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Friday, December 29, 2006

Some of what you're missing if you "don't read fiction":

"Already you could see through the dust on the ponies' hides the painted chevrons and the hands and rising suns and birds and fish of every device like the shade of old work through sizing on a canvas and now too you could hear above the pounding of the unshod hooves the piping of the quena, flutes made from human bones, and some among the company had begun to saw back on their mounts and some to mill in confusion when up from the offside of those ponies there rose a fabled horde of mounted lancers and archers bearing shields bedight with bits of broken mirrorglass that cast a thousand unpieced suns against the eyes of their enemies. A legion of horribles, hundreds in number, half naked or clad in costumes attic or biblical or wardrobed out of a fevered dream with the skins of animals and silk finery and pieces of uniform still tracked with the blood of prior owners, coats of slain dragoons, frogged and braided calvary jackets, one in a stovepipe hat and one with an umbrella and one in white stockings and a bloodstained weddingveil and some in headgear of cranefeathers or rawhide helmets that bore the horns of bull or buffalo and one in a pigeontailed coat worn backwards and otherwise naked and one in the armor of a spanish conquistador, the breastplate and pauldrons deeply dented with old blows of mace or sabre done in another country by men whose very bones were dust and many with their braids spliced up with the hair of other beasts until they trailed upon the ground and their horses' ears and tails worked with bits of brightly colored cloth and one whose horse's whole head was painted crimson red and all the horseman's faces gaudy and grotesque with daubings like a company of mounted clowns, death hilarious, all howling in a barbarous tongue and riding down upon them from a hell more horrible yet than the brimstone land of christian reckoning, screeching and yammering and clothed in smoke like those vaporous beings in regions beyond right knowing where the eye wanders and the lip jerks and drools.
      Oh my god, said the sergeant.

Just a random paragraph, from this.

Back for a couple of days, packing continues, away again for New Year's beginning tomorrow, so light posting.

Friday, December 22, 2006

If y'all are traveling, take care now, ya hear? See ya after the holidays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Random reading

Life Is a Strain for Me Much of the Time
The Anger Scale
Katie Degentesh

(Combo Arts, 2006)

This planet has--or rather had--a problem
it simply feels that way most of the time
the way a few very rich people do now

they leave off the breathing Americans
in solitary confinement
in the arctic winter, when the sky
has a lot of energy
and the mosquitoes are not in full force
(think pill bugs of the sea
involved in bloody feudal wars)

Some were shoddier than others
Some were taught to play on the violin
Some were nobles who had upset the king
Some were actively connected to the actual events

an old lantern lit in the men's faces
the mud was at least ankle deep

It was the constant darkness more than the cold
the standard average-student mold

Just as your heart goes out to the man
when you learn that he was abusive and miserable,
sometimes it seems odd that topless bathing isn't allowed

when we give away use of roads
we get too much cheese

five of the six dioramas show
you can trust the federal government
to be cheaper than coal

even the smart kids
burned the good food in front of us
in favor of the articulation of existing paradigms
It is cleaner when burned.

The naive reader may believe that you feel uncomfortable
because of the appearance of your eye and eyelid
But the real problem is that
alcohol was the primary agent for the development of Western civilization
around a large quantity of dog poop

To begin with a kind of digression, the note on the text, in the back of the book: "Every poem in this book is titled with a question from the MMPI, or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a psychological test consisting of 566 true/false questions that has been the benchmark for determining people's mental pathologies as well as their fitness for court trials and military service since the 1930s. Updated in 1989, the MMPI-2 is still relied upon for the same purposes today." I've taken this test--or one very similar to it--in high-school, as part of a routine exam by a therapist. I actually remember noticing the way several of the questions overlapped, and figured that it was to account for lying or other attempts to manipulate the results, and that some of the questions (which you are asked to rank on a scale of "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree") were just freaking creepy. The questions, tho meant to assess current symptoms, actually opened up a whole new range of possibilities for fucked-upness. "I feel uneasy indoors" was followed or preceeded in short space with "I feel uneasy outdoors" and "I feel afraid when I am alone" and "I feel uncomfortable in a crowd" and just about every other possibility. Then there were the more violent ones: "Someone is trying to poison me" or "Sometimes I feel I must injure either myself or someone else."

Anyway, back to the note, which continues to describe Katie's method: [. . .] I began to use [the questions] to write poems [ . . .] by feeding phrases from the statements into internet search engines and piecing the poems together from the results pages. [ . . . ] I might then also replace words or phrases in the results."

So it's tempting to read the poems in The Anger Scale with the aid of the nearest hotspot, and I'll admit doing that with a few, just like I have with other Flarf creations. But it's much more interesting in this case, to read the poem as if it were constructed in a more usual manner. Because the poem's genius (I said it) is that it makes use of traditional conventions and subverts them at the same time.

It sounds like a poem. Rhythmically it displays/enacts a pattern of long complex sentences (the first two verse paragraphs, for instance, are one complete sentence each, the second with an appended parenthetical), punctuated by shorter fragments. There's the litany of "Some were shoddier / Some were taught / Some were nobles / Some were actively connected. " And it looks like a poem: it's arranged in lines, which are in turn arranged in verse paragraphs, irregular in length (so not technically "stanzas") but with some symmetry in the three couplets, and by virtue of the longer paragraphs appearing at the head and tail. And it works like a poem: it moves by way of familiar rhetorical transitions: "Just as," "when we," "five of six [dioramas] show." It invokes "the reader" in the last paragraph (another preapproved "move"), and even plays an epiphanic trump card: after four relatively elegant lines (in both rhythm and diction) it ends with us looking down at some dog poop. (Which is more like an an anti-epiphany, and traditionally "inappropriate" like so much else re: Flarf.)

On top of all this, and with the book's method in mind, there are then (at least) two tracks on which to the read the poem. The first, being a straight reading, limiting the meaning of the poem (insofar as that's possible) to what's there on the page. I'll attempt a paraphrase: Abundance makes the world a boring place because there's not as much conflict or struggle for survival. In the past, things were much more exciting/violent/volatile. Civilization is actually a sedative, or a dumbing down. It impairs perception. It amounts to nothing more than crap. Accepting such a paraphrase as the poem's argument makes it difficult to believe in the speaker, however. And that's the next key. The tone of the poem, is that of an opinonated dramatic monologue or discursive essay. But the voice isn't cohesive (subversion of the traditional lyric I); it ranges over various tones and modes and levels of diction. It's polyvocal. It's Culture at Large talking. The internet is talking. Everybody is talking. And the contradictions and fallacies are all run together.

Which brings me to the second track of the poem, the one where the method is held in mind and the reader allows herself to imagine (or actually look for) the sources of the phrases on the internet. Who said this line, and in what context. Some of the lines are easier to pin down then others, some are constructed (seemingly) of various bits from multiple places. For instance, "involved in bloody feudal wars" and "Some nobles who had upset the king" appear to be from the same source, along with, maybe, "the primary agent for the development of Western Civilization." Any or all of that could have come from an educational site re: World History or specifically the Middle Ages. Some of the other language is similarly academic in tone: "the standard-average student mold," "five of the six dioramas show," "in favor of existing paradigms," amd "the naive reader may believe," could be from a critical essay (though dioramas automatically remind me of Natural History museums, so maybe that belongs in the first list). "Cheaper than coal" and "it is cleaner when burned" obviously go together, and are perhaps from a website discussing energy alternatives, maybe in a political context, which would then link it to the eco-sounding "This planet has--or rather had--a problem" and the stuff about "arctic winter," "breathing Americans," "has a lot of energy," maybe "a few very rich people" and even "the constant darkness more than the cold," which I'm now reading in a kind of ecological doomsday sense, as well as perhaps a historical Big Bang/evolutionary narrative sense, which would also tie it to "the pill bugs of the sea"--whaddaya call those things? Trilobites?

