Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Disco

Subject: No disco: Organisation, folk, terror och massrörelse- en annan svansjö

En annan svansjö

Premiär 1 maj kl 20.
Spelas 2 och 3 maj kl 20
4 maj kl 16.

I denna radikala omformning av en balettklassiker har solisterna raderats ur handlingen och istället flyttas fokus till hur ett tidigare anonymt bakgrundskollektiv organiserar sig. Arbetet har bl a bestått av att gemensamt dekonstruera och omorganisera de koreografiska formationer som dansas av kåren i originalversionen av baletten Svansjön.

Medverkande: Joel Lallerstedt, Kajsa Linderholm, Niki Gunke Stangertz, Paula McManus, Paul Moerman, Hanna Sjögren-Devrient, Agneta Wallin, Thomas Wijkmark och Moa Zerpe.

Koreografi: Anna Koch och ensemblen.
Musik: Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Text: Claes Fredelius, Kårhusockupationen

Projektet är ett samarbete mellan Teater Oberon och Weld.

Entré 68 kr eller operaplatser 680 kr (obs finns endast två per föreställning)
Biljetter bokas på

Spelas på Weld, Norrtullsgatan 7,(t-bana Odenplan) tfn: 08 - 30 94 50

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our Links Hall performance description

The wars have changed, but the appetite for images in America has not. The Widow Party comprises a Buffalo Bill dumb show at the end of time, a rootin’ tootin’ aeschatology with sound effects by Jacob Knabb and a soundtrack by the Genius Child Orchestra, featuring Pentagon-bankrolled expert commentary by Britney Spears.

As Walt Disney has observed, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

The main action of The Widow Party was scripted by Johannes Göransson, based on visions revealed in a semi-comatose conflation after a carcrash following a hazardous homejourney after the 2007 MLA. With Joyelle McSweeney and Jen Karmin in a pas de deux for the miracle twins Hannie Oakley and Annie Weiner, and Patrick Durgin performing a Declamation which will be an explanation and evaluation of all that has come before. With two Widows, a Reporter, Crash, Walter Cronkite, You, Satchmo, Lisa Janssen and James Shea in alarming and supporting roles.

Please extinguish.

At the conclusion of the performance, time will also conclude.

Olivia Cronk

I've been getting "the Beards of Bees"email announcements for a while but have never bothered to look at the web site until now and I like a lot about it. Coincidentally I discovered this interesting chapbook by Olivia Cronk, whose review of Jennifer Hayshida's book I mentioned a couple of days ago.

Apostrophe Books blog is up

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pleiades review of Bjorling

Michael Snediker has a brilliant review of Gunnar Björling's You go the words (translated by Fredrik Hertzberg) in the new Pleiades. If you can, check it out. I think this is a really fine analysis of Björling's work, not just a review.

Here is the beginning:

"Had Gertrude Stein written in teh austere lattices of George Oppen, she might have approximated (but only approximated) Björling's particular enterprise. Like that of Stein, Björling's radical commitment to the phenomenological experience and effect of poetry (as read, as written) thrills and simultaneously exhausts. Hertzberg's translation of Björling's final book - published in its original Swedish in 1960, teh year also of Björling's death - remains faithful to Björling's own lucid and exasperating austerity... This is poetry over which to stumble, poetry that jars; which seems, at least to me, the best sort."


"I think here of John Ashbery's perspicacious review of the Yale Edition of Stein's Stanzas in Meditation:

These austere 'stanzas' are made up almost entirely of colorless connecting words... though now and then Miss Stein throws in an orange, a lilac, or an Albert to remind us that it really is the world, our world, that she has been talking about... The result is like... a piece of music by Webern in which a single note on the celestra suddenly irrigates a whole desert of dry, scratchy sound in the strings.


