I am temporarily parking archived blog posts here while I redesign my site and change servers. For current content, please visit blog.shannacompton.com.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Top keyword searches...

always interesting.

blog nymphomaniac ny

erotic blinfolded

seagulls acrobatic gymnastics

essays that are for fourth graders that are going on right now in 2004

church poems and readings

the new jordan shoes that come out january 10

i still love katey nicosia

Friday, January 30, 2004

While away the hours...

hitting "refresh" on Tonio's ravishingly ravenish new blog. I just did it like a hundred times. What a delightful feature! Oh, and the poems!

Look what the mailman brought me...

Deer Head Nation at last, plus Drawn & Quartered by Creeley & Rand, and Toner by Ron Silliman.

Currently reading Crystallography by Christian Bok. Dazzled by facets such as "The word at the end of this sentence is meaningless."


ombré silverbirches



harlequin hailstorm

All of "Geodes" section is brilliant, hushed, a handbell choir--remote from the verbal static and pops of Eunoia. Distant rhythmic drips echoed through cavern, where Eunoia is energetic and almost explosive, dropped flatware, crashed cars sputtering to halt.

Oh, and my Karaoke + Poetry = Fun t-shirt came yesterday, designed by Charlie Orr. So next time I get drunk and sing country, I can do it in style. Yeehaw.

Now available...

click on the Down Spooky cover in the right sidebar to see my fancy new order page with generous, nepotistic blurbs from Daniel and Danielle, used without their permission. $3.00 for 20 poems--just 15 cents a piece.

Trades are also more than welcome. Email me if you wanna swap something.

If you donated titles--thanks again! Collaborator copies will go out next week.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Men talking to houseplants...

Also purchased The Charge by Patrick Donnelly. Some poems from it here and here.

His poem to his variegated begonia reminded me, superficially, of Ted Roethke's poem to his geranium. I thought Roethke's the much crankier poem, till I looked again. "The things she endured! / The dumb dames shrieking half the night / Or the two of us, alone, both seedy, / Me breathing booze at her...."

Donnelly's a direct address (he said, after Koch's): "...I who / left you in a dish of water for weeks at a time, / who couldn't live my life to suit a plant goddammit...."

At least they didn't yell "bitch" at their houseplants.

I feel really guilty about that.

WARNING: May cause electrocution of cat, loss of life's work, or worse

Now that it's over, I can talk about it.

Saturday afternoon when I was out getting paper and running errands, my beloved snaggle-toothed cat Marvin upset a glass of water on my desk. He has a habit of drinking out of my glasses. Only mine. In fact, he refuses to drink out of a bowl. He has his own glass next to his dish in the kitchen. But he prefers mine.

When I came home, I found iBook sitting in shallow puddle. Lettera 22 was splashed, but unrusted. Several notebooks dampened, but salvagable. Quickly dried and toweled and otherwise neatened mess.

iBook, which contains not only my manuscripts but several of those belonging to Soft Skull authors in various states of completion, was kaput. Pressed power key. Nothing doing.

Dissolved into sobs.


Got out a blow dryer (never used for actually drying hair). Took battery out and unplugged iBook. Opened disc tray and lifted keypad. Gently blew and swiped and waved the dryer at things--low setting. No water actually seen inside anywhere. Computer thankfully closed when accident happened. Found one droplet near headphone jack that turned out to be stray tear.

No use.

Cried some more. Panicked again. Went to dinner with Dan & Maisie, then trudged uptown to the abode of the infamous Mr. Kelly for racous taste of oblivion. Forgot problem.

Sunday morning attempted again. After wincing and moaning. Closed eyes. Couldn't look. Clasped hands in attitude of prayer.

Miracle! iBook was once again fully functional.

Please do not do this stupid thing. And if you do, please do not scream "bitch" at your unsuspecting kitty.

Received or purchased, printing & folding...

