Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Jeanette Lynes

Here's a poet with wit and heart, and here's a great Canadian magazine. Check both out. Lynes is the author of three books, Girl on the Antikokan Highway, Left Fields, The Aging Cheerleaders’ Alphabet and a chapbook I have yet to see, but love the title of: inglish prof with her head in a blender turned on high (above/ground press). Follow link for an interview and four poems.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Madhot Ballroom

Amazing! This is even better than joy boy for a buzz of human potential for joy. Ya, ya, it's a feel good flick. Go, feel good! Go Yomairia! Go Kelvin! Go Jatnna! Go Cyrus!

Bjork on BBC's Women's Hour

Who knew that Bjork would sound like that?? The odd thing about this is that her voice reminds me of my Icelandic grandmother attempting to do an English accent...or maybe it's just that she talks about "marrow" and my grandmother had an odd obssession with marrow. The eating of marrow....but I digress. It's a great little interview. Click here.

Suzanne Zelazo, Atwood and Virginia Woolf's childhood home

You too can spend a weekend at Woolf's childhood home and pine not to go the lighthouse, but "for" the lighthouse. It seems that soon enough the lighthouse will be put out of commission. (See post below).

I have been reading Suzanne Zelazo's Parlance again, and I think it's great. Particularly the first series of prose poems. The language is just so surprising. She has a response in here to Woolf's To The Lighthouse, and it's interesting, but for me not as sparkling as other parts of the book. It's a fragmentation of the narrative, and in a way satisfying in terms of its reconfiguring--certainly it's successful, it just doesn't please me as much as the rest of the book does. For instance, the beginning of "Missplit":
"Wetted ashes the body pretends. The flag a
dismal delirium. Aiming towards empty.
She falls. How grand after death. Lunation
toiling monumental impermanence..."
Or "Coehill":
"A pyramid in reverse. My echo sees itself
coming. Hesitation. This is his own hap-
pening. Make a move and get out of here.
The delta opened its soft mouth and took
you in..."
Wonderful prose line--so firm. I'm not sure why I hesitate with the "Through the Lighthouse" section. I wonder about the choice to make the fragments so ordered, I suppose. And I wonder too about the coiffed feel of the fragments. More like beach glass than shards, but again, it's a success I would say, a wonderful response to Woolf.

**Update note. I see that I will have to reread Selazo's "Through the Lighthouse" in light of Jackson Mac Low. More on this in the coming weeks.

Here Margaret Atwood wonders how she could have been so wrong about To The Lighthouse:
Why go to the lighthouse at all, and why make such a fuss about going or not going? What was the book about? Why was everyone so stuck on Mrs Ramsay, who went around in floppy old hats and fooled around in her garden, and indulged her husband with spoonfuls of tactful acquiescence, just like my surely boring mother? Why would anyone put up with Mr Ramsay, that Tennyson-quoting tyrant, eccentric disappointed genius though he might be? Someone had blundered, he shouts, but this did not cut any ice with me. And what about Lily Briscoe, who wanted to be an artist and made much of this desire, but who didn't seem to be able to paint very well, or not to her own satisfaction? In Woolfland, things were so tenuous. They were so elusive. They were so inconclusive. They were so deeply unfathomable.
I had often wondered whether Atwood had ever read Woolf.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Marjorie Perloff

Wow, what an amazing woman... Here she is talking about the fact that no one outside of the academy knows who Zukofsky is:

What this means is that the fans owe it to their audience and each other and to the audience outside the walls of the university to explain what's so great about their poet and also to engage in critique. When is X good, when less good? Does poem Y work?

The major newspapers and magazines have abandoned poetry completely but this in itself needn't be such a bad thing. What percentage of the population read poetry in Mallarmé's France? Or anywhere else.

Chicago Postmodern

Here, here. I love this! Who, if not the poets, will spread the word about poetry? And who if not the poets, can give shape to how the work is read/received? So yes, go out there and recommend.