And in accord with the generative process, the title's got it all right there: Life (as in history, civilization, culture), Strain (as in conflict/struggle and also as in a single thread or stream of larger flow, or even a DNA strand?), Me (a polyvocal me, which is again culture, the internet, civilization, the lyric I, a collective ego not to mention unconscious), and Time (again history, civilization, evolution, museums, and even poetic meter/rhythm).

Sorry, no time right now to sum up these tracers--or to proofread. But this poem, and the book it's in, spin me round.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Still packing, or will be after I've had my coffee. It's my mom's birthday. She doesn't read this blog, but I called her. Maybe another random reading later, but first:

The first poem I remember reading was... this one. Not the first poem I remember, but the first thing I remember reading to myself, realizing that though I had it memorized from hearing it so many times, I was reading not just reciting it. The words on the page previously seemed less interesting than the pictures, but suddenly were the most interesting thing ever. I was 4. There was no turning back. I also loved (still do) Dr. Seuss. And Ogden Nash's poems like "Fleas" and "Further Reflections on Parsley." (Delighted again, right now.) And those Mr. Silly books. And the children's illustrated Bible (strongly preferring the Old Testament) and Greek mythology (also in a children's version). And I did like Shel Silverstein. (I still have those.) And Edward Gorey (ditto). And Edward Lear. (Urg(e), now I need to go Xmas shopping some more, for the nieces & nephew. Surely they don't have all of these yet.)

I was forced to memorize numerous poems in school and... I don't remember ever being asked to memorize a poem for school. I do remember reciting poems in front of the class though, so well maybe I was. The first teacher to talk seriously about poetry was my 3rd grade Language Arts teacher. We read Blake ("The Tyger") and Stevens ("Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird") and Williams ("This Is Just to Say" and "The Red Wheelbarrow") and Dickinson (several, which we learned could be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas") and some haiku. (A few years ago, when I scored a first edition of Kenneth Koch's Rose, Where Did You Get That Red I realized she'd been using that and also Wishes, Lies & Dreams. Lucky me!) We wrote poems and published them in a chapbook called "Poems from the Unicorn's Kingdom." I've talked about that before and I've even read my poem from the book at readings a few times. It's funny to me that never having been on a sailboat in my life, I nevertheless put one in a poem.

I read poetry because... I need it. There's a feeling (or lack of feeling?) that can only be allayed by poetry. I can't do without it. If too much time goes by and I can't sit down with some I get pissy.

A poem I'm likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem... The first poem I remember obsessing over was Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." For a while I was really really into Poe, and I loved "Annabel Lee" to the point that I dressed like Poe (mustache, white shirt, string tie) and shot slides of my mom in her wedding gown in the cemetary for a class project. (I should transfer those slides.) Then I committed myself to Emily, reading everything, over and over. Walt too, natch. Then it was Stevens again, all Stevens all the time, but that was before I met Frank. I don't like to pick favorites, but I really love "Today" and "Poem (The eager note on my door said 'Call me,)" and "Autobiographia Literaria" and "Meditations in an Emergency" and "To the Film Industry in Crisis" and . . . this could go on awhile. Next month may be different. My favorite poems/poets don't tend to be contemporary, though obviously there's much to love here too. But it's easier to grasp what's bestest from a body of work in which the sendiment has already settled. Less extrapoetic bullshit to get in the way. (Anxiety of influence? Try anxieties of confluence.)

I write poetry, but... I used to write short stories (for which I was upbraided in workshops because they were "too poetic" and "didn't make logical sense" or "have a clear narrative." I love prose, sentences, paragraphs. I will write at least one novel. And longer poems, very long poems, the long poem. The problem so far has been too many other obligations mucking up the desk. Once I'm in, I really need to stay there and not take my head out. Cultivating a situation now (personal, professional, financial) so that I should get the chance.

My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature... in that it's slower and more repetitive (I wrote "repeptive," maybe that too). When I want to be completely overwhelmed/absorbed/distracted/entertained/carried away, I read novels. Or biographies, mostly of writers & visual artists. When I want to learn something about how things work, I read expert nonfiction (like this one, which I'm reading now). And foodie porn & cookbooks. When I want to think or find out what I think, I read poems.

I find poetry... vital, essential, everywhere, effective for busting through lifejunk.

The last time I heard poetry... was at the MiPoesias series at Stain bar, Kate, Justin and Janet. I've been missing lots and lots of readings lately. I have to.

Update! Actually that's not the last time I heard poetry. I watched these awesomey Flarf vids as Mike put them up. Not to be missed, especially, is Nada Gordon's "I Love Men." OK, also, that poem/performance comes pretty close to favorite status right now, not least because/in spite of the fact that I myself wanted to write a poem called "I Love Men" a month or so ago, but Nada beat me, and hers stomps.

I think poetry is like... laughter. When it's faked, everybody can tell. And when it's real, nothing feels better. And it's contagious.

You can tag yourself, if you like.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Random reading

Packing books, I can't help myself. I open them. I sit and read for a few pages. I'll be doing this forever.

Since that's the case, I thought I'd try mini reviews (for lack of better term) of single poems, randomly selected from the books I'm in the process of packing. Or "readings" might be a better word than "reviews."

Because they'll be randomly selected, I suppose that might mean I end up with nothing to say sometimes, in which case, I will simply post them without commentary. Mebbe then you can review them in the comment box instead.

OK, lessee. Ha. This one's title seems perfect, given the nature of the exercise.


A Great Number of Aribitrary Signs
Split Infinities, Rosmarie Waldrop
(Singing Horse, 1998)

And a deep discontent with variable waves lengths. The shining dandelions had already bloomed into puffballs. The air apparent, flickering with heat.

Light cannot turn corners. The stepp program of the pleasure principle. The splash of the fountain. Fingers on arteries practicing scales and arpeggios.

While concepts lay unobservable in the brain, the leaves began to fall. During the blackouts, the city gave in to the dark like any countryside. A wide space of hearing, but free from entanglements with fertile soil. And like lovers knew the time that was given and the time we must take.

The way the fountain braids my listening after sparrows, swallows and soldiers have been broken into phonemes. And the waves pounding the achievements that are wedged between our lives. One cup poured into another makes different animal ancestors.

What is important? The body of water itself? The sublimation that makes civilization possible? Mother lit candles and kerosene lamps.

Soap not necessarily a source of happiness. Marrow of water. A fountain's sound is changed by the slightest gap in the air.

Love draws its orbit through the heavens, while the land beneath heaves with calamities. I lifted the blind and looked down on the color of war, now lost. I might not have known all the meanings of red sky at night.

The light has turned the corner. When sublimation comes to rest the jet of water falls back on itself. As if the fountain itself were underwater. A sleep incautious and entire.

