Thursday, September 30, 2004
So, usually, Moi promotes poets and artists (and, uh, ME of course but that's a story for another time). Now, the rare event: I find Moiself promoting a lawyer! I mean, geez: take at look at the recent entries over at Jim Ryals' The Lawyer-Novelist Blog. Pass the word, around, Peeps. If you know of someone who needs legal help as regards their children's "special education," contact Jim.
And then, Jim's a poet, too! But of course!
for finding something of yourself in my poems, thereby giving them a Home. That is a most lovely result!
And, Peeps, since I haven't said it here yet, Anny's Narcissus Works -- along with Allen Bramhall's Tributary -- are really most enjoyable among recent additions to moi links! I've actually been meaning to compliment "AB" for a while....
....and then there's my most recent links addition: Kevin Barbieux. Indeed: There's more to the homeless than being homeless...
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
October is also a month for whacking Junior. For more info, go here. Coz moi buddy Art is also political.
And, Hah! "Among the highlights is a new painting by Peter Saul depicting a Salvador Dalí urinating in George W. Bush’s ear..."
Here are two announcements that involve Moi. The first involves a launch of Menage A Trois With the 21st Century. Hope to see you there!
The Philippine Consulate General,
The Philippine Department of Tourism,
And The Philippine American Press Club, USA
Request the honor of your presence
In celebration of the
Filipino-American Heritage Month 2004
Literary and Visual Arts of Filipino-American Artists
To Be Held On
Friday, October 1, 2004, 6:00pm
At the Social Hall, Philippine Center, 5th Floor
447 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
The Works Of The Following Artists Will Be Featured:
Literary: Wilfrido D. Nolledo (1933-2004) represented by his children Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels and Ruel Nolledo; Special Guest Speaker Journalist/Novelist Ninotchka Rosca; as well as Michelle Bautista, Oscar Penaranda, Barbara Jane Reyes, Tony Robles, Leny Strobel, Eileen Tabios, Jean Vengua, and Marianne Villanueva
Visual Art: Mel Vera Cruz, Vics Magsaysay, England Hidalgo, and Melissa Nolledo-Christoffels.
*A copy of Cadena De Amor, a collection of short stories by the late Wilfrido D. Nolledo, will be given out by LBC Foundation to the first ten (10) guests who arrive at the event*
MERITAGE PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT
To Celebrate October as Filipino American Heritage Month, Meritage Press is pleased to announce a "Two-Fer" Special. For the low price of $33.00, you can receive BOTH Luis H. Francia's poetry collection MUSEUM OF ABSENCES and PINOY POETICS, which features over 40 Filipino poets and is edited by Nick Carbo.
As MUSEUM OF ABSENCES retails for $15.00 and PINOY POETICS for $28.00, we hope you will agree that this is a great deal. And, thaaa.aaa...t's not all! Meritage Press will provide free shipping/handling costs for orders based in the U.S., normally a $3 per book value (contact me if you're overseas).
Deadline for this "Two-Fer" Order: October 31, 2004.
Send checks, made out to "Meritage Press" to
Editor, Meritage Press
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Road
St. Helena, CA 94574
ON THE DIFFICULTIES OF COMPASSION
animality = a Buddhist concept that encompasses how a peep behaves based on what the peep thinks s/he can get away with
A Peep ordered several books I'd published via Meritage Press. When I queried her recently about payment (it'd been several months), she mentioned rent problems, sick daughter, her own ailments and so on, and that she'd "get back" to me. Maybe it's because she'd laid all this unfortunate info on me all at once while previously stringing me along by volunteering (which is to say, I never hassled her but she volunteered said updates) that she'd mailed the check already or "soon" that I found it difficult to be compassionate. Truth to tell, I can't help but feel a tad bit attacked by someone's passive-aggressive attempt to feel onus for her problems. Nor were we (previously) sufficiently intimate with each other to be sharing such topics as on our rent or family health matters.
I did wake this morning with the thought to email her a reply about my initial reaction to her email. But I decided to be compassionate(?) by writing about this on the blog instead, thus getting my feelings off my chest -- even if not onto hers.
Still, there is no way (or at least that I can think of) of replying to her without of course coming off as petty -- given a sick daughter, difficulties with rent, and so on. I even thought that she could return the books, say, and I'd accept such -- but even making that suggestion seems petty somehow. I keep thinking -- well, we all have problems but do we have to lay ours on a poetry publisher? See how petty the thinking is going...? But is this petty?
When the utility company doesn't get paid, it shuts off the electricity...and so on for a whole host of other industries. Why do I feel poetry publishing should be ... different? Or, I mean, how can I really reply to this?
For now, I am replying with silence whilst using the blog for getting-off-the chest therapy (and thank you for listening). Is that all that I can do?
Meanwhile, I do hope that, since this peep is also a poet who's much invested in her poetry career (I'm not saying that as criticism, just as an observation), she's not spending the funds she owes me to entering poetry contests since -- as some bloggers are discussing -- it's manuscript submission season and she does participate in such contests and does badly want a poetry book out.
Relatedly, Meritage Press finances its future projects partly from sales of its objects, like books and an etching (the latter being a supreme bargain if you follow art world pricing, btw). So if peeps don't pay for their orders, it does affect my ability to conduct future publishing projects -- just today, I turned down a valid submission just because I didn't have funds available....
So, that's yet another fragment from a poetry publisher's life. Yawn....I mean, yadda, yadda, yadda. And ... good morning!
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
On February 5, 2005, the annual "Soiree" fundraiser for a most deserving literary group, Small Press Traffic, will take place at my apartment in San Francisco. This means, cocktails and eats with Susan Howe as featured guest. There also will be a silent auction of various goodies during the evening.
I don't think I need to explain how nonprofit literary organizations (particularly those focused on small presses) are fiscally suffering and can use all the help they can get from literature lovers. So I hope you and/or your organization participate in at least either of the following ways:
Attend the Soiree which will cost $40 a ticket (attendance is limited as, uh, space at Moi apartment is limited so do get your tickets ASAP! For more info, contact me, SPT Director Elizabeth Treadwell, or any of the SPT Board members.
Consider becoming a Sponsor -- for more details, email me.
Of course, we'll take donations in any amount, too, in case you're not able to attend...but I'm sure you know that.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Deservedly proud Papa Thomas Fink writes in about his daughter and inventor of a version of the Hay(na)ku called the "Mayan Hay(na)ku" where each lines unfold as 1 letter, 2 letter, 3 letter etc -- in addition to being one word, two word, three word etcetera. This is the longest version of "Mayan Hay(na)ku" known to Moi --
POETS, do be inspired by Maya! There's still an Open Submissions Call, after all, to The Hay(na)ku Anthology, coedited by Mark Young and Jean Vengua! Details on the anthology (forthcoming from Meritage Press) are at the Hay(na)ku Blog. Meanwhile, here's fun stuff!
Maya Mason Fink's Mayan Hay(na)ku, written at the Curry Club dinner following moi Port Jefferson reading (9/19/04) -- thanks Maya:
mad for the
dude won't stop that
noise that's quite shrill. Music
sounds stupid whilst midday o'clock chimes . . .
Dresses similar; sadness; misery's charmed company without.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
....these days the New York art world feels more dark than splendid. // That world has been compared to a machine, a circus, a cult and a club; it's been called a brothel, a dinner party and a high school with money.... Avoidance and denial are everyday things. Private dissatisfaction is rampant, yet this discontent turns passive in public. So many people have so much invested in the system that the New York art world feels as if it's trapped in a paradigm it can't escape.
--art critic Jerry Saltz
So, I always try to fit in as many galleries as I can whenever I visit NYC (when I used to live in New York, I typically would visit galleries three times a week every week while the art season was on -- that's how much I love our buddy Art). But as regards this week's NYC art forays, let me start on a low note so I can end on a high.
Low note: McKee Gallery on 57th Street. No, not the artist the gallery was showing: Lucy Williams whose works I very much enjoyed such that I visited the exhibit twice. But that's moi point. I really liked this artist's work so that, at one point, I asked the blonde Vassar Girl behind the front desk the price of a particular work; I've written several art world short stories where I called such personalities "Vassar Girls" whether or not they attended the place, for reasons related to this experience: Said Vassar girl sez, "That's something you'd have to take up with the McKees."
That's when I metaphorically slammed the checkbook shut, and walked out. Frumpy farmer's shirt on or not, Moi don't need to deal with galleries who preserve price information like it's some effin' Holy Grail. I wasn't sure who was at fault here -- the suddenly snotty blonde or "the McKees" whose policy may have forced said blonde to try to hold up that 1980s canard that the art buyer is being done a favor by being allowed to buy art.
Get one thing straight, art peeps. That faux privileging of information is so ... 20th century. I hope "the McKees" or Lucy Williams find an occasion to do an ego search, stumble across the Chatelaine, and realize you lost a sale and are being hooted at within this particular sector of blogland. What a mess, eh, when the dealer gets in the way of making an art sale. How would you, were you the artist, feel about that?
But I did love the artist's work, and in an ideal world would love to see that at Galatea. Well, this is an effin' global village. I got the artist's name, will follow the artist, and just make sure moi acquisition dollars -- if said acquisition ever occurs (it's not like there aren't other equally wonderful artists out there who, guess what, are actually represented by dealers who are a pleasure to deal with) -- will go to another dealer or gallery besides McKee. (Go on, youse, Google and learn).
