Saturday, October 16, 2010

The work begins

The first neon sign in America
still glows at night

Broken neon signs

Photos by Phil Davenport

Friday, October 15, 2010

David Arner, George Quasha, Charles Stein

Axial Music

At White Box on the Bowery, NYC
August 26, 2010

from the 20th annual Subterranean Poetry Festival
in the Widow Jane Mine
Rosendale, NY, August 28, 2010:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sometime in the next 24 hours this blog will welcome its 3 millionth visitor.

Each time it reaches another half million visits, I’ve used the occasion to say thank you. Writing the blog has taught me many things, some of which I anticipated, but more which I did not. I was right in my presumption that blogging – and the other forms of social networking that have risen in the eight years since I started down this path – offered poets a means of communicating with one another without the funneling process of the academy. But I had no clue just how much the scale of poetry – the absolute number of practicing poets – had changed since, say, the 1970s. Or how much that in itself was transforming poetry. The fundamental fissures between literary traditions – and the deeper social values they embody – have not gone away, but these have been overwhelmed by the onslaught of new ideas, new aesthetics, new combinations that people are coming up with daily.

This will change what it means to be a poet in every way imaginable. In my book The New Sentence, I contrast the situation of the 1980s with that of the years immediately following World War 2. In the late 1940s, the total number of titles published in the US in any given year was around 8,000. By all authors on all topics. By the early 1980s, that number had exploded to somewhat over 200,000. Today, however, that number stands at one million titles per year. And there are numerous studies showing that we are all reading less. The total US population has doubled since the end of the Second World War. Put another way, in the 1940s there were more than 9,300 adults for each title published. Today there are 150.

Our relationship to audiences, the expectations of readers, the definition of a career, indeed even of a book, these are all up for grabs. So are concepts like bookstore, publisher & copyright. The distribution system is in chaos. Barnes & Noble and Borders seem unlikely to survive long enough to celebrate their monopolization of the brick-&-mortar retail space as they in turn are driven from business by the rise of the internet. Even the great warehouse logistics at the heart of Amazon are themselves threatened by the rise of the e-book. Amazon’s offer to pay authors 70% of e-book royalties is, we should note, a deeply defensive gesture. What they are trying to prevent is watching the authors collect 100%.

But 100% of what exactly? That is the question. Followed quickly by how.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Olson @ the Century

A profile of the Buffalo conference

Gloucester celebrates Olson

As does Vancouver

Paris Review “Language Sampler”

Berkshire Eagle obit for Michael Gizzi

Close reading aloud
poems about poppies
by H.D. & Jennifer Scappettone

Steve Fama on varieties of vispo

John Timpane on Mario Vargas Llosa

Writing & winning

Betting on the Booker prize suspended

Monday, October 11, 2010

Now – October 17 in Ilkley, UK
Ilkley Literature Festival

Now – October 23 in Berlin,
Henry Darger

Abstraction Revisited
Chelsea Art Museum
Now – Nov 27

Now – January 9 2011 in NYC
The Perpetual Peace Project

Now – April 13, 2011 in Philly,
Penn Humanities Forum
on Virtuality

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa wins the Nobel

Vargas Llosa:
Why him? Why now?

An audio interview

He thought it was a prank