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.