Everybody's Autonomy

I'm reading Spahr's Everybody's Autonomy and loving it. What a lucid, accessible and intelligent academic writer. I'm fascinated by the discussion of accessibility, and of course thinking of Stein as an immigrant writer, the detailed comparisons of sentence structures to that of ESL speakers. There's clearly some kind of connection...but more as I read. Here's a link to the introduction, and here's a review.

And I found this on the UPenn site and loved it:

Juliana Spahr on how reading is taught in school

"Reading is usually taught in school so as to walk hand in hand with assimilation. And it is at its most oppressive when taught through principles of absolute meaning. Beginning reading exercises tend to emphasize meaning as unambiguous and singular; the word 'duck' in the primer means the bird, not the verb. Further, as a learned and regulated act, reading socializes readers not only into the process of translating symbol into word with a one-to-one directness, but also into specific social relationships. Dick and Jane, to use the most cliched example of a primer, teach how to live the normalized lives of the nuclear family as much as they teach how to read. Further, much of what is read does not fully engage the resistant possibilities within reading, and as a result it tends to perpetuate reading's conventions."

Juliana Spahr, Everybody's Autonomy (2001), pp. 11-12

belladonna* May, Zinc Bar

Martine Bellen & Karen Weiser

Another great belladonna last night. I know Martine Bellen, who also teaches at Rutgers, but hadn't heard of Karen Weiser. Loved her reading and look forward to her new work. Here's an intriguing snippet from Lungfull. Martine read from a new chapbook, as well as from the belladonna chapbook--a do-si-do--one side "NY Stories" and the other "Lessons of the Microscopist". Bellen is a great lister, a great gatherer of wonderful sounding words and images, and this last section was my favourite. For a sample of her work check out Web del Sol.

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, Gail Scott 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 at belladonnaseries-at-yahoo.com to receive a catalog and be placed on our list.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Virginia Woolf's Lighthouse

The ongoing battle to save Woolf's lighthouse, or "the lighthouse" at the center of To The Lighthouse. I wondered if this was the trigger for Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping, which has a rather pointed blend of references to both Marilyn Robinson's Housekeeping, and the Woolf novel. But I digress:
By Chris Court and Sam Marsden, PA
Switching off the lighthouse which inspired novelist Virginia's Woolf's best known work would put lives at risk, protesters claimed today. ...

The octagonal white tower of Godrevy lighthouse, which marks a reef off the Cornwall coast called the Stones, has been in service since 1859 and was automated in 1939.

Woolf’s novel To The Lighthouse drew on memories of childhood holidays spent in St Ives, which overlooks the Godrevy island lighthouse across St Ives bay.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Banning Hoodies on the Mossy Isle

Unbelievable...they're banning hoodies? I've recently fallen in love with this particular fashion. Once the hood is up and the sunglasses are on one can glide anonymously through the subways undetected. So now I'm a hood?
"I'm wearing a hood, and I'm not even a thief," said one teen in Liverpool in a CBC interview. "I'm wearing a hood because it's raining, but it doesn't mean I'm going to go in and rob that shop, does it?"

Gertrude Stein

Saw the portrait at the Met on Sunday, and the face really is intense. Here's her portrait of Picasso...can't recall which came first but I'll get back to you on that.

And here's a little something else, thanks to UPenn:

Gertrude Stein, "Reflections on the Atomic Bomb" (1946)

They asked me what I thought of the atomic bomb. I said I had not been able to take any interest in it.

