Saturday, October 10, 2009

 

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Friday, October 09, 2009

 

Herta Müller wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

New York Times announcement

Huffington Post

Washington Post

The Guardian

BBC

The Complete Review

A profile of Müller

“the kind of novel that you might be glad you finished,
but sorry that you started”

Traveling on One Leg

Facts about the Nobel Prize for literature

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

 



Raymond Federman

1928 2009

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Will Inman

1923 2009

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

 

In theory, the baseball playoffs is the time of season when the game narrows to just its very finest teams locked in epic combat. In practice, I can hardly remember ever seeing a post-season when all of the teams looked more like ruptured ducks than this one. There is something glaringly wrong with every single contender. With the Phillies, it is the complete chaos that is their relief pitching, the inconsistency of their starting pitchers, and the team’s almost mystically terrible hitting with men in scoring position. I have never seen a team more dedicated to the solo homerun than the 2009 Phils, nor more willing to leave the bases loaded while trying to hit bombs when a blooper to left would score two runs. Last year at this time, if you remember, I had doubts about the starting pitching. The Phils resolved those over the playoffs and it was a starting pitcher, Cole Hamels, who was the Most Valuable Player both of the National League Championships & the World Series. If Charlie Manuel can get this current batch of underachievers to snap to once again, he will easily qualify as one of the miracle workers of this sport.

On paper, the Phils are the best team in baseball since the days of the Bash Brothers in Oakland some 20 years ago. Ryan Howard is the best pure power hitter in post-steroid baseball. There is not one weak spot in the starting lineup & the usual number six hitter, right-fielder Jayson Werth, would be batting clean-up on most of the other teams. In practice, the Phils had to scramble to win the National League East for the third straight year, thanks in good part to the collapse of the bullpen. In 2008, Brad Lidge saved 48 games in 48 tries, which is about as good as it gets, even as he turned more than a few three-run leads into one-run victories. This year, given more one-run leads to save, he’s lead the major leagues in blown saves, to such a degree that the last month has been an open casting call for a closer. Ryan Madson, last year’s set-up specialist, the man who pitched the 8th inning, has done the best, which is not all that great. Last year’s seventh-inning specialist, J.C. Romero, missed the first 50 games as the latest casualty in baseball’s moral panic over chemically enhanced performance. When he came back, he got hurt and missed more time. And when he came back again, he had a season-ending injury. The Phils’ best version of a replacement for Romero, Chan Ho Park, has himself been hurt. The top two starters, Hamels and Cliff Lee (last year’s American League Cy Young winner) have been great one game, terrible the next, as has Pedro Martinez, rescued from retirement by a team that had seven legit major league starters on its roster, as if quantity could mysteriously turn into quality.

Fortunately, there is no other team that isn’t similarly hampered. So the only thing I can tell you about the playoffs this year is that the Yankees will lose. Having clinched first is invariably the kiss of death. Year after year the teams with the most wins disappear early in the playoffs precisely because they’ve been coasting to victory and can’t turn it back on all of a sudden when it counts. Actually, had this year’s Brad Lidge been last year’s version, the Phils would be facing the same problem, which may be the silver lining in all his struggles. But if the Phitins’ pitching doesn’t suddenly look as good on the mound as it should on paper, this will be short & painful to watch.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

 


Toshi Makihara

Jack Krick is an old friend, a one-time colleague of mine at IBM, the primary volunteer these days responsible for updates and expansions to the Electronic Poetry Center, and a resident in a large old craftsman-era masterpiece of a house maybe half an hour south of here. About once every month or two, Jack has evenings with readings & music. On Saturday, Colin & I headed down to Jack’s to hear the latest installment. We didn’t get to stay the entire time, but did get to hear Ryan Eckes & Kim Get Lin Short give great readings. You can read some of Eckes’ Common Sense series, which he read from, by clicking the link under his name.

