Monday, October 31, 2005
Halvard Johnson has a project where he's gathered together a group of interested people and he emails them poems by other poets. I vaguely recall a conversation with Halvard once where he said he likes reading poems one at a time -- something like that. I've always respected how he found a way, in this e-age, of creating the small, profound gesture in which Poetry quietly blossoms. Today, I received his latest e-mailed poem and it purr-fectly captures my mood this morning, so I replicate here. 'Tis by cherished and beloved Philip Lamantia:
A Civil World
...In a moment their faces will be visible.
...You shall see the women who walk in a night of offensive sunlight that cuts through their cardboard thighs.
...As the street is cleaned by the presidents of the nation, I can see the bowlegged men moving over to copulate with the maniacs.
...As a rose runs down an alley, a purple nugget, giving off some blood, is suspended in air.
...The children who are ten feet tall are wet.
...Their faces are scorched, their eyes cut by glass.
...They play their games as a steeple topples, as a clown's laugh is heard in church.
...Quietly the mothers are killing their sons; quietly the fathers are raping their daughters.
...But the women.
...The eye wanders to a garden in the middle of the street.
...There are poets dipping their diamond-like heads in the luminous fountain. There are grandmothers playing with the delicate toys of the chimera. There are perfumes being spilt on the garbage. There is a drunken nun flying out of a brothel.
...The women are all colors.
...Their breasts open like flowers, their flesh spreads over the park like a blanket. Their hair is soaked in the blood of their lovers, those who are the mirrors of this night.
...The naked lovers! All of them, fifteen years old! One can still see their hair growing! They come from the mountains, from the stars even, with their handsome eyes of stone. Ah, these somnambulistic lovers, with their bellies full of arrows!
...After the street has recaptured its loneliness, a precious stone casts its light on the perambulator I am to enter. One perambulator in the center of a world. A poet--far way in the mountains--can be heard chanting like an ape. I wonder when he will stop?
fr. *Selected Poems: 1943-1966*
[San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1967]
Sunday, October 30, 2005
And some Peeps's minds scramble out of the gutter to read her recent relishes:
ANOTHER NIGHT, poems by Mark Lamoreux
FILM POEMS, poems by Mark Lamoreaux
TWENTY RUPTURED PARAGRAPHS FROM A PERFECTLY FUNCTIONAL BOOK, poems by Noah Eli Gordon
NORTH OF ITHAKA, memoir by Eleni N. Cage
RUNNING TO THE MOUNTAIN: A JOURNEY OF FAITH AND CHANGE, memoir by Jon Katz
THE DOGS OF BEDLAM FARM, memoir by Jon Katz
NEW WORK FOR DOGS, articles by Jon Katz
ONE YEAR, memoir by Jon Katz
DEATH AND THE SUN: A MATADOR'S SEASON IN THE HEART OF SPAIN by Edward Lewine
EARLY MORNING: REMEMBERING MY FATHER, WILLIAM STAFFORD, memoir by Kim Stafford
HIGH TIDE TUCSON, essays by Barbara Kingsolver
BEYOND OBEDIENCE: TRAINING WITH AWARENESS FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG by April Frost and Radi Lightmark
KNITTING, novel by Anne Bartlett
J. Reynaud 1990 Chateaux de Fonsalette Reserve
2002 Dutch Henry Los Carneros chardonnay
2003 Laurel Glen "Reds"
2004 Dr. Loosen Riesling
1990 Ch. Leoville Barton
2002 Summers Charbono Napa Valley
1994 Remelluri Rioja
2002 Bennett Lane "Maximus" cabernet
Saturday, October 29, 2005
As regards my prior post, I should clarify that the error I'm talking about is not a typo or, say, a missing punctuation mark (one of you peeps did suggest that and you get one book's credit for being the first to suggest that, but I'm talking about a bigger error). So go to it, Peeps -- another FREEBIE BOOKS offer from the Chatelaine who believes Poetry is to be given away...!
Meanwhile, the ass, I mean, my good friend and even better poet Sandy McIntosh writes in:
"The wabi-sabi thing. Two thoughts: I first heard about it through a friend in Florida (who shall remain nameless [It's true: he was actually born without a name!]), who uses it to excuse his mediocre performance with tasks such as personal hygiene or cleaning the bathroom.
"On the positive side, there are lines from a Leonard Cohen song that go:
"Forget about your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."
Friday, October 28, 2005
Just got my copies of the hard-copy version of POST BLING BLING. Came out beautifully! Thanks again to poet-publisher and book designer Bill Allegrezza who's doing such great work with his Moria Poetry.
So, to celebrate, here's another potential engagement with you. In POST BLING BLING, there is a deliberate error somewhere in the text. Perfection, you see, is boring....hence, I secretly incorporated wabi sabi, the Japanese concept of imperfect beauty. Wikipedia quotes Richard Powell for saying, "It (wabi-sabi) nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." Well, to me -- that's akin to Poetry.
And I think the notion is also found among Native American weavers who deliberate weave some imperfection into their rugs. That imperfect space allows for the spirit of others to enter...
In POST BLING BLING, only attentive reading will discover the error. And the discovery of the error is another means to make more intimate the reader's engagement with the poems in the book. Such was moi rationale, anyway. So to the folks who discover the error in POST BLING BLING and alert me -- email me at GalateaTen@aol.com -- you will receive free copies of some of my books (as author and editor) listed below. You can figure it out, by the way, by going to the free and downloadable version of POST BLING BLING as that error also exists in the .pdf version.
Those who catch the effort -- and are the first ten respondents -- will receive free copies of
POST BLING BLING (the hard copy)
I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED
REPRODUCTIONS OF THE EMPTY FLAGPOLE
MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY
THE ANCHORED ANGEL: SELECTED WRITINGS BY JOSE GARCIA VILLA
BABAYLAN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FILIPINA AND FILIPINA-AMERICAN WRITERS
PINOY POETICS: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL WRITINGS ON FILIPINO AND FILIPINO AMERICAN POETICS
More and more, I'm being asked to review poetry books (something I do haphazardly). I'm not irritated or anything like that when I'm asked. What I do get irritated by is how people who ask....don't send me a review copy. Suck it in, people. If you wanna ask a favor, invest in the cost of the review copy!
Which is to say, some poet-peeps of late ALSO say they'd be willing to send an e-file if I wanna review their books. That's even more irritating to me -- it just means you're not understanding something about the "bookness" of the book. Otherwise, why not just xerox sheaves of paper together? Why create a "book"?!
Now some reviewers, I understand, do prefer e-files vs the real book object. Okay, that's their prerogative. But it's one thing to give them that option vs positing that's the only alternative for their reviewing the book. You don't gain without investing (the cost of the book) and it's, in my opinion, just plain rude anyhoo.
Which is a ranting introduction to lead me to say re said notion of bookness:
How the "book" is a form that warrants its own raison d'etre is magnificently manifested by Mark Lamoreaux's FILM POEMS (Katalancha Press, 2005). (Btw, Mark or his publisher didn't ask me to write about his collection; I'm just doing so voluntarily.) Here's an excerpt from a brief prefatory note wherein Mark shares:
"These poems were written in the darkened theater as the films themselves took place on the screen...Thus, the poems are an attempt to mimetically simulate the experience of viewing the films: as the film unfolds for the first time, so does the poem -- consequently each poem's destination is uncertain. Like film, the poem are intended as an homage to light and time."
And, yes, the texts convince that Lamoreaux achieved what he intended. I savored many of the poems; here's the beginning of "ARTAVARZD PELESHIEN: 'MY (WE)'"
.........lame eyed atmospheric
the air overhead hangs hands
schema wave pulse
...........blood made of men & women
(I insert the dots above to create indents as I'm too lazy to figure out how to create space-caesuras.)
Now y'all are smart Peeps so I know I don't have to ponderously explicate how the sample reflects the poet's intention to pay homage to time and light.
Or, check out this short poem in its totality:
.....A face ........ sweat
I have no idea what this particular movie is about. But if you eliminate the title, the words transcend their source. The words can be about so many other things that the reader's subjectivity can conjure: e.g. all sorts of births, from a baby to a book to a painting and so on. Nifty -- the space for the reader!
But what I also want to share is the "bookness" or physicality of the book which would be lost were I to be writing about the same collection but by simply looking at an e-file or pdf.
The cover is or looks like corrugated cardboard. There is a black-and-white sticker that announces the title 'FILM POEMS" with "FILM" against a white backdrop and "POEMS" against a black backdrop. Open it to see -- YADDA! -- a blue transparent film or film-like plastic thingie. The paper stock is glossy -- filmy, get it? The choice of font exudes -- to my eyes -- a noir-ishness. To wit, the object beautifully attests to its theme: "film poems"!!
