Portrait of Felix and Charles Bernstein by
Mimi Gross, 2003
International Exchange for Poetic Invention
is a multilanguage webblog
started by Netherlands poet Ton van
't Hof & myself
with links and
information on poetic invention
term for exploratory/ investigative/experimental/radical/ conceptual
We hope the site will serve as an international point
for the exchange of information among those interested.
The site will be one of the key EPC
a set of international sites, mostly directly affiliated with
that provide key web resources:
switchboards to contemporary poetic practice.
It’s as if a Greek chorus had found its
way into the mouth an everyman in the local bar of the mind,
recounting the inner life of America from the assassination of
Kennedy to catastrophe of Katrina. I of the Storm is a
talk poem of the long dark night of the soul. Lavender’s
unrelenting colloquial yarn weaves a spell in breathlessly extended
lines of vivid verse that refuse to give up, against all odds.
The Otto Dix Weimar-era portraits in the show are stunning,
ideologically explosive, studies (in ways not entirely evident
in the reproductions above).
The closest thing in paint to Brecht/Weill.
Project of the Radical Imagination
See, for example, Stanley Aronowitz in issue 2 on why there is
no Left political party in the U.S.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Contemporary Literature Fall 2006
has the most comprehensive piece so far on Tracie Morris, by
an essay on the prehistory of Susan Howe's poetry—:
"Susan Howe's Art and Poetry: 1968-1974";
Brian McHale on Peter Middleton's Distant Reading; & Mark McMorris on Carribean poetry
* Upcoming Girly Man reading in New York
Jan. 16 at 6:30pm
I will be reading and signing copies of Girly Man &
& Jennifer Cho, violin will
be playing John Zorn
Cue Art Foundation
511 W. 25th
Tom Devaney did this season's Featured MP3 on PennSound.
He provides an essay to accompany his selections,
on the topic of death,
perfect for the Holiday Season.
Al Filreis has produced our third podcast
using the selected poems. Devaney's
Death Poems at PennSound.
We’re proud of our place in the lineage of populist
art: the Yiddish theater, burlesque and vaudeville and beat and
punk that gave the Bowery its name before it slid to skid row,
before its current resurrection as hot new Downtown high-rent
By resisting the contemporary blanding of so much of Downtown,
by staying true to our roots while exploring new ways for poetry
and its sister arts to find places in the daily lives of the
“Will poets drink enough at the bar to support their
poetry habit and get the Club’s rent paid?” was the
originating question of the BPC. After four years of running
in the red, I think the answer is, plainly, No. Why? Because
we’re the only bar in the world that asks the customer
to Please shut up and listen to the poem, as opposed to Another
Program Two Tuttle in conversation with Charles Bernstein. Tuttle talks
about sound and color and the radio, about being at a loss for
words, explains why beauty and the imagination have no place
in art, and discusses "quietude" in American art."
The two Richard Tuttle programs are my 23rd and 24th shows in
Listening series at WPS1.
There is a full listing with streaming links in the WPS1 archive pages.
"Close Listening" follows on the
30 LINEbreak shows I did in
with Martin Spinelli, which are available at PennSound
on this series,
as well as the related "Studio 111" series, recorded at Penn
No one could miss the poetic fervor in Prairie Fire: The
Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, the Weather
Underground’s 1974 manifesto (by Celia Sojourn, Jeff Jones,
Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn):
one part Che, one part Dos Passos, one part Molotov cocktail,
one part missing (screw loose):
"Our art, music, poetry, theater will
interpret and awaken the relationship of ourselves to the world
forces, acting on each other. Our culture will be insurgent,
victories, and record the history of the struggle. We will support
those who are still fighting and continue fighting ourselves.
We will awaken our sense of being part of a world community.ARM
THE SPIRIT!" (p.41)
Factory School’s Southpaw Culture series has reissued
a book far more obscure than Prairie Fire—a collection
of anonymously authored inspirational/agitprop, and sometimes
feminist, poems from the same period and presumably the same
(and related) folks who, though dangerously misguided, and destructive
for U.S. progressive politics, still smell sweeter than those
in and around the U.S. government who worked to actively, and
often violently, undermine democratic governments abroad and
domestic protest at home.
Despite their often poignant cries against injustice and brutality,
these poems are in some ways more wooden, self-conscious, and
moralistic than Prairie Fire’s occasionally soaring
prose. Factory School’s provocative insistence that we
(also) think of this political movement in terms of its poetry
is not so much revisionist amelioration as a necessary coming
to terms with the aesthetics of American radicalism. The failure
of these poems is also the failure of the politics behind them,
just as the failure of the politics is a failure of the poetics:
the shackling of imagination to principle, the desperate need
to be so clear and so accessible that nothing in particular is
left to say, and an identification with the struggles of others
so crushing that it fatally represses the struggles within oneself.
This book provides telling evidence that you can judge a movement
by its words, especially when the movement was primarily an act
of rhetoric, a poem-in-action. In this respect, the Situationists,
especially as their work morphed into the bumper-sticker slogans
of 1968—from “We want nothing of a world in which
the certainty of not dying from hunger comes in exchange for
the risk of dying from boredom” to “Poetry is in
the streets”—provide a powerful counter-model, as
do the more recent speeches/sayings of Subcommander Marcos (of
Yet, still, there is, near the end of this brief collection, “For
the SLA,” a poem written in the
Spring of 1974. It is the most rhetorically powerful poem in
the book and a prescient deconstruction of the use of the word “terror” by
spokespersons of the state who use terror of the foreign to mask
the terrorizing of the state’s own people, as well as those
in far-off lands. SLA, for those not
of the moment or who missed the movie, is the Symbionese Liberation
Army, the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst. Just think about
the quality of mind among a group of U.S. Leftists who thought
it was a good idea to kidnap, imprison, and brainwash an heiress.
And no, this was not an episode of South Park. To come
to terms with the poetics of this group, keep in mind that the
Weather men and women subjected themselves, and were in turn
subjected, to a profound state of terror, as if to simulate the
terror so many other people in the world experience without recourse.
Coming from homes of wealth and security, like a song might say,
they chose lives of fear and penury. But living in such a state
of terror in turn warped both their political and poetic judgments.
“For the SLA” is about
a viral form of language abuse, the same viral abuse that, during
the Vietnam War called burning people to death “defoliation,” or
during the War against the People who live in Iraq, calls torture “interrogation.” This
poem reminds us that the powers that be have appropriated the
terms of our common language with a nihilistic disregard for
meaning that makes what gets called postmodernism seem innocent.
They have done this so often and with such sociopathic abandon
that, like the boy who cried wolf, their cries of terror ring
hollow even when, as now, they might refer to acute dangers requiring
a full measure of response.
The 1960s-era crisis of belief in the language of authority
and government, a foundational breach of the ongoing culture
wars, is epitomized in this poem by the Women of the Weather
They call it terror
if you are few and have no B-52s
if you are not a head of state
with an army and police
if you have neither napalm
nor tanks nor electronic battlefields
terror is if you are dispossessed
and have only your own two hands
and your rage
It is not terror
if you are New York’s Finest
and you shoot a ten-year old Black child in the back
because you think Black people
all look like
they’ve just committed a robbery
It is not terror if you are ITT
and buy the men
who line Chilean doctors up in their hospital
and shoot them for supporting the late
democratic government of their country
It is not terror but heroism
if you were captured by the Vietnamese
for dropping fragmentation bombs
on their schools and hospitals
Only those who have nothing
can be terrorists
Sing a Battle Song: Poems by Women
in the Weather Underground Organization
included in another book with the same title, but different
subtitle, also published this Fall
a Battle Song:
The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiques
of the Weather Underground 1970 – 1974,
by Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayres, Jeff Jones
( New York: Seven
Stories Press, 2006).
This collection includes Prairie Fire & other material.
The Factory School edition is a replica of just the 1975
Robin Blaser reads from The Holy Forest
This CD comes from an issue of Collapse Magazine, published in
1996. The reading, which took place at the University of British
Columbia's Frederic Wood Theatre, occurred at a conference held
in honor of Robin Blaser's seventieth birthday entitled "The
Recovery of the Public World, a celebration of his poetry and
Kiyooka: A Reading at the Vancouver Art Gallery,
This recording was one of Kiyooka's last readings and was held
in conjunction with an exhibition of his paitings in "The Flat
Side of the Landscape: The Emma Lake Artists' Workshops." From
the same issue of Collapse as the Blaser recording, above.
October 20, 2006 through February 4, 2007
Humanities and Social Sciences Library, 5th Avenue and 42nd Street
Another great show from the New York Public Library
at 42nd Street. This one is a tribute to the legacy
of Robert Rainwater, the recently retired curator of the Spencer
Collection. Curated by Roger S. Keys.
The show chronicles the Japanese "picture book" from 764 to present.
Note: the show is in two separate exhibition spaces on the main
The Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell.
Gifts of the ebb tide = The shell book.
One of the highlights of this show is Aboard the ship of inspiration,
(published 1767), a perhaps forty foot scroll, based on a trip
taken by artist Itô Jakuchû (1716-1800) and
poet Daiten Kenju on the Yado River to Kyoto. As the trip progressed,
Jakuchû and Kenju each made quick improvisatory
sketches. Later the poems and drawings were assembled into the
scroll. The experience of reading/viewing this scroll of is of
page- and mind-expanding horizontality, as one walks along the
banks of the work as it unfolds. A translation
of the text is provided at each point it appears in the scroll.
Translation of poem:
"Mountains colored high and
low, pale mist far off; people’s dwellings here
and there, kitchen smoke nearby"
Another favorite of mine, not pictured, is by Senshôte
Fukon, eight early 19th century pattern poems shaped in brocade
patterns made of out of the syllables of the eight interwoven
Wystan Curnow Wystan had just come to town
from the Creeley conference. In 1993, he had spent a semester
in Buffalo as a Poetics Program Fellow (along with Arkadii
Dragomochenko, Eric Mottram, and Ernesto Livon-Grosman).
I asked him about going to graduate school at Penn, where he
was the first New Zealander to get a PhD in English in the U.S. October 18, 2006 (download
mp4: 45 seconds, 5.8 mb)
Robin Blaser’s best known essay is “The Practice
of Outside,” his extended introduction to the poetry of
Jack Spicer that appeared in The Collected Books. This
is one the key works of poetics to emerge from the New American
Poetry, comparable, in its own way, to “Projective Verse” by
Charles Olson, Jack Spicer’s Vancouver lectures, and Creeley’s A
Quick Graph. Unlike Olson or Creeley, though, Blaser published
his first essay only in 1967, after he turned 40 and after he
had established himself as a poet. Indeed, the bulk of the collected
essays are from after 1980; the signal exceptions being “The
Fire” (1967), “Particles” (1969), and “The
Stadium of the Mirror” (1974). His poetics has the advantage
of its belatedness, but its belatedness is also exemplary of
an aversion to the programmatic and his commitment to a space
of in-between that refuses the abstract binary logic of contradiction
in favor of a generative “polar logic” of nonidentity
and disjunction. This could be described as the ethical basis
of Blaser’s aesthetics.
There are internal reasons, aesthetic reasons, for Blaser’s
aversion of canonical publication. This is the first collection
of his essays and it is being published simultaneously with an
expanded American edition of his collected poems, The Holy
Forest, also from the University of California Press. For
one thing, his work insists on elusiveness as a social investment
not just a literary trope. It questions a semiotic economy of
accumulation (intersecting with Baudrillard’s and Bataille’s
interest in a “general economy”).
Miriam Nichols has done a supremely meticulous job as editor
for both the poems and essays. She has provided a set of notes
that are both useful and comprehensive: uncredited citations
are documented, allusive reference are made concrete (a true
labor of love given how difficult this must have been to do).
Nichols’s insistence on providing these paratexts will
make this edition definitive for the foreseeable future. Her
introduction details the main contributions of these essays and
their historical significance. Indeed, she has turned what could
have been a valuable essay collection into a superb scholarly
Compared to the essays by his immediate contemporaries, Blaser’s
are, by design, philosophically more sophisticated. While Blaser
wears his polymathy lightly – often in the form of allusive
citation – he is deeply informed by, but by no means entirely
in synch with, many of the poststructuralist thinkers of the
1970s and 1980s, and also with the key currents in European philosophy
from phenomenology to existentialism to the Frankfurt school.
At the same time his poetics is best understood as a deepening
and a socializing/historicizing of the poetics of the New American
poetry. There are certainly many productive differences – and
productive continuities – between his work and the philosophers
with whom he affiliates himself. Blaser’s essays also make
more apparent the affinities with, and the differences between,
the New American Poetics and the poetics of the next generation.
Blaser’s essays do not lend themselves to quotation
since they come to life not so much in any given sentence or
gloss but rather in a process of thinking that moves from one
citation to another. He cultivated insubstantiality and evanescence
in a genre better know for hyperbole and imperviousness and arrogance.
Blaser comes as close as any one to having created a poetics
that manifests itself as a tissue of citation rather than substantive
exposition or proposition (and he surely has in mind Walter Benjamin’s
idea of a text composed entirely of quotations). The result is
that he practices what he preaches: his “self” is
subsumed by his “great companions” and by the language
through which he encounters them. His submerged voice (let’s
just say, voicelessness) is exemplary in the classical
sense. Blaser’s is a poetics of deep listening, introjective
rather than projective.
If “The Practice of Outside” remains the defining
essay on Spicer, “The Violets: Charles Olson and Alfred
North Whitehead” is a crucial essay on Olson’s poetics.
Using Whitehead as the avatar of a poetics of process (in a way
that also calls to mind Dewey, Pierce, and Wittgenstein, but
most of all Mallarmé and Blake), Blaser makes a powerful
case for the limits of techno-rationality (what could also be
called logocentrism) in the “Western box” (Olson’s
term). Among the fundamental issues of poetics that Blaser addresses
here and elsewhere is the need to think through analogy and resemblance – to
think serially, in opposition to the radical epistemological
limits of positivism (a recurring pole of critique throughout).
