Rod Smith's The Good House
Kaplan Page Harris
notes on Rod Smith,
The Good House,
A Spectacular Book, 2001
In American literature the house without a foundation is an all too
common theme. Houses tend to remain unfinished or temporary affairs,
liable to break apart at any moment and leave their residents with a
pile of rubble. In "The Fall of the House of Usher," Poe's
narrator finds himself at a loss to name the thing that unsettles him
about the Usher house: "There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening
of the heartan unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading
of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was
itI paused to thinkwhat was it that so unnerved me in the
contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble;
nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as
I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion,
that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple
natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the
analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It
was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the
particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient
to modify, or perhaps to annihilate, its capacity for sorrowful impression
The narrator's claim that truth lies "beyond our depth," does
not keep him from imagining that a better description of the situation
will release him from the power the house holds over him. The narrator
needs a better story about the Usher house than he can obtain from an
exterior and reflective position, so he proceeds into the house to check
on its inhabitants. The famous conclusion finds the narrator, having
come face to face with the unnamable "malady" of the siblings,
hightailing it from the scene. "My brain reeled as I saw the mighty
walls rushing asunderthere was a long tumultuous shouting sound
like the voice of a thousand watersand the deep and dank tarn
at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the 'House
of Usher.'"2 These fragments
are never quite put back together again, at least not with any permanence
or dependability. Somehow whatever architecture an American writer dreams
up, its shelter is temporary, and it soon breaks into fragments (or
smithereens, to hint at where I am going with all this). In William
Dean Howells's The Rise of Silas Lapham, the protagonist's fortunes
will "rise" and he will set upon building a magnificent house
for himself and his family, until, with his fortune falling, he inadvertently
sets the unfinished house on fire and it burns to the ground. Henry
James and Toni Morrison famously draw up houses that are haunted by
an unresolved past. A writer who stays inside the house comes to be
viewed as pathological; Emily Dickinson continues to be categorized
as an agoraphobic who is afraid to leave the security of her own home.
American writers tend to value the experience of heading off for new
places, being an expatriate, or being on the road.
In his latest creation The Good House, Washington, D.C. resident
and late thirty-something poet Rod Smith canvasses a 21st century house
with an architecture of his own design. I mention the forebears to indicate
how strange it is that a long poem devoted to the house should suddenly
appear, much less promise to show readers what the good house
is made up of. The constructive activity that it promises not only runs
headstrong against previous literary houses that fared so poorly; it
also runs against the postmodern celebration of the fragmentary and
the refusal of metaphysical frameworks, restrictive and exclusionary
structures, and so on. But suddenly in a period populated largely by
literary nomads, there comes a poem that stakes its claim on something
as basic as a roof over one's head. Yet I'm also being cheeky here because
The Good House never settles on an architecture that is fixed
once and for all. The constructive activity derives its energy from
the tonal and semantic multiplicity of the title; by iterating the "good
house" or simply "good" or "house" alone (as
well as further variations) the poem fans out into rhythmical fragments
just as it fans out into architectural fragments. Perhaps it's less
accurate to characterize this as constructive activity than to say Smith
sounds out the good house:
Though the house is willed it is also shiney though it
spares others, some it doesn't, though it has a child,
it is clear, stolid, imperiousthough it laughs at the
waking needy, it compels grace, walks awake the named,
any of them, any & others, clear it has, clear it laughs,
house though some, house & rescue, also shiny, in the
sounds made, in the sounds created, in the sounds &
in their laughing, it is a house to be reckoned with, built
in the mania of inaction, a still, unbuilt shining thing where
the knowing crosses into every, where you would, & the
sounds are made tame, & the sounds til, & the house
sounds, & because, & I would do the house a favor,
& fill this sounding , & would is shiney in the sounds, built
unbuilt, the laugh or child of them, the sounds, the grace,
the poetry of the house, its seeming, but it has never
seen itself sound, yet its knowing can, because there is
no false in it, again it houses as it had & has house being,
green eggs or ham, & puts Peloponnesian there, shiney,
holding the deranged oracle by the ear, making its
wishes, housing the one it loves, with a sound
The book has a lightness due to its lyrical phrase, "the good
house," which Smith varies in each poem, often in completely dissimilar
ways. "In a quiet house / In a house which is very quiet / Where
the brackish tandem brooks / the loons." Although I'm frequently
at a loss to say what these eclectic descriptors mean when joined together,
maybe that's not the point. It's more accurate to say acoustical principles
govern the formal arrangement of the poem. The first line and second
lines are easy enough to follow: "a quiet house," augmented
by, "a house which is very quiet." Then the third and fourth
lines, "brackish tandem brooks / the loons," although I hazard
to guess what they mean, are nonetheless clearly intent on sounded parallels:
"br," long "a," "k," "oo," and
"s." Smith's insight is to connect this repetition to the
protean structure of the good house itself. "Each reasonable house
/ & each waking motion / are votive, based on / the wiley resurgence
/ of awaiting worlds." Each poem is a "waking," or "wiley
resurgence" that sounds out the good house once more.