I like to read detective and mystery stories. I never get enough of them but whenever one of them is or was about death rays and atomic bombs I never could read them. What is the use, if they are really as destructive as all that there is nothing left and if there is nothing there nobody to be interedted and nothing to be interested about. If they are not as destructive as all that then they are just a little more or less destructive than other things and that means that in spite of all destruction there are always lots left on this earth to be interested or to be willing and the thing that destroys is just one of the things that concerns the people inventing it or the people starting it off, but really nobody else can do anything about it so you have to just live along like always, so you see the atomic [bomb] is not at all interesting, not any more interesting than any other machine, and machines are only interesting in being invented or in what they do, so why be interested. I never could take any interest in the atomic bomb, I just couldn't any more than in everybody's secret weapon. That it has to be secret makes it dull and meaningless. Sure it will destroy a lot and kill a lot, but it's the living that are interesting not the way of killing them, because if there were not a lot left living how could there be any interest in destruction. Alright, that is the way I feel about it. They think they are interested about the atomic bomb but they really are not not any more than I am. Really not. They may be a little scared, I am not so scared, there is so much to be scared of so what is the use of bothering to be scared, and if you are not scared the atomic bomb is not interesting. Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. This is a nice story.

Gertrude Stein, 1946

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Diane Arbus at the Met

Two Ladies at the Automat, 1966. Diane Arbus. What's immediately shocking about this exhibit is how familiar these images are. And the curators know this. The first dozen images or so are her most famous. Things go more chronologically otherwise. The earlier photos--such as this one here in NY, and others on benches, in parks, and cafes, are much more to my liking than the later work which is, well, it seems a little exploitative. What was it she wanted to say with them?

Max Ernst

Max Ernst at the Met. Okay, this was good. Amazing to see so much of the work. And though the paintings themselves are wonderful it's the smaller collages and drawings that are wonderful to see up close and in the original.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Damien Hirst

Big pills...last time I saw these they were actually pills, at the Sensation Show at the Brooklyn Museum. Now they're paintings of pills! Ah. I see. And yes, the paintings are kind of paintings of the pills. Approximate size etc. of the originals which is kind of nifty to see the sculptural product reverted to such an archaic art form--paint after all--and well, sometimes it seems I need an ambien this size to get me to sleep!

Swallow a finalist

Wow! A finalist in the Western Magazine Awards! I'm impressed, and it's me...go figure. Here's the breakdown:

6 Fiction
presented by the Listel Hotel
Craig Davidson “Rocket Ride” Event
Matt Duggan “Semi-Wilderness” Prairie Fire
Sina Queyras “Swallow” Prairie Fire
Cathleen With “Carny” Humanist in Canada

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

L Word dish

Weigh in on best/worst hair, seduction, wardrobe. Ya, just say it, whoever is dressing these ladies doesn't deserve a good whipping... But leave Shane alone: her hair rocks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Belinda Stronach

Wow, now there's a woman with guts. Belinda Stronach crosses the floor to step to the plate for what she believes in. Now there may be some motives we're not privvy to, but check out her speech for a dose of what makes Canada the kind of country we should all look up to.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Saw nearly a dozen shows this Saturday--waiting for film to come back and then I may scan a few shots if there are any of interest (I can’t wait to get my digital back!). The show I enjoyed the most was the Jasper Johns at Matthew Marks. I was impressed, and didn't expect to be. Grey as it was, there was something very subtle and tender in the work. Not sure how MM managed to get Jasper Johns, but I find that I've been pleased with every show I've seen there.

The other big draw was Gregory Crewdson at Luhring Augustine. Beneath the Roses, they describe as "pointedly theatrical yet intensely real panoramic images," in which Crewdson explores "the recesses of the American psyche and the disturbing dramas at play within quotidian environments." Blah. I have to say that I'm impressed as usual by the technical perfection of the photos. But I find that his choice of subjects is absolutely gratuitous. He seems to mimic Jeff Wall, and again, while he may do this with a kind of technical brilliance, there is little heart. His choice of having each subject stare off abjectly, blandly, and passively may stem from a desire to see Americans as passive victims of their "banal" lives, or their "dislocation", but I found it heartless and furthermore insincere. Not to mention uninstructive.