Nichols’s usefully refers to Blaser’s “affective
rendering of reflexivity.” Blaser questions the stable
lyric expressive “I” without ever abandoning the
possibility of poetic agency, through an inspired understanding
of the relation of language itself, as the social, as “outside.”
On April 4, 1985,
Henry Hills and I walked through the park
talked and talked.
Henry was putting together his book Making Money,
based on his film Money.
from Making Money
HH: With film, when you deal with the shoots you have to deal
with all the outtakes & so you have all this terrible shit
that you don't ever want to see again that somehow you have to
deal with a lot of times before you ever finally get rid of it.
It lingers on. I still have hours of outtakes from MONEY rattling
around in my head & these terrible lines & so that's
why I didn't want to turn on the microphone right away. Actually
it's kind of appropriate doing an interview walking just because
so many ideas for the film came as I was walking & I even
lots of times think of the movie as a kind of walking-type consciousness.
It's kind of the way as you're walking down the street in New
York so many things fragment your attention.
CB: But the movie seems more like JUMP as the song goes, than
walk. Actually you could run a track of that back of what you
have; it might work very well.
CB: Right, MTV. I think it would work because you do have the
same kind of flashing in & out, back and forth, which reminds
me of jumping rope or just jumping, of course you think of 'jump-cut'
obviously. Whereas a walk seems kind of a different pace than
you're interested in . . . more like leaps or a hop, skip, & jump.
HH: I was thinking more of the mental pace than the physical
pace. I mean walking in the park is different from walking down
First Ave. or Bowery.
CB: Right, well that's true in terms of what you see, but your
eye when you're walking, or at least the biological eye, whatever
that might be, scans in a very different way. You might look
at this & then look at that & you certainly get a break,
but there's a kind of feeling of continuity of time that seems
very different than what you're interested in.
HH: I see.
CB: You might go from one to another but it moves more like a
pan in spirit.
HH: Or a cut to close-up or something.
CB: Yeah, that's right. But even when you close your eyes you
can't create something similar to the kind of jump-cut that you're
interested in. The mind seems to project continuity. It's very
hard to actually create . . . that's why it's interesting to
go to a film, because it forces you to be able to . . . forces
you, allows you to be able to break out of the habitual projection
of continuity that, it seems to me, it's hard to break out of
by one's own devices, on a walk say, it's hard to create that.
Sometimes you can do interesting things if you wear glasses,
moving them around, twisting them & turning them just to
create . . . . I do that at very boring poetry readings. I take
my glasses off & try to look through them at different kind
of oblique angles so I see the person's face kind of like in
a funhouse mirror. Things like that might create a more visually
interesting texture. But you generally have to be pretty resourceful
to break out of the feeling of continuity: that's really the
oppression of everyday life. That's despite the fact that Lyn
Hejinian in her recent talk says that experience is discontinuous & Nick
Piombino has labored with great eloquence to show the many ways
in which that's true & the depth that that statement still
has. Still there's an awful lot the mind does to compensate for
that discontinuity. There's an incredible amount of energy the
mind has in the involuntary brain, you might say, not voluntary,
to create continuity out of discontinuity & it's boring.
It's not an interesting experience to have all this continuity
kind of thrust upon you & not be able to break out of it.
So it's almost like the opposite of the normal view that the
modern existence is fragmented. I think actually not at all.
It's hard to actually experience things as discontinuous. I think
things in fact are discontinuous & that the mind does take
them in in 3 a discontinuous way---it's the kind of thing that
psychoanalytically you could show---but there's an incredible
amount of compensatory, automatic reflex that eliminates the
ability to experience them as actual autonomous fragments---it's
almost impossible. Because there's an incredible amount of anxiety
of separation from things that seem . . . .
HH: In a congested situation, though, in Times Square or at a
party, I think it's possible to fragment your attention, when
there's lots of different voices going on & different images
that you can be constantly shifting your attention from one to
CB: That's true, but it's almost like a light fragmentation versus
a real, radical fragmentation, so that it's very easy to have
kind of minor, superficial sensations of fragmentation which
are in fact merely surface decoration on a continuous, on an
experience which the basic thing you're producing is continuity
through your conscious projection, through the projections you
make & the consciousness you experience, the perception you
experience, there can be these little intaglio, these little
sgraffiti, that break up the surface. Sgraffiti being an artistic
technique, marks made on the surface of . . . .
HH: To create texture?
CB: Or to create forms by cutting through to a differently colored
HH: So I interrupted the continuity of your. . . .
CB: Not at all, unfortunately not, there was simply a minor embellishment
where we had this metaphor of stopping & being stopped & our
walk being broken, but not real genuine fragmentation. It's just
like a light mode of, uh, it's like when Sartre talks about 'petty
anxiety' vs. 'real anxiety'. The kind of fragmentation that you
might experience at a party with voices speaking & so on
is, in my mind, analagous to 'petty anxiety', rather than the
genuine anxiety of nothingness that Sartre talks about in Being
and Nothingness. This is what I mean by this kind of more radical
fragmentation & separation which is similar to an experience
of nothingness, so that one feels broken off from something,
one feels a chasm in one's own life. Grief reaction in general
seems to relate to this, when there's an actual loss of an object,
a person, a relationship, & coping with that is a very draining & obsessive
experience of trying to search for the lost thing, person, experience
in kind of a frantic going over channels in the mind, the mind's
circuits in a gridlock because of that sense of loss & that
of being broken off, so that seems, just as an example, the kind
of experience of genuine fissure that one doesn't experience
easily because there's an incredible vested interest, in terms
of sanity & calm, to avoid facing that, although I think
in reality you might feel it all the time, as if somehow when
we walked here the ground would literally fall out from under
us & we would tumble to the center of a fiery pit, which
is of course what's happening but we're just simply able to screen
it out so it doesn't happen. I mean happening psychically, you
get a glimmer of this, y'know, I think, listening to the news & the
general paratactic quality of the news that people are arrested
in South Africa or 35 people are shot there, then they go to
something else happening, some other disaster or Bernard Goetz
buys a gun in Florida, one after another of unrelated events
that have that kind of surface fragmentation that you're talking
about, petty fragmentation, yet I think there's something very,
something deeper when you actually tune into that every once
in a while & it becomes incredibly frightening & bleak
because of the synchronicity of these things going on. I mean
when you think about some of these things going on that happen,
unfortunately, very regularly, some of that anxiety that can
be created by that & the fear & the depression that can
be created when you think of what happened in Chile today or
. . .
CB: Just the way you said "today" but you turn it on & you
hear something that merits that kind of shock, that's what I
mean by the ground falling out from under you as you walk, falling
in a fiery furnace, it's like a Jonathan Edwards image, but it
puts you actually in more touch with whatever reality might be
than the more placid idea of the solid pavement & the boats
shining in the sun, not that that isn't true also, but what's
true is that that's true & also this other thing is true & also
things in between and other than that at the same time. That's
what I think of as being this deeper sense of fragmentation or
of genuine split & that I don't think is so easy to experience
all the time. I think you would go mad if you experienced that.
year's Presidential Forum at the MLA Annual Convention
by Marjorie Perloff,
is called "The Sound of Poetry, the
Poetry of Sound."
There will be both the main forum,
affiliated workshops and readings,
but also two dozen or so related
sponsored by specific divisions, discussion groups,
and allied and affiliate organizations.
Read all about it: Sound
of Poetry/Poetry of Sound
These four pieces by Caroline Bergvall use the rich and entertaining
setting of Chaucer’s medieval pilgrimage of The Canterbury
Tales for pointed or humourous commentaries on aspects of today’s
corruptions, pleasures and blindspots. The texts are written
in a mix of languages and feast on a weird and ill-assorted Euro-lingo:
contemporary English co-exists with French, Middle English, some
lost Latin, some altogether untraceable words, while direct quotes
from Chaucer interrupt the BBC and other sources.
Invited by Charles Bernstein and David Wallace and premiered
at Fifteenth Annual Conference of the
New Chaucer Society, Lincoln Center, NY, 28 July 2006.
Co-sponsored by Poets House.
This recording: London 22 Sept 2006.
text from Let's Just Say
in Girly Man
--------------- Girly Man appearances
11/27, 11/28, 11/29
University of Chicago PoemPresent Renaissance Soietry
11/30 & 12/1
David Antin's essay, "Some Questions of Modernism"
was published in Occident, from
the University of California, Berkeley
I read the essay at the time with great interest, as did many
of my friends. Xerox copies
have circulated ever since. So I am pleased to announce the PEPC digital publication
of the essay
with thanks to David Antin for giving us permission to make this
Thirty years later, David and I engaged in an extended email
which was published by, & is still available from, Granary
Meanwhile, PennSound has continued to make available
sound file of Antin's talks.
Some recent additions to our collection:
I turned the tables on Henry, who has been filming me for thirty
years. He was briefly in New York, on his way back to Prague,
where he has been living for the past year.
July 26, 2006 download:
in New York
presented by Belladonna, Poets House, Bowery Poetry Club,
& Litmus Press.
Last night, there was delightfully energetic reading at BPC.
The five visiting poets
very much engaged with and transformed
the possibilities for
in ways both enthralling & unfamiliar.
We expect to have some mp3s available quite soon at PennSound
Archive of Japanese Poetry,
which is being
edited by Sawako Nakayasu.
Last night was officially a book party
for a superb collection edited, and largely translated
Sawako Nakayasu; Four From Japan: an Anthology of Contemporary Poetries
published by Belladonna and Litmus.
Paul Johnson took these portraits of the poets
last night at the Bowery Poetry Club:
[Laura Mullen Introduction at Futurepoem
book party, Teachers & Writers
Collaborative, New York, Nov. 14, 2006]
At 4 o’clock this afternoon Susan came home a handed
me a package from Dan Machlin, publisher of Futurepoem books.
It was a copy of Laura
Mullen’s Murmur. I look forward
to reading it.But I can tell you, right off, that this is a book
you will want to buy. Mullen explains early on in the text:
For me, I admit right away that if I’m going to pay
two dollars and fifty cents I want to make sure there’s
going to be at least one murder. I always take a look at the
book first to see if there’s a chapter headed ‘Finding
of the Body,’ in order to …
Mullen’s Murmur may well have at least one murder,
I won’t know till later; but I can tell you for sure it
has that sentence.
Laura Mullen went to UC-Berkeley and then immediately after
got her MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1985. Since 2004
she has been teaching at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge;
from 1994 to 2004 she taught at the University of Colorada in
Ft. Collins and also, in the summer, at the Naropa Institute.
Mullen’s first collection of poems, The Surface (1991),
was published by the University of Illinois Press and her second
collection, After I Was Dead (1999) by University of Georgia
Press Contemporary Poetry Series. A third book, The Tales
of Horror, from Kelsey Street Press, was published in the
Mullen’s Subject, published earlier this year
by the University of California Press. is a richly textured treat
for ear, eye, and mind; it’s a work that I never felt I
got to the bottom of: like the sea, the poems kept shifting and
changing with each view.
And I like what she says about her working process in an interview,
that she is “making a space large enough to recognize more
than you might have recognized.”
So I spent the day pouring over the PDF of Murmur,
occasionally turning to email, writing a short piece on Factory
School’s Women of the Weather Underground’s Sing
a Battle Song, stopping for lunch and listening to a radio
interview of a guy from CIA who says well that the CIA knew the
Iraqi WMA intelligence was cooked, arranging to meet Jamie Png,
one of our PennSound interns, here at Teacher’s & Writers
to give her the CDs of the last few weeks of the Segue/Bowery
Poetry Club reading series, working on the Pound PennSound edition …
Turning back to the book, to Laura Mullen’s Murmur,
I saw — as I tried to find the place I’d paused — that
the words were not the words I’d remembered, and watched
as they blurred into letters and then strange markings, lines,
squiggles, which only faintly resembled writing. In fact the
book itself was slowly dissolving — flecks of white, traces
of . . . — until what I was looking at on the screen was
almost nothing. Poetry noir? I thought of Olivier Cadiot’s Red,
Green, and Black, which we had translated together so many
I got up, walked around, came back on the screen and found
the closing passage of Murmur, but then I wasn’t
sure if this was Mullen’s book or if I was reading a draft
of my introduction, though I didn’t remember writing it,
but it seems like what I intended to say, to say that Murmur,
like Subject, is a text that changes at every instant,
which never ceases moving … And in this transitional space,
staring at the poems that flashed on the screen as I scrolled
backward, poems that I thought I already read but could not quite
remember – did they change when I looked away? Or was all
the change in me?
– I lighted, again, on the final passage of the book,
the passage I am reading to you now, Paul Auster-like, as my
introduction to Lauren Mullen.
Then, at 4 o’clock this afternoon Susan came home a
handed me a package from Dan Machlin, publisher of Futurepoem
books. It was a copy of Laura Mullen’s Murmur.
I very much look forward to reading it.
In another interview, Mullen is asked, “What about perfection?
Can you get close to the area of 'perfect'?” She replies: “No.
I only keep yearning for the thing that use to happen a lot when
I first started, where I would just be able to go to sleep feeling
like a fucking genius. I would write very late a night so I could
go to bed saying, ‘I am a genius.’ And then I would
wake up in the morning and think, oh, no, I'm not a genius. But
going to bed thinking I am a genius is a rush."
Let’s give Laura Mullen a rush like that as we welcome
Rabaté, Jean-Michel, ed.,
Architecture Against Death
/ Architecture Contre Mort,
a special double issue (two books:
No 21/22) of Interfaces: Image Texte Language (Worcester,
Mass. and Paris, 2003)
A collection of essays on the recent
work of Arakawa & Gins (but including some discussion of
Gins's two major work, Word Rain and Helen Keller or
A useful companion to Arakawa & Gins's Architectural Body,
published in the Modern and Contemporary Poetics series at the
University of Alabama Press in 2002, but also a model for philosophical
approaches to a work of art by an intriguing constellation of
philosophers, literary scholars, and poets. I like the sense
of collective research here, a "team" approach to a
substantial body of art, something worth pursuing for other works.