Although composed as a long poem, the modest edition now out from Spectacular
Books prints a variable number of entries per page, thereby giving the
entire work a foreshortened feel. Were there a whole page devoted to
each of the 70+ entries then it would better illustrate the fact that
each single entry is a poem in itself. The Good House in its
current edition is a throwback to the small press operated out of the
garage. It's dimensions are a deceptively slim 8½" by 11"
page folded along the vertical center and stapled with a stiff cover.
The cover's "hand-fashioned" imprint, created by artist-poet
David Larson, bears the title and Smith's name in stenciled letters
(a bit like a homemade protest sign), with a bird flying off to one
side. The blacked-out letters use some kind of thick paint with a course
texture. It reminds me of the stuff on skateboards called "grip."
At the beginning of the poem Smith appears to seek assistance from
a muse, and supporting this view is the fact that he gives it thanks
and bids it farewell at the end. In this sense the poem adheres to the
traditional model of asking higher beings for guidance and inspiration-except
that for Smith the muse is an egret. We first hear the egret
in two poems placed before "The Good House" itself begins.
The repetition of "egret" is like a preparation or warm-up,
for it augurs the repetition of the "good house" that follows:
egret lights, they stretch, & revere, they say
i have a thing,
instruct in the new circumstance, elliptical,
tangible, to their sweet ego, in open-heart &
patagonia, go beyond shy in time they gain
& haunt, let's say
the word of the egret is
thumb, let's say thumb
as an egret prelude then, in order to correctly translate sapho, &
think the cluster-egret
The business of the egret is to "instruct in the new circumstance,"
as for instance when the "word" of the egret is "thumb"
and suddenly the poem is intoxicated by "let's say thumb."
I get the impression that the egret is teaching Smith to sing, as confirmed
a few lines later when these various elements draw together in a new
combination, "education of sweet ego thumb." But what is a
sweet ego thumb? Again, it seems that acoustics govern the lines more
than semantics. Egret and ego share the same sound and thus can play
off each other. For my ears the closest sounding word to egret is regret,
but that word appears nowhere in the poem. Yet given later passages
that dip into tones of lament (and are perhaps best characterized as
a dirge), I think it's plausible to associate the egret with regretimagine
"egret" as "regret" with the "r" gulped
down. It's also plausible the egret has migrated into Smith's composition
from another poet's work, namely Lisa Jarnot's poetry of small animals
with striking names, such as the chinchilla.
One of the pleasures of The Good House is to follow the lines
as they reach back to earlier writers and then reach forward in startling
transformations. At one point we read, "anything can be made out
of a house," which seems to play off Williams Carlos Williams who
said, "a poem can be made out of anything." In Smith's version,
the availability of anything for a poem now becomes the availability
of a house for anything. But consider the precarious situation Smith
thus proposes. For when anything can be used, then anything can happen,
and there is no guarantee the outcome will be better and not worse.
