Friday, July 02, 2004

 

It’s been about a week since my twelve-year-old sons & I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 in nearby Oaks, Pennsylvania, a dot of a town northwest of Valley Forge. I’d gotten our tickets over the net ahead of time in order to ensure that it wouldn’t be sold out, but I was surprised, frankly, to see that the theater was showing the film in a room larger than the one reserved for White Chicks. In fact, our theater wasn’t sold out, but it was 97 percent full, maybe a smidgen more. Afterwards, we stood around with some friends who passed out voter registration cards – we were lucky, as it happened. At a mall in nearby Downingtown, another acquaintance got busted for passing out such cards. Five state police cars arrived at that theater within a couple of minutes in spite of the fact that the nearest barracks is 20 minutes away. Did I mention that I live in a community that has elected exactly one Democrat to anything – the schoolboard in the 1940s for a single term – since the 1890s, but that Al Gore won here in 2000?

 

I’ve reseen all of Moore’s major films in the past few weeks, ever since one of my sons picked up the book Stupid White Men & noted that “this is a guy who makes funny movies from a left perspective & writes funny books from a left perspective – this is like looking at my future.” Just how big of a hint does a father need? After we’d watched Roger and Me, we’d discussed how Moore didn’t present the entire picture with regards to globalism – rather, that film was a look at the short-term impact on a specific community. But that’s a view that is sustainable only if you argue that the United States has the right in perpetuity to utilize one-quarter of the world’s resources for the benefit of just four percent of the world’s population. The problem with globalism isn’t that it’s happening, but rather how it’s being done: for every dollar that is being shipped overseas, something like 30 cents is dropping to the bottom line (in the form of profits, executive pay & bonuses) & virtually nothing is being done to mitigate the impact on workers impacted by what Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction.”

 

When we watched Bowling for Columbine, we discussed how Michael Moore points out the stunning detail that gun control advocates never explain adequately – which is that Canada, with the same level of gun ownership as the United States & a culture that is more similar than different, has only a fraction of the gun deaths per capita that afflicts its neighbor to the south. But Moore doesn’t explore this anomaly at all. Instead he focuses on the gun lobby, which frankly is low hanging fruit. Possibly the topic is too large, or perhaps when Moore & the kids from Columbine provoked K-Mart to change its policy on selling bullets he found himself with a different story than the one he’d anticipated. But Bowling for Columbine strikes me as a major missed opportunity, going for laughs by focusing on the NRA rather than trying for an insight into why Canada & the U.S. have such different experiences under roughly parallel circumstances. For that matter, Moore doesn’t do a good job in explaining how the NRA has gotten to be the largest membership organization in the United States. They aren’t all psychotic fascists, even if that’s what the leadership wants to project.

 

So I approached Fahrenheit 9/11 with some trepidation. And what surprised me the most wasn’t that Moore spins an imperfect narrative – the topic is far too vast for any film shorter than The Godfather, if not Berlin Alexanderplatz. No, given everything that I’d read online or in the papers, plus everything I’d heard on TV, what most amazed me was how fair Moore is. Fair & ultimately balanced. Bill O'Reilly had not prepared me for that. But neither had Roger Ebert.

 

Consider the impossibility of the project, and how Moore in turn responded. In order to set the context – the “before” part of the tale – he chose to focus on how Bush got into office & what he did once he got there, which frankly was not much. In the “after” portion of the film, Moore makes three major arguments:

 

·         The Bush family dynasty cannot be extricated from its relationship to the triangle of oil, the intelligence community and the Saudi elite.

 

·         Wars are not fought by elites, but by kids who are swept up into the military for want of other economic alternatives in their lives.

 

·         The loss of a loved one in war is overwhelming.

