Distribution Automatique

Friday, March 23

King of The Brooklyn School

Like the fabled NY School of old, Amy King's new *I'M THE MAN Who Loves You* (Blaze/Vox) is unafraid of the everyday, pausing to notice and respond to the presence of others and things, passing on the strained lyricism of soap opera surrealism. I don't know if this work is really a manifestation of an emerging school, but I did go to school immediately on its quick fencer's wit and steady, yet verbally lucious focus on the realities, pleasures and perplexities of ongoing experience. I can't help it, like Amy, I've fallen in love with the real world of things and people. How can she have mastered this so early, when for most, youth is wasted on the Jung and other inflated idealisms. It's not only a pleasure, but an actual relief to see daily moments become remarkable again without becoming either flaccid or hysterical. Don't screech at me, don't preach at me and please pass the breadsticks:

"I had been invisible, untrained disappearing off the grid
for some time, until you asked me to pass the breadsticks
in that split moment of schizo-panic. To give up
a technicolor coat is a brave tragedy with many layers;
we're drawn to any labyrinth, perfection at the center
of artistry..." (*HOW TO GET THERE*)

But this poetry definitively is not about corny, not-so-new age glommy affirmations either. No interest in

"Accordion adventures they're the best instrument
to windbag, to bleat, to push air through daisies
for an alphabet's sake. Androgyny and honesty
ought to play frozen roses on apocalyptic landscapes,
the landscape of Amy King's face fused
with artifical intelligence on which hers lies
infinitely predictable.Blindfolded books could do worse
than the diction of bedtime verse"

So much for stretched out poetry gimmicks and ceaseless and shameless self-promotion. If we're going to be childish, at least lets attempt be a little like actual children. That's cool. So, what *are* you interested in, Amy?

lately I'm craving minimum cravings, dusty old records
that smell like a wood-paneled basement,
posters of Elvis on velvet, and the evolution
of ethnic foods on the Lower East Side.
We've gone from Indian to Choctaw.
Eccentric is out." (*MINIATURE DISASTERS*)

I get a whiff of Kim Lyons here, and a dash of Sharon Mesmer there, with a sprinkle of Nada Gordon : maybe that's where I got the Brooklyn School idea, though I'm not claiming literal influences,
there's Kim's: "Who doesn't hear Robert Johnson
at this place
near King's Highway" (*Saline*)
"plastic infinite waterfall
the matched "Danish* living room "set" (*Saline*)

or Nada's: "the
lamb chop in the dryer,
the snow shovel
in the rumpus room, thinking
if i had a round horse" (*GORGEOUS*a vestibule* from *V. IMP.*)

Well, anyway, the basement's where the imagination is sometimes forced to hide, especially in Brooklyn, my teen years Brooklyn of Bay Ridge,at my parent's house on BR Parkway, with its cement floor cnvered in outdated technology and turn-of-the-century French magazines.

Sure, I pledge allegiance to the books and the language of America as much as the next gal, but after all, the way hour follows hour and day follows day is not that much like a vocabulary exercise; it's more about trying not to get depressed, even trying to renew not just your library card. but this ceaselessly ironic daily life.

OK, not easy but not pathetic either, if there's hope in the rarely automatic quotidian promises of life:
at least that's what I'm getting from Amy King today.

"On top of my name, devotions, no woman
chain whips and lovers: coffee is how
I get other/ countries inside my body." (*ON THE OUNCE THAT SELLS US OUT*)


"Marilyn as metaphor is
applepie modeled on
the grandmothers of invention" (*THE TEMPERATURE'S MOVIE LIFE*)

Am I not THAT old afterall?

Thanks, Amy.

Thursday, March 22

"The Theory of the Active Reader"

There are a few books on my desk that I keep coming back to obsessively, that I can't keep my hands off of. Some are brand new, like *Ripple Effect* by Elaine Equi, (many of these poems were prevously published in her books from Coffee House) There are some timeless hits like *Lesbian Corn* "In summer/I strip away/your pale kimono" and some new lines sure to become classics like: "Autumn is a solitude/Winter is a fortitude/Spring is an altitude/ Summer is an attitude." This is a "New and Selected", but like some other new and selecteds, namely, Ann Lauterbach's stunning *If In Time* (Penguin) and Kathleen Fraser's beautiful *il cuore: the heart*, when you are affectionately familiar with the originals, it can be a joy to see how the poet regathers and reconnects the poems. For all these reasons and more I am eagerly looking forward to exploring what David Shapiro has done with this form (his selected is just out from Overlook), and getting absorbed in Charles North's recent new selected, his previous one long a favorite of mine, and I am particularly anticipating discovering how Tom Beckett shapes his current poetic and aesthetic viewpoint through such an arrangement of his earlier and recent work..

As soon as I start reading in Ammiel Alcalay's new (2007) book for Factory School's *Heretical Texts * series, *Scrapmetal" I immediately feel like again paging through its 2002 predecessor *from the warring factions* from Beyond Baroque. Similarly, Simon Pettet's 2005 book *More Winnowed Fragments", returns me to his 1995 Selected Poems from Talisman House.

