Friday, June 27, 2003

So I've finally updated my links a little bit. I should probably expand them but it's too much of a pain. Apologies to those who feel neglected—if you want me to link to your blog, say so!

Got my copy of the Poetry Project Newsletter with the exchange on Daniel Davidson and Haryette Mullen between Kasey and myself in it. It looks so...published. Not at all what I expected. The tone of my posts isn't particularly casual, so it really reads like an essay—if it wasn't for Kasey's intervention (and I don't mean at all to imply that he was being unserious or unscholarly, 'cause he wasn't) it would look like something from one of your more staid literary reviews. Jeez. Maybe I do need, as has recently been suggested to me, to start turning that "review" energy outward (that is, to try and start publishing book reviews) so my blog can be more bloglike. On the other hand, I was looking through an old issue of Sagetrieb yesterday and there was an article by Ron Silliman on the "longpoem" and it read pretty much exactly like his blog entries do. Though he has loosened up a bit of late. I guess the bloggiest thing about the Poetry Project thing is that it's attributed to "Josh Corey," whereas I've always published poems under "Joshua Corey." I hope everyone will realize we're the same person. Or are there advantages to their not realizing that?

Particularly enjoying the blogs of Catherine Meng and Deborah Pattilo (see links at left!) lately. I wish all my fellow Montanans would start telling me about their adventures with skateboarding, teaching eight year-olds, etc. Richard Greenfield and Nils Michals, among others, are hereby instructed to get off of their butts.

IT Poet

Do you read Entertainment Weekly? This week they're manufacturing news in the form of "The IT List" (I keep wanting to read that as "The Information Technology List"), which is supposed to be a list of "The 100 Most Creative People in Entertainment." Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine (he looks kind of terrible on the cover) leads the list along with such luminaries as Mandy Moore, Queen Latifah, and other celebrities who haven't quite made it to the A-list yet. Waaay in the back there's a book section, and I paged through it, astonished at the hipness (or is appearing in EW an index of extreme lack of hipness? look at the acronym!) of folks I'm used to encountering in the literary context: Heidi Julavits of The Believer (which is actually a damn good magazine; I've been reading the latest issue at work), my fellow Stanfordite and definite IT girl ZZ Packer, and to my astonishment, an IT Poet: Tim Donnelly. Not a bad choice, really, but I'm still flabbergasted to find that EW has actually gone out and named a poet one of the 100 most creative people in entertainment. Here is the text in full:
Age34 Why Him? His debut collection, Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit, is a helluva lot more accessible than its funky title (eine lebenszeit: German for "a lifetime"). The Brooklyn poet has a knack for buried aphorisms ("What are the traits that delineate the human?/Leave me alone") and Byronic satire ("Fowler's mother's byzantine neuroticism/and her father's reluctance to address her directly/cast a pall over every minute of her youth...") Biggest Misconception About Poetry "That poetry is a delicate and nostaligc pastime with little cultural relevance, like needlepoint." Influences "My imagination is just as likely to be fed by Wilco, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or a David Lynch movie as it is by [poets] John Ashbery or Paul Muldoon." Worst Jobs "My summer at a Dunkin' Donuts outside Providence. The wall of doughnuts disoriented and embarrassed me; I more or less stopped eating altogether. Also, an internship at a rare-books library in New York. When millions of dollars of illuminated manuscripts were hesited from a vault, I was suspected of the crime and had to deal with the FBI." Best Advice "Poetry should be at least as interesting as television." Worst Advice "Less is more."
I have a complicated response to all this. The first thing I think is, Way to go, Tim! I like his work (and am definitely ordering his book for the Bookery tonight, maybe two or three copies, even) and in his capacity as poetry editor of Boston Review he's liked my work a few times. And I have a lot of sympathy with the sentiments behind that line about poetry being at least as interesting as television. But this also reminds me of my debate with Kasey, and how my attachment to melopoeia might be preventing me from fully embracing a more strictly logopoetic kind of writing—the dense, difficult work (I almost put "difficult" in scare quotes like Silliman does, but then I thought nah, it really is difficult, at least for me) that will never appear in the pages of The New Yorker, let alone an ultramainstream mag like EW. And I also find myself wondering about who writes EW's books section and how they encountered Tim's work in the first place. Someone on the staff there is clearly a reader of poetry, enough so to have mastered bits of blurb-speak like "buried aphorisms" and "Byronic satire." Is this person's position somewhat analogous to my own at the Bookery, where I'm being allowed to do as I like with the poetry section because nobody else cares as much?

Despite some reservations (the adjective "accessible" when applied to poetry always raises my hackles) I think this is probably a Good Thing. I certainly hope it sells a few more copies of Tim's book.

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