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?