Wednesday, December 20, 2006

YOTH in twilight.

Well, it's been a year, or some amount of time akin to a year, and I've learned a few things.

No, that's not true, but we did put up some posts and do stuff. Stuff, what kind of Stuff? The kind where you are sitting at home all safe and secure and suddenly I'm there, doing stuff? No, not that kind of stuff. I guess it was Poetry stuff.

I learned of and almost instantly rejected flarf! We left a few rooms slightly less clean than when we started. Then decided a shopping cart struck to a wall would look descent in the right sort of room and if that were true maybe someone will pull down a little bit of the light flarftastic.

I went to things, and saw them, and occasionally talked to people about them, and that sort of inspired the blog. The talking part, because there are a lot of books, and the books are good. We love the big lugs, er, books, book-lugs, uh, things with pages full of this stuff only better crafted and more coherent.

I got angry a lot, then we got angry, and the angry took over once, and them more and more, and now, well, now it is itself. So aught 7 will see The Year of the Hug marching onward in glorious glory, regaling you all with a little bit, hopefully slightly more than last year, of what is good and fun and happening in the world of literary readings. And side by side will be the Angry Hug, the ranting, scratching, huge bitey fang laden assessment of all that just can't wait for December 23rd. It's 2007, and we're gonna do stuff!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Oh Irony, I would slap your face if I weren't so enthralled by your eyes!

Quoting the report by AP reporter Lolita C. Baldor,

"In his first extensive remarks about a recent U.S. intelligence report saying the threat of terrorism has risen, Rumsfeld told reporters at a NATO' meeting that, in general, the value of intelligence reports can be uneven, and "sometimes it's just flat wrong."

Really!? You're kidding Rummy. You're always such a kidder. Just a big, fat kidder you are you kidder Rummy. Intelligence reports... uneven!? Just flat WRONG!? NOOOOOOOO!

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Whaaaaaaaaaaah!?

You mean to tell me that intelligence reports aren't scrupulously verified and reverified, that top, expert analysts don't pour over each and every shed of material to ensure the highest accuracy of information, confirming to the smallest detail the veracity of sources, and delivered in as clear, concise, and precise terms as possible with the utmost of conviction to their righteousness.

Say it isn't so.

What does this mean Rummy? Are we to no longer rely on the intelligence of the government? What happens when a nation develops Weapons of Mass Destruction, how will we know they have them or not, unless we rely on our intelligence.

Lead us Rummy. Makes US, the U.S., the golden wonder of oh so right rightness we once were!

Oh Rummy, you could be so beautiful if you weren't covered in the excrement issuing from every pore and oriface of your body.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The choosiest choices were choosing choice

What the?! Where is this? Oh ho yeah, thats right. Its my choice (if there is any justice in the world it will be) and I choose:

Gore/Obama 2008!

Now let's get small, until my next choice:

A Palm Press Subscription, the best deal in poetry!

Just wanted to put those out there, let'em stew your juices por une momento before we sing teeth toward the largess of the scrawl and scribble, poetry READINGS!

I've dragged myself to two in the last little while, and I'm deficient in the send-up of the first, which was my first in a long little while seeing as everyone was trying to beat the heat (myself in a much more, less cool, literal way), and I found myself out of practice. But number 2 was number one for the Poetry Project this season, and I am membered up and everything. The actual reviews/comments/word-spills coming soon, and be on the lookout for yet another blog coming soon.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

As we come sliding in on a wing and a prayer, I stutter.


Realized tonight the series of short shorts/flash fiction I had started writing were sitting on the floor of my room next to my bed, all of which was against the wall that burnt out in the fire. So those are gone. It wasn't a ton, but I had maybe 16 stories, maybe 3 good ones with 4 or 5 with potential. First of the pieces I've realized I lost. I know there are other things, some manuscript drafts, but I have others of those, though not with the notes from myself and my advisors.

