Monday, October 30, 2006

Why The Raincoats Are The Greatest Ever (Off Top of Head)

1. First 20-30 seconds of The Raincoats.
2. Violin and (is that a kazoo) breakdown during No Side To Fall In.
3. Palmolive.
4. For how much better Lola is than the Kinks version.
5. No rock album has more emotional range.
6. Chorus during The Void.
7. No rock album is more spontaneous.
8. Why am I even putting this in the category of 'rock album'?
9. No rock album is less self-conscious.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In NY, got Alli Warren's COUSINS, newly out. She's one of my favorite poets. Here's a part from MY FACTLESS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I randomly opened up, and the opened up to:

My part was basically to hatch
with regard for human dignity and life
In my best foreign automobile
stunting the stupor fronting us
On the other hand this was the result
of the fact of having had two faces
completely undiagonosed and undeniable alliances
Cut through the parking lot at the southern most point
I have misplaced my W2
but I am becoming good for people
Scapegoating the badger

Something about her poems is so fuckin quoteable. I can't think of anything else to say right now. She's one of my favorite poets. And where's the fuckin thick spend years reading it gorgeous book, World, huh? I already want Alli Warren's Complete Works!

Friday, October 06, 2006

I don't quite understand when people say, "well I haven't written anything in a long time". I write something at least at once a day. And I'm not going to say "of course most of its crap", which seems somehow like the writerly thing to say. I just don't know what to do with most of it.


Stephanie Young is pretty fuckin amazing. In Telling The Future Off, the nerves break down then build back up. Something (I gonna risk sounding corny) redemptive in that. Some of the poems are ironically imbued with self-help sufficiency, but they practice real self-help. And they also help whatever self happens to be reading them. Reminds me of Alice Notley in more ways than one. But yeah, nerves. It seems to ask a very scary question: We've heard phrases like the connectedness of all living things etc., but what we are connected to really? Maybe that's too Matrixy. I also think of what I view as one of the most important things Kerouac said re: his own work and writing in general. When asked by Steve Allen to define beat, Kerouac just said, "mmmm... sympathetic." And then Steve Allen acted as if he thought Kerouac was joking.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Last night watched Powaqqatsi, the second in Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass' 'qatsi' trilogy. It says really remarkable things about the potential of film and music together. It has a definite dialectic, but the way it unfolds is very moving and effective. I'm watching the trilogy backwards. Next I have to see Koyaanisqatsi.


Lately I've been digging Rod Smith's In Memory of My Theories and Music or Honesty. His poems sound like nothing else. They're disjunct yet lyrical. About the sonic as well as the investigative possiblities of making poems, the making of making poems. Political in a way that's practiced rather than espoused. From Autopsy Turvy, a sequence in Music or Honesty:

A life is not important
except in the impact it has
on other lives
the invention of new souls
of flame, & of flame
a factor, becoming change
a determining systemic
infinity seams
to be human, to be a sound
of concerns shared therefore really
something that means nothing
but is nonetheless interesting

Sunday, October 01, 2006

When a poet comes to town, the local paper takes note and is also careful to preface it with something like this: "That news is unlikely to bring traffic to a standstill or send shock waves through the stock market." Why is this sentence there? Its like a presumption of boring the reader, like 'hold on hold on hear me out'. If there's a film being released that is anticipated to bring in alot of people, no newspaper article would say, "Well its the new Will Ferrell movie. And that news is unlikely to derail trains, or bankrupt Microsoft. But we think it might be big." Neither a reading nor a Hollywood blockbuster so drastically affect the infrastructure of society. It may affect this or that person's plans for the evening. I hate to sound like a snob, but poetry has never been a blockbuster art. I know I know. Such statements aren't meant to be taken literally. We're talking about a figure of speech, 'well its not gonna start any wars or cause any mass hallucinations among the grizzly bear population'. And a poetry reading getting a write up in a newspaper is in itself sort of rare and at least'll let plenty of people know its happening.

But the space created by a qualification that says in effect, 'hey man we don't flip out over poetry either but bare with us while we tell you about this guy John Ashbery coming to town' leaves room for people espousing dull 'populist' poetry to step in. Of course Michael Gizzi touches on this too, re: the Keiller-spin-a-little-yarn school, poetry that offers nothing except being easy to get. Maybe its a capitalist thing, as if poetry can be presented as a little industry, could be sold in trinket shops alongside apple-butter. And I think alot of poetry anthologies try consciously to fit into that niche. Is that from outside, extra-aesthetic pressures or simply from an editor's own prediliction? A little of both, I think. Its also irritating that the markebility of poetry and the popularity of poetry get conflated. And partly as a result of that conflation, writing about poetry/poetry readings that happens outside of a certain sphere tends to come with qualifiers and disclaimers.

Of course art does cause change. It affects perception. That's making an impact. A film, a reading, anything can do that. I guess it comes down to the question, why does the presumed disinterest on the part of some vague readership have to come along with write-ups of certain art/poetry events?