Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bag Touching Cloud Press

Friend sent me this from Africa:

Last Class Press

This is the first part of what I'm telling my students today, on our last day of class. I can't share with you the second part, because I ridiculously consolidate the history of Modernism to the Present (by way of Baudelaire, Eliot, Loy, Stein, Williams, Mayer, Rankine, and Schomburg) into 2 paragraphs. But here is the first part:

I’m trying to find what I’d rather not know consciously / I’d like to know what kind of person I must be to be a poet.”--Mayer

I exist through the other and for the other, but without this being alienation: I am inspired.”—Levinas

I want to discuss with you the trajectory of this quarter. Lest you’ve forgotten, this class is titled Modernism to the Present. The focus is on experimental poetry from around 1890-2012, which means we’ve covered challenging ground. Part of the challenge of reading experimental poetry is that it sets forth to offer the reader something radically new, and in turn, we have to re-train ourselves to read. We need to expect the unexpected, we need to expect writing that confronts stereotypes, hierarchies, conformity. Writing that tries to de-stable standards of normalcy cannot use the syntax, the language of this very normalcy. It is a language of fracture and fragment, a language that breaks down meaning to regenerate it, to re-invigor it. A language that tries to collapse boundaries, that desires to mess with your head, to free you from constraints, to help you form NEW relationships with people, objects, places, time, and your own imagination. As Hejinian writes, it’s a language that “invites participation.” Why is experimental poetry important? Because it trains us to be open and active readers, to question information handed to us, to question authority, and to develop your own sense of agency as readers and as citizens in this world.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Riggy Press

What's up with today?

A. I'm wearing two right contacts. Deal with it.

B. Last night KJS & I came up with a new slang, riggy. As in someone is like a big rig. As in, janky but bigger, more encompassing.

C. My mind is listening to all 3 of these songs at once, if that lets you know what's happening to my mind today:

1. Beastie Boys: Root Down

2. Jazzy Jeff: I'm Looking for the One

3.Julia Holter: Sea Called Me Home

D. I'm going to play tennis tonight with SL. His goodbye party is Saturday. I might actually cry when he heads out of town. We all need more SLs in our life:

by Seth Landman

There is nothing. There is your city.
Right there, the streets out of sight.
Call me a little, pausing funeral; hats off
to the feet set going, the chief element of landscape.
There is nothing. There is the roasted river
when I go, a hand on the universal shoulder
in the face of invisible surveillance, secret dogs,
unaccountable influences. There is nothing
in not ignoring it. What is good? My curiosity
sways on an island with sounds. Things with seas.
Quick and still with wild, inmost, endless,
grand disguises. I am here exactly on this
stage, and there is nothing looming
in the world like snow on the hill in the air.

The Four Questions
by Seth Landman

In a great abundance of weaponry, I dreamt my great aunt Lillian smoothed my spine and erased my affliction. I became lost and did not want a direction. Her quilt was straight on my bed and seemed to be an ellipsis in which I could not rest. She spoke to me in Yiddish. There was a dim light in the room and my eyes felt swollen. I knew my life would continue. All of my concerns were needless. I carried the quilt outside. An airplane blinked across the sky and I thought about all of the commandments. How could I dream of them? How could I have invented this? I closed my eyes and began to know the stitches were a sign. A trapezoid would mean trouble ahead. Any shape. There is a legacy of nothing to understand, said the quilt in letters. You will build an aqueduct, and you will not be destroyed.

This is for you:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Is That A Vagina In Your Poem Or Are You Happy to See Me Press

So JD & I were with my bff Benh Zeitlin at Sundance when he won best picture for Beasts of the Southern Wild. And now he just won Cannes. WTF, dude, you need to build a mantel for all of these awards.

I've known Benh since he was 17 & I've never seen him wear a tux before:
Here is a preview:
Click it, click it!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

SodaPony Press

Yesterday I met up with friends at a cafe & wrote letters. Then I basically tilted back in my chair & sat in the sun for a few hours. The wind toyed with us, knocking sunglasses, straw hats, & papers all over the patio. As Stein writes, "What is the wind, what is it." Then we migrated to a rooftop bar. The night ended after a midnight showing of The Lost Boys. What happened to Alex Winter (aka Marco) you might ask:
Something happened, though I'm not sure what.


This morning was weird. Starting with my not so bright idea to eat left overs for breakfast, since I forgot I was out of oatmeal. Which means I ate spaghetti for breakfast while watching a documentary about plastics pollution. The documentary made me feel like I should forgo the PhD & just work for an environmental regulation group or something. Or, I guess I could finish my last week of classes ever & THEN do that.

