Tuesday, August 28, 2007

from Artaud

"....when I see Claudel calling upon the spirits at the outset of the century for help, I am still able to get up a chuckle, but when I see the word spirit in Karl Marx or Lenin, like an old invariable value, a reminder of that eternal entity back ot which all things are brought, I tell myself that there's scum and crud abroad and god's sucked Lenin's ass:

and that's the way it's always been,
and it isn'w worth talking about anymore,
it doesn't matter, it's just another fucking bill to pay.


lip wolf reviewed in El Occidental last Friday

Jorge Esquinca reviews Lip Wolf in the newspaper El Occidental (Guadalajara).

(Babel-Fish-translated into English)

The good news in the poetry happen, frequently, unnoticed. Still more if who generates them it prefers to make it from certain healthful distance, without leaving a territory that it has conquered valiantly, in a daily fight with the words hardly. Thus, the three books medulares of Laura Solórzano (Guadalajara, 1961) allow to now glimpse the aloof face of a poet whose trajectory is necessary to read to the margin of the most conventional attitudes, of the approaches immediate to which it is understood by poetry. Wolf of lip (2003), lost Mouth (2005) and a rosal for Mr. K (2005), are three stations that distinguish one of another one by the shades of a voice that unfolds to the hunting of its extreme loudness. As if from the same sound, from the friction between syllables, the incessant golpeteo of the words turned verbal meteors, it was obtained, like possible fruit, a sense: "I am shady, sonorous single in silence. /Mi brain is the zone of a sleepwalker knowledge ", writes Laura Solórzano and inaugurates with it the site where is to take place the event of the poetic word. A total confidence in the action of the language, demands an absolute delivery to the energy that of her emanates, is by that it is a poetry that offers certain resistance to the reader little accustomed. A resistance that made think about the impossibility of its translation. Nevertheless the American publishing house Action Books finishes publishing, in bilingual edition, first of these three titles: Wolf of lip/Lip Wolf (2007) in integral version of Jen Hofer. A work of years, only possible thanks to the imaginística skill of Hofer that knew to find the echoes, to construct of parallel way, to inhabit in its language the place inaugurated by Solórzano for ours: "Ím to shady spot, sonorous solely in silence. /My cerebrum is the zone of to somnambulist cognizance ". That sense of "extrañamiento" translates Hofer causing that she herself indicates in the note that precedes to its version of the book, like a consideration of first importance on the effect that this poetry (and its translation) will have to cause in their possible readers. Nothing in her articulates within a sobrentendido parameter and, nevertheless, everything in her articulates, with a personal rigor: "I give with the mist in the language /para you that your head sings". "I give it to you with fog against your tongue /so your head might hum." An unusual song, without a doubt, made of tension and balance, as it affirms Dolores Dorantes in the prologue of the volume well. Of Laura Solórzano the Secretariat of Culture of Jalisco published the last year a personal anthology: The mirror in the cage that, despite lacking index, legal page and data about the author, offers a sample sucinta of its writing, one of the best news of our poetry in the recent years.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


The second issue of Absent is now up. Simon has some interesting, opinionated things to say. Like always, I don't entirely agree with Simon but I like the fact that he's got the guts to state an opinion. I did not have time to write something for this issue, but I will try for the next one.

Here's the announcement:

dear friends of absent -- we are now ONLINE with issue two. Please visit,
read, and spread the word on blogs, over e-mail and banners on aircraft
carriers you may control.

absent magazine * issue two
now online at http://absentmag.org/issue02/

featuring poetry by Jasper Bernes, Charles Berstein, Regis Bonvicino, Jack
Boettcher, Tim Botta, Julia Cohen, Shanna Compton, John Cotter, Shafer
Hall, Lisa Jarnot, Pierre Joris, Joan Kane, Noelle Kocot, Jason Labbe,
Kathleen Ossip, The Pines, Matthew Rohrer, Kate Schapira, Mathias Svalina,
Kathryn Tabb, Allison Titus and Betsy Wheeler.

in translation with Sergei Kitov and Octavo Paz.

musical work by Aaron Einbond.

prose by Joe Amato, Peter Ciccariello, Simon DeDeo, Adam Golaski, Kent
Johnson, Amy Newman, Davis Schneiderman and Tyler Williams.

edited by Elisa Gabbert and Simon DeDeo; with great gratitude to Irwin
Chen and his class at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ray Bianchi on Rebecca Wolf etc


I came upon Ray Bianchi's blog entry above while putting off stuff I have to do. Unfortunatley I couldn't leave any comments on his blog, so I'll leave them here.

