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

Monday, May 31, 2004

What The Last Avant-Garde actually says.

"The story of the New York School of poets is a study in friendship, artistic collaboration, and the bliss of being alive and young and a moment of maximum creative ferment. It is also the story of the last authentic avant-garde movement that we have had in American poetry."


"In the second half of this book, I raise the question of whether the avant-garde as an abstract concept or a practical idea is finished. It is a question that leads to others, or requires the answer to others, before it can be settled. What does (or did) avant-garde mean, and how did it come to have that meaning? What exactly are the requirements of an avant-garde movement? What lessons do the movements of the past have to teach us? The argument against the viability of the avant-garde today rests on the assumption that there is no real resistance to the new, no stable form from which the defiant artist may depart. While I find this to be a convincing argument, I would sooner help quicken a new avant-garde than pronounce the demise of an old one. In any event, my book means to stand or fall not on speculation regarding the future of the avant-garde but on the job it does of presenting four major poets, defining their importance, examining the way their friendships entered their art, and depicting the milieu in which they lived and worked."


"It might be thought that in the course of this book I have made, or repeated, a convincing argument that the avant-garde is finished as a vital concept or ideal capable of stimulating new art into existence. But if as O'Hara once remarked, 'the avant-garde always exists in the state of idea,' there may still be hope for it. 'The avant-garde has been made up, I think, completely, and through all history, with people who are bored by other people's ideas,' O'Hara said. 'Now, you do not have to have the Russian Revolution or the French Revolution or the Civil Rights Movement in order to get irritated by other people's ideas. All you have to do is be one individual who is tired of looking at something that looks like something else.' This book is dedicated to that one individual."

[Just the handiest examples. All the other words in the book are useful too.]


"It is, at this point, no longer possible to establish one's poetic legitimacy by being more experimental or irreverent toward the tradition than your predecessors; you can't go further than those guys have already gone. Ezra Pound's command that poets must 'make it new!' was itself, once, a new idea. But by now, all the new ideas are really kind of old."

I think I got dumber just reading this. Consider yourselves warned.

Dear Clifford,

If you want to strikethrough text on your blog, use the strike tag. It is formatted like this (replace brackets with < and > as for other tags: [strike]Your text here.[/strike]

Here is a good HTML primer by Webreference.

A behavior I'd never considered

Just back from a walk to the Soft Skull office. (We need a janitor. Seriously. Looking for envelopes in there feels like trashpicking.)

Walking home (past David Salle's house), I saw a squirrel. Eating a slice of pepperoni.

Naturally, I was reminded of both Kasey and David.

"I didn't know squirrels ate meat," I said to Shawn. He opened one eye.

"Uh, they're not supposed to," he sleepily replied.

A lovely post on Lohren Green...

here by Geoff Huth.

LIT 9 will feature visual poems by Geoff, incidentally!


Purchased: Novelty Act by Maureen Thorson.

Traded for: 29 Cheeseburgers by Mark Lamoureux (see his sidebar for a PayPal button, or contact Pressed Wafer).

Words about each to come!

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Mom's home from the hospital...

and the sisters are ensconced in la casa. Whew.

I just wrote a whole post about my mom & her weird family names. But I quit out of Safari unintentionally and lost it.

Mom's got a three-inch crack in her pelvis and torn groin ligaments. That hurts even to type. Doctor says she probably went galavanting about Spain with this injury, which happened weeks ago, apparently. She's had trouble with slipped discs and herniated/pinched nerves in her back for the last few years and has had a couple of operations on it. She lives with chronic pain, but I'm telling you, you cannot keep LaVerne down.

The bit about the names will have to come later, but I'll leave you with this photo of Elsie LaVerne Rose Compton Cocke Young Cocke Gigliotta Cocke. It's from our wedding. The gentleman is tough-guy fiction author Tom Kelly.

Friday, May 28, 2004


I have been singin that song since my & Shafer's Big Confetti reading. One of the open mic gals sang it as the closing number (though truthfully, not very aptly--she was improvising with a trumpeter she didn't know). It's been stuck in my head ever since.

Advice: If you're gonna sing at an open mic, opt for something other than a Holiday standard. There's just no living up.

In other news, I'm happy to report that my upgrade to OSX was smooth and I am now enjoying Panther and Safari and the rest of those hip guys. Your blogs--new templates and all--look lovely. All CSS working fine, all font sizes legible because of my minimum settings.

In even other news: Mom is hanging in there, she's just in a lot of pain. Middle sister drove up this afternoon, so at least she has company. Little sis arrives tomorrow sometime. I sent flowers. Now if we can just keep her down per doctor's orders--hardheaded Texas ma'am!

And y'all wondered where I got it.

And last but not least: Happy (belated) birthday to Charlie, who really deserves it, damn it.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Completely unimportant thing that I can't stop wondering about.

Why would I get 1-2 Google-search visits per day, for weeks, on "brand new insects" from the same IP address/domain? Wouldn't a bookmark just be simpler? I am not complaining, and you are certainly welcome, whoever you are. But I am curious. Are you perhaps a robot of some kind? Looking for the latest developments in entomology?

Best medicine.

As usual, just when I need it, [expurgated] makes me laugh. [expurgated]

Mom in hospital.

Just found out. She is okay. Nowhere near as serious as last time. But she's torn ligaments and fractured the base of her spine.

Might be taking an unexpected trip to Texas. Luckily little sis is arriving from London on Saturday. Middle sis lives in Texas but is teaching school so can't get away till the weekend either. Aunt and best friend are on the way.

Stress clips full sentences, apparently.

