Friday, February 27, 2004

Reading Nada and Gary's great epistolary epic Swoon again here at work, and I thought I'd share with you the ten things Nada wants (or wanted) from a relationship:
1) resonance
2) mutual adoration
3) mutual respect (to include trust)
4) levity
5) shared time
6) shared tasks (some concept of our common good/common goals?)
7) world expansion
8) stimulation (intellectual, physical)
9) mutual curiosity
10) freshness
This is a pretty damn good list. But I wonder if I would put the same things in the same order. "Resonance," however, is deep and mysterious enough to be at the top of anyone's list, I should think.

Incidentally, whatever mystery "Jane Dark" wants to preserve by her pseudonym has been pretty much given away by her. Just click on the "nominally my boss" link over here. But a pseudonym (heteronym?) may still possess the residual value of deferring (differancing?) identity-in-general when it no longer conceals identity-in-particular. Hm.

An addictive read, Swoon. Aside from the happy ending, one thing I like about it is that it takes the form of an actual epistolary dialogue. I love reading writers' letters, but you usually only get to read the Great (Wo)Man's letters and not those of his/her correspondents.

Still in a bit of a post-exam drift. Today I started to read Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers and then put it down again. Two books of poetry that I seem to be perpetually rereading at the moment are E. Tracy Grinnell's music or forgetting and Sally Keith's Design. (My friends Karen and Jerry are visiting Sally in Rochester this weekend, actually). The book I'm reading most attentively (in the conventional beginning-to-end sense) is The Great War and Modern Memory. Fussell's manner is a little irritating at times, a little fusselly (sorry, couldn't resist), a little arch. But it's a must read if you're interested in modernism. I'm struck most by his claim about the intense literariness of the War—how, thanks to the absence of TV and radio, literature and literacy were enjoying an intensity of prestige that had been and has never again been equalled. A sick but unmistakable sense of nostalgia washes over me when I read this. Media is, quite literally, a means of connection. There's a distinctive pleasure to be found in connecting with one's culture, particularly when that culture has produced something you can almost wholeheartedly embrace (for me lately and surprisingly it's been hip-hop: the Black Eyed Peas, Outkast, and the Grey Album--believe the hype). But there's a particular intimacy of connection (and how much of this intimacy derives from its exclusivity?) to that found in print, particularly poetry. I recognize the world of Swoon as being the world I actually live in, though to find oneself outside it contemplating it obviously puts that perspective sous rature. Swoon,, or the Grinnell or Keith books, make up for what they lack in immediacy quite literally: in their mediacy, their particular sensual and intellectual (no. 8) way of conveying weltanschauung, which is ultimately more compelling and necessary to me than the "message" being conveyed.

In other words: just now down the hall from the Bookery, a saxophone player at Moosewood was playing "I Just Called (To Say I Love You)." The only call we ever want to hear, right? But can we hear it when, as now, it comes served between thickest slices of aural cheese? "Only connect," sure—but are you willing to accept the charges?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Yesterday I was on an intellectual high, aided and abetted by a very strong, very large cup of Gimme! coffee (really the consistently best coffee I've ever tasted). I decided it was time to stop dodging Derrida. I haven't made a sustained attempt to read him since I was at Montana ("White Mythology," Spurs, and assorted bits and excerpts from Margins of Philosophy). But reading Spivak's wonderful preface to Of Grammatology has helped me realize how much he is in the deep background of everything else I've been thinking since I started grad school; I ignore him at my peril. Right now I'm struck by the resemblance between Adorno's negative dialectics and Derrida's differance; I suspect that many large volumes on this subject have been written and will continue to be written. Naturally I started trying to fit him into my notion of pastoral—is the Virgilian locus amoenus a site of bricolage from which the dream of "engineering" is deferred? I fear I must sound impossibly naive. But still I'm looking forward to reading the whole book. I also devoted part of yesterday to reading Ronald Johnson and forming some ideas for how he fits into my dissertation; in some ways he represents the telos of modernist pastoral as I'm defining it.

