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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.

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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, . . .

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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 . . .