My eyes delight in paging through the visual pleasures of Nico Vassilakis' new book from Otoliths *Diptychs*, and I am anticipating delving into recently publishedOtoliths books by bloggers Harry K. Stammer, Mark Young, Sandra Simonds,Vernon Frazer, Jordan Stempleman, and Jean Vengua.

Ron Silliman's *Woundwood*, a fine chapbook from Cuneiform, will no doubt disappear off the shelves of bookstores quickly; and I noted recently at the St Mark's Bookstore that his brilliant *Age of Huts* that includes the classic Chinese Notebook has been spiffed up and reissued.

This is the thing about poetry. When it's good, it doesn't get old, so as I mentioned yesterday, I was pleased to see Kasey Mohammad review a book from Lytle Shaw, Lobe, from a few years ago. Charles Alexander's *Certain Slants*("thank you for the book/to write in to lie down in') (Junction, 2007) sent me hunting through my shelves for his unforgettable *Arc of Light/Living Matter* (1992, Segue) ("calling them bloomies calling, jams to brace her bread warmed and butter recedes"), as well as his great 2004 Singing Horse Press book, *near or random acts* ("cash flies her away form/prose's comfortable kingdom"). No,my books are not in alphabetical order as Mitch Highfill noticed on a recent visit here with Kimberly Lyons. Mitch spoke eloquently about Alan Davies' poetry and why should I be surprised when Mr. Davies' new chapbook from Katalanche, *Book 5* ("slip into/ love like/genital/marginalia" should quickly lead me to search my shelf and reread in its entirety his famous This Book classic *Name*(1986):"Before we were happy/we were human." You want to listen to these edgy, delicate echoes resound in your mind over and over.

Taylor Brady wrote in his 2005 Factory School *yesterday's news"This is my theory /of the active reader, and it is dense." Indeed it is, and thus I oscillate between that and his 2006 book *Occupational Treatment* from Atelos. Well, it's now past 2 a.m. and I should get some sleep- after all, But now my fingers have come across my copy of *microclimates*(Krupskaya, 2002)-well I know I need to delve into that one further, which will no doubt take me back to the other two. I do have to work tomorrow. But how could a week be complete without reading awhile in Drew Gardner's 2005 Roof Book *Petroleum Hat* "Bad boys are full, tamed, safe/and charged with sexuality." Uh-huh! And Katie Degentesh's 2006 Combo Book *Anger Scale*"Since I just got a haircut today/everything is turning jiggy around me." Hard to get through a week or two without looking for an attitude refresher in their two books.And I want to stay up all night and write about Rodney Koeneke's *Musee Mechanique*, a 2006 book from Blaze/Vox: ("the delicious limbs of summer"),Gary Sullivan's *Elsewhere* #2 (2006) with text by Nada Gordon; "is your throat dry with the deviousness of following?"; Norman Fischer's powerful *I Was Blown Back* (Singing Horse 2005), Johanna Drucker's electrically syncopated typographical wonder *From Now* (Cuneiform, 2005), Heriberto Yepez's psychologically riveting soon to be a cult classic *Wars. Threesomes. Drafts.& Mothers (Heretical Texts, 2007), Catherine Daly's politically awakening yet subtly lyrical *Chanteuse/Cantatrice*, also from the Heretical Texts 2007 series (her book includes "collaborative" quotes from every Heretical Texts writer!). I want to be an insomniac blogger again, as I was in 2003 and keep reading and writing about Tim Peterson's award winning *Since I Moved In * (it won the first Gill Ott award) ("Why you writng a poem called The Age of Advertising/anyway?"). Ray DiPalma's *Mules At The Wake* ("what trace lingers in this edit"), Mode A's Grand Piano 1 & 2 "Door, garden, shadow, skirt. Are these ideal forms I envision in my mind's eye?" (Carla Harryman). And, as part of my recent desire to delve into German and Austrian history based on the moving, politically potent recent Weimar Show at the Met, I am enjoying Marjorie Perloff's engaging *The Vienna Paradox* (New Directions, 2004) ("This was, in any case, the book that I was reading in Innsbruck while our suitcases were being searched and our money taken away" as well as Wolf Lepenies' fascinating and provocative *The Seductiion of Culture in German History* ("But the illusionary overrating of culture thus played a particularly dangerous role in German history." And, as part of my ongoing feminist self-analysis, I have been enjoined by Charles Bernstein in his inscription to my copy to "be a" *Girly Man*("day retreats into quicksand/on the good nights.)" And, smiling impishly from behind a fan, who do we see holding a new Roof Book with an arresting cover designed by Gary Sullivan but Nada Gordon who will be celebrating her new book *Folly*, approprately enough on April Fool's day at James Sherry's loft on Sunday afternoon, April 1st. And she has hinted that she hopes all will come, say. imaginatively attired.

to be continued (including mentions and or reviews-trumpets and drums please- of the names Bob Perelman, Ron Silliman, and Rae Armantrout in recent editions of the New York Times Book Review and Art Forum. Ta-Da! A lot to celebrate, but now it's it's getting way late!)

Tuesday, March 20


When others do not want what you have to give, should this stop you from getting what you want to give?


When life is confusing for those who think for themselves, the confused are running the show.