One might quibble and ask what the heck corrugated cardboard has to do with the title. From a sculptural perspective, its surprise and texture emphasizes the film-ey contents (Check! did my art critic thing du jour with this paragraph). Brilliant book design, in other words.
UPDATE: After writing and posting this post, I learn that, actually, Mick at Katalancha Press designed the book to look like an issue of Film Culture magazine from the 60's that has a similar corrugated look. Yadda!
I am grateful this arrived unexpectedly in my snailmail box. But you, too, can exult in this exulting experience for a mere $6: Mark Lamoreaux's "FILM POEMS".
It took me years to understand how the book is its own aesthetic form and not just a means for collecting individual poems (it took years also to get past the idea that a poetry book needs to be decided by a "market" of poetry publishers who are constrained by money, the product's limited demand, or the contest infrastructure, among other elements). Of my own eleven poetry collections, only two were created with the consciousness of addressing their book-ness, and they are among my most recent books I TAKE THEE, ENGLISH, FOR MY BELOVED (there is a reason why that original wedding photo is the cover image) and MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY (how the unidentified lady on the cover is "I" but also the poetry's collection's characters of Enheduanna and Gabriela Silang). (My other books are more typical of poetry collections where the book-collected-rationale is presented mostly via how the text unfolds.)
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Yup. Got it. Figured out how to do the ONE book that will encompass ALL of the blurbs -- 173 to date -- given for my BLURBED BOOK PROJECT.
The key lies in determining the form. So determined.
Worth a nota bene, moithinks.
Working title: META-FORCE.
Thanks to all who've sent blurbies and a second N.B. that I'll continue to take blurbs until Dec. 31, 2005.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
coz I just snorted some 2002 Summer charbono through my nose at it.
Said snort occurring when I checked an email to see it addressed to one "Professor Eileen Tabios." As I replied to the e-mailers, I'ma professor of grapes here in Napa Valley where I pretend to be a winemaker....
Anyhoot....and she wipes off the screen with a tissue....Hmmmm: actually, it seems that some peeps just can't get enough of moi blather. I just finished an interview and now here's another request! I mean, I'm losing track of all the lies, ahem, fictions that I'm blithely tossing at the world from the mountain where I've parked my ass.
Wipe, wipe. Anyhoot again: here's an excerpt from the interview I just finished (and more details later for the whole kitten kaboodle):
Question: While your most recent collections have been poetry collections, I do know that you also write short fiction. Which form appeals to you more and why?
Moi: I no longer distinguish between forms (e.g. poetry vs fiction). I think all of what I do is a poet's practice -- or my poetic practice. That not only includes what I write (and in what form) but how I relate to other people, how I vote, how I blog, how I try to respect the mountain on which I'm blessed to live, how I cook (or not cook), how I watch TV (or not watch TV)....
Because I wish to live my Poetry vs trap it on the page, this kind of focus on genre is, for me, amateur hour.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
So my "kili kili" post of yesterday is apparently generating laughs. There's Rhett's hay(na)ku about the armpit serenade.
And Rebecca alerts me to a childhood saying (her childhood):
is a found poem (courtesy of DEATH AND THE SUN: A MATADOR'S SEASON IN THE HEART OF SPAIN by Edward Lewine) which I just posted over at moi Gasping Poem Blog....which I mention because Gasps made Billy Jones aka Billy The Blogging Poet's list of "100 Blogging Poets in 100 Days."
Moi Gasps are No. 41
Thanks for the shout-out, Billy.
Monday, October 24, 2005
"I was born in the Philippines. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles where not an inch was spared from the political debate of boys who wore blue bandanas in their back pockets versus boys who wore overflowing plaid shirts. I was accepted into an Ivy League school because of my mediocre foreign language score in Russian: a Filipina living in Los Angeles speaking Russian (though poorly) was too multicultural to deny. Years later, I married a Russian peasant's descendant. One day he stuck his tongue in my ear to wake me. I bolted upright and turned to him in confusion. My hair was white against my eyeballs. He announced, "Kili kili." I replied, "What the hell?" The Jew in my bed pouted and asked, "Isn't 'Kili kili" Filipino for 'I love you'?" I placed my teeth on his pale shoulder and replied softly, "No. 'Mahal kita' is Tagalog for 'I love you'. "kili kili' is Ilocano for 'armpit' -- you got caught in one of life's twists-and-turns."
The above paragraph is an excerpt from my piece in BABAYLAN called "Excerpts from an Aborted Honest Autobiography." I share it because, this weekend, there was a huge clan gathering in Los Angeles which I attended with my hubby.
As with such clan gatherings, I saw "cousins" I haven't seen in years or decades, including four sisters whom I last saw about 35 years ago. We had met during my first summer in the U.S.; I was ten years old. It was in Bakersfield, CA. They came up to me this weekend, and reminded me of who they were. Then one shyly took a book out from under her arm and asked, "Will you sign it?"
Wow. It's only the second time that a relative has asked me to sign one of my books and, yes -- there was that same look I saw the first time it happened with a relative. There's a look where, They think they know you but they're thinking ... maybe not really....It's disconcerting.
And the first relative who asked me to sign one of my books with that look in her eyes? My mother.
But, wait. That's not the punch line of this story. The punch line -- and why I share the first paragraph of this post excerpting from my BABAYLAN piece -- is that, before the gathering was over, the four sisters ambushed my husband. And they started singing at him:
"Kili kili! Kili kili! Kili kili!"
When I finally stopped laughing long enough to look at my husband, he had that long-suffering look on his face. He gave me the evil eye which I translate for you as him thinking:
Poetry, schmoetry. Your poetry next has led me to this idiocy:
THERE ARE FOUR STRANGE FEMALES SINGING AT ME: ARMPIT! ARMPIT! ARMPIT!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
is the title of an ANIMATED (!) version of the hay(na)ku by Stephen Johnson (do check it out but you'll need Java, and I ain't talkin' about the cuppa, to see the installation).
Another new aficionado of the form is Antonia Hollander.
Last but not least, Iris Lee introduces "The Linear Variation" of the hay(na)ku; an example is posted over at the Hay(na)ku Blog below the top post.
And lookit how Iris stumbled onto the hay(na)ku! She writes that she works for the New York Quarterly which hosts a monthly reading series at Cornelia Street Cafe. Well, Iris was at a recent reading there where Shanna Compton read a hay(na)ku -- and that motivated her to write (the linear variation) of the form!!! So thanks to Shanna as well for inspiring Iris!
THANKS all for continuing to love the hay(na)ku form!
Friday, October 21, 2005
Met an artist today. Discussed, in part, how attendance at art fairs take away from his studio time and he resents it.
I'm glad I consider the world my studio. I mean, there are pros and cons to this approach. And it's always a difficult balancing act to be in the world without getting adversely affected by the chosen porousness.
But, I think, I'm ultimately glad my approach is what it is.
YOU should be, too. Because if I didn't consider my studio space to lack walls, I wouldn't be blogging and, Dear Peeps, are you here reading Moi or are you here reading Moi?
Have a good weekend.
Okay. So Kevin Killian roped me in again. I've agreed to do a ten-minute play for Small Press Traffic's Poets Theater Jamboree next spring. The last time Kevin asked me to do a play which was shortly after I'd moved from New York to the Bay Area (an aside I mention since I've always been so gratified by how the supremely generous Kevin went out of his way to meet me and make me feel welcome), I said I'd never done a play before.
Kevin replied, Not a problem.
I said, Okay.
He said, Gimme a title.
I still didn't know what to do so I made up the most outlandish title I could think of, to wit:
WHEN I WAS JASPER JOHNS' FILIPINO LOVER....
Months later, a week or so before I was skedded to offer this play, I still didn't know what to do and, moreover, I now was looking at that title and cursing moiself out. I mean, what exactly do you do with a title like that?
Prior to which, by the way, I did make that infamous request of Kevin to find me ten Bay Area poets who'd be willing to get nekkid for my play...hee.
Well, Michelle came to the rescue by allowing me to throw her into the play for a five-or-so minute performance of the Kali martial art. Great. That left 5 more minutes for me to do something. Then I threw Barbara in there, roping her in yet again to wear my original wedding dress, to do some lame dialogue or two, whatever I could concoct, Still under ten minutes. Geez: I had no clue that ten minutes could last so long. Finally, I was saved by Summi Kaipa agreeing to do a strip tease, beginning from the back of the theater as she wound her bodacious bod up to the stage.
I was the first to be surprised at how the play's text would come to be reprinted in ZYZYVVA.
