Friday, November 28, 2003

mmm. My apolgies to my meager audience. Been sick and otherwise occupied layin out the Columbia Review--which should be off to the printer by next wednesday (cross my fingers). I also wrote a long post on Kristen Prevallet's talk "On Elegy" but blogger mysteriously erased it and i don't feel like reproducing it. Instead, here's an exerpt from a recent email to my friend oliver; it's a bit of a rant, but kind of fun. Enjoy.

...What else. Writing is going decently;
got a new poem attatched below that riffs off some favorite quotes of mine
spliced together in weird ways with some other random collage material so
that it al comes out in a randomly conversational way...i dunno, see what
you think. St. Mark's is still fun, tho i had to miss a couple of times due
to the asthma cough/cold combo. Working up a manuscript for that chapbook
contest Creeley's judging...getting a little anxious about it, still at the
point where i really start to dislike the work i did even just a year ago,
ya know, with a few exceptions...hard to get 25 pgs of stuff together...
Last night when i was becoming a little too paranoid reading Dostoevsky i started On
The Road again (ha)...i was thinking about how weird it is that i still
think of Kerouac--and really Ginsberg too in some ways--as such a compelling
model, ya know? What a big cliche and ultimately a dude who was so
misguided in so many ways. But then this moment in American history has so
much in common with his...there's been this cooption of everything American
by the right, coupled with an academic left/artistic avant-garde thats all
but given up on the idea of the American. As a writer i feel like one of
the most valuable things i could do is write toward, or thru, the America
that is not an idea but a commitment to a public sphere that refuses to be
defined; teleological, in the way that the right tries to make it. It's
interesting to think about how Kerouac was able to do that...thru a fiction
that was sort of vaguely populist but also inaccesible (in some of it's
manifestations~Visions of Cody, Desolation Angels) in a sort of way that
turned off both his popular and critical audience, but at the same time connected to Jazz in an astounding way--I think Kerouac, like all the best writers who write on and thru Jazz (Clark Coolidge especially) understood it not only as something that could influence his prosody (as the most boring "Jazz poets" do) but also as something that could serve as a model for a sort of entirely new sort of (smuh!) epistemology, a new way of reading and appropriating the old, and a new way of writing and acting in the present...

Poetry is so much about those questions of audience...when the pen goes to
paper, who is it speaking to and who is it speaking for? Intersting to
categorize poets in that way...for some the interlocutor seems so consistent
thruout their whole project--for others it seems like every poem is probing
the quiet for a new ear. I don't know where i stand on this--i think too
many of my poems are written to my self(ves) as an attempt to start over, to
redefine, to find some ground to stand on, etc etc--but i really like poets
that seem to speak, maybe, even, sure, to confess, to an other that seems
very close. Not that i think that poets traditionally considered
"confessional" (Plath Lowell et al) really do that--speaking, as they do,
thru a form so invested in tradition--to me any real act of confession is a
sort of act of construction, its me telling you how i bring form to all
these "materials...strewn along the ground" as Emerson says.

Ack, enough of all that. Do you ever get the feeling, talking about such
things, that what you're saying is just a pastiche of things you've heard
before? Maybe its an inevitability of talking about talking.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Still sick and unproductive. Trying to write on Turgenev again (this time an essay). I did get tipped off by the poetics list about this freakish little show that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce put on recently--it's time to write some letters--check out this
press release
Here's my favorite part: "Post-colonial theory was founded by Columbia University professor of comparative literature, Edward Said. The core premise of post-colonial theory is that it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign languages and cultures at the service of American power," continued [Dr. Stanley] Kurtz [of the neocon Hoover Institute]."
And how great is it that the dude's name is Kurtz?

Friday, November 14, 2003

Has irony ever done anything for anyone except insulate their conscience from the consequences of their own actions? Why am i suddenly sounding so Yeatsian?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Wondering how other people spend time alone. Am I more productive? Less productive? How much staring at the wall goes on in your world?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Looking at my blog today (a weird habit i have--i spend hours reading myself, even tho i sort of hate it--sort of like mirrors in restaurants--) and thinking how it's sort of reminded me of a poem Tom Kelly had in last falls' review called "Convictions," which he wrote by flipping through Bartlett's quotations and inserting some musings of his own, here's one of the latter:

"I feel treacherous.
I am making most of this up, and I'm making myself look like a pretty good guy."

Show me a blog that's not a little bit self-indulgent, and i'll show ya a used car i'd like to sell ya.
Everyone go see TIMBER!
at theluckycat.com @ 245 grand street [between driggs and roebling]
tonight (wed) at 8
Sick; up too late (early). Been trying to write a poem starting with a line by Turgenev: "Now let me flop back into my natural element." We'll see how it goes (it's the end of a high brow flying fish metaphor, but how great is it on it's own?). Reading Delillo's White Noise, it's funny; I love all the making fun of academics.

