Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Harold Stanley-Oda, 2006-2008


Wakes me up to run
grassy fawning little dust
where he digs a hole
fig or gingko
it’s scaly on the back of my neck
the chewed corners of books
quietly in the grip
of a louder-type development
the head cocks and the eye
from the side of the head
implacable, as sea-green as dirt

equally biological
coffee spilt on the needlepoint birches
how is the being noble going?
It’s peopling questions.
The tomato horn worm;
when you cut it in half
it squirts green blood.
Our morning buzzards
between telephone and cypress
are the greased air;
the nose constantly
working a patched-together sense,
brokedown, of the scenario—
for once the mockingbird
is quieter than his wings.

To watch and watch and so
to turn and turn again
this desert view from all sides
more cool this year – I’m scared
it’s a form of respect I been working on
where twists the story
like his speed in leaping
could it be heard
the way we heard?
Respect’s not an easy hole to dig
to cancel a cancelling wind
timothy hay floats in the mug
the scene quivers foxtails
we were all having a sweat together
including the alley’s sumac
the heat left his ears
in food-destroying weather
full of slack translations
the weird creases bodies get
so much in my nose.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the best friends write the best books

the best people and the best poems,

jared's book will be on all our shelves! this is a suitable topic for venturing out on a blog promontory again.

jessica's book will be strewn atop our record collections! that could bring a person out.

in honor, and because i am reading bill luoma's works and days, i am thinking of some memory scraps of jessica and jared.

1. when i met jared, i thought he was a jerk because he was shouting and giving nicknames to bars. it turns out that he is kind (and spazzy) (and i am judgmental).

2. when i met jessica she was sitting on the floor surrounded by thousands of heaps of uncollated xeroxes she was putting in packets one by one by one.

3. when i met jessica and we became friends it was in the library and she was at the water fountain wearing tiny running shorts and a san antonio t-shirt with a ram's head.

4. jared would wear a t-shirt with a sheepdog head.

5. jessica, who used to not have a phone and used to not have the internet and eventually coped with it by having it be a game called the INTERNET (like OFFICE was a game for working) now has an ebay store.

6. jared has and has had a mega-domestic space like duncan and jess, fiestaware.

7. jessica showcases arrangements, like 70s moods distilled on dressers and tables, similar to her mix tapes, and reminiscent of her ebay store.

8. i asked jared if california was 'dusty' and 'golden'. jared said yes and steve said no.

9. jared's ongoing mark e. smith impression

10. jd savitz - asceticism, beer; buttered mac n cheese fervor.

12 - hey amorist, tune your radio to 84.6!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


In my dream last night, I came to a city in Northern England, which was intensely orderly, and was on a beach, and which I could see from above - the streest were grids of evergreen shrubbery. Anyway, Mer and I came to the place, and were hanging out with this British couple in T-Shirts. We were in a room with that sickly yellow flourescent interior lights, and we could see lots of blemishes. The British couple took us to a bookstore, and on the way to the bookstore, someone in a trench coat slipped a photocopied sheaf into my hand and kept walking in the other direction. The document consisted of photocopied pages from a book - it was an article from an academic journal, a review of Mrs. Maybe #1. The author's first name began with an M, which is all I can remember - I was mortified - the review had numbered points it wanted to make about Mrs. Maybe. But now I can't remember what the review said. It started out bad, and got much better, that's what I remember.

Later, we went to the beach. I rudely pushed some dowager over on the promenade because she wasn't making room for our beach chairs. I immediately felt guilty. We saw two dolphins swimming in the shallows - they were being chased by a mako and a hammerhead, which were in turn being chased by a golden eagle and a black hawk - (these last two were swimming). The water was clear.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And This Skull, Reading on Friday, New Book Just Out

Um, Motherfuckin', yeah, Hell Yeah: Dear Jack is upon us

Scott Inguito & The Sonneteers (Ben & Sandra Doller)

Friday, December 5, 7:30 p.m.

Scott Inguito lives in San Francisco, teaches in San Jose, and paints in his garage. His most recent project is called PANDAFUCK, a suite of poems inspired by the pointless, the ill-tuned yet well-intentioned, the black and white of it all. Dear Jack (2008), a book of poems, is out on Momotombo Press. You can find his paintings at scottinguito.com

Sandra Doller (née Miller) has a new name. Her first book Oriflamme was published by Ahsahta Press in 2005, and her second collection Chora is forthcoming from Ahsahta in 2010. Sandra Doller is the founder & editrice of a fancy magazine & press, the curiously named 1913. She teaches at Cal State San Marcos and lives way out west with her man, Ben Doller (né Doyle) and their pup Ronald Johnson.