Received: Aforementioned O'Connor: Collected Works. Hubby joined the Library of America subscription plan which is a good deal and they are all worthy titles. Don't have the new American poetry set yet, though I have coveted it's black-covered girth.

Purchased and awaiting: Kasey's Deer Head Nation, which I persist in calling "Reindeer Nation" though I know plenty better. Perhaps object in hand will cure me of it.

And re-received to replace the loaned-n-lost copy: New Addresses by Kenneth Koch. I heard him read from this book at the 92nd Street Y--the only time I heard him in person (and probably the only time I'll go to a 92Y reading--too big!). I was too shy to go to the reception.

Printing & folding (and soon to be sewing): Production is officially in full-swing after clocking off the freelance gig this evening. Down Spookies will exist very soon. Hit Paper Access on Saturday, and Jams for the text stock (cheaper!). Last night Hubby pointed out that the poems in it are not "typical Shanna Compton work." (He's more sure about what type of poem I write "typically" than I am.) But since the constraints I put on the project were so many and purposely remote to my habitual style, I suppose that's to be expected. A few from the TOC below (and no, Dan, I'm not really going in alpha order) will likely drop out.

Frequency Series reading report...

by Reen here.

I missed the first new Frequency for an excellent reason. Elliot Figman & Patrick Donnelly read to a small but hardy crowd yesterday in the evermore-crowded-with-much-needed-office-furniture Shortwave! It's sad to think we won't be doing events there anymore, but it's great on the other hand that the press is growing.

And speaking of furniture, I met the dynamic duo behind Furniture Press yesterday.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Horse blanket, anyone?

Reading O'Connor: Collected Works. From letter about revising her first novel:

"Enclosed is Opus Nauseous No. 1. I had to read it over after it came from the typist's and that was like spending the day eating a horse blanket. It seems mighty sorry to me but better than it was before. My mother said she wanted to read it again so she went off with it and I found her a half hour later on page 9 and sound asleep."

Fondle me in February....

when two spookies appear in "the gold issue" of Eye-Rhyme.

Eye-Rhyme is one of the coolest lit journals I've ever seen--gorgeous design, each one unique, terrific work. So I couldn't be more pleased about this one!

Friday, January 23, 2004

Down Spooky TOC...

contains 21 poems, including the crossword puzzle and clues. Almost ready to print and sew, so I'll have them at the reading next weekend.

In alphabetical order:

Buying a Bra in Manhattan on a Brooklyn Budget

Case of Quiet (Sharpness)



Contrast Girls

Dear Volunteers

Good Cooking Kitchen

Hooey Subvert’d Again

I Am Not Related to Any of You Yet

Just Flew Back

Li’l Undergraduate Disaster

Post-Texas Expressive Heat

Scholars of the Twang

Slashy Speakers, Nervy Endings

Tumble in November

Under This Umbrella Is Another Umbrella

We the Blind Need Pushing

Will That Be All Mrs. Kickboxer



Clues Across

Clues Down

Six days out of seven...

Jonathan on faith. Such confidence might be more pleasant, but self-doubt is more essential. Wallow in it my friends. But only six days out of seven. On the seventh day, tell yourself you're a genius.

Try not to laugh.

Hello, Vanishing Points...

and welcome to the blogroll, Tom.

Thursday, January 22, 2004


A buttered undertaste

tastes of riffle

eaten daiquiri

under never daiquiri

tasted air, or sucked taste

never eaten.

Riffle the issue with

the flinty flinty lime,

the eaten air,

the daiquiri air,

quite under issue.

A cherry huff

from little riffle you.

Huff under your flinty flinty.

Eat knowing eaten

and riffle rumple.

You opposite,

under me.

Please lime.

Please eaten air.

The lime issues magnolia

sprays the perfumed air.

Eaten air tastes of Eden.

Air issues riffles

and whiffles tissues,

sups under the cherry.

Knowing another, still,

ever linger you.