The Good House promises the good but knows full well that its
pursuit is uncertain and the consequences are unpredictable. It knows
for instance that the authority of the "good" can be too easily
claimed: "The good house gave away a certain / sincerity. It got
bought up. But / the ravages of equality rack it / not unforced,
not unburied, the good house or murmur / / displays its living air /
& punted, rides / the miracles, foamy" The good house
has been bought up, it has been "punted" around, but in the
face of these negations ( "not unforced, not unburied"), the
poem still seeks a "murmur" or "miracles."
The play on Williams's line is an example of one of Smith's characteristic
techniques, which he elsewhere describes as a "good-natured ribbing":
"The spatial, unimpeded persistence of the playfully plagiarized
trance-state (a good-natured ribbing)can remark if not remake
details of clever word-play (the emptiness of emptiness!) into a discovery
of highly peculiar presence."3
For Smith, playing with a quotation is a double-sided gesture. It functions
as both deferential act and ironic counterpoint, and interpreting these
moments can be tricky. Consider another example of Barrett Watten saying
"Identity is the cause of wars," which in Smith's rendition
becomes a poem called, "Identity is the cause of warts."4
One effect of Smith's rendition is to make Watten's critique of identity
much more memorable, and thus the playfulness could be interpreted as
a supportive gesture, though admittedly a peculiar one. On the other
hand, "warts" could be read as dismissing the critical purchase
of any theories having to do with identity, and thus it could be interpreted
as a contentious gesture. There is such a strong appeal to the idea
that there should be struggles between successive "generations"
of avant-garde poets, that it's possible Smith's playfulness could be
taken as entirely antagonistic. What is Smith trying to say about Watten's
work? A safe guess can by made by recalling that Aerial, the
magazine edited by Smith, had a special issue devoted to Watten's work-which
would remove any doubt that "warts" is not a friendly homage.
Still, matters get more complicated if one considers that Smith acknowledges
Watten's statement but does not actually acknowledge the critical apparatus
that it depends on. The substitution of "warts" for "wars"
takes the fire out of Watten's highly provocative line. Smith's rendition
manages to be supportive while at the same time it posits a distance
between them. To take a slightly different example, Smith once read
a poem called "They Beat Me Over a Head With a Turtle: After Cavalcanti,"
which riffs on Anslem Berrigan's They Beat Me Over the Head with
a Sack.5 Berrigan's title is
already wry, so there is no fire to be taken out of it, (unless one
takes seriously the violent image of getting hit over the head with
a sack). But Smith makes the title even more wry ("the emptiness
of emptiness") by transforming it into an overt piece of comedy-indeed
the audience laughter can be heard loud and clear on the event recording.
Here the good-natured ribbing entails a shared critical apparatus,
if I can call it that, by which I mean the sharp wit that Smith and
Berrigan have at their disposal.
My sense is that all of these are deferential acts, and that up until
now, these acts have contributed greatly to defining the nature, as
well as the appeal, of Smith's compositional style. Yet if this is the
case, then consider that comedic measures are dropped down a notch in
The Good House. Certainly there continue to be lines borrowed
from other writers, such as the Williams quotation, and certainly there
are unexpected punch lines that show Smith's wit has not diminished
in the least. But Smith seems to be moving into different territory
with The Good House. Here things are palpably more intimate,
even tender. The good-natured ribbing, when it does occur, is aimed
less at getting a laugh than at expressing gratitude toward avant-garde
practitioners who make it possible to think with greater critical insight
than would otherwise be conceivable. As Smith says in a piece written
for a collection of recent poetics, "we do not need, but rather
already have, a poetics that is a constellatory & innate reflection
on the intervention, the LIFE, we embody. Affirmation of this is fact
& political act" ("A Tract," 403). Thus in The
Good House one finds a line standing by itself, "perhaps this
is a rescue fantasy," which points the reader to the entirety of
Heather Fuller's book of the same name.
