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Showing posts from January, 2009

multi-tasking

cutting thick slabs of Polish Christmas ham
eating prawn cocktail crisps
hanging laundry
printing official transcript requests
trying to ignore the dust motes
looking at the cover of Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives
thinking of watching The Wire
trying not to think about evening ESOL class
wondering about the sore on left side of tongue
ignoring the morning dishes
thinking about community
thinking about the continuous while loving the past simple

exuberance/beauty

here is another fab interview with the poet Abraham Smith. Body energy indeed. Think Sean Bonney and Abraham Smith are distant blood brothers. Although Sean Bonney's work is much different on the page and takes on different areas thematically, it is their approach in terms of performance that has similar exuberant effects.

check it:

Abraham Smith Interview

in the interest of simplicity

i'm cleaning up this blog
there is too much stuff
perhaps it is also time to shave my head
get it nice and simple
a simple head
gorgeous
marvelous
a new head trip
community community community
what do we mean?
the banking community
the poetry community
bank on The Canon
bank on yon mini poetry celebrity
I don't know what everyone else
has to say
I haven't said anything
I don't know my size
my cultural capital is quite small
strangled in each other's reflection
noted in pleasure
who's writing the script
inspired to do wrong
socially constructed memos
conduits identify our selves
recognize the flake
in yr midst
I used to think I knew
what I was doing

The Poetry Project and community

A very interesting interview with Anne Waldman and Stacy Szymaszek about the Poetry Project at St. Marks church in the Bowery. The history. The community building. The future.

One of my favourite places in the universe. The Openned reading series in London has the potential to build along these lines.

Openned: East London

The Poetry Project: Lower East side

check out the interview about community, poetry, and the Poetry Project:

A Generation of Inspiration and Community

proliferation

so much writing out there. In the good book they say to sort the wheat from the not-wheat. texts are multiplying at increasing rates. I have heard the distinction between innovative and mainstream no longer holds sway. At least in America with so many soft surrealists and mags and blogmags popping up everyday. The Fence revolution etc. There is good poetry in all "camps" of course. Not population control but some good strong critics and more selective publications? perhaps more vision?

or perhaps poetry communities swapping their writing? cell to cell . . .

noise

there is a lot of noise out there. cultural production and self promotion and so on. Sometimes I want to be somebody but when I put a foot forward I feel like going below the lines again.

In short
as always
I want simplicity


and perhaps like most (all?) writers I wonder about writing. Whether there is too much being published. Whether what i write contributes to the noise or makes something of it.

it is hard to keep up with all the work.

I love the little well-made chapbook of poetry. Sometimes those little books are far better than the official collections.

and the simplicity. ah yes the simplicity.

Reality Street Editions (book launch)

One of my favourite presses is having a book launch this Friday. Looks like a very interesting book. Here is the announcement:

Paul Griffiths:

LET ME TELL YOU
So: now I come to speak. At last. I will tell you all I know.... These are the words of Ophelia at the beginning of this short novel: literally her words, in that her narrative is composed entirely of the vocabulary she is allotted in Hamlet. Within these meagre resources, she manages to express herself on topics including her love for her father (Polonius), her care for her younger brother (Laertes), her puzzlement in the face of the Prince himself, and her increasing sense that she must escape the fate awaiting her in the play.

This is no mere technical exercise or prequel to the play: the use of such a restricted vocabulary means that Ophelia’s voice, while direct and passionate, gains musical qualities as words keep recurring in perpetually changing contexts.

LAUNCHING ON FRIDAY 16 JANUARY
7pm at The Calder Bookshop, 51 The Cut, …

attention span

I changed my big coat for a rain jacket.

The rain jacket is slim and fits nicely on my upper body.

It is a bit warmer in London.

Consequently this makes me feel lighter.

I am happy feeling simple.

I teach my tongue as a foreign language.

Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff

Alien Memory Machine

It turns out Placebo is actually part of Alien Memory Machine. It is not a new manuscript.

Spent 7 hours revising Alien Memory Machine. Line breaks, forms, rearranging lines and poems in the manuscript and adding Placebo to the manuscript. The manuscript is not quite finished. I mainly have to revise and add poems to the Moving Pictures section. Also revise more in the other sections.

Alien Memory Machine is divided into three sections:

1. Moving Pictures

Moving pictures orbits around film noir and horror films and serials. Most of the poems are titled according to the setting/place of the film or serial. Zombie flicks. The serial Sopranos and True Blood (from HBO) and more . . .

2. London

The poems in this section were written in or near tube stops in London. Each poem is titled according to the tube stop.