So as I replied to Kevin, Okay, I'll do a play. Don't know yet what I'll concoct but I specialize in wingin' it.
So without knowing what the hell I mean, this will be the title of my Poets' Theater play for SPT this January:
LOVE(R) FOR SALE:: TANGO: ALMOST ARGENTINIAN AND DECONSTRUCTED BY E-BAY
Yadda. Yadda. Heat up January: COME TANGO WITH MOI!
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Eileen to Philip Lamantia: I can't draw a straight line to save my life.
Philip to Eileen: Then draw a curved line.
Did 22 visuals today. By "visuals", I think to mean a melding of visual poetry and pure drawing. That prior statement may be meaningless.
Suffice to say, I took four series of stickers "found" at a local bookstore. Series of cats, fish, barnyard animals and text. The text are all sayings that address office environments and begin with "I Heart..." and that's a red heart there instead of the word "heart". For instance, "I heart my hard drive" -- get the pun? Then I "drew" these stickers across what ended up to be 22 pages of drawing paper. I consider these "drawings" in that my placements of the stickers -- while somewhat paying attention to narrative in juxtaposition of figures as well as application of "I heart..." statements (a la thought balloons) -- were also about delineating multimensional space vs inheriting a flat field of the page.
"Hang ten" poetics in that I lost control to the waves of the process. I like the results. I could jpeg them all -- from such jpegs even create a monograph. But why freeze the waves, thereby losing their nature? Waves rise, hurtle forth their energy and spread their impact, then dissipate into nothingness ... or memory ... or misremembered memory ... or myth. Mayhap, like Poetry.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Speaking of seamlessness between life and poetry (I was speaking of it in an ongoing interview) "Galatea" itself is one of my performance art installations -- what better target (for ye olde seamlessness) than to make sure my residence wasn't just a place to hold a kitchen and a bed but serves an extension of the Poetry? So, per moi poetics, Galatea is a site where wine, art, poetry and nature converge.
And while in L.A. this past weekend, I bolstered the art component by filling in some holes (paintings by Manuel Ocampo and Chris Oliveria), acquiring installation/photograph works by German Artist Sabina Dehnel, and acquiring a painting by Stella Lai. Dehnel and Lai's exhibits are currently among the best now up in Southern California (peeps in Southern Cal can check the Galatea Art Blog for more info on venues, et al).
This is also to say that there are peeps who know me less as a poet and more as an art lover. One of these buddies recently sent me links to this article from WIRED which I excerpt below:
"In 1998, NYU business school professors Michael Moses and Jianping Mei began an unusual experiment. They would track every transaction involving objects that had sold more than once at auction at the major New York houses since 1875. By creating a single database, they could see how art performs against traditional investment vehicles like stocks and bonds. Four years and 13,000 data points later, they published the Mei Moses All Art Annual Index. What it proved ran contrary to conventional wisdom in the worlds of finance and art.
"The index revealed that fine art was a far more reliable investment than is commonly thought. In the five decades after 1953, fine art appreciated at 10.4 percent, a compound annual rate remarkably close to the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which posted a return of 10.9 percent. Moses and Mei also disproved the hoary maxim that masterpieces make the best investments. They showed that lesser-known (and thus cheaper) works appreciate at a higher rate."
Well -- youse can't pull the wool over this ex-financier's eyes. It's against the odds for artists to do "well" enough that their works make it to auction once, let alone twice. The conclusions from this article could be dangerous to the non-savvy with money to invest. You've heard the BEWARE here!
The most savvy investment counsel I've ever heard -- and given -- is engage in art (and poetry) for Love.
Ernesto Priego has translated my favorite poem from my Gabriela Silang series (from moi book MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY).
Muchas gracias Ernesto. I plan to read it in an upcoming reading along with the English version.
I think this is the first translation of any of my poems into Spanish. I've not been translated that often. Prior to Ernesto's generosity, I'd only been translated once ... to Japanese.
Well, actually, I should say that I've been "translated" frequently to other media -- like paintings, mixed-media works, sculpture, video, dance, vizpo, kali martial arts movements, a mosaic....once, even a quilt. A rumor about that a yarn artist is also translating some of my poems into scarves. But into other languages, not much. Never been translated into any of the Filipino languages, for instance (I have a theory about this which I shall keep private -- wink -- as there's no need to hoo-haa it until a pinoy ever translates any of my poems into Filipino).
So I am very grateful for this honor -- here's Ernesto's poem:
"Pasar de largo el nacimiento". Mientras Gabriela vuelve a pensarlo todo
(-tras la lectura de "Plot" de Claudia Rankine y el video de Doug Atiken, "Into The Sun")
Estoy aprendiendo a no anhelar
la amnesia. Como cuando veo
libélulas fuera de servicio
empujándose en el aire
como esposos con ojos morados --
Centavos negros interrumpen el brillo del sol:
una experiencia conocida para
los viajeros que visitan "Namibia
en busca de pura luz" --
Pero la termodinámica de las despedidas
produce "el olor de las axilas,"
los rastros del cansancio. Hasta
que lo que sostiene el cuarto es
dejada contra una pared --
La delgada línea de piel
rompe un campo de visión
y si, como tú dices, "cada corte
genera un nuevo affair"
No me sorprende --
Por siglos, grabadores
inmoralizaron los stigmata
en los miembros de vírgenes y santos,
ojos abiertos y blancos,
para expresar exaltación --
Ayer, una poeta de grandes pestañas
vestida en seda de Prusia dulcemente
declaró: "¡Estoy enamorada
del mercado de valores!"
En algún lado, un tifón
no pudo devastar
un paisaje tupido
de violetas, tortugas, dientes de león --
Siento un recuerdo
surgir de los días de incesante luz
cuando ignoraba a todos mis ancestros
para mirar fíjamente al sol:
la opacidad fresca de una catedral
donde las manos entraban en tazones de mármol
buscando agua bendita cuyo almizcle se quedaba
en mis dedos de filigrana
como para enfundar mi carne
contra todo lo que vendrá
y lo que no vendrá
y la respectiva importancia,
acaso, del Amor --
So today I'm sending off my "pen pal" letter -- make it package -- to Weez. This was a fun project inaugurated by Veronica. Reminded me, unfortunately, of how absolutely crummy my handwriting has become -- I even wonder if the recipient will be able to read my letter.
This is also to say, I absolutely ADORED the packet that Lorna sent me for this project. Frida Kahlo, enchanting ephemera, and this hay(na)ku came in the mail:
Then blue dream.
The surrealism provided an effective minimalistic but equally resonant balance to the letter which was just one lush glade; as Lorna puts it, "brevity was never my forte". Pearls as words like
...I see that. Instantly. In you -- a sea garden, sun-kissed grape. Wait for the sour to pass, for the pucker of autumn to begin. Good tastes of summers come to pass up ahead. Good rocks. Solid California burl, manzanita arms burnished by squirrel -- and heat. Hot things. Plates full of risa, arroz, basil; your profusion, syllables unfolding fast. The fast. The too fast girls (like us?) protruding to our Fast...
...and on. Lorna can riff! And the colors!
But then also her stickers -- hilarious -- all over the envelope...and how she rewrote the the back cover corporate identifyer on one card that said "Autumn Leaves" to this where the noun becomes -- in the tradition of many effective poems -- a verb:
Thank you, Lorna. Gracias. Salamat.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
So I and a poet who'd agreed to blurb my 2006 book, The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I, recently decided to defer -- rather, "forego" is more accurate -- the blurb. It was a decision reached amicably (and with "fondness"). Though he'd agreed and was preparing to write a blurb, he hadn't yet gotten to it due to his busy schedule....and I decided to use his delay as also a means for letting him off the hook on said blurb as I'd long been conflicted about relying on blurbs.
The BLURBED BOOK PROJECT has focused me on my uneasiness with this practice (along with many others in the poetry world, e.g. awards, prize competitions and so on). I'd like to use more imagination in presenting my poems rather than lapsing to methods that are so problematic (for me) in the first place. Not to say that I succeed 100% of the time from avoiding being enmeshed in poetry world ridiculousness....but blurbs of my poetry books is certainly something I can control: I can say Yea or Nay to the practice.
Of course I've relied on blurbs in the past, as you can see here per Catherine Daly's blurbed suggestion. But I didn't use blurbs for my last two books as I considered more and more the ramifications of the practice. That I had asked more recently for a blurb for my Punctuations book just shows that I faltered in my poetry practice. This isn't to say that I am dissing those who use blurbs, by the way (the abuse of the practice is not the tale of this post and I can certainly appreciate how certain blurbers offer them from a sincere desire to support other poets they consider worthy). I just have the hope that I can try to avoid having my poetry mired in elements that contradict my desired way of practicing Poetry.
