Saturday, December 30, 2006

Henry Parland

I was looking at the announcement for translation grants from the Finnish government. According to the list of grants, I am not the only person translating Henry Parland's writings right now. There were also people translating his work into French and Russian. His writings have previously been translated into Italian, German and Lithuanian. Sometimes it takes a while (Parland died in 1930).

Fredrik Hertzberg also has an interesting but brief article about Parland in the latest issue of Books from Finland. He points out the importance of Parland's polylingualism and draws a connection between Parland's fragmented style and Adorno's idea of dialectics.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Joseph Massey

Joe Masseyhas an interesting discussion of publishing on his blog.

I agree with the two or three comment-fielders who express frustration with the moralizing about "chapbooks." I can't stand that BS. And as I've written before on this blog, I'm very hesitant about idealizing "the community," a stifling paradigm that seems to go hand in hand with chapbook-moralizing.

I like chapbooks because they can do away with some of the gate-keeping that mostly allows only trite poetry books to be published (for financial reasons), but I can't stand the arts-and-craft moralizing of a lot of chapbooks discussions. As if intricately designing a chapbook somehow makes it morally superior (or less "alienated") than a regular book.

On the other hand, one of Joseph's comment-fielder argues that books should not be designed. Well, books are designed. Sorry. Of course, you can design them to look "undesigned", but that's an empty gesture.

Also, I get annoyed when someone criticizes others for publishing books. It takes *a lot* of time, effort etc.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Real Poetik

Some poems from my collection "Pilot (Nattrangslighet)" are in Real Poetik:

"Other" (again)

I left a brief and probably incomprehensible comment on Josh Corey's blog a couple of weeks ago and I meant to write in more detail here, but things got in the way, and things are still in the way. So I'll be brief.

Josh expressed some ambivalence about the claim that the anti-absorptive text somehow teaches the reader to be more in tune with otherness.

Ultimately this argument seems to harken back to Keats "negative capability," which in many ways has been a dominant aesthetic in America over several decades - poetry that teaches us to allow for doubt and ambiguity (it entails a pervasive aesthetic - the reason why so many "experimental" poets of today write Keatsian poetry with a few nods toward pomo cosmetics).

Rather than using this status quo concept of poetry to teach us to be more receptive to otherness, I think we should do more to introduce texts actually written by "other" people, to create a literature more shot through with various languages and cultures.

And I don't mean the poets that are dressed in cliches to "perform otherness" (I was an undergrad in the "multi-cultural" nineties and we never read Will Alexander in class... Well, except in Maria Damon's classes).

Charles Bernstein, who wrote a famous essay about "absorption" and "anti-absorption" (it was super important to me back in the not-so-multi-cultural nineties) actually visited Notre Dame a few weeks ago, giving a series of interesting talks. Mostly the talks were inspiring, but I did notice that in one talk he spoke about the need to "initiate" students into poetry.

I have railed against this paradigm in the past, and I bring it up now because it speaks to the problem that Josh raised. American poetry still conceives of itself as an enclosed space, and everyone who wants to participate must pay the admission fee.

That separation of poetry is what Jed has called "The American Wax Museum", and what Bakthin called "monoglossia." It is a condition for the idea that negative capability actually has to do with encountering otherness, when it's actually about excluding otherness (or you may say, of *creating* "otherness").

Leslie Scalapino on "Other"

In academic terminology, for example, there is now a category spoken of as "other," the assumption beign that we are not that and and therefore this area cannot be rendered, or even broached except from a distance. As if 'we' are of the world that articulates. The implication even is that if one is "other" - while recipient of sympathy and elucidation, or lipservice - one being outside (as minorities, or lower class, at any rate experientially) has no repute or credibility, cannot speak. The assumption is that language be polemical or disursive exposition as it/one has no (or exposes there being no) intrinsic relation to the subject "other."

This is from Leslie Scalapino's essay "The Cannon", published in the book "The Public World/Syntactically Impermanence."

