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.