Monday, January 31, 2005
I was very pleased -- and all a-preen -- several weeks back when moi Espoo publisher said that working on Menage A Trois facilitated his expansion of xPress(ed) offerings into hard-copy books. Click on this lulu of a link to see his book offerings to date.
I mention this, too, because I've been curious about print-on-demand stuff which xPress(ed) is using. Anyway, I have all a-swaddled in moi wingtips three books:
Collaborative writings by Mark Young & Jukka-Pekka Kervinen.
Experimental poetry by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
Experimental poetry by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen.
The poems and vizpos are not just beautiful but the books' qualities are also up to snuff. Some of Jukka's vizpos do look better on-screen and in color than in black-and-white, per the book, which does say something about how -- as regards form -- the computer screen should be respected as a "page" in its final form. Still, these books are fabulous additions to one's library.
Congrats Jukka and Mark -- was particularly pleased to see where else "The Oracular Sonnets" ended up!
At the moment, I am most engrossed in Jukka's cornucopia. Page after page of, uh, cornucopia. So many layers of musical strains. I am plucking out certain stitches (one might call such deconstruction?) and EFFORTLESSLY writing new poems that surface from the blocks of Jukka's prose poems. MORE ON THIS in next post!
Now that's a fine exchange worth toasting over at Greg Perry's!
Sunday, January 30, 2005
To date, the kind of people who've ordered my 2005 book for Tsunami Relief range over the following "identities":
poet (of course)
oenophile (of course)
just plain lushes (of course)
UNKNOWN (unknown coz they're total strangers...total strangers will be reading my poems -- yay!)
Now, the deadline for the offer is Jan. 31, 2005....but just between us 2,000,022 peeps, it's not like I'ma not gonna honor the terms of this special offer if any other orders trickle in. So....
Saturday, January 29, 2005
I swear I had no idea -- hmmm, still have no idea currently -- who the heck Sean Finney is. When moi Meritage Press offered to publish what will be his first poetry collection, The Obedient Door (due out this fall), Moi did so based on the merit of his poems.
Well, yadda. So I wake up this morning to reach for today's SF Chronicle and what do I see? Sean in two photos illustrating Jane Ganahl's "The Female Spectator" column. Said Ganahl's topic du jour is the "Canteen Literary Banquet" curated by Sean at former Rubicon chef Dennis Leary's new restaurant. Huh -- didn't know moi boy was such an impresario! Good news, of course, since that might mean that I -- as his publisher -- might have a poetry bestseller on moi grubby leetle wingtips!
Anyway, the article was wonderful, wonderful to see -- if only under the *any publicity is good publicity* rule. But I have to say, moi boy Sean ... uh, irritated me when I read the first six paragraphs of the article headlined "A literary banquet combines two of San Francisco's most famous passions," to wit:
"A young hotel guest, having just come in out of the evening rain, notices a large group milling around a small wooden table at one end of the Commodore's columned lobby. White wine is chiling in ice, red wine sitting on the table, glasses are set out in rows. It's all so tempting. He makes a beeline.
"'This is not a general happy hour for all,' Sean Finney explains politely to the interloper. 'It's more like, our group is momentarily taking over your hotel lobby.'
"This seems to puzzle the young man, who, in his faded T-shirt and jeans looks out of place with the spiffier, if Bohemian, congregation. Finney, 34, a writer and poet whose first volume is due out this fall, is resplendent in dark jacket and red tie, two-day stubble and a mop-top that would make the lads in Oasis envious.
"'So what is this?' the hotel guest asks, continuing to edge closer to the table.
"'It's a salon ... of sorts,' says Finney shyly. And, realizing he is not up to playing bouncer, he graciously caves: 'Go ahead and have a glass.'
"This is the third monthly Canteen Literary Banquet -- a sweet blend of excellent food by chef Dennis Leary, formery of Rubicon (at his spanking-new restaurant next door to the Commodore), and readings by some of the Bay Area's finest writers...."
Yadda. So, check out the third paragraph. Well, hmphf! As Moi promptly emailed Sean, "Why no SPECIFIC mention of Meritage Press?!"
Sean promised "the name Meritage and Obedient Door were constantly on my lips . . . they should have made it to press, darn it."
One more hmphf from me. Then I regained my naturally cheerful disposition: I suppose I can't blame Sean if the reporter refused to quote those pitches on Sean's lips. Okay, so, I need to provide a Galatea House Wine Update. Here it is -- dedicated to Sean Finney who is capable of melding together literature, wine and food in a way that Missy WinePoetics very much appreciates:
2002 Ravaneau Valmur Chablis
1992 Riesling Eiswein Rheinhessen
1989 Aldo Conterno Cicala Barolo (magnum)
2003 Hazyblur Barosso Valley Shiraz
1996 Plumpjack Cabernet
Sadly, the 1974 Zin Humbrecht Hengst Vendage Tardive died in the bottle. But bliss, after all, is only heightened due to the existence of sadness.
Friday, January 28, 2005
ON JOHN PATRICK MCKENZIE
"most tailless animals
do not like war"
-- John Patrick McKenzie on a t-shirt
Rather excited about my next art essay. It'll be on the visual poetry of John Patrick McKenzie -- see details at the blog dedicated to my insurance man.
It's also an extension of my in-progress poetry/identity project most recently encapsulated in The Estrus Gaze(s), moi chap kindly published by Belladonna.
I cheerfully share all this, not just cause it nicely extends moi project but BECAUSE THE CHATTY ONE IS JUST PLAIN OL' CHEERFUL TONIGHT! To wit, notwithstanding that Gabriela peed on the dining room floor (ick ick ick!), Gabriela has fit in very nicely at Galatea. Such puuuuuuuure love I feel for moi animals. Animals are indeed blessings if you don't treat them as pets but as companions and friends worthy of the respect of ... equals.
Spent the morning with two petsitters and our Alpha Male dawg trainer to facilitate Gabriela's arrival at Galatea.
Done. Achilles loves Gabriela. Gabriela loves Achilles.
Icing on cake is that Gabriela has no prior experience with cats but she and the cats Artemis and Scarlet got comfortable swiftly with each other....much more swiftly than Achilles did with the felines. Thank you all for your caring inquiries.
Now, move on over to Tom Beckett's latest fabuloso interview. Subject no less than moi boy: Thomas Fink! Who also just got a review in Jacket for his new poetry collection AFTER TAXES. (The reviewer Shivaji Sengupta is a powerful theorist and very smart critic.) You go, Tom!
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Sniffle. Finally. She arrives home. Just as Achilles laid down his armor before entering through the Iron Gate, Gabriela tosses away her widowed generalhood to romanticizing myth-makers and arrives for her long-overdue, desired fate in Babaylan-ic arms.
We picked up Gabriela from the airport this afternoon. So, of course, on the car ride to said airport, the hubby and I fight like the long-married couple we are since Gabriela had to wait a half hour in the cargo area because WE WEREN'T THERE TO MEET HER!!! The hubby swears he called the airline three times during the day and the airline kept saying the flight would arrive at 3:12 p.m. I didn't bother to say the OBVIOUS: we need not time the arrival perfectly for 3:12 p.m. but should have been there early just to be sure blah blah blah. Talk about the one time one didn't want an airplane to arrive early! All through the car ride, I kept imagining Gabriela all miserable in her soiled crate with no water or food (since airline people don't do that)!
So, the hubby pulls into the parking lot, tires all screeching. I jumped out with leash, three sizes of collars (since we didn't know the size of her neck) and a bag and ran to the front desk. I pushed open the glass door and proclaimed to the guy behind the counter, I'MA HERE TO PICK UP THE GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY!
Mr. Sadist behind the counter looks at me, then sniffs: "You don't look like a Tom."
Tom is the name of my husband WHO WAS LATE DRIVING US TO THE AIRPORT! (ARE YOU READING MOI, HUBBY?!) I hold up my leash and say to the clock-watcher, Said Tom is parking the car but I'ma here. Then I literally bark out: MY BABY IS WAITING FOR ME!!!!!
Bureacrat-clerk sniffs again. Starts chewing the inside of his cheek. Then says: "That leash for me? You still don't look like a Tom."
Grrrrrrrr. I slowly fold the leash over into a lasso....and suffice it to say a hanging was avoided when, just then, Tom walked through the door.
To make a long story short, Gabriela is BEAUTIFUL.....Soft fur, a very feminine face, an absolutely SWEEEEEET disposition. Unfortunately, said sweet disposition also translates to why she is currently anorexic...!!! The poor puppy apparently had been in a dog yard and had to compete with her food. Coupled with seeing how nervous she was with big dogs at the dog park later that afternoon, how she frequently ran between my legs when Achilles' pals came by, even with tails all a-wagging -- I speculate that she was frequently shoved away from her puppy bowl by bigger dogs.