"This is to say (somewhat counterintuitively) that the pathos of Björling's poetry arises less as pathos of circumstance than of grammar. Björling's writing is most moving in its quickening of grammar's smallest elements (beyond syntactical infrastructure), in its preference for these grammatical molecules over the forms of referentiality that ordinarily render the grammatical if not invisible then ancillary. To revise Ashbery's simile, You go the words asks us to hear its "colorless connecting words" as the Webern celesta."

from Starcherone Books

Joshua Harmon's novel, Quinnehtukqut, has been named one of three finalists for the Virginia Commonwealth University First Novelist Award.

Quinnehtukqut traces the real and imagined travels of Martha Hennessy, a girl wishing for a life beyond her family's farm in Northern New Hampshire. In varied and musical language, Quinnehtukqut interweaves Martha's story with those of the dreamers and drifters whose lives intersect hers: an American soldier scarred by the first World War, a mythical and murderous tramp seeking lost Indian gold, a man haunted by his memories of Byrd's expeditions to Antarctica, an industrialist longing to become a woodsman, and an old woman forced to leave her home due to the planned flooding of a valley. Elegiac and lyrical, evocative and visionary, Quinnehtukqut reveals how people inhabit place and how place inhabits people through its vivid study of the New England landscape.

Quinnehtukqut was published in 2007 by the Buffalo, NY-based small press, Starcherone Books. It is the only one of the three finalists for the VCU prize published by an independent small press. The other two finalists were issued by Dial/Random House and Vintage/Penguin, respectively. The much-lauded first novel by Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, finished as a semi-finalist.

See more about Quinnehtukqut at . It may be ordered from Starcherone directly or from your favorite bookseller.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Eileen Myles on Lara Glenum

"I'm a huge fan of Lara Glenum's kind of new book The Hounds of No. It's preposterous and art and vulgar and over the top and iconic. It seems like the only kind of anti-war poetry there could be. Like 19th century history painting or something. My students totally don't get it which only contributes to my desire to stop teaching."

-- Eileen Myles

(from Poet's Bookshelf II)

The other thing about reading nytimes

is it reminds me of how frustrating it is trying to bring attention to various writers and texts in this culture.

The sophmoric Harvard boys (the role of art is to mirror society by earnestly depicting their privileged prop school romances) at N+1 get articles written about them in NY Times, while we are trying to get some attention to Kim Hyesoon's "Mommy must be a fountain of feathers," a collection of texts that participated and continues to participate in crucial political dissidence (not any less radical than Godard in 1968, and battling a far more repressive system).

This book is especially interesting from a US perspective, not only because that political upheaval had to do with criticizing a US-empowered dictatorship, but also because it totally revises the common slur against Surrealism - that it is somehow extravagant and self-absorbed, frivolous.

Of course, Korea is not as romantic as France.

Of course NY Times was never known for writing a single article on literature that was in any way not conservative.

Of course it is always difficult to get American poets to care about work from other languages/cultures.

Reading NY Times with screaming child

Mostly I don't miss living in New York. There is nothing in South Bend but industrial decay and a great Cambodian restaurant, but we're usually too busy to notice. However, I am a bit jealous that I won't be able to go to the film series celebrating 1968 and Jean-Luc Godard.

Like I always say, my dad raised me to be a film director and his dream never quite left me (thus poetry that is continually in dialogue with film - Godard, Cronenberg etc).

One thing about Godard is the tremendous amount of influence he had in the 1960s. You can even see his influence on Bergman (most notably "The Passion of Anna," Bergman's best film aside from Persona) and the likes. But mostly a lot of period pieces, such as "I am Curious (Yellow)" and any number of minor cult classics (I'm thinking about this British film about a guy who goes to Spain, can't remember the name). I have to admit I like all those pseudo-Godard pieces.

I also like Antonioni's Zabriskie Point (I'm probably the only one).

Two pieces that won't be in any film series are Öyvind Fahlström's "Du Gamla, Du Fria" and his performance piece "Kissen Sweeter Than Wine." Come to think about it he also made a film in 1968 about New York activism, but I can't remember the name of that film. Anyway, "Du Gamla..." is a clearly Godard-influenced film that follows a group of activists as they struggle to raise class consciousness etc, just to falter into personal hedonism (a lot of naked people jumping around in water and taking drugs) before selling out (becoming poets and the likes). Except for the guy who decides to work in a factory and is thus able to truly communicate the worker over glasses of beer. It's a pretty bad film all in all. But interesting as a period piece.

"Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" is totally brilliant. It was part of "9 Evenings", an event sponsored by Bell Laboratories, which sank a fortune into putting on these 9 performances (by people like Raushenberg and John Cage in addition to Fahlstrom). So basically capitalism made possible these impossible happenings. The reason I consider "Kisses" as film is that it is theater largely based on a film-like awareness of the image. One of my favorite parts has these trapeze artists flying around. At first you hear these fighter planes going and you think of the trapezists as symbolic representations of the planes, but then the voice over starts talking about Mao wanting to kill all the sparrows (or starlings?) and the trapezists become birds. It's a kind of hyper-(ventilating)-montage. Check the recording out for sure. Or ask Raushenberg for a copy.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Inland Empire (brief version)

Here's the Oulipo version of David Lynch's Inland Empire. Destined to be a classic.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Village Voice Poetry Roundup by Alan Gilberg

...Stefania Heim and Jennifer Kronovet's slim journal, Circumference, dedicated entirely to poetry in translation, was a breath of fresh air when it was started in 2003, and it continues to present some of the most compelling translations in print. So too does Action Books; it recently published South Korean experimental writer Kim Hyesoon's Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers, which situates the female body as the primary site of social and psychological struggle.

... Swensen teaches at the fabled Iowa Writers Workshop, which in the '90s began to shed its image as ground zero for cookie-cutter workshop verse. The results have been mixed, and readers can be confident that whenever they hear work described as "combining language and lyric," it's usually shorthand for the application of avant-garde poetry techniques to emotional and perceptual platitudes. An antidote? Maybe one of the prefaces to Chelsey Minnis's Bad Bad (Fence): "Someone once thought that a poem should be more than an elaborate 'fuck you,' but I did not think it."


For a long time I rooted for Minnesota teams, but they keep getting rid of their good players so now I root for players. Thus I am a Mets/Celtics follower this year. Looks good so far. I think Celtics against Lakers in the NBA finals. The first time I came to the US, the spring of 86, I watched a final between Lakers and Celtics, so it's like a return to the disaster for me.

I've even nearly convinced Joyelle to be a Mets-iste. Which is quite a feat considering her entire extended family is rabidly Red Sox (the two most commonly seen pictures in the homes of her family: family member + world series trophy and grampa McSweeney + JFK circa 1961).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Parland on Poetry Foundation

Here's a review - really more like a fine introductory essay - of Parland on the Poetry Foundation web site, masterfully written by Jana Prikryl. Great intro.

Low-Residency MFA

What's the deal with these. The W-Chronicle is swarming with these programs. Is this just a way for universities to rake in money without having to actually give tenure to poets - they just hire people who have tenure elsewhere. And then the attendees don't teach, so they have to pay for it? That sounds like the worst kind of scam. If that's indeed how these things work. And clearly I am no authority.


Of course I don't think I know every poet in the world.

For example, I had never read Fred Moten's work before and he came to Notre Dame and gave a brilliant reading last night.

David Lloy'd press Cusp Books has published Fred's great chapbook "I ran from it and was still in it." And Renee Gladman's Leon Press is publishing his full-length "Huston Tavern" this spring (so soon, in other words).

The Writer's Chronicle

Something I find interesting about reading the Writer's Chronicle - in addition to he way they always have to get some digs in at language poetry - is that I really have no idea who these people are. I mean the people interviewed, the people lauded, the people interviewed, the people on faculties advertised, teaching writing camps.

Who are they?

One exception is Reginald Shepherd who has an interesting piece in the latest issue, pointing out the hollowness of the so-called "populist" argument - that poetry is unpopular because it is so complex that "normal" people can't keep up. As if there were these really dull people out there who clamored to read poetry but there just wasn't enough poetry about going fishing with grandpa.