This from the gallery description:
Crewdson’s latest project falls into the tradition of classic American genres that explore the conflation of theater and everyday life. His tableaux, in their fine detail and focus on the perplexing psychology of vernacular America, evoke the paintings of Edward Hopper and the photographs of Walker Evans and Diane Arbus. At the same time, in their vast scope and relentless grip, Crewdson’s images inevitably bring to mind the world of film—particularly the work of Alfred Hitchcock, Douglas Sirk, and Terrence Malick. Indeed, Crewdson’s process and approach are patently cinematic. Beneath the Roses has taken shape over the course of three years with the collaboration of a full production team. His projects are made both on studio soundstages and on location in various small towns. After the photograph is taken, Crewdson continues his obsessive process in post-production, using state-of-the-art digital composting and special effects. And in the end, like film at its best, Crewdson’s fictions, elaborately staged and plotted though they may be, convey an experience that is intensely real.

I don't think he wants these to appear real, and unlike Wall, or even Cindy Sherman, I really feel that he is manipulative and false. Not sure why it bothered me so much, but I found myself shaking my head and thinking that's just stupid...

Caroline Bergvall

Listen to Gong, it's fabulous. Well, they're all fabulous. And come out and see Caroline at the Poetry Project Wednesday night.

Archaelogical sites in France

Wow! Who knew. You can take a virtual tour of the Caves of Lacaux.

Women of the Diner

Listening to a Mets game at the Washington Square Diner.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lisa Jarnot, Black Dog Songs

A wealth of books has appeared this week. All of Laura Riding, Gertrude Stein's How to Write and Juliana Spahr and Claudia Rankine's Where Lyric Meets Language (heretofore only in library editions upon my desk!). Oh, and Lisa Jarnot's Black Dog songs, which I've taken the following poem from. So far I'm enjoying the Jarnot, lots of "sounds" in here, but also surprisingly accessible language and imagery. Much more to say, but I'm off to Chelsea and perhaps more later. But no photos since my digital is in the shop and it takes forever to get film developed!


Of the hay in the barn
and the hound in the field

of the back of the field of the
sound of the hound in the field

of the back of the field of the
bay and the front of the field

of the back of the hound and the
front of the hound and the sound
of the hound when he bays at
the sound in the field

with the baying of hounds in the
baying of arms in the field

of the hound on the page in the
sound of the hound in the field

of the hay that unrests near
the hound in the barn in the field

of the bend in the barn in the
sound of the hound in the bay
by the barn in the field.

Life in nature

I couldn't resist these pigs--the photo is from flickr blogger Al-- Fifty. Check out her site for more wonderful, thoughtful photos of life on the farm. For more sows click here!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Laura Riding

Wow. How had I missed this woman? I have just come into possession of the collected poems, the stories, a reader, a biography...a wealth of material all published by Persea. I don't know anything about her, other than Hogarth Press apparently published her first book. So, already I'm intrigued. This from Anarchism Is Not Enough:
When the baby is born there is no place to put it: it is born, it will in time die, therefore there is no sense enlarging the world b so many miles and minutes for its accomodation. A temporary scafflolding is set up for it, an altar to ephemerality--a permanent altar to ephemeraltiy. This altar is the Myth. The objectr of the Myth is to give happiness: to help the baby pretend that what is ephermeral is permant...so long as he can go on pretending that it is permanent he is happy. (Reader 71)
I guess that goes doubly for me...

What I gather about Riding from the few people I've heard mention her is that she was difficult. Not a good quality in a woman then, and still, apparently. How dull that male poets get to be assholes, and admired for it! Hell, made famous for it! But "difficult" women are still considered intolerable!

I suppose I'll have more to report on the subject after I've actually waded through all of these books.

New Woody Allen movie

Oh, Woody! Apparently he has a good movie on his hands...and just in case you were wondering why he keeps making so many movies:

"It's not habit. It's not for the money. It's a distraction. In my regular life, I'm consumed by depression, anxiety and terror. When I'm making a movie I get to live in a fantasy of beautiful women and charming men speaking amusing dialogue. Then when I return to real life, it's a terrible time."