Seamus Heaney blurbs Dr. Dre, via Steve Almond:

“I cannot say if he is a doctor or not. This I do not know. But I do recall the shells which fell long ago on the pastures of Wicklow, cleaving the earth in two, and the sound of weapons crackling from the wireless. They are with me still, these songs of ruin. The sprung rhythm recognizes its own.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Squawk! F*** Bush!

Anybody got a parrot? I have some ideas about what we could teach it to say.

That's just terrific. Thanks to Reen for the link.

UPDATE: Parrot might not be Churchill's afterall, and he may not curse. Bummer.

And by the way, the reason I use #$%&* instead of spelling words like p*rn, f**k, and p*ssy, is that is keeps the spam robots out my biddness. It's not a form of prudishness so much as an attempt to flout those bastard e-menaces. Has worked so far.


I'd never heard about this Sports Illustrated Cover jinx 'til [expurgated] mentioned it. (So much for my faithful reading of The Fortean Times.)

Could such a curse be behind Marianne's ubiquitous tricorner hat?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Sister Mary Sunshine is back!

And her Brussels blogging is in full effect.

Re: her first entry today, I wonder if that phrase has anything to do with the puzzling grafitti I see daily in my neighborhood. It's in a doorway, and once I saw it I could never pass without reading it, again, without comprehension. It says "ALLIGATOR IS NECK FACE."

Well, okay then.

Daily dose...

on the train this morning, watching a woman in fur struggle to get a signal from her cell phone. Yes, on the subway. I think it was her first time.

And reading (again) Noah Eli Gordon's The Frequencies, which is somehow even better on a crowded train while wearing headphones. Very tempted to rush to my desk this morning and type in 99.3 which accrues gorgeously.

But I had copy to write, to edit, a 1:00 deadline.

And now that I've time, I see it's already out there. But I hope nobody minds if I repeat it here? [Sorry, I don't know the code for justifying the right margin, if such code exists.]


Because my brother didn't hear me when I told him to hold the bird calmly, because there's nothing confessional about waiting for the bees to come, because they forwarded me a batch of the letters you marked return to sender, because I had to steal the keys to the station, because the scissors broke on the binding, because the radio fails to gather symbolic form in the rhetoric of silence, because we don't embody anything like an airplane flying over Wyoming & covered in light, because I left the little red book in the back pocket of the seat in front of me, because I wouldn't call it a ready-made radio, admit the danger in getting too deep into anything, because there's difficulty in differentiating between the work I've done & the way I handle the impulse to unbuild it all, because understanding is outside the static, because it didn't appear anywhere on the bandwidth, because it's sentimental to send flowers, because someone requested California Dreaming, because the Rolodex is already outdated, because the smell of burnt leaves is nostalgic for nothing, because it helps with happy endings, because I'm unable to listen for more than a few minutes without wanting to write myself in, because it takes stillness to see motion, because there's a white-picket-fence ideal, because the treaty was a washout, because the card-catalog century is enough to whistle the afternoon gray, because at the station I could imagine this one or that one, because they're alone, because they're dancing, because they're on the road, because they're between places, because they're listening, because they're always there & just this or that, because I'm afraid of getting to the point of proper names, because there are call letters, because they've sunk so far below the idea of surface, the little bubbles take years to make it home & this new city is empty enough that its seams are starting to show.

Read more.

Doggeral for hire...

In case you haven't heard, we needn't fear the unelected bozo will beat us in any of our bids at first-book contests. I'm pretty sure ghost-written verse is against the guidelines.

So relax. Let's make the pie higher already.

Games, anyone?

If you play video games, or have nostalgia for the arcade of your youth, or have in mind an essay on any video-game related tangent, could you please let me know?

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Dirty imposter...

doesn't sound like me at all!

FREQUENCY is back!

Under the enthusiastic direction of Shafer Hall & Rachael Rakes. Check out their spring schedule on the Frequency page. Note the new location!