Also, my new cell phone = useless.

And for the record...

if FSG wants to publish Brand New Insects, Miracle Fortune Fish, or the full manuscript of Big Confetti, all they have to do is ask. Hell, they can have all three.

Giddy confession

Our new computer just arrived. Probably the reason I argued so strenously with Dan last night about the superiority of Apple over Windows. Certified MacAddicts live in this house, no lie.

But, oh! The chapbooks & poetikal ephemera I can design with this, "the world's fastest personal computer."*

*Note: Lest ye think we rolleth in dough, we opted for this over a car and have set the home-ownership fund back a bit. Worth it? Yep.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I'm with Sour Persmimmons.

I don't think that's the kind of muffin Steven Tyler was talking about. Ahem.

The good news is that I just laughed so hard I kicked the wall under my cubicle and scared the poor woman on the other side.

Summer Writers' Colony at the New School, full schedule

Tuesday June 1st

9-10:30 am: Welcome Breakfast and Orientation

The New School Courtyard

10:30 am-noon: Writing Workshops

Lang Building (B258, 259, and 261)

2-4 pm: Faculty Reading: Poetry and Prose

Sharon Mesmer and Kathleen Ossip

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jonathan Franzen

Lang Building 65 W. 11th St. (B259)

Wednesday June 2nd

10am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-5 pm: Literary Walking Tour of Greenwich Village

with Joshua Beckman

Meet in the New School Courtyard

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jonathan Franzen

Thursday June 3rd

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-4 pm: Publishing Panel: Fiction

Moderated by Shanna Compton

Associate Publisher, Softskull Press

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jonathan Franzen

Friday June 4th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-4 pm: Lecture and Presentation: The Urban Sketch

Thomas Beller, novelist and editor of Open City Magazine & Books and Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood

Orozco room (66 W. 12th Street)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jonathan Franzen

Orozco Room (66 W. 12th Street)

Monday June 7th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

12:30 – 2 pm: Brown Bag Lunch Faculty Reading

Robert Polito and Helen Schulman

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jorie Graham

Lang Building 65 W. 11th St. (B259)

Tuesday June 8th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-4 pm: Faculty Fiction Reading

Douglas Martin and Joe Salvatore

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jorie Graham

Wednesday June 9th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-4 pm: A Conversation with Richard Howard

Poet and Poetry Editor of The Paris Review

Orozco Room (66 W. 12th Street)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jorie Graham

Thursday June 10th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-4 pm: Publishing Seminar

Amy Holman

Co-Founder, Poets & Writers Publishing Seminars

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

Friday June 11th

3-4:30 pm: Publishing Panel: Poetry

Moderated by Matthew Zapruder

Editor-in-Chief, Verse Press

GF Building 65 5th Avenue (F302)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Jorie Graham

Orozco Room (66 W. 12th Street)

8:30-10 pm: Faculty Poetry Reading and Reception

Joshua Beckman, Matthew Rohrer, Matthew Zapruder

Orozco Room (66 W. 12th Street)

Monday June 14th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

12:30-2 pm: Brown Bag Lunch Faculty Reading

Jackson Taylor and Abigail Thomas

GF Building 65 5th Avenue (F302)

2-5 pm: Public Transit Writing Workshop

With Joshua Beckman

Meet in New School Courtyard

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Colm Toibin

Lang Building 65 W. 11th St. (B259)

Tuesday June 15th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Colm Toibin

Wednesday June 16th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-3:30 pm: Faculty Poetry Reading

Patricia Carlin and Deborah Landau

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Colm Toibin

Thursday June 17th

10 am-noon: Writing Workshops

2-4 pm: Publishing Panel Discussion: Magazine and Journal Editors

Moderated by Patricia Carlin

Editor, Barrow Street

Wolf Conference Room (65 5th Avenue)

6-8 pm: Literary Salon: Colm Toibin

Lang Building 65 W. 11th St. (B259)

8:30-11 pm: Final Student Reading and Celebration

Lang Cafeteria (65 W. 11th Street)

Dictionary diving*




room and board




tequila sunrise


front burner


Contrast the cokehead with his opponent,

drinker of Tequila Sunrise. Let them go-

round once or twice, another shot, another

snort, another punch or two. Listen to

the featherbed of your heart, notwithstanding

any cheerfulness thus falsely roomed and boarded.

On the front burner, you're thinking victimize.

You're thinking what'm I doing here at all.

*Wanna play? Flip through dictionary randomly selecting words your eyes are first attracted to on each page. (I rejected two Latin phrases here). Then make poem.

Chap(+)book heaven!

Maureen Thorson's Novelty Act is now available.

Found: my copy of Tom Beckett's Vanishing Points of Resemblance which had secreted itself under a stack of papiers in my messy messy office. (But now where's the cat?)

Ordered: chaps by Laurel Snyder, Stephanie Young, [expurgated], David Perry & Eric Baus.

Received (finally): Invisible Bride by Tony Tost (pulled an inside string to get mine quicker--shh.)

Gifted with (courtesy of very considerate hubby): Jeff Tweedy's Adult Head and Aimee Nezhukumatathil's Miracle Fruit.

All to fill the anticipated free time I will finally have a little bit of after I finish this pesky to-do list, which I am sure you are all sick of looking at. Um, when I'm not working on Gamers, which is finally finally coming together.

Gratutious Grease soundtrack reference: Oh oh oh, those suh uh mer nights!

Fresh dreams

Q: Demons or devils?

A: Clowns.