But Reginald makes what I think is a complete misreading of Benjamin:

"Walter Benjamin describes shock and distraction as the modern mode of consciosness (or unconsciousness), in which most of our experience is not really experienced and doesn't actually exist for us at all. Although art should be the antidote to this nonexperience of distraction, most of what we read simply repeats and re-presents what has already been experienced (or nonexperienced). A real work of art makes us stop and pay attention. It breaks through our crust of habbit and routine."

This to me seems like a total and utter misreading of Benjamin. Benjamin appreciated a lot of the historical avant-garde as well as certain cinema precisely because it shook its viewers out of their state of humanist contemplation, that lethargic state of the 19th century bourgeoisie. For example, his appreciate of the profane illumination of Surrealism.

This is a very important topic - one I briefly discussed in conjunction with Revell's dismissal of Dada and call for an art of "attention." As Jonathan Crary has pointed out in his books on the 19th century, "distraction" was pathologized in the 19th century, to a large extent as a reaction to the demystification of experience (vision is just eyesight, physical) - and "attention" became the antidote. "Attention" was seen as a way to keep people functioning within society as nice docile subjects. If we can all just pay attention we'll be good citizens. Therefore "distraction" is not some kind of empty "nonexperience" but a highly politically charged sensibility.

If you reads the reception of Henry Parland's work, this becomes pretty clear. His book Idealrealisation was accused - even by fellow "modernists" - of being 1. "German" (ie the threat of the foreign) and "nihilistic" and 2. pathological ("screaming shards of nothigness" or something like that one person wrote, though clearly there is absolutely nothing "screaming" about Parland's work). That's pretty much the ideology of attention defending itself against distracted subjects (who are frequently foreigners).

Another interesting point about Reginald's article. He quotes Ron in his defense as saying that nothing is as important "the absolute materiality of the signifier, the physicality of sound and the graphic letter is the one secret shared by all poets." This of course goes back to my "compromise" entry awhile back, when I suggested that the space called "the lyric" (for exmaple in Reginald's anthology on so-called "postmodern lyric") is apolitical. In that space, Ron becomes de-Marxist-ified. (Though arguably he's done that to himself with his very conservative, Greenbergian framework used on his blog). He becomes a proponent of pure formalism.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lamination Colony

There is a new issue of Lamination Colony up. I'm in it.

No affiliation

Can I just repeat: I don't understand journals/presses who claim they have no aesthetic, that they're "open" to anything as long as it is "good." Lets not play that game folks. Everybody has interests and tastes. Editors make choices. You can't really have an honest debate until you recognize that you have a take on things.

This doesn't mean I advocate some kind of orthodoxy. For some reason this morning I am thinking about the journal The Prose Poem from the 1990s. It was certainly obvious about its aesthetic affiliation - basically Russel Edson-influenced work.

I always felt weird about that journal because I thought I would be the ideal reader - I often write poetry without linebreaks, I like Russel Edson as well as any number of other people who write without linebreaks, I've read a lot of Surrealist writings - and yet I always felt that that journal was so orthodox in its takes on the prose poem that it strangled me to read it. And certainly there was no place for me in there.

But it's not just that it had a strict stylistic register - it was perhaps the extent to which the editorial vision was based solely on stylistics (certain deadpan sentences, goofy humor etc) and nothing else. And perhaps this is then what the people I quarrel with above want to get away from by claiming free agency?

I really have no idea why that journal popped into my head this morning.

Friday, April 18, 2008


"There are several things that cause monsters. The first is the glory of God. The second, his wrath. The third, too great a quantity of semen. The fourth, too little a quantity. The fifth, the imagination."

(Ambroise Pare, Des monstres et prodiges, 1573)


There appears to have been an earthquake in the midwest last night. I woke up at 6:47 from the entire house shaking. It felt like it was going to come down. Felt like when you're in a tree house that is breaking down. Then it was over. I considered for a second if I just had one of those religious experiences, but then I concluded it must have been an earthquake, and indeed that's what I heard today on the radio. This is definitely going into "the ritual."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jocko the Brazilian Monkey

That's the title I'm going to "mary oliver" (some time in the future).

