Wednesday, March 31, 2004
As regards how compression may help control horror, Jean writes:
The current horribleness taking place in Iraq today, (burning of Americans, dragged through streets, hung from bridge, etc) now being expressed via hay(na)ku on
http://as-is.blogspot.com/ by me and Harry K. Stammer.
The hay(na)ku form is a good vehicle for expressing horror, when verbosity just doesn't cut it. Hay, naku! indeed, (sigh).
Sigh, indeed. And don't forget to check in with http://transdada.blogspot.com/
So not only did Marsh Hawk Press Managing Editor Sandy McIntosh bring a mere five copies of my book to AWP, but it seems he did bury my book in the display as per this photo. As the saying goes, "Hmpf!" Still, nice to see smiles there...
So, I notice on the As-Is2 Poetics Blog that the hay(na)ku is receiving attention in a context that includes discussion of LANGUAGE poetry, Flarf, and "School of Quietude."
This never ceases to amaze me -- that is, delight, awe, astonish, humble, make me puff out moi lovely chest in pride (before looking over my shoulder to wonder if people have figured out I don't know what I'm talking about --what is that 2nd-guessing about, Stephanie?) -- when something one concocts in the privacy of one's studio goes out there in the world....and someone notices. In the case of the hay(na)ku, its genesis came from a diary I once kept where I tried to be aware of what I can count as the days unfolded (inspired by Richard Brautigan). So....WOW.
I mean: WOW!!!
Or, as a Pin@y would put it: HAY NAKU!
And do go over please to Crag Hill's blog for a shiveringly beautiful hay(na)ku! -- "A Room At" with a killer last line!
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Methinks the insurance man did me a favor by forcing me to compile a list of Galatea's art collection...as I'm beginning to have a lot of fun with that blog. And to some good feedback, too. Today, an art dealer e-mailed Moi:
"Absolutely it's a joy to see how people are experiencing the work they live with -- do you know how many collectors buy things and leave them wrapped in storage? I ask a year later, oh how are you enjoying X, and they admit that it never came out of the bubble wrap! [...] I love it when people discover new things about their work, or when they see other people responding to it, like your construction guys! I had forgotten that this was for insurance purposes!"
I've alluded before to a difference between an "art collector" and an "art lover." The latter, which is what I consider myself to be, would never acquire art works only to leave them in "bubble wrap"! Sheeesh. So check out the Art Blog to witness JOY! Quite logically (since Moi is the author), poems have started to pop up there -- Galatea's Art Collection Blog is turning out to be a poetics blog after all -- poetics focused on ekphrasis!
How funny. Barry sent me The Guardian's post on Bob Dylan's Wine, but I don't need to go into it. Greg Perry on the other winepoetics-type blog, GRAPEZ, just posted on it!
Ron. I think "thingee" is spelled "thingie." A man of your stature should spell certain words correctly.
Awwwww, and last but not the least of this troika: some nice hay(na)ku over at Jill Jones' Ruby Street Blog!!! Like this epistemological-imagistic one! (Ain't that a long adjective for a short poem?!)
vibrates considered rain
Jill, you're now on the list of blogs that occasionally do hay(na)ku!! Maraming Salamat!!*
*Tagalog for "Thank You Very Much!"
Monday, March 29, 2004
During my first year in San Francisco, I also broke my heart over a young artist-poet.
I'd want to follow
see past the black
of eyes closing
--from "A Night in the Studio" by Michelle L. O'Connor
The story's over at the Galatea's Art Collection Blog.
So I spent most of my blogging time today trying to make my insurance man happy. But "Galatea's Art Collection" Blog -- like Poetry -- is, I sense, beginning to transcend authorial intention. It's not just becoming a list of art works but ... something more -- say, how how one might engage with art. Recent posts at Moi new Art Blog talk about a painting ("Heartland" by Leonard Koscianski) that required a year-long (at least) diet of tuna sandwiches to afford, as well as the tale of my very first art purchase -- when I was 20 years old (and could still wear a bikini without scaring anybody) -- from some tourist gallery whilst be-bopping on Redondo Beach, CA. Then there's the tale of Tom "erasing" an Oldenburg (Yo, Hubby -- you know that if you hadn't erased that drawing, we could pay down the mortage -- you now what I mean?!!). Anyway, check out the Art....and the Living!
But does all this attention to the other blog mean Moi has nothing to say here? Well, not if moi peeps have anything to do with it. Here's a post now based on Moi peeps writing in:
First, "You're welcome" to Ken Rumble, the Featured Poet here this weekend; please to scroll down.
Second, to answer Joseph's query about my occasional (usually once a week) posts listing "Galatea's House Wines," that's cause moi readership includes certain oenophiles who are quite nosy about what I'm excavating from the cellar and drinking. That post is primarily for them, though one also may use is as a Recommended Wine List since the Chatelaine has superb taste.
Third, I'm cutnpasting below an article in The Guardian about U.K.'s kultureflash that Barry Schwabsky just sent. Said Barry just sent said article as, a few weeks ago, he inaugurated a new feature: a "Poem of the Week" series. Check it out -- featured poets to date include this week's Gustaf Sobin, Robert Richman, Chelsea Minnis, Simon Smith, Frances Richards, Arthur Sze and Sarah Manguso. But as you can see by the article below, this is one site to check out generally and specifically when just about to visit London:
Why I love ...
Monday March 29, 2004
"When I'm not sleeping, I love to do stuff. See stuff, hear stuff, touch stuff, smell stuff ... well, you get the picture. It is not an obsession with limits. I use a variety of dealers to ensure a continuing flow of cultural fixes, and the email bulletin kultureflash (kultureflash.net) provides some of the purest gear in town.
"Kf, as I like to think of it now we have become familiar, is the slickest and smartest of "What's On?" thinking for London gadabouts. It's not backward in showing off its love for everything from abstract art to zoomorphic architecture. It wears its metropolitan heart on its too-cool-for-school sleeve. Follow its lead and you see more, you think more, your lot is added to, your thoughts bubble over (in a good way), thinky light bulbs illuminate with a ping, pennies drop with satisfaction. This is not about nights in eating M&S meals debating whether to watch Property Ladder or switch off the telly for "quality time" with a Dido soundtrack. This is about living.
"Once a week the sneaky pleasure of kultureflash reveals itself in my inbox. Self-consciously lower case and designated by an issue number alone, its conciseness takes me back to a time when there was less to do and a whole lot more time to do it. By acting as a filter and daring to suggest braining-up might not be a bad idea, kultureflash is a conduit to a better, cleverer life. It makes the most of its medium by peppering the copy with links to interesting stuff, just in case you like the sound of zoomorphic architecture but don't really know what it is.
"It's not all goody-goody though, it does advocate going out and getting your rocks off in every late-night haunt in town, it just knows that boozy hedonism is only one of many of the capital's enjoyable pursuits."
Fourth, my latest link is Patrick Rosal's Blog. Check it out, partly for a report on the recent AWP and what he says about moi last Asian American anthology project: SCREAMING MONKEYS. Here's a red-hot excerpt! I particularly like the reference to (chuckle) "more American than more famous anthologies published on their doily-thin pages"!
the [screaming monkeys] reading, like the anthology, was a model for a kind of democratic inclusion. It's big, messy, and rude--but doesn't ignore its indispensable desire for a rarified air; in its many modes Screaming Monkeys embraces the necessity of the examined life; it acknowledges that Asian-Americans are doin' it. The work of Screaming Monkeys, therefore, is more American than more famous anthologies published on their doily-thin pages.
You might read Screaming Monkeys because you support its literary agenda. You might buy it because of its political focus. You're not the ones I'm talking to. If you question, as I do, not just the conservative yawp, but the bland postcolonial rhetoric, the multicultural hee-hawing that goes on even in 'progressive' circles, this is an excellent anthology to own. It has the force of politics and the nuance of art. Say word-- this is how we get down.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Galatea: "where nature, poetry, art and wine converge." Okay. So, here's my newest blog that focuses on the ART at Galatea:
Galatea's Art Collection at http://galateaartcollection.blogspot.com/
Actually, I needed to put together this list to abide by some requirement imposed on already overburdened Moi by some bureaucrat (yawn).
But to make it interesting for me to put together said list, I thought I'd incorporate current events that may be of interest to you Peeps who are into the arts. So, making this list is also a way for Moi to recommend new exhibits, e.g. Susan Bee's and Maureen McQuillan's; or point you to other timely information, e.g. an essay I just had published as regards the performance group "Mail Order Brides."
So dance on over to my latest blog and enjoy!