I also woke up with Bette Midler's "The Rose" alternating with the name Sandy Kofax in my head.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Still Life with Sunday and Sybil*

For Sybil Durgin

I can no longer live in a world

Where bat-fly larvae survive

By eating bodily secretions

Off of the skin of newborn...bats.

Sunday was dressed like Sybil,

Sybil was dressed like In Cold Blood,


Crabs and Chihuahuas were Abundant.

The world loomed outside as mysterious

As the tallest tree in a dark forest,

But inside it was neither cold nor hot.

Anew. Fob. Value. Moo.

Finally, our lips were touching themselves

Just to touch themselves, a few noodles

Just making noises.

*Note: By Shafer Hall, who threatens that he will have his own blog soon. Our Big Confetti best to Sybil, who can no longer complain that her name is not Googlable.

My poem for R Is for Ron Silliman is up...

fresh from the dryer. Sniff it while it's hot.

"Knowing & Saying Are Two Different Things"

(And damn, [expurgated]'s fast.)

Tony's on a roll...

over at his place, with three new poems.

Did I mention yet that the next PoTelCom will feature Mr. Robinson? Sometime in August, I think. Perhaps we'll have a taco bar.

Daniel's libretto reading tomorrow

Wednesday, May 26


American Opera Projects presents

The Summer King


The Summer King, based on the life of Josh Gibson, the most famous Negro League baseball player, is a new work-in-progress with a libretto by Daniel Nester, and music by Daniel Sonenberg and the inaugural work presented through the American Opera Projects Libretto Reading series under the direction of Ned Canty, and the first time the libretto will be read. Scored excerpts from the new opera were recently seen at the Manhattan School of Music.

Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space

250 W. 95th St.

New York City, NY 10025-6377

Phone: 212/864-5400

Almost there...


Ada & Jen: Poem "There Is No Irene's"

Ada: 4 copies of Big Confetti

Kevin @ Powell's: 5 more Down Spookies & 5 Big Confettis

Shafer & myself: Webpage for Big Confetti

Y'all: Poem "The Cento of Page 23" (I didn't forget!)

Matthew: Postcard response.

Sarah: Jacket copy for SSP poetry books

Daniel: Comments on GSMQII

Daniel & Chris: Layout for Percapella, their long-awaited collaborative chap!

LIT: Subs through Jan. Working on Feb-May. Schedule meeting!

New School: Prose Publishing Panel confirmations for June 3.

Myself & Shawn: A little vacation. Whew. [Planned, if not yet taken.]

PayPals: Big Confettis. (Working on this now. First edition of 50 SOLD OUT!)

Soft Skull: Editorial Fact Sheet for Media Effects by Jerome Sala.

If you are not on this list and should be, could you please remind me?

Monday, May 24, 2004


On Saturday, as you may know from earlier posts and the illustrated Barney-filled chronicles at Dan's, we went out to hear Shafer & Jaime read at the Ear Inn and then celebrated Marion's birthday (which is actually today--happy birthday, M!). The plan was to write an exquisite corpse poem at each bar. I became "keeper of the poems." Here are the first two. Not sure if one was written at the blues club later on. Yours truly had pizza and skipped out by then.

Terrapin on Hudson

(For Dena at Henrietta Hudson’s)

warrior of Cuervo serves her harsh mistress

(I’m going to come somewhere in the middle here)

where the chumps wait out on the street

(I’m going to tell you what you already know)

the cellphones ring up some ridiculous story and

(clothes sopping us up like twill napkins)

my candle always burns for wonder girl

(what does wonder fricking girl know anyway)

she knows that where there’s smoke, you bet there’s fire

in 2062 Haley’s Comet will be visible in the night sky

will you gaze with me?



“You’re assholes,” he offers, wiping the dregs of patrons

who wander out and away from the Marion birthday bar crawl.

“Poets make shitty tippers,” thinks the bartender

but then we give him a stack of two-bills then and there.

Whereas, deep down, his weepy poetry heart

it’s 85 degrees inside someone’s pants.

“What a weird thing to say!” though the barman Bill.

“Anyone know Green Eggs & Ham?” asks the math prof.

Math and biology have conspired to make me a monster.

(Hold on a minute, hold on. I think I’ll come here.)

So where were we. Sean sings to Shawn in flip flops and light floods

over his toes and slinks past table legs. “We were

drinking the one about the bartender and his pants.”

Drinking and wondering “Is this goddamn Bazooka gum

written in goddam Hebrew or is it Arabic?” Mediterranean,

they decide. For 1000 years they sit there.

Dead habits die hard. At it again. Here I am, Guinness in my hand.

“You just can’t fight progress,” said

the wiser of the two crows.

Raven beaks are thicker than crows’.

Signed, us all.

Love is kinda crazy with a spooky poet friend like Tom

Friday, May 21, 2004

Planning your weekend...

Tomorrow, there's a BIG CONFETTI reading at the Ear Inn, as the inimitable Shafer Hall entertains with Marion Wrenn and other good folks from Painted Bride Quarterly! (Actually I don't know what he's going to read, but we'll be there, and have books, and it's Marion's birthday!) Details here.

Sunday, there are two--count 'em--two stellar readings. First up: Sam Witt with Ilya Kaminsky and (perhaps) DA Powell at Frequency. Then later that night, Daniel Nester gives a talk called "The Policeman's Beard Is Still Half Constructed" for the Zinc Talk/Read Series.

Friday fun fact

LIT gets more than 100 spam emails of Korean p*rn in our inbox--every day!

I can't figure out how to stop it, since the Korean characters are not recognized by our filtering software. I may just have to ask tech support to change our email address.


