Friday, March 11, 2011


A few words about what I’m up to, or not, these days. The first is that my reading scheduled for Moe’s Books in Berkeley on March 16 has had to be rescheduled for two weeks later, March 30. Business travel, which this has been scheduled on top of, has a tendency to dissolve & reconfigure at a moment’s notice, but I hope this one happens. I’m really psyched at the prospect of reading with Steven Farmer, whose work I’ve known & loved for nearly 30 years. Plus I’ve been a customer of Moe’s since even before its days as the Rambam (across the street where Shakespeare & Co. now sits, or did last I looked) in the mid-1960s, so it will really be old home week to be there.

This will take place just a couple of days after The Symposium on The Alphabet at the University of Windsor, across the river from Detroit, March 25 & 26. Speakers there will include, in order of appearance, Jed Rasula, Marianne Ølholm, Brian Jansen, Joshua Schuster, Christopher Kerr, Hilary Clark, Burt Kimmelman, Michael Hessel-Mial, Braydon Beaulieu, Elisabeth Joyce, Steve McCaffery, Rae Armantrout, Barrett Watten, Andrew Klobucar, Jeff Derksen, Pierre Beaumier, Jasmine Elliott, Timothy Yu, Brian Ang, Ashley Girty, Louis Cabri, & Carla Harryman. I will be reading & talking with Rae the first night, and with Barry & Carla the next. If I were doing this today, I would be reading not from The Alphabet per se, but from Universe and The Grand Piano. And, while I’m sure sitting through this will make me twitch, I’m hoping not to turn into Robert Duncan, with or without the vampire cape.

There will be a big event for The Grand Piano itself at Poets House in New York mid-April, plus I will be reading at the Text Festival in Bury, Lancashire at the end of April & hopefully somewhere in London the week after. More about these events later, tho I should note that I will be unveiling a sculpture at the Festival.

There are links to all of these on the sidebar to the left. I’ve also made some other changes to the sidebar of late, adding permanent links to the ever-changing calendar, recent links and the like, and to a series of links to recurrent themes further down the scrollbar. I have also subdivided the “Silliman Sites” listing on the scrollbar so as to break out links to my various editorial projects: The Clark Coolidge Symposium, The Dwelling Place, Realism, Tottel’s and In the American Tree. The newest of these is Realism, a feature I edited for Michael Cuddihy’s late, lamented Ironwood. Among the poets included are Bruce Andrews, Rae Armantrout, Steve Benson, Alan Bernheimer, Charles Bernstein, Clark Coolidge, Tina Darragh, Alan Davies, Jean Day, Ray Di Palma, Michael Gottlieb, Robert Grenier, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, P. Inman, Tom Mandel, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, Stephen Rodefer, Peter Seaton, James Sherry, Ron Silliman, Diana Ward, Barrett Watten, Hannah Weiner, & Kathleen Fraser.

I also have work included in the big new Northwestern University Press anthology, Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing, edited by Craig Dworkin & Kenneth Goldsmith. At nearly 600 pages, it’s very comprehensive, in the tradition of Jerry Rothenberg’s great collections. It has everyone from Tzara, Yeats & Aragon to a healthy selection of flarf. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect – Steve Benson, Carla Harryman, Jena Osman & Barrett Watten are absent, as are instances of Actualism from the 1970s, G.P. Skratz & Dave Morice, for example, or Darrell Gray writing as Philippe Mignon. Indeed, pseudonymic writing in general seems not to have been considered. Also missing are the Russian Conceptualists around Dmitri Prigov, and I think you could ask about mail art, vispo & Ian Hamilton Finlay. One can make the argument that conceptualism as an aesthetic force comes to writing fairly late in the game, entering for the most part as the result of contact with other disciplines, and the fact that this is really the first big book of same might be entered into evidence as Exhibit A. But this fact alone makes Against Expression a must-have collection & Dworkin & Goldsmith have set the bar high for any anthologizers who come later.

Several folks have noted that I haven’t written much of late here, which is certainly true. I have been busier than ever on my day job, a prospect that doesn’t show much likelihood of reversing any time soon. I’ve also been working on poetry that’s taken up some of this time. In fact, I applied for five academic positions thinking that might fit better with my writing life at this stage in the game. And while I’ve heard rumors that I would be teaching at this or that university next fall, I did not get a single interview. Only two of the five bothered to communicate with me personally about my applications. One told me that I had too much experience for the position they were seeking to fill. The other told me that I did not have enough.


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