Saturday, July 31, 2004
The square of town steeped in yes--
exhaled like a shimmering verb from this
fifth floor balcony--yes (ever the best no)--
and your "Hola!" from the indigo
--from "Postcard from Novi Sad" by Chris Murray
& if I cry into a raging sea
let me do so from your balcony.
--from "Mi Ultimo Adios, ayon kay Original Brown Boy" by Paolo Javier
Chris Murray's "Your Bruise" is as pleasurable a poem as any I've read recently -- it seems to me both complete and incomplete, the latter a way to suggest the generosity of space allowed for the reader to revel in creating the significance to the poem rather than having it defined pre-engagement of audience. Both abstract yet specific. Cerebral, yet absolutely felt. Of the earth, yet definitely soaring. Perfect for a chap entitled MEME ME UP, SCOTTY! (which memorializes her reading for The Carrboro Poetry Festival). As for the simmering darkness that spikes out in the 11th couplet -- why, that's what makes the poem not sentimental, even as emotion is heightened.
by Chris Murray
Cold convictions keep us solo.--Alice Fulton
You've come to a fluting where you wonder why
you wonder why, in columns, at the story of a door.
Solo print of red leaf on the concrete walk
& memory: petite slats of lawn,
spiral of wrought iron. That his shirt could exist
without him in it, on hanger, on clothesline.
A dish could be set as a place, on a table,
waiting to be clean as a wristwatch,
or next. The nurse in your mind charts your pulse for you:
beating should only refer to the heart,
what arms do before ginger
cake bakes airy & startling, the mechanistic means
of pigeons diving off eaves, remembering physics
at the last moment, their wings. Sitting next to me
on the quad & your bruise where a lion at the threshold
must be content to be stone carved for doorway giants--
or the inside: Books,
You carry a napping infant in your pack,
too. Some say it's a cliche,
the bruise a watch--
the story of a door
& the real of a hand -- leaves.
Well done, Chris! And there are so many more gems in this chap whose resonance is definitely not small -- more like infinite intimacy.
Another poetry collection from recent snailmail that made me hum with bliss is Paolo Javier's first poetry book, the time at the end of this writing (ahadada books, 2004). Here's a poem I excerpt below because it offers the same Mercurial flashes I frequently caught glinting within Chris' chap:
by Paolo Javier
Yellows leave fall on the sidewalk, so the storeclerk sweeps.
Yellow leaves rumble past my weeds. My landlord emerges yellow
in a gold Camry. Down a camera creek of Mercurys a sleek
Continental glides. Content in a rental, with a panda on his back
a man passes. He makes a pass, pauses, the sun in his mouth. He has
hurt teeth. Off-yellow, fall. Trees leave. The storeclerk weeps.
Friday, July 30, 2004
And here's yet another reason why I love the works of Jasper Johns:
It is only when asked about the meaning of his paintings that he hesitates, and his clear blue eyes shift away, to somewhere past the window frame. "Meaning is something people find or construct or enact more than it is something that is offered to people," he says when he finally speaks. He says this without a hint of cunning or disdain. He simply doesn’t want to impose his own interpretation of his work on others, preferring to let viewers reach their own conclusions.
It amused me today to read Jonathan's response to an e-mail from a Spanish high school teacher, which he concludes with the statement:
I wish some of our university professors were as well read. Hell, I wish I myself could spell "Zukofsky" "Niedecker," "Reznikoff," and "Merrill" with consistent accuracy. At least I won't write "Alan Ginzburg" and "John Ashberry."
In my poem "Texting As Gabriela Plays With Ellipses" (from moi newly-released Menage A Trois With the 21st Century), there's a couplet
Nothing saddens suddenly
like Ashberry's "mild decline"
I deliberately misspelled John Ashbery's last name. I worried a bit about whether Peeps would just think I didn't know the right spelling. After mucho cogitating, I stuck with my deliberate misspelling. Why?
Because I firmly believe that the word "Ashbery" should have two "r"s. I mean, if you have to ask why, look at the two words:
C'mon! Are we not poets or are we not poets?! Which is more mellifluous to the eyes?
Thursday, July 29, 2004
And not just because (as speculated on moi July 26 posts below) he may be the, uh, donor!) someday for
THE ACHILLES POETRY PRIZE.
So click on this link for Haus Brezel German Shepherds (under "Contact Us") and you will see three photos:
Moi (in green blouse) with Achilles at dog-friendly and fabulous resto Bistro Jeanty;
Moi with a group of friends, including poet Rena Rosenwasser behind me, and Achilles on the patio of my writing studio;
and, last but not least, Achilles staring lovingly at Artemis the Cat in their dining room!
DID MOI NOT TELL YOU?!!! This is Achilles at 8 months (he's 9 months now) -- and is he not GORGEOUS?!!! At that age, you can tell he still has to grow into his limbs and ears -- but that only makes him more perky, dontcha think!
But of course HE IS GORGEOUS!!!
Croooooooooon, croooooooon, croooooooon! sez the Crooning Chatelaine!
Of course, there's a poem on site by Moi for Achilles, too. But of course!
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
My new book MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY is out.
If you would like to trade your poetry book (including chapbook) for a copy, drop me a line and I'd be happy to do so.
I hope you like these poems in Menage A Trois With the 21st Century. Meanwhile, here's more information about it:
MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY
Poems by Eileen R. Tabios
No. of Pages: 128
Publisher: xPress(ed) (Espoo, Finland)
Eileen R. Tabios' new poetry collection revolves around recovering 21st century lives for the Mesopotamian priestess Enheduanna (2285-2250 B.C.) and the 18th century Philippine general Gabriela Silang (1731-1763). Thanks to Kevin Killian for saying about this collection:
"I have experienced your great punishment," wrote Enheduanna, the Mesopotamian poet-priestess who wrote the Hymns to Inanna some 43 centuries ago. She lives again, in New York City, "under a gilded sky," in Eileen R. Tabios' new book Menage A Trois With the 21st Century. Gabriela Silang, who survived her husband's assassination at a traitor's hands, and spent the rest of the 1763 summer continuing his revolution, the Philippines' first woman general, was hanged by the Spanish colonial government the year that Sade was born. Now she too lives, "traversing red and green traffic lights" in Jack Spicer's San Francisco. And reader, who did you used to be before you entered the world of this book, this "menage a trois"?
Love is a source of difficulty
and pyres of ashes rise with a verve
exceeding Babel's ambition --
Half diary of dildo desire, half rhapsodic insurgent mediation between art and life, Tabios' book moves from a melting prose poetry to fully lineated, musical demand for action. You, reader, fully implicated in this intercontinental love triangle, shall find yourself asking, "Where is the world that is waiting to happen?" The question that haunted Enheduanna and Gabriela plunges out of the book, ferocious, tongue dipped in fire, dragon with sapphire eyes and no conscience.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
A confusion of lilacs--
delirium that's knitted from the summer rain
last night a tiger drowned
&--tonight I swim the sea of Cortes
eating the flesh of the wind
--from "Yves Tanguy Fear 1949" by Lee Ballentine
This line-up was well-worth what ended up to be risking moi life when I flew down to SF for this evening's reading at City Lights to celebrate UR VOX, edited by Lee Ballentine (who was visiting from Denver).
Risk moi life for poetry? Not metaphorical, Peeps. There Moi was, at one point, going down the wrong way on one-way Larkin Street.
Whew. But for poetry, the Fallen Angels (who've sorta been laaaaazy lately anyway) roused themselves and made sure the cars just separated like they formed the Red Sea and Moi was Moses himself.
Anyway, these four poets are, to quote from Lee's poem "Fin de Siecle," clearly "angels of Oxygen." Here's the poem which appears in Lee's book I picked up this evening, PHASE LANGUAGE (Pantograph Press) -- a 1993 release that's long been waiting for moi cooing eyes. By mistake, the CAP feature was on lock on moi keyboard and I mistakenly began to type the poem in all caps. I started to correct, then realized -- Moithinks it should be in all caps; this poem comes with the silent blare of a trumpet's prologue (trust the Chatelaine to sense the, uh, insensible, of course!):
Fin de Siecle
by Lee Ballentine
IF I DREW A BREATH
FROM OUT OF THE SHADOW OF THE CIRCUMFERENT ANGELS
WOULD MY LUNGS BURST IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THAT SHAPE?
WOULD I CHOKE ON FROZEN AIRS -- MY ARMS FLAILING
MY LIPS PINK WITH A SHERBET OF BLOOD AND SPITTLE
MY HEARTBEAT THIN AND BITTER -- RUNNING INTO VACUUM?
& -- IF I TURNED MY BACK ON THEIR CONTRAILS
TO FACE THOSE IMPOSSIBLE SHADOWS
WOULD I FORGET THE MEAT OF MY LEGS
AND INERT ARMS -- AND RUN FROM MY CAPSULE
TO DRINK THE NITROGEN AS IT DIFFUSES ... SHOUTING?