Red Bird (II)

Let me clarify: I am not in favor of suing Mary Oliver. I'm not for copyrighting words. I merely wanted to acknowledge that she used the same book title. Though it may be fun as conceptual prank to sue her and see what absurd reaches one can get to. I don't know enough about law to carry it out.

I think the best suggestion came below: Joyelle should name her next book American Primitive.

John Woods, my co-editor at Action, Yes, wrote me an email suggested Oliver's action actually brings an interesting thread to Joyelle's book. Perhaps this is particularly true since The Red Bird is actually based almost entirely on collage from newspapers.

Aime Cesaire

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

(The) Red Bird

Mary Oliver has a new book out called "Red Bird," a title awfully similar to Joyelle's first book, "The Red Bird." It's not like Joyelle's book is an obscure title! It has gone through several prints (meaning it has sold couple thousand copies, which is highly unusual in this day and age), and it was published by Fence Books, hardly an obscure press.

Besides you need only look in some poetry journals and online journals to see that some people have indeed read it and taken it to heart (much more so than with the poetry she has written since then, not many people seem to have read The Commandrine, a stranger and more interesting book to my mind).

Probably Mary doesn't do too much reading these days, but you'd think she'd have an editor or friend or something who realized that the title was used not so long ago by someone else.Or maybe not.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

St Mark's Clubhouse Letter

includes an illuminating review by Alice Notley about Philip Whalen. As a European I love all things California/1960s. As a sane person I love all things Alice Notley. The review is a good intro to Whalen's work, but perhaps more interestingly gives a good insight into Notley's framework. She goes on at great length about the rhythm of Whalen's work and its connection to augustan verse, something I had never in a million miles thought about and made me think more about Notley's work in terms of rhythm.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Speaking of anti-johanneses...

Over at Silliman's:

"Books that are terrific and really deserve a prize

"Books I need to reread to make sure I shouldn’t be giving them the prize instead

"Books that seem mostly competent, but don’t do anything of great import one way or another.

"Books that are not competent at all."

Deserve a prize? Poetry as competence?

This reminds me that I need to put aside some time and show Jasper (and whoever else might be interested)in why I use Bakhtin's concept of "monoglossia" not - as it is commonly used - as merely multiple voices conversing, but as a kind of view of literature as a way of upholding a hierarchical, centripedal notion of language/culture - a view in which poems are competent/incompetent and /deserving/undeserving of prizes. Or "formally rigorous"/lazy, "introspective"/shallow, "good ear"/foreign.

I'll try to set down a few minutes to look through the old books (and also how this corresponds to D+G's "major" vs "minor"). But recently I've just been too damned exhausted. I have the happening-performance-thing over in Chicago in the beginning of May and the avant-garde conference in Belgium at the end of May, and then of course grading and crap, but then I'm going to take all June to just relax and read poems. I'm not even going to a poetry festival in China I was invited to - even though going to China would be some kind of dream come true - because I'm just too damned exhausted. I'm also working on "the ritual" and a comic book.

O'Hara in New Yorker

There was an awful review of O'Hara's selected poems in the New Yorker the other day (week? month? year?). But the funny thing was when I was over at Jonathan Mayhew's blog and read what he wrote about it. Funny because Mayhew is the ultimate anti-johannes; we can't agree on anything, not even on why to despise that review of O'Hara's selected poems. Mayhew blew up over a statement that suggested that O'Hara was undisciplined and frivolous, arguing that indeed O'Hara's work was very formally rigorous etc. The problem for me was that the article then went on to argue in favor of the selected (as opposed to the collected) because in the selected the editor gets rid of all the occasional and emepheral poems and focuses in on O'Hara's true nature: an elegiste - and indeed a formally very rigorous poet. In other words, Mayhew's O'Hara, the O'Hara that is acceptable to Dan Chiasson's (the reviewer) neo-new-critical aesthetics. So I find the opposite problem with the review: the reviewer makes O'Hara into another serious, rigorous poet. While I love O'Hara's elegies and Grand Central Station and the more poemy poems, I am ultimately more interested in the epehemeral "lunch poems" and, most of all, I love the collected poems because it breaks down such easy distinctions. It goes back to my interest in avant-garde poetics and the breaking of the wellwrought urn.