Rebecca Wolf: I agree that the journal isn't the greatest thing in the world. But then what journal is? As far as Fence Books goes, few presses have published books as interesting as Fence over the past few years: In addition to Joyelle's books (which apparently make Ray "vomit"...), Tina Celona's latest, Catherine Wagner and Ariana Reines.

I'm not sure why she gets criticized so much. Ray mentions her marketing skills. But it doesn't seem to me that she markets her books half as aggressively as for example Wave Books. Yet I seldom hear anybody criticize them. In fact she doesn't market her books much at all. Can't remember the last time I saw a Fence ad for example. Not that this should matter.

[On second though - there are actually quite a few journals I really like more than I like Fence: Tinfish, Soft Targets, Circumference, Double Room (web), Nypoesi (web)]

Friday, August 24, 2007

anthologies #2

I'm actually sitting down composing my class schedules and it's actually amazing how much good stuff there is on the Internet. We don't need books anymore (though the print medium and book convention will make a chapter of its own). With Action, Yes, Ubuweb, PennSound, poets.org and some other sites, I am doing quite well without any poetry books.

Did you know that UbuWeb has a (bootleg) version of Smithson's "Hotel Palanki"? I've wanted to teach that for years. Not to mention Carolee Schneeman's "Fuses" (and Caroline Bergwall's performance piece based on Schneeman's movie).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Inland Empire

It was a bit anti-climactic to finlly get to watch Inland Empire.

Of course it was absolutely brilliant (and corny as always).

But it was as if this was the movie I knew it would be. Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive have both moved toward this film with its loose narrative scheme and musical overall structure.

In many ways it's of course yet another remake of this scene:

But Inland Empire is the "impure" version.

Lars Noren (Revolver, 1969): "Just as there can be/no pure disease/there can be no pure poetry/ we are all troubled by/our America. It exists/within us, like a sore..."

I also watched the extras, which are not all that revealing. But it is interesting just how Wagnerian Lynch is in his concept of art - he wants the music loud.

Eva-Stina Byggmastar

My favorite English-Dutch translator of Swedish and Estonian Eric Dickens found the following interview with Eva-Stina Byggmästar:


It's in Swedish, so some of you may not be able to read it. However, it's really interesting. She's a Finland Swede from Österbotten (as was Edith Södergran), which is extremely provincial part of Finland. Byggmästar makes lots of interesting comments - such her dream about a cream-yellow Jesus telling her to find a new direction in her poetry. It's a Christian web site.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


i take back all the bad things i've said about anthologies. i'm teaching two creative writing classes this fall and i sure wish there was a good anthology to use that would include a variety of contemporary poets from different countries. instead i'll have to put stuff on elec reserve.


I forgot to mention: my home-province of Skåne was featured in a pretty short, pretty bad article in the New York Times travel section a couple of days ago. It focused on the town of Torekov, where one of my best friends' family had a vacation house. Many fond memories and anti-memories. Now it's apparently called "the Swedish Riviera"; then we stayed in a basement with a red Che Guevara flag on the wall, called one of the guys a "closet moderate", and listened to punk music.

Monday, August 20, 2007

For Oslo

I wrote this poem for my Oslo reading. So it's dedicated to the good people there. Also here posted because I'm absolutely thrilled to have found the new Lynch at my local blockbuster.