IN ONE OF THE DREAMS BEING BROADCAST
THE TRUNK OF A GIGANTIC PALM TREE ROLLS -- ROTTING IN A CANAL.
MY LAB QUAKES WITH EACH OVERFLIGHT OF THE ANGELIC HOST.
RAIN BLUES MY DAUGHTER'S SHIRT TO HER BREASTS
AS SHE CLIMIBS THE STREET TO ME -- AND I SCULPT NEW DIALECTS
FROM HER VOICE -- INFANT AND AMPLIFIED.
SHE PULLS UP REIFENSTAHL'S OLYMPIA ON THE SCREEN
THOSE WEIGHTLESS PUPPETS DIVING UPWARD
THROUGH THE STATIONARY FRAMES OF FILM
SHEER INSECTS OF HUMAN INSTANT. MANY. MANY.
WHITE MATTER OF THE SUN PEARLS DOWN THE METAL RAILS OF THE VIDEO MONITOR.
SQUADS OF CHOPPERS GLUT THE SKY ABOVE THE REVERBERATORY CITY.
YOUNG MEN CROWD THE STREETS NEAR AN EXECUTION
THEIR FLUSHED FACES MAKING SOLEMN & INTELLIGENT NOISE
WHILE I LISTEN FROM THE EAVES OF A HOUSE THAT'S ROOFED
WITH RAIN-DARK SHINGLES IN THE SHAPE OF BIRDS.
A ROOF OF CROWS SINKING UNDER ITS OWN WEIGHT ...
THE SUPERB WEIGHT OF EVENING.
THEN I AM SET ROUND WITH THE ANGELS OF OXYGEN.
ONE HAS A WISE PROFILE. [SHE] TURNS LEFT AS A GOAT. [SHE] TURNS
RIGHT -- TOWARDS THE SUN. IN ONE'S GLASS BELLY
I SEE A STONE ADZE TURNING IN SHALLOW WATER. FROM
THE MOUTH OF ONE COMES THE SWEET SMELL OF ROTTING TEETH --
A HORSE PRONE OUTSIDE THE STABLES -- ITS WHITE GUMS VISIBLE
AND SOFT AS JANUARY LEAVES.
ANOTHER HAS NOTHING OF THE HORSE.
THE FILM I HAVE OF IT ONLY SHOWS A CORRIDOR
LINED WITH BARE CYPRESS TRUNKS AND MOTIONLESS JET AIRCRAFT.
Monday, July 26, 2004
I can't dance don't chance it
if anyone asks I wasn't present
see I wear old wrinkles
so please don't press me
--from "Muse & Drudge" by Harryette Mullen
Such a pleasure, finally, to meet Harryette Mullen in person. I went to her reading this evening, sponsored through the Napa Valley Writers Conference. I had her autograph a copy of her brilliant book Muse & Drudge (Singing Horse, 1995).
Muse & Drudge is the only book to which I've responded, in part, by thinking: there should be no page numbers. Because the beauty of the book certainly includes its form: 320 quartets which, while effective in the order Harryette presents them, also possess sufficient individualities as stanzas so that they can be read randomly. Like, here are three stanzas on P. 12 -- does it matter which order they're in?
too tough is tough enough
to walk these dirty streets with us
too loud too strong too black bad
too many desires you've never met
flower flowers flowering
scratched out hieroglyphs
the songs of allusion
and even the motion
changing of our own violins
Yes, of course the order in which they're offered matters. But, you see, you can cut out all the stanzas in the book, put the slips of paper in a bowl, pluck them out one by one to create a new order of this book-length poem -- and I betcha it'd still be an effective poem.
Very kewl: the form as a Circle.
There's much more to say about Muse & Drudge, as on this link to CHAIN (it's why, as Brenda Hillman said to me when she noticed me holding the book, "That's a great book! I teach it!"
But suffice it for Moi to tell you all: check out this book, if you haven't already.
PUPPY PIMPING (PUMPING?) FOR POETRY
If I pimped the puppy (to paraphrase Barb), I could call it
THE ACHILLES POETRY PRIZE
Aw geez...Mama Moi still can't go there ... or go there and stay for long ...
though he is quite a stud-muffin. Naw, geez....Moi needs a drink (again)...
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MATE (PUN INTENDED) THE ACHILLES SERIES WITH THE "POETRY ECONOMICS" SERIES
Moi am all a-twitter.
I am just appalled WITH MYSELF that I'm even considering this idea.
Sip. Morning coffee. Spiked. As Moi said, I'm all a-twitter over being appalled with moiself.
So, if you go to this link, you'll see moi puppy Achilles' Daddy, and a photo of "Aston" who very much resembles Achilles. Which is to say, Achilles is gorgeous and of championship stock.
Well, there's this fella at the local hardware store who's seen Achilles and is just salivating to get his hands on my dog to breed with his dogs. I avoid that hardware store now -- I'ma even thinking of reporting that guy to the police. I mean, Achilles is just nine months! Isn't there an issue of pedophilia here?
But, anyway, recalling this salivating old-coot breeder made me ask the hubby yesterday: so, like, how do these things work anyway? If we allowed Achilles to, uh, fertilize another dog -- insert giggle here -- can we get paid?
Hubby looks at me. This is hubby who pays the mortgage checks, an area Moi assiduously ignores. "Yes," said hubby said. "We'd get paid. And we'd get paid plenty since Achilles can track his lineage from championship stock."
Huh. Now laughing, I followed up: How much?
Hubby: I dunno. A thousand....
Then hubby goes back to reading the paper while for a metaphorical ten-thousand-year period, I sat there with moi jaw dropped down to the limestone.
The hubby did interrupt once my Fallen Jaw Pose with a brief, "It's not like your baby wouldn't enjoy the experience, you know...."
A thousand?!!! A thousand per, per ... blow? Hit? Wad? (How exactly do you describe this, anyway?)
But now, Moi am all a-twitter. Coz, think about it, Peeps. For, say, three or four blows, hits wads, WHATEVER ALREADY, Moi can finance....A POETRY BOOK!!!!!
Moi can let Achilles out to stud to, uh, publish more poets!!!!
Okay. I said that. I wrote that out so I can stare at that sentence.
Now, Moi is all a-twitter. I can't really do that, can Moi?
I'm peering at that sentence....here, let me write it out again:
MOI CAN LET ACHILLES OUT TO STUD TO PUBLISH POETRY BOOKS!
Sip. Spike coffee more. Sip.
Moi can't do that!
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Arthur Sze, as he usually does, offered a fabulous poetry reading. He read out by the lawn at Napa Valley College with a half full moon glowing behind him. It was perfect since he was reading from a poem whose many juxtaposed references included astronomy -- at one point, he explained to the crowd (which he thought to do given who is governing California) that the word "terminator" in the poem he was about to read related to the line differentiating the dark and light side of the moon.
Afterwards, he visited Galatea where I served him the 2000 Behrens & Hitchcock Petite Syrah Unfiltered Reserve. I was glad it was yummy as this was his first trip to Napa!
Achilles adored Arthur -- partly to be explained how Achilles could smell Arthur's husky....
Anyway, I would see Arthur again tomorrow evening if I catch Harryette Mullen reading at Robert Mondavi vineyard (see prior list for full schedule of Napa Valley Writers' Conference-sponsored readings, which are open to the public in addition to conference participants).
As Mondavi is a sponsor, that's what they served tonight prior to Arthur's and Jim Shepard's reading. Other wines to make up this week's Galatea House Wines Update:
2002 Macon Village
2002 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc
2002 Pride Viognier
2002 Tofanelli Zinfandel
1994 Chapoutier Ermitage De L'Oree
1994 Chave Hermitage ('twas not generally a good Burgundy year -- rainy and cold -- but good in the Hermitage)
1994 Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Jesbel
Am seeing moi buddy Arthur Sze tonight when he opens up the annual Napa Valley Writers Conference with a poetry reading.
There are readings and what looks to be fabuloso lectures all week, open to the public; check this link for its schedule (much wine tasting accompanies said events).
This is the only "writers' conference" I've ever attended -- which I did a few years back simply because I had just moved then from NY to Napa and, my first year here, thought to check this out as I'm less than ten minutes anyway from Napa Valley College where the conference takes place. Enjoyed most people I met...loved the readings and lectures. But for the workshop aspect, as has consistently been the case with the few workshops I've taken, I got very little out of the advice given to me by other workshop participants on my poems (and, who knows, mebbe they got little from the input I provided them, too). For me, "poetry workshop" seems to be an oxymoron.
