Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A haze of gold, the Occidental lights up the window. Now, the assiduous manuscript is waiting, weighed down by the infinite Press

While I have been at my desk all week, like an insect that crawled onto the lip of an orchid & then tipped over & drowned in the sweet perfumed watery pool of the flower's gullet, poems have been exploding elsewhere in the world:

Example #1:

The new issue of coconut is up: Issue Thirteen, with such rockers as Rae Armantrout, David Lehman, Ariana Reines, Teresa K. Miller, Kate Colby, Carrie Olivia Adams, James Belflower, Anne Marie Rooney, Kristi Maxwell, Jason Zuzga, Megan Kaminski, Christopher Higgs, Nellie Haack, Claire Donato, Ravi Shankar, Emily Anderson, Laynie Browne, Jonathan Doherty, Kathleen Jesme, Matina Stamatakis, Mike Young, and Terence Winch.

Kristi Maxwell's poetry continues to blow my mind.

Example #2:

Volume 42, Number 4, Issue of Denver Quarterly
CONTRIBUTORS: Erik Anderson, Stephanie Anderson, Anne Blonstein, Julie Phillips Brown, Suzanne Buffam, Nancy Naomi Carlson, Kim Chinquee, Patrick F. Durgin, Kim Evans, Paul Fattaruso, Georges Godeau, Laura Goode, Nathan Hauke, Claire Hero, Garrett Kalleburg, Aby Kaupang, Katalin Keller, Scott McWaters, Eileen Myles, Ron Padgett, Christian Peet, Emily Rae, Srikanth Reddy, Forrest Roth, Stephen Sandy, Roy Scranton, Andrew Seguin, Brandon Shimoda, D.E. Steward, Michelle Taransky, Karen Volkman

COVER ART: Joe Brainard (1942-94)was a visual artist and a writer. His influential book I Remember has been in print since 1970. His art work is represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York. For more information, go to www.joebrainard.org. The cover image, "Untitled, 1976" (private collection) is a mixed-media collage and is used with permissiong from the Estate of Joe Brainard and the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York City.


The poem on the back of the issue:

Brandon Shimoda

[I was told]

I was told
that you were kind to us
once flowering
skin in the grass


trunks stripped
vacuities in the pulp and prickle cell


offered us into the merciful forest
between wood and white garment
to cut from a single stand
a grave of wide refuge
where made honorary


cricket-of-lace
ascends the shooting candle in the pine
to sound the whorling bell


catafalque in fog

mountain emerald dead--

fallen in this terrarium

***

Told you so.

***

Have you ordered Julie Doxsee's Undersleep yet? No joke, it sits with me at my desk all day long. I'll feel more connected to you if you, too, order a copy and have it sit next to you all day long.

Here is another Doxsee poem:

Your Dry-Eye Curse

Because that cloud
I'm pointing to has been raining on my town
six years straight

it's not weight of the
house affecting
my disappearance into
mud. You'd
sink when the part of
our body that is legs
takes charge.

****
The 16th Poet Laureate:
Here is a PRO Kay Ryan article by Meghan O'Rourke on Slate (can you tell that Slate is the first thing I read in the morning?).

Here is a CON Kay Ryan discussion spurred by Silliman.

Do you have an opinion? Tell me about it, ok?

***

I Will Buy You A New Life, Everclear circa 1997:


Fireman, Lil Wayne circa 2005:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SePRNJtJQXw

Go DJ, Lil Wayne:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3dIP1jnu4Q

Gossip, Lil Wayne:


A Milli, Lil Wayne:


And tonight I'm going to here Steven Karl read with other mysterious poets at Home Sweet Home, 131 Chrystie Street, btwn Broome & Delancey. Please come.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shirtless, Holding the Canoe to the Roof of My Truck with One Hand, Drinking a Beer with the Other Press

Thank you to Kim Lyons who organized the reading last night. It was really lovely to read with such talented poets. I'd never heard Sharon Mesmer, Susie Timmons or any of the other poets read their work before. Very funny. Also, thank you to everyone who came. You are funny too.

You should definitely buy this chapbook:

Kimberly Lyons
Photothérapique
Jointly published with Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs and Katalanché Press
$7.50 ppd.

****

Bruce Covey is interviewed by Reb Livingston on The Best American Poetry.
OR cut and paste this link to bring you directly there:
http://thebestamericanpoetry.typepad.com/the_best_american_poetry/2008/07/interview-wit-5.html#more
****

I want to see this horror movie. No joke, it's called Baghead. Read a review on Slate and then come see it with me.



Ok, I live next door to a pretty disgusting movie theater. This is a review of the theater that was posted on city search. This is my favorite review of all times. I didn;t change any of the spelling mistakes. For the record, my favorite line is "They have cold popcorn and no clean space."Well, it ties for this line, "i thought this theter was for humans not animal. ANd sometimes i smell really bad.":

Yuk The Most Disgusting Theter In the World

I've gone to many theters and there all clean and nic they all have good service but this one yukk i hate it ill never ever go there anymore. They have cold popcorn and have no clean place. All the chairs are broken and they permit cellphones so it's always so noice the kids just don't want to sit still. tThey have no good service. ANDTHEY ARE VERY DISRESPECTFULL. Yes there cheep but i could see why they have a dirty asss place and don't care for the custuomers. They also don't clean the theters. I took ma friends to the theter thinking it will be a nice time but ma friends had to leave me cuz they said it was all nasty and i staed there by myslef. Well not really by my self because last timei went there wasRATS. I was what the ***** i thought this theter was for humans not animal. ANd sometimes i smell really bad. The bathrooms aren't clean and smell bad. What is worse is that they let teenagers go in and they are relly disrespectfull to the elders. When i went the worse thing s that one of the man s that was suppos to be clening he sat down to watch the movie and i daid to myspel "why dosen't he do his job" and then to finish it up he grabed popcorn for FREE and ate it all up and left a mess and he didb't even clean it. I wanted to talk to the maneger and they told me leave you ********** old ;asy ths is themost nasty theter din't ever go there.

