Saturday, January 02, 2010

 

Photo courtesy of Star Black


Rachel Wetzsteon

1967 2009

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Jim Chastain

1963 2009

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Friday, January 01, 2010

 



Ruth Lilly

1915 2009

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

 

Michael Conrad (1925 – 1983)

Ten years ago, at the behest of the Poetry Society, I answered the following question thus:

What are your predictions for American poetry in the next century?

It will be fabulous, problematic, troubling, wonderful- - and unlike anything we imagine today. Just as the Beats grew out of the affluence and McCarthyism that followed World War II and Language Poetry grew out of the Vietnam experience, the great literary tendencies of the next one hundred years will be determined in good part by upheavals we can ony guess at today. As always, the best writing will not be "platform dependent," even if some of it does use newly emerging technologies.

One decade hence, my glib response makes me cringe, not only for the parts I got obviously right – or, should I say, got right because they were obvious – but also for the part I got terribly wrong as well. That comes through less from the words than through the tone. I do use the cautionary terms problematic & troubling, but the tone is all huzzah. You can feel the Y2K New Years cap & celebratory whistle in place & ready to blow. Yech.

The “upheavals we can only guess at” were neither as mysterious as I made them sound, nor merely the provocation for innovative writing this depiction could be read as suggesting. The attack by Islamic extremists had been preceded by an assault on the very same World Trade Center several years earlier. Did we not think a group that took credit, warranted or not, for militarily defeating the Soviet Union in Afghanistan would not step up to the plate against the Great Satan itself? George W. Bush was not the first incompetent to be elected president, not even in the lifetime of most of this blog’s readers, nor the first to install what amounted to a criminal regime in the executive branch. Economies built upon bubbles have never been immune to collapse before – why should we have anticipated anything different?

What disturbs me about my tone of a decade ago is its failure to acknowledge in advance the pain & suffering generated by each of these events. But what disturbs me most about my own lack of vision was the failure to comprehend that such events would be linked, a virtual trifecta of evil the likes of which, etc.

As we step into the teens, I want to be clear then: there is absolutely nothing preventing the ascent of a neo-fascist state on these shores but the readers of this blog and people like ourselves. There is absolutely no reason that Sarah Palin, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck or even Ted Nugent could not become president. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the venture in Afghanistan will turn out any better this time around than it has for outside invaders at any time in the last half millennium. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that papering over the problems of the economy – which include the problems of health care – will do anything other than set deeper wheels in motion that sooner or later will come full circle. Have I mentioned the biosphere?

So my words of advice at the end of this decade are taken from the words of the late character actor, Michael Conrad, in his role as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus on the TV series Hill Street Blues, words that I’ve used before at the end of the poem Paradise. They feel much more appropriate. At the conclusion of each shift briefing to his charges, the sergeant would close with the same two sentences:

Listen. Be careful out there.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

 




Vic Chesnutt

1964 2009

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

 

Marianne Moore:
the gate-keeper

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Rachel Blau DuPlessis on Lorine Niedecker

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Gender, poetry, innovation

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Chinese poet goes on trial

11 years for advocating freedom of speech

Poems of Liu Xiaobo

PEN’s Liu Xiaobo resource page

Freedom of expression in China

Take action NOW!

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Talking with Dick Higgins

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Remembering Dennis Brutus

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Talking with Rebecca Loudon

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews 2 books by Loudon

Loudon reviews Goransson’s Berg

Gabriel Lovatt on Aase Berg

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Le Guin quits Authors Guild
over Google deal

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Camille Martin
on Maxine Chernoff’s Todorov

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Renee Gladman, reading

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Stuart Z. Perkoff:
Love is the Silence

A collection of rare LA poetry publications
(Part 1) (Part 2)

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How to kill the e-book --
let people try to use them

Hackers crack Kindle © protection

e-book sales skyrocket,
book sales up generally

Here come the vooks

80% of publishers concede
that e-books should be cheaper
than hard copy

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David Highsmith’s Your Wilderness & Mine

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Talking with Kenward Elmslie

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Adam Schatz on Orhan Pamuk

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Jules Boykoff & Kaia Sand’s
Landscapes of Dissent:
Guerilla Poetry & Public Space

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Lydia Davis
on the tragedy of Christmas

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Alberto Manguel’s
The Library at Night
(reg. req.)

