Saturday, September 04, 2004

"When we are exiled from the order and unities of culture, language, ethnicity that make up the great smooth national narratives of history, we are cast out into a multicultural, multi-lingual, multiethnic 'non-nation', an empire that frustrates our need to narrate a descent from origins and forces us to confront the lyrical unevenness of our lives. This is a confrontation that from time to time, for good or for ill, we try hard to avoid. ...the medieval [is not] a moment of past time since transcended but [] a metaphor for a kind of [artistic] practice that defies the national culture paradigm." --Walter G Andrews. introductory essay to Ottoman Lyric Poetry (1997)

The War of the Senses. (via wood_s lot)

"Empire commits us to the continual violation of our own standards. " --Christopher Lydon

"...These songs of freedom
Is all I ever had..."

--Bob Marley

Friday, September 03, 2004

Covers- The Three Suns: "Colonel Bogey March".

From my notebooks-

Aristophanes: Homeric centos in 'Peace' 1090-1094; 'Frogs' 1264ff; 1285ff; 1309ff.

Hosidius Geta (late 2c. AD) wrote a tragedy of quotations from
Vergil "Medea" (461 lines; which may be found in Poetae Latini Minores, vol. IV)--& started a fad.

In the reign of Septimius Severus (180-211) " poetry this period produced nothing but Vergilian centos".

V. Faltona Proba (c. 351): 700-line Vergilian cento summarizing the Old & New Testaments (Jerome said: 'puerile').

Ausonius (310-394): 'nuptial cento' (naughty).

Luxorius (c. 530): "epithalamium Fridi"--this has actually been

Then there's the Empress Eudocia's...

"The earliest extant patchwork poem in English was published in 1775, written to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday." --Werd Trix

Thomas Gray liked them.

Mark Strand made one from Fitzgerald's Aeneid.

The Tradition Continues.

A Masque in the Form of a Cento.

One by Robert Mezey.

A cento from Leonard Nimoy (!!).

A few more.

Listening to- Fats Waller ("Giants of Jazz" boxed set).

Lethal Memes.

"...what if, say, IPods could mate with one another?" --Raccoon

"And, as I think of it, a human mind could, and should go through
just such a ransacking, occasionally; for you don't know half of
what an accumulation of rubbish is kicking about, in its dark, musty
corridors. Old fashions in thoughts; bigotry; vanity; all lying
stagnant. So why not drag out and sort all that stuff, discarding
all which is of no valuation?" --Gadsby

"On Olive Waters Askew"

Through waxen window, Mercury in retrograde;
Stares Quasimodo, Mercury in retrograde.

We sterve within craptacular weather Reason's made
Its very shadow, Mercury in retrograde.

Unfolds the Dance of Death--& strung through it renegade
One loco torpedo, Mercury in retrograde.

Graywyvern was by Stego tracks & slub betrayed,
No desperado: Mercury in retrograde.

08 31 04

Thursday, September 02, 2004

"Seven Games of the Rood" (for B. K.)

Foolish pangs, the glow
Intenser for the rain outside.
The twin suns sink behind the lake;
The afflicted warriors come.

They little thought how pure a light,
And we sang dirges in the dark
As the ceiling blew away
My ashes in the embracing mould
And fast in chains of crystal
We sleepwalkers never age

And strange moons circle through the skies.

08 28 04

The Diebold Variations. (via Metafilter)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Plague of Locusts. (via Scrupuli)

"Poets have been known to be smug about their fine uselessness, but the Vietnam War led many poets of my generation to try to use poetry to make something stop happening. We will never know whether all that we wrote shortened that nightmare by one hour, saved a single life or the leaves on one tree, but it seemed unthinkable to many of us not to make the attempt...we produced a great many bad poems, but our opposition to that horror and degradation was more than an intellectual formulation, and sometimes it tapped depths of bewilderment, grief, rage, admiration, that took us by surprise.Occasionally it called forth writings that may be poems after all." --W S Merwin, introduction to The Second Four Books of Poems (1993)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Does this mean FLARF is over?

A poet risks leaving this trace in the someday Collected Works.

A poet risks being found out by the readers.

A poet risks becoming a symbol & never read otherwise.

A poet does not risk oblivion. That is a given.

Blobjects & Wrangling Spime. (via Rebecca Blood)

---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
>Subject: to Michael Helsem from a "bourgeois artist."
>I am an artist showing at Artist' Showplace.
> I know where I stand right now,since I my own worse critic as I sit behind the
>easel, striving to produce work with not only technical excellence, but also
>emotional and "psychic" content.

i couldn’t ask for more.

> I joined the Artists' Showplace to gain exposure while I work hard to improve and
>build a body of work to approach other galleries in the area and nationally.

commendable professionalism. i’m sure there does exist a market for it; & i doubt anything i say here will hurt your chances there.
>, which probably means you aren't impressed with any such work anywhere.

that isn’t necessarily true, but when faced with walls & walls of indifferent views indifferently executed, i admit it takes something extra special to stop me in my tracks. Van Gogh once stated his conviction that a canvas covered with paint HAS to be worth more than a blank one. there appear to be many of this persuasion among us...

