Saturday, March 13, 2004

Listening to- The Sahotas.

Omniglot. (via the Buffalo List)
Robert Duncan, & Avicenna and the Visionary Recital. What more could one ask for?

A picture of the Beatles, with two of the faces replaced by skulls.

"All Along the Watchtower", as performed by Hendrix at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1970. Not a remix, but an allotrope--created by the same laws, but unique to that occasion.

"It struck me passing through Cairo that the Sphinx has a look of pathetic and devoted public spirit (like a good deal of Egyptian work) which makes the popular idea of her as a sinister mystery seem off the mark." --William Empson

"What makes it difficult for a poet not to tell lies is that, in poetry, all facts and all beliefs cease to be true or false and become interesting possibilities. ...a poet is constantly tempted to make use of an idea or a belief, not because he believes it to be true..." --Auden
[I want to tie this in to my previous remarks about pseudonyms. There are certain of my works that really require to be read as if written by a devotee of the Cthulhu Mythos, or by a believer in the Theory of Cosmic Ice, or in the idea that we are actually living on the inside of a concave bubble in a universe of infinite solid stone... Otherwise, they are like those weird puffed-up Indian pastries that the restaurants only make on special occasions: you cut into it, to be surprised that there's nothing inside--but the meat & veggies have been ground up & baked into the hollow shell of bread.]

"When one begins writing poetry one tends to use a language that convinces one that it is truly poetry that is being written. ...Lovers contemplate the moon...'What is life?' is the question on everyone's lips, and the answer usually involves the soul's sadness and the remoteness of God." --Robin Skelton

One week i had a young Vietnamese woman bring in the draft of an essay, which she had unwisely started on the subject of Crab Soup. I helped her correct the single paragraph she had written, & suggested all the things connected with Crab Soup she hadn't considered: who makes the best? when do you eat it? what do the crabs look like? ktp ktp. But i wasn't hopeful.
  The following week she brought me a wonderful three pages which actually ended up being quite poignant: in her hometown, she had gone with her father into a mangrove swamp to catch crabs, the cooking took three hours, and required so many ingredients that they only ate Crab Soup on special occasions; & were strictly limited to two bowls each (she wished her brothers would get sick, so she could eat their share, but the thought made her feel guilty). Nowadays her mother uses ready-made ingredients so it takes less time & i suppose the family has more money, so they have it everyday--& secretly the kids are tired of what had once been their favorite food.
  America is a poem.
"Romeo and Juliet" using cats. [I'm still trying to decide if this is weirder than "Stairway to Gilligan" (via Metafilter).]

Friday, March 12, 2004

Higgs boson? (via Reading and Writing)

Anything but hiring. (via In My Room)
I am trap in Zambia.

A Klingon blog. (via Languagehat) Another.
Lojban blogs: Nuzban, & La Danti Manti.

Somebody got here by googling "definiton of poetry from great poet".
I'm sorry if you didn't find your asignment here verbatim, but now maybe i can remedy it.
   Virgil never wrote any criticism, but i think he put his poetics into his Aeneid, & if you study it, you can discover some of the things he thought were important in poetry.
First, he told a story, & not only an interesting story, but an important one. Then, he used what would be perceived in his own time as "elevated language": archaism, inversion, metonymy, metaphor, compression, allusion & even outright quotation abound; he avoids saying things in a simple, vernacular way unless there's a particular reason to do so, & most of the time he looks for an expression that is musical, succinct, & just a little bit "out of focus". You won't find any direct subjectivity of the sort made mandatory in 19-20c. poetics, but Virgil's personality is found everywhere as a sort of melancholy haze & lingering. His use of meter is both flexible & ritualized--there are standard kinds of departures, & he played them like chess combinations (sometimes wittily). And he loved names--place names, nicknames, even genealogies. The poet in English most akin to Virgil is of course Milton, & you can see almost all the same virtues (or vices, if you are determinedly contemporary) there. I myself think there is no use defining "poetry", or even trying to determine "the best way to write". I would rather have you read works you feel a strong kinship with--& read them over & over. That is how poets used to educate themselves in the old days, & how a few of them, even now, still do.
"Suicide, after all, is the opposite of a poem." --Anne Sexton

Recently some amazing photos were making the rounds, by an Anamorphic Screever--that is, a sidewalk chalk artist whose photorealistic renditions were designed to make sense to the eye, only from one point of view. --Isn't this the meaning of writers donning a pseudonymic identity? That there are things he has to say which can only make sense if given a peculiarly constructed context, in which to read them? At least, this is how i can view the projects of people like Thomas Chatterton or Kent Johnson.
  And if you understand this, doesn't it make the simple self-presentations of the rest of us, seem a little naive?