I'll start over this morning. I am writing them on the backs of these error reports our company shoots through to one another (formally they are the means of telling someone they need to do their job right. I think of them as TPS reports). I wonder if it seems too clever, but I just hate seeing the paper go to waste.

Just read Cat's Eye, Atwood, again. It's quiet and subtle and instead of bowling you over it slowly forces you down into tall, soft grass where you can take a nice long think. picked up Apocalypse Culture and a first paperback edition of Fight Club. Zeitgeist anyone? Reread Grendal for the second time this summer, then onto another run at Beowulf, and then a few other interpretations of the story as I prepare the Graphic novel. It's set on Mars. It's fun to write, thats the basic impulse.

Just finished Volume 7 of Grant Morrison's The Invisibles. In the last 5 months I've finished that, Promethea, and The Sandman. Sandman I sort of skipped through over the years, picking off storyarcs here and there, but I started it with the first and ended with the last, in as much as the story of the King of Dreams has a last story.

Guess what the thread at the end of each was? No really, guess, then go out and read them, for the following reasons:
1.They will give you a decades worth of reading suggestions. Allusions abound!
2.They will deepen your appreciation for Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Graphic Storytelling, and Comic Books.
3.They will help you find beauty in thoughts and ideas you never thought could hold beauty.
4.If you let them, they will give you keys to a new world. If you really want to, they will help become Invisible.
5.They will probably help save the world. How can you not want to read the books that are going to help save the world?


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Unable to connect

It's been a draught and a half on the reading front. I was familiar with the phenomenon from the upstateblishment, but here in The City? This is supposed to be The City. Readings here are supposed to be like ever-vigilant beacons of nobility and super-sonic capery, so I guess just a me bit for those of you who know or don't know me(which I'm guessing is very, very few of my readers[if I don't know you, hey, say hi or something. I'll write you a letter]).

Working on a yet unnamed graphic novel I was asked to write. It's pretty good stuff, and I'm learning about some interesting cultural curiosities. It's nice working on somebody else's story for a change. I'm glad to really able to be very free, free-er than I have been in a while with my own stuff. Hopefully this will get publisherized, and if you have any interest in helping that happen, drop me a note.

Re-working more of the second novel. Anyone I have promised to show this too, sorry. I'm weird with this one. I want you to love it!

Considering re-working The Monument of Vice, my poetry manuscript. There, its copywrited now too, although I should find out if its out there anywhere. Nope. Hello original title with copywrite. Cha-ching! *(does awesome kick-bring-it-on-fist-pull-down combo).

Thinking about updating the profile with something. A weird song just came on. Bloodbook on the Half Shell - Danielson. I keep wondering if thats a karate kid reference. The Paper Chase will make you stand up and kick! New album SOOO good, and live: Fantasterbatory!

Applying for grants and fellowships, working out the project to work on with artist friend thereby transforming the reality of collaboration, and should be starting some work at a writing center soon. Re-reading a friends poetry manuscript so I can give her a good, fresh assessment of it, and also too include a number of links to some contests she should go out and win with it.

The Invisibles will transform you. King Mob Lives!

Worried about the middle east. hoping that if things go from worst to all out "Oh-shit-ness", that at the very least someone develops super-human abilities to stop the global destruction. I'm serious.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Deficiency Cordons

I have no real post, mostly because we seem to have entered the dread summer-reading-lull and I just spent some much needed time laking and subsequently drinking in the lake while laking.

This is the first thing I wrote after leaving the lake.

deficiency district of New Hyborneo taking in the Slazer-Silico brine. like the water made naneuro-flesh. work the grav-skids.

you’re on the ocean for 47 hours. thank the runner-lids on your eyes that you stayed awake when the technalgea surfaced

I'm reading Neuromancer and Povel simultaneously.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Waking Weekend Wanderlust?

Go here:

Friday in gear

then go here:

Saturday, no bear.

