Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kate Greenstreet on the tiniest feckles of rain

I have blogged about Greenstreet on several occasions which you can find here. Things get complicated with Greenstreet. Her poems lay flat, then suddenly do a 360, as if the poet has seen her tail out of the corner of the poem and can't resist. Of course why resist the flicker of one's own thought? The days pass with minute flickers of hope. Best leap on them. I offer you one of her videos with her distinct voice and reading style.
the giant from Kate Greenstreet on Vimeo.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pulled off my shelves #6: “O, though I love what others do abhor”

Last week I discussed authors who craft their work entirely through erasure—erasing the majority of another writer’s oeuvre, leaving select words in place which form a new poetry. Those poets allowed a residual marker of the original poem in the placement of the remaining words—every word was located where the original author had places it; the new author (as Ronald Johnson claimed) “composed the holes.”

A few others take the process a step further by eradicating the “holes” and compressing the appropriated language over the geography of the original pages. The resultant poetry is one further step from the original…

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Question of Appropriation or the Anxiety of Influence, in Either Case, Merely Scratching the Surface

On August 31, 2010 at 12:44 am New Orleanian wrote:
In New Orleans we say We ain't studyin' about you
On August 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm Sheera Talpaz wrote:
For someone so self-righteously interested in equitability, Abe Young's piece is wholly unjust to Ray McDaniel. In her piece, Young calls out McDaniel as a racist, an exploiter (a capitalist? poet), a fellow of white privilege, an unethical oppressor. He's practically an Ezra Pound or James Dickey. For anyone who doesn't know Ray but has read the book, this is patently absurd
In response to two very intriguing pieces on Harriet this summer, one by Abe Louise Young, the other by Ray McDaniel, the comment boxes filled up. Here is a sampling:
I am deeply disappointed by McDaniel's response to these accusations
McDaniel mined that project for his own gain
taking/borrowing/stealing is just that and should not be tolerated much less celebrated.
the authorship of these Katrina survivors is simply not valued here.
outrageous plagarism
Why aren't the "found" voices ever white?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Reviewing: Sonnet L'Abbé

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently?

SL: Ideally, a review condenses one knowledgeable and generous reader’s full experience of a book. By knowledgeable I mean having a sense of what constitutes quality across a range of genres, and by generous I mean starting from a position of hoping to love the book. A reviewer should give an opinion: signal overall impressions, give some specific moments of admiration, and say what aspects of the work, if any, prevents her from being unequivocally enthusiastic about it. This seems like common sense, but so many reviews avoid talking about shortcomings. A review should take a position, give context to the degree possible and necessary, and should help people decide if they want to buy the book. The kind of information and level of detail a reviewer might pass on in a review depends on the intended audience, i.e. academic or popular.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lisa Robertson on Ari

The Slits' bassist and lead vocalist Ari Up died of cancer on October 20 in LA, at the age of 48.

The Slits blew open poetics for me in 1990. My only regret then was that I did not discover them when I was 14.

This video was released the day after her death:


"I'm not here to be loved. I'm here to be heard"  Ari Up.
Lisa Robertson is in Vancouver right now. Recent books: R's Boat and Lisa Robertson's Magenta Soul Whip.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pulled off my shelves #5: “Compose the Holes”

In my 3rd “pulled off my shelves” column I discussed authors who produce work which consists of nothing but punctuation marks. These authors—typified by Goldsmith, Reuterswärd, Boglione and others—isolate the punctuation marks from other authors and orchestrate a new novel which consists of potentialities.
Allowing slightly more text that than these minimalist gestures are the poets and novelists who craft through erasure. I have seen this compositional technique conflated with William Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s “cut-up method”, but I see it as a form of writing which is quite different.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quickly: Less than Tweets with George Murray

A whole lot of blogging goodness, originally uploaded by lemon hound.

LH: What is the shortest aphorism in your collection?

GM: (Gosh, I don't know.)

Known to man?

Jesus wept?

LH: What is the first aphorism you ever wrote?

GM: I can't even begint to tell you, because I kind of slid into it all. I was writing sonnets that had closing couplets that are like aphorisms (if you remove them from their poems), and then when I started looking back at old journals, I realized I'd been writing them for years, just without any formal awareness.

