Friday, December 21, 2007

Bumper Sticker

Erinnerung is my majuscule.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dept. of Poetics

Incinerate the prolix.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Evil Double

Watching a lot of Gumby lately, I'm learning that Pokey—part gormandizer, part con man, all id—is kind of a dick.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wandering Hausfraus Joined in Arms

I, too, have noticed the tendency of persons who live in countries that speak the language the Holocaust happened in to make way too much fuss over dogs.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Or maybe meter as production value, that which you hear most clearly once the decade's passed and you start to catch the wet drums in all its hits.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What If ...

in their movements, speech patterns, and repetitive behaviors in aggregates, humans are essentially metrical accomplishments?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Around the World

Gary Sullivan plays Passepartout to YouTube's omnivorous Fogg over at Elsewhere (Day 10 of 80).

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Delphi Intelligencer

The body ignores its own Mardi Gras.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Briante & Rumble in Portland this Sunday

Susan Briante and Ken Rumble are reading for Spare Room this Sunday. Lucky Portland.
Sunday, December 9th, 7:30 pm
New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny

first collection of poetry, Pioneers in the Study of Motion, was recently published by Ahsahta Press. Poet CD Wright describes the book as “a work of shuddering velocity . . . an ode, a screed, a lament, a love song of ‘pristine and inarticulate mornings.’” Briante’s poetry, essays and translations have recently appeared in Damn the Caesars, Fascicle, Bombay Gin and The Believer. From 1992-1997, she lived in Mexico City where she worked for the magazines Artes de México and Mandorla. Briante is an assistant professor of aesthetic studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.

KEN RUMBLE is the author of Key Bridge (Carolina Wren Press, 2007), and the marketing director for the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art. His poems have appeared in Cutbank, Parakeet, The Hat, the tiny, XConnect, Carolina Quarterly, and other journals. He is currently at work with his father on a book about ozone, the early earth’s atmosphere, and Antarctica.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mohammad/Tyc/Wright in Portland, 12/1/07

Vincent Craig Wright kicked off his Tangent reading Saturday in cowboy boots with guitar to suit (more of cowboys later), singing a yodel of his own and a startling cover of ELO’s “Telephone Line,” cheese swapped out for twang. He followed with a new short story, “Buster Brightboy’s Big-Ass Bejesus,” that revisited the off-kilter, Southern-inflected, brokenhomed world of last year’s Redemption Center through the eyes of a teenager trying at once to discover, live up to, and erase (literally, via cigarette holes in photographs) his absent father. Some ardent listener later bought the manuscript he read from for US $2, which I’ve never seen happen at a reading before.

It's hard not see Cat Tyc’s writing through the lens of her work as a filmmaker. She read from a new long poem, much of it cast in second-person address to objects visible through the frame of her window: boats passing on the Willamette, the mountains that ring Portland. Relationships in the poem often arrived in visual terms (“We were dating but now we are muted sunsets”), but the ‘filmic’ aspect of her work that most struck me was her attention to the conditions under which fragments make meaning, like the invisible alternation between darkness and light in the 24-frames-per-second film. I saw some Hollis Frampton shorts last week, and Tyc’s particular use of poetic disjunction to describe the world around her reminded me of Frampton’s take on the relationship between film and human consciousness:
Film, even in its physical attributes, has become a kind of metaphor for consciousness for me. And I think of the incremental frame as a dim but still appealing metaphor for the quantum nature, the chunk nature, of light itself. If you're watching a film, you believe you're watching a complete illusion of something real, but you're actually watching an illusion of only half of what took place. The camera's shutter was closed the other half of the time. So that there's another cinema of equal length that could have been made precisely at the same time. And when you play that back, the shutter in the projector is also closed half the time, so that half the time you're in total darkness. You are! OK, you don't have anything particular to do, you're quite comfortable, presumably, there's very little exterior stimulus and you're there for a fiftieth of a second, which is, in terms of energy, an appreciable length of time with nothing to do but think about the frame you've just seen. - HF
Tyc’s writing seemed especially alive to the “chunk nature” of perception, with a heightened awareness of the boundaries, edges, spaces, and frames that consciousness occurs in. At one point she contrasted breath—that seemingly circular and perpetual ground of being—with the sharp, defined limits of language (“only words have edges”). This seemed to parallel the way film works, circular and discrete, ‘framed’ and continuous, and suggested cinema as a way of being, a means for accomodating both the phenomenal and our contemporary feeling for the ‘constructed’ nature of all phenomena in a single gesture.