Also, I'll be hosting two special events this week and coming weekend at Shortwave. On Thursday the 22nd: Betsy Andrews & Erica Kaufman! On Sunday the 25th: Eliot Figman & Patrick Donnelly! Please do come out and see us. More info here.

AND, on Tuesday it's Karaoke + Poetry = Fun with Daniel Nester & Regie Cabico. Jen Knox says she'll be there, and you just might hear me sing a li'l sumpin sumpin (mostly 'cause I want to try out new Down Spookies). Info here.
You are Arthur Rimbaud - a vital, cannon-changing poet with a flare for tantrums.  You tend to write in a fever, and have a liking for the disordered mind.  Do't expect people to un
You are Arthur Rimbaud - a vital, cannon-changing
poet with a flare for tantrums. You tend to
write in a fever, and have a liking for the
disordered mind. Do't expect people to
understand you, for you are ahead of your time.

Which Dead Poet Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, January 16, 2004

Margin hugger.

The left one. That's me.

A special column by Laura Miller...

by somebody funny here.

Blog rollicious...new additions...

will be added this weekend. Among them will be Erica Kaufman's blog Hey Hey Hey. Howdy, Erica!

Desert island blogs...

by Tonio here. Many are new to me.

Well whaddaya know?

So reading the Koch book yesterday, I realized that the first poem I ever wrote was based on one of his assignments.

I was in third grade, so what, about ten? I was in a mixed class of third, fourth, and fifth graders and we had daily units in language arts and a separate unit in creative writing. Anyway, the assignment was to write a poem and then the teacher, Mrs. Alexander, would collect them and put them into an illustrated chapbook. We would give a class reading, etc. The title of the chapbook was Poems of a Unicorn's Kingdom. There was one girl in our class--fourth grade--who could really draw, so she did most of the illustrations. Round-rumped unicorns and flowers and stuff. A few other kids illustrated their own poems.

I don't remember the actual lessons, but I know we read Blake, which Koch describes doing with his classes at PS61, because several of the kids wrote imitations like this:

Eagle! Eagle!

In the night.

Full of fire,

Burning bright!

What immortal hand

Or Eye,

Made your wings,

Your sharp beak,

Your dangerous claws,

Your firey eyes?

Eagle! Eagle!

In the night,

Full of fire,

Burning bright!

Here's the funny part. I refused, at first, to write my poem. I was sent to sit at a desk alone in the corner (we were allowed to sit at group tables or on the rug, if we were good) and told to sit there until I completed the assignment.

I didn't feel like writing a poem.

But I sat there until I did. Here's the poem.

I like to dream about the ocean

with seagulls overhead.

I like to dream about springtime

when flowers dance in the wind.

I like to dream about sailboats

drifting in the waves.

I like to dream about adventure,

so exciting and fun.

I like to dream about flowers

with ladybugs all over them.

I had never in my life been on a sailboat.

Other poems in the little chapbook were based on the "I wish" formula, or the "imagine me" formula, or the "thirteen ways of looking" formula, or written as letters to objects (new addresses!). Particularly funny are the ones about the agony of love, written by fifth-grade boys.


UPDATE: Check out Julia's poems! She's been looking at Stevens too, talking to animals in a Blakean fashion, and has mastered the pantoum as well as the sestina!

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Thinking about going to AWP. Dan and Chris are, so I'll have buddies. I don't do well in crowds without buddies. (Sometimes I don't do well anyway.)

Are you going?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Beauty tip...

Skip the blow-dryer if you're in a rush. On a bitterly cold day, opt to freeze dry wet locks on your way to the subway. As a bonus, your curls will set instantly! Besides, you'll have plenty of time to blow-dry once you're laid up with pneumonia in a couple of weeks.

Good-Cooking Kitchen

Oh double shovel of

love your laugh splashy

desirable and that hooky-

making convincibility of mine--

we’re the perfect pair.

