Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ny Nypoesi

There's a new issue of Nypoesi, the wonderful international online journal out of Norway. This special translation issue includes work by people from all kinds of countries, including many Americans and Canadians (Joyelle, Rodrigo Toscana, Derek Beaulieu, Erin Moure etc).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I'm going to Atlanta tomorrow. If you're going, please come by the Action Books/Fairytale Review table. And please come to the obnoxious Fence/Action reading (see details below).

Also, please come to the excess panel (with Jed, Lara, Kasey, Ann and Josh Corey) and my multilingual background panel with Sandra Simmons. They are sessions one and two on Friday morning. Unfortunately the multilingualism panel is at the same time as Action,Yes will be represented by Lara at the online journal panel.

RealPoetik - AWP

Dear RealPoetikers,

RealPoetik is traveling to the AWP conference in Atlanta. Come see us
at the bookfair: we're at table #131, together with LIT and Redivider
magazines, and Kitchen Press.

RealPoetik's first-ever print issue -- a tall and lovely book we're
calling ANNUAL REPORT, featuring a selection of 2006 poets, photos and
even a crossword -- & our cd WHY POEMS CAN BE MORE LIKE PAINTINGS will
be available for purchase. The CD features readings by four RealPoetik
poets (Caroline Conway, Justin Marks, Malachi Black & Chris Tonelli)
turned into songs by Denim on Denim.

After the conference, the book & cd will be available online.

We're also co-sponsoring a reading with a pride of leonine journals
and presses on Friday, 3/2 at 7 PM at Apache Cafe. Sawako Nakayasu,
Joshua Marie Wilkinson and Matvei Yankelevich read for RealPoetik. See
below for more details.

Come talk and listen! We look forward.

Ana Bozicevic-Bowling + Caroline Conway
Co-Editors, RealPoetik


Friday March 2nd, 7 PM - 10 PM
Apache Cafe
64 3rd St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30308-1035.

Co-sponsored by Absent, Drunken Boat, Fringe, Kitchen Press, LIT,
RealPoetik, Redivider, Rose Metal Press.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Kasey reveiws Tao

Kasey reviews Tao's book here. I like the way the review approximates Tao's voice. I'm doing it too.

But who the hell is Tom Green? Is he that comedian who made a movie about having sex with cows or something like that?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm in comp jail

“Indeed, among the dangers threatening modern art, not the least is that it’s becoming inoffensive.” (Adorno)

Can't believe I forgot these

El Topo (Jodorewski, but certainly none of his other movies)
Medea (Von Trier and Passolini)
Manderlay (Trier)
Elements of a Crime
The one about the plague
The Idiots
The Breaking of the Waves
The Five Obstructions

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Francois asks me what my favorite movies are.

Here are some of them off the top of my head:

La Jetee (Marker)
Weekend (Godard)
Pierrot Le Fou (Godard)
In Praise of Love (Godard)
Two or three things I know about her
Dogstarman (Brakhage) (and all the other stuff)
Scorpio Rising and the one with the little girl running in a garden by Kenneth Anger
Flaming Creatures
The Silence (Bergman)
The Passion of Anna (this is really the best Bergman, but less known than Persona)
Pat Garret and Billy the Kid (Pekinpah)
Renaldo and Clara (Bob Dylan)
The Sacrifice (Tarkovsky)
The Mirror
Ivan Rubelev
the one where a guy leads people into a forbidden zone (tarkovsky)
Werkmeister Harmonies (Bela Tarr)
Harry Smith's Egyptian cartoons
Viking Eggeling's abstract Dada cartooons
Un Chien Andalusia
L'Age Dor
Faster Pussycat and all the rest of Russ Meyer
The one movie in which JLo plays Selena
Revenge of the Bee Girls (and all that stuff)
The Ring (about the weird little dead girl from the well)
Cure (Japanese horror movie about Mesmer)
The Japanese anime movie where kids on bikes get abducted and turned into superpeople
Kurosawa's movie with the different views of the murder (especially the witch)
I Am Curious (Yellow) (not Blue)
Together and Fucking Amal (Lukas Moodyson)
The Blow Up (Antonioni)
The Stagecoach (Ford)
My Darling Clementine (Ford) (the best, most hypnotically confusing shootout montage of all time)
The Birds
All of Hitchcock (My dad made me watch it when I was a kid, he thought it would make me into a movie director)
Last Year at Marienbad
Wong Kar Wai's movie about the gay guys in Rio
some of the other Wong Kar Wai movies
Battleship Potemkin
Ivan the Terrible (especially part II)
Strangers in Paradise
Twin Peaks!
Jules and Jim (my mom showed it to me when I was a kid and it left a strong impression)
Kaspar Hauser (but no other Herzog! Please! not even the one about the dwarves!)
Doctor Caligari!
Vampyr (Dreyer)
Ordet (Dreyer)
Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
All of Chaplin
Everything by Guy Madden

