Monday, November 29, 2010

Geoffry Gatza's yearly Thanksgiving Poem(s). Eat it up here.

Just found out that Laura Hershey passed away. I didn't know her personally, but have great admiration for her activism and her poetry.

No Tell Motel Best of 2010 List

It's that time of year again. Contributors to No Tell Motel--that means you?--are invited to support the small presses and poetry authors by making up their--your?--list of "best" poetry books of 2010. Editor Reb Livingston makes use of the holiday season to give small and micro presses, poets and distributors such as SPD, a much needed micro-boost, some small measure of attention. And the No Tell list likewise gives readers, such as myself, heads up about new books/authors I might have otherwise not heard about. Check out the works so far. And do contribute your list if interested.

End of Year Essay Press Special...

From Stephen Cope @ Essay Press. Do take advantage of this offer from the press that brought you several stunning books, including one of my all time favorites, Adorno's Noise by Carla Harryman:

Subject: End of Year Special Offer from Essay Press
In honor fo the gift-giving season, Essay Press is pleased to announce the following special offer:


Purchase one Essay Press title via our website, and receive one additional title of your choice for FREE.

To take advantage of this offer, visit our website at the link below:;

1) Purchase one title via

2) When completing your order, put the title of your free book in the "Shipping Instructions" line.

3) Your books will arrive in 7-10 days.

Others Letters @ WHOF

Thom Donovan's new project, "Others Letters," is now live. According to the website, accessible on its own and thru Donovan's oft-cited WHOF blog, Others Letters "publishes the correspondences of contemporaries in order to reflect current practices in writing, art, and other forms of cultural production." As I've said to Thom in responding that I hope to contribute some correspondence in the near future, I'm really interested in this project which ostensibly hopes to bring the blog/interactive website in closer proximity to commoning. Or in any case to reimagine the commoning potential of online cultural production, by and through turning the usually private public, blurring that distinction. First up is fascinating correspondence between Stephanie Young and Dan Thomas-Glass--revolving around Deep Oakland's hosting and support of Thomas-Glass's and Aaron Sachs's 880. Check it out. And check out the WHOF archive for further description of Others Letters.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New from Black Radish Books: Kathrin Schaeppi's Sonja Sekula...

Kathrin Schaeppi's new poetry collection from Black Radish Books is now available: Sonja Sekula, Grace in a Cow's Eye: A Memoir. Wheelhouse Magazine (Issue 9) featured excerpts from this wonderful book. So for a teaser, take a look. The book is beautifully designed by Schaeppi, a book artist, with each page responding to artist Sonja Sekula by way of performative text. Sonja, while involving a great deal of visual arts (I hesitate to call the typographical moves "visual poetry") does not ever feel to me gratuitous. At times the book is achingly lyrical, retaining at every turn a spirit of fervent experimentation. Sonja is also a deeply original book; and by this I mean it doesn't read quite like anything I've come across. Schaeppi is a detail person too, nothing haphazard, and I know this from experience, the poet having helped early on with Occultations, giving me some great advice on layout etc. So, do check Sonja out. Dive right in. More on this work in the next week or so as Wheelhouse shines a spotlight on it (cf the Wheelhouse Spotlights writeup for David Brazil's Meet Me Under The War Angels below, also excerpted for Issue 9).

Books also from Black Radish include Occultations (full print run coming soon!), Mark Lamoureux's Spectre, and Marthe Reed's Gaze. Several titles are in the works for 2011 and beyond. For further info, check out the Black Radish blog and website.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And Look at This...

Kate Robinson, close friend and co-designer of Occultations with me, has started up a poetics/book arts blog from the bay area, where she now works and studies (Mills program in book arts). I'm really digging the questions she's asking and things she's covering. Note how removed from humans I've been, as I'm just now discovering the site. Enjoy.

Hey, Look at This...

Bumped into this beauty:

Flying Guillotine Press's Apocalypse Anthology. PDF version. Read (and print) to your heart's content. Speaking of content, so far perusing the content, I'm again reminded why I go online and look for something, usually poetry or criticism, to read before doing anything else (a morning, sometimes afternoon, ritual). Also, I met one of the contributing editors of Flying Guillotine a couple years ago when I was a reader for King/Bozicevic's (and now others'--curatorially) Stain of Poetry Series. At that time it was a very new press, like months old, and so I wrote down the name of it on a napkin to remind myself to look it up later on. I still have that napkin. I'll scan it in if you don't believe me... Speaking of Stain, napkins, and Flying Guillotine (a probable combo), I have been meaning to get curator Steven Karl's (Ir)rational Animals, which hopefully sees another print run at some point, having sold out.