And don't get me started on the socializing aspect wherein, inevitably, people's worst sides are revealed as "contacts" are attempted to be made (but since it's my blog, Moi shall allow Moi a teeny "yuck".)
But I'm sure these conferences do provide benefits for other poets and, hey, I'ma always up for a multiplicity of approaches. Meanwhile, here's what's important: a poem:
By Arthur Sze
A spring snow coincides with plum blossoms.
In a month, you will forget, then remember
when nine ravens perched in the elm sway in wind.
I will remember when I brake to a stop,
and a hubcap rolls through the intersection.
An angry man grinds pepper onto his salad;
it is how you nail a tin amulet ear
into the lintel. If, in deep emotion, we are
possessed by the idea of possession,
we can never lose to recover what is ours.
Sounds of an abacus are amplified and condensed
to resemble sounds of hail on a tin roof,
but mind opens to the smell of lightening.
Bodies were vaporized to shadows by intense heat;
in memory people outline bodies on walls.
Arthur's poem is up at his site on www.poets.org and I notice now the spelling of "lightening" in the first line of the last tercet. I wonder if that's a typo. I have Arthur's book, The Redshifting Web, from which that poem is taken and I could check. But I won't. I think it works either way -- "lightening" or "lightning."
Speaking of "lightning," my first book BLACK LIGHTNING was named after one of Arthur's poems of the same title. For me, to see lightning in person or as a word is to recall the light of Arthur Sze.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
I've been meaning for a while to write a follow-up to my July 1 post on Rimbaud when I wrote:
"It was a bit unnerving reading I PROMISE TO BE GOOD: The Letters of Arthur Rimbaud (Trans. & Ed. by Wyatt Mason). The book jacket describes it -- appropriately -- as a "moving document of decline."
"... the Chatelaine's heart was ripped apart when the book forced her to focus instead on a poet's facets that combine what Mason calls "tenderness and rage"; at one point, reading through the later letters, I found myself wondering, "Is this what living suicide is like?" (And I might have put that question inappropriately since I don't really know what suicide is like -- but that's the articulation that popped up).
"Anyway, I recommend Rimbaud's letters, partly for epitomizing how -- when true poets leave Poetry, the rest of it, the rest of life, sometimes just lapses into helpless, helpless compromise...."
I've had some interesting backchannels with Richard Lopez on Moi Rimbaud posts; here's his latest which he kindly allows me to reprint:
thinking of Rimbaud this evening as I chase my dogs, Sophie, a nervous Australian shepherder, and Hugo, a lab/pitbull mix, to keep them from barking. it is such a nice night with a cooling breeze, that I have the back door open to our backyard, and the dogs keep running in and out and barking at every bird, squirrel and passers-by, they are driving me nuts.
if Rimbaud completely gave up poetry, I mean if his life didn't become poetry, than why do we find his life after Verlaine and Paris interesting at all. I do not think he committed suicide in any form, but was a deeply religious, Catholic, man that he was constantly trying to transform his life through arduous studies, physical travails, and searing travels. he is an example of a writer, who gave up the romantic notions of being a writer, but never ceased being that "seer" however his methods, "rational", stayed fairly constant in his life. even in his hallucinationatory periods of "The Drunken Boat" and The Illuminations he was in control, of his precise, terrifying writings, and the manners he used to get to his deranged states.
this is all off the cuff. R. is a major influence, for his life and his writing. I think he set the example that writing and living often merge, perhaps not in such extremes, but they do merge. one image I cherish is WCW dancing naked as "the genius of his house." Williams did not have to forsake civilization to transform his life and his writing, he only needed to dance without clothes, so to speak.
and so R. was very self-destructive, but the kind of destruction he engaged in was the kind Martin Luther sought when he nailed his first letters on the door of his church: both wanted radical change, and sought it by being radical. their methods were frightening but sanity was what they were after, in a way. truth, beauty and justice: "Now that is over I can hold truth and beauty in a single thought."
amor y paz,
Thanks for writing, Richard. You know how the Chatelaine can get verbose and, in my mind prior to beginning this post, I had a lengthy train-of-thought I wanted to share about this vein. But I'm going to let your letter do the job in contradicting my clearly all-too-hasty conclusion about thinking that for Rimbaud to stop writing poems is the same as to cease being a poet.
I often like to proclaim "Poetry as a way of life" (that's how I usually sign my books) or posit that Poetry is not about words. So I don't really know why I reacted so strongly to Rimbaud's letters as to think that he lapsed to a "helpless compromise" when he ceased to write poems. Clearly, that's more about me than necessarily Rimbaud.
And I'm cancelling my initial intent to write lengthily on this topic because, as regards me -- which is not the same as Moi -- I suddenly realize I don't yet know what to say on this point as ... I am still early in transition from Poetry as Word to Poetry as ________.
Friday, July 23, 2004
ON THE DISTRIBUTION STRUCTURE OF POETRY BOOKS
So there I was having a cuppa java this morning at my favorite cafe on Main Street Calistoga. There I was, sipping said java and looking at the two shelves stocked with, until my arrival that morning, used books. I've posted about this cafe before -- that they allocated two shelves to books with the sign
TAKE MANY, LEAVE ONE
and I've gotten a few poetry books from said shelves. But I'd never left any books there as I don't usually get rid of books. So, this morning, I brought in a new copy of my book and left it there, its cover all shiny and spangly as it glitters in a dim corner. I looked at it while I sipped java; occasionally, I waved my cooing wingtips at it.
So, now, I have to go look for it everytime I enter the cafe and see if anyone thought it worthwhile to pick up for free.
And I also just read an article -- can't remember where now -- about how there are no limits to "checking in" books at libraries. That, say, you may be limited in the number of books you can check out from libraries, or how long you can borrow them. But that there's nothing to stop you from "checking in" one of your books by just slipping it onto a shelf.
There was no follow-up in the article about what happens if said book is actually picked up by a reader who takes it to check-out desk, only to have the librarian look at the Trojan Horse book with confusion. Still, maybe I'll do that, too, to my local library.
Except that, there's no way for me to figger out the library book's fate, whereas, with the one at the cafe, I can monitor it as I probably go into that cafe twice a week, on average.
Anyway -- on one level, this discourse is ... rather pathetic, isn't it?
Ergo, thank you Small Press Distribution, for existing.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
For. To tell you the truth just one small
Thing is one small thing too she says
She isn't interested anymore than you
Are better at hating than loving less.
Which really is more because she says so.
--from "Right here, Right now" by Simon Smith
It's soooooo nifty!
And she coos at the poetry book being cradled.
Barry Schwabsky-- who, along with his 5-year-old daughter poet, is over at "Writers on Writing" Blog this week -- sent me Simon Smith's Reverdy Road (Salt Publishing, 2003). What's great about the copy he sent is that it's the one that Simon Smith read from during a recent reading in London with Barry. And he left on the pages the yellow post-its he'd used to mark which poems to read.
So, I plan someday to read through the book and then go through it with the idea of choosing which poems I'd read at a reading -- and compare it with Simon's choices. That's just the kind of thing that a poet would obsess over, yah? Okay -- that Moi would obsess over.
Here's a poem that, yes, was among Simon's reading choices. And the choice is logical as I think this poem displays what back cover blurber Jeremy Reed meant when he said, "I can see where Smith has picked up on [Tom] Raworth's speed and got it into his own nerves brilliantly. I really like the way his poems come at one sideways on, using the fast visual bits that are how we perceive the world." I'm using a blurber's words because I'm tired tonight -- but still agree with its sentiments. Anyway, here's poem:
Sean has normal teeth as the sun goes down
That's the train I should have been on the one
Overhead what you see is your reflection
Overheard poems that fit a notebook
Look up you don't like your portrait
Which is poetry and you shouldn't believe a word of it
Alcohol makes you dance and clear up your debts
Who spat in my broken train
Of thought who's been eating my porridge
I like many poems in this 233-page book. Among other things, I marvel at how Simon Smith makes short poems look easy (it's not easy for verbose Moi, lemma tell ya). Here's another one:
The Little Notebook
I imagine is yellow. But I know
It's blue. Information or feeling
I lose track. Life v. Work.
Suits grey though.
I appreciate the collaged poem by Leny M. Strobel that plucks out phrases from Pinoy Poetics -- thanks Leny!
And I appreciate this comment on blogging from Ron Silliman's Blog (and sorry, Ron, for the judicious cutting of the excerpt here to make a particular point -- I actually found hilarious your reference to going postal re the 19th century realist novel). So, here's Ron:
"...the most disconcerting aspect of this has been the not-quite monopoly that “professional readers” within literature programs have imagined themselves as having with regards to poetry & poetics...
