by Mike

comments by:

Shawn I Mike

                for Standard Schaefer

        for word's lack of a better
        you and everyone and I would do it,

        provided we.  the typical bits (c'mon,
        baby, it's natural) would jangle

        in a pocket, wheat pennies awaiting
        their nostalgic mark-up.  Their noster

        make-up.  Later, the scene en toto
        would go in a bigger pocket, with

        the drummer from Toto "and your
        little dog too."  Much would be

        forgotten, though not the words to "Africa"                            
        of which I too am specially suspicious.

        Dendrite would leave the
        synapse, elope with a bum axon and

        we would meet on good terms, as
        at a wake.  You got lost, the direct-

        ions neglecting tunnel construction,
        you could've died, obviously, what're

        you going to do?  No, really.                                          

NOTE: Standard Schaefer is a terrific young west coast poet whose poem "My Pockets" appeared in COMBO 2. Does everyone know "Toto" the band from the early eighties who sang "Africa"?

Accourding to Shawn Walker:

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:00:09 -0500 (EST)   
From: swalker@dept.english.upenn.edu (Shawn Walker)

Hey, Mike.  I like reading your poems because they reming me of you.
"No, really."  I remember the song "Africa" and it's band.\

       turnover as splashes.  they have been called.
       the mystery of what did it fishes

I can hear you saying, with a knowing wink over the wall of sanctity,
"they have been called."  I'm not much of a fan of discussions of voice,     
but I can say I like it when a likeable voice is present, and then you
tell why people fall in love with poetry, especially when they are
reclusive.  It is not unpleasant to let your voice into my head while
reading your poems, as it is not unpleasant to have a conversation with
you.  This is not the case with all "voices."  Sometimes we like them
because they take over and rip us apart.  Sometimes we stop reading
because they do that.  I admire your unassuming humor and attentiveness.

Your documentary breeze is something to admire.  You/we're right in
with the palm trees.  I wonder what Florida looks like give or take a
hundred years/readings.


Accourding to Mike Magee:

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:00:09 -0500
From: mmagee@dept.english.upenn.edu (Michael Magee)     

Shawn, thanks for your response!  I don't want to preclude discussion by
interrupting "authorially" but you brought up 2 issues which interest me
alot: 1) "voice" which, as a poetic term I don't like much either but as a
musical term I like more - as in "voicing" in jazz: in simplest terms,
doubling, omitting, or adding (unexpectedly) notes to a chord.  Thelonious
Monk called it "using notes differently."  So, I think about an eccentric,
too-insistent repetition of sounds (for istance in these poems there are a
lot of "r" sounds I think) which might foreground the physicality of words
the way Monk foregrounds the piano itself (i.e. he's not just "playing
music" he's hitting on little black and white keys);
and 2) the Florida issue: "I wonder what Florida looks like give or take a
few hundred years/readings."  I wonder too but I try not to let it get in
the way of the poem while I'm writing it.  This is gonna sound stupid
maybe but while I'm writing I try to cultivate an attitude of, like,
"well, if its good enough someone will footnote it."  Of course I don't        
actually *believe* this but it gets the poem written and then I can see
what I have and decide.  It also occurs to me that there's a benefit to
writing insuch a way that the poem will resist "universalization" - I
don't want some Harold Bloom type  to say "Mike Magee speaks for all of
us" -- yikes!! I sure don't.  But to say, "this is how Florida ca. 1998
was mediating and being mediated by a particularly interesting, attentive
consciousness and this is the language of that exchange, 'the genuine
article'" -- that would be nice.  Or, equally nice: "there's enough going
on here and enough open-endedness that we can keep reading it in the
direction of our own concerns."  Something like that.    -m.