Confirmed panelists for June 3 at the New School Summer Intensive Workshop

And done! Our prose publishing panel will be speaking to 22 undergraduates from all over the country.

R.M. BERRY is the author of Dictionary of Modern Anguish (short stories), a New York Times Notable Book Leonardo's Horse (a novel), and Plane Geometry and Other Affairs of the Heart (short stories). He is the Publisher of Fiction Collective Two (FC2), a publishing collective that has published such authors as Brian Evenson, Leslie Scalapino, Kim Addonizio, Elisabeth Sheffield, and the Chick-Lit anthologies. He teaches literature, critical theory, and creative writing at Florida State University.

SHANNA COMPTON is the editor of LIT at the New School and the Associate Publisher of Soft Skull Press. She is currently editing a nonfiction collection on video games called GAMERS: Writers, Artists & Programmers on the Pleasures of Pixels, to be released this fall. Her poetry has been published in Gastronomica, McSweeney's, Nerve, Painted Bride Quarterly Print Annual, and elsewhere. She is the author of three chapbooks, Down Spooky (2004), Big Confetti (with Shafer Hall, 2004), and Opal Memos Nonchalant (with Shannon Holman and Jeffrey Salane, 2002).

AMBER QURESHI is an editor at Picador acquiring literary fiction, works-in-translation, and narrative nonfiction for Picador, Farrar Straus and Giroux, St. Martin's Press, and Henry Holt Publishers. Before coming to Picador, she worked at Alfred A. Knopf for several years; before that, she was an editor at a translation house in Tokyo, also for a number of years. In these capacities, she has worked with such authors as Richard Ford, Richard Russo, Donna Tartt, Tobias Wolff, Haruki Murakami, Michel Houellebecq, Jim Shepard, Joy Williams, Tom McGuane, Michel Foucault, Nadine Gordimer, Zoe Heller, Ian Thomson, and Peter Carey.

HANNAH TINTI is the author of Animal Crackers (short stories) and Resurrection Men (forthcoming novel). Her fiction has appeared in Story, Alaska Quarterly Review, Epoch, Sonora Review, Story Quarterly, Another Magazine and Best American Mystery Stories 2003. She is also the editor of One Story magazine.

Fame & fortune in the stars

"First, mark down May 17 as an outstanding day to create a massive financial victory. Uranus, planet of surprise, will beam a ray to Mars, the planet of energy, in your financial eighth house. You may even win a small prize." [She must mean the $82 bucks I made at the Poetry Project reading!]

"For career victories that also bring impressive financial benefits, it will be hard to beat May 21. Energetic Mars and Jupiter will collaborate and you will be the beneficiary! Everyone will love this day, but you will love it more because Jupiter is your ruling planet and will work hard on your behalf. On the same day Uranus will work closely with Mercury--news should be unexpectedly positive."

I can't wait. All I have planned for today is a little racketball, laundry, playing more catch up with the to-do list, and the customary Friday-night date with Shawn. The remainder of this unbelievably positive forecast says the rest of the year, professionally speaking, will rock. So I choose to believe it. If you're a fellow Sagittarius, join me in astrologically induced optimism.

I usually don't check my horoscope, but for some reason, I was extra curious. Thanks to Meghan for the satisfying link. (And speaking of Miss Meghan, she's invited me to read June 7 for the end-of-season party at Readings Between A & B. Yay!)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ann Richards is going to be on Larry King tonight!

So don't miss it.

UPDATE: Did you catch it? She mentioned bloggers! She also slung Texasisms and told jokes and generally rocked the house. On the June 30 deadline for Iraqi turnover, she said "Yeah, I think it's gonna be a knock-down drag-out" and that she expects "more of the same, 'cept [the attitude that] 'it's not our deal.'" On the WMD justification for the war, she lamented, "We believed all that hokum!" and asked, "you know, how do you spell stupid?" She professed her love for Howard Dean and said if she were a Republican she'd be smooching all over John McCain instead of acting like Dennis Hastert. She said the opposition to gay marriage is "ridiculous" and that if people want to share their lives together we should applaud them. "There should be more love in the world, not less." She's working out in the gym twice a week and her bone density is great, she assured Larry. But as for Bush, his No Child Left Behind policy is a joke--"It's more like no child's behind is left," she quipped. She's the best.


If you live in NYC, and they deliver to your area, you will not regret signing up for Fresh Direct.

It's actually less expensive than Whole Foods (and for me, Whole Foods is quite a trip) or a good organic green grocer, and you can have sushi-grade fish [tofu*] and superfresh produce and pretty much everything else delivered right to your door! Delivery in Brooklyn is only $2.95 (with a $40 minimum) and there's no commitment or membership fees or anything. Their web site lists nutritional info and ingredients for every item, and saves your previous orders and favorites. You can open an order at the beginning of the week and add to it up to the day before delivery. And unlike the Park Slope Co-Op, you don't have to do any chores. Amazing.

*[This post has been modified because I have since gone vegan.]

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Blogger commenting...

doesn't work for me at all, no matter which computer, operating system, or browser I use. I suspect it's another Mac bug.

So I can't talk to you people, sadly.

Maybe they will fix this too.

Wow! Only 3 left...

out of the first 50, as of this second. I can make more, but they will say "second printing" instead of "_ of 50."

Thanks, y'all. I can't see Shafer, but I bet he's doing the Chickee-La-La Number Two right now.

Hooray for Dan!

Congrats on finishing your libretto, brother man! Rock on.

Ok, the page is up.

Just click on the cover in the side bar. I'll also link it to the current page. Should you (Shafer) want to email it to anyone, the direct link is http://www.shannacompton.com/confetti.html.