Inland Empire:

The receiver is threatened
we pass the visible
traces of hundres of millions
insects are
burned in the fields for
five minutes
the turbulence girls us
in public out
with the pressure voice
the unsound takes effect
in the receiver
the natural drama
glittering films

Max Walter Svanberg


Swedish painter, part of the Imagists (not related to the American poetry movement) and later Cobra, held in great esteem by French Surrealists (Ernst etc), but not particularly by the Swedish art establishment.

In various editorials from the 1950s, Oyvind Fahlstrom expressed admiration for Svanberg and shock at his lack of a reputation in his native land. One of his more famous pieces was his illustrations of Rimbaud's Illuminations.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Haroldo de Campos


Sergio Bessa's selection of the Brazilian concretist Haroldo de Campos is now out from Northwestern UP.

His Fahlström study should soon follow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Linh Dinh's Italian blog entry

Here's an interesting post by Linh Dinh from the International Exchange of Poetic Invention blog:


Parthenon West Review

There's a good new issue of Parthenon West Review. Sandy Florian's piece is amazing.

Here's a paragraph:

"Done with tongue and stumble with hump. Making quarter more snows on the open piano. Rootless and toothed. Bootless by the bottom. Make a mole my anatomy. Make a dress from the severed. I am several now. So make me the hole of your slumber and sleep on the inside. Crude, unusual warden. Quoting Ovid and calling me by name. Caterwauler. Clone. Clock. Odd things, these birds, abundant."

I first came across Sandy's at a conference in Denver a couple of years ago. She read some sections from what later became "Telescope" and I was completely enthralled. She read with Danielle Dutton and that must be one of my favorite readings I've ever been to (Other favorites: Inger Christensen/Jackson Mac low in 1994 and Joyelle McSweeney at UGA in 2004). I think it helped me to hear Sandy read before I read "Telescope." A lot of people have told me that they are perplexed by "Telescope." I think that in part it should be viewed as a direction for a perfomance.

From what I understand, the new book is based largely on rewrites from Shakespeare and Milton, and it retains something of the beautiful archaic texture of such texts. What I've read is absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fahlstrom Spectacular

Today I'm all fried out from watching Fahlstrom movies at the State Archives of Sound and Images. Or distracted as it were.

The most impressive piece was the film based on F's happening "Kissses Sweeter than Wine," which features Rauschenberg as a teenage mathetmatician convulsing as he solves problems, sci-fi photage from the 60s, autistic twins with smoke coming out of them etc in what amounts to an exploration of subjectivity and politics. It seems to me he comes out at the end advocating humanoids and "pleasure houses" (where people can go to explore "music, theater, drugs, sex and each other").

The least impressive is the very normal (for the 1960s) Godard-influenced "Du Gamla, Du Fria," which doesn't do a whole lot that "I Am Curious" didn't do better. It just follows around a bunch of members of an experimental theater as they put on increasingly violent performances before getting lost in the woods (unlike Godard's perfectly competent cannibals in Weekend). Then one becomes a famous artist/poet/singer and one gets arrested. Unless I'm totally misreading the film, it ends by showing how the one guy who actually takes a job in the factory becomes the only relevant political activist - by talking to another worker about exploitation over drinks (for the first time in the film, a worker actually appears to agree etc). The END.

"Kisses" was made with the help of Bell Laboratories in 1966. A strange position for Fahlstrom since he was so radical politically. But this was the only instance he could really realize his technophilic ideas. Having read through the Modern Museum archives, I can tell you that he was repeatedly writing Pontus Hulten asking for help to realize the most extreme, spectacular (and at times, silly) happening and movies. For example, "I need 20 beautiful women to cut up 2400 suits" etc.

And yet ye chose to make such a dull movie as "Du Gamla Du Fria" when he had the chance. Of course I don't know the backstory to this. Maybe if I were to stay another week in Stockholm I'd have that story. But fortuantely for me I'm going home tomorrow.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Everybody I meet with here has given me a lot of books. I don't know how I'm going to drag them all home. Unfortunately I want to.

