Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Roommate's Wearing Jean Short Shorts Press

No really, my roommate is wearing jean cut-off short shorts. And my roommate is a dude.

Sad thing:
My brother calls me Typhoid Mary because of my cough. I'm almost better, though:

Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was the first person in the United States to be identified as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. Over the course of her career as a cook, she infected 47 people, three of whom died from the disease. Her fame is in part due to her vehement denial of her own role in causing the disease, together with her refusal to cease working as a cook. She was forcibly quarantined twice by public health authorities and died in quarantine.

"Irrational Fear" by Google Image

"Irrational Fear II" by Google Image

I think I have a very rational fear of the second photo.

Reading this Saturday:

June 2nd at 7 PM to the KGB bar
The first reading from THE APOCALYPSE READER, an anthology of new and selected short fiction about the end of the world.
Justin Taylor edited the book, which comes out this week from Thunder's Mouth Press.
The readers will be Tao Lin, Stacey Levine, Jared Hohl, Elliott David, and Jeff Goldberg. Copies of the book will be onsale, courtesy of Mobile Libris.

Reader bios & Directions to the bar are available here-

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You Can Be Robin Hood If You Get Me That Apple From The Fridge Press

"Utilitarian" by Google Image

"Utilitarian II" by Google Image

I relate to the deer. The deer is all, "Why the eff is there a velvet backdrop behind me. Why is my head stuffed with gauze."

Want to read a great poem? Yes you do:

Corona by Paul Celan

Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
From the nuts we shell time and we teach it to walk:
then time returns to the shell.

In the mirror it's Sunday,
in dream there is room for sleeping,
our mouths speak the truth.

My eye moves down to the sex of my loved one:
we look at each other,
we exchange dark words,
we love each other like poppy and memory,
we sleep like wine in the shell,
like the sea in the moon's blood ray.

We stand by the window embracing, and people look up from
the street:
it is time they knew!
It is time the stone made an effort to flower,
time unrest had a beating heart.
It is time it were time.

It is time.


How awesome is that? "Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand," are you kidding? That's perfect.

I went apartment hunting with my brother. I think he's moving to Greenpoint. It was either Greenpoint or Clinton Hill, but Greenpoint gets him to work quicker.

Can you do a Bill Cosby impression?
Can you do a Tom Hanks impression?
Can you do a Salma Hayek impression?

Step up.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The World Is Full Press

This is kind of an insane week, like R Kelly in your closet:

Starting tomorrow:
1) Michael Leviton performs his whale songs.
Tuesday, May 29
258 Wythe Ave. bet. N. 3rd and Metropolitan
Show starts at 8:30pm
Michael’s on first.

Soft Target Launch

Thursday, I'm busy so who cares.

Friday is madness:

1) Free Animal Collective show at South Street Seaport (!!!).

2) Cindy King and Ana Bozicevic-Bowling.
(you should go just to see if Ana is off the Crutch)
s t a i n
766 grand st.
bklyn, ny 11211

3) Keith Newton, Morgan Lucas Schuldt, Chris Tonelli & Dustin Williamson

8 PM
at Jimmy’s No. 43
43 East 7th Street
between 2nd & 3rd Avenues

4) Knocked Up opens in a theater near you. I think, though, I can wait until Saturday or Sunday to see it.

Good luck. Do you have time to cut my hair for me, please?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Peter Sarsgaard Mars the Czar's Lard Press

Talladega Nights is being watched right now somewhere in the world, which makes me sad. And by world, I mean my living room. And I'm pretty sure the culprit is my brother.

You should by Battles' Mirrored album.
I recommend Tyondai Braxton's solo work more, but, little grasshopper, you're going to have to go out into the world and find it on your own.


You can check out their single "Atlas":

I know this doesn't blow your mind, but it's a major accomplishment that I figured out how to put a video inside my blog. The video is really clean, which makes you feel a little far away, but when you see them live, there is a kind of unadulterated intensity that makes you realize how few bands actually have this.

If you didn't make it to the reading on Friday at the same place, you can go to Stain Bar again tonight for this:

(766 Grand St. / L to Grand, walk 1 block West)
(at 7:30pm on May 27th)

Michael Tod Edgerton won the 2004 Boston Review Poetry Contest and the 2005 Five Fingers Review Poetry Contest. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such other journals as Chelsea, Denver Quarterly, Fell Swoop, New American Writing, New Orleans Review, Skanky Possum, Wild Strawberries , and Word For/Word. He earned his MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University , and will be entering the doctoral program in English at the University of Georgia in the fall.