Poetry -- it's holistic...all part of a piece....so many stories to any one story....so many poems layered within any one poem....everything = Poetry ...
The Chatelaine surrounds herself with art works as her duties include taking their dictation. Here's an excerpt from her "Author's Note" to BEHIND THE BLUE CANVAS, a collection of short stories set in the art world and/or with characters as artists:
For this collection, I turned -- as I have with poems -- to the visual arts for inspiration. I love art: I feel that paintings, sculptures and drawings speak and I have been blessed that some chose to reveal their tales to me. These stories would not have been possible without the inspiring creations of certain visual artists. I thank these artist by noting the presence of their works and/or aesthetic approaches in my stories, as follows:
RED "AFTERBIRTH": Richard Tuttle
LA LUNA "BEFORE SILENCE OF WINTER COMES": Theresa Chong (one of whose paintings is also the cover image on my book BLACK LIGHTNING), Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and James Westwater
THE CAUSTIC SURFACE: Richard Hogan, Wassily Kandinsky, Eadward Muybridge, Sonita Singwi, Li Ti, Eleanore Weber, and Wang Wei.
THE "OTHER": Gustave Courbet, Richard Serra
ABOUT FACE: Gustave Courbet, Brice Marden
THE ART COLLECTOR: Jeff Burton, Exeias, Michelle O'Connor, Phidias, Richard Thatcher, Richard Tsao
THE ARTIST LOOKS AT THE MODEL: anonymous Greek sculptur of "The Kritios Boy" (circa 490 B.C.)
THE LUCIDITY OF DETACHMENT: Matisse, Picasso, Wayne Thiebault
EINSTEIN'S LOVE STORY: Osami Tanaka
THANK YOU ARTISTS -- you rock!
1995 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
1996 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Sonoma County
2001 Dutschke Single Barrel Shiraz, Barossa Valley
2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Las Amigas Merlot Napa Valley
1996 Neyers Zinfandel Contra Costa County Pato Vineyard
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Moi long-lashed eyes were ever more closer to the stars and moon tonight, aided by a spiffy telescope sent by Barbara and Sandy McIntosh to Galatea's fallen angels. Thanks to my Favorite Tangerine Couple! (Took a while for us to figure out how to use it!)
But, grump to Sandy! The good news is that you sold out my book at AWP? But the bad news is that you only brought five copies? Now, Sandy -- I am grinning grumpily or grumpily grinning (your pick!)!
Ken Rumble stumbled across Moi in a Google search....and a very satisfying conversation ensued that began with discussing Juliana Spahr's chapbook things of each possible relation hashing against one another (Palm Press). I had mentioned Ken's post to the Buffalo Poetics List while discussing Juliana's chap in my March 18 post. Here's to share our chat, ending with a poem by our Featured Poet: Ken Rumble!
I was just googling my name (I'm not that much of an egoist actually, there's a story (smile)) and found your blog about my comments and JS's book.
I agree with much of what you say and would say you've read my comments in the way I intended. Part of what I was saying responds to what you say here:
"And it's precisely because the poem works for me that reading Juliana's explication doesn't diminish the experience but only offers an optional doorway into a more layered reading."
"So the prose need not be an introduction to the poem -- and, again, the poem does not need it."
I may be misinterpreting, but the implication of this seems to be that you're separating the "poems" from the "prose" as two distinct "pieces"? Forgive all the quotation marks -- part of what I was suggesting is that the book as a whole is the only "piece." In that sense, the prose isn't optional (or is at least as optional as any other part of book like an isbn for example.) What I'm wondering/proposing (I don't know yet what I think) is whether a painting can be considered without thinking of its frame. It can of course (we can do whatever we want, right?) but what does splitting up a whole do to our understanding of it? Is there something to be learned/gained/value in viewing all of "things of..." as a piece entire without seams? divisions?
This is an interesting take, Ken. I wouldn't say I'm necessarily separating the prose from the poem -- I may have implied that this is how I feel only in the context of trying to address some of the points you raise. I, frankly, feel the project is stronger with the inclusion of Juliana's exposition. Your likening to whether a painting can be separated from a frame is, in my mind, very apt. But the same painting can be situated in different frames -- in the same way a poem can be interpreted in different ways? I personally even hang the majority of my paintings without frames (unless they came with such) -- perhaps because I don't want the frame to be a predisposition to how the painting is viewed and, well more significantly, I'd rather save my pennies for more paintings than framing. But there is at least one artist I know who was been quite specific about how the lack of a frame is not just part of the artwork but that she uses very thin sides/edging (not sure what to call that edge) so that it can seem as if the painting's edges dissolve against the wall -- that there's no seam between wall and painting (which, to me, is a brilliant metaphor for saying that the art needs to be "in" the world).
Forgive me again, if I am rambling on beyond the point where you understand my meaning.
"this is my point: I don't think there is such a a thing as an unmediated experience with art, so why not include a context that may be offered by the author when the reader inherently brings context from so many other sources in his/her/hir life? Who's to say one context is better -- is it based on the source?"
What I'd suggest is that the afterwards is more than just another context within which to view the art, but art itself.
I very much agree about the afterward -- though I'd not articulated it that way before!!! Indeed, interpretation, too, can be an art! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for taking me up on my wonderings -- as far as I know, you're the only person to do so (smile.) I don't often read blogs (mostly because I'm unfamiliar with them by and large and haven't taken the time to become acquainted) -- might I ask who you are? Thanks again -- I enjoyed your comments.
Who am I? Well, I'm not just the persona on Chatelaine poetics blog. I could certainly suggest you can Google me too to know more about moi. That will deepen your understanding of me to about 10% -- which, notwithstanding the fullsome blather on this blog -- is really all I allow of myself to be shared with peeps....until we get to know each other more, of course!
Thanks for your reply -- I recognize your name from the Buffalo list. Ah, yes the power of google (smile) -- a nice 10%; good poems on the Marsh Hawk page, particularly "Purity." "Have I earned the moments I've made my mother cry?" Indeed (smile) and nice iambic rhythm at the end there.
There's a story about Brancusi I like that muddies? clarifies? our discussion (it could be apocryphal, but I heard it as true): after he died, the people in charge of his estate set up a show of his work with all the remaining stuff they found in his studio. A friend of his showed up at the opening and, after looking around, told the curators that half of what they had on display were pedestals Brancusi had made for the sculptures.
Your comments about frames rings true to me -- once an artist puts a work out into the public sphere, it's fair game, right? We can talk about should and shouldn't with regards to the freedoms people will take with others' art, but that's a little too Puritanical I think. I like the notion of a painting that "dissolves against the wall", very nice.
There's still an aspect of the afterwards that leaves me ambivalent. I've been reading lately Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and a collection of poems by Kwame Dawes about the middle passage (Requiem); both are fascinating, depressing, and necessary. I wonder, though, if there are some stories (such as those of the slave trade and colonization of North America and decimation of its native people) in which the content is so huge, scary, important that the frame or form that the content comes in is arbitrary? These are stories that must be told, but can any form offer more to the content than the content itself already produces?
Part of my own assumptions seem to be that content can be separated from form, but how can it? I don't think it can, but I'm still stuck on this idea of some information transcending form somehow.
Some of what I'm worrying over relates to an ambivalence about narrative that many others have discussed over the years. I worry sometimes that when we write stories, produce histories from events, that we make "sense" out of what should be thought of as senseless. Histories take horrible, degrading, destructive events and attempt to string them together with other events to say "here is why this happened." Histories give sense to the senseless. Telling the stories is important, but the process by which the actions are created is
what needs to be examined and ended. Telling histories is a way of assuring us that all is well now, no need to worry: we don't need to worry about slavery again because look we figured out why that happened, and now that we know, we can be sure we'll never do that again.
Much of what I say here has been written more eloquently by others I believe? Unfortunately I can't quote or name any of them off-hand right now.
So how does this relate to Spahr's book? I was talking about this with a couple friends this weekend. One of them (Chris Vitiello, great poet by the way), mentioned that he thought Spahr's talent was in creating systems that work as you read them. Her poems avoid telling stories by embracing vague, general terms and shift the focus to the underlying process. This seems very true to me -- I loved Fuck You[, Aloha, I Love You]... and things... (haven't read the other) and Spiderwasp.... because of this focus on the system. Her poems aren't tied to a specific series of events, but engage across time and place. So things... is about the introduction of exotic species to Hawaii, but it's also about the senseless thoughts that caused those events to happen. The afterwards, for me, limits the scope of the poems, reduces their commentary to a specific time and place instead of showing (as her other work does I think) some kind of universal system that is the "cause" of much of our destructive (and in the case of Fuck You.. constructive) behavior.