Further, if all we had of O'Hara was the poem-y poems, would we have Bean Spasms? Or for that matter Lungfull? Or for that matter me.I would be a very different poet had I never scrapped around in the Collected O'Hara.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Where do I sign up?

"Soon after reaching Paris I found strong opposition from that group of degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts, onanists and spineless people who had pompously styled themselves Surrealists and also talked about the "Surrealist revolution" and "the Surrealist movement." This group of not very worthy individuals was led by a self-styled poet who answered to the name Andre Breton and whose aide-de-camp was another pseudo poet called Paul Eluard, a colourless and commonplace young man with a crooked note and a face somewhere between that of an onanist and a mystical cretin." (- Giorgio de Chirico)

What is better: onanist or mystical cretin? childish layabout or hooligan? I always fancied myself a hooligan, but now I think I'm shooting for childish layabout.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kunin (3)

Secret Architecture is hilarious.

For example:

- Who isn't waiting for an apology? I'm waiting for several apologies...
- I stopped waiting for an apology long ago."


I'm exhausted as usual but I'm reading three things tonight that are utterly brilliant:

Sara Tuss Efrik in various online journals.
James Pate's book of unpublished poetry.
Catherine Wagner 's chapbook "Everyone in the room is a representative of the word at large.
Aaron Kunin's chapbook "Secret Architecture."

When stuff this brilliant is being written I cannot complain. Ever. Again. About anything.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Joyelle is reading in California tomorrow

Please join us on Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m. for the next reading in the Community and World Literary Series at California State University, San Marcos, featuring Joyelle McSweeney.

The reading will be held on the Cal State San Marcos campus in the Grand Salon (Room 113) of the M. Gordon Clarke Field House. The event is free and open to the public, but there is a fee for on-campus parking.

One of the most exciting new talents in contemporary American literature, Joyelle McSweeney is the author of two novels of speculative fiction, Nylund, the Sarcographer, a baroque noir from Tarpaulin Sky, Press, and Flet, a sci-fi from Fence Books. She is also the author of two books of poetry, The Commandrine and Other Poems, and The Red Bird, both also from Fence. With Johannes Göransson, she is the co-founder of Action Books and Action, Yes, a press and web-quarterly for international writing and hybrid forms. She teaches in the MFA program at Notre Dame and lives in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Event Information:

Thursday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Grand Salon (Room 113)
M. Gordon Clarke Field House
California State University, San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
Campus Maps and Directions:
For more information, or to sign on to our mailing list to receive announcements of future events, check out our website:


Aaron Kunin is someone I've enjoyed talking to on several occasions. Back at the Modernist Studies Convention in Long Beach we spent the entire first-night party talking about films and books about films. We share some important traits - cinephilia, and uncontrollabe non-poker-faces. Aaron just sent me his chapbook "Secret Architecture." It's an amazing novel of sorts with everything by the wry conclusions removed (it's from a "notebook"). It made we want to start writing a notebook, only I'm already busy working on something else.

Everybody's got a "project" these days. I think it's just another wellwrought urn - only the circle has been drawn wider in order to control certain energies. So I'm not going to say that Aaron's book is a project or that I am working on a project.

Well, my non-project started back in December. Driving back from the MLA in a state of exchaustion, snowstorm all around me, I smashed my car against the metal rail on the highway. For a minute I only felt my teeth and my body became hollow. When I got out of the car I looked straight at this craggly barren tree; the branches make a clacking sounds like castanettes. My car was somehow smashed both from behind and in front. Then there was a cop car. I walked up to him. He looked shocked: "Are you the person who drove that car? I called the ambulance. I thought you'd be ground meat." But I was fine.