Now, the high notes. Moi adored and recommend these exhibitions:
Sharon Louden currently has paintings exhibited, through to Oct. 16, 2004, at Anthony Grant, Inc., 37 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. Phone: (212) 755-0434. She writes that more information (and images) on the exhibition and a comprehensive view of her work in general is available at www.sharonlouden.com.
This is Sharon's first painting exhibition at Anthony Grant. Beautiful white-background paintings with some of the recognizeable elements from her previous work. Sharon's paintings remind me of a cross between some of Jukka's visual/musical notation-type poetry and Elenore Weber's white/light paintings. Anyway, congrats Sharon! Other interesting exhibits that Moi saw and recommend from this week.
"Do A Book: Asian Artists' Summer Project 2004" at Plum Blossoms Gallery, 555 West 25th Street
"Joan Brown: Painted Constructions 1970-1975" at George Adams, 41 West 57th Street
"Rackstraw Downes Paintings 1999-2004" at Betty Cunningham Gallery, 541 West 25th Street
The group exhibition (Anne Truitt, Theresa Chong, Bill Jensen, Emily Eveleth, among others) at Danese, Fuller Building - 57th Street.
Now, that is sadly not a long list, though I worked the pavements of 57th Street, Chelsea and SoHo this week. I looked at the stack of material I brought back to the hotel and, at most, there may be three other exhibits worth mentioning but ... I don't know -- there's a malaise that seems to surface partly from a combination of artists hovering on the edge of becoming factories after said artists stumble across "winning formulas." And then the rest just left moi bored.
I did see some fabulous works in a few galleries' back rooms, but to come up with only five shows to recommend from what's currently being exhibited up at the walls? Granted, I didn't make it to every gallery but I'd say I stopped by, say, 50 galleries this week....
I gotta say this -- San Francisco's gallery scene is distinctly smaller than NYC's. But, whenever I gallery-hop in SF, I am usually delighted by about 90% of my visits. In NYC, that percentage reverses itself to 10%. There are implications to all this.
Huh -- well, I guess I didn't end on a high note after all....
Friday, September 24, 2004
So, if I also may direct you on over to TMPoetry, whose latest e-chaps include “Obsessional” by Sandy McIntosh! (Go to link and then click on “Chapbooks.”) The notice over at the blog for Marsh Hawk Press, the press for which Sandy acts as managing editor, says “Obsessional” “is an elegantly crafted long poem which records intriguing detective work on Tudor English literary history and assesses the nature of how art is created, by whom, under what circumstances, and how art is collected as a product, disseminated, and sometimes censored or barred from distribution.”
Well, the poem, of course, is about much more than these historical details, but here are some said historical details for background. And the Chatelaine sips her morning coffee, before proceeding to do something she's mastered: expounding on something about which she knows nothing, in this case, Tudor lit:
The English metrical poetry of the last four or five hundred years has rested upon principles of composition codified in 1559 in the publication of Songs and Sonnets, otherwise known as Tottel’s Miscellany--the first printed poetry anthology in English. The poetry in that anthology displays few signs of the earlier poetry of Chaucer, Langland, or the even earlier poetry of Old English epics, such as Beowulf. In fact, the poetry in Tottel’s is much closer to the style of the elegant sixteenth century European poetry than to any English poetry previously known.
Wyatt and Surrey’s poems make up the bulk of the anthology, although there are a significant number of pages devoted to the poems of Nicholas Grimald, who happened to be Tottel’s chief editor and anthologizer. The book was an instant success, selling out all the copies and new editions that were printed for many years. Even one hundred years or so later, Shakespeare has his character Bottom lamenting that he wished he’d had his volume of Songs and Sonnets with him at the moment.
But modern scholars who read the original manuscripts of Wyatt and Surrey discovered that the poems credited to the two poets were much altered in Tottel’s. Tottel’s editors must have rewritten the poems to remove dangerous social and political sentiments, and to set them in more “modern” European metrical schemas, often obliterating the intent and style of the originals. In our time, “editing” of this sort could constitute a fraud on readers. But back then, no one cared, since the moral climate was different, and they had a hot-selling book bringing in the money.
The questions that concern the obsessed graduate student in "Obsessional" are: Who did this editing that verges on forgery? and What was his motive? But as poet-critic and early “Obsessional” reader Tom Fink puts it, “The poem ultimately comes to the question, Who makes real art: the idealists or the bastards?” Well put, Tom!
Not to mention that…sections of “Obsessional” are quite funny, like this excerpt:
“This is how I get the girls,” Max whispers,
about to read
“Yes,” I whisper back.
“I’d like to see you do that.”
I really would, since Max’s poetry
is sentimental horseshit
and nobody should fall for it.
Yet, when he begins to read,
I watch the girls look up with interest
at his story of brothers
in their little town--how sad when one disappears
in autumn, in the lake, under a running tide,
Others are taken
by his story of first love--her
parting words to him--heartbreaking and yet
with delicious irony,
and hilarious because of it …
… and so on he reads,
until, I swear, every woman in the room
is taken, and,
in truth, I may be a little taken,
When he’s done, the girls collect around,
some teary eyed with wistful
smiles, but all with pens
for him to sign
the books he’s thoughtfully brought
to sell. (“Always carry your books,”
he sotto voce instructs. “You never know when
your market will get hot.”)
To each girl he whispers something,
in answer to her praise. I can’t quite
make out what he says,
but he says it with sincerity.
(“Oh yes,” he instructs
afterwards. “You must learn
really, really well.”)
Thursday, September 23, 2004
as well on last night's reading at Verlaine. Thank you, Shin Yu, for mentioning my name in the same breath/sentence as Yoko Ono's. I'm not going to preen. I am too humbled and honored by the concept.
I'm also glad you brought visual artist friends! I always would wish for the artists at poetry readings, whether mine or someone else's, to include others who dabble in other forms besides the word. Because Poetry is the Word...and also transcends the Word!
Yadda...well, you know...
P.S. I hadn't focused on how last night's reading competed with various events, including at St. Marks Poetry Project...which I mention because Anselm Berrigan today asked me to read there on December 1. And Moi agreed! (Thanks for thinking of me, Anselm.) Pencil it in, New Yorkers and those who would be in New York then!
That warrior-like expression when she's just 8 weeks old is appropriately apt. Gabriela is named after Gabriela Silang (who, in turn, is also one of the three in moi Menage A Trois). So now, with Achilles, there are at least two furry warriors patroling Galatea against negative energy elements that would slip through the Iron Gate...
“Poetry must lead somewhere,” declared Breton.
He carried a rose inside his coat each day
to give a ... stranger—
--from “Elegy With Surrealist Proverbs as Refrain” by Dana Gioia
Well, dang. I’da never felt so chic – that’s sheeeeek, Baby – just by doing a poetry reading! Part of it was Verlaine, a really hip setting for my poetry read with Murat and Shin Yu (and how lovely to meet Shin Yu for the first time!). Click on Verlaine's link to see a small but good image of the bar, described as with apricot walls, furry black banquettes and other “right trappings.” If you’re in town, drop on over for a cocktail. (Peeps – I’d never been so glad for lipstick as that’s about as chic as the Chatelaine gets nowadays when I’m not talkin’ that walk I don’t actually walk. I still had a frumpy farmer’s shirt on, youse know?) The bar was dim with star-like spotlights; numerous art works hang on the wall. And a heartwarmingly large and way better clothed crowd than Moi was clinking pretty-colored martini glasses but they put those glasses down to offer attention for the poets’ words.
Such lovely peeps – many of whom I hadn’t seen in months and years! Lovely (I’m overusing the word lovely and Moi don’t care) to see such poets, writers and scholars all devoted to the word, such as Luis Cabalquinto, Purvi Shah, Sabrina “Bamboo Girl!” Alcantara, Zahera Saed, Bino Realuyo (who has never looked hotter with that post-Puerto Rico hair), Luis Francia (I began my read by sharing one of his poems from his well-received Museum of Absences), Patrick Rosal (who has never looked hotter with that, um, shaven head), Paolo Javier, Emmy Catedral, and, as I said, an even heartwarmingly larger group whom I met for the first time (and thus can’t recall their names). It’s always so nice to meet new people at poetry readings.
Needless to say, heart’s gratitude to Kundiman co-founders Sarah Gambito -- who so deftly parlays her stock market acumen to supporting poetry and whose first book is due out this Dec. 1 after the manuscript was chosen in the Alice James poetry competition: you go, Sweetie! -- and Joseph Legaspi. Kundiman is also the first sponsor ever to gift its readers with a … GIFT BAG! How sweet! Mine was a sparkly lavender-pink bag emblazoned with a satin heart bearing, nestled among golden tissue, some beautiful wooden chopsticks inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a sake set (poets seem to like giving me sake sets and why not as sake is also wine!), Dana Gioia’s poetry book INTERROGATIONS AT NOON (great idea to share more poetry and what an interesting choice), and all sorts of exotic candies that, yum, I’m having for breakfast as I type this.
Fashion update: Sarah was wearing one of her father’s old Barong Tagalogs! What a nifty idea! I’ma gonna copy!
Afterwards, a crowd took me on over to dinner at Karlyle (or was that Kristine’s), a Pinoy restaurant new to me for crispy pata, laing, sisig, at least three varieties of pancit, other dishes whose names I can’t recall but indeed daintily scarfed, and last but not least HALO-HALO!!!! (P.S. Pat Rosal e-mails to say the restaurant's name is "Krystal's"!)
