Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The Red City
The glue fell out of the book, 1801.
She said in the book,
"I carved a tiny pumpkin for Halloween 2001."
A sound remains over 200 years, choking of course.
Or there's no sound, there's a Polaroid:
An eyedropper towers above a squash.
Tinfoil is spread in front of its face—
To make it blush more she says
Than the little piece of cut candle inside can.
Or it was a whim in 1801 to celebrate a couple of centuries,
To just flat out do something for 2001,
So far away, so science fiction.
How many grandmothers ago, five? six?
A cousin is dead, to the south, in the Cleveland National Forest,
The last of the clan, except for one,
Who has carved a pumpkin in 1801
Or a tiny one for Halloween 2001,
Warm yellow meat, odor of fresh glue.
Isn't it weird? (I don't know what the rules are about typing up copywrighted material, so, uh...consider this a "review", I guess. (Blah blah blah, really good book, yadda yadda yadda...let's see, it's published by Sarabande, it costs $12.95... there, it's a review.)) I don't know who's who where or what in this poem and that's what I like about it. I like not knowing what "the red city" is, or what this book with the glue is he's talking about, or what happened in the Cleveland National Forest. (What happens in the Cleveland National Forest stays in the Cleveland National Forest.) And what's with the "or" here: "Who has carved a pumpkin in 1801 / Or a tiny one for Halloween 2001"? When is what going on, who, where? What dimension does this pumpkin exist in? Quantum mechanics seem to be involved somehow.
Some people complain when they don't understand what's going on in a poem, or when there's a reference they don't get. They say it's alienating or elitist or something. Like they need every little thing explained to them in a poem in a direct no-nonsense way or they start crying. Boring. Not knowing stuff is like "white space" of the mind. Gaps are fun because you can fill them in. I mean, not with exact words or specific thoughts, but it's like, room to move around in, room for your mind.... I don't like closed poems—I'm not necessarily even talking about endings—but poems where every seat in the auditorium is full—full of the poet—and there's nowhere for your own mind to take a seat and join in on the experience, interact, like you're really inside it.... Poems with thought-gaps are a lot less alienating than poems without them, it seems to me....
Monday, June 29, 2009
[update: I just realized I misspelled "seamlessly" above. But "seemlessly" seems like a neat word, and I hereby claim its coinage.]
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
I've kissed mermaids, rode the El Niño(I wonder what Duke would have thought of the Pixies....
Walked the sand with the crustaceans
Could find my way to Mariana
On a wave of mutilation...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Oh, and the other thing I did 2day besides hook you up with that hott link just now, was to learn from some tweeter that "garlic scapes" is "such a popular search term, [he's] getting three hits a min from people Googling them."
Garlic scapes. Garlic scapes. Mad hits. Garlic scapes.
*ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY READING LILY BROWN MATHIAS SVALINA JOSHUA MARIE WILKINSON + VIDEOS BY BRANDON DOWNING JUNE 27 8PM SPACESPACE 390 SENECA AVENUE
*FOURTH OF JULY MUUMUU HOUSE AMERICA FREEDOM MALIA SASHA BOOK RELEASE FIREWORKS HOTDOG 1812 DORITOS SADDAM HUSSEIN GM OUTER SPACE FRANCE EPCOT CENTER READING ZACHARY GERMAN BRANDON SCOTT GORRELL ABIGAIL LLOYD JULY 4th 4PM SPACESPACE (ROOFTOP) 390 SENECA AVENUE
BRING YOUR FLAG
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
In which I bitch and moan in a grating, tiresome, hipper-than-thou tone of voice about the American Hybrid anthology
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
In which I pick up, think, knock, forget, decide, abandon, try to keep, look around, see, love, and prefer
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Would you like to live on the moon?
Yes 23% 3589
No 77% 12200
Total Votes: 15789
This is not a scientific poll
Now, I ask you, gentle people, why in the world would anyone not like to live on the moon? And even if you looked at it from a pragmatic perspective—because, you know, living on the moon right now, in reality, would suck hard for a lot of reasons—how devoid of wonder, humor, and imagination do you have to be to actually choose "no" in a casual online poll? Listen, people, no one is actually asking you to live on the moon! Your answer is not binding!
Seventy-seven per cent. Unreal.
These are the same people who deny diplomas to kids who blow kisses to their moms. You know the type. Sadly, now that I think about it, that 77% seems pretty accurate.