Pros: nothing

Cons: everything

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thunder Followed by Car Alarms Press

“Maybe I am slightly inhuman… all I ever wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.” -- Edward Hopper, whose 126th birthday was a few days ago

***

On the journal PHOEBE's website, Two reviews of Black Ocean titles and an interesting response to a speech given by David Wojahn, the recipient of O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Award, which recognizes “a poet’s teaching as well as his art.” I'd like to get my hands on the transcript of that speech.

***

If you have not yet ordered Doxsee's book, then you must do so right now.

Undersleep by Julie Doxsee

Cole Swensen & Eleni Sikelianos blurb Doxsee's book (below) and in doing so, both independently compare her poetry to sparks from a fire. I think this is apropos, as when I read Undersleep, I felt as though her poems were written in the afterglow of a bizarre explosion. Everything looks familiar, but bathed in a deep sense of alterity. As though I woke up standing in the middle of my yard, & there is Doxsee, waiting in the corner where the grass is tallest, under the red clouds & yellow tree bark, ready to explain to me what happened & where we will go next. Welcome to Undersleep, a luminous world, just step out & leave your yard.

This is one of my favorite poems, Continuum (all the short couplets should be indented but I got no html skills):

Attribute the color of

blue trees to
the blue bird

atrophying in your skull.

I negotiate rib
and low lamp

with the backdrop of

ornaments
swinging gently

near your head. Envy me

because
I'm not

ghostly. Along the scrim,

you close in
on the slow

hand blackening electricity,

wearing you
as a night light.

**

Octopus Books 2008
$12
Go, go buy it here: www.octopusbooks.net

In her debut collection, Julie Doxsee's finely wrought lyric poems create a world operating according to the rules of dream-logic. Both exquisite and unsettling, her poems twist the reader with every line break and surprise of language.

Born in London, Ontario, Julie Doxsee is a professor of writing and literature at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. She is the author of the chapbooks The Knife-Grasses (Octopus Books), and Fog Quartets (horse less press). Forthcoming publications include the book Objects for a Fog Death (Black Ocean) and two chapbooks: You Will Build a City Out of Rags (Whole Coconut) and New Body a Seafloor Body (Seeing Eye Books).

Praise for Undersleep:

Spare, bright, and sharp these poems spark, tossing up unexpected words, making strange connections, inventing vocabulary, and in general, cracking open the natural world and letting us watch it tick. Intimate and worldly at the same time, Julie Doxsee is a surprising and deeply gifted poet, and this, her first book, glows in the dark.
—Cole Swensen

These are the secret nighttime children's tales that parents aren't allowed to read, the winking sparks sent up from the bonfire. They flicker into a vast vaulted space where all is black around. Here, the body of language is stripped of its flesh. And the poem-bones begin to dance—the joints of human language and its articulations. It's a little bit scary.
—Eleni Sikelianos

***

Ok, I'm reading this Saturday. Please come. If you come, I will dedicate every poem to you. Yes, you. Also, I will give you a hi-5. Also, there will be food and booze (for those of you who need enticement).

Party Poetry Reading
Saturday, July 26th 8pm-midnight
Unnamable Books
456 Bergen Street, Brooklyn

Featuring:
Brenda Iijima
Sharon Mesmer
Vyt Bakaitis
Mathias Svalina
Susie Timmons
Kate Schapira
Julia Cohen
& Kimberly Lyons


Hear Poems
Eat Party Snacks
Drink Stuff
Buy Books

****

Also, have you seen the most useful blog in the world? Daily updates as to whether Ron Silliman has updated his own blog (and the link): http://ronsillimanupdate.blogspot.com/

***

So, hopefully I will see you at the Friday reading or the Saturday reading. Also, by Doxsee's book and then let's have a book group about it, Oprah-style.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All Face Press

I like all of your face.

Right now, this is my favorite compliment to give people.

All of your face.

I like all of your face.

It 1) makes you happy that someone likes ALL of your face, which I hope is a very solid compliment, and at the same time 2) makes you question whether other people only like part of your face.

***

Updates:

1) Aaron Lowinger's new chapbook, Open Night, is available from Transmission Press. You can order it now.


2) Nate Pritt's new chapbook, Endless Summer, is available by PDF from Publishing Genius. This means it's free, folks, so go read it.

3) Saw the Henry Darger show on Saturday at the American Folk Art Museum. It was exciting to see his work in its full scale (as opposed to tiny, book-sized reprinted drawings), and the museum had a hardy handful of pieces on display. His work is so detailed, with many recurring figures and much movement/action/drama in each drawing, so the show allowed one to see the continuity of his visual narrative and his (very sad) interpretation of and disillusionment with human/familial relationships/power hierarchies/gender binaries, etc.

