Distribution Automatique

Friday, June 3

The Silence of the Lambs

"The arrogance of critics prospers, even fattens,
on the silence of the poets over whom the critic
means to tyrannize."

Jerome Rothenberg {click here}

thanks to Mappemunde (Tim Peterson) {click here} for the link.


from Gary Sullivan's *Elsewhere*

"Just before leaving, I had a brief
but kind of strange conversation
with Bruce Andrews.
I hadn't seen him in a while,
not since the Coolidge/Gizzi reading,
where I had given him--Bruce--a copy of my comic.
Bruce congratulated me on the comic,
said that while he hadn't read it,
he didn't think it was worth my having
dropped out of the scene for a year
to create. I reminded him
that I had been "missing" really
only for half a year, and he said,
"even so." He said it nicely enough,
so perhaps he simply meant
that he missed me.
But the subtext seemed to be
"What you're doing isn't worth
the time you're spending on it."
Wasn't sure how to respond to that.
I could have, I suppose,
reminded him that my procedure
is different from his own,
that drawing comics physically
takes a lot of time, and
that it is a learned skill--very
different from scribbling on
3x5s while on auto-pilot,
which he's been doing for the
last twenty years or so.
Too, I felt like reminding him
that I had already sold more
copies of my little
self-published comic in
its first month than that
powerhouse Sun & Moon
probably sold of what's
considered his best book,
I Don't Have Any Paper, Or Shut Up,
in its first year in print.
This is hubris, of course,
but if sales continue as they've
been, I'll sell out of the first printing
before a year has gone by, whereas
Shut Up was published
more than a decade ago, and
I don't think it has yet gone
into a second printing.
I can't imagine that more than
1000 copies were made.
I suppose I could have patiently
explained all of that to him, but
I was tired after a long day of working.
Plus, it seemed more intended
as a kind of conversation stopper, not starter.
His comment--and he's famous
for these kinds of comments--
shouldn't have bothered me,
but it did. As a personal slight, sure,
but more as a kind of reminder
of the worst aspects of the poetry
scene, of why it can sometimes
seem a monumental waste of
one's energy and resources to
engage with it. If one's interaction
with the poetry scene leads to
these kinds of banal but hurtful
conversations, why would anyone
in their right mind steal time away
from their creative endeavors to be
available for them?
Of course, I'm overreacting. (
I'm a Leo; we do that.)
The truth is, I had a great time with
everyone else, picked up some
wonderful-looking books,
and look forward to the next event,
which is tonight, I realize:
The Hanging Loose book party
at Teachers & Writers.
New books by Sharon Mesmer
and Jeni Olin! I guess I have to go to the ATM."

rom Gary Sulllivan's

Elsewhere {click here}

for the complete text excerpted from
above scroll down to *Getting Out More*
Nick, Nick, Nick

on Tuesday, June 7 at 6 p.m.
I'll be reading with
Nick Kass Johnson at the
Bowery Poetry Club

Nick Bredie and Alex Young,
series curators

(BPC is at Bowery, near Houston,
across the street
from CBGB's)

hope to see you there
Heartbreak Motel: Your Poem Goes In, It Never Comes Out

Little Emerson {click here}

Thursday, June 2

Radical Druid Asks:

1. Do you write with the intent of submitting (and getting published)? Is that your primary objective in writing poetry (publishing to print media, or online journals, or other outlets [i.e., contests, prizes, etc.])?