MARAMING SALAMAT, all. I leave you with a recipe for "halo-halo" because Filipino culture, with its inclusion of influences, can be likened to said "halo-halo".
(Tropical Fruit Melange)
2 tablespoons kaong or...
2 tablespoons nangka (jackfruit)
2 tablespoons macapuno (a variety of coconut meat sold in bottles)
2 tablespoons sweetened kidney beans
2 tablespoons sweetened garabanzos
2 tablespoons sweetened plantains
2 tablespoons ube or yam
2 tablespoons custard or creme caramel
2 tablespoons sweetened corn kernels
crushed ice to fill glass
2/3 evaporated milk
a scoop of ice cream on top
Mix it all up with a spoon and gleefully slurp. Don't forget to grin in bliss. And here's another one for an alternative take on "halo-halo"...because halo-halo is like Poetry: there's no such thing as the definitive way to make it.
shredded/juliened melon (cantaloupe)
scooped star apple
cubed mango make
the halo-halo a more
exotic fare due to
their seasonal availability.
beans such as black
monggo (mung beans)
and sweet garbanzos
are added to the mix,
squeezing in with
broiled root crops
such as diced or
crushed camote (yam)
and/or gabi (taro).
(in bright green, red
and yellow) made from
agar-agar is reminiscent
of colorful fiestas.
to further sweeten
kaong and sago (tapioca)
in syrup are used
saba bananas and
langka (jackfruit) that are
mollified in syrup can
be used as flavor
of ice (literally
crushed ice is deftly
hand-picked and placed
into your tall glass!)
entombs the ingredients,
a somewhat challenging
yet fulfilling endeavor!
about an inch of
evaporated milk settles
into your long glass.
though most of us are
used to evaporated milk
in our halo-halo,
an older variation can
be used to
douse the icy treat--
buko (coconut) juice
(this I have yet to sample!).
to crown the
roasted pinipig (pounded
roasted rice) and ube
(yam), or leche flan
(a personal favorite!) are
placed atop the
a scoop of ube
ice cream gives
us a more sumptuous
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Moi am delighted, of course, that one of the books my poetry-loving press published is on SPD's latest RECOMMENDED LIST:
SPD RECOMMENDS: NEW TITLES for Sept 03-Sept 17, 2004
Try Electronic Ordering! SPD is on PUBNET (SAN #106-6617)
Questions? Contact Brent Cunningham at email@example.com
MUSEUM OF ABSENCES
by Francia, Luis H.
$15.00 / PA / pp.70
Meritage Press and University of the Philippines, 2004
Poetry. Multi-awarded poet Luis H. Francia offers a new poetry collection, Museum of Absences, a book out of Francia's insistent sense of the void that haunts our lives, whether because of politics, faith, history, or personal circumstance. The book introduces a wide array of personae, from a Filipino old-timer looking back on a life of invisibility to Cinderella in middle age, and from a grandson communing with deceased grandparents to a New Yorker responding to the horror of "9/11." Nick Carbo says, "Luis H. Francia's themes of love, loss, and redemption weave through the collection with the expert hand of a Stephane Mallarme or a Federico Fellini."
As a matter of fact, Luis will be attending Verlaine's this eve for moi reading (scroll down for venue details) and I can sell you a copy of his lovely book for a discount, if you so wish!
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Okay. So, like, to recap: Moi is in NY and whilst here, did some readings. Tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, I read with Murat Nemet-Nejat and Shin Yu Pai at Verlaine’s in NYC (scroll down for more info). But I’d be remiss if I didn’t first say THANK YOU to Linda for creating the brand new poetry series over at THE MYSTICAL ROSE in Port Jefferson. I read there this Sunday and it was a lovely reading -- one of the most enjoyable I’ve participated in, actually, because without any planning on the attendees’ part, it became a highly participatory forum where, after each poem I read as well as after each shared during the open mike segment, the audience did a discussion on the poem.
It’s a kind of format that was facilitated by the setting, a haunted house (but in a positive energy way!). The series really was held in a house, in its parlor, and the roundness of the pallor contributed to the séance-like atmosphere. All haunting aside, this is why two of my favorite series back in home base San Francisco are David Hadbawnik’s, who hosts it at his apartment, and the House Reading Series that’s been/is being put together by Stephanie Young, Taylor Brady and kari Edwards.
But now, some news of great HISTORICAL IMPORT to moi and therefore undoubtedly to all you tois. Moi have done it! To wit:
I HAVE BEEN BANNED BY THE AMERICAN PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM!!!!
Yadda! What’s a poet’s life without being effin banned, I proclaim!
Specifically, Linda and other supporters of THE MYSTICAL ROSE’ poetry reading series had placed flyers around town advertising moi reading. And, they also had been prepared to flypaper the local Port Jefferson High School.
But said High School refused to allow my flyers because its text mentioned the title of my latest poetry book, which of course is MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY!!!! Apparently, they couldn’t have “ménage a trois” graffiti-ing the hallways of said public school!
There went, of course, the hundreds of high school peeps that might have crowded into moi reading because, as one of attendees to my reading said, the phrase “ménage a trois” might have sparked much interest despite that it was for a poetry reading!
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Hmmm. Incidentally, speaking of yadda, yadda, yadda, I should note that I learned how to pronounce the three-yadda phrase correctly during my reading at Port Jefferson. Previously, being Filipino (which is to say, not really Jewish despite the times I aspire), I’d been accenting the wrong syllable. This, in fact, made one of the attendees think that I was actually reciting, “you die, you die, you die.” Does it say something about the nature of my poem that it apparently made little difference in its reception as to whether I yadda-ed or said “you die” thrice?
Anyway, when I'm not self-promoting, this -- Moi means, THIS! -- is my life as a poet! Yadda, You Die, Yadda.
Monday, September 20, 2004
but, Veronica dear, those shoes make Moi reconsider my heterosexual leanings.
And no better intro could exist to a brief post tossed out simply to calm the oenophiles addicted to the reports of what Moi daintily guzzles. To wit, this weekend, whilst dining with Bob, Meryl, Efrat and Prem over at Fire Island, Moi guzzled:
2001 Peter Stolleis Pfatz Mufsbacher Eselshaut Scheurebe Kabinett
1990 Clerico Ginestra Barolo
1990 Val Sotillo Gran Reserva Ribero del Douro
Then, at my first dinner tonight in Manhattan, I had at fabuloso restaurant Milos (with Ross) the
2002 Verget chablis (sorry -- forgot the designated vineyard)
2003 Marquis Phillips 9 Shiraz
Brief, but worth waiting for, eh? Happy now, you crystal-guzzling (& occasional crystal-gazing) quaffers? Missy WinePoetics is just so ... compassionate to your predilections.
Linking up with the New York School tradition this late in the day, however, means accessing it in the shadow of Language poetry — and that makes things more difficult. There’s not enough energy left over for just being entertaining, creating a lively surface, which was always part of what gave New York School poetry its charm. Because if Language poetry has had any effect on poets prepared to take serious cognizance of it without necessarily quite getting with the program, it has been to create a deep diffidence about the reality of the subjective in poetry, and by extension about the efficacy of the lyric mode that is inescapably the vehicle for the subjective voice. Even in the Ashbery of The Tennis Court Oath, it can be argued, the breakdown of lyrical subjectivity was rendered as an essentially personal crisis, and therefore as the matter of a new kind of lyric rather than of something altogether different.
All this may seem to be wandering far from the book at hand — which in any case we’ve only entered three lines deep — but really it is simply to indicate the broad backdrop it shares with many others: There are a great many poets now who are trying to reinvent the lyric and to gather up whatever remnants they can of lyrical subjectivity, even after having been chastened by their reading of Language poetry. In this poetry there is an intimacy that is always taking a distance from itself.
--from Barry Schwabsky's review of Katy Lederer's Winter Sex
I can't think of a poetry review I've more enjoyed more in recent times than Barry Schwabsky's newly-released view of Katy Lederer's Winter Sex. It's nice to see Barry bring the eye I've so enjoyed from his visual art reviews over on to poetry -- do check it out over at Jacket #25.
Am also enjoying the words and images presented by moi two latest additions to the link list: Anny Ballardini and Jim Ryals. The former is by the curator of the wonderful Fiera Lingue Poets' Corner series and the latter may be of particular interest (as there's been some shown recently by some bloggers) in the ever-timely topic of how one grapples with making one's art while coping with such mundane realities such as life's forced economics.
WAKE UP CALL
So Steve Evans sez (is that a snide whiff?) about Moi and another blogger, "I'll be taking a rest ... for a spell. Wake me when the promo's over."
Huh, so, on the other hand, when a blogger writes about books made by others, music made by others, film made by others, et al, that prevents that blog from being about self-promotion? (Particularly for one who writes as a "critic"?) Well now -- to Moi, sounds like something like hypocrisy poetics has unfolded.
Perhaps enlightenment is more difficult when one sleeps on its path.
But no hard feelings, Steve. No time for hard feelings -- so much self-promo for Moi to do, so little time....
After all, when a publisher chooses to expend its resources on Moi work by publishing it, I do want to reciprocate by supporting said publisher in terms of helping them promote the work. Which is not to say, that's not about Moi, of course, even as I say (as I can never say it enough), "Thank you, dear publishers."