"So my interest in blogging can be looked at from two perspectives. First, I was seeking out a medium for myself that would let me organize my thinking with regards to poetry, poetics & the concentric circles of intellectual & social activity that surround them. Second, I was hoping to nudge along other poets into doing something of the same thing -- on the general theory that I learn as much or more from reading as I can from writing. Happily, literary blogs jumped the shark some time ago and there are now hundreds altogether, including dozens that include serious, insightful critical interventions into poetry.
"When I look at something like Into the Blogosphere, what I see, in part, is the academy attempting to recuperate a critical discourse that is starting to get a little out of hand. My guess is that that’s going to be like picking up mercury with chopsticks. So while I don’t expect the web or blogs to cause the collapse of literature programs, I do think that the margins are apt to blur a fair amount as to what is “legitimate” critical discourse & what is some crazy like me on his hobby horse.
"The ultimate test will be what poets themselves find to be useful. And from the perspective of the academy, that is the most unfair of all possible results, precisely because it’s not one that can be shaped or controlled. [BOLDFACED EMPHASIS IS THE CHATELAINE'S]
*****end of Ron excerpt*****
Hmmmm -- Moi don't think Moi has preened lately, have Moi? So:
I've seen some attempts by some to, how to put it, encapsulate ... what I preen and blather about on this blog -- so far, an articulation that might be encapsulated as: "like picking up mercury with chopsticks." Preen.
"Widow" as a typographical (typesetter's?) term that I learned recently from Sandy McIntosh, a fabulous poet but who is also designing (excoose me: patiently designing) the text of my 2005 book. A "widow" is a word that's interrupted with a dash due to a break in the line containing said word, but where the continuation of the word is on the following page.
It is wise, while designing a book, to avoid such widows.
The widow as an incomplete utterance, for which one needs to go to a new page to see the word complete.
That ... resonates as a form of poetics. It bespeaks more, I think, than what many of us poet-peeps have learned to call open-ended, uh, endings to poems. It's that, one has to turn the page -- one has to continue reading the book/story/poem.
One has to persevere. Despite the confusion (risk?) of incompleteness.
One has to persevere.
Is any individual ever complete?
Can one ever avoid widows?
One has to persevere.
The widows will never go away because ... the line will always break?
Inevitably, one must inhale/exhale to live.
It's difficult to discern the break between inhalation and exhalation when you listen to my yoga teacher breathe. But the seam exists.
One has to persevere.
Tonight, my breathing was challenged.
One has to persevere ... despite, even, the bludgeoning loneliness of it all. Of it All.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Some friends visited from New York and made me an interesting proposal over dinner last night. (No, not a "menage" -- that was Jukka's proposal; wink). They wondered if I'd be interested in ghost-writing a book. So, as someone who turned her tiny nose down -- or is it up -- at a major publisher offering a contract to write a non-fiction book about wine country, I wasn't initially interested. But this one focuses on the art world. So I'm going to explore the idea a bit more and see what their material is before I make up moi mind.
Or maybe it's just that I just got more amicable, thus amenable, as we drank through last night's wines: 1997 Nicholson River Winery chardonnay (O, Australia! Australia and Spain are making some of the best, but underrated, wines out there), the 1987 Calera Jensen San Benito County Pinot Noir, and the 1986 Carruades de Lafite Rothschild (Lafite's second label -- yum).
Which also reminds me to post Galatea's House Wine Update (Oenophiles, I don't do this for free, yah? At some point, I'ma looking for that donation for a poetry project!):
1992 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon
1989 Jamet Cote Rotie
2003 Mondavi Carneros Chardonnay (only because we saw Cassandra Wilson during the jazz series at Mondavi this weekend and, for the first time, they won't allow peeps to bring in their own wine bottles for picnicking on the lawn -- actually, it makes sense from a business standpoint to force visitors to buy their own wines. What took so long for the geniuses over there to make the decision? Oh, you mean that's why they're in financial trouble and restructuring? Anyway... But, hey, the wine was certainly pleasant!)
1994 Roda I Rioja (muy incredible!)
But rather than end this post on wine, let's end it on dogs. Here's an e-mail I got this morning, which seems to synchronistically befit the prior post! It's The Dog's Letter to God:
Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?
When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it the same old story?
Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a a mustang chasing a car or a cougar riding around in one? We dogs love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?
If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?
We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?
More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.
When we get to the Pearly Gates, do we have to shake hands to get in?
Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?
Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog:
* I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.
* I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.
* I will not munch on "leftovers" in the kitty litter box; although they are tasty, they are not food.
* The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.
* The sofa is not a face towel; neither are Mom and Dad's laps.
* The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.
* My head does not belong in the refrigerator.
* I will not bite the officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's driver's license and registration.
* I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
* Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is not an acceptable way of saying 'hello.'
* I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm lying under the coffee table.
* I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house.
* I will not throw up in the car.
* I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet.
* I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch when company is over.
* The cat is not a squeaky toy; so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.
May I have my testicles back?
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
A NINE-MONTH-OLD APPETIZER!
Whew! About a half hour before the date changes! I nearly forgot to post that, today, Moi 75-to-80 pound baby turns nine months old! I seriously considered baking him a kibble cake! Then again, as regards my cooking and how, inexplicably, he eats it, I'd better quit whilst Moi is ahead!
Meanwhile,please to check out this site:
The first photo who comes up is Achilles' Dad, VA1-Burschy zum alten Eichenhof, (2001 North American Sieger, or Champ).
Right below Daddy is one of his puppies Aston vom Haus Brezel. That's not Achilles, but Aston possesses a distinct similarity to Achilles, particularly at 3 months with one ear flopping.
And this post is entitled "APPETIZER" because I've been promised that three photos of Achilles himself (complete with a poem for him by Mama Moi) will soon pop up on the breeder Haus Brezel website -- and of course I'll inflict that information on youse peeps when known!
So I've been copyediting this manuscript that will be published in Fall 2005 (not Spring, as I thought earlier) by Marsh Hawk Press. And it seems logical that I'd be including words by other poets to reflect that English is ALSO (not just, but also) an "Other" for me. Specifically, here are the peeps I quote for various sections' Title Pages in I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved...:
I don’t take English for granted. I have to fight for every word of it.
Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, bringer, or bearer, of light." In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helal, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as "Day star, son of the Dawn."…
The scholars authorized by ... King James I to translate the Bible into current English did not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated ... largely by St. Jerome in the fourth century. Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer," and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. Lucifer the morning star became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers, and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in Christian tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan, the Devil, and—ironically—the Prince of Darkness.
--from A Pilgrim’s Path by John J. Robinson
I will pave the gold of Paris all over your lives.
I will do it with words, if words mean anything to you.
--from “Melting City” by Eric Gamalinda
I walk along the length of a stone-and-gravel garden
and feel without looking how the fifteen stones
appear and disappear. I had not expected the space
to be defined by a wall made of clay boiled in oil
—from “Archipelago” by Arthur Sze
Within my body
there’s a city—
—from “Downward Facing Dog” by Leza Lowitz
I avert my eyes to this slippery dumbfoundness
lines meander over a ricochet someplace
--from “vote” by kari edwards
My impatience can never reach
the end of you.
--from “Opera (ET club mix with Chris Bowden’s saxophone solo)” by Barry Schwabsky
This is the moral for inventing ecstasies
Freed from the clutch of memory
I eat the eagle’s windy branches
My eye the lion’s cave
Silver fluids fix my voice
That sings The World and I Are One
—from “Coat of Arms” by Philip Lamantia
I saw what those artists saw—
someone half in love with herself
and half in love with the world
—from “January 18, 1979” by John Yau
Yep, there's a lot of Title Pages -- at the moment, the manuscript is something like 475 pages long. For me, a thin poetry book would be anemic (just ask moi Buddha belly).
(This isn't the first time I've raised this topic but, yes, the scale of the book, to me, is fundamental to its art. It's true that many poetry books are slim (less than 100 pages) but that's been an economic constraint which is not always the same as to what it aesthetically should be. I am looking at a book now that is supposed to be part of a trilogy; I ordered the earlier two parts of the trilogy. Said trilogy would have totalled less than 200 pages had there been a way to put them together in one book. I can tell you that, for this particular project, I would have preferred a single book. This is not to say that certain other poetry books should be "slim," but for poetry books to be thin should not be a given -- particularly if it's that oxymoron "poetry economics" that dictate it to be so.)
I've been an editor for as long as I've been a poet and one of the results of such role has been that the people I've met have been reluctant to edit me. Well, I've been lucky to be working these past few weeks with the editor assigned to me by Marsh Hawk Press: poet, critic and editor Thomas Fink.
Tom -- Thank you! The experience has been a joy. And, yes, I confess to earlier nervousness as I've never gone through an editing of a manuscript like this before in that I've usually been on the other side of the experience.
