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Showing posts from February, 2005

reclaiming agency and thinking language


1) break the language to see what's underneath. Allow for paradox and competing representations.

2) speak clearly and efficiently. Less clouded than political speech. less abstract than academic discourse.

While both propositions are too simplified, it seems they are variations of the "experimental" and "conventional" approaches to poetry and language.

I am wondering if various techniques of breaking English can become frozen? a cold dot, depending.


1) aesthetic arrest
2) seen as beautiful or hip in and of itself)?

I am also wondering if taking the techniques of say Clark Coolidge and publishing it in Fence magazine creates a context in alignment with marketplace commodification of the "new" rather than the "new" as resistant to commodification?

Or is any resistance to the commodification of the "new" simply futile?


If c…

Kamu Brathwaite

I taught a little Kamu Brathwaite in my intro to poetry class today. Mostly we listened to to Kamu Brathwaite on Leonard Schwartz's Cross Cultural Poetics.

I was especially fascinated in hearing words as percussive.

Some notes from listening:

- god created the islands with a stone skip.

- "it" as percussive

- find vocabulary IN one another

- received language is sterile and speaks in abstractions. We need a transformation of received language

- poetry as a net

- trigger out the pentameter

- nation language as spirit possession

- language a nation

- American poetry and the use of the pause

- translation from American versus translation from English

- fragmented at the moment of creation. Wholeness is not a recovery project

- transgress the sedate rhythm

- word is action and discovery simultaneously

We going to discuss Aime Cesaire for Friday's class and Negritude. Jerome Rothenberg's Poems for the Millennium is one of a kind. I am learning a lot from teaching wit…

upcoming exhibition in Durham

My good friend Jake DeCola will be showing fifteen new sculptures in steel and bronze at the Durham Art Guild (120 Morris Street, Durham, NC) beginning this
Thursday, February 24. The opening at the gallery is from 5-7 this Thursday. The work will be on display until April 10.

Questions? contact the Guild at

If you're anywhere near Durham, check it out.

Cole Swensen and Joe Donahue

Cole Swensen and Joe Donahue
Originally uploaded by postpran.
Joe reads to Cole from his palm (reopen pic with a photo editing program. zoom/isolate Joe's palm to read his poem)

Laura and kathryn

Laura and kathryn
Originally uploaded by postpran.
At the Blue Door. Smiles all around.

fish projected, light, hands, more light, gardens, more light, and passionate politics

Another very interesting reading last night at the Internationalist. Chris Vitiello projected live fish swimming on an overhead projector and slides and ran a text loop with a film projector. In other words, a collage with real live animals.
He also made a great chapbook for the occassion (a gamebook for the perplexed). He opened the reading with a great little salespitch without naming the product (thus framing the reading and lubricating the audience at the same time).
Then he read a good chunk from _Irresponsibility_. It was nice to hear a larger chunk of the ms. Listen and contemplate the ethics of "accurate" language and working vacations. Ask him about his chapbook of games
(over at: The Delay). Maybe he has a few extra copies. It will amuse and chart new pathways for your own language games.

After Chris, Cole Swensen read some amazing poems about hands. Lyrical in the best sense. Like Chris, an exactness. Spare. Cut. She also read some fascinating poems that focused…

cole swenson reading tonight

Ken Rumble's Desert City Reading Series kicks ass! Here's the annoucement from Mr. Rumble:

Cole Swensen & Chris Vitiello This Saturday, February 19th

Please spread far and wide.........

Who: Cole Swensen, Finalist for the 2004 National Book Award in Poetry for her book Goest, author of 9 other collections of poetry, translator of some of the best of contemporary French poetry, a faculty member at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, also famous for building a life-size model of Big Ben out of America Online CDs.

Who: Chris Vitiello, author of Nouns Swarm a Verb, survivor of the Lucipo roadshow, rumored to be the head of a theatre group whose existence is itself rumored to be a rumor.

What: Desert City Poetry Series, when you care to hear the very best.

When: This Saturday, February 19th, 8:00pm, 2005.

Where: Internationalist Books, 405 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Why: "I've / always / wanted / said the painter // and so he did" "Am I sup…

how to measure the energy of words?

while the energy of words are difficult to measure, I do find myself drawn toward the fast-paced, high energy performances of Miles Champion, Rod Smith, and most of all Tom Raworth. I just ordered Tom Raworth's collected poems. I am excited to read it from cover to cover.

I am wondering about speed and energy (i.e. Dada). Do any words read quickly transmit the same energy? I am inclinded to believe the words do matter. Not just in terms of sound but also in terms of image and diction. Bruce Andrews is amazing when sound, diction, and image come together (the intellect comes later for me). Dada strikes me as the movement with a lot of untapped potential (including its built-in self-destruction mechanism). Surrealism was quickly assimilated and dispersed (I wonder if the same will happen with Language Writing). But as Mark Wallace has noted we have a multiplicity of forms (and influences).