Anyway, still loving AD, even though I laugh internally every time I reflect on the fact it was inspired by a poem by the insufferable Bill Knott. (Bill Knott himself being insufferable, not his poetry, which I'm pretty neutral about.) Got about 70-some pages left. Looking forward to reading more of Denis with one n Denis Johnson "in future" (we used to say "in the future", but now we say "in future", apparently). I've read Jesus' Son, so I'm thinking the next will be Angels.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
These aspirations are informed in many ways by other "slow" movements such
as the Slow Laundry movement. Slow Laundry is an idea: a way of cleaning your
clothes using hot water and soap, and a way of falling asleep while you're doing
it. It is a global, grassroots movement with hundreds of members around the
world who link the pleasure of clean laundry with a commitment to rarely leaving the house. Even Slower Poetry, likewise, shares with such movements a commitment to understanding the means of promotion and distribution of plastic things that you're not sure where they came from or what they're for, but it's probably better not to throw them away. DAMN--I'm taking these bad boys down to Kinko's.
Although some may claim that Even Slower Poetry and other Slow Mind
Movements are yuppie fads designed by people with adequate wealth to fund such
endeavors, those of us practicing a slow poetics are not always complete Yuppies
24/7. Just sometimes. We're actually kind of dull, angry hippies with gigantic
chips on our shoulders and some extra discretionary income that we're not sure
what to do with without feeling white guilt. Joy comes about through fulfilling
the plan of Poetry and having the power of the Poem moving in your life and
knowing when you die that you are going to finally see your name in the Don
May this glorious new sapling take root and blossom into a blooming blossoming weeping willow of Poetry salvation.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
"Sometimes when he came to our house I was exceedingly glad to see him. But by
the time he had stayed from four on Sunday afternoon till twelve or one at
night, and had crawled all over the sofa and stuck his feet up against the wall
and otherwise engaged in unnecessary contortions, I was at least glad to see him
go." —Rollo Walter Brown, a faculty colleague of Ezra Pound at Wabash College.
Monday, June 15, 2009
That's how it is with (conventional) prose. With poetry it's not a problem since things don't have to follow logically. Well, in certain kinds of poems it can be a small problem, but still not a big problem.
My goal is to lower that number from 144 as close as I can to zero before I start reading any new books. That's not realistic, so what I might do instead is finish two, start one (no more than one). That way the number goes down, but I still get to start new books.
Another reason it takes me so long to read is because I have trouble trusting page numbers. I worry that when I turn a page I'll accidentally pull one too many, or that there's a printing problem and pages got left out. That's happened to me twice now, so it's become a compulsion, flipping the corner of the page back and forth for several minutes before I can continue. I'm getting better with this though.
Still trying to decide whether to start Ulysses tomorrow.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Another literary hoax? Dude, that is sooo 2006! Check it out.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Infinite Summer in 13 days...
I have a head start, and I know I still won't finish by the end of summer, but there you go. I got the 10th-anniversary $10 edition in I think '07 and started reading it after Wallace died last year. I'm on page 130-something. It's long but not any more "difficult" to read than your average novel. It is, however, a lot more interesting and fun to read than your average novel, even though I realize that's not saying much considering the state of the average novel today. Never mind that. It—and by "it" I mean the novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, in case you're one of those people who just wandered in here looking for "dairy bondage" or "cheebye kia" or pictures of Mila Kunis or Marilyn Monroe (y'all account for about half my readership)—is, I'm quickly discovering, well worth the time and slight inconvenience of its physical cumbersomeness and need for two bookmarks.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
When I watch bloopers I sometimes laugh so hard that it restricts breathing and causes physical discomfort. This rarely, maybe never, happens when I'm watching something that's scripted to be funny and carried out as intended. I think I've figured out why this happens. With bloopers, the Funny Event is unexpected by everyone involved, including the performers. The anarchy of unintended comedy—something about the accidental nature of it gives it that extra juice. Comedy is like pressurized gas in a canister of...gas, or something. Like, it always wants to escape and explode, this being especially apparent when you see actors—professional comedians—trying to keep a straight face when their own comedy threatens to gain control over them. It's like some kind of sentient outside force, Comedy. Bloopers—as well as, to a slightly lesser extent, really good improv—are where this force is really able to blow the lid off the canister....
I made up that theory of comedy as I went along. Don't read too much into it if you don't want to. In fact, don't read at all, just watch these Seinfeld bloopers for a taste of what I'm talking about:
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A lot of people like to make themselves feel good about themselves by complaining about Muzak, even though often they're not even talking about Muzak, they're talking about music in TV commercials or other commercial things. If you're going to get on your high horse, at least make sure its feet are planted squarely in the truth.
I wish people here in this room and everywhere else in the world would please just stop making so much NOISE.