Jesper Olsson Alfabetes anvndning: Konkret poesi och poetisk
artefaktion I svenskt 1960-tal
(Stockholm: OEI Editions) OEI,
edited by Olsson, Anders Lundberg, and Jonas
(J) Magnusson has become, over the past
five years, one of the most challenging and ambitious magazines
published in North America or Europe. Including poems and poetics,
and an impressive commitment to translation into Swedish, OEI has
always given a special emphasis to conceptual and visual
poetry and poetics. Olsson's The Use of Alphabets: Concrete
Poetry and Poetic Artifice in the Swedish 1960s focuses on
Öyvind Fahlström, Jarl Hammarberg, Åke Hodell,
Bengt Emil Johnson, and Carl Frederik Reuterswãrd. Olsson
adopts Fahlstörm's formulation for what's after free
that treats language
as concrete matter. He addresses the poetry from the point
of view of artifice/artifact and materiality — linguistic,
Andrew Epstein Beautiful Enemies: Friendship and Postwar
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2006)
Andrew Epstein offers exemplary Emersonian readings of the intricate
web connecting individual talent and collective investment in
the poetry and poetics of John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and Amiri
Baraka. Averting the Cold War myth of the individual voice in
the wilderness of conformity, Epstein gives us voices in conversation
and conflict, suggesting that resistance to agreement is at the
heart of a pragmatist understanding of literary community.
Robin Purves and Sam Ladkin, ed., The Darkness Surrounds
Us: American Poetry
published as special issue of
Includes Stephen Thomson on Olson; Oliver Harris
on Burroughs; Malcolm Phillips on OHara, Allen Fisher on Ashbery,
Creeley, O'Hara & Sorrentino; Ladkin on Dorn; John Wilkinson
Chris Goode on Mathews, Bernstein, & Korine; and Rene Ricard,
Lee Spinks on Doty, Purves on Brady & more. Cover art by
Leevi Lehto Leevi and I were on the train
from Helsinki to Turku (the old capital city) for the launch,
at the annual Turku book fair, of my
Finnish book, Runouden puolustus.
Esseit ja runoja kahdelta vuosituhannelta (A
Defence of Poetry. Essays and Poems From Two Millennia). I asked Leevi — "What
was the first Finnish poem?" September 29, 2006 (download
video: 1 min. 6 secs, 8mb)
I am pleased to announce Leevi Lehto's EPC author
now open for business
first 100 customers get free admission
& then the next 100
& then the next 100 ...
Stephanie Young, ed., Bay Poetics ( Newton, Mass.: Faux
See also Tom
Orange’s blog related to the anthology.
Steven Gould Axelrod, Camille Roman, & Thomas
Travisano, eds., The New Anthology of American Poetry: Modernisms 1900-1950,
( New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2005).
This is the best traditional textbook anthology of the period,
with good head notes (a rarity) and an informed selection. Not
as good as the gold standard in anthologies, the two volumes
from the Library of America, but it passed the road test in a
class on 20th century American poetry, where I also used Paul
Hoover’s Postmodern American Poetry, to cover the
period after 1950. As with almost every other anthology, Axelrod
et al often skipped the poem of an author that I feel it’s
crucial to teach. But with a web-based syllabus, the anthology
is valuable primarily as background and for supplemental readings,
with much primary material available only on-line.
Jeffrey Gray , James McCorkle & Mary
McAleer Balkun, eds.,
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry (five
(Portsmith, NH: Greenwood, 2005).
A monumental work, includes 900 alphabetically arranged
entries by 350 scholars.
Lawrence Rainey, ed. Modernism: An Anthology (Malden,
Anthologies have come a long way since the 60s. For example,
next to Pound, Eliot, Yeats, the complete Spring and All and Tender
Buttons, poetics by Jolas, Marinetti, Loy, Tzara, Duchamp,
Woolf, substantial H.D. and Crane.
and Trevor Winkfield, eds.,
The New York Poets II: An Anthology (Machester, UK: 2006).
Includes Edwin Denby, Barbara Guest, Kenward Elmslie, Harry Matthews,
Ted Berrigan, Joseph Ceravalo, Bill Berkson, Clark Coolidge,
Charles North, Ron Padgett, and Bernadette Mayer.
Jean Vengua & Mark Young, eds., The First Hay(Na)Ku Anthology ( St. Helena, Calif,: Meritage
Form / Is One / Then Two Three. Tom Beckett: “Language
is the / fabric of consciousness. /// The responsibility of /
poets? To attend /// to / its woof / and weave–to /// unravel
/ it, even. / Paying close attention /// is, / in itself, / a
Another great Fred Tomaselli show
at James Cohan Gallery (through Nov. 11)
(photos don't get to what is so good about this work)
but new to me, and stunning,
is the Nick Cave show
through Nov. 11
at Jack Shainman
(at which link some good additional images; this one's mine)
At A.I.R. Gallery, Barbara Siegel
had some small
at Friedrich Petzel
(through Dec. 23) Allan
(or is it compulsive obsessive?)
millions of unique shapes
in uniform containers
(difference without differance):
(photo montage mine)
Hybrid Carnival for St. Exupéry
(gallery image from a 2005 show)
a buoyantly engaging installation by
Brooklyn Rail editor
at Wooster Arts Space
There is a place
nor near nor far
Goes and comes
wherever you are
Don’t go don’t go don’t go
[Written to the tune of composer Charles Bernstein’s theme
for Nightmare on Elm Street]
the pleasure of your company
at a book signing
Charles Bernstein's Girly
of Chicago Press) at Eight O'Clock
in the Evening
the Eighth of November
Kelly Writers House
on the campus of
The University of Pennsylvania
what evil lurks in the heart of man?
the Girly Man knows
but refuses to say
celebrate or mourn
the day after the
Judith Goldman, DeathStar/Rico-Chet (Oakland: O Books,
Like a Situationist armed with a search engine, Judith Goldman
provides a homeopathic cure for a polis drowning in news feeds
that starve instead of inform. Listen, O, Citizens!
Myung Mi Kim, River Antes ( Buffalo:
Atticus/Finch Chapbooks, 2006)
The book takes place inside a series of folds that cradle thinking
that refuses containment.
Laura Mullen, Subject (
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006)
A richly textured treat for ear, eye, and mind.
Shanxing Wang, Mad
Science in the Imperial City ( New York: Futurepoem, 2005)
I am still working through this richly
textured topographical map by a poet who makes poetry a synthetic
first language that comes after both his (native) Chinese (Wang
was born in Jinzhong, Shanxi Province) and (learned) Engineering
(which was his point of entry in the the U.S., in 1991).
Nada Gordon, Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker Than Night-Swollen
(Brooklyn: Spuyten Duyvil, 2001)
I missed this one when it came out and it is not one to miss. It’s
all in the sound.
Michael Heller, A Look at the Door with
the Hinges Off (Poems from the mid-1960s).
(Loveland, Ohio : Dos Madres Press, 2006)
An intriguing and appealing collection of early work, when Heller
was under the initial spell of Zukofsky and hanging out with
Jo Ann Wasserman, The
Escape ( New York: Futurepoem Books, 2003)
If speech could find a form … & utterance a measure …
Lawrence Joseph Into It ( New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005)
“What is seen, heard and imagined / at the same time—that
truth. A sort of relationship is established / between our attention
to what is furthest from us / and what deepest in us.” Lawyerland (New York: Farrar Straus
From the first chapter of this arresting book I thought the dialogue
is the best thing since Elmore Leonard. This all-talking book
is a tour-de-force of speech in and as action, with a cast of
New York lawyers running on at the mouth and shooting from the
hip. Plotless prose at its best.
Ted Berrigan, Collected
Poems ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005)
Part collage, part process writing, part sprung lyric,
part rant, part advice on things to do with down town (and up
time), part story, part cracked, part pieced together. Threaded
through all, a still astonishing mix of poignancy and aggression.
Reinventing verse for its time, and then just going on nerve,
these poems are redolent with both possibilities and traps for
Aki Salmela, Word in Progress (Helskinki:
This chapbook (available as a pdf at http://tuli-savu.nihil.fi/julkaisut/salmela_word_in_progress.pdf)
is remarkably wild and engaging in its own right but it is also
striking as a work of Finnish poetry written in English.
Salmela, a (relatively) young and brilliant Helskinki poet, opens
the collection with his “Ode to Ern Malley”: The
umbel of markings on /the carved time / entangles staircase of
rococo evening / introverted obelisk of the pond-lilies / incestuous.”
IFLIFE presents some of the wittiest, politically prescient
and best American poems of this new century.
The scope of the collection is prodigious, from the war in Iraq
to domestic life, from the state of literary theory
to Greek myth, from Hegel and Freud to parents and babies.
And guiding us through the torrent of cultural signs raining
down on us as if with the wrath of God
is one of the most reliable voices in recent poetry. Bob Perelman,
who is sardonic and wise, makes the world more apprehendable,
if not a better place, with each passing poem.
I wrote about this book
in response to some questions posed to me by Aryanil Mukherjee,
editor of the Bengali publication Kaurab.
. My essay was published this past summer in Japonchitra (Kolkata,
India). Presently I am working on an interview with Mukherjee
for his magazine, as part of his effort to increase dialog between
American and Bengali poets. (See, for example, Mukherjee's interviews with Mark
Wallace and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.)
My first book of poetry, published in 1975, when I was 25, is
called Asylums. Susan Bee and I created our own press – Asylum’s
Press – for the occasion, though in this first book the
press name is given on the back of the last page of the book
as Asylums Press. I have always like the association of poetry
with the press of asylum, though whether lunatic or a sanctuary
remains an open question. Over the next couple of years, we went
on to publish five other books under the imprint: Susan’s Photogram,
her first artist’s book, a fantastical reinvention of the
photogram, and four works of poetry – Peter Seaton’s Agreement and
Ted Greenwald’s Use No Hooks; Ray DiPalma’s
typewriter visual poem, Marquee, with an introduction
by Steve McCaffery, and my second book, Parsing.
Asylums had a lovely presstype cover,
by Susan, printed on light grey card stock, with a blank back
cover. It was 48, 8½ x 11” pages, xeroxed from the
(Remington) manual typewriter manuscript of the five poems included: “Asylum” (March
1975), “Lo Disfruto” (August-September, 1975), “Ipe” (March
1975) ,“Out of This Inside”(February-March, 1975)
and an untitled 15-page poem that consists of a continuous progression
of two-word lines, each beginning “my” (July 1974).
The binding was the poetry classic of the moment: sidestaple.
There is no table of contents or title page, just the typescripts
of the five poems. And there is no date given for the book publication,
though each of the poems is dated. I am not sure how many copies
I made, probably no more than 50. There is no colophon.
The structure of this book, a constellation
of markedly discrete works, is one I would come back to again
and again. Each poem makes its own world, each is formally and
thematically distinct from the other poems in the book – if
not an asylum than a “republic of reality.” The title
poem uses short clips – lines usually made up by taking
the last words of a sentence and the first words of the next – from
Erving Goffman’s Asylum, a book that explored social
institutions cut-off from the outside world, from prisons to
monasteries to psychiatric wards. This poem was also one of my
first magazine publications: Ron Silliman included it in his
little magazine (also xerox and sidestapled), Tottel’s in
1976. And I later included the poem in Islets/Irritations (1983),
the book that is perhaps the best structurally realization of
what I had in mind for Asylums. “Lo Disfruto” and
a very revised version of “Out of This Inside” were
included in Poetic Justice (1979), a collection of prose
poems, which was subsequently included in the large collection
of books published by Sun & Moon in 2000, Republics of
Reality: 1975-1995. “My/my/my” was never otherwise
published, though I did a multi-track tape realization of the
work in 1976 that was published as a part of a collection of
my audioworks called Class (now
available on PennSound).
“Ipe” is the one poem from Asylums I
never subsequently published, even though it remains a kind of ur piece
for me. The 13-part serial poem is closely related to Disfrutes,
written in 1974 but first published in 1981, which I have just
released this year in a web edition.
Both could be described as quasi-minimal: the poems built on
shifts and dislocations often occasioned by the change of a single
I was, and am, committed to the concept of
self-publishing; that writing poetry is part of a nexus of publishing
poetry, reading poetry, reviewing poetry, writing poetics, teaching
poetry. It was important to me not to just “privately circulate” my
manuscript – which in a sense is what I was doing – but
to publish it, to call it a finished work ready for the world,
not waiting for someone else to legitimate. Also, publishing
my own work in this way brought me directly in the economy of
exchange that has been such a central experience of doing poetry
and was a direct impetus to starting a reading series at the
Ear Inn in New York in 1978 (with Ted Greenwald) – a series
that continues on to this day, in the same Saturday afternoon
time slot, though now it is at the Bowery Poetry Club; and, also
in 1978 coediting, with Bruce Andrews, a magazine of poetics, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E,
also a typewriter-and-quick-copy affair (both offset printed
and later Xeroxed). Jumping ahead to the mid-90s, these experience
were also fundamental to the connection of the Electronic Poetry
Center (writing.upenn.edu/epc), a web site on which I have worked as
editor since its founding by Loss Pequeño Glazier, as
well as PennSound,
a vast archive of sound recordings, which is cofounded with Al
Filreis in 2005.
My advise to young poets is always: start your own magazine
or press, & publish your own work and those of your contemporaries
whose poems seem most crucial for the art. And if possible, respond
as much as possible, through poetics and reviews, to this work.
Articulate its values, value its articulations. The web certainly
makes such publishing easier, but it does not solve the hardest
part, finding a community of other poets that allows for active
and intense exchange, not based just on location or friendship
or like-mindedness, but on the qualities and quiddities of the
work as it unfolds in time and space, on earth and in the heavens
of our imaginaries.