 

The first of those points has been detailed in far greater detail by none other than Kevin Phillips, the man who first gave Richard Nixon’s Republican Party the Southern Strategy it follows to this day, in his anti-Bush tome, American Dynasty. It may be a bit much to suggest, as some viewers see Moore doing, that Bush’ primary goal in invading Iraq may have been profit – there are other reasons* why the far right might well want to be in Iraq – but the problematics created by our entanglement with the Saudis are hard to underestimate. The difficulty in unpacking the problem of Islamic fundamentalism when your “best friends” are just such fundamentalists is the trick that has to be solved if the West, and especially the United States, is ever to extricate itself from the jihad against modernism.

 

Moore’s second point, tho hardly new or original, is really this film’s great contribution to the debate over Iraq. He outlines in the clearest possible terms the great secret of the American military – that it is, especially now that it is all voluntary, the GOP form of welfare state. It does precisely what welfare has always done: provides for those who cannot provide for themselves, connects them to opportunities, education & security. Only it does so without admitting that this is what it’s all about, and its one major requirement is that beneficiaries aren’t supposed to complain just because they’re being asked to kill & be killed. Furthermore, as Republicans have known for generations, it cannot be attacked on these terms, precisely because to do so can be characterized as “unpatriotic.”**

 

Moore’s third point, Lila Lipscomb’s extraordinary story within the film, functions as the synthesis or conclusion in the director’s narrative syllogism: elites make war; the underclass fights wars; it is hell for the underclass. I’ve been surprised, frankly, that there haven’t been more complaints on the left about this being emotionally manipulative, given the left’s preference for complexity, for a tale not just in black & white, but with the grays left in. Moore’s great talent, his unique contribution to the left, has been his ability to make entertaining progressive films that are not at all subtle. Unlike, say, Jim Hightower (on the humorous side) or Alexander Cockburn & Naom Chomsky (on the ponderous end of the scale), Moore doesn’t scratch against the blackboard of the soul with his oversimplifications & just-plain-got-it-wrongs, even tho he has just as many.

 

In the battle for political hegemony, the American left has always been hamstrung by the fact that it usually has to fight not over any given political point, but over the issue of depth & complexity simultaneously. The moral absolutism & simple-minded arguments of the right – say, over abstinence instead of sex education in schools or over needle exchange programs to prevent AIDS, or that support of our troops necessarily means support of the war – are not just endearing quirks of the right, but in fact an important political dimension to their argument, one that plays itself out powerfully along class lines. When Lila Lipscomb describes how she felt about anti-war protestors against the first Iraq war, she is saying a lot about the inability of the left to communicate to anyone other than itself. It’s the same point that Bill Clinton has made repeatedly when he says that the American voters would rather have a leader who is strong, but wrong, in times of crisis. And it is also precisely the risk that John Kerry runs whenever he responds to any question in a way that looks too cautious – which is mostly all the time.

 

Moore’s film is an argument that it need not be this way. It can, I think, be faulted for any, perhaps all, of the individual choices he makes in constructing an argument that you can reach people with a skeletal but powerful narrative far more readily than through the nuances of true debate. You might cringe at how he steals the “plastic bag in the wind” scene from American Beauty as his model for conveying the transcendant power of September 11 through pages & dust drifting in the air. But the simple fact is that Michael Moore has managed to go over the heads not just of his fellow ambiguity junkies on the left, but over the right as well, including the very same media mavens such as Bill O'Reilly & Brit Hume who effectively ganged up on & dismantled an unprepared Howard Dean campaign just three months ago. Is it any accident that the greatest master of agit-prop since at least Bertie Brecht happens to look just like a real-life Archie Bunker?

 

 

* I tend to agree with the Stratfor Group’s analysis that putting upwards of a dozen military bases in the second largest oil producing nation, thus completing the “chain” of western military presence in the Middle East from Israel to the west to Afghanistan in the East was the foremost political goal of the invasion.

 

** The closest we have come to having any public recognition of these dynamics has been around Clinton’s concept of a civilian service core, which should have been the other half of his own welfare “reform” program. GOP attacks on civilian service are exactly what they are not willing to make against the military, not because it serves a different function, but because it is, almost in the Mafia sense of the phrase, their thing.