So wait till you see what I'll have done with my 2006 book's blurbless back cover -- it'll be both blurb-full and blurb-less! It's brilliant, if Moi say so moiself and Moi always do. Hadda be preen-worthy, of course, to pass by moi genius publisher's standards (I mean, all youse gotta do is check his blogs to see how his support inspires to keep pushing the art, rather than the blather about such.)
So I officially declare, no more blurbs for Moi -- except, natch, for this! (the latest of which means, from Barry Schwabsky, Moi would love to lovingly knife you!)!
Monday, October 17, 2005
made it to a high school student workshop in Washington D.C. taught by Lorna Dee!
I was particularly pleased to see that it was for high schoolers as I always thought the hay(na)ku form would be a nifty teaching tool for young uns. After all, its one-, two-, three-word tercet is partly inspired by a Filipino child's rhyme:
Ang Tatay mo y kalbo (sp)
which translates literally to
Yo Daddy is bald.
Below is the cutnpasted announcement of SPT's Book of the Year awards, as voted on by SPT's Board of Directors of which I am a member -- Congrats to Joanne Kyger, Jeanne Heuving, Christine Hume, Paolo Javier, Ron Silliman (whose winning book, as I'd blogged previously, turned moi bathwater cold), Kaia Sand...as well as the anthology BITING THE ERROR: FORTY WRITERS EXPLORE NARRATIVE (Coach House Books, 2004) edited by Mary Burger. Robert Glück, Camille Roy, and Gail Scott.
Now, I just want to say one thing. Though it's difficult at times to avoid bumping into the whole award infrastructure, I don't actually think that highly of the notions of awards (and competitions) et al for poetry. Of course I celebrate with poet-friends who receive such awards, but poetry awards -- a moronic oxymoron in my view -- aren't anything I lose sleep over. All this is a preamble to say, I am particularly happy for Paolo Javier whose book, the time at the end of this writing, received the award because I didn't vote for it.
I didn't vote for it because I thought it more important to avoid any seeming conflict -- i.e., my presence is evident in Paolo's book through the Acknowlegements noting my inclusion of one of his vizpos in my Six Directions exhibit and the presence of one of my own poems, with which he'd done a collaboration and then included in the book. I'm also blogging about this because when peeps pick up Paolo's book (if you haven't already), you will see my name mentioned several times. Anyway, people who know us also may have heard us call each other jokingly but lovingly "P-Mum" and "P-son." So, I didn't vote for Paolo's book which is significant in that vote-getting (for instance only two of my choices made it to be included in the top five vote-getters). This actually means that Paolo's book really did deserve its placement because it also impressed enough of the other Board members and, Dear P-son, I am very proud of you. And I know you understand my voting decision as "Tough Love."
Anyhoot, here's the Official Stuff; Congrats to all winners:
Every year the board of directors of Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center votes a Lifetime Achievement Award to a living writer of distinction. Past recipients of this award have included Barbara Guest, Jackson Mac Low, and Carl Rakosi. This year the board is happy to announce that the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Joanne Kyger.
Kyger made an auspicious debut as the golden girl of the Spicer-Duncan circle of the late 1950s here in San Francisco. Within a month or so everyone wanted a piece of Kyger, and she became associated one by one with the fluid, mercurial poetry scenes around the “New American Poetry.” Like her best writing, she was everywhere at once, deep inside the Beat movement, all over Japan and India, up and down the San Francisco Renaissance, our ambassador to the New York scenes of Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman, the mainstay of Bolinas, and a seer in the Buddhist poetics of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University in Boulder. That’s just the locations; deeper underneath, the substance of her many lives created, over forty-five years, a new poetic freedom. Based on frank and sensual observation, an innovating line, a sometimes acerbic wit, and a devotion to the ‘golden root’ of compassion, Kyger’s poetry (collected in AS EVER: SELECTED POEMS) continue to win her the admiration of numerous generations.
In addition, the Board gas selected five outstanding books of poetry to represent our choice for the Books of the Year 2004.
Jeanne Heuving, Incapacity (Chiasmus Press, 2004)
INCAPACITY, Jeanne Heuving’s dazzling concoction complicates what she calls the documentary impulse with an arresting set of seizures, in which individual poems are sites of revolution from inside the poet, the policy that old time socialists called “entryism.” Moving through the various fields of INCAPACIY we are struck over and over again by the happy success with which Heuving’s efforts crown a dozen disparate projects, like the best kind of conceptual art.
Christine Hume, Alaskaphrenia (New Issues, 2004).
With ALASKAPHRENIA, the wildly talented Christine Hume hits her stride about two lines into the very first poem, then never lets up all the way to the roller-coaster finish. The title suggests a withering, icy dementia, like Judith Anderson in Rebecca, but instead we find a lucid, warm, disjunction which welcomes the mind and the body to join in as one, several entrances to each of her splendid rooms.
Paolo Javier, The Time at the End of This Writing (Ahadada Books, 2004)
Paolo Javier’s poems hoarsely ponder poetic lineage, a lineage that includes the likes of Rilke, Neruda, and Berrigan. His romantically tongue-in-cheek pastiches are told to and/or from the voices of lead characters in ethically and ethnically charged movies. His language swings between Shakespearean English and the slang modernisms of a lyric Tagalog, and the rumble is almost a Dos Passos convocation of power and everyone. THE TIME AT THE END OF THIS WRITING is the first book of an unusually promising poet.
Kaia Sand, Interval (Edge Books, 2004).
Like our Lifetime Achievement Winner, Joanne Kyger, Kaia Sand has spent a long time thinking about ecosystems—systems of feeling, of nature, of duration—and about the political implications of all the above. Like Kyger, her thought is part and parcel of the beauty of the work, dissolved in the line, broken up by the rain and the tears of outrage. Does a divine presence touch all our lives, or is it all but an accident of perception? Or some kind of ozone thing like you see on TV?
Ron Silliman, UNDER ALBANY (Salt Publishing, 2004).
It may be Ron Silliman’s single most satisfying work. UNDER ALBANY lies outside of THE ALPHABET, Ron Silliman’s magnum opus, and yet strangely inside of it as well, as it is a free writing of each of the hundred sentences of ALBANY, part of the ABC volume Tuumba published 25 years ago. UNDER ALBANY reveals a new Silliman, a newish Language Poetry, and more about work and art and political action, than most other books published in 2004 all stacked together and made into shingles.
In addition, as we did last year, we present a special award to a book of another order entirely. This year’s special award goes to the editors of the anthology BITING THE ERROR: FORTY WRITERS EXPLORE NARRATIVE (Coach House Books, 2004)—Mary Burger. Robert Glück, Camille Roy, and Gail Scott. No other book has ever so completely noted the instability of the line between fiction and poetry. In a time when markers of genre are once again being retrofitted to last another millennium, to cater to the market, we applaud this simple, comprehensive demonstration.
—Kevin Killian, for the Board of Directors, Small Press Traffic Literary Arts Center, San Francisco 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
I've been alerted by co-publisher and book designer Jukka-Pekka Kervinen...that THE FIRST HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY is now at the printer's!!! Whoooo-ooooh, or as Pinoys would say, hay naku!!
That's co-edited by Mark Young and Jean Vengua, y'all....and further blathered forth and about by Moi!
I'ma so excited that ... that ... oh yes, what about a
NEW SPECIAL RELEASE OFFER!!!!
To wit -- if you are a poet who has written hay(na)ku (and that includes you contributors who may want more copies than your contributor copies), you can pre-order this ground-breaking (ahem, that's Moi hacking up the lawn with the spade) anthology for $7.00 -- more than 50% off the retail price of $14.95 and I'll toss in free shipping/handling.
If you are interested, the offer is good through October. E-mail me at GalateaTen@aol.com if you wanna follow up.
I offer this because, most sincerely, I am grateful to all you poets who've continued to take up this form (making likely additional anthology(ies) of it). Please to continue to explore the form, and do let me know always of your efforts -- I'd be happy to list them at The Hay(na)ku Blog.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
I haven't had a chance to input much of my books in my poetry library listing yet...but I encourage you to go there and see if there's a possibility we can trade books. Two of my books as well as some titles of which I own more than one copy (all are in great condition) are available for trades. I dropped off a newly-consummated trade in today's mail and so thought to remind moi other peeps. So, be reminded! As I say in my description of the Galatea Poetry Library blog,
I PLAN TO READ ALL POEMS EVER WRITTEN!