Catherine Walsh, City West (Exeter, UK: Shearsman Books,
2005) Walsh’s fourth book extends, relays, and replays the larcenies
of space, syntax and rime that made her earlier work stand out
as among the very best poetry from Ireland, or anywhere in the
English speaking world.
Caroline Bergvall, Fig (Cambridge, UK: Salt, 2005). Listen to the glissade, as meaning slides into sound, sound to
sense, sense to action. Working at the borders of poetry, installation,
performance, and translation, Caroline Bergvall's Fig is
conceptually astute and structurally shimmering. From figuration
(imagine) to figure (articulate) to fig (object): a pleasure
for eye, ear, mind.
Stacy Doris, Cheerleader’s
Guide to the World; Council Book ( New York: Roof Books, 2006)
____ _____, Knot ( Athens: University of Georgia Press,
2006) Doris continues to push the envelope; her work remains unexpected
and not immediately assimilable. The use of football diagrams
in Cheerleader’s is a great pictorial translation
of the conceptual movement in the poems. Knot presents
Miltonic stanzas that make syntax active word for word, culminating
in a majesterial, yet determinately allusive, final section.
CAConrad, Deviant Propulsion (
Brooklyn: Soft Skull, 2006) Includes this remarkable “father” poem,
It’s True I Tell Ya
My Father Is a 50¢
my father paper thin again
lost on the basement floor
but who will put their lips
to his stiff old hard-on?
who will blow him up?
who will want this
a tree again?
Robert Grenier lives in a sometime ecstatic state,
but sometimes not, in Bolinas, California, where he extends the
tradition of the pastoral poem in ways entirely his own. One
of the most influential poets of his generation, Grenier has,
over the past forty years, pushed poetry into constantly new
frontiers of practice and utterance. Over the past decade, Grenier
has created handwritten poems that cross the upper limit of
inscription to be both writing and drawing.
Grenier in conversation
with Charles Bernstein, Oct. 20, 2006 —
Grenier discusses his development as a poet and his relation
to Larry Eigner. MP3
Grenier reads from and discusses Sentences MP3
Also new on PennSound: Grenier reading at the St. Mark's Poetry
Project, NY, April 8th, 1981
EPC Author Page: Sentences is now back
link to new Eclipse publication of Grenier's
1965 Harvard Honors thesis on William Carlos Williams
Archive of the Now is a major new
poetry audio site
featuring the work of more than 65 UK-based poets
with many of the readings recorded especially for this site.
Includes biographical and bibliographical information on the
Created by Andrea Brady at Brunel University.
We've already added it to our EPC
Really Hearing Eigner immediacy and force take priority
photo: Kit Robinson
Listen to Larry Eigner read his classic 1967 poem
along with the text of the poem. MP3 (0:29)
the sky dropped
saw pass out
last night another
Now listen to Eigner's comments after reading "Again
is responding to a question about the poem and starts by
saying he can't recall exactly what the poem meant.
I have trancribed Eigner's short response. MP3 (0:30)
Well I forget what I meant and … disappointed, I
You know my mother said to me to communicate you must
speak clear … first of all …
though I soon
realized that immediacy and force take priority.
La política de la forma poética [The
Politics of Poetic Form], tr. Jorge Miralles, Néstor
Cabrera, Nora Leylen, and Beatriz Pérez, with intro by
Cabrera (La Habana: Torre de Letras, 2006).
I just received a copy of this book, which was published in an
edition of 150 copies. If I can get a digital version, and the
translators agree, I will put it on-line.
I posted this report on the Buffalo Creeley conference on
the Poetics List:
From what I have heard, from several people who were at the Buffalo
Creeley conference, the events went on, sometimes in make-shift
locations, in spite of the storm and its devastation.
Over half the houses and business in the Buffalo region lost
their power -- and many, perhaps as many as 200,000, were still
without power as of early this evening. The schools in Buffalo
and the suburbs are expected to be closed throughout the week.
The storm, coming before the leaves had fallen, caused extensive
damage to the trees, many of which, if not most, lost branches,
which crashed into the power lines and roadways.
On Friday, the UB campus had to be closed due to the weather
conditions, one of the few times the campus has ever been shut
down. (The campus is about 14 miles from downtown Buffalo and
on Friday the city and county declared a state of emergency,
banning all but essential traffic from the roadways.) The airport
lost power during the first day of the storm and was closed Friday.
As I heard the story, the conference participants made the best
of it, commandeering a meeting room in their downtown hotel and
carrying on as best they could. As far I know, Saturday's events
took place at the church, as scheduled, since the church did
have electrical power.
The hotel where the conference participants were staying did
have electrical power and there were no problems with the group
returning home safely on Sunday.
It was a great disappointment to me -- and many others -- not
to be able to get to conference. But I think most of the scheduled
speakers/readers were there & continued on as best they could
-- forming a pool of light against a surrounding darkness.
For those who managed to come together on this past woe-beset
Buffalo weekend, I do believe Bob Creeley was celebrated and
Richard Foreman's new production is now in rehearsal & today
he has started
a new blog.
In this first posting he provides some notes on the production
and his thinking in/around/through it:
What I do in my theater is simply to layer
different self contained ‘realms
of being’ (image, sound, idea, or movement) over one another
in ways that allow such overlapping layers to bleed through each
other and create thereby, maps of new mental territory in which
heightened sensibility re-energizes the internal mechanism we
all share in common.
So—nothing to be afraid of or to anticipate as “hard
to understand” in my plays, because one should not try
to laboriously translate them into what they are not. They are
NOT pictures of the “outer” world. They are NOT even
pictures of the “inner” world. They simply use left
over pieces of both inner and outer worlds to build a PARADISE
where the mind and feelings dance as if the world were in fact—total
music. (And perhaps it secretly is!)
Basically, every compositional strategy (formalist, narrative,
etc) is a distortion of reality, a relative lie-- a limitation
of options. Every CHOICE closes down most of the world-- (all
Yet a certain amount of choice, and
compositional procedure cannot be avoided. (But try!) Of what
lie evident as a lie. Radical choice: Make the stage event “unconvincing”.
Then—what is one left with? Phenomenon which, as it
arises, must be “tossed away”. This “tossing
away” as the interesting aesthetic event. The fascinating
“Ah—this moment starts to be interesting?—Toss
it away!” The “music” of that “toss it
away”-- a kind of ecstasy, a stripping down that reveals—what?
Some strange, new oscillating “thing” under all other “things”.
THE STAGE EVENT IS PUNCTUATED BY THE
AWAY” OF THEATER AND EVENT AND NARRATIVE. THE FILM PROJECTED
THROUGHOUT IS THE HOLDING ONTO THE NON-DEVELOPING “BLINDNESS” (Blindfolded)
IN WHICH OUR HUMAN LIFE IS GROUNDED.
We humans understand, finally, only
what illusionary systems we “construct” for ourselves
(the social contract). We are blind to the complex “whole” that
operates outside our consciousness.
The “radical space” of this performance is a “staging
arena” that hovers in that “in between” space--
between projected image (the sustained archetype of blindness)
and the live performance of our impulse-grounded behavioral twitches.
link | 10-14-06
[Rothenberg photo October
2006 by Charles Bernstein]
Mimi on the Beach
Mimi Gross Mimi believes the key thing about doing portraits is the
relationship you have with the subject.
A couple of years ago,
she did a portrait
of Felix and me.
We were at New Beach and Mimi,
as always, had brought a sketchbook.
August 9, 2006 Download
Mimi Gross EPC resources:
Charm of the Many (pdf), catalog for Mimi Gross's September
2002 show at Satander-O'Reilly Galleries, New York: Essay
and poem by me, preface by Dominique Fourcade, full chronology/cv,
plus 45 color plates.
in two volumes
is now out from the University of California Press
There is no poetry more vivid, immediate,
or telling than Robert Creeley’s. His Collected Poems extends
the achievement of Dickinson, Whitman, and Williams into postwar
America. Creeley’s excavation of particular words, images,
and sentiments resonate beyond the pages of this book into the
fabric of everyday life. This is American invention at its best,
as necessary as the air we breathe and the ground we walk on.
October 12 at 6pm
is the first event in the new Emergency
Reading Series emerging poets
at the Kelly Writers House
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Jena Osman and Sarah Dowling
Watch and listen to Richard Foreman's newest work in rehearsal.
A live video stream of
WAKE UP MR. SLEEPY! YOUR UNCONSCIOUS MIND IS DEAD!
starts today (Oct. 11).
Go toFree103point9.orgto watch the production
every Wednesday til opening
from 10a.m.-- 4:30p.m. (New York time)
PennSound link: Listen
to Foreman on Close Listening
CFP: bpNichol + 20 (04/01/2007;
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Deadlines: 1 December 2006 for
proposals; 1 April 2007 for finished essays
Journal: Open Letter, A Canadian
Journal of Writing and Theory
Guest Editor: Lori Emerson
"What often happens on the death
of an author is that an institutional
group of textual custodians comes
into being—scholars and editors who
present themselves as caring as
passionately about that author's text
as the author once did...Much
of this kind of activity...is
celebratory rather than productive
or critical, even, or perhaps
especially, when it purports to
offer no more than readings or
explications...Most of those interested
in continuing to author Nichol
texts have been other writers. Most
of these have been writers of his
own generation, and most have
been his friends. There has been little
sign yet of scholars who hope
to focus their careers on Barrie's
Open Letter is seeking essays
for a special issue dedicated to "bp
Nichol + 20". As a follow-up
to the 1998 issue of Open Letter
"bpNichol + 10," we hope to reenliven
and, especially, broaden the
critical landscape of Nichol's
works. The editors are particularly
interested in critical/critical-creative
submissions from young and
emerging scholars/writers who
are part of a generation that never knew
his web site)
has provided a link to
writing in English by Anna Politkovskaya,
the Russian journalist who was assassinated this week
Yesterday's "candle manifestation", organized
by the Finnish PEN, in front of the Russian Embassy in Helsinki,
for the memory of Anna Politkovskaya, the brave and all-important
Russian journalist murdered Saturday afternoon in Moscow, gathered
more than a thousand people (the police estimate), which - perhaps
symptomatically - is more than the crowds in similar events in
Moscow. In the Helsinki manifestation, Heidi Hautala, Finnish
member of the EU Parliament (Green Party), Arne Ruth, the former
president of the Swedish Pen, and I, among others, spoke out
against a new "Finlandization", referring to a certain Western-European
tendency to turn a blind eye to the steadily aggravating Human
Rights situation in present Russia. Vis-a-vis the in fact quite
gloomy perspectives opened by this barbarian murder, I see the
uncompromising courage of Anna as the only model available to
us all to counter the cowards in Kremlin as well as among the
Finnish political elite, and elsewhere.
Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil, tr. Keith Waldrop (Middletown,
Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2006).
Waldrop translates the complete series in a remarkably compelling
and consistently incisive style as well as providing a superb
introduction. He adopts a “measured,” rhythmically
inflected, sentence-based format, with each prose paragraph corresponding
to a stanza. Waldrop calls the form “versets,” pointing
to the King James version of the Psalms as a model.
Arkadii Dragomoschenko, tr. Evgeny Pavlov,
ed. Terry Myers, intro. Jacob Edmond Chinese Sun (Brooklyn:
Ugly Duckling Presse, 2005) Every English translation of Dragomoschenko’s
poetry is a notable event, but here we have the longest work
so far: a prose meditation of more than 300 pages in Evgeny Pavlov’s
evocative translation. You can dive anywhere into this sea of
philosophy, memory, speculation, and dialog. Worth a detour..
Ameila Glazier and David Weintraubm
ed, Amelia Glaser, tr., Proletpen (Madison: University
of Wisconsin Press 2005) The Yiddish socialist poets of the period after World
War One were divided by their affiliations with the more pro-Soviet Frayhayt,
and anti-Soviet Forverts (Forward) as Dovid Katz
tells the story in his highly informative introduction. This
anthology brings together 30 second-wave modernist poets (those
born 1889-1909) on the Frayhayt side of the spectrum,
who have not been included in previous Yiddish anthologies due
to Cold War politics, as Katz explains it. Bi-lingual facing
Reynoldo Jiménez, ed. El Libro
De Unos Sonidos: 37 Poetas del Perú (Buenos Aires:
tsé, tsé, 2005)
A panoramic view of 20th-century poetry from Peru, featuring
poets born from 1874 until 1935; 600 pages in all in this Spanish
language anthology. For many North Americans, only César
Vallejo will be familiar. Here you will find, for example, a
poem, presented in bilingually, by indigenous poet José María
Arguedas (1911-1969), addressed to the 18th-century Peruvian
indigenous revolutionary, “Tupac Amaru Kamq Taytamamchisman:
Haylli-Taki” (“To Our Father Creator Tupac Amaru:
Hymm-Song”). The anthology is published by tsé,
tsé, which is edited by Jiménez, Gabriela Giusti,
and Caros Ricardo. With 15 issues, 200 large-format pages each,
this is one of the best edited and most far-ranging of a spate
of lively Argentine poetry magazines: a model for anyone interested
in the poetics of the Americas.
Eugene Ostashevsky, OBERIU: An Anthology
of Russian Absurdism (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University
Poetry, drama, and prose, from 1926-1942, by Alexander Vvedensky,
Daniil Kharms, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Nikolai Oleinikov, Leonid
Lipavsky and Yakov Druskin, translated by the galvanizing crew
of younger Russian American poets living in & around NY:
Ostashevsky, Matvei Yankelevich, Thomas Epstein, Genya Turovskaya,
and Ilya Bernstein. This is fascinating work, post-Futurist,
new to most English readers.
Today I am at the Turku, Finland, Book Fair
for the release of
A Defence of Poetry: Essays and Poems from Two Millennia
translated, and with an introduction by, Leevi Lehto
and Markku Into, Teemu Manninen, Tuomas Nevanlinna, Tommi Nuopponen & Aki
cover by Susan Bee
Anne-Marie Albiach, Figured Image, tr. Keith Waldrop
( Sausalito: Post-Apollo 2006)
_______, Figurations de l'image (Paris: Flammarion, 2004) Anne-Marie Albiach's words are never
alone on the page, having each other for company, just as they
find here ideal companionship in Keith Waldrop's translation.