I fell in love wtih the printed page at an early age. So I
always wanted to see my writing in print and be a part
of the vast libraries of books I loved so much as a child.
My earliest poems were imitations
of my favorite poets:
A.E. Housmnan and Thomas Gray,
poets I read in the high school anthology.
Though I heard e.e.cummings and Lewis Warsh read in college in NY in the early 60's, I didn't
discover many of my favorite contemporaries
until the middle to late 60's and on to the 70's. Meanwhile, I had strongly pulled away from trying to publish, when certain late 60's
anti-ego values became attractive to me. At this point, my social concerns and anti-war activities, and a concommitant quest for answers
to personal concerns submerged
aesthetic concerns in favor of wanting and needing to understand things-to answer life's
questions. Jackson Mac Low's poetry became an inspiration and challenge, as did the work of John Ashbery, the work and teaching
of Bernadette Mayer and the
work of Robert Smithson and Vito Acconci.
It wasn't until I began to give readings
after participating in Bernadette Mayer's
workshop in the early 70's that I again
started to get a handle on where poetry and publishing might fit into my life after my lttle bit
of publishing poems in the middle 60's. I see now that my love of abstraction in poetry and art,
but my simultaneous interest in
psychology and philosphy just
wouldn't mesh to a point that I
could see a way for my many
extremely varied experiments
to arrive in print; though I was very
interested in (but still shy about
at first) reading them aloud when invited.
The issue for me was that my poems
were meant to be stationary
points in the frequently conflctual
currents of experience and thought;
they felt like part of a personal
project that I couldn't easily frame
within a public persona.
While all of this was intensely
problematic career wise, my
relative obscurity seemed to
allow an internal fanning
of the flame of my poetic
concerns and interests,
in the same way that my
avoidance of academic
employment helped me to
remain enthusiastic about
literature in general, or so it
seemed. I guess I really didn't
want to professionalize my
writing interests. Eventually,
after discovering some ideas
in the work of Paul Valery,
working with poetics offered a
method for dealing with such
concerns that paralleled my
use of psychoanalysis in
working with my personal
issues and those of others-
an approach that seemed more
constructive to me; these were
modes of connecting my
experiences and activities
with others that still allowed
my poetic process to remain
somewhat private,. Presenting my writing
to others has consistently created
personal challenges for me,
even at times seemingly
insurmountable challenges
and conflcts in terms of my inner
concerns with the issues in the work
itself. I never liked the emotionally
cumbersome process of arranging
and submitting my work for
publcation, though I certainly
enjoyed and benefitted from
seeing my works in print when
they were published and
having them available in an
attractive and convenient way
to readers. As I've said countless
times now, and never seem to tire of
saying, weblogging and the web in
general have, for the first time, made
available some of the rapidity and availability of interaction and response, combined
with the "automatic" archiving and
record-keeping, that I've always
longed for. One of my collages in the 80's was titled *Distribution Automatique.*
The other part of the publishing/critical
reviewing system I didn't appreciate was the academicism, a quality in
intellectual life I have had a problem with since my honors courses in college. I'm uncomfortable with
pretentiousness and afraid and worried about seeing
it increase in myself; though
I cerainly enjoy the satisfactions
and pleasures of eperiencing
my own and others'
successes in doing artistic work
A Blogland Vogue for Questions:
Radical Druid Asks Jonathan Mayhew

Radical Druid {click here}


Jonathan Mayhew (Bemsha Swing) {click here}


Laura Carter {Ecritures Bleues) {click here}

Speaking of Whispers, Don't Miss These

Jack Kimball (Pantaloons) {click here}
boards time's winged chariot

Wednesday, June 1

Write in whispers.

Tuesday, May 31

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

Listening to Sibelius, as played by Maxim Vengerov,
a little enervated after
dinner, and a long train ride home
after a holiday
weekend out of town, reading
Boynton (Melbourne)
opening the
mail, mostly damn bills,
reading the email, welcome words from friends,
Never Neutral (Mexico City)

I'm home again.
House of Fame

One thing about visiting my in-laws in Arlington is the shopping,
and, in particular-used book shopping- more on this
later (now the books are in the suitcases, we're leaving shortly)
but one amazing book we found was Chaucer's *House of Fame*,
a late 19th century copy in the old English. Fascinating stuff
(hadn't even heard of this work before, though McIntyre and Moore,
the great scholarly used bookstore in Somerville, had tons
of books about it; the poem has a lot of material about dreams)
and I can't wait to read it and learn more about it. Another book
found in McIntyre and Moore, not purchased but examined led
to a fact that was interesting, though perhsps not that surprising-
the Routledge Press (published in 2000)
*Who's Who in 20th Century World Poetry*
edited by Marc Willhardt with Alan Michael Parker, has a
lengthy entry on Charles Bernstein; the book, covering every
country in the world for the whole century, has only 900 entries sent
in by 75 contributors!

Monday, May 30

Poetics Trek Episode 6: Memorial Day
The Vogue Continues

Limetree {click here}

Kemel Zaldivar {click here}

{P.S. Note the contrasting answers
to question 5; inevitable absorption
in poetry as a way of life or
"my vocabulary did this to me"
windbagging: you choose}

Sunday, May 29

Swept Away

Jonathan's Vogue-for-Questions Solo,
plus sets from JEWISHYIRISHY
and A New Broom

Bemsha Swing {click here}

JEWISHYIRISHY {click here}

A New Broom {click here}
A Vogue for Answers, Episode 4

It's such a pleasure browsing other people's bookshelves,
don't you agree? Visiting in-laws in Arlington, Mass, we long
ago noticed their petit collection of charming antique books,
including a complete 19th Century edition of Addison & Steele's
18th Century version of blogging, *The Spectator*. Having
nearly finished a cup of double-strength coffee, we wandered
over to our sister-in-law's I-book. And to our endless joy we
were charmed to start the morning reading Nada Gordon's
entertaining answers to Professor Mayhew's most stimulating
questions to bloggers. Full disclosure: these days, Nada Gordon {click here}
our #1 favorite poet. Nada's response includes a quote from a series
of hilarious questions put to her by the then ardently courting Gary Sullivan
in Swoon {click here}

This is cool:

Ululations {click here}