Sean Finney's book release party and poetry reading for The Obedient Door will be at Valencia Street Books
569 Valencia between 16th and 17th
Thursday, October 13
The very next night, Friday, October 14, he will read at Litquake, 7 p.m. at the Noe Valley Ministry with former US Laureate Robert Hass and other luminaries.
You can order The Obedient Door from www.spdbooks.org. It also is newly available on Amazon.com
Or at a discount directly from Meritage Press. Send a check for $12
(which includes shipping) to
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Road
St. Helena, CA 94574
The Obedient Door has received the following review from John Ashbery:
Sean Finney's cheerfully slipshod poems recycle urban moments that don't quite add up to a time, moods that may be part of a relationship, or not, unclassifiable afternoon afterthoughts and changes in temperature: "which song bring's 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 reject the leopards' whims and feast on the scraps he has so eloquently assembled for us, which are in fact those of life itself.
I'm really happy on behalf of the Meritage Press authors. Fabulous poems at the new issue of MIPOesias Magazine by Barry Schwabsky, Mark Young, Jean Vengua, and Jukka-Pekka Kervinen. To see their poems there is to be sooooo happy I've had the honor of publishing them.
Rene Magritte BLURBS MOI!
"Before expression, there is nothing but a vague fever, and only the work itself, completed and understood, will prove that there was something rather than nothing to be found there."
Galatea is good for honeymoons and so I have the pleasure of hosting Michelle and Rhett for two days here on the mountain, which gave me a chance to relish with them the fabulous wedding bash their families threw this past weekend. Much of the conversation focused again on Michelle's awesome performance of doing Kali martial arts while clad in her long white bridal gown which, while gorgeous, was not the easiest outfit in which to maneuver.
And our discussions made me realize -- yet again -- how much I, as a poet, empathize with Michelle's Kali practice.
For instance, note this picture of Michelle here. If you click on the link, you will see a rather fearsome, dare I say scary, expression on her face. With that expression, she becomes not the Michelle that everyone knows as very nice, very sweet, very good-humored and often laid-back. That expression is intense....it is fierce.
Kali as martial arts is about doing battle. That expression, even when donned by a bride in a flowing gown with flowers in her hair, is ... war-like. By making almost unrecognizable the Michelle known more typically by her friends and acquaintances, that expression denotes how Michelle has ceased being Michelle and someone else. It is the poet losing the fixed autobiographical "I". It is, what Michelle calls, "The Third Eye."
Then, note that the Kali performance was totally unrehearsed. Indeed, Michelle got notice of it just a few minutes before it occurred. She sparred with two Kali Guros (masters) -- click on this link; she hadn't sparred with one for years (if not a decade) while the last time she sparred with the other was 1.5 years ago. Which is to say, she had to be in the moment in order to battle them effectively; such authenticity surely can relate to how one never knows who the "enemy" may be, but one must be prepared to fight.
This spontaneity (lack of rehearsal or notice) relates to how Kali "can't be planned," added Michelle. For me, it's akin to how one can't fully plan a poem into being -- that the theory occurs after the poem. This doesn't mean being unthinking but practicing a preparedness through training the way the Kali artists practice, and the way a poet continuously investigates the world and means of articulating worlds -- there's just no short-cut to the path towards performing at Carnegie Hall.
Now, click on this picture and you will see that Michelle sparred with her teacher Guro Tuhan with both using the weapons of .. butter knives. I was seated on the table next to Guro Tuhan and remember laughing when he'd gone to his table to pick up the dining utensils to be used as weapons. But Michelle explained that the Kali martial artist is supposed to be able to use anything -- turn anything -- into a weapon.
Well, lighbulb! Isn't that exactly how Poetry can be inspired from or be about (or choose whatever connection you wish with) anything!
More affinities abound and resound. To wit, Guro Tuhan said that the Kali artists will "go slow" during the performance as it's supposed to be just a performance. But none of the four Kali practitioners were "slow" even had they intended to be slow. It's almost as if all were helpless against anything but practicing the authenticity or intense commitment to their art which required fully- and swiftly-invested gestures. This may have been intended as primarily a show but the actions were fast and (thus) dangerous. Indeed, Michelle showed me a cut on her wrist from the butter knife!!
And this is why it's tricky to do the performance with others who were not as masterful as the three Kali artists she battled. According to Michelle, only those who are masters can lose the fear that would slow them down and expose them to potentially adverse blows. Again, this reminds me of the poetry I desire: unless it be a deliberate choice, I aim for a poetry with zero tentativeness. The poem may fail or succeed, but whatever the outcome, I desire it to be spectacularly committed.
My thoughts on a "Kali Poetics" are most developed in my essay "MAGANDA: Thoughts on Poetic Form (A Hermetic Perspective)" published in the Spring 2004 issue of MELUS.
However, that MELUS essay includes a poem I've since rewritten, which is why I post it below. It's a poem I wrote reflecting on a Kali lesson I once took from Michelle in a townhouse's backyard in Berkeley:
I bare my forearm
to receive the blows
of your bamboo weapon
We are instructed
by a voice suddenly distant
as darkness falls on
what exists beyond
the shifting span of
our two forms
Our bodies may
as well be our shadows
and perhaps they are
"Aim at the muscle,
never the wrist--
the lightest flick
barely felt by flesh
lands as calamity
Spotlit by a beam
I know is my eyes,
the angles on your face
suddenly, I sense
you, too, bear
the possibility of cruelty
Beyond the fence
encircling this evening's engagement
a neighbor's trembling hand rises
to pull at a lamp's tassel,
transforming a small window
into a hovering moon
You raise your right hand
into the strike position
By the edge of the lawn
ants pause, stilling the nerves
in their fevered raisin bodies
to watch the birth
of a warrior
that, once, you sung
you would never become
You begin to the tune
of a wind chime
swaying from the knock
of a pilgrim's spirit
searching for that night's bed
It is my responsibility
to inform you when
your blows become too hard
But anguish is something else
besides an element
To live poetry
instead of lining up
words on a page
is to live like a poem--
none of it is too much
or too little
It is only what it is
and all of it is
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
THE BLURBED BOOK PROJECT: as of this morning, 163 blurbs in 14 days. Not a bad haul. Of course, the pace has slowed down. But this is just to say, looking at Moi schedule, it's unlikely I can begin concocting the ONE book to fit ALL blurbs until January. So please feel free to keep sending blurbs until Dec. 31, 2005.
I know some of youse have alerted me that you'll be sending, but your blurbs haven't landed yet -- well, you got the rest of the year. I look forward to more of your blurbs and THANKS again for participating. I hadn't expected this type of response to date....but am very grateful. Let's keep having fun!
And don't forget: some of the blurbs are for sale for hurricane relief! Actually, one peep, confused (or skeptical?) backchanneled about this notion. And, yah, it is a performance project, too, though I certainly will for sure donate any real sales proceeds. But think about it -- if you are one of those (as I am) who detest the whole blurbing business (mayhap will post about this next), here's a subversively fun way to effect said disgust. Heeee...
A reversal of last week's report. More books than wine this time:
AN ACCIDENTAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY: The Selected Letters of Gregory Corso, ed. Bill Morgan; foreword by Patti Smith
THEIR FIELDS, poems by Jordan Stempleman
UGH UGH OCEAN, poems by Joanna Fuhrman
COVERING OVER, poems by William Allegrezza
TELLING THE FUTURE OFF, poems by Stephanie Young
SHELLEY, poems by Percy Bierce Shelley
CLOSE TO ME & CLOSER ... (THE LANGUAGE OF HEAVEN) and DESAMERE, poems by Alice Notley
ARIEL'S GIFT: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters, criticism by Erica Wagner
GODLIKE, novel by Richard Hell
1994 San Vicente Tempranillo
1993 Ravenswood Wood Road zinfandel
1989 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage Les Chapelles
1992 Domaine L'Aigueliere Montpeyroux
1996 Batard-Montrachet Grand ru Etienne Sauzet (though, sadly, 2 bottles had died in the bottle before a third bottle was found drinkable)
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Thanks to Tom and Rochita for their kind comments on POST BLING BLING at the Lulu site.
Meanwhile, I recall a non-wedding related weekend conversation: on Sunday, I visited June to continue working on this mosaic collaboration -- we're putting it together on her front porch. We were cutting glass and, yah, to the extent certain slivers penetrated, it seemed poetic that blood should surface (what can I say: some of Moi's best poems are bled forth and though it gets messy, it also gets ... RED!).
The last time I visited June, I bumped into her neighbor who'd been at a poetry reading I did at a winery. So June and her hubby Chris were able to tell me at this visit that...ever since their neighbor bumped into me at their front porch, said neighbor apparently had been treating them more respectfully.