The title runs into the first line, so that it really begins "A great number of arbitrary signs and a deep discontent with variable wave lengths." Signs are recognized only by believers, so pointing toward what? A nature poem, that has the city in it, but a city subdued by darkness (the blackouts) and water (Providence has a river running through it, and a fountain, though maybe this isn't Providence). Providence as in divine direction, though, ties back to signs. The wave lengths of the opening fragment are light waves first, the visuals (dandelions, flickering air with heat waves (more waves, another sense), then sound (splash of the fountain, the likening of the water's music to an instrument). I love this sentence: "During the blackouts, the city gave in to the dark like any countryside." [During the blackout, a few years ago (long after this poem was written), that's not what New York City felt like in the dark, though I was surprised at how calm people remained. The lack of light/electricity (after the mass confusion first few hours/night) did also bring a hush I hadn't expected.] That sentence works like curtains, blanking the stage for the next scene, a miniature love story: "free from entanglements" omits but also includes the ghost of "romantic" and the "fertile" soil shores this up, and the "lovers" in the next fragment. Returning to the fountain, the arteries of water have turned to braids, and the voices of birds and soldiers (where did they come from? where are we?) are fragmented ("broken into phonemes") like the poem. More water sounds: waves pounding, liquid being poured from cup to cup. Then the poem turns, into questions, and in slips a memory: "Mother lit candles and kerosene lamps"--the light is back. The next fragment is of a favorite type: declarative and true, though still ambigious in implication: "Soap not necessarily a source of happiness." I'll agree. "Marrow of water" returns to the earlier "arteries" and extends the bodily metaphor--were the lovers before the city and the countryside, water a streaming exchange of fluids? Another note on the sound of the fountain, a gap, fragmented again. Then the heavens and the land beneath again eroticized, long-length vowels (love, draws, through) building to some internal semirhymes (land/calamities, beneath/heaves). "I" intrudes for the first time, or steps in to look out at "the color of war"--what the soldiers are for. Then sailors glide in with the "red sky at night" (sailor's delight, as they rhyme goes). "The light cannot turn corners" another seemingly factual statement that's also a retraction of the equally declarative "light cannot turn corners" above. But if the first is read as in physics, the second as the idiomatic phrasing of a qualitative change or turn in time, there's no contradiction. Then one last fillip of water's motion, the motion of the water underneath the water (no contra-directional), and then sleep, a straight (incautious = not meandering or sublimated) flowing line.

Friday, December 15, 2006

& on friends

Friends are something else.

On community

Set: All poets
Subset: American poets
Subset: "Experimental" American poets
Subset: "Experimental" American poets with blogs
Subset: "Experimental" American poets with poetry blogs
Subset: "Experimental" American poets with poetry blogs who DIY
Subset: "Experimental" American poets with poetry blogs who DIY and are women

Set: All poets
Subset: American poets
Subset: Poets in the North East
Subset: Poets in New York City
Subset: Slam poets in New York City
Subset: Male slam poets in New York City
Subset: White male slam poets of the Bowery Poetry Club scene

Etc. Just examples.

It's true that just being a poet (writing poems and/or reading them in public and/or publishing them in any of several different "places") does not include you in a community. It includes you in an avocation, I guess. That's a society (the dictionary overlaps community with society in the top-level, but deeper down we use them differently).

It's in the smaller subsets, and where overlap of interests and activities happens that communities are formed, and the meaningfulness/functionalities of communities increase as their size decreases or shared purpose/intensity is focused. Sometimes communities can be hundreds (one listserv I'm on would qualify, at least for me), or a dozen, or fewer. Two? Yeah, I've been in communties of two (most obviously, my marriage).

Does the definition of community exclude competition? Nuh uh. (Shared resources get divided, so who gets what?) But as it's generally defined, a community does emphasize exchange of ideas, symbiotic inspiration, and mutual aid among members who are in pursuit of a common goal, over competition.

The mutuality/symbiosis/exchanges between members of communities are highly fluxible [sic], tho. Certainly some give more and others take more. (And bullies are dysfunctional--most research has shown that tho they act as they want to be apart, what they really want is to be part, but for various reasons feel unworthy/unaccepted. A community's most effective response is social shaming, including shunning. Other tactics are only effective for individuals in close and/or authoritative relationships with the bully.)

Participating in a community is a choice. One becomes part of a community by participating. One participates at a depth one chooses for onself.

Just as one can opt out by choosing not to participate in that way.

And to get back to that for me above: it's also possible to act in a communal fashion toward opt-out individuals and still receive some of the benefits of community. Or burn out.

So, like, two people go on a trip, and they come back, and they run into a mutual friend. And that friend asks "how was your trip?" And their answers will be different. One says the weather was great, it was a lot of fun, we had a great dinner, etc. The other says it wasn't as restful as I thought it would be, I didn't like the hotel, my favorite part was the day it rained.

They didn't go on two different trips.

Or did they?

Community is self-defined. If you (one, anybody, me) are not getting what you expect "in return," either change your expectations (particularly about returns) or change your group. Or the size of your group. Or how much attention you pay to the whole of it. Because it's just not the case that the more involved you are the more you get out of it, and sometimes the opposite is true, when your self-defined community is plagued with too many thugs or mooches.

You can't see me because I am behind a stack of boxes

Boxes of dishes
boxes of towels
boxes of clothes
boxes of blankets & sheets
boxes of indeterminate things that might go to something we're not sure
boxes of video games
of paper
of photos
of gadgets
of cds
of books books books

Tuesday early I woke up and was gripped (no other word) with the realization that it's mid-December. (It felt it like two giant hands around my chest, squeezing.) And so I began to pack. To clean and sort and throw out and donate and pack. To wonder where many things came from, what they are, to have conversations with myself about necessities and simplifying and America. (Whenever I look at STUFF I think of America, some cluttered but shiny ideal.)

On Saturday some strangers are coming to look. On Sunday we'll have out-of-town guests. (And then Monday is my birthday.)

I feel a little as though I am browsing the pages of a catalog that is trying to sell me my own life.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Some things never change

In November or early December 1995, I walked between a man pointing a gun and a man being mugged at an ATM near Union Square. I'd been in the city about 6 weeks and was walking home from work.

Last week, about 6 weeks from the move, walking to catch my train, I walked between a man stealing a bicycle and a ConEd worker trying to stop him.

In neither case did I realize what was happening until I had already passed between the combatants on the sidewalk. In both cases, I pretended not to notice even then, figuring that was the safest option.


Thursday, December 7, 2006


So, four women wore the same [hideous] gown to the White House holiday party.


& every man there wasn't wearing (a nearly identical) tuxedo?

At least the women don't have preacher hair.

Most of them.

delirious hem

a group effort to keep yr eyes on

Note to self:

When imperatives exhaust

declaratives tax

and interrogatives weary

hilarities are convalescent

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Beaux arts de Bodarc, cont'd

Kaplan writes in to say that in NC they called them Osage Oranges. (See his comment to post below.) & I guess they are also called Hedge Apples. Wikipedia lists other names, including monkey brains, monkey oranges, brain fruit & my fave: monkey balls!

When it's time to seed, the fruits get kind of fuzzy. And the inside of the fruit is fibrous and white. When you break one open, they look like a tightly compacted dandelion puff.

K also mentions that they've been used as natural fences, trained as dense hedges that ranchers prized for being "bull strong, hog tight & horse high." Split rails from the wood are also popular fence posts. In addition to these heavy fruit, the trees have broad glossy leaves and one-inch thorns. (Kind of like mesquite or honey locust thorns.) That'll keep those cattle in line, kids. But they can also grow to be 50ft tall with 60ft crowns.

The tree is called Bois d'Arc, French for "bow wood" because apparently it makes great hunting bows. (Warning: link not suitable for vegetarians & PETA.)

Lewis & Clark collected botanical samples in their explorations of the Lousiana Territory, and the Bodarc was the first tree they sent back East. Meriwether sent slips & cuttings to Prez Thomas Jefferson with a note saying "dude, check this weird shit out" or "I send you herewith inclosed, some slips of the Osages Plums, and Apples. I fear the season is too far advanced for their success. [ . . . ] An opinion prevails among the Osages, that the fruit is poisonous, tho' they acknowledge that they have never tasted it."

The essential oils of the Bodarc fruit are apparently abhorred by the cockroach, or so says Iowa University. Right on!

The fruit also has craft applications, and was once featured on the Martha Stewart show as a decoration in its natural state, or it can also be dried. The ash makes a beautiful glaze for pottery. (I remember them as being kind of smelly, and Kaplan remembers them being sticky, so I'm not sure how practical a decor item they'd make without being dried. Maybe if they were really green they'd be OK for a while.) They can also be used to make a natural yellow-gold dye for wool and other textiles. Since the wood is particularly dense and also has this golden color, it's frequently used for knife handles, star-spangled yo-yos, and other decorative purposes.