You'll see me, but I won't see you.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Say it to make it true

Again and again and again in recent months I have been noting the need for oration to make a more forceful comeback, which is I hope going to be, as I have said, a purpose of this blog. I'm hoping to as much as possible present writers who give strong readings, and I continue to be more concretely convinced of this necessity and of how much can be learned and imparted through it.

The lecture I attended tonight was a prime example of a speaker's much needed taking of a class in public speaking. While the presenter, who I shall hold anonymous (I'm building, not tearing down after all), was competent, insightful to a point, and exceedingly familiar with the material (as was I), I could not help but feel that his combination of largely rudimentary points could have come across more strongly if he were an effective orator.

Now while I suppose on some level his being a scholar may allow for the less than evocative presentation, his confuddlement (confounded + befuddled) at the slow egress of the audience as he pushed into his first and then second hour is less avowable. Perhaps this is simply my infamiliarity with NYC free lectures, but you begin taking up that much time without being compelling beyond the subject matter then there are going to be folk walking out. Just the way it is. Thinking about some of the readings I'd seen in the last few years which really made me into the oration-fascist I am slowly becoming: Sam Delaney, Jessica Hagadorn, Leslie Lee, , Thom Metzger, Greg Pardlo (some of the those the blog was not timely enough for), in comparison to the reading tonight, I saw too that there is a lack of completeness in poor oration.

Too not have spent the time going over, even once inside your head, that which you plan to vocalize to an audience, you are not considering the reader/listener as a component in your work. You are leaving out the notion of audience and at that point everything you write becomes an exercise in self-satisfaction. Thinking back on it now, this was one of my greatest dissatisfactions with open-mics: that a majority of the work, and the entire purpose of readings, was an endevour self-gratification.

So please, take the time, read it outload. Stand in front of the mirror, hide under blankets, go off and find a cave behind the house, just pop those lips a bit (or as my brother likes to say, "lick some spit").

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Straining the exogenesis

Well this certainly got away from me. April got away from me, and May was supposed to be the turn around, and now somehow it's June. That's the crazy old world for you, spinning away toward the infinity you don't have the stamina to reach.

But enough of that, can't waste too much time on it, not if I am actually going to make it to a reading at some point here. I've been investing in the culture never the less, even if I haven't put in the face time.

Before my recent prolonged computer fast, I had gleefully downloaded a number of pdfs of Chain past issues in order to leisurely enjoy the multitudes of voices the thick journal provided. Many of them clocked in well over 200 pages, so to download them for free and enjoy them without paper cost was of course satisfying.

When my computer crashed, I lost these and numerous other pdfs I had downloaded, and when I got back up and running, I begin seeking the pdfs out again. Reaching the chain website, which I had not readily linked to on yours truly, I wondered about for a bit. Looking at the pages, trying to find out if Chain Links was near to launch, I discovered the archives page, which I don't think I had come to before, and I suddenly realized there was a tiny bit of karma involving itself here.

It seems the editors were not offering the pdfs for free. Carefully explaining the rationale, they had put up the pdfs on an honor system, asking that if anyone chooses to download that they then send compensation.

I had downloaded like 8 of the issues.

I had never sent them a dime.

My computer crashed.

The site says no one has ever sent them a dime, let alone the $10 they ask for.

Since I got the compy back up and running, I downloaded issue 10. I sent them $10 and hopefully the universe will spin a little less wobbly on its axis.

I also recommend issues 3, 6, and 8, just on personal preferrence.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Rexque Futurus

Oh, f%ck this. I just wrote an entire post and the damn page refreshed itself and erased the whole bloody thing.

I cannot tell you how discouraging that is. It was a fine post at that, very intended toward the overall feel of poetry reading appreciation which is what I am trying to build the blog toward, discussing the
Ecstatic Peace reading at the Poetry Project hosted by Thurston Moore. It was quite a good posting on a quite good reading, speaking of Richard Hell, whose voice suggests the offspring of Carl from Sling Blade and Anthony Hopkins. Then I wrote a few things about Charles Plymell, on the weight of his years of experience with the Beats to the Hippy to the present and on his fine oration, one aspect of the art which a few years ago seemed to be fading.

