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Showing posts from May, 2009

and now to complicate things in a good way :-)

From the Polish poet Grzegorz Wroblewski:

Jacek Podsiadlo (for many critics a typically 'Polish New York School' poet), is a 'new generation' poet but he uses the some poetic strategies like old poets before him but with new ' language effects' etc.

Rozewicz was born before WW II. He is a Polish classic poet, but different. He is not the same as the Polish 'monumental poets' (Milosz-Herbert).

Swietlicki is a Polish Beat poet

I think this is not a question young-old, not a generation confrontation, but something else.

Public language versus private language.

Nation versus the individual etc.

the new Polish poets

After 1990 Polish poetry shifted big time. It is a damn fine shift. A shift that SHOULD draw more attention from American and UK poets. And MUCH more attention from the literary world in Poland. Poetry in the education system in Poland seems to be even worse than in the UK and US. The more exciting Polish poets are rarely taught. I have spoken to a few folks who said it was very very very hard to get materials on the Beats while doing an MA at university. But I think some Polish literature professors might have made it to the 1970's in Polish literature. But it seems, from talking to others, that they are mostly clueless.

This is a quick rough summary of the landscape taken from an essay on Post-Colonialism by Anna Kałuża.


After the horrors of WWII Polish poetry as a whole showed a desire to be settled and find a place. Nation building. Space through similarity and a desire for stable meaning (Milosz in exile etc.) A desire for community. "Similarity perceived in "th…

Ealing Broadway. Poco Loco. 13:02. 25/5/09

Form an “O” with your mouth, raise your eyebrows and then back away slowly. Do not show teeth. Do not unhinge your mouth. Remain calm because loud noises, flailing your arms or quick movements such as running will cause other animals to feel threatened.

"this time I really trust you"

there there wake up
mr smarty mr chocolate
cum oh cum oh cum
you're a fool to whistle
at the flattened bums in Ealing
soap scum in the bath
bubbles in the beer
there's no way out of this twister
touch me as an animal
we're makin our way back to the city oh little fish
buckle-up, buck up, dry those ducts
I'm a love boat in yr gravy

30th May 2009 09:03AM, London, UK

Jukebox tears. We never blamed it on the soil. We filled up. Flowers are coming bees are sucking pollen.The man in the Matrixx needed purpose. Purpose is more important than free will. I'm torn. Saint brother. Be well.

The avant garde still lives! Long live the avant garde!

Nice review by John Latta here

John Latta's review of Kent Johnson

I don't know why but somehow every time I read Kent Johnson's projects (or books) (or about him) I have a bit of hope. There really is an avant garde. I hate the term Post-Avant. There is no post. I don't even think there is a post-modernism.

There is much work and play still to be done. I especially love the story of when he visited the soviet union with the big guns of American avant garde poetry in 1989. Read the Latta review if you don't know already. He is the best of the tricksters.

And kent Johnson, like Duchamp before him, shows us that context is everything.

We gotta get rough. Nothing is too precious.

streetcake magazine

Hello talented writers, fans and friends,

this is a quick email to let you know that Issue 5 of streetcake is now on the site!

Please do give us a visit and have a read. We also have the biographies up for all the writers included this issue.

Our talented roll call is as follows:

sean burn, stephanie codsi,
trini decombe, nikki dudley,
kyle hemmings, P.A. levy,
anna mckerrow, angela readman,
sarah shaheen and lora stimson.

Also, we'd like a bit more feedback. So if you have any thoughts on the issue, please give us an email or find us on facebook/twitter and share your thoughts.

All the best and happy reading,

Nikki and Trini


check out the latest issue

early morning dream (scribbled in haste in the notebook)

a mother and her daughter came to visit. It was a university campus. We went to a building called Cunning linguist. The mother pointed to a ski lift. We rode the ski lift and a sufi said welcome to BFI. We rode the ski lift through a jungle a sign read NEW TURKEY. We fell into a river. A shrunken river. A mini Thames full of mud. We crashed into the river and I lost the mother and her daughter. Men with thick torches waded in the river and I was suddenly seized by child sized frogs. I couldn't shake them. The frogs wouldn't budge. I had no torch. Just groping in the river and feeling the frogs on my body.

onward to Turkey

Just accepted the offer to teach at METU/ODTU in Ankara. Will leave in September. New frontiers coming.

Maybe one book per country. Almost finished with my London ms. Poland ms (Godzenie) will appear in print soon. Still finishing up Korea (Alien Memory Machine). Never mind the beasts (the United States) is making the rounds at publishers.

me and my sister Charmaine

last year in Ireland.