Breaks my heart. Even when Achilles was at his sickest and losing weight, he never got to be as bony as Gabriela currently is. I am pissed off at the breeder and if the vet tomorrow expresses any reason for me to throw my lasso over on that breeder's way, I will fling! Fortunately, Mama Moi is stellar at fattening up dawgs -- have I mentioned my turkey cooking prowess lately? So Moi shall proceed thus so, eyes gleaming, as she prepares to cook again...!
At Galatea, Moi -- aka Missy Winepoetics -- shall run out of wine before puppies shall ever run out of food. What are the odds?
Now, if you all will excuse me. There's a dawg nearby needing a bath in moi tub. I prefer perfumes in other scents besides ... piss.
My latest text-poems continue to be too flat for my taste -- which is to say, I judge them not particularly effective. I don't know -- but I think it's okay. I think my words need to rest after moi brick masquerading as a book. And that I nonetheless have enough poems to do at least two more poetry books (without writing a new poem) also just affirms to me that perhaps my blood needs to remember to be blood again before reverting back to ink.
But what is going well (I think) and really really pleasing me is my poem-sculpture series of collaborations with Nick Carbo. Yesterday, I sent off my response to his first such poem-sculpture. Materials: pastels, an empty wooden box that used to carry Screaming Eagle wines, cut-ups from the front and back covers to ENGLISH, a scarlet ribbon emblazoned with gold fleur de lys, and (to carry on Nick's reference to a toilet), a brass flusher that serves as the knob for opening the box.
This is the first completed round of the series whereby Nick did the first poem-sculpture and I responded with my first poem-sculpture. I note to moiself how the process further expands the limits of my imagination (one reason why I like doing collaborations). At first, I'd responded to Nick's work by simply writing two couplets in response to his verse. It took me a while to figure out that I also should be responding more materially or more three-dimensionally, that is more sculpturally -- hence incorporating the toilet flusher.
Yes, an exhibition is likely -- the no-brainer result. But I'm looking for another layer for that result. I shouldn't worry -- it'll come. The process is early. (And maybe one layer again is how sculpting transcends the colonial language-as-communication backdrop to (my) Filipino English-language poetry.)
Meanwhile: THANK THEE, O MUSES -- MOI FALLEN ANGELS. The world itself, rather than the verbal symbols for said world, is a nice change for poem-makings.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
No time for Moi to do any of my brilliantly lengthy or lengthily brilliant posts on any variety of topics for youse enquiring minds. I'ma all a-twitter preparing for my daughter's arrival, that is, the six-month-old German shepherd Gabriela (named after Gabriela Silang who haunts my 2004 book). She arrives from North Carolina tomorrow -- and I'm busy stocking up on puppy treats, squeaky toys and, um, deodorizers for when she'll inevitably do a potty inside the house rather than the great outdoors. So, if you want literary bidness from me, then I'll let Elizabeth Treadwell do the talking:
In our 30th anniversary year
Small Press Traffic
is pleased to invite you to our 10th annual SOIREE
AN EVENING WITH SUSAN HOWE
Saturday, February 5, 2005, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Reading and discussion begin at 7:30 p.m.
Food, drink, and silent auction.
Hosted by SPT Board Member Eileen Tabios & the rest of our wonderful Board
Tickets are $40; please call 415.551.9278 to reserve.
Great thanks to our sponsors: Kelsey St. Press, New Directions, Meritage Press, Brent Cunningham, Penny Cooper & Rena Rosenwasser, & Eileen Tabios
PS this is our last fundraiser for the season -- they got a bit bunched up this year! Hope to see you there, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Treadwell Jackson, Director
Small Press Traffic
Literary Arts Center at CCA
1111 -- 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Monday, January 24, 2005
Well, this was a fresh hell -- returning finally from snow-covered New York to the Bay Area. I had to take a circuitous route through Dallas. Full planes and no room for my tiny overhead carrier. Fortunately, it didn't get lost. So, I'm back on the West Coast (though, sorry, Sean -- still can't do the Tuesday dinner as I gotta go catch up on work back in Napa tomorrow).
Catching up on emails and blogs, I see that poet-chef Sandy McIntosh(repeatedly mentioning his name allows me to keep linking to his new poetry collection, the least I can do for his stellar hosting abilities) says the brisket came out perfectly -- that would have been dinner tonight had I had to stay another night in New York. Thanks for recent nice comments from Reen (hope you enjoy the Belladonna chap) and Ron -- particularly glad to see Ron mention the "Poetry and its Arts: Bay Area interactions 1954-2004" as his post notes that, amazingly, moi $20 bill is still safely pinned to my wedding gown train in the exhibit. That's right -- and no one better take it down as I need that for cab fare after de-installation.
Anyway, so about Snow White and Red Rose, on the extended flight back from the East Coast, guess what erupted mid-flight? I had to walk like a cowboy off the plane in Dallas to the nearest Ladies Room because ... I know, I know: too much information already....(one thing I relish about blogging: saying things I wouldn't otherwise mention non-virtually, particularly to such coool peeps as youse...)
Suffice it to say, the only saving grace (besides the McIntosh Household's Hospitality) to being snow-bound in New York was that it gave me reason to read the new biography of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, XTO+J-C (St. Martin's Griffin) written by Burt Chernow. It is a fabulous read -- among the most enjoyable biographies of artists I've ever read -- because it so captures the aesthetic visions and absolutely gutsy dedication of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, such that their "manic thirst for promotion" is suddenly revealed as just the occupational hazard inseparable from making their works more effective (hmmmm: well, now, don't that point-of-view sound ... familiar?).
Though I've been aware of these two artists' works, I have to confess I previously didn't pay much attention to them -- such that I totally missed much of the community-engagement aspect of their "public art," given how it relies on process versus the resulting reproductions that I'd seen of their works. Here's a telling quote by Christo -- which also is relevant for a poetry world mired in grants, prizes, endowments etc:
"All of our projects have this fragile quality. They will be gone tomorrow. They will be missed. These projects are absolutely irrational. Nobody needs a Valley Curtain or a Running Fence. They do not exist because the president of a republic would like to have them, or some mayor or representative of the National Endowment for the Arts. They exist because we want them. They have total freedom. This is why they cannot stay. Because freedom is the enemy of possession, and possession is equal to permanence. You have to have freedom with no strings attached. This is why we pay for our projects. What is really exciting is to borrow space that has never been part of the art experience. In a gallery or museum, that space is absolutely serene, pristine. Outside, in the real world, everything is owned by somebody. Twenty-four hours, around the clock, we are funneled through highly controlled space, designed by urban planners or politicians. That space is owned by so many people, with so many jurisdictions. We love that space and want to borrow it for a short moment to create a gentle disturbance."
Their "The Gates: Project for Central Park" opens Feb. 12, 2005 (weather permitting) in New York City -- the planning began as far back as 1979!! The hubby's law firm actually had been one of the sponsors and so I could have had a chance to be at some planned affair coinciding with the opening. Now, I'm very sorry to miss it -- particularly as I don't expect to visit New York before the project is taken down after only 16 days. So New Yorkers -- it's right in your backyard! Don't miss it -- as with other of their works, this is deliberately ephemeral so catch it whilst you can...!
It's like a poem -- you read it and the poetry experience is what resonates long after seeing the words on a page.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
because my petsitter just emailed:
"Achilles keeps sniffing your shoes at the front door and then looking up at me with those big, sad eyes."
Winter -- you are killing me.
All the flights that I'd been rebooked on got cancelled. The latest: a flight back to San Francisco, but only if I go through Dallas. Whatever. I need to get back -- so hope I don't get cancelled again tomorrow.
But in a way, this is enforced vacation on me as I can't do anything (besides blog) but be wined and dined by my host Sandy McIntosh. He just keeps feeding and opening bottles as if he's growing foie gras in moi belly. Lunch was fabulous. Dinner tonight: duck breast in a peppercorn sauce with demiglace base, a leek soup consisting of whatever Sandy found in his fridge, carrots sauteed with gari ginger and sauteed spinach. All washed down with a 2003 William Febre Champs Rayoaux chablis.
As I type this, Sandy just yelled out from the kitchen, "Boy, our wine cellar is getting rapidly depleted." I sniff with zero sympathy as I swill down more of his Monterra syrah...
Just thought...you'd all like to know.
