Look out Steve Evans. Jack Kimball, with late 2007's best essay on poetic ecosytems:

Compare and contrast.



Finally, my arm is complete.


Yup, that's Anthony Braxton's son on vocals (thanks Mike).

Yup, scherzo from hell.


Yellow dwarf over South Bronx.


neon orange "O" / loud sleet on windowpane.
Back to basics.

What are you seeing?

What are you hearing?


"When you pull a gun, kill a man."


Get nav data to the light mass bomb.


Sean Cole on Flarf

And a recording of I'm So Stupid, from Petroleum Hat, with me reading and playing piano, and featuring Adam Lane on bass and John McClellan on Drums.


You're gonna make it after all.
You can pay me in space rubles if you want.


Somehow, this was not recorded in Brooklyn last week.


ICE at The Tank 10.3.07

Claire Chase, flute, Eric Lamb, flute

Nice little black box theater that does a lot of drama so they have good lighting board. Small enough that you could clearly hear the flautists warming up in the back room as the audience filled in. The pre-gig warm-up sounds through the wall just as valid as the actual performance?

Petite, skinny husband and wife (?) duo team with a passionate, dorky stage presence. They looked like wading birds doing a mating dance.

Claire Chase doing Steve Reich, Vermont Counterpoint, solo flute over laptop multi-track flute recording. Solo-over-laptop is rap music style performance, right? Something of that -- a player interacting w/ an invariable source. But I guess the lack of variability is good in both cases -- a grove. Very precise playing from Chase. Amazing how different a flute is from the recording of a flute when they're played side by side. Hearing Vermont Counterpoint loud and live (sort of) I'm reminded of how inevitable the materials and structures sound. Tons of rough, shimmering high end difference tones zipping back and forth between my ear from all the flutes.


Check the Autoharp.


"All the world loves a big gleaming jelly."
See you at the BPC tonight for the Will Alexander benefit, 6:00-8:00.


308 Bowery @ Bleeker



Is it odd that I would randomly think of King Kong this morning, then see his face in the paper later in the afternoon?


King Kong is kind of a part of life.


Who's doing the Ovaltine dance now?
I'm always taken with the sight of pigeons flying in the deep underground tunnel at the 168th Street 1 station. To see these birds fly you take an elevator deep underground. Got me thinking about odd but workable adaptations to finding sustenance and dealing with one's environment, which poets have extensive experience with: In the natural world.


notes on Either/Or ensemble at the Kitchen, 9.14

A performance of some graphics scores from composers featured in the Between Thought and Sound: Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music exhibit, playing in the upstairs gallery. New music of the 50s, 60s 70s, so: old new music. The gallery was totally packed to the point of people sitting on the floor on pillows -- younger people, mostly early 30s. Very quiet, acoustic instruments, no PA. The fan sound in the back of the room over-defined the noise floor a bit....

Robert Ashley:

Drones with shifting attacks, pulses and timbres. associations of weather: snow and wind.

Morton Feldman:

Cello solo. The dynamics were played a little too tentitivly, even for Feldman. All cello techniques delivered simultainiously in a kind of technique kaleidoscope. Beautiful.

Cornelious Cardew:

This performance needed more commitment. Fascinating transformations though. And excellent texturing and control.

Christian Wolf:

These pieces seems to show off the ensemble best. Loose unison lines, like small flecks of birds moving in the sky. Not loud at all but enough volume to hear a bit more meat in the tones. It sounded like a processes of people working together at some collective task, where it means quite different things to the people invovled, yet it's unified in it's manifestation.

Earl Brown:

Delicacy handled with aplomb. Change and landscape.


Oliver Sacks at the Psychiatric Institute, talking about his new book, Musicophilia:

The border between the ear and mind.

