Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Some of my poems are here, thanks to Danielle DeProfundis and her co-editor Jeff. Mostly strict radio silence here, as I stage a Frank O’Hara T. Kant W. Hegel Adorno deathmatch in the contested borderlands between my French dictionary and Troilus and Cressida.

Noah says: “But I don’t have enough energy to go to sleep.”

It’s really hard to find even five minutes for a thing like a blog, and I never said how much fun I had reading for Jordan’s Million Poems Show, and how grateful I am to the magnanimous and always underslept Gina for keeping it real and bringing me to read with the sly, riddling Karen Anderson and the anti-aphorisms of my best friend ever Karl Parker (whose chapbook, Harmstorm, you must buy over at Gina Myer’s Lame House Press) and the exultant scatologies of Gabe Gudding and the archaelogical excavations of Franklin Bruno (whose feverbird songwriting also never ceases to amaze, and who’s touring, I think, right now with The Mountain Goats, yes right now!, in the Southeast, you should see him).

Also amazing is the nomination for a National Book Award of the boomingly deserving book Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner, who has become a friend and co-conspirator since I moved here to the Bay Area. There is a kind of shivering, darkly luminous clarity to the poems in Ben’s book, so unlike the resistant, densely textured surfaces where I am often happily reading. Because clear, because unafraid of the old-fashioned kind of denotative meaning, and because preferring the subtlest, usually syntactical or contiguity-based devices, the poems can work and unwork themselves at the level of the paragraph or stanza, in the interstices between lines and phrases and sentences, in ways that other poems can’t or don't or won't That is, the trouble in/with language is all the more troubling when it finally comes on stage, because are you still here? The form of a horror movie perhaps? And Ben, too, is oh so gloriously unafraid of the public voice, able to stand at the rhetorical podium without becoming homilizing, didactic or showy. He knows about fools, about what they get to say to the congregation. Bob Perelman might be closest to what he’s doing—outside of the obvious influences of The Arcades Project and Minima Moralia. W.H. Auden, too, surprisingly, but thankfully all of your kind work, dear boys and girls, to disabuse the poet of self-seriousness keeps Ben from becoming that statue of regret and stiff-lipped abysmal inwardness into which Auden sometimes ossifies. Phew!

A very remote correspondent sends me this message:

So, you’ve heard about the Poetry Bus, right? Well, now there is the Poetry Sub! Are you tired of all this talk about poetic community and the embarrassing hagiographic or I’m-a-little-commodity love-me-now endgame chatter of the comments box? Are you feeling nostalgiac for the good old days of anomie and alcoholism in crumbling apartments, marginalization and coterie infighting? Then the Poetry Sub is for you! We’ll cruise the international waters of the poetic hors-d’oeuvre, living on spirulina and protein bars and sleeping three-to-a-bunk. All you have to do is promise to not write for one year. Just one year of non-duty: No books, no chapbooks, no poems, no sticky notes on the refrigerator, no marginalia. No mouth, no ears. Everything is true.