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Showing posts from January, 2004
American Poetry acccording to a few hundred students at UNCG:


Most students in four different classes had friends who wrote poetry and read at coffee shops. Quite a few thought a poet was polite, agreeable. A nice dinner guest. Only a few thought of a poet as crazy and dangerous (we were discussing the Irish bard and Yeats Hanrahan). Most thought American poets are all songwriters/rappers.

Audience was a big harping during my four years of grad school. My mentor Bruce Beasley was not concerned about a huge audience. A small intense audience is better than millions of adoring fans who only see the surface? Even if that intense audience consists mostly of other poets?

I am happy with an audience. Should I be uncomfortable with an audience mostly of peers?

Not sure. But I've got to sneeze.

It's got to be true it's got to be true:
the writing itself is central.
Audience, recognition second.



My cat has a feather and treats it like a baby.

Sometimes I want to rip the alphabe…
What is the relationship between retire and tire?

For and between also interest me.

If I am between Irish nationalism and cosmopolitanism what am I for?

or (as the small stirs indicate almost to the point of a dead horse)

If I am between

language as multivocal, flux filled, slidding, anxiety ridden
and
language as steady, horn in the hand, ding ding ding, lightbulb

what I am for?

If I am unsure what I am for then
can I be sure what I am against?

What if what I am against is also
what I am for?

I am between, against, and for at all times and at all places.

Never hot, cold, or lukewarm. All three at once.



O.k.

It is time to retire for the evening with my stuffy head so you sleep medicine.

Paz is on my brain. Paz can stay on my brain.


Swimming underwater today with head cold.

I've been thinking a lot about period styles (conversational narrative etc.)
Sebastian Matthews came last week and read some poems and part of the memoir. Did not enjoy it. William Matthews is ok, but not very interesting. I am not sure why (other than recognition, status as son of etc.) a memoir that restates all the old conventions of artist as fucked up, unconventional etc. So what? maybe I'm not being fair since I didn't read the whole memoir, but the parts Sebastian read were boring as hell.

So do we ignore the worry of being swept up by a period style and just write from gut. instinct. diverse readings across time and space etc. ?

Again cross pollination as impure versus cross pollination as possibility. Take a little Paz mix it with a little Simic, Lorca, O' Hara, Kinnell, memory, your experience of and with language, and what do you get? Something new?

Does novelty carry a negative (i.e. fad)? I'm constantly search…
I am looking at:
a nice color plate of Dali's Night and Day Clothes

and listening to:
Bonnie Prince Billy's "wolf among wolves."

The combination is moving me.

juxtapositions that buzz.

Snow on the ground. Cold fingers. I don't have to teach today because of the ice. Cuddle up to Dali, Bonnie prince billy, an issue of Lit (Spring '01 with Richard Siken), and Word open and ready to revise.

Worked with Dan Albergotti last night on revising some poems for Story South. He has an amazing eye. And I mean amazing. Good poet as well.

here we go here we go here we gooo o (my football chant).

Isolation makes me happy. No cars on the street. So peaceful.
Summer depresses me. Everything so open. I can hide easier in winter.




Gotta read Yeats "The Twisting of the Rope" and prepare a lesson plan for it. A little Celtic Twilight lecture perhaps.

Listening to Czech music. Jaromir Hohavica and Kapela.

I am wondering about poetry and performance after listening to Craig Arnold the other day. I like poetry read well, or well read poetry, but sometimes the over dramatic puts me off. I don't like things too quiet though. Maybe it all depends on the poet and their poetry. Maybe some poetry is better for performance while other poetry is meant to be savored. Rich, dense poetry for example. John Latta's reading allowed me to pay attention to the rich language. If he "acted" it, I think a lot would have been lost.

Ah, this czech music isn't very good. I'm switching to Flaming Lips.

I suppose performance needs to be defined. Is a silent reading to oneself a performance? In other words is all reading a performance even if silent? (the voice in our heads is a performance).

