Saturday, October 25, 2003

"I had a student once who was severely dyslectic. I loved her writing, though she had been made to feel ashamed of it. ‘She surfered with minstrel tramps.’ In that she felt oppressed by her condition, yet had to manifest it, I thought her poet-like. In that her errors troubled her, but were a welcome read for me, we were the ideal poet-and-reader combo.I would like to drive a larger wedge of the unconscious into poetry. After all, we all know what we know, and who cares? Without mistakes, there’d be no roast pork." --David Bromige, interview

"Ontology is the luxury of the landed." --Lisa

Wonder what Bridget Riley's been doing lately?

My versions of "Roland the Headless..." & "Smells
Like Teen Spirit" belong to a little-known but
venerable tradition--filks.

Nano-Velcro is coming!

Listening to: Skinny Puppy.

Poets & employment. When i saw "American
", i felt an immediate shock of
recognition--that's how poets live!
Except, they don't ever get to be on David Letterman...

Are they still giving out the Templeton Prize?

Critics. A half-hour with Google has convinced me
George Saintsbury survives today only as the
author of a book on wine. Even the NeoFormalists
don't read him, alas. May i say only that he was
one of the most learned men of a time when
having read thousands of books was a prerequisite
for writing about them...?

"Previous to that period, we will be
engaging in a holy war against ourselves."

"Approaching a Significant Birthday, He Peruses the Norton Anthology of Poetry

All human things are subject to decay.
Beauty is momentary in the mind.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
And somewhat of a sad perplexity.
Here, take my picture, though I bid farewell,
In a dark time the eye begins to see.

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall--
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
What but design of darkness to appall?
An aged man is but a paltry thing.

If I should die, think only this of me:
Crass casualty obstructs the sun and rain
When I have fears that I may cease to be,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain

And hear the spectral singing of the moon
And strictly meditate the thankless muse.
The world is too much with us, late and soon.
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze.

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.
Again he raised the jug up to the light:
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.

Downward to darkness on extended wings,
Break, break, break, on thy cold gray stones, O sea,
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.
I do not think that they will sing for me."

--R S Gwynn, in The Formalist #1 (1990)

What we all were waiting for--a negative review
of "Left Behind". (via Electrolite) More.

The Head of Vecna.


Friday, October 24, 2003

"One of the more striking statistics of 9-11 is that Concorde lost 40 of its frequent flyers." --Samizdata

Happy Coronal Mass Ejection!

"I'm not a haiku.
I have too many syllables
In my second line." --Superdeluxegoodpoems

To hear the Vietnam war in "Scarborough

   "Envoy of the Dog Star"

Kabul is a tempestuous yet strange things narrated-- it was now I, like earthquake victims waiting for this! You shall not bear the night. A whirlwind was now the image of darkness supervened; all was the dungeons there had I felt that my final and heat; yet all was not lost. Hardly a glimpse of horror and of trolley buses are stacked on top of death with contours of each other, reminiscent of weapon. They have no light and would have no light and heat; I had always been strange, with contours of weapon. I was blazing. And then came, a rope about the night. I might have no light and for this! I, with a modern fleet of the pock-marks of agony; their apocalyptic fires burn through the pock-marks of darkness supervened; but smile!

10 24 03

"Now in the mind of Mr. Southey reason has no place at all, as either leader or follower, as either sovereign or slave. He does not seem to know what an argument is. He never uses arguments himself. He never troubles himself to answer the arguments of his opponents. It has never occurred to him, that a man ought to be able to give some better account of the way in which he has arrived at his opinions than merely that it is his will and pleasure to hold them. It has never occurred to him that there is a difference between assertion and demonstration, that a rumour does not always prove a fact, that a single fact, when proved, is hardly foundation enough for a theory, that two contradictory propositions cannot be undeniable truths, that to beg the question is not the way to settle it, or that when an objection is raised, it ought to be met with something more convincing than 'scoundrel' and 'blockhead.' "

Listening to: Un Ballo in Maschera.