There was also an amazing performance by master improvisational percussionist Toshi Makihara. Makihara tackles the drums with the inventiveness of a Cecil Taylor or Jimi Hendrix – anything the equipment can do is fair game. He’s played with everyone from John Zorn, Nels Cline, Eugene Chadbourne (who is to the electric rake what Makihara is to the drums), William Parker, Amy Denio & Thurston Moore. On Saturday he used everything from his feet to blank CDs wedged into a spring (stretched over the drum) to a slinky as he played three, or maybe 3.5 pieces on the little green side drum he uses in his his Solo365 project, about which more below. Makihara explained that while most drummers add drums to expand their range, the sounds they can achieve, he has lately been trying to do so the other way, by expanding what he brings to the drumhead. He also commented that he thinks of the drumhead as a stage and that his work with dancers – he has been collaboraing with the Leah Stein Dance Company for over twenty years – informs how he understands this space.

You can get a great sense of all this by checking out Makihara’s YouTube channel. He’s currently putting up roughly one improvisation every day this year – I haven’t found one yet that didn’t totally transport me – which by now is turning into an amazing body (pun intended) of work! Here’s a piece he recorded earlier last Saturday:

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Monday, October 05, 2009

 

Reb Livingston offers an account of my talk

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Nada Gordon on Adfempo
(part 1) (part 2) (part 3)

Michelle Naka Pierce:
Adfempo constellations

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Nathalie Anderson on Teresa Leo

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Amiri Baraka turns 75

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Eunoia,
the upgrade

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Curtis Faville on
A Controversy of Poets

Brandon Brown:
describing traditions apophatically

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Harryette Mullen:
meaning & wordplay

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Talking with Celia Rabinovitch

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Sina Queyras on reading styles

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Close Listening with Aldon Lynn Nielsen:
Talking with Charles Bernstein
& reading his poetry

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3 classic texts by Peter Seaton:
Agreement
Crisis Intervention
The Son Master

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Ish Klein’s Union!

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Talking with Ilyas Tunς

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Jose Antonio Muñoz Rojas has died

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Sarah Wright has died

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Wayne Brown & Trevor Rhone
die on the same day

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Scene report:
the (New) Reading Series
at 21 Grand
in Oaklad

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Judith Butler’s
“Performative Acts & Gender Constitution”
(reg. req.)

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Jennifer Kamin & Bernadette Mayer

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Tao Lin
interviews
one of the two people
who showed up for his reading
in Petaluma

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Jordan Davis’ “Narragansett”
in The Nation
(sub may be required)

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Erasing Mallarmé:
Michalis Pichler’s
A Throw of the Dice,
the laser version

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Tuesday, October 6,
a huge benefit reading
at The Foundary in London
to benefit a playground
at the Aida Refugee Camp
in Palesine

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Talking with Mariela Griffor

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Charlie Potts reading

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Profits from fiction?

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What to do with an MFA?

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Talking with Kay Ryan

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What says Gandhi better than
a $23,000 fountain pen?

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Zombieland?
Dead authors, new books

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Talking with John M. Bennett
(just the first of 11!)

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Steve Evans’ Attention Span 2009
has reached the halfway mark

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William Burroughs & Brion Gysin
The Third Mind
(reg. req.)

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Matt Bell’s The Collectors

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Talking with E.L. Doctorow

Doctorow shills for a book machine

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The book thief

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Thursday is National Poetry Day
in the UK

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October 14 in Lyon,
Barrett Watten

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Talking with Carol Ann Duffy

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Atwood shows
that friends can be
the biggest critics

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Joel Nelson
on cowboy poetry

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Origami poems

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Overthrowing the King-of-Hay

Ten best used bookshops in the UK

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In praise of Eliot Weinberger

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Giorgio Agamben:
“What is the Contemporary?”
(reg. req.)

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Philip Pullman’s distinction –
author most likely to be banned

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Banned in China =
best seller in Hong Kong

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Poetry in Times Square

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Squirrel poems

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Charles Wright: “Ho hum”
(Can an eel poem
be a squirrel poem too?)

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Linda Gregg
wins the Lenore Marshall prize

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The German book prize shortlist
(with English translations)

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Gay penguin parents
top best-seller list

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Dionne Brand
is Toronto’s new poet laureate

In Maryland,
it’s Stanley Plumly

Beltway Poetry Quarterly:
the Laureate issue

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Talking with Ruth Brandon

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Robert Bly
bringing it all back home

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Relational aesthetics: relational form
(reg. req.)