Respectfully? I had to laugh. I believe this was the same reading where the crowd favorite was my poem "Yen" that began with the line "Your nipples surprised me with their two-inch circumference..."
Anyway, all this is a preamble to:
Chris is an architect who's come up with what looks to be a fabulous idea for modular cheap housing as could be used in poorer areas of the world. I mention this because he likened my BLURBED BOOK PROJECT to (efficient) architecture, in the way that his modular housing idea adjusts itself per "local" materials at each site. I had thought of the blurb project as architectural in terms of blurbs as scaffolds. But I hadn't thought of the project in terms of the "local". I suspect there's something to how poems can work the way some architectural projects maintain integrity partly by acknowledging their sites / contexts.
Except that in poems, acknowledgement includes disruption whereas in architecture, disrupting the integrity of the material rarely works. Is that right? And would that be the difference between reality (as in tangibility) and imagination (as in the intangible)? Or the metaphor vs non-metaphor?
I mean, there is a difference in using light as material in a poem and light as material in a building, isn't there? A wall of light ain't gonna be useful against Peeping Toms or inclemental weather, you know what I mean?
Or maybe I speak too swiftly. The location of a window does use light as material doesn't it?
I'll stop writing now. I don't want to go spinning off this morning. I got real vs metaphorical work to get to....
But what's the difference? Is not the metaphor also "work"? Nevuh mind. Off to work...of a different fashion than the blog.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Thanks to Boyd-Spahr, poet-editor who asked me to contribute to Order & Decorum, whose mission statement notes:
"As we witness a myriad of situations throughout the world, our fine men and women in the armed forces continue to serve whenever and wherever our country asks. Be it in response to terrorist incidents, the attempt to aid countries in their fight for democracy or in an area suffering a devastating natural disaster, our valiant soldiers are there to perform whatever function they can, to assist in the situation. Both at home and abroad these people risk much (sometimes even their lives!) to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Often, they represent a country that holds a large percentage of citizens that do not agree with their missions; they represent those citizens with the same dedication as is given to those who are in accord with their assignment.
"To our way of thinking the honor with which they serve in representing all of us should be honored as well. We offer no political commentary, we do not ask for (nor do we submit) a point of view regarding various missions/assignments; we very simply support the people who serve our country."
Synchronicity for me that their site features a USO performer. When I was still doing my Shopping/Spending Blog, which includes "negative purchases" such as donations, I once noted a donation to USO. That got a peep to wonder about that -- and my reply was as in the above Mission Statement. There are people who are putting their lives for me as a citizen of the United States, and regardless of whether I supported the particular government policy that made them serve "at war," I wanted to show support for the soldiers themselves.
So here's my poem "Unma(s)king The World" dedicated to Sgt. Nino Dugue Livaudais who died in Iraq, and the Utah member of House of Representatives that I believed represented (or failed to represent) him.
Warrior Bride kicks two warrior asses while maintaining the bridal look
Michelle battles Guro Tuhan -- the knife in Tuhan's hand is a .... butter knife (Heeeee).
so much sweetness
from how we may meet
with the world.
You always reminded
Another thing I appreciated about Michelle and Rhett's wedding was the particular priest who officiated. I absolutely DUG this Father Rich Danyluk of St. Joseph's Basilica in Alameda (Rona blogs about it a bit). What I found so moving about one of his talks -- so moving that for the first time I took communion in a Catholic church -- was his notion that though the wedding was cause for celebration, it was not a reason to deny any particular sorrows anyone in the congregation was feeling.
"Something will happen", Father Rich said, to those then in the House of God. "Some may feel it ... or some may just walk out of the church at the end of the ceremony wondering what I was talking about."
I felt it. And now something else has happened...
This was sung during the church nuptials for Michelle and Rhett:
Psalm 27: The Lord is My Light
The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom should I be afraid?
The Lord is my light and my help; whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life: before whom should I shrink?
There is one thing I ask of the Lord; for this I long; to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; hope in him, and take heart. Hope in the Lord!
There was a wedding...to show this weekend that life is a cycle and that there also always will be rebirth.
The Original Gate never shut behind you, O Gentle Heart. Enter and Return.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Barbara's got weekend wedding pictures here. It begins with the two of us imitating the teddy bear lovers' pose atop Michelle and Rhett's wedding cake....
Check out also pictures from Paolo Javier's visit to Bay Area (complete with Kevin Killian and Del Ray Cross' smiles). Sadly, I had to miss Paolo due to conflicts with wedding activities. But he ain't mad at Moi, I know, coz he knows the answer to: WHO'S YOUR P-MAMA?!!
This morning, Michelle and Rhett woke up for the first time as husband and wife. Sniffle. Anyway, what a weekend of love, beauty, flowers and leeeeeetle girls in dresses of lace and velvet all running about underfoot like colorful ants! I don't actually think words can capture the weekend's festivities which offered so many layers. So I'll just focus mostly on the martial arts!
I heartily second Jean's enthusiasm over the wedding reception scene of the bride become warrior in a long white wedding gown with veil and flowers in her hair battling three different warriors, including the masterful and charismatic Guro Tuhan -- the fellow whose mojo didn't wilt under my poetry blather months back when we went up against each other in a performance where I represented the groom trying to woo the bride and her family ... and he represented the bride and her family (my most difficult courtship experience ever, despite having hacked off a pig's head to present to them for their culinary pleasures). Anyway, I believe Barbara will be showing photos of the warrior bride lithely battling the men while clad in her long gown ...
... made and designed by Angelo Santos, the Emmy winning costume designer for the soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful." Bold and Beautiful Michelle!
It all began when, during the reception, Tuhan presented a blessing, Kali-style...with two male warriors featuring their prowess at sticks (you can see Michelle, pre-wedding here with her own schtick). Thing is, when that blessing began, I was thinking, Oh Dudes -- why couldn't one of the warriors have been a woman? Why is it that the martial arts must be dominated by men....? A question that became irrelevant when stately Michelle (she is arguably the tallest Pinay I've met) stood up, glided over onto the middle of the (dance) floor and joined in the battle!!!
Whoooooah! I watch martial arts movies and the image of Michelle schtick-ing up the two dudes ... and later Guro Tuhan as they fought with some of the forks and knives (chuckle) Guro Tuhan picked up from his table ... swiftly supplanted my favorite martial arts image ever: two Chinese ladies in high heels fighting and in one lushly choreographed move, each snapping one leg high to have the soles of their shoes go purrr-fectly up against each other's tip to tip and narrow heel to narrow heel. This reminds me to remind youse, if you didn't know, Michelle's prowess landed her a role as a Jedi extra in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Kewl, eh?
Anyway, all this lovely martial-ing occured while Rhett the groom remained seated,... until Guro Tuhan then went up to Rhett and handed him one of the (dining) knives. Rhett, uh, kinda took the knife ... gingerly, looked up and with that deer-in-headlights look seemed to ask, "Uh...you're not expecting me to jump into the fray, are you?"
Heeee. There were just so many moments that made this wedding memorable -- how lovely to see Galatea represented viz the pine cones from the mountain now painted with gold scattered throughout the ballroom (it was something Rhett's mom used to do so they repeated her gesture here to help manifest her presence). Certainly, it was the first time I witnessed at a real (vs performance) wedding how the Six Directions idea of pinning poems and not just money on the couples' outfits during the "Money/Poem Dance." Nick's VizPo poems that he'd emailed earlier to Michelle had been printed out and their designs outlined with glued-on gold sparkles. I am grateful to Michelle and Rhett for integrating Six Directions into their wedding, allowing for Poetry to come vibrantly alive!
Last but not least, best wishes come all the way from ... Finland, with Karri writing in about the prior post:
I sincerely hope
real thing, too.
So that would be about last night, Michelle and Rhett's wedding night? Well, you know me -- I'll ask! But if I don't pass on the answer, it'll only be because .... um, have I mentioned that Michelle can take on up to three men in open-hand combat?
Several bloggers there last night -- I guess Jean did take the prize of being the first to blog about it! Rumors of me and Sunny clearing the dance floor at one point in the evening as peeps admired our boogie-process are, of course, just rumor...and real. In the same way of poetry -- and Rhett and Michelle's wedding -- where the dream can become Reality.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
I and the hubby are "primary sponsors" at Michelle and Rhett's wedding. It's both an honor and a come-down. The former relates to a Filipino tradition of "wedding sponsors" who are chosen presumably for their advice, counsel and other support for the new couple (I believe I was chosen because I'm married to someone who can provide all that). But while an honor, it's also a come-down: I used to be asked to be maid of honor, bridesmaid or matron of honor. Now I'm being asked to be a sponsor. Basically, that means I'm old. Fortunately, I'm like fine wine: I get better with aging.