But this is actually the best part of being published by Marsh Hawk Press -- to get access to the dining room of its managing editor. And if you want to know how to gain weight in this way, do check out the Marsh Hawk Press Blog for details on its 2005 Annual Poetry Contest, judged this year by Gerald Stern and with a deadline of April 30, 2005.
Mike Snider compliments (thank you) Moi "gorgeous" Menage a Trois. Now, normally, moi first reaction would be to preen. But, actually, said first reaction was relief. Given the "tongue-lashings" that Mike recently has engendered and generated, I was just relieved. Of course, I agree with BOTH you and Jonathan ... as well as Gary -- such is Moi expanse...
Seriously, thanks for some good reading from the three of you whilst I've been snowed in and, thus, only able to do such useless things as blog stuff (well, not "useless" but you know what I mean...).
So. I'ma snowed in. If all I can do whilst being snowed in away from my files is to blog, moi posts shall degenerate further. Let me fall upwards by noting that on this trip, I read and enjoyed and recommend Eleni Sikelanios' The Book of Jon (City Light Books).
Sniff. I smell lunch! Sandy has made chicken with saffron and we're about to have it with the bottle I brought in compensation for their guest bedroom: 1994 Judds Hill cabernet. I just asked Sandy if I should note something about his recipe whilst blogging about it; he replied, "That it's delicious." Now, we've not actually sat down to eat it yet...but, okay -- the price of the meal is free so...it's delicious.
And I note that, too, because Sandy had admitted earlier that he was "terrified" of getting the meal wrong for fear of how I would report on his culinary prowess (or lack thereof) on this blog. Sheesh, Peeps: I'ma easy, you know. Anytime you want the Chatty One to send forth a positive review on anything about you, just send over a bribe!
Anyway, this was snowed-in blather just to keep your eyes, bright, Moi Peeps. Happy now?
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Peeps, I know many of youse all are going through a bit of withdrawal as you're used to Moi daily posts. This is just to say that I'm stuck somewhere in the outskirts of New York City, snowed in. I was scheduled to leave to return to San Francisco tomorrow at noon. But JFK is currently closed and that flight has been cancelled. Fortunately, my all-too-expensive travel agent earned her commissions (finally) by nabbing for me the last seat available on the next flight out, which is 6 p.m. tomorrow night. Let's hope we make it, partly because I have to get ready for my daughter: six-month-old German Shepherd Gabriela Silang due to arrive in my loving arms this Thursday....
The good news is that, whilst waiting through this weather, I am comfortably ensconsed in the home of Sandy and Barbara McIntosh....who had dutifully stocked up for this possibility. So: here are my choices for tomorrow's meal which they shall dutifully make up for Moi:
Duck breast -- very simple. with gravy made up of demiglace [I had to ask him how to spell the word since it has to do with the kitchen somehow] duck stock.
Beef brisket -- unlikely but if so done in a stove top smoker
Chicken in a saffron sauce -- most likely. with artichokes and pancetta [Sandy volunteered the spelling right away but of course I knew how to spell "pancetta" since it is poetic and I'm dying to rub that word right next to "panties" in some future poem]
AND LOTS OF WINE -- Pops, the local store apparently had their annual 30% sale which they dutifully ransacked for Moi.
Anyway -- briefly, the BELLADONNA reading was a blessing. And, wooo-oooo: STANDING ROOM ONLY! Thanks again to the curators Rachel Levitsky and Erica Kaufman whose series Charles Bernstein aptly lauded for providing a necessary alternative to mass culture. And afterwards, I even got orders for my Poetry Book for Tsunami Relief effort!!! All in all, a good trip -- albeit coooooo ... old.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Donation information at this page set up by Google.
And you can even get a poetry book for your donation.
The last few days before leaving this morning for New York, I was smooching with the proofs of my "Belladonna Book" -- No. 67 in their series. Entitled The Estrus Gaze(s) and it's the first publication of what I'm trying to do with my poetry/autism/identity project-in-progress.
And a lovely lovely design by Bill Mazza. I'm really grateful to Belladonna curators Rachel Levitsky and Erika Kaufman for the invite...
Here's the beginning of the title poem, "The Estrus Gaze":
: heal face blindness by introducing -- acknowledging -- context
: incomplete narratives formed from remnants not yet borne away by birds, tiny animals, wind
: inevitably, egg yolks fragmenting from a table's edge
: we make love to concede to nostalgia
If you want more, see me with Susan Howe and Cori Copp this Thursday (or tomorrow!) at Belladonna or order from Belladonna!
Oh, and "The Estrus Gaze", by the way, refers to gorilla females' signals to mate. Which is to say:
I, AS A GORILLA, AM STILL A POET AND WOULD WANNA MATE WITH YA, READER!
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Slipshod, just so. And some of poetry's paradoxes are also amusing!
So! Meritage Press' next single-author poetry collection will be The Obedient Door, Sean Finney's first poetry book. And it just got its first set of advance words -- by John Ashbery! To wit:
Sean Finney’s cheerfully slipshod poems recycle urban moments that don’t quite add up to a time, moods that may be parts of a relationship, or not, unclassifiable afternoon afterthoughts and changes in temperature: “which song brings stone’s rise and water’s fall/ into the bending of wrists and ankles/ and broken corners for dust to change light.” These are lines from his poem “What the Leopards Reject.” We would be wise to ignore the leopards’ whims and feast on the scraps he has so eloquently assembled for us, which are in fact those of life itself.
So I wanted to share a poem from Sean's forthcoming book and thought, might as well share the one referenced by Ashbery! To wit:
Which the Leopards Reject
which the pile of thoughts wrestle
which the ends ignore and which
is of a high place that makes
water for the place where time
is spent carrying water, and
a precarious time is wet
with questions (about the heights) and songs
nap in the shadow of a rocking hand
which song brings stones' rise and waters fall
into the bending of wrists and ankles
and broken corners for dust to change light
into a way out of everything works
and is mixed without scent and dries
which poverty means staring
at hot milk and instant coffee
at burning little things and sun
and snow piled up
feel the rooms above the archway
talk from wooden shades where
the foil of afternoon snacks
contains the feelings of these rooms,
their taste for exile
Land is a plot where longhairs
remember and make it into books
Books are lotteries of numbers
for the doors above the courtyard
leisure between three and four
being richer still in the old world
behind wooden shades
with the "A" for apartments
and the doorway between the legs
that is up and to build the polite
hours of misunderstanding
as the wish for favorite foods
that is a river of protected thumbs
in pockets (there's no food without pockets)
Shy is the regular always finding
above the conversation gulf
that invites the sunlight of skinned knees
of I've forgotten to be so when the bell
intones for left-handed scissors
and silent vowels that ring everything
by making excuses to remember
and somebody needs to know what you're doing
that s why the early dialectic in hand tools
contained a hunch about the future.
It was impossible to stop, wasn't it?
When the bell intoned for a new grouping
you were ready with your bandaged sign language
of the left out that groaned in its paper cup,
"The sun will melt wax
and face every eye with the appeal to be still
and not listen to the until-next-week
satisfaction of cooperating."
Be a puddle or a line of shade
move like water or a table,
and gently scratch the cliff of being taken care of.
Monday, January 17, 2005
"Giving back to the community is my way of creating images that separate the myth from the reality of the accomplishments of my subjects."
There was a sort of ... strained article by Kenneth Baker in Saturday's Chronicle about this weekend's San Francisco International Art Expo, which I visited Saturday. It was strained in that Baker clearly wanted to encourage us locals but it's also quite obvious that SFIAE continued to lose momentum this year, if you measure momentum by gallery interest.
Well, San Francisco-based artist Stella Lai has a brilliant idea -- and I think it's a solution to the fact that Bay Area collectors simply aren't doing what it takes to support an extensive commercial art world here (a story by itself and a factor I no doubt will need to address via PFA). Fuhget about trying to pretend SF can host an "international art fair" and let's do an annual art fair focused around so-called emerging art (where the Bay Area artists are quite strong).
Actually, I enjoyed this year's Art Fair and, despite what Baker speculated, was able to discover artists new to me. Baker is right to say that Art Fairs can be places where attendees discover new artists and art. But he is wrong to assume that new artist literally means someone new on the scene. There are plenty of artists about who have been working for years and decades but can still be discovered.
I try to "discover" at least one new artist per art fair. This year, it was Travis Somerville (who is represented by the Catherine Clark Gallery in SF) -- "discovery" in that I'd not been aware previously of his work. I don't know why it took so long for me to find him, given how his work so relates to my aesthetic and interest in identity. And his painterly technique is wonderful. I very much look forward to following him in the years ahead.