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

 

Judson Crews is a name I recognize from little magazines some 30 years ago & remember more distinctly from positive mentions of it by Robert Creeley, mostly in association with Creeley’s days in New Mexico. So when I saw Crews’ The Clock of Moss listed in the Ahsahta Press catalog awhile back, I sent for it immediately. I’m glad I did. Tho I’m a little amazed that I didn’t learn of this book until 21 years after it was originally published.

 

Edited by Carol Bergé, herself a poet whose work has been too little collected and reviewed, Crews’ poetry is a fine example of quality work written by somebody deeply influenced by various aspects of the New American Poetry, as well as by the same influences that shaped that 1950s generation. Born in 1917 – and still alive so far as I can tell – Crews is just two years older than Robert Duncan & writes a poem that has resemblances to the work of William Carlos Williams, Creeley, Olson, Dorn, Snyder, Blackburn & Gilbert Sorrentino. Had he “made the scene” more aggressively – rather than spending most of his adult years in Taos, save for four years in the 1970s in just barely more remote Zambia, Crews almost certainly would be a “household name poet” today.

 

Instead, like Bergé or Besmilr Brigham or even a fairly established San Francisco poet of that period like Harold Dull, Crews has become one of those gems you find if you’re one of us obsessive reader types. It seems to me absolutely impossible to imagine how one can envision an American poetry of those middle decades in the last century without the active context provided by such writers, without whom the names we do know would have been isolated indeed.

 

His poems are contained in the way so many of the shorter New American poems of that period are – not yet open-ended in quite the way poems will become once the likes of Berrigan & Whalen & the later Olson will make possible – and present a vision of the American west that is as sharply etched as anything ever written by Edward Dorn:

 

The day’s cock of morning

 

That bird is neither anonymous

nor fragile. His spurs could cut

 

An old gelding’s flanks sharply

if we needed to get to somewhere

 

In that big of a hurry.

My last pair of spurs

 

Had some silver on them – sold

them finally when I thought

 

I needed the cash the most.

When I thought – when I thought

 

I’m gonna need to eat again

say, three or four days

 

Guess it is more dignified

to shoot that old bird than

 

           chop his bloody head off

 

This poem’s shifts within its narrative frame are deft enough, but what really impresses me is its play with what, for want of a better adjective, one might call its Freudian frame – from cock through gelding through spurs to that final line, which is completely phallic. That Crews was trained professionally as a sociologist & psychologist makes total sense reading this.

 

Actually, in precisely this context, one thing one confronts reading Crews is an attitude towards gender which bespeaks prefeminism, or at least its second wave. Women here are figured as whores, crones, and girls just coming into puberty:

 

If she had spoken, if I

 

Had spoken – that face of evil

that had fallen upon that place

 

The feature that had chilled us

each. She was a faster draw

 

Than I, but a poorer aim –

I was oozing blood from the left

 

Testicle. But she was dead.

What could she have been doing

 

In such a place – naked with a

bandolier and a six-shooter

 

You would know it was out
West. You would think it was

 

The old days. You wouldn’t think it

was She, holding out the apple

 

This is not – which may be hard to imagine in a 50-page book – the only poem to recount this gunfight of the sexes, nor is this the only instance of a gal naked but for her bandolier. Like the narrative containment these poems all share, I read this as a mark of its time, carbon dating the text. Yet get past this – or not, even, maybe just focus right there upon it – and you will find some of the most well-crafted examples of a western New American text I’ve read. The one thing this book made me want to do, more than anything, is to find & read more poetry by Judson Crews.