Somehow we …
Boy with the arab strap is working for me this morning.

Been thinking of ways I don't want to go:

1) Foaming at the mouth
2) With a priest hovering over me
3)Tubes and a breathing machine
4) Unaware (i.e. out of my mind)
5) gun shot to head
6) hanging
7) gutting
8) electric jolts
9) Decap (via accident or otherwise)
10) clamps to the head
11) black and decker drill to the knees then temples

Cold hands in this room. My study room is always cold. No heating vents. Gotta get me some holy gloves.

The Boy with the Arab Strap

Sleep the clock around kicks in the joy. A cup of coffee. re-reading Palmer's At Passages. He is so amazing.

Going to hear Craig Arnold read at 2pm today. Haven't read any of his poems before. He's one of those Yale winners.

Daddy long legs. Useless jaws. Sometimes I wonder when the poor buggers jaws will start working (via evolution). I don't want to be the first one to get the bite though.

Ate meat (red) for the first time in a while at the bar last night. I've been worrying the swiss cheese brain via mad cow for a while. But it could take 6 years (or 10 or 15 everyone has different info) for it to manifest.

I love Morning Star Farms though. The bacon isn't so good. But the sausage and all the burgers. Yum.

Working on an opening poem for a second manuscript. making it a tad long. Palmer and Grossman are having a way with me.

Thin SASE in the mail yesterday. Thought: another rejection. But it was an acceptance from Conduit.

happy evening.

happy morning.
So the mac version of blogger is different. Not a split window. Maybe nicer.

Watched Lost in Translation last night. I enjoyed it quite a bit. The inaudible whisper near the end. Most of the movie uses gestures more than conversation. Emotion is lost in translation from movie to audience.

Which came first, the emotion/experience or the language?

Experience births language, then language births experience, then experience births language etc. (or no then. It's all happening at once)

Language used to create reality versus language used to describe reality.

The encounter with nothingness. Is it over yet?

It's only begun.



Neck Popping feels good in the morning after a night of gorging on brick oven pizza, Guinness, Genache, coffee.

Watched In America last night. Felt quite familiar. I came to America at the age of 12 from N. Ireland. It was 1985. Breakdancing was big.

My preconception of America was built around movies (of course). Esp. E.T. There's a scene where they eat Pizza Hut pizza. I wanted Pizza Hut.

Instead we landed in Las Vegas in July and headed to a K-Mart for our first American hamburger. My Dad purchased plastic cowboy boots for the whole family. He laid insulation.

Then mormondom, strange underwear, and disowning of my accent.

What is an accent? Assimilation, melting pot. The ideology of a melting pot. Not sure what I think yet. My first instinct is against it. The idea of homogeneous etc.

Difference etc.

But then Irish, Italian, Ukrainian neighborhoods? Separate communities to maintain the integrity of a culture? I admit, I often wish we landed in NY or Boston instead of Las Veg…
Moses and the wine part two.
Or Jesus, the camel, and the death of fatherhood.



If wavering is to stray then the narrow road requires flexible horses
to get through the eye of the needle.

If home is an interior then not home is . . .

What a strange, profound, bewildering wilderness

We invented off-hand wavering to wake up in an orchard of fermented fruit.





Abstractness in poetry an end in itself? Abstract grounded is the "common" Williams wisdom. What makes a good abstract poem (Barbara Guest) versus bad abstract poem (teenage angst poem)?

All my wonder and awe nailed down in a narrative easy going poem is dishonest.
All my awe and wonder exploded into abstract tidbits sometimes feels dishonest.

So, the tidbits of narrative or dramatic situation help me to dig further intellectually and emotionally. Or emotionally intellectually. Emotion and intellect at war since the wee Greeks invented reasoning etc.

Here comes the sun.