Aase gave me this anthology:


It's a huge anthology of Scandinavian, Finnish, Finland Swedish and Russian poets. Very good example of what one can do with an anthology - as it includes reviews and articles as well as poems, and DVDs.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Swedish Gay Pride

I never wrote about the strange experience that was marching in Folkpartiet's float in the Gay Pride.

The strangest part was probably: Tons of hetero middle class couples brought their kids. Apparently a thing to do is dress your kids up as fairies (literally, with wings etc) and all the kids in their strollers waved little rainbow flags. I heard one of these hetero dad say to his kid: "Look how many fun people there are here!" And the kid agreed. It was actually kind of touching.

Also: the Communist Party's float was all hardcore goth-girls with banners that said things like "Smash capitalism!"

And then there were some very un-american floats: the police officers float, the scouts' float, the army's float.


I'm back in Sweden after my Norway jaunt. Met with a whole slew of interesting critics and poets. I read with Kenny Goldsmith, A young Norwegian woman poet and a mohawked Michaux-translator from Berlin who wore a Anarcho-Syndalist logo on his shirt.

The Norwegians seem to read very dramatically and some appeared a little weirded out by the fact that I sometimes offered commentary between poems. Afterward a woman told me she liked my reading but didn 't think I should be so self-deprecating...

Perhaps the funniest moment was when Goldsmith read a text based on the commentary to an extra-inning game between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Afterwards he said, "most of you probably didn't have a clue what that was about." I looked around the room and he was right. Most people had a very perplexed look on their faces.

My thought about "Weather" is that it reminds me of all those Scorcece/DiPalma/Coppola movies from the 1970s when the weather report on the radio always seem to play an important mood-setting role. Maybe I'm just thinking of the one in which De Niro plays a crazy cabbie.

The other funny moment was when Nypoesi's webdesigner, when pressed about what he wrote, apologized that it wasn't very "conceptual" (for some reason they seemed under the illusion that my poetry was "conceptual" even though I kept telling them it was "anti-conceptual") - then proceeded to tell me about this program that rewrites a poem based on surveillance camera footage...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I love this song

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bernstein in Sweden

It seems like one thing all Swedes want to know is how is it that Charles Bernstein inspires all his students to be so active and enthusiastic (starting journals etc). I of course can't tell them the secret, other than that I too have noticed it.

Even Jesper Olsson who publishes OEI, a leading literary journal in Sweden, actually got his inspiration to start it from the year he spent in Buffalo.

It's the opposite from my time in Iowa, which taught us that it was somehow cheap or distasteful to start one's own journals. When Joyelle and I started Action Books, Iowa people were on the whole definitely un-enthusastic, saying things like "there are too many presses already" or "that's not my thing."

It is I suppose the difference between trusting/distrusting/respecting one's students.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Mary Ellen Solt

Here's Sergio's tribute to Mary Ellen Solt, great scholar (and anthologist, translator) of concrete poetry:


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Iraqi national soccer team

apparently won Asia Cup in soccer. Stockholm is going crazy (or at least the 35,000 Iraqi immigrants are).

Reading, Oslo

I'm giving a poetry reading in Oslo on Friday, apparently with Kenny "Ubu Web" Goldsmith and a Norwegian poet. So if you're in Oslo, look us up. Apparently we're going head-to-head with Jeus & Marychain and the premier of "Inland Empire."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Stockholm, Jørgen Leth etc

I'm in Stockholm reading avant-garde writings from the 1950s and 60s at the Royal Library. It's a good time and tomorrow I'm going to walk in Folkpartiet's float in the annual Gay Pride Parade because my one of my oldest friends, Seved, is very gay and very much a member of Folkpartiet (it's a kid of center-right party, Clinton Democrats basically but they are part of the conservative coalition currently in power).

I was reading the latest issue of the Swedish journal Pequod and I came upon a pretty funny poem by Danish film-maker Jørgen Leth (famous for being the somewhat clueless object of fascination in Lars von Trier's "Five Obstructions"):

I Am Good

am good at biking
I have enjoyed success as a bicylist
I have learnt a great deal from biking
I have become better at being a human being
by biking
I have maybe more to learn.