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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Poetry as fashion accessory

In the new Bloomingdale's fall catalog, one model is shading her eyes with a copy of Her by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (so, OK, that's technically a novel, but still) while another browses the poetry room at City Lights Bookstore. (The whole catalog is set in various San Francisco locations, including others I recognized. It's beautifully shot, of course.)

(The B'dale's creative offices are separate division than the part of the company I work for, so I had nothing to do with this, in case you were wondering.)

So, poetry is still cool, see? Particularly if you are wearing a $250 Joie cashmere sweater or a $1998 Ellen Tracy shearling coat.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Here. I am. Here.

The rain today.

Miffed & drew out.

But then. Flowered into.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Finally with Women on the radio this Sunday!

Hey if you (like me) missed the Gertrude Steintastic finale to the festival last week, you can catch its recreation on WBAI this weekend. That's 95.5 here in NYC. Jen & Veronica report that "History, or Messages from History" in its entirety will be broadcast on Janet Coleman's Cat Radio this Sunday morning at 11:00.

Not totally sure, but you might be able to listen online from the website here. [See upper right corner.] And maybe they stream to iTunes, dunno.

I'm going to miss it again. Don't let this happen to you.

In Philly the lovely lover loves & is loved in return.

Ron reviews Deviant Propulsion today, by my other favorite poet CAConrad.

Is that a rave or what?

UPDATE: Hey, it's officially Conrad Day. Knock off early & head to the lake, because Joe Massey likes the book, too. See?

I find myself practically guest blogging . . .

. . . in Jessica's comment box, even though posting here has been anemic. (In case you're looking for me.)

If you're interested in DIY publishing, the attendant "legitimacy issue," or the idea that the poet who writes and the poet who publishes are two distinct creatures (or sides of the same creature), go visit Simon, who looks at the psychology of self-publishing here. Jessica responds here, & then the conversation continues between J, Simon, Ian & myself (long-windedly!). (There's a slight stutter in the stream where comments crossed while waiting to be moderated.)

I'm taking off tomorrow, and am trading my internet for a canoe.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Jennifer L. Knox reading "We Are Afraid."

When we were on the book tour, Jen often chose to open her set with this poem: link.

It's slightly Bowdlerized, the final word.

This is another one we recorded for WGLT, the peeps at which I thank again.

And now: A poem I wish I wrote

Floating Gardens
Joseph Ceravolo

Sailing Sailing
under the creatura ridge,
and this less or more than obscure,
obsequious life follows the lives
of flies on beach.
"I'm so happy," I said to big tree.

So we stand
on a ridge, it
has corners and we
wait in corners
of excellent summer,
unconscious manifolded igneous
and the flies on the pillow, sheet,
and cactus colored window
buzz the chandelier great white weather.
I'm far from a window and
feel the multicolored pushes
through open window self .

[That space before the final period's got everything in it, don't it?]

Today's corny dirty hippie mediation.

It's possible to bond or even form friendships on a basis of disagreement, too.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Johnny Mathis's Feet

Do you know this song, by American Music Club?

Well you should.

Johnny gives some decent advice.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It took me all weekend.

But I did it. 99% of the proofs are out for the collaboration anthology. Only three complicated sets that require customized letters and the bounced/missing emails remain.

Corrections have already started coming in. No doozies so far.

I also did 4 book cover designs but wanna execute a couple more before I send them. So that's on for today.

Did not get to print any Cherry Pies, unfortunately. But still, much accomplished. No rest for the poetique.

I think I'll celebrate by, uh, going to work.

I'm really gonna need me some Maine. Counting down 4 days.

Ron reads Jessica's Organic Furniture Cellar

(Not that you're not already looking. But look!)

I hope the Bad Mailman knows better than to mangle mine.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You can't see me . . .

. . . but I am doing a little dance. Because I am finally in the process of sending out proofs to all 200+ contributors for this dang tome. Sheesh.

It will be worth it, but remind me not to do another one of these until, say, 2040.

I need a current email address for Tom Disch, if anyone's got it.

Also Keith Abbott, Pat Nolan, Michael Sowl, T Begley?

And Michael Palmer, Cindy Goff, Benadette Geiser, Zoe O'Banion, Ginny Sykes?

Oops Michael Brownstein, Kendra Dwelley Guimaraes, George Tucker & Eric Gamalinda bounced too.

& more bouncing: Connie Deanovich, Shirley Stephenson (Reb?) & Brenda Serotte.

Charles Harper Webb's address eludes me. Found him, nevermind.

Where, oh where, is Karen Pepper?

Not surprised. Can you help? It's only taken, what, five years?

Don't post 'em please, for privacy. Please back channel. (Address top right.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Hello, Andrea Baker.

Maine Escape '06 (part 3)

A week from today we'll be driving from Brooklyn to Brooklin. I can feel it already. My whole body relaxing.

But until then, I've really got to focus, scribble, type, correct, print, e-mail, & click.