Though comfort offers us

jeweled cylinders of juice

the calendar notes no

change for our domestic

mutterings, darling. Let’s be

content to be contrary,

take ourselves with pepper

in smallish bites, cautious

teeth. Oh the weekly

box! Here abounds missed

astringent, your little caper

ears studded with salt.

Come on, the brine

is fine so pass

the wine and honey

shine insouciant do!

[Poem from Down Spooky. Title from Ben Bagocius.]


Paper your walls with them. Hoard them in a big envelope. I do. I have one in front of me right now from the New Yorker (no less) that has a hand scrawled "Sorry to disappoint and thanks." And one from Poetry (no less) on which some kind rejecting reader softened the blow by singling out one of the poems and underlining like this: "We appreciate your kindness in offering this work and your interest in Poetry."

Both are dated 1995. From the first round of submissions I sent out after moving to New York. From that same group I got a hand-written letter from J. D. McClatchy--I was sure he had me mixed up with somebody else. I am so (wincingly) amused by these now, that I pull them out to read them every once in a while. I post a rotating gallery above my desk.

None of those poems was ever published. By the way.

Having been on both ends of such editorial exchanges (as have Jordan & Dan), there's no way to make giving or receiving rejection painless.

However, and I can't explain this, forcing myself to revel in rejection makes me feel better. I know when I send a form rejection from SSP or from LIT, I certainly don't have a bad opinion of the intended recipient. Sometimes I even like the work. Jus' how it goes. But I still have to remind myself of this all the time.

And then there are the days you get the GOOD news. Hooray!

Why is it comforting to know other people doubt themselves like this too? For this solace, gentleman, I thank you.

May I quote (or paraphrase) Harry Mathews again, since Jordan has so soothingly quoted Kenneth Koch? We shouldn't write for satisfaction, because we won't find it. We should write for pleasure. And the pleasure is in the act of writing, not the acclaim we get for it.

When that surprising, so right line appears on the page and you momentarily wonder where it came from and then shake your head and realize you wrote it. That's it.

Yeah. Still.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Shout outs...

to Laurel whose birthday AND wedding day it is today! Congrats! Best wishes!

And to Sister Mary Sunshine who's off to Brussels, bon voyage. Come back soon wit' yer bitchy self. Burning questions await you on return re: the European brand of buffada, craft heifer, and more.

Just called to say...


feel you

and I are


from a

disconnect. I'm sorry


But later

in the week


you wanna

hang out? Cool."


he hung

up on me.


phone screen

agreed. We'd disconnected.

The more you knows, the harder it goes.

Does anyone have a copy...

of the Poetry Project Newsletter that contains John Ashbery's piece on Joan Murray (1917-1942)?

A few years ago I wrote my critical thesis on her book Poems, which Auden selected for the Yale Younger Poets Series. I read through all her files at Smith and saw the original manuscripts and hubby very generously paid millions so I could have my own copy of the rare first (and only) edition.

Thinking about spiffing up the piece and sending it out. It had been accepted once by a very nice journal, but I did not like (at all!) the edits suggested by the editor. I was too close to the subject then, I think. I should have considered being more flexible.

Anyway, if you have it, and can pop a photocopy in the mail or zip over a scan, that'd be super. I'll be happy to return the favor.

Meantime, I'll try the usual routes dig it up (but you folks are always so much faster). I gots to hit the library today anyway for an old old piece on David Ohle from Rain Taxi.

Did you knowed...

it snowed?

Saturday, January 10, 2004


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn still and hereby adapting the usage of "truck" to mean "stuff." (Note: I'm actually reading an older facsimile version with the original illustrations, but this one has an intro by George Saunders and at least is not the Barnes & Noble version!) Also reading The Art of Poetry: Poems, Parodies, Interviews, Essays, and Other Work by Kenneth Koch, the answer man. Am very tempted to post "Fresh Air" in its entirety, since you can't find it online and it is apropos to what I've been jawing about here recently. (There's one version out there, but it's missing at least one stanza, probably more, and the line breaks are unfaithful.)

