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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Remains of the feast

[This post has been modified because I have since gone vegan.]

"Jennifer L. Knox is pure magic."

Who sold 40 books (you heard me) at FSU? Jen Knox, that's who.

If you wish you'd been there, check out the podcast here.

Additional evidence of CAConrad's genius

CAConrad reads from the tub in Dorothea Lasky's apartment, as part of her continuing Tiny Tour. Introduction by the berobed Frank Sherlock.

(NSFW "mild language," as they say...)

& may I point you (shamelessly) to where you can purchase the book? It's on sale for $8.37.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I know...

...it does seem rather obvious. But.

To opine about work you have not read...

... = utter horseshit.

Whether you opine enthusiastically or dismissively doesn't matter. (Though dismissing work you are in fact ignorant of is much easier, as you will not have to elaborate much or get very specific.)

This maxim applies whether are just some guy (or gal) with a blog, a really good poet with some kind of institutional platform, or even--perhaps especially--if you are one of our nation's leading literary critics.

i.e. we can tell you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Uh, that makes you irrelevant.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"The Look" by Jean Valentine

As featured on Ron's blog today...

I am a fan of hers, poems like this one being a good reason why.

The Look

Pain took me, but / makes ref to "being taken" sexually, perhaps, and the pain that is sometimes associated with a first sexual experience, though also the passiveness of being taken suggests perhaps the pain was an absence of feeling (hollowness, detachment, it is later compared, I think, to "shade," i.e. the absence of light) rather than one of excess

not woke me--no, / but this introduction to sensual pleasure was void, and she was not "woken" to its finer points

years later, your
woke me:
/ she speaks as if to a lover, recognizing his (assuming) look/gaze as a different form of taking, but turning that about and also doubling the word as a noun: his look, or appearance--she looks back, the taking and giving becomes mutual in this experience
each shade and light: / the visual opposites seem to tie back into to the looking that's now going both ways, and also to sort of echo the contrast (as between shade and light) of the experience in paragraph 1 and this one in paragraph 2, "light" being necessary for looking

to earth-love then / another, even more expansive, form of love is introduced, and also a larger sphere of experience is sensualized now that she is "awake" and mutually engaged, feeling attracted/appreciative/responsive to/toward earth, i.e. everything, but also the physical world--the body of the planet--via this new sense of connectedness
I came, / pretty obviously a sexual refrence, but also harkens back to "woke" as in the sense of "coming to" or even "coming to know or being introduced to"
the first
beach grasses.
/ and this third experience of love encompasses not just the speaker and her lover but their environment, perhaps a romantic location near the shore. i could make a witty remark re: pubes but i'll refrain.

So in this miniature poem, three experiences of sensual love, each deeper than the last, and the "look" that "woke" her serving as the key to her maturing/expanding perspective/experience.

Letter wow fan clever

Whoops. I forgot to post this (very nice!) review of Down Spooky by Adam Fieled, which appears in the new issue of Moria:

Under This Umbrella... is funny and erotic, Contraposto (which begins "To my dear and loving head wound") is funny and poignant, Laundry is funny and knowing, Elegy for a Fictional Strongman is funny and sad, Voluntary Cinderella is funny and corrosive, Hooray for the Differently Sane is funny and anti-moralistic. And so on. The most salient thing about this collection is how entertaining it is. Not that it isn't art; it is art; but it is also capable of giving immediate, unmediated pleasure. This is a profoundly human poetics, that any sensitive person with a sense of humor and a taste for the absurd could enjoy.

& so on. Pink to my toes, & naturally really pleased.

(NB: even tho the press that pub'd poor Spooky has faded, the book remains available via these booksellers, (some of those are used) or directly from me. If you wanna cut a 2-for-25 with For Girls I'd be cool with that.)

Big Game in the Big Apple...tonight!

Tues. Nov. 27,
6:00 p.m. sharp

D.A. Levy Lives series, sponsored by BOOG City

ACA Galleries
529 W. 20th St., 5th Flr.