Functional, if not yet gorgeous.

Yeah, well

...it's true.

The copies of Big Confetti we had for the launch reading and party on Friday did have the wrong "Homeslice." What happened: a poem that I thought would be two pages ("My Huge Napoleon"), actually ended up only being one page, and when nudging everything up in the Quark doc, I neglected to paste over the poem that was originally on the page that "Homeslice" came to occupy. So there was no "Homeslice" in that first set at all, rather "Straight from the Headlines" appeared both under "Homeslice" and its own title. I was disappointed about this, not only for obvious reasons, but because "Straight from the Headlines" is the last poem in the book, wherein I sort of propose to Shafer, so to have it run a few pages before the end, sort of robs it of its end-of-book punch.

Got all that?

The copies from the PoProj reading are correct, though. As are all copies sent to fulfill PayPal orders.

In case you have one of the first batch, let me know, and I'll send you a sticker to put over the incorrect poem on that page.

On second thought, maybe tomorrow.

I was supposed to go up to the LIT office at the New School today, so I could catch up with our correspondence and pack for our move (their rennovating our office over the summer--patience please!). BUT, since the 9/11 hearings are going on in the auditorium downstairs and some guy was dragged out screaming obscenities at Giuliani earlier...I think I'll skip it today.

Apparently in the Eugene Lang building there are Bush piñatas hanging so folks can beat him in effigy.

The New School was a focal point of the madness after 9/11. A family center was established there for people waiting for news from the local hospitals (Beth Israel at Union Square, NYU Tisch Hospital, and St. Vincent's are all within a few blocks). Anyway, tensions are high and there are cops and cameras everywhere.

No thanks. I'll just stay here and complain to the TV.

The politics of poetry

I don't know why I'm just hearing about this now, and maybe you know about it already, but this story chaps my hide, as they say back home.

Bill Nevins, a New Mexico high school teacher and personal friend [of reporter Bill Hill], was fired last year and classes in poetry and the poetry club at Rio Rancho High School were permanently terminated. It had nothing to do with obscenity, but it had everything to do with extremist politics.

The "Slam Team" was a group of teenage poets who asked Nevins to serve as faculty adviser to their club. The teens, mostly shy youngsters, were taught to read their poetry aloud and before audiences. Rio Rancho High School gave the Slam Team access to the school's closed-circuit television once a week and the poets thrived.

In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being "un-American" because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its "No child left behind" education policy.

Read the rest.

We had one of those recruiters a.k.a. "military liaisons" at our high school too. He had an office right next to the counselor and was very busy with certain seniors on "career counseling" days.

Recent keyword searches

Always illuminating...

elizabeth bishop interview black stove

humorous insect drawings

funny poems about formula one

camden nj high school sluts

cocktail featured in new york times style section may 2 2004

coat-hanger autocad

ashton cusher and murder

kitchen spoon poem

where can i buy a bust of the crowning of napoleon

brendan lorber sexy

funny poem about beer vs wine

buying a bra poem

jennifer knoxthe hot ass poem

jeffrey knox is a liar

what was the bartender poem tom cruise said in the movie cocktails

how to do gangsta hairstyles _ include pictures _

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


stop hyphenating nonfiction. Thank you.

Auberginian update

So I read "Purple Heart" last night and explained the meme, read the EPIGRAPH* from the New Yorker and folks cracked up after the last line. (Going to the Massacre? Bring your aubergine poem!)

And this morning, someone landed here by Googling "Josh Corey" and "aubergine."


*Sorry, 'bout that. Since Friday night I have had one of the open mic readers on my mind. The series is cool because high-school age poets often show up to read, so don't think I'm poking mean fun. But one of the girls kept saying she found an EPILOGUE for this new poem, and we thought she meant EPIGRAPH, but it turns out she found it in a cemetary, so really she meant EPITAPH. And yesterday Susanna & I had a conversation about the word EPITHET. Then suddenly I had an EPIPHANY, realizing my error in this post. 5:30 copywriting slumps are EPISODIC, but thankfully not EPIDEMIC. Oh, I think I'll go write Gary & Nada an EPITHALAMIUM.

Raking it in!

Well, I made $82 last night. Sold 4 of each book, plus the PoProj generously pays. Of course, the book-sale money really just covers materials. So I netted $50.

So added to my Gastronomica check, that's $200 for poetry in 2004! Woohoo.

Reb's accountant would probably advise me to take a hobby loss.

Ok, finally, my complaints about the new Blogger

First, it is very distressing to click on one's favorites and be told that, say, Jordan Davis no longer exists. He does exist, and Blogger agrees, finally, after a day's worth of clicking.

Second, these new templates have font sizes that are entirely too small for human eyes. I keep my browser setting at 12 pt. default, which is standard, and at that setting the polka dot template, the purple template, and others are microscopically painful. So I have to increase my display font each time I visit [admittedly punching apple + is not difficult, but still] then readjust when I go to a site designed with readability in mind. There is a workaround. Either users can change the font size in the template, or Blogger can stop being idiotic when designing new templates. Test yours: go to your browser preferences, under language/fonts, set default font size to 12. Now go look at your blog! If you're set to 14, 16 or higher, my type must look HUGE to you.

Third, some of the new templates require me to update my browser because of the new CSS, which I can't do till I clean millions of files and photos off my poor wheezing laptop. That's gonna require a day off.

Fourth, the built-in comment feature seems like a swell idea, but it rarely works. When clicking to read a comment, I very often find myself staring at a "file not found" message. And damn it, if Blogger had announced they were adding free comments, I wouldn't have paid to extend my Squawkbox service.