On the other hand, I realize that taking the afterwards as a limiting move is a choice on my part. I can choose to take the afterwards and appreciate the specific damage that's been to done to the islands and appreciate the wider reaching system behind those events.
Once again I think I should ask forgiveness for going on at such length (smile.) Thank you again for engaging and responding to my comments -- perhaps it's obvious I've been thinking a little about this?
Yes, I am a poet (surprise) and would be grateful if you would post a poem of mine. In the meantime, thanks to kismet for leading me to your blog -- I'll visit often.
Welcome to Galatea, Ken. Meanwhile, Dear 10 million Peeps, here's a poem by Ken Rumble!
This town eats flesh,
savor the savior --
stiffer fingers and stiffer toes,
too many go the way of them
back to back, feet arched like prayers.
Tobacco is all they can feel
standing by the field edge --
tonight the stars go out,
are we afraid of a blank sky?
Are we to dance by chainsaws
and clarinets? Ridiculous -- the fool’s
found love that finds a mirror
in every face. Are we not delighted men?
Each lamp has a room, each match
a strike and we’ll dance we will
by the glow of the top dog. Again he goes
and says and goes and says touch
the back of my hand
for tomorrow. The television
by the radio and abstract art
snaps of tiny mockingbird sketches,
death masks, Indian paint by never
getting what you want hums.
natural objects introducing
catastrophes, also constructing
of windblown Pythagoras
Such lovely Hay(na)ku sequences! You made my (Satur)day!
Friday, March 26, 2004
I am infinity
You may worship me,
but from afar
this quiz by orsa
Why am I not surprised at the above result?
Relatedly, I long have mythologized the internet's expanse to be infinite (mythologized it in several of my works, in my mind, et al). So, when I calculate my readership -- MOI PEEPS! -- I do so based on signs surfacing at random. Well, Tatang delivered the latest sign that signifies that my readership apparently has jumped 300,000 to round up neatly at 10.0 million peeps. Okey-dokey. That's the latest official count! Bow, Ron Silliman: Bow!
Bow wow! Ooops. That woofy P.S. is from Achilles lovingly draped around moi ankles, as he often is nowadays when I'ma in front of the computer.
The months ahead will be a pivotal time for our nation as we speak out for democracy and against intolerance and discrimination.
--kari edwards at transdada blog
It's worth repeating: kari edwards' transdada blog should be required reading.
And, at a time when so much negative stuff is said about Filipino culture as people mistake said culture for the actions of incompetent, corrupt politicians, it's worth noting almost any positive commentary about the Philippines. kari just included a post by Nelson Everett Toriano commenting on "Is It Better to be Gay in the Philippines?"
Check out transdada to read all of its necessary entries, as well as to go to Toriano's commentary that is introduced by an Editor's Note from the Pacific News Service, Mar 26, 2004: "Americans often think the United States is the world's most accepting places for gay, lesbian and transgender people. But a young gay American man finds out differently in the mostly Catholic, socially conservative Philippines."
Yeah, yeah. I may not be at AWP but the Chatelaine's expanse is such that it even encompasses Chicago though Moi is just sitting atop a mountain hidden by mists....something like that....
Anyway, here's an AWP-related morning conversation: Alfred "Krip" Yuson, one of the Philippines' premier poets, is in Chicago to participate in a reading later today:
FILIPINOS IN THE DIASPORA
Beyond Identity and Nostalgia
Friday, March 26, 2004 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Lincoln Park Campus, Schmidt Academic Center,
Room 161, 2320 N. Kenmore, Chicago
So Krip e-mails me:
I am desperate. Here in Chicago for that AWP. We have a reading later today at De Paul. I need a copy of that "Pillage" poem, which I forgot to bring along. That way I can even plug the PINOYPOETICS antho already, so that Nick Carbo will smile onstage with me, and the rest of the panelists-readers.
To which Moi gracefully and graciously and gratuitiously and other g-words reply:
Excellent idea. Please tell everyone Hello and that the reason I'm not at AWP is that I am absolutely COLLAPSED from having just had to deal with the 500-page tome of PINOYPOETICS which came in at 150 pages over budget but I am too nice to cut anyone so I just had to keep squinting my way through it....AND also please tell all the poet-teachers that PINOYPOETICS is a collaborative venture and that I hope they all come up to their responsibilities and ensure that it is ordered as a textbook at various places across the country because it is the only way I can recuperate the money I -- as its publisher -- stole from my housekeeping jar to finance the book .....and remind everyone that since I don't cook, diminishing that money from that kitchen jar is wreaking havoc on my diet....etcetera...embellish, of course.
One of the few people who can further embellish on moi already abstract-expressionist missives is Krip. Da man replies to the above with:
You're a dear. Very responsive. Low maintenance, all that. And so I will see to it that you get your capital back for Peenoy Poetics. If I have to scour the streets of the South Side, no, make that The Loop, tonight, and sell my hunky-dory bod to well-preserved, deep-pocketed foreign matrons. Muchas graciosas, amor con amor se paga,
Yeah, fine. Whore it if you can. Why not? It's for a good cause: Moi food.
Anyway, to celebrate how Poetry can prostitute people, here's a poem, too, by Alfred Yuson which, incidentally won a Palanca Award, is in PINOYPOETICS and which he plans to read out loud tonight in Chicago:
Stones. We had to deprive them of stones.
Clearing the paths to the village, we sent
the old men and the children home. Flowers.
No one could ever raise a yard of color.
Our machetes went to work. The women wept
when they saw how sweat beaded our brows.
The river flowed, now as fast as stories told
of loss of face. How could they smile toothily
at one another, even when mornings promised
our departure? How can they look one another
in the eye, thump breasts and shoulders, suckle
from mothers? Their mountains were as forlorn.
Without stones, without flowers. But that is how
wars are won and dark souls are remembered.
So said our generals, who always knew better.
We had to suck away their spirit, leave no chance
for rebirth of courage. We took away all their stones,
the polish of their dreams. We buried the love
that made them strong. We burned all buds and flowers.
Now there are no heroes even in their bravest songs.
And don't forget to stop by Marsh Hawk's table if you wish to see my poetry book. If Sandy McIntosh is hiding mine behind his books, do let me know so I can smack him upside the head the next I see him....
Thursday, March 25, 2004
And regardless of the cheerful moons that reflected the purest suns of the world, it is perhaps only through the backside that is always turned away from us that we relate to infinite space.
Despite the wine glass, empty now, in her hand, the Chatelaine remains lucid enough to recognize the significance of the echos produced by her footsteps -- she is the only one walking through the limestone hallways. For angels tread on air. From YOU ALONE ARE REAL TO ME: REMEMBERING RAINER MARIE RILKE by Lou Andreas-Salome (Trans. Angela von der Lippe):
"For longer stays Rilke often lived in castles, fortresses, and towers: this occurred partly by accident, due to friendships that afforded him this form of refuge, but he was also inclined to take up residence in such places. This has been all too often misconstrued to mean that Rilke welcomed contact with old lines of nobility. In fact, it had to do with other needs, such as the need for a safe enclosure, to an extent, a kind of trap, in which one is instantly suspended without having to create a covering. [...] the dual character of the "trap" -- that everything that was secure was also imprisoned -- and set constraints on him. Even from Duino, the beloved birthplace of the first Elegies, he writes that he is held like a prisoner within its immense walls. He was also constantly driven to flee and plagued with increasing anxiety that what had initially announced itself at Duiino would never achieve a breakthrough. A decade would pass before that happened. In 1911 he wrote from Duino:
"The frightening thing about art is that the further one comes in art, the more one is committed to extremes, to what is almost impossible."
The Chatelaine stares through the empty glass, through the window to look at a 300-year-old iron door across the courtyard. The door leads into the wine cellar. The Chatelaine is collaborating with an artist on creating a mosaic against one wall of the wine cellar. The mosaic's imagery would revolve around the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.
But the most recent fallen angel allowed through the Iron Gate had pointed out to the Chatelaine: Galatea means "sleeping love."
No, the Chatelaine thinks, Love must not sleep here on this mountain just because to love is to ... be fragile. I shall reverse that myth with a more powerful force: a poem. Poem, please come to me ...
... oh pain.
that I still sing to you ...
knowing who you are ...
... Who are you?
Early blessed ones, creation's spoiled darlings,
Peaks, ranges, morning-red ridges,
of all creation, -- pollen of a blossoming divinity,
joints of light, hallways, steps, thrones,
spaces of essence, shields of ecstasy, tumultuous
storms of excited feeling and suddenly, separate,
mirrors, restoring their once drained beauty
back again into their own faces.