The guy can talk. Gotta love that he went at least an hour over his allotted time. Mostly anecdotal clinical stuff about auditory hallucination- usually from patients with some degree of deafness. You think there's a radio playing but it suddenly occurs to you that the same twenty Irish folk songs are repeating- all of which you remember from your childhood. Inter-cranial iPod. One patient heard a splendid version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm followed by thunderous applause. The Hallucinations can also be triggered by cochlear-toxic substances - too much aspirin or quinine for instance. The music is not always to one's taste, and it's impossible to turn it off. Sometimes frightening, especially at onset. One "atonal" (serial?) composer patient heard only "corny melodies." Some people hear repeating fragments over and over … like minimalism?

After a concussion a patient who had previously been an avid listener, concert attendee and collector lost all interest in music, which then produced total indifference in him.

Amusia: inability to hear chords as one thing - the tones sound like "separate laser beams."


Deed, Rod Smith.


Katie's been hogging our copy of Jennifer Moxley's memoir, but I'll be checking out the unplugged version this afternoon at the BPC. See you there.


Nicholas Manning Reviews Nada Gordon's Folly.



Via Franklin:

The DS is definitely the right platform for an Emily Dickinson video game

It would make sense to have the dashes in her work be a element in the game involving the stylus. They're inflected in all kinds of ways.
comment I made in a dream last night "hmmm... feedback and trees... I like it..."


I get that it's the meate dream of a octafish. What I don't understand is why it's the neon meate dream of a octafish….


Abraham Lincoln #1, edited by K. Silem Mohammad and Anne Boyer

CA Conrad:

When Mother first grew
tentacles from her
shoulders Frank found a
path of ink across his
breakfast and went
to school sick

no one believed him

she arrived at school in a
long cape and burned the
principal with her eyes from across
the desk until she left with his apologies

her tentacles continued to grow with
a sharp smell of salt and fish

Alli Warren:

We sought adequate funding
to remember the rules of animal behavior
the realm in which one is permitted
to enter and exit in every type of society

Rodney Koeneke:

eyes & a moon and silence
rivulets outside the theaters
filling with evening cerise
there is no syntax
to carry this light
light isn’t syntax
it just holds everything

Sharon Mesmer:

Former Trotskyite right-wing chicken-butt Kingons

Nada Gordon:

Rise up, spirit goslings
and clap your beaks
at the awesome magnitude.

Ann Margret keeps coming
of age among the Shiners--
upon her forehead,
a little barcode:
"for all your camp needs."

Tigers fuck on a carpet.

You must eat your neck.

Sandra Simonds:

all the neurons poured through a diamond-shaped keyhole
of black shards that bleed black light.

Shanna Compton

What I'd like to know is
how come books insist different when you open them &

why can't panties be out aids in math?
Oh rules're made to be counted up & swept

clean with the clear button before
all of us end up talking like ET

Michael Magee

Sorry. Really. My head just works that way. My boss
tells me that. He also says that I am just the opposite down

at the massacres. I'm not foxy but I am foxy lazy. Just choose
the added weight of nipple shields, start ranting, and voila,

you've established a little church. War's definitely foxy
but its politics make me shrivel in a very important place.

I'm probably just pissed that war doesn't play for my team.
The Copernican revolution placed the hegemony of the Church

in GIRLS' sports, such as hot oil wrestling, foxy boxing, sacrificing
underprivileged children to Karl Rove's idiot gods, etc.

The animal on the globe is a fox. This is not just a north
Eugene problem: this affects me in southeast Eugene.

Bill Luoma:

he unleashed a bad disease upon the people and shiny dog
he downshifted the farshooting marshallers of men


Vanitas 2, edited by Vincent Katz

Kit Robinson:

Trees are our principal mental comfort

Ron Silliman:

When a giant clam bites down, it can sever a man's finger
In the next room, I hear the sound of her urine
One rooster, half hidden among the great noise of gulls at dawn

Brent Cunningham:

There ended my salad days. "Tis forever a hard and difficult lesson when a boy deduces the burial of his hamster. I guessed then that I should become the enemy of consciousness.

Stephanie Young:

the minute I walked into the room--hit a button--any save the lovely face--went running to the edge of the screen--the money too--languishingly turned toward her executioner--and other people--100% modal

Jeni Olin:

We're all the same height lying down.