I made a point about how certain pieces lent themselves to or where enhanced by a reading, and others, such as William's The Red WheelBarrow, did not.

For what it's worth, I did not discuss the other readers, Byron Coley, Christina Carter, Elisa Ambrosio, and of course Mr. Sonic Youth himself in the original post.

I will do so now. They each brought a differant matter to the table, and rounded out the evening to make it a broad selection of readers. Coley read from a novel in progress, a funny, intriguing story of a young man entering the rock and roll world. Christina's reading was small and quiet, holding tight to the pieces she read. Elisa's reading was very energized as she took the microphone in hand and leaned into the podium like she couldn't get close enough to the audience. I'm on the lookout for a longer reading from her. Thurston finally, although Richard was the last reader, is a showman, a seasoned performer, and stands next to the fully extended microphone stand ready to make you listen. He is so at home in front of people he knows want to hear him it gives his recitation an exactness, a concreteness, many writers and poets can't find.

It was a cool reading overall, in the very deliberate use of the word "cool" sort-of-way that cool should be. It was cool said while letting smoke escape your lips. Cool the way the girl sitting in the dark corner of the bar raises her glass to toast your selection on the jukebox. It was poetry and rock and roll, and that is always cool.
Hic Jacet Arthurus

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Excitement of Growing Up-Coming

Been away again on the voyages of being and doing, albeit lacking slightly on the having, and well I have nothing much to offer nice, round thoughts on, I am excited about a couple of things at the moment and would like to plug them.

The first is the impending arrival of the first bout of my Palm Press subscription. The books Palm puts out are fantastic, and the subscription is a deal the likes of which even Bacon couldn't put up. Check out what the 2006 has in store at the link at left.

Next is the reading on Wednesday May 3rd at the Poetry Project featuring Ecstatic Peace editors Bryon Coley and Thurston Moore among others. This is exciting since the latter also happens to play lead guitar for Sonic Youth, and it just sounds like coolness will be in the house in a big way, and since this will be the first reading I'm hitting in like 2 months, it has taken residence in the realm of kismet as a righteously good time.

Finally, I checked out Tarpualin Sky today and saw the website was updated, only instead of featuring some nicely righteous artwork, it was a rather subdued main page, with only a fairly striking font to contemplate.

I instantly thought of the White Album.

I'm guessing the reason for the shift in look for this issue is the beginning of the T-Sky Press, and the release of their first book, Jenny Boully's [one love affair]*. This is a great moment, when a great journal begins to put out great work. I won't try and say that its gotten any easier to navigate the world of contemporary poetry, but there are times when you can count on a great piece to land in your mailbox and this is one of them. I've got my order all ready to send.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Seething in the primordial

Well, I finished something, not so much in the "oh look, I never have to work on that again" sort of way, but in the, "I'm too tired to work on this anymore," sort of experience. All I can do now is sit back, make a few phone calls late at night, and hope that in the end there is some sort of parade. Oh I love a parade.

So being done, I get to do my favorite thing in the whole wide world. Take a day off before starting something else. So that was today. I took a shower, and then tried to brush my teeth. Unfortunately, I was still pretty tired and my toothpaste tube quite strongly resembles my shaving lotion tube. Mango-vanilla shaving lotion just does not leave your mouth feeling all that fresh. So Wednesday, for all its humpy promises, would prove askew.

I did make one insight which i am pleased with however, regarding an earlier post which I cannot remember the name of. Anyway, I rant a bit against the New Yorker for publishing a good too many poets of reknown, and I want to amend that, because it seems harsh, but I still think its fair(fair as a criticism, unfair that they do so). The problem is one of appreciation. We've a bit too much of it. I know Frank O'Hara is a great poet. Anyone who knows anything about poetry knows Frank O'hara is a great poet. What I don't know, is who the next cornerstone of the next peotic school is going to be (actually I sort of do, its Jonathan Skinner with his Ecopoetics).