Wednesday, June 30, 2004

 

Sitta europaea

 

nut hack

jobber cracker

woodhacker

jobbin

stopper

mud dabber

jar

topper

blue

leg

 

When I introduced Stephen T. Vessels’ work yesterday, I characterized it as one of several Slack Buddha books whose form could be described as quirky. The above piece by Geraldine Monk represents another such case. The poem is absolutely typical of She Kept Birds, and is in fact nothing other than a list of bird names. Monk goes so far as to credit her source: All the Birds of the Air: The Names, Lore & Literature of British Birds, by Francesca Greenoak. Sitta europaea is the formal designation of the European nuthatch &, while one of the book’s pleasures for an amateur birder like yours truly* is the recognition that the vocabulary of bird names in Europe is as rich as it is here, it is also quite Other. While I know that jobbin is another term for a nut hatch, mud dabber is a term in the states normally reserved for a category of wasp, not bird. So I wonder about the relationship of these latinate titles to the lists that flow beneath them. Fulica atra, for example, is a coot, which a whistling duck, one of the items on its list, is not. The distinction is worth noting, because one interpretation suggests a tightly connected formal structure, while the other a more casual mode of wordplay.

 

Poems that are centered on the page may have become more fashionable in the age of computing, simply because the tedious counting out of letters and backspacing on a typewriter that an older centric-text (as distinct from text-centric) poet like Michael McClure had to go through as late as the 1970s. If you define the margin not as the edge of the text, but rather its vertical line of orientation, then the margin here is, if not invisible, at least somewhat hidden. Not so in Michael Basinski’s work, which likewise exploits what computing makes easy, shifting most of his margins to the far right:

 

Closed Circulation of Cephalopods

 

deisease

rez Iv noir boloom

lamellaei bon bonfires

elloglasticla years

oov cockles and bells

vertebrake encirculation

a pyramid shaped block of rubber like protein

wen the hurt pumps

a spider sat down besider

bivalve hinge protein abduction

 

The language here is both wilder & less systematic than that employed by Monk, but also less opaque – and far less systematic – than that deployed by Alan Halsey quoted here on Monday’s blog. Basinksi characterizes the sequence as a limmermaid & the coinage rings right. One hears echoes here – a spider sat down besider – against which the opacity of the material text bobs & weaves. The effect is rather the opposite of Monk’s – reading Basinski, the arrival of an “ordinary” phrase or line rings out as a moment of transparency amidst the billows from a carefully orchestrated fog machine. For Monk, even the simplest & most familiar word comes across as opaque, its physicality & material otherness absolutely present, resistent to our impulse to “read into.” In this sense, reading Basinski aloud is not unlike doing the same with Joyce’s Finnegan – one hears more than one sees. Reading Monk is somewhat closer to reading Robert Grenier – the word is a crtain, not a window.

 

Against which texts, Daniel Bouchard’s Sound Swarms & Other Poems stands foregrounded, not just because he’s the writer here to whom I feel closest in terms of my own aesthetic impulses – tho that is absolutely the case – but because this chapbook is, in spite of its title, the closest thing in the Slack Buddha catalog to a “regular” book of poetry. Here, for example, is its title poem:

 

Tired enough to sleep in

       someone else’s bedroom

against the double-groove

       of mattress, behind a curtained,

glass-panel door. People

        chatter and laugh in the next room.

The sounds swarm

        in small canals.

 

It’s not a conundrum after all.

        Blake, after all,

believed the world flat.

        No pall nor clouds hang

over those who will not live long.

 

The wind chill is like

        needles in the face.

We live among men who won’t mind

        incinerating half the earth

for the idea they were right. Among

        the gone half

anyone who ever said it won’t matter

        when you’re gone

will finally be right.

 

Traveling is the pleasure of rising

        mornings to watch other folks

go to work. To have met them

        for an hour, when handling

their books, think of them, small

        images to care and carry

as long as you retain them.

 

William Blake appeared to me in a vision.

He spoke to me. He said,

        “get your damn feet off the sofa.”

 

Confusing ears disable. Double.

        Variable. Warble. One book

made him a believer and

        another talked him out of it.