Ben Doller (né Doyle)’s first book of poems, Radio, Radio, was selected by Susan Howe as winner of the 2000 Walt Whitman Award. His second book, FAQ:, will be published by Ahsahta Press in 2009, and his third book, Dead Ahead, is forthcoming from Fence Books. He co-edits the Kuhl House Contemporary Poets series and teaches in Antioch’s Low-Res MFA program. Wherever he lives, he lives with his lady, Sandra Doller (née Miller) and their boxador, Ronald Johnson.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why Bolano? Ben Ehrenreich Articulates it Pretty Well

Behind the goofy hijinks is a wary, already heartbroken version of the insurrectionary spirit that had sent Bolaño to Allende’s Chile: “Our ethics is Revolution, our esthetics is Life: one-single thing,” he writes in a Breton-inspired First Infrarealist Manifesto. The depths of his political disillusion are apparent enough (“We dreamt of utopia and woke up screaming.”), but he’s hardly cynical. For all his posturing, the young Bolaño is arguing for a passionate, uncompromising commitment to poetry-as-liberation. His legions of fascist antiheroes will demonstrate again and again that purity is murderous. Transcendence stinks. Poetry that seeks it—the lyrical, the epic—reeks of dishonesty. Only the fleeting can be trusted. If it means anything, poetry means resistance, stoic courage. “The true poet is the one who is always abandoning himself,” Bolaño writes. “Leave it all behind, again,” his manifesto ends. “Take it to the road.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008


"To amplify the mysterious title “2666” Mr. Echevarría quotes a 1999 Bolaño story, one that cites 'a cemetery in the year 2666, a forgotten cemetery under the eyelid of a corpse or an unborn child, bathed in the dispassionate fluids of an eye that tried so hard to forget one particular thing that it ended up forgetting everything else.'"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

For The California Academy of Sciences

Its shells, its discards, for John McClosker and Belva Davis, for Richard Ellis, two headed albino things, for alligators floating beneath Doric columns, for the unsmelling carpet in the fish rotunda, for the inglorious Salvation Army band in the bandshell looking out over well-trimmed mulberries resembling huge knuckled bones of an extinct giant raven, for matrons and children and expatriates, for the park, which seemed, with its giant ferns and fire pines, like the last bastion of dinosaurs with maces for tails, no dead leaves among the Cypress, for Tales of the City on KQED, for the resumption of ferry service, 1989, for the Embarcadero Freeway and its shadows on the now-too-bright Ferry Building, for our babysitter’s uncle, a Welsh paraplegic who lived in the Sunset, that treeless place the dinosaurs escaped, and sailed alone to Hawaii, for the curious orange-yellow plastic window that mimicked old time windows made of beer bottles, somehow everywhere in those days, for apartment life and banana trees in atriums, like Basho’s, unproductive, elephant’s ears, for the Purple Onion when Tom in the sailor’s suit ran it, he slept on plywood suspended between sawhorses on the dancefloor – once we woke him up, and he played Jesus and Mary Chain 45s on a Fisher-Price portable record player; most of all, for Jon Moritsugu. It might be something physical, in every age and every nation, the redwood wars, the requiem shark, representing forces we just don’t understand. Tell me about it.


Friday, September 26, 2008

My Head, on the front page of the Merced Sun Star

Bike enthusiasts gather at the UC Merced Joseph E. Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday morning for tips on riding and maintaining their bikes. The clinic was put on by the UC Merced Cycling Alliance and Merced Bike Coalition, which aim to raise interest in the benefits of cycling, including its positive impact on the environment.
That's my head and also body, bent over, second from left. blue jersey, black cap. To my left, my former student Elliot Block, who's started the student cycling club. We're working on the brakes of Amelia Herrera's bike, also another former student. Superstars, these kidz.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ah, yes, this is the way it's done

Nephew of Merced County district attorney accused of stabbing attack

Merced police say Matthew Morse slashed man with knife; investigators also find 37-inch knife with 25-inch blade

A 22-year-old man who is the nephew of District Attorney Larry Morse II was arrested Friday on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Matthew Edward Morse was arrested by Merced police after he was accused of slashing a 28-year-old man in the arm with a knife. The stabbing was reported in the parking lot of Save Mart at 180 W. Olive Ave., according to Cmdr. Floyd Higdon of the Merced Police Department.

Because the suspect in the case is his nephew, Morse said an attorney from the state Attorney General's Office will handle the case. Morse called the arrest of his nephew heartbreaking. "I love him, but he's going to have to account for the full consequences of his actions like anyone else," Morse said.

Larry Morse said the suspect is the son of his brother, Brian Morse.

Police responded to the scene after they received a call that a man wearing a toga had stabbed the victim, leaving the area in a silver SUV-type vehicle, Higdon said.

The victim, who was sitting in the parking lot when police arrived, had two 1-inch deep slices in his left arm, Higdon said.

The victim reported that the stabbing happened after the suspect had verbally insulted his wife and circled the couple in his car, eventually coming to a stop, Higdon said.

The victim then approached the suspect, who was sitting in his car, asking him, "What's up?" The man in the SUV, according to the victim, then slashed him with the knife. After being cut, the victim said, he punched the man in the mouth. The suspect then left the scene.

Matthew Morse was later identified as a suspect after the victim picked him out of a photo lineup. He was found at a toga party in the 3000 block of Park Avenue and taken into custody, Higdon said.

The victim, who received 30 stitches in his arm to close both wounds, also reported that there was a passenger seated in the car with Matthew Morse. Higdon said that person was not involved in the altercation.