"Sometimes, and most in winter,--on its crest
A grey baboon sits statue-like alone
Watching the sunrise; while on lower boughs
His puny offspring leap about and play..."

--Toru Dutt

"...except in very rare cases, by the time he is twenty-one, the only nonliterary job for which a poet-to-be is qualified is unskilled manual labor." --W H Auden, The Dyer's Hand

"There are other cultures, like our own, in which the distinction between the sacred and the profane is not socially recognized. ...In such cultures, the poet has an amateur status and his poetry is neither public nor esoteric but intimate." --ibid

All politics aside, i cannot believe in a humanitarian civilization that has such furniture.

"Quotations are Attempts to Bolster Flagging Wit." --Bacon

"Brains are good fish food." --Mel Brooks

In the midst of hostility, the choice is not between perfection of the life or of the works, but between making your art ugly and grounding it out, or passing on the negative energy to spare your art, which makes your life ugly.

"Most poets have finished by the age of twenty-three." --Graves

Thursday, March 11, 2004

"I'm definitely a man of letters, even if not all my letters work."
--Click Opera

The Seventies Reunion i was waiting for.

Superman: Red Son. (I want the tshirt.)

Nature's rage to become poetry.

Grant depth by assuming a hoax. Suddenly the world becomes mysterious; conspiracies abound; you say "Who can it be?" where you might have said, before, "Oh, it's just that one".

Entry for the subjunctive: say "I am lying, I am going to lie". How is this different from "Once upon a time"? Only that everyone with bad stories starts that way. They don't care if you're huddled around a homeless campfire & what you need is a little more anomie than "Once..." & all its medieval certitudes.

To not forget being afraid.

Xenon missive precursors. (I forgot.) ...A few...

Speaking of hoaxes, have you heard the one about the Moon...? No, the other one.

Listening to- Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge soundtrack
Is it possible that Umbrism is a hoax? Or am i just too dense to get it?

I realize, of course, that the age of artistic movements is definitely past. But what, analogous to the Death-of-God Theology, can a person who still wishes to strive in the arts, partake of?

" he stondeth, ne he moveth, ne he holdeth no sylence, ne he spekith."
--Deonise Hid Diuinite

"Figuring isn't the same as theology.
Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus.
Reader, I offer a hasty apology;
Figuring isn't the same as theology.
Poison-pen writing is not toxicology,
Nor are fiascos the same as miasmas.
Figuring isn't the same as theology.
Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus."

--Leigh Mercer (triolet, with palindromic refrain in italics)

"In our urbanized industrial society, nearly everything we see and hear is so aggressively ugly or emphatically banal that it is difficult for a modern artist, unless he can flee to the depths of the country and never open a newspaper, to prevent his imagination from acquiring a Manichaean cast..." --Auden

After my tooth was filled, i found myself saying in Kinko's: "Thikty thelth therthuth" (60 self service).

Decadence is a fantasy of provincials.

"I am not overly preoccupied with tomorrow's books. All I would welcome is that in the future editions of my works, especially in paperback, a few misprints were corrected." --Nabokov

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I see Craig shamelessly courting the "pimp hat" googlists. Anything for those clicks!
An elderly customer at our Mesquite store surprised me by asking if the music i was playing was Chopin's "Polonaise". It was (the 'Military' one). A few days later we were requested to send a copy of Knut Hamsun's Pan to that store. That'll teach me to say they don't read anything but romances & mysteries there...

The Anti-Rush is a key concept in understanding America in the Eighties; it is what you feel when you have to start driving 20 or 30 after having sped along at 40 to 60 for some time. It is the basic unit of opprobrium. Mondale got branded an Anti-Rush, while Reagan was Foot-to-the-Floor. We no longer have religion or aesthetics or psychology or politics: there is only Rush and Anti-Rush. ADRENALINE RULES. (1986)

   interviewer on KNON:
"Do you think there's going to be a nuclear war in your lifetime?"
"Is there anything you can do to prevent it?"
"Doesn't sound very hopeful."

