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Monday, May 30, 2005

An entry, a holiday

Feeling overwhelmed. Good changes coming but not on their own. Am wondeirng what makes me fill every moment to the point of distraction and think I know. Drugs are too much trouble and also not very healthy which begs the question which kind of health what is health. Charcoal grill scented air is a like a prayer to summer and I am at the moment feeling religious. A river running near a back yard. A simplicity. A not always scheduled. A quiet. But a knowing too a lonely a bored an understimulated but yards and yards of pages bookshelves walls. Hey I have a class planned to teach myself. I do not want to talk but desire conversation. This is a little entry. It resists comfort. Don't be moved manipulated tempted to answer. Nobody here.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Books are ready

The first short-run of Down Spooky is apparently ready to be picked up from the printer on Tuesday. (These are advance copies--the book doesn't officially come out till September.)

But I'm supposed to get a few next week...& review copies will go out soon!

Friday, May 27, 2005

I'm afraid this won't be very interesting

1. Person who passed this meme to me: Laurel Snyder & Michael Schiavo (in an email)

2. 29369 songs, 78.9 days, 138.41 GB on this computer. The one in S's office has lots too. I also carry a 20GB iPod. I think our entire collection has been ripped--or almost the entire collection.

3. I can't remember the last time I personally purchased a CD. S buys/swaps most of the music and in such volume I cannot honestly keep up. The last time I was at Tower Records for the purpose of buying a CD (a few years ago) I purched Don Walser, a Texan yodeller. He's fantastic. Also I remember buying emergency copies of The Joshua Tree, some Tortoise, and a Travis album (which I regretted) from a Virgin in San Francisco in the days before our iPods when once we forgot to take a batch of CDs for the rental car. I worked in a record store for 4 yrs in Texas and saw live shows practically every night in Austin--my social life revolved around music then--but now find that I can tolerate neither most record stores nor most live shows. Go figure. I do still find music essential, of course. But have come to rely on a different system of discovery and delivery, a slow drip filter, so I am always behind. There was a time I could tell you the name, artist, and album name of everything on the charts, but now I am lucky if I can tell you the name of my favorite track on any given CD thanks to iTunes and the flipbook storage system because while I usually know the individual songs the lines between the albums are blurred, the album as a unit has been diminished. I regret the loss (they're tossed) of album art and liner notes. I cannot abide music with idiotic lyrics, of any stripe. I don't like showoffy manipulative singers. Ugh vocal noodling and all kinds of squeaks and purring. If you want to get on my nerves, play the Beach Boys for more than three or four songs in a row; I can't help it. There is a purity to old-style country that I savor and I still like metal for nostalgic reasons. Pedal steel always cheers me up even when it makes me weepy. I dig a twang.

4. Nothing. In the mornings I prefer no music. I usually put it on after lunch. On the mental soundtrack this morning: KRS-One's li'l rap from REM's "Radio Song" and the "what can you do with a drunken sailor" refrain, for which I blame Reen.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A survey

Have you ever stolen a book? Which book was it? Why did you steal it? Do you still have it?

Do you consider your life as a poet punishment for this and other thefts?

Do you often recite lines from old love letters to yourself, the ones you wrote to yourself instead of that person you were pretending to love all those years ago? Do you charm yourself? Are you seduced?

Have you ever read a Hemingway story about catching VD from a hooker in a taxicab to your family at dinner? Which Hemingway story? Why? Did your family appreciate your point?

Can you admit you do not have a favorite poem? Why do you enjoy this lie?

When you read The Chronicles of Narnia back in grade school did you find the kids to be insufferable, especially that twit who ate all the Turkish Delight? Or did you just care about Jesus?

Do you dream of book tours during which you also sell meat and solve crime?

Which vegetal aroma first comes to mind when you read each the following words (be specific): library? textbook? classroom? bookstore?

If you answered any of these questions, do you realize what you have done? Are you proud of it? Do you believe you will be remembered after you are gone? Do you believe you will be forgotten?

Thank you for taking the time to consider these topics. Your participation in this study enables or stymies the researchers, depending.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

It's silly...

to "value" [publication in] print journals over [publication in] electronic ones.

Cut that out!

Note to self:

Fun is not anti-intellectual.

In the mail...

We got the rest of the print run in. Contributors' copies, subscribers' copies & journal-exchange copies are going out this evening!

(If you'd like to order one or subscribe, pls send a check or money order to LIT, Writing Program, New School University, 66 West 12th Street, Room 514, New York, NY 10011. $8 single issue, $14 1-yr subscription, $25 2-yr subscription. Back issues $5.)

In this juicy pink issue: Amy Allara * K. E. Allen * Jonathan Ames * Neil Azevedo * Andrea Baker * Eric Baus * Mark Bibbins * Sherwin Bitsui * Malachi Black * Ana Bozicevic-Bowling * Oni Buchanan * Erin Burke * Dan Chiasson * Billy Collins * Joshua Corey * Justin Courter * Laura Cronk * Christina Davis * Jordan Davis * Ceri Eagling * Thomas Sayers Ellis * Landis Everson * Emily Farranto * Miranda Field * Ryan Flaherty * Joseph Freda * David Gates * Adam Golaski * Justin Goldberg * Paul Guest * David Hajdu * Anthony Hawley * Bob Hicok * Cathy Park Hong * Lauren Ireland * Major Jackson * Shelley Jackson * Tennessee Jones * Ilya Kaminsky * Valeri Kiesig * August Kleinzahler * Mark Lamoureux * Adrian Matejka * James Meetze * Chelsea Minnis * Marie Mutsuki Mockett * K. Silem Mohammad * Honor Moore * Chris Murray * Joshua Poteat * Chris Pusateri * Matt Rasmussen * Stephen Ratcliffe * Srikanth Reddy * Spencer Reece * Elizabeth Scanlon * Melita Schaum * John Schertzer * Zachary Schomburg * Patrick Somerville * Dorothea Tanning * Hannah Tinti * Tony Towle * Catherine Turner * Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon * Sally Van Doren * Jonathan Weinert * Emma Wunsch * Stephanie Young * Matt Zambito * Cover art by John Evans * Six drawings by Elizabeth Zechel

Monday, May 23, 2005

Jiggedy jig

Back from the valley refreshed and with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith & Dia: Beacon checked off the must-see list. The cat is probably whining in Brooklyn. Or maybe he's just asleep.

Non-cat wildlife count:

3 beavers
1 skunk
innumerable geese & seagulls
1 very tragic deer

Catching up with emails, tour conversations and the like. Hello!

Friday, May 20, 2005

TextStyles on Sunday

Well, we're off to the Hudson Valley to meet with our futures. And it turns out that I am not going to be back in time to make this reading, but look at all the lovely people who will be there, reading in fabulous finery for the benefit of garment workers. You should go. I am v. sorry to miss it. See you Monday.

Sunday, May 22 at the Bowery Poetry Club
Reading to benefit International Textile Workers
All proceeds donated to Clean Clothes Campaign
Hosted by Nada Gordon

Kim Rosenfield, Rob Fitterman, Adeena Karasick, Shanna Compton,
Katie Degentesh, Virginie Poitrasson, Tim Peterson, Jack Kimball,
Christina Strong, Marianne Shaneen, Douglas Rothschild, Brenda Iijima,
Tonya Foster, Jordan Davis & Meghan Cleary

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery at Bleecker Street
8:00 PM
$5 + clothing sale

Search string poemish

Jane Freilicher's mother overheard
the fashion copywriter's lament,
"I need the fucking long vowel sound rules
and how to pronounce Chartres
in New Orleans. Is the moss that grows
on live oak trees a critic or a fan?
Should I stick to catalogs with pictures,
or deglaze, cutting wheels for windows?
Everybody's looking for [expurgated]
with no pants on or details about
Kurt Cobain's finger injury and
I just don't have the goods."