Kate Schapira lives in Rhode Island, where she teaches writing and literature and organizes Publicly Complex, a reading series featuring innovative and challenging writing by the not yet famous. She is the author of Phoenix Memory, a chapbook available from horse less press, and of several handmade self-published chapbooks. This summer she is looking forward to cleaning her work area, appearing on a panel at the University of Rhode Island's first summer writing conference, and working on her new project, an anti-epic set after all the glaciers have melted.

Bronwen Tate is the author of a poetry chapbook, Souvenirs (self-published, 2006; available through the Dusie Chapbook Kollectiv) and an as yet untitled chapbook to appear from Cannibal Press sometime soon. Some recent poems have appeared in Typo, How2 Journal, No Tell Motel, and Word For/Word. She received her MFA in poetry from Brown University in 2006. Hard as it is for her to believe, by the time this reading happens, Bronwen will have packed all of her belongings into boxes and will be about to leave for California, where she will begin a PhD in Comparative Literature at Stanford in the fall. She blogs at Bread and Jam For Frances.

Caroline Noble Whitbeck's manuscript, Our Classical Heritage: A Homing Device, was the 2006 winner of Switchback Books' Gatewood Prize as selected by judge Arielle Greenberg. She holds a BA in Classics (Latin) from Harvard College and an MFA from Brown University. Born and raised in New York City, she currently resides in Philadelphia, where she is working toward a PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Her short play "Woof" was produced off-Broadway as part of the Young Playwrights Festival 2000, and her poems have appeared in Horse Less Review, Lumina, Elimae, Cab/Net, and Word For/Word. Our Classical Heritage: A Homing Device is forthcoming in September 2007 from Switchback Books.

Lynn Xu is the author of a poetry chapbook, June (Corollary Press, 2006). She has received her MFA from Brown University, the 2007 SLS Fellowship to St. Petersburg judged by Fanny Howe, the 2006 Greg Grummer Prize judged by Anne Carson, and the 2004 Eisner Prize judged by Lyn Hejinian. Her poems have appeared in The Canary, Phoebe, and UDP's 6x6, and are forthcoming in Fence, Swerve, and Eoagh. Lynn Xu likes water. Likes gold. These are not competing species so she is very happy.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Tinfoil in the Dark

It's 2:03am. I'm going to tell you a few honest things.

I find it very calming & reassuring to watch people cut strawberries & bananas into their cereal bowls. Do I need to explain it more than that? I don't think so.

I've never slept with my bedroom door entirely shut.

One time when I was about seven I went to our local pond & a baby pollywog got stuck to our net & then stuck to the window of our car when we left (we're talking about the size of a ladybug with a little tail) & I cried. I think it was a combined moment of "Look what've we've done & almost didn't even noticed" & "We're so tiny, too."

When I was in second grade I forgot to bring a dollar to the school fair so I took a dollar from someone else'c cubby. I believe I bought a bag of vegetables & ranch dip (that came in a cafeteria dixie cup) & I felt so, so guilty eating my vegetables.

I think that one of the moments I feel most content is when I walk through the woods in Rhode Island & emerge from the forest to stand right in front of the ocean. The woods are cool & thick, & then, right before they break open to show the water, the forest floor becomes sandy & the wind is saltier, & then- bam. There you are. At the edge of a forest looking at the tide.

I'm going to sleep now so I can take this walk tomorrow.

Does Red Velvet Cake Look A Little Scary To You Too Press

Top 5 Topics at the Berman / Cohen Dinner Table:

1. How Elephants Masturbate in Africa (I now know, thanks Grandma).

2. Maybe some (evil) American business bought a village in Laos or India and named it USA so that they could outsource but still say their clothing was made in the USA.

3. How much oil is in Alaska (not enough to make it worth killing the arctic wildlife. Thank you).

4. How many frat brothers does it take to eat a 90 pound pig (this is not a joke)? It takes about 40. Plus the campus security you bribe with pig & beer to protect you from the cops and noise complaints.

5. Do you eat or drink soup. Maybe it depends on the consistency. It's amazing how much soup our daughter can drink/eat.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Paper Airplane Press

I'm still sick. What good can come out of staying home sick all week? 1) Editing poems, 2) gleaning important, introspective questions from the tv ads I watch:

"Does your body wash pass the silky dress test?"
"Have you tried a caramel this smooth and chewable?"
"Can you get Joss Stone on your instant wireless downloads?"
"Are you the funniest person in the world (then Last Comic Standing wants you!)?"
"Do you want the most legroom? Do you want a meatball sub?" (I’m not sure how these two things are related, but it’s from a car ad)

I'm getting NOs across the board here. Sorry. Also, what if I do want legroom, but I am not in the mood for a meatball sub? I guess this car is not for me.