I Am My Own Scab

Unlikely (tho still possible) to be able to get to AWP this year and read, research (Wheelhouse and Evergreen both co-host the PRESS Series, which takes place on Evergreen's campus, arguably a valuable service for students who are interested in writing), etc., as part of my so-called professional development as a faculty member (going on 5 yrs) at Evergreen--- as I just found out that I got $0.00 from the Activity Grants committee, which is unusual in relation to the activity I was asking small money to offset travel in order to carry out. Not that my work is any great shakes, but the ask was so low to begin with, where the cmte could easily have thrown the proverbial bone of a couple hundred bucks. Odd, too, since I'm hearing of others getting several night hotel stays plus travel for research trips, etc. Well, the contingency of us visiting faculty ("visiting" faculty at Evergreen does not mean what it sounds like: most have taught fully and regularly at Evergreen for, on average, something like 7 years and are unlikely to be asked not to return--so aren't "visitors" in any way beyond less pay/benefits/security)*, adjuncts full and part time, etc., and corporatization in general, is at issue here. As is the devaluation of creative writing pedagogy, potentially. As are the politics at any university. Anyone with me? Anyone had a similar experience? Anyone finally sick of the two-tiered system at work at Corporate Universities? And lack of transparency? I have no idea, for instance, who was on the cmte beyond admin, and I have, in essence, to "apply" to find out why no monies were allocated--that info should be available as part of the initial denial of funds, given the small number of faculty who apply, let alone teach, at Evergreen. So, has anyone experienced similar? I'd bet any of you who teach and read this have. Feel free to say so as comment to this post. Anonymously if you desire. Then I'll forward the batch to the cmte, and not use yr names if you desire to stay anonymous for said letter.


*this was an even more egregious phenomenon prior to our first union contract 3 years ago, the winning of which triggered the regular conversion of 3 visiting faculty into tenure-track regular faculty for each contract cycle.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

correction to altered book post...

...just found out that the post, next in the archives, on the altered book, had an error in it. Indeed a collaborative book came out of the student course/insurrection I mentioned, but the pictures I pilfered from a larger pile (link to all in the post) was created by Yael Beretta, one of the participants in the insurrection. Also a very talented poet/performance artist.

Of Note if You're Me Or Some-Body Else: Brolaski on Stephens' Absence Whereas

Lots of fine content in the April-May Poetry Project Newsletter (just now getting to it), including and especially a mini-essay/review of Nathanael Stephens' Absence Whereas (Nightboat, 2009). Brolaski treats so many aporias in this book not only via the terms it wrestles with (or "puts off" as Brolaski notes)--the "littoral spaces" between selves, body and text--but does so, aptly and with an admirable depth and (as far as I read it) insight into the work's tracings. Tracings, as in intertextual convergences--ropes that tie through the voids these strokes on the page, tracing the work through Bataille, through (especially) Glissant (who N. has translated). This, my reading of a work of incredible studied rawness and poetic depth, has got me wanting to double back on it now, now as I am hoping in the next weeks to get my hands on Stephens' latest.

Rich Owens writes on the paradoxes and possibilities of commoning in various environments, including the virtual (this, the blogging), in the new issue of PPNL, which, if my procrastination keeps up, I'll certainly be reading as the tree outside my window begins to thaw. Onward...

Glenn Beck Domestic

Check Better Living Thru Rage, a poets theater piece written/performed by Nicky Tiso, Eric Moen, Paige Clifton-Steele, and Gabe Riggs. Over at Tiso's blog, Grand Hotel Abyss. The piece is written as connected "scenes," one scene written by each author, edited as whole afterwards by the group.

Tiso's piece attempts to meet Thom Donovan's challenge as Thom mentions on his blog this week, that of working as "Glenn Beck" or more specifically with his affects, Beck the entity, as persona, as pre-coded, pre-packaged script that anyone, say, who fits a majority demographic, could perform. So, Tiso's part of the script is Beck's re-arranged, the words detached from the entity with whom we are familiar. At Thom's urging, Tiso posted the (handheld) video of the performa, with the Beck piece coming in at minute 13. From Tiso, as written over at his blog:

this Glenn Beck segment was inspired by poet Thom Donovans Harriet blog post “Three Proposals,” where he proposes activities that might “re-present Beck as a series of affects in order that the Mind (consciousness, cognition) may become less reactive, more prepared for action and reflection.” This segment begins 13 minutes in, although I of course recommend watching all of them!