In Figurations de l'image,
Albiach pursues her rigorous investigation into the possibilities
of measure, the perceptible, luminescence, vulnerability, memory,
contour, ardor, breath, oscillation, remonstration, trajectory,
disparity, abstraction, antecedence, disparity, refraction, trace,
tapestry, rehearsal, reverberation, and the irreparable. In these
poems, the figures refute image as they bank, relapse, surge,
palsy, recollect. Albiach scores space to twine time, abjures
rhyme to make blank shimmer in the mark.
Anne-Marie Albiach and Richard Tuttle: L’EXCÉS: cette
measure ( Paris: Yvon Lambert, 2004). This livre d’artist has
as its text one section of Figurations de l'image. A large
format, sumptuously printed book. Tuttle suffuses Albiach’s
work in so much articulated white space of his own elegant design
that he manages to contain her use of the page. In this small
theater box of a book, Albiach’s
white space appears as a form of highly delineated inscription,
which, of course, it always is. The title – the tension
between excess and measure – is beautifully articulated
by the two artists, both of whom are part of the generation born
during the Second War, that I discuss elsewhere (Albiach was
born, like Susan Howe, in 1937)..
Jean Daive, Anne-Marie Albiach L’Exact Réel (Marseille: Éric
Pesty Éditeur, 2006) This volume collects a number of linked interviews by Daive
of Albiach. In the first, she discusses État in
a transcription of a 1978 radio broadcast. The next section comes
from a 1978 radio transcription, in which Albiach discusses Beckett’s Premier
Amour and continues with two 1990 conversations, focusing
on État and Mezza Voce. The next interview
is at Albiach’s apartment in 1997; she discusses Bataille.
In the last, from 2003, Albiach discusses her collaborative book
with Richard Tuttle: L’EXCÉS: cette measure
(Paris: Yvon Lambert, 2004).
New issue of Drunken Boat
features Jean-Jacques Poucel's Oulipo
which includes both historical material and much new poetry in
the wake of ...
& also "Canadian
Strange" a section of new writing (mostly poetry)
from Canada edited by Sina Queyras
Just out from
the University of Iowa Press
1. Buy it.
2. Listen up.
4. Buy a copy for a friend.
5. Write a book like this.
6. Industrial Poetics is da bomb.
7. Because the taste is what counts.
The December edition of nypoesi has "oversettelse" ("in
translation") as a working title. This is an open invitation
to submit works that show the translation process and/or method.
That is: not "completed translations" of works from
one language to another, but texts where the translation process
and methods are readable. This does not necessarily mean translating
from one natural language to another, but could also mean a translation within a
language, or translations between different media. The text(s)
can also be supplied by a commentary, preferable in English,
but this is not a requirement.
Deadline for submitting work: Friday November 24. There is no
requirement as to the length of submitted works. The text can
be previously published, in which case we ask that you state
where it has been published previously. We also accept pictures
and sound files. Please attach a short bio to your submission.
Nypoesi is a Scandinavian Internet magazine for international
contemporary poetry. The magazine is edited in Oslo, Norway.
To get an impression of the magazine and the kind of works we
are publishing, please see our last two issues, Nye
dikt (New Poems) and Sprkbeherskelse (Mastering
Language). This invitation is sent to poets from several countries.
Submissions will not be translated into Norwegian, so it is a
requirement that submissions are written in a form where they
are, at least to some degree, available to readers that have
no or limited knowledge of the language in use. The works in
this edition will in other words not only confer to what can
be transferred from one language to another, but also to what
can be transferred and read within one language.
Submissions can be sent to: redaksjonen-AT-nypoesi.net. Please
don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions regarding
Chris Westcott is organizing a select
New York City Poetry Calendar to add to the Columbia
New Poetry web site. Says Chris:
I am writing to ask for your help & submissions to Columbia
New Poetry's new NYC poetry calendar. If you are aware
of relevant events that will take place in NY in the coming
year, please take a moment to submit event info. Also,
please notify anyone else who may have dates to add. Submissions
can be made here.
It's melting: Ligorano/Reese
provide a chilling chronicle of the tragic fate of democracy,
at home and abroad, in the hot air of the Bush quagmire. You'll
laugh until you cry icy tears.
See Marshall Reese's and Nora Ligorano's "State of the Art," a
DVD of the slow meltdown of their ice sculpture of the word "DEMOCRACY"
view on Youtube or Google
Opening in Chelsea (NY) this Thursday, September 14, 6-8 PM
The Message Is the Medium
a show that is actively thinking toward new possibilites for
curated by Marshall Reese
Robert Attanasio, Constantin Boym, Jim Campbell, Nancy Davenport,
Peggy Diggs, Christoph Draeger, Hans Haacke, Jane Hammond, Louis
Hock, Ligorano/Reese, Marlene McCarty, Muntadas, Yoko Ono, Carolee
Schneemann, Dread Scott, Peter Scott, Krzystof Wodiczko
September 9 - September 30
Jim Kempner Fine Art
501 West 23 Street, NY, NY 10001
Entrance on 10th Avenue
Speaking of America ...
The Library of The General Society
of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York presents: THE CONSTITUTION
a secular oratorio by BEN YARMOLINSKY Friday, September 15th, 2006 at 8:00 P.M.
The Library, The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen
20 West 44th Street, New York 10036
$15 admission/$10 for seniors, students and subscribers to The
RESERVATIONS & INFORMATION (212) 921-1767
The Constitution is a musical setting of portions of the United
States Constitution. It is patterned after the Handelian oratorio,
a musical form in vogue at the time of the drafting of the document.
This portable version of the piece for four singers will be available
for performances in schools, libraries, and other civic institutions.
The work is approximately an hour and ten minutes in length,
and is divided into two halves: the Constitution itself, Articles
1-7 (45 mins.), and the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments
(35-40 mins.). Performers: Soprano Beth Ann Hatton, mezzo-soprano
Silvie Jensen, tenor Aram Tchobanian, baritone Bruce Rameker,
and pianist Ishmael Wallace.
top: Julio Galán , Behind You. Galán, the
exuberant, brilliant Mexican artist died August 4, at the age
of 46 2d row: Anne George & Brad Freeman, Once Removed;
John Waters, Playdate; Ruth Laxson, A Hundred Years
of Lex Flex
bottom: Susan Bee, Red Dot
Johanna Drucker has curated Complicit!
Contemporary American Art & Mass Culture for the University
of Virginia Art Museum. The show explores the relation of contemporary
art to mass culture. Drucker here extends the thinking in her
recent book from the University of Chicago press, Sweet Dreams:
Contemporary Art and Complicity.
The Theory of Flawed Design is not a scientifically proven
alternative to evolution. It is based on the everyday life experience
that natural selection could not have produced such a catastrophic
outcome. Optimists and the religiously inclined will naturally
prefer evolution as an explanation, since ascribing design to
the state of humanity is almost unbearable. For the rest of us,
we must continue to insist that the Theory of Flawed Design be
taught cheek and jowl, neck and neck, mano e mano, with
Mr. Darwin’s speculations.
The Theory of Flawed Design postulates a creator who is mentally
impaired, either through some genetic defect or because of substance
abuse, and is predisposed to behave in a sociopathic manner;
although some Benign Flawed Design theorists, as they call themselves,
posit the radical alternative that the creator was distracted
or inattentive and the flaws are not the result of malevolent
will but incompetence or incapacity.
"The Theory of Flawed Design" is
included in a new e-book, Babylon
Burning: 9/11 Five Years On, edited by Todd Swift and
published by nthposition. Nearly 90 poets from around the world
have contributed to the collection, including bill bissett, Maxine
Chernoff, Ken Edwards, Elaine Feinstein, Peter Finch, Sandra
Gilbert, Bob Holman, Paul Hoover, Halvard Johnson, Chris Jones,
Peter Middleton, Joe Ross, Robert Sheppard, Nathaniel Tarn, Rodrigo
Toscano, John Tranter and John Welch.
Bobby Zimmerman done good. From
1962, when, at the age of 22 he invented himself as Bob Dylan,
and for the next 13 years, ending with one his many masterpieces, Blood
on the Tracks, when he was 35
, he wrote ’n’ sung some of the most remarkable,
buoyant, an’ expansive works in the history of American
song. Yet Dylan reached his apogee just five years after Blood
on the Tracks, with his unredeemably lost album (which he
called, without evident irony, Saved). And now, or anyway
a couple of years back, Dylan has released the first of what
may be an ongoing memoir. The book attempts to grapple with what
made those 13 years possible and also what happened after. Yet,
from the point of view of dealing with what happened after 1975,
the book is a strategic failure, since Dylan has about as much
critical distance on himself as a trapeze artist in a lion’s
den. But then, the morale of his take is that there is, indeed,
no failure like success.
photo from Jacket
Michael Palmer receives the Wallace Stevens Award from the American
Academy of Poets from the Poets.Org
The $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery
in the art of poetry. The judges for the award were poets Robert
Hass, Fanny Howe, Susan Stewart, Arthur Sze, and Dean Young.
Robert Hass, on selecting Palmer to receive the award, wrote: Michael Palmer is the foremost experimental poet of his generation
and perhaps of the last several generations. A gorgeous writer
who has taken cues from Wallace Stevens, the Black Mountain poets,
John Ashbery, contemporary French poets, the poetics of Octavio
Paz, and from language poetries. He is one of the most original
craftsmen at work in English at the present time. His poetry
is at once a dark and comic interrogation of the possibilities
of representation in language, but its continuing surprise is
its resourcefulness and its sheer beauty.
McGowan can be heard on PennSound doing his Robo
Ursonate (2005) (18:36) "The physical generation of the piece was
a remarkably effortless process on the part of the artist: Schwitters'
score was simply cut and pasted into a commercial text-to-speech
synthesis program with all further performative/compositional
decisions made by the computer. There was no attempt to
correct interpretive error, nor was there any tinkering with
the program's default prosody settings."
"Robo Ursonate" is part of a "Deformance" page I
am working on for PennSound; it's still in the preliminary phase,
but you'll get the idea.
Street Editions Summer Sale
any four of the following books for a total of 10 pounds sterling
(all 13 for 30 pounds).
Cris Cheek & Sianed Jones: SONGS FROM NAVIGATION, Kelvin
Corcoran: LYRIC LYRIC, Ken Edwards: FUTURES, Allen Fisher: DISPOSSESSION
AND CURE, Susan Gevirtz: TAKEN PLACE, Anselm Hollo (ed. & tr.):
FIVE FROM FINLAND, Barbara Guest: IF SO, TELL ME, Tony Lopez:
DATA SHADOW, Lisa Robertson: THE WEATHER, Lisa Robertson: DEBBIE:
AN EPIC, Maurice Scully: STEPS, Robert Sheppard : THE LORES,
Lawrence Upton: WIRE SCULPTURES Sale ends
8 September 2006/ order here
Régis Bonvicino Régis and I were riding
through the outskirts of São Paulo on our way to Campinas.
The World Cup was on and Régis shares Brazil's big-time
enthrallment with the series. At one point, in an email, Régis
reprimanded me for referring to the "Australia and Brazil
game." "In Brazil, you never write the 'Brazil
- Australia game', but 'Brazil x Australia'. The x meaning the
match, the 'hardness' of the game .... It sounds like a battle,
for us, not like a game." Régis
told me he was devoted to a local football team and went to almost
all their games. "My team's name is Palmeiras (Palms),
founded in 1914 by Italian immigrants to keep alive Italian traditions
in São Paulo." I asked him
how the team was doing.
June 29, 2006 (23
George came to visit Susan Bee and me on the Fourth of July.
He was in town to promote his new book, Whose Freedom?: The
Battle Over America's Most Important Ideal. I asked him why
John Kerry had failed to respond forcefully to the Swift Boat
smears. You can hear Susan in the background.
July 4, 2006 (1
min., 8 mb mp4)
[click mp4 link to download
or stream; or copy URL & paste into "open stream" in
Last week, I participated in Quick Muse's new 15-minute write-a-thon.
The idea is that you are given a quotation and asked to respond
with a poem. All your keystrokes are recorded & can later
be played back via "poematic," a "poem recording
and playback" system devised by Fletcher Moore; there
is also a separate file of the "final" poem. Results
I just received an advance copy of Girly Man; my new collection
of poetry, which is scheduled for publication September 15 by
the University of Chicago Press.
In 1975, Susan Howe produced a reading of Charles Reznikoff
for her radio show, "Poetry Today," on WBAI/Pacifica.
PennSound has just made this program available: MP3 (59:37)
Reconsidering Robert Creeley
(1926–2005) 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Grand Ballroom Salon
K, Philadelphia Marriott, session #425 MLA Annual Convention, Philadelphia
Presiding: Timothy Pan Yu, Univ. of Toronto
1. “The Plan Is the Body,” Charles Bernstein, Univ.