I’ve lived with Kasey Mohammad’s work for a long time, and find something new in it each time he reads. He mixed brand new poems—“Happiness Is …,” “Dusty the Oncologist,” a bravura sonnagram based on an obsessive letter-by-letter tweak of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20—with golden oldies from Deer Head Nation (“Keep Honking, I’m Reloading,” “All I Ever Wanted Was to Play Guitar”). What stood out to me this time around was the way the multiple voices in the work behave like stifled impulses, thoughts questioned or undercut as soon as they’re expressed, like that scene in Austin Powers where he asks: “Did I just say that out loud?” And he has, & does.

I was struck by how often the speaker discovers a private part sticking out, visible for all to see—boobs, balls, inner thoughts, everything that craves the cover of a codpiece but too late, in this dream you came to school without your clothes. Costumes and outfits loom large, especially ones that create social expectations the speaker can’t fulfill. Kasey closed with a poem, “As I Walked Out,” based on variations of the Old Western-y phrase “I see by your …,” that expanded into increasingly ridiculous adjectival conjunctions until the cowboy that kicked it all off was nowhere to be found in the descriptions piled on top of him, only in the "Streets of Laredo" melody Craig played in the background on guitar.

Breathalyzer, sadly, didn't arrive on time for the reading, which just means, not so sadly, that Kasey has to come back. Kasey, come back.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

King Nine Will Not Return

How good and uncannily right it was to have Susana "Dusie" Gardner and her winning Dusette in Portland last month. It already seems like a dream, but like in that Twilight Zone where the pilot pours sand from his shoe at the end, proving the desert was real, I've got Susana's beautiful new palm-sized foldout chapbook, EBB (PORT)—a series of poems made from erasures of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese—as evidence.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Frampton Comes Alive

Mini-reviews of four Hollis Frampton films screened at Cinema Project last week (thanks to David Abel for the recommendation):

NOCTILUCA (MAGELLAN'S TOYS) (1974) Meditations on the aperture (Galileo's Magellan's, the Lumieres'), with uncanny resolve into MasterCard logo.

OTHERWISE UNEXPLAINED FIRES (1976) If you're going to San Francisco, wear those sad trees that lean into the wind above the Sutro Baths, chrome clockwork horse in Musee Mechanique (still there), & birds from Brakhage's Colorado chicken ranch in your hair. (Come from the east, so movement is against the eye's home syntax.)

Primordial fire porn.

Spanish handhelds taxonomize plant life outside the mission walls.

Monday, December 03, 2007

K. Silem Mohammad Intro, 12/1/07

For Kasey's Tangent reading in Portland on Saturday:
In darker moments, I fear my one claim to fame will be as the torso with the pea coat in Kasey’s author photo on the back flap of Deer Head Nation. Then I riffle through the pages and think there are worse ways to go. It means I’d be a small, fragmented part of the thrilling sonic fragments that shimmer into poems like “Cosmic Deer Head Freakout,” “Hey Boo Boo,” “Experience in Bakeries” and “e:LK S@LIVa.” It means my pixels would enjoy proxy contact with an oeuvre that includes the brainy dexterities of Hovercraft and the goofed-up dressage of A Thousand Devils. Mostly though, it means that for as long as people read and keep caring about moving the whole poem thing forward, I can say I was there, in a pea coat, when one of the kindest writers of this notably unkind age was finding the groove of our pathos in ass pants and Xanax and terrorized diabetic robot elk saliva. Portland, put your tentacles together for K. Silem Mohammad.