Friday, October 30, 2009

Comments, who owns comments?

Who owns comments on a blog? Or what is fair use? As some of you may know, a book of selected blog posts from this blog is forthcoming from BookThug. The process of creating the text was intriguing--more complicated than I expected. And what precedent is there for turning a literary blog into a book? I'll be posting more on that when the time comes. But, but, but, for now my question is regarding the comments folks have left here over the past six years? When you leave a comment what do you expect it to do? Have an afterlife? Disappear in 48 hours? Do you feel a sense of ownership? A defense of commentary? For some (not necessarily here but elsewhere)commenting seems to be a serial form of publication. And for blogs they are kind of essential aren't they? So who owns blog comments? Once offered in response to something posted here, do they become part of "here"? Can I do with them what I wish?

Please feel free to comment.

Oh, and do check the blogger terms of service

Bildungsroman

The day the blood came I was covered in gravel. Sandy in my ears and eyes, all under my jeans where the cuffs rub. Slay and I climbed the rock mounds in the concrete factory and surfed down on cardboard. We got in under the gate where the dogs are chained. Slay threw a bone--not a boner, like my brother says--and it landed the length of a skipping rope in front of them and they snapped and pulled at their chains like in the movies when the burgler is coming. We flipped a coin to see who was gonna snicker over and kick the bone close and even though Slay lost I did it because Slay is bigger on the outside than on the inside and it was fun to get so close and hear them nasty in my ears. Later when the security guard come I dove head first under the gate as if I could curl under it silky as water, which of course I couldn't and my T-Shirt shred on the pavement and my chest was a mat of blood and gravel--not something a lady would do, a phrase I did not want sticking on me and now is coming from every adult mouth.

See also: formation novel

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seamus Heaney

What the lyric do:
Need I say, well?

Blogs of note

Rachel Zolf's Tolerance Project. Hilarious and pointed account of the typical MFA workshop. Zolf has entered one, in protest really, and has cleverly crafted a conceptual poetry project around the experience.

Kathryn Mockler is gathering fabulous materials for those coming to poetry, or those who need a little direction.

I guess if you're Margaret Atwood you can get away with a me-blog.  Still, I was surprised to see it. One of the reasons I admire Atwood so much is that she does see herself in context.

Michael Turner has a blog titled "Websit: Every Log's Been Slept On" which I first read as "a blog everyone has slept in"... Very much looking forward to the new novel.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Strange & Wondrous


Backstory

As if the wind could lift story. In the night, very late, a dark hoop around a waistline. She peered in. Not unpleasant. History licking up at her. Not with handles though. No instruction. They come at her, quite insistent, as if waiting for communion, their tongues out, awaiting it, the instruction. No, she admonishes, don't wait for instruction! One doesn't arrive at creation all in a moment, ready for greatness (whatever greatness is in the face of story). One journeys, and without google maps. One crawls out of basements, one slogs through shit, one puts in time at bad jobs, one gathers, one almost gives up, one doesn't take a number, one sniffs, one notices texture, ways of feeling hungry. I worry, someone said from the bowels of the story. How will anyone know where we are going if they are all waiting for instruction? How like a hoop, she thought, how like crinoline, and precisely that: how can one know the exact quality of earth, what might be good for, say, growing spinach rather than tomatoes? The story adrift, a small planet shooting toward the horizon.

See also: entre-genre

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sylvia Plath

That great New England Growl: cashmere and...well Plath's birthday. The video isn't great, but the reading is...

Avant-garde

Well for one it's because the avant-garde always has more fun creating the work than its readers do reading it... In fact it is this sheer attention to joy that should make others suspicious. After all poetry lives in the frayed ends of ropes and lashes while on bent knees--my father preferred to use bricks recently pulled off of walls for replacement because they are falling apart, and therefore less smooth, inflicting the maximum amount of pain. Poetry is born of introspection. The avant-garde is as introspective as an MRI. The avant-garde boasts that it is born of happy moments, no suffering there, not like the old masters, dark and starving in garrets--or at least figuratively starved. No, a good person cannot abide a literature of aloof, a lofty and erudite expostulation crafted solely of life's excesses. No, one wants a little more blood in one's verse, a little less techno-babble, more feeling, less constraint, a little more heart and a little less sheen. I wouldn't go so far as to say we should eradicate the strand altogether (there is occasionally an idea or two worth pilfering, not that you want to let them know that), but I might suggest that one weed can ruin a perfectly good lawn. And what is more restful to the eye than an even expanse of green?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autobiographical novel

