Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Red Leaves 4 & LRL E-Chapbooks

Little Red Leaves, issue 4, is now online, with a crowd of difficult, often sonorous, varied, and socially engaged poetries.  From CJ Martin & Ash Smith:

Featured in this issue is a festschrift for John Taggart, edited by Thom Donovan and C.J. Martin, with poems from Theodore Enslin, Pam Rehm, Eléna Rivera, Joel Chace, Kevin Holden, Frank Sherlock, C.J. Martin, and Thom Donovan. Also in this section is a new long poem from John Taggart, "Kitaj Angels," as well as a selected bibliography of works by and about John Taggart, compiled by Robert J. Bertholf.

This issue also includes new video from Jesse Seldess, a pamphlet by David Brazil, and extended selections of new work from Tyrone Williams, Maryrose Larkin, and erica lewis, as well as poetry from Nathan Austin, Tamiko Beyer, Sarah Mangold, Elizabeth Zuba, Carter Smith, Carol Guess, Britta Kallevang, Rob Halpern, Kate Schapira, Lauren Ireland, Margaret Konkol, David Wolach, Anna Elena Eyre, Kate Colby, Alexander Dickow, dawn lonsinger, Richard Owens, Laura Goldstein, JenMarie Davis, and Felicia Shenker.

LRL4 sees the complete redesign of the LRL website, as well as the launch of three new books in our LRL e-editions series:
Tina Darragh's & Marcella Durand's collaboration, Deep eco pré
Divya Victor's first long player, SUTURES
Norma Cole's Do the Monkey

I've barely gotten halfway thru this large, yet intimate issue, and so far I've encountered the sublime at least three times.  If you think I'm lying, prove it!  

Of note for me thus far is a long selection of new work from Tyrone Williams, poems by Rob Halpern, Sarah Mangold, Nathan Austin, Kate Schapira, & the John Taggart festchrift edited by Martin & Thom Donovan.   I'm especially taken (so far) with Donovan's "A Devotion," a dis- and ir-rupting lyricism that decodes and recodes word and image--certainly a well-chosen piece for a Taggart festchrift.  Halpern continues to roll out bits of Music for Porn, a manuscript he's now completing after a few years of working on it.  Lyric and prose rub each other here in an almost dystopian heave; here, hope for a future where bodies are not weaponized, but loved in multitudes, where "to use" is reimagined, is the sloughing, tiring "voice" that gives and gives out, seems only needing to exist here to stutter out a reimagined present from the future's eye, a tense I very much associate with Tyrone William's prose poems--what will have been.

Speaking of Tyrone Williams, I think I have little to say right now, so filled with things I want to say.  Punning and the jagged line, the double entendre, and other language games, are put to use as log or manifest, and the litany of late capitalist, neo-liberal commercialisms, phrases and words so commodified as to be, quite literally, owned (copyrighted), become points of examinations as they are brought on board.  More on this long poem as I read it over and again.  And more soon regarding Martin and Smith's new issue--including the new e-chaps, which I'm excited to delve into.  New work from Darragh always makes my heart jump.  

For now, thanks much to the editors, and enjoy the issue. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

PRESS 2009-2010

PRESS, a series devoted to the intersection of engaged experiments in text arts and left political movements, is rolling on. Wheelhouse Magazine & Press, in conjunction with The Evergreen State College its literary journal editors, is happy to announce three upcoming guests for this year's series:

David Buuck (Oct, 2009)
CA Conrad (March, 2010)
Kaia Sand & Jules Boykoff (Feb, 2010)
Eleni Stecopolous (TBA)
Sarah Mangold (TBA)
PRESS Poets Theater Week (June 2010)

Lydia Davis is also coming to read, tho Wheelhouse is only donating some of its services, and not co-sponsoring the event.

These amazing people above have agreed to visit, make a ruckus, create some beautiful things on the heels of a visit by David Buuck last month (see post below).  I announce this now, with dates yet to be firmed up, as I want to cross-reference PRESS with another important post by CA Conrad at PhillySound.