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Moi is in New York and do hope to see some of you New Yorkers at my reading with 2 fabulous poets, as below.
Kundiman & Verlaine presents
Eileen Tabios, Murat Nemet-Nejat & Shin Yu-Pai
Sept. 22, 2004
110 Rivington Street (betw. Essex and Ludlow)
Happy Hour, 6-10 p.m.
The reading won't be tediously long, though hope the conversations will be long. As Joseph Legaspi, one of Kundiman's organizers note,
Doors open at 5:30pm, open bar from 6-7pm, and the program will begin promptly at 7 p.m....As in past readings, the atmosphere at Verlaine is pretty chilled, not stuffy nor academic. It's people lounging, having a good time, sipping deliciously potent drinks and hearing doubly potent, explosive poetry. It'll be awesome. Take care now and I'll see you all soon.
Friday, September 17, 2004
This is the cover to my brick-book to come out next year from Marsh Hawk Press. Clocking in at over 500 pages and sized at 7 X 10 (I like 'em looong and wiiiide...wink.) Book designer Claudia Carlson did such a fabuloso job! Thanks Claudia! And it features one of my wedding photos from nearly 20 years ago (the use of my own photo is also part of an overall performance project where I play with the poem's "I").
As I once said at Leny's Lola party that included the author Roshni Rustomji-Kerns, how convenient that the hubby is "Caucasian" as he becomes a metaphor for English. Roshni replied that should be a title for one of my future books:
A transcolonial moment of hilarity...
I've never believed in author photos for my books (though do find them interesting on others' books). But on this one, where the author photo normally would be, there'll be reproduced an image of Moi dancing with the hubby during our wedding reception. The caption? But of course:
POET DANCES WITH ENGLISH
Poetry, of course, is not a competition though poems often compete for *resources*, including spaces in which they may be published.
A publication can only be as good as its editorial policy.
If a publication's vision is lazy, that don't mean they'll never publish a quality poem. (Sure, The New Yorker's recent Hecht poem is lovely though that recent Simic poem less so...)
But "quality" has been used (even inadvertently by well-meaning guardians to literature's gate) to narrow a canon, if canon here is defined as those poems that are able to become accessible to a reading public (via wider spread publication/dissemination). (I could insert here reams of background info but as just one example would point you instead to Nick Carbo's introductory essay to Pinoy Poetics, now available at SPD! I raise Pinoy Poetics here, btw, because it is outside of this *Quietude vs Avante* issue into which I suspect my points may be getting conflated....)
If a journal's vision is X vs Y, I say that's certainly the prerogative of those putting together the journal.
But when its editors de facto become lazy (e.g. by reverting consistently to the more well-known and/or lauded names), then the Chatelaine's brow furrows in dismay and she says again, but more gently today since it's a new day: "Editors. Surely youse can try harder...."
Thursday, September 16, 2004
is over at Purple Greg's....
....which leads me to wonder if I should clarify -- and therefore do -- that my New Yorker posts are not about dissing the works of "Ashbery, Simic, Hecht et al" (which I also have enjoyed) but of what I feel is the very unchallenged editorial aesthetic over at TNY....just to clarify.
But, with all due respect, Mr. Perry -- I do disagree with what I think your post suggests about the effect of a publisher acting "to bank on poets that have proven their popularity in some manner."
Except for perhaps Moi cancellation of my subscription, I don't think that The New Yorker's subscriber base hinges on poetry, good or bad, Quietude or not (particularly given the limited space that poetry gets relative to, uh, articles which, in fact, were the reason Moi subscribed in the first place). Therein lies the paradox. Whether Mr. Hecht or Ms. Avante is published is not, I suspect, going to be the determinant factor on their revenues in a "publication interested in a market." (And so, why not actually try to push our buddy Art?)
"Market"? The subject is still ... Poetry.
Cooo, she adds exuberantly...
THE NEW YORKER WHO?
Well, the "poetry by the famous and the insipid" (as one of yourse peeps put it) published in The New Yorker is certainly not a new story (though we peeps still have fun rehashing it backchannel). But I was reminded of it when I got the bill for continuing the subscription.
And, yah, Reb -- I agree with you that I'd also subscribed for its articles, not the poems. But I guess I'ma thinking that this reason can be why the poetry editors get away with doing their job with no imagination. Because poetry doesn't count over there but the articles do?
Well, I can read the articles at the library or newstand. But particularly as a poet, I certainly would rather give my money elsewhere, like where poetry matters -- as, say, I did today when I sent bucks on over to Tougher Disguises for two poetry books (Chris Stroffolino's SPECULATIVE PRIMITIVE & Cynthia Sailers' LAKE SYSTEMS). Get on over to James' for the special before it expires!
Progress, big and small, must start somewhere. So let Moi put this very clearly:
The New Yorker today lost money because it doesn't respect poetry.
By "respect," I mean that it makes its editorial decisions with an element of safety inimical to the practice itself. So who sez again that Poetry doesn't sell?!! (At a minimum, that bold-faced statement makes Moi feel better and this blog is about Moi, after all.)
Sigh. And it belatedly -- and sadly -- occurs to me that this post also belongs to moi vaunted "Poetry Economics: A Moronic Oxymoron" series....
Not going to renew my subscription to The New Yorker. I've decided I really don't need to use my subscription funds for a journal that's so blatantly apathetic to poetry. Yep -- apathetic. Each poem they print is a token nod, e.g., do I really need to read yet another poem by Ashbery, Simic, Hecht et al in its pages?!
These peeps behave as editors with no backbone -- as illustrated by a primary focus on poets whose words previously had to have been validated by prizes, books, reputation...
Have I mentioned on this blog before that I, while volunteering at a lit organization, once fielded a call from The New Yorker who wanted to publish poems from a newly award-winning manuscript? The focus wasn't on the nature of the poems -- they just already knew that the poems would be from a prize-winning manuscript. Well. And are we ethically, okay, aesthetically, bankrupt or what?
Sheesh. The poetry editors might want to get off their widening asses and do something new. Here's an idea: why don't you impose a five-year (okay, try one-year) moratorium on publishing a poet you've previously published. Anything. Just stop ... yawning.
is the title of a new novel. I wrote Chapter I yesterday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Chapter I contains 215 words. But its prior conceptualization required over 2,000 failed pages of attempting to write this novel. (Bow in the Six Directions in apology to earth's rainforests....)
Ach. I know better than to use the word "fail"-ure. Still, the process is hard (insert childish but mulish sniffle). And I've finally learned that collaging, deconstructing, annotating et al ... are, for me, more comfortable modes than writing
word after word after word after word after word....
in the wilderness.
Well. Shit. This ain't about the comfort zone. And shit again that it ain't. Insert mulish look. Shit.
Relatedly, part of the research for one of the characters is spawning a new poetic series. Entitled "We Are All Autistic, Or None of Us Are", the series also commences my long-anticipated (anticipated by Moi if not by Tois) "colon poems" -- that's ":" not the other colon. Anyway, here's one poem from said series (written after a highly-recommended read, Dawn Prince-Hughes' poetic memoir, Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism:
: The Estrus Gaze
: healing face blindness by introducing -- acknowledging -- context
: incomplete narratives formed from remnants not yet borne away by birds, small animals, wind
: inevitably, egg yolks spill
: we make love to concede to nostalgia
: even the perfect wave is temporary, though not conceded by surfers apostrophed by white ponytails
: but words provide a consistent, never-ending pattern
And yet I intend for Retiring The Mistress to be a narrative novel (not an "experimental novel" like the one I include in I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, 2005).
I don't find writing narrative poems a challenge. But I am challenged by writing a (traditional) narrative novel. (I think I consider the opposite of an experimental poem not to be a narrative poem but narrative prose.) I am, of course, being sloppy by using these terms "experimental" and "narrative" but you all knew that coz youse all are smart Peeps, eh? Anyway, Moi shall persevere...because that's what a word-sculptor does, eh?
And speaking of such, do let me RECOMMEND ENTHUSIASTICALLY this novel I read in one stitting today -- I couldn't put it down! -- Tobias Wolff's Old School. I couldn't care less about New England prep schools and that milieu -- but it is so masterfully written (superb treatment of character development even as the style ventures towards minimalism) that it held my eyes, embraced my eyes....This is the most engaging novel read I've had in a while....
Last but not least on Retiring The Mistress, there are four student characters in it: a poet, a sculptor, a scholar and an autistic. A lot of my poems relate to the first three and I'm in the middle of doing the poetic series for the fourth. The poems, it seems, are ALSO preliminary character sketches....Kewl.
Well...enough about me, I mean Moi.
She closes with a fond wink at Peeps.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
A Briny Rebuttal
“A lot of people would like to think of whales as philosopher-poets swimming around the oceans thinking deep thoughts, and that is not true.”
--Dr. Roger Payne, a biologist who first studied the mating songs of the humpback whale
Roger, I am disappointed
with your typically human presupposition
that other creatures are bereft of profundity.
Sure, when my sonically sexy vocals vibrate
through aquamarine fathoms to beguile
those white-bellied, curvaceous darlings,
I’ll agree, I’m too preoccupied to compose a quatrain
to amuse Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, or Hart Crane.