A novel in which the author claims to be telling the real and true account of their life. Usually of interest only when hyphenated by such things as a crack, gambling, or sex addiction, or any of several forms of abuse--although the more graphic (but not disturbingly graphic), the better. If you have had a dull life it is recommended that in true writerly fashion you make something up. Either that or develop a conceptual strategy to make it more interesting.

See Zhang Huan, etc

Saturday, October 24, 2009

For those of you

who are not out dancing tonight...there is, somewhere in the galaxy, a groove going on. Thanks Vanessa

Paul Durcan listening to Christian Bok


Variousness in readings, that's what interests me. Not four lyric poets all in a row, or four sound poets, or four poets writing the very same angle--unless they're really, really writing the same angle. Nice to read with Paul Durcan and Christian Bok last night, and Mr. Morton, whom I had not met. Very different voices, and all in a way, speaking to each other. And I adored Mr. Durcan, who signed my book "l'audace et encore de l'audace."


Very nice to put faces to some Ottawa people. Wave to you all, and Mr. McDonald, whom I did not have a chance to talk to...wave again.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Author

Is there a pulse? A group of mid-afternoon shoppers, bags offering liberal padding between hip and hip, crowded around the body--is it a body? Yes, it's a body, black blood pooling at the wrist and behind the ears, a body, or something resembling a body. There's been an accident, someone said. Two mothers leashed their hands around their son's chins, a dog in a tartan cardigan sniffed the pavement. It was cold. A day more like early winter rather than the late fall evidenced in leaves and sharp sky. Someone looked up, as if more authors might fall. What is happening to us? Everything is coming apart, a waiter said, taking the opportunity to light up and stretch. Where had the author come from? What was the author doing? Trying to fly, someone said. Maybe walking on air, one of the boys said, pulling at his mother's hands. Maybe the author believed it was air, another said. Has anyone called 911 a small girl asked. Then, yes, we have called 911, long ago, they are taking forever to come.

Poetry Cabaret

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Coach House poets Sina Queyras (Expressway, Lemon Hound) and Christian Bök (Eunoia, Crystallography) will be joined by Colin Morton (The Hundred Cuts) and Paul Durcan (The Laughter of Mothers) for an evening at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. This event will be hosted by Rob Winger.

Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts and Humanities
314 Saint Patrick Street
Ottawa, Ontario CA

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Atmosphere

While she waited the ceiling swelled and swayed under the weight of something that seemed equally to press down on her and out from her. She imagined Bishop's Fish, its skin "packed in like feathers." She imagined pomegranites inside out and writhing beneath the neighbor's floorboards. She imagined, for some reason, thousands of tennis balls, chewed within an inch of their shapes by foaming dogs. What is insulation, really? Swim bladders pinkening and blowing through the cracks? Outside the overhead wires lashed buildings like boats in a harbour, everyone gone ashore before the storm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Archetype

The new archetype: or the women of the avant-garde. She her self and her shadow took their anima and animus and persona down to the verse trough wherein they slashed, collaged and knit slutty lyrics with uptight dialog and, well, general mayhem ensues.

see also: Ubu web

Writers Read at Concordia

presents
a reading by
GEORGE SAUNDERS

Friday, 23 October 2009 7:30 pm

De Sève Cinema
J.W. McConnell / Library Building
1400 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West
Concordia University

One of the most successful writers of recent times, George Saunders has published three volumes of short fiction, an illustrated novella, two children’s books, and a collection of essays, all of which have garnered him international acclaim. In 2006, he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship, and in 2009 he received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and his short stories have been widely anthologized. In support of his books, he has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Colbert Report. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.

Writers Read is generously supported by the Faculty of Arts and Science.

For more information, please contact Rachel Kyne at rachelkyne@hotmail.com or call the Concordia University English Department at 514/848-2424 ext. 2340.

