Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've been thinking about this post from Nada Gordon which addresses what one looks for in poetry, or maybe in a poet or poet's work or whatever. She says personality and style, and agrees with music as an addendum to the criteria. Coming up with a criteria like this is all about being put on the spot, as in having the question directly put to you, "What do you look for in poetry?". I have to give props that she performed under pressure like that. And I agree mostly with it. And who wouldn't respond to personality, style and a musical quality etc? But I've been thinking that I would definitely substitute or in any case put in my top 3 the quality of charm. Alot of the most intense interactions I find I have with poetry have to do with just being charmed in some way that I may or may not be able to put into words. An obvious (to me anyway) example of a poet whose work just exhibits so much personality, style, music, and charm (not to mention wit, nerve, sensitivity, alluring inscrutability) would be O'Hara. If ever there was a poet who I'd describe as irresistible, it's Frank O'Hara. But "charm" as an adjective to plug into an ideal poetry criteria seems like sort of, I don't know, untrustworthy. But not in a way that would distinguish it from any other quality that would appear in this or that criteria. When you try to articulate what to look for in something that you already nerdishly devote yourself to the pursuit of, there are bound to be exceptions upon exceptions upon contradictions enough to capsize the whole frickin criteria boat in pretty short time. But charm does hold up for me. As in I do want be charmed when I'm reading poetry, or put it this way-- if I'm faced with a complete lack of charm, then I'm gonna to have a really hard time finishing this book or poem or piece, or getting through this reading without just resorting to a complete mind-lapse into thoughts about artichoke dip, or sex, or some Marx Brothers bit, or Frank O'Hara, until it's finished and it's socially acceptable for me to leave. All of the other stuff-- my head getting lopped off, my soul being permanently scarred and deformed, my testes being stuck in a vice, me being told to change my life, well I'm thinking right now that none of that will work without charm. And since I peed and grabbed another beer, I've been thinking two things: 1. O'Hara is like the ultimate Criteria Poet, as in the variousness of his work (and he's sure not a "neglectorino" or anything) exhibits so many qualities that it makes it almost tempting in light of it to just advocate for a poetry that packs in as many qualities into as various a tapestry as possible, & 2. I should really try to expand on the whole charm thing or at least come up with some examples of charm in poetry within the next few days, which I'm too lazy to do right now. Thoughts?
What Have You Been Up To?

I've been out of pocket, just sort of working and coming home and watching stuff through all the sanctioned channels. And not eating meat and getting sudden feelings of displacement while frying an egg.

One thing I've been trying to figure out, which may already be the wrong tack, is how to write poetry. After, in the wake of, the full time working and not doing it before or after. Part of the problem might be easy access to those sanctioned channels over the internet, which can deflate the will toward making things. But I really have been trying to figure out how to start writing poetry again, or how to start writing poetry.

I've been trying not to lose my collected shit, or rather today thought I might because of the sudden displacement feeling whilst fixing an egg and potatoes meal before "work". "Work"s cushy I guess in that one can sit and read Joseph Ceravolo, and appreciate, maybe even in a smug sort of way, how poetry can help one not to lose one's collected shit, which I don't feel like I have the energy to withstand.

Just now I walked to Y Not II, and crossed Pleasant St. and heard the sewer running underneath the street and though about how I live in a city. Sat down in Y Not II and read Edwin Denby, and started to read Susie Timmons but thought how I always treat poetry like some buffet and I end up not concentrating on anything, so I kept reading Edwin Denby. I came home with one beer that tasted like the tap hadn't been cleaned in me. Though at the same time I'm thinking of the scene in the film Mister Lonely where Diego Luna's character thanks all of the things in his apartment just for being what they are and doing what they do, and thinking how maybe one should practice that a little maybe? So Thank You ruddy-tasting Blue Moon, for sitting in me in a nice comfy way even though you tasted ruddy, and Thank You Y Not II for being around me and having some other people in you while I sat in you, reading Edwin Denby.

Anyway that's what I've been up to. And you?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Please check out the new Abraham Lincoln, and the new issue of The Hat.