Elaine Equi:

I know better / than to go punching holes / in the universe.

K. Silem Mohammad:

I was talking booty talk all phat
do me favor please um sure
where you headed lemme follow
come live with me come be my love
my love for you is boundless
like the Atlantic Ocean
true shit

Jack Kimball:

I have no idea where we parked or why we exist.


from The Poker 8, edited by Dan Bouchard

Rachel Blau Duplessis:

Who could want to be bored with correct recipe
when cooking and splicing and stirring is glee.
Doggerel's so bad that it can't come to grief.
It's Two Thousand and Seven. We need Comic Relief!
We need more mixage-drivel, less straight-edged bevel.
We need poetry played on the mishegoss level!

Anne Boyer:

Tell a controlled fiction: Alex says
the sophist walks in crop circles,

never put his/her prosthesis on.
He says, "Fuck you, be happy."

I wobble so spherically, an amputee.

Douglas Rothschild:

…Their / yellow leaves above me shine
with that internal light which
tells us so much about our-
selves & so little about our

. . .

E: The Museum of the Mind
I sort of wish I had a snack.

Jennifer Moxley:

There's a quote from Adorno where he says "wrong life cannot be lived rightly." You know, I'm in opposition to the belief that a lot of people have that you can live right within the wrong society, you know, like if you live a certain way you will be right and everyone else wrong.

Anselm Berrigan:

to be the spurned recipient // of what soldiers die for

Rick Snider:

An occasional mania keeps me sane
homemade canals only flow up and down
plagued by a sudden desire to anthropomorphize myself
another solution to all your duplication problems.


Keren Ann, Bowery Ballroom, 6.4.07

The show was sold out by the time we arrived, early enough to catch the solo opening act, Jason Hart, who is Keren Ann's keyboard player. Hart's set consisted of excruciatingly corny C minus cabaret material which sounded like the demo button songs on a low-end Casio keyboard circa 1989. He broke the songs up with astonishingly long stretches of talk between tunes featuring the exact intonation and level of engagement of a public television fund drive pitch. To be fair, Hart sounded great as the keyboard player during Keren Ann's set: not everyone should be a front man. And if the idea was to have an opening act that makes the headliner sound good by contrast, this certainly worked. We did have to retreat to the downstairs area after three songs, where a quick scan of the crowd demographics revealed 75% attractive mid-to-late 20s couples.

Keren Ann was pretty much totally transporting from beginning to end. Call it sexual narcissism, but there are a handful of female vocalists who are capable of casting a spell over me wherein my normal critical apparatus is left either powerless or else mostly beside the point: she is one of these singers. When this happens it's like a giant dark wave of pathos that I have no control over moving from the stage through me and the rest of the audience across the room and back again for the duration of the concert.

Her set consisted of perfectly balanced, beautiful, gently melancholy pop tunes drawing from folk, jazz, and triphop. The songs from Nolita I recognized weren't reproduced with the exact feel of the album -- they tended to be a bit loser in interpretation and more relaxed rhythmically. I was impressed by the nonchalance of the arrangements and voicings, with the band sounding best when Keren Ann played picked cowboy chords on an acoustic guitar. She aligned the breathy quality of her voice with her melodies in way that produced alluring effects that had a nostalgic quality but also a deep run of unassuming empathy. The other songs must have been earlier or material off the new Blue Note CD, which I picked up at the show but haven't listened to yet. I'm going to wait to listen to it on my real stereo rather than rip it to the iPod and hear it in the smushed format first. I'm hoping the CD is half as good as this show was.


Joe Elliot, Opposable Thumb, Subpress, 2007, designed and edited by Deirdre Kovac

"the predator is / forced to look at the world // surrounding his target"

Many poems in this books are built from speech-derived phrases partially teased away from original contexts, then re-arranged and sequenced, with a careful, light touch. The original contexts are still operative somehow, though not directly -- assemblages of ghost-frames shifting in the background of the poems.

Straight-forward concise meditations / commentary on place and sight, but the poems move outward in small bursts from their scenes and contexts with the levity and compact solidity of a stone skipped over the surface of a lake.

