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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