Distribution Automatique

Monday, June 27

New and Notable

*Vanitas*, first issue, edited by Vincent Katz

For some reason, everything, from the
magazine itself, to the reading, to
the party afterwards, to thinking about
it now, seems to be triggering endless
deja vus. Anyone, which is nearly
everyone, who has had this feeling
knows how it encompasses many aspects
of memory and timelessness.

I keep coming back to seeing Greg Masters {click here}
at the reading. Greg is an old-timer like me,
a vintage Poetry Project person. Connecting
with Greg again helps heal the rifts that
necessarily occur in the course of a lifetime
with poets and poetry. Vanitas opens up
with an article by Jordan Davis {click here} about the
available histories of the New York school.
He writes about David Lehman's
*The Last Avant-Garde*,
Daniel Kane's *All Poets Welcome*, and
Joe LeSueur's memoir, *Digressions on
Some Poems by Frank O'Hara*, the last two
published in 2003. Jordan appreciates these
but wants more and feels the history taking
of this era and its progeny is incomplete.
"What would be nice to have is a not-too-
long book that tells the story of the New York
School of poets, identifying the common
interests of the writers and sources of their
work, while placing the groups as they develop
in their shifting milieus."i

Next comes a piece by Carter Ratcliff titled
*The Anaxagoras Variations: A Note on Theory*
A fine poet in his own right, Carter Ratcliff is
best known as an art critic. Once upon a time
I would have been annoyed by this piece, which
attempts to deconstruct &
critique theory by means of theory.
But, living in the heart of my own anecdotage, I can
only enjoy reading the words of someone who
attended Ted Berrigan's poetry workshop with me
in 1967 and wrote a poem about it published in
Ann Waldman's first *World Anthology* (1969) in which he writes:
"Disagree with anything anybody else says, especially
what Charles, Ted, Nick, and Scott say
Agree with everything anybody says, especially
what Marcel Flamm says
Figure out who likes what
Be jealous of everybody
Approve of this sentiment and its intensity
Arrive late when all the places around the table
are taken"
I remember admiring & enjoying Carter Ratcliff's
first book of poetry *Fever Coast*, which featured
an unforgettable poem titled "The Comma".

Next comes a poem by Ann Lauterbach, *Triangles
and Squares (Guston, Malevich)*:
"yea the geometric sun, yes the line of abstraction. o yes
monster ambition flourishing, the violent inhuman field"

Then 4 poems by Fanny Howe including *Empty Handed*:
"This blindness was all our fault, it was our work
until the lock of sleep"

Then 4 by Ange Mlinko, including the
*The Most Awkward Hugger*:
"It's the sort of weather Tybalt murdered Mercutio in.
I sold a dinner jacket for cash to buy a birthday present."

3 by Carol Mirakove including *substance*:
"populace spending 17 billion dollars a year on
books and a 105 billion dollars on booze"

Judith Malina, who lead off the BPC reading
superbly, has one untitled poem:
"I am Kandinsky standing
in front of Monet's haystack
about to discover a simple
truth that changes everything"

Then, my #1 favorite young poet right now,
Nada Gordon's *_Nothing is Untitled_*
"It fans across black as a hand (like a sassy cloud
in the ghetto of the sky) it spires an undersea

Maryanne Shaneen (who couldn't make the reading
because she was ill; get better soon, Maryann!)
contribues 5 poems including *Magnetic Memory Loss*:
"each tenderness extends into whipcrack.
war hidden in the language. by
influencing their appetites or desires."
and a collaboration with Rod Smith *tertium
"(sky) to be (sky) to be (by) to be (ours) to be (come) (&)
to rise"

Sarah Manguso contributed *Epthalamion*
"Do not be too serious! You are part of it now!"

Elaine Equi, who helped to edit the issue, contributed
4 poems:
"...If only we had/some good, loud insults to hurl
at these floats,/ these mirages that pass for current events."

