Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
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 aOr "Coehill":
dismal delirium. Aiming towards empty.
She falls. How grand after death. Lunation
toiling monumental impermanence..."
"A pyramid in reverse. My echo sees itselfWonderful 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.
coming. Hesitation. This is his own hap-
pening. Make a move and get out of here.
The delta opened its soft mouth and took
**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
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.
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.
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
Martine Bellen & Karen WeiserAnother 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
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
"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?"
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.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
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?
Friday, May 20, 2005
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!
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
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Sunday, May 15, 2005
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...
Saturday, May 14, 2005
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.
Friday, May 13, 2005
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.
"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
"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.
Or, check out this handy fact sheet. God I love Canada!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
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
Friday, May 06, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
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
Monday, May 02, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005
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.