Friday, July 30, 2004

Oh hey, for what it's worth, good speech by Kerry last night. I think he achieved the goal of humanizing himself that all the pundits were going on about. The question is, who was watching? The "bump" upward has yet to appear in the latest polls.

For those looking for the kind of Bush-bashing the convention was a little short on (probably a good thing), check out this article from a new magazine of politics and culture, n+1. I like the cut of its jib.

Disappointed, to say the least, that Steve Evans, in his new "Field Notes" feature in the latest issue of The Poker (the first issue I've seen—thanks to Dan Bouchard for sending it to me) saw fit to dis Selah; this took place as part of a brief discussion of what he refers to as the dominant Stevens-Ashbery post-avant aesthetic represented by poets as diverse as Marjorie Welish (in her excellent book Word Group), Geoffrey G. O'Brian (The Guns and Flags Project, which I don't find as interesting), and Beth Anderson (Overboard, a book I haven't read). Selah is judged to be "a less successful project" than theirs; the book is at least in reasonably good company insofar as he lumped it in with the work published by Jubilat. Steve has to be the most uncompromising critic of his generation, as well as one of the most knowledgable; I have huge respect for him, which makes a judgment like this sting all the more. On the other hand, it was delivered casually, unargued, exactly as if it were a blog entry, so that I can't help but take it less seriously than I would a bad or mixed review. (And then there's the question as to whether I accept the Stevens-Ashbery affiliation. Stevens, certainly, but I don't see Selah as particularly Ashberian; there's more Ashbery in my unpublished manuscript The Nature Theater of Oklahoma. I wonder what position Fourier Series will be seen as occupying?) Cold print does make a difference to the ego, though, so... ouch.

In spite of my bruised feelings I'll be subscribing to The Poker, which I immediately recognize as one of the crucial magazines of our moment—and Steve Evans' "Field Notes" are a large part of the reason why.

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