Tonight, amusement park.


Also, what's up with so many women wearing neon pink shirts lately? Everyday I see another woman a wearing neon pink. I'm not sure if there is a joke to be made, I just don't get it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Run This Town Press

Tomorrow I'm borrowing my friend's car & returning 200-300 books to the library. The library charges me 15c a day & that adds up with so many books! That is my morning plan. Then, proof the new issue of the Denver Quarterly. Then, I will re-read a few stories from Babel's collected, then 4-8pm class. Bam. Then I will be baffled that the day happened so quickly: Where was the hangout at the soda fountain? Why didn't I catch the noon showing of the zombie flick?

My life is composed of lists until June 1st. Then it will be composed of bike rides & whiskey. And tennis. Oh yes. And hopefully dog park time.

I taught my last undergrad class today. I have office hours on Monday & a final class next Wed when they present their final papers...but no more waking up at 6am to prep. Now I'll just wake up at 6am since the light is so bright in my apartment, and lie there like a cat. Or a turtle?

This is awesome:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Poison Ivy Press

Thanks to everyone who came to the Denver Quarterly party this Saturday. It was lovely to hear people read their favorite work spanning the 17 years of Bin's tenure as Editor. And thank you, Bin Ramke. I still have some wine & veggie plate left over, so you know, just knock on my door.

Whats going on: I'm missing one turquoise summer shoe & 1 brown boot. I've cased my apartment. My apartment is smallish. On the one hand, they can't be hiding anywhere because I've checked every corner & crevasse. On the other hand, I did not loose 2 different shoes while gallivanting around Denver. That's just not how I gallivant. Did some creepy person take them from my apartment? Is that even possible? I'm going to go home and check one more time, room by room, closet by closet (bathtub by bathtub?).

There is a solar eclipse starting around 6pm in Denver tonight. Let's all watch it together.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Right Leg Press

I'm going to tell you about today. Because it's happening right now. And then I'm going to tell you why I'm looking forward to August.

Today: morning oatmeal, eggs, last episode of season 4 of 30 Rock. Now I'm in the Denver Quarterly office scanning the cover of the spring issue to get the website up to date. Whoops, belatedly. I already went to the post office to return a dress & buy stamps. The dress was for my cousin's wedding in Sept, but it was too big. Most of my dresses are too big right now so I need to acquire new summer dresses. 3 postcards already in the mail as of 9:30am this morning. Had a phone call with Arda Collins, one of my favorite people in the world. If you haven't already, you should probably buy her book It Is Daylight. This afternoon I have my dissertation prospectus meeting. If approved, well, then all I have to do is finish writing it! Okay, this is getting boring, sorry.

August: Fly to Italy August 3rd, stay at a villa with high school friends. WTF? This trip was an amazing gift from a generous friend who takes pity on Phd students. Then visit my grandma in RI, where we will drink scotch together & watch nature documentaries. Then house/dog siting in NY for 10 days...then head to Philly to visit friends, then down to DC for my cousin's wedding. Which is also my birthday weekend. It's been years since I've been with my family on my birthday so I'm excited. Basically, in the last 2 days my August went from maybe going to NY to traveling all over, which I love to do.

What else?

There was a brief moment a few years ago in which I had the first 4 of Spicer's "15 False Propositions" memorized. But now I only remember one of them. I'm going to print them all out, laminate them, maybe, and put them in my shower so that I can memorize them when I shower. This is also when I water my basil, oregano, dill, and mint.

This is my favorite one:

Look I am King Of The Forest
Says The King Of The Forest
As he growls magnificently
Look, I am in pain. My right leg
Does not fit my left leg.
I am King Of The Forest
Says The King Of The Forest.
And other beasts hear him and would rather
They were King Of The Forest
But that their right leg
would fit their left leg.
“Beauty is so rare a thing,” Pound sang.
“So few drink at my fountain.”


You can't have it all, King of The Forest. Deal with it. Or, as my more thoughtful friend said, "I just want you to drink from my fountain, you rare thing."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Black Bra White Tank Top Press

I have a new poem up in PHOEBE, along with rad poets like Emily Kendal Frey, Joshua Kryah, Anne Cecelia Holmes, and Joyelle McSweeney:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Deadly Press

What dead poet is your spirit animal?

Mine might be part-O'Hara & part-Stein. I might have to change this later, though. Don't hold me to it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Waterbottle & Whiskey Press

Some things:
1. This one plant on my windowsill looks like it’s from Seuss’ The Lorax, which makes me happy when I wake up in the morning & see it’s crazy head of hair/leaves.