But that was yesterday: today I'm a slug. I was up late commenting on student poems and after I got home from teaching found myself unable to do more than read the article about Lyle Lovett in the new New Yorker and futz around gathering the materials for a certain notorious remixing of rapper X with pop group Y. I usually feel guilty about this sort of thing, but damnit, in this case copyright law is standing in the way of art. Now I'm going to bliss out listening while thumbing through Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory, which somehow seems appropriate enough.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

It Figures

You're Prufrock and Other Observations!

by T.S. Eliot

Though you are very short and often overshadowed, your voice is poetic
and lyrical. Dark and brooding, you see the world as a hopeless effort of people trying
to impress other people. Though you make reference to almost everything, you've really
heard enough about Michelangelo. You measure out your life with coffee spoons.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

The mysterious Jane Dark joins the blogroll. I've also decided to push Edwards instead of Kerry. I think the first John is the one the Republicans are really nervous about. And let's face it: in this culture, a long record of almost anything appears to be a liability in electoral politics. It may take one handsome Southern boy (who can at least speak in complete sentences) to defeat another.

I think Bush's gay marriage amendment might backfire on him. Kerry is on the right track when he says it's a distraction from Bush's appalling domestic record. Either candidate just might have a shot if he simply doesn't lie there like a dead fish in the face of the Republican vitriol machine.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Why hasn't anyone ever told me what a terrific magazine Chicago Review is? I picked up the new issue in New York and it seems to be just about everything I've ever wanted in a literary magazine. The poetry is of a very high order: so far I 've read the work by Camille Guthrie*, Ed Roberson, Stefanie Marlis, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Joan Retallack, and Karen Volkman (her sonnet project, which I imagine will be a book one of these days, fills me with wonder and envy). In addition to the poem there's a very moving essay/talk by Michael Palmer, "Poetry and Contingency: Within a Timeless Moment of Barbaric Thought." There's probably no poet of his generation that I admire more than Palmer, and I think a lot of the poetry in this issue is touched by his aesthetic: a profoundly ethical wit rendered in sparsely musical and suggestive language, like headlights flashing through a window to make the bedroom strange. There's also some interesting looking prose by Gerard Roth and Viet Dinh, and a couple of other essays I'm looking forward to reading, particulary Joshua Weiner's "The Apprenticeship of Dr. Williams." There are many reviews, including one of Jennifer Moxley's The Sense Record, a book with which I have become somewhat obsessed. She's one of the rare contemporary poets I'm aware of whose sensibility, whose difficulty, resembles that of John Donne: her muse is not indeterminacy but a rage for the syntactically accurate poetic process. (I'm getting a similar vibe from Elizabeth Willis' more playful Turneresque.) Best of all is the blog-like "Notes and Comments" section at the very end, which includes a brief memoir of the late Stan Brakhage, a review of a Max Beckmann show at the Tate Modern in London, Andrzej Stasiuk's reflections on Poland's membership in the so-called "coalition of the willing," and some charming reports on poetry readings in Chicago by Matthias Regan, John Taggart, Michael Heller, Trevor Joyce, Tom Raworth, Jennifer Walshe, Mark Salerno, and Lisa Jarnot. All this for just six dollars! Sign me up!

* It seems that every couple of years I get in touch with Camille and her husband Duncan Dobbelmann (two very talented poets), then lose touch again. Camille and I once shared an Academy of American Poets prize back when were at Vassar together. If by chance you have her or Duncan's e-mail address, would you please let me know?
Back from NYC and New Jersey, where I gave readngs at the Ear Inn and the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, where my mother was once a member and my dad and stepmother still are. I feel more than a little ambivalent about Unitarianism, given that I identify as a (secular) Jew, but it was a very important place in her life and it felt right to read there. Some of the women who had been part of a poetry group she'd led were there for the reading, and they said sweet, moving things afterward—one described my mother as a "poetry shaman," which sounds about right. Sometimes I imagine that my life as a poet is my mother's afterlife. In one sense at least, that's literally true.

