Apr 30, 2005

I want my body of work to be like stained glass, variously translucent and opaque: the each depending upon the other. Neither a window nor a closed door, but something that looks out on infinity.

The wrong red sky,
a pin-bright waxing moon & I
am pieced by weariness,
hooves smack
the metal hull
as frantic horses fall
into the sea.

Saltwater's god
's joke, us mostly made
of water, we go astringent
at sea: a mouthfull
of brine razoredged
mussels, blood mostly
salt too, pillars of it
stain the seawall, seagulls
drop shelled things
onto the fierce rocks, eat
what's soft left inside.

Apr 29, 2005

Just received a copy of Carve Poems 5 in the mail a couple of days ago and it looks to be another splendid issue, featuring Stacy Szymaszek, Jordan Davis, Guillermo Juan Parra, Cheryl Clark, Bill Corbett on Ric Caddel, and Ric Caddel. You can tell from all the hyperlinks that the blogosphere is well represented in this issue.

I highly recommend that anyone unfamiliar with Carve contact Aaron and pick up a copy. To quote KRS-ONE, "This is the new, new, new, new shit."

Apr 25, 2005

BTW, the Orgonon trip didn't happen beacause of foul weather. You'd think they could have used the Cloudbuster or something...

Don't Let the Neocons Erase History

Hey folks, if you live in one of the states mentioned below, please do as the lady says. One of the earliest things that a fascist reigime does is it attempts to rewrite/erase history, which is happening in our own counrtry by way of massive funding cuts for NARA, the National Archives & Records Administration and the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).

(The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) is the outreach arm of the National Archives and makes plans for and studies issues related to the preservation, use and publication of historical documents. The Commission also makes grants to non-Federal archives and other organizations to promote the preservation use of America's documentary heritage.)

Don't let this happen. Get on the phone today. (Also, if you know people in the mentioned states, please send this message on to them.)


"Dear Fellow Archivists:

If you are living or working in Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, or Virginia, please help the effort to restore funding to the NHPRC by making one telephone call.

In my capacity as a member of the Joint (COSHRC, NAGARA, SAA) Task Force on Advocacy, I am leading an effort to get members of the House Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and HUD, the Judiciary, District of Columbia and Independent Agencies (known as the T-THUD Subcommittee) to the hearing on NARA scheduled for 3 p.m. April 26th. Allen Weinstein will testify, but the hearing will not include any other live testimony. We need to encourage subcommittee members to attend this meeting and voice support for the NHPRC (restore its funding at $8 million for grants and $2 million for staff support). For this to have any impact, we need to generate a minimum of 10-15 calls to each representative's office on Monday, April 25th. To make things easy, I have listed of the names and telephone numbers of the representatives below. (Actually, Kentucky and Michigan have two representatives on the subcommittee, so I would ask individuals from those states to make two phone calls.)


Joan D. Krizack

University Archivist and Head, Special Collections Department
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-5000

Alabama Robert Aderholt 202-225-4876
Arizona Ed Pastor 202-225-4065
Kansas Todd Tiahrt 202-225-6216
Kentucky Anne Northup 202-225-5401
Kentucky Harold Rogers 202-225-4601
Maryland Steny H. Hoyer 202-225-4131
Massachusetts John W. Olver 202-225-5335
Michigan Joe Knollenberg 202-225-5802 (chair)
Michigan Carolyn C. Kilpatrick 202-225-2261
New Jersey Steven R. Rothman 202-225-5061
New York John Sweeney 202-225-5614 (vice chair)
Ohio Ralph Regula 202-225-3876
South Carolina James E. Clyburn 202-225-3315
Texas John Abney Culberson 202-225-2571
Virginia Frank R. Wolf 202-225-5136

("Fascism creates confusion through "facts". It relies on junk science, revisionism, the elimination of cultural records/treasures and obfuscations to create its case and gain acceptance. Fascism can also combine Marxist critiques of capitalism or faith based critics of the same to re-define middle class perceptions of democracy and to force its issues, confuse logic and create majority consensus between targeted groups. This is also referred to as creating a state of Cognitive Dissonance, the mental state most human beings are easily manipulated within.")

Apr 22, 2005

I will be in Maine all weekend, so thus away from blog and e-mail. Looking forward to finally seeing Wilhelm Reich's Orgonon in Rangeley on Sunday. Expects pics and commentary next week.
Good lord, a gaggle of Foetry blogs. Wilson shows up with a new earring and a "Winger" T-shirt. [Raspberry sound.] I'm tired of this playground, can I please go inside and read?

Apr 19, 2005

Meet the new pope, same as the old pope.

Apr 14, 2005

Simon DeDeo kindly reviews the "HOLY LAND" poem on his blog Rhubarb is Susan, which is a nifty blog of reviews of indivdual poems.

Apr 13, 2005

This picture (taken outside of my workplace) is in honor of those working on Jonathan Mayhew's T'ang Dynasty assignment. I myself have an entry in the works (though from the Sung and not the T'ang...what's a few centuries between friends?) but like Jonathan himself, I have not had time to finish it. Unlike Gary and Jack, who move with the quickness.

Here are a couple of pictures from the SOON reading in Ithaca (courtesy of Rachel). Unfortunately, none of my pictures of the landscape came out very well.

"My army of robots will crush you all!"

Any dialecticization of the poem below on my part has more to do with me pushing the boundaries of my own hangups than an attempt to actually polarize aesthetics. It is generally good to challenge one's boundaries, but in doing so one can of course be anxious.