Anyway, we just came home from attending the wedding rehearsal at the church where Michelle and Rhett will get married tomorrow. Watching the various peeps go through the motions made me pause to reflect on my own marriage. Much to my surprise, I find that I'm actually ... ECSTATIC that I'm married to the guy who happens to be my husband. And, incidentally, we celebrate our 19th anniversary this Sunday.
Okay, that was the high. Now for what my Peeps *really* tune in for: the low. To wit: penises and stuff related to penises.
After the rehearsal, the bride and groom graciously hosted a "rehearsal dinner" at a Chinese restaurant. Thing is, at my table was someone who's an Emergency Room physician. Well, under my subtle encouragement, she came to be very useful in offering various snippets regarding a topic ever-close to Moi (not to mention Karri, Tom ... and so many of youse peeps peeping). (Nota bene to Tom: amputated limbs are so phallic, dontcha think?)
But let me backtrack to see how the conversation at moi table came to degenerate. I think it was because people knew I'm into wine...and so one person started talking about how a glass of wine is not just good for the health, a la the way the French know, but because of its nitrous oxide, it's good for helping older men to get hard. A la Viagra.
Somehow, that turned into me helpfully trying to be helpful to the men at the table...by my counseling that if they are to use cock rings, they need to use those with elastic material like leather or what-not, vs metal. Then I paused to imbibe from my bowl of fried crackling rice soup or some such thing while everyone just looked at me. I looked up from my soup bowl to see them ... just looking at me. Sipped more from soup then elucidated with a tale of some dude who got dangerously ensconsed in one of those metal binder circular fasteners that he thought could double as a romance aid. Peeps still hadn't adjusted their open jaws. So I said, I wouldn't really know from direct experience, obviously, but I got that tip from Nick Carbo and I believe he knows of what he speaks when it comes to dicks.
Well, duly encouraged by my matter-of-fact freshness, the doctor started to tell us of emergency room tales -- which, as you can imagine, are always great stuff. Two examples:
1) it's really painful when a guy stays hard overlong. Once, they got a guy who came into ER with a cowboy-like gait: apparently, he took Viagra but then had been hard for four hours and was really beginning to hurt. You know how they deflate the penis? They have to stick in a needle -- somewhere on that tip -- and withdraw blood. How often do you withdraw the blood, I asked as I munched on my sauteed flounder. Doctor replied, As often as it takes.
2) Another time, the doctor had to treat a guy who came in with a mah-jong ball up his ass. Really? I replied as I munched on my peking duck. Yes, the doctor replied. Apparently, the guy stuck a ball up his ass every evening before taking a walk in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, this time, he got ran over by a truck and so the ball got to be a source of trauma.
Well, well. Now, just to be sure the conversation didn't totally wallow in the gutter, I tried to introduce fine art. To wit, I mentioned a doorway I saw in the ruins of Pompei -- had a dick carved on a mantel above the entryway -- possibly something related to god of priapism, I don't recall now.
Anyhoots, it's late and I gotta get up early tomorrow to attend to the wedding festivities. Let me end with a toast that apparently won't be made tomorrow because peeps think they need to behave more civilized. It's a toast I would love to see -- which is why I post it so I can see it on moi blog: For the Groom:
"To Rhett. May you not be lumpia at your wedding night."
Speaking, or not, of lumpia -- here's the wedding menu.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Moi, of course, lives to serve you. (Stifle snort...) Which is why I didn't at all object when Michelle and Rhett de facto mugged my BLURB PROJECT this morning by making sure that my book-to-be will also be about their WEDDING...whose festivities begin this evening!!!!
Shameless. But I'll be BIG about it. So Congratulations to Michelle and Rhett -- may you both live fruitfully and happily and poetically and when are y'all gonna begin propagating so I can become your kids' favorite auntie??!!!! Heeee.
Go on over to the BLURB PROJECT BLOG, folks, which is dedicated today to these two poets and artists and lovers. That blog, unlike this, has a Comments section. So if you wish to wish them well on their nuptials et al, do please to comment there!
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Some months back, I hosted an event at our apartment in San Francisco, which meant that peeps got a chance to see what's in that abode. Lovely works about. And then there were some drawings of mine .... which I hung only to mitigate the garishness of the orange walls that formed the kitchen (the walls' color schemes being inherited and since this is a rental, I was too cheap to repaint them).
Imagine my surprise then when one of the guests, whose name I now can't recall but who'd introduced herself to me as having curated exhibits, actually complimented my drawings (and she did so before she knew who did them so I know it wasn't coz she was after my wine bottles).
I still can't believe I have any talent in the visual arts (and I'm so envious, but in a positive way!, of folks like Jean who're so talented in this area) -- but this doesn't prevent me from maintaining the attempt. And, today, I had one of those epiphanies for a new direction in drawing.
I'm very excited ... it involves my forehead-split icon that means "Filipino poet" (see last page of ENGLISH to know what I refer to) as well as stickers with fishes, cats, and ironic statements on the theme "I [heart] the office." I'm optimistic this direction's gonna go ... somewhere.
But mostly, I post this, uh, post...as a note to encourage me to persevere for this new idea. For, in drawing, I feel very tentative. But what I learned through poetry -- if something unnerves me, it's best I go after it.
I must admit that I'd forgotten I'd committed to do this event, until Barbara blogged about it. Anyway, just got dog-sitting coverage arranged, which is a whew since I wouldn't have wanted to bow(-wow) out now that I see a (draft) outline of the evening. I'm glad to be participating -- it sounds interesting enough for me to have wanted to attend, whether or not I was part of it. Hope you agree, as I post the event details below -- and if you can make it, do say HELLO to Moi!
FANHS-OCTOBER HERITAGE MONTH SERIES
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
Thursday, October 27, 2005 – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
6:30 Music Kundiman Ben Luis’s Jazz Quartet)
6:40 Welcome by Mel Opilla, FANHS Vallejo Chapter President
Why October for Fil Am History Month:
The significant of the FF communities in California
1) Delano Agbayani Village; 2) Grape Strikes 3) Filipinos in Vallejo
Break: Acknowledgement of the Displays
7:05 Manila Town / International Hotel by Stella Habal
Johanna Potheig Fil-Am Landmark Murals and its history
War Relics in the City of SF (MC Canlas)
7:25 BAHALA NA Escrima Martial Arts, Stockton/Concord
7:45 Poetry Reading:
Barbara Jane Reyes
8:10- 8:30 Alamat (TNT Musical Play)
DISPLAYS & OTHER OFFERINGS TO INCLUDE:
Fil-Am War Painting
Fil Am Collage
Braullio’s and Ramon’s Antique swords.
Food Stall (Patio Filipino)
Wine by Eden Valley
Northern Philippines Textiles Mountain Province, Indigenous Tattoos
Book Display Filipinos in Vallejo and other FANHS BOOKS.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Eileen Tabios is a genius. OK. Big deal. Another freaking genius on our hands. Break out the Kevlar and cover the windows with duct tape.
--The Unbiased Tom Beckett
Yah, yah. But everytime I concoct something that may be a genius of an idea -- I refer, as if you didn't know by now, to THE BLURBED BOOK PROJECT -- Jukka Pekka Kervinen out-GENIUSES me.
Jukka has sent me 100 BLURBS. I believe he took all of three minutes to write them all. I also know they are all sincerely meant, which I much appreciate.
Now, to know Jukka is to know he writes often with some computer help that Moi The Luddite doesn't understand. But I tried, Peeps, I tried -- that is I asked Jukka how he came to write the blurbs. He replied:
"The program is quite simple, after the fixed start, it seeks from dictionary few 'descriptive' words of your new book, then it generates rest of the blurb by using simple one-dimensional (semi-)random walk. The source material is part of the blurbs from 'The Chateleine's Blurb Project'."
Got that? It's really simple.
Still, it's interesting (it is! it is!) to consider the implications of a dispassionate generation of what, on surface, are equally hyperbolic gasping blurbs...e.g. the radicalizing of the blurb-author's fiction and/or persona, by which I refer partly to how one person's praise-full blurb is another person's nonsensical blather (I could theorize this real good but I wrote this post at 2 a.m.).