Whatever you do, don't attempt to eat it. It's fragrance might remind you of oranges, and it does look very like the Polynesian breadfruit or the Hawaiian jackfruit (comically posed above), but it'll probably make you sick unless you are a Giant Ground Sloth. (You're not. They're extinct.)

Luckily, I look much less like a Bodarc fruit today.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

More Bois d'Arc than Bo Derek

This is the fruit of the Bois d'Arc. It is also known, in Texan, as the Bodarc fruit or horseapple.

Which is what I look like. (Well, I'm more pink than green.)

& I had to spend the afternoon at my doctor's.

So you might wanna stay away from this, despite what Jessica Simpson sez.

Apparently, I have been gifted with a rare allergy, reserved for the deeply special.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Earlier the fire alarm went off

& you know, people kinda were wondering WTF

all the women picked up their handbags & hugged them

& then an announcement over the PA system:


I began laughing at the ATTENTION/DO NOT PAY ATTENTION thing, violently
The women continued to hug their handbags while looking at me as if I'd lost my mind

Sour cherries

Please let me know if you ordered a copy of A Slice of Cherry Pie from Half Empty/Half Full and have not yet received it.

I have just heard that at least one copy shipped in October never made it to its intended. I do keep confirmation records and can check/remail as necessary.

Thanks & sorry. If I could deliver them myself to spare you the antics of our Bad Mailman, I would do. Perhaps when we move we'll have more reliable service.

Stuff to do this week

Rodney Koeneke is reading tonight at the Poetry Project with Arthur Sze.

Update: Kate Greenstreet is also reading in NYC tonight, for Readings between A & B.

Maureen Thorson will be reading on Thursday at the New School, for the launch of her PSA edition of Mayport.

& I, dear reader, will be applying for a car loan. Because I just don't feel like an American unless I am burning gasoline & going into debt. Woohoo. (Since I'm a hippy, I'll be going into extra debt to get a hybrid & will still be electric-train commuting most of the time.)

Which is to say, we found an out-of-city place to move to come January, a green spot with a little porch, within commuting distance to our corporate slaveries. I've always wanted to live in a blue house.

Sunday, December 3, 2006


Snow is


to grace

(fall upon)



tamp us


bundle us



I like

the white


it filigrees



in the first hour

& then


to cover











don't be

a no show


at my


right (s)now


go on

go on

do it

come on


My good books list is out of date

I should fix that. I've read some remarkable things lately.

Now I am reading Joe LeSueur's Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O'Hara along with the O'Hara collected (again). FO always cheers me up.

Anyway, the book is terrific & gossipy.

Still think I enjoyed Ron Padgett's Joe better, but we can have BOTH. Let's have both! OK!

This afternoon in Hoboken . . .

. . . was fun. Thanks to David for inviting me. The open mic was a pleasure. And really, you just can't always say that, now can you? It's a snap to get over there on the PATH train. I did it from Brooklyn in less time than it takes me to get to Times Square.

No more readings till well after the New Year, & then only out of town. Too much is just, well, too much.

But at least I got a bunch of new poems out of the self-applied pressure.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Poem of the day

Anny Ballardini's Blogging as the Sharing of Knowledge

"For poetry, and for the written word in general, the internet--of which blogging is one of the most astounding events--becomes the product of the second greatest revolution after the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg.

Together with Greg Ruggiero of the Immediast Underground, we are experimenting a distinction between public and audience. “An audience is passive; a public is participatory."

[ . . . ]

In Introduction: Communication I connected my topic to the material we had to read during the course. I tried, thanks to the directives received by our Professor during the various assignments, to connect Poetry Blogs to the critical studies by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Marshall McLuhan, Ted Nelson, George P. Landow, Richard Rorty, James O’ Donnell, to the two novels by William Gibson: “The Neuromancer” and “Pattern Recognition”, to the evolution of writing or the history of textuality with its apogee in 1450 with Johann Gutenberg’s movable type and the printing press, to hypertexts linked to the work of James Joyce, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, to the idea of “cyberspace” with its many e-zines, hypertexts in general (see Eastgate Systems Reading Room for fiction), and finally ubuweb.com used as a reference mainly for the creative and critical work by Kenneth Goldsmith, Brian Kim Stefans, Christian Bök, Charles Bernstein, David Daniels, Darren Wershler-Henry, Neil Hennessy, and Loss Pequeňo Glazier’s work.

[ . . . ]

A transmutation takes place at many levels. The same fact that we are not writing with a pencil or with a pen on a piece of paper but typing directly on a screen, be it on a word document or directly inside the box that will bring our words onto our blog, has to be taken in consideration. I remember years ago writing that poetry is the poorest art, it does not require brushes and expensive colors, canvases, or instruments like music, a piece of paper and a pencil can do. We are now dealing with very expensive equipments, a broadband connection, sophisticated softwares, the best anti-viruses, backup memories. Who are the poets now? What time is left to the observation so dear to Goethe in his “Theory of colors” or to Leonardo in his “Notes”? Our time filled in with acronyms: URL, URI, WAP (Wireless Protocol Applications), PDA (Personal Digital Assistants), IPP (Internet Printing Protocol), IP addresses, ISP (Internet Service Provider or IAP, Internet Access Provider) to connect through: ADSL, ISDN or Broadband wireless connections, . . .

[ . . . ]

The negative side is easily depicted by the amount of hours spent in front of a screen in a sitting posture. Many people could point out the lack of quality of numerous sites, and therefore again uncountable void hours spent in trying to find interesting material, or in the present contexts, blogs worth reading and following. It is anyhow quite easy to invalidate such an opinion since Poetry Mailing Lists have recently flourished with some highly respectable correspondents who send in their chosen links; or blogs with their blogrolls (links to blogs or sites selected by the Author) are unending. There is a new society out there, people lead you to “good stuff” to read, they recommend you check the new issue of an online magazine, they even point out which Poets you should read first.

Still reading . . .

Thursday, November 30, 2006

DIY Poetry Web Ring is fresh


I gnu I was forgetting something! Adding a link for Pilot Books' Brief Weather & I Guess a Sort of Vision by Tony Robinson. (Just ordered mine. You?)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just like O. J. . . .

. . . I did not do it.

In the sidebar you can now purchase the book all about how I did it.

(Also, if you "won" a copy last week, they've all gone out, as of today. I ran out of labels. Hope you like it.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's funny because it's true.

Entirety of an mail I just received:

"This sounds like it was titled by Yoda."

Unprotected Texts by Tom Beckett

This time I notice the note he's left, that calls me friend, and am especially pleased because we've never met. We have however learned to read each other, out there, in pixels like his hummingbirds, adjusting by turns our definition and blur. So I begin to read with a smile on my face. It's appropriate to feel the tension of my mouth as an awareness of my body this way when sitting down to read his poems. The words that are bodies too. They are the bodies we've come to know each other with. It feels intimate to read them, to offer some in answer.

Shifting. Mirrors. Heads, tongues, zombies. Bodies are worn like clothes, turn to ash, are listed, organized, sorted cramped into telephone books. (These are our directories of what, potential conversation, possible connections, why do the zombies read them if they only want to eat brains? This is a secret about zombies.) A movement in starts and stops, stops move forward by inches, move forward and back, covering the same ground in little circles, larger circles (these are frames, they are lenses of varying sizes), swoops and arcs, a run of sentences, a brace of fragments. We laugh here and there: the joke about the sentences that ends with "period!" is only funny among friends. It's okay to admit we're obsessed by punctuations, befuddled by pronouns, feel interchangeable and multiple and at the same time unreal. We're real. We're bound by invisible strings to entire constellations of staggering zombies. He says this.