"lollapalooza shard"

Many of these poems seem to approach motionlessness as a way of making room for their own occasions, with a self-consciousness which allows it's own awkwardness.

"the pattern of how you talk or don't talk about what you think you're talking about"

This allowance makes for an effective contrast when it segues into startling directness: "I cannot make my heart beat."

Some formula/exercise poems -- The _blank_ is a _blank_ that could have been cut. You "get the joke" after three lines and further reading doesn't add anything.

There are "New York School" strategies used, but never in a way that seems mannerist -- one never gets the sense that the author is merely politely basking in the atmospherics of leisure time with occasional casual thoughts and non-sequiturs thrown in.

The feeling of language as a solid, endlessly rearrangeable medium is always present, but there is also no point in Opposable Thumb where the author is not also seriously _working something out_ -- turning something over -- and connected to his chosen set of references -- the memory of a road trip, a response to a street scene or domestic scene, a series of contradictory thoughts -- often all at the same time.

"Denial's exposed puppet collapse."

The volume in the poems is mostly set to low, as in a Morton Feldman piece, so it becomes necessary to turn up the gain setting on your attention when reading, and Elliot uses this to achieve particular textural and cognitive effects.

"When you really breathe a bubble forms above your head where words can be put"

The long centerpiece -- "Index", is perhaps the strongest thing in the book. Here the tentativeness and sometimes slightly excessive self-consciousness operative elsewhere has been scaled back, and Elliot allows himself more bite, and a much more confident pacing, with vivid, gently tumbling associations, intertwined observations, settings and fantasies, world play, and a popping, balanced fusion of humor and insight. You can feel that he's having a good time with the poem, and he doesn't hoard it all for himself.

"Hyperbole starts when you pick up a pen"

"an eye from the point of view of a maggot"

"can't save face and ass at the same time"

"when I'm unhappy it's hard to brush my teeth"

"dutiful display of love laced with resentment"

"I love to watch you buy things"

"say hello to the cameras I guess / nothing but arrested putrescence."

"Throw the plastic baby onto the waves for the chocolate lab to fetch"

The other high points of the book, "Office Work," and "Half Gross" are also serial pieces with rich textures, flawless stop/go rhythms, and evocative variations. The alarmingly high success rate in these poems make me think Elliot may be a maximalist in minimalist drag.

"the dark is alive"


See you in Albany tonight.


Ewa Chrusciel, and myself after our reading at the Union Square Reading Series Saturday. You'd think we were Aaron Burr for all the poetry Hamiltons we were dropping at The Independent.



I'll be reading in Boston this Sat, 21st. at The Union Square Poetry Series:

P.A.'s Lounge, 345 Somerville Ave, 6:00pm.

See you there.


The Grand Piano 1

I tend to be interested in literary biography and memoirs, and I already know most of these authors' poetry fairly well. One of the things I became most interested in is how the negative spaces between authors worked to create shapes (and an overall shape) in this engaging collective memoir, and how these negative shapes, shifts between authors, also worked as musical modulations, with contrasting harmonies voiced with different personalities, perspectives, agendas, thoughts and individual histories. The negative shapes between authors build into a kind of shifting image, like a cut-out or stencil, of a group of writers and a time and place. What is interesting to me is that these inverse images seem to contain as much data as the straight-forward biographical detail accumulation does, and that the negative space works in conjunction with the positive to make a kind of social cybernetic drama that has a very particular structural integrity over the course of the whole volume.

A quick graph:

Bob Perelman
BP proposes theme of _love_, which he immediately replaces with the theme of _veering_, which produces the theme of _glee_, a sequence and a formulation which is very easy for me to identify with. Veering and love (children and partners, but also inseparable from power interests using concepts of love to control people are developed in this volume. I wish _glee_ had been addressed more.