Basically I guess I'm very Eurocentric and very canonical in my movie tastes.

The best poetry reading I ever went to: Inger Christensen and Jackson Mac Low, NYC, 1994

Eva Kristina Olsson

Anselm Hollo once wrote to me that he though Aase Berg was the first Swedish poet "writing in the wake of Björling." I would add to that Eva Kristina Olsson, who was something of a mentor to Berg. She was also at one point friends with Ann Jäderlund (She's older than Aase, more of Jäderlund's generation) but apparently has a somewhat problematic relationship to the Swedish poetry world. While holding my daughter I've been reading Olsson's absolutely brilliant 1988 book "Brottet" (which could be translated either as "the crime" or "the breakage").

Here's a wonderfully Bjorling-like poem in my translation:

just one more time
just one more time
everything for me
and rat

And this:

I am so little
I am so little
in the large horse

With both Aase and Olsson I like the way the way they take a certain erasure-ness from Björling, but instead of the high romantic, nature mystic diction of Bjorling, they have perverse fairy tale vocabulary (and in the case of Aase, also vocabularies from sci-fi, science, B-movies etc, though these may all be considered fairy-tale-like in their own right....)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Action/Fence Reading

Freak out!

It’s the Action Books/Fence cabaret reading

at AWP in Atlanta!

Featuring poets Martin Corless-Smith, Sandy Florian, Lara Glenum, Arielle

Greenberg, Jen Hofer reading translations of Laura Solórzano, Christopher Janke, Laura Sims, Cathy Wagner and others TBA!

Thursday, March 1



495 Peachtree St. NE (six blocks from the convention center)

DJs spinning into the wee hours after the reading!

See you there!



ON FOOT (about 10 minute walk):

Take either Baker St. or Harris St. (these run along the north and south

side of the Hilton) west one block to Peachtree Center Ave. Take a right. A

block or so later, Peachtree Center Ave. will merge with Peachtree St.

(Atlanta’s main drag). Continue heading north on Peachtree St. Cross over

Ralph McGill Blvd. and take the bridge over I-75/I-85. Still heading north

on Peachtree, cross over Pine St. Django will be on your right at 495

Peachtree St., on the block between Pine St. and Renaissance Pkwy.

ON MARTA (approx. 20 minutes):

From the Hilton, take Harris St. west two blocks to Peachtree St. Go left on

Peachtree St. The MARTA station is one block down on the left. Take a

northbound MARTA train one stop to the Civic Center Station. Exit onto the

corner of West Peachtree and Pine St. Go left on Pine St. one block until

you hit Peachtree St. Cross to the other side of the street and, taking a

left, head up Peachtree St. Django will be immediately on your right.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Daniel Borzutzky

Another favorite poet of mine has just released a book. Here's his announcement:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to announce the publication of my book, “The Ecstasy of Capitulation,” which has just been released by BlazeVox. If you are interested in purchasing the book, you may do so through the following link:

If you are interested in receiving a Review Copy, please let me know and I will arrange to have one sent to you.