During those lusty arias that have made me a legend,
I’m also too unmindful to ponder
the nuances of Poseidon’s existential abyss
with misty-minded Jean Paul or hammer-headed Socrates.
But when I got the blues, Roger, when I got those out-past-Tarawa,
a zillion kilometers beyond the clan-pod blues,
when my knobby flippers are feeling low-down
and my baleen can’t buy a pistol shrimp,
I think deep thoughts, Dr. Payne,
you with your yellow windbreaker and fancy headphones,
about the last tail-slap, the final breach, the gusty blow
when I keen my death song into the sparkly air.
David Johnson is a poet, freelance journalist and book designer with over three decades in the media-trenches. He has published a biological profile of the tufted puffin, three collections of poetry including Confluence, a finalist in the 1993 Oregon Book Awards, and the text for Waterworks, an illustrated fantasy. Currently, he is working on OrangeWalk Run, a detective novel set in Portland, Oregon and Belize.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
THE MYSTICAL ROSE FEATURES: A POETRY GATHERING
SUNDAY Sept. 19, 2004
3 PM - 5 PM (w/ reading from 3 to 3:45)
EILEEN R. TABIOS
THE MYSTICAL ROSE
205 Barnum Avenue
Port Jefferson, New York 11777
For directions, please call: 473-0813
Kundiman & Verlaine presents
Eileen Tabios, Murat Nemet-Nejat & Shin Yu-Pai
Sept. 22, 2004
110 Rivington Street (betw. Essex and Ludlow)
Happy Hour, 6-10 p.m.
Philippine Heritage Month: Book Launching of Filipino American Authors and Art Exhibit
Artists/Readers to include: Eileen Tabios, Melissa Nolledo-Cristoffels, Oscar penaranda, Barbara Jane Reyes, Tony Robles, Jean Vengua, Leny M. Strobel
VENUE: Social Hall, Philippine Center (San Francisco)
DATE AND TIME: Noon to 8 p.m.,
October 1, 2004
SPONSORS to include:
Philippine Consulate General in San Franicsco
Philippine Department of Tourism
Philippine American Press Club
Manila Bullletin USA
"Listen & Heard"
@ Rafael's Bar
9-11 p.m. (Open mic first)
301 Nebraska Street
Listen & Be Heard launches
Menage A Trois With the 21st Century
with Eileen Tabios, other guest performers
and Open Mic & Lightning Round involving audience
5:30 - 9 p.m.
Reading & Art Exhibit
More details to come
Small Press Reading with Geoff Dyer
Join us to hear from two local latter-day prose poets. According to the Poetry Project Newsletter, Oaklander Geoffrey Dyer's debut, The Dirty Halo of Everything "unfolds a musical dream world, where travel logs, late night talks, and enigmatic characters are taken through a philosophically spiritual sense of interconnection." Eileen Tabios' books include Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, Behind the Blue Canvas, and the just-published Menage a Trois with the 21st Century, which Kevin Killian says "moves from melting prose poetry to a fully lineated, musical demand for action...you will find yourself asking 'where is the world that is waiting to happen?'"
Unless otherwise noted, events are $5-10, sliding scale, free to SPT members, and CCA faculty, staff, and students.
Unless otherwise noted, our events are presented in
Timken Lecture Hall
California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco (just off the intersection of 16th & Wisconsin)
Monday, September 13, 2004
IF MOI MAY -- AND I WILL SINCE IT'S MOI BLOG -- LET MOI DISCUSS YOUR TESTICLES AGAIN....
my lovely balls?
Just here. Here!
Rhett writes a hay(na)ku about Moi plans to hack of Achilles' balls....and wonders whether moi puppy has "pissed off Mistress Chatelaine one too many times." Not at all. Moi loves moi baby. I'ma just exercising tough love here, you know?
Which reminds me, Molly (one of Achilles' trainers) suggested when she thought I was feeling bad about my decision to neuter the puppy, that I could always consider an option out there -- where apparently, some dog owners implant false testicles into their dawgs after they cut off their balls.
I'ma like -- NO EFFIN' WAY. If there's anything worse than zero balls, it's fake balls, youse know what Moi means?
Do you know what I mean? I mean, "balls" here is a metaphor for so many ... issues ... out there, don't you think...?
Is that why my posts, lately, are making many of youse check your, um, you know.... everytime you check my blog?
And many pants on her Peeps suddenly shift....
...which is also to say, this topic reminds me of an older poem I wrote when I first moved to wine country -- I'll dedicate it to Jean since she, like Moi, am now smelling the fermenting air as it is harvest season!
He paused before
"a particularly handsome"
row of vines.
The sun, at its peak, blazed.
I saw him lift leaves
a plump and lustrous
cluster of purple Zinfandel.
"The harvest will come soon."
He cupped the grapes,
admiring their heft.
After finishing his inspection
the farmer unconsciously
hitched up his trousers
in the same gesture
of satisfaction he has made
often in a different context.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
of the World.
--from "Undressed/Addressed" by Tom Beckett
So, three things make Moi post about wine, as if I needed much nudging for Moi to post on wine.
First, Tom writes me a rice wine poem -- drool and thank you, Tom for this and much enjoyable virtual companionship!
Second, a well-meaning Peep writes in on more recommendations for inexpensive wines (including for poetry readings, daw):
Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay - can be found for under $5;
Columbia Crest 2002 Chard. - around $8, got an 89 from Wine Spectator;
Honey Mead 2003 Voigner - around $5 (very sweet but not cloying).
Third, the hubby popped my "birthday wine": the 1995 Alenza from Ribera Del Duero en Espana. "Alenza" is short for the names of the owner/winemaker Alejandro Fernandez and his wife Esperanza. The hubby said he chose this wine because its name -- its articulation -- is a love story. Aww. Sniffle.
Poetry as life....!
For more about Alejandro Fernandez and this particular bottle, click on the link below from which these 2 paragraphs are excerpted:
"From the great 1995 vintage Alejandro devoted one day's harvest from the first-planted portion of the estate to whole-cluster fermentation, allowing the entire mass of the selected bunches to enter and fill one tank. After a perfect, spontaneous fermentation and judicious maceration, the wine was transferred directly to new American oak for its malolactic fermentation. Racked four times yearly to incrementally older barrels, the wine was bottled after 24 months in oak without filtration or cold stabilization and released in April of 1998.
"This dense, tannic and intensely flavored wine,declared by Alejandro to be among his greatest winemaking achievements, is christened ALENZA in commemoration of the life long and fruitful collaboration between Alejandro and his wife, Esperanza (Alejandro---Esperanza). Alenza will be produced at Condado de Haza as the quality and character of the vintages allow. 30,000 bottles of the 1995 were produced."
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Pearl presents "Galatea" to wish Moi a Happy Birthday!
Thanks to everyone who's expressed lovely wishes for today. It's lovely to be blessed by such friendship....and bless you, Barbara, for recalling the poem that makes 9-11 nonetheless "A Beautiful Day." Cherish that romantic self -- the one that writes "love poems in the face of such massive disaster."
And, oh Jean! I love how you read my nudity. Thank you for see-ing me...!
If the London Bridge is falling
Will anybody hear a sound
Happy Birthday to Leny and Moi.
Our birthday, of course, is the third anniversary of:
Ishle to Eileen: what the fuck is going on?!? I just saw the second world trade center collapse what the fuck what what what. Please pray for everyone. I love you
Eileen to Ishle: I love you baby. Take care
Meanwhile Vanessa Williams continues to sing "MOONLIGHT OVER PARIS"--
If the London Bridge is falling
Will anybody hear a sound
If you follow the sunset will it ever end
Does the moonlight shine on Paris
Oh and how can you just walk away
Is it something that I said
I see only black and white
You see green and red
You believe in miracles
Water into wine
Friday, September 10, 2004
"Emily Post is dead in the internet."
--from "How Cyberspace Lost Midnight" in Reproductions
This is Moi beef du jour. Or rather, lack of said beef. To wit:
I really detest how e-mails allow one to avoid saying "No." Can I say the obvious, People? When one asks a question and you wanna say "No," then just say "No" already!!
Gads. All this cowering behind the supposed excuse of never having gotten the e-mail is just cowardly ... and damn rude. Cut to the chase and say "No."
More often than not, you'd be doing the questioner a favor in that said questioner wouldn't be waiting for an answer.
This issue reminds me of when I was a Japanese banker. Part of the Japanese culture -- at least at this bank. They never said "No." So if I made a proposal, they'd say something like "Perhaps." And off I'd go off spinning on continuing to do work on that damn deal that they were never going to be interested in. And they'd be witnessing me doing said spinning, but never said I was wasting my time. Just kept hemming and hawwing whenever I'd give an update....until I finally got the idea.
So, look. All you peeps who're ducking or deferring answering an e-mailed question, this is what I wanna say to youse. Have the courage of your convictions by saying it, even if it's a "No."
Otherwise, you've got even less balls than moi Achilles will have after October 13 when his testicles get hacked off.
During Moi first year of writing poems: "Money hurts my Poetry."
Today: "Moi was effin' clueless back then."
On book version of Semi-Colon and Colon Poems:
That the size facilitates page as landscape. And allows the entry of the discerned but far-off horizon(tal) line because, as Baudelaire aptly noted, the image of infinity can occur through the visual of demarcation:
In San Francisco and New York City
where the sky is a presence
witnessed "through a ventilation
or between two chimneys"
the visual compresion offers a "more
profound idea of of the infinite
than a great panorama
seen from a mountaintop"--
--Menage A Trois, (P. 86)
So, size the book as perhaps 6 inches high along the spine, but 10-12 inches wide.