Docu poetics

I am interested in exploring the relationship between poetry/place. In particular, the attempt to strip down language to a documentary poetics (or perhaps an observational poetics) and a radical subjectivity. I have attempted to explore my own subjectivity and its relationship to an alien location in Godzenie (written while living in a coal mining region of Poland for two years) and in my most recent writing project Alien Memory Machine (written while living in South Korea and London).

My own background and early experiences have largely been nomadic. I grew up in Portadown, N. Ireland in an Ulster Scot community. This early experience was one of displacement. Neither Irish nor British. My family left this community for a better life, first in England and then later, when I was 12 years old, to Las Vegas and then Utah to become Mormon. I have shifted my identity many times from Ulster Scot settler in Northern Ireland to Mormon in America to philosophical Buddhist and nomadic traveller…

Info on middle east technical university

got good info from my friend Josh about METU in Turkey. He taught there for a few years. I met Josh in grad school 10 years ago. MA in English program at Western Washington University near Seattle. Now he is doing a phd in Indiana in Turkish studies. Americanism in Turkey. He is getting fluent in Turkish now. He said METU was one of the two best universities in Turkey. And the world technical does not mean vocational but more like MIT. The best minds in Turkey with science professors with degrees from Harvard, MIT etc.

Also chair of the Foreign languages department department is super down to earth and friendly. Very good video conference interview. Starting to feel more and more this is right way to go for a while.

Also got the job at Bilkent but i think it would be more restrictive than METU. The job at METU is teaching in the department of foreign languages and there is potential for teaching literature during the second term. METU feels a lot more inviting and welcoming than Bilke…

Spain is out; Turkey might be in

Spain is out. Never really felt in. Got job offer to teach at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Maybe for one year and then return to the UK. I want a base. The UK could be my homebase. Till Wednesday to make a decision. Applied to over 100 jobs in the UK but nothing except two week jobs here and there. Not many prospects. I can save a bit of money in Turkey, get some material for a new book, then come back to London. Leaning in that direction. Don't want to loose touch with friends and poets in London though! Maybe a cross-cultural connection between innovative poets in the UK and Turkey. That could be cool.

Is poetry special?

There is sometimes a hazy line between innovative and so-called mainstream poetics. But for me, there is also division between art and poetry that tries to close the gap between art and life and those that create a specialized discourse. Both language poetics and new formalism in the United States, as many poets and scholars have noted, are two sides of the same coin. The emphasis on critical theory in the English departments of universities have certainly contributed to this specialized status of poetry.

Mainstream poetics often accuses the innovative or avant tradition of elitism.

But that is not the issue. It is far too simplistic.

This is not a well-thought argument but the NY school of poetry and the Beats have shown us the possibility of using the personal in innovative ways. Ditto Flarf. Many poets are innovative but do not fit into either the innovative scenes or the mainstream scenes.

There is also the hipness factor. What happens, as Mark Wallace notes, when our avant garde …

a bit of paradise

I found a bit of paradise yesterday.

First, a very cool feast at an Iranian restaurant with my former student from Iran named Ben. Sauces and yogurt drinks and all kinds of amazing bbq'ed meat. Carpets on the ceiling and wall.

Second, cool exhibition of Felix Topolski called Topolski Century. Overground trains shook above us while looking at murals from the 20th century. He was everywhere in the 20th century. Amazing work.

Third, the poetry library on the firth floor of the Royal Albert Hall. Treasures galore! I wanna live in that place. Small press wonders from the 1960's and beyond! Also a balcony with a view of the Thames and Big Ben. It doesn't get any better!

Bummer is you can only check out four items. I borrowed:

1) John Wieners The Hotel Wentley Poems (1st edition)

2) A Bernadette Mayer Reader

3) A Secret Location on the Lower East Side (all about the small presses in the 1960-1980)

4) Memorial Day by Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman (Aleos Books 1971)

One day I want to sta…

Spain versus Turkey versus London

so got a job offer to teach 9-14 year olds English in Murcia area of Spain. Near the coast. 1300 EUR a month. Awaiting possible interview with Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. If I get the university gig in Anakara it should be around 1000 EUR a month.

And then there is London for the poetry community but have to work during most of the readings and living at bare minimum to survive with average monthly salary of 952 EUR. Temporary. No paid holidays or sick days etc. A morning shift and evening shift almost every day.

I walk four miles a day to work and back to save on transport plus it is good exercise (this is actually good and not a moan).

I do have some great adult students. I feel I am doing something worthwhile overall. But there is a lot of government red tape and so on. Also the subject matter (English grammar and job search classes) do not satisfy or challenge my mind.

I have made some good friends who are also poets in London.

I love having the possibility of…