It's worth noting that this practice goes both ways. If the name "Rod"
pops up in a poetry book from the last few years, then Smith is sure
to be the one in mind. I've stumbled across allusions to Rod in Tina
Darragh's Dream Rim Instructions ("Rod Smith's Dream House"),
Heather Fuller's Dovecoat ("3 Urban Legends"), Rob Fitterman's
Metropolis 15-29 ("25: A National History of Popular Music
and Letters, Vol. 1."), and Jean Donnelly's Anthem ("Anthem").
Lee Ann Brown, Bill Luoma, and Lisa Jarnot have collaborated with Smith
on different projects. For a Philly Talks, Bruce Andrews disassembled
Smith's poems in his idiosyncratic close reading practice called "Tips
for Totalizers." With all these nods and hellos, it seems almost
a mania for these poets that keep naming each other. But it's important
to recognizes that such gestures foreground the mutually invested, even
collaborative discourse within which each of the individual creations
If one surveys Smith's career since his first works in the late eighties,
it's possible to see a gradual softening of antagonism towards the larger
embodiments of power, and in its place, the adoption of a more intimate
vantage for critique. An earlier work such as "CIA Sentences"
uses non-intentional techniques similar to work by John Cage, (who is
perhaps the most important influence on Smith's work). But whereas Cage
typically subjected literary texts to his procedures, Smith chose books
that were purchased by the CIA from bookstores where he worked during
this time. In "CIA Sentences" the results are rollickingly
funny, but with a sharp edge. Over the next few years Smith would move
away from procedural forms, but the humor would continue to be a dominant
characteristic. What's curious, then, is that for the most part The
Good House shirks away from outright humor. Granted, there are humorous
moments such as one entry, "Excuse me officer, I thought / you
were a shape-shifting rat," that echoes like Smith's earlier, more
overt political barbs. Yet overall the feeling that I am left with after
reading The Good House is one of tremendous sincerity, even intimacy.
The work is visceral such that its critical energy comes from the gut.
Perhaps the safest thing to say about the "the shape-shifting rat"
is that it is used more effectively in the present work because it comes
unexpectedly, as if we should not be too lulled by the softer lyrics
that make up the majority of the poem:
the honesty of the house helps
the people to know they can
relax & recall other houses
they have known, they become
simple & listen to each other
& to some birds, the birds right now
One of the most striking features of The Good House, then, is
that it puts tremendous weight on its feelings, and here the poem finds
an affinity with recent works that restore the place of affect to avant-garde
practice. I am thinking of Stacy Doris's Paramour and Nada Gordon
and Gary Sullivan's Swoon, as well as several others. In Smith's
poem, affect defines the relation of subject to world. This differs
from the modernist precursor whose desire to order the world entails
a position of mastery and self-superiority. This differs, too, from
the cerebral postmodernist whose irony keeps the world at a safe distance.
In The Good House there is an intense desire to be affect-ed
by the world that one inhabits
that which one loves
in the right way, with trust & lust, w/out
a certain kind of winter
to love the one one loves
& be loved
in a good house
for a long time
Although Smith's poems have long had an affective dimension, here it
takes center stage. For instance consider the following lines from a
poem that was first printed in The Impercipient (1993) and later
included in In Memory of My Theories, a title which is a deliberate
miscue from Frank O'Hara who said "feelings" and not theories.