Someone asked if the movie's dark conclusion implied Allen was cynical about justice.

"I think that I'm cynical in general, but for me cynical is reality, with a different spelling."

I wondered why Allen was caught up in plot all the time. It isn't just a patina of charm, it's a puzzle of intention that keeps the mind occupied. Fair enough.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Elmore Leonard

"I write them to find out what happens...I don't write for anybody else." So says Elmore Leornard in Today's NYTimes. And just to illustrate what a master of characterization and dialogue he is this is what he gives us:

"There's one name in the phonebook who repairs typewriters," Mr. Leonard said, adding, "he says he can live on $6,000 a year. He lives in a trailer park."

That is all he says about the typewriter guy, but with those spare details, the typewriter guy comes alive in the room, full-blown.

That economy and precision have enabled a career that has lasted more than 50 years. One day ran into the next, one book became another, and now Mr. Leonard is a nearly 80-year-old man who has just written his 40th book.

Economical and precise to be sure. One of the masters of dialogue and characterization, and yet, I'm just never tempted to read Elmore Leonard more than once... In fact, will I be buying this new book? Does it matter? Check out the podcast. Hmmm...

Oh, and check out Leonard's 10 rules for writing. Hmm again. That 10th rule, the one about leaving stuff out that the reader skips, that's a good rule. Of course, how does one know what the reader will skip? Can we really say all readers will skip the same bits? I'm thinking now that maybe I want to have the privilege of skipping or not...but maybe that's just me.

Hinterland Who's Who?

Is there anything more Canadian than Hinterland Who's Who? The opening few bars is enough to make me crave a tall glass of Nestle's Quick and a re-run of Gilligan's Island (which is not particularly Canadian, perhaps, or even particular to 1970s). But to keep up the Canadian legend I'll add that the Nestle's Quick and TV usually occurred after a healthy dose of tramping through underbrush and carving out our own beaver den near the water...but hey, "for a more complete story on the beaver, why not contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa..."

Or, check out this handy fact sheet. God I love Canada!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ariana Huffington

Bigger, badder, and more organized than before...who needs the dailies? Are we seeing the absolute crumbling of the media or is the left just being further relegated to the margins of mainstream?

New HOW2!!!

Announcing the launch of How2 magazine's
exciting new Spring 2005 issue


Critical Feature on Nicole Brossard
& Quebecois Feminist Subjectivity
++ new work by Brossard and interview ++ articles by Jodi Lundgren, Kelly-Anne Maddox, Kate Eichhorn, Susan Rudy, Anne-Marie Wheeler, Ghislaine Boulanger, Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem & Nancy Gillespie ++

New Media: 'Opposites Live Together'
++ Influenza (from marbles to pixels) ++ Ceridwen Buckmaster (a sentence in france) ++ Kate Gallon (find me) ++ Emanuelle Waeckerle (vinst) ++ Brigid McLeer (in place of the page) ++

Modern Singapore Poetry
Featuring Edlyn Ang == Grace Chia == Wendy Gan == Bridget-Rose Lee == Madeleine Lee == Kristina Tom

'The Upside-Down Door': 14 Poets
Featuring Jane Sprague == Jenn McCreary == Rachel Moritz == Corinne Lee == Anne Blonstein == Laura Sims == Julia Cohen == Carol Ciavonne == Nicole Mauro == Marianne Morris == Laura Solomon == Claire Barbetti == Jennifer Bartlett == Wendy S. Walters

An exchange: Joan Jonas, Susan Howe and Jeanne Heuving
Juliana Spahr interviewed by Joel Bettridge

Feature on Alice Duer Miller
With images from the Barnard archives ++ Mary Chapman on 'Magpie Habits' ++ Rebecca Stelzer on 'The White Cliffs'