 

While Bouchard’s attitude – & knowledge of philosophy – are contemporary, this poem might otherwise fit quite neatly into a book such as Robert Duncan’s Roots and Branches. There is a narrative frame, lines that are masterfully balanced & the sense of the relation of line to stanza is as effortless-yet-crafted as a French cathedral. The logic of sound in the second stanza, for example, set up as it as by canals at the end of the first, builds around the all sounds in lines one, two & four, against which  the reversal of flat in three is what leads the ear to hear the progression of the a into the fourth line’s hang, which is what sets up the vowel in the next line’s long. Then note how the hard c in that stanza sets up all the softer ones in the next. This kind of tonal inbuilding can’t be taught, one has to hear it & work from there. Bouchard not only has the gift, but understands that the work can’t stand on that alone. It is no accident that the poem’s most important stanza, thematically, is the only one in which two lines occur one after the other with the same indentation, and that it sounds as comically off as a whoopie cushion tucked into Bartok.

 

Bouchard offers a level of engagement with the world that goes beyond the delights of the signifier that sometimes seems the root cause of much of the other poetry published thus far in the Slack Buddha series – reading Sound Swarms makes me realize that this is just a movement or section from what must be a terrific booklength manuscript, and it makes me hungry (hungrier than ever) to read it.

 

Slack Buddha / La Perruque Editions Chapbooks are available in sets of six for $20.00 US, and in sets of ten for $32 US. UK & Institutional subscriptions are also available. Make checks in US funds payable to L.A. Phillips for William R. Howe & send them to:

 

La Perrugque Editions

Slack Buddha Press

50 Garrison Avenue

Somerville, MA 02144

 

 

 

 

* I have partaken in the Christmas birdcounts & could discern the spiraling song of Swainson’s thrush instantly, even though I’ve lived thousands of miles east of its range for the past nine years.



Tuesday, June 29, 2004

 

Three of the four remaining Slack Buddha / La Perruque chapbooks have in common forms that might be characterized as quirky. Stephen T. Vessels’ ZIP Code Poems comes in its own envelope – dense reader that I am, it took me several days to get the formal joke in that – but, more significantly, each of its poems is composed according to the zip code of the poem’s “recipient” – Vessels apparently sent these by mail – one syllable for each number in the zip. A note on the colophon indicates that “zero is open,” which turns out to be important. Here is one poem “Mailed to L.,” who lives in Somerville, Masachussets, Slack Buddha’s own home zipcode:

 

in dark’s transparent

puzzling

weave

the 4%

that we perceive

 

More of the poems, tho, “go” to Santa Barbara & environs, especially to zipcode 93109. Twelve of the booklet’s 16 poems thus have the same syllablic count save for the fourth line, which Vessels generally crowds with syllables: one has 11, two have ten, two nine, four have eight, two have seven, and just one has four syllables. Still, without this variation, this book would be nearly as static in form as a collection of tanka, another five-line fixed-syllable approach to the poem.

 

What makes Vessels’ poems work is not his adherence to an exoskeletal method so much as his ability to demonstrate a discursive range within this format. The fourth line of this poem to 93105, another part of Santa Barbara, is as witty as it is literal:

 

three red-crested woodpeckers on a

telephone

pole

no message

just making a home

 

Vessels is somebody who is completely new to me. Indeed the only reference to him I could find on the net was to works apparently displayed as part of a show by the French visual artist François Bossière in Paris (to whom, in fact, ZIP Code Poems is dedicated). Vessels’ book made me feel oddly nostalgic, since in 1967 & ’68 I worked as a dispatch clerk for the U.S. Post Office in San Francisco, at an annex that largely received incoming third class mail delivered in ships, where my responsibilities included sorting the “route rack” for California – this meant that I had to memorize the first three digits of every town in the state* and send the mail addressed to obscure locales such as Happy Camp, Duarte, Tamal & Repressa to their appropriate section center bag. The first poem in Vessel’s book, mailed to 93117, immediately reminded me that Goleta – college town suburb of Santa Barbara – was one of my regular destinations. This poem is a direct comment on the book itself as well as the future of snail mail:

 

if delivery by hand becomes

obsolete

may

this

form become a testament.