--Rilke, "Second Elegy"
Naturally, I would have been disappointed and surprised if yesterday's post on masturbation hadn't elicited at least one rise, ahem, from someone:
TOM BECKETT'S POINT THAT AIN'T VANISHING:
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Is it just me? When E.T. (there is something otherworldly about her, you know) goes on and on about her "9.7 million peeps" I picture her gnawing her way out of a pink and yellow pastel marshmallow forest with an impish grin on her face and sticky wingtips.
Go to The Chatelaine's Poetics and find out how when she pleasures herself she pleasures us all.
My pleasure, Tom!
And here's a correction from that masturbatory post. It wasn't Degas I meant to cite about calling masturbation "the loneliest of all arts" -- though I wonder where that phrase comes from. I checked my reference -- which is in an old poem I wrote at MacDowell -- and recalled that I was thinking of Rodin calling masturbation a "melancholy pleasure." So: close but no cigar (no pun intended).
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Shaking moi head over that last post (one reason I was so relieved to read Stephanie's post about how blog-writing can be like taking a walk through the park, including doing it in the nude -- or that's how I read it, anyway). Speaking of anyway, anyway, Peeps, just consider moi previous post moi version of coming down from a high. In this case, I had been in such concentrated focus over this 500-page tome that when I finally stopped working on it yesterday, I got into that "collapsed" zone -- many of you probably know what I'm talking about -- that sometimes occurs in the immediate aftermath of an intense, prolonged, concentrated focus on something.
Anyway, since releasing that brick of a manuscript from my overloaded brain, I also relaxed by reading APPRENTICE TO THE FLOWER POET, an amusing novel by poet Debra Weinstein. To quote lazily from the inside flap, it's about "two women: Annabelle, an aspiring young poet from the suburbs, and Z., the celebrated mentor who tries to hold her back. It's no accident that their initials span the alphabet, as this hilarious book is about language, writing, and the appropriation of ideas. It is also about the highwire relations between older and younger women, between reputation and aspiration."
The novel so amused me -- in addition to making moi glad that when I went to grad school, it was to get a different degree from the MFA -- that I didn't even mind paying the hardback price. (James and Stephanie will know that I was trying to inhale this book whilst at the bookstore but kari edwards' and Juliana Spahr's readings were so good I forgot about the book in my hand until it came time to, uh, pay...but Modern Times is a good bookstore to support!)
Anyway, Weinstein's novel grabbed my attention with its opening two paragraphs:
This is the story of how I came to momentary prominence in the world of poetry and, through a series of misunderstandings, destroyed my good name and became a nobody. // It was fall, my junior year.
There's enough chipper mots like the above to loosen at least one knot on my overladen shoulders. Here's another one:
Z: "Have you given your heart and soul to poetry -- the way the speaker gives herself to the sailor, the whore to her john?"
"Yes, I said, looking up from my sewing. "I have given myself to poetry the way a prostitute gives herself to sex."
"Well," Z. said, "that's a metaphor you'll need to work on, Annabelle."
Okay, here's another bonny mot:
.....Everything I knew about Jason Spence I had learned while photocopying Z's files...Spence was the author of a first book called Homeless, which was hailed "a masterpiece" by the reigning British poet laureate. It was the story of James, who lived in the London tubes.
.....He published two more books of poetry, James and The James Chronicles, before publishing a novel, James and Friends. That book was dismembered by the London Telegraph's most renowned poet-novelist, who asked in his review that simple, stinging question: "Who cares?"
.....Then Spence turned to sheep, raising them in the Scottish Highlands.
.....His last book was a thin volume called The Failed, Miserable Life, and the British critics used the title to deride hime.
.....Now he was in New York City, where none of that mattered. The fact that he had a British accent made him somehow more literary. That he quoted Auden further enhanced his mystique.
.....You had to wonder why an Englishman would be chosen as executive director of a society whose mission was to preserve American poetry.
One more below...then read the book yourself (and check out this article on Weinstein that asks whether novels about poets is a new genre -- I don't know that the genre is new, but if it becomes more widespread and commercially popular, maybe that means poets will start getting paid more.....Naaaah):
.....Braun said, "Of course, you all know the goal is to write poetry. But since Gay is here, I'd like to ask her: How do we grow as poets? How do we learn? I'm thinking of a poem by Theodore roethke where he says --"
....."-- we 'learn by going where we have to go.' So go," she held out her hands, giving the floor over to Gay.
.....Gay said, "Thank you Miss Brown. I'm not going to speak long. My job here is simpy to serve as agent provocateur. Today you will write from your heart. Remember, your poems are as individual as your fingerprints. There was Roethke, a man of his time, writing the poem Braun just quoted -- but that poem is his story; what is yours?
....."Poets, do not be fooled by friendly poetry! Yes, Roethke wrote good verse, but do you know that he had this to say about women writers: that they refuse to face up to what existence is and run 'between the boudoir and the altar, stamping a tiny foot against God'?"
.....Braun said, "Wasn't that 'shaking a tiny fist against God'?"
....."Yes, yes. Foot, fist. What I have to say to all that is 'Fuck you, Theodore Roethke.' "
.....[...] Gay said, "If you're going to be a confessional poet, you're going to have to start talking like one. Repeat after me: 'Fuck you, Theodore Roethke.'"
Chatty always does
--A Hay(na)ku por Moi from one of moi devoted peeps
I'ma scratching myself here wondering: have I masturbated yet on on this blog?
And the reason I'm wondering is that: I gave up. Since the Blog Referral thingie stopped operating, I finally signed up (this Monday) for the Site Meter. In the partial day in which Site Meter was counting moi peeps, I got 74 visits (is visits the same as "hits"?). In my second full day, I got 122 visits. Does that prove my self-proclaimed readership of 9.7 million peeps plus a handful of college sophomores?
And another reason I'm discussing masturbation -- I mean, masturbating -- is that I remember now why I began counting moi peeps into the millions...because I began my blog (originally "WinePoetics") at a time when many poet-bloggers did and, in that self-reflexive moments that poets often have, said poet-bloggers started counting their readership and wondering if blogs are narcissistic. Snort. So, naturally Moi pushes the envelope on both counts (e.g. Preens). Now, masturbation is pleasurable enough (though was it Degas who called it "the loneliest of all arts"?) so that, here I am again....scratching myself here wondering: have I masturbated yet on on this blog? Oh, I'm sure many of you believe I do that frequently when I post.
But, ya know, one peep's masturbation is another peep's violin practice -- if you know what I mean. I hope you know what I mean…since I don't. Anyway….I don't believe I've yet masturbated on this blog and [trumpet blare lengthily please:] it's time.
And it is moi considered opinion that the way to masturbate, blog-wise, is to go back to my posts and come up with a list of what Moi feels are some of My best opening lines from prior posts. To come up with a list obviously means providing moiself with an excuse to revisit my very scintillating posts. Anyway, in no particular order except for the No. 1 position, here's what I feel are my said best opening lines since The Chatelaine's Poetics began (I was going to do a Top Ten list but I have so many -- Preen):
Apparently, it's "Johnson" not "Joneses" -- geez: that question elicited more responses than my infamously incisive poetics discourses....
Let me not dissemble: I am not only not stupid but probably brilliant.
Speaking of recovering history outside of what is written, the Chatelaine is a tad miffed after reading the cover article in the current issue of VANITY FAIR, which focuses on poet, publisher, actor and visual artist Viggo Mortensen.
So let me try to collect moiself. The Chatelaine collects ... her lovely Self.
The same sky imaging your eyes folded over me as a perfume's memory of "wine, pearls and stone" when I received your dream marveling I've become "a footnote grown larger than the book."
Please check the third paragraph of my prior post for a disgusting typo....to which one of moi peeps [Chris Nealon] sends the following:
Hi Eileen -- so, relaxing after the holidays with some blog-reading, I got to yours, always a pleasure; and, reading through your account of disciplining your alpha-dog, I read that you're doing it by forcibly placing your tongue on his tongue! Wow: I will *never* cross you.
The Chatelaine decides to stop flirting on the As-Is Blog, and post another incisive poetics discourse.
The Chatelaine throws her calculator out of the window ... where it's promptly peed on by a coyote.
I have a weakness for poets who can handle the spirals of emptiness.
Well let me start with the WORD and the WORD are
DAMN IT TO ALL HELL!
My life as a tattoo, over at Conchology's
Someone Call an Ambulance:
A Dramatic Interview with Gabriel Gudding
Well, Jean was blue not too long ago and now she's sent a letter on blue paper to the Chatelaine, who first thought it a fallen piece of sky before she realized the black lines were texts rather than birds.