LH: What is the first aphorism you ever memorized?

GM: I always loved Woody Allen's line about immortality: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying."

LH: Have you seen the Jenny Holzer show? Do you intend to see it while you are in Montreal?

GM: Haven't, but could be convinced!

LH: In what way do Ninjaisms and aphorisms mix?

GM: They intersect at the smart remark, I suppose. Aphorisms, as I do them at least, range from deeper investigations of life and thougth to snappy one-liners and witticisms. Bookninja isn't really a place for deeper investigations, at least not by me. It's a place for that razor-tongued character I've created to take the piss out of everyone and everything. A smart, funny aphorism can do the same thing.

This Friday, October 22, 2010, in other words, George Murray is in Montreal and will read with Jason Camlot at Drawn & Quarterly. The Hound will introduce. 7pm. 211 Bernard Street.

On the Audibility of the Aurora Borealis

Photos: Tessa Macintosh

Excerpted testimonies from two articles—“Audibility of the Aurora Borealis” by David Pentland and “Can You Hear the Aurora?” by B.W. Currie. Published in an issue of The Musk-Ox, no. 22, 1978. Found in the free pile at the Yellowknife Public Library.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last Letter, Last Word

On October 11th the New Statesman printed a previously unpublished poem by Ted Hughes which discusses the last time he saw his then estranged wife Sylvia Plath alive. While poking around on the internet trying to track down the full text of the poem, I read the comments following a news article which discussed the discovery. The angry author of the post snidely commented that the publication of this new poem should prove once and for all that Hughes was a good guy and vindicate him from the soap-box feminists who condemn Hughes for driving Plath to her suicide.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sina Queyras talks to Jeff Thompson

LH: Tell me about the idea for this project, Jeff. How did it come about?

JT: The Artforum Ad Project started in 2007, inspired by the Million Dollar Homepage and similar projects. The idea was to create both a singular artwork (a random conglomeration of lots of tiny pieces) and a way for lots of people to show their work in an an otherwise closed forum.

LH: How many images do you have? How long do you think it will take you get enough artists involved? Or is it the process that interests you?

JT: The number of images is constantly changing. It seems people sign up in spurts so it's hard to judge how long it will take. The piece will live until it's finished, a way of working that I ordinarily wouldn't be able to handle. In this case, however, I'm fine with the piece taking its time.

LH: It's been a while since I actually saw any of your work. Are you still working with text, or engaging with poetics?

JT: I'm writing quite a bit, but lately it's been much more grant applications and proposals than creative writing. My work has nearly split between what is traditionally art production (the making of images, sounds, objects, etc.) and what could be broadly considered critical work: curatorial projects that often involve writing catalog essays and organizing panel discussions on critical issues surrounding my work.

The broader idea of poetics is very much present in the work. In the past year, my production has turned to data as a source material and medium. I am very interested in how data can be seen as a poetic text to be read, analyzed, and manipulated. A whole new body of "texts" is then opened up to be critically examined. Similar to the rigid structure of the sonnet, data sets have their own particular formal structure.

Oct.,2010- performing a live soundtrack to the
1974 film "Zardoz" at Drift Station.
Jeff Thompson received his BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and his MFA from Rutgers University. He is currently Assistant Professor of New Genres and Digital Arts at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Thompson has exhibited and performed his work internationally, most recently at SITE Santa Fe, Jersey City Museum, Weisman Art Museum, Hunter College, White Box Gallery, and Museo Arte Contemporaneo in Argentina. Thompson was awarded the Van Lier Fellowship from Harvestworks in 2008 and a commission from Dispatx, an alternative curatorial platform based in Spain and NYC, in 2007. In addition to his studio work, Thompson co-founded the Texas Firehouse, an alternative gallery space in New York City from 2007-2009 and is currently a co-founder of Drift Station Gallery and Performance Space in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Monday, October 18, 2010

book review reversed

And as usual, the Book Thug chap is a perfect objet d’arte. Lick it. Love it. Read it. Wear it. Though la letter fits. (That last utterance was spousoid again, not eckhoff.)
“Are there no poets with their name beginning in G?”