Police also recovered a 37-inch-long knife with a 25-inch blade, which was hidden in bushes at the Park Avenue location, Higdon said.

Matthew Morse gave no statement to police, Higdon said. He remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $30,000 bail.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eh! Be Pissed! But Don't Worry!

Hey Peeps!

Don't blink - The Obama campaign's a little tired, but, as Gail Collins says in her column in the Times yesterday, over here on the coast we don't see all the work that happening. So don't stress, and don't blink - don't let the bulllies steal your lunch money! 

Friday, September 5, 2008

Opening the Opening

Ha Ha! 

The "Poets on Paper" opening was pretty fantastic. My class ended at 3:50pm, in Merced (123 mi from SF) - I rode my bicycle 7mi from campus to my house, sweating profusely as it was somewhere about 101 fahreneheit - packed a couple of last minute things, got in the car and set out on HWY 99, cruise control set on 65mph, and ac set on 2.

The opening was set to begin at 6:30, and I left Mercytown at 4. after a lil traffic in Castro Valley, I finally crossed the Bay Bridge right as the introductory movie treacle for Cindy McCain began. Oh, very terrible! So I switched to KALX, the UC Berkeley radio station. The gentlemen dj began talking about how the music would get all the 'playa dust' out of listeners' skin (playa, as in Burning Man, as in, the most hippie thing I've heard on KALX in at least a decade). 

Rolled up to the gallery, Canessa, which is in North Beach, apparently once on the edge of Yerba Buena Cove. I missed some people I'd like to have seen. Clayton Banes, for example. He's such a nice guy. So, I got in there, got to chatting with w/Brent C. and a fella that I recognize from Moe's Books. He had a nice Blue Oyster Cult t-shirt, and I asked him whether he was a fan. Sadly, no. I didn't think I could properly describe why BOC is essential. and important listening for the poet, thought I wanted to. If you're out there, email Mrs Maybe and let's chat about it.

Scott did a great job hanging our Typewriter Drawings - they looked real good. Also, a few of the panels (as you can see from the photo) have asterisks which are hard to see from a distance, and it was real great to see people get real close to the work. It made the work make even more sense in the gallery, fortuitously enough. 

Had a nice chat with Earle and Sandra, about riding the train through the Central Valley. A nice chat w/Brent about pragmatism and utopian drawing and architecture, and w/Megan about a writers' retreat at my house, and the word "upthrusty."

Afterward, Scott and I drove home, listenting to that Slavoj Zizek on the radio. Pretty interesting, and has that ol' E. Euro Intellectual voice that makes 'em slobber in the Bay Area. 

We had burritos and talked about how much San Francisco has changed since the 80s/90s. Makes my writing pretty much always in the grief zone.

So, funny to be doing visual art. I'm so glad Scott goaded me into it, and sort of surprised that it's not exactly horrible.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Poets on Paper," Canessa Gallery, September


Works by 5 Poet-Artists
at the Canessa Gallery
September 1-October 1, 2008

Brent Cunningham
Cassandra Smith
Dan Fisher
Scott Inguito & Jared Stanley

Opening Night: Thursday, September 4

(during the "First Thursdays" SF Art Crawl)

Canessa Gallery
708 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111


Works Online:
B. Cunningham: http://brentcunningham.blogspot.com/
D. Fisher: http://fishfishtofferson.blogspot.com/
C. Smith: http://flickr.com/photos/violetedison/sets
J. Stanley: http://www.mrs-maybe.com
S. Inguito: http://www.scottinguito.com/

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Slow Poetics of Fossil Fuel

Text Message From Inguito

new art movement 'hopeless grostesquerie' - an art in which the artist knows that nature is laughing at his/her crudity.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And Again, Back

Hey Hey,

Phew - back from the big bicycle trip. My legs feel like stumps, and I have a persistent sore throat from inhaling diesel smoke, way out in "nature." In a state park, in a redwood grove, someone was watching a sitcom in a tent with the volume way up high. Scratch an American.

Getting back into the questions and answers:

Lauren writes:

why isn't the paglen work about uncovering?

As an X-Files fan, I'll just say that uncovering and uncovering do nothing. There's no power in it, just paranoia, and I think Paglen's reportage and romanticism are winking at it. "It's not a secret weapon if no one knows about it" &c. &c.

It's just that the romanticism of the night sky seems to keep that stuff 'endarkened.'


And, on to the subject of having a poetics.

Boy, those posts, esp. D. Bellamy's were pretty awe-inspiring. I think I prefer D.'s take on things. That Gossip then becomes history. It reminds me of Stein's hilarious "Remarks are not literature" - which really should be on a post-it above every blogger's screen.

As a quick, and really inadequate, response, I guess, in general, it's probably good and healthy not to make too many pronouncements. On the other hand, making a pronouncement gives you a side to be on, and then you can be a double-agent. I do want to say that 'negative capability' persists, despite Johannes' statement, and who cares? I think things can be simple and negative c. at the same time, probably.


can we be pragmatists about it? Is there a practical poetics?