In regard to Silliman's notion of "quietude," I think much of his thinking on the matter derives from the etymology of "quietude. While the dictionary definition of quietude indicates placidity, the definition of "quietus," from whence we arrive at "quietude" is as follows:

"qui- e - tus( P ) Pronunciation Key (kw-ts)

1. Something that serves to suppress, check, or eliminate.
2. Release from life; death.
3. A final discharge, as of a duty or debt."

Death is the ultimate annihilator of ambiguity. While Derrida would say that when an author writes something, he or she is opening a pandora's box of ambiguity, and is also dead, based on the fact that a written record implies that there is no breathing human around to explain the text. Thus in this capacity all writing is a kind of death. However, empirically, death is a negator of ambiguity insofar as it is a final halting of potentiality, there's only one thing left to do: decay and disappear. I think that Silliman uses "quietude" to describe texts that are syntactically dead insofar as they repel ambiguity and look to enshrine/embalm a given reading in a poem. In this respect I think that Silliman is connecting elegization with death, or at least the death drive, in his critical approach to certain works. What's problematic, to my mind at least, is that he dismisses quietude a priori. I think he neglects the totemic power of some such posthumous elegiac narratives. Which is a paradoxically authoritarian outlook for one so interested in defying authority.

Admittedly the quietude manifest in the majority of post-confessional poetics is cloying. "I'm going to memorialize my lust for my hot 19-year-old student because I am the first male who's ever felt like this," is just bufoonery, and an unironic violation of objective correlative. It's the difference between building a memorial for your dead pet canary and building and building a memorial for a hero (or alternately, for a notorious criminal). The tone should fit the subject matter. (Not that I believe that humans are in any way superior to canaries, this is a rhetorical point). To rely solely upon this elegiac trope is problematic, too much thinking of death engenders sociopathology...

So I would argue that the poem below is, in fact, "quietudinous." Hopefully it is a little better than more banal invocations of said technique. It was a conscious choice to invoke the powers of quietude in this piece, as I thought they were befitting the nuance of the subject matter. It is still possible to maintain a certain amount of open-endedness even in such a funerary offering, but I think my intent was to point towards a few readings more vehemently than I'm ordinarily wont to do.

Apr 12, 2005

This is an experiment in narrativity (quietude) of sorts. By that token I guess you could say it's an experiment in being nonexperimental. For some reason this particular story seemed to lend itself to barebones narration. Hopefully the end product is not abysmally dull!...

HOLY LAND, Waterbury, CT

She drove the car first in one direction & then another,

the arcs of her going made parentheses around the town

where people wandered by daylight in the streets,

between the lion & the lamb,later the waxing moon

would rise again over the cross on the hill. She saw the weathered sign,

"Holy Land," welded to the signpost where there were woods

& little rolling hills & no other cars there. She drove

along the road until the periphery: an old house & a dirt path.

No-one within. She followed the path into the woods, by herself,

a little while & she saw it then, the little Jerusalem that made the hill

a mountain, shining strangely on the hillface, playing

games with scale. & also Gethsemane, where she walked,

placards' sans serif script fading into concrete, some sacred names

erased by rain, others remained unblemished:

she looked into the neck of a headless camel & saw its

concrete guts there, stone heaped around its legs

like the earth had spit it up, two thin tines of metal where

the left leg had been. Here it had stood for 20 years or

more, looking out on the Temple ground, Golgotha,

the holy streets of the little holy city where children now

adults had eaten lunch & asked about god & heaven--the city

considered & gave its answer decades later: the Temple

was large enough to enter standing, her head close to

the vaulted roof, the minarets where spiders lived. On the walls,

austere grafitos, nameless initials & prayers.

She finds a discarded photograph (the

god who lives in desolation), sees shimmering green plastic,

immune to weather, on the path to the cross that can still

be seen from the highway.

Apr 11, 2005

BTW, "coruscating" is a lovely word. Thank you, Josh.
I am back from Ithaca, where a good time was had by all. I will post some pictures in a couple of days.

Also attened and enjoyed immensely the Eleni Sikelianos reading at MIT on Thursday evening. Am looking forward to reading the complete California Poem.

Apr 7, 2005

If you happen to be in Ithaca this weekend, come check this out:

Ann Buechner and Mark Lamoureux
Saturday, April 9
7 pm.

Ann Buechner was born in South Korea and grew up in Madison, WI. She is a recent graduate of the MFA program at Cornell and continues to tinker with her thesis project (provisionally titled School for Girls).

Mark Lamoureux is a poet from Allston, Massachusetts. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in print in Fence, The Denver Quarterly, LIT, Jubilat, Lungfull!, 6x6, Art New England, Carve and others. His most recent chapbook, 29 Cheeseburgers, was released by Boston's Pressed Wafer in the winter of 2004. A previous chapbook, City/Temple was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in the Fall of 2003. Other publications include: a translation of the French poet Gerard de Nerval in Circumference, and an essay enititled "8-bit Primitive: Homage to the Atari 2600," appeared in the anthology Gamers, by Soft Skull Press. He is managing editor of Fulcrum Annual.

Apr 5, 2005

New York peeps should check this out (I've seen a little of Matvei's Mayakovsky and it is great):

Circumference: Poetry in Translation

Launch Event, Issue 3
Tuesday, April 5th, 7 p.m.

Translators Caroline Knox, Idra Novey, Jeffrey Yang, and Matvei Yankelevich will read poetry from Argentina, Brazil, China, and Russia.

Reception will follow with beer provided by RED STRIPE.
RED STRIPE reminds you to drink responsibly.

Swiss Institute--Contemporary Art
495 Broadway (between Broome and Spring Streets)
Third Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 925-2035

Admission $5/ Free with purchase of the journal

(If you get the issue you can also see my translation of Gerard de Nerval's "Artemis" from "Les Chimeres").

Wish I could see the reading.