I love high energy sound based performances. Yet, I am also drawn to the image as idea (imagis…

todd and laura

todd and laura
Originally uploaded by postpran.

todd at the Irish monument in Philly

unofficial Lucipo weekend readings

1) Ken Rumble dropped Tessa Joseph on her head three times. However, he is one hell of a swing dancer. Tessa didn't mind. It was part of the dance.

2) Ken Rumble took us well into the night sampling Philly Cheesesteaks. As a result, I had a bit of meat gas (and meat sweat). Those Philly Cheesesteaks are serious.

3) We visited the big jar

4) A few experienced colon issues

5) DC at the Flea was the peak. Adam Good kept us safe. Adam Good will live a very long and happy life.

6) Frank Sherlock is also a very nice man. He told me about his glory days as a Golden Gloves champion. One of his sparing partners had a mean hammer hit. Another sparing partner was training for the olympics. It was good to have a boxer among us.

7) Philly at La Tazza was also good (see note # 1)

8) Philly after La Tazza: in the early morning, down some sidestreet, while swigging whiskey and talking about the relationship between happiness and ethics, Ken Rumble, Marco Marconium, and Chris V. witnessed a speeding SUV …

so this is life

fab time last night. fun lucipo (lucifer poetics) reading at the flea last night. Todd sold some Lucifer Poetics t-shirts. 3 sets of 3 readers with two breaks after...

The reading went like this, near as I can recall...

After Adam Good's outstanding intro, in which he whipped the partisan crowd into a flea-bitten frenzy, Chris Vitiello led off with a serial prose work comprised of permutative paragraphs of impotent description. Then Veronica Noechel read some lyrical poems, one of which was a kind of meditation upon a kitten that had been quashed in a roadway. Then Brian Howe gave us selections from "F7," which uses Microsoft Word's spellcheck function, as well as Googlism, to transform familiar texts like the Lord's prayer and the US pledge of allegience into oulipian word-collages.

Then we took a break. There was a lot of beer around. It wasn't Ryan Walker's birthday but we sang him Happy Birthday.

Tony Tost resumed with a single prose homage to Guy Davenpo…

verse press sold

Publishing venture to seek profit in poetry

By Sheila Farr

Seattle Times art critic

Charlie Wright, son of art patrons Virginia and Bagley Wright, is starting a new venture.

Seattleites already know Wright as chairman of the family business: timber and development company R.D. Merrill. Art aficionados around the country see Wright as more of a savior: the guy who took over the failing Dia Foundation in New York (a supporter of innovative, large-scale art projects) and restored it to solvency.

Now Wright is well under way with plans for something entirely different: a Seattle-based publishing house focused exclusively on poetry. He hasn't firmed up a name for the press, which will bring out 10 books a year. But Wright has already hired an editor — poet and literary editor Joshua Beckman — and bought Verse, an East Coast poetry press, which will be folded into the new operation. They plan to announce upcoming titles and authors by later this year.

"We'll be focused on midca…

old stomping grounds

a little meeting for New Yorkers


Dear Friends and Supporters, old and new,

The Institute for Anarchist Studies warmly invites you to our
Soapbox Social, to be held at the al-Alwan Center for the Arts, just a
stone's throw away from the beating heart of Capital (the New York Stock
Exchange!)* Please come join the Directors of the Institute, on the
evening of Friday, February 18th 2005, as we celebrate nine years of
support for radical writers.

The evening begins at 7:00 pm, and includes a full Indian meal
(with meat and vegetarian dishes) served at approximately 8:00 pm. Board
members will provide updates about the Institute and our activities,
including the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference in Vermont and
the Latin American Archives Project in Buenos Aires. Additionally, we
invite you to share information about your projects and activities. Feel
free to bring literature or get up on the soapbox!

Your sliding scale donation …

Antidotes for an Alibi by Amy King

Just finished reading Antidotes for an Alibi by Amy King. Lots of surprising twists and turns that often reminded me of Tomaz Salamun. Certainly there are a lot of young poets influenced by Tomaz Salamun (just look at all those young poets associated with Verse Press). However, I think Amy King's associative/surrealist leaps are much more untamed than the eight or nine Verse Press poets I have read (I know I am chicken for not naming names) and thus much more surprising. Some of these twists take an antidotal form. Here are just a few of my favourites:

"No Murderer knows what's being prevented / at the end of a bandage at the end of a knife / at the end of blood and egg" ("Southern Folklore)

"Next door, all the president's men / play guess the tail on the donkey / with all the king's men, which / sums redundancy since an ass / is inadvertently an ass" ("Conspiracy Theory")

"I sip from tin coffee cups / the flavor of her past mout…