Any case, was great to see this, very glad somebody took up & recorded Donovan's initial challenge, which I blogged about several months ago after I dropped out on some initial talk about collaborative possibilities with Thom and David Buuck.

ps: in July Tiso got his hands on a review copy of Occultations and wrote a rather beautiful review/mini-essay of it, then surprised me with its contents via sending me a link as published in Tarpaulin Sky. He'd told me he wanted to write on the book, but I was quite touched by such a gesture, and frankly rather blown away by the follow-thru. Tho, knowing his poetry and poetics, I wasn't surprised by the depth and quality of the writing. Again, my many thanks for his attentiveness to the book, for a review that reads beautifully, even if too kindly...

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Blog Feature: Wheelhouse Spotlights

After some consideration, I've decided to add a feature to this blog, bridge it more explicitly with Wheelhouse on the one hand and PRESS on the other (these hands, by the way, are connected to a common body anyhow). Much as I direct you, my fellow wide-eyed readers, to PRESS events, readings, conferences, and online content over at the PRESS Literary Politics Series Blog, I'm going to feature a couple of contributors to Wheelhouse, once every so often--basically when I can and feel like it. (A conjunct claim for all you logic nuts out there.) These features will be shortish blurbs or teasers with the hope that they might direct your attention to things you may have, in your busy lives, missed over at Wheelhouse. Wheelhouse Spotlights.

So, without further ado, and starting with some of the pdf work, which is by nature longer and often more typographically challenging, take a look at...

from MEET ME UNDER THE WAR ANGELS by David Brazil (OMG! Press, 2010). Wheelhouse Magazine, No. 9

David Brazil's excerpt from Meet Me Under the War Angels, a physical chapbook published by Brandon Brown's OMG! is about as much as we could publish at Wheelhouse, but oh did we have a hard time excerpting. Brandon and David graciously allowed us to pluck from this really--in our estimation--stunning, subtle, chapbook. The work is endlessly generative if you have the patience, beautiful if not. I respect not only the way David treats people in person, but likewise, as a true extension of David the subject, here I admire the treatment of friendship (complexly understood via often the simplest, sparest stanza), the sublime in everyday experiences, the subjective inertia of the body experiencing food, sex, poetry (need) amidst a landscape of indescribable ruin (angels speak of earthly horrors but do so in slanted, poetical ways). Where even the ruin is, in its strange converging temporalities and mossy overgrowths, imbued with possibility when met, which is to say resisted on so many different levels and in so many places (the public park a recurring one), including the (non)site of the poem itself. The possibility for ruin here to have, perhaps, even an aura, a tangibility that can be archived if not somehow remediated, speaks to an aesthetic that is contra a lineage of a sort of photographical poetics--one that seeks out the splendor of the wasteland as seen through a machine's (a priori, not quite godlike) eye, ruin seen as "the beautiful" in a more Kantian sense, i.e., as an aesthetic of unpopulated beauty presented in so much late 20th century photography. Contra the closed off, reified lyric--an aesthetic of subject-object confusion and remove, simple dichotomy. Contra that, that reification, Brazil's cycle is deeply populated, ruin implicated in our affairs as much as the quiet touch that is so savagely juxtaposed to what is ostensibly an unspoken backdrop, itself subject and object. And so conversation among friends, recorded into daily notebooks, sears, is interspersed with an incessant wondering-as-written, peopled quotes both alive and dead, in real time too, and a wondering/wandering that is, always at the edges, sad and (almost paradoxically) joyously curious. Each "section," with an "=" indicating "time passes," as Brazil noted before he captivated us with a live reading of the entire work in SF a few months ago, is tightly woven, and it feels as though it can be, maybe should be sung in whisper or spoken with hushed laughter (formatting not entirely retained here):

="It is

the thing inside us that I want to talk about

in the figure"

-Manuel Neri,

caption to a marble sculpture

unaccountably present in this waiting


(We also walk past a cardboard

Kore -- woven out of κορε

packing material I think -- and

very colorful -- which Sara

said is a good omen --

and which makes me think of


the whom whom we may owe for

what we are.)