One of the things I was most curious about was on Tom's reaction to the section of the manuscript that reprints the 100 poems I wrote in 15 days a la "first draft, last draft" a few months ago (via Gasps, my Poem Blog). I think I made two or three copyedits before I sent off those poems to Tom. Well, here are the stats:
Tom made 17 comments, of which eight were typos. The other nine were suggestions, of which I abided by eight.
I'm delighted by this result -- I believe this means my Rinzai breath has come to have a certain rigorous vigor.
And now that I've done that -- I think, what next? Or, rather: how next?
And I recall the artist Theresa Chong who once told me that when she felt herself having reached a certain level in a project and wanted to do something new, she often attempted to do the exact opposite of what she's been doing. That, for one, is how I'd moved from the prose poem form to couplets.
Well, after this 2005 book of mine -- estimated to be between 450 to 500 pages, the opposite is ... Silence.
...some of my favorite poets write silence...
Monday, July 19, 2004
PEOPLE. PLEASE. Don't involve moi golden name without please to check with me. I don't have time at this moment to check my Archives and so I'm not saying at this moment that Stephen Burt misquoted me (though I'ma pretty sure I am misquoted OUT OF CONTEXT). And it's certainly possible that my earlier blather on this issue didn't reflect my true feelings on this matter since I write my blog posts generally off the cuff and often with the brain turned off. But the way I'm quoted in this Boston Globe article (to which I was pointed to by Jordan) doesn't quite reflect my true views. Here are the two paragraphs of the article:
"DOES POETRY NEED muckrakers? The secretive operators of the website Foetry (www.foetry.com), a self-described "American poetry watchdog," certainly think so. They promise, from behind a cloak of anonymity, to uncover scandals among the publishers of contemporary poetry, dishing dirt on "fraudulent `contests,"' as their homepage has it, "tracking the sycophants," "naming the names," and generally cleaning house.
"The site has poets talking. Since its launch on April 1, Foetry has racked up almost 600 comments and questions, from the laudatory to the outraged, at one point receiving 1,000 page views in a single day -- quite a crowd for gossip about new verse. The site has prompted vitriol elsewhere in cyberspace, on various blogs and message boards: Poet and publisher Janet Holmes of Ahsahta Press in Boise calls it "repellent," California poet and blogger Eileen Tabios describes Foetry as "the dark side of the poetry world," while poet, critic, and publisher Kevin Walzer of WordTech Communications in Cincinnati complains that "these guys see conspiracies everywhere, and it's causing needless harm."
----------end of excerpt--------------
For the record, I don't mean to say that the site Foetry per se is the "dark side of the poetry world." What I meant -- and do, today mean -- to say is that the issues raised by Foetry's existence are the said dark side. So I'm not a critic really of Foetry, as this article may suggest (nor am I an admirer). I, frankly, have no opinion on Foetry. I hadn't read Foetry since the initial brouhaha came up and was mentioned on several blogs.
Okay? Moi gots my priorities of concerns, Peeps, and certain machinations of the "poetry world" ain't even on the list.
(But, dear Stephen Burt, don't think I'm mad at you or anything because of this post. On this issue, I go Zen, Baby.)
MOI W(H)INED FOR MOI MERITAGE PRESS LOGO
I'm grateful to Chris Murray over at Texfiles for highlighting Barry Schwabsky's and Hong Seung-Hye's collaboration, [WAYS] ... which can be YOURS for a special pre-release price of $10 (e-mail me if you wish to do your eyes and ears a favor!) (Also, Crag -- that's another poetry/art collaboration for your Ekphrasis Bibliography project!).
Anyway, I'm amused to see my Meritage Press logo highlighted by Chris. I love that logo -- not just because it features Moi beloved wine bottle but because of my history of getting permission to use a wine-related logo. If you go to the "About" section of my press, you'll see me write:
"Reflecting how poets make instead of inherit language, the press is named after 'meritage,' a word created to describe the Bordeaux-style of wine-making that uses California-grown grapes. Meritage style combines the grapes of cabernet, cabernet franc and merlot to create a wine characterized by robustness in flavor, bouquet, color and body -- symbolizing the passion underlying the vision of Meritage’s artists. "
But "meritage" is a significant term within the wine industry and is owned, I believe, by the lovely Meritage Association. I say "lovely" because they gave me permission to use the term with no problems or payment at all! When they give winemakers permission to use the term "meritage" for their wine, they charge them; this week, I heard the rate was something like $1 per case (12 bottles). That fee can add up, Peeps.
But why is this post about "Poetry Economics"? Because when Meritage Association learned I was using it for poetry publishing, they didn't bother ... to charge me a fee. Obviously, they know how poetry economics work ... or doesn't work.
Sunday, July 18, 2004
this week and, of course, it bummed Moi out since I love getting married and want to marry everyone!
Specifically, due to a schedule conflict, I had to turn down -- with much regret a la a heaving tear-bursting chest -- a request by poet and Berkeley grad student Liz Young to be part of (and isn't this a fabulous title):
"CABINET OF THE MUSES -– A Festival of Poems, Dance, Film and Other Curiosities"
Liz had thought to suggest that, once more, I take my marriage vows a la the "Poetry Form/From The Six Directions Project" (click link to the left to see more about this project since the new Blogger format has taken away the htmls that would allow me to link you there via the blog entry).
But though I won't be there, let me tell you a bit about it as it sounds great and is definitely something to catch. I'm sure more details will come up as the event approaches, but here's to say it's scheduled to take place at The LAB/ UC Berkeley, October 21st -24th 2004, and a preliminary description from Liz's invite:
"...an inter-arts experimental poetry festival scheduled to take place in San Francisco this October. ... will focus on poetry's intersections with other art forms. This is the first in what will hopefully be an annual exploration of poetry in all its glorious hybrid guises. Aside from poetry of all kinds, the festival will include film, dance and music which somehow veer into a linguistic realm. The film portions are being curated by Konrad Steiner of SF Cinemateque and the dance portions by the dancer/poet Julie Carr. The festival will be a lively, 4 day affair beginning Thursday evening (Oct. 21st) and continuing Friday evening and all afternoon/evening Saturday and Sunday....
"The festival’s most basic aim is to foster cross-fertilization of all kinds. We want to promote dialogue between poets who do not normally cross paths, between innovative poets and innovators in other art forms and between poets and those who don’t normally partake of poetry. We want to encourage a sense of local -- and extended -- community while also troubling any easy sense of where the outer boundaries of that community might extend. The hope is to put together an event which will generate excitement surrounding poetry as it is currently being practiced and push peoples’ conceptions of poetry beyond their current limits. Ideally, everyone involved will leave the festival eagerly questioning their own sense of what contemporary poetry is and what that poetry’s future might hold. But all this creative soul-searching is to take place in an atmosphere of boisterous festivity. We want this event to pose an intellectual and aesthetic challenge couched as a sort of celebration. We envision this festival as a many-ringed, multi-talented, sublimely serious circus."
DOESN'T ALL THAT SOUND WONDERFUL? PENCIL IT IN THE DATEBOOK AND AWAIT MORE OF THE WORD!
(As for me, it really had to take a major conflict for me to not participate in the above. And said major conflict is that I have to be in France in October telling those peeps how they SHOULD HAVE constructed those Loire Valley chateaux. Yep. Yeah, right. Moi undoubtedly will get herself in trouble again -- but that's a story for another day...)
Friday, July 16, 2004
Tom Beckett sends me his fabulous broadside HOW SAY; Moi excerpts to share:
I love the way the tercets melt into couplets in above. So, for Tom, here's a poem (Moi wrote last year) from the manuscript I'm copy-editing as we speak:
EPILOGUE POEM (EPILOGUE)
--from “White, Throbbing”
I just replaced three epigraphs for internal title pages on my manuscript for I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005). I replaced quotes from philosophizing conceptual artists with excerpts from poems. Poetry rules -- ach: when will this baboy-headed Chatelaine stop ... rebelling?
Thursday, July 15, 2004
I'm reprinting below a letter I sent to poets who'd submitted to a project I'd conceived, but just cancelled today. I think the letter's points go beyond the specifics of this particular project....
As a poet and editor, I'd like to think I've come up with some good anthology ideas. But I came up with a stinker on this one -- an anthology proposed to be BEST FILIPINO AMERICAN POETRY (or BFAP), structured somewhat like the annual BEST AMERICAN POETRY volumes. I initially conceived of this project to be a companion piece to PINOY POETICS to showcase some great recent poems and because PINOY POETICS is an anthology of primarily poetics (though it does include poems).
Now that I see the resulting PINOY POETICS book, I don't think BFAP is needed.
Equally -- if not more -- significantly, I think it's both a stinker and a yawner to contextualize poems along a "best of" nature. I thought to address this by revising the title to SOME OF THE BEST FILIPINO AMERICAN POETRY…but the reference to "best" continued to trouble me.