"Proactive" By Google Image

"Proactive II" by Google Image

1,000 Chin-Ups Press

Woman Is Internally Decapitated (and lives):

In January, Shannon Malloy, 30, was in a car crash in Nebraska that left her "internally decapitated." Her skull and spine separated but her neck remained whole. Amazingly, she survived and is recovering. From

Five screws were drilled into Malloy's neck. Four more were drilled into her head to keep it stabilized. Then a thing called a halo -- rods and a circular metal bar -- was attached for added support...

"My skull slipped off my neck about five times. Every time they tried to screw this to my head, I would slip," said Malloy.

Rebuilding Malloy's neck strength was a priority, but there were also other complications.

"I had a fractured skull, swollen brain stem, bleeding in my brain, GI tube in my stomach, can't swallow, and nerve damage in my eyes (because they cross)," said Malloy.

Doctors are working on that but she has been lucky enough to get the halo removed. She videotaped the experience for 7NEWS.

In case you really care:
Malloy still has a long, costly recovery ahead. A fund has been set up in Malloy's name at Wells Fargo banks. You can make donations at any location under the "The Benefit of Shannon Malloy."

Oh dear. I found that disturbing. Not as Showy or Deadly as the guillotine, though.

In other news:
-I found out in Philly last weekend that I can only do 3/4 of a chin-up.
-Sending out more copies of Saltgrass. Gettin' the word out.
-I watched The History Boys. For some reason, I had higher expectations for the movie, even though they weren't that high to begin with. The movie had no idea what it was trying to say. It was just a room full of spoiled English boys, none with any interesting personalities. For example, we had the Recently Out of the Closet Boy, the Cute Boy Who The Recently Out Of The Closet Boy Has a Crush On, The One Boy Who Doesn't Actually Care About Getting into Oxford or Cambridge, The Jock Who Is Slightly Jealous of The Sexual Tension Between Recently Out of The Closet Boy and Cute Boy & Admits it but Not Totally, the Two Teachers Who Represent Different Schools of Thought on What Composes a Legitimate Education, Two Minority Students, and The Fat Kid Who Gets Laughts at Gym Class. You kind of know where the movie is supposed to go, but I feel like the director has not yet had that moment where he sits up in bed late at night and says "Oh, so characters are supposed to have personalities? And the audience wants to know why they act a certain way? Interesting, maybe I should incorporate this epiphany into my movie."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fairly Certain You're Not The One For Me Press

Poor Man's Orangina:

1) pour 1/2 bottle carbonated water
2) into 1/2 cart orange juice
3) shake or stir gently
4) drink

5) have you noticed that there is "no pulp" juice, "some pulp" juice, and "most pulp" juice? how does "most pulp" get to claim most? what if some company comes out with even more pulp, then does the original "most pulp" have to call themselves "almost pulp"?

6) why are all these people looking at slides of Orangina?

Wikipedia says:
Orangina is a carbonated soft drink made from oranges and tangerines. According to its English website, "The exact formula is a closely guarded secret, but Orangina is made up of a high content of orange juice and pulp: The bottle claims 12% juice, and 2% pulp." [1] It has a long history, but was produced in colonized Algeria, and later in France after Algeria won its independence. The brand's popularity extends from its unique flavour to the iconic design of its 25cl size bottle made in the shape of a pear with a pebbly texture meant to recall the peel of an orange or other citrus fruit.

Real News:
So China has a new law for bloggers. Basically, the rule is: you can't say anything nasty about China because we know who you are:

BEIJING - New rules by a Chinese government-backed Internet group maintain strict controls over the country's bloggers, requiring them to register with their real names and identification cards.

The guidelines from the Internet Society of China, a group made up of China's major Internet companies, contradict state media reports this week claiming that China was considering loosening registration requirements for bloggers to allow anonymous online journaling.

The society's new draft code of conduct seen on its Web site Wednesday says Web log service providers must still get their users' real names and contact information.

Critics say the requirement violates a blogger's right to freedom of expression and puts them at risk of punishment or imprisonment if they post controversial opinions about politics, religion or other issues.