Intellectual Beauty. The rarest sensation. Kind of like an orgasm of Just-Rightness. Different from the Sublime. Sometimes i want only to share my appreciation of intellectual beauty, though anything else would be easier. I don't feel moved to evangelize about my tastes in food, or art much either. And also: geometricality in life lacks it. (Intellectual Beauty comes closest to being the subjective equivalent of an extraordinary bit of luck. The kind that makes you begin to believe in fairy godmothers.
   --Perhaps the belief in an orderly universe was simply a mistaken extrapolation from moments such as this.)
   Question: is it what people miss in my work if they don't connect with the piece despite having sensitivity and taste?--that no one expects to find art that has intellectual content at all, much less elegance? (Of course not everything i make is intended so, either!)

"si nostri palare senes adiguntur et ipsi
  ut ferale suos onus exportare libellos?"
--pseudo-Ausonius ('...Since our old men are forced to wander and themselves, as a deadly burden, to carry their own books...')

Surely Dallas must be one of the Great Cities,
  if only that so many live on its streets.

02 26 86

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Oh, goody. I just read that Johnny Depp is starting work on a movie about the Earl of Rochester.
Now that's entertainment!

Silliman mentions Hermann Nitsch today. I've always been fascinated by photos i've seen of his "Orgy Mystery Theater". That's a direction (meat, blood, dirt, nudity) my work has mostly eschewed, but it's good to know someone else has explored it to the max. Art in the late 20c. has all too much been subject to the white-walls & theoretical-rationale side of the professional avant garde, & not enough to the amateur & the ecstatic (which it ceded to Rock early on). I think poetry in particular needs to get over its insistence on decorum (of whatever sort); poetry should not be afraid to be embarassing...
   "Faith Upon the Waters"

A ghost rose when the waves rose,
When the waves sank stood columnwise
And broken: archaic is
The spirituality of sea,
Water haunted by an imagination
Like fire previously.

More ghost when no ghost,
When the waves explain
Eye to the eye...

And dolphins tease,
And the ventriloquist gulls,
Their angular three-element cries...

Fancy ages.
A death-bed restlessness inflames the mind
And a warm mist attacks the face
With mortal premonition."


Monday, March 08, 2004

Lyx Ish Memorial Celebration.

Singing Cartoon Maggots. (via Metafilter) [--People, this is the video i would use, if any of the songs from "The Were Wolf Suite" were to receive airplay on MTV!]

   "Echoes' Miss Sings"

Lamenting gathered we not by shore the Styx:
Through birdless skies goes flightless apteryx.
Elsewhere will you find her, bookly pyx
And each cassette-cocoon of magic bombyx.
Mention her name in Atlantis, hall & Pnyx;
Our smiles to think of her, sarcophagal onyx.

03 07 04

The Jesus i like is the Jesus who said, "Cut open a stone; I am there", and "Blessed are the peacemakers", and who got mad at the money changers in the temple. He was nuts & he came to a bad end but he deserved better than to be used as a masochistic blood fetish.

03 05 04

"......the War of Anthologies was between two Dons of the 1960s: Don Hall & Don Allen." --Codrescu, op cit

I can see people as they seem to each other, with just that added effort to put my eyes out of focus, but it gives me a headache to look at everything that way all day long: this is the physiological basis of my desire to become a hermit.

wiffle- the result of running a poem through Babelfish & back

The cage of unreality traps what is unreal in us, the Ego. But trapped egos trap their bodies and other bodies in consequence. Thus freedom depends upon liberty, but liberty alone is not freedom.

"What were his thoughts, as in the meagre room
Poured full of waning lilac-silver air,
He strove to cheat the velvet-fall of gloom?
What were his thoughts, as she, her glowing hair
Latticed with trembling pearls, her joyous feet
Buckled and shod with gold,
Trod cream-whitre marble nine good centuries old?"

--"Lucrezia Del Sarto", Audrey Alexandra Brown, from A Dryad in Nanaimo (1931)
Hey! someone named Ernst Kipling has accused me of treasonous acts, "giving aid & comfort to the enemy", & specifically, violating the anti-editing law, simply by printing on my blog the xenon missive "Communique"--because its words were first used by an evil Al-Qaeda mass murderer & renegade. You know what i think?
   You can send that computer program to jail.
I didn't edit anything!

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Elvish Language Poetry Prize.

   "Red Rum is Nader"

Gidim fed on yellowcake,
Benelux the ghost mainstream;
Lovely Tess, book a cakewalk.

Deletion van glare streamline
Jasper walkabout.
Nation delve do bemd linedance

Old Venetian the cash-in
Of the priced mystic desert.
Mistake acid

03 03 04