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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Artist's Statement (?)

Last semester, I asked my workshop students to write an artist's statement or poetics statement, per their respective conceptions of either or both, in an idiom most everybody could understand. I did the exercise along with them, as I always do.


I write (currently) in 2 modes. One is like collage: I take a lot of documents, photos, & found material, select certain parts or quotations, then weave them together w/my own words to form a narrative. About history. These are long poems - book-length. They're very much in the modernist tradition of Ezra Pound, early Louis Zukofsky, Charles Olson, Muriel Rukeyser. Hopefully they're entertaining as well.

The other mode is the serial poem: longish poems, made up of smaller segments - "poemlets," you might say. These are written over a period of time - maybe a month, maybe a year. They are the opposite of the collage poems, in that these are very voice-based - a persona - who speaks in complete sentences, but they don't always make good sense. Sometimes perverse sense. These tend toard satire. They are influenced by the essays and novels of Joy Williams, a lot of contemporary US poets, and Hannah-Barbera cartoons form the 60s.*

In general, what I like best about poetry in the US today is that it can mean anything. Once upon a time, novels were novel . . .

* I've been calling these "f*d-up nature poems," but I think maybe the polite term nowadays is "necropastoral"?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Joe's Marginalia: from C.S. Giscombe's _Prairie Style_

re: “Lazy Man's Load”

lazy -- pleasure -- erotic -- lazy

make a coherent? soul / statement

End w/a story at the beginning --> one that predicts the future (as usual)
    - story as argument aimed at closure
    - can openness be coherent?

lazy --> insouciant --> servantless (--> pleasure)

Shape - same-ness > “low point” > lowest common denominator

story vs. impulse --> or are they really different?

Then a real story (within a story)
    - “I” connects himself w/Ishmaelites wandering

Let the “Let be be finale of seem” be
The outsider/outcast defines location. Who says “be”?

Pleasure as authority --> normative, prescriptive

Facts: (geography &) trains --> of thought --> region

“In-d” = “In-land”
Movement as pleasure (range as opportunity, not thrust)

Crossing town, solve a (future) equation, voice to complete
    - articulation vs. actual closure, results (pleasure that’s over)

Wants juxtaposition to be self-evident.
BUT > it’s the connections that make the story

Close in w/story --> an inquiry, not a conclusion
    - a lot of vacancy in a vacant lot
    - would be remiss to leave it at that?

Pleasure > desire > implies absence of object

Mixed feelings > geography shapes thoughts, language, as well as vice versa
    - what’s a town w/o its monster?
    - range requires people who range upon it

Meanings achieved avoid others, cancel others

Friday, May 10, 2013

Joe's "Marginalia": _Humanimal_, by Bhanu Kapil

section 43

What is a companion text? A feral text? A companion animal, a companion dad. A memory of the past = a reanimation of the corpses. His legs smashed up in a beating, hers by the Reverend Doctor (or vice versa). His coarse, black hair didn’t fit the picture, so he put his seal skin back on and dove into the sea. Skin is always exposed - “where is that protection that I needed?” Why can’t everyone’s be the color of the sky? Wasn’t somebody’s, on Star Trek? Then there’s Blue Man Group, with their faux-feral minstrel show. But a monster hybrid cyborg leg has silver chunks. Diving in makes one invisible > the jungle as womb, the sea as mother (again), the photo as frame. O to be a geometrical figure, a punctual self. A white dot wouldn’t even show up against the sand. I don’t need you to count my legs, Sethe said.

section 56

Planting a child in roots and pray for rain - abandon her in a room or a root. Sounds of people, sounds of seagulls. All these abandoned kids: Moses, Rom ‘n’ Rem, fairy tale princesses’ mistaken identities. Or a standing question, a standing wave. “She” is immortal, silver cyborg, invincibly rising up from the earth of which she is also part. Going into the woods, away from the people, is the safe way, pace Hansel and Gretel. The writer is her own fairy godmother. Her father’s mother at the end. The invisibility of it all - in the jungles, the waves. Don’t blink or you’ll miss her.

section 58

Rewrite her. Make it all tropically and then it will come out, make a nest of rough black hair. Lumbering like a selkie on dry land, slow. She is watching herself, her psyche, in a muse-ment. Something there is about an orphan girl. When you write her name, she will appear.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Joe's Marginalia: _The Lust of Unsentimental Waters_, by Rosa Alcalá

Re: "Safe Distance":

Safe from what or whom?
What we think we know . . .
We are split - distant from

History shapes our bodies (ask someone who was whipped or branded). And our bodies are a history (ask someone who is old).

Is the body a museum - of bad habits, shrapnel, treasures?
Who's the looter then?
"You will destroy an empire," the oracle said - He thought it meant someone else's --

I dunno - an empire as pawn-shop does pretty well . . .

No love is safe, period.
Lack of imagination = pawned ideas?
a heap of secondhand broken images

We're "working out patterns" wreading this poem

war and translation often go together --> & the former can be metaphor for the latter

the sensitivities are lost in translations, as "I don't know but what . . .": the stranger will never use the same words

As if war is war; the body, physical and not a trope.
Who wants to hear that in a poem??
But we suspect it might be true - that 1400 people can die in a factory collapse. Due to negligence and intimidation.

Just not here.

If you really felt that, how stay sane?
At best, a mere conversation.

"Cancer is my default horror" --> the body's history splitting it apart

(sex is always news)

the body politic as real thing

people are relationships, singly or in groups

can't we hide in metaphor, please?

Go away, Myself!
call me up or out --
carry me over into
a place I've never seen.


Re: "Sea Body":

Those are pearls that were his eyes and wouldn't he have wanted to move the harbor at will, rather than be rich and strange five leagues under?

"This" can only refer to what's already here - so is it my internal compass? My faulty "moral compass" wiggling its point?

"North is whatever direction is in front of me"

This poem is going south - slip-slidin away, maybe

Experiment often takes you where you didn't think you'd go --> dangerous for the single-minded, the Ahab who will get sucked under into the drink from his own rigid steps

My what bright fish you are - finding the goodies of the deeps (unconscious?)

The water is waiting and wants you > "wreck" suggests "ship" (and vice versa?)

Davy Jones' Locker is another dog's kitchen cabinet
The gods made their victims into stars

Is "this" wreading "coming home"?
Or is home coming to me?

This is a poem about love
This is a poem about getting old
This is a poem about love getting old