The society's proposed code of conduct for blog service providers comes in addition to already existing government regulations that govern China's Internet. The country's official Internet watchdog banned anonymous Web site and blog registration in 2005.

Online bulletin boards and blogs are the only forum for most Chinese to express opinions before a large audience in a society where all media are state-controlled.

China has the world's second-biggest population of Internet users after the United States, with 137 million people online. It also has some 20 million blogs, according to government figures.

Also in the news, stubby fingers might mean bad SAT scores:
A quick look at the lengths of children's index and ring fingers can be used to predict how well students will perform on SATs, new research claims.

Kids with longer ring fingers compared to index fingers are likely to have higher math scores than literacy or verbal scores on the college entrance exam, while children with the reverse finger-length ratio are likely to have higher reading and writing, or verbal, scores versus math scores.

Scientists have known that different levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the womb account for the different finger lengths, which are a reflection of areas of the brain that are more highly developed than others, said psychologist Mark Brosnan of the University of Bath, who led the study.

Exposure to testosterone in the womb is said to promote development of areas of the brain often associated with spatial and mathematical skills, he said. That hormone makes the ring finger longer. Estrogen exposure does the same for areas of the brain associated with verbal ability and tends to lengthen the index finger relative to the ring finger.

To test the link to children's scores on the College Board's Scholastic Assessment Test (for which the name has changed a number of times in the past 100 years), Brosnan and his colleagues made photocopies of children's palms and measured the length of their index and ring fingers using calipers accurate to 0.01 millimeters. They used the finger-length ratios as a proxy for the levels of testosterone and estrogen exposure.

The researchers then looked at boys' and girls' test performances separately and compared them to finger-length ratio measurements. They found a clear link between high prenatal testosterone exposure, indicated by the longer index finger compared to the ring finger, and higher scores on the math SAT.

Similarly, they found higher literacy SAT scores for the girls among those who had lower prenatal testosterone exposure, as indicated by a shorter ring finger compared with the index finger.

The researchers also compared the finger-lengths ratios to all the children's SAT scores and found that a relatively longer ring finger—indicating greater prenatal exposure to testosterone—meant a wider gap in scores for math versus literacy (writing and critical reading).

"Finger ratio provides us with an interesting insight into our innate abilities in key cognitive areas," Brosnan said, in a prepared statement. The results will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the British Journal of Psychology.

In the future, his team will see if finger-length ratios are related to other cognitive and behavioral issues, such as technophobia, career paths and possibly dyslexia.

....I can't even begin to comment on this article.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quietly Opening Cans of Blood Press

So, top on Yahoo news today is Paula Abdul's broken nose, which she got after trying not to trip over her chihuahua, Daisy:

What has Paula Abdul in tears? Apparently the "American Idol" judge broke her nose, reportedly after she tripped and fell trying to avoid stepping on one of her three longhaired Chihuahuas.

Paula's nose was not bandaged after the fall, but she certainly appeared to be in pain. "There's some bruising like you wouldn't believe all over my body," Paula said. "I'm hurting a lot."

...So how 'bout that Darfur?

The Castanets are playing right now in Bushwick and I can't go because I'm home sick. This is annoying I haven't seen a good live show in a while.
You can check a few of their songs out on myspace if you've never heard them before:

Lucky for me, there is a new reality show on television like Project Runway, but for film makers who want to win the start up money to make their first movie. or at least I think that's the prize.
I have a guest Google Word/Image of the Day Recommender. DL has recommended karma, so what goes around comes around:

"Karma" by Google Image

"Karma II" by Google Image

What kind of karma do you want knocking on your door?

Get your mind out of the gutter. Karma is always rated PG.

Oi. My next entry will be G and will be about poetry. Promise.
Oh, the Castanets are also playing this friday in Williamsburg's Monkeytown. I'll be in RI, but if you're in the city you should go.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We Only Eat Processed Food Press

"Fatalism" By Google Image:

"Fatalism" by Google Image:

Is Russia just another word for fatalism?

One movie not even watchable with witty friends, tipsy, at 4am: Music and Lyrics.
On some late night talk show, I heard Hugh Grant rightfully admit he was wrongfully cast. I guess the draw of acting the part of an aging pop star was just too strong to escape from.

I went to see Jackie Clark and Christie Ann Reynolds read their poetry at the 440 Gallery. Watch out for these two, they're good.

Two options for your Wednesday night:

Peter Gizzi at the poetry project. His new book (below) The Outernationale just published w/ Wesleyan University Press. I have read his other books and chapbooks and intend to buy this too. I suggest you also buy Some Values of Landscape and Weather his last title.