Barrett Watten
BW addresses mostly two topics: 1) the issue of his own (and the group's one assumes) entering into literary history (gaining social status and questions of who gets credit for what) esp. in his instance of a kind of appropriation of Zukofsky. The Christian religious language used to describe this process creates a _is he putting us on_ effect which I think is intentional. The second issue is competition within the group (between him and BP) Inside this immensely negative framework the concept of _heaven_ as a _reading group_ is proposed -- by which he means the model of a collective writing project as a reading group -- actually very positive and compelling.

Steve Benson
Fascinating shift from BW to SB, like quickly zooming into a high detail interior space. The shift also from the zoomed out, grandiose tone of BW to very cut and dry propositions of SB. I'm not comparing their value, I'm pointing to the effect of the shift. He's addressing how one's tendencies -- okay, one's neuroses -- effects how you deal with the materials and strategies of writing. Explanatory in a compelling way and, at the end of the day, straight to the point.

Carla Harryman
CH's is perhaps the most openly disclosive and the effect of this and the pressure of talking about something difficult in a way that can be understood makes this section the most intense in the volume. I really feel like she's asking herself "who's listening?" which is not an easy consideration. She address conflicting points of identification with a formative Creeley poem and issues of social fantasy scripts for love and gender and the fantasy scripts around war. She equates the two. What do Nada and Gary, of Swoon, think of these assertions -- I'd be curious to know. CH talks of _ playfulness_ which I'm keen on hearing more about but it doesn't get developed here -- not yet.

Tom Mandel
From the intense psycho/epistemological/creative drama of CH, TM opts for a lighter, almost casual tone, riffing more than anyone off others' phrases. He addresses _infatuation_ -- extending the _love_ definition range. Love of the group, in other words, and love of poetry perhaps. Who is he talking about in particular one has to wonder?

Ron Silliman
Sudden shift into an alternate universe effect with adolescent mayhem stories. I could read an entire book of these mayhem sequences. They eventually segue into notes of meeting the other writers. He address the question of the longevity of friendship in activism versus literary activity -- interesting in terms of the dynamics of groups -- the sociology here, and, one would assume, how the products of different groups work. I wish there had been more on this. Brings up Pound and the question of _putting people in touch_ and of reading lists -- questions of how information is shared in groups.

Kit Robinson
KR's section is framed the most positively, by far, rather than defining activities as against something. He's the one writer who chooses to develop the theme of play that is often invoked by others. He describes a scene of playful collaborative collage writing.

Lyn Hejinian
Interesting shift back to negative aspects. Starts with _language bashing_ -- which is about information also -- specifically the phenomenon of people reacting competitively against a poetry group and trying to keep others from knowing it or understanding it -- that is -- actively blocking information. She doesn't say it but presenting this pattern of behavior in the midst of discussing changing and challenging obsolete social scripts can only imply that they were onto something, right?

Rae Armantrout
RA revisits some themes about desire, but is really addressing objectification -- esp. the way in which one presents oneself (thinks of oneself) as an object (and, I assume, considering her poetry, not all in a bad way, but in a complex way) {do the authors assume the readers of the book know their poetry -- they must...} She ends with _pronouns don't go away_ -- a sober note about the extent to which one _can_ consider one's artistic activity to be escaping or challenging literal subjective positions, though it's hard to imagine any of the other authors disagreeing with this.

Ted Pearson
Beautifully written ending piece, and the second one to present itself in almost totally positive terms (not that there's anything wrong with the negative framing -- I'm interested in how negative and positive interact. Now I want to pick up more of Pearson's books.


Anne Boyer's blog is over, but I think I can file this under unusual ways to publish poetry:

On the crowded corner of 168th St. and Broadway, a skinny older white woman with long, gray hair was walking slowly down the street with a chalkboard on which she had written the message: YOU HAVE TO BE CATHOLIC TO GET INTO HEAVEN.

Immediately broke out in spontaneous laughter.