For those of you in Chicago, I would like to invite you to my reading next Friday at the Discrete Series. The information is pasted below.

Many thanks,

daniel borzutzky

Fri Feb 23: The Discrete Series presents readings by Daniel Borzutzky and Stephen Rodefer, at Elastic Arts Space, 2830 N. Milwaukee Ave. 2nd Fl, 8 PM, $5, BYOB

"Cover them in tarpaulin!"

New from Tarpaulin Sky Press: Max Winter’s _The Pictures_, and Sandy Florian’s _32 Pedals and 47 Stops_.

ISBN: 978-0-9779019-2-0
Poetry. 5" x 7", 76 pages, perfectbound.
$12 list / $10 direct order includes US shipping:
* Also available in a limited, hand-bound, hardcover edition.

Sparse, clear, and free of flourishes, the poems in _The Pictures_ examine war, boredom, death, love, decay, happiness, and worship through a series of moving and still images. In one poem, from a group of “moving” pictures, three soldiers bide their time in a barren landscape, awaiting destruction; in a “still” picture, a group of stones invite us to pay closer attention to them; in another still picture, a woman stands with her mouth open, fists clenched, words unimportant. Sight is unmysterious but wondrous in this book; the poems demonstrate that to look at something or to read it is to experience it, along with its attendant sadness or joy. The "pictures" collected here are communicative and profound, quick to read but long to develop.

Winner of the Fifth Annual Boston Review Poetry Contest, Max Winter has poems appearing recently in Free Verse, New American Writing, Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Colorado Review, Volt, The Yale Review, The Canary, Denver Quarterly, First Intensity, GutCult, TYPO, and New Young American Poets (Southern Illinois, 2000). He has published reviews in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday, and BOMB, and is a Poetry Editor of Fence.


32 PEDALS & 47 STOPS, Sandy Florian.
Chapbook. Poetry/Fiction. 7" x 8.25", 36 pages, saddle-sewn.
$12 list / $10 direct order includes US shipping:

What's new in _32 Pedals & 47_ Stops is not the rendering of time past, but the experience of time itself passing. Florian’s mode of measurement is a template of sentence structures, paragraph breaks, and tones through which each of her characters pass. Each scene, each moment in time is affected by a shapeshifting personality intent on disruption. As characters and objects appear, disappear, and reappear, one experiences both the evanescence of things and the ghostly accretion of memory, a sense of déjà vu, a sense that something you have experienced is somewhere just out of your mind’s grasp. Throughout these prose poems, Florian “makes strange” the mundane moment by revealing its artificial measurement—and by revealing that there is always something strange happening—in moments that are playful, sad, jolting, pick-pocketing, surprising, puzzling, and beautifully disorienting.

Sandy Florian's first book, _Telescope_, is published by Action Books. Her poetry and prose appears in over 30 national and international journals including Slope, bird dog, Parthenon West Review, Indiana Review, Bombay Gin, and Shampoo.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Songs for babies

OK. I'm making a mix for my daughter. What songs should I put in it?

My parents always played Simon and Garfunkel and Joan Baez for me, so I'm going to itunes some of those songs. But I feel the mix should have some more contemporary songs. Maybe some of those ditties from Magnetic Fields or "The Boy with the Arab Strap." That seems kind of like children's music.

The other night when I was trying to calm down Sinead the only song I could remember the lyrics to was Leadbelly/NIrvana's "In the pines, in the pines." It worked.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Thanks for everyone who wrote me congratulatory emails.

I just got back from the hospital to find an old copy of jubilat that had been sent first to Alabama and now to South Bend. I must have forgotten to send the journal my new address.

[I removed the jubilat bit since it was a misunderstanding.]

