Wednesday, December 3, 2003

I'm back from Chicago, though I wish I were still there.

I was invited out for drinks with some Chicago poets but I had conflicting plans and alas was unable to meet them. The windy city is really the cleanest city too. I was amazed at how clean it appeared. Their "martha stewart mayor" has done well, at least aesthetically. calls.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I really like everyone's "books received" lists so I thought I'd compose my own, since I've received so many books lately.

Haunt by Keith Waldrop (instress)

Semiramis if I Remember by Keith Waldrop (I already had this one, inscribed to Tom Clark but now I have one inscribed to me) (Avec)

Blindsight by Rosmarie Waldrop (New Directions)

Elio Pagliarani in America (Agincourt)

In a Glass Box by Brenda Iijima (Pressed Wafer)

Some Values of Landscape and Weather by Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan)

Cloud-type by Kathleen Miller (limited edition letterpressed chapbook)

Pie in the Sky by Juliana Leslie (Braincase)

Falling Forward by Sara Veglahn (Braincase)

A Poem A Movie & A Poem by Nick Moudry (Braincase)

For Poems by Aaron Tieger & Christopher Rizzo (Anchorite)

At Port Royal by Christopher Edgar (AIP) I bought this one.

Magazine Cypress 2

Combo 12

NO 2

and the entire catalog of limited edition/signed Oblek Editions books

Thursday, November 20, 2003

First, read Stephanie's report.

Then I'll fill in about Chris Edgar as Stephanie suggested I do. Ok. You've read her report. Now about Chris Edgar:

So I've never seen Chris' work before. I've seen his book at SPD, but never picked it up. I only knew of him as half the editorial staff of the Hat. Last night Jordan introduced me to Chris and I found him to be a very very nice guy. I like nice people a lot. So after Sara and before Jordan, Chris got up to read at Canessa Park. I don't know where he began because by the time he finished with "Birthday," the first poem in his book, At Port Royal, I was so amorously lost in vertigo I didn't know what had happened. The standout, for me, was the poem "His Kind of Woman," written from the 1951 film of same title featuring one of my all time favorite actors, Robert Mitchum. Not to mention, Vincent Price, Jane Russel and Raymond Burr.

His Kind of Woman

Too much laughter in the dark
Can drive a man insane
Convince him to take a walk
In the park or just go
Out for a pack of cigarettes
Good trouble is hard to find
This could be the reason
We still stick together
After all these dog years
We stopped asking each
Other questions long ago
Certain things make no sense
While other things are still burning
Like a string of nights in Mexico
You must remember those
Or maybe not
Was it something I said
Or something in the water
Or the air, it was always the air
A certain color you could never
Put your finger on
However much you tried

This poem embodies the film in a beautiful way, behaving as if it were inside the film. It is inside the film, it's the dialogue in so condensed a form that you have seen the whole film after reading this poem.
Chris' poetry behaves ((somewhat), I don't want to get into trouble here) like nth generation NYSchool but is more lyrically aware than a significant portion of contemporary poetry. Hell, I'm going to read the book before writing myself into a corner.

"Llewellyn's mythical Roman past. Llewellyn's witchhunters. Llewellyn's Huguenots. Llewellyn reborn. Llewellyn and the rise of the whaling trade. Trade winds bless Llewellyn..."
--from "Pictures of Llewellyn"

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Michael Palmer
5:30pm Faculty Lounge

You can go to this and then make it to Jordan and crew @ 7:30
even get a little sauced up beforehand.

Dan Fisher printed a gorgeous Palmer broadside that'll be for sale.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Ok. I didn't give the Gender Genie a text with over 500 words, I gave it the first section of a new long poem:


Typography exists to honor content
—Robert Bringhurst

They cannot avoid the unsolicited messages,
the attention drawn with the hand to mimic
a classical form in an elegant present. It makes
visual sense to be lachrymal, to be teary-eyed.
As the counter and the foot work to balance,
the dancer, being modern, falls to the floor
with a thud. When she rises, a letterform.
Many of them together. Spelling out
O-U-R-S-E-L-V-E-S O-U-R D-I-L-E-M-M-A-S.
These are our muddy proofs, this adnate limb.
They while away the day being read and little
else. I want to cast the dancer in lead, place a C
in the room where white space was. If we made
a body hold a shape, would it say it were occupied?