I splashed water on my face from

the airport bathroom tap

that turns itself off in

five seconds after you wave

The cycle moves in and out of subjective times similarly throughout. Such that two rather famous Augustine quotes, at least for me, come to mind (as does The Confessions Book X as a whole): "Charity is no substitute for justice withheld" and "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." Here the work dips into the concreteness of faucets and buses and sodas and commercials, and, of course, monument of the war dead trapped in silence. Both the trauma and restlessness of subjects forging intimate moments (impossibly) outside neoliberal wreckage, poetry's vocation and the term's use as way of becoming, as pre-literary (to borrow from George Quasha), ask how late it is, and whether this bounded life, at this hour of meeting in intimacy (whose?) is "enough." This book sprawls and turns back on itself, meets charity along the way, of course, and so those who populate it--many of the people treated I know in this life--are left in a kind of suspended animation (emphasis on animation), an animated wondering/wandering. Nomadism informs what it is to "meet" at a destination, none of which are home. And the reaching beyond or under or as resistant to neoliberal self-sameness meets headlong the everyday shit and its beautiful anti-spleandor, hence, beyond creating for an increasingly musical yet frenzied dialectic, what we get is a book that is and reveals a notion of community that isn't at all what one usually gets to the right of the term, definitionally: some mealy mouthed togetherness based in some magical (and of course destructive) notion of unity. By meeting--together witnessing--below the war angels (and so inextricably tied to the war) is how the work takes us from place to place and how it retains a non-linear, restless fit with itself.

I hope that at some point Brazil reads the work again and a full recording emerges, as there is so little daylight between the poet and the poem that to hear one wearing this work is in itself quite magical--and, lest I forget, at times quite funny.

To order this title, and other titles from poets such as Alli Warren, Rodney Koeneke, and Anna Vitale, visit the link to OMG! above.

*Next up, excerpts from Sonja Sekula by Kathrin Schaeppi (book forthcoming in a few weeks from Black Radish Books).

I Wake &...

Miranda Mellis & Brian Teare make appearances as and in the uncanny, SPT's encyclopedia 2, & "the sky is a tacky curtain" dribbled onto the virtual page at XPoetics today.

And, as postscript, from Clay @ SPD: Encyclopedia Volume 2, F-K
Tisa Bryant, Miranda Mellis and Kate Schatz, Editors
$25 | cloth | 400 pp.
ISBN: 9780977344314

Fiction. Drama. Poetry. Art. Literary Nonfiction. ENCYCLOPEDIA is a serial hardcover book project that presents a wide variety of approaches to narrative. Part reference book, part literary journal, each volume appropriates the form of the encyclopedia—from columns to cross-referencing—as a space for publishing new, innovative literary and visual works. This volume features over 209 entries by 193 talented folk, including "Fair" by Ronaldo V. Wilson, "Gonzalez Torres, Felix" by Amra Brooks, "Hir" by Eleni Stecopoulos, "Inference" by Derek White, "Jumper" by Samiya Bashir, "Korea" by Sueyuen Juliette Lee and much more! The full-color Artist Portfolio includes Tammy Rae Carland, John Caserta, Krista Franklin, Sam Lopes, and Amy Trachtenburg.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

from Hospitalogy (in-progress)

Border Crossings

Best Western, Eugene OR, Nov 11, 2010


x or y,

id imagine

this ekphrastic

apology as shared

best western

oil wants.

(low impressionism

with a hi-fi feeling:

resolute nose /

gay skin grafts to

swaths of bloom

like my xes bodys

inner wish is

a west banks


constitution, its page


as of yet no


(charter for a


of senses, design-

nation ephemeral)

ive allways been

a femme tuckd

performing jim

lehrer never

re-assigned, some

times whitmans

civil soldiers felld

gives one hope.

like yr wish

for strategic gunfire

on this lurching cog,

for a desird maiming


to be one

by erasure

or an-other,

to be that held who

not in the frame.

a dis-membering /

a surgical proposition

theres mauve here, some spit,

off white, why not re-cover

in xis arms

to speak visible?

this line is yr potential

for now the here

opens as a fixd


an armory pro-duces

lasers that retro-fit

only parts like hands

to paint with,

hewn road in black-

green, a boring scene

of aversion

where ad place-

meant is fore-grounded.

but a high yield _____

those who listen

to the torsional

birth of certainties

inside that tissue

sequencer, fortune

cookie, hammard

wedge, a thousand

incessant blows driven

darwin wrote of

will have us passd all this

then, before the dock

jammed up with damaged

strykers & rats

reservd for want of work

in need of want,

no a no name

thing, a life

as elliptical

as a motel body