Elizabeth Robinson and Peter O'Leary, Poetry Project, 3.26.07

Interesting pairing in that both writers are also priests (as opposed to defaulting to the role of priest accidentally, as some poets do)

Peter O'Leary:

O'Leary is the literary executor of Ron Johnson. This fact immediately focused my interest -- and perhaps biased my listening. When I lived in San Francisco in the early 90s, Ron lived down the street in the Mission, and I was part of group of writers, including Elizabeth Robinson, who would go over to his place, read poems, talk, gossip, shoot the shit, etc. In Johnson's writing, he will sometimes (esp. in Ark) anchor some almost otherworldly condensed baroqueary with passages explicating the physiology of human perception. I noticed a parallel in O'Leary's reading, though having more to do with the science of mood? Serotonin reuptake?

O'Leary successfully rhymed "Family Pontiac" with "syrup of ipecac."

I picked up a copy of his mag, LVNG 11.

Elizabeth Robinson:

Meditative poetry, calm on its surface, but with unusual, fascinating Brownian motion once you get inside it for a while. It is unfailingly oriented toward objects of thought, with patterns of language play that render the thought more complex without exactly developing it, deepen it without creating a space wherein it is any farther away, and intensify it's intrigue without rendering it vague.

"I kiss you, tongue in my check"

"Larry Eigner and Laura Riding had sex"

"It was a banal tree, they grew in marches"

"I hate nothing, I've exhausted all genealogies"


Inland Empire at IFC Center a while back

Repeated, extended movements through empty, darkened domestic corridors, a repeating image in Lynch's films, one which always feels to me like the perspective of a frightened child wandering through their parents house at night.

Swapping identities, sexual anxiety, temporal rearrangements, fear of poverty, doorways that, when you go through them, change the story radically, fairytale irreversibility, and the anxiety around the irrevocability of human action period, approached across the fault lines of a disturbed, radically subjective consciousness expanded into a sprawling imaginative environment.

The film was shot using a $2000 consumer digital video camera -- that is, it was created on a punk rock/poetry budget. The reduced production costs, and associated ease, flexibly and speed gave Lynch the ability to work with a freedom of pacing and conception I haven't seen in some time. Some of the technical disadvantages of the digital media are turned to advantages. One of the weirdest scenes in the film uses high contrast profile shot against a bright lamp and the chunky black digital distortion effect along the edges of the character's face calls attention to the media and the film's artificiality at the same time that it intensifies the feeling of otherworldliness and absorptive power of the scene. Not an easy move.


Bob Perelman, BPC, 3.24.07

Interested in the balances Perelman strikes with the material from Iflife- which I immediately bought at the end of the reading. His poetry is more cynical than it appears on it's surface and it does way more with this cynicism (realism?) than most poets can manage. It's balanced with humor and likeability, neither of which he is afraid of and neither of which he over-commits to. It was quite refreshing.

"the cordially hated present"

"late breaking faces"

"frisking around the heels of power"

"no utopia is a good utopia"

"getting poetry from the news"

"true north's over"

"someone has to translate the sacred language of the clouds"

"telneting into the skull"
cloud shadow on ocean surface
Underwater, sounds seem to come from all directions at once.
On the way to work this morning I saw a toaster abandoned on the sidewalk, its cord in my path like the tail of a dying pet.


How about dispensing with the rosters? Or is there an up-side I'm not seeing?


The Totalists have resurrected the medieval insight that music is the medium that can translate numbers into feeling.

--Kyle Gann


See you in SF:

Katie and I will be reading in the Small Press Traffic series on Friday, March 16th.

Drew Gardner and Katie Degentesh
Small Press Traffic
Literary Arts Center at CCA
1111 -- 8th Street, SF, 7:30


... you may say that I take liberties, and you are right, but I will have done my good deed for the day if I can make you see that the whole point is YOU SHOULD BE TAKING LIBERTIES TOO. Nothing is inscribed so deep in earth a little eyewash won't uproot it, that's the whole point of the so-called "new wave" -- to REINVENT YOURSELF AND EVERYTHING AROUND YOU CONSTANTLY, especially since all of it is already the other thing already.

-Lester Bangs


"Why can't monsters get along with other monsters?"


Ron Silliman on Mike Magee's new Zasterle book, My Angie Dickinson.