First part: semi-colon poems. The text to edge the right margin so that there's much white space before each line. The untold stories via caesura. The stories that only the reader, not author, can write there....and can write there physically, if desired, and not just remain hovering in the reader's imagination because the book would have sized its pages to allow for the reader's pen.
Second part. colon poems. All lines end with a colon. The poems on left halves of the page so that readers can write responses on the right halves of the pages.
All text in book to be handwritten, versus typed on page.
For. I read the world to write the poems so I would also encourage readers to read the poems by writing their own wor(l)ds.
For. To consider the poem holy is to read the world as holy for Poetry can be about everything.
Working Title: SCRIPT(UR)ED WOR(L)D
And the placements of white space, by reversing from one section to the other, is yin and yang, is the key fitting into the lock, is mating of author and reader, is
How a book of poetry need not simply be a collection of poems, but an object that warrants its book-ness.
That to create is also to destroy and the book earns the tree(s) it fells...particularly when the internet also means that publishing need not be paper-(book)-based.
What I sense: SCRIPT(UR)ED WOR(L)D is not a book but a section of a book. That particular book's title may be one of these:
THE EASE OF SILENCE
YOU ARE HEREBY INVITED
UPDATE: Current working title of future book:
HOW TO WRITE POEMS AND BECOME A MILLIONAIRE
Shared above title with a Peep who replied, "Aren't the two terms contradictory?"
Moi replied: "Your response (the widespread myth said response references) is partly why I want to write it.....Money and Poetry don't contradict each other, btw. It's the way both are practiced that often creates the contradiction...."
"...then her eyes twinkle...."
Thursday, September 09, 2004
have to read it in snatches ... small type ... perfect companion for the joys of clandestine reading, hehe
--A Peep who peeped at Menage A Trois
Uh. Okaaaaay. Meanwhile, Moi thanks to Annabelle Udo who recently reviewed Menage A Trois With the 21st Century for Listen & Heard, a publication based in Vallejo, CA. Since her review compliments Moi, Moi naturally shall reprint an excerpt, to wit:
Open this book and you will feel as if you were an archaeologist who just uncovered a tomb containing dusty, ancient stories and where the old world seamlessly meets the new world. Menage A Trois with the 21st Century brings to the reader an interesting take of love and adventure by addressing the lives of two historical figures, the Mesopotamian priestess Enheduanne (2285-2250 B.C.) and the 18th century Philippine general, Gabriela Silang (1731-1763), who led a local rebellion started by her husband, Diego, against Spanish authorities. This most recent collection by Bay Area-based poet, Eileen R. Tabios, truly strikes a chord as she perceives the underlying sensibility of these two characters' lives in a narrative dealing with loss and desire.
Call it fantasy or poetic soap opera, Tabios' unique style in this collection of dreamy intellect truly inspires her audience to think in the abstract. Tabios has a flair for taking us on a joyride between the time zones of history and modernity, giving off that haunting feeling where the still eyes of a portrait hanging on the wall seem to be following you around the room.
One of the aspects that I enjoyed about this book were the surrealistic, Erik Satie-like titles of the second half of the book, "Gabriela Couple(t)s with the 21st Century." Written in a fashion that evokes a musical essence, Tabios composes her words with the rumbling drama of a symphony while retaining the demeanor of a peaceful etude.
at the end of a smile
set down here by God,
on whose move the whole game
--from "Downwinders" by David Hadbawnik
Sigh. Well, if you're gonna do anything, you should try to do it right. Consequently, I'ma gonna cut off his balls.
Sorry. No Achilles Poetry Prize funded from breeding out Achilles' champeen-quality sperm. To be a breeder is also a type of responsibility and the Chatelaine is simply not qualified.
Achilles is only 10.5 months but apparently my puppy is really already "full-blown mature," according to the vet. And, being a true Alpha Male, he's fully embarked on his attempts for world domination. Which is to say, this week, despite being fully potty-trained, he peed on the Oriental rug (in front of which, in an earlier time, you can see him sitting peaceably next to Artemis the Cat).
But one of the very few things at which Moi is not qualified is to be a breeder -- which is a whole diff kettle of fish (or litter of pups). So, I think it's time to persuade the Hubby who, being male, is inclined to allow Achilles his balls. But said Hubby, after all, AIN'T THE ONE TAKING CARE OF THE WARRIOR ALPHA MALE 24-7 (ya hear me!?). And an Alpha Male Dog with Full-Blown Balls has to be treated appropriately so that, since he's such a HUGE dog, he doesn't hurt others or himself or becomes unhappy and frustrated because he doesn't have a Chatelaine who's capable of dealing well with alpha male aggression. Or, a Chatelaine who can only deal with alpha male aggression by cutting off those testicles....(is this pathos or bathos?).
And, if we are going to neuter Achilles, we apparently should do it sooner than later. Because it'd be the worst of both worlds if we neuter him after testicle-oriented behavior is already ingrained in his body. It'd be like -- the dawg would be behaving like he's got balls when he don't have any (hmm: remind youse of anyone youse know?)
Anyway, as Moi writes this, I'ma looking at a t-shirt sent to me by David Hadbawnik when I ordered his chap, DOWNWINDERS (Modest Proposal, 2004), which I enthusiastically suggest you all check out -- the poems are wonderful, often manifesting Light at its most sublime. (And yet what a paradoxical result based on my read if the poems did start from what's behind this link? Such slippery critters -- these poems...) Anyway, the tee is black, emblazoned in yellow with
which apparently stands for
BOYS AGAINST LETHARGIC LANGUAGE SYSTEMS
Yadda. Cut off that lethargic lingo at the etcetera too.
Still, that don't mean I don't feel, um, bad about slicing off Achilles' furry thingies. One of his trainers tried to counsel, "Look, neutering prevents testicular cancer."
Still, I don't feel good about this decision. It's like David writes in his poem, "The Survivor" --
........................the images vivid
w/ night-sweat sheen: I am guilty
I done nothing wrong
I have done nothing
YaY! The etchings-based collaboration that generated Moi first book as publisher, 100 More Jokes From The Book of the Dead by John Yau and Archie Rand, is being exhibited here:
Do a Book: Asian Artists Summer Project 2004
September 9 - October 16, 2004
Plum Blossoms Gallery
555 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001
T: 212.719.7008 F: 646.486.1991
Opening reception Tuesday Sept. 14th 6-9pm
Check it out via an article that gives background to John & Archie's collaborations over the years (as well as Archie's collaborations with other poets like John Ashbery and Robert Creeley)!
For more info on the current exhibit via Plum Blossoms' official press release, go to my tedious insurance man's non-tedious blog (post dated today, but may take a while to show up due to Blogger's problems).
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Maka' sito'maniyan ukiye
Oya'te uki'ye oya'te ukiy'ye,
Wa'nbli oya'te wan hoshi'hi-ye lo,
Ata heye lo, ate heye lo,
Maka o'wancha'ya uki'ye
--from the Dakota
"I think writing is a way of making reality. Running makes the heart big. Making metaphors for what is real to us now, the same thing that science does, and shivering with what will be real. And I think it is collective work.
--Mei(-mei) Berssenbrugge, 1978
"In 1956, [Ginsberg] told the poet and critic Richard Eberhart that his intention in writing Howl was to liberate readers from their "false...self-deprecating image" of themselves and to persuade them that they were "angels."
--from Jonah Raskin's Preface to AMERICAN SCREAM
'Twas a long, though worthwhile, day spent yesterday at Sonoma State University. Spoke to about 100 students who will be writing poetry journals this semester, partly in response to poems in my Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole book -- thanks to Prof. Leny for conceiving of the idea.
Had tea, whilst at SSU, with Jonah Raskin who just came out with a new book, AMERICAN SCREAM: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2004). I've started it already and it's a lot of fun. Jonah said he'd long been interested in the creative process. When he began AMERICAN SCREAM, he started it out as a biography of Ginsberg written chronologically. But he came to realize that he could say what he wanted to say about the creative process while focusing mostly on the making of Howl. Nifty.
Then stopped off at the library and stumbled across their Used Books sale. Nabbed three goodies for the munificent sum of $2.50:
The Next World: Poems by Third World Americans, Ed. by Joseph Bruchac (The Crossing Press, 1978)
o-blek 1 (which Moi was ecstatic to see to make complete moi o-blek double set)
Metaphor As Pure Adventure by James Dickey, a 1967 lecture delivered at the Library of Congress
A wonderful day. Among these three books, I was particularly taken by The Next World (Mei-mei was, I guess, calling herself "Mei" back then and her Bio in the book was the source for the prior post's wonderful quote). The line-up of poets begin with Nicaraguan born Pancho Aguila (noted as sentenced to life imprisonment in his Bio), and includes Mei-mei, Joseph Bruchac, Americo Casiano, Melvin Dixon, Sandra Maria Esteves, Phillip Goerge, Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn, Janet Campbell Hale, Michael S. Harper, lawson Fusao Inada, Karoniaktatie, Geraldine Kudaka, Alex Kuo, Alan Chong Lau, Mbembe, Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Tony Moreno, Nashira N'tosha, Simon Ortiz, Wendy Rose, Ricardo Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Leslie Silko, Gary Soto, Thulanie Nkabinde, Alma Villanueva, Ron Welburn, Shawn Wong, Al Young, Lorraine Sutton and Peter Blue Cloud.