Watch me. See if I don't.



Y'all know I was just teasing Dan, right? "Disconnect" is also a frequent pain in my ears at my corporate freelance job, so it was funny to me that he used it while dissing Ron for using the ad-man's theory of disruption. (Love ya, baby.)


Off to the Bowery Poetry Club to meet Conrad.


Friday, January 9, 2004

Um, disconnection is a perfectly good noun...

but other than that, take a look at Dan's bloggy remarks on the Niedecker review in Poetry.

Sorry, but I hate disconnect, unless it's a verb. Sit. Sit. That's right. Goooooood verb.

Sounds like a plan...

"[W]ork the borders, the hedgerows, the shores, estuaries and marshes, treelines. There where things edge and peter out. The liveliest spots, the naturalist knows, are found where ecosystems collide, overlap. New Sentence disjunctives in service of a series of narrative vignettes. Lyric outbursts toss’d against a rigorously pattern’d grid. Refuse to decide between banker and anarchist (Adams)."

See John's 1/08 post at Hotel Point for the rest.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Now squatting in Brussels...

Ha! That Sister Mary Sunshine shore is amusing.

Kinds of Poets: Identify yourselves!

I am a Frequentist, which is a subset of the Disingenuists. Meaning that I write frequently, but not always poetry, and not always for public consumption, and also meaning that I used to run the Frequency Series. (Speaking of which, FREQUENCY is being continued by Shafer Hall and his friend Rachel! Details, schedule, and new venue info very soon!)

Everything I do, I do with frequency. And frivolity!

Daniel Nester, though he doesn't know it yet, is a Frequentist too. He is also a Mercurist, which is a subset of the Queenists, in turn a subset of the Rockists, a subset themselves of Pop Culture Poets. But the exclusivity of the Mercurist and Queenist movements is such that Nester is the only member. He's considering inducting Josh Corey, though.

So, what kind of poet are you?

A) Experimental

B) Post-Avant

C) New Brutalist

D) Flarfist

E) New Formalist

F) Frequentist

G) I work for Hallmark or am an "ad man"

H) Pop-Culture Poet

I) Spoken Word/Slam

J) Poet/Comedian/A$$hole

K) Traditionalist

L) Plagiarist

M) Language Poet

N) Punk-rock poet

O) I am a proud member of the School of Quietude

P) Generation # of the New York School (fill in number)

Q) I write in Shakespearean English and sign my poems "Wink." My frat brothers love them.

R) I'm a professor of poetry, who hates poetry, and teaches others to hate poetry.

S) Dramatic Monologist

T) Novel-in-Versist

U) Australian

V) Mainstream

W) A/the Best American Poet!

X) Prose Poet

Y) Bob Holman

Z) None of the above/Disingenuist

Rules: "Just a poet" is not an option, UNLESS you are also a Disingenuist. You may choose more than one identifier, but it's better if the letters for your answer spell something.

Blogger is being stupid...

again. Posts not showing up. Despite the fact that they exist.

Nice Todd. Real mature.

David Cameron's photo of Todd Colby at the PoProj New Year's Day reading, which I MISSED! That's Brendan Lorber and John S. Hall talking him behind him, I think.

Take a looksee at the rest too!

Speaking of readings at the PoProj, I just posted my 2004 whirlwind tour schedule on the readings page. Whew! What a schedule. I hope I survive!

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

A year-old way of looking at Mainstream...

And then of course, there's this, by Kasey via Mike Magee's "Mainstream Poets" idea.

I am very distracted and bored at freelance job today.

So when I said "mainstream" below, I did not mean it in the sense above, but in the sense of "what people as remotely removed from poetry as possible expect poetry to be, exclusively, because it's similar to what they read in school."

I could shorten that. But I'm not going to.