What The New Yorker's brutal insistence on not publishing more new poetry and less old poetry is they are not really interested in poetry. They don't have that feel for finding what is new, and more importantly, having the stones to say what is good and what is not. There are not many people today who are willing to say anything is either too good or too bad. When the New Yorker chooses to offer Elizabeth Bishop as a selection, it isn't because they are making this revolutionary case that her work should be read, the vast number of books of and about her work does that, it is because they don't know what's good today, and are unwilling to hang their hat on judgement of new work. They're just going to wait 30 years for todays classics to be regarded as classics.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I have nothing important to say right now.

I guess this is going to be more of a live journal style post than I am hoping the blog will actually be. I just haven't had a chance to get to any readings or even had time to sit down with some of the new stuff I picked up a couple weeks back, Povel and the latest issue of NOON. Looking forward to those, especially Povel. The idea of the text just sounds fantastic, a poetry/novel, and it won FenceBook's Modern Poet Series award 2005.

There is the sound of an ice cream truck outside. Inside I have Radiohead, Band of Horses, and The Magnetic Fields. There was jazz earlier coming through the ceiling, which I always really appreciate. It's been quite an experience living above a jazz saxophone player and beneath a jazz bassist. Good for the writing, which I've been doing so so much of it feels like I have coming out of my pours.

The ice cream truck is actually rather creepy when I think about. It's too close to being one of things you'd hear late at night in an alley when you're lost and it ends of being some sort of insame clown It sort of thing. Evil clowns, such a dicotomy. I have no idea how to spell that, and I am on a big anti-spell check kick.

More button pushing I guess.

This was really a terrible post.

I am ashamed of it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The The or A Small Proclivity Toward Hope and Reclamation

Alright, its getting to be that time. Seems like its earlier and earlier every single time. I remember the days when you actually had to wait for the actual year to roll around. Okay, not really. It hasn't been like that for a while. Since before I was a small blastocyte in my mom's belly.

Anyway, here's the dream: Gore/Obama 2008.

I can see that losing, mind you, but only if they screw the pooch while tripping over their own feet in front of transvestite prostitute.

Since the people of this country
SEEM to have finally realized what a lackluster leader they have in Bushisimo, and they are finally disapproving of the Wars, the lack of Osama capturing, and the obstinant refusal to address the serious issues of human ecological impact, alongside the rampant, corrupt abuses of power, weeeeeeell maybe there is a platform the dems could put together (its not like the GOP is handing them the ticket or anything, oh wait).

So thats the dream, and here's the threat: If anyone other than McCain beats the Dems, I quit. I'm selling my shit and moving to france to work on a Vineyard. I've said all of this before, but this time I mean it. Not that I think anyone could be as awful, evil, downright bad as these assholes running the show right now, but if you can't win coming off the most categorically detrimental administration in the history of this country, then you have no business in politics. Hell, I could win this campaign with a one-eyed mule and a bucket of manure.

Al, Barack, get to work!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Mirror, the Rabbit, and the whole shebang

Today a woman told me that the when my time comes the pearly gates are standing open for me.

This was most certainly appreciated on my part considering how the previous two days had gone. Those days weren't all bad, had some awesome people to hang with after the f*cked up sh!te, but everything looked gray as grey even though it was definately black and white, but thats what waking up is all about, in the night, when you have wait while the eyes peel apart the velvety shadows and show all those intricately woven gradiations of scale.

I'm hoping to keep this ambiguous, so excuse the language of we(s) and they(s) and the tone. Stepping through the mirror is one thing, jumping down the rabbit hole is another.

But which is the more frightening of the two? The hole looks deep, but the colors are brighter at the bottom. The mirror though, well it all looks the same, but the colors are just a tad off. They're slanted, askew if you will, and
it's in the colors, that barrier keeping you from stepping through, not because you can't, but because you won't let yourself; because you are afraid.