2. I have to purchase laundry detergent & stamps today. I wrote postcards early last week that I haven’t yet sent out. Sorry EP & LC! But for whatever reason, I hate buying stamps & detergent. Maybe because I only like buying Ron Paul yard signs. Wait, that can’t be it. I should train my dog to attack those signs.

3. I went on a night walk/hike last night with RE & D’Count & returned home at 2am. I forget the name of the trail, something like Laughing Coyote (Hysterical Hyena?), near Morrison. The stars were fierce & I do love seeing the darkened silhouettes of rock formations & trees. In the blackness of the sandy trail, D’Count was a scampering ghost.

4. This was a quote I liked from reading this morning:

"How does one think of non-foundational and yet non-arbitrary relation between ethics and politics, or between friendship and democracy?...Politics, then, or the articulation of democracy to come, is the task of political invention in relation to the other's decision in me. Non-foundationally, but non-arbitrarily. But how does one do this exactly? Perhaps in the following way: each decision is necessarily different, each time I decide I have to invent a new rule, a new norm, which must be absolutely singular in relation to the other's infinite demand made on me and the finite context within which this demand arises...So, the political decision is made ex nihilo, and is not deduced or read off procedurally from a pre-given conception of justice or the moral law, as in Habermas, say, and yet it is not arbitrary. It is the demand provoked by the other's decision in me that calls forth political invention, that provokes me into inventing a norm and taking a decision. The singularity of the context in which the demand arises provokes an act of invention whose criterion is universal."

Yes? No?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bus Stop Press

Last night SS, JD, & I decided to form a band. We’re called Team Fingerbang. These are the titles of the first 3 songs on our future album.

Karla’s Van
Generous Estimate
Too Many Macaroons

Now, SS needs to buy a tambourine, I need a small xylophone, & JD needs a child’s plastic piano. JD is also going to be the singer, that girl can sing. Unfortunately, I think we might all need to wait until we get paid next month to purchase our equipment. In the meantime, we can work on lyrics.

In other news, this is the last day I’m teaching Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. I’m going to show a clip from Magnolia and Fitzcarraldo since the book references those movies. And since the last class was centered on death, my plan is to concentrate today on concepts of hope.

Last night I had trouble falling asleep. I was up until about 3am & my alarm went off at 6am this morning. Good thing oatmeal always cheers me up. And hot showers.

I’ve been walking around my neighborhood a lot. What baffles me more than Santorum winning Colorado is that I STILL see so many Ron Paul signs up in people’s yards & windows. Colorado, you confuse me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

DJ Jazzy Jeff Press

What happened this weekend? I'm not entirely sure. I believe I helped deejay a whiskey fueled mini dance party by mainly playing Rihana, TLC, En Vogue, Jay Z, Azalea Banks, Iggy Azalea. And the Beastie Boys? (I remember in 7th grade my mom picked me up from school and I played the Beastie Boys and she sang along to "Girls" and I loved it.) I went to 2 poetry readings & hosted a 3rd at my house. Which means there is leftover champagne in my fridge & containers of mini-brownies & mini-cookies that you all need to come back & finish. What else? Chinese food happened. And all prospects of hikes were rained out. F*ck off, rain. I realized there is no room in my heart for Frank Sinatra. I realized it's impossible to go into a used record store and not buy a record. For a dollar I bought DJ Jazzy Jeff. And Van Hef gifted me my favorite Bonnie "Prince" Billy album.

Okay, some photos from JD's birthday & the reading at my place:
pre-bowling birthday banter
JD stylin'
D'Count guarding my bed
As O'Hara writes, "you can't plan on the heart, but the better part of it, my poetry, is open."
blurry friends, blurry poets
Van Hef. Thinking, "Starfish"
A sincere thanks to everyone for coming to the reading. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Nightjar Press

My aunt just sent me photos of her duck that just gave birth to 3 ducklings:
The yellow ones look like tennis balls with beaks.


Had to write a poem with echo rhymes for my poetics tutorial. The closer together they are, the more chant-like they become, I think. I don’t think that’s a good thing. But here were the ones I had to work with: December/ember, night/infinite, swarm/warm, chills/hills, smiles/miles, swing/wing and then eye rhymes with worn/worms and chambered/camber. I guess the balance you want to strike is creating a rhythm with the echo rhymes while also maintaining meaning that isn’t solely sonic. So, to use seemingly unrelated words (other than how they visually appear similar) to create a coherent imagistic and emotional trajectory. BTW, nightjar is a kind of bird. Also, when I write BTW I really want to write, “BTDubs.” Is this because George Dubs Bush has gotten to me? Ew.