Even more on kinds of poets...

or at least the New Brutalist kind.

"Let's get something out of the way first: the whole goofy problem of self-naming, which rests on the crux of how seriously one takes oneself. The implications are similar when considering the purchase of a baby-tee at Ross with the words 'bitch' or 'princess' or 'cutie' emblazoned in silver cursive writing across the front."

--the inimitable Stephanie Young

I read Stephanie's piece before, but just found it again.

And that's exactly why when a friend (who I don't know all that well) showed up at a bar gathering wearing a necklace that said "SNATCH," I didn't know whether to laugh or what. I just felt confused.

Labels, which are words, are tricky things. The only words that don't cause me suffering are conjunctions.

And what, if anything, do the poetic New Brutalists have to do with Le Corbusier, et. al.? Are New Brutalist poems "hard, tough, uncompromising," or "brutal, as in ugly," or is the poets' goal to be "true to their materials" and "free from supposed frivolity"? Do they take a "functional approach"?

I'm down with all that. 'Cept that frivolity stuff. Long live frivolity! And personally I don't like the whole black-leather-and-chrome-tubing look. What would that look like in a poem?


Katey's spoon poem reminds me of a very old poem (almost 10 yrs?) I wrote about cups (or cupness?). Maybe I'll get all Nick-Piombino on ya and post a li'l blast from the past later on.

Check out...

Ben's interview with Chris Murray. (Their blogs are also both linked at right.)

Kinds of poets, part 2...

New formalism, I've got down. That's fairly straightforward and many of its practitioners are prominent. School of Quietude or "Mainstream" poetry--whatever you want to call it--okay, that's Billy Collins and ilk. The flarf business ("Waste Land"-type collaging + Google?) and the New Brutalists (haven't pinned this down yet, though I like the poems of all of the "official members") seemed to start as kind of in-jokes--but then so did Imagism and Vorticism. So I'm only about half serious when I say I'm anxious about it.

On the other hand, I do see "genres" within poetry as much as within fiction. The personal domestic lyric : "New Yorker fiction" as language poetry : David Markson or Gertrude Stein's fiction (as one top-of-head example).

A couple of years ago I spent a few weeks trying to formulate my thesis around this idea, particularly on why there isn't any poetic genre equivalent to literary sci-fi and fantasy (think Octavia Butler and magical realism, not robots and elves). But poets for the most part just don't seam interested in that kind of imagining, though there are certainly examples. (Goldbarth's Psychonaut Sonnets, fer example.)

I have a tendency to read (and let's face it, to try to emulate) many of the post-avant or "experimental" poets, but I love a virtuoso formal poem as well. And while I generally do not respond positively to the everyday flabby personal lyric, there are plenty of lyrical exeptions that keep me from making a rule about it. And I love comedic elements in poetry, and am heartened to see that not everybody's as serious these days as they once were. But I bristle a bit at the uber-ironic stance of lots of po-mo fiction and nonfiction. That's McSweeney'sesque wit does become grating.

Flexibility, I guess, is what I'd like to hang on to.

Somebody create a Quizmo quiz and let's just get this all over with.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Holy moly! Egads! Yikes! Are you kidding?

Hubby sent this to me with the subject line "What a dumb b*tch." The original piece is here.

I read the Smollet translation summer before last and found it laugh-out-loud hilarious. Hubby's reading the Grossman translation now and finding it similarly pleasing, though more modern (obviously) than Smollet's.

Alas, Terry Gilliam couldn't finish his film version either. But that's a whole 'nother matter.

I mean Don Quixote is in my personal top three! [Sigh.]

What kind of poet am I?

"At some level, who among [us] doesn’t think, I’m not an adjective poet, I’m just a poet? And who among us doesn’t know that any poet who tells you that he or she is not an X or Y kind of writer, but is 'just a poet,' isn’t being deliberately disingenuous?" Read the rest.