She didn't expect this, though it's a result that transparently bears its own logic: the longer she hides behind the Iron Gate, the more difficult it is for her to meet fallen angels who failed to hear her calls over the past seven years to "Gather, gather, gather..." on the mountain -- the mountain sculpted by Pygmalion after stone became flesh for Love.
This is the only poem of mine that I've memorized.
Your belly rising
my view of Jean Luc Picard
Nick Carbo writes as regards my prior post to suggest a title for my would-be essay collection:
RUB MY YADDA, DON'T YA
I had big burly men grunting all over moi yesterday....which I very much enjoyed, thank you very much....then ended the day with a lovely bottle of the 1997 Jones Family Cabernet.
So I learned recently that Poetry and Swimming share the same ass.
But the Number 1 Position of "Best Line" should go to -- synchronistically -- what began this very post:
I'ma scratching myself here wondering: have I masturbated yet on on this blog?
Just a smile just a smile
Hold me captive just a while
I can't explain why I've become
--k.d lang, noted on artificial prospects blog
Well. So, dear Joseph of http://artificialprospects.blogspot.com/, thanks for the shooting tips. The comparison between "line of sight" versus the actual path of projectile is interesting. It's like how, we might have a particular path in mind but, in actuality, we veer. Life and Poetry, eh? Though, I must say there's a limit to my appetite for using gun-shooting as a metaphorical basis for much of moi musings. I'm, uh, really not that into guns, folks....though I don't judge automatically those who are since, as in Life and Poetry, context matters. (My oldest brother is a champion sharpshooter who e-mails me -- "Hey, did you take that gun license test yet....?" -- and I know he's dying to give me gun gifts; so many ways to show our affection eh? I tell him I'd rather have white chocolate truffles and he thinks I'ma joshing....)
Anyway, Joseph, do please backchannel me your last name as you're my latest link on moi blog -- you've got some mighty fine lines going on in dem poems (e.g., "No empty numbers were found among her things"). And, um -- thanks (?) for posting my college photo on your blog from moi Six Directions project. I suppose we are married since, to be the spouse of "Mr/s Poetry" means I'ma married to everyone...
your grazing cheek
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
So, with dinner tonight, I sipped from the bottle that PINOYPOETICS book designer Melissa Cristoffel-Nolledo brought me from her home state Oregon: 2001 Hinman Vineyards Pinot Gris. When she first arrived, she muttered something about bringing coals to Newcastle but, nonetheless, gave me the bottle and I'm glad because .... notwithstanding moi knowledge, I really am about as discriminating in wine as I am in men. Sip. Anyway, the Hinman is very pleasant. And a nice way to celebrate shoving that 500-page brick, I mean manuscript, off from moi Out Box into someone else's In Box. Moi can breathe again.
Whilst catching up on e-mails, I saw one from a peep complaining I'm not attending AWP when he had decided to attend because he saw my name on one event list. That's cause an organization was putting an event together, asked if I could participate and I said I could if I did go to said AWP...but then ended up not going, but said organizer never deleted my name on the off-chance moi name could up the attendance by one (and it did, based on this disgruntled peep's e-mail).
Still, check out moi book at the Marsh Hawk Press Table #30. I'm sure MHP Managing Editor Sandy McIntosh will be happy to fake my signature...
Monday, March 22, 2004
Tom Beckett gives Moi a reason to preen with his comment on my e-chap CRUCIAL BLISS EPILOGUES (click on chapbooks). Thanks with red lipstick smooch, Tom....who calls the poems "wine-inflected"! Well, what better way to segue into Galatea's House Wines this week:
Whites (now that I'ma out of 2000 Kistlers, I just move to next year):
2001 Kistler chardonnays from Kistler Vineyard and Durell Vineyards
1998 Maya Cabernet/Cabernet Franc blend, Dalla Valle
2001 Marquis Phillips Integrity
2001 Habermann's Hohe (Heights) Barossa Dry Grown Shiraz
1996 Pahlmeyer Merlot Napa Valley
1996 Reverie Special Reserve Cabernet
2001 Rudd Oakville Estate Grown Cabernet
Today and tomorrow, I'm hosting Melissa, daughter of brilliant prose stylist Wilfrido D. Nolledo. Melissa is visiting, in part to discuss PINOYPOETICS which she will be designing and to interview me, daw, for some newspaper. Until Melissa arrives, the anticipation can't help but be a moment to recall her father who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this month. Here's an excerpt from Nolledo's novel But For The Lovers which never received the attention it warrants; I've long thought that if Nolledo had received his deserved recognition, Filipino English-language literature wouldn't be as unknown beyond the Philippines' borders.
As Robert Coover notes in his Introduction to the Dalkey Alkive republication of this book: "But For The Lovers was first published in 1970 by E.P. Dutton & Co. Its editor was the legendary Hal Scharlatt, who died shortly after, not yet forty, on an indoor tennis court. Without Scharlatt, Nolledo had no one in the industry to champion his writings. Thus it was that one of the best books of the decade, abandoned by its own publisher, came and went virtually without notice."
Here's an excerpt from Nolledo's novel set in Manila during the WWII times of Japanese Occupation and the American Liberation -- a sample that certainly reminds of how war can wreak havoc on the human spirit:
You speak of love.
They took you to a detention cell unlike yours, unlike the others in the Fort. Five other men were you, and with you five others; if still possible, hungrier, filthier than you. Love was unloaded from a crate. Body of woman. Body because there was no longer any woman there. She'd been dead some two days. Naked, naturally. Advanced state of decomposition. Nude and Dead. But if she-it hadn't been, you adn the five others would've plucked the dermis off her-it. Everybody stared at that body. In that nauseous eyeful, all Christendom was horrified. Some of you were married, had children. Body was probably married, had children too. Behind the door they waited at peepholes. Took another day before anyone of you did anything. A glance. A grunt. A grimace. But glands and curiosity were never ideal neighbors. Temptation provided the spine. Tentative touch became lingering caress and that was soon a vigoprous probing. More out of bravado than anything else, one of you, the welder to be precise, stopped footing around, sat on the thing and did the thing. After that, it was follow the leader. The sentries must have ruptured their kidneys laughing as you lined up quite orderly to take turns at the body used as a urinal -- a biologically prodigious act, considering that rigor mortis had long set in. Inasmuch as all private heroics had been rendered impotent by the big war, a breach had to be found in the wall and that body was a hole. Everybody had cannonballs that day. In percussive requiem the guards clapped-banged their meat cans with each thrust, each penetration, clap-clap-bang, clap-clap-bang-bang, in and out, out and in, clap-bang-clap-bang.
The Chatelaine pauses her reading...but the words continue and she must continue reading:
It must have been on the seventh lap when it happened. Perhaps it was ventriloquism but didn't that pyorrheal mouth with its papyrums gums hiss into somebody's salivary kiss so that all you bumbling bravos bashed your craniums trying to get to that bolted door? And didn't the ghouls outside crack their molars over that one? Wasn't that typical of Filipino womanhood to go to such extremes just to show who was wearing the pants? Oh, but that was really below the belt. Quaking, bunched up against the door like that everybody got hiccups. Except that Calabash Road cajista, the ousted Jehovah's Witness with the orangutan slouch. Just to prove he wasn't made of the same liver as you, he broke away from the consensus of fear, held up the dummy by its collarbone and rammed his manhood into it. "Banzai!" yelled the Nipponese grandstand. He did it again. "Banzai!" And again. "Banzai!" You lost count of the banzais. All you could see was that piston drilling into that scarecrow. Hiccups went full blast like heartbeats edgging on that crazy cajista with his pneumatic drill. After his coup de grace ejaculation, his derrick still rooted in that dead gulch, he raised his arms, clasped hands together in the traditional prizefighter salute. It seemed almost out of character that he didn't beat his chest. Not only was he king of the apes; he was king of the orangutans. He was the Penis of the Hour, the New Testicles. Spent at last, he sagged to the dirt floor, anchored by his iron mermaid. With a mighty heave, he wrenched sideward, yanking the corpse off its praying mantis crouch, its head thumping against the bamboo bench. You nearly swallowed your Adam's apple--the thing wouldn't let the great lover go! The uterus must've jammed or something. He cursed and he pulled and he pulled and he cursed but what the devil had wrought no cajista could put asunder. Round and round he went the cell, kicking, thrashing, dragging the carcas on the ground, like those anguished dogs you saw after copulation running reverse-forward. More sport for the hyenas; everybody sniggered, guffawed. It was soooooo funny.