It's probably fine to have a speculative poetics, but I think it would be fun to look at specifics and see how practical problems of poem making are ventured by a given poets. I think Rhubarb is Susan can be kind of dumb and really bro, sometimes, but the guy is specific. I've been teaching scientists too long.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Yikes, Yeeks, Great Scott

am i the only person who didn't know about link +?

in case there is another semi-recent california arrival who feels that she can't find the books she wants without teaching at or attending a college (or begging her university friends to cart them over from merced or san jose), and that person reads the mrs. maybe blog, here it is again, link +.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008


dear catherine, jared, & megan,

i want to add this to the discussion:

i'm reading Wars, Threesomes, Drafts, & Mothers by Heriberto Yépez & found his statement on ethnopoetics.

and i am going to talk about poetics statements so here are a few things i was reading and considering in that context by Dodie Bellamy and Laura Moriarty and Johannes Göransson (thinking specifically of the "Poetics of Overdeterminacy" post)

so, sorry for the move to the meta, but all yesterday i kept thinking about ways of constructing discourse around poetics/project statements. i bothered claire on the phone w/it for much time. anyway, i worry that i sounded too flip/dismissive when i gave that off-hand mention of 'problems with having a poetics'. trying to think it through, i think the deal is more a tonal one for me, i appreciate in poetics statements or articulations of positions or whatever when there is a acknowledgment of other types of thinking.

i don't mean that people should say 'every way of thinking about poetry is equally the same'. actually, i was trying to articulate this to jared a while back, i like when the rhetoric of manifestos is over-the-top oppositional, because there's an element of performance and excess there that lets some air into the situation. (j and i evolved a short-hand for this element of excess in performance of a position. it's called robert duncan's cape. based on a cape worn by robert duncan.) i also appreciate when people articulate what is personal in the evolution of an aesthetic - what is personally being responded against.

Or when there is a sense of access to information being built up, for others to use. Like when Stephanie Young was talking about ways to bring 60s and 70s feminist art practice back into contemporary thinking - that seemed like an open question to excitedly glom onto - or what Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Göransson do w/Action Books in giving access to all this work in translation. It's about a certain aesthetic, but also about bringing all this work into view. Seems to be also what Dale Smith might be doing in bringing all these strands like performance and ecology and conceptual poetry into his discussion of slow poetry.

In short, I like when there is effort made to puncture the mantle of authority that comes with 'having a position,' within the articulation of that position. I also think of Tyrone Williams' and Bhanu Kapil's talks at the SPT conference making that effort in different ways, I figure Andrew will have that panel up on his blog soon. I also don't think that that effort (to puncture one's own authority) is incompatible with support, even fierce support, of one's own position or with taking an ethical stance. I hope not anyway, maybe that's something we could talk about as I'm interested in that (possible) contradiction.

i hope this isn't taking us too far off-track. jared, you should totally return to slow cities or political art or any other topic. also hope what i'm writing isn't just belaboring the obvious...i just realized after writing my last post that i had done the annoying thing of writing some random complaint casually dashed off in...uh...'authoritative voice'. so trying to rectify in thinking about what i am thinking about.

xo, lauren

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


hi megan & jared,

i'm back from montana. as usual trying to post in scraps between working on poems & a forgetting keys frenzy out the door to work. this'll be sketchy.

megan, goodness! well, thanks. i am lucky to have you read my poems. i wish i could write yours. and jared's. jared, i love your posts on slow & political art. i love the way you put your vantage into them. you are in quite the tone evolution on this blog.

the types of metaphors you're using for endarkenment are very interesting. patina & corrosion, now mask/lid. i remember talking on the phone at some point about the occult aspect of pattern-making. i have questions for you.

why isn't the paglen work about uncovering?

do you see it as like the lombardi work, as covering and uncovering at once?

(uncovering a network of hidden or occulted relationships.
uncovering the presence of spy satellites.
covering w/the formalism of diagrams that leave out the incoherence of relationship.
covering with the reintroduction of satellites into the mythological sky.)

i don't really know the lombardi or the paglen, i have to say. so this is third-hand commentary. for formalism in political art, i also think of ellen gallagher. i look forward to looking into.

it strikes me that a lot of political art incorporates vantage. (is that the 'fantastic gap' in political art?) i'm thinking of brecht, so much power in his restructuring of looking. that he wants to reconfigure the viewer's looking to prevent it from dissolving into individualized emotion.

political art watches itself cover/uncover. (i am thinking about juliana spahr's 'the transformation' also.) the scrutiny & depiction of incompleteness is part of it. brecht seemed to inspect a whole system of representation & emotion-formation (catharsis) & watch it cover-uncover itself.

on slow, i am thinking about the slow poetics. i am interested in it as a type of potentially useful orientation (slow sports). i guess the problems in it are the types of problems that jordan davis identifies on lime tree, but those are general problems w/having 'a poetics', i.e., (quoting jordan davis):

"There is an undercurrent through most discussions of poetics I've ever seen, that whichever method or set of beliefs about writing is under discussion, it is either more or less efficacious toward the goals of the side of the angels. (Scratch an American, find a cop.)"