I think that this exhibit fell short of what it wanted to accomplish, though, which was not only to show Darger's work but also to display the work of 11 contemporary artists he clearly influenced and how they have furthered the discourse(Amy Cutler, Jefferson Friedman, Anthony Goicolea, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Yun-Fei Ji, Justine Kurland, Justin Lieberman, Robyn O'Neil, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego, and Michael St. John). Since the museum is limited in space, and/or because they did not maximize the space, they only had one or two pieces of all the other artists represented, so it was hard to get a sense of what they were trying to accomplish on a larger scale other than to just show how Darger's style and themes infused their work.

But they had some phenomenal Amy Cutler paintings. You've all seen her work before (it's even been on the cover of New York Magazine):




4) I went to the Chris Tonelli/Shafer Hall reading on Sunday. Great reading.

5) I also went to the monthly boxing match they have at Gleason's Gym in DUMBO. Saw some good girl fights as well as giant men duking it out. It was a bloody nose, flying spit, sweat-splattering event. What I like most is how supportive the fans are and how serious everyone takes each fight, even when it is the amateur 10 year olds in the ring. Everyone gets respect. The coaches are amazing to watch, by the way. Always animated, advocating for their boxer, screaming strategy and pepping the underdogs up when they're down.

6) The Butcher of Bosnia (Radovan Karadzic) was arrested this weekend. The UN now has on their hands one serious mass-murderer. Note that while wanted for the genocide of over 8,000 Muslims, in his new life in Belgrade, Karadzic was a contributor to the magazine "Healthy Life." More info:
(pretty good disguise)


Hiding behind a long white beard and glasses, Europe's most wanted man Radovan Karadzic was living a new life practicing alternative medicine when he was finally arrested.

The man hunted for more than 10 years on two UN indictments of genocide had apparently been freely wandering the streets of Belgrade in his new identity, helped by false papers.

But today he was behind bars in the city, waiting for the almost-inevitable transfer to the UN war crimes court in The Hague.

A judge finished interrogating Karadzic today and issued the order for his extradition. Karadzic ,63, a trained psychiatrist, has three days to appeal against the ruling. His lawyer said he intends to do so.

Accused with masterminding the deadly siege of Sarajevo and the 1995 massacre of up to 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, Karadzic had topped the tribunal's most-wanted list for more than a decade.

His whereabouts had been a mystery, with his hideouts reportedly including monasteries and mountain caves in remote eastern Bosnia.

Serbian security services found Karadzic while looking for another top war crimes suspect, general Ratko Mladic.

A government spokesman said Karadzic, once known for his distinctively coifed hairdo, was unrecognisable.

"His false identity was very convincing. Even his landlords were unaware of his identity," he said, adding that he used a false name, Dragan Dabic.

He was also a regular contributor to Belgrade's "Healthy Life" magazine whose editor Goran Kojic, said he was shocked when he saw the photo of Karadzic on TV.

"It never even occurred to me that this man with a long white beard and hair was Karadzic," Kojic said.

The complexity of a case that encompasses most of the worst atrocities of the 1992-95 Bosnian war, likely legal wrangling and a packed docket at the court in The Hague all stand in the way of a speedy trial.

***
Enough updates, let us speak of the future:
Stain Bar reading this Friday. I'll be there, so will you, right? Right?

7pm, Friday night, Stain Bar, Brooklyn: poets include Andrea Baker, Phil Cordelli, Farrah Field, David Need, Keith Newton, and Chris Tonelli.

stain
766 grand street
brooklyn, ny 11211
(L train to Grand Street,
1 block west)

***

Friday, July 18, 2008

Talk Radio Press

I've been listening to a lot of talk radio.

Or rather, I go to sleep and wake up listening to a lot of talk radio, so I don't think I remember science/political facts/developments (i.e. no help at a dinner party) so much as have very odd dreams about oil in the middle east, saving the arctic wildlife, or police regulation in NYC, etc.

I'm also going to tell you something personal and probably kind of weird: When I go to bed, there are a lot of nights in which I write political speeches in my head and then very charismatically and with much fervor, inspire crowds of people to change their politically illogical views. Mostly the speeches are geared towards Republicans who are middle to lower class and clearly not voting in their own best interest on issues like taxes, education reform, etc. Sometimes it is a crowd of women dealing with work discrimination or abortion rights. It really varies, sometimes influenced by talk radio, duh. Anyways, the facts of the speeches are never reliable, because my mind is a sieve for nasty facts about the Bush Administration (unfortunately), so mostly I just make them up and weave them into my speech rhetoric.

Then I go to sleep.

Then I wake up quiet & shy again.

***

I'm going to go to the Folk Art Museum this weekend and see the Henry Darger exhibit:





Come with me?

***

Also, I almost lived with Pawel Wojtasik, an interesting artist. He's having a show this month through mid-August in NYC. If you have a moment, check it out:

SUMMER SHOW
Bill Albertini, Jan Kopp, Servane Mary, Curtis Mitchell, Lyle Starr, Pawel Wojtasik

Martos Gallery
540 W 29th Street
New York, NY 10001
T: 212.560.0670
F: 212.560.0671
info@martosgallery.com
www.martosgallery.com

BILL ALBERTINI
This work is one of a series of images of three models that Albertini built in 2002 and 2003, based on the imagery from the 1972 Soviet sci-fi film Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film depicts the memories and fantasies of the occupants of a space station in orbit around the planet Solaris, acting as an overall metaphor for the weakening quality of life in the Soviet State. Albertini's visual representations of the film act as a commentary on how technologies of digital imaging and reproduction become the source of new ideas and imagined situations.