Here, Conrad writes about finding the HUMAN BEING in himself amidst the continued oppresive violence that those of us in the queer "community" are enduring.  And I say "enduring" here as epithet; so much of our middle-class, latent neo-liberal calls to action pivot around gay marriage and equal rights to join the military and kill people, occupy them, who, as Conrad points out, include gay Iraqi men, who are being slaughtered without hardly a word about it in the news, among activist groups, etc.  Yet, what to do with this anger?  How "to find peace," not in a quietist sense, but in the way that kari edwards, remarks Conrad, as well as Thom Donovan, did in xer last book, Bharat Jiva.  To find the human in oneself, to ground oneself in a sense of love for, if not those who oppress, than the possibility within them, to realize their humanity.  Which is a call to action, to alliance--alliance between the labor movement, the anti-war movement, the LGBT rights movement, etc.  A really amazing post that takes a hard look at edwards' work, at its own frustrations and desires to live or feel otherwise.  The paradox does not resolve here, opening the floor for us to ask more questions, to ask in the form of acting, through collective reimagining of who we want to be, and how we want to be, or: a radically renewed activism

Wheelhouse Magazine & Press #9, Forth. Chapbooks

The Winter/Spring Issue of Wheelhouse (#9) is being worked on now; we're in the process of deciding on which pieces sent to us--out of so many wonderful works--will appear in this issue. Since we decide on a rolling basis, via in-person meetings & input from contributors, it takes us awhile to build an aesthetic scaffold based upon which pieces we think are both individually fantastic, as well as fitting (often via creating dissonance) for the issue.  Here is a partial list of contributors: 

Rachel Zolf - essay
Ann Gorrick - poems
Julian Brolaski - poems
Michael Leong - poems
Paul Siegall - poems
Maika Pollack - prose
Donald Dunbar - poems
William Allegrezza - poems
Cami Park - poems
Ben Friedlander - poems
Barbara Jane Reyes - poems & essay 

There will be several more contributors as we continue to shape this issue.  If you've submitted work in the past 3 months & haven't heard from us, this means we're still working thru yr submission, & we'll be contacting you soon. 

We plan to release the issue in December, around the time we release upcoming chapbooks from Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Felino Soriano, Stan Apps, Laura Carter, Ed Baker, and Uche Nduka. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Colombians Mourn Colleagues Killed in Past Two Months

by James Parks, Nov 24, 2009

When 14 Colombian trade union members were in the United States for a training program, they were unable to forget just how dangerous it is to support unions in their home country. During the two months they were here, four of their colleagues were assassinated.

In a memorial service at AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., yesterday, we joined the Solidarity Center and the Colombian workers to honor those who were killed and to reaffirm our determination to fight for workers’ and human rights in that country.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler told the group:

We want our Colombian sisters and brothers to know that as we fight for basic trade union rights in this country, we are totally dedicated to their struggle to organize and collectively bargain in an atmosphere free of fear, terror and violence.

Shuler noted the AFL-CIO has recognized the courage of the Colombian union movement by presenting the 2008 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to Colombian human rights activist Yessika Hoyos.

The Colombian workers participated in the Trade Union Strengthening program sponsored by the Solidarity Center, with funding and support from the U.S. Department of Labor. As part of the program, the Colombians joined union organizers on the ground for three weeks. They worked with organizers from AFSCMETCU/IAMNorth Shore (Mass.) Labor Council, Sacramento Central Labor Council and the Teamsters. TCU/IAM, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters also provided training for the Colombians.

Colombia is the deadliest country in the world for trade unionists. At least 34 trade unionists have been killed this year in Colombia, with 10 deaths in the past eight weeks alone.

If Not for If Not For Kidnap Poetry

Had a really nice time reading for the If Not for Kidnap Poetry Series, curated by Jamaliyeh (spelling) and Donald Dunbar.  Notice that I did not include Jamaliyeh's (sp?) last name in the previous sentence, nor in this sentence, as I don't yet know it.  We traded info, as her books from Octopus and Pilot sound really fascinating.  Once I hear from her, I'll correct this post, and point you out to her work, which she says is online in various places.  Both curators were lovely hosts, and the house--the living room the size of a small gallery--was warm and inviting.  

I read from three books, soon forthcoming--from Prefab Eulogies Volume 1: Nothings Houses; Hospitalogy (chapbook); and Occultations.