Here's an excerpt from Bruchac's Introduction. In a way, it makes me sad....to look at the times beyond the Iron Gate is to wonder how much of this excerpt's optimism has been warranted:
By Joseph Bruchac (1978)
"Ever since the great Bandung conference of more than two decades ago we have heard a great deal about the "Third World", the phrase that was coined to refer to those nations which were not in either the communist bloc or the capitalist. In the last year or two we have begun hearing of the "Fourth World" and even the "Fifth World", those nations which are so impoverished as to be out of the sphere of influence which the "Third World" sways. We have seen in recent years that the "Third World" also exists within the borders of the United States. We are a nation of nations, some of them as unnoticed as the Armenians, some as visible as the Black Americans, and some whose boundaries were established by Federal and state statutes. (How many people know, for example, of the existence of the Seneca Republic in New York State, a self-governing Native American nation?) Native American people have always felt a good deal of reticence about speaking of the "Third World." According to the legends of most of the original inhabitants of this Turtle Continent, their people have passed through a number of worlds to come to this one. The Hopies speak of the First World which was left behind to enter the Second World, which was left behind to enter the Third World, which was left behind. By the reckoning of the Navajo people, they are now in the Fifth World. And as each world was left behind, destroyed by the forces of corruption and misdeeds, a new world was found, one in which the chances of a better way still existed.
"When the Paiute holy man Kwohitsauq, who was also known as Wovoka, became the prophet of the Ghost Dance he prophesied that the deeds and the buildings of the whites would be wiped off the land, everything made new again, the buffalo returning, the people given a new world.
"The poets in this anthology all have one thing in common. In their poems they have given us not just criticism of this flawed world of Watergates and intervention in Angola, of assassinations and racial repression, they have also given us visions -- of the almost forgotten past, fo the present and its possibilities, of the promise of the future. They are not just 'poets of the seventies' or spokespeople for some special group, they are human beings whose poems point us towards a better future, roads to the next world."
"My great grandmother, a buddhist, used to buy fish at the market and set them free in the river, which was not practical."
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
for 1,000-plus referrals.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Josh Reed, one of Chris Murray's students in Chris' E-Poetry class, wrote me an open letter about one of my poems in the Gabriela Silang series featured in Menage A Trois. So, as it may not work to put my reply on his Comments box, I'll just feature my comment below; Josh's question is in italics. (As an aside, this Q&A was interesting to me for trying to answer someone's questions about the poem without delivering a definitive way to read the poem, if youse know what Moi means.):
In your poem, "A Memory's Resonance De Jour (II) As Gabriella Struggles to Apply Significance," you have shown alcohol as a cause of the destruction of society. When you do this are you implying that the drink will always be the downfall of civilization or do you think that kind of fall can be avoided?
Thanks, Josh, for this interpretation. I would say that a drink of illusion could cause the downfall of civilization (note that I reference "spoiled wine" but that such spoiled wine first was camouflaged by "myrrh, honey, balsam and pepper"). Can it be avoided? Perhaps so, if lucidity helps society make better decisions. For instance, if we don't believe politicians' lies...
I'm really blown away by the last two lines of your poem.
Bones from a million rebels
Become my history when I exhale poetry
When I hear this line, I can't help but think of the many soldiers fighting for our freedom all over the world. I understand that the time period of this poem is not happening in the now, but during Gabriella's time. I guess my real question is what do those last two lines mean to you? Does it have something to do with the poets who have come before you?
I suppose those two lines play off the histories of both poetry and those who have fought for justice in various wars. I think any new poem extends (or, can extend?) poetic history. And, on one level to me, it seems as if people fighting for justice are also fighting the same battle that's been fought elsewhere and in different locales... and any individual fighter can take solace from as well as be inspired by the fact that others have cared, too, about fighting for justice -- perhaps an important factor when it seems that injustice never ends.
Then there's my wondering about how writing a poem may inherently be an act of rebellion...if only due to poetry's marginalized position within culture (?). I ask this, not posit this (as I don't know the answer).
Admittedly, I am not too familiar with James Joyce, but I would like to know what is the significance of the line with "understanding James Joyce?"
I think I had read a reference to some text that was designed for presumably being helpful for understanding James Joyce. And so the reference (for me) had less to do with James Joyce's works as referencing the nature of trying to understand something/someone that is implied to be difficult to comprehend.
When I read this poem I sense a dark determination in its mood. Is this the feeling you imagine Gabriela feeling as she is heading into battle? Reading this poem, it feels like she is a member of the losing side of the battlefield, but she is determined to not go without a fight.
That's a fair assessment. I know the mood would be "dark" -- and specifically because I was imagining how Gabriela was determined, yes, to fight but also sort of wondering, "How did this life -- of battling invaders -- become my fate?"
The last question I wanted ask you, was what made you write this poem? What kind of mood were you in when you wrote it? Does your mood or how you're feeling affect your writing or were you well aware on how you were going to write this poem.
I think I was just hovering on the mood of being bitter on behalf of how Gabriela basically was forced to live a life as a revolutionary, versus whatever type of life she may have wanted to live. Hence, the whole Gabriela series' attempts to recover a new life for her in the 21st century. These poems begin from a feeling, so mood absolutely affected how the poem unfolded.
I hope that I haven't taken this poem out of context in anyway shape or form. As a musician and a song writer I understand that an artist sometimes understands his or her work better than the rest of the world ever could. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for sending us copies of your new book of poetry. I look forward to reading it.
Josh, I love your read of the poem -- I love how you met the poem on its own terms (terms that transcend any authorial intention on my part) -- and responded honestly. I am the one who should thank you. I believe a poem can only be completed by its reader (audience) and so I thank you for completing the circle.
For easy reference to Peeps listening in on this conversation, here's the poem again that Josh had asked about (and thanks to Chris Murray, fabuloso teacher, for instigating this lovely conversational experience):
A Memory's Resonance Du Jour (II)
As Gabriela Struggles to Apply Significance
One wants to slap any majordomo
For believing he controls the equinox
Until I shy from physical fulmination
As someone obsessed with oxymorons--
The doughty poem offers its own significance:
e.g. ancilla for "Understanding James Joyce"
And saffron-colored mulsum and turriculae
Imbibed by the Romans turned inane then insane
From raisins fermenting in ill-designed earthenware--
Oh, my Love--how many civilizations expired
After marauding soldiers were deceived
By myrrh, honey, balsam and pepper
Camouflaging spoiled wine in amphoras
Now lining the Mediterranean?
Thousands and thousands of shards deliver
an inadvertent memoir of an empire's fall--
Bones from a million rebels
Become my history whenever I exhale Poetry--
A lovely poet-peep writes in to recommend another alternative to Charles "Two Buck Chuck" Shaw for poetry reading wines. The Chatelaine is at youse poetry world's service by sharing his recommendation: Lennard's Crossing 2003 Shiraz. It is, Peep sez, "the best $3.99 bottle of wine ever."
So, a holiday weekend in wine country usually means more imbibing and intaking. Last night's dinner was courtesy of Leigh and Bill (thanks! Moi loves to be fed!). Here's their lovely menu:
At The Napa Valley Reserve
1997 Louis Roederer champagne
Walnut Crisp with Tomato Jam and Shaved Asiago
Reserve Garden Heirlooms and Cucumber Mango Relish
Baby Seared Corn and Roasted Tomato Tamales
with the 2002 Origins Gamble Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
California White Sea Bass Marinated in Kaffir Lime Olive Oil
Napa Cabbage Chow Chow Salad
with the 2001 D.R. Stephens Chardonnay
Braised Duck Breast with Summer Stone Fruit Stew
Gorgonzola and Yukon Gold Potato Gratin
Sugar Snap and Golden Beets
with the 2000 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet
Cabernet Chocolate Torte with Blackberry Conserve
Lavender Pot de Creme
Asian Pears poached in Napa Valley Reserve Wine
Bellweather Farms San Andreas Cheese
Black Mission Figs, Napa Valley Honey Gastrique
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Moi still thinks about it -- that dream in her first year (in this lifetime) of writing poems. She had dreamt she'd have ten years at this -- this, whatever it is, that she suspects she labeled wrongly when she called this *being a poet.* That ten-year anniversary is less than a year away.
Usually, she doesn't think about that dream (it's futile, as another poet once counseled her), but was reminded of that dream after reading Elsewhere in the Land of Parrots, a novel by poet Jim Paul. On one level, I'm amused by Paul's take on "experimental" -- or "X" -- poetry. On another level, Moi wonders whether Paul is actually offering digs that are his subtle way of participating in that tedious poetry war (is it significant to his aesthetic inclinations that he's a recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship?). Were I to be absolutely non-cynical, Moi would say -- and this is why this novel reminds me of my dream as a first-year poet -- that Paul just did a fine job in using avant poetics as a springboard to a journey of exploration by David, his novel's protagonist. Anyway, here's how it began, thus making me open my wallet at the bookstore -- and I suppose I feel I've been lucky that I've not met many of the poet-types Paul describes below as he addresses ... certain matters as, um, fodder (?) for developing his novel ostensibly about -- or for (?) -- the birds:
excerpts from CHAPTER ONE
David didn't go out much. Hadn't for years. Even though he lived in a beautiful city, San Francisco, and had lived there since his birth, the outside world had not really existed for him. His bookcase blocked the window in the bedroom of the third-floor apartment where he lived. Out there, out in the larger world, was trouble, difficulty at best and bad trouble at worst. People were a problem, but it wasn't just people. The elements of nature were to be avoided. The earth itself bore explosive forces that might shatter whole apartment buildings. The elements of nature were to be avoided. The earth itself bore explosive forces that might shatter whole apartment buildings. The sea was frigid and murderous. Animals had teeth and were not to be trusted. The seemingly innocent sky harbored huge destructive forces, or at least rain, a watery nuisance.