The Chatelaine pauses her reading...but the words continue and she must continue reading:
The cajista braked in midgallop and walloped the weight below his waist with bolo punches that would've killed ten live women. He did this for what seemed like hours, to no avail. Before long, all of you had stopped giggling, had put your heads together for some civil service. The old lecher had had enough. Besides, it wasn't funny anymore. Three stalwarts were delegated to the body, and two for the road runner. Now began a tug of war. Heave-ho! The goons cheered both teams. Heave-ho! Heave-ho! It was as hard pulling the jockey out of that womb as his mother must've found pushing him out of hers. You gave up, you slumped to the dirt floor with the others That last spurt of energy must have cost him something, for that cajista let loose a deafening scream that stilled even the carousing guards. It went on and on and on, that caterwauling until sometime in the night the cell door was thrown open and in strode the Commandant. You almost didn't recognize him without his white horse under that white, blazing American sky. While everybody was agog looking at him, and with not a word, the Commandant, like a High Lama in his white sleeping robe with its purple sash, advanced, a sword unsheathed. A ray of moonlight glinted from the open door to the blade as he raised it over his head with both hands. Slowly, slowly, as though any hint of intimacy would stain his blinding whiteness, the Commandant inched toward the stricken sinner. You and the congregation fell down sobbing and walked on your knees, supplicants all, with clasped hands begging for mercy, ay, mercy. Rocking, reeling, advancing on your knees, you heard him murmur, with much pain and without accent: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. You saw moonlight descend, and the lovers halved. Half a man jumped up, ran out the door. You heard the alarm, the volley. He wouldn't have minded so much being shot down without his boots on. But to die without his balls ... And when you looked at the thing again he left behind, didn't you see a smile on its face?
The Chatelaine pauses her reading...but the words continue and she must continue reading:
Yes, speak now of love.
must be near
--from "Spring's Sprung" by Crag Hill
Thanks to Crag for this lovely hay(na)ku spring poem -- makes moi flesh wanna flush by, ya know...
...and Galatea's mountain erupts forth ... wildflowers getting wilder and wilder...!
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Uh. Peeps -- notwithstanding my last post, I'm really without experience as regards ... guns. No experience.
Well, of course I'd have no experience. I don't have a license -- and, ya know, I somehow keep having better things to do with moi precious time than studying to get said license....
Hmmm. Actually, I do have one experience with guns: skeet shooting whilst at UCross Foundation Artist Colony in Wyoming. The interesting thing is that I couldn't hit a target when said target is coming at me. But if that clay bird was flying out from behind my back, I almost never missed it.
So: when something is obvious, I won't connect with it. Or, another way to put it perhaps may be that I most excel at the unexpected. Sounds like "Skeet Shooting Poetics" to me.
Anyway, so what inspired this rumination over guns? Well, two peeps responded to moi prior post, said peeps being poets. My, my but aren't we such a diverse crowd?
Here's the first:
saw your post on guns. What kind of gun are you looking at keeping around, shotgun? Have you practiced shooting yet? Pistol and rifle ranges can be pretty fun, and useful. Anyways, I was just asking, I'm not a gun freak or anything, actually I've always been pretty nervous around them( still remember the time my brother ran into my room with an AK-47, only wanting to show it to me, although he didn't realize the barrel was pointed straight at my head) although I do like shooting.
if you get a rifle, the SKS Carbine is pretty good, semi-automatic & legal, I think http://users.frii.com/gosplow/sks.html and they're cheap
Okay. I'll be good; far be it for me to disappoint someone with your, uh, perspective. This peep, by the way, later sends a postscript noting that "Burroughs was a gun freak." Yadda. And here's the second message:
This is my recommendation: http://www.sigarms.com/products/classiccompactsize-models.asp?product_id=39. First, it is small and would be good for smaller hand sizes. It is a little heavier than the comparable Glock, but not so much that it would be worth considering. Second, Sig probably makes the most reliable small arms in the world today, followed by Hoechler & Koch and Glock.
I would stay away from rifles. First, depending on caliber, they tend to have greater power than handguns. Which means that the bullet is going to go further faster. This is good for stopping power, but it also means that you could end up taking out a driver on the other side of your mountain. Another factor is that rifles are longer. This has creates two problems. First, they are more unwieldy and would take longer to aim and fire. Second, the bad guy will have a better opportunity of taking the rifle away.
That said, another option would be a shot-gun. While it has the same disadvantages as a rifle, because of the spread of the shot you are more likely to hit what you are aiming at. Second, never discount the intimidation factor. When someone points a shotgun at you you suddenly have second thoughts about whatever it was that the bothered the guy holding it. If you were to go that route, I would go 12 gage, capable of holding multiple rounds. I truly don't know a lot about shotguns and don't currently own one.
A little more on the gun stuff -- there is also the debate between revolvers and semi-autos. I have always been a fan of the latter, particularly before the Clinton limits on the number of rounds that could be placed in a magazine.
On the pro side for revolvers is the fact that they are easy to use.
Yadda with shudder. Moi just posts 'em as they come...and they come...
Moi shall now revert to being speechless. Dang -- where is that poem when Moi needs it? See what happens when moi brain is empty of poems?
A rose...is eros...es arroz.
This morning, I heard the neighbor shooting off one of his powerful rifles (I just saw his collection last night before dinner and made sure to Uh, Huh very politely). I assume he's shooting at the wild turkey and/or deer who eat his grapes.
That reminds me that I am way behind -- deliberately -- on studying for getting a gun license. Moi wielding guns? Yeah...I think it's called "country living." Here in said country, most families own guns...for self-defense as much as for hunting. We're in wide open spaces that many property owners haven't even walked through for scoping out their land. Marijuana growers illegally grow fields and the only way farmers know something's up is when their water and electricity bills spike up unexpectedly. Last thing you wish to stumble across is a grove of illegal drug dealers....
Then there's the time a tresspasser came before we put up The Iron Gate and the Sheriff was the first to suggest that we get real and learn why all our neighbors possess guns....
Then there's the mountain lion, bear....I can't actually imagine a space where I'd find myself wielding a gun. But, the other day, when I heard the story of a mountain lion mangling someone's pet and imagined such a scene involving Achilles....well! That parental protectiveness sure gets ... primitive... (Moi prefers such a feeling to remain in the bedroom but...oh, wait: that's another story...)
Anyway, so I just took out again this pamphlet that I'm supposed to study in order to legally own guns. It's a surreal experience. Can't get into it. I'm, frankly, trying to poeticize the experience in order to force myself to pay attention. But when I pay attention, I stumble across texts like this sample test question:
1. The importance of the "dangerous range" is that a bullet can travel far beyond the intended target. True or False?
Well, blech on lazy language. Even if said bullet stayed within a range demarcated by the intended target, it's still dangerous, ain't it?
The Chatelaine tosses the pamphlet aside. Then she perks up: on the other hand, she just got two new rose bushes....! She would much rather pretend to garden and gets up to move the plants from their buckets into the front yard. One rose bush is for apricot-colored blooms and the other is for passionate red!
But if the deer eats those roses....
Geeez: if anyone had ever told me whilst I was still living on Amsterdam and 84th Street (NYC) that the above thoughts would be running through moi purty head someday....I'da said there's as much chance of that as Moi wearing overalls....she looks down at her bod and coughs.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
GOING GLOBAL (AKA, LEVERAGE A LA WALL STREET)
The constraints on poetry publishing is one reason why I added the cap of publisher to my already laden head. Unfortunately, except for whatever I can place on the Meritage Press website (thanks again to Jerrold Shiroma of Duration), I probably can release only one book a year due to constraints on time and other resources.
As a former financier, however, I know that whenever one has a finite amount of resources but wish to do more, one should look for ways to "leverage" off said resources. I mean, why should insider traders manipulating the stock market or the billionaire and multi-millionaire crooks, say, formerly at Enron be the only ones to exercise this form? So, being the genius I am: I've leveraged off moi Meritage Press and, Ta-da! This year, Meritage Press goes international!
By hooking up with publishers overseas, Meritage Press will be able to produce more than one book a year. Moi first two internationally co-published projects shall be:
[WAYS], A poetry/art collaboration by Barry Schwabsky and Hong Seung-Hey, co-published with Artsonje Center of South Korea.
MUSEUM OF ABSENCES, a poetry collection by Luis H. Francia, co-published with the University of the Philippines Press.
These are two projects I would not have been able to do on moi own. Hence: partners!
The books are scheduled to be released mid-year in, respectively, South Korea and the Philippines where they are being printed. But once those books arrive in moi grubby little hands, I mean, wingtips, both books will be available through Small Press Distribution. Details forthcoming....as I become an international publishing mogul in moi own mind...