and problems of vantage. i don't see why a poem that is produced fast or engages with a trash aesthetic couldn't be looked at as slow equally as much as fast, because it's disengaged from the whole competency/polish thing, which zips poems into the brain and registers them as 'Poems'. mess can be slow as well as craft. does using 'fast' words slowly make you fast or slow?

i am also bothered by the idea in the slow poetry post of 'too much bad poetry being produced'. i don't think poetry will suffer by having badness in it. i think poetry could go on continuing to have more in it. i am reading some 'love and rockets' comics currently. lots of dinosaurs. wonderfully good at subsuming badness & making mysterious timeliness. produce now, judge some other time. but i am in favor of enlarging the field toward the past as well as the future.

jared, can you go into your comments on merced? why does it need more slow? what are the politics of slow in cities? (and/or in poems?)

ok, incoherent as is will have to do. i have 8 minutes to shower & get out of here!

xo, lauren

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why Love Lauren?

Well, a million reasons. One might better ask: Why love her poems?

"Why not admit a baseball bat, a donor card?
To own down all that decision? Why not admit of it?
While I admit I think a hanging curtain system (upside down, I think).
While I have the knack of time the year is getting glossy."

Let me count the ways!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Meditative Reconaissance

Explicitly political art is hard. You know, all that doxa. I've only ever been able to like the work of two or three really clearly political artists. The first, a Filipino-American artist whose name I can't remember (Bloody catholic bloody blood and crazed madness) and then Mark Lombardi. I loved __________ art for it's extremity. Unlike, say, I don't know, Andres Serrano, there wasn't any distance, but ___________ had a real sense of line, and drips, and had a bit of comic book profanity in there. I wish I could remember his name. Lombardi, on the other hand, is all irony and coolness, and his diagrams are so balanced, so sane and classical, that they mimicked conspiratorial logic, with its aura of inevitability, while all the time being cool, so cool, about subjects that nobody who's not in a suit is cool with, except investigative journalists. Poltical art's got to be done now, though - Brecht said something about there being certain times when it was impossible to write about trees...something like that. Oh god, then there's Peter Saul...oh gawd - is that political art? Or does it just hate you and me?

Trevor Paglen, whose show, "The Other Night Sky" is currently on display at the Berkeley Art Museum, describes the problem pretty succintly in a discussion of Lombardi:

"...(Lombardi's) work depicts networks of relationships. Visually, they appear to be homogenous or 'neutral.' The actual content of relationships he depicts remains obscure (or reduced to financial exchange.) If one imagines Lombardi's work as a didactic tool, I'm not sure that it's very helpful. I would argue that the work is politically misleading because his maps suggest some kind of order to the relationships he depicts when there are actually deep internal contradictions, not to mention much more going on 'outside the frame.'

...on the other hand, I think that Lombardi's work succeeds as 'art' precisely for the reasons it fails as didactic work. I very much like the work when I view it in a more fantastical (as opposed to didactic) way."

It seems to me that Paglen is trying to deal with the "fantastic-gap" in political art. His work consists of flatly paranoid photos of spy satellites flying through constellations The BAM exhibit has about 10 large c-print photos, and a hypnotic installation of a large spinning globe with projections of spy satellites in near earth orbit blinking all across its surface.

These photos are the nighttime version of Richard Misrach's parched desert light. Where Misrach's work is all about the effects of the secrets at night. Paglen's is about the unseen causes - rather than finding Lombardi's elegant curves and diagrams, he find straight lines, made by the secret satellites, looking and looking, as they pass through constellations, made of imagined lines depicting scenes from mythology, made permament through parallax and memory.

Why am I writing about this on the MM blog? I think this work is related to Mrs. Maybe in its effects, if not in its subjects. It stretches back to the oldest of activities - looking at all the little night lights looking down on us, making meaning out of the occluded. Instead of privileging the meaning-making of looking, this work takes part more in an occult 'putting together of pieces.' We have stars, and constellations; what we're looking for and at isn't the hint of an eternally vigilant god or lifeforce, but of government agencies and tech tech tech tech.

Endarkenment, then, is not only a function of the opposite of Enlightenment, it is also the mask under which the madness of daylight America grimaces, glares, and peers.

So, back to the sublime. Sublime surveillance, meditative reconaissance, the unknowable firmament, like everything else in the anthropocene, is full of your face and mine.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

OMIGOD! Look at RD's hair. You can't beat that with a bat!

Ange Mlinko on probably my favorite poetry correspondence, EVER. Duncan & Levertov. They were real nasty to each other, but these letters are so tender, and so committed. Read 'em.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Slow Poetry & Black Swans

Slow Poetry

and Responses To the potentially corrupt and bourgie-ness of the idea.

