Friday, January 23, 2004

Friday, January 23, 2004

Just got home from seeing The Death of Meyerhold (which, by the way, if you haven't seen it, I pity your artistic soul--that is if you live in the bay area and were able to attend) and am utterly too stunned to write about it critically. It's that GOOD! I did find it funny that Stephanie had written about Clive (Mayakovsky, et. al.) not reading reviews. Seems to me like a darn fine practice. Whatever those reviews say, he's fantastic as is the whole cast. Meyerhold was particularly stunning and Shostakovich was a neurotic, OCD ridden, laugh riot. Stanislavsky and Babanova were equally empassioned performances too. I don't really go to the theater. After this, I do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

If this ain't the truest thing I ever heard! (well, except for the vegetarian part).

Results...: "P. B. Shelley
You are Percy Bysshe Shelley! Famous for your
dreamy abstraction and your quirky verse,
you're the model 'sensitive poet.' A
vegetarian socialist with great personal charm
and a definite way with the love poem, you
remain an idol for female readers. There are
dozens of cute anecdotes about you, and I love

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I couldn't sleep last night.

Kept watching the clock until I got up for work at 7:30. I've now drank a large mug of strong coffee and my eyes are still heavy. This will be a very long day. Very long indeed.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

So, after a response from Erika Meitner, new visiting asst.

Prof of literature (primarily, I take it, poetry) at UCSC, I now feel inclined to further explain my obvious oversight in stating that the poetry scene at UCSC is "sad" as I put it. My observation was informed, and it was falacious, primarily by comparing nostalgia with what I saw or, rather, didn't see. What I saw were students prepared with questions, reading along, albeit from their class reader, in Some Values of Landscape and Weather during Peter's reading. There was a buzz in the room. It was like the quote-un-quote prodigal son had returned, though he had returned to neices and nephews that hadn't yet been born when he frist left.

What I missed, what made the picture exude sadness, was the seeming lack of knowledge of past and current poetic communities and, if it was in fact there, a dearth of energy being put into community building. As Kasey mentioned, "[Peter] and his spouse [Elizabeth] Willis are two of the most benevolently powerful forces at work in contemporary poetry.? We need more community-builders like them!" Emphasis on "community-builders!" What Peter instilled in us as young, wayward and aspiring poets was that we first needed to be aware of our poetic heritage and second, we needed to band together as brothers & sisters fighting for the same cause. What happened was Geoffrey Dyer, Eli Drabman, Robert Paredez and myself really took this to heart. We became what our peers called "Peter's Boys" because we were thirsty for poetry and for learning and for new experiences whether it be poetry, visual art, music, film, theory, fiction ad infinitum and there was a fountain from which we drank. The girls in the program, somewhat in reaction to us boys, produced "Drugstore Makeup," a one issue journal of most all the female poets in the program and held an outdoor reading, with a megaphone, costumes and it was really amazing. It was a spectacle of substance and assertion. They formed their parallel community, and though these two burgeoning groups of young poets weren't necessarily "exclusive" -- as we did study together, hang out together, sleep together, etc.-- we were competitive. Geoff, Eli and myself moved on to Mills, to work with Liz Willis and Stephen Ratcliffe, and we received the best poetic education money could buy. Needless to say, my sadness as it were, was because I didn't see our dopplegangers, I didn't feel the friendly and constructive competition and I didn't really observe the "community." I'm sure they're there and I'm sure they're working just as hard as we did. I didn't mean to assert that poetry was gone at UCSC, just that I didn't see what I had remembered being there. For that, I apoligize. But, Erika, please take a page from Peter's book (not that I know you haven't already) show your kids poetic communities, show them how mimeo-magazines were really just friends publishing friends, show them The Spicer Circle, The New York School (all its generations), L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, The Beats, hell, even The New Brutalists. Show them these and they will find theirs.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Reading Report on Peter Gizzi in Santa Cruz last night and Ending on a Note about SC

Beginning with an informal Q&A/reception with mostly undergraduate creative writing students, Peter answered such questions as "Who do both cars and death appear so frequently in your poetry?" To which he answered "I don't write about anything, really, I write into, through and out of things, like I'm a political subject, a citizen...I don't write about Pres. Bush or the war but I write about being baffled by such things. I write from a sense of bafflement."

Upstairs to faithful old Kresge 159 (the room at UCSC where all the readings are held) and a standing room only crowd what must've been nearly 150+ in attendance. Luckily I had set aside seats in the second row for Dan Fisher, myself, Kasey got in there and some old friends from my UCSC days.

A warm but mostly factual introduction by Nate Mackey "If you'll forgive me, I'm going to take some language from sports 'Man...this guy can write!.'"

Peter begins with a new poem, the title of which is slipping my mind here, a continuation of his reworking of the "conditional if" most present in the poem Chateau If from both FIN AMOR, which I published, and in the new full-length collection; "If love if then if now if the flowers of if the conditional if the arrows of the condition of if..." He said "I thought I was done with that but I suppose not but hopefully I soon will be." He then read from the book, beginning at the beginning and ending at the end. The "suite" of poems, A History of the Lyric is phenomenal, just phenomenal.

We (Dan Fisher & I) realized how Peter says the same thing at each of his readings, almost to the point of it being humorous. "Edgar Poe...That's what they call Edgar Allan Poe in France, I think it's more interesting, he sounds like a gunfighter." "This is a Santa Cruz poem, The Deep End, what I affectionately called Santa Cruz..." And so on.

If you don't yet own a copy of Some Values of Landscape and Weather (Wesleyan) you'd damn well better get one. It's really one of the finest books written in the past few years, or ever, really.

Santa Cruz is a sad place now in relation to poetry. Yes, there were a LOT of people in attendance, but mostly, they were forced to attend as part of a new conglomerate creative writing introduction course with something like 100 students in a class. It seems as if there is no one teaching poetry workshops any more, as if the students are walking around aimlessly without direction. Under Gizzi, UC Santa Cruz breathed poetry, was organized. There would be poets sitting in the courtyard at Kresge, smoking and talking poetry, and Peter would often be talking with them. Now it is empty. Kasey doesn't teach workshops, which is a major oversight or rather, failure on the part of the creative writing dept. But he's there. And Alli is there with him. All in all, Alli was the only serious poet/student I saw. Maybe that's my oversight? I'm not sure. But it felt very sad to be there and have it be so lacking in life. Those of us who were lucky enough to get degrees from Santa Cruz between the years of 1995 and 2001 really have something to be thankful for. We passed into, through and out of one of the greatest learning environments for poetry that, as far as I know, has ever existed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

On the well-nourished moon you can also find this:

I'm reading this instead of typesetting "The Alchemist's Path," which I think is a load of New-age Hooey. Actually, a large percentage of what I typeset at work is a bunch of new-age hooey.

Thanks for loaning me the book. I'll iron out the crease you put in the corner of the page on which the poem you wanted me most to read is found. I am a purist when it comes to books. Yep that's right. If I catch anyone writing in, folding pages of, or otherwise defacing their tomes, I will let it be known that I find such acts apalling.

I also Just read Kasey's Lecture on Peter Gizzi. It's pretty well informed and best, mentions me (well at least it indirectly mentions me, though I'm sure that Kasey meant to include a number of P.G.'s other students as well).

in stephanie's comments box as it relates to her post.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Stephanie is the coolest friend ever.

Not only did she give me a ride home from work yesterday (because my car is in the shop) but she went WAAAAY out of her way to pick me up and bring me to work this morning. I'll tell you, it's the sign of a very fine person it is. Plus, she's one of my very favorite poets.