Many people have asked me about the middle name - Ebba. What does it mean? It doesn't mean anything. It's a very uncool old-lady name. I had a feisty great aunt named Ebba. A kid in my 6th grade class was named Ebba - her mom worked for the Green Party. Actually, come to think of it, one of the most prominent literary critics and members of the Feminist Party is named Ebba (Witt-Brattstrom). She also wrote a fantastic study of Edith Sodergran ("Ediths jag") that I heartily recommend to anybody who speaks Swedish. Hell, maybe I'll translate it for a Finland-Swedish project I'm working on.

Also, "Ebba Grön" ("Ebba Green") was the code name for a Baader-Meinhof cell that attempted to kidnap Sweden's foreign minister (or some other minister, can't remember) in the 70s. It became the name of the seminal Swedish punk group Ebba Grön (check youtube for examples). Up until that point they'd been The Haters. Afterwards they became Imperiet ("The Empire"), the most recklessly, awesomely pretentious rock group of the 80s (again, youtube is a great resource).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Happy birthday

to my daughter Sinead Ebba McSweeney-Göransson who was born yesterday at 2:54 pm. She is 6.5 pounds and has a thick head of black hair and wildly staring eyes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Illustrated Reichl poem

here's a poem by Veronika Reichl, a German poet I've mentioned in the past on this blog. It's illustrated by a movie that reminds me of a 1970s biology film for 6th graders. And don't worry, the text has been translated.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Johanna Drucker at Notre Dame

Dear all:

Professor Jerry Bruns is bringing Johanna Drucker to campus for a lecture. All are invited to attend.

p r e s e n t s



Thursday, February 15, 2007 4:30 PM
Hesburgh Center Auditorium
A reception will follow in the Great Hall

Owen Jones's masterwork, The Grammar of Ornament, seems remote in design and substance from that of contemporary writers and artists using print media as a form of artistic expression. But the roots of artists' engagement with print media connect the mid-19th century reactions to industrialism to a dilemma that is compellingly current: how to use the idea of the book as the basis of an approach to production. Through discussion of several landmark works- For the Voice, A Humument, Flicker, Wildwood, and Day, among others-this talk sketches the ways the idea of book space and design factor into a distinction between product and project that is continually being reconfigured through the modern to the contemporary period.

"Gross oversaturation"

Jim T said...
I mean that there is a tremendous, tremendous amount of American poetry, much of it of quality, though it's difficult to judge because to read it all with any scrutiny takes far more time, energy and $$ than I have available. It's simply overwhelming. If tracking US poetry is a full-time job in itself, it's difficult to make time to read, much less properly contextualize, international poetries...

I don't think this is a terrible problem - not like the problem we used to have (too much hierarchy). Nevertheless it is a kind of liberal utopian trap to always think that more and more is better. And it's true that I can't even keep up with the web journals that my friends edit.

One "solution" is the much-discussed idea of "community." But this sometimes utopian idea is prone to insularity and isolation. And it doesn't deal with the problem of the unpedagogical MFA system.

It seems we need to improve as readers of new poetry. For example, I know Octopus is doing a review-only issue. Action,Yes is adding a criticism section (Danielle Pafunda is writing a brilliant piece for us). But it needs to be more than just isolated reviews.

One good thing about blogs is that it has generated some general debates about poetry (education, sincerity, flarf etc). Although I disagree with his essay, I like the way Simon Dedeo set up a critical framework for his journal "Absent" (link on the side of this blog). I think we need more things like that, new ways of reading and writing about poetry.

In fact, Jim should be writing essays (maybe you are).

But of course opinions about poetry are expressed in the very editing of journals and presses. The greatest irritation to me is when journals and presses claim to be only looking for "the best". To begin with, it's not true (obviously they have some idea of what the best is!). Secondly, it's not deadening. Be honest and have your own damn opinion.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

M /E / A/ N /I /N /G

M /E / A/ N /I /N /G

(February 2007)

Feminist Art:
A Reassessment

Edited by
Susan Bee
Mira Schor

A forum
including writing and images
artists and art historians
from three generations