Upcoming events:
A poetry reading and panel discussion with editors of and poets featured in THE WOLF (U.K.) - 6 November, 2 pm, LB 646 (J.W. McConnell / Library Building)

Stage Door, 1937

Who isn't in this movie?
Fabulous, fabulous.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Apostrophe

You might think this is simply a grammatical symbol for omitted letters, or a way to mark ownership and relationship which in itself is a neat trick. You might also think it's a book (and a site) designed/conceived by Toronto Wunderkinds Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler. You might also think that it refers to an actor breaking the fourth wall by speaking directly to the audience, or, dear reader, the author directly addressing her reader or as used in the following line courtesy of the OED: GEO. ELIOT A. Bede 30 Bursting out into wild accusing apostrophes to God and destiny. It is a technique of great use to twelve and thirteen-year-olds with a certain curiosity and/or desire beyond their economic and geographical constraints evidenced in long monologues and motivational rants offered to vacant lots, attentive puppies, and paper towel dispensers in junior high bathrooms.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tonight, Montreal Coach House is up to no good

Coach House / Snare Books Montreal Launch
Sunday, October 18, 2009 8:00pm
featuring readings by David Derry, Sarah Dowling, Ian Christopher Goodman, Kate Hall, Susan Holbrook, Kim Minkus, Jeff Parker and Sina Queyras
The Green Room, 5386 Blvd. St-Laurent
Montreal, QC

why collaborative texts are more good than non-collaborative

From a piece in the New York Times last week about "How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect," in which the author offers statistics that support a fact long argued by poets, that disjunction as found in poets as diverse as Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Rae Armantrout and Erin Moure, is actually a very useful poetic, that like the uncanny, makes the mind leap in interesting ways, opening up new neural pathways. Researchers--and many book reviewers around the globe--assume people won't be able to make sense of dissonant texts, that difficult poetry is often self-indulgent poetry. But check this out:
The test is a standard measure of what researchers call implicit learning: knowledge gained without awareness. The students had no idea what patterns their brain was sensing or how well they were performing.
But perform they did. They chose about 30 percent more of the letter strings, and were almost twice as accurate in their choices, than a comparison group of 20 students who had read a different short story, a coherent one.
“The fact that the group who read the absurd story identified more letter strings suggests that they were more motivated to look for patterns than the others,” Dr. Heine said. “And the fact that they were more accurate means, we think, that they’re forming new patterns they wouldn’t be able to form otherwise.”
Brain-imaging studies of people evaluating anomalies, or working out unsettling dilemmas, show that activity in an area called the anterior cingulate cortex spikes significantly. The more activation is recorded, the greater the motivation or ability to seek and correct errors in the real world, a recent study suggests. “The idea that we may be able to increase that motivation,” said Dr. Inzlicht, a co-author, “is very much worth investigating.”
So yes, let them wonder their way into poetry and beyond.

Harriet's ongoingness and new blogs

Excellent line up at Harriet including Anselm Berrigan--great post yesterday which was more like a prose poem than a prose post, and lovely. I have yet to read Berrigan's new book, but I look forward, and it was great to see him on the cover of Poets and Writers Magazine last month. He has a few poems up on Jacket.

I have been enjoying Barbara Jane Reyes's posts as well--she has introduced me to lots of new voices during her time there. New Canadian bloggers this week include Chris Banks and Jacob Mooney. The latter had an intriguing book out last year--I love that it made the reader turn sideways because the lines were so long. Thanks to Paul Vermeersch for pointing out Mooney's blog. Did I mention Jonathan Ball has also started blogging?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Aphorism

The Englishwoman is so refined she has no bosom and no behind.

