Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tentative Thumbs Up for Lisk's List

Eat your heart out, Variety . . . But seriously, folks, I have to say I like Thomas David Lisk's chapbook tentative list (a) [Kitchen Press, 2008], if for no other reason than he's thinking of poems as visual art - space of the page, blah blah, sure, but also fonts, boxes, pictures, characters, colors. AND: it's also a score for voice (if you bother to read it aloud). There is some serious stuff going on in terms of content/theme - a la DuPlessis' Drafts, maybe - but it's much more scattered. I don't know if that makes me feel more or less stupid than DuP does. Anyway, it's only seven bucks, and it's worth it.

Also: URLs imbedded in the body of the poem, which of course opens it out into the virtual world (and makes it an historical record, when that world crashes).

If Baumann is the poet of tic tac's, Lisk is the poet of tick tacks.

"deus et homunculus, Dorothy Gale and the Wiz, the wizard and the traveling salesman, uninterested in the farmer's daughter, the traveling salesman and the actor [Frank Morgan] who played several parts (thespian wizadry), so there was no hot air balloon in Kansas or Oz. Kansas and Oz: false oppositions dissolve false dissolve repetition and screens temporarily closed owing to a small quantity . . ."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Abraham Lincoln 3

No, not some bad cyborg movie, but a poetry journal. The third issue branches out to include non-Flarfistas (non-card-carrying, anyway) such as Lyn Hejinian, Dodie Bellamy, Jim McCrary. And a superb longish poem by Robert J. Baumann - a sexy tic-tac poem, in fact.

I esp. like Bill Luoma's piece in same. It starts w/a reflection on William Gibson, but degenerates into a programming protocol - like the back of Susan Wheeler's Source Codes (by far the most interesting part of that book), but with more of a sense of the boredom of actually doing the work of writing code. As if to say, "you think computers are so cool? Well, you don't work in a cubicle . . ."

MariaAna: Whoa - that's a really freaky cover.
Joe: That's the idea.
MariaAna: Well, they cinched it.

Anyway, see the link to LIME TREE at right, to track it down.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The New "Description"

I recently posted a new "description" for this blog (under the title). It's what the linguists came up with to warn people 10K yrs. in the future that there is a nuclear waste dump underfoot. Yes, it's in English (hey, people were speaking English 10,000 years ago, so why shouldn't they - oh - wait . . . never mind . . . ).

Harry Shearer imagines what those people will be thinking: "Yep. There's gold down there."

But it's a pretty good description of this blog and its place in the blogosphere, and it's a much better poem than any you're likely to read here. So - enjoy! But don't dig too deep . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Parental Descent (Prevallet and Schultz)

I recently read two books about lost parents - Kristin Prevallet's I, Afterlife, and Susan Schultz' Dementia Blog. The Prevallet is an interesting combination of elegy (for her father, who committed suicide) & reflections on elegy (writ large - as mourning in the strict sense, vs. after-death sequels). The Schultz is, of course, in the form of a blog: backwards narration, dates, offhanded diaristic style (largely about her mother's Alzheimer's). I, Afterlife is much tighter - shorter, more concise, more focused. Dementia Blog is about three times as long, and seems intentionally looser, less wrought - as thought S. is determined to let whatever interactions or misprisions occur, occur. And, of course, it's about dementia, which isn't esp. tidy. The narrative of the loss of memory of her mother is bound up with the narrative of loss of historical memory as evidenced by US foreign policy. Sometimes the latter seems to get more play than the former, in the book; and who can blame her, given recent events in both the nation and her family.

I,A emphasizes spatial distance; DB emphasizes temporal displacement (too simplistic?).

As someone engaged in a similar memorialistic/(anti)memoiristic writing, I find this pairing fascinating for the different models it suggests. But they have different emphases - the one to mourn, the other, to narrate. Both do both. Both seem very aphoristic to me, as well as lyrical and narrative. What I like about both is their refusal to hew to any particular genre or sub-genre; even elegy and blog are subverted, in interesting and productive ways. Which is as much as to say that they refuse to hew to any particular way of reacting to losing a parent (or country, or self).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ye Gadd!

I just read Subway Under Byzantium, by Vancouver poet Maxine Gadd. Pretty weird. In a good way. The long poem "Loon," which opens the book, is pretty amazing - a visionary dream (or shroom) journey with some gender-bending archetypal characters. Descent of Alette meets Gunslinger. The shorter poems in the book are choppier - sometimes to the point of seeming like inside jokes - but there's a lot of amazing stuff, sometimes funny (a la bpNichol, maybe?), sometimes creepy or schizy. "no sex magic in the next hexagon" - or pentagon - but plenty of spells - and full utilization of page-space and graphical resources. Worth checking out.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Arendt on Brecht (and boffo avant-garde box office)

The avant-garde did not know they were running their heads not against walls but against open doors, that a unanimous success would belie their claim to being a revolutionary minority, and would prove that they were about to express a new mass spirit or the spirit of the time. Particularly significant in this respect was the reception given Brecht's Dreigroschenoper in pre-Hitler Germany. The play presented gangsters as respectable businessmen and respectable businessmen as gangsters. The irony was somewhat lost when respectable businessmen in the audience considered this a deep insight into the ways of the world and when the mob welcomed it as an artistic sanction of gangsterism. The theme song of the play, "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral," was greeted with frantic applause by exactly everybody, though for different reasons. The mob applauded because it took the statement literally; the bourgeoisie applauded because it had been fooled by its own hypocrisy for so long that it had grown tired of the tension and found deep wisdom in the expression of the banality by which it lived; the elite applauded because the unveiling of hypocrisy was such superior and wonderful fun. The effect of the work was exactly the opposite of what Brecht had sought by it. The bourgeoisie could no longer be shocked; it welcomed the exposure of its hidden philosophy, whose popularity proved they had been right all along . . .

- from The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part II

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Slow Blog?

True or False?: "Blogs are a gift economy."

Be sure to explain your reasoning.

["To give" = To bestow.
["To gift" = To bestow something that the recipient is supposed to want.]

Saturday, August 2, 2008


“Creepy” used to refer to B-horror movies and centipedes. Now, it seems like it means something different:

- psychologically disturbed or disturbing
- _______ sex with _______ [fill in with an adjective and noun that you find – well, creepy]
- hidden ominous conspiratorial actions and people
- sexually disturbed or disturbing
- Dancing Animals Dog Creepy Mask Weird Illusion
- Funny-looking persons
- more “repugnance” than “horror”
- anything having to do with death
- all cultural beliefs or practices one is unfamiliar with or disapproves of
- all males over 40
- Creep Bagdad soften beggar Galatia
- sexual activity that one is not familiar with
- people over 40
- ugly dead people
- people from other cultures having sex one is repelled by or disapproves of
- people over 40 having sex
- dead people one disapproves of
- people who blog about the word “creepy”

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ism du jour

"____________ism rapidly turned into a reformism of the spectacle, a critique of a certain form of the reigning spectacle that was carried out from within the dominant organization of that spectacle. The __________ists seem to have overlooked the fact that every internal improvement or modernization of the spectacle is translated by power into its own encoded language, to which it alone holds the key."

[Insert your favorite "ism." Repeat as necessary.]