Writing in
Seduction is
Memory has
Clean, well-muscled
Being in
Spirals, vortices
A torso
Voice (repeating . . . )

This is from "The Haunted Self," and it continues: An awareness / was prey and who is doing the hunting? These words have some of what I come to them for, and there are many other pages. Repetitious, flickering along by scenes and recut scenes, like a spliced film, "Volume" works in circles, loopings, cycles of words, shiftings (fittings): dresses hers shes hes visitors mouths couches lights, the tea. "No one thought to excuse himself" and the no one is specific, is he. "She was imagining what he thought." And then "The dress was lost." Things continue, she continues, he continues, they switch places and continue. Then "Imagine everyone conscious of the tongues inside their mouths." We feel both the metaphor (self-consciousness, awkward speech) and the real body. My tongue does sit in my mouth. It's warm. I'm drinking tea, just like in the poem, but I have no visitor. Or do I? I like the word: steep.

A part of "Diptych," the first part:

Hummingbirds are pixels
Constituents of an image
On a screen

One doesn't like one's family
So one watches
One on TV

Which one is this one?
-It's a rerun

Hummingbirds weather
definition and blur

The hummingbird opens and closes, but the rerun repeats without being repeated. The family is defined and blurred. One doesn't like. One watches. One is defined. One is blurred. One is a constituent of an image (a family). One moves in and out, attempting to focus.

"The Picture Window" I've read before, but not in (the context of) this book, and it is different here, because coming several pages after "Volume" (I'm reading in order because the book works in sequences) it feels like its continuation, if not in narrative then in mode, method, shape. Who was it I was reading the other day saying narrative was uninteresting to them? Tell it to to the Big Bang, you can run but you can't hide. Narrative is human. (Characters, ventriloquism, action over time, time to regret, the concepts of past and future. You, what are you but your story? Who tells it, how, and who reads?) And what is human is always compelling. Yes, there's narrative here. (Later, he asks "Does anyone out there really like their plot?") When I saw Last Year at Marienbad I thought of this poem and I think of the film again now.

The word brick is a noun like the word glass. His composure feels encumbered.
. . .
We are a presentable couple. That which has happened can be said to be the case. She has a lovely pair of breasts. I remember meeting. One might feel given to say what one is thinking. She is not herself when she's alone.

Tempting, to write it out whole.
Her world is pictured. Things rubbing or folding. A gap between them. In exhalation. The partition presents a side on the left and on the right. Sometimes one might remember thoughts. A window might be said to be a label or a brick. Depression constitutes this place.

I reached for the notebook at "One might feel given to say what one is thinking" to say yes. I turned back to the sculpture on the cover at "The partition presents a side on the left and on the right." Instead of writing anything I want to read, turn it into a recording of how I hear it in my head because it's both a way to listen and to say. Our selves. Pressed boundaries. One pair is faced. What constitutes meeting? [I asked this above.] They are what a surface is. A boundary might name thinking. I won't tell you what happens. A poem happens. A he and a she become a we. They happen. Well, the poem is more romantic (these poems are very sexy in parts). But "Partitions are lovely sometimes."

The form at the end of "The Nude Sentience, I wanted to sign it. (I can never bring myself to write in books.) To promise to obtain "appropriate relief" from my reaction. (Here it is.)

Thinking: he forgot to mention reading too when he says "Writing and sex are inseparable utopian projects--messy searches for connection coupled with the exploration and explosion of limits. Both are material expressions of desire, of the need to recognize and be recognized, of the need to be intensely with another for awhile." The backcover: "sex and text are synonymous here."

I won't say more. Except to quote again:

Description defers knowing
in the blink
of an aphorism

I suppose reading is not material? I take a book in my hands. I make notes.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Best Thanksgiving Ever

                     Jennifer L. Knox, from A Gringo Like Me

After the meal, Sandy decided we should spice up charades
by slapping the loser's butt with a ping-pong paddle.
Whenever Ed got slapped, he farted because he was so nervous.
The ladies won, slapped all the men's butts, but then what to do?
"Take off your clothes!" I told Sean, who didn't seem like the kind
of guy who'd do such a thing--but he was, and he did. Then Jim
took off his clothes. Then John. And then the other Jim
who brought all the lovely bottles of wine. And finally Ed.
Deb came out of the bathroom and saw five big men naked in the kitchen.
They screamed, "Take off your clothes!" We all figured she would,
and she did. Then Sandy the Slapmaster, then me, then Tomoko
who kept her glasses on. We walked around the house naked,
talking about how it was to be naked with other naked people,
how none of the guys had boners, and how cold it was out in the garage.
Somebody found a big bottle of vodka. We made a no-hugging rule.
John kept trying to open the curtains and show the neighbors
what they were missing. Deb thought an orgy was imminent,
but since we'd all spent a lot of time in Iowa, I didn't think it would fly.
Jim passed out. Ed put a robe on. I passed out. We woke up
the next morning in t-shirts, ate bagels from Bagel Land, and said,
"We all got naked last night." That afternoon, on our way
to the Walt Whitman Mall, the ladies gave each other nicknames
ending with the word "Bitch." Deb was Stupid Bitch,
Sandy was Gentle Bitch, Tomoko was Fucking Bitch and I was Precious Bitch.
All the bitches agreed that slapping people's butts with a paddle
was something we needed to do every weekend, that this was the best
Thanksgiving ever, and that Ed had the biggest dick we'd ever seen.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Report from the Stain Bar

Janet, Kate & Justin were wonderful--and both ladies' books are just beautiful. Janet makes me break my I'm-so-sick-of-Greek-mythology-in-poetry rule (again), and she even stomps her feet & imitates seagulls. Kate's reading was *completely*
different in both content and style than the last time I heard her read--she delivered the entire first section of her book in a voice at once confident and intimate, and with a wry sense of humor sparking here and there. Justin read mostly new work, many poems I'd never heard before, including some from a woman's POV (or polyvocal, with a woman among the crowd), and which were in a different style than his two chapbooks. Whoever picks up his MS will be getting an order from me, and quick.

Anyway, you'll be able to listen for yourselves once the readings go up on MiPoesias thanks to Amy King & Didi Menendez. HOORAY.

OK, I'm off to look at apartments till sometime tomorrow. (UGH.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

The first 5 people to comment below . . .

. . . get a 100% free copy of my book Down Spooky (the reprint of which has just arrived).

(Don't put your address. Just call dibs, then email me yr mailing address.)

Should be back in stock with the distibutor, Amazon, etc. very soon too.

Kate Greenstreet, Janet Holmes & Justin Marks: Tonight at Stain Bar

Yr lovely hostess Amy King is reading herself (at the Earshot series) tonight too, so I'll be guest-hosting the second half. And it's a historic occasion: Kate and Janet are meeting for the first time. Both will have their new books to sell, and I'm sure Justin will have some copies of his chapbook too.

7 PM, Friday, November 17, 2006

MiPoesias Reading Series
Stain Bar
766 Grand Steet
Brooklyn , NY 11211
(718) 387-7840

Grand stop on the L TRAIN

Kate Greenstreet's chapbook, Learning the Language, was published by Etherdome Press in 2005, and her book case sensitive is just out from Ahsahta Press.

Janet Holmes is author of F2F (just out from U of Notre Dame Press), Humanophone, The Green Tuxedo, and The Physicist at the Mall. She directs (edits, designs, typesets, and otherwise runs) AHSAHTA PRESS, an all-poetry press at Boise State University. She also teaches in the MFA program there.