I've written before on poetry economics -- at times relating to my experience as a poetry publisher through Meritage Press. Beyond the resource constraint of publishing books, there's also the other side of ... constrained buyers of said poetry books. Well, so I thought I'd share my Meritage Press "revenues" for February, 2004.
From a bookstore: $10.90
From Amazon: $12.60
The total, btw, reflects how the publisher gets back typically 45% of a book's retail price. And, granted, this less than munificent sum also excludes revenues through a distributor which only cuts checks annually (annually -- a way to preserve cash flow to the distributor's advantage and the publisher's detriment). And granted, many poetry books sell in the months immediately following their releases (e.g. through launches) and February wasn't such a month for my press. Nor is February a time when textbook orders are placed, a source for volume sales for poetry. And, granted, I only have two books, one etching and one broadside so far to sell. But, still, this is a pretty chilling financial result, eh?
The only good thing is that I wasn't in this for the money ... but for the, the -- scratch head ... hmmm, lessee. okay howzabout -- prestige. After all, the amount of critical reviews I've gotten on these projects is amazing -- notwithstanding that it translates to hard cash of $23.50 for February. So, come on, Peeps. Prestige moi.
I am a small press poetry publisher! From hereon, feel free to call me Dr. Prestigious!
If I can't get cash, do allow me the cultural capital of the title: Doctor. That, and a subway token....
Thursday, March 18, 2004
--from kari edward's new work
I just came back from an absolutely fabulous reading which helps eases (though not totally) moi feeling of guilt over Achilles' downtrodden expression as he watched me leave Galatea's mountain. I tried, but failed, to sneak away from him in order to go to San Francisco in which, tonight, was an absolutely dynamic joint reading by Juliana Spahr and kari edwards.
I can't say enough great things about kari's poetry and, driving back home, one of her lines kept threading through my brain until I finally turned off the radio so that I could keep listening to that line:
This could be the stoplight to a gasoline rainbow.
THAT IS A KILLER LINE.
But if I keep praising kari, I'd only become repetitious as I've praised her numerous times before on this blog. So let me focus on Juliana whom I met in person for the first time, though she and I have corresponded. Juliana read from her wonderful chap things of each possible relation hashing against one another (Palm Press). Before attending tonight's reading, I was aware of a couple of e-mails about Juliana's poem, including this by Ken Rumble (click on link).
I am actually sympathetic to Ken Rumble's ambivalence to the structure of "things of ..." which contains a poem and then a (poetics) essay about the poem. Ken Rumble's ambivalence (if I understand him correctly) stemmed from how he felt the inclusion of Juliana's prose on the background to the poem short-circuited, for him, a more direct "process of discovery" that occurs when one reads a poem without explanations. He also wondered whether the implication of the structure is that the reader must accept the poet's point of view. I'm sympathetic to Ken Rumble's concerns because I went through such a thought process before deciding such a structure was okay and did something similar with my new e-chapbook CRUCIAL BLISS EPILOGUES. The effect is more diluted as the reading by Ron Silliman was for only one of the many poems in my chap, but I still thought about the predisposition aspect of incorporating a reading of a poem in addition to the poem itself.
For me, Juliana's poem works on its own...and part of it is simply the aural effect that's most obvious from listening to her poem and not just reading it on the page. Still, it's not a stretch either to "get" the music from reading the poem on the page, as in these beginning lines:
the view from the sea
the constant motion of claiming, collecting, changing, and taking
the calmness of bays and the greeness of land caused by the freshness of things growing into
the arrival to someplace else
the arrival to someplace differently
the freshness of the things increasing
the greeness of the ground
the calmness of the compartments
the constant movement to claim, to gather, to change, and to consider sea
the arrival to someplace differently
And it's precisely because the poem works for me that reading Juliana's explication doesn't diminish the experience but only offers an optional doorway into a more layered reading. I won't go now into the very important ecopoetics [I first wrote "ethnopoetics" but that works, too!] aspect of Juliana's project which she discusses in the chap's prose section (get the chap yourself) -- but said prose taught me something new about nature poetry and education, for me, is a valid component of what poetry can give.
Also, the structure of the chap is that the poem is printed first, and then followed by the prose about it. So the prose need not be an introduction to the poem -- and, again, the poem does not need it. I remember going through a discussion of this structure when Meritage Press first published 100 MORE JOKES FROM THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by John Yau and Archie Rand; I asked for an essay about the collaborative process between the (former) poet and (latter) artist and though John gave me one, he made sure it would be printed after the images of their collaborations so as not to serve to introduce the work (though I suppose it can if one reads the book from the back). Still, as with Juliana's chap, the prose also need not be a definitive afterword to the art -- the aftermath still remains with the reader and the prose, if read, can simply be one of many contents in a reader's baggage that said reader brings to reading.
I realize I've taken the long way around to get to my point and ... this is my point: I don't think there is such a a thing as an unmediated experience with art, so why not include a context that may be offered by the author when the reader inherently brings context from so many other sources in his/her/hir life? Who's to say one context is better -- is it based on the source?
This whole issue partly overlaps with the issue of whether something can be read in a vacuum (something that seems to me related to what Ron Silliman has been blogging about recently). Reading a poem on its own without the spiel of its author (or even the identity of the author) doesn't mean the experience is more "pure" -- the reader is also an "I."
Hmmmm, it occurs to me just now that reading may be just like the title to Juliana's poem: "things of each possible relation hashing against each other"?
I don't claim to know the answers to these questions, by the way. Am just raising said questions ... Anyway -- check out Juliana's chap....and I can't wait to see kari's new work in print, too!
By Emannuel Lacaba
Ang sabi mo pula ang paborito mo.
Ang sabi ko puti ang paborito ko.
Kagabi nang tayong dalawa'y nagkita,
nakapula ako at nakaputi ka.
(translated from the Tagalog by Paolo Javier)
What you said was red is a favorite of yours.
What I said is white was a favorite of mine.
When the two of us saw each other last night,
I dressed in red and you wore white.
Okay! Asian American poetry organization Kundiman has a brand new website! Sounds like a good reason for a heads-up:
To open up Kundiman's Fall Reading Series in New York City, Moi will be reading with Murat Nemet-Nejat and Shin Yu Pai
on Wednesday, September 22, 2004
110 Rivington St.
(Ludlow & Essex Sts.)
Kundiman, staffed by poets Sarah Gambito, Joseph O. Legaspi and Sanjana Nair, is devoted to encouraging Asian American poets. But here's the background to the term "kundiman" from the Filipino American Library:
The Filipino kundiman is the voice of yearning love in song, plaintive in its lyrical heartbreak and yet transcendent through melodic expressiveness. The kundiman came to the fore as an art song at the end of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth, when Filipino composers such as Francisco Santiago and Nicanor Abelardo formalized the musical structure and sought poetry for their lyrics, blending verse and music in equal parts. While the sentiment of the kundiman tends towards the melancholic, the commitment of the heart to passion is celebrated in every piece. The singer of the kundiman expresses the pain and beauty of love felt by every listener, for the kundiman is not merely entertainment but an embodiment of collective emotion. Endowed with such power, the kundiman naturally came to serve as a vehicle for veiled patriotism in times of colonial oppression, in which the love for a woman actually symbolized the love of country and desire for freedom.
ACHILLES, THE SEXPOT
Dang. Here Moi is posting incisive poetic discourses and what do I get? A request for another post on Achilles -- moi German Shepherd puppy. Sigh. Well, I live to be of service to others, of course...
So, this morning, I took Achilles up the mountain for his morning walk....and the weather is drop-dead gorgeous...and the wildflowers have finally sprung up....and I'm blissfully watching moi puppy navigate his way through the purple wildflowers and thinking -- Dang, if I ain't living a postcard scene when I leave that cruel taskmaster called the computer screen whose shimmering pages just ache for moi words....or something like that....
Anyway, so I'm watching Achilles attack the flowers (which he does with as much ferocity as he attacks the water of the nearby babbling brook -- that's what said brook gets for babbling!) and I suddenly realize: notwithstanding his elegantly long and lean torso, he's got a butt to rival J. Lo's!!! I do not exagerrate here (unlike other times where, uh, I exagerrate).
And not only does Achilles have this luscious butt but, he swings it radically left and right like he's just dying to be ... oh, heck...I cannot continue that thought....
Anyway, speaking of postcard scenes, as I type this blogpost, he's curled up around moi lovely ankles.
So to continue (and dang if that self-referentiality didn't just screw up moi grammatical tenses)....as I'ma watching him shake his booty up and down the mountain -- an image that further bemuses me as I try to reconcile moi thoughts with that long (extraordinarily looooooong) black tail of his which is also tipped with an absolutely enchanting tuft of black fuzz...