Other interesting links about Travis Somerville, someone worth checking out:
Everything in a poet’s life – I mean this more or less literally – is an incentive to stop writing.
This is a post that I've written several times in the past several days. I had deleted each attempt until I just decided not to bother addressing it on this blog. Reading Ron Silliman's post today changed my mind. Let me try again. To wit, the topic I find difficulty addressing is, to quote Ron, "Poetry and Parenting."
Even before Ron's very appreciated post, I was mired in this topic because of some back-and-forth with Amy Feldman, the editor of the Barnard Alumnae Magazine which will be featuring an article in people's choices NOT to have children. Such as my sorry little ass who made that decision. It's still a bit painful to address, so let me just replicate excerpts from the email exchange for now:
First, Amy queried:
Dear Ms. Tabios,
Thank you for talking with Juli Charkes ’88 recently for the article on choosing not to have children. The article is slated for the winter issue, which will be out in mid-February. // Below is information from you that we would like to include in the article. Please let me know ... if the information below is correct...
2. When you were in your mid-30s, you changed careers to devote yourself full-time to writing and decided with your husband to delay having a child. Could we identify your actual age at that time?
3. Years later, after establishing yourself as a published poet, you were unable to become pregnant.
4. Although you said that you're sad that you don’t have children, you don’t regret putting your writing ahead of your fertility. “It was the right decision” because your poetry has required the same type of rigorous commitment that would have been necessary to raise a child, you said. [ITALICS MINE]
I then replied:
Re. #2, I was 35 years old when I switched careers to become a poet/writer.
As regards #4, I'd like to amend slightly that quote as you have it (it's a complex issue, as you can imagine) to read:
Although you said that you're sad that you don't have children, you don't regret putting your writing ahead of your fertility. "I don't know if it's the right decision, but at this stage I don't wish to second-guess that decision. What I do know is that poetry, for me, has required a rigorous type of commitment not previously demanded by my other careers. Had I become a parent, I would not have wanted anything to dilute my commitment to parenting as I happen to consider that the most important job a human can have, much more important certainly than writing poems. But given the nature of my poetry, it's reasonable to suspect with hindsight that, for me, I had to choose."
Well, due to space constraints, the paragraph that will appear is more like:
Eileen Tabios ’82 put off having a child when she changed careers to write poetry full time at 35 only to discover years later, after establishing herself as a published poet, that she was unable to become pregnant. She doesn’t know if waiting was the right decision, but says that, had she become a parent, “I would not have wanted anything to dilute my commitment to parenting.” Being child-free has enabled her to devote herself to a career that “has required a rigorous type of commitment not previously demanded by my other careers,” she says.
Actually, Amy asked if I wanted to further edit. I passed. The complexities of the issue -- including my constant second-guessing of my decision -- the pain of that -- is not articulable. For years, actually, I used to think that the decision to forego children is arguably the stupidest decision I'd ever made. More recently, I'm coming to believe that it probably was best for me (i.e. at that stage of my life) -- BUT this realization, frankly, usually only makes me feel worse about myself (my limits in ability if not character...).
So, I don't know -- the few times that I raised this issue -- from the standpoint of a female artist who felt compelled (rightly or wrongly, if right/wrong is even an apt perspective) to forego children, it usually ended up being helpful to someone(s) out there. So, here it is raised again.
Through no conscious intent, this issue infiltrated ENGLISH more than once. I suppose that's logical -- this is the issue that remains a perpetual wound, one inflicted by Poetry ... for beautiful blood, whisper the weeping fallen angels. Here's one poem. Looking at that poem now, I only sense mostly how I've not managed to come up with words that sufficiently address this topic's significance:
Footnote 16 to The History of Fallen Angels
I’ve shown you more of my scars
than any other human has seen.
It wasn’t enough to seduce you.
So why remain hovering? Nice?
Don’t need nice from you. You
mortal saint. I chose a poem
between said poem and my baby. Muse
punishes me now by withholding
fertility. Fidelity. Damn muse. Why
didn’t you simply slap me
hard, proclaim, “Don’t be silly”,
proclaim, “Don’t be mad!” Proclaim, “Goose!”
I committed a sin, yes. But so
did this muse I share with poets
across centuries baying at the moon
as if it had cleavage, beating their chests
while leaning over the crumbling edges
of cliffs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You
hear me out, then whisper another stiletto
through my tears: “_____, I love you.”
I've used the workings of the Tourettic mind to explore the "human condition" as I perceive it, sometimes at its deepest and darkest levels. At times, my near-Faustian quest has made me dig so far into myself that I've wondered at times whether I'd find my way out.
--Vernon Frazer, Introduction to Sing Me One Song of Evolution
Autism continues to be on the rise. M.I.N.D. has examined the increase in light of claims that the increase was due to an influx of autistic children into California from other states and that the increase is due to a change in the DSM IV definition of autism. They have found that neither of these factors explains the increase. What we have is an epidemic, both in California and in the United States.
--from The Lawyer-Novelist Blog
So Vernon Frazer and I were boring each other recently by talking about poetry economics. To wit, I'd told a friend about one of Vernon's books, the fabulous Sing Me One Song of Evolution (Beneath the Underground Books, 1998). Gratifyingly, said friend ordered it. Vernon then emailed to say, "Trades keep me stocked with good poetry to read, but sometimes it feels good just to be able to sell a copy."
All poets with books know how that goes, eh. So, insouciantly, Moi replied, "TELL ME ABOUT IT!!!!"
To which Vernon told:
“Weeeelllllllllllll,” he said, drawing a prefatory breath as almost interminable as the monologue that followed. ”The corporate owned publishing industry has, et etc etc...And in my own experience ...“ list, list, list, until the listener listed sideways from the boredom that rendered her comatose...
Finally, she awoke & strangled the still-droning Ancient Mariner with his albatross. Her relief became a sinking frustration as his obscure poetry replaced John Grisham’s novels on the best-seller list. Then, her sales increased when she took credit for being the literary assistant who boosted the old bore’s career by rendering him posthumous.
But seriously, what is not boring and a fine poetry collection is Sing Me One Song of Evolution. At age 48, Frazer was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, a rare neurological condition characterized by motor and vocal tics. Bob Holman, one of the book's blurbers, comments, "Tourette Syndrome, the disease of the uncontrollable street-ranter. All this time we'd just thought he was one more crazy poet."
For Sing Me One Song of Evolution, Frazer provides an Introduction where he says:
The poetry contained in this book uses the unique constitution of people with Tourette Syndrome to create a literature that documents the Tourettic experience within the context of the "normal" population. Whereas many African-American writers use oral structures of African origin to express their experience of living outside the American mainstream, I use structures rooted in the Tourettic mind to express the experience of living in simmilar isolation. Several poems offer bitting commentaries on the injustices inflicted on people with Tourette. Others offer light-hearted glimpses of Tourettic mental and social lapses. Many poems ... use Tourettic symptoms such as echolalia and coprolalia as expressive devices. Several jazz poems employ repetitive Tourettic phrasing the way a jazz musician uses repetition to structure a solo's themes and variations."
It's a fine Introduction that, in my view, also makes this book a wonderful text for poetry and creative writing courses, as well as cultural studies. Frazer says elsewhere in his introduction:
Talking with other Tourettics taught me that many of us share a common history. Tales of ostracism during adolescence were virtually universal. Discrimination in the workplace seemed commonplace. My lifelong sense tha tthe "normal" world had held me to a double standards was more nearly a collective Tourettic experience than one man's paranoia. / Our common history has led many of us to consider ourselves an ethnic group gased on neurological characteristics instead of racial characteristics and geological origin.
That, too, is another reason why this book immediately caught my eye, being one ever interested in Identity issues. In fact, one of my current projects is using poetry to explore autism (partly through having been taught much about autism by lawyer-novelist-poet Jim Ryals). It's a timely topic as autism is on the rise to such an extent that its effects have yet to be fully addressed by the U.S.' political and health care policies. Some of the poems resulting from my exploration of autism will be captured in my chapbook entitled The Estrus Gaze(s) that will be published by Belladonna in conjunction with my reading in New York this Thursday (details here).
Anyway, my thanks to Vernon for a poetry project that delivers not just some wonderful poem-songs but illuminates further about the human condition. Click here to see the book's title poem, "SING ME ONE SONG OF EVOLUTION". And here also is an excerpt from one of his long poems, "Tourettic Possession Rant/Dance" (these lines would all be quad-centered):
I AM THE
mystery of abandonment found howling his abandon
in the woods or in the basement
regardless, the forest of abandonment)
howling the mysterious
that limit my attractions / to others
so whole & wholesome as they.