As a child, without ever mentioning it to anyone, David had begun fearing the world. If anyone had asked him just where this fear had begun, he might have said, facetiously, that as a child he had been bitten by a swan. This was true. In the park at the Palace of Fine Arts, he'd run toward the beautiful creature, his arms out, his four-year-old self ecstatic, and the big bird had let him have it, biting him on the hands and face and sending him screaming to his mother. It was more likely, though, he had derived his sense that the world was not safe from his father, who was himself not safe, subject to deep moodiness and sudden swings of temper.
But probably David would not have been able to completely justify his fearfulness, to himself or anyone else. Though he had heard of terrible things, nothing very awful had, in fact, ever happened to him. Occasionally the elements got in his way, a big storm soaked him on the street or an earthquake shut off his lights for a time. But that was all. So his fear had mellowed into what appeared to be a a simple lack of interest. Mostly he managed to live inside, both inside his apartment and inside himself, writing his poetry. This was his main interest and his chosen work. David was a poet.
Near his bed was his desk, at which he wrote in the mornings. On some morning in the now-distant past, he had simply left the earplugs in, and now this was his habit. So as David typed all morning -- he wrote his poems with a computer -- he heard only the wind of his own breath in the passages of his head.
His rejection of the larger world had its complement in his embrace of the inner one. He was a stubborn man, deeply attached to his attachments, and he had managed to turn poetry into a profession. He made a small living at it -- at teaching it, anyway -- and his work was known, as such things are, by a few people beyond his immediate friends. That is to say, he was a successful poet.
Could such an internal man write poems? True, certain kinds of poetry had eluded David, kinds that might have taken him out of doors. He was not a poet of sublime scapes, depicting lakes and meadows, still less a poet of outward wit and social chatter, a nabob of the salon. As he conceived of it now, David was a very late poet, writing when neither sublimity, nor wit, nor even simple description was possible. The poets of the past had used all that up.
As a poet, David felt that he lived at the end of history. Actually he took some pride in it. It was a special fate, to live at the end. But it limited things. By the time he had come along, he could find only a little rind left at the bottom of the big barrel of literary possibilities, this to scrape up and publish as he might. Hence David had become a deconstructionist, a practitioner of an art form that he and a few others called X poetry.
State was a hotbed of X poetry. David had met his compatriots there; others he knew through the obscure journals in which they published. Among these few, X poetry had arisen in the most painstaking manner possible, in conclaves where innocent-sounding terms were assigned the most arcane meanings, and with nobody in the larger world the wiser. A "book" was not a book, a "word" was not a word, a "letter" was not a a letter. As an X poet, David wrote verse that avoided any conventional narrative or even conventional sentences, all of that rational structure deeply suspect to practitioners of his ilk. The result was as opaque as mud, and that was the way X poets liked it: a mire of words, available to any and to no interperetation. And at this David had become expert, had labored these long years. He had a dozen books to his credit, none of them with three words in a row that made any "sense." This is what he did all morning, his ears stuffed with plugs.
He'd been dedicated to this pursuit for fifteen years. In the thirteenth year, his wife Rosalind, a sensible and patient woman who had loyally and strenuously attempted to comprehend what he was doing, finally gave up and left him. As a sophomore living in the Haight, he had wooed Rosalind with the most romantic verses possible. But by the time he had graduated college, the poetry had changed, and after that so had he. He found that opacity had its personal as well as its aesthetic virtues, as a kind of stuffing, and by the time he was thirty he was fully insulated by it. He had X-poeted himself.
[...] After his divorce, he drew his life even more closely about him. He lived alone in his apartment on Guerrero Street, a literate fortification. He threw very little away, and the place was more and more jammed with his books and papers. Papers and texts covered his bed, and occasionally when he was very tired, he simply cleared a small space among this litter, where he lay and slept.
Of course David was still required to go outside. For a long time, he had worked in a copy shop, where he had risen to manager, his chief qualification being that he did not despise the job. He deemed it a proper occupation for an X poet, the reproduction of text as text. But then he attracted academic attention by managing to publish his poems. His literary career had been an odyssey, a wnding from tiny press to tinier press, often just before they'd gone out of business. David's work had ushered more than one small publishing enterprise out fo the world. Still, it was notice of a sort. His X poet colleagues who had been employed by colleges recommended him, and David found work teaching.
So by the time of this story, David taught a class here and a class there in the Bay Area. He commuted by bus and subway to San Francisco State and to Mills College, where he wrought great muddy depths of ennui upon hapless undergraduates. And really, that might have been that, for David. Whole lives are spent on less, after all. And David himself would not have said he was unhappy. He might have confessed, had he known you very well, that he wanted a female companion. Badly, profoundly, wanted one. Still, he would never have told you that his life wwas small, interior, utterly consumed, every day, with thoughts and things not a soul in the world but David cared about. If he yearned for more, for a life in the larger world -- he did, and who wouldn't have? -- you would never have heard this from him.
Then,...a letter arrived in the mail from the Wadsworth Foundation. The procedures of the Wadsworth Foundation were secret; they took no applications and gave away big monetary awards to artists and writers. And they were giving him one of these big prizes -- a thousand dollars times his age, which added up to $37,000, granted each year for five years, in recognition of his work and of his genius. "I am honored and delighted to inform you...," the letter began.
David read on, entranced, just then not hearing the parrot for the first time in a couple of weeks. His father had given him the parrot, and it had been noisy from the start. The bird said nothing in English and made just one main noise, a call, a loud two-part trumpeting that sounded like the bark of a long-frozen hinge. In spite of its sameness, the call seemed to vary in import and to be oddly, even unsettlingly, appropriate to whatever situation David found himself in.
David savored the letter. Though this reward had arrived while he was still relatively young, David himself felt that the prize had been a long time in coming. He was, in spite of his inwardness, an ambitious man as regards his work, all of which now seemed justified. The years at minimum wage seemed justified. Even his divorce -- the biggest sacrifice to his work, he felt -- enhanced the glory of the day. Somewhere a committee of scholars had decided that David Huntington should receive this honor. God knew how it had happened. But everything was changed by it. He'd have money. He'd get offers at the best schools. He'd be famous. He would be X poetry.
But he still had an immediate problem: whom to tell? Overjoyed, he had to tell someone. So he told the parrot.
"I got it!" he shouted at the bird, who just then was perching on the refrigerator. The bird squawked back. "The Wadsworth!" said David. Squawk. "I'm a genius!" Squawk.
Even for David, this dialogue was less than satisfactory. So he thought of calling a woman he was seeing. Actually, "seeing" would be putting too fine a point on it. He'd been out with her twice, once on a date arranged by his friend Lyle, and once after that, when she'd told him that she neeed to take some time out. David called Caroline anyway, not that it mattered much, as he got her answering machine, so he had to leave a message at the beep. With the parrot still screeching in the background, he had let himself go and had shouted into the machine, "I'm a Wadsworth. I'm a genius. It's happened." Then he stopped, not knowing what else to say, hearing the wheels grinding away in the tape machine, and just hung up without saying good-bye or even identifying himself.
This, too, was quite unsatisfactory. Even if he had reached her, she would not have been able to rejoice properly at his news. Caroline was a writer herself, with some jealousy and no patience for good news about other writers, especially David. David knew he wouldn't have wanted to hear this news from another writer, either. That was why he hadn't immediately called any of the wirters he knew -- Marilyn the chair at Mills, Renny the curator, or Lyle his fellow X poet. He felt they would take the news badly.
[...]So in a sort of despair, he returned to the squawk of the parrot, who had been answering him the whole time, as if it had been the bird instead of these distant electronic significations of human beings to whom David had been speaking.
The bird was making its same noise -- that rasping, two-toned call, its raucous iamb. Over the past two weeks the sound had sometimes seemed to be a cry for help, sometimes a scream of rage, sometimes a simple emotionless bleat like a homing beacon. But this time, there could be no mistaking it. As david had been speaking into the dumb electronic webwork of the phone system, as he had tried to relay his new, the bird had been calling back in mocking mimicry. The bird was squawking; David was squawking. There wasn't much difference.
And that is the excerpt. Except, the novel goes on. David is led out of his interior into the world as he attempts to find the parrot after he released him. Which is to say, the SQUAWK can't be that pathetic when it inspires a chase of another near-300 pages. Not to be self-reflexive but the period, nay, the half-period in the most obscure poem can hardly be insignificant when even its "smallness" suffices for generating ... a novel.
Give the last word to the squawk. But why do I wonder whether this (moi) conclusion, when applied to poetry instead of the novel's more overt plot of looking for a parrot (who was called "Little Wittgenstein"), was part of the author's intention?