The wise woman replied, "Dear, think
of Delmore Schwartz in Ronkonkoma.
He knew jalapenos raise metabolism
and all about gangsta hairstyles.
His mental weather hummed
with the frequency of spring
and funny bitches rimes. He could
analyze the plaid dress of Edna
St. Vincent Millay and shoot photos
of butter and lard. There was no other
like him, an artist in relation to his game."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My sister the puppeteer...

A poet and a puppeteer. Our poor mother.

While we may not be able to support her in her old age, we do sometimes occasionally garner her Texas-sized braggin' rights:

""Tab A, Slot B: A New Age Sexiology:
Most sketch comedy is funnier under the influence of alcohol, but the young and exuberant performers of Bootstraps Comedy Theater have a way of intoxicating the audience with irresistibly giddy charm. They fling themselves through two acts of short scenes that take them through the '32 phases of love.' Favorite: No. 6--'Plagiarizing Shakespeare.' Socrates and Abe Lincoln wander in to offer thoughts on the coital conundrum. And Oedipus stumbles on (he's blind, ya know) to announce that he's in Freudian analysis and isn't that ironic? Written by the cast, this comic look at love is pregnant with surprises. Don't blink or you'll miss the anatomically correct marionette in the trench coat. You might want to close your eyes, however, when the man goes into labor and gives birth to...ewwww. These are clever comic actors willing to take huge risks to say new things. Best of the bunch is Matt Lyle, shyly warbling, 'I love you with all my glands/Like hippie chicks living in vans.' Love these kids. They'll make you laugh. Through May 28 at Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. 972-365-2839. Reviewed this week. (E.L.)"

My littlest sis is both the operator of the randy marionette and the chick in the photo with her arms in the air, Cleopatra fashion.

Pete's Big Salmon: Maureen Thorson & Paul Muldoon

Hey that was totally great just really fun and Maureen read in her monster voice and her pirate voice and in a voice that expressed genunine concern for the denizens of Mayport and she was terrific. Paul Muldoon was mellifiluous and changed into the tee shirt Maureen made him that said "i am famous in japan" to play with his band and that's probably true. Yesterday before the reading walking from Times Square to Union Square the first time I acknowledged feeling blithe that particular adjective pollinating the moment and buzzing around. Too content to swat it away it didn't sting.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Erased poem

You and I spread the table,
let go the argument.

The evening falls,
sudden October.

And you drop your plate,
disturb the spoons.

I fix them,
begin to snicker

and you smile.
Swell progress.

[Oh, what the hell. My stab at the Prufrock game.]

Erased poem

Love, a fat midwife,
took the voices' echo in.

Our round walls
no more than a mirror,

its effacement all flickers.
The wake moves my ear,

and floral night
opens as a window.

Your vowels rise.

[Original here.]

Saturday, May 14, 2005


The defrocking Prufrock meme that is going around is pretty neat. That's a poem that's tough to erase. The original is still stubbornly there in every version I've seen. For me anyway. As Charlie Jensen mention's in the comment box to Peter Pereira's version, two possibilities for a new poem created this way are transcendence of and comment on Eliot's poem.

I have experimented with erasing poems off and on, having picked up the idea from Robert Rauchenberg's "Erased de Kooning."

Rauschenberg's "Erased de Kooning Drawing," 1953.

Though I am sure the idea was not a new one, it was new to me. The goal in my experiments was to take a poem with strong lines and erase them to leave only very faint traces of the original. In Rauschenberg's piece the de Kooning is almost-not-quite completely gone. Where Rauschenberg's piece is about the resonant absence after an erasure (though it is also about many other things, such as value), my experiments seemed to reveal something about persistence. I realize that is probably vague, and in any case, very subtle. Erasure experiments are an interesting exercise in reading, too--a way to discover what is irreducible about a poem.

Here is one of the first best ones I did.

Do you recognize the original there at all?

Sometimes I will also use this erasure experiment to begin a poem, but then I give myself permission to stray from the rules (such as using only words or phrases from the original in the order they appeared) as far as I like. So the original poem becomes just a jumping off point and the new poem a wholly new thing.

But I ain't about to cop to which of mine or which of theirs.

Rauschenberg's piece is more radical, by far. He had to destroy the de Kooning, reduce it to just a once-was. Kinda primal, ain't it?

