Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bits and Bites with updates

Rae Armantrout livens up the New Yorker's poetry pages once again. An earlier post on Armantrout's Next Life here.

Haiku's from the French: Catherine Owen in Geist.

Ditch features Erin Moure, Nathalie Stephens and Jay Millar.

Rod McKuen just won't go away...here's the news circa 1967.

Lisa Moore on Mavis Gallant.

An interview with Canadian playwright Tomson Highway.
(Meanwhile I've noticed quite a lot of grumpiness directed at the Toronto Theatre scene, once vibrant, and now it seems, in need of a shake up or shake down...and even Canadian Stage cutting its play development arm...what is going on?)

And speaking of Toronto: Blog TO on Toronto book stores (via Cancult.ca)

Christian Bok on Dennis Lee over at the Poetry Foundation. Happy to see Lee get some attention for Yes/No. I was shocked at the silence that surrounded UN (an excerpt from that is included in Open Field). But then the Canadian poetry scene is a prickly beast, often preoccupied with its shadow.

Earlier Bok offered a succinct post on aleatory writing that's also worth checking out. Here's a snippet:
Chance fulfills two contradictory duties, since it scatters connected things even as it clusters unrelated things. Where the world disjoins events in order to keep them quarantined from each other, chance serves to force events into a state of mutual collusion, but where the world conjoins events in order to keep them adulterated with each other, chance serves to force events into a state of mutual dispersal. Is chance preserving its power to be intractable by doing both things at once? Is it not fair to say that, wherever a norm prevails, chance seems to intervene on behalf of an anomalous behaviour?
I'm on board with aleatory writing and all manner of constraints, oulipian, chance, and well, just about anything that can produce the kind of potent and kinetically charged texts that can arise from this approach. But the whole metaphor of the gaming tables can undermine the game and reminds me of that empty feeling one has when the game has gone too far, or perhaps not far enough. That tepid reach.

And where these games are concerned this poet would like to see them used in concert with other lines of inquiry, not singular in their pursuit, or if singular then singular to the extreme (as Bok does with Eunoia). Otherwise we end up with a series of one note texts good for a laugh and then what? Of course "and then what" is a difficult question to ask of poetry in general...

Ron Silliman on Rachel Blau Duplessis' latest Drafts: poetry as readerly engagement and argument.

Have you read the new Alice Munro in the New Yorker? And am I the only one who missed this extensive interview with Munro in the Virginia Quaterly Review?

Susan Faludi on the 9/11 widows.

Do you dream of Hilary? Or Barak? Now you can share your dreams:


Get ready for the low-tech workstyle...it's coming. Here are some radical ideas:

Get over yourself. Receiving lots of e-mail doesn't mean you're important. "People who brag about getting a hundred e-mails a day, I think there's something wrong with that," productivity expert Mark Ellwood says.

Turn off your automatic e-mail notification.

Block e-mails on which you are cc'd. "Anything you really need to know finds its way to you," management consultant Ken Siegel says.

Most people don't need the

Internet at their desk all the time. Cut yourself off.

And with that in mind this blog will whittle itself down to a murmur.

Do less. Do it better.

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