Irina Aristarkhova, Susan Bee, Emma Bee Bernstein,
Johanna Burton, Ingrid Calame, Maura Coughlin,
Bailey Doogan, Johanna Drucker, Carol Duncan,
Mary Beth Edelson, Joanna Frueh, Vanalyne Green,
Mimi Gross, Susanna Heller, Janet Kaplan,
Tom Knechtel, Judith Linhares, Lenore Malen,
Ann McCoy, Adelheid Mers, Robin Mitchell,
Carrie Moyer, Beverly Naidus, Rachel Owens,
Sheila Pepe, Nancy Princenthal, Carolee Schneemann,
Mira Schor, Joan Snyder, Anne Swartz,
Faith Wilding, and Barbara Zucker.

Translation (repeat)

How many hundreds of journals and web journals (some very good) and books are published that show no interest in works in translation? Many editors will say that they are very much interested in international literature - then why are there no poems from other countries in their journals, why don't they publish any books of translation?

I could throw a stone.

Translation (cont.)

This is what Jim wrote about translation in the comment field:

"Might it also have to do with something more basic--that so much contemporary non-anglophone literature has not been translated, owing to the relative hegemony the English language enjoys at the moment? I'm sure that there are far fewer multilingual people in the U.S. than in Europe, where partially due to sheer proximity and economic necessity, citizens are multilingual."

I think this is absolutely correct, but it is not separate from my argument. The marginal status of foreign literature in the US has everything to do with the culture empire, the hegemony of the English language.

Almost every post I write on translation I emphasize the importance of multilingualism not only as a way to access other styles/literatures (and the benefits of multicultural relativism), but for the way it forms one's reading process. This is a form of reading that runs counter to US poetry's very monoglossic model - we believe in and protect a center of language (as Bakthin wrote about poetry in general).

It's not the problem that there aren't many people who know foreign language and are interested in translated work - I know tons of people who are trying to get their translations published (including myself, I have reams of translation, but I can't just publish them myself). That's not the problem. The problem is that the cultural/linguistic hegemony has insulated us, made us feel autonomous.

How many hundreds of journals and web journals (some very good) and books are published that show no interest in works in translation? Many editors will say that they are very much interested in international literature - then why are there no poems from other countries in their journals, why don't they publish any books of translation?

The issue of the foreign is more important than ever - now that the Web is standardizing language (and making everyone English-speakers) faster than the newspapers did in the 19th century (though the web has the potential to minorize). This is why I keep saying that true experimentation is not finding the latest formal innovation, but of altering our publishing and canonizing process to include works from other countries, cultures and socioeconomic groups.

Seems like there are tons of people repeating the mantra of "think outside the box" while crouching in a box. This kind of "innovation" is arid because it only leads to a new period style (as we now have several "experimental" period styles). Especially in this day and age of Internet - we can all learn the latest style in no time.

The alternative is not to write yet another tourist book (common subgenre of American poetry), but to actually bring in foreign poetry, to write about it, to teach it - and to know that if it doesn't comply with one's notion of a poem should do, that's good - thinking about those differences is true experimentation.

Also, as I stated in my reply to Noah - it's important to maintain their foreigness, not just to assimilate them into a style, not to treat them as mere enrichment of American poetry.

I think Deleuze and Guattari's ideas about "minor lit," "becoming animal" and "rhizome" etc are somewhat useful models here. The problem with then is that they have been neutralized into stylistics (anybody can seemingly claim to be "minor" even if writing in the most major English language).

Then of course there's the issue of who and what gets translated/published. Again I think it's important to know the context for a lot of this litearture. Not to just pick out some poets you like, but to make some effort at knowing other writers in that culture. Ie there are more problems in this process, but I'll save that for another entry.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


There's a new issue of Circumference out. Lots of very interesting stuff - including Donna Stonecipher's translation of German poet Veronika Reichl and Daniel Borzutzky's translations of Manuel Silva Acevedo, all of whom have been in Action,Yes.

Circumference is the most vital journal around, for precisely the reasons I discussed with Noah on this blog below. I feel inspired every time I get a new issue in my hands.