As an anthology editor, I've tried to conceive of interesting and needed (i.e. underpublished) themes. The theme of "Best" simply doesn't inspire me as a poet, as a critic, as an editor, as a publisher and last but not least, as a poetry lover.
So, I rescind this BFAP project … and apologize to those who took the time to submit poems to me for this purpose. In exchange for your trouble, I'd like to offer you the option of either (A) a $5.00 credit towards the ($28) purchase price of PINOY POETICS; or (B) a free copy of my forthcoming poetry collection, MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY (xPress(ed), 2004; retail price $13.95).
You can combine Option A with any other special -- e.g. your contributor's discount if you are a contributor to PINOY POETICS, or the Summer Pre-Release Offer. (For information on the Summer Pre-Release Offer, go to http://meritagepress.com/babaylanspeaks/.)
If you wish Option B, simply e-mail me your snailmail address and I'll send you a copy when it's available (should be out this summer). MENAGE… presents poems that seek to construct new lives in the 21st century for Mesopotamian priestess Enheduanna and Philippine 18th century warrior Gabriela Silang; poet-critic Kevin Killian says of MENAGE...: "The question that haunted Enheduanna and Gabriela plunges out of the book, ferocious, tongue dipped in fire, dragon with sapphire eyes and no conscience."
I apologize for my earlier shortsightedness.
Until then, To Poetry As A Way of Life,
Developer of the anthology:
Editor or Co-Editor of the anthologies:
BLACK LIGHTNING: POETRY IN PROGRESS
BABAYLAN: FILIPINA WRITERS
THE ANCHORED ANGEL: SELECTED WRITINGS BY JOSE GARCIA VILLA
SCREAMING MONKEYS: CRITIQUES OF ASIAN AMERICAN IMAGES
BUT NOT artificially constructed books that seek to present "best" poems without any other context but an editor's opinion.
Tom Beckett approaches the 600 referral mark. Whoooo-ooooooh! Thanks Tom and your Peeps for stopping by -- a particularly impressive feat given the line-up (thank you all for giving Moi the time of day); last week, the referral sources hit 54, I believe....
....and I know you Peeps don't visit for masturbatory comments (or do you?) like Moi crooning over blog stats. I promise a nifty post soon but, for now, I'ma just saying this was a hard day to blog because I was all caught up with suddenly facing a pallet of books delivered to my doorstep. I told you Pinoy Poetics is a brick, right? Well, Moi got a pallet of bricks!
I realized what it was when I, cough, back-ended into it (I told you earlier I had car trouble and so borrowed the hubby's larger car, which I'm not used to, to drive this morning from San Francisco back to the mountain).
Well, after somewhat running over the books I just published (what irony, eh -- well, mebbe they can be "review copies"), I had to move them all into the foyer...and in order to do so I had to get F___ and his cousin to stop working on the stone fence of this vegetable garden....and I really hated to interrupt them because....okay: this is the saga of the vegetable garden:
So, it takes a lot of hands to run Galatea. And J___ is one of those hands. J____ is F____'s wife and they have three adorable kids (I know as they visit to play with my equally adorable Achilles). Well, F____ is a nice guy but J____ clearly married him for his body vs his brains as this guy is thick as a plank. Said thickness caused his current state of unemployment.
Because Moi is worried over how their kids will be fed, the Chatelaine decided to build a vegetable garden because, what's country living without a vegetable garden? Or so I read somewhere...
Now, I have already bitten off (pun intended) on the fact that after J___ finishes the garden, Moi (whose gardening forays are a source of horror and amusement among the mountain's animals) will simply have to rely on J____ to be the one to do that garden (just as J____ now does the flower garden that Moi had thought to implement before learning the hard way that she and gardening implements do not an amiable relationship make).
And I've bitten off on J___ actually being the one to garden because Moi don't cook. So, fine, I reconciled moiself to this double whammy of paying F____ to build a vegetable garden, then paying J____ to garden said vegetable garden, then having them harvest the proceeds so that their kids will eat. I'll just be happy to have fresh mint for the mint juleps I'll never make.
Still. Moi had thought the vegetable garden to be a four-week project. It looks like it'll be a four-month project, even after F____ also hired a cousin to help out (unemployment seems to run rampant in that family).
Well, I really would like the four-month schedule to not become a four-year schedule, which is why I loathed interrupting their work today so that they could unload bricks from the pallet into my foyer.
This is also all a long-winded way to say: Peeps, please. Order Pinoy Poetics -- Moi wasn't having problems with inventory storage for doing these poetry books and chaps. But this is a brick anthology -- the same box my printer uses to ship out 78 poetry books only contains 38 of these anthologies. Well, reality has just hit my furrowed (though still enchanting) brow with a, you got it, brick. This mountain is sufficiently high for my taste; no need to have it further rise in size from mounds of books....which do deserve to be read anyway....
Why do I feel like I'm addressing INVENT(S)ORY instead of INVENTORY? It's my life, right?
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
David Nemeth writes about my 2003 xPress(ed) e-chap, "there, where the pages would end":
No View: Eileen Tabios
She mentioned the possibility of forgetting, the underbrush of memory, yet she would have to admit a mating with text. Aching to taste the poem (the plasticity of recognition), he considers her sentences like veins. He once read a poem where vinegar water saved him from entanglement. Still, he heard her sing mathematical formulas. He knew she would recognize he was masking another topic — a labyrinth, where a poem is only what it is and authenticity always wanders in reality.
I'm quoting this in full because Moi quite appreciates how lucid David...sees my transparency, but only to ask (dare I say) -- Who is that Moi?
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
My laptop is being serviced for problems. On its hard drive was the only copy I have of a short story, the only one I've written in perhaps the past year, or two years....
That story, incidentally, was submitted somewhere where it presumably is being considered, as we speak.
So, the only way I can recover that story is if it got accepted for publication.
I actually thought it a damn good story. But if rejected by this publication, 'twon't live again.
Now, I suppose I could ask the editors there to send me back a copy. They seem like nice peeps -- I'm sure they'd be willing to accommodate.
But, naah. I like the stakes here -- that if the story is rejected, it dies.
But maybe that story won't die, regardless of whether it's accepted for publication. Maybe its story -- the true story -- has just unfolded and you've been reading it.
And I've been writing it here as you've been reading it.
Well, hell -- so if the true protagonist is Moi, I guess that makes me, what, not a nice person? Not nice in not caring about the text I lost?
Or maybe I'm just being a poet who believes, it -- the true It -- has never been about words.
I got back to San Francisco yesterday from L.A. and today I spent much of the day suffering over what turned out to be a leaking battery in my car. Triple-A finally came over and we managed to get said car over to a local service station. As I walked back to the apartment, I passed by a Staples I'd not visited before. I entered, mindful of needing numerous mailers for sending out mucho copies of Ways and Pinoy Poetics -- the latter is due to arrive from the printer's any day now.
And what do you know!? Staples was having a huge sale of 8.5 X 11 padded mailers -- to the tune of each mailer costing 50 cents each! That's the cheapest I've ever found them! I danced a gig on the streets as I hauled up two huge plastic bags worth of mailers to my apartment!
I was ecstatic that my car needed to be serviced, thus introducing me to this Staples sale! The feeling of bliss over having saved $40.00 over said mailers when I probably just incurred a bill of $300 from my car is obviously illogical.
But the lack of logic is ever consistent with the many decisions I've been making since I decided to become a poetry publisher. And that's okay, after all. Since becoming a poet, I've lost interest in logic except as a construct (as required by the poem itself).
Poetry -- it can encompass logic, but I believe it's more about Faith.
Just realized that by simply sitting on moi lovely ass blathering at the computer screen, in the span of two days I've sold nearly 50 copies of a $28 book. My, my -- I mean, Moi, moi -- can it be that all that blather I've invested in sharing snippets of my sexual and drinking proclivities (often the same thing but what's your point?) is paying off by gluing your interest in my activities?
But of course not. Moi is sure the interest in this book is solely due to how...Poetry Sells!
Sip. Yeaha!! Right. Anyway: morning coffee spiked with ... et al.
Well, two things to celebrate then. First, here's a Summer Pre-Release Special. Pinoy Poetics retails for $28 a book but if you order from Moi before August 31, 2004, you can have it for a 25% discount plus free shipping/handling within the U.S. (the latter normally a $3 charge). Thus, do avail yourself of this $10 savings and send a check made out to Meritage Press for $21 to get an early copy of this groundbreaking book for poetry lovers -- and find out why it's selling like hotcakes (is that right? do hotcakes sell well?) -- to:
2101 Sacramento Street, #303
San Francisco, CA 94109
Second special since Moi is in such a chipper mood. A wine tip: the 2001 Gigondas Tardieu Laurent is $29.99 at Wine Exchange. Crappy wine tasting notes but you get the drift: smooooth and sleeeek as an otter; elegant rhapsody!