Justin Marks has poems in recent issues of the Literary Review, Typo, Word For/Word, Black Warrior Review and Coconut, and forthcoming from Fulcrum, H_NGM_N, and the Outside Voices 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets. His chapbook, You Being You by Proxy is available from Kitchen Press. His manuscript Twenty-Five Poems in Iceland and Other Poems was a finalist for the 2006 May Swenson Poetry Award. He is Editor of LIT magazine and lives in New York City.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More from Barbara Jane

Michelle Detorie's WOMB blogroll has 100s of women poetry bloggers on it

Just a reminder. The younger set is doing just fine, I think!

Jennifer Bartlett ponders the question

. . . and comes up with some other ideas.

Good points . . . (we've acknowledged 1. and 4. in the post & comments below). As for 3., I guess that's true. Some poets just don't write a lot of prose, critical or otherwise. But many of the women Sina mentions in her post and the couple I mention below already do write lots and lots of prose. They are publishing those pieces in mags and books, where we're lucky to find & read them. Wondering if in those forms, they mostly reach the choir? Blogs can be come upon by chance, there's no editorial filter, can be spontaneous and interactive.

It seems lots more unlikely for a multichanneled conversation to spring from an essay in Rachel Blau du Plessis's The Pink Guitar than that same essay being reprinted (or the book being reviewed) out here.

It's not as though we lack women role models and mentors. But they do not blog. So our access to them is more traditionally delineated. Still working on the group blog idea, which is perhaps one way to cross the technological hump both Andrea & Jennifer (2.) suggest and to provide the kind of interactivity with our heroines (who are all sufficiently obsessed, Jennifer's #5) some of us would love to see.

Last year I taught my mom to blog and use Flickr (and even to work a little html) for her Seniors Church Group, so it's not as if women over 60 are suddenly unable to use the interfaces, though they may indeed be less interested in it than their male counterparts. (I can think of 5-7 male poetry bloggers over 60 right now, without even trying, but 0 women.) Yes, younger people in the general population are more used to working with computers and electronics, but there are very few (hmm, I can think of some, and a few luddites who are not even 50) older writers who haven't adopted word processing software. Blogger is really no more difficult to learn than MSWord.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

& speaking of women on da blogs . . .

. . . here be a doozy of a post from Barbara Jane.

Our Bodies, Our Artificially Pinkened Meat.

I might just have to go write a poem now.

I keep hearing this question, not hearing the answer.

From Sina:

"I know who that is for me, though I don't always have a way of connecting with those women and I'm not sure why that is: accessibility, scheduling, a different kind of network, or do we just file ourselves in and focus upward? Is there a Silliwoman out there? Is there someone keeping all the darts in a row, categorizing and canonizing the work? Or, is the work just assembling: Lyn Hejinian, Carla Harryman, Ann Waldman, Susan Howe, Alice Notley, Rae Armantrout, Gail Scott, Lisa Robertson, Erin Moure, Joan Retallack, Rachel Blau Duplessis...and yes, Juliana Spahr, Jena Osman, Elizabeth Treadwell, Mairead Byrne, Carole Mirakove, Rachel Levitsky, Margaret Christakos, Elizabeth Willis, Gail Scott, Renee Gladman, Mary Burger...and overflowing in its excellentness? I'm stopping only because I have laundry to do...and I can't name all of the hot young poets doing curatorial and editorial work...but where is the center I wonder? And what direction?"

So yeah, paging Silliwoman. I'd love to see a blog with similar aims as Ron's from a woman poet of the older-than-me set.

Why doesn't one? Why isn't there?

Have talked about this with various dears many times before. Of no small import: the distate I personally have for ranking/ordering/prescribing may or may not be a gendered difference? The traditional tone/format of the book review is too impersonal/authoritative to really appeal to me. It's a pose I'm not happy in. Extrapolate that then, upward.*

I wish Rachel Blau du Plessis had a blog. Her critical style is certainly personal (her *self* is involved, unapologetically so, and entertainingly/interestingly so) and that's v. feminist. Or Alice Notley. That'd be totally addictive.

Some of this likely has to do with what I once read Daisy Fried say, wondering why bloggers write all this "prose for free." (Insert relevant statistics about women's salaries vs. men's, add higher health care costs (what, you didn't know women's premiums are higher cuz pregnancy costs a bundle?) etc. here.) And critical work does take time away from creative work. (Insert points re: women still playing catch up to the male-dominated canon here.) And if she's a mom, less time to spare. (Yes, some dads also spend a great deal of time raising children. Good on 'em. Would we say most though? I really don't know.)

Emailing with Kate Greenstreet (who's reading on Friday in Brooklyn with Janet Holmes & Justin Marks, don't miss it!) these things a few weeks ago I wondered aloud if I might switch this blog over to a review format, but talked myself out of it in almost the same keystrokes. It'd never be a Silliman format. That would require me to position myself as someone who knows what I'm talking about.

Instead of someone who is figuring out what she thinks.

I do think aloud here sometimes, but I also enjoy keeping certain things to myself. For myself. (In other words, I don't need you to agree or even to acknowledge/know. That does seem to be a drive for the Critic: hey, look what I think, don't you agree, I know what I'm doing over here.)

The way I write in my notebooks re: what I am reading and thinking about what I am reading feels so very personal. And messy. And very unauthoritative.

So we'll just have to see.

* Which is not to say (of course) women are not writing brilliant criticism, in various places, blogs included. But when they do, is there a difference? What is that difference? Is it a difference in the author or a difference in the audience or both? I just wonder if my own reluctance to review (in the usual sense) is the same reluctance other women feel and what that has to to with being woman, if anything, or to what degree.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Beautiful Genius Gets Well-Deserved Fat Sack Of Poetry Cash."

(An interview with Jennifer L. Knox at Kate Greenstreet's.)

This is not a photo of Ithaca . . .

. . . because I forgot to take my camera. Too bad, because it's a beautiful city, even in the rain, or maybe especially in the rain, with mist and fog hanging in the gorges, veiling the waterfalls, all the shale buildings and bridges glistening. Before heading for home, we drove up between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, which are yes shaped like slender fingers, up to Taughannock Falls. Those three vowel sounds all say it best: awe.

Josh reports on the reading here. We laughed that Ryan & Kira & I hadn't met before despite overlapping in NYC for at least 7 years. How's that possible? Oh, you know poets. Cool to hear R's poems from Down with the Ship aloud, put a voice to them. He also read a few newer ones from some loose sheets, and then the poems in the new chapbook (with letterpressed cover) Poems for the American Revolution. (He read for only 12 minutes tho--we coulda stood a few more!)

The State of the Art gallery is a really swank space to read in, surrounded by sculptures and white walls and rows of friendly faces, including Emily of Cahiers de Corey internet stardom, Jennifer Brown, and Roger Gilbert from Cornell. (Thank you all for coming out in the rain!) We had a lovely dinner afterward, featuring some of the local Red Meck cheese[*] (we think) and some local beers. Yum. We talked ink jet printers, dissertations, famously generous poets' ill-tempered outbursts & all the things one can successfully deep fry.

Here's a shot of the gorgeous broadside and trifold Aaron made of our poems:

*[This post has not been modified, but I have since gone vegan. Yeah, I miss cheese, but this book has made it nearly painless!]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tonight in Ithaca, NY

Shanna Compton & Ryan Murphy

SOON Productions
Hosted by Aaron Tieger & Joshua Corey

Saturday, November 11 at 7:00 PM
State of the Art Gallery
120 W. State St.
Ithaca, NY

Thursday, November 9, 2006

I promise not to go all You-Tubey

But I must post a link to Stephen Colbert (swoon) & John Hall singing the National Anthem on last night's show.

So, here it is.