Are not our feelings, as it were, inscribed
on the things around us. sandwichman, promoter, publicist,
and well her rendering
of that which is distant:
debris, demands, basalt, insert
everything in this one
nothing in addition.8
During a recent interview with Patrick Durgin, Smith explained his
idea of a "Feeled Poem," taking a miscue from the open field
poetics associated with Black Mountain: "I've not yet written my
feeled poem panegyric but it's one of my favorite submodern genres,
& a favored form of the more radically inclined of the new mannerist
school. I suppose the feeled poetry I like best has a certain turtlist
sensibility, which many think is a joke."9
Maybe The Good House is the realization of this "feeled
poem panegryic." For Robert Duncan, Charles Olson and many other
poets associated with Black Mountain, an open field relates to the formal
composition of a poem with the idea that an open or projective form
releases greater energy than a traditional closed form. For Smith, feeling
allows for a peculiar interconnectivity among things in the world he
inhabits. The allusion to "turtilist sensibility" is not necessarily
a "joke" and even foreshadows Smith's current work, especially
if one considers that a turtle carries its house on its own body. A
turtle is low to the ground, close to things, not at all high and flighty,
athletic or attractive. In how many children's cartoons does the comedy
revolve around a turtle that is naked and exposed when its shell is
stolen? Smith's poem would say the shell is always precarious, but that
this is advantageous for it demonstrates the necessity of a reconnecting
with world that one inhabits. Or as Smith says in "What was Turtlism,"
he prefers not a duality between presence and absence but rather a third
term that would be "a flight back to presence."10
Here is a noteworthy conjunction with Walter Benjamin in The Arcades
Project: "The original form of all dwelling is existence not
in the house but in the shell. The shell bears the impression of its
occupant. In the most extreme instance, the dwelling becomes a shell."11
Call The Good House the extreme instance of being a shell but
then asking how to achieve contact once more.
What is remarkable is that the poem is more than willing to sacrifice
its own claims, which suggests the degree of vulnerability the good
house must possess. One of the most unforgettable lines reads, "If
the house is just poetry / we're in trouble." Smith does not want
his poem to be kidnapped by its own aesthetics, or by anyone else's,
however politically attractive they might be. "The good house /
summers on Long Island, reads / Debord, & rests / like a scythe
One passage suggests the good house must be built on the memories, sounds,
and words of others
there's a barrel in the basement
that belongs to a country singer
there's an old wonderbread wrapper
behind the kitchen cabinet nobody
knows the story on
there's a stack of bad news in
a box by the door
there's a wreath in the box behind the thing
& a bauble on the windowbox above some stuff
The passage speaks to the difficult perception of nondescript things.
While "some stuff" might be seen during the course of everyday
chores and while it might regularly occupy our direct line of vision,
our habits are such that it does not otherwise merit attention. Sometimes
one wonders about the wonderbread wrapper, sometimes one
doesn't wonder about much at all. Smith definitely wonders about
the nondescript things, for they indicate a social world "outside"
the good house, but which the house is shot through with at every corner.
They attest to the openness of the house, not its closure against whatever
lies beyond its walls. In fact a "stack of bad news" gestures
to the presence of Smith's own home, Washington, DC, which according
to recent statistics is the U.S. city with the highest percentage of
The main thing that vexes any conception of the "good" or
of the "house" (or dwelling, inhabitation, or related philosophical
formulations) is the inevitability of exclusion. Can the fact that the
good house has been given a dizzying array of provisional and open-ended
descriptions avoid granting the advantage to some, while sending others
out into the cold? By invoking its very name, the good house skates
dangerously close to the "good life," and no theory of the
latter has ever been successful in negotiating the ambiguity between
life with a big L and life with a little l. Invariably
an empowered class enjoys the former, while all the rest are consigned
to the latter. Perhaps it's precisely this ambiguity that leads Smith
to construct a house that is never finished, that is perpetually exposed
and open. In the expository section of his manifesto, "A Tract,"
Smith writes, "I am clearly arguing for a privileging of the site
. A location of/as process which is areal (rather
than surreal). Arreal because no context is finite, whether internal
or external. It seems to me that when one places such an emphasis, the
contingency, & constructedness of the thought process becomes, well,
'clear' / Or say any context is finite due only to our own limitations,
our cognitive limitsinherently, however, any context is
" ("A Tract," 401). Smith never says what
the house ultimately is, because that would be to purify it of
whatever is not yet housed under its roof, which according to "A
Tract," must always be infinite, therefore uncontainable. The problem
then becomes whether the good house succeeds in making itself not a
question of being but rather of infinity. My hunch is
to answer this by looking for moments in the poem that speak to awakening,
waiting, exposure, or even vulnerabilitymoments of transformation
or becoming. These moments, some of which have been mentioned above,
are what I am left contemplating after reading the poem. To give one
more example, Smith's use of the word "house" continually
destabilizes itself by using both its noun and verb form. The very first
poem reads, "The good houses the parts, calls to / them, &
wakens." And a later poem reads, "the house seems /
to be a verb though it dislikes / the term 'housing'
objection to "housing" is that it transforms a verb into a
noun; Smith wants it the other way around, from noun to active verb.