JAN KOPP
In his photographs, Jan Kopp pulls us into a pataphysical world, Alfred Jarry's term for the poetic and unstable world of referents and pointers separated from reality. The modular nature of his images remind us of Wittgenstein's famous remark from the Tractatus Philosophicus, stating that "the form is the possibility of the structure." One is constantly confronted by both the familiarity of these structures, while simultaneously being unsure of their true nature.

SERVANE MARY
As part of a series of women's portraits made with tempera on wood, this work exemplifies the artist's focus on the visual language of portraiture. Servane Mary has skillfully reproduced faces taken from magazines and placed them on a plain background, omitting any formal figuration. In this way, the emotions shown on the women's faces become the subject matter of the work, creating a profound style of representation that rises above the genre of portraiture.

CURTIS MITCHELL
When Curtis Mitchell entered the art scene in the 1980s with his own kind of process art, he was known for altering prefabricated materials and found objects with dirt, glass, and even chemicals. In his latest series entitled Meltdowns, Mitchell abandons objects for large-scale images. These prints are produced on photographic paper and treated with chemicals to create gorgeous patterns of light drips and streaks.

LYLE STARR
Inspired by the imagery of advertising and media, Lyle Starr's brightly colored, puzzle-like paintings inspire reflection on the reality of daily life. In their overlapping and interlocking parts, Starr locates the fragments of a culturally defined "self," creating works in which the individual is both lost and found. Achieved through the use of opaque areas of color and the careful management of space, the transparent imagery causes the collapse of signs and objects, guiding us to see through them to ourselves.

PAWEL WOJTASIK
With his twenty-two minute video, The Aquarium, 2006, Pawel Wojtasik makes a powerful statement about the devastating impact man has on the environment. Filmed in Alaska's Resurrection Bay, near Prince William Sound (where the Exxon Valdez dumped eleven million gallons of heavy crude oil in 1989), at the Alaska SeaLife Center aquarium in Seward (built by Exxon in 1998 in an attempt to repair its public image), The Aquarium hauntingly examines the domestication of marine life.

***

I'm reading Forrest Gander's book of poems, Deeds of Utmost Kindness (1994), right now. I will tell you more about it later, but I'm quite enjoying it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Giant Finger into Tiny Head Press

Annie Hall, The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, etc

Remember when Chrisopher Walken was in good movies, and his characters where funny/disturbing because he played them with a straighface? Remember when he wasn't a hip, tongue-in-cheek, MTV cultural icon, but an actor who liked to have a little fun within the context of a solid movie? Or was at least a good actor in an unintentionally bad movie?

Then do you remember how something went horribly awry?:

Kangaroo Jack (starring a thieving, animated kangaroo and Jerry O'Connell, Domino (starring Kiera Knightly), Click (starring Adam Sandler), Gigli (Ben Afflick and Jennifer Lopez), and lest we forget, Balls of Fury:


I was sitting on the subway this morning and saw an ad for what looked like terrible movie starring Ben Kingsley. Is the same thing happening with Ben Kingsley?

For instance:

The Love Guru, You Kill Me, Lucky Number Slevin, AI. And now we have The Wackness to look forward to, in which Kingsley plays a long-haired shrink who smokes pot with his adolescent patient, desirous of Mary Kate Olson:

I am leaving the above sentence with the bad grammar intact, because it is hard/gross to tell which character sweats the Olson twin. Is it the indie-dork protagonist who wants to be Napoleon Dynamite or is it the middle-aged wig-wearing side-kick of a therapist? I don't think I'm going to see the movie to find out:



or maybe I will...

***

Sorry to drag you through my Post-7:45am-Morning-Subway-Ride-Thought-Process. It's ok, I feel dirty too.

***

Tonight I hope you are coming to the Dzinc reading at McNally Robinson (see previous post for details).

This Saturday Shaffer Hall is reading at 5ish at The Abbey in Williamsburg. If you're in the area you should go. If not, you can catch him reading again on Sunday with Chris Tonelli at the 440 gallery in Brooklyn. I believe I already threatened you with a headful of "Psssst" if you don't go, so I assume I will see you there at least.

***

I'm gearing up for a conference at the end of the month so I've been submerged in work and haven't had time to read/review poetry in the last week or so but I'm hoping to get back to you with info on Amazing poems later this week. Bear with me?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Headphone Press

Stars "Take Me to the Riots" (the song does not actually start until min1:08sec):

I was fairly convinced that this was a Smiths cover (and no, I'm not just confusing it with the song title "Take Me to the River" that a lot of musicians have covered, but) because of the actual melody. After much Google searching, it seems that I was wrong about it being a cover. So, this is a good song by the Canadian band Stars.

(But if you can tell me if there actually is a Smiths song this sounds extremely close to, I would be grateful.)

Here is anther song by Stars. It starts right way, "The Night Starts Here":


***

I'm going to work late and then see The Exiles, a movie from 1961, by Kent Mackenzie:

An almost unknown landmark of independent cinema, THE EXILES chronicles one night in the lives of young Native Americans -- transplants from Southwest reservations -- living in downtown LA's Bunker Hill district. Never released, the film was all but forgotten until the documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself resurrected its haunting scenes of a now-vanished city. With its grittily gorgeous black-and-white images painstakingly restored, THE EXILES finally premieres theatrically 47 years after it was made. Presented by Killer of Sheep director Charles Burnett and famed author Sherman Alexie, the film and its groundbreaking look at modern American Indian life remain a revelation.