Friday, May 13, 2005


Please join us in Wollman Hall with its floor-to-ceiling windows and full-length balconies with beautiful views of Greenwich Village (and where smoking is permitted). At 7:00 we'll have food & drinks for an hour, then 4 stellar 10-minute readings at 8:00, plus dancing and hanging out till 10:00. It's free with an open beer/wine/soda bar and you can even pick up a free copy of our new issue and a couple slices of pizza. What's not to love?

That's tonight at 7:00. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

LIT 10 has landed!

And I hear they look great.

See you at the party tomorrow? Need I repeat "free booze"?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Got The Hat!

And also recently received my Carve.

And another issue of the lovely prose poemy Cue.

And Two & Two by Denise Duhamel.

And The Tormented Mirror by Russell Edson.

And I Am: The Selected Poetry of John Clare.

And When a Woman Loves a Man by David Lehman.

And Hat on the Bed by Christine Scanlon.

And Field Stone by Catherine Kasper.

And an advance copy of Pyx by Corinne Lee.

And all the Effing Press chaps.

And now all I need is some time to read!

But I did finally get my taxes done...for 2003. And yesterday I rented a vacation for August. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Easing your Nesterlessness

Check out this SMASHING review of God Save My Queen II in Word Riot!

Oh, and also, have a looksee at this inteview Dan conducted with Todd Colby at Bookslut.


Sunday, May 8, 2005

On the purpose of the critic

"DW: Some critics see their job as helping the rest of us avoid bad verse, yet you seem to be committed to helping readers learn what's necessary to read what a wide variety of contemporary poets are up to. How do you conceive your reviewer's/critic's role?

SB: Most bad verse is verse nobody needs help in avoiding, because most bad verse--and much good verse--passes through this world almost unnoticed.

Reviewing is a subclass of the wider activity called literary criticism. The role of a literary critic is to say interesting things about literary works, especially (but not only) to say things which make the works themselves more interesting, wiser, more informative, or more fun for their readers and re-readers.

The role of a poetry reviewer is to say things that help people (a) discover and (b) appreciate good poems. ("Good" of course is subjective--how subjective, and why, are matters for debates elsewhere.) That role leaves room for many different kinds of writing, many different attitudes individual reviewers can adopt. Some reviewers are like disc jockeys, playing representative work and juxtaposing it with other works that make it sound even better, then adding a comment once in a while. Other reviewers resemble archaeologists, painstakingly recreating the contexts you'd need to understand what an artifact meant to its first readers. Still other reviewers seem like entertainers, monologuists even, who want to "convince by their presence" (as Whitman says) rather than by dispassionate analyses."

Good interview with Stephen Burt here.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Technical difficulties

Uh, patience please. I am on the phone with support.

Whoops. My domain registration apparently expired yesterday, and I didn't get any kind of notice about it.

Sorry about the brief replacement by those pesky Canadian ads.

Should be all set now.

Friday, May 6, 2005


UPDATE: Yes, prosers are also welcome! The title says "poetry" just cuz it's at the BPC. The mechanics are the same, so come one come all.

Ok, it's on. I'll be teaching a class on DIY Poetry Publishing for Bowery Arts & Sciences in July as part of their very nifty program in applied poetics.

What: DIY Poetry Publishing: Chapbooks, Zines, Webzines & More

When: Thursdays in July, 7-9 PM (4 sessions: July 7, 14, 21, 28) plus a class reading & party Saturday, July 30, 2-4 PM

Where: Bowery Poetry Club, Workshop Room, 308 Bowery, NYC

Tuition: $200 (with a limited number of scholarships available)

Registration: Info to come. For now, email me for more info or to reserve a seat (the room is smallish).