The good house tells us that its nature rests not so much in one fixed
structure that has been suffocated by the multiple layers and glosses
of essentially the same thing, but rather the good house is up for ongoing
reconstruction. "There are 8 houses in the heart,/ there should
be 9." By locating the house "in the heart," Smith circumscribes
the barrenness of a finite interiority. The favored punctuation mark
is the abbreviated "&" which suggests accumulative as
opposed to synthetic activity. Instead of a unifying perspective on
the house, the poem grants the reader an outlook of "attentions
multiplied." This is Smith's goal, as he writes elsewhere, "The
crush of Only Capitalism throws us back on ourselves, meaning each other.
The horror of that it has created us & the possibility of a being
other than it rests within attentions multipliedthe measures escaped
into 'harmony,' unlistened (im)penetrant amaterial sense mechanism of
the several sharing cares, forwarded or lent-out. The personal as overstructure"
("A Tract," 403). Perhaps the "overstructure" of
the good house can only be truly if it is never closed. The house
is never finished, because it knows that current historical circumstances
mitigate against any roof that could accommodate everyone who would
live in it. Thus one line declares, "time is a housed reputable
beginner // thirty more are needed." The good house is contingent
on hard-won moments that force it to seek a new active form, hard-won
because it must keep discovering a way out from its habitual forms.
This house was that house
to many& to many there was no
house there because they hadn't
noticedthere was one who
noticed & was wanted, was loved
this gave the house hope
this gave the house no hope
this gave the house hope
it alternated. sometimes house, sometimes home
Kaplan Page Harris
March '02, rev. August '02
I want to thank Tom Orange and Chris
Nealon for their generous feedback on my reading of The Good House.
1. Edgar Allan Poe, "The Fall of the House of
Usher," in The Portable Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Philip Van
Doren Stern (Penguin: New York, 1977), p. 245.
2. Ibid, p. 268.
3. Rod Smith, "A Tract," in Telling It Slant: Avant-Garde
Poetics of the 1990s, edited by Mark Wallace and Steven Marks (Tuscaloosa:
U Alabama P, 2001), p. 402.
4. Rod Smith, "Identity is the Cause of Warts," in non
#2 (1998). The poem can be retrieved online: http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~moriarty/2/smith.htm
5. Berrigan's book (1999) is published by Edge Books, Smith's press
that has published many seminal works of avant-garde poetry in the last
6. Rod Smith, Bruce Andrews, PhillyTalks #8, Available online, http://slought.net/files/downloads/domains/phillytalks/pdf/pt8.pdf
7. One might also here stress the importance of Smith's efforts in the
distribution of poetry and related materials through his regular announcements
of new titles to the Buffalo Poetics List. These are issued from Bridge
Street Books, the bookstore that Smith manages in D.C. It's central
location aside (right in the nation's center of power), the emails provide
an indispensable service for the increasingly global readership of small
presses, and an incomparable service in allowing access to those works
beyond the insular locales of major cities on the U.S. coasts or a bare
handful of universities. Each new book or magazine is listed with one
quotation or a brief comment, and these snippets are frequently all
the marketing it will get. Unless it already has a reputation, the book
is left in Smith's hands to generate wider interest. If ever there were
a redemptive form of advertising, I suppose this onestemming from
an alternative purchasing communitywould qualify. The emails might
be even be understood as an extension of the poet's radio show (think
Pound, Creeley, S. Howe, Bernstein, Andrews, Goldsmith, and probably
more I am forgetting) in which the poet creates space for alternative
networks of exchange, but in which the poet has a direct hand in programming.