That, and it’s a pleasurable read. Sometimes I get frustrated by conceptual works, but here is one that brings a focus on language and utterance to the fore.
“You said a mouthful.”

Surely Yankovic can relate. Sexual undertones winched to the surface.
“Haa ha, I, ha, sure do, Pat. Hee he. And here’s Jack, who really shakes. I had a hunch. Gift certificate. How would you like it?”

“Come on. Let’s go for big money. Come on, let’s go.”

Though I did read it twice, savouring the awkward dialogue and disjunctive phrasing in lines like: The show, not the book. Truly a model of consumption. Anyway, the effect of eckhoff’s conceit is to emphasize the show’s bizarre language and, to my mind, hyper-capitalist impulses.

Now Vanna has her own blog; it’s Wheel 2.0. Remember those? I can recall watching the show as a child and playing an Apple IIe version of the game in the days of black screens and green text. Which must be in it’s, what, billionth season? The chapbook is a simple transcript of Rounds One, Two, Three and the Bonus Round of an episode of that ubiquitous game show, Wheel of Fortune, but reversed. eckhoff’s conceit is simple in the telling and ingenious in the reading. Yes, several. Can I have an S? “Lots of people with S write poetry,” my husband says to himself, sorting our poetry shelf in the corner of the room.
“Hell-o. Vanna. Here comes Vanna White.”

By which I mean, eckhoff’s take on Pat Sajek and Vanna White puts Weird Al Yankovic’s “Stuck in the Closet with Vanna White” into stark and hilarious relief. The chapbook in question, Game Show Reversed, follows a clever conceit through to a rather satisfying (in the sense of jouissance) end.

I didn’t comment on such and will refrain now. Conveniently enough, one of the several BookThug offerings that arrived via Canada Post shortly before I departed on my trip to Tor-Dot a month ago is a little gem of a chapbook by one kevin mcpherson eckhoff, lately of a curiously sexual post on this very blog. For now, however, I’m finding it difficult to maintain the sort of focus required for the thorough reading and parsing of a book of poetry. I know I shouldn’t complain, and certainly I should be able to catch up with my reading list and my projects eventually, once I’ve eased in to the new schedule a bit more. Which is fantastic, except for the negative effects on my energy levels, attention span, and ability to, oh, read and write as much as before. I’m finally working again, thank ye gods.

Nikki Reimer, blah blah blah [sic] blah blah blah Vancouver blah blah blah Douglas College

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Three slices of Atlanta Pride

Steve McCaffery's Selected

One of the more impressive, and necessary volumes to come out of the excellent WLU Series, McCaffery's selected (one of my few regrets about Open Field is not including McCaffery). Perhaps for the new edition. In any case, here's a little blurb from the afterward for your consideration:
I’ve always retained from my reading of Charles Olson’s “Projective Verse” one important precept: the structural importance of kinetics to the revelation and disappearance of meaning (his notions of “breath” and “energy” do not factor in my work but importance of kinetics does). Speed is essential to the structure of “Lag” and the finite recombinations that make up “An Effect of Cellophane”.
You can read the entire text here. McCaffery's wit has impacted a certain strand of CanLit, and it;s one to aim for. The tricks are never empty. The Pope pronounces daffodil and the sneeze is "so thick" Samuel Johnson reappears beside a different set of mah jong tiles... A different set? Love the way so many various spaces are conjured with such little precise gestures. That's the speed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pulled off my shelves #4: "Besides, it's always other people who die"

In my most recent “Pulled off my shelves” column I discussed poems and novels written without the use of any letters or words; those novels which consist entirely of punctuation. The writers eschew letters believing that they could be as convincing with only the skeleton of communication Are you a writer if you refuse words and letters?

In my second “Pulled off the shelves” entry I discussed the issue of “progress” and the expectation of an arc of growth or evolution over an author’s oeuvre. As readers we look for our authors to grow and change, to reflect our own personal growth over our lifetime’s arc. Are you a writer if you’re not changing?