Both readings went very well (you were missed, Shanna—but I will indeed see you at AWP). But in some ways the most memorable evening was Friday night, when Emily and I, two of her best friends, and their boyfriends, went out on the town in Brooklyn. Almost everyone had something to celebrate: I had passed my A exam; Jen and Rachel both had new jobs in the film industry; Rachel is five months pregnant and her partner Al couldn't stop beaming about it; and Emily was recently promoted at her job. We went to a brand new restaurant in Cobble Hill called Blue Star, where Al and Rachel are friends with the chef, a manic Deadhead with a genius for what I can only call gourmet white-trash cooking (example: a delicately fried pastry filled with macaroni and cheese served with garlic mashed potatoes). He wouldn't let us order anything; instead plate after plate of delicious seafood and three bottles of wine came without our asking. I enjoyed oysters for the first time, and king crab, and lots of wine. Afterward came another first time: karaoke at the Hope and Anchor (our host: a transvestite named Kay Sera) where I tore into Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" like I had been born to sing it. You hadda be there. Maybe now I'm ready for Dan's karaoke big time—but I do think a hefty minimum amount of alcohol will be required.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Here's something I wanted to post as a comment to the discussion of reviewing that Aaron is continuing at his blog—but my comment was too long, dagnabit:

Hey Aaron—just wanted to say that I do agree with you about the value of a "cultural materialist matrix," aka history. What one ends up arguing with is the Ptolemaic effect of the reviewer's perspective becoming the central organizing principle of that matrix. I guess I'd like to see critics be a little more dialectical about their own stances. The polemical bent of most critics tends probably from the paranoia you speak of (something I am certainly not immune too)--and perhaps there's also a tradition in cultural criticism of fighting tooth and nail for "your side" and leaving the more judicious judgments and syntheses for those who come after you. I find myself wondering here, in my formalist way, if there might not be a useful distinction between the "review" and the "review essay." The latter would leave more room for pontification and tendentiousness (in the best possible senses of those pejoratives), while the former would commit itself to a more intimate encounter with the work itself. But obviously you can't be that neat--every book comes encased in a context or "scene." Once you start noticing the difference between a book by FSG and a small press book; once you know more about the "good" poetics of blurbist A versus the "bad" poetics of blurbist B, you can't ever go back. After such knowledge, what forgiveness, right? Gotta go now, but I'll keep thinking about this.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Thinking about Ronald Johnson, as so many other folks are doing these days, I came across this piece, "Hurrah for Euphony: Dedicated to Young Poets". It retrospectively becomes the source for the name of my teaching blog, too. I will point my students toward it. Some wonderfully aphoristic sentences: "Content finds Form, as a leopard prey"; "Face the sun, your shadow will be sharper"; "Let sound gender sense"; "Learn to use words first—later you'll have ideas"; "Sometimes the hand has an eye in the palm, as the American Indians remind us. Grab a frontier!"; ". . . Pound, H.D., W.C.W., Zukofsky, Olson, Creeley, and Lorine Niedecker all leave you on your own horse, but teach you how to ride"; and—I will dedicate this one to my friend Richard—"Be an enthusiast."

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

My lord, you simply must have a look at—and a listen to—this. Way to go, Tony!
It is of course possible to be both ABD and a broken man. Still in recovery, but stay tuned.

A few changes to the links at right are visible. Adieu, Howard. Hello, John. I will probably never be as excited about you as I was about the Mad Doctor, but you've got to bring the one who knows how to dance.

I'm also extending a warm welcome to Aaron McCullough.

And I will remind you that I'm reading at the Ear Inn this Saturday at 3 PM. Details are available by clicking here.

Monday, February 16, 2004

S + 7



My orals are this afternoon. When next I blog again I'll be ABD or a broken man. See you then!

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Okay, you're probably sick of hearing about the damn review by now, but you can finally read it online as a PDF right here or at Barrow Street.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Finally got my hands on an actual live copy of Time Out New York today. The review is blue! Page 74.

Friday, February 13, 2004

I am increasingly impressed by the nuanced and thoughtful writing being done over at Gary Norris' Dagzine. Some of the same issues that have concerned me in recent weeks, especially the role of the market in poetry publishing, the latter being a category he emphatically wants to expand to include blogging and other non-print means of publication. He also dismantles the Jeff Menne review of Richard Greenfield's book that I called your attention to yesterday. Gary's perceptions are razor sharp, though I don't necessarily agree with all of his conclusions. I think Menne's attempts to "place" Richard are well-intentioned and preferable to the style of reviews (such as those common to Poetry) which simply assume in an un- or underspoken way both the book's place in an (invariably hierarchical) tradition, not to mention the reviewer's authority to define that tradition. Perhaps as usual the solution must be a dialectical one, in which the reviewer practices a kind of "full disclosure" of both the book's and his or her own relation to the larger poetry world as they understand it, without (this is the tricky bit) allowing that triangulation to dominate their reading of the text. This requires, among other faculties, a sense for the ways in which texts (I would almost say this is the baseline requirement for "good" writing) resist being so triangulated.