Was great to hear Jen Coleman read again, and to hear her read for longer than when we read last at EconVergence Conference.  I really love her work, its revelry in sub-dominant languages, its word play, its subtle yet cleaving allegories.  I'm going to have to get one of her books asap, knew that before last night, REALLY know that now.  

Was also great to see old friends who turned out: Jules Boykoff, Wheelhouse editor Lionel Lints, and amazing poet Allison Cobb, who generously helped with the reading, by contributing to Occultations by being the pivot of an on-the-spot occultation, writer thru a set of prompts. Since finishing this section of the book, I've been trying out various modes of a) performing the polyvocality of it, and b) decentering its prose further than it already is on the page by asking "audiences" to generate text, to actively be "authors" of some of the bracketed lyrics that circle round, sometimes overlay, the central block of prose.  This time Elizabeth Williamson performed both dominant voices, read straight thru, & I indicated a break in the prose (where the bracketed lyric begins) by taking a photo of some detail in the room.  I got a pretty good record of what Donald et al. keep in their home, what books are on their shelves, etc.  This could make a nice coffee table book: "The Dunbar Home."  Any case, while E read & I photographed and indicated by my body position, Allison was given a small audio recorder with earphones that had a recording of other parts of Occultations on it.  She was asked to press play, then write whatever came to mind as she divided her attention between the public & the private reading.  Once the recording would end, Allison would then stand & interrupt the reading, give a reading of what she wrote.  Not everyone in the room knew that Allison was an amazing poet, so when she read (about half way into our performance), people were audibly stunned.  "Finally, some good poetry!" went their eyes.  It was very cool, & I'm really happy she agreed with good humor to be part of it.  Oh, & here is what Allison wrote:

this documentary has been leaked from a muscle a marriage   line as largesse of spiders wants. A room the room that can't hear you reflecting on   on    on eyes as eyes weaponized. Your line. It shined. Refleshed. Large-ish. You look fit!  I was just trying to be slash funny. I wanted you all to think backspace we control-z I mean I had said something shiny looking into the heart of light, the appendix. Now, now. Now will I draw you a picture you can't squeeze inside your eyelid even if you wanted to be a neo, neo -- nevermind. Scratch. I wrote that just as Elizabeth said it. Last time something like that happened a plane p  p   p    plane ran into a building. True story but it's a long one. I'll wrap this one up.

Without the rest of the text, this writing seems a bit out of the blue, so... Also realize that this was a distracted Allison writing without editing.  Since it makes for compelling poetry in its own right, perhaps imagine what work is spun when she has time to work a poem, to be deliberate, to sustain a thought.  If you haven't read any of her work, I'd highly recommend doing so.  So, it was a fun night, with some really good live music between the two readings. Thanks much to the curators for inviting me.   

Photos: audience; Jules Boykoff, blurry Jen


Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks to Thom Donovan, David Buuck, and Arun Chandra, Elizabeth Williamson and Kate Arvin, this week has been a re up (for me) of the question of what a poetics of the television interview show genre/form might look like. In a recent conversation about potential poetics theater projects, Thom mentioned to David and I that he was planning on teaching Glenn Beck in his class: from Beck's rhetoric to the show's aesthetic and narrative strategies, its picnoleptic performativity as both citation and indication of a particular discourse going on in the production of such shows, as well as the larger sociopolitical landscape. We mused about "performing" Beck somehow, and David proposed this what if: what if we performed the gestures of a particular Beck interview or monologue without words, stripping the thing momentarily of its content, to, in Buuck's words, "do a 'dancerly' Beck," then play the particular show, immediately after, content and all, to whatever audience happened to be.  There's definitely analysis potential in the setup, or some version of it, tho nothing's yet been worked out more than an initial set of musings.  

This conversation combined for an interesting convergence of new media discussions I've had this week, however, as composer/collaborator Arun Chandra proposed that I take a look at some of the old William Buckley "Firing Line" interview transcripts (most available online at the Stanford Archive), see if we might not be able to work with one or two as grounds for a new performative work.  I'd never seen Firing Line, only knew of its existence as part of the Buckley machine, so when Arun sent us the Buckley-Chomsky interview transcript (1969), I thought about Thom and David's ideas, decided it might be interesting to perform the work as an occultation for the book I'm working on, in which one of the sections involves staging "distraction zones in miniature," i.e., activities/rituals metaphorical of the corporate-surveillance industrial complex that would serve to deliberately distract me, discomfort me, or otherwise cause difficulty trying to write thru the experience (full notes on the section of the book are in a post below).   