And in my initial “Pulled off my shelves” entry I discussed the “rippling fear” of what came before, and the worry of “anticipatory plagiarism.” Previous books haunt, inform and challenge how—and what—we compose. The gall to call oneself a writer (and especially a poet)—with all the inherent cultural baggage—causes even more pause during those times when one isn’t writing: when life has other plans; when one is between projects; or, that most-frightening period of “writer’s block.” What do we do with the moments when we aren’t writing? Are you a writer if you’re not writing at all?

Enrique Vila-Mata’s novel Bartleby & Co. takes the form of an essay by a frustrated novelist. The piteous, hump-backed, balding narrator last published a novel about impossible love twenty-five years before and since that time hasn’t written a single word. He “became a Bartleby.”

Bartleby, of course, is the eponymous character from Herman Melville’s novella Bartleby the Scrivener who in the face of capitalist expectation and responsibility states that he simply “would prefer not to” have any active role in his own life other than that of refusal. Vila-Mata’s unnamed narrator, in the face of a 25-year freeze, decides to explore the “writers of the No,” those writers who have decided, for various reasons, to never write again. The book takes the form of footnotes for an imaginary essay. They build an imagined history of writers, both real and imagined, who have decided that they were better served by not publishing (typified by J.D. Salinger who did not publish a word after 1963’s Seymour: an Introduction). Can not writing at all be a literary act? Can we consider that an author is adding to her oeuvre by ceasing to write?

Vila-Matas uses a combination of real and imaginary books in order to explore the “no”—the real books seem too good to be true (and often are), and the imaginary seem just real enough (and often aren’t)—the line between the written and the unwritten blurs both in the argument and its support.

By juxtaposing fictional authors with factual ones, Vila-Matas undermines the reality of all authors. Every author he cites, and by extension every writer there is, is merely a figment of his imagination and every text written (or refused) equally ethereal.

Once again Borges’ library architecturally looms—only this time the books are empty; we are entombed in the walls noting silent authors within the din of potentialities.

Author of five books of poetry (most recently the visual poem suite silence), three volumes of conceptual fiction (most recently the short fiction collection How to Write) and over 150 chapbooks, derek beaulieu’s work is consistently praised as some of the most radical and challenging contemporary Canadian writing. A collection of his critical writing entitled "Seen of the Crime" is forthcoming from Snare Books. He is online here

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nelson Henricks

I offer up one of Nelson Henricks videos for your perusal. This one inspired by the writing of Virginia Woolf. This is a writer very much responding to, if not directly engaging to, a textual practice. Images as ways of taking account. Or counting down as he does in this video. Henricks has a show up right now at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery in the Library Building at Concordia University, where I am, at least for the next year, teaching.

The show is TIME WILL HAVE PASSED. LE TEMPS AURA PASSÉ and it features, in the main room, four screens on a wall. Often the use of multiple screens in contemporary art seems gratuitous, but not here. The screens offer visual stimuli (four ways of looking at the same thing) as well as musical pitches. The images are repetitive and musical. There is a lot of text in the piece as well. The text is written and erased, backward and forward. It provides a narrative line, and the line is about writing. About trying to write. The images include hands clapping, fingers hitting a typewriter, a hand writing, clock faces, numbers getting ever closer until we are looking at bands of colour as in a very old fashioned EKG monitor of some kind. Are the words as important as the sound and rhythm? Perhaps not.

The show runs till Friday, October 16. Recommended.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Inside Us: Poetry Scene’s Insidious Manlove: Case Study

What the fuck? Here’s the deal: I like men. I like women. I am in love with several men; not any sexy love… not yet. I am in love with several women; not any sexy love, either… not yet. But there are major differences in how I perform my loves for men and women, which I think is normal, which is to say, average, i.e. common but not necessarily proper. What I’m getting at is this: it’s not that I engage in women-disloving, but that, like some other young male poets today, I admit, I suffer from gratuitous manlove (and it’s recently started to bother my soul).

What I’m talking about here is that tendency between male writers and artists (and maybe athletes and business dudes and all men?) to engage in outward displays of affection and adoration with one another. Some examples as a fuller confession of my trespasses: I have “wooted” hyperbolically at the start of more than one friend’s reading; I called one of my manloves “Teddy Ruxpin” in public; I have kissed many a bald poet-head at after-reading bar parties; I regularly use the acronym “bf” to refer to my closest friend.