3. Placebo

This section explores the human eye and memory. Narratives, as in the stories we tell ourselves, are also explored.


Place and image are two of the central concerns of Alien Memo…

shepherds Bush

on their way to Smithfield’s market, -2, stuck shepherds, on the green, 5 minutia
from the common land, cats will lick u raw, bottle cutting stuck lips, some really
nice people, newly installed clicking spiders T junction the spiritual, diverse outposts, spot announcements, lanked out of here in 008 and 009, the biggest urban shopping in Europe, blooms or busts, fetid fervor, fetid feeble fame, fe fe fe, fee, fee, free, planitude, on their way to market some shepherds took to rest

Gaza and the Ghetto

Gaza and the Ghetto

In September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland in what it termed initially a “defensive war”. The invasion was in part justified by the Nazi desire to reunify what it considered historic German territory and to claim Lebensraum for a race that considered itself superior to those that surrounded it in Central and Eastern Europe. Not only the Jews, but also the Slavic races, were considered inferior, less than human, and regarded as populations that could be transferred to make room for Aryans.


It was, of course, the Jews who bore the brunt of Nazi racism. By 1940, the Nazis had begun to concentrate Poland’s Jewish population into ghettos in the main cities prior to their planned transport to the camps. In Warsaw, the largest of these ghettoes, three or four hundred thousand Jews were enclosed in less than 5% of the city, walled in by a 10-20 foot high wall, and gradually strangled by starvation and the shortage of all goods, including fuel and power. M…

the road

the sun came out today in London. The blue skies smelt like North Carolina. I went looking for wooden porches but found red brick houses. Liverpool made it to the next stage. I have been thinking about frames. Interchangeable frames. Moving frames. Pictures and sounds. Hush puppies. My mind is not so disconnected from my stomach. i once had a porch and a swing. I never went outside today in London. The mind believes and the body follows. My hands are cold because the window is open. There is a scratch in my throat. I miss the warm home and community in North Carolina. I rediscovered poetry and rediscovered my body. After school chats with Stuart Dischell and Fred Chappell in the university pub. Lucifer Poetics on the road. I am still on the road. The road cliches but only when we let it. the road is not a map. not a movement, not a series of stops and starts, not a splattering of signs, not the now, not what comes later but a memory always in process.

i've had a muddled mind with s…

heading into 2009

A need for order drives me to write. A need to map to frame to make the hidden manifest. To give flesh. The body manifest. To tap into my others. To become aware of how I am languaged. To dialogue with language itself.

I moved away from specialized theory driven discourses because I felt it closed down this dialogue. The specialized language said keep out! Said define yr turf.

I am a generalist.

I do not believe all complex specialized discourse is suspect. Or inauthentic. But I also believe simplified diction can be equally complex.

I admire the sprezzatura of many New York school poets, especially Ted Berrgan and Anselm Berrigan. I also admire the sound based poetics of Geraldine Monk and Maggie O Sullivan. The sentence based poetics of Ron Silliman and Rosmarie Waldrop are also fascinating (for different reasons). Poetry as unlocking the energies of the unconscious appeals to me greatly. As does the humor and irony of combining some of the concerns of so-called Language Poetry with …

frames

I have almost finished reading Gabe Gudding's Rhode Island Notebook. Gabe's book has opened up possibilities. Specifically place and history, including personal history. It is an expansive book with lots of boxes within boxes. A journey of consciousness and the practice of awareness. Of being awake. There is a rhythm to traveling. Rhode Island Notebook and Ken Edward's Nostalgia for Unknown Cities deal with place in very different ways.

Nostalgia for Unknown Cities uses disjunctive narrative and works at the sentence level. I am ware of each word, each verb tense etc. It opened me up to language and preciseness. Tight. Gorgeous. Highly imaginative.

Rhode Island Notebook is Hermes. fleet. builds. like I said expansive. Lots of details about mileage and things on the road notes and small essays on bums etc. Most everything goes in. Writing as practice in the best sense.

One of many tensions in my own work is the small esoteric lyric and the expansive disjunctive narrative. I …

placebo has begun

Sent off some of the section "Return to the city" to literary mags last night. They were revised. Took the rough drafts off the blog.

I dreamed of North Carolina last night after watching True Blood all day. True Blood takes place in Alabama. I miss the south.

New ms Placebo (so far):

films and serials

a) Lumberton, NC (Blue Velvet)
b) Bon Temps, Louisiana (True Blood)
c) Post Apocalyptic Movie Review (The Van Guard)

Music

a) remixed lyrics from the band Placebo

currently writing Bon Temps, Louisiana while listening to Captain Beefheart's Shiny Beasts!