A pensive night. Something to do with all the tea and soup.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Argh the blog has been neglected for a weekend of craziness. But, some interesting happenings...Saw Lee Ann Brown and Eileen Myles read at Barnard Thursday night,


but that's why i love it. I think it has to do with the whole Southern thing, how close all the hymns and songs and cadences are to home, for me...it's just such a crazy and original thing to do for a Southern expat (as it were) in New York to go back to all that material, both the forms and the social struggles that still define the South, and appropriate it for a very sophisticated body of work. When I first encountered Lee Ann's work i definitely liked the more disjunctive stuff and thought of the more directly narrative political stuff as not so interesting--but i think Lee Ann's work fits together so beautifully not as some overdetermined artistic project, but instead as "that great mud intelligence & feeling" (T Berrigan) that artistic praxis can be, in the best sense of that rather annoying word. When Lee Ann reads a ballad about civil rights to the melody of a Methodist hymn and then turns right around and reads a disjunctive short-lined poem for Tom Raworth, it becomes clear that for her, radical form is not some sort of ideological experiment, but an important part of "getting said what must be said." (WCW)

Hearing Eileen Myles for the first time was great too. I think i've pilfered almost as much from her prosody as I have Creeley's. I love Creeley's stutters, but I also love the sense of speed projected by Myles's short lines--they retain that multivalence you can get with short lines that are sort of autonomous phrases, but they move you right down to next line at the same time...i dunno. In any case, i didn't speak with her...no money for a book, and i can never think of a good excuse to talk to poets when that happens (sigh).

More fun with Jai Alai Saturday. Working on a series of erasures of archived emails, which has been fun. Brian and Jordan both gave good readings at Segue, and I had fun having a drink and checking out my new Gillian Welch CD (amazing!)with wee James.

Plotting a January road trip out west with my friend Oliver. I may be the roadie/driver/manager for his extremely lo-fi indie rock/folk scene solo tour. Sounds just impossible enough to be fun.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I slept thru my internship @ the poetry project this morning (why am i such a tool?) because my alarm didn't go off. I think. In any case i didn't hear it. I was woken up by Cori Copp at 12:45. Sigh.

I am now writing a paper on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I have no idea what to say, and i always have something to say. Tre depressing.

I went to Michael Golston's seminar where Charles Bernstein was visiting. I asked too many questions like a big goon as usual. I'm always put off by the people who ask too many questions in lectures but i've come to realize in my 20th century poetry classes i am probably "that guy." And then when i ask questions that are at all loaded i feel like i'm being a heckler or confrontational in a juvenile sort of way--or maybe that's just how i feel like i get treated--but i'm not trying to be that way--maybe i'm just really paranoid. There comes a point when you have to be willing to take yourself at least somewhat seriously, i suppose.

In any case, here's some of the more interesting questions i asked(a summary from memory not a transcript), i'd try to reproduce some of Bernstein's answers but i don't want to misrepresent him and I don't have time right now--maybe i'll talk about it later. Still asking the same questions, for the most part, anyway.

1) Flipping through L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, looking at your essays compared to the essays like, say, Coolidge's reading of Eigner or Grenier's reading of Creeley (in Open Letter)...it seems to me that yours, for all their formal innovation do rely much more on a sort of direct exposition...in past interviews you've described this tendency towards clarity and logic as "Erring on the side of power." In Charles Bernstein's "academy of the future" would all "exposition" look more like those Coolidge or Grenier pieces?

2) I liked the chapter in Daniel Kane's new book about Language Poetry in relation to the St. Mark's Scene, partly because nobody seems to talk about that very much these days--looking back on it, how do you see your writing then as identifying with, or identifying itself against, that poetic community?

3) You seem to be making two claims here [in a discussion about "Thought's Measure"]--the first being that language is the material basis of thought, and the second being that thought is mediated through language...to what extent do you see your project [justifying a politics of poetic form] as predicated on the former, stronger claim?

4) This discussion [on politics and poetic form] is interesting to me in the context of the previous discussion [on Language Poetry as less interested in the "Lifestyle Element" than St. Mark's poets]...because, altho i understand Language Poetry's critique of a silly/sad sort of bohemianism that was happening at that time...isn't a poetry can theoretically change "a form of life" necessarily a poetry connected in some direct way to "lifestyle"?

[this is obviously a poorly worded version of a question i've been asking, here and elsewhere, for a long time--i never seem to be able to frame it right, even when i'm thinking about the answer myself--hard to explain--didn't get the sort of answer i was looking for this time, either]


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Dunno if I'll be able to make it, but check out Stay Fucked at the Knitting Factory tomorrow (Wed) at 7; should be a good time

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I don't want a girlfriend; I want a partner in crime.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

22 years old today. (not very exciting, i have to admit)

Went to Jai Alai for Autocrats aka Brian's workshop yesterday. Good times. I'm sorta obsessed with that Tom Phillips book "A Humument" now. After that wild times were had at Yogi's and Tom's. Manhattan is too beautiful right now to leave for the rest of the weekend, i think.

Feeling rather vague.

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