It isn't the colors you are afraid of. The colors are just a tad off, and there is no real harm in that, other than not being able to get the walls right under the brush. What scares you is that if those colors are just a tad off, doesn't that mean you are just a tad off? And since deep down we know how precariously we are each poised, being a tad off is too much a chance of falling. So we (all) get scared, but
they step back, and we're still staring over it. We step through, we jump, because we know falling is the first step in flying.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

7Am no Sleepy time

I think its going to be a while until my next standard post, which is some sort of poetry related musing or general impression from a reading. I just got the new issue of Fence, and once I get twenty minutes to myself I plan to read the intro. Some day I'll read the stuff inside, just oo busy now. That, and I've been meaning to look at Marjorie Perloff's 21st Century Modernism for months now, but Roethke's On Poetry and Craft got in the way(so much so that I hint at it in the novel). The poet{ry/ics/ure} is the semi-prime focus, but I've gotten an inkle for blogging since I got out of work early(4AM) and can't fall asleep, and as it gives the run-away! run-away! from the vache-catapulting-frenchness of hurriedly and furiously writing a manuscript, so I wanted to post.

So here's what's new in novel land. There's more sex. I think I used to be emabarassed to write the sex, and only hinted at it off page. There's an old saying about dying in a book/comicbook, that a character dying between sentences/chapters/scenes/panels dies a thousand deaths. How does that apply to sex?

Anyway, still not sure if the incest(cousins) is going up on the page, but its definately getting more hinting. The non-incestuous cousin is hooking up with the Devil, and the incestuous one is becoming rather lustful of pretty much everyone. Strongly considering changing the ending, well the climax. The ending ending has to stay, since everything is a movement toward that, and thats the story. There are a few things I know, and the rest I am trying to figure out. But it's slow going, and I'm not sure I can do it under the stress. But he's to trying. Thinking about heading out to someplace with tables and coffee. Just polished 2 bowls of Grapenuts though, so maybe that will induce the sleep. Until then, scribble scribble scribble.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One of these days I am actually going to write a letter I've been meaning to pen for some time. The intended recipient is a man named Nathan Myhrvold. He was one of the architects at Microsoft and he left to start a company called Intellectual Ventures. It's a company devoted to invention and innovation. That's all they do. They are a pack of Felix Hoenikker's.

My letter is going to ask My Myhrvold if I can come and hang out with the inventors for like a year and write about it. Now you might be asking why I would want to do this.

I formed the idea for this letter during my reading of The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, by Rainier Maria Rilke. It's a fabulous novel. Read it and everything else Rilke has written. You will be a better human for it. Anyway, the novel itself was not the inspiration for my unwritten letter, the creation of the novel is. You see, Rilke was contracted in 1910 to write the biography of Rodin, the artist and uber-famous sculptor, and it was during this time that Rilke created Brigge. Naturally you would assume this to be a sensible; two artists spending some amicable and not so amicable time together and both benefiting from the experience.

So why do I, as a writer seeking to follow in the footsteps of an idol, want to hang out with scientists. Actually I think most of you who've found your way here know why. You're pretty bright after all. Scientists in a lot of ways are artists. We follow much the same method in our deliberations on the work we do. We sit, ponder, examine, reassess, rework, yell at, and finally eek our way up the long hill to what we hope is a successful product, something which appeals to and benefits people.

And like artists, and numerous other free-thinking peoples, scientists have taken their share of sh!t from the administration currently running the US government. Everyone from environmental scientists to medical researchers have seen cuts or freezes on funding, with one obvious exception, WAR-scientists, whose budget is now 3/4 of total scientific research spending(according to the May 13th issue of the New Yorker:good for news, bad for poetry). But I want to take a moment to fault scientists.