It's a lot to ask from a reviewer, which is one reason I've resisted taking up that task in a formal way. Which of course shows how I've come to understand the blog, or at any rate this blog, as a constitutionally informal space. Other poetics blogs with a more formal edge (I'm referring of course to Ron) come under attack on a fairly regular basis I think in large part because they offend other bloggers' sense that blogging shouldn't be taken too seriously. That's a mistake. Blogging like any other medium or form carries with it certain guiding connotations, just as the sonnet carries with it connotations of argument and erotic pursuit, whatever its actualy content. There is a dailiness to blogging in its purest form that mitigates against its being an ideal transmitter of "finished" wriiting—but that doesn't keep Ron and now, I think, Gary from using it that way, and using it very effectively. Myself, I think I will stick to what you might call advanced blurbing—little linguistic snapshots which will, I hope, provoke a few of my readers to buy them. I don't plan on blurbing books I don't like—that's why I call it blurbing. Almost a homonym for blogging, blurbing is a much-despised medium (the review of Selah this week begins with a complaint about blurbs). But a really good blurb is ideally situated to do the kind of work I think is demanded of the reviewer: the name of the blurber commences the act of triangulation, while the text provides an (never the) entryway into the book being blurbed. And sheer proximity (by being on the back cover of the book in question) both demystifies the "objectivity" claimed by the Poetry-style reviewer and also prevents the blurbist's take on the book from reifying the book itself—because the book is right there to be opened and read. Of course the blurbs I do here won't enjoy this advantage; the best I can do is link to where you can buy the book in question. Which is what I and all blurbists want: for my readers to support the poetry that I find exciting and necessary.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Please read this insightful review of Richard Greenfield's A Carnage in the Lovetrees, brought to my attention by New-Brutalist-in-Chief James Meetze by way of consigliore Catherine Meng. The review implies that I'm a New Brutalist by association, or rather that Richard is by associating with me. A thing that makes you go "Hmmm."

Look for me and Richard along with poetry superstars Nils Michals and Brian Teare in Chicago next month.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

In other news, I'm getting ready for my big February reading at the Ear Inn. Verrry exciting.

Waves of goodwill are flowing from Pleasant Street tonight toward wherever Sarah Goodyear lives. (The link takes you to a review of the collaborative effort of Matt Rohrer and Joshua Beckman, Nice Hat. Thanks.)
It perhaps bears saying that I am the sole author and instigator of the free blurbs. I'm thinking of making this a regular Cahiers de Corey feature.
Selah has just received its first review, in no less a publication than Time Out New York—and it's very, very good. I'm ecstatic. The review's not available on the web yet, but I'll post a link when it is.


Monday, February 09, 2004

Free Blurbs

The title poem of Jerry Estrin's Rome, a Mobile Home haunts me with the urgency of what it describes ten years after it was published:

Each no is a progress rendered by capital

A history of Kuwait, Bullion City

A history of pleasantness can be arranged

Stacks of stolen loot still steady our metaphysical Mercedes as
we zoom to the border still being carried away

Bullet holes in the glass of Iraq

A politics for the present

With its repertoire

This picture is on strike
Radiance floods from the ample white space of Lisa Fishman's Dear, Read which, as Brenda Hillman notes, "call up the traditions of Dickinson, Niedecker, and Riding." Emotional lineation, short sentences aglow, like a female Creeley stabbed by desire without guilt:

J. played guitar and sang. J. lay me on the kitchen counter,
made me see myself in shadow.
In the dark, J. sang and sang. In the light, J. sang.
First it was night when J. brought me home.
Then it was day. Translucent, I sang.
Yedda Morrison's Crop is a horrorshow of alienated labor reinventing itself as alien eros, a broadband indictment with "endless anonymous capacity for entrance," engaged, hilarious, an incitement, completely beautiful, and sadly unreproduceable here (by me).