I tried to find you movie stills from the film. This is the only one I found when I searched for "The Exiles 1961" that is correct:

These are not correct, but come up when you just search "The Exiles":


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Normal to Oily Hair Press

or: My Computer Clock Has Been Set at 1969 and It's Really Been Messing Things Up Press

My computer clock/date situation keeps switching back to 1969. This messes a whole slew of programs up whenever I turn my computer on. For example, it pretends it doesn't "trust" any program made after 1969...which is every program on the computer. But I think I finally fixed it for good. Please indulge me with this minor victory (I express victory in the shape of giant watermelons or square watermelons from Japan):




***

It's Monday. I've already gone to the Union Sq. farmer's market. I bought spelt bread, apple cider donuts, and tomatoes that smell delicious.

I'm having a renaissance with sandwiches.

Does that imply I have no social life? Or only that I like to come home and immerce myself in the fine art of sandwich making? Don't answer that.

Toasted spelt bread + baked tofu + tomato + mustard = heaven

***

So what's going on in the world besides computer clocks and sandwiches?

Good question.

Indie Press Series: Dzanc Books and Friends
Thursday, July 17 2008, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
52 Prince St.
(b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York, NY 10012
212.274.1160

Hosted by Aaron Petrovich of Hotel St. George Press

Dzanc Books is an upstart indie publisher already making waves. This event, hosted by Aaron Petrovich, will kick off with a reading by the contributing authors of the Dzanc anthology Best of the Web, including Garth Risk Hallberg, Cara Hoffman, Sarah Sweeney, Justin Taylor, Tess Taylor, and Claudia Zuluaga. Then, Joshua Kornreich will read from his novel The Boy Who Killed Caterpillars (Marick Press). Finally, Peter Markus will read from Bob, or Man on Boat , published by Dzanc Books.

I'm definitely going so I hope I see you there.

***

I am also going to this on Sunday.

COME TO A READING AT PARK SLOPE'S 440 GALLERY!

Three Poets, each a refined practitioner of the short poem!:
Chris Tonelli, Shafer Hall, and Steve Caratzas

reading as a part of the 4th Annual Small Works Show Group Show at 440

WHEN: Sunday, July 20th from 4:30-6:00 pm

WHERE: 440 Gallery, 440 Sixth Avenue (at 9th St., F to 7th Ave.)

Admission Free

Chris Tonelli is the author of three chapbooks: For People Who Like Gravity and Other People (Rope-A-Dope Press, forthcoming), A Mule-Shaped Cloud (w/ Sarah Bartlett, horse less press, 2008), and WIDE TREE: Short Poems (Kitchen Press, 2006). For eight more days, he will live in the Boston area where he has curated The So and So Series.


Shafer Hall is a companion on the long trails, a generous bartender, a joking linguist, a wise cowboy, a charming Southern gentleman, a surrealist with two feet on the ground, a keen observer with plentiful imagination. As he writes in "A Malfunction at the Junction," with Never Cry Woof, Shafer Hall has "loosed into the world / a tremendous wink." He is from Texas and now lives in New York City.


Steve Caratzas has been published online at Unlikely Stories, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Poetz.com, Surgery of Modern Warfare, The Fifth Street Review, and Unpleasant Event Schedule, and in print in the tiny and Terra Incognita. He has published two chapbooks, It Will Be a Train (2004) and The Incredulity Tour (2005).

***

If you are not at this reading, I'm gunna hunt you down and spray Pssssst in your hair. No joke, my first house warming present was a can of Pssssst, and I'm trigger happy:

"Between Shampoos- On Camping Trips- After Sports - When Ill - Any time you can't use water. Psssssst is the convenient , quick fresher-upper for your hair."

For normal to oily hair. Or anyone who doesn't come to this reading on a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

When You Cough, Tadpoles Wiggle Out of Your Mouth & Turn into Frogs That Give Strangers Luxurious Backrubs Press

I have a cough I cannot kick. People on the subway are scared of me, like they actually inch away as much as they can when they hear me. And people at work call me Ol' Death Rattles.

(But Mom, don't worry, I am getting better. Medicine.)

**

It's Friday. I'm going to get sushi on a conveyer belt today. Have you ever been to one of those restaurants? The sushi moves kind of quickly, and you only pick up what you want to eat and pay for:

The plates are different colors, which indicates the level of pricing of each dish that goes past you on the conveyer belt.

I went to one for the first time 2 weeks ago and it was really fun. BUT before that, I had walked into a resturant like this a few times and then walked out again because the pace of the conveyer belt made me anxious. Yes, sushi conveyer belts used to provoke anxiety attacks. That's embarrassing.

***

Anyways, Michael Rerick's new chapbook, X-Ray, just came out (Flying Guillotine Press):

Order it here: Flying Guillotine. Look, a poem of Rerich's from MiPOesias:

6
We have nothing to say. We keep talking:
we, frightened deep thought of cold things machines.
We work patiently away at our lives.

We follow you from hotel to hotel.
Our rendezvous makes us a little less
who we are outside the world outside us.

Our scalpels make dissected animals,
newer and newer layers revealing
sentence structures with wet, frightened letters.

We make a transparent machine, make it
make graphs easy to see through, make it put
important us things into a number.

We have not forgotten your names, and you
move one move ahead, as calculated.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Retroviral Post-Avant Press

I've been reading this cumin colored chapbook called "There Are Language in My Sleep Again, Filling Up My Body" by Mark Stricker. Published by Auxilium Press. I have been reading & enjoying it:

The title is the longest line in the collection, as the chapbook is composed of six poems, all thin as a giraffe's neck. With lines that are 1-3 words long, Stricker capitalizes on how enjambment allows for multiple readings of each line. The series begins:

travel this
is meaning

to come to
decipher

remembered
spaces

opened
to decision

a book
among

old feelings
a trail

of breath
to forget

found
a wall

inside
the wall

the inside
forgetting

built up
around us

how can we
decide

our hair
from branches

....(poems continues)

Without punctuation, I read the first two stanzas like:

a)
Travel: this
is meaning.