Ever since the grossly masculine nature of such gestures was brought to my attention by a fellow poet during a reading many weeks ago, I’ve been haunted by my manloves. And, as in most concerns of my life/thoughts, I have no answers/absolutisms, but only an inventory of my so-far consideration of the matter (madder, manner, men err):

a) Are such semi-sincere, explicit and gratuitous public displays of affection—from hugging and cheek-licking to butt-grabbing and penis-tapping—homophobic? Maybe the answer’s obvious, but I always kinda thought that kissing another man’s face on stage worked at least a little against homophobia (I know it makes my Dad beautifully uncomfortable). Or—talk about obvious— maybe as a hetero, I have a severely privileged perspective on what constitutes as “homophobic”? Or maybe I should just shut my face-hole. Or maybe I shouldn’t be considering specific acts here as much as the whole genre of boys’ club?

b) Why don’t/can’t/couldn’t I engage with female writers in the same manner at readings? I think/hope that my reserve isn’t misogynistic. It’s unclear to me how to traverse that broad line (no pun intended, of course, maybe) of sexual politics. Am I allowed to touch a women-poet on the cheek? With my tongue? If so, bring it! And please don’t mistake the enthusiasm of that exclamation mark for sexy-time antics, but that’s just it. Why am I “allowed” to touch/fondle/kiss manloves? Who gives me permission? And how do I ask for such permission from female colleagues (maybe I just fucking ask)? But maybe that’s the shitty binary of patriarchy: sued-if-you-touch, misogynist-if-you-don’t? Or that’s the problem—nobody needs to give me permission to touch a man because I’m a fucking man and I make the rules, unless you’re a woman (or a judge). So I should be able to just make/defer to new rules, right?

c) So, as a dude, I can reciprocate affection without fear of them being mistaken as sexual? Therefore, it’s a mockery of male-male sexuality (because men are never objects)? Homophonic! -obic! That is, if I were to engage in “manlove” with a woman, might she be disinclined to reciprocate for fear that I take her reciprocation as though she actually means sex-face? But how do I know? Dammit, or maybe it’s all so simple—why don’t I just ask female writers about all this? Or maybe I just did: respond!

AND SO! How to proceed with my life? Honest! Here’s where I think I’ll throw my puppy: towards being more self-eyeing when engaging in manlove with male friends and, instead of ceasing public displays of over-affection altogether, dial it back from a 10 to a 3 or 4, while initiating manlove with more women colleagues and friends, aiming for affection without groping, which will require some practice—trial and much error! So watch out ladies and gents, and beware heterophobia! I’ll try this for a bit, and if it doesn’t work, well… I don’t know. Tell me what’s really going on—I need knowledge and rules! You be the judge, but not the jury (or hangman)! Please teach me the politics of poetry sexy champion proper!


kevin mcpherson eckhoff lives in Armstrong, BC, with his non-poet human-love, Laurel, and his canine-love, Daisy the pit bull. Get this: he once wrote a book called rhapsodomancy. Wowie! Currently, he is exploring the meaning of "lorem ipsum."

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Friday Find

Oh, it's a long and time honored tradition, that of watching the women fight. Here's some amazing footage from Thomas Edison, in 1901. I bet this is why the film camera was invented.

Thanks to Celyn Harding-Jones for the link.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Pulled off my shelves #3: “There are some punctuations that are interesting and there are some punctuations that are not.”

In the various anthologies and publications of concrete and visual poetry I have piling up, its not particularly surprising to find visual poets who are intrigued by the graphic possibilities of punctuation. A few quick Canadian visual poetry examples include David Aylward’s Typescapes (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1967); Sha(u)nt Basmajian’s Boundaries Limits and Space (Toronto: Underwhich Editions, 1980); both are relatively simple combinations of punctuation signs as a means of exploring the graphic possibilities of typographic marks. Additionally, Paul Dutton’s right hemisphere left ear (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1979) includes his off-the-grid 6 page “mondrian boogie woogie.”

What is a bit more unusual—and to me a lot more exciting—are the novelists and visual artists with the same interest in punctuation.

