Saturday, July 07, 2012


Hiren Battacharyya

1932 2012


Friday, July 06, 2012


Because I was going to read in Antwerp, I thought maybe I should read Roberto Bolaño’s novel of the same name. I should have known that Bolaño, who was a master of misdirection, was more or less writing about everything but Antwerp & that most of the book is set in Spain. But then I found myself speaking more Spanish in Belgium & the Netherlands than I did Dutch, so there was a curiously appropriate echo there too. Here is the title chapter, the 49th of 56, of Antwerp in its entirety as translated by Natasha Wimmer:

In Antwerp a man was killed when his car was run over by a truck full of pigs. Lots of pigs died too when the truck overturned, others had to be put out their misery by the side of the road, and others took off as fast as they could … “That’s right, honey, he’s dead, the pigs ran right over him” … “At night, on the dark highways of Belgium or Catalonia” … “We talked for hours in a bar on Las Ramblas, it was summer and she talked as if she hadn’t talked for a long time” … “When she was done, she felt my face like a blind woman” … “The pigs squealed” … “She said I want to be alone and even though I was drunk I understood” … “I don’t know, it’s something like the full moon, girls who are really like flies, though that’s not what I mean” … “Pigs howling in the middle of the highway, wounded or rushing away from the smashed-up truck” … “Every word is useless, every sentence, every phone conversation” … “She said she wanted to be alone” … I wanted to be alone too. In Antwerp or Barcelona. The moon. Animals fleeing. Highway accident. Fear.

We might even segregate the sentences like this:

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Thursday, July 05, 2012


Kevin Killian’s keynote
at the NPF’s
Poetry & Poetics of the ‘80s conference:
“Activism, Gay Poetry, & AIDS in the 1980s”

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Wendell Berry delivers the 2012 NEH Jefferson Lecture:It All Turns on Affection

Berry begins talking @ 11:25

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012


I don’t normally go out of my way to make pitches for KickStarter campaigns – a link in a long list is about as fancy as I get – but I have had the opportunity to hear Orkestrova -- the fluctuating ensemble that has at its core the ROVA Saxophone Quartet & the no-vocals Nels Cline Singers – perform John Coltrane’s Ascension in their Electric Ascension arrangement at the I-House in Philadelphia, and I can attest first hand to the phenomenal power of this event. And if I can’t be in Guelph (which, alas, I can’t), anything I can do to ensure a professional video record of the occasion is an effort worth making. It is enough to note that John Coltrane was to jazz pretty much what Shakespeare was to the stage, and that Ascension is the piece that most decisively pushes his capabilities to the limit – think of it as the Lear of free-form music. It’s a world not so much to follow as to inhabit, and when you are inside it as a listener you go boldly where no one has gone before – pretty much literally.

The finest concert I have ever heard – ever – was a ROVA performance of The Hive, a site-specific work performed at 80 Langton Street when that was still a performance art space in San Francisco. Folding chairs were set back-to-back-to-back in triangles (akin I suppose to the cells in a hive) while the quartet performed from the outer rim of the small brick building. It’s a piece that ROVA has never recorded because it was, in fact, site-specific, but it’s precisely the kind of work that might have been preserved in some form had this kind of technology been available at the time. ROVA’s musicians are my age – which means that they won’t be here in 50 years, any more than Coltrane is around now – so this is a critical opportunity to make something important happen in the world of music. They have until July 25 to make this happen and, as of July 2, they weren’t quite halfway there.

KickStart the concert video of Electric Ascension

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Monday, July 02, 2012


Recently Received

Books (Poetry)

Márcio-André, Cazas, Dulcinéia Catadora, São Paulo, Brazil, 2011

Stacy Doris, Fledge: A Phenomenology of Spirit, Nightboat Books, Callicoon, NY, 2012

Karen Garthe, The Banjo Clock, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2012

Anne Gorrick, I-Formation: Book 2, Shearsman, Exeter, UK, 2012

Bill Mohr, Bittersweet Kaleidoscope, If Publications, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, 2006

Jena Osman, Public Figures, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, 2012

Chus Pato, Charenton, translated from the Galician by Erín Moure, Shearsman / Buschek, Exeter, UK & Ottawa, Canada, 2007

Chus Pato, m-Talá, translated from the Galician by Erín Moure, Shearsman / Buschek, Exeter, UK & Ottawa, Canada, 2009

Chus Pato, Hordes of Writing, translated from the Galician by Erín Moure, Shearsman / Buschek, Exeter, UK & Ottawa, Canada, 2011

Chus Pato, Secession, translated from the Galician by Erín Moure, Zat-So Productions, Montreal, 2012

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Sunday, July 01, 2012


An oral history of
Charles Olson
Ammiel Alcalay
Peter Anastas
Charles Stein
Michael Rumaker
Ingeborg Lauterstein
Edward Sanders

with thanks to
the Woodberry Poetry Room @ Harvard & PennSound

(Photo by Charles Stein)

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