Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another poetics blogsite, another book

Jerome Rothenberg, one of the editors of Poems for the Millennium, Vols 1 & 2, has an interesting blog: "Poems and Poetics"--poemsandpoetics.blogspot.com. He has posted an excerpt from the Prologue to Vol. 3 of Poems for the Millennium, forthcoming in January 2009 from U of California Press.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spicer's ghost

Steven's post has inspired me--

I am intrigued by Jack Spicer's spooky poetics--see my posting below--so I'm glad to see this volume of his poetry coming out next month. (From posting on Silliman's blog).

My Vocabulary Did This to Me
The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer
Jack Spicer; Peter Gizzi, ed.; Kevin Killian, ed.

Wesleyan Poetry Series
Wesleyan University Press

August 2008



Ron Silliman's blog, Mon Dec 1/08

Some years ago I was writing an essay on Robin Blaser's poetics, and drew upon Jack Spicer's Vancouver Lectures. (Excerpts can be found in Allen and Tallman, Poetics of the New American Poetry, 1973.) In the lectures Spicer presents an anti-intentional view of composition, a poetics of dictation, "something from the outside coming in." This is not a new view of poetry, of course, poetry as inspiration, a "spiritual exercise," and the poet as an "empty vessel" (Spicer's words). But it's one that resonates for me. In another metaphor Spicer uses, the poem is a house one builds and language is the furniture. But it's nothing until one has set a table and opened it up to a guest. This process can be frightening--hence the locks, bolts, and peepholes on people's front doors. Spicer says of Denise Levertov, "The poems I like of hers are all poems that have scared her and that she didn't really want to have written." (Unfortunately he doesn't give the titles of those poems!)

This reminds me of a point made in an essay I posted a link to, a few entries back, an essay on Bernadette Mayer's experimental poetics. Referring to Burroughs as well as Mayer, Peter Baker refers to risk or danger as characterizing experimental, anti-intentional writing: "We are returned . . . to one of the root meanings of Experiment: that of peril or danger. Inherent in any Experimental Work . . . is what I like to call a giving up of individual or authorial control, the potential consequences of which are always marked by some kind of psychic danger."

Fearing that danger, we can lock the door against the guest and decide what the poem is all about and write it from that idea. But when I do that I feel huge and clumsy, like Alice in the White Rabbit's little house. I'm a fairly fearful person in everyday life and the poem is one area (the other is travelling alone) where I can open the door, at least a crack, to the guest. Or ghost. Who can pass through the wall, anyway.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

David Malouf Says:

In the Fall 2007 issue of BOMB, David Malouf is interviewed by Colm Toibin. In response to a question about Malouf's knowledge of opera and classical music, he says:
" . . .music has always been important to me. In the writing, when I revise, often I'm trying to get a word right, but as often as not what I'm trying to get right is the music. When there's a word I want, an adjective, or even another noun, I'll jot it down in long and in short, like poetry . . . yeah, scansion notation . . . I often do that, partly because the music seems to me to contain whatever it is I want to get into the writing. It often happens in the books, that people who don't entirely catch the sense of what someone is saying, are catching at the emotion of it, becausde they're catching the tune."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New book of poetry from Meredith Quartermain

This one I'm going to order. See link to a few of her poems, back in May.

Quartermain, Meredith
$20 / PA / 72 pp.
Book Thug 2008
ISBN: 978-1-897388-18-1


What if words evolved in species and genera just like birds and dinosaurs? What if you classified them in kingdomsand families? Made a phylogenetic tree with orders of Space, Matter, or Intellect. Gravity and Levity as classes of MATTER.With Density, Rarity, Pungency, Ululation. Would this matter taxonomy speak of the out-there, the non-human? Or the in-here--the human mind, the sorting,reasoning human--homo linguis the word maker, the world maker? Formally innovative, Matter explores Roget's taxonomy, rummaging its taint of globalism and social Darwinism, unearthing relations between humans, language and the planet. Matter asks what if words are so many
birds, chirping and chattering? What is thought? What is knowledge? What's your life-list of words?

Meredith Quartermain was born in Toronto but grew up in rural British Columbia, on the north end of Kootenay Lake. Botany, Latin, Math, Philosophy and Ecology intrigued her at UBC. She is the author of Terms of Sale (1996), Wanders [with Robin Blaser] (2002), A Thousand Mornings (2002), The Eye-Shift of Surface (2001), and Vancouver Walking (2005), winner of the BC Book Awards Poetry Prize. She lives in Vancouver where she runs Nomados Literary Publishers with husband Peter Quartermain.


Friday, July 4, 2008

experimental poetry and risk

Here's a link (from Silliman's blog) to a short paper on Bernadette Mayer's experimental poetry, risk, and the ambivalence of authorship.
Title: "Becoming Bernadette"


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Listed on Silliman's blog today, July 2/05

Wave Books is publisher of Laynie Browne's The Scented Fox.

State of the Union
50 Political Poems

Edited by Wave Books
Release Date: September 1, 2008

Blurb from Wave Books website:

From the front lines of American poetics

William Carlos Williams wrote, It is difficult/to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there. State of the Union brings together 50 American poets whose work boldly illustrates the urgency of Williams?s forewarning.

Contributors Include:
John Ashbery, James Tate, Fanny Howe, Anselm Berrigan, Eileen Myles, Terrance Hayes, Albert Goldbarth, Cathy Wagner, Tao Lin, Michael Palmer, Lucille Clifton, Joe Wenderoth, John Yau, Richard Siken, CAConrad, Rebecca Wolff, Peter Gizzi, Juliana Spahr, Wang Ping and many more.

ISBN #9781933517339
Poetry Anthology, $14.00 paper (5.75x7.5 144pp)