What you should do this weekend

If I weren't going to Ithaca, I'd go here:

BOWERY WOMEN launch party
Friday, November 10 at 7:00 PM
Bowery Poetry Club

Come celebrate the release of this new anthology from Bowery Arts & Sciences, containing the "signature poem" of more than 75 women poets who have taught, bartended, & stormed the stage at the club. (Aw yeah.) Featuring readings by Kristin Prevelet, Marie Howe, Mary Reilly, Suheir Hammad, Elaine Equi, Sarah Harrington, Seren Devine, Tsarah Litszky, Donna Masini, Amy Ousoonian, Elinor Nauen, Simone Gorrindo, Gabrielle Santoro, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Faye Chiang, Janet Hamill, Cynthia Kramen, Kathryn Fazio, Jennifer Blowdryer, A Brief View of the Hudson, Leticia Viloria, the O’Debra Twins, Liz Maher, Marjorie Tesser, Vicki Hudspith, Patricia Smith, Deanna Zandt, Lynne Procope, Nancy Mercado, Jan Heller Levi, Tara Betts, Melissa Christine Goodrum, Radhiyah Ayobami, Maggie Dubris, & Regina Cabico!

The book will be available for purchase at the party, and via the Bowery Poetry Club bookstore, or you can get it here (among other places).

A second party will be held in December, with more readers & more fun.

Then I'd go here:

The Work of Leslie Scalapino
Saturday, November 11th, 1:00 pm
The Poetry Project
St. Marks Church
131 East 10th Street, NYC

A celebration and inquiry into the work of prominent contemporary experimental Bay Area writer and publisher (of O Books) Leslie Scalapino. Leslie Scalapino's over 20 books challenge the boundaries of poetry, prose and visual art. Her most recent titles are Orchid Jetsam, Dahlia's Iris and Zither & Autobiography. Six poets will each present a short talk on aspects of Scalapino's work, followed by a question/answer session. Poets will include Brenda Iijima, who will host the discussion, Rod Smith, Laura Elrick, Alan Davies, Jennifer Scappettone & Rodrigo Toscano.

& then I'd go here:

all afternoon and evening, from 12 to 10 pm
GRAND OPENING party to celebrate ADAM'S BOOKS.

There will be balloons.

Also: short readings by several of the neighborhood's finest writers. (See below for schedule.)

ADAM'S BOOKS is located at 456 Bergen St., between 5th Avenue and Flatbush.
That's north Park Slope, Brooklyn, just around the corner from the Atlantic Yards landgrab.
Steps from the 2,3 Bergen St. subway; a short walk from the MNQBRW2345 Atlantic Ave subway hub.

12 pm – 3 pm: COFFEE & MUFFINS
12:00 – 1:00 : Rick Pernod, Andrea Baker, Bronwen Tate
1:00 – 2:00 : Jenn Guitart, Tisa Bryant, Lynn Xu
2:00 – 3:00 : Christopher Myers, Erika Howsare, Jackie Delamatre

3 pm – 6 pm: BEER & PRETZELS
3:00 – 4:00 : Will Hubbard, Jess DeCourcy Hinds, Amber West
4:00 – 5:00 : Eve Packer, Holly Tavel, Fred Schmalz
5:00 – 6:00 : Mac Wellman, Erin Courtney, Scott Adkins, Jonathan Ceniceroz

6 pm – 10 pm: WINE & CHEESE
6:00 – 7:00 : Anika Haynes, Gareth Lee, Brenda Iijima
7:00 – 8:00 : Luisa Giugliano, Jennifer Hayashida, Christopher Stackhouse
8:00 – 9:00 : Bonnie Emerick, Amy King, Adam Tobin

Adam's Books has (or did have last time I checked) a copy of Down Spooky, (which by the way has been successfully reprinted, so backorders & more news soon!). Last time I went, I came home with an armload, for real. It's a great store. And that was a while ago, so he's got even more stuff now. If we get back in time and are not too pooped, I might walk over to catch that last segment of the reading . . .

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

It's because you secretly LOVE me


Once upon an Ordinary Evening . . .

For the record (as pertains my quotation), the Harvard reading was way fun too. What I think I said (or meant to say) was that the room at Harvard was a little intimidating at first. (I am always nervous.) It was in a very fancy schmancy bldg, with these ornate dragon sconces on the walls and a giant pipe organ with all these frilly little carvings, etc. But the people were tops and warmed up fast! The difference between that and the Ordinary Evening's Mermaid Room digs at the very cool (historic, as Ada mentions) Anchor Bar is that the downstairs room is cozy, like reading in someone's finished basement, so not at all intimidating in that way.

And yes, I really did make an ET noise.

Anyway, thanks New Haven!

Monday, November 6, 2006

Somehow I missed the news reports . . .

. . . re: the Fitterman Riot of Aught Six at the PoProj last February, but this makes me really want to read Metropolis XXX.

& I'm even gone spend money on it, in capitalist fashion.

Friday, November 3, 2006


The hugethology is finished.

I just made the final correction on the final page.

The editors get one last clean set of proofs in the morning, just so everybody is comfy signing off.

Mmmmmmmmm, signing offfffffffffffffffff.

Bruce Andrews meets Bill O'Reilly

(Thank you, Tom, for the link.)

A State of Undress


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Blogger is still giving me trouble. Happy Hallowe'en. Don't eat razorblades.

Monday, October 30, 2006

When in doubt* . . .

. . . get a haircut.

* Or funk, mood, slump, dip, downcycle, near-exhausted zombie state, in need of a Hallowe'en costume, peoplesick, etc.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Approximately 75% of the time I figure out what I think only after I've written it down.

Also, I'm very unoriginal.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Still being (mostly) good with nose to grindstone made of giant book.

& today's major eye-bleeding task was measuring all the spacing in a 20 pp. poem with a fucking ruler.

It's perfect.

Damn it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Speaking of No Tell Books . . .

Reb & Bruce Covey are reading at the Stain Bar on Friday night for the MiPoesias series hosted by Amy King.


Friday, October 27 at 7:00 PM
MiPoesias Reading Series, hosted by Amy King
Bruce Covey, Reb Livingston & Michelle Noteboom
Stain Bar
766 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY

(L to Grand)

The world is changing

My new favorite blog is WorldChanging, via my other favorite blog Boing Boing.

WorldChanging's 40+ writers cover all kinds of cultural, technological, political, media & design topics, from DIY culture and micro-market long-tail theory, to green architecture and marketing, to new wowees like 3-D printing. YUM!

Of particular interest (at the moment) is a short report on a recent talk by Wired editor and The Long Tail author Chris Anderson called "What Happens When Things Get Free." A summary of their summary, basically: "Scarcity is about paternalism, a decision that an editor knows what's best. Abundance is about egalitarianism. Scarcity is top-down, abundance is bottom-up. Instead of command and control, it's out of control."

Mmm hmm. 'Xactly what DIYers have been arguing-by-doing & what getting-better-all-the-time POD with integrated distro can do for POETRY (and what Blogger & low-cost web hosting have already started flipping). Meaning No Tell Books (for instance) releases four new titles and they're instantly available all over the world, giving them further reach* than even books from the Ron-dubbed Gang of Six. (Yes, that does rock.)

& WorldChanging has just released a book, which is currently ranked in the double digits @ Amazon.

* In terms of number of countries in which the books are available for purchase, via the internet. And yes, of course, the availability of internet access across economic classes in all those countries is a factor in determining what "available" really means. And no, I am not comparing the presses' "support" budgets. Still!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Every morning

reading what news

I can stand

my outrage muscle

is tuckered plum out

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The cover, I think.

Elsewhere (just in case you missed 'em)

Jennifer Bartlett on Jen Benka, Kate Greenstreet & Adam Clay at the Pierogi Gallery last night, & some thoughts from the margins that are poetry, motherhood & disability here.

Speaking of Kate & Adam, Kate posts some sample poems from Adam's new book The Wash & also interviews Rachel Loden here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I'm gonna try this meditation thing again too, once I've caught up. I have tried to learn a couple of times.