Also, the shit continues at Dale's blog, which is linked over there >

Ok, I'm all for the "How to Live, What to Do-ness of this lil idea. SI and I were talking about Black Swans, uncertainty and unpredicability, and somehow this morphed into a discussion of our sense of the pained selfconsciousness of the sort of "poetry community" thing, and where we fit into that thing. L and I have also talked about "experimental" poetry basically just equals good poetry. So, anyway, this slowness is something I like, but I'm aware of the problems - I don't feel like it's neccessary to blog about it too much, but I often return to Bhanu K's question about my Merced poems: "If chaos is sleepy, what wakes it up?" - Mercediana is a place that needs its non-blog-egghead slowness, and doesn't need anymore chaos, poor city.

Don't need no Jesus and Mary Chain.

This also has something to do with an idea I've been talking to Steve Kramp about, "Slow Sports." He kept asking me what was happening in the NBA championships, and I didn't know - B-Ball being too fast for me - I spoke of "Slow Sports," mostly baseball, but also, watched some golf. The social problems of golf are just too much for me, but I loved watching the U.S. Open - So, slow, dreamy, and with a strange body kind of thinking.

Also, went to see the A's play the Mariners with my friend Scott Ralston. 0-0 until the 6th, A's get two home runs (one from Kurt Suzuki - it was his first at-bat, he was pinchhitting - just weird!) in the bottom of the 9th, and win on another homer in the bottom of the 11th.

Anyway, my point is, Scott and I started yawning in the 8th inning, before it got interesting. I love it. Boredom, not ennui, not decadence...just the pace of life kind of replicated. The long-ish view. A tired, heavy-lidded attention.

Can we talk about the politics of this stuff a bit? Lauren's up in Montana, Megan'll be here soon, so this post might sit for awhile.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

"Various Gothic Lifestyle Events"

Dig, if you will:


We are, of course, not alone in our investigations, in the universe, in California. Please note "The Popular Uncanny" in our links...

I've written a new "Admiration" for Brenda Coultas, just mentioned as an exemplar of 'expanded empiricism - it says, in part:

What kind of land deserves a death-mask as much as John C. Reilly, in life a friendly ghost but with pangs of history written in a dark script around the eyes, jowls, brows? A ghostliest place name is Indianola wherever you find it like a sign, what cheer. Life before the internet.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Issue #2 Update

Lest we forget that this is a blog about a poetry magazine, here's an update about Issue #2:

Mrs. Maybe #2 will be out by September. Contributors include:

Alli Warren
Andrew Kenower
Bill Luoma
Brandon Shimoda
Catherine Meng
Christopher DeWeese
Claire Becker
Cynthia Sailers
Daniel Ostmann
Dorothea Lasky
Elisabeth Beasley
Genevieve Kaplan
Jessica Baron
Joseph Massey
Logan Ryan Smith
Nathan Hoks

And more.

Thanks to all who submitted poems, and also to all who responded to our entreaties to submit.
This is going to be a big, good, issue.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Two of the Austere, for Context

Once again, proving that K. Goldsmith is not in control of linear time, two artists who came after (well, one did, anyway) Pop:

“Time turns metaphors into things, and stacks them up in cold rooms, or places them in the celestial playgrounds of the suburbs.”

-Robert Smithson (on Patina)

“When I first made a grid, I happened to be thinking of the innocence of trees and then a grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it and then I was satisfied. I thought, This is my vision.”

-Agnes Martin

Frightening idea, that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Yeah! Heraclitus - I've been speaking w/students about Plato 'n' Descartes this week, so it's kind of perfect to talk about a persistent 'endarkening' even as I try to explain that an alternative translation of Descartes' shit is: "I doubt, I think, therefore, I am."

We=Mrs. Maybe's retainers.

Lauren and I have been talking (on the phone) a bit about this desire to proscribe or prohibit certain moves in poems, an kind of 'stay against confusion' method of approaching experience, and that we preferred to leave it at "I'm up for whatever." L, correct me if I've misrepresented. And I just want to say, that perhaps a better term for our project here isn't 'irrationality' but is 'an expanded sense of empiricism.'

To whit: Brenda Coultas' Marvelous Bones of Time. In subject, paranormal. In practice, fairly flat and lucid, but also very rich. I'd argue that it's an example of 'expanded empiricism.' She relates secondhand stories about ghosts. They are 'eyewitness reports,' and therefore expansively empirical, however untestable. Also, quite 'negative irritability.'

Do I understand empiricism wrong? yes and no. Coultas compiles stories, not evidence, and what's more, makes poems. As Brent says, so beautifully of the form, "[poems] can be perverse, obscene, grotesque, and then suddenly turn all earnest, wondering and vulnerable." Nothing abstract about that!

L, your sense that the present is most occult really resonates with me (and the historian here concurs). But, how does that effect the 'patina,' the whiff of the 19th century that the term brings? I like that spoiled, bad, soft, unconvincing part of it, you know? And I wish my present had more of the past in it. Make the present more dusty.

My stepfather's family's ranch in Forestville, among the Redwoods, an incredible dusty place (Redwood offal and loam collecting on the roofs for years). Brother and I used to play with a box of fox and mink stoles there. They smelled so. They smelled like Mrs. Maybe. So, maybe I'm saying that I want a present engaged a bit more with the past. It's not anti-future. It's just that I have a strong aesthetic attraction to old stuff. I really like shabby chic.