 

 

 

* Of considerable value in the Post Office because I was the only person in my facility who proved able to do memorize this, which meant that I was largely left alone by the Post Office’s ponderous bureaucracy & that, even tho newbies like myself were supposed to have “split” weekends for several years, nobody was willing to challenge my calling in sick regularly on Wednesdays, since my days off were Tuesday & Thursday. Happy Camp is a minimum security prison facility housing state prisoners employed as fire fighters in California parks. Tamal & Repressa are euphemisms for state prisons (under the assumption that families will be more apt to write to a town than to a prison), San Quentin & Folsom respectively.



Monday, June 28, 2004

 

I went to Boston and enjoyed myself quite thoroughly, especially considering that I got lost every single time I attempted to drive anywhere. Getting to Cambridge from Logan was an adventure in that I got to see parts of town that are not really between the airport & that city, but eventually I got the hang of following Back Bay south again to get to the Boston University Bridge & thus over to Mass Ave. Once I got down to Harvard Square it was a mere 30 minute circle of the block to get into a parking garage where, I noticed, they ran mirrors on sticks under my car just to make certain there were no explosives.

 

In addition to my co-reader, Dan Bouchard, and my host at Wordsworth Books, the inimitable Jim Behrle, Joel Sloman, William Howe, Gerritt Lansing, Charles Shively, Christina Strong, Lisa Phillips, Chris Rizzo, Tim Peterson & Aaron Tieger were among the folks who came up to say hello (these at least are the ones I can still keep straight in my memory a few days later). The total audience was something like three, possibly four, times that number, crowded into a little alcove in the upstairs at Wordsworth – the lectern was situated between a very nontheoretical section of postfeminist books and a section on barbequing.

 

Before the reading, William Howe came up and gave me the first eight volumes from Slack Buddha Press’ La Perruque Editions chapbook series:

 

·        Sound Swarms & Other Poems, by Daniel Bouchard

·        Zip Code Poems, by Stephen T. Vessels

·        Pomes Popeye Papyrus, by Michael Basinski

·        In Addition: Seventeen Lives of the Poets, by Alan Halsey

·        Terminal Humming, by K. Lorraine Graham

·        Exact Rubber Bridges, by Ralph Hawkins

·        Topical Ointment, by Keith Tuma

·        She Kept Birds, by Geraldine Monk

 

As a series, it’s an impressive quantity of work to show up virtually all at once. But even more so, the list impresses me most with its balance – five writers whose work I know, all of whom deserve to be better known (or at the very least better known in this country), three writers who are new to me. In addition, the series has plans for at least 14 more chaps, by Stephanie Baker, Carla Billitteri, cris cheek, Michael Franco, Benjamin Friedlander, Howe himself, Wendy Kramer, Douglas Manson, Tom Orange, L.A. Phillips (Howe’s co-publisher in this project), Gary Roberts, Mark Wallace, Tyrone Williams & Nils Ya.

 

While the Slack Buddha / La Perruque (one tries to imagine Buddha with a wig) series reflects some interest in British writing as well as Howe’s own affiliation with the scene in Buffalo, the press’ aesthetic stance strikes me as more open-ended than that may sound. Hawkins’ book, for example, has the look of the rebus-mode of concrete poetry & one suspects that its title refers to the use of rubber stamps as a primary compositional medium. More of the first eight books seem given to the erudite short poem, which this piece by Keith Tuma could be said to represent:

 

Death of the Frankfurt School

 

Eminem’s sampling confirms

even the worst of Pop can return

and in the dialectic purge

rhythms others administer.

If used as an enema for enemies

history’s only a backwater.

Better take enlightenment and squeeze it –

Osama rhymes with “Yo Mama”

 

I hope you caught the pun in backwater there. (If Tuma thinks Eminem, who for all of his antisocial impulses is a skillful musician, & sometimes astonishingly self-critical lyricist, represents “the worst of Pop,” he’s blissfully ignorant of just how bad it can get.)