Does this line, by British author Stevie Smith, count as an aphorism? It is, as they say, a rarely accepted truth expressed remotely if memorably.

see also: Epigram

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

antithesis

Her mother had said no, which always made her think yes, the way you have the white ball lined to sink a ball in the side pocket (almost horizontal), and can't quite see the spot it should connect to the cue through the white ball where you are staring, and there is a boy with longish hair and an elastic waist who seems poised somehow, to stroke your brow, but you are only eleven and the smoke-filled room is loud with soccer commentary and acrid bets, and shots of espresso and you stare down the length of your cue--yes you have your own cue--thinking "no" in this instance, or the instance about to occur, no must certainly mean yes. You know this, you know you are second-guessing yourself, you are thinking you should trust yourself, just as you know that the first thought, or the first site of the spot on the white ball is always the one that locks the shot--and you know that if you second guess yourself you'll hear the thunk of ball hitting rail. As if intuition was more geometrically gifted than logic, and a gut more rational than religion. You think, but I love her, I respect her, I really do, and you do, and you are right to, but some mothers need more room for error than others, and this gives you your sense of equanimity, and despite the ring of seventeen year-old boys, gathered now, curious and nutmeg-scented with their elastic waists and sweet mouths, their soft, hooded eyes, taunting you, you go back to that first thought, and before you can think again, you shoot it, and of course, of course it is good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Anti-Hero

Are all anti-heros tragically flawed? Are they heroic in their rejection of the stock heroic? Are they faux heroic? Are they everyman? Everywoman? Every amoeba? Mornings up and out the building across 104th through the parking lot, rain trenching into curbs, so through the mall, overpass, light slanting through opaque peaks, wide swaths of piped in music and the cleaning women in pink smocks with dusters and men driving Zamboni sized floor polishers, plastic corn plants, stores opening, glass sloping, long-legged perfectly coiffed women, out across more pavement, toward the gang-plank of the school yard, the parade of morning cuffs and butt-swallowing head bangers bent on pounding out all difference: every queer thirteen year-old is an anti-hero. Every suburban waif with a hint of quirky.


see also "villain," "queer-bashing," "homophobia," "poverty & perversion"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Antagonist

The antagonist is an "anti""agonist" which is against binding, or against a kind of organic fruition. The antagonist is certain as death and taxes and when used in direct opposition to the protagonist assures that a text resembles a tennis match: yes, only one of you can win. There will be dropped balls, someone might throw a tantrum, but everyone will wear white, use tennis rackets, and yes, we are headed down a very narrow, confined chute toward "outcome."

Antagonists are often exaggerated and can be entire cultures, or moments, or multiple entities all against the protagonist.  Consider poor Tess of the D'urbervilles who, facing serial publication, was thrown hurdle after hurdle for the sake of a weekly payment as she hurtled toward certain death.

An antagonist can also be language, or in language.

see also "anti-hero" "Language Poetry"

1983 was a strange and beautiful year

Strange new moment, Aids was still a whisper, David Bowie was making his move into movies, David Sylvian was there (where is he now?),

As was Annie Lennox,

and Steve Jobs

So was the threat of nuclear annihlation. In fact this was the year many of us saw Helen Caldicott's film, released in 1982. The film was so disturbing I recall driving around in circles in the west end of Vancouver until a car appeared out of nowhere landing like a dart on the hood of my car, then a black 1968 Valiant with a candy red interior.

But Talking Heads released Speaking in Tongues, and one of the great songs of the 80s:
Talking Heads - Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place)

aCreationMonster|MySpace Videos

and of course, there was Michael
Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Broken Social Scene

Capture the flag

Why poetry matters

Poetry creates nothing, but it might help us break down lazy thinking. More on how nonsense helps sharpen brain function, or why poetry must be more than a confession:
When those patterns break down — as when a hiker stumbles across an easy chair sitting deep in the woods, as if dropped from the sky — the brain gropes for something, anything that makes sense. It may retreat to a familiar ritual, like checking equipment. But it may also turn its attention outward, the researchers argue, and notice, say, a pattern in animal tracks that was previously hidden. The urge to find a coherent pattern makes it more likely that the brain will find one.

Oh and yes, you just might be born anxious or perhaps even, a poet. 

Angry Young Men

Though the term drifted across the Atlantic and concerned writers such as John Osborne and Kingsley Amis, every generation and genre has its angry young men. They gather like wolves at the fringes, wearing cardigans and dangling pipes, or jaunty pork pie hats and tight-fitting suits. They describe the lay of the land with great authority, quickly figuring out the best launch pads for careers and attacks. The attacks are planned with military precision: when its best to bomb, which kingpins to take out and when. AYM seem to have endless time to craft manifestos and write elaborate critiques, and like most bullies, quickly find themselves with an army of younger, angry (or enthusiastic) young men rallying behind.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I'm still your fag

Just found this again...