They say (in so many words)
I AM THE
I AM THE
because they only see
the mysterious forest
that is me
in my brain chemistry.
I AM THE SUM
of their summations predicated on
the eradication of my symptoms, their turning
the chemical antichrist angelic
through the sweets that breed the numbness
I AM NOT.
I AM NOT
the chemical antichrist.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Morales presents Informal Economy Vendors, an ongoing project (begun in 2002) that documents street vendors' customization of their pushcarts on the busy streets of downtown Tijuana, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The artwork explores the influence of Latin American economic strategies adapted to the new market conditions in California. The artist contends that the informal commercial activity of the pushcart is one of the ways in which Mexican American vendors create a new social space in the city while also connecting to a version of the public life they left behind. // ...the artist hopes to again reference the larger sociological process in which Latin American economic strategies have come to, as he puts it, "contaminate" the urban landscape of California cities.
--curator Rachel Teagle on Julio Cesar Morales
A wonderful evening last night with two artists, Julio Cesar Morales and Stella Lai. Both shared fabulous input in my new performance project: the poem as an art gallery.
It was particularly good to catch up with Julio's activities -- he is in the midst of a Billboard Project that will address the migrant farm workers who come from Mexico to work in California's wine country. The project will be featured on several billboards along the roads they travel; for this project, Julio had spent last year following the migrant workers. Can't wait! I of course made sure to suggest that some of those billboards be along Highway 29, a single lane highway that's often clogged during tourist's rush hour -- an enforced audience that way.
Julio also dropped off a work from his conceptually brilliant "Informal Economy Vendor" series (more info here) which just closed an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. I think Julio's work inevitably will inspire a section in my long poem in progress "Fathering Identity".
Incidentally, I'd have loved for a Filipino artist to take a similarly deconstructive & reconstructive approach to the uniquitous jeepney, as Julio had done with the pushcart. (Let me know if this has happened and I've not just been aware of such...)
Oenophile Peep Alert: Dinner Wines were 2001 Kistler chardonnay, 1999 Kistler Hirsch Pinot Noir, and 1994 Artardi Riserva Rioja. Also recently quaffed and recommend the 1995 Malcolm Australian shiraz, the 1993 Anne & Francois Gros Clos Vogeuot and the 1997 Viking Grand Shiraz.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
My daughter Gabriela, a six-month-old German Shepherd, is due to arrive on January 27. And not a moment too soon. To avoid some of the early days of potty-training, we had asked her breeder to board her until she is older than the nine-and-a-half weeks of age at which Achilles joined us. But, based on her latest photo from the breeder, it looks like I gotta do some untraining. No daughter of mine has any business posing like a Playboy Centerfold.
It is the hour of news, the television cracks
its voice over the radiator and the blue carpet. There is always
that same cooked silver of you, oil spilling
from the mouth, ginger and scallions burning
through the scales. My father thinks you are delicate
as he steals the eggs from the purse
of your belly, white interior exposed and steaming.
I think of you breathing before the slipping out.
--from "Fish Story" by Tina Chang
And the poets get their act together for Tsunami Relief. I understand the Asian American Writers Workshop raised about $4,000 for tsunami victims in an event curated by Sweetie and Queens, N.Y. Poet Laureate Ishle Yi Park! Well, yadda and good going, People.
Among the AAWW readers, btw, was Tina Chang....whom I mention as I just finished her first poetry collection HALF LIT HOUSE (Four Way Books). A lovely book of often elegiac poems that I recommend. (Tina's book, btw, was blurbed by both Timothy Liu and Li Young Lee -- Moi mentions that as it suggests that those engaged in "poetry wars" can learn something from Asian American poets...wink.) It was also nice to see some of the poems which I first read as submissions to Asian Pacific American Journal (I remember then guest editor Arthur Sze taking her poem "Fish Story" and then suggesting that I check with Tina whether she intended in her first stanza (excerpted above) to use "silver" or "sliver." How funny -- I thought either worked -- but it was a good catch by Arthur as Tina did change the spelling to "silver".) Anyway, check it out!
My own modest tsunami relief effort is unlikely to hit four figures but it is rockin' and rollin' along on three figures (which I consider purty good for just doing internet blather as I sits on moi ass here on my hermit's mountain) and, in fact, I got another order in today's snailmail....Yadda!
Friday, January 14, 2005
Obviously, Moi am an inspiration to many. But still.
Which is to say, Moi inspired a character in one of Bino A. Realuyo's short stories, "Lina, Queen of Maids." Apparently, in person I speak in brief sentences -- "with the regularity of a well-greased machine gun." Elsewhere, it says about the character Moi inspired:
I see, she said. She unzipped her Coach bag, and took out a Gucci brush, Take this. I’m free tomorrow at 11 am. Same place.
Her posture, her looks, and her vocal delivery were as regimented as a military leader’s, except the army was in a boutique. She had magazine-cover looks, but not strikingly beautiful. A little airbrush here and there, she could be perfection."
Obviously, it's fiction. I may have a Coach bag but wouldn't touch a Gucci brush with a ten-foot pole. Moreover, in reality, I need no "little airbrush here and there" to achieve perfection.
(aka I AM DOMINANT! NO ONE SHOVES FOOD INTO THAT SNOUT LIKE MOI!)
So in prep for my NY trip next week, I was prepping the dogsitter, specifically about Achilles' diet and how the dawg must be encouraged to eat much. Unfortunately, Achilles isn't food-motivated. So I was sharing with dogsitter some of the tips I've learned, to wit:
“it sometimes help to move food from dog dish to plate (changing context helps)”
Dogsitter just emailed. His reply: "I need to ask, does he sit at the head of the table? And where do you keep your fine china? Don’t want him to feel like he’s slumming."
Ha ha. Everybody's such a fuckin' wise ass.
But learn from me, Grasshopper. This is yet one lesson taught Moi by Mr/s Poetry:
Now, for your wise assedness, your punishment is to chase your tail in vain for ten circles. Go on!
Pinoy Poetics was designed by the very talented visual artist Melissa Nolledo Cristoffels, who recently inaugurated FRAMED PERSPECTIVE, a photo blog! Lovely offerings -- including a cutie-pie shot of her daughter Emilie, who apparently was blown away by paintings of nudes here and there whilst visiting Galatea.
And if you want to peek into Galatea, click on Melissa's current photo of one of Pygmalion's stairs. A photoshopped photo. But, geez, a "chateaux" is believable from that!
The wonders of ... Photoshop.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
THE HISTORY OF PREEN POETICS
Some recent commentary out there in blogland nudges me to post on my blog persona's predilection for preening. And, given Moi ever-growing readership, it seems like a good time to explain something to youse Peeps -- which may number 20,000,022 now but I believe numbered only 10 at the beginning of my blogging days. To wit:
Those who began reading me from the Git-Go may recall that -- through no intention of mine -- I began blogging just at that point of time when many poets began. However, I had no intention then of being part of the poet-blogging trend.
To remind, I began blogging to do a month-long fundraiser for my tiny poetry press (I estimate my initial blog readership was 10 because there were ten oenophiles out there that I was targetting for donations for poetry projects -- hence moi original blog name of "WinePoetics"). In fact, I even announced a few weeks into blogging that I was only going to blog for another couple more weeks or so. Ach, but then the dismay that roiled the internet over the loss of Moi's witticisms! Well, so compassionately, I continued blogging.
But in those (or my) early days of blogging, there were discussions on several poet-blogs about what a poet's blog is supposed to be. And one of the tensions (so to speak) that came up related to this public self-questioning about whether poet blogs were too egotistic....
THAT HIGHLY AMUSED ME.
Of course a poet's blog has to do with ego. A big DUUUUUUH.
Now, this doesn't mean that, in the meantime, the most ego-based blog can't do other useful things (the creation of the hay(na)ku might not have occured without poetry blogland, there's the modest tsunami relief effort, and there's the word to be spread on otherwise obscure-d topics like Filipino literature, emerging poets and artists, and so on....)
But from those early days, I decided to have my blog persona (AND IT IS A PERSONA, DUH) push this aspect of authorial EGO. Hence, Moi infamous Preeeeeens.
And, by the way, people, I am still using this blog as a fundraiser so Moi must often self-promote. But if the goals excuse method, what's a preen or two or more, eh?
Some blogs have themes not based on authorial personality, or some bloggers go all scholarly on "issues" on their blog discussions -- does such make their blogs less self-centered? And who is more honest -- the pontificator who shows off his/her/hir mental prowess or the one who very transparently and very loudly preens? Is it really autohagiography or anti-hypocrisy poetics?