Hung Q. Tu builds Structures of Feeling that plumb irony without smartassness, "Pure as the driven news," like clicking refresh a thousand times on a webcam covering a WTO riot. I'm struck by the sheer usefulness of this book: it's a guidebook for deportees to George W. Bush's America:
fly me to the moon fiscal Disney ride
ball club isn't in reference to stars
crisis centers alter ego put bombs to sleep
this kind of publicity you have to pay for
Or, from "More LBJ":
E-1, E-2, E-3 . . . items or atoms harem scare'em
palm dead ahead

Fonda the clan

showroom den (of iniquity)

everybody splashes their satellites in the Indian ocean

camouflaged spotter
magnified golfers
California wave
after wave

house dressed

"keep that away from me"

painstaking accidents
low hanging merchandise
cafeteria evolved
zero sum banter
What is Lisa Jarnot up to? Her Black Dog Songs (a gorgeous object before it's anything else, with a blurb from Stan Brakhage somehow confirming the book's status as an image) go car-camping in Gertrude Stein's K.O.A., bearing knapsacks-full of linguistic odds and ends that, she, MacGuyver-like, assembles in an instant into whatever's most needful—weaponized love poems, mass romantic destruction—with just her own bare hands, a mesmerist's broken watch, and the beguiling truth-lariat of syntax:
Indian Hot Wings
for George W. Bush

The chicken wing factory is lit up in flames
and the flames are the wings of the little hot chickens.

The little hot chickens are the lampshades of the night
glowing inside the burning of dawn.

The dawn light is chicken-light for little white chickens,
The chickens are white like the glowing of coal.

The coal light of chickens are the white light of chickens.
The chickens are burning and bright in the sun.

The sunlight and lampshades are brighter than chickens.
The dreams of the chickens are bright as the sun.

The chickens are filled with the hot coals of lampshades.
The chickens are burning, the chickens are done.
Wallace Stevens, thou should be living at this hour! But the creepiness is so often betrayed by tenderness, or perhaps it's the reverse. I'm going home to read this to my dog:
Greyhound Ode

Go to sleep little doggie
while the moon is still foggy
and the wild dogs all bark
by the light of the moon

by the moon little doggie,
under streetlights so foggy
while the wild dogs all bark
by the moon by the moon

at the waters so foggy
little dog little doggie
go to sleep little doggie
by the light of the moon.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Happy birthday, Jim!
It's later than I think.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Great things are happening downtown as I write this—a marvelous convergence of poetic and publishing energies. Two panesl this morning, both of which managed to do an amazing job of providing both macro and micro views of small press publishing, experimental poetics, and community building. They've all been so different. Joel Kuszai read a paper on how individual poetry communities might model themselves upon criminal syndicates, and suggested that the power thus achieved could, for example, be used to drive a corporate textbook publisher out of business. (It's nothing personal, it's just business.) Mark Weiss of Junction Press spoke extemporaneously about the experience of creating and running his one-man press, which has produced a number of remarkable border-crossing projects (quote: "When you turn a junction upside-down it becomes a boundary") representing the work of poets from Baja California (including blogworld's own Heriberto Yepez), Trinidad, Cuba, and elsewhere. Julianna Spahr, who I've long wanted to see in person, turned her experience at Buffalo and with Subpress into a kind of parable. In the first half of her talk she spoke of how the "heroism of a cold place" and a general obsession with male modernist writers was eventually countered by the magazine she and other women started there; in the second half she spoke of the utopian ambitions behind Subpress and its limitations as a model for collective publishing (1% tithe vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy, no one person actually in charge of advertising or distribution, unwillingness of poets to choose cheaper galley publishing format, etc.).