Contemporary Japanese Poetry in Translation
Akiko Fujiwara ++ Koike Masayo ++ Kyong-Mi Park ++ Hirata Toshiko ++ Hinako Abe ++ Yoko Isaka ++ Takarabe Toriko

'Landing Sites': Papers from the Contemporary Writing Environments Conference, Brunel, July 2004
Andrea Brady == Christina Makris on Madeline Gins & Arakawa == Robert Stanton on Rae Armantrout == Isabel Haarhaus on Janet Frame & Riemke Ensing == Alicia Cohen on Jack Spicer

Alerts and Reviews
Julia Bloch on Rosmarie Waldrop == Alicia Cohen on Jeanne Heuving == Sarah Anne Cox on Yedda Morrison == Shira Dentz on Julie Carr and Evelyn Reilly == Jean Mills on Virginia Woolf == Sina Queyras on Lisa Robertson == Oriel Winslow on Linda A. Kinnahan == Mairead Byrne on Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets == New archival material on Hannah Weiner == Paper Tiger Media: 'Put on Your Red Shoes and Dance'

PLUS InPrint, Updates, Postcards, new archived issues!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Okay, Don't Panic, the world is at an end but it isn't without a sense of humor. And yes, when the whales leave you know things are dire...people call it mediocre, but I laughed...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Raft of my own

Where I'd rather be--even though a piece of my raft was drifting away. This is north of Whistler on a glacial lake. Too cold to swim, the only smart thing to do is float. Can't remember the name of this lake--near Pemberton. I want to say it's Lilloet Lake...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Dolls down under

originally uploaded by egenerica.
Check out this slideshow from egenerica...amazing stuff.

Doggy Store on Lexington

Here's a snippet from the piece on pets in America in the NY Times Magazine this weekend:
At the risk of drawing ire, I would like to suggest that there is something profoundly awry about the way our culture treats pets. To wit: We spend more money annually on pet-related supplies and services (an estimated $35 billion last year) than we do on toys for children. To wit: The New York Dog Magazine, which features un-tongue-in-cheek articles on whether or not to buy health insurance for Fido (5 percent of pet owners have insurance) and how to keep your canine in a custody battle (''Start a diary showing that you are the primary caretaker,'' advises Raoul Felder, divorce lawyer to the stars. ''Note how many times you walk the dog''), is but the latest entry in a crowded field that includes Dog Fancy, Modern Dog and The Bark. To wit: If you're looking for a place to board your dog while you're on vacation, you could do worse than Canine Cove in Sausalito, Calif., a cageless facility offering a quiet area to watch TV as well as an outside lounge area. NYTIMES

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Virginia Woolf's Diary

Tuesday 28 May, 1929 I am not trying to tell a story. Yet perhaps it might be done in that way. A mind thinking. They might be islands of light–islands in the stream that I am trying to convey: life itself going on. The current of the moths flying strongly this way. A lamp & a flower pot in the centre. The flower can always be changing. But there must be more unity between each scene than I can find at present. Autobiography it might be called. How am I to make one lap, or act, between the coming of the moths, more intense than another; if there are only scenes? One must get the sense that this is the beginning; this the middle; that the climax–when she opens the window & the moth comes in. I shall have the two different currents–the moths flying along; the flower upright in the centre; a perpetual crumbling & renewing of the plant. In its leaves she might see things happen.

Monday, May 02, 2005

View from my window this morning

On those days they're lucky enough to be walking by when the firehall bells go off...the fascination with firetrucks begins early and never seems to fade. For a slideshow of the Fire House--what they stop and wave at every day--click here.

Still & Otherwise

New chapbook coming from Greenboathouse!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Michal & Carla, Chelsea...hey you two, phone home!

Spring in the hood

Check out the hood! Today's walk down Smith, up Court and back along State...lots of action, lots of planting. It's annual greening day and State and Hoyt are in competition.
Here's a more in depth look at Brooklyn. I'm not finished with that slideshow, but it's a start.