 

Contrast Tuma’s approach to Alan Halsey’s radically retro language in “Sir Thomas Wyatt”:

 

to mark and remember nerawhyt erring

and to make into our englysshe

Wiat que la dame Anne Bulleyn

avait este trouvee au delit avec

my thinges so rawlye goyng to nowght afore mine les

I restles rest in suspect

for better poursuyte the tyme to seke

wich way my jeperdie may come to knollege

quarelles ynowgh in euery mans mowgh

as tho the thinges passid had bene but dremis

in stynke and close ayer as God iuge

an evident singe I am clere of thought

I am wonte some tympe to rappe owte

 

Quarrels enough in every man’s mouth indeed! Wyatt represents sort of an end-case argument for an opaque poetics here, but it is typical of Halsey’s ballsy approach to his project that this is the poem that comes first among his book’s 17.

 

I don’t know K. Lorraine Graham save as the editor of Anomaly Publications in DC. Her book Terminal Humming is a series of untitled prose pieces that join philosophy to sensation in ways that remind me fondly of Kathy Acker. Here is one piece in its entirety:

 

I was to learn that most girls are willing to star in porn film with me just to spite their overbearing husbands or boyfriends. From now on this poem will cover self-defense more thoroughly.

 

~

 

The man was advised that he had no wife and that instead he should get a little kitty at.

 

~

 

Do you know the people in 312? They’ve been accused of beating people up, or they’ve accused me of beating people up.

 

So you better be careful.

 

~

 

I’m a lily-white fuck toy of the patriarchy:

 

~

 

I imitate myself telling you a lie in the act of I am. A paradoxical potential exposure to healing.

 

~

 

Sensation makes a membrane. Whereupon she slept such a sound sleep (with her eyes open like a boiled hair), that the meeting place was not my body but everyone’s. (She also fittingly looked like a rabbit (like a giant squid, with it’s tentacles streaming behind it. She complained:

 

“Why do you wake me at such an inopportune time?”

But you are crassly stupid to believe these acts, which are imaginative, actually occur. My understanding of time became impossible so I could not imagine how to wake her.

 

~

 

Logic is a problem     I transgress

 

I’m not quite sure what to make of such work. On the one hand, it strikes a chord in me that is very deep & its derivative nature gets entangled with my own emotions, still quite strong, surrounding Acker, her writing & her death. I want to like this text so much that I don’t truthfully trust my own judgment. That colon after patriarchy seems so exact, and the open-ended brackets are clearly intentional, but what’s with the apostrophe in it’s tentacles? My sense is that Graham is pushing her work as hard as possible – the ambition evident in just a few short pages is breath-taking – but how much of that is what she’s doing and how much is what I want a poet to be doing I’m less certain.

 

More on Slack Buddha tomorrow.



Sunday, June 27, 2004

 

Ron Silliman

Forthcoming Readings & Talks

 

 

Seattle                 Thursday, August 12, 7:30 PM, SubText, Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Avenue, Capitol Hill neighborhood

 

New York              Friday-Sunday, September 17-19, Zukofsky /100, celebration of the LZ centennial, at Columbia & Barnard. Other participants are listed here. I’m doing something Sunday afternoon.

 

Philadelphia       Tuesday, September 21, 7:00 PM, Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk

 

Lawrence, KS       Monday, October 4, Hall Center for the Humanities, reading & talk

 

San Francisco      Thursday, October 7, 3:30 PM, San Francisco State University, The Poetry Center (Hum 512), talk on Robert Duncan’s HD Book

 

San Francisco      Thursday, October 7, 7:30 PM, Unitarian Center, 1187 Franklin @ Geary, reading with Judith Goldman

 

Philadelphia         Monday, December 6, 6:30 PM, Free Library, Logan Square, 1901 Vine Street, open reading follows

 

Washington, DC    Thursday, February 3 (2005),Georgetown University, a “short talk,” plus a reading with Leslie Scalapino



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