Clayton Eshleman (again)

I've written about Clayton Eshleman before, arguing that he's doing his best work right now. Perhaps the best evidence is the new book "An Alchemist With One Eye On Fire" from Black Widow (which I have also written about). Among other pieces, this collection includes a series of powerful poems about Iraq. These pieces are collage of Bush-speak, eye witness accounts, opinionating about art, autobiographical confession and Eshleman's very own mythopoetic visions. He actually sent me these before so I'd read them before the book came out, but it's still good to see them out in a book.

Here's a section from "One If By Land, None If By Void" (riffing off a letter by Duncan):

Chances are I'm a Minotaur surrogate,
weaving, at night, an arachnoid adept who jigs about a cordate void,
an anomalous void, orbicular labyrinth.
Chances are, I behead upon being impregnated,
nourishing the just conceived with my brain marrow lunch.
Chances are, I spin-say to myself:
mental war takes place on husk-strewn thread

Monday, December 18, 2006

Publishers Weekly reviews Tao

Chatty, frivolous, impatient, depressed, alienated, lovelorn and prone to outbursts, the poems in 24-year-old Tao Lin's print debut (another collection appears online) will appeal to the reader's inner adolescent: " 'I am going to email a shitload of people tonight.' I think that's funny.// I feel angry. No I don't. I am bored." Haunted by the fear that advanced telecommunications estrange us from face-to-face human relationships ("I wanted to ignore her but we were looking directly at each other"). Titles like "some of my happiest moments in life occur on AOL instant messenger" and "i hate the world and i'm not immature" gesture, quite obviously, toward teenage angst. If Lin sometimes manages to fall short of this already low goal ("4:30 a.m." repeats the line "i am fucked existentially" no fewer than 60 times), his language overall is charged with raw nerve and vitality; he surprises, here and there, with a flash of emotional complexity, insight or wit: "...movies are processed and experienced in the mind which is where real life also is processed and experienced." The book would have gained much, however, from analyzing its anxieties rather than just acting them out.(Nov)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Carolee Schneeman

This is the address to the beautiful film "Fuses" by Carolee Schneeman, available on Ubu. It's just an amazing little 18-minute montage piece.

Carolin Bergvall has a great homage to the film somewhere on Paal's Nypoesi site, but I don't have the address right here (I put it on my itunes.)

Friday, December 15, 2006


Here's an interesting journal by Simon DeDeo, who also runs the Rhubarb blogspot. It's in the mold of Typo and Octopus. There are a couple of essays worth reading.

In fact I wanted to write a reply to one of them and to Josh Corey's discovery of the reductiveness of the paradigm of immersion vs estrangement, but I've been incredibly sick over the past week and now I am working on putting the final touches on my Henry Parland manuscript for Ugly Duckling and my New Quarantine manuscript for Apostrophe Books.

I'm going through A New Quarantine and I am actually shocked at how violent it is.

At first I thought about ways to tone it down, but really it's at the core of the whole book so I would have to write a new book if I wanted to get away from the violence.

I blame it on Hitchcock. As part of my dad's plan to make me into a film director, I had watched a significant share of Hitcock's total artistic output (that's a lot of viewing, if you include TV shows etc) by the time I was six or seven.

My favorite one I haven't seen anywhere since. There's a guy in bed but he can't get out because there's a snake in his pajamas (I'm not making this up!). So all these doctors gather around and give him tons of shots etc. Finally it's time for him to make a break for it. He gets ups and (exclammation point) there is no snake in his pajamas. While the doctors file out of the room, the pajama-guy and his best friend toast with champagne. BUT: a closeup of a snake whirling out from beneath the pillow. Full of joyful celebration and champagne, the friend leans back on the bed and gets struck by the snake. Choking he tells the pajama-guy: "Go get the doctors! I'm dying!" But the pajama guy (in a very Strindbergian fashion) says: "No, you deserve this. You wanted the snake to bite me all along." Or somethign like that. Has anybody else seen this film?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rain Taxi

My review of Slope's Scandinavian anthology is in the new issue of Rain Taxi.

But the review that really captured my imagination was Jon Spayde's review of "Advertising Tower - Japanese Modernism and Modenrity in the 1920s" by William O. Gardner. Can't wait to read that.