The second panel featured Jen Coleman and Allison Cobb (two of the four editors of Pom-Pom, Jonathan Skinner (editor of Ecopoetics, and Brendan Lorber (editor and bandleader of the irrepressible LUNGFULL!). These guys were great. Jen and Allison spoke of their magazine's unique model of poems that only respond to other poems that have been in the magazine (a version of what Charles Bernstein calls "wreading"). Jonathan talked about his fascinating project to produce a magazine of poetry of the Outside, in the widest possible sense—I suspect he and I could have a lot of things to say to each other about pastoral. In fact at one point he made reference to the "complex pastoral" of urban writing, citing Brenda Coultas' marvelous Bowery sequence (first published in Ecopoetics, now available in her book A Handmade Museum) as an example. Brendan Lorber read a terrific essay which will be printed in LUNGFULL! 13 about the number 13 as an abstract symbol of fear, and this symbol's relationship to an older, matriarchal conception of society that existed before a period of environmental scarcity led to the rise of patriarchy and a system in which those at the top have a vested interest in artificially maintaining conditions of scarcity. These ideas aren't new, but he synthesizes them wonderfully into something that I think simply everyone ought to read. Perhaps it will be available at his website soon.

As I was listening to all this I was struck once again by the fact that Brendan, Jonathan, and I form a recognizable "type" of young white male poet, and that I probably have more in common with them than I do with 99.999999% of the human beings on this planet. I am attracted and repelled by them as manifestations of the same genus, led to magnify minor differences in order to preserve a notion of my own specialness. In their presence I get a little nervous, as if afraid that we might touch each other and disappear in a matter/antimatter explosion. Back home, I find that I'm comforted by the similarities while seeing the differences as much more profound than I had. What's similar about us is a manner, a comportment that mixes bemusement with determination. And the desire to make a meaningful life outside the debased corporate values that we're usually too immersed in to notice, as fish don't notice water. Which is of course a point of similarity that binds us to many kinds of people, all over the world—people whose fear, as Brendan suggested at the end of his paper, cannot last forever.

Friday, February 06, 2004

SPD Opens Outler in Ithaca, New York

That's what it feels like tonight—a huge stack of books that I've been ordering in dribs and drabs over the past eight months suddenly descended upon us today. In one stroke we've become the store with the finest selection of innovative poetry within a two-hundred mile radius. So come one, come all, to The Bookery and do a little browsing. Consider it a permanent continuation of the Small Press Culture Workers conference happening tomorrow. Y'all are just lucky that I'm broke, because if I had the money I'd buy all of these (except the ones I already had).

In strictly alphabetical order:
George Albon, Brief Capital of Disturbances (Omnidawn, 2003)
Dawn Michael Baude, egpyt ( Post-Apollo, 2002)
Anselm Berrigan, Integrity & Dramatic Life (Edge, 1999)
Anselm Berrigan, Zero Star Hotel (Edge, 2002)
Ted Berrigan, So Going Around Cities: New and Selected Poems 1958-1979 (Blue Wind Press, 2003)
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Nest (Kelsey St. Press, 2003)
Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge w/ art by Kiki Smith - Endocrinology (Kelsey St. Press, 1997)
Adrian Blevins, The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003)
David Bromige, As in T as in Tether (Chax Press, 2002)
Norma Cole, Spinoza in Her Youth (Omnidawn, 2002)
Kevin Davies, Comp. (Edge, 2000)
Jordan Davis, Million Poems Journal (Faux Press, 2003)
Jerry Estrin, Rome, a Mobile Home (Roof, 1993)
Lisa Fishman, Dear, Read (Ahsahta Press, 2003)
Graham Foust, Leave the Room to Itself (Ahsahta Press, 2004)
Nada Gordon, V. Imp. (Faux Press, 2003)
Arielle Greenberg, Given (Verse Press, 2002)
Barbara Guest, Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing (Kelsey St. Press, 2003)
Lyn Hejinian, The Fatalist (Omnidawn, 2003)
Lisa Jarnot, Black Dog Songs (Flood Editions, 2004)
Katy Lederer, Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002)
Aaron McCullough, Welkin (Ahsahta Press, 2002)
Bernadette Mayer, Jen Hofer, Danika Dinsmore, Lee Anne Brown, The 3:15 Experiment (Owl Press, 2001)
K. Silem Mohammed, Deer Head Nation (Tougher Disguises, 2003)
Laura Moriarty, The Case (O Books, 1998)
Yedda Morrison, Crop (Kelsey St. Press, 2003)
Tosa Motokiyu, et al, eds., Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada (Roof Books, 1997)
Jennifer Moxley, The Sense Record and Other Poems (Edge, 2002)
Philip Nikolayev, Monkey Time (Verse Press, 2003)
Bob Perelman, The Future of Memory (Roof Books, 1998)
Deborah Richards, Last One Out (Subpress, 2003)
Elizabeth Robinson, Harrow (Omnidawn, 2001)
Barry Schwabsky, Opera: Poems 1981-2002 (Meritage Press, 2003)
Steve Shavel, How Small Brides Survive in Extreme Cold (Verse Press, 2003)
Ron Silliman, N/O (Roof Books, 1994)
George Stanley, A Tall, Serious Girl (Qua Books, 2003)
Brian Kim Stefans, Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics (Atelos, 2003)
Chris Stroffolino, Stealer's Wheel (Hard Press, 1999)
Sotere Torregian, "I Must Go" (She Said) "Because My Pizza's Cold" (Skanky Possum, 2002)
Rodrigo Toscano, Platform (Atelos, 2003)
Hung Q. Tu, Structures of Feeling (Krupskaya, 2003)
Rosmarie Waldrop, Love, Like Pronouns (Omnidawn, 2003)
Hannah Weiner, We Speak Silent ( Roof Books, 1996)
Hannah Weiner, page (Roof Books, 2002)
Hurry in before I win the lottery and buy them all.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Can't seem to stop feeling tired. This is one of those weird limbo periods—between the writing and the oral component of my exam. It's a long intermission and I can't decide if I should go out to the lobby for candy or if I belong behind the curtain with the stagehands frantically arranging the props.

