I feel despondent recently about where to send my recent poems. I might be paranoid, but I feel like the better my poems get, the less likely journals are to take them. This is a bad inverse relationship. But I believe in my poetry (if you don't you're in trouble, no?), because it is how I best communicate, besides biting your chin, which our society frowns upon as public interaction, so I imagine this will pass. Or I will just start printing them off and stuffing them into owl nests. Or I will write knock knock joke books for forth graders:
That said, I just finished up a series of poems I've been working on and I'm excited about that. Maybe the last week or two was just a little dark. I take it all back. I'm pumped.
I think my next poem will be titled:
Design a Line Graph to Track the Fluctuations of Your Spirit in Relation to Events
Or something like that.
A number of years ago a good friend of mine died. And my other friend, who was a visual artist, took an old library index drawer. Do you remember those from when you were a kid?
How you used to find books the old school way? Each drawer would be for one letter of the alphabet. They were not wide, but they were about 2 feet deep, you could pull the drawer and it would keep coming out, filled with library cards for particular titles. Anyways, she filled the entire drawer with index cards and each index hard had a fact, story, description of my friend who died. This is clearly a weird project on a few levels, the visual one being that the drawer looks like a casket when it is pulled out, and when it is shelved with the other drawers, it looks like a compartment in a morgue. It is weird to think about which people you are close to would be able to fill a really long drawer with more than hundreds of descriptive cards about yourself. It is weird to think about someone sharing this drawer with someone else who did not know you, to render its contents available, public, like its original purpose in a library. Except that the contents do not lead you to a book, it's an entirely different aesthetic of (dis)location. It is weird that now 7 years later, I often wish I could dig through this drawer. At night, in bed, I try to imagine as many index cards as I can.
This has become rambley. I'll give you some poetry related info:
Wednesday, October 8, 8 PM
Steve McCaffery, Karen Mac Cormack & Marjorie Welish
Steve McCaffery is the author of more than 25 volumes of poetry and criticism, most recently Slightly Left of Thinking from Chax Press and Paradigm of the Tinctures (with Alan Halsey) from Granary Books. He is one of the founding theorists of Language Poetry and a founding member of both the Toronto Research Group and the sound poetry ensemble The Four Horsemen. He lives in Buffalo where he is the David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the University at Buffalo. Born in Luanshya, Zambia, Karen Mac Cormack is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry. Titles include Nothing by Mouth, Quill Driver, Quirks & Quillets, At Issue and Vanity Release. Her poetry appears in a number of anthologies, among them: Another Language: Poetic Experiments in the USA and the UK, Out of Everywhere: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America and the UK, Moving Borders (Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women), The Art of Practice, and has been translated into French, Portuguese, Swedish, and Norwegian. Of dual British/Canadian citizenship, she currently lives in the USA and teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Marjorie Welish received her B.A. from Columbia University and her M.F.A. from Vermont College. She is the author of several books of poetry, including The Windows Flew Open (Burning Deck, 1991), Casting Sequences (University of Georgia, 1993), The Annotated “Here” and Selected Poems (2000), Word Group (2004), and Isle of the Signatories (2008) - these last, published by Coffee House Press. A professor teaching at Columbia University and at Pratt Institute, she is also the author of a book of art criticism: Signifying Art: Essays on Art after 1960 (Cambridge University Press, 1999). Often anthologized, her poetry may be found in: Best Poems of 1988 (Scribners), From the Other Side of the Century: A New American Poetry 1960-1990 (Sun& Moon Press, 1994), Experimental Poetry: 1950 to the Present (Norton, 1994), and Nineteen Lines (Drawing Center/ Roof Books, 2007).
2) I am going to this on Friday. Let's all go, shall we?
October 10 // 8 PM
$5 + one free drink
Jennifer Kikoler (Brooklyn College)
Levi Rubeck (New York University)
Claire Shefchik (Sarah Lawrence College)