Saturday, September 01, 2012

 

Anthony Braxton
giving the keynote address
at the 2007 Guelph Jazz Festival

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Friday, August 31, 2012

 

Theodore Roethke
giving the very first reading
at the Poetry Center
San Francisco State
February 25 1954

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

 


Photo by Jonathan Williams

Kenneth Rexroth
reading @ the Poetry Center
San Francisco State
July 13, 1955 & October 5, 1959

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

 

I have never thought of myself as an experimental writer, but this project is clearly a step into un- (or at least under-) charted territory. My idea is to write briefly from time to time mostly about my writing and whatever I might be thinking about poetry at the moment. Other subjects (music, politics, etc.) may enter in, as they do in life. 

Blogs have been around for a while now, but to date I haven't seen a genuinely good one devoted to contemporary poetry, so it may prove that there is no audience for such an endeavor. But this project isn't about audience. The fact that the blog has the potential to carry forward the best elements of a journal and seems inherently prone to digressive, if not absolutely plotless, prose gives me hope that this form might prove amenable to critical thinking. 

I posted this note to the blog ten years ago today, though in fact I’d written it a few days earlier, on a PC available for public use at the Whale Watching station on Brier Island, off the southern tip of Digby Neck in Nova Scotia. In ought-two, there wasn’t a lot of competition for the PC and I was able to check emails, while also fiddling with an idea I had had about using Blogger as a medium for publishing critical thought. That thought I had had implanted in my poor brain by reading the ongoing blog of my nephew Daniel, in those days a philosophy-journalism undergrad at Hillsdale College, who was posting his philosophy papers online. Much of what I’d seen of blogging prior to that point was not unlike what one hears in snarky putdowns of other social media today, such as Twitter & Facebook, that it was largely the domain of teenage narcissism at its most puerile. One look at a serious discussion was all it took to disabuse me of that impression, and there was hardly ever an undergrad more earnestly serious than my nephew, a trait for which I love him dearly & respect him even more.

Contrary to what I wrote in that second paragraph, there were already intelligent blogs that either included poetry – such as Mark Woods’ woods lot, which continues to this day, and the long “dead” blog called Laurable by Laura Willey. But in the August of 2002 I’d heard of neither of these – Laura found me pretty quickly, as she was already on the Buffalo Poetics listserv, and generously taught me the rudiments of HTML.

Ten years is an eon in the age of the internet, and my blogging has changed substantially over that period. Some of those changes were dictated by external events – constant speed-ups at my day job cut into the amount of time I could devote to any other activity, including sleep & family life. Others were the result of the blog itself. I was able to articulate a set of concerns I had (and largely still have) about the state of poetry, and I was able to disseminate these concerns beyond the confines of my PC quickly and over a wider geographic distance than I had ever imagined. I have been amazed – and continue to be – at just how far my work has spread without all that much translation, and to this date still no books in a foreign language. Because – something I know now – I had not fully understood just how far the English language has traveled and that any poet in the US is being read, sometimes hopefully & often with suspicion (both of which are thoroughly deserved), anywhere English is the language of commerce, which is pretty much everywhere.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

 

Living with Mandelstam
Nadezhda Mandelstam on living with Osip Mandelstam

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Monday, August 27, 2012

 

Boston loses Bill Corbett

Furor over shutting down UNO press draws national attention

Susan M Schultz
edits a feature on writing & dementia

Pussy Riot is found guilty of hooliganism

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

 

Daryl Hine

1936 2012

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