Very minor f yous

Poetry showed up in black leather, creaking and swaying, and generally throwing its weight around...

Anecdote

Would the word be more interesting if it was pronounced like synecdoche?  Like conceptual writing the anecdote is often given short shrift, under-valued in literature, where some of the best moments are such asides, the anecdote that makes the reader meander. Relegated to the gutter of newspaper and magazine filler (like poetry?) the anecdote is misunderstood. A piece of shattering prose cut away from the constraints of conventional fiction the anecdote is just too much fun to be taken seriously even when it's exceptionally well done.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Allusion

The allusion, or what you are alluding to is slightly elusive, or illusory no? Since you put me in mind of, or since we flocked there, and there had no feathers...well, we were all wondering, did she intend? Was there something specific? Or must we attend? Or, who has time to parse anything? Who wants nothing but a little purse, a little change, but not too radical (or bulky). Seriously, you are making a gesture here, so complete it, bend a blade of grass for the many legged idea to grasp on to, do not leave it dangling. Wait, is that an abyss? The abyss? What are you suggesting here?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Alliteration and Assonance

She said alliteration is for consonants and assonance is for vowels. Or alliterate when you must alleviate, and assonance when aspiring.

Monday, October 05, 2009

My Montreal: Parc Lafontaine

Summer, video number 2

Allegory

Allegory, what is allegory? This is a contentious point, and not only in relation to conceptual writing which is currently being touted as the new charlatanism. The new old. Poetry might also be thought of as the new charlatanism. If the sonnet is new, or if oulipo is new, or if short fiction is new, or the new sentence is new, or new is new. New may be allegorical since it allows one group of people to throw another group up in the air for an indeterminant amount of time. It also makes a club of thought. Allegory may not currently be a much loved literary device but it is nonetheless a useful one. Allegory amplifies aspects: character, narrative, journey, perspective. As does conceptual writing. Perhaps this is the point. Perhaps allegory is pointed.

Gilbert & George

Gilbert & George. The Tuileries. 1974.
Like the modernists, the conceptualists tend to literalize things, make art functional even as it tends toward the "uncreative," "unsoothing," and "unconsumable." And of course, it's stylish. The above room one of the creations of Gilbert & George, whom would certainly be great dinner party guests, though probably better to be a guest of theirs since they seem to have made their lives their art. From the fabulous In & Out: Travels in Conceptual Art in Amsterdam.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

I'm not a conceptual writer, but I feel like one


Christine Wertheim, myself (attempting to shrink), Kim Rosenfield and Vanessa Place. Nada Gordon is taking the photo, which I tweaked a little, Nada, hope you don't mind. For a report on our panel, see Nada's blog. There are several reports of the conference itself, which was really great, and a reminder that we don't get together enough, cross paths enough in person. Nor do we really get to listen to each other much anymore. Distance plus whatever (fill it in). One thing I know from time spent at Banff and elsewhere though, there is absolutely nothing more effective than sharing a meal to bond folks. That was the only thing missing for me--the breaking of bread.

As for conceptual? As I said at the outset of my paper, I don't classify myself as a conceptual writer (or any kind of writer for that matter), but, but some of my very best friends are conceptual writers, and conceptual writing is of great interest to me on many levels. Not to mention being of the moment, and doesn't one have a duty to come to terms with one's moment?

What is conceptual writing? Well, you can see Kenny Goldsmith here, or read Thom Donovan (whom I met on Saturday at In Print on 10th with Dorothea Lasky and David Buuck) on Place and Fitterman's Conceptualisms here.

And before you get all twisted, no one is making anyone become a conceptual writer. It's just another fold in the great fabric, y'all. No worries. Or as Jake says, just peace.

Alienation

All writers are aliens. This is what your mother warned you about. That is if you had the kind of mother who warned you about such things. There are mothers who warn about other things, such as the suburbs, marriage, domesticity, nursing school, as if they were pods thick with ooze and entrapment. These are rare. The character who is alienated is always the central character in any text read by an alienated reader.