2. “Taking the Measure of Robert Creeley,” Stephen
A. Fredman, Univ. of Notre Dame
3. “‘A Friend / Who’s a Woman’: Reconsidering
Robert Creeley’s Company,” Libbie Rifkin, Georgetown
Univ. Respondent: Michael Davidson, Univ. of California, San
Acconci LANGUAGE TO COVER A PAGE: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci
ed. Craig Dworkin
(MIT Press, 2006).Vito Acconci LANGUAGE TO COVER A PAGE: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci
ed. Craig Dworkin
(MIT Press, 2006).Vito Acconci Vito
Acconci LANGUAGE TO COVER A PAGE: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci
ed. Craig Dworkin
(MIT Press, 2006). LANGUAGE
TO COVER A PAGE: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci
ed. Craig Dworkin
(MIT Press, 2006).Vito Acconci LANGUAGE TO COVER A PAGE: The Early Writings of Vito Acconci
ed. Craig Dworkin
(MIT Press, 2006).Vito Acconci
Colin Browne, Ground Water (Vancouver: Talon Books,
Browne’s book, written from the late 80s to 2001, operates
more like a succession of strata, in the Robert Smithson sense,
than a conventional collection of poems. Ground Water juxtaposes
an engaging variety of formal approaches – from radical
translation to Olsonian site-specific writing, from zaum to performance
script, from mosaicked lists to sprung lyrics, in all providing
a visceral sense of poetry’s often untapped potential for
Robert Kelly, Unquell the
Dawn Now (Kingston, NY: McPherson & Company, 1999)
Features Robert Kelly's magnificent homophonic translation of Holderlin’s “Am
Quell der Donau”. At a translation conference at Barnard
several years back, Kelly noted that he wanted to do a completely
non-comic homophonic translation, partly to show that this approach
to translation doesn't need to be comic. He has succeeded not
only brilliantly but with an aural richness that approaches the
sublime. This artist's book, with CD, multiple translations/transformations,
with contributions from Schuldt and Susan Gillespie, has been
featured by Bruce McPherson as part of his 2005 Kelly catalog.
Ko Un, Ten Thousand Lives,
tr. from Korean by Brother Anthony of Taizé, Young-moo
Im, and Gary Gach. Introduction by Robert Haas (Green Integer,
2005) While in prison, for resistance to the South Korean dictatorship
of the early 1980s, Ko Un, who was born in 1933, resolved to
write a poem for every person he met in his life. Green Integer
presents an excerpt from the 10 volume, ongoing work. The result
has the typological sweep of August Sander, who imagined doing
photographic portraits of ordinary people, at the same time there
is a bit of late Whitman’s desire to touch every person
he meets with his poems. The series of portraits are part parable,
part zen koan. Poverty is never far from any of these serial
poems, nor is the violence of the Japanese occupation of Korea.
The last section includes portraits of major political figures
in a way that sometimes resembles a kinder, gentler socialist
realism. The poems about Ko’s literary forebears are stunning.
Since I don’t know Korean, I can’t offer much commentary
on the translations, but the English is vivid, colloquial, and
compelling. The power of the whole is not captured by any one
portrait, which tend to be underplayed and avoid excessive drama
(akin to the poetics of Reznikoff). I offer this, therefore,
not as exemplary but as a sample:
On a bank by the stream
a solitary fisherman,
was reeling in his line.
Sa-haeng’s son Ch’il song came running along the
“Dad, dad. Ma’s dead and won’t shut her eyes!”
He was too far away, his shouts were wasted.
Cold waves lap between the two, forever parted.
Gilbert Sorrentino, New and
Selected Poems 1958-1998 (Green Integer, 2004)
This notable volume has over 400 pages of poems. Sorrentino (1929-2006)
is primarily known for his novels, published by such presses
as Sun & Moon and Dalkey Archives; but his poetry is both
substantial and engaging. His earliest poems bear the unmistakably
mark of Creeley, as acknowledged by the title of his first collection, The
Darkness that Surrounds Us (1960). After that, a meandering
voice emerges, sharp and blunt at the same time, often psychologically
and intellectually stunned and stunted by erotic desire. One
of the best is the last poem in the 1971 collection, Corrosive
Certain portions of the heart
die and are dead. They are
Cannot be exorcised or brought
Do not disturb yourself
to become whole.
They are dead, go down
in the dark and sit with them
once in a while.
a recent poem, Leonard Schwartz asks — what can drive a
nonviolent person to violence? My question would be what can
drive a violent person to nonviolence, since that is the only
hope when there is too much righteousness on all sides. Who’s
right (or who’s been more wronged), who's got the rights
(or who's got the wrongs), or when you date the right (or wrong)
only feeds the fire, since there are so many factors, real and
imaginary, that one or the other side chooses, as a matter of
principle, to discount. While I am for counting all the factors.
But then it's not poetry but violence that rules.
from "How Empty Is My Bread Pudding" [published in No 4
image: Susan Bee, detail from Babe
Rachel DuPlessis was one of the initial editors of How(ever) magazine.
The Modern and Contemporary Poetics series also published Translating
Poetry and the Innovative Necessityby
Kathleen Fraser, How(ever)'s founder. The
publication morphed into an on-line journal, How2, which
is currently edited by Kate Fagan, with Redell Olsen. They have
just announced their new issue VOYAGE
INTO GEOSPACE Vol. 2 Issue 4 http://how2journal.com
At the EPC, we are happy to announce the launch of two new
During my visit to Brazil in July, I spent the afternoon in Rio
with the very engaging poet and psychoanalyst Solange Rebuzzi.
We took a whirlwind trip through the city on a very rainy
day, a long walk in the Botanical Gardens, and ended up in a
small bookstore café. We spoke of many things, including
the effect on poetry of the military dictatorships in Spain,
Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina; and also the situation for women
in Brazilian and American poetry. Solange gives an account
(in Portuguese) in Croniópios
""Who’s to Say, What’s to Say?:
Notes on the Reception of Brian Ferneyhough’s Opera Shadowtime
(in the Context of Niklas Luhmann’s Theory of Art)
in Musik & Ästhetik's January issue,
which includes an English abstract. An
English version of this essay is available via IBM's new translation
This translation is entirely machine-constructed from the German
text and, as such, bears the heavy mark of its translator, which
may well be in the spirit of a certain "IBM Altern
Jew" to whom the opera in question is unfaithfully dedicated.
The new American
Book Review (July/August #27:5) edited by Kass Fleisher
and Joe Amato, has a special poetics feature with reviews of
a number of reviews of the Modern and Contemporary Poetics series
from the University of Alabama Press, which Hank Lazer and I
edit. I am very grateful to both of them for the job they have
done putting this issue together and also express my deep regret
that are leaving ABR so soon after arriving and especially
after doing such a great job. The Amato-edited poetics section
features Joris on Rasula, Levy on Nielsen, Baldwin on Morris & Swiss,
Murphy on HOW2, LoLordo on Friedlander and Middleton, Magee on
Bruns, McMorris on Waldrop and Scully, Robinson on Schultz,
Mitchell on Heller, and Sondheim on Heller-Roaze. [More info
on getting ABR from Tara Reeser, Director of Publications
Unit, Illinois State University <tareese @ ilstu.edu>
Ezra Pound reading from The Cantos at Spoleto
Allen Ginsberg reading Howl, Kaddish and much else
in San Francisco in 1956 and 1959 in San Francisco and in New
York in 1995
Barbara Guest in Buffalo in 1992: reading and a lecture, "How
I Got Out of Poetry and Into Prose" followed by discussion
Erica Hunt's "Notes for an Oppositional Poetics" as
first presented at The New School in 1988 and subsequently published
in The Politics of Poetics Form; includes the extended
discussion following the talk
Jackson Mac Low reading in New York in 2004
Samuel R. Delany's "The Star Pit" (a radio play produced
in 1967, with Delany narrating)
David Antin: two talks — at St. Mark's Talks series in
1984 and Buffalo in 1992
Amiri Baraka in San Francisco in 1965
Robert Creeley, Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein in Buffalo, 1995
Ossian Receiving the Spirits of the French Heroes, 1801
was time when poets got some respect. Ossian, who many of us
consider the authentic poetic voice of the British Isles, is
greeted by none other than Emperor Napoleon. When Jacques-Louis
David (Girodet's teacher) first saw this painting, evidently
he spoke words not printable on a family web site like this,
to the effect of "What the *&^!!###!~%))((??!!!" and
on the spot came up with the theory Clement Greenberg would later
codify in "Avant Garde and Kitsch." "If that's
painting," David said, "then I am not a painter" (or
was it David Antin who said that, I get confused). M. Girodet
(don't let the "Anne" confuse you, transgendered name,
gendered painter) is now on view and you can certainly understand
David's problem. But Maxfield Parish would feel quite at home.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a full-scale Girodet show
up till August 27 and it is billing Girodet as Romantic Rebel,
but I guess it all has to do what you mean by "Romantic." Technically
dazzling for sure (and dazing too). If you care to compare Romanticisms,
nearby, in the room of new acquisitions, there is a stunning
set of Blake's illuminated pages.
One of the
most interesting painting in the show is a well-known 1797
portrait of Jean-Baptiste Belley. Born in Senegal and enslaved
in Santo Domingo (Haiti), Belley went on to be one of the Haitian
delegates to the French National Convention, which abolished
slavery in 1794. In 1802, he fought with Toussaint L'Ouverture and,
as a consequence, died in a French prison in 1802. The bust is
the painting is Abbé Raynal, a noted abolitionist.
The Met's "AngloMania:
Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion" (on view
through Sept. 4) is one of the great museum installations of
the time. The star-studded opening should not overshadow the
originality and élan of this show.
The Apostrophe Engine
This is the little engine that could ... the source for Apostrophe:
The Book by Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry, by means
of which it is possible to create your own version of the work.
One of the most sophisticated examples of a search-engine poem
generator. See also Leevi Lehto's Google
Poem (use the patterns feature).I've
added this to the Experiments
For fans of the Great and Terrible Ern Malley,
the December Cordite
Poetry Review (#23) features a collection o f poems
in the wake, originally published heteronymically, but now with
the authors mostly revealed (at least such is the claim). .For
more information on Malley go to the Jacket feature as
well as the Ern Malley web
Sunday July 16th at 7PM:: Selections from Richard Foreman's Ontological
Hysteric Theater at Anthology
Film Archives. This is Jay Sanders's compilation from 35
years of Foreman's theater, first shown at Penn a couple of months
back. Jay does a great job in selecting clips and creating the
overall montage. Since I started to see Foreman's plays in the
mid-1970s,and I have seen every one the plays in New York since,
I was particularly interested in the pieces from before that
time, including a stunning black and white clip from "Sophia
the Cliffs" filmed by Erne Gehr. For another introduction to
Foreman, for those who can't get to NY, I taped three
Close Listening shows with him in May. And then there is
his EPC author
Audio of the New Poetics
Colloquium, Vancouver,1985 Kootenay School of Writing.
KSW is in the process of upgrading the files on this site, but
as it is now: talks and readings by Howe, Perelman, Silliman,
Brossard, Hejinian, Thesen, Gay, Einzig, Harryman, Boweing, Ward,
Watten, Palmer, Andrews, and my own first try at "Artifice
of Absorption," which responds to several of the presentations
at the colloquium, held 21 years ago.
Berkeley Lunch Poems: videos of readings by Harryette Mullen,
Barbara Guest, Lyn Hejinian, Eugene
Ostashevsky, Mei-mi Berssenbrugge, and many others
[thanks to Michael Ball for reminding me of this
At Mappemunde, Tim
Peterson gives a report of Bob Perelman, Francie Shaw, Susan
Bee, and my event, "Night
Air," on poetry-art collaborations at A.I.R. gallery
on Thurday night.
Christian Bök reviews Shift & Switch: New Canadian
Poetry, ed. Derek Beaulieu, Jason Christie, and Angela Rawlings, at nypoesi ,,
the Norwegian web jourunal. &: Juliana
Spahr has an essay on multilingualism in poetry.
Jena Osman, Bob Perelman, Lamont Steptoe, Nava EtShalom,
and Elaine Terranova received 2006 PEW
"It is my main concern to
go beyond what I know and what I can know."
—Eva Hesse, 1968
[from her statement in the Fischbach Gallery
catalog for "Chain Polymers"]
Eva Hesse and Robert Smithson are
the two New York-based artists of the 1960s who did the most
to transform three-dimensional art work into a multi-level transformation
of the object of art. This small retrospective provides a acute
view of Hesse's amazing work. Hesse was born in 1936 in Hamburg,
the child of observant Jews who fled Germany in 1938, moving
to Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. (See the
chronology provided on the museum web site.) She is exemplary
of the group of artist I wrote about in "The Second War
and Postmodern Memory" (in A
Poetics), those (in that essay mostly poets) born during
the World War II. I am thinking for example of a poem by Robert
Grenier, from Phantom Anthems, that I discuss in that
essay, specifically in relation to the Hesse work pictured above,
in which each unit swerves from its
the articulation of anomolies: the work is consituted by the
seriality of its anomolies:
o - u -
u - u -ni -
form - ity - o -
u - u - u - ni -
formity - o -
u - unit - de -
formity - u -
In the course of her very
short career — she died of brain tumor in 1970, possibly
caused by the toxic materials with which she worked — Eva
Hesse produced among the most powerful bodies of structural anti-fascist
work of any 20th century artist.
On May 10, 2006, Rae
Armantrout recorded two half-hour Close Listening programs
with me at the WPS1.Org. Clocktower
studios in lower Manhattan. In the weeks ahead, the shows will
be broadcast on WPS1, but we've made them available now on PennSound.As
with all PennSound audio archive files, these are downloadable
MP3s. A full listing of Close
Listeningshows is available at PennSound.
in Conversation: Rae Armantrout in conversation with Charles Bernstein
on on the truth in poetry, on religion, on living in Southern
California, and on the nature of lyric poetry. She also discusses
a couple of the poems read on the other Close Listening show.
Star Black took this picture of
Barbara Guest and me at the PSA Frost Medal ceremony in 1999.
John Tranter published, in Jacket, the introduction I
wrote for that occasion. After Barbara died last February, Albert
Mobilio asked me to write an essay about her for Bookforum.