In the very first email Smith described the inception of the idea, "It
was suggested to me that I periodically select 5 or 10 new books from
Bridge Street Books to offer to the list. Hopefully this will be of
use for browsers as well as shoppers, simply as a bit of 'what's new.'
The suggestion (in fact it was from Charles Bernstein) has grown over
the years, and each monthly email now far exceeds the original number
of 5-10. It's also worth adding that aside from announcements by authors
and publishers, Bridge Street is the only bookstore on the Buffalo list
that does announcements (and does them still). But I mention the emails
because although they might appear marginal to Smith's poetry, his quotations
or comments on each book afford a glimpse into some of the motivations
in his work. Here are some more interesting or oddball posts:
Some Other Kind of Mission by Lisa Jarnot
- Lisa's long-awaited excellent tome. Here comes the Brooklyn Renaissance.
The Marginalization of Poetry, Bob Perelman - "Making
the sentence the basic unit of composition separates the writer
from three widely held positions."
Funk Lore, Amiri Baraka, "All that is is funky"
Quill, Solitary Apparition by Barbara Guest - "marked:
the logic (of no other place); if // in the game --------- (a wild
king is drawn)". This may be my favorite Guest book.
Aesthetic Ideology, Paul de Man - "But things are not
quite so simple."
Imagination Verses, Jennifer Moxley - Moxley manages a genuinely
public poetry without sacrificing the cognitive and emotional dissonance
that is our tired lot here, in monogamy capitalism
not only have this book, you should read it.
Deconstruction and Pragmatism, ed. Chantal Mouffe. - Rorty
charges Derrideans with "an unfortunate over-philosophication
of leftist political debate" which has led to "a self-involved
academic left which has become increasingly irrelevant to substantive
political discussion." Hmmm.
I-VI, John Cage - "someThing / mAy here / Type / socIety
/ tO die / aNd / capItal / coMposed of / tIme is / abouT / A dozen
people' / i was aroused by having To / to devise a fOrm of events'
/ there Is no / phenoMenon / Increased / and souTh"
Selected Letters of Charles Reznikoff 1917-1976 - "By
the way, I never said a word to Zukofsky about you: so don't worry
Mysteries of Small Houses, Alice Notley - "What's the
name of the larger island? / Why am I still on the smaller one?
/ I'm not a story or life: if I / say that, I'm suddenly here /
terror in this real poem"
Bomb, Clark Coolidge - "We will have a nice bomb now"
Dream Rim Instructions, Tina Darragh - "Martine INSISTS
on taking it from the top."
Chomsky on Miseducation, Noam Chomsky, - "While I am
speaking, 1,000 children will die from easily preventable disease,
and almost twice that many women will die or suffer serious disability
in pregnancy or childbirth for lack of simple remedies and care.
UNICEF estimates that to overcome such tragedies, and to ensure
basic social services, would require a quarter of the annual military
spending of the 'developing countries,' about 10 percent of U.S.
military spending. It is against the background of such realities
as these that any serious discussion of human freedom should proceed."
amounts. to., P. Inman, (signed copies) - "struct. nch."
The Origin of the World, Lewis Warsh - "They boarded
the ark in pairs: two breasts, two penises"
The Monstrous Failure of Contemplation & Aquifer, Mark
Wallace & Kaia Sand -"Some events cannot be contemplated."
Dead Carnival, Mark Wallace - "In the carnival, the
dead are dancing. Whose dead are they? Who must help them die?"
8. Rod Smith, "The Latest Attempt," The
Impercipient #4 (1993) p, 14-15.
9. Patrick Durgin, "Rod Smith Interview," Readme #2
(2000). Available online, http://home.jps.net/~nada/smith.htm
10. See Rod Smith, "What is Turtlism," Anomaly 1 (Spring/Summer
2002), p. 42.
11. Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eilan
and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP), p. 221