The ritual I decided on was very simple: someone (Elizabeth Williamson) would print out the transcript and read it aloud (without me having heard it or read it before), and I would perform the role of poet-as-cynically ironic-interruptor, recording my interjections, then typing them up.  I would take on the persona of the audience member who would blurt out whatever thoughts came to mind within that circumscribed persona as response to the information that xe was getting.  The occultation, then, would be a kind of analysis of what is partly occulted, hidden--all the visual elements of the television interview--with the hope that this removal would reveal some structures, narrative and rhetorical.  I would only have the auditory experience of transcription (remnant, archive) of an event to go on, and in turn I would further mediate the mediation, and as such, be one point in a line of mediations where the archive itself is a dissipative structure.  

So, we performed the occultation last nite (results below), then watched the video recording of the interview.  I expected the poem to be an obvious departure from what would have been the case had we performed the same sort of analysis, using the same persona, but in response to the video recording.  That is, I expected to be greatly "in the dark" as to the tenor of the discussion, its content, the gestural modalities of Firing Line (an apt name viz. poetry).  Instead what I noticed in watching the video was that I confused oftentimes who was speaking--Chomsky or Buckley--despite the script's prompts.  My experience of hearing the script read to me was a numbing one, a sense of vacuity and one-upsmanship, an acute boredom.  And the viewing afterwards was not at all dissimilar.  

So I've been thinking about the poetics of the television news interview.  One often reads (I'm apt to say in my classes) about the hyper-visual culture of this present tense, its resulting paradigm shift viz. the corrosive conventions of cable news.  We are, so goes the line, living in a time deeply dependent on a visual signification process that is spectacle-driven, almost to a complete neglect of other modalities, hence, forms of information construction.  Thus, the result for current events, specifically, the cable news interview, is a degraded, fast-paced, opinion-oriented sound-bite organ, of sorts, one that flashes right at the threshold of the seizure in order to disseminate talking points that private corporations or their beholden law makers have just moments before delivered by facsimile.   I think some versions of this negative critique are basically right, but I couldn't help but notice during this process of poetic re-scription that there are as many interesting similarities between the conventions of the television interview in the 1960s-70s (the Buckley) and those of now (the Beck, or the late, widely mourned Crossfire, which was modeled not on Firing Line, as the name would suggest, but on ESPN's early interview shows). 

Certainly, on the level of formal presentation in the interest of preserving and expanding an audience, the differences are obvious, and have been treated beautifully by many writers not at moment blogging.  For one, Buckley's audiences, as comparable to NPR's current audiences, were presumed to be highly educated relative to the overall population.  Buckley's demographic, a liberal AND conservative one, if one compares it to the neoliberal NPR audience of today, was a self-ascribed "intellectual" audience, while one's overall knowledge-base of various subject matters one is thought to need in order to follow, for example, Fresh Air, is considerably less than one would have needed to follow Firing Line.  One does not typically need know anything about the subjects of a particular Fresh Air episode, and in fact, questions to interviewees are very much geared towards the audience developing that background knowledge via the interview itself.  One might conclude from this that Americans are less or more poorly educated now than in the 60s, which, access to quality of education aside, is at odds with the number of college-educated people who make up the so-called "potential pool demographic."  My sense, looking at the timeline, is that it's deregulation that's the major culprit in refashioning the television news genre, what counts as news, and so forth. Firing Line, for instance, changed its moderated format at the same time CNN was coming into being, and this coincides with the 1987 elimination of the fairness doctrine and the 1992 Cable Act.  And of course there are many, many more differences one can discuss as one charts the trajectory of this genre from the 60s to the present, and indeed these histories have been discussed at length by both activists and academics for a long time now. 