So this reminds me, too, to get the weekly Galatea House Wine Update out of the way:
1992 Bonneau Du Martray Corton Charlemagne (best producer of Corton Charlemagne)
1970 Vega Sicilia
1990 Ch. Le Toure Blanche
1990 Ciacci Pianrosso Brunello di Montalcino
1990 Ch. Leoville Barton
Monday, July 12, 2004
So happy to get an Acceptance in today's mail from a journal I much admire: Ur*Vox. Moi poems will appear in their 4th issue, but until then, perhaps I'll also see you at:
UR*VOX Journal Release Party in an evening of discussion:
City Lights celebrates the release of the third volume of UR*VOX journal
Join the editor of UR*VOX, Lee Ballentine, and contributors George Albon, Andrew Joron, and Rusty Morrison for an evening of unique verse.
UR*VOX is a journal of the limbic or underlying voice (the UR). It embraces all phases of surrealism early and late, experiments in broken and erotic grammars, works of ecstatic religion or unreligion, and heady documents of the machine age (the VOX). Its literary programme is rooted in our oldest phylogenetics, structured opportunistically from dreams, rant, automatism, and the found.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
While in Los Angeles, stopped by LACMA -- saw the "Minimalism" exhibit; its, uh, minimal beginning caused me to whisper to moi companion: "Geez -- I wonder if these museum guards consider a minimalist show to be the equivalent of combat duty..."
... which at first made us laugh....but then made us just as abruptly halt said laughter, the reference swiftly losing its humor -- sign of the times, eh.
Anyway, the Minimalism show started slowly but actually became quite enjoyable as the brain cleared and then expanded again before its shapes. Naturally, Moi drooled over the sculptures of Anne Truitt, the artist whose ouevre inspired the third section of my Reproductions book....lovely to see the Robert Ryman whites, the John Chamberlain sculptures (particularly fascinating as these were unpainted, grey steel and unlike the riotously colorful works I associate with him), the Agnes Martin grid drawings (whose hand-made quality are so moving) and so on. Catch the exhibit if you can...
But while at the museum, stopped off by its gift store...where Moi laughed quite appreciatively over a section of pills in plastic bags, with such tags implying, take such pills to
UNDERSTAND YOUR MOTHER
LIKE THE TASTE OF SEMEN
ENJOY ANAL SEX
PERSUADE YOUR WIFE TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIEND
and so on. It's unfortunately also a sign of the times -- Moi times -- that I skipped the sexual innuendo-ed pills to buy the one which proclaimed, Take this pill to
BE INCREDIBLY CREATIVE INSTANTLY
So there you have it, artist-peeps. If you're blocked, fork over $6 to "Jesus Had A Sister Productions" for this "One Instant Muse" pill which "immediately unleashes your untapped creative power, guarantee you original ideas, and allow you to instantly create amazing things with your mind, your voice, or your hands."
Six bucks -- whatta deal.
Still, what does it mean that creativity warranted one pill while sex required, in some cases, bagfuls of pills?
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Mr. Schwabsky's 15 14-line poems, each poem divided into 7 2-line stanzas, resemble ladders falling one upon the other like dominos. His permutating lines are echoed by the generative logic of Ms. Hong Seung-Hye's layers of white and black squares which proceed in minimalist flipbook counterpoint. Or is it toward a vanishing point?
I'm in Los Angeles visiting Dad as he continues to recover. Managed, though, to do some blog reading....which leads me to say, Thank you, Tom Beckett, for your lovely comments on Ways.
Friday, July 09, 2004
-- a point on which I merely wish to observe: certain poets can learn something from artist extraordinaire Sharon Louden. This, despite the problematic history of securitizations.
Perhaps relatedly, perhaps not, here's a securitized joke:
Two sides of the Balance sheet
There are two sides of the balance sheet -- the left side and the right side. On the left side, there is nothing right, and on the right side, there is nothing left!
Thursday, July 08, 2004
ACHILLES' FIRST POETRY READING!!!!
will occur when he comes trotting in with a smoked knucklebone in his mouth to listen to Moi and Catherine Daly at our Aug. 15 reading at 21 Grand, Oakland! Moi baby is so beautiful, Peeps -- meeting him alone is worth coming on over to the New Brutalism Series that Sunday from 7-9 p.m.
Of course -- there's now a lot of pressure on Moi. Moi must be sure to read poems that won't cause Achilles' fur to rise. Sigh -- my puppy's first poetry reading: as significant as a human child's first step...
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
I'm talking, of course, of PinoyPoetics -- it just finished being printed and my printer fedexed me a copy which arrived in moi grubby little etceteras just a few minutes ago. If you'll excoooze me now, I go back to fondling that smoooooth, glosssy ... cover! And if you wanna know the big deal of it, here's an excerpt from the Editor's Introduction by Nick Carbo and the Table of Contents:
EXCERPT FROM INTRODUCTION:
"In 1996, two influential anthologies of world poetry came out: The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry (Vintage) edited by J.D. McClatchy and A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (Harcourt) edited by Czeslaw Milosz and Dreka Willen. No Filipino poet showed up in their tables of contents. What I find particularly galling is that the McClatchy anthology has sections which are divided by continents, and in “Asia” the countries included are Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan. There is no mention of the Philippines.
"Four years later, in the year 2000, two more anthologies came out and continued this plague of invisibility for Filipino poetry: The Pip Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century (Green Integer Books) edited by Douglas Messerli and The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (HarperCollins) edited by Jeffery Paine. The latter anthology is divided into five parts with Asia being the last. Sub-divided under Asia are sections representing the poetry of India, the Middle East and Central Asia, China, Japan, and (drum roll, please) Southeast Asia and the Pacific! Given the Philippines’ intense and troubled historical one-hundred-year relationship with the United States, which left the Philippines the gift of being the third largest English speaking nation in the world, one would expect that there would be a Filipino poet under every rock. Wouldn’t at least one or two of them make it to an anthology of world poetry published in America? No, not even “a Chinaman’s chance.” According to Paine’s and McClatchy’s anthologies, there are no Filipino poets in Asia or Southeast Asia.
"What is causing this stubborn invisibility? Is it the Filipino poet’s own fault for not publishing enough poems in the U.S. or the Philippines? Can the poetry written by Filipinos be so bad that many Americans have refused to even look our way? During our apprentice years as students of the English language this may have been the case.... [But by] the 1930s, Filipino poets begin to publish their poems in the most prestigious poetry magazine in America, Poetry A Magazine of Verse (edited by Harriet Monroe): 1932, three poems by Jose Garcia Villa; 1934, four poems by NVM Gonzalez; 1936, six poems by Carlos Bulosan; 1937, four poems by Carlos Bulosan. Were these poems by Filipinos published alongside American poets Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, “full of grammatical errors and mis-use of words”?
"What I have come to accept is that the literary history of Filipinos in America is a hidden history (as is the literary history of African Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups though they are all ahead in serious scholarship and acceptance in the universities and publishing arenas). Is literary America ready to accept the notion that Filipinos have published poems and developed their craft at the same pace and alongside the American poets?"
TABLE OF CONTENTS
v / Nick Carbó: Introduction
xii / A Literary Timeline
1 / Gemino H. Abad: What Does One Look for in a Poem?