As poetry blogs mature and criticism begins to develop on this "form" (yes, I consider it a "form"), perhaps critics should try to do the same thing that a good critic would do as regards criticizing poetry and art. Try to understand something about what that artist is attempting to do, rather than view that blog from the perspective that a blog/poem/art is supposed to be, or must be, conducted in a certain way. Try, Mr/s Critic, to proceed beyond paradigms as regards form -- try an open mind (it really doesn't hurt as much as you might think, O Cowardly One).
Frankly, I am pleased with Moi: how easy do you think it is to create a prideful personality without causing readership to plummet to zero? True, as I've said before, this phenomenon may be related to how people get fascinated with watching a horrible accident unfold. But, still....
I swiftly add, though, that more people than not have indicated that they do understand that I've undertaken the blog as another venue for performance art, which is to say, Moi ain't I (well, except insofar as I can't extricate myself from any poem I write). That's a relief -- I sure wouldn't want peeps to think I take Preen Poetics seriously. It'd be like taking "seriously" the three pages of rave reviews that begin I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH...e.g. if and when you get your copy, people, consider why the praise is in ... fine print...the kind that'd make you blind from prolonged reading of it...
can there be "safe sex" in Poetry? Or would that be prose?
An order came in today (thank you) for Tsunami Relief involving my 2005 book with a card that sez:
Dear Mrs. English,
I hope you signed a prenuptial contract!
Tee-hee. Well, no. I didn't sign such an agreement before marrying Mr/s Poetry (click here for the version of Moi as a male bride). I was rather reckless ... which mayhap is the best way to couple with Poetry.
But the card's statement reminds me -- so now Moi reminds you -- that, actually, I got some pretty interesting responses on my Wedding Guest Book at the time I got married to Mr/s Poetry. Here's what six poets said (on site at the wedding or virtually):
"Congratulations to Eileen Tabios on her marriage to Poetry, the many tentacled figure and wandering spirit." —John Yau
"Congrats, many happy returns, I'm sure it'll be a long beautiful struggle." —Del Ray Cross
"STOP THE WEDDING. SHE'S MINE! FUCK POETRY! THAT BRIDE'S ALL MINE!" —Alfred Yuson
"Does Mr. Poetry look like Franz Kafka or Nicholas Cage? If like Kafka, I send my blessings!" —Nick Carbo
"My dearest Eileen. Are you sure you want to go through with this? All of your aunties are whispering, but I'm the only one brave enough to say this—we all know Poetry is a cheat and a drunk. What if Poetry makes your life miserable? What about marrying a nice Encyclopedia? A Best Selling Novel? I know, you're young—when I was your age, I thought I knew what I wanted too. Remember you can always divorce the bastard and get half of the stanzas. Love from your Aunt Denise." —Denise Duhamel
"Where are we going for the honeymoon?" —Tony Robles
Interesting, yah? Well, if you want to see more, then check out I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED. And if you do so during January, all proceeds go for tsunami relief -- yes, I belabor the point but it's a good cause for Poetry to feed the world ... rather than only objectify said world into poems.
Wow! And what is awaiting me this morn from the e-mail pile? Why, a very civil and civilized response from St. Marks Bookshop in response to last night's email "plead"-ing that they reorder my two poetry books (scroll below for prior post). Both should be on their shelves in a couple of weeks or so.
As I swiftly blathered back to "Michael" over there, it's so neat to get a nice reply from an email sent cold to an addy found on a website. Anyway, you New Yorkers -- when you patronize the bookstore, do tell Michael he's adored by the Chatelaine....
But I suppose that makes sense, given the bookshop's wonderful poetry offerings (and Moi don't say that just cause they stock Moi): You can't "sell" poetry well without loving it.
When I next return to New York, Dear St. Marks Bookshop, I shall be sure to return the love!
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Saw an email from someone who read Pinoy Poetics and, as a result, decided to switch career choices from architecture to writing poetry.
SELLING BOOKS FROM THE TRUNK OF ONE'S CAR,
the 21st century way, means e-mails like this below which I just lobbed out Eastward. Now, how not to feel ... pathetic(?):
Dear St. Marks Bookshop,
I'm writing because you'd kindly carried my poetry book(s) in the past. I recently heard from a friend in NY who'd tried to purchase a copy but apparently you are out of stock. May I boldly ...uh, plead, that you reorder/restock my books? They are both distributed by Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org) and are
Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002)
Info at: http://marshhawkpress.org/tabios1.htm
Menage A Trois With the 21st Century (xPress(ed), 2004).
Info at http://www.oovrag.com/books/2004xpress.shtml
Thank you very much in advance,
Eileen R. Tabios
OH WISE UP, PEEPS
Lookit. I know this is a poetics blog. And it, too, is relevant that I keep yammering on about my dawg Achilles. Don't you get it? Achilles is
BEST AMERICAN POEM 2005
He's eating the right bird, ain't he?!!!!
Sheesh. Here I thought I was writing a narrative poem and, instead, you critics think I'm writing opaque again!
MOI GOTS WEIRD PEEPS, TOO
... like this one who wrote in, as regards the prior post:
"You dominate Achilles? Yeah, right.
"Deal with it, you are a submissive where he is concerned. You're more likely to end up wearing that collar as he walks you down mainstreet . . .
"What a picture, Achilles on hind legs walking you at the end of a leash down the streets of St. Helena."
Uh. Okay. I suppose ... such is the public life ...
A TURKEY OF A POSTSCRIPT
As regards moi prior post, The Lawyer-Novelist -- who I am happy to see has begun blogging again -- suggests:
"Have you considered ground turkey? Mix it in a pan with a few spices, heat oven to 350 degrees and cook for an hour? Probably more economical than a whole bird. Just a thought. . ."
I am, of course, always appreciative when peeps express their concerns over my culinary activities without degenerating into mad laughter. Thanks, Jim -- but believe it or not, the whole turkey is in addition to about 21 turkey burgers a week...
He may be fragile...but that Achilles is still a BEEEEEG DAAAAAWG!!
There's a reason, after all, why, yesterday, I inaugurated the choke-collar on him. Somehow, cooing poetry at him wasn't making him respect me enough to swiftly follow my commands.
What's funny (I think) about that choke-collar is that, this morning, I told Achilles petsitter about it because said petsitter is as petite as I am. And she said, "Oh, I've been using a choke collar on Achilles for the past six weeks!"
HUUUUH? And she continues blithely, "I didn't tell you immediately because I didn't want to add to your concerns about his health problems...."
Huh. Fortunately, I trust this woman and she's very experienced. But I'm still trying to figure out how to respond to the notion of a choke collar being placed on a dog without the owner's knowledge or consent....Well, fortunately, Galatea's angels also watch over Achilles....
Now, I'm off to go dominate...but with full yogic compassion, of course....
MOI NEVER CLAIMED TO BE CINDERELLA
I can’t do it. First, I was a short order cook. Bad enough. But to be a scullery maid?
To wit: that’s a major bitch to clean an oven after having turkey juice spill within and be baked for hours…
So, there I was this morning haggling with the deli people at Calistoga’s Cal Mart. I walked in there and announced I wanna buy a 10-15 pound turkey, cooked, every week.
After a flurry of explaining it’s for the turkey-specific diet of my allergic dawg Achilles, they said: $52.99 per 10-pound chicken breast.
I was like, WHAAAAT? MOI DON’T THINK SO!!!!! (Yah, I slipped and “Moi slipped out.”)
Deli peep and Moi walked on over to meat department to see if said department could give a cheaper deal.
Then a supervisor walked out. A conference in the aisles, several locals stopping to overhear and give their dos centavos. Which required, of course, in the middle of this fracas Moi having to recount the travails of moi poor dawg Achilles. How his aggravated bowel syndrome and allergies have put him on a narrow diet of turkey, potatoes, pasta, garlic, eggs and tofu. Sniffles all around (this is love-dog-country, after all).
The cheapest solution: $39.99 for a cooked 10-15 pound turkey.
Atsa’ more like it, I thought, since uncooked turkeys go for about $16.00 around here.
Then, as one whose experience with haggling spans the bazaars of Istanbul, the rug stores of downtown New York City, the flea markets of Paris and the sari-sari stores within both India and Philippines, I pointed out, “But I’m talking of buying a turkey once a week for at least two months, if not longer! Surely [STRONG EMPHASIS HERE ON Surely], you MUST have a volume discount?”
Still, I miss dog kibble. Particularly its price.