I'm interested here, tho, in the overlap.  My boredom with the Buckley script was not born out a disinterest in what was supposedly being discussed--the efficacies of Vietnam.  Rather, what I reacted to, I think, was the obvious lack of any real discussion.  Vietnam was discussed but not discussed; consequentialist hypotheticals about whether Chomsky would kill Hitler, and whether this was righteous, dominate the script. So jumpy, vague, and patently pretentious are both sparring partners, once the occultation had finished, I caught myself trying to understand why so many had apparently tuned into this show.  It was very difficult to cynically interject in any poetic tense, as there wasn't much content that I could track. It's the visuality, its centrality to the form, that I'm missing, I thought.  The problem was I couldn't see it!  So, I was lost.

But then I watched the interview, and, as mentioned, nearly the same phenomena occurred: with the small exception of my intrigue with its "oldness" or evidentiary power, I was bored in nearly the same way.  Well, I thought, it must be because my visual cortex is so habituated to the picnolepsy of American candy culture.  Perhaps the slowness of the 1969-era video studio technology was just inadequate to capture my attention.  So I spent a couple hours watching contemporary stuff.  And the same experience arose time and time again.  Crossfire, even Beck, had a narrative arc similar to Buckley, with the great exception of the level of discourse, as well as diversity of opine-ers (it's apparent that somewhere along the line, producers and executives realized it was a safer bet, and just as ratings-effective, to bring on guests who always agreed the show's host).  The wild contortions of Beck and the gesticulations of Carlson are embedded in, maybe limited to, Buckley's face.  The power differential of interviewer-interviewee is propped by body position, height adjustment of the chairs (interviewer a little taller in all cases, save for Beck, where the interviewee is most often confined to the frame of a wall mounted screen).  Where Buckley wields the notepad as power prop, Carlson and Beck both use the split screen, with the power point graphic displaying bullet points, often the interviewees own words.  

The major difference beyond what I've thus far mentioned, as far as I can tell so far, is the pace. Though Firing Line is certainly rapid fire, full of quick cuts, and is, as its progeny, a 1 hour long block of pseudo news, and in no way serialized such that any so called "rich" sense of any topic can realistically be said to have been gained.  In all cases picnolepsy is both narrative strategy and characteristic.  The critique of the cable news show, whether an interview show or some other program, is that one can find scant evidence of any decent journalism.  True, journalism need not factor, or in any case factors negatively, into whether the program will make money. But the "schizophrenic" and manipulative content-less features of the genre, it seems, is what we are habituated, or coerced, into seeking out.  As a market, the television news interview program trades in distraction--like all entertainment, we are buyers only insofar as the commodity can convince us that it is "turning off" our brains and that this is desirous, allows us to quote end quote escape.  I'm interested to hear more from people who watched Firing Line when it was on the air, because I have a sneaking suspicion that, as with today's corporate news engines, people were tuning in to tune out.  Perhaps not consciously so, but this initial hypothesis to be tested further, for me, is what the occultation revealed.  What I find fascinating, however, is that, like all good commodities, the television news interview program is the imagerie of its viewer--it seemingly paradoxically needs be itself "distracted" in order to distract.  Or, the program itself must appear to be as picnoleptic as we, as viewers are.  The moment the program shifts from fragmentary and frantic into a sustained meditation, or we are told that it does by its meta-strategies and conventions, demand disappears--we go looking for another refractive mirror through which we can see what is familiar, precisely that which is our half-conscious, liquidated isomorph. 

8. (F-ing Line)


once upon a time we will have dreamed a mouth that sees, proliferating private eye singing of the great mundane venture: “a beautiful dis-traction a blanket noise, yr we does the dirty work by rate” unintelligible see yr white tie lacks so stains re-members all those broken dolls unintelligible, both talking both talking simultaneously i’m the occasional hitler this is a homemade porno, & when i close my eyes i can almost taste you beginning to perform the undress  laughter  you know we’re still in vietnam (?) laughter i gift my arm to you, torture this flesh tare it tare from skin to bone then tell me please tell me what it feels like to be at war both talking i once had a boyfriend who stabbed his eye out with his own penis in order to prove a point about tolerance