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled chipper Shanna.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Set list for tonight's reading (I think)

Ok, I think I got it.

From Down Spooky

Good-Cooking Kitchen

We the Blind Need Pushing


Tumble in November

Will That Be All, Mrs. Kickboxer?

From Big Confetti

My Huge Napoleon

I only smile at girls I like.

Mouth Made Out of Trees

Voluntary Cinderella

Thick As, Um, Thieves


Elegy for a Fictional Strongman

From Miracle Fortune Fish & Brand New Insects

Even a Zoo

Überdesigned Happy Juice (maybe)

The Woman from the Public

Non-Ultra Joy (maybe)

Purple Heart

Stay Seated, Buckled & Safe

We've Secretly Replaced Your Blank

Tonight at the Poetry Project...

I'm reading with Joan Larkin. She's the most "famous" poet I've read with yet. So I'm nervous like I wasn't on Friday night reading with Shafer, which was pure fun. Still trying to decide what to read. Wondering if I should worry too much about trying to complement her tone and gravity. Not that I can't be serious, but when I do readings, I tend to go for amusement.

Anyway, if you're free, please come! 8 bucks at 8 o'clock. Details here. I'll have copies of Big Confetti and some Down Spookies too.

More Joan Larkin poems here, and here, and here.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Woohoo! Go Noah!

Congratulations on the Sawtooth Poetry Prize. That's excellent news!


Today at 2:30: Thomas Hopkins, Sean McNally & Janice Erlbaum at Frequency!

Also today at 6:00: Aimee Nezhukumatathil with Sarah Gambito and others at the Cornelia Street Cafe!

Monday at 8:00: I'm reading again, this time with Joan Larkin at the Poetry Project!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Well, that really was a lot of fun.

Shafer & I alternated poems on stage, each deciding what the other would read next--a strategy we'd decided on in advance, but hadn't rehearsed, which had its comedic upside I think. "Dancer Chickee-La-La Number Two" was a big hit, not least because Shafer wags his hips a little when he reads it.

The party was a blast too--and The Big Confetti cocktail purpled several lips. I didn't take photos, but somebody did!

We sold out of books pretty much immediately, so I'm back in action today to cover your preorders. (Thank you!)

Friday, May 14, 2004


Copies of our new chapbook Big Confetti will be available, and please join us after the reading around the corner at the Four-Faced Liar (165 West 4th Street) for a li'l book-release party. We've created a cocktail--called the Big Confetti--to help us celebrate. Yum.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


























Tuesday, May 11, 2004

If you just cannot wait...

or if you are as excited as Shafer & I are, you may pre-order Big Confetti via the PayPal button in the sidebar. The Big Confetti page itself is not up yet, so if you click on that mini cover you'll just get a "page not found." Probably get to that this weekend. But. So. There. Bored at freelance gig.


On Big Confetti by Brendan Lorber

"In 1901, one determined person went over Niagara Falls in a barrel--but it took 103 years and two people to develop a project that could generate the same tumultuous thrill without the certainty of catastrophic injury. Captured in this barrel is daily existence itself converted to insistent, accelerating, high-energy projectile verse, the optimistic sense of having all the time in the world to have the time of your life, capped with guarantees of increase & amplification ahead. To hell with anyone who stands between us & the world as revealed in Shafer Hall & Shanna Compton's adventures through the firewall, their confetti-strewn collaborative celebration. Their ticker tape parade of conceptual bravado begins with ironically nostalgic Texan adolescence, a muscular Americana cutting totemic animals down to high school mascot size & ends with the means to resist taboos--taboos capriciously imposed in the name of control. They flirt with things they're not supposed to, create conditions of restraint in frenetic fields, thumb their noses at lineage & make strange even received notions pop-iconography. Enter a world of Kool on the Ganges, of off-balance additions to the expected, of a constant matter-of-fact exuberance. A new map of America that recognizes the trouble with living in a nation built on ephemera is an exciting trouble, the kind that keeps you going on your nerve. Behind Big Confetti's sense of winking playfulness in a strange land is the intimate complicity of two minds working in concert. It's less a meeting of the minds than heads bumping hard enough to see stars in a culturally turbulent but altogether rollicking maelstrom. The hard part is choosing which star to wish on."

Wow! I'm as pink as my template.

Erica Harris!

Please do check out the beautiful paintings, drawings, collages, and photographs at Erica's new site, designed by multitalented poet Shannon Holman.

Erica's work has also been featured on books published by Kelly Link & Gavin Grant's Small Beer Press. Like this one.

UPDATE: Katey, be sure to check out #2 under "new work," and Erica K. #3 under "paintings" is for your boss's collection!

Monday, May 10, 2004

1000 journals!

Banana Salsa

juice of one lime
juice of half a lemon
1 bunch ripe bananas (but not too soft)
1-2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, minced (seeded if you prefer milder heat. start with one and remember they'll get hotter as salsa flavors develop.)
1 ripe tomato or 2 ripe plum tomatoes, small dice
small handful of cilantro, chopped
sea salt to taste
dash of chile powder (pure ancho preferred)

• Juice lime and half lemon into large bowl
• Peel and slice bananas lengthwise, removing bruises
• Cut into small dice, add to juice ASAP to prevent browning, toss to coat
• Add the other ingredients
• Salt to taste
• Cover with plastic wrap pressed to surface
• Chill for at least 30 minutes
• Stir and sprinkle with chile powder before serving with tortilla chips

This is also great with grilled pork or chicken or fish [tofu or seitan*].
Variation: use fresh mint instead of cilantro, replace tomatoes with red bell pepper

*[This post has been modified because I have since gone vegan.]