To come to
decipher

remembered
spaces.

also b)
Travel this:
is meaning

to come to
decipher

remembered
spaces?

You can read it with many variations and all seem to work, which is important, because they eventually hone in on the tension between remembered experience, the current physicality of the world, and how language is both a means to substantiate our lives through articulation of memory (and thus, self) and a method to collapse/fold the history of self into the present. Phrases like "remembered / spaces // opened to decision" imply a retroactive decision on how one can let a memory or interpretation of memory play out in current events. Like throwing a fishing line into the memory pond. The act of reeling in/recalling becomes more heady than just thinking about old stories: it creates "a book / among // old feelings," which is still trapped within us, the "wall // inside / the wall." Translating memory becomes a heightened activity and what we do not take with us gets "built up / around us," and has a visually mountainous effect.

Stricker's poems deal with the accumulation of observed and personal indifference: "the feeling // of no feeling," the apathetic "yes, let's say we lived here." But the seeming passivity is far, far from hebetudinous, and by starkly noting these concerns the pattern is disrupted. In fact, the keen observations like

"Based upon

we have had
we understand that we are

from one another
dangerous."

or

"To question
the material,

the working-in
of death, or eyes."

create a sense of deep compassion and anxiety for the future of human interaction. To question is not to retreat. While he might see the same "mistake / over and over," he also understands that "the mess / of our wounds" is "a beautiful lust." This lust and language is what we want our bodies to be filled with.

You can order copies of "There Are Language in My Sleep Again, Filling Up My Body" by emailing Stricker at m4rk.str1ck3r@gmail.com until Auxilium get's their website up and running.

Mark Stricker is co-editor of the online journal nanomajority. His poems have appeared in Word/For Word, Sidereality, Muse Apprentice Guild, Tin Lustre Mobile, Fell Swoop, Royal Vagrant Review, and Perihelion. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

Auxilium Press transmits from a bunker deep below the streets of New Haven, surfacing occasionally to publish worthwhile and otherwise fugitive projects.

I'll let you know when the press has a blog or website up for you to order from and submit work to.

***
I've been investigating some print journals I might want to submit to. I don't have that many poems so maybe I will submit to one or two places and see what happens.

Journals that have open readings right now are:

Bat City Review (also a green publication)
Harvard Review
Crazyhorse
Black Warrior Review
Fence
Wildlife Poetry Magazine


Print journals not reading right now (to save you time):

Tarpaulin Sky (open again in the fall some time for the journal, but accepting book reviews now so check out their list of books they need reviewed)
New England Review
TriQuarterly
Cream City Review (is reading August 1st-Nov 1st)
Agni (starts in September)
Virginia Quarterly Review (starts in Sept)

***

I was watching the Bob Dylan documentary earlier this week and he mentions Odetta as an influence. I remembered this:

Odetta came to my high school. She doesn't sign autographs. Our music teacher told us not to ask for autographs and some students still did, which made Odetta angry and my music teacher sad.

Anyways, her voice, I think, is like the sound of a frozen lake cracking as air moans and billows out. The wind from inside the lake is telling you something terrifying but true.

This song, "Water Boy," might make you cry:

[from Wicki: Odetta (born December 31, 1930) is an African-American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement." Her musical repertoire consists largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and '60s, she was a formative influence on dozens of artists, inlcuding Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Janis Joplin.]

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Fists are Falcons Press

Things are born. They have pages & they only speak when you speak. They let you open them & touch their organs, filled with ink & pollen. They are dry on the outside, but clamor with hooves, shells of my face, a limb you lost in the woods:

1)
Cannibal Books
announces a new book:

This Ocean, or Oppen Series
by Joseph Bradshaw


(& 3 re-releases)


Gilbi Winco Swags
by Melanie Hubbard

The Foundations of Poetry Mathematics
by Ben Mazer

I’ll Say I’m Only Visiting
by Thibault Raoult

(all hand-sewn & of unfashionable genius)
(w/ cover designs by Katy Henriksen)
(An aesthetic definition cannot define the hunger)
flesheatingpoems.blogspot.com

2)
The Tornado is Not a Surrealist by Brian Foley- is now available
from The Greying Ghost Press

The book is a 22 page, 5x7 word beast beautifully designed on quality linen paper that comes with a hand stamped envelope. It comes in a limited edition of 75, two of which have limited edition covers. Poems previously appeared in Sleeping Fish, Blaze Vox, Night Train, Juked, Eyeshot, Word Riot, and others.

Things seen near my grandma Spook's house:









***

My younger brother had shoulder surgery yesterday. His shoulder keeps popping out of joint when he lifts the slightest things. That's bad. It won't stay in the socket, stupid socket. I think his shoulder keeps popping out because he carries too many packs of Busch Light:

Apparently in the last 2 months he has dropped 20 pounds and most likely, has also stopped drinking Busch Light (picture above is the 'before' photo, I haven't seen him yet since this transformation). Starting August 6th he will be a Business Man. A very svelt business man living in Atlanta. Since his job entails a lot of travel, I'm hoping he will save his frequent flyer miles and visit me in NY.