Yeah. I'm writing a sonnet crown. It's called Typography. And it was written by a female. Last I checked, I had a lead pipe and a pair o' dice (this is what I imagine a young ray liotta would say in a sequel to Goodfellas). Though the gender genie does confirm my belief in my "metrosexuality." Does metrosexual count as a gender? It should.


The other day I told Stephanie that I was going to kill my blog.

She got very worked up about some secret society of blogicidal poet/bloggers, asked if we wore dark robes and pointy hats and danced around a smoldering computer monitor. I really wasn't going to kill my blog, I had the flu and didn't want to deal with anything. We all know that the blog is an extra detail in our full lives that requires time, which equals money. Can we get paid for blogging? That'd be nice. So anyway...Since I was on the topic of death, I was reminded of something funny that happened to me in Providence:

So there I was In Providence, Rhode Island with my good pal Kate and we were walking to the great big cemetary along the river. It was a brisk and beautiful autumn afternoon, the cars whirring by, the light strolling toward dusk. Once inside the cemetary, Kate suggested i see this great huge tree, a maple I think. At the perimiter of its opulent shape, I looked at the grave at my feet and read "Sarah Lovecraft" and mentioned, "Where's H.P.?" and scanning to my right, on a smallish gravestone adorned with trinkets and memorabilia was his name. Wow, I thought. Here lies H.P. Lovecraft, of whom I've never read a single word. So I thought about dead writers. And now I will continue to think and blog about dead writers I discover along the way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Back from "tour" report:

I'll go in reverse. We finished the tour in Amherst, MA with a crowd of at least 60 people. Aaron Tieger read first from his Shanties... series, which I liked a lot, and I assume from the laughter, that the audience did too. Then Geoffrey Dyer read from some new work and his book The Dirty Halo of Everything. All I need to say is if you haven't read this book, DO. Then I read and yeah, I was great. We went out for beer and fried pickles afterward. John Erhardt (The Skeptic) was there and it was nice to meet him albeit brief.

New York. Rain. Geoff and I got to the gallery a little early and so went to a pub up the street for some Stella. Got back at 6. People were still filtering in. Some older gentleman, who I don't know approached me and said "55 minutes down the drain! I came all the way down from Uptown." I shrugged and apologized but it's a poetry reading, when do they ever begin on time. He left. My aunt and uncle even came from Jersey, which was really great. That was the first time anyone in my family has heard me read more than one poem. Geoff read, then me, then Robert Paredez, who I think and hope people took a liking to because he is one of our greatest unknown poets, and then Noah Eli Gordon finished the evening. I met Brenda Iijima, David Perry, and a whole lot of other people whose names I've forgotten.

We began in Providence. Began the evening at the Waldrop home with some wine and cheese. Then went to dinner at an indian restaurant where the Waldrops suggested more wine. We heartily agreed. Then to Atlas Bower Books, where Michael Gizzi was waiting to introduce us. The reading was good and the space small so it looked really packed. Met and had drinks with Mike Magee, William Gillespie and Jennifer Martensen. I stayed with my very good friend and new Brown MFA student,Kate Schatz.

I got home and contracted the flu. I'm still recovering. It was a very rock star style tour.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Sometimes you just feel like getting away from it all

To some pure, solitary mountain top where you can wander, free as a bird... but if you're stuck behind a desktop instead, take some solace in this.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
The stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth to me the show had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)

which reminds me of something funny I recently leard after Barrett Watten's reading in Berkeley, though I'll leave the person from whence it came anonymous: "...think I'd much rather have been reading Wordsworth."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Hear ye, hear ye! INVOLUNTARY VISION

After Akira Kurosawa's Dreams has arrived and looks fantastic! This is the first collection of writing from The New Brutalists as a group, published by Avenue B. Get it from SPD, Avenue B, or any of your friendly neighborhood New Brutalists. For those of you on the East Coast, I'll have them with me on my flash bang tour of New York, Providence and Northampton/Amherst. It's a beautiful book and it's full of great poems.