Most of the writers I know who work with punctuation do so by isolating the punctuation from existing texts as a means recreating a new resultant text devoid of any semantic content.

Gertrude Stein’s “On Punctuation” (Lectures in America) begins “There are some punctuations that are interesting and there are some punctuations that are not.” With Gertrude Stein on Punctuation (Newton, N.J.: Abaton, 2000) Kenneth Goldsmith isolates all of the punctuation in Stein’s lecture, leaving blank spaces where all the other typographic characters once occurred and proves that all of the punctuations are in fact interesting after all. (Goldsmith has an entire series of work in this vein, including all of the punctuation from William Strunk and E. B. White’s chapter on punctuation in their Elements of Style)

Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd’s Prix Nobel (Stockholm: Bonniers, 1960) is another text which uses an original source text to create a new punctuation-only result. While I know nothing about the source text that Reuterswärd uses, I was able to find a brief recording of him reading from Prix Nobel.

herman de vries’ argumentstellen (Châteaugiron / Rennes: frac bretagne : editions incertain sens : 2003) consists entirely of 48 blank pages each with a single period floating in space. The text was written as a response to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus 2.0131 which translates roughly as “The full stop is the place for an argument.”

Heidi Nelson also gathers punctuation from other sources, but presents her work as a series of artist’s books. Her 2004 volume Atlas of Punctuation arranges all the punctuation in a series of books, overlaid into single sheets of constellations. Her 2003 Typography of the Period: A Brief Introduction presents periods (full-stops) from a variety of typefaces showing the intricate variations within the most ubiquitous of punctuation.

Scott Myles’ Full Stop is a print of the immensely magnified period [see above] at the end of Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.

Gary Barwin’s Servants of Dust (Calgary: no press, 2010) isolates all the punctuation from Shakespeare’s sonnets but articulates them as words:

Barwin creates a new form of sonnet, but one without any semantic content other than a map of potentiality.

Riccardo Boglione’s Ritmo D. Feeling the Blanks is solely the punctuation from Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron, one of the most censored books in history. The punctuation here acts as a “ ghost of the text [that] roams around the structure that should contain it.”

All of these texts are potentialities—each text offers the reader a writerly possibility of filling the spaces between the punctuation marks—to try and imagine the possibilities of what could happen within the skeletal framework of punctuation. Each novel is a map to everywhere.

--derek beaulieu

Author of five books of poetry (most recently the visual poem suite silence), three volumes of conceptual fiction (most recently the short fiction collection How to Write) and over 150 chapbooks, derek beaulieu’s work is consistently praised as some of the most radical and challenging contemporary Canadian writing. A collection of his critical writing entitled "Seen of the Crime" is forthcoming from Snare Books. He is online here

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rewriting History: Radical Medievalism

Conceptual writers spend a lot of time defending writing that is done through a recontextualization or recombination of source texts. Lyric, neo-Romantic, free-verse poetry has become so prevalent that writers who look to other texts rather than their own internal emotional experiences for inspiration or subject matter often face a barrage of criticism as though they were ruining poetry or cheapening human expression. However, there is nothing certain about the way we write, nor is there any style that is more natural than any other. Contemporary lyric poetry is as constructed as any other form, and there is nothing innate about it.

Writing by recombining a series of external source texts is nothing new—it is actually very old. Medieval writers such as Chaucer borrowed heavily from a variety of texts in order to complete their own works. John Mandeville probably didn’t even exist, and whoever did write The Book of John Mandeville probably didn’t venture much farther than a bookshelf to write this famous travel narrative.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Melissa Bull: Two Poems, Six Questions


In the truck my roast pink mother floats in a piggy nightgown from the Piggly-Wiggly. She’s drinking piña colada. I’ve got corn mash or some kind of corny nosto-industrialized moonshine tourist trap rubbing alcohol. Gag. Bought our bottles at the package store across the marsh crawling with crabs big as silver dollars. Creeping marsh. Southern Birnam. At night we go to see the turtles spawn. My mother’s bunioned footprints sidle turtlefin sandtracks. Underexposed whitecaps flick black and white and back. A centenarian loggerhead’s eye beads. Dinosaur wan. Moon dandles a gelatinous turtle egg.