Regarding Shakespeare's fools. You're so right. Is it because they puncture the veneer, so good, and arrhythmically? They are wilful, sure.

So, can we say that we are wilful in our mystification, or are we being empiricists, honestly poets?

In Re: Goldsmith: He quotes Gysin: "Poetry is 50 years behind painting" and provides this as a suggestion that there is all this great work to do - and that we're "Pop." Ridiculous! The implication that we have a long time 'til we get our John Currin (Stan Apps - ahahahahaha - JK) or our Richard Tuttle, our exciting Stockholder. It maybe makes sense that he holds this opinion -"Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole - not in New York!" - but, it doesn't really give us much room. It's fatalistic, huh?

For a refreshing alternative, check out Peter Holsapple's entry in the Times' songwriting blog here


nature loves to hide

i've been ruminating about berlin alexanderplatz, kenny goldsmith, and brent cunningham's new reading series artist statement - wondering if i want to say that the present is the most occult time, because what's hidden while it is present is really, really hidden.

(i love, in brent's artist's statement, the idea of apprehending hidden presences of subtlety and turmoil while in a state of negative irritability).

& whether we (actually, jared, who was we? mrs. maybe?) are engaged in a project of willful mystification - maybe we (the grand we) want to expose the already-existing interstitial mystification. bc nature loves to hide. and more info plus the continued fact of ego = more desire to control. aka one of the ego's mystifications is clarity / purity.

proliferation & summation (drowning & the grid in jared terms).

i don't have time to clarify this - have to run to work - maybe my irritating blather will bait y'all (j, megan, catherine) to write back.

i think that shakespeare's fools may be the most skeptically occult characters.

Friday, June 20, 2008

And So

El and Em,
That little model I set up was kind of, you know, basic. I'm not really sure anything is excluded from experience - I set this up really to talk about the problem of presence - I don't think a poem is a presence that exactly matches the initial impetus/experience/process presence that exists in the mind of the poet. I'm saying an obvious thing in a complicated way - I was trying to distinguish between what I was talking about as presence and what Megan was talking about. For me, a poem is beautiful because it is related to the initial experience that precipitates its creation, but it has different oscillations, mostly by being something that always in the past, once it's complete. So, I was talking as a writer.
My understanding of what Megan said (correct me, M) was that she was thinking of the presence as a presence as a reader - An old poem, like old oregano, can be 'rescented' or 'reherbed' by rubbing it, crushing it, and making it flavorful. In this way, the present is the struggle of the reader to make one's reading new.

more in a minute. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ancient mot

dear jared, dear megan,

except for my messed-up back i would have been sitting in this chair sooner - but as it is i will be wiggling out of it again sooner. but i will think on what i've heard here.

j, i am thinking about your experience > writing > poem > reader...
does experience include the experience of bumping around poem while writing it?

bc i can't say that writing is like channeling an experience - much more obstinate and blind than that. more like writing a letter while also frantically describing the shape of the envelope in voice-over. (and contrariness is like powering off the walls.) in odd presentness poems are about the structure of attention.

ways of experiencing the past & future - since i don't have a very good memory, one way i experience the future is by thinking about what in the present i won't remember in the future.

is there a scaffolding to remove?

the patina is really interesting. if poems inevitably gain patina, what does it mean for a fully present poetry?

my thought - poems gain and lose patina - things seem to become invisible from overexposure, then get noticed again when they are invisible enough.

talk more about the lucio fontana painting. see, jared, i posted something!!

ps - the lemur poem is awesome. ancient mot!


Megsy writes:
"Can poetry not be present?"
Ah, yeah - so, poetry is present to the reader, yeah, but is poetry actually 'between two people?" I don't think so - and it makes an emotional quivering for me, if I think of ideal in poetry like this:
experience (and all that can mean) > writing > poem > reader (a second experiencing)
But the sadness in the relationship b/t "experience" and the "poem" which is its residue. The Mark that's left behind. So, extending the Abram metaphor, the poem is with the reader in the present, but it existed before reader read it, then reading brings the original experience back into presence - like crushing old oregano so that the smells will come back out?
Huh. But it still doesn't bring the experience (broadly defined) back. I think Shakespeare was wrong about that shit. I think poems gain patina, and the patina is one of those potent admixtures of nostalgia and genially passing ideas. I was reading Spicer's one night stands this morning, and he refers to baseball players I don't know. So, their presence changes..

Like this Lucio Fontana painting - the slash implies a prior presence.

So, is a focus on this 'patina' a deliberate mystification? And is that bad decadence?


Megan also writes "Does contrary poetry imply a lean future?"

That's it! What the hell do we have to do with the future? If Hermeticism is about studies in the past, what is our work to us and others, a few miners in the pastless world? I don't think the future will be lean - but for me that depends entirely on figuring out whether poetry is concerning itself with the future by bringing the past, and the juiciness and crying of the present, into an equilibrium with the future - not that I'm arguing for classicism, but that I'm arguing for the impossible goal of fully present poetry - probably the only solution is to do readings all the time.