Amy King also has a reading on Wednesday. Details TBA.
This is the cover of her new book:

Seriously if anyone goes to this, please tell me so I can laugh and laugh:

Tuesday May 22, 2007 at 8 p.m.

The National Arts Club presents


Former poet laureate of the United States and bestselling author
Billy Collins will read from and talk about his recent book of haiku,
"She Was Just Seventeen." Former president of the Haiku Society of
America Cor van den Heuvel will then read and discuss haiku from his
new book "Baseball Haiku" (published by W.W. Norton and co-edited
with Nanae Tamura), and three of the featured poets in the book--Alan
Pizzarelli, Ed Markowski, and Brenda Gannam--will read their baseball

Wine reception to follow.

The event is free and no reservations are required.

The National Arts Club
15 Gramercy Park South
New York City

I think I just found the title for my manuscript:
Haiku and Baseball with Billy Collins: A Celebration
By Julia Cohen

Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Touch/ Bad Touch Press

"Babysnakes in Captivity"

"Babysnakes in the Wild"

I'm going to be out of town, but if you can go to this tonight, you should. Old-time music: banjo, fiddle, guitar.

rhys jones, rafe stefanini, sam amidon
at the baggot inn
82 W. 3rd St. btw. Sullivan and Thompson
this coming Friday, May 18, 8 PM, $5


My new glasses make me look serious. At Last! No wait.
Check this out, the frames were $100, which stinks but unless your getting dollar store reading classes, real frames cost money. The kicker is that the glass itself cost $300. There is no way around it. My sight is so bad, the crazy glasses needed to make me see is $300. No way around it.

Forthcoming from _______:
Two Glass Eyes: The Julia Cohen Story

Who wants to publish this? Fill in my blank.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is Your Plumber a Voyeur Press

Since I worked my way through Schmall's chapbook as well as Wheeler & Gorman's this week, Mathias Svalina is rolling up his sleeves to do a guest blog on Hoy's Outtakes. Ready?:

At first glance Dan Hoy’s Outtakes might read as ironic deflations of the daily life of the contemporary cinematic experience. They present the events that happen around the film, the space outside the frame, the dunderheaded personal experiences from the set that don’t make it into the gag reel. Many of these are funny poems, biting & wry. Hoy uses a variety of entryways into the experiences of being around film, but does not attempt to recreate the cathedral-like name of a film in action. Instead these are particular angles on the interaction with cinema. However it’s the nature of the speaker of these poems that most interests me & ultimately opens a discussion that rises above only humor or quippy cultural critique.

The poems in this chapbook are either longer dramatic monologues that attempt a more comprehensive presentation of experience or shorter pieces that, while still driven by a speaker’s “I,” cut a quicker, more lyric slice of the moment. The longer pieces employ a voice & tone that works to interpret through over-intellectualization, complicated Latinates abstracting the object of attention. They work in a style similar to the irony-saturated smarty-pants monologue that reveals the emotional flaws, by which I mean they seem a little mcsweeneysy. This tone is heaviest in “Shot Reverse Shot” with wrought pretension-speak lines like

I’m going for a kind of intuitive,
hallucinatory, somnambulistic precision. A waking version
of lucid dreaming culled from my days as an armchair
oneironaut and protoscientist and figure-ground cartographer.

But Hoy is not inviting us to laugh at these speakers. The theory-speak & pop culture references in this poem are not there for us to snicker at & feel superior to. They are simply the available facts to these speakers. This becomes most clear as the chapbook culminates in the longest poem, “The Power Ballad of Constance Orr,” a title that sets me up for high irony. And its there, as the speaker flits through the nebulous space between her actual life & the media-construct of her life. But this poem is not only the ironically self-conscious story of a starlet. It would not work as a short-short if you removed the line breaks, Hoy drops lines that pierce the veneer of distance, lines of rich lyric beauty that arise out of the set of images he establishes:

I was hurt and / looking for somebody to crush up & snort in retaliation

I had never seen so many telephoto lenses in one place.

I’ve never met an aperture large enough to swallow
an entire audience from the inside. Which means
the Access Hollywood betacam framing its compatriots
from the circling helicopter above doesn’t count.
There has to be an opening somewhere behind
the quagmire of curtain and glass and available light
I can’t see.

It would be lazy to set up these scenarios of celebrities & then ask the reader to find them ridiculous. Hoy mines the particular stone of those settings to find the images & metaphors that are unique to those milieus.

