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.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Plu$ La Ch-Change

"Something must be done to save the American banking system, and the bankers were not doing it; the spirit of the day was sauve qui peut. . . . in America, as in other parts of the world, the economic system had now become so complex and interdependent that the possible consequences of widespread bankruptcy - to the banks, the inssurance companies, the great holding-company systems, and the multitutdes of people dependent upon them - had become too appalling to contemplate. . . . [the President] was driven to the point of intervening to protect the debt structure - first by easing temporarily the pressure of international debts without canceling them, and second by buttressing the banks and big corporations with Federal funds.

"Thus a theoretically flexible economic structure became rigid at a vital point. The debt burden remained almost undiminished. Bowing under the weight of debt - and other rigid costs - business thereupon slowed still further. As it slowed, it discharged workers or put them on reduced hours, thereby reducing purchasing power and intensifying the crisis.

". . . It is . . . useless to ask whether Hoover was acting with a tory heartlessness in permitting financial executives to come to Washington for a corporate dole when men and women on the edge of starvation were denied a personal dole. What is certain is that at the time of such widespread suffereing no democratic government could seem to be aiding the financiers and seem to be simultaneously disregarding the plight of its humbler citizens without losing the confidence of the public. . . . How could they endorse a government which gave them - for all they could see - not bread, but a stone?"

- Frederick Lewis Allen, Since Yesterday: The Nineteen-Thirties in America (1940)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Skeptical about *Flarf*??

Recently, a well-known blogger and poet implied that I'm skeptical about Flarf (or is it flarf?). Now, I'm skeptical about a lot of things, it's true. But how would one go about being skeptical of Flarf (or flarf)? "Wait a minute - how do I know that chicken even crossed the road? . . . "

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Flarf Is . . .

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of all this debate about Flarf, Flarfistas, Flarfism, etc. How many years has this been going on? So, please, let's settle this once and for all, in the good populist (flarifistic?) way: by taking a poll.

Flarf is . . .
(choose one):

a.) garden-variety "found poetry"

b.) the greatest school of satirical verse since at least the 1740s

c.) to poetry what Jeff Koons is to sculpture

d.) making fun of the rubes

e.) the future

f.) nostalgia for the present

g.) garden-variety camp

h.) scrambling corporate internets

i.) sponsored by Google ™

j.) a smile for literate people in the post-literate age

k.) all of the above.

If there are any results, they will be posted at this site.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

from "Joe's Marginalia"

some later Rae Armantrout

deviance -
blues songs

poetics of questions -
necessarily open-ended

singularity v. universality

but Narcissus - Narcissus -
didn't notice!

(her) (like Echo?)

(so as to avoid originality)

I can't help thinking
of my toyota, here -

self-absorption is bothered
by imitation?


Is this "cerebral" poetry =
compared to Notley - ?
(cerebral palsy)

creepy -

flash of perception -


or see

- to Hades? or earth?

insincerity of particulars?


(things as they are)


all else

e.g., the dead - false syllogisms
empty - (potentiality)

(of what?)


- hmmm . . .


every poem a world-view

a connoisseur of vacancies - good description of her - title
for a biography?

(or lines)

who? - She
(not "narratives")

breaks up
in the middle distance



pole/ wires

(the circumstance's
word is gone)


the late work - hers?

right? schtick
another form
of perform


the other - the third
who walks beside you

(in memory)

(a tough audience!)


(sameness does)


to? -


engines - vice boxes [here I meant "voice"] - or

(which it has, in speaking a

(thtat's what words are, after all)

the "managed poem"



Sunday, April 5, 2009

Larry Eigner

I really like Larry Eigner. Seems like my students got into him a little, too, this past week - at least they got the general sense of what his poems are doing - what his concerns are, and how the form of his poems reflects that. The poems (esp. from the 70s on) feel light and at the same time "architectural" - you're aware of the white space, but you're also aware of the material effort with which the words are accomplished.

I'll never forget when his poem "Again, Dawn" was inscribed in 3-ft.-high letters on the outside walls of the University Art Museum at Berkeley. Each of the (many) walls represented an individual line, with the corners being the line breaks. So the materiality of the language was emphasized, as was (if you read the whole thing) the temporal and physical act of moving through the poem. If anyone has photos of that, I'd love to get copies for my class.

I had the pleasure of hearing him read a couple of times - with Jack Foley as his "interpreter." He was definitely a "presence."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This is all ye need to know on earth, or do, when it comes to poetry, anyway.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Poem a Day (read, that is)

Last April I wrote a "poem" a day. This April, I'm doing well to read a poem a day. Which makes me think that maybe that's the way it should be. I mean, if we want to talk about slow poetry, let's talk consumption. How many times do you actually spend a sizeable chunk of time with only one poem (or section of a long poem)? I think most of us who even bother with such things typically breeze through multiple books, journals, reviews, blogs, etc. a week, or even a day. For those of us who are in the academic or publishing industries (or wanna be), it's something akin to literary speed-up. At the same time, however, the only occasions on which I've really "sat" with a poem lately have been in class.

What the hell is the point of speed-reading poetry? Or said another way, if the point is to speed read poetry, then what the hell good is it?

I'm not talking well-wrought-urn crap. Even if it's poetry that's flip and jokey, timing is everything.

Perhaps, as we continue to transition into a post-literatre society, school study of "literature" will take the form of memorization, coupled with performance (as it has at most times in most cultures). Now that would slow us down, alright.