This is what's been said about it thus far:

It is not surprising to find poets interested in Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. It is a magical film full of symbolism and fantastic milieus, full of formal and measured dances. When Kurosawa said that “man is a genius when he is dreaming,” he knew what poets also know: that some ideas can only become clear and luminous if articulated in complicated symbolic languages. In Involuntary Vision, eleven Bay Area poets write out of and about Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams. The poems they write explore with Kurosawa relationships, childhood terrors, the seductive nature of death, nuclear annihilation, and environmental pollution. As they do this they maintain an allegiance to the formal and measured dance of thought and word. This is a moving collection that celebrates poetry as an art that is both social and intellectual.
—Juliana Spahr

If this book tells us there will be “no dancing while the world is ending,” at least there will be poetry. These poets make of Kurosawa’s apocalyptic film a world beyond it. Their revelatory subject dreams inside the monstrous present as they uncover the sound behind the image, the image behind the frame.
—Peter Gizzi

Wednesday, October 15, 2003


for California

There is an empire in echolocation
a riccochet off an object that you are not
believed to be hunting for in your dress.

When training for distance, you speak
too fastly of what is at hand. Dissolution
in the materials. In the fiber of being quick.

Let us march to where we'll be heard
and someone will listen. This is not a defense.
Rather, we reclaim the spot we stumbled.

Sisters in their homes and citizens in their homes
and I am so far from everyone I love.
All our provisions wasted on the dull witted.

The golden children by the creek, in awe
of reckless waterfowl, instinctually clear
that I call to them daily. A toy ship.

A bow and arrow. A shovel and saw.
Assembled into the ordinary clamor of boyhood
I am twice familiar with. Here I stake my claim.

Here I plant only one seed, my only failure.
A little life sometimes overwhelms us and we falter.
Tintern Abbey never appeared in the body.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I just realized the other night that Lisa Jarnot and I have the same birthday. Well...except mine occurred 10 years after hers. YaY for Sagittarians. Do you know that when two Sags get together to philosophize or come together in any other way, it's called sagittation. Lisa and I could sagittate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I finally bought Fanny Howe's Gone after Ron's assertion of it as an example of an emotional Language text. My thoughts: Emotional, yes. Inspiring, yes. Classic Howe, yes. Languagey, not really at all.

Also got: Renee Gladman's The Activist
Heather Fuller's Dovecote
Original printing of James Alexander's The Jack Rabbit Poem (white rabbit, 1966)

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Saturday, October 11, 2003

oh man. Just got back from the My Morning Jacket show and WoW. ears are ringing and I love it. They were so amazingly good. If you have any Rock 'n' Roll in your soul you would LOVE them. So that's what I've got to say about that.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

I received in the mail yesterday, Peter Gizzi's Some Values of Landscape and Weather just out on Wesleyan.

Ok. So it's obvious that Pete has had an enormous influence on my writing and that reading his work just tickles me pink but this is awesome. I read through the whole thing last night. I'd already read a significant portion of the book, being that I published its last section "Song" as Fin Amor and have the chapbooks Add This To The House and Revival, BUT seeing this work in one collection makes it new and exciting. This is my favorite book of the year so far. Well...except for The Frequencies and Deer Head Nation. Will write more on it later.

Monday, October 6, 2003

I just won tickets to see/hear My Morning Jacket this friday.

Catherine mentioned them as a way into Neil Young, though I'd look at it the other way around. MMJ rocks like no other. Yee-Haw!

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Saturday, October 04, 2003

BTW... I am fully aware that "Sister I'm A Poet" is a Morrissey song but it's fucking great anyway. Substitution? Cemetary Gates. Because Keats and Yeats ARE on my side. Who've you got on your side, huh?

Tonight I went to see Jonathan Lethem read from his fantastic new novel, The Fortress of Solitude. Conveniently, he began reading exactly where I had left off last night. Went to dinner with him, his very nice girlfriend Amy, Erin, Dan Fisher, Julie Orringer and her husband Ryan Harty. All very nice folks. Really drove home the difference between being a successful fiction writer and being a hopeful poet. It's really like being a stadium concert rock superpower v. a coffee shop playing folkie. Weird but I have a great deal of respect for those writers who not only pull off amazing novels/short story collections but on top of it all, have to deal with touring, signing ungodly numbers of books and seemingly endless proscribed engagements. Lethem is really, in my humble opinion, a great great writer.

Today, I picked up some new albums: Neil Young's "On The Beach" finally issued on cd; Stereolab's "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" (shouldn't I have owned this for years already? Yes. Now I do.); and Winfred E. Eye's new album, "The Dirt Tier."

Also got some books: Oh My God! Jack Spicer's One Night Stand in hardcover! and Rod Smith's The Good House, a beautiful chapbook. Absolutely as the imprint says, "a spectacular book."

Right now, "There is a Light that Never Goes Out" is making me weep.