...I just lost my train of thought....
Well never mind....I gotta hop in the car and go off into San Francisco for kari edwards and Juliana Spahr. Catch me there to continue the story of Achilles' bootiness....
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
I came across a poem of his, called Córdoba.
And, opening an atlas to search
for this city, realised as I ran
my fingers over the map of Spain
that I was stroking Lorca’s face.
--from "My Hands Had Forgotten Lorca" by Mark Young
So, as directed by the responses to my last two posts -- that is, the last two posts below my purple color which I posted because I adore being called "visionary -- I'd also been reading again about duende....
More than one author put forth the idea about one needing to put one's psychic life on the line for the art. In his memoir DUENDE: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF FLAMENCO, Jason Webster mentions how, at one point, he was doing cocaine along with the other gypsies from which he was learning guitar. Of course, drugs as a means to attain a certain state is not a new story....hmmm: what does it say about me that I've never had a successful drug experience.
Once, in college, someone generously led me to a coffee table with lines of coke. To his generosity, I promptly replied with a generous sneeze and .... well, you know, wallpapered his walls with expensive snow...
Oh, wait. I did have one successful drug experience. Hashish. But it wasn't due to hash. It was due to the fact that they were baked into brownies and, well, I ate nearly a whole pan....
...cause the point, there, was .... brownies...(Hi baker-peep and you know who you are!)
Marijuana? You know how they keep passing that thing around in a circle? All I can think of is how disgusting the wet tip was ....
And the bong? Ubiquitous in a crowd I used to hang with but, geez, the image is just one of what a guy would look like if he had a long penis and was giving himself a blow job. Don't you think...?
Fortunately, the subject at hand -- as it always is on this blog -- is Moi. And Moi is a natural high.
Speaking of duende, do allow me to point you to Mark Young's lovely poem in full, "My Hands Had Forgotten Lorca" which he kindly shared after my recent posts.
All this, is to serve as an introduction to a Jean Vengua e-mail. If it seems complimentary to Moi (which naturally would lead me to post it), it's not because I've been blessed to have been opened by duende. Perhaps someday that might happen, but for now I'll take the last line of Jean's missive:
"sometimes your writing, what you are trying to do, reminds me of the vocalist, Jeff Buckley.
When I started the (first) Nightjar Logbook site, I'd been listening to Buckley's Mystery White Boy, live concerts CD. I'd never come across an American musician (although his following is mostly European) that I thought was possessed by the duende, until I heard this CD. About half way through, I saw that he was taking risks with his voice that meant something much more than just technical expertise, and I burst into tears because I was hearing something I'd NEVER heard before. I've heard male singers cross the "gender" line (from high tenor to coloratura) before, but there was a always a certain coolness about it, a manipulativeness. But this guy was doing more -- he was putting his emotional/mental life on the line. (Interestingly, he was very much influenced by Qawwali singers -- I'm thinking of their relation to flamenco here -- like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. (Buckley wrote the intro to one of Nusrat's albums). Also Buckley was part White, part Latino, so maybe he was making a conscious connection...I dunno)
Like you, he aimed for complete lack of irony."
Thing is: the only way this luddite can post images on this blog is for Moi to occasionally do these quizzes. (Sorry Lewis LaCook -- but, as you so aptly put it: Moi still rocks). Thanks to Chris "Positive Energy" Murray for this link:
Your Energy is Purple. You are a visionary with
unmatched intuition and spiritual
consciousness. The mystical world and
unexplainable forces fascinate you. There
resides in you a true dignity and nobility, and
others see you as a worthy leader, and loyal
friend. You are often very mature, with a deep
understanding of human nature, and you will
instinctively encourage and guide others toward
their full potential.
You find it natural to express yourself
aesthetically and artistically, you may be
involved in the artistic professions, a
religious organization, or in activities that
have a degree of ceremony and ritual. You would
make a good therapist, healer, psychic, or
What color is your energy?
brought to you by Quizilla
I won't have you touched by sordid saints
I touch you with heart strings of the veiled mountain
--from "I Touch You" by Philip Lamantia
And silence opens her lips very much like arson
--from "Flaming Teeth" by Philip Lamantia
My prior post elicited quite a few backchannels of concern -- even from those who know I'm always navigating between persona and autobiography on this blog. Thank you for your care and attention. But there's no need for worry, I think. Here's a clarification of my prior post:
It is true that from almost the beginning of when I began writing poems (in this lifetime), I had this sense of only doing this -- whatever said this is -- for ten years. I considered that feeling a sense of "scale" though I was clueless as to why it surfaced. For years, this personalized myth just lurked within my brain and, hospitable sort that Moi am, I just let it lurk. It wasn't until relatively recently (and perhaps that's why I'm talking about it now) that I feel I began to understand what this ten-year-scale may mean. That is, I doubt that this means, as of June 30, 2005, I actually stop the Poetry...it may mean, perhaps, continuing to make poems but in a different way from the path I've taken. And that may actually be a good thing as, I do feel I need to approach my poems in a different way now....Ach, Baby -- you don't know the alleys I've walked for my past poems...
And you know, the universe has always used angels to send me signals. I don't think it's coincidence that all day today, I kept stumbling across poems that had to do with silence. I'll post one below -- and it also happens to be a poem that had played a role in my Six Directions Poetry Project when I married "Mr/s Poetry." Which is to say: I married something that (for me) is impossible to divorce. But don't all marriages need to change or evolve, if they are to last? And is not Poetry often the least stable ... relationship?
The Good Angel
by Rafael Alberti
The one that I wanted came,
the one I called.
Not the sweeper of defenseless skies,
stars without huts,
moons without a country,
Those snows that fell from a hand,
Not the one that tied death
to his hair.
The one that I wanted.
Without scratching the air,
or wounding leaves or shaking windows.
The one that tied silence
to his hair.
So as, without hurting me,
to dig a bank of soft light in my breast
and make my soul navigable.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Aunque sepa los caminos
yo nunca llegare a Cordoba
Even though I know the roads
I will not get to Cordoba
--Federico Garcia Lorca
I just finished DUENDE: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF FLAMENCO, Jason Webster's memoir about his development as a flamenco guitarist. So much of his account is exactly how I would view Poetry. For instance, in these two excerpts below, I think you could replace the word "flamenco" with "poetry":
"Listen son, you've got to realize that flamenco is yours, it's mine. It belongs to everyone."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you have to decide what it means for you, Jason. You can't just keep on taking it off the shelf, already prepared by other people. You have to discover your own flamenco."
"This music is not a museum piece," he always said. "Flamenco can be understood, even without being inside the flamenco world, by anyone who knows how to listen."
But what sticks out now for me is how, towards the end of the book, Jason Webster felt the need for silence "after so much music." That, to get closer to something, you need to move away from it.
Why do I feel that, all too soon, I shall -- despite all my efforts -- follow the path of certain poets (e.g., Jose Garcia Villa) who deliberately silenced themselves....monks who carefully crafted mandalas on sand knowing that said images will dissipate with the wind...?
It's coming up: June 30, 2005 -- the ten-year-anniversary of my turn to poetry in this lifetime. I'd always thought I had exactly ten years to give poetry-writing. That scale -- ten years -- feels logical somehow.
Scale -- such an interesting concept. In Black Lightning, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (who's been called the poet in the U.S. who writes the longest lines) says that at the beginning of writing her poems, she often has a feeling of scale -- of the length of the poem. That's pretty wondrous, if you know Mei-mei's work.
So: Silence. And perhaps by ceasing to write poems, I ultimately will become closer to Poetry?
Like Manong Al Robles...he doesn't (just) write poems. He makes poetry by delivering lunches to the elderly in Chinatown. I once bumped into him as he was making said deliveries; at the time, I felt incredibly small reminding him of sending me something for an anthology....whilst my eyes dropped and strayed to his hands bearing food to others...
So many words, so many books -- and now I long for silence -- but hopefully a sunlit silence?
And what does it mean that I am revealing all this?
I suspect that whatever happens on June 30, 2005 will be a relief. On my current path -- Poetry has become too painful.
Pain, dark and big as the summer sky, who percolates through the bone marrow and the sap of trees and has nothing to do with melancholy, nostalgia, or any other affliction or disease of the soul, being an emotion more heavenly than earthly.
I meant to be an angel. Yes, I formed wings. But I've become instead a stone gargoyle roosting on a perch of crumbling limestone.
Ah. Once again: a midnight -- the stars bespeaking a riven sky (clawed by?). Now, I must