I decided to go back to the Frost Medal piece and take it from
there. "Composing Herself" was published in the March/April
issue of Bookforum:
Thomas McEvilley in conversation with Charles Bernstein on cultural
exchanges between ancient India and classical Greece; on anti-art,
postmodernism, and aesthetics; on how he became an art critic;
and on the new critical writing program at the School for Visual
Arts. Tom and I recorded the show on April 28 at WPS1's Clocktower
Studios in Manhattan:
McEvilley is the Director of the new Art Criticism and Writing
Program at The School for Visual Arts in New York. His most recent
book is The Triumph of Anti-Art: Conceptual and Performance
Art in the Formation of Post-Modernism. His other books include
The Shape of Ancient Thought, Art and Discontent, Art
and Otherness, The Exile's Return: Toward a Redefinition
of Painting for the Post-Modern Era, and a poem/novel, North
Thomas McEvilley reads Homer, Sappho, Aeschylus, and Meleajer
in Greek, with translation and commentary, in a "Close Listening" program
from WPS1.Org, that we've just released at PennSound/Classics.
The program is about half an hour.
In the summer of 2000, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and I collaborated
on an email dialog, which was published in Conjunctions, issue
number 35, the special "American Poetry: States of the Arts" issue.
In honor of the publication of Mei-mei's new book from the University
of California Press, I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems,
here is the dialog, as originally published. Poems of Mei-mei's
and of mine, discussed in the interview, were published
in the issue of Conjunctions.
after the Charles Alexander & Rodrigo Toscano reading on
at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York
Judith Malina & Hannon Resnikov
performed W. H. Auden's "Refugee Blues," in recognition
of the national wave of protests against U.S. immigration policy.
The last few lines are cut off from the PennSound recording,
but you can read the whole
Auden poem here:
(Judith Malina and Julian Beck founded The Living Theater; Malina's
most recent appearance in popular culture was a cameo in
a recent episode of The Sopranos.)
May 11, New York. —The first night of "Plays on Words,” the
poets theater festival at the Ontological Hysteric Theater was
a delight for mind, ear, and eye. 22 short pieces were performed,
providing a glimpse of 22 different approaches to writing and
directing, a veritable primer for poets theater. The no-budget
evening of imaginatively staged readings was filled with possibilities,
which, if not always fully realized, were continually engaging.
Tony Torn, Lee Ann Brown, and Corinna Copp are to be congratulated,
and supported, for starting off what I hope will be an annual
affair. I was glad to be a part of this: Leandra Ramm, a young
and very talented singer, did a great job performing the weather
aria from Ben Yarmolinsky and my “Blind Witness News.” The
show-stealer was surely four-year-old Miranda, daughter of Lee
Ann and Tony, whose several appearance were nothing short of
star turns. However, for me the real hit of the evening was Tony
Torn himself, doing one brilliant piece of acting after another,
from a great rendition of Gregory Corso in Tom Savage’s
amusing “Mouth Play” (directed by Mallory Catlet)
to a scarily comic version of Richard Nixon in Rachel Loden’s “A
Quaker Meeting in Yorba Linda” (directed by David Henderson)
to, finally, a tour-de-force in Kelly Cooper’s “I’m
doing fine,” in which Torn provided several dozen different
readings of the title line. Tony, really, you are doing fine.
The festival continues tomorrow (Friday, May 12) – and
I have a chance for my big break. I will be playing the (small)
part of Jason Robards opposite the real Kate Valk (playing herself)
and Angelica Torn (playing Hannah Schygulla) in Brian Kim Stefan’s
short play “Were Stones Gather.” Also on the bill:
works by Charles Borkhuis and David Henderson.
More info below.
of Tony Torn, above, from a 2000 production of Ionesco's "The
Poetry Reading in Central Park, New York, 1969. From left: Michael Benedikt, John Perrault, Vito Acconci, John Giorno, and Hannah Weiner
from David Antin's review of the poems of Vito Acconci in the March 2006 Artforum
[April 25, 2006]
photo: Joel Kusza
The week before last, I visited Indiana University of Pennsylvania at the invitation of Ken Sherwood and Joel Kuszai. I had an excellent time meeting with students and faculty, including David Downing, Claude Mark Hurlbert, and Mark Cell. I read at the common space at the Commonplace Coffeehouse. During the day I had the occasion to visit the Jimmy Stewart Museum, where I had a chance to meet Harvey, who was despondent after reading the latest issue of the The Writer's Chronicle of the Associated Writing Programs (he had long ago cancelled his free subscription, but said the issues just kept coming to the museum). I gave Harvey a copy of the latest issue of Works & Days (published at IUP), a special issue dedicated to Richard Ohmann, in hopes that it would encourage him to adopt Gramscian attitude: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.
Poetry Off the Books: The Internet is where poetry proliferates by Craig Morgan Teicher Publisher's Weekly, 4/10/2006
[April 21, 2006]
Open echo for environments on 24th century studies for a teleference in sector 930 next Fall. Models and habitats only – please no unilinear submissions. Arenas to include the limits of interspecies literary productions; eugenics, cosmetology and the new body; syntactic exfoliation and hybrid vocalization in post-WHA [western hemisphere alliance] poetics; abandonment and desperation in earth-oriented performance 2315-2330; network outages and the new Luddism; and copyright and tariff control in compressed space. Send proposals to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
How many Lacanians does it take to install indoor/outdoor porch/patio fluorescent lighting?
[April 2, 2006]
Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964) sang "The Nickel under the Foot" from The Cradle Will Rock at a party for Bertolt Brecht in 1936. Labor Notes features this recording (in RealAudio) as its April "Song of the Month," along with a detailed commentary by Leonard Lehrman. Lehrman also has made available, on his web site, the lyrics to Blitzstein's labor songs (a couple of Blitzstein's own lyrics as well as lyrics he set by Alfred Hayes and Eva Goldbeck).
On April 4, the Academy of American Poets will launch National Poetry Month™, as they have in the past few years, with a program entitled Poetry & The Creative Mind, presented at Lincoln Center. Announced readers are Meryl Streep, Wynton Marsalis, Julia Ormond, Alan Alda, Wendy Whelan, Mike Wallace, Dianne Wiest, Oliver Sacks, Gloria Vanderbilt, William Wegman, and Christopher Durang.
What a brilliant idea! Many involved with trying to do fundraising for poetry have encountered a huge obstacle again and again: poets and poetry. After hours of discussion, we have often realized that if only we were trying to raise money for something else, our silent auctions and cocktail receptions wouldn’t end up losing almost as much money as our book and magazine publications and web sites.
Perhaps the Academy will be starting a trend:
A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Benefit Reading with Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, Mike Wallace, and Samuel R. Delany.
A Debutante Costume Ball in Celebration of 300 Years of Jews in New York, featuring Pat Boone singing “Kol Nidre,” the Morman Tabernacle Choir doing “Hatikvah,” and a special appearance by Meryl Streep as Moses.
Actually, the model for this year’s National Poetry Month™ gala appears to be the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Marathon, which features celebrities on behalf of the MD-afflicted.
Just up at PennSound: my Studio 111 interview with Tom Raworth, recorded this past Monday, along with a recording of his spectacular Kelly Writers House reading from the same day, which includes "Writing," and "Logbook." While we're at it, we are in the process of adding to Raworth's PennSound page his reading at the Segue / Bowery Poetry Club on March 11 and his 19991 reading in Buffalo — work on this should be complete by the end of the week.
At Monday's reading, Tom read "Listen Up" (1:25, 1.3 mb) the perfect poem to mark the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq:
Listen Up by Tom Raworth
(orignally published in CounterPunch on March 18, 2003)
Why should we listen to Hans Blix
and all those other foreign pricks:
the faggot French who swallow snails
and kiss the cheeks of other males:
the Germans with their Nazi past
and leather pants and cars that last
longer than ours: the ungrateful Chinks
we let make all our clothes; those finks
should back us in whatever task--
we shouldn't even have to ask:
and as for creepy munchkin Putin...
a slimy asshole-- no disputing!?
We saved those Russians from the reds--
they owe support. Those wimpish heads
of tiny states without the power
to have a radio in the shower
should fall in line behind George Bush
and join with him and Blair to push
the sword of truth through Saddam's guts
(no need for any ifs or buts)
we'll even do it without the backing
of UN cowards and their quacking--
remember how we thrashed the Nips
and fried them like potato chips?
God's on our side, he's white and Yankee
he'd drop the bombs, he'd drive a tank: we
know he's stronger than their Allah
as is our righteousness and valor!
We'll clip Mohammed's ears and pecker
And then move on to napalm Mecca.
cipM- centre international de poésie Marseille - has made available a remarkable set of audio files of poets reading at the center (streaming only, unfortunately), including Anne-Marie Albiach, Eugen Gomringer, Emmanuel Hocquard, Jacques Rouboud. Claude Royet-Journoud, Bernard Noel, Michel Deguy, Bernard Heidseck, Edoardo Sanguineti, Christophe Tarkos, Kati Molnar, Oilvier Cadiot, and Pascal Quignard, with some Americans too.
In March We Remember
Thoughts About Peace in a Time of War
Wednesday, March 8, 7pm
Cooper Union, New York
An event of contemporary concert music, poetry readings, and visual
images, sponsored the The Brooklyn Rail and Ensemble Pi.
Free admission / donations welcome.
Participant artists include composers Frederic Rzewski, Elias
Tanenbaum, composer/performers Kristin Norderval and Philip Wharton
in collaboration with Ensemble Pi, led by pianist Idith Meshulam.
Poetry readings by Charles Bernstein and Peter Lamborn Wilson, film
by Carolee Schneemann.
Visual images selected from the archives of the art critic David Levi Strauss.
With showcases of several independent publishers including Seven
Stories Press, The New Press, Akashic Books, Verso Books, and Autonomedia.
The event is made possible by the support of the Lower Manhattan
Cultural Council, the Edward T. Cone Foundation, and Cooper Union.
Ammiel Alcalay, Politics & Translation
Charles Bernstein, Breaking the Translation Curtain: The Homophonic Sublime
Norma Cole ,Nines and Tens: A Talk on Translation
Marcella Durand, What Makes It New: The Secret Springs of French Poetry
Forrest Gander, Homage to Translation
Bill Marsh, Poetry in Gesturo-Haptic Translation
Sawako Nakayasu, Keeping it Sounding Real (Strange)
Kristin Prevallet, Risking It: Scandals, Teaching, Translation
Ryoko Sekiguchi, Self Translation, or the Artifice of Constraint
Jonathan Skinner, A Note On Trobar Petit Chansonnier: Provenal Lyrics
Rick Snyder, The Politics of Time: New American Versions of Paul Celan
Jalal Toufic: An Interview
Keith Waldrop, Translation as Collaboration
Rosmarie Waldrop, Irreducible Strangeness
Chet Wiener. The Legacy and Future of "Horizontal" and "Vertical" Translation in Contemporary Poetry
FV: What do you see as most vital about the state of contemporary American poetry and what do you see as most troubling—if anything?
SH: Despite our prevailing anti-intellectualism I feel part of an innovative tradition among poets that is very much alive and courageously independent, if you consider the political tragedy and corruption of recent years. This tradition is particularly to be found in small presses, because they haven't entered into the capitalist nexus and dare to do the unexpected. In some ways the Internet has made access to cutting edge work easier because it is easier to locate books on line. I don't care if poets have small audience in terms of this culture's insatiable desire for blockbuster ratings or numbers of Internet hits on a title or author's name. Numbers aren't everything. Some powerful work is quiet and at first may even seem to set up defenses against being approached. Maybe in these noisy bloated times poetry on the page doesn't provide the instant emotional immersion and immediacy of films such as Notre Musique. On the other hand, John Ashbery's splendid new collection Where Shall I Wander has recently been published. Elizabeth Willis is fine-tuning Meteoric Flowers for Wesleyan University Press. The Boston Review prints poems in each issue that are far more intellectually ambitious than poetry I read in in The London Review of Books, or the TLS. Flood Editions, an independent press for poetry and short fiction founded in Chicago in 2001, is thriving. In Berkeley SPD continues its important work, distributing independently-published books around the country and the world. The Library of America edition of Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose, edited by Frank Kermode and Joan Richardson is here beside me. By opening it I can rendezvous with my “Interior Paramour.” Through the perfection of sound in his words I approach “those sanctions that are the reasons for his being and for that occasional ecstasy, or ecstatic freedom of the mind that is his special privilege.”
Sara Fishko broadcast a short radio essay this morning on WNYC on Artist's Politics, focussing on Elia Kazan and Ezra Pound (including an interview with Richard Schickel). The show is archived on "The Fishko Files" web site. This is the second time I have been on "The Fishko Files"; the first was a show on poetry readings, which included Ann Lauterbach: "Poet's Voices": July 11, 2003 (6:53): mp3.
Leonard Schwartz's Cross-Cultural Poetics has recently archived a recent interview about, and reading from, Shadowtime: part one (28:02), part two (30:07). Also available on Cross-Cultrual Poetics is my 2004 interview on, and reading from, World on Fire: (31:53): MP3 (31MB), RealAudio (17MB).
[Feb. 17, 2006]
From an interview with Romana Freschi , Buenos Aires, June 2005, originally published in Spanish in Plebella, No. 6, December 2005.
And how do you relate to the fact that shape gets somehow old, inevitably?
I don't have any formula for what poem should be like. You can't say, a priori, what style a poem should have, what voice a poem should channel, whether it should be narrative or not narrative, lyric or not lyric, striated or smooth. It's not possible to prescribe because what's most interesting about poetry is how it responds to emerging circumstance and its local languages, local places; to the most local part of your mind; to the intersection of so many different, not necessarily definable, factors, which are specific for every poet and for every different point in time, and even for yourself as you move through time. So there is that provisionalty, that response to contingent circumstance, that seems to me what's innovative in poetry. Poetic innovation is pragmatic. Innovation is what lets you resolve emerging problems as they pop up, mostly unexpectedly and often unhappily. But better than innovation, call it ingenuity. It's not something rarified or, well, avant-garde. On the contrary, it's the absence of ingenuity that takes poetry out of everday life. Official Verse Culture, for example, in its refusal of new forms of poetry, clings to a past that has already passed by, making poetry something that resembles corpses in a museum. But when we are speaking of innovation, we are speaking of the basic condition of poetry. It comes down to the ability to stay attuned to, to stay in touch with, your responsiveness to the world you find yourself in.