Listening to: Shonen Knife.

The music of the "Russian Sailors' Dance" was
running through my head when suddenly i realized
i was simultaneously hearing the theme from "Davey
and Goliath"--they had four consecutive notes
in common
. I was able to shift back & forth
between them at will. I dub this phenomenon
ambimelodism & note that, although i
sometimes discover it listening to one song or
another, there is nothing i can do to recognize
such overlappings in music i already know by
thinking back searchingly...

Imagine a reader who prefers "shannonized"
prose to that composed directly by humans,
which seems in comparison too banal & too
manipulative: well, that's kind of how i
about my preference for instrumentals
& songs in languages i don't know.

Shannonizer. (via Pickover)

I shannonized the previous sonnet:

Skin is the courage to give, and blood, the species
of death; I started from dreams of The Answer must solace our lostness with that I saw them writhe with
a path. And then all is the Only Palimpsest Out of myrrh, melodious ulcer comes a hideous-- you could
have slept last I dared-- of the monster had always deemed them writhe with just such dreams of PERVERSENESS. This gift, like a path. with a way
where none may go, through the species of the last night. We carve passage in flames went utterly out;
I had the monster had always been strange things narrated-- and blood, and would have rid myself of
the deepest slumber-- fables I have had always been strange, through the hot breath of my proud, through the pit." (edited by Poe)

Verlan. (via Caterina)

In Search of the Authentic Other.

Excerpt from Hiroshima Notes.

Mark Twain: from Huckleberry Finn

   "To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would fardels bear, till Birnum Wood do come to Dunsinane,
But that the fear of something after death
Murders the innocent sleep,
Great nature's second course,
And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune
Than fly to others we know not of.
There's the respect must give us pause:
Wake Duncan with thy knockings! I would thou couldst;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The law's delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take,
In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn
In customary suits of solemn black,
But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns,
Breathes forth contagion on the world
And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the adage,
Is sicklied o'er with care,
And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops,
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the fair Ophelia:
Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws,
But get thee to a nunnery--go!"

Thursday, October 23, 2003

"And while I alphabetize my collection the country is stolen."

Jorg Buttgereit makes art movies--about

An Inuit poet.

from Fungoids:

"32. Skin is the Only Palimpsest

Out of my proud, hard, melodious ulcer
comes a dream too bitter to be angry,
too sad to be bitter. We dreamers cured of The Answer
must solace our lostness with the Double Ulgry.

This gift, perhaps the last I have to give,
savor of myrrh, orgeat, Chartreuse and blood,
golden at dawn a gossamer caryatid
(contrail or portent), Djuna--is my love.

You said, you could have slept last night in my arms;
I wanted that, too. I wanted, beyond reprieve,
a knowledge that was also a path. We carve
passage in the dark with just such dreams:
a way where none may go, we go. Though not to leave."

"The U.S. doesn't trust Iraqis to even
act as cleaners, and so South Asian and
Filipino migrants are being used." --Tariq
Ali in Counterpunch

"I remember an early seventies story bruit'd
about by who knows who: that Rod McKuen published other poems under an other name, and those poems
were thought terrific by those critics that barely had the decency to humour along the Rod McKuen we thought we knew." --Hotel Point

Dalit Literature.

A Kyrghyz poet.

An Uzbek poet.

Linguistic Iconism links.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

"In the Croatian capital Zagreb there arose a
debate on the palindrome's meaning as a symbol
of cross-cultural interaction referring to the
two dialects involved in the Serbo-Croatian language,
one argument being that palindromic devices are in
fact two-faced speech and represent an illusionary
and utopian pseudo-monolingualism, and an opposite
argument that palindrome poetry might symbolically
keep up the promise of dialogue and double-/pluri-
vocal coexistence in a once multicultural context
(Dubravka Oraic -Toli Oraic: Palindromska apokalipsa,
1992/1993; Dubravka Ugresic, Die Kultur der Lüge,
1995)." --Erika Greber
In debt? Sell a kidney.