I talked to him the night before the surgery and caught him at the video store, stocking up on movies for the next few days on the couch with pain killers. I talked to him again last night after the surgery, and even though it lasted hours more than it was supposed to, I'm very relieved everything went well. It was the kind of surgery where they make you go unconscious, but not the kind where they cut you open (orthoscopic?) with a knife.

Little brother, I'm glad your shoulder found its socket.

**

Look, Garfield cartoons without Garfield:

I am apathetic towards cartoons, I don't know why I'm showing this to you. But I found this one funny. There are more of Garfield Minus Garfield here: http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/
***

Tomorrow I'm aiming for high-brow.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Fat Part of the Enlightenment or Just My Super Ego Press

On the 5 hour drive back from RI to NY, we played the game "Would You Break Up With Me If I..." and these are some of the things I learned:

I would NOT break up with M if his arm turned into an eagle and always tried to fly away.

I would NOT break up with M if he cut off his finger tips (not fingers).

I would NOT break up with M if he cut off his finger tips and then healed them so that the finger tips of both hands were fused together, BUT I would ask him to see a shrink.

I WOULD break up with M if he talked like a car mechanic from NJ and always asked if I was doing what I was doing as I did it (i.e. "Are you reading the newspaper?" as I read the newspaper, "You brushing your teeth?" as I brush my teeth, etc).

I WOULD break up with M if I he needed me to call him Britney Spears in bed.

M would NOT break up with me if I wanted to wear a prosthetic third arm.

M would NOT break up with me if I was constantly thinking about shaved ice (on the condition that I would still talk about other things).

M would NOT break up with me if I ate canned meat out of the tin every day...but he would be far less attracted to me.

M WOULD break up with me if I was continuously flaring my nose, batting my eyes, and looking at him longingly (too disconcerting?).

***
You should check out Sarah Heller's poems on RealPoetik. I used to work with her when I was the managing editor of Nightboat Books: http://realpoetik.blogspot.com/.

Heller is one of the nicest people.

Real curly hair.

**

This reading is going on tonight. I'm still feeling a bit sick so I'm going to go home and rest, BUT, if you are out:

Monday, July 7th
The Roof of Ansche Chesed
251 West 100th Street
betw. West End Avenue & Broadway
NY, NY
8pm

Joshua Cohen and Anne Landsman are reading. Josh will be reading from A Heaven of Others:

"[...] one of the most provocative American novels in recent memory[...]"--The Buffalo News

"[...] a spectral, largely soundless, beautifully distorted journey through the Muslim heaven of mirages and monsters, full of dreamlike misunderstanding and illogic [...] wonderfully psychedelic prose supernovas [...] call it High Jewish Gonzo [...]"--Brooklyn Rail

"Boldly ...audaciously... A Heaven of Others is a contemplation of life's trivialities in the face of the unknown of death, and also an affirmation of the importance of those trivialities in making us who we are as individuals—something that doesn't last for very long, and should therefore be cherished."--PopMatters

***

Things I have accomplished in the last few days:

1) Started reading Night Wraps the Sky: Writing by and about Mayakovsky:


To be honest, I had not read much by nor previously knew much about Mayakovsky. However, just reading the first few stories about him in this odd collection makes me want to read a serious biography.

2) Watched season 2 of The Wire.

3) Finally called the IRS and found out I owe $3.99. I thought I owed hundreds, but apparently, only 4 bucks. That is a relief.

4) Made it through the D words in my GRE flashcards.

5) Ate a bucket of hummus (did you know hummus now comes in bucket size?).

6) Walked on the beach.

7) Met my (dead) grandfather's mother's sister's living daughter and celebrated her 91st birthday.

8) Started season 3 of The Wire.

9) I watched "The Big Sleep" (1946), starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Did you know the screenplay was written by Faulkner?


The dialogue is so much quicker, snappier, and funnier than what we're used to these days.

10) Ok, you caught me, I was sort of sick and didn't do all that much.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

At The Palace We'll Show You How to Put Two Fists in the Cookie Jar Press

You're going to love it.

***
Ok, some miscellaneous updates:

1)
Well, I'm going to RI this weekend. There will be lots of strange people in my Grandmother's house as well as lots of wild turkeys in the yard, so I am charging my camera battery.

I think I got sand in my camera and may have broke it so I'm antsy while I wait for it to charge to see if it still works. It was cranky from sand last time I tried to turn it on, and the lens was reluctant to come out.

Sad little camera snout.

By the way, I love our wild turkeys, they sleep in trees. I'm hopefully going to read a lot and lie in the sun and take photos of wild turkeys and my grandma's strangers.

I might read this:

or this:

I'm taking both with me.

***

2)
This is is what I got all excited about yesterday. Welcome to my level of self-amusement (gchat correspondence with the designer of Saltgrass):

me: Are you eating Chinese food? dim summing

Robert: I was. Chinese food and plastic bits.
(I got a shumai with a huge chunk of plastic in it)
(You're not allergic to plastic, right?)


me: Did you really get Lego parts?

Robert: Just one.

me: hahahaha
"That's the funniest thing I've heard all day"
Did I tell you I ordered a Thai roll one time and there was a RUBBER GLOVE inside of it?

Robert: A whole rubber glove?

me: Yes
(It was GROSS)

Robert: Well, as I said, at least you're not allergic...

me: True
Did you choke and die?