6 / Mila D. Aguilar: The Poetics of Clarita Roja
20 / Rick Barot: The Nightingale And The Grackles
26 / Michelle Macaraeg Bautista: Kali Poetics
37 / Catalina Cariaga: A Poetics of E. Pluribus Karaoke
40 / Oliver de la Paz: My Unwritten Book: A Poem Disguised as a Narrative Process, but Not Cleverly Disguised
48 / Ricardo M. de Ungria: An English Apart
63 / Ruel S. De Vera: Otherworldly
74 / Marlon Unas Esguerra: The Poetry of Rebolusyon
79 / Luis H. Francia: Meditations # 1 & 2
81 / Eric Gamalinda: Language, Light, and the Language of Light
98 / Sarah Gambito: Essay 2356 on Poems
100 / J. Neil C. Garcia: Of Legends and Poetry
113 / Eugene Gloria: On Memoir and Poetry
119 / Vince Gotera Love and War, Contrapuntal: A Self-Interview
129 / Remé Antonia Grefalda: Lyricism and Poetic Vision in Playwriting
138 / Leslieann Hobayan: Mo(ve)ments in Silence: Constructing “Home” in the Gap Through Poetry and Letters
144 / Luisa A. Igloria: Considering (A Poem’s) History: Sources and Point of View in “The Incredible Tale of the Ice Cream Cone Dog”
152 / Paolo Javier: Marginalia
167 / Joseph O. Legaspi: Boys in Skirts and Other Subjects That Matter
171 / R. Zamora Linmark: Big Trouble
176 / Mike Maníquiz: The Essence of Us
184 / Lani T. Montreal: Poetry and Bonesetting
192 / Kristin Naca: The Cult of Language in Pinoy Poetry
198 / Rene J. Navarro: After the Shih Hua: Poetics
213 / Aimee Nezhukumatathil: The Ocean at Night: An Inside Look at the Poetry Process
216 / Efren Noblefranca Padilla: Binalaybay: Soul of the Island
224 / Patrick Pardo: On Being a Filipino Poet
230 / Oscar Peñaranda: The Filipino American Sensibility in Literature
238 / Jon Pineda: At the Fence of the Experience
242 / Cristina Querrer: Volcanic Laughter, Pacific Words
245 / Bino A. Realuyo: Dear Warrior
247 / Barbara J. Pulmano Reyes: The Building of “Anthropologic”
261 / Tony Robles: A Poetics of the Common Man(ong)
267 / Patrick Rosal: A Pinoy Needle in a B-Boy Groove
277 / Leny Mendoza Strobel: A New Twist on Decolonization: Eileen Tabios’ Poetry
286 / Eileen R. Tabios: A Poetics of “Everything, Everything, Everything”
317 / Joel B. Tan: Brown Faggot Poet: Notes on Zip File Poetry, Cultural Nomadism, and the Politics of Publishing
333 / Jean Vengua: Abilidad and Flux: Notes on a Filipino American Poetics
343 / Timothy Yu: Asian/American Modernisms: Jose Garcia Villa’s Transnational Poetics
368 / Alfred A. Yuson: Taking the Litmus Test
377 Author Biographies
385 Selected Bibliography
396 About Meritage Press
Unfortunately, I just had a major computer crash, one of which effects is that I lost the June submissions to The Hay(na)ku Anthology (I didn't lose the ones sent before June). I believe I've e-mailed all of the June submitters to please resend their poems. But I'm repeating this notice here, just in case I missed you.
And this, of course, may serve to remind about the Call for Submissions for The Hay(na)ku Anthology being co-edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young. Deadline is December 31, 2004. More information here.
the poem with the epigraph:
So the distances are Galatea
& one does fall in love.....
--Charles Olson: The Distances
Thanks from the Moi who's now all a-preen!
Thanks to Dodie Bellamy who chose some of moi poems for the issue she guest edited for Suspect Thoughts: a journal of subversive writing. Here's the announcement by its editors Ian Phillips and Greg Wharton:
Suspect Thoughts Journal--Issue 13 Has Launched:
Issue 13 “Body Language” is now online. Guest-edited by Dodie Bellamy, this is a truly amazing--and huge!--issue. Featuring fiction, poetry, essays, and art by Steve Abee, Elliot Andersen, Neelanjana Banerjee, Josh Bayer, Julia Bloch, Diana Cage, M. Christian, Dennis Cooper, Margaret Crane, Julia Croon, Bobby Tran Dale, Sam D'Allesandro, Trinie Dalton, kari Edwards, d.g. eng, Mark Ewert, Bob Flanagan, Lisa Freeman, Jamie Joy Gatto, Robert Glück, Aracely Gonzalez, Matt Greene, Matt Grey, Doug Heise, Joshua Hoobler, Colter Jaconsen, Kevin Killian, Derek McCormack, Casey McKinney, Yedda Morrison, Aaron Nielsen, Sam Ott, Lara Parker, Brian Pera, Sheree Rose, Camille Roy, David Salcido, Milly Sanders, Cedar Sigo, Eleni Stecopoulos, Larry Sultan, Eileen Tabios, Joel Barraquiel Tan, Matias Viegener, Shoshana von Blankensee, and Stephanie Young.
The whole issue is a wonderful read. But it's certainly worth highlighting here Dodie's Foreword (at this link), which relates the issue to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Here are excerpts (but do read the whole thing):
"These days I'm less interested in the experimental or transgressive than in the authentic, the authentic lacking in pre-programmed mainstream lit. By authentic I'm not necessarily talking about verisimilitude or naturalism. Authentic doesn't need to mimic "real" life. In Bush-hostaged America, "real" life needs to be questioned at every turn. Something can be highly contrived and still be authentic, if it's up front in its contrivance. I'm not interested in writing or art that's masturbating itself on its own cleverness. I'm interested in writing that touches core human issues, how we categorize the world, how we survive the chaos that engulfs us. I'm particularly interested in writing and art that addresses the body. Illness, ingestion, desire, display, sexual passion, subtle eroticism. I didn't search far in putting together 'Body Language.'[....]
"In an email Matias Viegener wrote to me that Moore's method has more to do with sarcasm than satire. 'Moore doesn't often reach for satire, which let's face it, most Americans don't get. He's sarcastic, which they do.' In 'Body Language' I've pulled together a unlikely grouping of artists and writers who celebrate such vulgarity and emotion, who engage the body in their work, who explore desire, loss, and human experience that's often hidden from view. Some of the artists and writers have well established careers, others are published here for the first time. The work ranges from disjunct poetry and fiction to conventional short stories and diary entries. The art tends towards the figurative, but that doesn't mean that I'm critiquing formal abstraction. From Eva Hesse I learned that nonfigurative art could have profound emotional resonance. I'm not making a formal statement here, but a tonal one. Serious art and writing can and should offer an emotional engagement with materiality. As in the work presented here, that engagement can be highly mediated or direct, but that engagement is where a politics and morality in art must begin."
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Moi favorite water-drinker and Finnish publisher, Jukka Pekka Kervinen, successfully (wink) sent my book to the printer despite the vagaries of various software. Have a good vacation, Jukka! Forthcoming this Fall 2004 will be Menage A Trois With the 21st Century!
Then my New York publisher Marsh Hawk Press sent an e-mail requesting that I move my book from a Fall 2005 release forward to a Spring 2005 release. Certain peeps just can't have me soon enough, I suppose. Okay -- far be it for me to second-guess their taste. Forthcoming in said Spring 2005 (not Fall 2005) is I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved! This isn't just a poetry collection, by the way. It's a book that melds together to alchemize the forms of poem, memoir, art monograph, play, novel and questionnaire....
...."Melds together to alchemize...." Why do I talk like that? Small sigh. Anyway, I actually used that phrase first when I had to brew up a bio to send over to fabuloso poets Cynthia Sailer (whose chap Rose Lungs should be checked out by youse who haven't checked it out yet!) and Tanya Brolaski who asked me to read on August 15, 7-9 p.m. (with Catherine Daly) for the New Brutalism Series at 21 Grand. Moi, moi! I feel so hip; if only moi middle-aged back would cooperate and unkink itself so I can feel as young as I feel moiself hip ....
Today, I also mailed a check that hopefully won't bounce to cover the outstanding cost of PinoyPoetics, freshly done at the printer's! I shall have to concoct a Summer Pre-Release Special for this anthology that's not officially out until this Fall. Await said Summer Word!
Next up -- two more anthologies for Moi to edit this summer (this, after turning down an offer recently to help edit a fiction anthology....despite escalating moi passes on various projects, the workload never seems to slow down...!).
I could use a vacation from making books so I can read more of the books on my ever-growing -- dangerously-growing -- To Read Pile.
And speaking of the literary world and slightly reducing said Pile, today I read Dubravka Ugresic's "biting critique of book publishing: agents, subagents, and scouts, supermarket-like bookstores, Joan Collins, book fairs that have little to do with books, authors promoted because of sex appeal instead of merit, and editors trying to look like writers by having their photographs taken against a background of bookshelves." Isn't that last one a hoot -- that's from the back cover description of Ugresic's Thank You For Not Reading,issued through the Eastern European Literature Series published by Dalkey Archives. Here's an excerpt:
"As far as paranoia and social games are concerned, it seems that a large number of agents, just like a large number of writers in the literary marketplace, is a necessary evil. In the world of the jet set, wealthy party-givers, socialites, star-editors, star-agents, star-publishers; in the world of the media conglomerates, where publishing itself is only an incidental business which doesn't make much money; in the world where the one-time fee of a catering-artist (a cook) exceeds the advance of a serious writer several times over; in the world of TV stars; in the world where the memoirs of Monica Lewinsky get a thousand times more publicity than the collected works of Marcel Proust; in the world of the powerful, in other words, things happen differently. Exactly how, I wouldn't know, I haven't been there.
"And so, I think of my first agent with a certain tenderness. Several years ago, at a European book fair, the loudspeaker suddenly announced my name. The summons for me to meet someone at the meeting point was even repeated three times. When I made it to the meeting point, my agent was waiting for me.
"'Wasn't that a good idea!' she said cheerfully.
"'Your name was repeated over the loudspeaker three times!'
"My agent did not charge me anything for her fresh new idea for promoting her author. Use of the loudspeaker was free."