>I find this very tragic, since your words are read by many people out there who
>look to something like theDallas Arts Revue to gain insight on what the visual art
>world in Dallas has to offer.

it would be tragic indeed if i regarded any medium or genre as inartistic in itself. (the closest i come in that regard is contemporary country music--but after more extensive exposure, i did start to like a few particular songs.) and if people came to Dallas Arts Revue & found nothing but nicey-nice blurbs, i wonder if they’dreally trust anything said there at all; whereas dialogue & debate, it seems to me, better indicate a flourishing arts scene.

>Representational art is not something to be thrown into one category
>called "bourgeois art."

it was revolutionary when Courbet did it. “the party on the left/ is now the party on the right”.

>With every piece I paint, I aim to stike some chord with the viewer's emotions, and
>much thought goes into design, values, color contrasts, edges, etc., to achievethat
>special something that makes a viewer relate in some way to that scene. This is why
>I paint, and I do not believe for a minute that my I am less of an artist for
>this.The last thing on my mind is toproduce something to decorate a yuppie
>suburbanite's Pottery Barn living room.

if there were no other pictures in the room, & no other destinations clamoring outside it, some sort of pleasantly unfocussed relating to that picture would be guaranteed. the real context is quite otherwise (see below)--& it’s part of the artist’s unenviable task both to realize this fully, & to try to overcome it. Auden once stated his ambition was to create something that a man on Death Row would not feel insulted by. i don’t know that he often succeeded; i do know that once having understood this thought, it’s very hard to take seriously any art whose only goal is to furnish a career for its manufacturer.

>I know that I speak for many fellow artists, such as Kevin Macpherson, Alexander
>Titovets, Clyde Aspevig, David Leffel, Matt Smith, Desmond O'Hagan--- the list goes
>on and on. Or do you even know these people?

‘fraid not. i do realize there is a considerable subculture devoted to “traditional painting”, & it wouldn’t surprise me to find someone even as good as Norman Rockwell among them. (i LIKE Norman Rockwell.) what does surprise me is that in a world full of an almost infinite number of things that have not been painted yet, & an even larger infinity of ways of looking at & presenting those things, the few people still interested in representation seem utterly content to reproduce typically artistic subject matter--without even introducing (as far as i can tell)
either their own immediate experience as nonbucolic city-dwellers, or their own anxieties & desires as 21c. citizens in a world of shattered foundations & mind-boggling enormities. i would welcome these things being painted. their decisive absence is what makes this kind of painting “bourgeois”, not the style of it.

>Maybe you should do some reading up.

you know, as much as i despise commercial films, i am not infrequently amazed that they continue to come up with a product, however conventionalized, that i can still relate to. that’s because, in spite of the belief that viewers want nothing but escapist fantasy, they will go ahead & fill those escapist fantasies with realistic images of human transcendence & suffering. contemporary novelists, likewise.

i have yet to meet a representational artist who even knows what the “Ash Can School” was--much less, wants to pick up where they left off. --m.

>Judy Gelfert

Monday, August 30, 2004

Malaparte & his house, the subject of a coffeetable book.

Why bother to counterfeit a ten-dollar bill?

World on Fire.

Country with no Name.


My own country my countrymen the exchanges
Yes this is the place

The flag of the blank wall the birds of money

Prisoners in the watch towers
And the motto
The hopes of others our

Even here
Spring passes looking for the cradles

The beating on the bars of the cages
Is caught and parceled out to the bells

It is twelve the prisoners’ own hour

The mouse bones in the plaster
Prepare for the resurrection”

--from The Moving Target (1963)

“A Similitude of the Garden”

Oblong light * & old sirens
Still follow * here in the stern
Erased node * neighing limbec
Rogue imam * & mystic train

08 26 04

Sunday, August 29, 2004

“A cento from Thompson & Merwin”

O Halcyon! was thine auspice not of rest?
This is now the house of the rain that falls from death
The stealthy terror of the sinuous pard,
as it bore in bore in rapidly
Then laid upon the snarling sea;
melting and freezing in silence
Now all things show amiss;
On hewn feet I follow the hopes of the owls

08 25 04

“A cento from Cranch’s Virgil”

Stormy Orion rising, on blind shoals
And waves consumed in vain. Of what avail

Our sad disasters, and in brief to know
The serpent tribe, the poison-breathing snakes,

Furious, with bristling back, while none may dare
And, building altars on the shore, you pay

And to our tables come as welcome guests.

08 25 04

“A cento from Susann & Merwin”

You’ve got to climb to the top of Mount Everest
the tracks lead out through tall milkweed
It’s a brutal climb to reach that peak,
I would rather the wind came from outside
You never knew what was really up there
Where I am walking even now
You stand here, waiting for
A description of darkness
it doesn’t come.

We are the echo of the future
And there’s no place left to climb.

087 26 04