This is the dream. A horse crucified on a telephone pole stuck into orange desert dirt. The horse’s wounds faucet red. A girl, twelve or thirteen, hair shiny charcoal (like a horse in a Colville), places herself between beast and cowboys. There are two cowboys upright in a kicked-open truck. Rifles cocked. There’s a blue sky. A high-arcing pale blue sky. Blue the colour of a carton of skim milk. One deep-fried cartoon cloud. The horse’s flanks stretch on the post, its breath bagging shallow girths of air.

Lemon Hound: Melissa, we loved your submission, above, and thanks for letting us post now. I have a few questions for you as well, starting with the obvious. Why prose poems?

Lisa Robertson reads from her translations of Michelle Bernstein

via Voice Box.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tracking Kevin Davies

These cheesy little hypertexts
are going to get better.
I don’t know
how much better, but we’ll see.

from “Karnal Bunt”

Pause Button

Lateral Argument

PennSound Author Page

Boston Review Portfolio, introduced by Joshua Clover

Philly Talks, Kevin Davies with Diane Ward

Accompanying sound recording to Philly Talk

There is an interview with Marcella Durand I am trying to locate.

“On Kevin Davies & the Disobedient Poetics of Determinate Negation,” by Steve Evans

In The Nation, by Jordan Davis

In The Poetry Project Newsletter, by Drew Gardner, page 23

On Ron Silliman’s blog (scroll to May 19)

On John Latta’s blog

In Aufgabe, by Jasper Bernes

In Boston Review, by Brian Kim Stefans

In Jacket, by Jonathan Fedors

In Rain Taxi, by Steven Zultanski

Peter Culley paper beginning with description of KD reading

Any absences, please add.

Michael Nardone lives in the Northwest Territories.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Toronto Walking; My Vancouver

Recently returned from a brief jaunt to Toronto, which has me thinking about walking cities and psychogeography, and my own obsession with the poetics of the urban landscape. I am always seeking to characterize & form a relationship with the city I am in, always checking street signs, counting critters, committing frottage on the buildings.

Toronto might be the perfect locale for such musings, as evidenced by this group. Murmurs and tracings on sidewalk and corner.

In each new place, I wonder: What is the urban culture? What is the social pulse? What is currently under erasure? What has already been erased?

Sianne Ngai @ Concordia

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I speak Jive

Oh my god. Jim Behrle posted this a while back and I laughed this time more than ever. A flashback on so many levels. Totally demented, and totally Mad Magazine, as the New York Times dude points out. The movie got funnier later for me. First viewing was slightly uncomfortable. The best humour seems to straddle the uncomfortable. And right now, in the poetry world, that spot is spoken for by Behrle who can make the best of us squirm.

Here's a rather somber, but smart take on Airplane, on its 30th anniversary this summer.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Pulled off my Shelves #2: bill bissett’s Rush: what fuckan theory: a study uv language.

bill bissett’s work—for the past several decades—has been problematic.

His lyrical voice is complicated by his complex idiosyncratic orthography. His concrete poetry intersperses dense typewriter-driven grid pieces with diagrams of ejaculating phalluses. Most problematic is the frequency of his books. Talonbooks has published a new bissett volume every 18 months for decades, and it has come to the point where the consistency of voice and style have made it difficult to differentiate one volume from another—they all blend into “bill bissett’s new book.”

I remember the first time that I saw bissett perform—I was awe-struck by the combination of poetry and song; script and improvisation; speech and incantation. A few years later I saw him again. And that was the problem.

Friday Find


I grew up in communities where my fellow students openly bragged, not only about bullying, but bashing gays. They bragged, and no one said anything.

I grew up walking my more visibly queer friends to school and back so that I could deflect some of the verbal and physical bullying they encountered almost daily.

Two decades later, hundreds of marches around the world, total penetration into the commercial cultural market place, and still, in the past month or so, four young gay people have been bullied, driven to suicide and/or bashed.

End the bullying of young queers. End bullying.

If you see something, say something.

Even in the Facebook tribute page of Tyler Clementi there is hate (thanks to moderators for deleting those...)

Zero tolerance for bigots or bullies. ZERO.

Or, as they say, give a damn.