Gotta get ready to teach George Moore's "Hom…
Some Fragments soon to be made whole


At the thumbshow my lover parades like a peacock.
The minions are swept off their feet.
Ash in the throat.
Clean wind is the cosolation of my future.
My lot behind twelve million clomping hooves.
It behooves you to bereave with bandits.
Glaciers recommended their services but brisk tails called me to distance.
The rigid arm pushes.
My lover a QB in a no-hurry huddle.



Poor Green Bay. 4th and 1 and they punted. Bad call.


First class for Irish lit yesterday. Most of the students are marketing majors. At least half of the students said they have never finished reading a whole book. None of them had heard of critical reading. I explained writing in margins or on a piece of paper. Engaging in conversation with the text etc.

Existentialism in a few hours. Gonna start off with American Beauty to get things rolling. The students responded well to that movie last semester. They had a hard time with The Seventh Seal (b&w and subtitles).

Contamination of th…
Consciousness without reason? If consciousness requires reason, then before the Greeks invented reason, no one was conscious? (William Barrett's argument in Irrational Man)

I am struggling to understand and define the illogical in language. Is language inherently logical?

Language and magic. Language before deconstruction. However, language is always already there. So to think of the prelinguistic is impossible. We cannot think of the prelinguistic without thinking of it first in terms of language. Things exist outside of language. Poet searches for language to describe the inhuman(defined as outside of language) but cannot. All poetry is thus about failure (which is almost a cliche now). How can the inhuman know anything about the human and vice versa? Where does the word inhuman come from? The desire for outside the self which never fully exists? Why the desire for outside? Does it help us in a biological/evolutionary sense? Perhaps the desire for outside (and the beginning of …
So, some great new books for christmas:

Allen Grossman, The Long Classroom and How to Do Things with Tears
and Of the Great House
Joyelle McSweeney, The Red Bird
Barbara Guest, The Location of Things, Archaics, The Open Skies
Best American 2002 (curious. Got it for $2)
Edward Dorn, Gunslinger
Octavio Paz, A Draft of Shadows
Aleksandar Ristovic, Devil's Lunch
Oni Buchanan, What Animal
Eleni Sikelianos, Earliest Worlds
Matthew Zapruder, American Linden

Finished Paz, Grossman's The Great House, Guest, Ristovic, Buchanan, and Zapruder. Got to get in some good reading before I start teaching next week.

"We live between the productive violence of representation as poetry and the destructive violence of representation as history" (Grossman, "Orpheus/Philomela")

Grossman idea is keep history as representation and poetry as representation apart. The poetic principle must not enter the actual world. The regulative difference between image and fact. Shakespeare's Titus sho…
Dream 1: Stuck in a village in the middle of the desert. The village resembles the salt lake city shopping village. White church in the hills. The village is full of prisoners and I am one of them. I ask around and no one knows how we got here. The guards do not know how they got here. I ask if we can escape and the guard says there's nowhere to go, it's all desert. Except the church with the glowing white cross. "The church could be nothing or it could be a sanctuary," the guard said. The guard told me we were all going to the lagoon and we would be swallowed by a giant blue snake. The choice was between the giant blue snake or the church with the white cross. All of us decided to stay in the village and face the blue snake.



Old Imac 2003

Purchased an old imac (233, 160mb ram). I hope it works well when it arrives. Tired of laptops. Pulled in by the marketing/design of the old imacs. The macs are artistic outsiders. Form and content not seperate for the mac (for pc it's all content, form is secondary). So very ugly mass produced pc's. So as a writer I buy an imac because imac markets to the ousider status of my status as outsider outsider poet.

On what level does the marketing strategies of the avant guarde persuade/convince young poets into their discourse communities? What are the marketing strategies of the avant guarde? Perpetual youth. Revolution. Change.

Still stuck on language. Language is stuck to me. What percentage of my brain processes images versus actually sound language? Do I see images more or hear words more? Is it possible for anything prelinguistic to be called thinking. Images without rhetoric. Can too much non-authorial intention crash the reader/writer contract? (yes, this could be marke…