It’s Hoy’s shorter poems that get to me more, “Because You’re a Former Child Actor” & “Gaffer” in particular. They abandon the intellectualized talky voice for a more intimate way of speaking, though the speakers are similarly haunted by the presence of the constructed reality of the film. “Because You’re a Former Child Actor” opens:

I asked you to be my furniture in so many words.

And closes:

But I like you because your face is bloated and saggy but unironic,
like that retro t-shirt and whatever year this is.

“Gaffer” closes:

Like the liaison was having a dalliance with the tray it carried.
As if the food would never get here.
I don’t even believe in food.

These shorter, more open poems allow me to negotiate the speaker with greater flexibility, whereas the longer poems use the dramatic monologue to keep finding unlocking new doors in the speakers. But every poem in this chapbook is driven by the “I” & ultimately it is the nature of this I that intrigues me. There are celebrities, actors, people who have slept with actors, movie-watchers & small time set workers. In all they are the human experience of the function of films. Many of the poems use details to develop the character but it is not the primary purpose of the poems to create individualized characters. Rather, Outtakes moves in the spaces between all the mindsets that are constantly working in relation to the film version of reality. It is one thing to talk about how the cinema works as someone steps into the dark theater & experiences the film, the transport the immersion, but Hoy explores the way daily like continues to immerse itself in film & the ancillary celebrity matrix. And ultimately it is this thinking about the influence of film that makes Outtakes interesting to me.

Thank you for this review.

Ok, I'm still going to hit you all with The Google Image/Word of the Day:

"Lackluster" by Google Image:

"Lackluster II" by Google Image:

You know the lewd, drunk guy at the back of the dingy, local bar who the bartender has propped up against the video game screen, strategically far away from the jukebox and any pretty ladies? The bartender may have even given him some quarters to play the Pin-Up Pick Out game (you may also know it as Erotic Photo Hunt), where there is a dual screen and you have about 20 seconds to pick out the 5 different items that vary in the two similar photos of bikini-clad women. You know the game? Well, if you push away the lewd drunk, Babysnakes gets to play. Unfortunately, we were not good enough to be #1, so now Babysnakes is ranked below "Boobs" and "Cheaters" but above "BJ." Nice.

"#5 RULES"

Tonight I may find myself at Pete's Candy Store listening to this:

Edward Gorch with Born at Sea 9-10:15
Cello, banjo, vocals, guitar, dust, broken glass, empty flasks, bloody lips and prayers.
The Gena Rowlands Band 10:30
Wry literate orchestrated barroom yarns from graduates of the Washington D.C post-punk community. Strings stolen from a b&w movie score. The skitter of jazz brushes. A voice that draws more power from a whisper or a soulful falsetto than from a scream.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell's Dead! Jerry Falwell's Dead! Press

Jerry Falwell is finally dead. You know who this man is. Fundamentalist Christian Pastor. Founder of the Moral Majority (Christian Right organization). Leader of one of the "megachurches." Basically, there is less evil in the world. I bet you were even breathing easier today and you didn't know why, but now you do.

"Sad Pallor" by Google Image

"Sad Pallor II" by Google Image

So I'm just continuing on with the chapbooks from earlier. On to Jeremy Schmall's Underneath an Obnoxious Moon. Which is published by Booklyn and looks quite lovely. Here is a little bit about Booklyn from their website (

Founded in 1999, Booklyn is an artist-run, nonprofit organization headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. Our mission is to promote artist books as an art form and educational resource; to provide educational institutions and the public with programming involving contemporary artist books; and to assist artists in exhibiting, distributing, and publishing innovative bookwork.

They have started to branch into more text based books, it seems, such as poetry chapbooks. Schmall may have the only chapbook in the world to which you must cut each page open before you can read it. If you don't have a knife or scissors, for example, if you're on the subway and you want to start reading it, you may either tear it a bit in a ruffled, worn sort of way, or peak underneath the folded pages and receive a few weird looks from strangers.