Sunday, May 9, 2004

Brooks Brothers Poet

A moving, hopeful portrait of a poet in the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times! This is a terrific story. Thanks to Jilly Dybka for the link.

Saturday, May 8, 2004

Sizzles & sandals

First barbecue of the season starts in half an hour...pulled out the sandals, polished the toenails, spiced up [veggie*] fajita fixings, whipped up banana salsa, and here we come! It's gorgeous out. Was worried because it was cool and cloudy this morning. Happy Ocho de Mayo.

*[This post has been modified because I have since gone vegan.]

The difference between Texas & Jersey

Dan: We're off to NJ in a couple hours, back on Sunday afternoon [for a family party]. My sister is renting a pony and ducks for this. Gotta go to it!

Shanna: Wow--you can rent ducks?!

Dan: Yes, Shanna. You can rent ducks. And geese. And bunnies. It's New Jersey, for chrissakes.

Shanna: Sorry...where I come from we get ducks (and geese, and chickens, and goats) as gifts at the party. We don't rent 'em.

Always, always believe what you read in the Fortean Times

"Steve Angerson of the University of Iowa and his team have studied a group of pathological collectors. They found that damage to the frontal lobes of the brain impaired judgement and caused emotional disturbances. However, only when the injury extended to the right mesial prefrontal cortex, a tiny region of the human prefrontal cortex, did the patients develop a serious collecting habit too, Anderson told a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans last November.

"Previous work in rodents shows that more primitive, subcortial brain regions produce the drive to collect food and useless objects. No matter how much they have stashed away, animals will just go on collecting. Anderson maintains we have the same basic drive; but the right mesial prefrontal cortex can normally discriminate between something of value and something useless, and keeps the drive in check. When it is damaged, the more primitive collecting drive comes to the fore. New Scientist, 15 Nov 2003."

Feel free to confess your collections below. Borgesian libraries are excused. I've admitted the typewriters already, but I haven't mentioned my Pez dispensers, my antique kitchen gadgets, or unidentified junkyard machine parts. However, these things all serve a decorative purpose. Right?

From the Kentucky Derby party...

at Jen & Sean's last weekend. A few shots. Many more, but haven't asked permission for portraits.

Friday, May 7, 2004

Thursday, May 6, 2004

Recommended reading: Small Spiral Notebook party tonight at KGB!

Celebrate the launch of the Small Spiral Notebook print edition at KGB BAR in New York City. 85 E. 4th St. 2nd Avenue. 7PM. $10 gets you a copy of the print edition and makes you eligible for amazing raffle prizes!

Readers include: Daniel Nester, Maggie Estep, Amy Benson, Felicia C. Sullivan & Meredith Broussard. Possible guest appearance by Jonathan Ames.


I neglected to post a purchase link for Lohren Green's Poetical Dictionary yesterday. You can get it from SPD (which also means your local bookseller can order it for you), or order it from the end-all-be-all bookstore Powell's here.

Also recommended, if you like this stuff, is Maggie Balistreri's extremely witty Evasion English Dictionary. More info here. And Powell's purchase link here.

And while we're on the topic of things that are arranged in alphabetical order, get your letter for R Is for Ron Silliman from [expurgated] today, if there are any left. I got K. Working on it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2004


From Poetical Dictionary by Lohren Green (Atelos, 2003)

[To get the spacing in this poem correct I'll have to post the doc for download. Please click here for the .rtf document. You can read with MSWord or etc. Guess I could have scanned it, but the scanner is up in the closet right now.]

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Tuesday To-Do List

Finish proofs. Check.

Pretend to work while reading blogs all day at freelance gig. Check.

Buy some art. Check it.


Soundtrack for Spring & Summer Prayer


a Man

Loves a Woman--


not Michael

Bolton, Percy Sledge!


we await

you eagerly so


may play

our favorite game


catching up

to our lives.


to be

on my team?

High-Flying Frog Stows Away in In-Flight Salad

I kid you not!

Mark your calendars and put on your party shoes...

because after the reading on 5/14 (see below), Shafer & I are throwing ourselves a Big Confetti book party around the corner at the Four-Faced Liar. With confetti! And bigness!

Can't make it? The following Monday 5/17, I'll be reading at the Poetry Project with JOAN LARKIN. Wow.

Better yet, come to both, and I promise to read different poems. Or a costume. Or something.


A Cart with Apples

by Christopher Middleton, from Selected Writings: A Reader

In the blue shadow

alone with its rose

and full of fields

round ones and yellow ones

an apple stands

a blue apple stands

in the field of yellow

alone with its cart

and round of roses

full ones and shadow ones

and full of yellow

the shadow stands

alone with an apple

a rose one a round one

in a blue field

and in the apple shadows

blue ones and yellow ones

a cart stands

alone with its field

and full of rounds

but in the field of roses

and full of apples

yellow ones and round ones

a blue cart stands

alone with its shadow

I discovered Middleton at the University of Texas, where he taught (still teaches?) in the German department for many years. In fact, he administered my oral final interview one semester (which were done by impartial professors), but in his half-lit office and under the pressure of a test of my basic communication skills, I couldn't bring myself to mention that I'd been reading his poems. The Co-Op always stocked his books and I'd picked up every one I could find. I've read this poem so many times I practically have it memorized, and probably would have it if it didn't all turn on shifts of word order. It's relatively simple, and less surprising and less humorous perhaps than many of his poems, but I love the way it all hangs on that "but," don't you?