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Before Kent Johnson thought to copy
Kenny Goldsmith’s Day
Charles Bernstein had published
all of Weathers on his blog

Kent’s response
to Charles the First

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Kent Johnson:
the trouble with flarf…

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Ye Chun’s Travel Over Water

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Wednesday, October 7, at St. Marks,
Naked Lunch @ 50

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PEN announces its literary awards

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Where book bans were attempted, 2008

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From books to vooks

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Between hardbacks & e-books

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Going to Cold Mountain

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Talking with Thomas Lux

Lux’s God Particles

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A guide to the Booker shortlist

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Can Google Wave transform journalism

Google & the history of ©

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Will books be “Napsterized”?

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Amazon clarifies
what it’s willing to delete
from your Kindle

Kindle comes to Europe

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Sony open eBook up
to self-publishers

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A Harvard Skirmish in the © wars

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Janet Sobel, Jackson Pollock
& the problems of ©
(reg. req.)

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The Future of Publishing Think Tank

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The state of the English Department

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A new Moby Dick

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Maxine Kumin’s Still to Mow

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Fighting over the Kafka archive

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Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Sympathy”

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Auden’s call to arms:
Spain & psychoanalysis

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Robert Pinsky
doesn’t plan his readings

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Top ten literary tatts

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Drew Barrymore’s
“Ten Best Books” includes
Valley of the Dolls

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The Yeats Industry

Marriage counseling from ghosts

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A memoir of Taiwan literature

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Love’s Labor Won
& other mysteries

§

James Wood on A.S. Byatt

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The Poets’ House
opening bash

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The Massachusetts Poetry Festival,
October 15-18

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Dodge fest proposes 2010 resurrection
aimed at Newark

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Talking with Ted Kooser

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The sidewalk poet

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Bush aide tell-all:
no prize for Rowling
over witchcraft

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Keats in Omaha

John Keats = Michael Stipes?

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A quiz on Frederick Seidel & Susan Wheeler

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Adam Foulds @ 34

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Edmund White’s City Boy

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Ratmansky takes Manhattan

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Notes toward an embodied art

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Alain Badiou:
“Some Remarks on Marcel Duchamp
(reg. req.)

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Artwood

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What is an Andy Warhol?

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The return of Berkeley Breathed

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David Hockney
drawing with an iPhone

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Henry Hopkins has died

Hopkins & the lost Ruscha

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Bridget Riley:
“Drawing is an inquiry”

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Willard Wigan’s nanosculpture

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SF MoMA
prepares to get big

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Kenneth Baker on Henry Hopkins

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Flogging a dead horse

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The cops curate the Tate

Naked police power

Leaving the commentary to us

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Why Polanski now?

Should Polanski be above the law?

Steve Lopez
on the grand jury transcripts

An arrest that is overdue

Justice for Polanski?

Director faces weeks in jail
prior to extradition hearing

Cheers & jeers at belated bust

Polanski team adds a power player

Can the defense keep Polanski
out of prison?

A curious twist turns up
to an old tale

An international Rorschach test

“Genius and young flesh

Polanski’s settlement was $500,000

Cokie Roberts:
“Just take him out and shoot him”

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Clowns in space

Guy Laliberte reaches the space station

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Ridin’ the rails
with Dave Alvin & the Flatlanders

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Thom Yorke + Flea = ?

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Remembering Mike Seeger

The Beth Lomax Hawes
NEA National Heritage Fellowship

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Colin McPhee, the opera

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Celebrating Queen Ida

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The schedule for
the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
is awe inspiring

And looking for 50 pianists!

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5 questions for Tim Gunn

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In Paris,
a Guy Bourdin retrospective

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Talking with NaOyuki Ogino

NaOyuki Ogino’s website

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Destroying La Ronda

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Architect David Adjaye:
“I always battle my clients”

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Manuel Castells essay collection
(reg. req.)

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Perry Anderson essay collection
(reg. req.)

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Capitalism’s wide reach

Naomi Klein talks with Michael Moore

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