I'll give you an analogy: When people disparage what they hear as nonsense or meaningless language they say, Oh that's just like children, it’s babble. It sounds as if, somehow, they have left their childhoods behind them. But for me, on the contrary, the people who say that have lost access to the sonic and acoustic potential within language, have lost touch with a part of themselves, and a part of the human world, that stays with us until the time that we die. The poetry of language, let’s call it, is not just for children. The loss, or denial, is not of childhood – we all grow up – but of what even little children know. Blame it in on your education, your rationality, your socialized mind. Maybe what is so frustrating about “difficult” poetry is that it is an unwelcome reminder of the loss of poetry in our everyday lives; the fact that we have too quickly and with too little thought turned the paradise of language into a game of cards. ...
Barbara Guest died last night in Berkeley. I got the news this afternoon from her daughter Hadley. For now, I want to recast some remarks I made on the occasion of Guest receiving the Frost Medal of the Poetry Society of America in 1999:
I want to thank Barbara Guest for a lifetime of poetry for which we, as readers, have been unprepared -- to thank her for continually testing the limits of form and stretching the bounds of beauty, for expanding the imagination and revisioning -- both revisiting and recasting -- the aesthetic. For we are still unprepared for Guest: she has never quite fit our pre-made categories, our expectations, our explanations. She has written her work as the world inscribes itself, processurally, without undue obligation to expectation, and with a constant, even serene, enfolding in which we find ourselves folded.
Guest's work seeks neither recognition nor acknowledgement but that a fair realism may awake in us as we read, inspired not by the author but by the whirls and words and worlds that she has enacted in these numinous works:
The Location of Things (Tibor de Nagy, 1960) Poems: The Location of Things, Archaics, The Open Skies (Doubleday & Company, 1962) The Open Skies (1962) The Blue Stairs (Corinth Books, 1968)
Moscow Mansions (Viking, 1973) The Countess from Minneapolis (Burning Deck, 1976) Seeking Air (Black Sparrow, 1977; reprint, Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1997) The Türler Losses (Montréal: Mansfield Book Mart, 1979) Biography (Burning Deck, 1980) Quilts (Vehicle Edition, 1981) Herself Defined: The Poet H. D. and Her World (Doubleday & Company, 1984) Fair Realism (Sun & Moon Press, 1989)
Defensive Rapture (Sun & Moon Press, 1993) Selected Poems (Sun & Moon Press, 1995) Quill Solitary, Apparition (The Post-Apollo Press, 1996) Seeking Air (Sun & Moon Press, 1997) Etruscan Reader VI (with Robin Blaser and Lee Harwood)(1998)
Rocks on a Platter (Wesleyan, 1999) If So, Tell Me (Reality Street Editions, UK, 1999)
The Confetti Trees (Sun & Moon, 1999) Symbiosis (Berkeley: Kelsey Street Press, 2000)
Miniatures and Other Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2002) Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing (Kelsey Street Press, 2003) Durer in the Window: Reflexions on Art (Roof Books, 2003) The Red Gaze (Wesleyan University Press, 2005)
Douglas Messerli has launched a new web bimonthly, The Green Integer Review. The Review features historical and contemporary works with a commitment to the international and translation. Among those featured in the first issue are Elsa von Fretag-Loringhoven, Benjamin Péret, Jean Cocteau, Linh Dinh, and Jacques Roubaud, along with several reviews by Messerli. The Green Integer web site has also added a complete catalog of Green Integer books, an immensely valuable resource.
[Feb. 11, 2006]
Maggie O'Sullivan has a new web page
featuring the full text of Murmer, "all origins are lonely", own land (from Waterfalls); as well as critical readings and biographical and bibliograpical information.
Violet Island and Other Poems, tr. Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen (Green Integer, 2004)
Reina Maria Rodriguez sings across borders of real bodies and image nations. A critical voice for a poetics of the Americas hundreds of years in the making, Rodriguez's poems overflow with insistent rhythms of everyday, refracted by a hundred mirrors facing inward, adjacent, beyond; turning on the promise of each next line. This poetry expresses the necessity not of phrase or stanza, not of breath or idea ... but of motion.
Steve Evans has temporarily made available on-line his stinging discussion of the Ruth Lilly’s hundred-million-dollar gift to Poetry Magazine/The Poetry Foundation: Free (Market) Verse.
The following two letters appeared in the April 21, 2004, letters column of The New York Times, with the headline used above, resonding to a puff (aka "news") article on the bequest.
To the Editor:
A multimillion-dollar gift to the Poetry Foundation (Arts pages, April 19) is good for poetry in the sense that a multimillion-dollar gift to the Heritage Foundation is good for politics. Whose politics? Whose poetry?
New York, April 19, 2004
To the Editor:
Re "A Passion for Poetry (and Profits): Charting a Literary Course With $100 Million" (Arts pages, April 19): As a poet who has benefited during her life from money dispensed by several foundations, I would prefer to live in a society with a progressive tax system, universal health care, adequate housing for people of modest income, a living minimum wage, social security and excellent public education (including the arts).
The selective dispensations of private foundation money can help sustain a few individuals and projects. But finally, the artist must grow, live and work within a society. A more just allocation of the resources of our society would be the true guarantor and benefactor of art.
Santa Cruz, Calif., April 19, 2004
[Feb. 4, 2006]
For Nam June Paik (1932--2006)
Spent light’s pooled mirror
Wet green in vertical beam
Chill out -- chaos binds
Image: Nam June Paik, Jacob's Ladder — 2000
In collaboration with Norman Ballard / Laser, water, mirrors, steel
[February 2, 2006]
Poem #14 from Reding Red, poems written for a series of 25 paintings by Richard Tuttle and published in 1998 by Walther König (Cologne).
[Feb. 8, 2006]
Thom Donovan reports on the Whitney Museum's poetry reading for Richard Tuttle.
[Feb. 6, 2006]
I Love Poets - Thursday, January 26, 2006 7 pm to 10 pm
The Whitney Museum of American Art
74th Street & Madison Ave., New York
Readings on the occasion of The Art of Richard Tuttle
Thursday, January 26 7pm
Jonathan Skinner reading Anne-Marie Albiach
Richard Tuttle reading Barbara Guest
Admission:$8; members, senior citizens, and students with valid ID $6. Advance sales are strongly recommended, as seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased at the Museum Admissions Desk or reserved at (212) 570-7715 or email@example.com.
Régis Bonvicino is the author of Sky-Eclipse: Selected Poems
Translated from the Portuguese by Michael Palmer, Jennifer Sarah Coper, Scott Bentley, Chris Daniels, Regina Alfarano, Guy Bennett, Charles Perrone, Charles Bernstein, Dana Stevens, John Milton, Robert Creeley and Douglas Messerli & editor, with Michael Palmer and Nelson Ascher, of the bilingual anthology
& editor, with Michael Palmer and Nelson Ascher, of Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets
The PIP (Project for Innovative Poetry) Series of World of Poetry of the 20th Century
PennSound features a 1998 bilingual reading I did with Régis; we have added links to the blingual texts for a number of the poems, so it is possible to follow along whether or not you know Portuguese.
poster for NY launch; click on image for larger view
[Jan. 17, 2005]
The Romantic Circles Web Site has been putting up mp3s of poets reading poems from the Romantic period. You can hear Johanna Drucker reading Byron, Bill Berkson reading "Ozymandious" and Rae Armanrout reading "To a Skylark," Ken Edwards reading Blake's "London," with many more to come.
The stand-out in this set is Geraldine Monk reading Thomas Lovell Beddoes's "We do lie beneath the grass."
And at PennSound/Classics, among our most downloaded files are David Wallace reading Chaucer and John Richetti reading Swift and Pope.
"At times the debates over feminism and feminist art takes on the characteristics of daytime soap opera, complete with contested inheritances, angry aging divas, and beautiful young women suffering from the convenient onset of amnesia." -- from "She Demon ..."
"She Demon Spawn from Hell," an introduction to the M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online republication of The ism that dare not speak its name, originally published in Documents No. 15 (Spring/summer 1999) is occasioned by performance artist Tamy Ben-Tors anti-feminist performance on January 7 at the panel Feminisms in Four Generations, moderated by Roberta Smith, with panelists Ben-Tor, Collier Schorr, Barbara Kruger, and Joan Snyder, held at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City as part of the 5th Annual New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend.
[Jan. 6/13, 2006]
Poets' Ludicrously Aimless Yearning (PLAY) is pleased to announce: The Experiments List: 2006
Dispense only as appropriate and under the supervision of an attending reader. Individual experiments are not liable for injury or failure resulting from improper use of appliance. Any profits accrued as a direct or indirect result of the use of these formulas shall be redistributed to the language at large. Management assumes no responsibility for damages that may result consequent to the use of this material in educational institutions or individual writing project.
"Use absolutely no word that contributes to the direct sense of a thing seen." – Hermes Hermeneutic, The Seventeenth Manifesto of Nude Formalism
[Jan. 10, 2006]
[posted December 2005]
Blind Witness News is being revived in a funny, bouyant production by the Cantiamo Opera Theater as part of their New Works Festival. Two performances left: December 17, 18. It's at the West End Theater at 263 West 86th Street (West End Avenue). Music by Ben Yarmolinsky, libretto by Charles Bernstein, first performed in 1990; this was the first of three Yarmolinksy-Bernstein collaborations. This comic opera follows the structure of an half-hour 11 o'clock newscast. Nathan Resika and Deborah Karpel play anchors Jack James and Jill Johns, Leandra Ramm plays weatherperson Jane Jones, and Aram Tchobanian plays sportscaster John Jacks. Ishmael Wallace accompanies on piano. After an intermission, two other new operas will be presented. Tickets at Theatermania.
This is adapted from the opening of Blind Witness News:
Tonight's top story is war
Holy War in the North
Holy War in the East
Holy War in the West
Victory! Victory! Soon to be ours!
War, war, holy war War, war, holy war
Victory! Victory! Soon to be ours!
War, war, holy war War, war, holy war
Against the menace foreign
Menace at home
Menace that tears and gnaws
Menace no solace abjures
Except to pluck it out
Except to pluck it out
No means to bail
But tell tale told
Outbend the song
Menace that crawls and sprawls
Menace no solace obscures
Except to pluck it out
Except to pluck it out
Outbend the song
Tears and gnaws
Unjarred too long
In wet and tattered fray
Who felt too far, or lay too near
And falling felt astounding blow
'Gainst all that slay
In combat's boulevards
What heart no longer plays
Heart no longer pays
Except to pluck it out
Except to pluck it out
Except to pluck it out
1. Heraklitus [fragments]
2. Plato, Cratylus 3. Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 4. Augustine, Confessions 5. Descartes, Meditations 6. Spinoza, Ethics 7. Leibniz, Monadology 8. Rousseau, Emile 9. Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women 10. Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments 11. Nietzche, The Genealogy of Morals 12. Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon”
13. Wilde, The Decay of Lying
1. Adorno, Negative Dialectics 2. Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interest 3. Hillberg, The Destruction of the European Jews 4. Foucault, Power/Knowledge 5. Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses"
6. Goffman, Frame Analysis 7. Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One 8. Benjamin, “Doctrine of the Similar”
9. Cavell, The Senses of Walden 10. Barthes, Writing Degree Zero 11. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations 12. Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life 13. Weil, Gravity and Grace
8. H. James
1. The New American Poetry: 1945-1960, ed. Don Allen
2. From the Other Side of the Century: A New American Poetry, 1960-1990, ed. Douglas Messerli; &, also edited by Messleri: Language Poetries: An Anthology 3. Revolution of the Word: A New Gathering of American Avant Garde Poetry 1914- 1945 , ed. Jerome Rothenberg; &, also edited by Rothenberg, Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa , America , Asia , Europe and Oceania 4. American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, vols. 1 and 2 ( New York : The Library of America , 2000)
5. In the American Tree: Language, Realism, Poetry, ed. Ron Silliman
6. SHI: A Radical Reading of Chinese Poetry, Yunte Huang
7. Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology, ed. Paul Hoover
8. Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Books of Modern and Postmodern Poetry , vols. 1 and 2, ed. Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris
9. 500 Years of Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology, ed. Cecilia Vicuna and Ernesto Grosman (forthcoming)
10. The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry, ed. Paul Auster; The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry , ed. Mary Ann Caws
11. Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women, ed. Mary Margaret Sloan
12. Out of Everywhere: An Anthology of Contemporary Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America & the UK , ed. Maggie O’Sullivan
13. Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry, ed. Keith Tuma & Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970, ed. Richard Caddel and Peter Quartermain
Two collections I edited: 43 Poets (1984) (boundary 2, 1987) and 99 Poets/1999: An International Poetics Symposium (boundary 2, 1999, available as a book from Duke University Press).
This list was compiled for The Poet's Bookshelf: Contemporary American poets on the Books that Shaped Their Art, ed. Peter Davis (Selman: Ind.: Barnwood Press).
[Jan. 1, 2005]
In the Fall of 2004, George and Mike Kuchar were honored at the New York Film Festival with a screening of their brilliant, funny, and wildy ingenious work. The Kuchars's extemporaneous commentary after the show were both hillarious and inspiring: as good as the best of the films. A few months before, George screened his new video for a small group of us at Mimi Gross's loft. It was made with his students at the San Francisco School of the Arts, based on his screenplay of the previous year, The Kiss of Frankenstein. George filmed this script again the following year. George Kuchar's screenplay for The Kiss of Frankenstein is now available at PEPC.
[Dec. 29, 2005]
Just up on PennSound: MP3s of my 1977 reading at the Place Center, New York; including poems from Shade, Senses of Responsibility, and The Occurrence of Tune. My co-reader for this event was Kathy Acker. Although this reading was listed, with a picture, in the Village Voice (could it be?) "$2.50 and under" listing, there was not a single person at the event that I didn't know.
&, by coincidence, from around the same time, this picture with Nick Piombino — posted yesterday at Fait Accompli: