10.30.2005

Ange Mlinko and Richard Hell,
St. Mark's Poetry Project, 10.26.05

Before the reading, I was struck by the beautiful crepuscular light of Soho -- the gigantic, uncanny face of Marvin Gaye hovering above Houston St. on a billboard.

Ange Mlinko

The strongest reading I've heard Ange give -- "transformation vs. encryption" -- family and memory -- Duchamp's Etant Donnes in the Philly art museum -- reacting with anger to the piece -- that the figure looked to her like a crime victim -- trying to remember a nightmare -- "an imagination which produces folklore and science alike." -- "Orpheus near store front"

Richard Hell

Hell started with twenty minutes of extemporaneous stories about being one of a couple of "knuckleheaded" punk kids hanging around the periphery of the 1970s St. Mark's poetry scene -- he followed this up with forty-five minutes of amateurish, sloppy, tedious fiction.

10.27.2005

Dreamt that Jordan Davis and I were playing a game of chess, and in the first series of moves, all of our major pieces were mutually destroyed, leaving only pawns, kings and queens.

10.25.2005

Steve identifies the possibility of a new prose genre based on a the script of I Walked With a Zombie.

10.21.2005

My favorite moment of Juliana Spahr's reading at St. Mark's was a lovely, compelling list piece using all manner of species native to the area of Ohio where she grew up. These things were plugged into set phrases like "I let the (raccoon) into my heart, and "(crabapple), don't add to heartache." This localized, highly diffuse environmental information about Ohio (and really much of the northeast US) included poisons as well, "I let the (chloride) into my heart."

Another set phrase was "I didn't even say goodbye to (pumpkin)," where the implication is that a childhood connection to natural environment is gradually and unconsciously replaced by an adult social and sexual environment. The piece would almost fit into Technicians of the Sacred.

She introduced the poems as "sappy." This work did activate a simple, and, in a way, traditional mechanism of sentiment -- feelings associated with connection to the natural environment, but not at all of sentimentality -- displacing actual feelings with formalized, strategic clich├ęs of feeling based on a projection of audience expectation. The poem was a kind of retrospective coming of age poem and environmental protest piece.

10.20.2005

Jennifer Moxley, Often Capital, Flood Editions, 2005

Two early serial poems.

The First Division of Labour:

Themes of partnership / work / love (and estrangement)

"desire returned as topiary"

The poem proceeds though an assembly of vocabulary and detail from a text we’re not necessarily privy to, transforming it, but without rorschaching the material, without rendering it’s interpretive horizon open-ended.

"The minor, graffiti / in / Atlantis"


Enlightenment Evidence:

Excess creativity in humans was possibly evolved as a result of sexual selection?

"Let sweetness be the creator of moments, building revolution / one kissing at a time."

The poet/speaker of this dramatic monologue associates her love life w/ a famous historical character and imbues this dramatic framework with political grandeur. Not a historical take on writing as straight documentary, but using history as cognitive reverb setting for one’s immediate situation. Something both Olson and Creeley do.

"the paramour trades beauty for silence"

Attachment to historical figures and amorous attachment. The problems of attachment -- Sorting through the significance of attachment through the filter of another text/aura -- sorting/attachment/association.

10.17.2005

It finally stopped raining after a straight week of downpour. I thought I might never see sunlight again.

The mysterious repaving of the East Village continues with the top layer of many streets ripped up and left that way. The dust from the uprooted asphalt gets kicked up by the recent wind, making Ave. B look like the old west.

10.16.2005

The artist must have wanted this footage to be about the surveillance cameras, but the compelling thing about this fox loose in the National Portrait Gallery in London is that the fox is sleeping overnight in the museum. Looks like he found himself a comfy chair.

10.09.2005

Anselm Berrigan and Marianne Shaneen, Bowery Poetry Club, 10.8.05

Marianne Shaneen

Funny, information-rich poetry fused with a poetics of film.

She started with a sequence focused on, and wildly riffing off of, dolphins. Specifically the history of American... uh, use of Dolphins in covert operations. It was sloppy in a good way, that is it was Charles Mingus sloppy: with a relaxed open gangliness capable of accommodating a large amount of elements, all of which were allowed to act with a certain independence, while maintaining an upbeat overall forward momentum.

"The CIA was concerned about a looming 'Dolphin gap' with the Soviets."

"Wealth is a form of violence."

The second series was organized around themes of oil / petroleum, ranging over the politics of oil production, inescapable plastic based objects/ commodities, body fat, flensing boots etc.

We also heard about "cans of liquefied ravens and hawks" and "nostalgia for dinner table alienation"

The delivery was sometimes a little stumbling. With poetry this good, I couldn't help but think Marrianne should read through the work once or twice before getting on stage with it.

Language stretched across a historical, filmic membrane.

"Carl Marx stars as the Lone Ranger."


Anselm Berrigan

"regurgitation means birdie love"

The lines have a unique consistency and forward momentum. Almost every line has a high tensile strength, and therefore, the feeling of a certain weight, but the overall tempo and pacing moves with the kind effortless momentum that is normal accessed though a much lighter line strength.

"I know the bottled water isn't fooling anyone."

Beautifully interdependent language play and full-on subjective personal responsiveness embracing it's own ambiguities. This is as information-rich as Marrianne's poetry, but in a much differnt way, or using a different take on drama.

"Fear of looking normal but in fact being a wack-job"

Graceful, sinuous riff-switching between perception and declaration.

10.07.2005

Robin Blaser & Etel Adnan, Poetry Project, 10.5.05

Etel Adnan

Details of everyday life set against a distant war felt as a kind of ever-present absence/force.

Welcome details of a late Steve Lacy concert.

"We are angry and you know what it means"


Robin Blaser

Funny to think The Holy Forest came out 12 years ago. Curious to see what the new U. Cal vers. is like.

Blaser looked the same as the last time I heard him - tweleve years ago in SF. I hope I age this well. He also read many of the same poems from the Holy Forest, so he must have favorites which haven't changed too much.

"Alien exotica," in classic tonality. The voicing and pacing very much like Robert Duncan. Ditto the play between the imagistic hinges, self-portraiture, historical references, and generally intense, expert, sprawling intellectual control over the materials. What differentiates it from Duncan is the Midwestern speech tones shot through, which are also my favorite element of this work.

"licking stones to improve their color"

The things that might, or, should, bother me about this poetry, the grandiose self-inflation, the pretentiousness, the too self-conscious mesmerism effects, don't for some reason. Because, I think, there is so much pleasure and range in this poetry. Because... that dude can write a poem!

"Your saxophone is by your bed / think of starlings / and their sharp quick sounds / goodnight."

Patterning of image / pun / setting / self-reflection /historical reference/ speech movement / image / etc.

"there is no future unless it be unpredictable"

The surface layer is romantic, but the underlying engine here is cybernetic -- events as information / information as events.

Identifying and going with complexity.