For a few days I was in the Memorial Hospital, flickering in and out of a comatose state (I kept wanting to blog for some reason). There was a nurse there named Ulrika (or Ulrike, can't remember). She had painted her nails black, at least that's the way I remember them. When I was awake I told her stories about my childhood - my father's involvement with the Croatian Underground and Solidarity, the time I had a concussion in Rome, the time I went down in an elevator in East Berlin. Then she said, "Ah, I know what you're doing. You're recreating the Ritual."

At first I thought I had heard the wrong thing. Then I realized she didn't mean "ritual" in the conventional sense. And that she was right. The crash was the first part of "the ritual", the second part was laying around comatose watching documentaries about the 1960s. Then I've added additional parts. For example, staying 24 hours in an abandoned electrical plant in South Bend. Filling out immigration papers. Learning how to use certain instruments.

Based on the bad 1960s documentary they kept showing in my hospital room and the hallucinations I experienced at the time, I wrote a play called "The Widow Party," which will be performed in the Links Hall in Chicago (with Joyelle, Patrick Durgin, Jennifer Karmin, Jacob Knabb and others) in May. It's about assasinations and war orphans. Britney Spears is naked, robotic and disheveled. The Genius Child Orchestra performs. It's a little like Buffalo Bill's Western Show, except it's about a different massacre (though there are native americans in my play, thanks to Hannah Weiner).

Another important part is the shaving machine that was used on my head. And an operation I will soon have on my head. Joyelle is going to document it with our little digital camera. I hope the doctors will let her get really close to the cut.

Bookslut on Nyberg

There's a really interesting review of Jennifer Hayshida's translation of Fredrik Nyberg's "A Different Practice" over at Bookslut. The reviewr, Olivia Cronk, makes a number of insightful points - not just about Nyberg but also Remainland, my Berg translation, and the relationship between Swedish and English:

Frederik Nyberg is Swedish. I remember when reading a translation of the work of fellow Swede, Aase Berg (translated by Johannes Göransson for Action Books), I learned that the Swedish language offers its users the wonderful option of flexible compound-words. Berg posed a particular problem in translation because she relies very heavily on this function. So, when the translator worked through the word groups, it was a constant creative process (when to hyphenate, when to literalize, when to simply maintain mood, etc.). The result is absolutely wonderful. I offer this information for two reasons: 1) I wonder about the distinct character of languages, for example: how Swedish rolled into English is itself a kind of poetics, and 2) I think there is much to be said about poetry translation as a primarily creative act, with documentation and presentation of information coming in second.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Exquisite Corpose reviews New Quarantine

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ada Limon reviews Abe Smith's Whim man mammon

Something I like about the review is that it begins with a description of Abe's reading style, which is amazing - his voice and body becomes this twitchy. percussive instrument. Impossible to forget once you've seen/heard.

poetry and technology

Technology alters perceptions. That's one of the most fundamental elements of 20th century avant-gardism (perhaps best expressed in Benjamin's "shocks"). If you are then interested in art that alters perception, then you may very likely be interested in bringing technology into your art (and the other way around). The historical avant-garde broke with the bourgeois notion of beauty as autonomous by introducing technology into the art (read more about this in any number of books like Huyssen's After the Great Divide).

Way more unusual/odd than contemporary poets' interest in technology is their interest in chapbooks/broadsides and Romantic ideas of sincerity and aura. The whole chapbook culture to me seems so arts-and-crafts-influenced, and many participants I've aired this hunch to seem to agree. But all in all I don't know much about this side of things (I have a chapbook from Dos Press and I like it).

Mike P. on Björling

Here's what Brit Mike Peverett has to say about Fredrik Hertzberg's translation of Gunnar Björling's Du går de ord/You go the words.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Aaron M. writes about Parland

Here's a little write-up about the Parland book:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Zachary Mason in LA Times

Here's a fine review in the LA Times of Zachary Mason's book The Lost Books of the Odyssey" by Zachary Mason. Certainly made me want to read the book. And I will. Even though it beat out my book "Dear Ra" for the Starcherone novel contest (they're publishign it anyway, so I have no reason to be bitter). Anyway, I'm getting this book and then I can write something reasonable other than just refering to LA Times.