-man. Sort of almost nearly kind of a cute idea but Adam Sandler, the God of Stupid. The Fantastic Four return, also redux. Yeah, I slept thru the last 90 minutes of the earlier attempt. I have to say that I never particularly cared for FF in its comic book evocation.

Ant-Man also hits the screen. I never read Ant-Man. What up with Marvel’s predilection for hyphens? This looked more okay. Paul Rudd seems a funny cast selection, but he does have a bead on comedy, which these stupid movies need.

Anywho, the movie for which good money paid finally arrived on the screen. Popcorn was by then gone.

I was plot-confused the whole way thru. It’s me, Erin claimed that he followed it (them). I don’t even want to recount that which I got. Doesn’t seem to matter.

The plus of this feast is the cast. Robert Downey, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansen, and Chris Hemsworth all snap off crisp banter with charm. Joss Whedon writes crisp banter. Plot, ugh.

We had to get sad because the poncy English AI voice of Tony Stark’s computer system is, er, killed by Ultron. Ultron is voiced by James Spader, a pretty good escapade. I recognized the voice but couldn’t put his name to it. Spader lounges back in the character like an old hammock, if that simile isn’t too much to digest.

CGI still sucks. I think you are supposed to smoke a few joints and then say Whoa!. Look, the greatest movie ever is Monty Python and the Holy Grail—budget three quid—which just let you enter the process and say those men pretending to be on horseback really are. Those blurs on the screen in The Avengers just look like blurs on the screen. And Physics is just a suggestion, not a set of qualities by which we are ruled.

The action scenes are splat. Ridiculous movements all over the screen. Physics should be ashamed of itself for allowing this free for all.

Captain America the character and Chris Evans the actor are surprisingly appealing. I like Cap’s earnestness. He seemed more of a dick in the comics that I read (in the day). Not a dick, really, but just standard superhero.

After a rough superheroing day, the crew betake themselves to the unexpected farm in the middle of nowhere whereat Hawkeye stows wife and fam. I mean please.

Stupid got the game ball with Ultron’s attempt to wipe out humanity. He lifts an entire town with I dunno secreted underground. The idea being that it would drop onto the earth with force enough to wipe out humanity. In the last X-Men that I saw, Magneto lifts a ballpark, and that seemed tuned to idiocy enough, but Ultron trumps. From this disaster and the attack of Ultron’s robotic minions, three gazillion and seventeen nobodies die. Ho hum.

Almost nobody gets hurt amongst the favoured heroes, no matter what befalls, not counting that three gazillion and seventeen. There’s an endless scene in which Iron Man tries to subdue The Hulk. More means nothing, they clash and clash until it’s time to stop. The more that finally beat Hulk is the same more that earlier did not.

This is America in action. Why think when thoughtlessness will fill the bill? Do we understand revenge, at all? It looks like the stupidest intolerance of all. The Old Testament hails the calm satisfaction of us and them. So too The Avengers.