Unlike Dale Smith, I love reading Ron's blog. (I also love to read Dale's bidness at the Possum Pouch. But what's with the broken archive links, dude? Go to 12/24/03.) Not that I always agree with (or sometimes even understand) Ron. Strong opinions well articulated provoke somersaults in the brain, sometimes very acrobatic gymnastics in cases where the reader finds them disagreeable. John Latta talked a bit about this yesterday or the day before (no archive links at Hotel Point--but scroll down a few days).

But most of the time I eat it up, whatever Ron's serving. For instance, that Rae Armantrout stuff today. It made my lunch break.

Anyway, Ron's explanation yesterday of his SofQ and post-avant distinctions is interesting and helpful in understanding his other blog & critical writings. But that sentence above about poets who don't self-identify has got me thinking--what kind of poet am I? I've studied on it before, of course, but figured it was less than profitable to pursue.

Considering that I'd never heard of the School of Quietude (at least by that name--the New Formalists, sure), the New Brutalists, or Ron's post-avant category until a few months ago, I haven't the foggiest if I fit there. I barely have a handle on flarfists, my dears.

A related story: a poet who shall remain nameless recently refused (and none too gently) the kind solicitation of one of the other LIT editors on the grounds that he could not possible appear in the same pages as a certain other poet of a rival camp. Yes, I'm serious. That kind of shit freaks me out. Just so you know, the two poets in question have ALREADY appeared in the same issue of another mag. We wouldn't have asked if we didn't admire his writing, right? We have an editorial board, made up of people with different aesthetics. And variety is the spice of life, yes? Whatever. I have no time for such bullsh*t.

Am I disingenuous because I haven't yet aligned myself with a group? Has someone (or will someone) do the aligning for me? Was there a moment when YOU decided? Can you tell me about it so I know what to do? Do I have to pray or meditate or something?

Post-avant seems a broad category and more historical than prescriptive. I'm cool with that. But does that mean I can't write any more sestinas?

Please help.

Monday, January 5, 2004

No juice, man!

I broke my power cord for my laptop this weekend and then ran down the battery. Nice move, eh? So I gots to blog and blog-read on the client's dime 'til I get it fixed. But I'm fixing to fix it.

I probably owe you an email too. Same deal.

But while I'm here, can I just say that I like [expurgated]'s poem today?

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Congratulations to Nada & Gary...

Check it out! Best wishes to you two!

Highlights of 2003...

Here's a list I can stick with, so hopefully Blogger won't eat it. Personal highlights of 2003 include (chronologically):

• Moving to Fort Greene (goodbye forever Long Island City!)

• First wedding anniversary (but ninth "real" anniversary)

• Publication of LIT 7

Brand New Insects a finalist for Beatrice Hawley Award (a much-needed boost!)

• Mom's full recovery and subsequent retirement

• Summer week at the beach

• Trip to New Hampshire/New England for Danielle & Adam's wedding

• Trip to New Orleans

• Fall Frequency Series

• Dan in Best American Poetry 2003!

• Media-free weekend in Mystic, CT

• Workshop with Harry Mathews

• Publication of Poem A Day: Vol. 2

• New streamlined work schedule

• New Year's Eve at Dan & Maisie's

Resolution: Less stress. Don't volunteer (every time).

Proof of something?

Cool. I just got the proofs from "To Jacques Pépin," which is finally going to appear in Gastronomica next month. Winter 2004 issue. There is something immensely satisfying about a poem appearing in a magazine that's not a lit journal. It's really a beautiful mag, too. And there I am on page 13 (suddenly struck by p. 13 coincidence--David's poem in T&W, now this one). Last issue had a piece on "the p*rnography of cooking shows," which is a related idea, I guess. Anyway, happy happy.

Friday, January 2, 2004


"I really don't care for poetry anyway. You think I'm kidding but I'm not. Poets are lazy f*ckers."

My source wishes to remain anonymous.