Pretending to keep up

Purchased: Vanishing Points of Resemblance by Tom Beckett

Received: The Two Coat Syndrome by Erica Jane Kaufman

Monday, May 3, 2004

Lest I leave you postless...

a bit of news.

Sewing more Down Spookies this week to ready the way for the madness which shall be Big Confetti. My, what a fat chap we're making. And it's still growing!

Charlie promises unveiling of cover soon soon soon.

Missed Frequency yesterday after exhorting you all to attend. Buried in proofs for Soft Skull. Someone please report!

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Like You, Reader

Jorge Guillén, from Horses in the Air & Other Poems

A man grows tired of being thing, a thing that serves knowing itself thing, silent thing capable of angry impulses. The manliness of man, of many men, grows dreadfully tired.

Now hands dirty and rough from drudgery cannot stop. Many eyes--naked eyes--see or half-see into the distance, even when bent toward the ground with its quagmires of laws.

Machine beside machine or alone exposed to the elements. Animal beneath a jungle sun, or in an utterly urban jungle. And the colors of the skin grow tired of their color.

Colors grow tired of being white, or yellow, or black: prostration. And millions and millions of hardships manage to form, at last, a single figure standing erect.

Neither hero nor monster. A wholly human figure that overwhelms, destroying and razing like Nature with geological--and mental--fury. But no. It is a crisis of History.

Crisis that would astound the gods themselves if they paid attention to our mud-mired slums. In the shanty towns they could glimpse people drowning and now seized by tides with fate's fury.

This time, certainly, the planet is off-balance. The colors are hurld upon the eminent, and the subjects, one by one, subjects swell the multitude that are oh! solid masses.

Masses of men who, one by one, could be men. Men like you, reader, reading, free, wrapped in the sovereignty of your skin, holding a volume in your hand, free.

Stop reading, look at the curtains at the window. No, it is not the air moving them. They are responding to that so fleeting motion that was a seismic movement. Watch out: it only foretells that....

To you also it fortells the catastrophe of castastrophes. Will slavery end? Will there be men who are not things? Men like you, reader, seated in your chair. Nothing more.

Check Sparrow's sestina...

at McSweeney's here. It's got Rod Stewart!

Saturday, May 1, 2004

There is no finer sensation on a Saturday afternoon...

than amazement!

The whole poem's a palindrome! Eating my hat that I have not discovered this astounding literature earlier. Which hat? The hat I made for the Kentucky Derby. The derby is today. We are all wearing hats. (Photos to come, of course.)

Anyway, thanks to super-prize-winning-poet and swell dude Josh for the link to Mike Maguire's work. There are even more here.

Don't miss Frequency tomorrow...

or you will be sorry.

Jennifer L. Knox reads with Neal Medlyn and Rachel Shukert.

There is no other gringo like Jen!

Congratulations, Josh!

What great news!

Apparently yesterday was Poem on Your Blog Day & Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Poems in my pocket--no problem. I schlepped 5 manuscripts to the post office yesterday.

I did, technically, put a poem on my blog--several in fact--if you're counting my collaborative secret blog, which you aren't, because you can't find it.

So here, a day late, is a poem for this odd holiday, from a book plucked at random from the shelf then randomly riffled through:

Address to a Broom by Amy Gerstler

From Medicine

Away with your homely reproaches, your rough bundle of straw, wispy as

the blond mustache just visible above Mother's upper lip. I conjured

you to brush my sins into neat piles, to do my chores for me, soothe the

floorboards my cruel boots misuse. But what sweeps clean also shoves

dirt under the rug. You make flurries of all that has fallen, what should

be left to settle unmolested and decompose into grit: hairs from heads

I'd best forget, snippets of incriminating twine, skin flakes sloughed off

the hides of fair-weather friends, petals dropped by bruised corsages,

crumbs tumbled from indiscreet meals. Broom, you long, spindly arm

that collars us slobs; you're the shifty janitor's right hand, a witch's

steed, the neglected housewife's fox-trot partner, a scarecrow's backbone,

the hyperactive first grader's unbloodied sword. What did I unleash

when I unlocked your closet? Which magic words must I mumble to

put a stop to you? Dustbin, cookie tin, silver pin, can't win. Too many

brooms sweeping at once, scores of oars rowing me toward desert islands

swiped clean of sand. Broom, you and your smug, wet-headed cousins

the mops must halt this whisking industry. Quit fingering my debris.

Abandon your flat-footed accomplice the dustpan. No more of your stiff

justice, your rigid peasant cleanliness, you poker of cobwebs, destroyer

of the nests of honest wasps. You're a ragged bird's nest lashed to a

branch, poor impersonator of a bouquet. I'd sooner lick up what sul-

lies the linoleum each day than listen to your faint, scraping accusations

or your bristly whispering ever again.

Was writing about Cinderella yesterday, so this is fitting. And reminds me of our neighbor in Long Island City, Queens. We called him the Titanic Man. He owns the house on 11th Street that sports a memorial to the great ship on the facade, replete with plastic flowers, waving flags, plaster cherubs, and sometimes music. It's made it into some Japanese tourist guide, so frequently you'd see a dark car pull up, spill its camera-clad crew. They'd take snaps and read everything, pile back into the car and leave. What has this to do with brooms? Well, Titanic Man kept our block spotless. Almost every morning he swept the entire length of our sidewalk--especially if they'd filmed Third Watch the day before (the station facade was a building on the corner)--including the stoops. When he finished that, sometimes on a Saturday when he felt extra industrious, he'd sweep the street. All four lanes plus parking spots and median. I can't count the mornings when his whisking woke me through the open window.