Video du jour

Patti Smith reads Woolf

Saturday, October 03, 2009

tag und

First efforts...with video

Aim

The reason isn't aim, though it may be aimlessness. Sometimes the plot reveals itself to be a series of gestures, each one less exact than the one before. No promises, no hooks, nothing to navigate your way through, or so it seems; the bark of trees a long directive howl.

Friday, October 02, 2009

If poetry does nothing, neither does design, or architecture


Rem Koolhaas on sustainability. I offer an excerpt here:
Against this backdrop came the first Club of Rome meeting, which talked about the limits of growth (15). It was a reasonable and dramatically illustrated argument about the limits of resources, and showed how in the next hundred years we have to be more careful and more restrained in our consumption. But then the market economy was unleashed in the mid 70s. The market economy had a devastating effect on the knowledge that had been accumulated at this point. This forced the apocalyptic streak of the polarity that I defined at the beginning.

Twenty years later, the Club of Rome is completely open about the fact that "global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill … In searching for a new enemy to unite us." In the same year, they even suggested that "democracy is no longer well suited for the task ahead" (16, 17). You see a perverse amplification and intensification of the arguments: seemingly rational, but actually on the apocalyptic side.

So, these two tendencies almost merge, or the evidence that they use is the same. But one continues to use the evidence for a rational and reasonable future, such as the application of atomic power. In France, about 80 percent of electricity is generated from nuclear energy. The country in which the Enlightenment began is still the most enlightened nation, in a way, with its energy policy.

Scientists like Freeman Dyson relativize the disaster of CO2 levels, saying that actually they could also, in certain areas, have a positive effect (18). He is, of course, completely vilified for these statements. But this kind of thinking leads perhaps to a school of thought that engineering can finally offer a number of strategies that could help us.

Then there is the apocalyptic streak, which portrays trains powered by coal as a holocaust (19), and which develops more and more extreme scenarios (20, 21). For example the deadline on intervention that the Club of Rome envisioned in its first report has been revised to four years, confronting all of us with a desperate time limit.

Adventure

Think of the most unbelievable person you have ever met: leap tall buildings, check, eat charred rattle snake, check, go without sleep for seventy-two hours and still look dashing, check. Now think of something they love very much. Usually this is a woman though sometimes it can be their country, or humanity, or the planet, or a car even. Now, take that car/country/humanity/woman/ or future of the planet away, and watch as your protagonist attempts to navigate his or her way through as many obstacles as you can place in the way of your protagonist. If you choose a woman, kudos to you, now avoid all urges to domesticate your narrative. Points to the person who does not come up with something resembling a video game.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Winnie, Happy Days

Beginning, Act 2.
Winnie imbedded up to neck, hat on head, eyes closed. Her head, which she can no longer turn, nor bow, nor raise, faces front motionless throughout act. Movements of eyes as indicated. 
Bag and parasol as before. Revolver conspicuous to her right on mound. 
Long pause. 
Bell rings loudly. She opens her eyes at once. Bell stops. She gazes front. Long Pause
 
Winnie: Hail, holy light. [Long pause. She closes her eyes. Bell rings loudly. She opens eyes at once. Bell stops. She gazes front. Long smile. Smile off. Long pause.] Someone is looking at me still. [Pause.] Caring for me still. [Pause.] That is what I find so wonderful. [Pause.] Eyes on my Eyes. [Pause.]....

Fiona Shaw on Winnie

Advance

Most often refers to the elusive and mythic advance offered an author for a work, usually of prose, or some variety of prose (memoir, novel, biography), involving large-print editions. Apparently the average advance is approximately $100,000 dollars, one third of that in Canada. This is approximately the cost of a good MFA program. Consider the ratio and payoff if you are considering such things. Historically the advance is not associated either with poetry or the avant garde, though perhaps a conceptual advance might be offered in the way of fame, or lineage. An advance might signify a fork in the road of one's literary aspirations. A litmus test of sorts. It might also be a concern to those without a trust fund or those who prefer to eat. There is or is not a relationship between advance and readership.

Other possible uses: advance reading copy, advance reviews, and to advance one's career. The latter may or may not involve stepping on heads and/or slaying the competition.