Usually I manage to close my eyes, focus on my breathing, relax & . . . fret.


Get into some imaginary conversation.

Or (rarely) write a poem.

Or click an idea that wasn't quite right finally into place.

Or fall asleep.

But what I would really like is blankness. Even a second or two. How quiet!

I am still busy

But I'm being good (mostly) and working hard (mostly).

The leaves in the neighbors' back yard are changing. (I don't have a back yard. Sigh. But at least I can see theirs.)

& I am already getting excited about Thanksgiving. It's a holiday I like. (I also like Halloween, but find it sort of too much in NYC so usually stay in.) But turkey day? Oh, that's all about me in the kitchen for two or three days & Pawpaw's pies. Yum.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Barring some freakish occurrence . . .

. . . all remaining orders & international contributors' copies of A Slice of Cherry Pie are going out today. I'm on my way to the post office right now.

If you've been waiting, um, a month, I apologize!

I have a couple of trades to go out too, but I can drop those in the box on the corner, so tomorrow!

Now that I'm officially all caught up, lemme remind: there are 28 copies left in the first edition of 100.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My behind (cont'd)

Still, but catching up.

Meanwhile, the DIY blog has a few new things on it. Not as many as it should, but also not none.

Let's hear it for not none!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

At last

Someone has invented this device . . .

. . . which can perhaps finally be used for this purpose.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We interrupt this program . . .

. . . to bring you BUSY AS HELL.

I could tell you all about my adventures rewriting/restructuring the customer service pages of the department store website I work for, but something tells me you won't care.

I am behind in practically every area.

Yesterday, I made a list of everything I have to do this week and it filled three notebook pages.

I've been eating power bars instead of meals.

On Sunday, getting ready for a wedding, I shaved only my shins.

You get the picture.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reading is fun (da) (mental)

Yesterday the reading. At an afternoon. A bright trip from Brooklyn with Maureen who caught a train & the strong silent husband. Gary said I am like mini golf all the way. I pretended to be 1895. I played at being a marm, except I drank beer. Nada sang her introduction "Me & My Michael Magee." Michael's poems were hilaritastic. I thought to myself (again) absurdity is realism--&--twenty dollars for a snatch-licking frog is cheap. Michael said "this is a fascist fairytale" & everyone agreed. He seems to really speak Spanish because he puts his tongue out in todo. Everyone was very "presidential."

On good authority, "[she] who touches this book touches [Michael's] ass."

& also he publishes Katie Degentesh's The Anger Scale, which is "Not like a wimpy girl who always gets her partner to save her / with $300 designer cowboy boots."

Both ace the "David Hasselhoff Cutlass Sierra" & "point your camera at the sun."

More on these later.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Timing is everything

Hey, guess whose temporarily out-of-stock book is pick o' the week?

That makes me laugh.

Really. (But thanks.)

Come throw tomatoes

TOMORROW, Saturday, October 14 at 4:00 for the Segue Series in NYC

Shanna Compton (not flarf) & Michael Magee (flarf)

Segue Series
Hosted by Nada Gordon & Gary Sullivan
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
(between Houston & Bleecker)

I'm expecting a riot, so don't disappoint me.

Also, Maureen's coming to town TONIGHT and is reading at the Poetry Project:
Dirty Movies Late at Night: Mike Hauser, Maureen Thorson & The Trusty Knife
Friday, 10:30 pm

Rust Buckle and various simpaticos from disparate America celebrate the release of a new chapbook by Mike Hauser. Mike Hauser lives in Milwaukee. He posts his poems to dodo:(hubbahubbain78.blogspot.com). He publishes the magazine Dodo Bird on a very inconsistent basis. He still has copies of that, and of the chapbook Dirty Movies Late at Night (Rust Buckle), he can give you. Maureen Thorson is the author of two chapbooks, Novelty Act (Ugly Duckling Presse) and the forthcoming Mayport (Poetry Society of America). She lives in Washington, D.C., where she runs Big Game Books, the tiniest press in the world. Zack Pieper & The Trusty Knife are a band of basement/bathroom/garage/attic songsters from Milwaukee, WI who perform an array of eclectic rock & roll material & will be presenting their low-tech folk-rot album Sad Contraptions Unrehearsed. Dustin Williamson is the co-curator of this event. He edits the Rust Buckle magazine and chapbook series. He is the author of the chapbooks Heavy Panda (Goodbye Better), Gorilla Dust (forthcoming from Open 24 Hour Press), and Power Lunch, a collaboration with the poet Gina Myers. B.Y.O.D.M.

Note it's BYODM.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Maybe trying to be empathetic (really the thing I value most and have had the most human hope for), kind, helpful, generous, friendly, etc. is actually a weak position, enabling for people who are not.

I keep getting my ass kicked no matter how much I try to keep it out of the way.


I know I sound sad. Good.

Because I am sad. & I'm very very tired.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My behind

I'm in a bind.

I'd love to put it behind me.

I have *still* not mailed out all the Cherry Pie orders. But there are stacks.

I have lots of excuses, all of them poor. Except that my Mom was in town all last week.

The behemoth is still not finished and the perpetually tardy perpetuate in their tardiness.

I am going to have to close the doors to this bus & drive away.

I am working extra hours this week. Who knew there were *extra* hours?

& an atmospheric sadness floats over Brooklyn.

You're holding the string. Let go.

As it rises it glints.

It disappears.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Saturday Tomorrow in Baltimore at 4:00 PM

I'll be reading with CAConrad & Buck Downs at Michael Ball's i.e. series.

Clayton & Co. Fine Books
317 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

& that will be fun.

Update: Also, don't forget about Conrad's Deviance 4 U living-with-your-book project. He's spent the day with a few more books since last I checked in. Eileen's copy went to Chavez's speech at the UN, for instance.

'Nother update: I think there will be special broadsides of a poem by each of us, and Buck will bring his new book and Conrad will have copies of his book too.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Go Tell No Tell Motel

Oh, happy. Here are the first 4 shiny new books from our favorite discreet establishment.

Congrats to Reb & to the authors!

On strategic overstatement as modus operandi

So sometimes saying something is "best of the year so far" or "surely the most ambitious" or "better than any other to my mind" or "not since Some Famous Guy" is a symptom of extreme excitement.

And sometimes it might be an intentional provocation, meant to stir discussion.

And sometimes it might be an attempt to offset the natural filtering/sedimentation process of a plunked statement's erosion over time. As if by overstating, the nugget of meaning that will be left is more likely to be left than to fritter away entirely, if first wrapped in an exaggerated husk.

One of the drawbacks of strategic overstatment could be saying something in such a way that the end-nugget is not at all what you intended. Alas, I believe that might be the case here.

Yes, plenty.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The tee shirts should say "I am a technical difficulty."

What *is* up with the gone-missing posts at the Poetry Foundation website?

Crossposty goodness*

& so here it is, Anne Boyer's Good Apocalypse which has some poems in it and also some art in it (including this, one of my favorites).

Anne Boyer's Good Apocalypse
w/ illustrations by the author
5x7.5, 36 pages
$7, available now

There is nothing, really, more to say (yet) except that you should purchase it. Right away. To soothe your little eschatological heart.

* Since not all of y'all also read that blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I really have learned a lot, being out here. How 'bout you?

How shall we persist?

Would we be missed?

May we resist?

Yes, let's insist.

Here's my fist!

(That's in jest.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Joe Ceravolo, left. Joey from Friends, right.

Sold out

Down Spooky has sold out its (not very big) print run.

Supposedly they will print more. Apparently backorders will be filled at that time. (Soon. Thanks, patience.)

& so that solves the mystery of the kink.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cold cure, for sure.

These were waiting for me in a box from Texas when I got home today.