Fortunately, the sack of potatoes I carried out with me only cost $1.09.
Observe, a rent
oblong and static like the moon I leased
and gave away
for roots in water,
--from "Goat Songs Concerning Certain Dispensations" by Standard Schaefer
GutCult's Winter 2005 issue is out with some lovely offerings. I don't have the chance to post notice of each new issue of online journals that are brought to my attention (okay, that's a non-subtle apology to editors who've emailed me such notices in the past), but am noting GutCult partly because of the interestingly moody two poems by Meritage Press author Barry Schwabsky.
I've not read the entire issue yet, but I've already discovered wonderful poems, including Brian Henry's "Nativity: a verse play in one act" which is possibly the first poem in play format that I can recall reading with intent pleasure.
And Josh Corey's review, I also gotta say, provided useful and pleasurable reading (as a matter of interest even beyond the specifics of the two books being reviewed, which I found fine as an approach here). Anyway, go read.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
I'm looking at a regulator, that mechanism that controls the flow of stinky water when you flush a toilet. There are some yellow-ish words painted on it:
CAN YOU REGULATE
THE FLOW OF DESIRE
YellowISH -- get it? Well, shit -- uh, no pun intended.
And as I turn this thingie on it that, uh, turns, I think to myself: what exactly have I gotten myself into now with the pungent Nick Carbo?
You see, what I'm cradling within Moi wingtips is the first of poem-sculptures that Nick sent for a series of visual/sculptural poetry that he and I will collaborate to create over the next few months. (A longish sentence, yah, but this ain't intended to be a hay(na)ku...)
But, uh, Nick -- does Denise know that the toilet ain't working?
Hope you weren't being a secret Asian Man when you ransacked the bathroom -- that'd be a real stinker for her.
(I think Moi hit a new low with this post...)
With Corina Copp, Susan Howe & Eileen Tabios
Thursday, January 20, 7 P.M.
Room 9204(9th floor), The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 5th Avenue at 34th Street.
New York City
A $7-10 donation is suggested.
Corina Copp can usually be found in or outside the St. Mark's Poetry Project, where she is the Program Assistant. She is the author of Sometimes Inspired by Marguerite (Open 24 Hours Press), and plays "The FACCOR Sessions" and "The Night Room." Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Pom2, Fence, Pindeldyboz and can we have our ball back.
Susan Howe is the author of several books of poems and two volumes of criticism. Her most recent poetry collections are The Midnight (2003), Kidnapped (2002), The Europe of Trusts (2002), Pierce-Arrow (1999), Frame Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979 (1996), The Nonconformist's Memorial (1993), The Europe of Trusts: Selected Poems (1990), and Singularities (1990). Her books of criticism are The Birth-Mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History (1993), which was named an "International Book of the Year" by the Times Literary Supplement, and My Emily Dickinson (1985).
Eileen Tabios’ recent poetry books are Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (2002), Menage à Trois with the 21st Century (2004), and I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (2005). Her awards include the Philippines’ National Book Award for Poetry, the Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award. Read her blog at http://chatelaine-poet.blogspot.com.
Belladonna* is a feminist/innovative reading and publication series that promotes the work of women writers who are adventurous, experimental, politically involved, multi-form, multicultural, multi-gendered, unpredictable, dangerous with language (to the death machinery). In its five year history, Belladonna* has featured such writers as Leslie Scalapino, Alice Notley, Erica Hunt, Fanny Howe, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Cecilia Vicuña, Lisa Jarnot, Camille Roy, Nicole Brossard, Abigail Child, Norma Cole, Lynne Tillman and Carla Harryman among many other experimental and hybrid women writers. Beyond being a platform for women writers, the curators promote work that is experimental in form, connects with other art forms, and is socially/politically active in content. Alongside the readings, Belladonna* supports its artists by publishing commemorative pamphlets of their work on the night of the event. Please contact us (Rachel Levitsky and Erica Kaufman) at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a catalog and be placed on our list.
*deadly nightshade, a cardiac and respiratory stimulant, having purplish-red flowers and black berries
A HEAD'S UP ON SOME OF MOI OTHER UPCOMING GIGS
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Saturday, February 5, 2005
Moi am hosting Small Press Traffic's 10th Annual Soiree
involving "An Evening with Susan Howe"
Tickets are $40; please call 415 551-9278 to order
Listen & Be Heard Poetry Marathon
Saturday, February 12, 2005
12 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Moi will be reading at 1 p.m.)
listen & be heard poetry cafe
818 Marin St.
Wednesday, March 2, 2005
7:00 - 8:45 p.m.
Moi reads with Sandy McIntosh
The auditorium of the John Germany Tampa Public Library
Downtown Tampa, Fla
March 4-6, 2005
Details to come but to involve Austin, or Dallas and/or ____
Monday, January 10, 2005
Well now, the Chatty One sez mischievously, as I was telling Jean about penises, I mean, poems, "size doesn't matter." This serious note, of course, is to her fabulous post about Moi today -- fabulous because it's very complimentary, which is why I shall replicate it below.
But before I do that, you, too, can discover what the heck Jean is talking about AND CONTRIBUTE TO TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORTS!!!!!!!!! Yadda, preen, etcetera!!!!
Speaking of which, I just received her big fat volume, I Take Thee English, for my Beloved, which I have to say made me laugh out loud when I first got a glimpse of it a couple of weeks ago. This is not a derisive laugh, but definitely a Rabelasian belly laugh of delight for a book that presents a serious volume of Tabios' collected and new works, while simultaneously parodying the "collected" form with...what can I say? WICKEDNESS. And a peculiarly Filipina(o) kind of wickedness, too, from the 3 pages packed with tiny-typed promotional "What the Critics are Saying" quotes, to the many nearly-but-not-quite blank pages of footnotes to volumes like "Volume V of the Diary of Samuel Pepys, M.A., F.R.S." for example:
9) Still, when her toes pinched his ankle under the cafe table he laughed for an unexpected reason; he suddenly understood his mouth soon would be intimate with her breasts.
And this, from :
Epilogue Poems (No.11)
I am writing poems now
I told her bated breath
with a letter I signed
I haven't read the whole book yet -- this is going to take some time. I don't mention the [monastic] canon-buster Rabelais without reason here. But immediately I can see that the form this book takes brings into question and sharp relief many of the dark ironies (and also the beauties) of being a poet -- and certainly a Filipina(o) poet -- in the "United" States, subject to, critical of, opting into, romancing, subverting, trying to escape from, the infra-spin-structures of the western publishing industry and its ubiquitous "best-of" canon, not to mention its preferred medium of instruction, love, and dominance: English.
I don't think I've actually said yet on this blog that, yes, the Submissions Period has closed for The Hay(na)ku Anthology. We received many WONDERFUL entries and co-editors Mark Young and Jean Vengua are now reading and sorting with, no doubt, much pleasure. I'll pass on the word as it progresses.
Meanwhile, do please to check out this lovely conversation between Crag Hill and Tom "Miss Your Howl" Beckett over at Will To Exchange. They discuss so many interesting topics but I'll cutnpaste these excerpts below since it's about Moi, I mean, it's about the hay(na)ku:
Crag: Via the As/Is blog I realized I could be an editorial blogger. Thanks to Eileen Tabios, Mark Young, Rachel Kendrick and others, I got hooked by haynaku. Form and content fused: first line, one word declaration, jab, followed by a two word line, a slash an elaboration, capped off by a three word exclamatory thrust of the body and soul. Haynaku whelped the shapeless rants of my notebooks. The form honed, sharpened, the rage, made my points pointed. Just what I was looking for without ever looking for it. These politically-charged haynaku, posted invariably at the end of our ever-increasingly political days, generated immediate response/s. Blogging, in the last year especially, then, has nudged political writing to the surface.
Tom: I want to linger for a moment on the subject of the hay(na)ku. Since that stepped-tercet form first burst from Eileen Tabios' forehead its many-hued offspring have proliferated on blogs around the world. It is a seductive form--compressed, notational, notional, sketchy. It is a form, in its immediacy of expression, that seems made for cyberspace. Truthfully, I have a love-hate relationship with hay(na)ku--it is such a seductive template. One can, if one is somewhat compulsive--and what artist isn't somewhat compulsive--walk around counting words in one's head all day. It's fascinating but limiting too. I'm nattering here by way of eliciting whatever else you might feel compelled to say about hay(na)ku, and I'm specifically interested in knowing if the form is only something you do for cyberspace. I'm just very curious about how people are juggling the cyberspace and print media now. Is the distinction even relevant?