Event will be hosted by Big Game Books editor Maureen Thorson

Featuring readings by
Sandra Beasley
Shafer Hall
Ada Limón
Logan Ryan Smith

and music from Alex Battles

See you there?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Linkies Go Clicky

Arlo Quint conducts a terrific interview with Ted Greenwald in the latest Poetry Project Newsletter. [Not yet online, but will eventually be here, if you don't get the hard copy.]

I'm up at Women of the Web. (Thanks, Didi!)

See also: Men of the Web

The new issue of Eoagh

Aaron McCollough on being a poet

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Thanksgiving poem by my niece

Cooking Turkey

Busy, crazy, fast moving
Burning the turkey in the flames
Oh no! Look at the fire on it!
Burning Gobbler

Like my own poem "Post-Texas Expressive Heat" from Down Spooky, Kiki's diminutive jingle captures the je-ne-sais-quois re: my mother in her annual struggle with the bird.

Can't stop laughing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I spied...

...a flock of wild pheasants across the road from the orchard this morning, quizzically pecking, with the maples blazing above them, the valley rolling upward in autumnal waves to meet the furzy sun.

...the new issue of the most open/most various/most unusual reviews-only journal around today, Galatea Resurrects. Plenty of leftovers to enjoy over the holiday & coming weekend.

...Allen Bramhall reading For Girls (& Others). (Thanks, Allen!)

Enjoy the holiday, dear readers. I'll be in the kitchen if you're looking for me.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Monday, November 19 at 7:00 PM
in Manhattan

Jennifer L. Knox and Kenneth Goldsmith read for Readings Between A & B

11th Street Bar
510 East 11th Street
New York, NY


Quiet around here because I've been both busy & sick. Back soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go, if you know what's good for you

I think I'm gonna go to this tomorrow night. Especially since the stars have predicted the audience will be full of "enemies."

I've been reading Reb's book at breakfast every morning and it kicks ass. You can get it here.

If you're in NYC, you can also catch Reb on Friday night at Earshot. (Always a good time.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

If you missed the party...

...you've got another chance to catch Jennifer L. Knox this week.

She's the featured poet at tomorrow night's Urbana Slam:
Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 PM

Jennifer L. Knox features at the Urbana Poetry Slam, hosted by Shappy

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
New York, NY

Also, next Monday:
Monday, November 19 at 7:00 PM
in Manhattan

Jennifer L. Knox and Kenneth Goldsmith read for Readings Between A & B

11th Street Bar
510 East 11th Street
New York, NY

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The party...

...was a lot of fun, & we sold a million* books, ate 200 chicken wings***, were seranaded by a giant ear & a beautiful poet singing Conway Twitty, awarded/received a trophy for "asskicking the yahoos", & made some new friends.

& there are photos, probably not very good ones,** to be posted later.

But right now I go in search of eggs [scrambled tofu***] of the brunch variety.

* Only a slight exaggeration
** Phone-cam, real camera still broken

***[This post has been modified because I have since gone vegan.]

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WTF is wrong with Blogger?

I keep getting old views of this page, despite clearing caches, using different browsers, etc.

Something is stuck in a tube somewhere. Maybe it's my webhost, because the exact same post shows up fine over here. (That's hosted by a different company.)

Can you see the invitation to Jennifer L. Knox's book party this Saturday below?

If not, here's the scoop, text-only style:

Join us as we chell-o-brate the release of
a brand-spankin' new book of poems by

Saturday, November 10, 2007
7-9 PM
in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
766 Grand Street
(L train to Grand, 1 block west)

With your host ADA LIMÓN
Featuring MIXT TAPE,
Plus yo-yo tricks, interpretive dance, Todd Colby,
a brief recitative, and other rare entertainments.
Chicken wings. Karaoke may follow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

OK, so now, Sunday afternoon, having done...

...most of my weekend cooking and cleaning and errands, and having been to the gym, and having decided to take the rest of the day to rest, I have finished both articles and all the blog responses I can find.

So now I can say that I mostly agree with Stephanie and Juliana's essay. (And I found myself puzzled, for mostly the same reasons they did, by both the claims and the conclusions drawn from them, in Jennifer Ashton's.)

Like Stephanie and Juliana, I'm surprised by the numbers.