I've invented a new literary movement

It's called Imagism.

Either that or Ted Berrigan.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sunset Chronicles

Jen Hofer has an interesting project going on in LA:

I wish I could attend, but geographical location makes it difficult. However, if you live in LA, go to it. Especially if you like puppets. Who among us does not like puppets.

Korean Poetry

Here's a stanza I just came across in Don Mee Choic's "The Anxiety of Words: Contemporary Poetry by Korean Women" (Zephyr Press). It's from the poem "La La La, There's No Way of Knowing" by Yi Yon-ju:

Existence, are you playing cute because you've been taken hostage?
Cocaine, so called art, voraciously sucks up black milk
and has been contemptuous to 270 tiny bones, but why
has the helicopter come again today, hovering by the window, and?...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Parland on Ugly Duckling Site

Very swanky photograph.

The Finland-Swedish Author's association sent me a very interesting CD that seems to have been some kind of personal photo-album (it even includes a photo of his dead body in an open casket funeral). Not surprisingly Parland seems to have loved to have his picture taken in a variety of outfits. He loved to buy dandyesque clothing - it apparently drove his father mad with homophobic anxiety.

Palm Press

These people are doing some interesting work.

I just received two chapbooks - Christian Peet's "The Nines" and Matvei Yankelevich's "The Present Work" (which takes as its starting point Duchamp's statement about Courbet and the start of retinal art, an idea that I have spent much energy thinking about) - that I look forward to reading.

I should also mention that the Tarpauli Sky issue (Peet is the editor of the journal) I noted in an entry from yesterday is very well worth reading. It has some intriguing translations of Czech surrealist Jindrich Styrsky along with his pictures and some fine poems by Matthea Harvey.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Parland, The Literary Review

There's an interesting new issue of The Literary Review which features translation by all of the PEN translation fund grant recipients.

I've got translations of about 10 Henry Parland poems in there. All the poems are from Parland's posthumouos verse and won't be in the Ugly Duckling book, so go get this journal (if you like Parland that is).

Tarpaulin Sky

Dear Tarpaulin Sky Readers, Contributors, and Friends,

We are pleased to announce the release of

Guest-edited by Selah Saterstrom


Matthea Harvey, Eleni Sikelianos, Bin Ramke, Laird Hunt, Rebecca Brown, Joan
Fiset, Elizabeth Rollins, Peter Markus, Brian Kiteley, Jindrich Styrsky,
Tama Baldwin & Noah Saterstrom, Leisure Projects (Meredith Carruthers &
Susannah Wesley), Bushwick Farms (Tara Cuthbert & Stuart Solzberg), and
artist Cynthia Ona Innis.


Chris Kraus, Matthea Harvey, Rebecca Brown, Joan Fiset, Elizabeth Rollins,
Brian Kiteley, Peter Markus, and Cynthia Ona Innis.


Clear Cut Press: an interview with co-founder Matthew Stadler, and excerpts
by Clear Cut authors Danielle Dutton, Robert Glück, and Lisa Robertson.


is pleased to announce the release of Andrew Michael Roberts' chapbook,
_Give Up_, prose poems gathered together as if trying collectively to defy
the book's title in their persistent search—at times frantic, naïve,
misdirected—for what's been forsaken or lost or given foolishly away and by
now is likely out of reach.

5.5" x 7", pamphlet sewn, 32 pages.


Jenny Boully, _[one love affair]*_
Perfectbound & handbound editions. April, 2006

Danielle Dutton, _Attempts at a Life_
Perfectbound & handbound editions. Forthcoming, March 2007

Sandy Florian, _32 Pedals and 47 Stops_
Chapbook. Forthcoming, Winter/Spring 2007

Joyelle McSweeney, _Nylund, The Sarcographer_
Perfectbound & handbound editions. Forthcoming, Fall 2007

Andrew Michael Roberts, _Give Up_
Chapbook. December, 2006

Chad Sweeney, _A Mirror to Shatter the Hammer_
Chapbook. October, 2006

Max Winter, _The Pictures_
Perfectbound & handbound editions. Forthcoming, February 2007