Robert: Only once.

me: Did you put it in your mouth?
say yes
say yes

Robert: That's how I found it.
It was cooked in it.

me: Did you return your food and get more or your money back?
Basically, I want ALL the details and I am entirely fascinated by your lunch

Robert: It was dim sum. I put it on the plate and continued eating.

me: Really?
That's so stoic
stoic
AND WEIRD

End Scene.
I know that I'm supposed to say "See how easily amused I am and don't you feel better that you don't let me distract you all day long?" but for some reason, a whole day later, I still find it amusing that a very tall man with long brown hair bit into a bitsy piece of shumai, sucked on a Lego, and kept going.


***
3)
MS introduced my to the poetry of Crystal Curry today. More Crystal Curry poetry here. You can see her read poems here:

Clearly I have been missing out.

I have also been missing out on a sweet new issue of Action Yes. I like the first poem by Rocio Ceron (translated by Rosa Alcala) called /fugue/(/fuga/)

Sorry guys, it's been a busy day so I'm not doing much but linking.

***
4)
I'm going to be honest, I think this reading next Tuesday sounds fun. Look, a picnic:

KGB at Bryant Park
with James Tate, Dara Wier and Jennifer L. Knox
Tuesday, July 8
6:30pm - 8:00pm
Bryant Park Reading Room
(42nd Street side of park)

Join the KGB Poetry Series for a summertime appearance at Bryant Park!
Featuring a superstar line-up: James Tate, Dara Wier and Jennifer L. Knox
Hosted by Laura Cronk and Michael Quattrone

James Tate is the author of 15 books of poems, most recently The Ghost Soldiers: Poems (Ecco Press, 2008). His Selected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Dara Wier is the author of 10 books of poems, most recently Remnants of Hannah (Wave Books, 2006). She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA and directs the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

Jennifer L. Knox is the author of two books of poems, Drunk by Noon and A Gringo Like Me, both available from Bloof Books. Her poems have been widely anthologized, most recently in The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present.

The Bryant Park Reading Room:
42nd Street side of the park
marked by maroon umbrellas

Rain Venue:
The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen
20 West 44th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues)

http://www.bryantpark.org/
http://www.kgbbar.com/

I Was 80% Sure It Would Gross You Out But 100% Sure You Would Still Be My Friend Press

The Cleveland State University Press Center recently posted their forthcoming books for 2009. I wanted to congratulate the two people I know who had their books selected for publication with CSU Press for the Fall of 2009:

Mathias Svalina, Destruction Myth
Allison Titus, Sum of Every Lost Ship

What can I say, I'm pumped.

***

What else is going on in the world that does not involve the V.I.P. Inn? Lots, luckily:

1)The new issue of Open Letters is up. Check out the book reviews and a poem by Peter Jay Shippy.

2) Did I tell you the new Harp & Altar is exploding?

Right now, this very second.

And you need to attend to the explosions.

I love this journal. You should read the two book reviews.

The poetry contenders are Dan Hoy, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Sara Michas-Martin, Farrah Field, Michael Carlson, Emily Gropp, and Andrew Grace.

This poem is by Emilt Gropp:

"The sea where it was"


The sea where it was, it was arduous. I
imagined a superterranean line from you to
me. What I saw in the sea made me not
ravenous. Some children like to wallflower.
While supper shook onto the floor from the
constant shelling, potatoes and peas stuck to
my spoon. I sat the bear down in my recurring
dream and begged it to be good. Over a
number of lines you’re no more related to me
than birds who flock at the close of day, some
here, some there. Corner is to hide, and open
plain is to see what’s coming. I hold my
breath between seconds as if there’s anything
but between.

***
Warning: I'm going to use the word "first" a lot and I can't seem to edit it out of what I'm saying.

I'm reading Frank Bidart's Star Dust.

I first read Bidart in, probably, 2003 for a contemporary poetry course. We read his chapbook "Music Like Dirt," which is the first (and only) chapbook to be a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

It was the first time I read a chapbook and heard of this form of publishing. I think at this point, writing a whole manuscript was entirely daunting- each poem I had written until then was separate in form and aim. My poems were 100% all over the place. As a 21 year old reading this chapbook, it was the first time I felt that writing interrelated poems seemed feasible to me. My undergraduate thesis, the following year, certainly did NOT achieve this, but I kept the idea of a chapbook in my head and it helped me work my way through my first attempt, two years later. Basically, I'm just trying to say that I am grateful to John Vincent, who exposed me to this form of publishing and to Bidart, who in this collection tries to explore the concept of humans as makers estranged from what they have made and often alienated from what they are capable of making(and the myriad ramifications).

Anyways, this chapbook is within the larger book Star Dust. I think that Bidart is one of the more interesting poets to have a wide, non-poet readership. I do appreciate his lyrical tightness, his formal exactitude with sudden bursts of heightened emotions. I won't go into why I'm not so drawn to him now, but find that what he excels at is often overshadowed by his need to over-explain or describe images that give way to more triter, narrative stories.

To me, his poems are most exciting when they mess with grammar and sentence structure within formal couplets. They show how intellectual rationale, emotional connection, and bodily desire can battle against each other but still form one red muscle that flexes against and relaxes into the threat of human experience.


Music Like Dirt

I will not I will not I said but as my body turned in the solitary
bed it said But he loves me which broke my will.

music like dirt

That you did but willed and continued to will refusal you
confirmed seventeen years later saying I was not wrong.

music like dirt

When you said I ws not wrong with gravity and weird
sweetness I felt not anger not woe but weird calm sweetness.

music like dirt

I like sentences like He especially dug doing it in
houses being build or at the steering wheel.

music like dirt

I will not I will not I said but as my body turned in the solitary
bed it said But he loves me which broke my will.

***

This poem breaks my heart.