I especially identify with their questions/remaining uncertainties, including their assertion that the numbers alone tell only one story, and that even statistical equity would not necessarily indicate that "feminism is irrelevant or outdated or just plain over or boring or pathetic or whiny" or that a 50/50 ratio in the mags/anthologies/prizes "necessarily means that these things are feminist or progressive." And when they said "we had a constant feeling that we had better and more exciting, i.e. non-gender specific, work that we wished we could be doing," I was like I KNOW!

The most important part of their article though (which they also say themselves--how could anybody miss that?) is not the number crunching but the owning up--to our own ambivalences about what feminism is or does or should be or should do, our complicity and "first-world privilege," and our failure(s) to be the change we wish to see in the world.*

And when I say "our" I do definitely mean "my."

The essay ends with a call for suggestions about how poets and/or communities of poets can do more to engage the living/working conditions of women in a national/international arena.

That's a good fucking question (which a handful of people attempt to answer in the last section of the piece, including Kasey, Anne, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Eileen Myles, &tc.)

I'm gonna keep thinking about that.

To order a copy of this issue of the Chicago Review (currently the only way to read the essays), go here. (The Mid-Manhattan branch of the NYPL does not yet have the Autumn 2007 issue, but should get it soon; but hey, maybe your library is quicker.)

* Uh, to quote Gandhi as quoted by the issue of Yoga Journal I flipped through on the ellipitical this morning.

UPDATE! The Chicago Review has made the essays available on their website (linked above). Rocking. (Be sure to read the notes too, particularly the methodology section, which addresses already some of the issues raised in a few responses elsewhere.)

On purity

Says Ange: "Most women I know who withhold their work are proud of not hustling, not playing the game, keeping themselves pure."

Update: use this link instead. (So much for permalinks at the Harriet blog.) This repost has a different URL and more comments.

Yeah, it's a neat trick, isn't it? Convincing women to internalize their own marginalization by "disapproving" anytime they ask for the attention of a reader or reviewer simply by putting their work out there, as if that's not the most natural thing in the world for a writer to be doing. Sniping at them for their ambition or "careerism" or self-promotion. Telling them they are "naturally reticent" or "ambivalent about ambition" so that if they are not it becomes clear they should consider themselves freakish.

Having spent the last year and a half reading 19th century books addressed to young women filled with loads of advice on remaining chaste, appearing ladylike, etc., I am struck (as Ange is) by the word choice: purity.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I have too much to do..

...too much to finish-reading-slash-tell-you-what-I-think-about Juliana Spahr & Stephanie Young's article in the Chicago Review, ditto for Jennifer Ashton's in the same issue, ditto for the blog discussions about the articles and surrounding issues at Lorraine's, Simon's, and now at the Poetry Foundation blog. I also don't have time to tell you about the most unintentionally hilarious thing I have ever read on the internet, involving "encouraging women to write and applauding them when they do."

(I will take a second to say I cannot stand the phrase "I applaud" which always sounds insufferably condescending. Depsite this revulsion, I'm sure I've used it myself. Never again.)

I have too much to do to write new poems, or send old ones out. I can't even manage to feel guilty about these things. Even though I am supposed to.

The arguments about whether the internet is killing books, or digital printing resulting in crapbooks, luckily, are already over, despite some dogged participants not yet realizing it. So that saves me some time.

But I will count nothing, plan nothing, do nothing, say nothing much.

"I ain't got no kids" either, so that's not my challenge/dilemma/limitation/excuse.

I am simply too busy. With, you know, stuff.

Like sending out review copies of my book and Jen's book (& crossing my fingers a few women respond in print or pixels, you know, like in public, to either).

& helping with a feature for Delirious Hem.

& cooking: mashed turnips, a minestrone, a kohlrabi pudding, salmon with roasted-poblano-spinach-sauce.

& reading: Ben Friedlander's new collection, Laurel Snyder's and Reb Livingston's debuts, and that behemoth (and very masculine) novel Infinite Jest.

Last night I dumped my poetry "career" to go on a date with my husband. Because I like hanging out with him.

But maybe later.

If I feel like it.