Anyways, as I said, I don't do reviews, just want to tell you something good to look for. Schmall presents a narrative voice that is strong as an "I," yet at appropriate times, gracefully bows out to the collective "us." For instance, "My drunk wears off at the worst time, with dinner so many hours away and all I can think of is cornbread." There are many insular thoughts like these, often caught between the humor of coveting cornbread and the sadness imbued in the reticence felt towards sobering up. Then you have moments of collective regret, a sullen awareness that one is a little too similar to the people you don't want to be entirely associated with: "And the sun? Well, why should it care, we're all too lazy to invent something else." This short chapbook captures an eerie commentary on our general lack of direction, on the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many choices and maybe none that look too good, on the disconnect between people we ignore on a daily basis, on our personal, internal humiliations and episodes of loneliness, on how to rally a troop of one which is just you, on why one might look at and for a brief moment resent it and call the moon obnoxious. And yet, in a quiet resilience, the narrator ends with an offer to you, the stranger, to feel "my tongue clicking inside my own mouth."

You Can't Get Drunk If You Pour Your Whiskey on Your Skirt! Press

"Pessimism" by Google Image

"Pessimism II" by Google Image

I have to say that being Amish is not what I associate with pessimism, but who am I to contradict The Google?

I acquired so many chapbooks last night. It was like Babysnakes, everywhere. That's a good thing. You might be asking yourself why Babysnakes is good. I'll tell you, sort of. It's because when you are born you are born with 1,000 Babysnakes inside you. For instance, Jack Spicer was all Babysnakes. For instance, the movie Smokin' Aces has NO Babynakes. What I mean is, I have a lot of reading to do:

Absolutely You by Betsy Wheeler & Dean Gorman
Outtakes by Dan Hoy
Wit's End with Bric-a-Brac by Jessica Dressner
Underneath an Obnoxious Moon by Jeremy Schmall
Stanzas in Imitations by Gina Myers

I'll hit you with a little bit from each.

Excerpt from Wheeler's Non-Sonnet for a Ruffled Bird:

About me the weather knows nothing at all.
I am regal in the gale, hunkered down, un-
affected by the witch-head's stormy method.
Yeah, I hold myself together pretty well.
I'm all about collecting.
The fire in my palms, for instance, is amazing
in its tender & neurotic burning.

I get the sense that Wheeler is in control. She has a knack for balancing colloquial language with haunting images and honest thoughts. Maybe "honest thoughts" isn't the right way to describe it- it's more that the twisted images drop away and suddenly there is a vista of a person shrugging her/his shoulders just telling you what's up in a direct and open way. There are a lot of people who try and do this and you know what? Their poems are boring and ungainly. For some reason, some poets can't figure out how to balance our every day form of address/lexicon in a way that retains a sense of beauty or unique sheen. Irony, yes. Beauty, no. Learn something from reading this chapbook. I'll try if you try.

That's all I have time for right now. MS is threatening to wash my computer for me. I'm not saying clean, I'm saying "wash" as in a Scrubdown. I think my old roommate got hot sauce on the keyboard.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My Tiger is Better Than Your German Sports Car Press

My friend sent me this picture he made. I think it's tops. This is how a lion sharpens its claws in the wild. In the winter wild landscape. I'm just sure of it.

This is a section from the poem "Two Ton Chair" in Cameron's Flowers of Bad:

Arms open / When you respond eleborately
To a pirate who poisons your blood with the same ink the dictators used to sign your death warrant.
Nothing. Peanuts were roasted beforehand.

I was a German pool hustler. Watching films about the sea. I fell asleep dancing.
I'm seeking help. I lean towards Italian ice cream.

I really wanted to type up another poem that's longer and beautiful, also by Cameron, but my hands aren't cooperating with me today so I'll have to show you another time. But he does have the line in it "And he brings a bar of black soap for trouble."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Your Arm, My Waterbed Press

My head is filled with pollen. If a bee landed on my forehead, it would blossom into a strange orchid, beetles would shimmy up my shins and rest on my petal-ears.
What I'm trying to say is this weather is giving me asthma and allergies galore. Not cool, Spring, not cool.

However, let's not stop worrying about all of the honeybees that are dying. Have you been reading about this? I keep getting different numbers depending on where I look, but approx 25% of North American honeybees have died off this year and scientists are struggling to figure out why. It's not just America, though:

The Economist says:

Colony collapse disorder, as the phenomenon has become known as, was first reported in America in mid-November 2006. It spread rapidly, with beekeepers reporting heavy losses of between 30% and 90% of bees. Some 24 American states have now reported cases of colony collapse disorder. It has also been seen in Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

The interviewers were able to eliminate some suspects from their inquiries. It makes no difference what the bees eat, what chemicals apiarists use to prevent disease in the hives, whether the bees are for pollinating or for making honey, or where the queens came from. A recent suggestion that mobile phones may play a part has also been dismissed.