Because they need to start saying no. The New Yorker article speaks to the controversal stem-cell area of research, and how scientists have to essence severely limit their focus to work on stem-cells, or they can go after everything but stem-cells, but never the twain will meet if Bushy and friends have their way. Now I understand and empathize with the frustration of that kind of situation. But that is exactly why the scientific community needs to grow a pair and say no. Say no to the restrictions. Say no the lesser arguments of weak minds.

And if they try to stop you, fight back. Otherwise, how far is this going to go? How far are we going to let it go? By all accounts, especially on the environmental end, we are running out of time. Can we really wait to see if they are going to keep pushing us all down?

I say, it's Fight Club, idea style.

Hire PR people. Hire someone to yell from the roof when they try to lock you out of the labs. The only reason they are able to get anything done is they have good PR people and they say things simply. You, and the rest of us, the writers and artists, the teachers and the editors, the parts of the country that aren't easy-mannered, need to say things better.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Newsletter Sublime

Newsletters, for lack of better words, usually suck. We have them where I work. It tells me about various plants, awards for safety, and the equivalent of the elementary school attendence award, the "Ten Years of Service Commendations".

To be honest, its actually rather depressing to read. It's scope is provincial, and with the exception of health tips for losing weight, which as a feature of nearly every damn thing coming into print these days due to the quaintly expanded waistlines of America is quickly losing its consciousness value, it offers no real stimulation. This is a loss. This undercuts our culture and the future of out society. Every time ink hits paper it consumes funds and causes environmental concern (for more on that read Michael Boyko's article on Ec0-Publishing from a past issue of Tarpaulin Sky), so if there is no attempt to illustrate and enrich meaningful topics or issues, or to tie the short articles newsletter are made from into larger concerns, then the whole thing becomes a frivolous, wasteful exercise.

Now seeing as I have held this view for some time I didn't start jumping up and down when I got a free subscription to their newsletter after becoming a member of the Poetry Project.

The thing is, it's really great.

Listen to this bit on how poetry opposes the neo-conservative, economy-driven government from the most recent newsletter's Editor's column,

"The creation of poetry, by vitually all industrial models, contributes less to an economy than
any other activity... but beyond simply not contributing, poetry, regardless of its form and
content, actually weakens the economy. It relies on the willful idleness and free time of its
operatives, using resources designed to control people in ways counter to their design."

Isn't that wonderful. Damn, we're taking it the streets when we're sitting around scratching our foreheads with the pen cap. We're cool, no really, we're getting street cred (check out how cool here and here).
Brenden Lorber is the editor of the newsletter by the way.
He's the dude behind lungfull!(see column link).

For my part, being a denizen of the publication hell that is magazines, not only can I appreciate Lorber's comments, I go running and screaming to embrace them. Most magazines today are glorified catalogues. It's the few Vanity Fair's and Harper's, and occasionally the New Yorker(although if you read my last post you know I'm sorta pissed on them) which keeps the industry from tumbling completely into Fight Club's 'porn-replacing Ikea-nesting instinct' realm (although they are looking over the edge).

It's great because it's tying together in a mobius strip of product and idea everything that poetry needs to be about. It's idea feeding craft, craft feeding product, product feeding community, community feeding idea. My favorite part of the newsletter is the World News section, which features reports on the goings on of poetry from various points. It's a great way to see who is where and doing their part to reject the economy; to feel the culture and hopefully see it growing.

The newsletter is available for subscription if you're not NYC local, just check the projects website (also in links column).

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Present and the New Yorker: Not Quite

I was in a bathroom recently, and there were a couple of New Yorker's (the magazine) on the back of the toilet, so at least I knew that I was in friendly territory, and if the loud-mouth soup came out I was fairly sure I wouldn't be shot when I started spouting (something I wouldn't have been sure of if say, Shot Business, was sitting there instead).