Nightjar residue, a branch bunted & licked
clean by claw miles. Infirmed infinity.
An eye embers the night. Let’s swap
swarms, feathers for words. Worms
worn like smiles. Beaks decamp
the warm hills. My flight chills isles.
Let’s tent this month like a decoy’s
wing. You’re the weapon on the
night-swing. A camber, a curve, our
chambered dialect to deflect the supine
suspect. Morning means nothing to you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Torso Press

Well, could you get to a better last line than this?

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Treetop Press

Sometimes wielding number 70 suntan lotion is just hilarious? Who let my hair get this long?

I need to find the cable that lets me upload my photos onto my computer. This photo was "liberated" from Jen Denrow's blog, who came to the picnic:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Night Hike Press

Saturday's night hike was cancelled do to, well, lightening & hail. No thunder though. Maybe next week, although the moon won't be in our faces then. As Spicer writes, "The moon knows. The moon knows."

I've been grading papers for what seems like forever. It's raining, so I should cook oatmeal. Right? Take a nap in my new bright green sheets.

I bought a straw hat for summer. Deal with it. It's going to be the summer of sundresses & straw hats.

What else? Finally, I un-subscribed my brother to Gun World Magazine. That was a bad joke that kept automatically renewing itself every year.

I just ordered a dvd of Annie Hall. I've been meaning to do this for years.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Parent Press

The red coats are coming the red coats are coming! I mean, my parents are coming my parents are coming! Well actually by now they have officially arrived. They saw my new apartment for the first time, which I think they liked, so many blue chairs. Dried cherries & cashews. Sunlight. Plants. What’s not to like?

I’m still fighting the urge not to get internet at my apt. Right now the wifi networks in my building that scare me a bit are:

Joey’s Playhouse
Lord Helmet


These are the open questions I started class with today, trying to get them invested in a heavy text:

What do you intentionally think about & what do you actively do to evade loneliness?

Who is Rankine addressing in her title, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely? What happens to the concepts of agency and responsibility in this title?

How does our culture deal with mourning the dead? Private and/or public?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Snowblink Press

My bff killing it with her husband. Snowblink:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This Evening Press

Two questions for you this evening:
1) I know there is 'chick flick' as a genre, but is there 'dick flick'? Or is that porn? Or is that the new 'bromance' genre?
2) Why was this a conversation I overheard today??:
Woman: I own so much Tupperware. I'm going to buy more.
Man: Awesome.

What I mean is, how does a conversation like that exist?

It's taken me all day to get through the intro & then 42 pages of Levinas. I feel like I relate to the larger concepts of responsibility and the face of the other, but how he gets there & where he goes from there I'm not really pumped about. "Pumped" being a serious academic term. But I do like this quote, "Being's essence is a dissipating of opacity." I'm drawn to the idea of revealing as a lessening of opacity even as complexity increases. But then he goes on & on about "the truth" & I don't buy it. He also says "Nothing is gratuitous." What do you think about that declaration? It means two totally different things, so it could read "nothing is unwarranted," which is terrifying and/or intriguing or it could mean, "Nothing is given or done free of charge," which is depressing but possibly true.

I took a Levinas break & tried to make a list that enlivened "this evening":

This evening someone forgets a scarf. This evening lilac leaves fall out of the recycling bin. This evening ice melts in the sink. This evening in scaffolding. This evening splices together a birdcage & a sand dollar. This evening devoid of cats. This evening a child stays up past curfew. This evening someone forgets to notice the moon. This evening faces west. This evening moves from the washer to the dryer. This evening licks an olive before eating it. This evening sifts for gold. This evening windowshops. This evening opens a face. This evening delivers rain to a mailbox. This evening is a folding chair. This evening slouches against a wall. This evening sleeps on someone’s chest. This evening counts. This evening in cold tea. This evening dries its hair by the window. This evening is all liquid. This evening steals lilacs. This evening catches the white spider. This evening paints on nail polish without speaking. This evening hides slippers. This evening gets change for the Laundromat. This evening is a tight dress. This evening speaks 14 languages. This evening places plums in a basket. This evening cajoles the periwinkle. This evening delivers a crib. This evening on fire. This evening out of tin cans. This evening ransacks the fresh marzipan. This evening tries to collapse the disparity between what I feel & what I say.

Sly Eye Press

What happens when I run out of 30rock & I'm taking a break from reading Levinas or grading 25 papers? Unfortunately, this happens:

Save me from myself.