Coming up: one busted ass.

I forgot to tell you.

The other night at the festival, Elaine Equi said of Barbara Guest, "I don't think you can read her and not become a better writer. Even if you don't write."

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

What do you call that thing? A smile?

Yes, & I read all of The Confetti Trees again yesterday & now Joseph Ceravolo's The Green Lake Is Awake & poetry has come back. To my face!

Well alright.

Finally with Women is packing the house every night . . .

. . . and now I & 80 other people know why. Last night's tribute to Barabara Guest was amazing, with an intro by Africa Wayne, beautiful readings by Anne Tardos, Joelle Hann (whose name I don't misspell or mispronounce), Lee Ann Brown, Erica Kaufman, Tonya Foster & many more madames & mademoiselles. Organizers Jen & Veronica are tearing it up. (Amy will have some photos & Erica might too.) Whatcha waiting for? Tonight is Muriel Rukeyser. Bluestockings's got a book table crammed with merch.

Click for larger image, or go here for the full schedule & more details. [OOPS, link fixed!]

Sunday night was Mina Loy.
Monday night was Audre Lorde.
Tuesday night was Barbara Guest.
Wednesday is Muriel Rukeyser.
Thursday is Gertrude Stein.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Woe. Whoa. Oh.

"The bottom line is, terrorism doesn't kill many people. Even in Israel, you're four times more likely to die in a car wreck than as a result of a terrorist attack. In the USA, you need to be more worried about lightning strikes than terrorism. The point of terrorism is to create terror, and by cynically convincing us that our very countries are at risk from terrorism, our politicians have delivered utter victory to the terrorists: we are terrified."

I'm going to have to think about these.

1. One book that changed your life?

Huh. The first book of grown-up poems I owned was The Collected Poems of Robert Frost, which I found in one of the stepdad's boxes in the garage, a holdover from his grad school days I guess. I got rid of it later. Then bought another one just like it. When my thuggy little skater punk boyfriend stole The Waste Land and Other Poems for me from Walden Books in the mall in 1986 or so it was the first time anybody recognized that poetry was "my thing." I still have it. The somewhat-successful-indie-rocker boyfriend also nicked a book for me as a birthday gift: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss. (Always liked Seuss's rhymes and silliness (though that one's not so silly, admittedly), including my favorite as a kid, Oh the Thinks You Can Think.) Looking back at college I felt like I was alone with books most of the time, though that's not true, actually. Read diaries & biographies, trying to figure out how to do what I wanted to do. I bought a beat-to-hell copy of The Collected Poems of Pablo Neruda at a library sale in San Miguel de Allende that I saw as a kind of emblem for what/how, as dorky as that sounds. Still have it. It's been repaired with tape several times. It looks like shit. Couple years later, when S and I first got together, we drove from Austin to DFW and from DFW to southeast TX to introduce our couplehood to the parents. That's 12 hours in the car, easy. He read to me while I drove because we had no stereo: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, a used paperback copy I'd found at Half-Price Books. After we moved to NYC that first year we had to sell most of our books when we were broke (which was always) but then I got the job at Big Coporate Publishers and that came with pretty great fringe benefit: I could order review copies of anything I wanted. That chunky-ass paperback of collected Auden found itself in the street after some teen thugs on Ludlow street (1995) shot out our bedroom window with a pellet gun. The glass was already broken, and it was the biggest heavable thing I could find to retaliate with. The gesture was ridiculous. It had glass embedded in the pages. I replaced that one with a hardcover. Oh I'm totally cheating, I know. One--I can't do it. I'm not even talking about influence here, which would be one way to come at this question. In all of these cases, the importance of each book derived more from its context than its content, from the fact that each was Other than what I had before, Better than what I had without, and each deepened the significance of moments or periods that were already significant for me. This still happens with me & books. That makes me lucky.

2. One book you have read more than once?

I feel too anxious about all I am never going to have time to read to repeat many novels or nonfiction books, unless I'm writing on them or doing some kind of research. But I read practically every poetry collection I like two or three times. Isn't that some kind of rule? On repeat: the collecteds of Frank O'Hara, Wallace Stevens, and everything Gertrude Stein. That list might be boring, but they're not. Ashbery too, early more than late. I'm sure the collected Koch will become shabby with thumbing.

That said, I never want to read The Scarlet Letter again. I was assigned that book no less than 6 times between 9th grade and college graduation.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

I guess I can't take the internet? Crap.

Wait, are there any of these left? Haven't the melting glaciers submerged them all?

Could write in sand. Repurpose island as giant dry-erase board.

4. One book that made you laugh?

Don Quixote (Modern Library Smollet trans.)

There are others. I laugh lots. Laughing is my favorite. It feels so good. (The pure stuff. Schadenfreude causes indigestion. Eventually.)

But this book makes me guffaw. Wide mouth. All the teeth. Belly laughs. Oh, the don he is a poet and his delusions relevance.