I started leafing through it, then jumped straight up front to the contents, and looked up the poetry. Now I'm working hard, and have been, to make a go at being a professional writer. And part of that is getting published, and mostly getting paid, and so I'd tried many times before to get some work in print at the TNY, as their email comes back, but nothing doing. And a big reason I wanted to be in print there was the rumored $1,500.00 an accepted piece would bring.

A young writer would feel pretty pleased with such a tidy sum, especially when looking at the total owed in student loans which haven't even started to be paid.

Elizabeth Bishop. This was one of the two poets who the NY-er published.
Elizabeth Bishop?

Que? I mean, I used an anthology last time I taught a class which featured Elizabeth Bishop. National Book Award. Nation Book Critics Award. Neustadt Prize. She visited Pound while he was confined. She used to write for the NY-er, and friends publish friends, which is one of the great elements of literature, but come on, it is not like she doesn't have a fair bit of reknown.

Anyway, I sat there, reading why she was being re-published, to promote a new book examining her work (which is amazing) and life(which I know only details of), because she is, sadly, dead.

Now the NYer does a good job on a lot of stuff, but the poetry just holds me back. Shouldn't they be clue-ing us in, giving us directions to the edge so we can stare over, instead of leaving us wrapped in a blanket back by the fire so our toesies don't get cold. I can't fall into the majority of the poetry in there, and for a while now I have been questioning why.

Well, after I saw Bishop's name, I went to find a quote I read not so long ago from Dale Smith (who I saw read last week at The Poetry Project with Hoa Nguyen, his wife. They were great). He wrote, "
Poetry should be present, and in the present, providing recursive paths through current situations. The cult of the person doesn't interest me so much as the range of the person's work."

Right on. If you've never heard Dale read, I choose to describe, and not label him, as a fast reader of angry and acquiescent prose and verse. That's my sound-bite. I'm a fan.

Hoa is sublime, and her readings can transform you. Again, fan.

Moving on from the pleasant, they are both present. They are both present in the discourse of their work, channeling the personal present, the sensory present, the public present, the ethereal present. They have put Skanky Possum, the journal they edited, on hiatus, moving instead into individual artist's books, because that is where strength of the present can be built for poetry. There are journals out there, lots of them, and many great ones(click on the links to the left) which need to be subscribed to and need to continue being published because it is in these amazing compliations by those who are exquisitely engaged in the work of poetry, rather than the cult of poetry, that we are finding what the NY-er just doesn't bather to give us: a way to kick ass.

That's what art, great and small and difficult and challenging art, does, it kicks ass. It kicks societies ass. Artists are on the fringes, are on the forefront, delving into the earth to pull out the bits and fragments of where we are now in order to re-create our understanding of where we are now, and most people feel like they've just had their ass kicked when that happens. But you know what happens when you get your ass kicked?

You end up breathing a little deeper, and that makes you humble, which makes you wise.

The hiatus of Skanky Possum is important to the small press culture because from the small journals must spring larger works, longer, more complex examinations, and deeper investigations into the slices of cultural perspective of those authors. Jonathan Skinner's Ecopoetics has been a fabulous way to move poetry away from the 'art for art's sake' world, but his book Political Cactus Poems provides a cornerstone around which to build a school of the Ecopoetic. And just in time too, because when he publishes his Katrina poem, as he is the person most uniquely qualified to write that response, having crafted a piece capturing the weight of the event soundly, and devastatingly, it WILL solidify the birth of that school. That piece is going to humble people. Guess what else it is going to do?

Let's put down our mirrors and take up our hammers.

Friday, March 17, 2006

When it's right, sometimes you have accept gravity.

I try not make gravity a habit, but its law, you can't run from it forever.

My gravity started with trying to write a silly blog. It was the Year of the Hug, which is what 2006 has been hugged as. Go hug. I mean it. But I can't say enough about that.

I don't have the gravity for silliness. Stupid gravity, harsh mistress!

SO that's why I am going to try something else. I'm investing in the present of poetry, so I thought I would try and present some. Here goes.