self inflicted penis blindness is a responsible terrorism, one hole patched with duty free gauze, i sing about self infliction: “yr be-ing is a euclidian plane talk skimming smooth surface without capacity to mend or break” laughter enveloped by american policy a neo gothic office building in tuscon spits out e-mails with the subject line “you’ve been wounded, it’s ok, you can bomb them now” laughter bumper sticker idea: i heart imagined depravity in starched television studio while two gentlemen stab each other strategically never fatal the site it sings of categories: “i am prepared to distinguish between a conceptual coca cola atrocity & a factual coca cola atrocity” unintelligible & a voteforme sign in my window that says “panglossian neoliberal” laughter inaudible penis blinded can’t can’t see -you, hands face eyes words fail a romantic historicism laughter wait! bumper sticker idea: bring greek peasant collared, leashed doglike stage right feed pet make a spectacle make an example a category draw us a picture of yr sitting down framework else yr wasting time we have little time to waste time is wasting me beyond that expensive backlit moon




he said, he says, different interests they say different interests i’m hearing a graveyard of public trusts but there’s no discernible voice in ear-piece, & “so i think terrorism,” this dreaming thing laughter the government on monday & tuesday military intervention on monday & tuesday differentiated from economic law the market the law the decimating abstraction projected like a ragged false tooth on the wall of yr non-existent stately apartment living room bumper sticker idea: gotta sneaking suspicion reality t.v. has always been a counter insurgency




our “we” is so proverbial it’s got its own patron saint laughter  ask yrself when you sit down & plug in what  did the vichy government taste like? both talking simultaneously how to select a government: click & drag  unintelligible bumper sticker idea: we never occupied santo domingo we were simply vacationing there laughter when we talk about iraq, we don’t talk about iraq a poetics conference talk title idea: television advertising during firing line invented the swerve unintelligible let’s compare miseries while the decert campaign heats up & yr poem cools down, new colonial carnage is my renewable energy source  


abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, & so let the market decide. abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, & so, five dollars monthly to the idf. abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, & so who needs universal health care. abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, & so what’s wrong with the draft if no one’s enlisting? abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, so fuck the kyoto treaty. abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, so three strikes & you’re out in california. abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, so let’s hurry up with deregulation & burn some more people, drag indiscernible corpse thru occupied streets, hang carbonized he she or who from bridges like the old boys do / at night / to those / lurking faggots    laugher


once upon a time a whole television viewing audience mistook the afl-cio for the cia & that was when the taft-hartley act was born both talking, simultaneously you keep saying “look” but you don’t mean that laughter i dreamed two mouths orbiting a dark immensity, both were open, both were singing “come to me, feel my lips begin to eclipse a be-coming pain, scratch the surface of our words with yr finger nail – this will have been 


--the end of the tape-- 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last post I forgot to add links, both of the upcoming reading from my books Occultations and (the multi-media) Prefab Eulogies at If Not for Kidnap Poetry, as well as the No Tell Motel Best Poetry of 2009 Holiday List (to promote the small presses & poets who have published work this year).  Jen Coleman, who I met for the first time at EconVergence Conference, will be reading at If Not for Kidnap Poetry (when/where/what info in the post below).  Have been a fan of Jen's work since I first ran into it on the web circa 2005, so it'll be a treat for me to hear more from a manuscript she's working on (really cool, how to call them, miniature radicalized allegories?), to talk some more while, or perhaps after, hearing what sounds like what will be some good live music.  The visual artist's pieces are also very interesting, but one only gets so much of the experience of an installation from looking at small photos online.  So, looking forward to it.  

As for the No Tell list, my picks are up now.  I tried to pick works that hadn't yet been picked by others, and, of course, books that are in print (not online).  This was difficult, as the list could have gone on for at least 50 titles, longer if I actually read a lot, or fast, which I don't.  Or if I'd taken the time to get input from other Wheelhouse editors or contributors, which I didn't.  

In the coming weeks I'll put a schedule of readings (city/venue/date) up here; just getting that stuff together now, so right now the calender reads like a 4am television program listing.


After being slowed by health issues--not just me this time!--Wheelhouse is getting back on track, working on finishing books by Felino Soriano, Elizabeth Kate Switaj, Uche Nduka, Laura Carter, Stan Apps, as well as Wheelhouse #9, which is beginning to take shape as we begin the process of deciding which pieces sent to us we'll be using.  We plan to release both the new issue and the first two chapbooks--by Soriano & Switaj--in the coming weeks.  That is, in time for an early winter release.  Shortly after that we'll be rolling out chapbooks 1-2 at a time, and prepping for some more PRESS events, including regional performances, and later, a reading/talk by SF poet Eleni Stecopolous and Seattle poet/editor (of Bird Dog Magazine) Sarah Mangold.  Meantime, if you haven't already, head on over to Wheelhouse & read the PRESS Anthology, which comes out of the PRESS Literary Conference, which as part of PRESS, occurs every other year (as long as we can get the funds for it, and given the state of the economy, grants are going to be hard to come by for next year).