"President Bush stopped in Manila on Saturday to
speak to the Philippine Congress. The speech was
warmly received, though some eyebrows lifted when
he said, 'America is proud of its part in the great
story of the Filipino people. Together our soldiers
liberated the Philippines from colonial rule.' "
(from the Washington Post, via The Agonist)
New Byrd. It just gives me a kick that stuff
like this is going down on the Congressional
; it's not like it makes me feel any
less guilty for using 500 gallons of gas a

The Guardian has started a US Elections weblog.

More on Enoch Soames.

"Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you're weak where you thought yourself strong. You'll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself - as I know you already have - in dark places, alone, and afraid.

What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign." --Ursula LeGuin (via
Wood_s Lot)

Submit to Sleeping Fish. (via Craig Hill)

In the future, we will fight wars over water.

For him the avant garde myth of origins was
like the Wiccan one--it symbolically represents
a basic orientation that is correct, without
being literally true. Interestingly, all the
other poetry factions share the same myth (only
the names are changed), which is Romanticism's
--a triumphant movement if there ever was one--
that can only conceive of itself in terms of
the underdog. The rare few poets i know who
have pursued careerist goals, via the university
system or else the slam network--have not really
had to compromise their integrity, as in the myth.
What actually happened, it seems to me, is they
chose their totems already, & either system was
able to accommodate them: these were personal,
not ideological networks. Likewise, publishing.
But what confuses people is when you do not
subscribe to literary totemism per se--you will
only be perceived in terms of your fit to the
existing paradigms. Perhaps it is just as well
to proclaim oneself under the totem of the

The poem in the air, the poem on the page:
motile & sessile forms of life.

Listening to: The First Philadelphia Computer
Music Festival

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

"The Choke"

To styptic mulct torque
The rustle of the cryptic
Pungent ballasted synthespian wheedle
For Spetznaz then. What ominous woe
I welcomed

Puree & round about it
Mouldering rubbish lay the misbelieving
Multitudes perform grow??. HMO
For torture doctors
Decaf land

Chrome squirm Scully Did?

10 20 03

My book "Fungoids" is part of a three-pronged
effort i made a couple years back to get my
publishing thing going; i went through all my old
poems, & selected a volume of Neoformalist
Verse, a volume of Language Poetry, & a volume
of Free Verse (having decided that no publisher
was ever going to touch a manuscript mixed
together the way i'd been doing it). This Pessoa-
like expedient, however, has not quite borne
fruit the way i intended so now, having pretty
much exhausted the outlets for the Neoformalist
book, i am trying it out with a print-on-demand
online publisher. (I still have hopes for the other
two.) --The title, of course, is the fictitious
second book of Max Beerbohm's invented poet
"Enoch Soames". I hope my poems included
therein do not disgrace his memory...

Monday, October 20, 2003

A Goth art-car. (via memepool)

"If in the future we have the development
of a fairly broad counter-sphere of
heteronymous practices that begin to freely
circulate alongside the habitual province of
'empirical' and genetic ascription --a kind
of parallel poetic economy, if you will, one
not beholden to the relations of production
and exchange of the official literary culture--
then I think Motokiyu's work* will be seen as
having made an important contribution." --Kent

[I tend to agree; there is a very interesting
dialectic possible between the poetry of "identity"/
"authenticity" & poetries of "mask" & "hoax"...If
one wishes to give a name to this dialectic, i
suggest that "Baconian Shakespeare" sums up
its challenges & rewards.] [More.]

Listening to: Gliere-"Russian Sailors' Dance", from
The Red Poppy [One of the most haunting
melodies in classical music, this had been familiar
to me from cartoon childhood, but i never knew
its composer or the name of it until recently.]

*referring to the hoax-book Doubled Flowering:
From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada