Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sum Sum Summertime

In case it wasn't obvious, not that I think there is anyone reading, its summer, we've taken the time to get laid off, hired elsewhere, vacay a bit, and softball. It has been glorious, we're batting really well (.671 last I figured) and all that. Also the summer is a depleted, vacuous time for literary-nesses. Not much happens, even in New York.

August comes however.

With it will be a hopeful return to the events and vagaries of which we will do our best to report in something resembling a coherent manner.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stretching Panties Reading

Come celebrate the release of Stretching Panties magazine, an annual anthology of experimental writing (aka poetry), architecture and drawing!
A perfectly boozy way to memorialize the end of Memorial Day weekend, but two days later.
Wednesday, May 28, 7pm
Nightingale Lounge (a "sexy" lounge space), NYC
2-for-1 drinks 'til 8, $5 girly and manly drinks
Show off your tan. And be enthralled by the verbal stylistics of some of the contributors:

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Barry Denny
Rachel Livingston
Laura Hinton
Bakar Wilson
Sheila Maldonado
and more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dimensions Present Spectral Ghosts

Why can't a person review a performance/reading event in which they participated? Well because it feels weird, like incest. Or if not quite that far afield, it is at the least not taboo in the good, healthy fun way.

Mostly it was just nice to be able to run a few concurrent linking ventures that actually equalled a real performance. I appreciate being able to work with all of the fine writers and artists who make up Dimensions and the Worldly and Infinitely Dimensional Workshop. The experience was excellent, so I'll take a moment to be slightly narcissistic about the experience.

Really everything that needed to happen got done. Everyone showed up and we had plenty of time to spare, which was surprising, considering how short we were expecting to be on time. But apparently we planned and rehearsed, those of who made, myself not among them on that final sunday, so we came out squeaky clean.

The Venue, Dixon Place, was rather ideal, if a little warm.

I was actually rather excited all day leading up to the night. I always get like that for whatever reason in front of a crowd, but there is nothing really for it other than to say I used to stutter and now in front of people I do not have this problem. It is when I am lounging and lazy that the tongue gets itself all in a huff and my mind is moving too fast for my lazy jaw to keep up. I don't think I am a great performer, but hell, I like the stage, and if I have my say and some time to go over things, I think I come across well, sometimes even interesting.

All of the pieces we performed were written largely, or at least conceived of in-class, and it is a blessing of living in New York and being able to attend workshops at the poetry project that such a group of people are there to be worked with. I feel like I was meant to be in that class, and to hear what these people have to say. I'm a better poet for it.

Well enough of my chortling. I have novels, comic books, essays, and of course a nagging epic to write, not to mention the thought of doing some drawing. I am without class (in the academic, creative sense) for some time, and hopefully remain so, thus allowing for more readings and more reviews of readings to come.

Thank you again to the Dimensions. Party in Brooklyn once I get a job.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Steal This Reading at East Coast Aliens, Greenpoint Brooklyn

I showed up about 7:30, and then the fire marshall showed up 5 minutes later. I think this is the first time I've ever seen the fire marshall's called to a reading which wasn't being held in an abandoned warehouse (ESA is a nice, converted warehouse now artspace just down the street from my apartment which I didn't know existed until this reading came about). I saw Kristin Prevallet and Hoa Nguyen leaving, saying how crowded it was and how you couldn't talk. It seemed like they were right, so that was that for this guy.

I particularly had wanted to see Max Winter and Joyelle McSweeney read, as I am partial to the work of my fellow Goddardians do at Tarpauline Sky, but alas. Here is everything that would have happened:

Steal This Reading:
A Brooklyn Book Burning

Featuring 15 authors from 6 publishers:

C.D. Wright, Eleni Sikelianos, Graham Foust, Joyelle McSweeney, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Julie Doxsee, Max Winter, Adam Clay, Zachary Schomburg, Morgan Lucas Schuldt, Lily Brown, Rauan Klassnik, Cindy Savett, Jon Thompson, and Melanie Hubbard.

Hosted by Black Ocean, Cannibal Books, Free Verse Editions, Kitchen Press, Octopus, Tarpaulin Sky Press & Typo.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jen Hofer and Dan Machlin Read at the Poetry Project

Ah ha! A Reading is an amazing thing, maybe the best of things, and the moments last night listening for the first time to these two poets was, to put it in terms greatly under-expressing the quality of the event, worthwhile. No, we can do better. It was joyfully engaging.

The two started the reading off together, standing side by side after distributing gifts to the audience: small, massacred envelop wrapped tracts featuring a pair of poems. They read “re” , Dan opening, “Open to an empty run-down intersection of city, winter, 5 a.m.,”. Jen followed with “Open to an empty scuffed intersection of a city, summer, 5 a.m.”.

Hearing them read together, without having heard them before, precluded any deeper appreciation, but reflecting back there was the sense simply that she was pushing out, and he was pulling back. He was a sidebar, here in this instance, while she was fuller, looking outward while he glanced most often away and down. I'll have you know I was tired before I ever got to the reading, and it perked me up being in there. As they read I jotted down notes on what they said, and where possible I've corrected the quoting via references, but there are likely some errors. So deal.

Dan Machlin –editor Futurepoem Books

Dan’s first piece was entitled Letter 1. I was tired for the reading, yawning throughout because there was sleeping to take place but the reading was there first, a welcome barricade. The first words from his work that I managed to grasp were:

“If this is the sign of clarity
is it the priest’s death?”

There was something initial about the way he was reading, coming as it does in a voice in the shape of a poetic sound, but not crafted to the shape; born to it, fully ingrained and much removed from the pretentious character this voice, such a lynchpin in the reading of poetry, can embody. I don’t want to dissect the voice itself, anyone who’s been to more than 3 or 4 readings has heard plenty of variation. Machlin’s voice matches well when he puts forth,

“symbols, an alleyway, the comfort of exhaustion,”

and he highlights that initial quality, the ingrown conceit when he says.

“This is what the job entails,
this is what I was born into.”

The manner of Dan’s speaking becomes much closer to stillness in the next poem, Letter to D:

“I move behind in your hope”


“oh how this house whispers
beneath the dinner table”

The absence of strong intonations and accentuation of the words, while still being clear and crisp, by now brought me to notice Dan’s posture. Stiff and tall, his right arm hanging unmoving by his side, the left only holding up the pages of his work or setting them on the podium. He stood not out from behind the podium, and not behind, but kind of inbetween. In 5th Letter he introduces something new:

“And who is this “we” anyway—I was alone—tabulating the pros and cons of my history,”

This new element is brought fully to light in Letter of Critique with,

“millions never seek new forms and patterns”

This new voice is contemptuous, remaining detached out of a distaste for having even observed and commented. The machinery of the detached voice begins to break down, as one voice infects the other. Again in Critique, he states:

“This forced opposition between constancy and boredom”

In Letter Read While Walking Home the voices’ interconnectivity shows through. There are gaps and breaks in the phrasing, as if data were missing, or as if two channels were experiencing feedback from their similar frequencies. His experiments are sublte, using syllables in Antibodies as a formal constraint unrepresented consistently in the reading. His work does, as Stacy pointed out in her introduction, solve the mind-body problem with multiple bodies, seeing, as he writes,

“bodies, and the spare mechanics of thought.”

Jen Hofer

A Google search for Jen comes up with a lot of material, so here and there, if you've been to a reading, you'll find some things that are echoing back. This echoing struck me, because I am attracted by echoes I guess at present in my own work, but also because of its place in the work she was sharing. That some of what had come before would be coming back when Palm Press releases One later this year along with some of Jen’s first lines, underscored what exactly was going to happen for the 30 or minutes she read,

“…to scream 'Law and Order’ as we kick down their doors.
Broken hinge more open or more broken…”

“…sutres to the wound will not hurt
best busted interests at heart…”

It told of how she was going to read, a bit about why, and it was going to make you feel like even though it was only going to be 30 minutes of time, it’d still be worth more than most rock concerts. It was already purely kinetic and civilly engaged, as it had been introduced to us, but the enunciation and the syncopation of it was rousing and desperate.

She had built a relentless, grinding machinery within the intonations of alliteration,

The denotative sky
through its frame is sky.
Through its sky.
Is sky...
How the fast small birds.
Do not shatter.”

She was arguing against it in the kind of voice you'd use if you stood in front of tank with your hand out. She had moved out of the cinematic trope where a person yells at their own echo. She continued to argue,

"They form a habit.
I would say those clouds form a reference, not a pattern."