3 from Anne Waldman, including
*Neural-Linguistically: this is the writing dance..."
"This is the trespass dance this is the way I get down for it
It's my power structure to STRANGLE Rumsfeld"

Then a Jim Dine portfolio of painted poems:
"This Morning, when I was youong
I went into a little room where there was
OBJECT A big sculpture
In The Room"

4 from Jerome Sala, including *A Pageant of
Agents*, a poem about beautiful spies being
hired by the CIA, including Britney Spears:
"'She may be our
biggest coup (and cop)
since the days when we
backed abstract art
in Europe; hey, from Jackson Pollack
to the Back Street Boys
you've got to go
with the flow
of the times'"

4 from Carter Ratcliff
including *Since When*:
"Since when didi you make manners your manifest
and rudeness your apologia? Since when

did you admit that there was any difference between the

Pizazz, you say, is a Darwinian adaptation,
and altruism, down for the count"

Two from David Lehman,
including, *The Crown of An Evening*
"in one drawer I kept the collages of David Shapiro.
Frank O'hara was dead but kept writing in that drawer."

one from Francis Ponge, translated by Laird Hunt:
*Banks of the Loire, Rome, May 24th, 1941*
"Never try to arrange things. Things and poems are

one from Drew Gardner, *from The Fire Escape*
"I can't afford this
to slowly turn around
it's not dying, it's just
bizarre, and true
we are in a chemical world
and we fight in a high, panicked screen-memory"

3 Haiku from me, including *Unearth*

"a few delicate

now buried
beneath an avalanche"

then two untitled poems from Richard Hell

"the wack, the tang, the brassiere
the poop eye candle-flame"

one from Charles Borkhuis, *Valley of the Dogs*
"don't talk to me about your nightmares
everybody's got 'em"

5 from Daniel Bouchard, including
*Christmas is Bombing*
"Melville tells us there is nothing
more insignificant
than having a book of poems published"

one from Michel Bulteau *The Wounded Dream*
translated from the French by Vincent Katz
"Let's cut off our hands!
They've spent too much time under the earth....
Will you believe for very much longer
That your affirmations seal your identity?"

one from Morgan Russell, *Walk Fragment*
"he (the tape I suspect)
shot me awake 4AM"

one from Clayton Eshleman *Autumn 2004*
"How to say myself as an American 21st Century
exasperated person?"

another from Nada Gordon, *Decency in the Arts*
"Take thy bev'rage from the ancient rose,
and ram it up your dirty bomb
In order to felch its eyeball with a straw
And on John Ashcroft's breast repose"

two essays from Alvin Curran written as liner notes
to his CD *Animal Behavior*, including
*Why Is This Night Different Than All Other Nights*
"...the ever-present choral hum of the
Brooklyn Bridge acts as a reminder of what
that momument once sounded like; it also acts
like a safety net to catch the tuba spittle,
the violin's rosin, the accordion's breath"

an essay from Ricardo Abromovay, *The Brazilian Left:
Far From the Night of the Ultimate Overthrow*
'The principal mission of a government of the left in
contemporary societies consists in promoting conditions
that open greater opportunities for social integration
to the poorest citizens, stimulating productive investments,
applying substantial resources in education, and
above all allowing greater productivity and greater
access to markets for the millions of workers who
might not participate in the economic growth."

an essay from Martin Brody, *Music Like That*
"Adrian Piper suggests how an operation of
'self-confounding' might function as a poetics of
intransigence with a strong formalist bent:
'[T]o confound oneself by incorporating into
works of art an aesthetic language one recognizes
as largely opaque to one; as having a significance
one recognizes as beyond one's ability to grasp...
[T]he cross-cultural appropriation of alien formal
devices reminds one of one's subjectivity'"

Following this, a section of a memoir by
Morgan Russell *A Girl Named Lunch*:
"...she told me of a lover with a glass eye...
your eye, take it out...why?..because I want to
lick the membrane behind it...(its actually
almost licking the brain: a brain job)"

the excellent issue ends with a statement of
purpose by the editor Vincent Katz:
"Someone asked me if the point was September
11, and I said no, it was a general dysfunction
that had set in, marked by the thrusting into
power of a group of figures that will be remembered
as among the most destructive in U.S. and world history."
Terrific Photo on

equanimity {click here}
today. I thought
it was a photo of a painting, but straight
for the horse's mouth it's a photo!
New Interviews

Bernstein on *Shadowtime*; Perloff on
Abstract Poetry
The Argotist Online {click here}