The genome of the honeybee is yielding some clues. Researchers have compared it with that of other insects, including the fruit fly and the mosquito. They have found that bees cannot make an enzyme that other insects use to help eliminate toxins from the body. This could leave bees at risk of poisoning.

This article talks about the financial ramifications for this rapid mortality rate (bees pollinate $15 billion-worth of fruit, vegetables and nuts), but many other articles focus more on, obviously, the larger issues of how to sustain an ecosystem where pollination is essential. Anyways, I'm clearly uneducated on this topic but am reading more as I go.

I'm going to remind you of one amazing Spicer stanza:

My sorrow
Self of my sorrow

He so beautifully distinguishes the sorrow from the body containing and being changed by its sadness.

"Civilized" by Google Image

"Civilized II" by Google Image

Terrifying, is it not?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Peter Sarsgaard Sars Czar Press

Thanks to hometown friends and family who came to the reading on Saturday for the So and So Series, and the crew who drove up with me from nyc. Besides one poem, I read all new stuff, which was fun for me. Beforehand, we went bowling. When seven poets go bowling, there really is no "winner."

I found a stack of my 8th grade journals (it was mandatory to keep a journal in the school I went to) and will write about that sometime this week. In one entry, I divide my classmates up into three catagories and use some really choice words to describe people, like "screwball" and "buttass."
One good line: "I tried a new kind of melon today." I also review "The Necklace" by Maupassant. Yeah, that was a really sexy journal entry, I'm sure.

You should buy Bronwen Tate's chapbook "Souvenirs" at
In fact, I was borrowing someone else's copy, so I'll buy one if you buy one, deal?

I was a little wary of plugging "docile" in as a Google search because I was afraid lots of pictures of downtrodden women or asian fetish porn would show up. There were actually a number of images of tarantulas. I guess people who love tarantulas as pets spend a great deal of time persuading un-convinced friends that they are in fact, "docile."

"Docile" by Google Image:

This manatee wants to be your friend. I'm pretty sure of it.

"Docile II" by Google Image:

Lots of readings coming up in nyc. David Lehman reads tonight at KGB. Betsy Wheeler, amongst others, is reading this Friday:

St. Mark's Poetry Project -- Friday, May 11th --6:00 pm

A Glorious Celebratory Festival Of Brief Readings From Some Recently Published & Highly Awesome Chapbooks To be Followed By Revelry

A group reading curated by Matthew Zapruder(author of American Linden (Tupelo Press, 2002) and The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon, 2006), celebrating poetry from recently released award-winning and self-published chapbooks, featuring:
Dottie Lasky, Valzhyna Mort, Dan Chelotti, Kate Hall, Cindy King, Betsy Wheeler, Travis Nichols, Monica Fambrough, Lori Shine, Kathy Ossip, Cole Heinowitz and Stephanie Ruth Anderson. Note the early start time of this Friday night event.

The St. Mark's Poetry Project is located at 131 E. 10th St., at 2nd Avenue.

Also, next Monday:
KGB Monday Night Poetry Series: May 14th -- 7:30pm

Chapbooks Night: a group reading of poets with recently released chapbooks, featuring Kate Hall, Cindy King, Ish Klein, Tonya Foster, Gina Myers, Dan Hoy, Betsy Wheeler, Travis Nichols, Monica Fambrough, Karen Wieser, Rebecca Hoogs, Valzhyna

KGB is located just west of 2nd Avenue in the East Village, at 85 E. 4th Street. All readings are on Monday nights, and start at 7:30 pm

Friday, May 4, 2007

You & Me & Five Bucks Press

Guess which one is adorable and which one is scary:

"Ebullient" by Google Image

"EbullientII" by Google Image:

Treking to my home town area:
Ok, my reading is tomorrow. So you should come. Wait, I can't quite hear you, are you saying, "Of course, I'll get there 5 minutes early because early is the new fashionably late?" That's what I thought.

I'm looking forward to seeing trees and grass in MA. My house is woodsy & the fridge has food. Dice.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Does Anyone Still Rollerblade Press

"Agnostic" by Google Image:

"Agnostic II" by Google Image:

I'm not sure which image is more fitting.

Um, does anyone want a free Journey CD? I'll give it to you, no questions asked (like, I really don't want to know). The package says:

Raised on Radio
Featuring classics "Girls CAn't Help It"
"Be Good To Yourself" and
"I'll be Alright Without You"
16 page full color scrapbook-style booklet includes tourd ates, never-before-seen photos and memorabilia.

So, just email me your mailing address and this is yours.