Daniel Bouchard

The Filaments, Zasterle, 2006

settings, subjects and objects -- Bouchard creates a movement of thought using these -- "wrappers that clung once to things" -- he is of a long tradition of poets who use a poem as occasion to scan the horizon for clues -- to note his perceptions as though they were simply in among the elements in a landscape exuding information.

somber -- restrained -- meditative -- if you think these poems are "boring" you're missing it. gradual extrapolation from the poem's details -- subdued, subtle…

environment and memory -- birds, garbage, buildings, so much of the content pivoting around ordinary (read -- real) detail of what you see walking down the street (people are objects too- in the Olson sense) or what you see out the window -- and these come into regular collision with the news -- that other window.

"now the colored cross-hatching in a comic strip / deepens the blunt amazement / at the resistance and revenge / of the nation's most nefarious / and villainous administration. / bad guys engaged in monologue heave / a garbage truck into the crowd"

the poetry of evacuated public squares (Lowell? ) "tow trucks drag their victims" sometimes deadpan humor -- static energy ala static electricity -- "let nature be your creative writing instructor"

an account of a rainstorm is also a poetics
A distancing effect throughout.

Public policy colliding with the kitchen table. a chronicler of civic surfaces and statues, traffic, advertisement, ballpark lights, forsythia…

The fiercely mundane details that are not focus-group tested -- "I am he who ate Easter dinner / with family at his sister's house / waking up on the fold-out couch / with his wife, playing with our nephews"

The energy occasionally too comfortable, occasionally too cautious? Needs more dynamic variation?

The trustworthiness ratio of the observation and detailing is very high throughout the book- the consistent, carefully balanced proportions of the lines -- stalwart New Englander!

"The beginning whisper of crickets / could be rain hitting the street / softly, so soft, the slightest change / will give it away, and it's only / my mind making meaning from sound / not the rain I want to come. "


William Logan on Hart Crane. At least Logan's given up the pretense of literary criticism for the most part, and is openly focused on trying to police poetry that shows signs of not being lifeless. He also mixes that move with judgmental bitching about Crane's behavior. How is it that the Book Review can allow such poor journalism with poetry?

Then again, some poets who aren't inherently invested in inertia can also be a little too comfortable with the policing-type roles of criticism a little closer to home, so I guess I shouldn't single out the Times.


It's always impressive to see a reader who has the power to reconsider something.

Williamson on Boyer.


next up was Saturday's Roberto Harrison and Tina Darragh reading, Segue series at BPC

Roberto Harrison

private world colliding with poetic connotation-- ambient, undeniable and highly present. ancient voicings / time travel / evenly distributed vocabulary valences and nuanced control of craft -- pleasure in the recombinations of vocabulary /
immediate attention and speculative imagination intertwine, fuse and come into conflict.

"to heal a body's cage"

intense, private, insular, richly elemental

"the radio has its home in the ice"


Counter Daemons

Tina Darragh

questions of hybrid authorship and of our relation to animals and rights

partial authors

No Rights Reserved -- Darragh encouraged everyone to steal the poetry she read.

Opposable Dumbs

"Field animals have no language, only evolution."

"We were thinking of building where animals were butchered."

"Animals as trademarks are outside of history."


An action-packed weekend started Friday at The Vision Dance Music Series to check out Yessified: Sally Silvers (dance), Bruce Andrews (words) Julie Patton (words) and Henry Grimes (violin and bass). Vision Festival events tend to be vigorous re-creations of free jazz in the late 60s style, while occasionally throwing in dance or poetry. This Dance Series variation mixes dance with free jazz players as the theme of the series. The line-up in Yessified worked well. The arrangement basically had all four participants performing in the equivalent of four separate tracks, doing what they wanted to do, interacting when they wanted to interact and leaving room for others as they saw fit.