On another note and adventure, I was watching "The Life of Mammals" and Reading L. Jarnot. "Oppen's Lemur!" Such a sick poem.


We're adopting another rabbit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Endarkement Too

Re reading the post, after continuing reading in David Abram on the nature of history as it relates to the old testament, he makes a pretty interesting claim for a different spatial conception of time - I don't have it in front of me, but he suggests that the proper metaphors are:

Future: The horizon - not so interesting

The past: Underground - on first glance, not so interesting, but it provides this interesting spatial thing, in which, as one is walking toward the horizon, the underground is always present, below one's feet, so that, one doesn't leave the past, but that past is always underfoot, always, as one walks toward the horizon.

So, my statements about luddites 'n' atavism from the previous post have been reconceived, in light of this - the lud wants a return. But the present is the place to be?

Additional questions, for Megan and Lauren:

Is writing poetry, contrary to implied "future-leaning" metaphor of the avant-garde, actually a kind of 'coming into presence' that maintains a relationship b/t past and future on the field of the manifest and manifesting present?

Next - can poetry actually be present? Because, the mark on the page is always something held over from the past, and abstracted, from the present.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Regarding Endarkenment

The latest issue of Arthur has this kind of hilarious "Endarkenment Manifesto" in a gatefold, that purports to be a manifesto of green hermeticism. How funny! OMG.

So - I was reading Louis Menand's piece on E. Pound, who kind of suggested that the early Pound is kind of declaring war on the symbolists, and mystification in general. Are we engaging in a project of deliberate mystification? If we are, what does this mean? Are we looking into the future, or into the past? According to the futurologist on Science Friday, by 2040 we're going to be at least 50% cyborg. Will there be Endarkenment under such circumstances? Here is a quote from the manifesto, with a strong luddite sensibility:

Technology mimics and thus belittles the miracles of magic. Rationalism has its own Popes and droning litanies, but the spell they cast is one of disenchantment. Or, rather, all magic has migrated into money, all power into a technology of titanic totality, a violence against life that stuns and disheartens.

Whaddya think of that? Is endarkenment a matter of coming through to another heartening?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jane Gardam, The Flight of the Maidens

High up in a different air stream, clouds as light as cheesecloth skirmished.

Ulf Stolterfoht, Trans. Rosmarie Waldrop

fistsize words/wounds

(eg the wound BECAUSE) for if we picture the
thinker then altogether bold. does frege perhaps
fretfully ask "horse?" as a matter of course he
does not. to him a concept is a thing. meaning
even passion. as for an outside world no doubt
is gnawing at him. and yet: of unavoidable we

have to speak. of hard language when he
claims: the city of berlin's a city. volcano
vesuvius a volcano. the wound BECAUSE might
well be ditto. according to him it is not.
to him falsehood is true value. a song of
songs. and art how lithe his language sounds.

far out begins a rumbling. of meta-stuff/
cognition-increase/sense. begins with: "i was there.
i have experienced the BECAUSE." shows wounds.
and leaves. such terse confession is remembered
long. has unheard-of effect. however: calling his
"experience BECAUSE" - this far we haven't got.

let us picture the thinker then: as a young beast.
speckled. bashful. nicely with scruples hung.
gutshot and pup-shy he is in generating the
BECAUSE. let us picture the thinker: frail he
leans against the snow and wind. and then:
we really see the thinker in front of our eyes.

occult words





Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Robert Forster's "The Evangelist."

This record is just incredible. So humane and bittersweet, full of the human comedy. Good god, I didn't know this kind of thing could still be done! - Jared

Friday, April 25, 2008


Two have reviewed Mrs. M lately - thanks! Act nice, act nice and gentle to me.

The cover is Gocco. There will be an issue 2. Writing this, I realize that I had a dream last night that Jared said there will be no issue 3, but that was only a dream (or will have been only a dream once the semester is over).

So I guess there are no more copies at Pegasus? I think there are some at Diesel, but I'll check.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Reading a biography of William James, thinking about links between the occult and the rational or hyper-rational, waiting for Jared to comment in this space, I underlined 2 James quotes to put in here:

"The peace of rationality may be sought through ecstasy when logic fails..."

"The Absolute is what has not yet been transcended, criticized, or made relative. So far from being something quintessential and unattainable as is so often pretended, it is practically the most familiar thing in life. Every thought is absolute to us at the moment of conceiving it or acting upon it."

I'm thinking, poetry may not be critique, but it tries to critique - makes absolutes (thoughts, sounds) and then interrogates them. Reading Irresponsibility by Chris Vitiello makes me think about this too.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Today's General Claim

Poetry is not critique.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

No More/More

last week i sent out the last copy of mrs. m issue #1 (a secret copy that had been hiding in plain sight on my dashboard). so it is sold out via the mails, though there are a couple copies still at pegasus and some at diesel.

on the more hand, jared and i just had an idea for issue #3 (putting cart before horse as usual since we're working on issue #2 presently). i'll say no more presently except that we've just realized that our idea is actually an inadvertent homage to the amazing roberto bolaño.

i can't wait for 2666 to come out.