Saturday, June 04, 2011

 

Ann Brewer Knox

1926 2011

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Friday, June 03, 2011

 

I couldn’t afford On Bear’s Head, Philip Whalen’s 405-page magnum opus, when it first came out from Harcourt’s Harvest Books imprint back in 1969 (published jointly, I only noticed today, with Coyote / New York, which methinks must have meant James Koller, explaining at least in part how this reclusive Zen monk could issue a volume that large from a major trade publisher – when it came to self-promotion, Whalen was the antithesis of Tao Lin). So when finally I found a copy in pristine condition in a used book store circa 1973, I purchased it instantly & began to read through it the way a man might eat a meal they have been waiting for for years. On Bear’s Head is a completely masterful volume, still my favorite of all Whalen editions, and one that deserves to be reissued just as it was originally published.

But pretty soon thereafter, I realized that everything I was writing myself at that point was coming out suspiciously Whalen-esque. This is an effect I’ve noticed only a few times in my writing life – I get this way if I read too much Robert Duncan (especially Roots & Branches or Bending the Bow) or listen too much to Bob Dylan¹. But I’m immune largely to even the finest work by other great writers – I might love it, feel totally enthused by it, but generally I don’t find myself instantly turning into an echo, even if it’s Stein, Williams, Shakespeare or Watten. One can learn an enormous amount from inhabiting the skin of a great poet for a while, but only at a significant risk…you might not find the bread-crumb trail back home again.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

 

If the most perfect post-Hitchcockian mystery in cinema continues to be Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 between-Godfathers masterpiece, The Conversation, Giuseppe Capotondi’s debut film, The Double Hour, comes close enough to at least be mentioned in the same conversation. Both films present narratives that leave the viewer unsettled & scrambling to sort out what might or might not be happening, both feature great acting, and both (not coincidentally, I suspect) involve a central character devoted to surveillance audio.¹

Where The Conversation focuses on a paranoid detective played by Gene Hackman who takes a case in which he learns that the roles of victim & villain are not what they seem, The Double Hour focuses on Guido, a widowed ex-cop, & Sonia, a half-Slovenian hotel maid, in Turin, who meet at a speed dating event & slowly start to get involved. The film is primarily told from the perspective of Sonia, played by Russian actress, Ksenia (think Xenia) Rappoport, who won a best actress award for the role in the 2009 Venice Film Festival. Filippo Timi, who won a best actor nod at the same festival for his role as Guido, looks a lot like Javier Bardem, maybe a little shorter & more trim, especially with a close-cropped beard, even down to the soulful eyes. He is balanced by his best friend, the more phlegmatic Dante, who is still on the police force, one of maybe a half dozen secondary figures who play crucial roles in the various sleights of narrative going on simultaneously throughout the film. Sonia & Guido find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, an art heist carried out with Mission Impossible precision, shots are fired & we learn soon enough that both characters have been hit. What happens from this point forward, though, is almost impossible to discuss without presenting major spoilers other than to say that it’s not clear, ultimately, who the victims really are, with some suggestion that it’s possible for the criminal to be the true victim, even as they “succeed.”

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

 

You will find a permanent link
to the latest calendar
in the sidebar to your left

June

June 1 in NYC
Drew Gardner & Mark Yakich

June 1 in Venice, Italy
Flags for Venice

June 1 June 21 in NYC
Duncan Hannah

June 2 in Chicago
Jena Osman

June 2 in DC
Terence Winch

June 2 in Brooklyn
The Moby Awards
for best & worst book trailers

June 2 in Baltimore
Literary Death Match

June 2 in Venice, CA
In Bloom
(first Bloomsday event of 2011)

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 

Daisy Aldan’s A New Folder

Satu Kaikkonen:
from totems

In Syria, Ali Dirbak
arrested for reading poetry

Phil Whalen:
excerpts from Kyoto Notebooks

On Robert Duncan’s
The Opening of the Field

Duncan’s notes on Silliman’s “Opening”

The Flame is Ours:
The Letters of Stan Brakhage & Michael McClure
1961
1978

Javier Sicilia,
moving beyond words

Jerome McGann’s
Postmodern Poetries

Flarf turns 10

Geof Huth’s 365 Ltrs

Tom Beckett on Huth

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Monday, May 30, 2011

 

WillDa Real OneBell

1964? 2011

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

 

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