Also, (some of) Jennifer Knox's poems make me laugh. I'm obviously inflating my own reputation as an editor by saying that because that's just how I am.

5. One book that made you cry?

Hmm. This happens rarely with poetry. Biographies make me cry, well, because of how they end. I bawled like a baby when I read Elizabeth Bishop's final letter, written just hours before she wilted. Anna Karenina. Too many novels to count.

6. One book you wish had been written?

Anne Boyer's first book. Katie Degentesh's first book. Oh nevermind. . . yay!

There are several yet-to-be-written books between us in this house. Hoping for those.

7. One book you wish had never been written?

I will be sent straight to a hell I don't believe in for saying it. So I'll come up with something more controversial.

I haven't yet come up with anything. There's plenty of crap, but you know, whatevs. Even the worst book is instructive.

8. One book you are currently reading?

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I'm in the center narrative, about to move into the russian-dolled endings.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I'm a fraud! This question gives me palpitations! I've read nothing!

Currently I've got more to-be-read piles than I know how to approach. Right now I'm tired & distracting myself with fiction, which is more fun in that I don't automatically want to take it all apart to see how it works.

10. To whom would you pose these questions?


Saturday, August 5, 2006

Yesterday this blog turned three.

Me.com is more like five. & actually I first put a mini site up at home.earthlink.net in 1997.


The home.earthlink.net site designs 1 & 2 were based on my collection of advertising materials for the Olivetti Lettera. (We also collect the machines & I use a refurbished one to revise.) Instead of a photo of myself, I asked Charlie to make me an icon. It's actually based on a painting he did for me in 1995. I'm made out of punctuation!


When the blog was called "Brand New Insects" (which was the title of a now-dead MS, before Down Spooky), I found some insect drawings from an old magazine article & a stock photo of a bug. That scheme was pink & green. Updated with the gape-mouthed kid & switched to red/black/grey to complement the Gamers cover.


In the last update, I dropped the defunct title, but kept the insect theme. This is a robotic bug from my toy collection.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Can't wait for this.

The new issue of How2 . . .

. . . features a small press publishing forum.

The questions:
* From forming editorial collectives to self-publishing, as poet-publishers and reader-writers, what models do we have to offer, imagine, devise (or how might existing publishing and distribution models potentially be mediated) as we endeavor to build innovative publishing models that defend and invent the conditions under and within which our writing exists, is produced and distributed?

* Small press publishing of innovative poetries provides a distinct subaltern model to existing modes of literary production and their means of distribution. How might an editorial poetics of publishing that includes (or exists exclusively as) gift economy alter, challenge and create economic and aesthetic resistance or subversion? Independent publishers, specifically those committed to avant-garde writing and its strategies, engage modes of representation that often are under specific pressures. What happens when presses commit to publishing chapbooks, either exclusively or in part? Where do chapbooks fall within this rubric of small press publishing, particularly as few bookstores or distributors are willing to carry them?

* Many independent publishers are committed to an editorial practice that challenges competition and the contest system now common to many university, non- and not-for-profit presses, especially in the United States. In what ways might contest-driven / competition models blunt critical inquiry or limit the possibilities of poetry itself? Communities tend to coalesce for a variety of reasons; how might we describe the communities that editors, publishers, distributors, poets and readers of independent presses are in the process of participating in &/or inventing?

Some outtakes:
"Working on Proliferation pushed me to articulate and commit to my opinions about writing in a way that being a workshop participant or literature student never had. It gave me a sense of confidence and focus. I finally started to understand that I was not asking permission to join the world of writers, I was a part of it. And it was up to me to decide what to do with that." --Mary Burger

"Many cultural conservatives--some who are otherwise liberal in their thinking--decry that there are "too many books," by which they mean, "too many to judge." From our point of view, the opportunities and realities of POD publishing suggest a decentering of critical authority, a comment on the instability of (or deliberate destabilizing of) canonicity in the age of the privatization of the public sphere. However, controlling the means of production is one thing; creating new channels of distribution, and making better use of old ones, is another." --Bill Marsh

"Why is it, I wondered, that The Book retains such primacy in avant garde poetic communities? These are thinkers who question everything about societal values, about the acts of reading and writing, about language itself. These are people who pioneered the DIY model of printing (I think of Diane DiPrima and Amiri Baraka's Floating Bear Press) and online publishing (UBU web). Nonetheless, in my experience, experimental poets enforce amongst themselves the status of The Book as much as any other group of writers." --Allison Cobb

Ack! Eek! & then Kristen Gallagher says "I've noticed there are fewer and fewer presses these days."

Luckily that's *not* true. & the lack of cash-upfront she laments? Why not POD?

Salt is having a sale.

20% off everything, 30% off selected titles, 50% off staff picks & free shipping for orders over $30. Till August 31.

& they remind us, if we buy direct, we're "investing in new writing." Good point.