D.I.Y. Poetry Publishing: Chapbooks, Zines, Webzines & Blogs

Course description: This class will explore creative, inexpensive (even free) alternative routes to poetry publishing for do-it-yourselfers. We'll take a look at a selection of recent chapbooks, examine the approaches and niches of various themed zines and webzines, and survey the growing poetry "blogosphere." Then each class member will focus on a group or individual project of their own choosing to be completed by the end of the course. We'll go step-by-step through the entire process for each type of product, from manuscript (or slush pile) to finished book or web site, mastering the tools and methods you'll need to DIY. As a final step, we'll talk about setting up a promotional email list; how to handle publicity, sales, and consignment marketing to local bookstores; and how to set up your own online store. Each 2-hour class session is a concrete step toward the realization of your chapbook, zine, webzine, or blog project, which you'll have the opportunity to show off at the end-of-class reading & party. Completed chapbooks and zines will be made available for sale through the Bowery Poetry Club bookstore and the Club will display fliers or postcards for webzines and blogs. NOTE: Students should have access to a computer with a printer and internet connection at least once a week throughout this four-week course.

Effing A, man

I just received a totally kickass package of chapbooky goodness from Scott Pierce. I am going to spend the weekend with them and report back--they look amazing.

And speaking of Effing, check out Reb's first column for the Happy Booker!

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know? Ron Silliman also has some praise for Effing today, specifically for Joseph Massey's Eureka Slough. (You know where to find it.)

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

[Dusting hands]

Well, the book's gone to the printer.

Review copies will be available in about a month, I guess.

Oh, and it looks like you can preorder it now, if you're into that kind of thing. (Link at right.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2005


Last night the music was cool the readers were funny and didn't seem at all nervous though they said they were were funny about the clams and all that money was funny. God that money was funny. And all the bullshit. And ass lots of people seeming to say ass. And that part about not being born a blind hermaphrodite was it? And all the other parts. And the spotlight on the curtain when he read about the spotlight on the curtain. And there were all those people we recognized in hindsight later in the cab oh why didn't we say hi why next time we will of course of course turn here. Hanging out with smokers in the rain makes a nonsmoker cold and damp but super sociable I'll admit. Pretending to pose and not posing are the same thing dontcha know lots of practice practice makes photoresistant they bounce right off. Turn here. What's for dinner? Something frozen everything in the fridge is frozen it's like the freezer broke in and brought everything to a halt. It's all freezed up man so noodles. You know last night was great and the other great thing about the last few days was Friday night. Friday night was great. Friday night was me going all night long THAT IS FUCKING MERLE HAGGARD MAN THAT IS MERLE FUCKING HAGGARD. For real. That man can sing.

And by the way...

I'm totally jealous.

When I grow up, I want to be Burning Deck.

The importance of chapbooks...

An article from the new American Book Review. [Click to view PDF.]

With comments, perhaps, to follow.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Trying out something new

Redid the blogroll as a popup to see A) if I could figure out how, and B) if I like it.

Messing around with template and format. Feeling the site is too repetitive. Now that the other pages are refreshed and easier to update, I don't need to rely on the blog page so much.


TONIGHT: Look Slimmer Instantly!

Monday, May 2 at 8:00 PM

Please join us for a book release party & reading to celebrate the release of
Look Slimmer Instantly! by Jerome Sala

Readings by Jerome Sala & Gary Sullivan
Music by twiglight, a.k.a Chris Martin & Edmund Berrigan

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (@ Bleeker)
Right across from CBGBs

I'm emceeeeeeeeing. 'Twould be lovely to see ya.

Sunday, May 1, 2005

NaPoWriMo No Mo

To sum up, even though I did not successfully write a poem each day, I did write more than I would have without Reen's challenge--almost every day, and some kind of attempt every day. At first the pressure of posting my score here served to motivate, but then the idea that you might be watching began to feel like obligation, provoking procrastination. Nobody likes chores. Nevertheless there are a few keepers. So I consider it a success.

Back to the regular way. Hunter-gatherer. Just accrue it. Attention half elsewhere till BING! Then the back and forth with the Olivetti. Madness + method.

Anyway, thanks for playing along.

Shafer, Reen, Sam and sundry others will be reading from their NaPoWriMo notebooks today at Frequency. FYI.

Also, the book did not go to press last week. Still little correx to make. Maybe tomorrow.

But, I got the AWP 2006 DIY Publishing panel proposal in. So there!