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Jack Spicer’s Book of Magazine Verse:
imitation not intended as flattery

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Brad Flis reads

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Talking with Daisy Fried

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Cage match of Canadian poetry:
everybody loses

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When authors attack reviews

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Geoffrey Gatza’s Housecat Kung Fu:
Strange Poems for Wild Children

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Talking with Don Share

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Rodrigo Toscano’s Collapsible Poetics Theater

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Talking with Stephen Burt

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Gertrude Stein 100th birthday concert (1974)

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Ellen Baxt’s
Analfabeto / An Alphabet

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Albert Mobilio reads

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Talking with Catherine Daly

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Charles Reznikoff reads “Children

Carl Rakosi reading, 1971

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Tom Hibbard on Michael Rothenberg

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Talking with Brian Joseph Davis

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Talking with Steven Collis

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Dick of the Dead

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Talking with me

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Literature & philosophy as a way of life
Philadelphia, Dec. 29
(100 yards from the MLA Offsite)

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Soldier to poet:
an exchange

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Catherine Daly’s Identity Theft

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Christmas poems

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William Burroughs press conference

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Editing David Foster Wallace

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Poetry & Cultural Studies

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Talking with Michael Bryson

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50 of the “most inspiring” writers
in the world

Soyinka, Achebe make list

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Daniel Pritchard
sings the Quietist anthem: Standards!

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Pride & Prejudice
in emoticons

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TriQuarterly’s tough transition

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Artists & quietists in collaboration

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Literary fingerprinting reveals the obvious

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Vonnegut kids back memorial library

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Kevin Killian’s
Wow Wow Wow Wow

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Sherman Alexie’s War Dances

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China gets its first
low-res MFA

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Prophylactic” quotes

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Microsoft loses right to sell Word

&, voila, rewrites the offending code!

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Joseph Donahue’s
Terra Lucida

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First thought, worst thought

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The weather report
via Tu Fu & Kenneth Rexroth

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Hooverized Christmas greetings

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Talking with Bernard Heidsieck

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Sobin’s Char

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SPD’s 50 best-selling poetry books
for the past decade

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I’m more honored that
The Other Room
would think to include me
in a prank like this
than I would have been
had this story been true

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The most viewed blog notes on Harriet
& articles on the Poetry Foundation website
in 2009

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Tony Trehy’s best of everything for 2009

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Best selling authors of the decade
in the United Kingdom

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Most collectible books of the noughties

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Books we’ll still be reading in 2110

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10 best books that are years
(also silliest list)

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Remembering Emma Bee Bernstein

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Required reading: GirlDrive

Nona Willis Aronowitz:
Do we still need the word feminism?
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Paris Review’s
party invite
includes an answer to Nona’s question

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Anselm Berrigan’s Have a Good One

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Loren Singer has died

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The 2009 Philippine National Artists Awards controversy

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The tragedy of happiness

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Slide shows that sell books
based on their covers

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Talking with Andrew Motion

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Print magazine death toll tapers off in ‘09

Why magazines might not die

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Learn to speak Na’vi

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Slavoj Žižek:
The Sublime Object of Ideology
(reg. req.)

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Keeping the knowledge of arts alive

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Talking with Jenny Holzer

A Holzer slide show
with none of her art

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Dominique Nabokov
on Robert Frank’s Americans

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Susan Sontag:
On Photography
(reg. req.)

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Barry Schwabsky
on the death of Polaroid

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Jack Hirschman talks with John Cage

Cage & Morton Feldman in conversation

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Charles Amirkhanian talks with Anthony Braxton

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Pradip Kumar Sengupta:
Foundations of Indian Musicology
(reg. req.)

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Misterioso

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The Other Minds Archive is a great resource

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Tom Clark on The Messenger

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Cate Blanchett & Blanche Dubois

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Wilton’s Music Hall
turns 150

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Galatea Resurrection # 13
has 55 reviews & several features,
a few of which are highlighed here

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Monday, December 28, 2009

 

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

 



Dennis Brutus

1924 2009

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