I tend to find Bruce Andrews' performances in ensembles to be the most interesting of what he does. Andrews was seated at a desk on the left side of the stage like a news caster. He read short word sequences and statements from index cards (which he is know for writing on during readings), flipping through with some degree of improvisation, and leaving spaces in between which opened up the cognitive space in the overall sound field, and made room for the rest of the ensemble. Subtraction is something I'm always looking for in collective performance, and one of my favorite moments with Andrews was during a brief duo interlude with Grimes on bass. As with almost everything during this half-hour performance, the feeling of balance, forward momentum, and transitioning just completely worked, with the power-sharing between tension and relaxation kept constantly in flux. The vocabulary Andrews was using leaned toward racial themes, for instance, "Do white racists call other white people racist?" The complete sentences tend to stand out more in memory, extending as they do from the more textural aggregation of short word combos and noun phrases: "You don't trust people and so you try to control them and push them away."

Julie Patton, with sparkly upturned hair that looking like a sentient underwater plant, moved around on stage and interacted directly and with a certain amount of playfulness with Silvers' dancing. She was in top form here, shifting seamlessly between set poetic materials and on-the-spot invention and response. Much of her singing was locked into what Grimes was doing on bass.

Though it's always best to see free jazz players live, it still isn't much to look at. That's where Silvers comes in, really seeming like a band leader as dancer. She kept away from anything show-offy, and, like Andrews, left spaces in where she would stop and just sit in a chair, letting the other members of the group have it for a moment. Silvers is a dancer that you can really see making decisions on stage, and there's a certain feeling of freedom that this creates.

Henry Grimes is an incredible bass player who can play the entire history of the jazz bass in a single performance. His recording career goes back to the late 50s, and he's played with Sonny Rollins, Lennie Tristano, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, etc. etc. Sporting a bright red Olivia Newton John style terrycloth headband, he began the set doubling on violin. His bass playing was the glue that held the group together: supportive, energizing and flexible. Those are, after all the traditional values of the jazz bass and they're values he totally epitomized with this performance.


Gina Myers on Anne Boyer.


On MLK day, I always put on the first track of Max Roach's Chattahoochee Red LP, The Dream / It's Time with Roach soloing with the Martin Luther King speech. What I love about this piece is that the soloing doesn't sound like a jazz musician riffing off the speech rhythms -- it sounds like Roach is manifesting the energy of listening to King.
Seems like everything that's crucially important to my identity happens in parenthesis.


Frank Sherlock and Mark Lamoureux, Segue series at BPC, 1.13.07

Mark Lamoureux

Sifting baroquely through memory details and displaced descriptive riffs.

Lamoureux had an uncomfortable David Byrne-like stage presence, and a discomfort in the poetry too, so we get the alternate universe of response that springs from it. God knows there's plenty to be uncomfortable about, and though I haven't seen this work on the page, I get the sense that the war in Iraq and the nature of the present administration is never too far from it's concerns - and this set of discomforts mixes in interesting ways with other kinds of discomforts.

Lamoureux deployed sequences of vaguely political, graceful obscuritanistism which would sometimes be punctuated with humor and condense into something more solid: "A kind of gooey equity goes for a motherfucker's eyes."

In general he has a tendency to favor an emergent-type of vocabulary use, where the vocabulary tends to opt for the more obscure terms.

Sometimes pushing a fantasy-like vibe: "The master is a haughty buccaneer among scribes"

Frank Sherlock.

Sherlock read a long, highly engaging collaborative poem written with Brett Evans. About New Orleans/Katrina.

Interesting pairing - where Lamoureux moved in evocative socially retreating complexities, Sherlock investigated layers of social interaction and context that he intentionally complicated.

Once the context is established this way, abstraction is minimized, because anything you hear will be applied to what you know about Katrina.

Strong, niorish George Carlin-like delivery, and a good use of humor.

Too many memorable lines to quote, but here are a few:

"The suicide hotline goes to Bollywood"

"Tonight doesn't make sense, but don't steal my salad then tell be you don't eat vegetables.

"A flaming turkey-toss over a football field."

"Bioremediation is a trombone slide."

"Let the Shiite hit the fan."

"I'm hot for reaper."

"I need to have a conversation with the moon."


Paolo Javier's 2nd installment of 2nd Ave. is up.