Crag: I, too, have a love-hate relationship with haynaku. Unlike other poetic forms, e.g. sonnet, haynaku’s more flexible, fluid, structured yet free of predetermined meter, rhyme, or closure. I can’t think of much else more seductive than flexibility and fluidity within a familiar structure.
But I sense the form’s limitations so far manifested: as with haiku, haynaku have a preponderance of immediacy, flash of image, quip, aphorism, over depth, one thought tugged down the stairs.
To date I’ve written haynaku exclusively for cyberspace. Would I include haynaku in a print collection of my poetry? It remains to be seen.
I know I need to see the body of haynaku accumulating, aka the anthology in progress/process by Mark Young and Jean Vengua, before I say much more of the form, yet it has been a pleasure to witness the birth of haynaku (how the heaven did Eileen Tabios push this form into existence), to observe its infancy, its stumbling, skipping toddler, wondering what its adolescence will unfold.
Tom: Yeah, I can't wait for the tyke to hit puberty. Personally, I'm looking forward to hay(na)ku with raging hormones.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
I've started a new project -- POEM FINE ARTS -- that attempts to structure the art gallery as a poem. It's actually a project that I've spent years considering (partly because I have as much of an interest in chatting up relatively unknown artists as I do for poets -- there's so much wonderful talent out there that's not known and may never be known to the "establishment(s)"). And now that I'm proceeding with the gallery, I wanted to be sure I did a journal about its process because, at some point, I plan to use the journal for extensions of this project.
Said extensions may include developing a case study (say, for use by M.B.A. students....hmmmm, come to think of it, by M.F.A. students, too) on the economics of art galleries -- a topic that fascinates me in part for their reliance on cultural as much as financial capital.
Anyway, rather than writing a private diary, I'm blogging my journal on POEM FINE ARTS for several reasons:
--doing a public blog somehow encourages me to articulate and write down my thoughts. I've started many private journals that ran out of steam and yet I note that I don't have that feeling yet about, say, this blog....so I'm hoping the blog maintains my energy for writing down the conceptual underpinnings for this project.
--I'm in dialogue with several art world professionals over this project, and a blog seems as convenient a way as any for me to share my thoughts and maintain an archive for said thoughts, rather than sending them emails that they then need to save and file on their own.
There are other reasons, but, for now, just to say that POEM FINE ARTS is my newest link.
Being Missy Winepoetics, it's not unusual for Moi to dine with peeps engaged in a pissing contest.
B brought the 1989 Penfolds Grange figuring that'd blow Moi away.
Unfortunately for him, I'd brought the 1982 Monfortino which blew away his otherwise respectable bottle.
B begrudgingly said, "Okay, you won the wine match tonight."
Moi wasn't competing but Moi suspects were I a man, I'd have felt like I'd just finished comparing dicks.
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Two more orders in today's snailmail for my modest Poetry Book For Tsunami Relief Program. Thank you unay nga unay.
Friday, January 07, 2005
To bring in the weekend, Moi am happy to present Guest Poet Charles Pastrana Valle whose poem "Imagining Autumn...." caught moi lovely eyes with its lovely music. If you don't know Charles, I happen to have his bio on hand (due to another project) so to cut and paste:
Charles Pastrana Valle's migratory path slopes east: Manila, SoCal, Brooklyn, NY. He got his BA from UC Irvine and his MFA from Notre Dame. His work has appeared in various journals, including KIOSK, Goodfoot, eye~rhyme, etc. Also the Managing Editor of Fence Magazine.
Interestingly, he apparently once tried to submit this poem to the Asian Pacific American Journal (which I once edited) but his submission was returned as it was sent to an old address. Well, serendipity! And now, here is his poem:
or Lola Pastrana uncovers a curious parcel from America
Gloved for the turning
How a hillside slips with a hitch
of wind or murmurs in time
A palimpsest of decay
Leaves in distress -- autumnal
in song: a cacophony
of brown, yellow or whisper
in red -- say: I feel your spine
extend from stem to your tip
ridges raised in silhouette…
You are paper You are thin
She will read your arterial
curves pressed flat -- gathered in a box,
she will imagine a language
for your seasons -- she, who only
translates fall as the ending
of monsoons -- she will create
your branch, your roots digging down…
What do you say to someone
who cannot name new worlds?
*find the green one with five fingers on fire*
Ah. Friday! So, from this morning's blog jog:
"Despite the two novels and a number of short fiction (and theoretical essays, for which the student needed much preparation) I assigned, the majority of class discussion revolved around poetry. This was probably the most revelatory part: I was consistently surprised, then amazed, at the multiple levels of interpretation that the class could come up with -- sometimes only when discussing a couple of lines! (And these were from at least one student who confessed, at the beginning of the class, that they didn't like poetry because they couldn't understand it!)"
Nice to read that, Sunny. And thanks to you and, on another matter, Ally for the nods.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Jukka, Jukka, Jukka, Jukka, Jukka!!!!
Jukka puts down his forlorn glass of forlorn water and replies, "Yes, Eileen. I understand that's a very nice wine but ..."
"No, no Silly Jukka," the Chatty One rudely interrupts.
"I'm not tugging at your cuffs to share my vino (a nice Forman tonight -- Sip). Go on over and lookit what Steve said!!!! About our menage a trois!!!" (Pun intended of course...)
And as Jukka goes on over to lookit what Steve said, the Chatty One flies on over to Catherine's and sez, "Kasia: You, too! No, give me back my glass! I mean, lookit at what Steve said, not drink my wine!"
(Thanks, Steve. I would have said so on your Comments but couldn't access it for some reason. And I admire Catherine Daly's DaDaDa for the very reasons you highlight...!)
Okay. Yawn. Off to bed....
This morning, a Buffalo Poetics e-mail pointed me to Joan Houlihan's review of Best American Poetry 2004 guest edited by Lyn Hejinian.
At some point today, I wrote up an absolutely brilliant -- stupendous genius et al -- blog post on Joan and Lyn (hmmm....wonder why I suddenly feel on first name basis, or is it bases, with them. Anyway...)
Anyway, a brilliant bit of prose by Moi. Then, just as I was gonna post it now for moi beloved Peeps, I thought, Naaaaaaahhhhh....on this matter, I simply don't give enough of a shit.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Private donations for tsunami relief from U.S. citizenry have been generous, reported this morning at topping $200 million. Is there -- and this is a question, not a proclamation by Moi -- a disconnect between such a statistic of generosity and how so many of these same donors have remained untouched by equivalent if not larger death tolls caused by man-made wars?
I am thinking that the difference between a "natural" disaster and human-made war is that people don't need to think through the issue of nature's ruptures. That is, to confront war, people need to think, analyze, and/or make a determination of which side is "right" or "wrong" (if that is even an apt perspective). In the equal-opportunity damage inflicted by nature, they need only to band together in sincere sympathy against what human beings suffer.
Where are the days of thinkers?
Not always, but perhaps silence is the enemy of thought. (If a thought is thought but not uttered, did the tree fall in the forest?) In fact, I even sense somewhat of an undammed surge in these private donations -- as if people have known for a long while, without understanding, that there's something awfully wrong in the world and at least there is no downside to donating for the victims of an "enemy" like the tsunami.
The outpouring of tsunami aid from people who otherwise remain silent on ongoing starvation and battle deprivations reminds me somewhat of those sci-fi flicks .... where nations war against each other but unite in defense against an invasion from Martians or other peeps from outer space.
Yesterday or so, I noticed the links on my blog referral list exceed 70 -- possibly the highest number it's ever reached. I hope this means donations will rise since this blog, yes, is TALKING ABOUT TSUNAMI. (You can even get a poetry book cum doorstop for your donation.) Remember that long after the immediate needs for assistance will be required reconstruction programs throughout the region.
Relatedly, so President Bush has asked former Prezes Bush Sr. and Clinton to spearhead a national fundraising drive for tsunami relief. Call me a cynic but the relatively swift upsurge in donations is about as good a poll can be on how supporting the victims of this disaster is a vote-getter.
Presumably, citizens would donate anyway whether or not there was a Presidential troika involved here.
But I do know better. There will at least be an extra buck or so (hopefully extra million bucks plus or so) donated just to be part of this Presidentially-headed Fundraiser. Because the dark side of charity giving is that it's often socially-oriented to benefit one's status in society.
I know this because (with a very few exceptions) poetry-giving doesn't have the social cachet as giving to the opera, ballet et al (not to say these aren't worthy causes, of course). Black tie for Poetry, anyone?
Ah well -- there is, no doubt, an etymological link between cash and cach-et.