Looking forward to Jane Sprague's conference here in Ithaca on Saturday. And this afternoon Larissa Szporluk is reading in the English Department. But part of me just wants to lie on the couch and watch daytime TV until it's nighttime.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Good news? Bad news? Who knew?

You are 40% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Selah is going to be reviewed next week in Time Out New York. Then on Monday, I'm going to be reviewed by my dissertation committee.

Little nervous.

Monday, February 02, 2004

The Same River?

Finishing the exam has left me in a fragmented sort of mood. Here are some choice selections from a copy of a shiny newish translation by Brooks Haxton of Heraclitus' Fragments—the last seems particularly apposite:
Men dig tons of earth
to find an ounce of gold.

Things keep their secrets.

Now that we can travel anywhere,
we need no longer take the poets
and myth-makers for sure witnesses
about disputed facts.

Pythagoras may well have been
the deepest in his learning of all men.
And still he claimed to recollect
details of former lives,
being in one a cucumber
and one time a sardine.

Hunger, even
in the elements,
and insolence.

Without the sun,
what day? What night?

The sun is new
again, all day.

Thus in the abysmal dark
the soul is known by scent.

The mind, to think of the accord
that strains against itself,
needs strength, as does the arm
to string the bow or lyre.

Under the comb
the tangle and the straight path
are the same.

The sea is both pure
and tainted, healthy
and good haven to the fish,
to men impotable and deadly.

Good and ill to the physician
surely must be one,
since he derives his fee
from torturing the sick.

Two made one are never one.
Arguing the same we disagree.
Singing together we compete.
We choose each other
to be one, and from the one
both soon diverge.

Though what the waking see is deadly,
what the sleeping see is death.


The living when the dead
wood of the bow
springs back to life, must die.

Gods live past our meager death.
We die past their ceaseless living.

The way up is the way back.

Moisture makes the soul
succumb to joy.

Dry, the soul
grows wise
and good.

A man in the quiet of the night
is kindled like a fire soon quenched.

The rule that makes
its subject weary
is a sentence
of hard labor.

Goat cheese melted
in warm wine congeals
if not well stirred.

Even a soul submerged in sleep
is hard at work, and helps
make something of the world.

Although we need the Word [logos]
to keep things known in common,
people still treat specialists
as if their nonsense
were a form of wisdom.

To a god the widsom
of the wisest man
sounds apish. Beauty
in a human face
looks apish too.
In everything
we have attained
the excellence of apes.

Yearning hurts,
and what release
may come of it
feels much like death.

Not to be quite such a fool
sounds good. The trick,
with so much wine
and easy company, is how.

One's bearing
shapes one's fate.

A sacred ritual
may be performed by one
entirely purified but seldom.
Other rites belong to those
confined in the sodden
lumber of the body.

Silence, healing.

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