Of course, Jukka wouldn't be Jukka if the results somehow didn't work, like check out how Jukka's blurbs all start with adjectives leading into a title, such as these from the first ten blurbs
"Eileen Tabios' new spinal-viral-three-dimensional-chaparral collection 'Web Before The Rivera Bold'
"Eileen Tabios' new referential-reversal-representational collection 'Friedrich There Golda Rivera Icelandic
Eileen Tabios' new modal-organizational-monarchical-geographical collection 'Marys Frosted No The Shrdlu'
"Eileen Tabios' new continental-external-crucial-convivial collection 'World Monogotari That World World'
"Eileen Tabios' new orchestral-arousal-amoral collection 'Haven't The Sleeping Chatelaine's Chinese Commandanta'
"Eileen Tabios' new ventral-cylindrical-material collection 'Mao Trillion The Protection Carneros'
"Eileen Tabios' new fetal-glacial-phenomenal collection 'About Tabios Glass? Wide Electra'
Eileen Tabios' new pathological-critical-cerebral-phonological collection 'She Sartre Six Stein's Like'
"Eileen Tabios' new aerial-optional-equal-deferential collection 'Wine Today Hot Abu Brathwaite' [this title a personal favorite]
"Eileen Tabios' new credential-custodial-funereal-professorial collection 'Buttons The There Stein's Diego'
Let me jump ahead for another sample via Blurb # 42:
"Eileen Tabios' new carnal-historical-radical collection 'Enheduanna Engels Applying Frosted Bollywood '
Gads. It's worth just reading the blurbs' beginnings ... but the rest of each paragraph-blurb also offers many hilarious juxtapositions! Like this from Blurb #100:
"Eileen Tabios Avenue is, of course, collection of poems with days, dug it, yo."
Gertrude Stein is rolling over on Alice again. So Thankeee Muchas, Jukka. Please to go to the BLURBED BOOK BLOG to read all of Jukka's 100 blurbs. They are truly a wicked, wicked hooooot!
Then, please to continue BLURBING MOI!
I'm serious about pursuing this with the Guinness Book of Records!
BUT ... WAIT, WAIT! THAT'S NOT ALL!!!! And the Chatty One stands from her computer chair to do a bit of a shuffle-dance...
If any of youse authors need a blurb for your book, I'm sure Jukka won't mind if I sell you any one of his blurbs (you can substitute your name and title of your book) with all donations to go to recent Hurricane victims. How's that? This, too, is a fundraiser because here at The Chatelaine's Poetics, "MultiLayer" is one of our many many many many meeeeeedle names...!
And she shuffles off-line....
to wake up this morning to read (via Mark) this article on David-Baptise Chirot by Geoff Huth. So much in that article to inspire, and (for me) to aspire to -- I want to BLURB it but am awed speechless by it (anything that leaves me speechless is valuable, eh?). So please to go read it yourself. And THANK YOU, Geoff, for the illumination you shed.
(I hadn't known David-Baptise Chirot has a blog! Moi latest link!)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
So the 6th Annual Bay Area Litquake Festival is about to commence. Behooves Moi to note this as Meritage Press newbie author Sean Finney will be participating, and bringing no doubt his breathtaking debut collection THE OBEDIENT DOOR in tow...check him out at
"Word/Play: A Night of Poetry and Music"
7 p.m., Oct. 14
The Noe Valley Ministry (1021 Sanchez St. at 24th St.)
With Juvenal Acosta, Justin Chin, Gillian Conoley, Robert Hass, Kay Ryan and featuring the duet of Pireeni Sundaralingam and Colin O'Riain.
Meanwhile, please to be alerted that Sean's THE OBEDIENT DOOR will be available at SPD as of this Friday afternoon (I know coz I'm hauling inventory over there moiself). Do search out Sean's wonderful poems!
The Blurbed Book Project, by the way, is ALSO relevant for theories re transcolonialism.
I'ma just saying ... to those interested in (cough) new theoretical territory.
Meanwhile, the party continues on over where Moi is Being Blurbed: nearly 50 blurbs in 7 days ... and counting!
Please to join the part-eh! BLURB MOI!
Monday, October 03, 2005
Hmmm. I'm almost (almost) embarassed at posting this week's "Relished" book and wine list. Note that there's one book read and, cough, over a dozen different wines imbibed. I guess Ernesto got it right with his blurb!
Speaking of THE BLURBED BOOK PROJECT -- and MOI must! -- has anyone ever called your poetry dog food? Michelle does....But that's not the worst part: this blurb project is dangerous for having outed me -- courtesy of the careless Rich Magahiz --from behind the Federal Witness Protection Program!
Ah well. Before the Cosa Nostra arrives, let me reveal moi imbalanced Relish List for the past week:
RECENT WORK by Eve Aschheim (with essay by Jeff Clark and ekphrastic poem by Christine Hume)
1990 Dom Perignon
2002 H. Bolloit Batard Montrache
1999 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir
1996 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon (magnum)
1986 Chateaux Margaux
2003 Peter Jakalo Kuhn ___ Trockenbeeren-auslese
2002 Dutch Henry chardonnay Los Carneros
2001 Chase zinfandel
2002 Chase zinfandel
2003 Chase Zinfandel
2003 Reverie Barbera
2002 Reverie Reserve Cabernet
Sadly, also tasted three wines that died in the bottle:
1998 Peter Michael Point Rouge
1970 Chateau Lynch Bages
And a SHOUT OUT FOR THEO GONZALVES
Timely to mention Theo as I just received an update from this jazz musician-scholar-critic-magician on STAGE PRESENCE, one of the first projects I thought to wanna publish when I created MERITAGE PRESS -- autobiographical aesthetics/poetics by Pinoy artists involved in the stage, to be edited by Theo whose work on pomo-pinoy arts captured moi eyes when I first moved from New York to the Bay Area.
Things take time. But I'm happy to share Theo's update, which I share coz it implies the excitement that will be STAGE PRESENCE when it's finally published (I gotta update moi web site link to this title, even as I link to it). Here are the artists in this unique, groundbreaking and long-overdue book (deserving of all the superlatives I ascribe to it):
Eleanor Academia (music)
Jessica Hagedorn (music)
Joel Jacinto (dance)
Danny Kalanduyan (music)
Allan Manalo (theater)
Alleluia Panis (dance)
Ralph Peña (theater)
Excitement, Pinoy-style coming up! As ever, brought to you by Meritage Press which, because it's about Poetry, is inherently multidisciplinary!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Aileen says I'm on her blog-read "short list" because
"after PURITY, you'll know what being sprayed with liquid nitrogen is like -- you burn, freeze, thaw, swell, blister, scab and eventually heal. You read her blog 'cause you just have to know what she's up to."
Moi poem did all that (click on link and scroll to bottom of page)???!!! Thankee Aileen. Good thing it also healed the blister it raised! As for what I'm up to, yep....all together now:
Speaking of which, an art dealer, Pearl, writes in that the project reminds her of her "FAVORITE art catalogue essay OF ALL TIME: for this Alexis Rockman show in Illinois -- Douglas Blau wrote an imaginary index for a book about Rockman that never existed. So he's able to compile every reference that relates to his work, alphabetically, with fake page numbers! So everything and the kitchen sink is in there, and reading lists of non-sequiturs gives you just as much an idea of the work as a regular essay!" Yep -- it does address one of the matters already raised (via Aristotle) as regards the difference, if any, between the text and what one says about the text.
And as Patrick Rosal so *generously* displays, you can feel free to BLURB MOI more than once. So, go ahead: BLURB MOI AGAIN...and again...and again et al!
To other matters (and some Peeps sigh with relief), check out, too, Crag Hill's "A Huaky(n(an)a)ykauH"!
You might also find some pleasure -- as Moi did -- in this bwahahaha moment over at Lorna's:
Lorna:"I have a poem I'd like to read you."
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys: "That won't be necessary"
Heeeee. Yep -- that Brian Wilson is "honest"!
Last but not least, via Michael:
Please ask your U.S. Representative to support the PETS Act, H.R. 3858, which would require state and local authorities to plan for evacuating people with pets the next time a disaster like Hurricane Katrina strikes.
Click HERE to go to a site maintained by the Humane Society of the United States. It will make the process of contacting your Representatives very simple and take only a few minutes of your time.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
'TWAS GREAT WHILE IT LASTED
...and it will be great as it continues!
My Shopping/Spending Blog ended yesterday:
I am grateful to my blog readers. Poetry is inherently social and much of what unfolded here wouldn't have, uh, unfolded...without YOU! Maraming Salamat!
About time I actually decreased rather than increased my blogs, eh?
Anyhoo: the Hay(na)ku, Shopping & Spending, and now the BLURBED BOOK Project are all, for me, examples of using Blogger to generate poetry and (performance) art. To blog is not necessarily to waste time!
And now: ONWARD! And back to our current regular programming: please to BLURB MOI!