Which reminds me to thank David Buuck, on behalf of Wheelhouse AND The Evergreen State College, Slightly West Literary Journal, and other co-sponsors of PRESS, for his incredibly generative performance/reading/discussion/talk.  A great turnout & now several students interested more than ever in poets theater, work that has a real stake, both politically and aesthetically.  


Also, if you are in the Bay Area, check out Nonsite Collective.  The upcoming talk/performance by Marcus Civin I wish I could go to; the work is right up my alley, it seems.  From the announcement:

...join the Nonsite Collective this Saturday, November 21, at 3:30 PM for work by Marcus Civin (performance and talk) in discussion with Chris Nagler and Real Time Ethics.

935 Natoma Street, San Francisco

between 10th and 11th Streets

and between Mission and Howard

close to the Civic Center BART Station

and the Van Ness MUNI station

From Chris Nagler:

Marcus Civin’s performance work asks questions about bodily politics, and puts together serial kinetic phrases about his own. He reframes that old contested territory, the ordinary, or ‘pedestrian’ body. His teacher, the choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer, wrote, in 1968, of her own work as “a control that seems geared to the actual time it takes the actual weight of the body to go through the prescribed motions, rather than an adherence to an imposed ordering of time. In other words, the demands made on the body’s (actual) energy resources appear to be commensurate with the task . . .” Does this equation balance in the ordinary body of today, when the ‘prescribed motions’ are often obscure, charged with impossible simultaneities, or shamed with distant, mechanized heroism. And what to do with all that ‘seeming’ ? 

In his words:

My everyday life reveals my cowardice, my normalcy, my difficulty.

Every time I do my ritual, it is slightly different. I think about what

I would do in an extreme situation. I assume, I would know what to do

in an extreme situation, but I need practice.

Some possible issues and questions that may arise:

What kind of athlete or non-athlete is the contemporary American citizen?

The slapstick histories of multitasking

Do the body’s economies (sexual, affective, energetic) reflect/counter/react to/empty into The Economy? How. specifically?

Is ‘survival’ a performance, a fetish, a nostalgia, an ordinary reality? Which for whom?

Is represented labor still labor and is labored representation still representation? Who says so?


From Marcus Civin:

"I had been so confident and now I had an awful feeling that the war had gotten out of my hands" 

                                    --Gertrude Stein as Alice B. Toklas (The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas)

With the Nonsite Collective, Marcus Civin will project, re-build, perform gestures and utterances that riff on themes from his recent performance work — performance work that lands a poor, rough tramp behind enemy lines and forces the poor, rough tramp to decide: am I a killer, OR am I a clown?

Or: "In a series, objects become undefined simulacra one of the other. And so, along with the objects, do the people that produce them." -- Jean Baudrillard (Simulations)

I handle an ax, matches, a deck of cards, a spear, drips of water. I make a bathtub. Am I a bathtub. Or: I make a small black painting.



Participants might enjoy watching: (SAMUEL BECKETT, FILM)



Ritual No. 6, from Occultations:

6. (muted domestic pornography)


We must insist upon the idea of culture-in-action, of culture growing within us like a new organ, a sort of second breath: and on civilization as an applied culture controlling even our subtlest actions, a presence of mind  --  Artaud


Never so held in held

Suspense  : the long


Disease is pornographic

Graphic despite I knowing


What will come of this

This narrative as usual


As so much desolate

Hunger there is some I


Tensing with a perverting here

Here the sheen of a slowly open


Curve a depth I’ve seen this before

Before I roamed corporate clinics


My holes are a constant testing 

Ground perpetual breaks of strata


In continuity becomes continuity : I 

I here cannot see is a here with yet no


Name his delivery system holds I up

Up by its penis a story halos above


It : degraded as a convergence of aporias 

The strange tremor the unusual poverties


Of not knowing what will come of this this

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reading from forth. Books @ IF NOT FOR KIDNAP POETRY SERIES, Portland

Tuesday, November 24th at 7:30 or so: David Wolach, Jen Coleman, Ashley D'Avignon Goodwin and Kenny Anderson

Who: poets David Wolach and Jen Coleman, visual artist Ashley d'Avignon Goodwin and musician Kenny Anderson
When: Tuesday, November 24th at 7:30
Where: 3968 SE Mall St., Upper Floors
Etc.: Bring food or drink to share, or maybe throw some money in for beer. Bring extra cash you've got laying around in case anyone's hawking anything. Bring something to hawk. Or just show up with your lovely self.
Also of note, Reb Livingston of No Tell Motel is running the annual Best Poetry of 2009 Holiday list up at the No Tell Motel blog.  I'm not one for holidays or "Best Of" anything, but this is a different beast.  It's a way to highlight myriad independent press titles, using the holidays as a way to give exposure to poets & presses that do not normally get such a bump.  Let's face it, the poetry book rarely sells.  And No Tell's list does a good amount of lifting here.  The Wheelhouse/David Wolach list goes up Weds.  It was very difficult to pick works, so I decided to list books that a) I love, that b) came out in 2009, and that c) have not yet been represented on the site and that have a good chance of not getting on the site otherwise.  So many great books, such as the new books by Ana Bozicevic and Rachel Levitsky, just to name a couple, are up there now.  Here's ours:
--Rob Halpern, Disaster Suites (Palm Press)
--David Buuck, The Shunt (Palm Press)
--Erica Kaufman, Censory Impulse (Factory School)
--Jane Srague, The Port of Los Angeles (Chax Press)
--Jules Boykoff, Hegemonic Love Potion (Edge Books)
--Carla Harryman, Adorno's Noise (Essay Press)
--multiple authors, kari edwards NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards (Belladonna Books/Litmus Press)
--Uche Nduka, Eel on Reef (Black Goat)
--CA Conrad, The Book of Frank (Chax Press)
--CJ Martin, WIW?3 (Delete Press)
--K. Lorraine Graham, Terminal Humming (Edge Books)
--Mark Wallace, Felonies of Illusion (Edge Books)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wheelhouse Action Alerts

Just got in the mail No Gender, Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards.  On first read through I'm stunned by the depth & warmth of this book--it is, as is edwards' work, a necessary read for anyone interested in anything.  Order it here from Belladonna Books, or here from Litmus Press; the two collaborated to co-publish the volume.  Here you'll also find Bharat jiva, edwards' last collection.  Another, longer post on this book as I get to know it more intimately.


From the AFL-CIO & Students Against Sweatshops: Sign the Letter Here

"Justice for HEI Workers

On October 30, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the HEISheraton Crystal City hotel, alleging unfair labor practices including allegedly interrogating, threatening, and coercing pro-union workers and firing union leader Ferdi Lazo for his union activity. HEI has not yet answered the complaint, but will presumably deny the allegations, and the NLRB has set a January date for a hearing.  Students have joined workers in their fight because the owner of theSheraton Crystal City, HEI, receives hundreds of millions of dollars in university endowment investment. Send the message below to university administrators and HEI to stand in solidarity with Ferdi and his coworkers who are fighting for their right to organize!"


Rob Halpern has just published his incredibly intricate essay on Baudealaire's late prose poems & the high capitalist commodity. Find it here.  CB's "poeme en prose" is generally considered one of the prose poem's "beginnings" - & here Halpern deconstructs this genre-history by delving into the form's transgressive import within the context of commodity & broadside.  Beyond the politics, density, & extraordinarily fine argument here, Halpern's question of poeme en prose's form circles around the status of (degraded) lyric in the era of high (& late capitalism).  Besides, one of my interests in writing a particular section of my forth. book, Occultations, is in whether and how the poem can matter, and uses as starting point the lyric masquerading as prose poem, & conversely--alternating & responding to one another (if that is possible) within the section of the book.  So, thanks to Halpern (#^&(*!&!!) I'm now having to entirely rethink this section.  Oh well, it was certainly worth the read.  This is an essay to teach if yr a teacher, now.