*The Grand Piano*: A Socratic Dialogue by
Nada Gordon (Ululations)


There's Still Hope Dep't: A Review of a Poetry Book 3 Years Old!

Kasey Silem Mohammad
reviews *The Lobe* by Lytle Shaw


Jackson Mac Low Remembered

Someone requested anecdotes about Jackson on the Buffalo poetics list recently
and I've been posting some there. One of them was the second entry in my new
*fait accompli* book and blogger Amy King was inspired to write a post about my discussion
in that entry about "ambivalence. " Here:
Amy King's blog
Out of The Shadows

Yesterday Wood s Lot posted a link to a March 2004 *fait accompli* posting about the psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas' fascinating book *The Shadow of The Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known" as follows: Bollas. Although *fait accompli* has always focused on "time travel" as a central theme, no blog has shown a more consistent perseverence in finding the roots of the present in the past than *wood s lot*. In honor of that effort on the part of Mark Woods, we are posting here another few brief quotations from Bollas' invaluable book.

The aspect of Bollas' book we focused on back then was Bollas' concept of the normatic. Bollas pursues the theme further:
"The fundamental identifying feature of this individual is a disinclination to entertain the subjective element in life, whether it exists inside himself ot in the other. The introspective capacity has rarely been used. Such a person appears genuinely naive if asked to comment on issues that require either looking into oneself or the other in any depth. Instead, if the evolution towards becoming a normotic personality is successful, he lives contentedly among material objects and phenomena.

By the subjective element I mean the internal play of affects and ideas that generates and authorizes our private imaginations, creatively informs our work and gives continuing resource to interpersonal relations. The subjective ability amounts to a particular kind of internal space (Stewart, 1985) that facilitates the reception of unconscious affects, memories and perceptions.

The normotic person seems unable to experience evolving subjective states within himself. Without moods he may appear unusually steady or sound. If he is forced by circumstances into a complex situation in which the subjective element is called into play (such as being part of a family quarrel, or discussing a film, or hearing of tragic events) he betrays the absence of a subjective world. He may speak of a phenomenon as an object in its own right, laden with known laws, and thus undertandable. A quarrel might lead him to say 'you people are just being unreasonable', or *Hamlet* might inspire him to say 'an unhappy young fellah', or more often than not, he lapses into repectful silence." (p. 137)

"If psychotic illness is characterized by a break in reality orientation and a loss of contact with the real world, then normotic illness is typified by a radical break with subjectivity and by a profound absence of the subjective element in everyday life. As psychotic illness is marked by a turning inward into the world of fantasy and hallucination, normotic illness is distinctive as a turning outward into concrete objects and towards conventional behavior. The normotic flees from dream life, subjective states of mind, imaginative living and aggressive play with the other. Discharges of mental life is favoured over articulated elaborations that require symbolic processes and real communication. We could say that if the psychotic has
gone off at the deep end", the normotic has "gone off at the shallow end."

A normotic family may be successful for some time, depending on material comfort and the availability of personal wealth. As they need a supply of material objects to enrich their personal happiness, they are far more dependent than other sorts of people on the flux of economic life. For example, if one of the parents becomes unemployed, this amounts to more than a redundancy: it threatens the breakdown of a mentality. It does not lead to reflection or to affective states that deepen the family members' understanding of themselves and of their life. A father may become absent, either literally, by going off and staying away from home, or he may sit before the TV for long periods of time. We would say that there is a depression there, but from inside the family; it is the experience of 'leave your father alone' whose mental equivalent is 'leave that part of your mind concerned with your father alone'....

What is the nature of normotic communication? I do not think that it follows the laws of Bion's theory of beta functioning- specifically, objects are not manipulated via projective identification. Almost the opposite happens. It is as if language 'transformers' are used that launder a communication of all meaning, thus enabling the person to vaporize conflict and appear perfectly normal. This takes place by incorporating phrases that are in themselves meaningful, but that are used so repetitively that they eventually lose their originating subjectivity. I am referring to the use of familiar phrases by a person, indeed to the constriction of vocabulary, a foreclosure of language that would be observeable only over time in the knowing of any one individual. So, for example, a person who has a normotic personality disorder would be found to use a vocabulary of phrases that laundered the self of all meaning: phrases such as 'that's tragic' or 'uh huh' or 'yeah' or 'wow' that nullify meaning whilst appearing to recognize significance. Or a person might have more complex phrases such as "gosh, that's really amazing' or 'it's extraordinary what the world is coming to' which deflect meaning away from subjective exchange....

As has been suggested, the outcome of such a situation is a person who apears really quite extroverted and able. He seems to be without conflict, even in a troubled world. He manages distress through the use of 'language transformers' that alter significance into insignificance by virtue of the use of a vocabulary of phrases that function as evacuators of meaning."

(quoted from pages 146-155) *The Shadow of The Object* by Christopher Bollas, New York, Columbia Universtiy Press, 1987

Used copies from AbeBooks

Monday, March 19

Art by Peter Ciccariello

Poor Yoric in lyrical landscape

Sunday, March 18

Tom Beckett interviews Australian poet Jill Jones

on e-x-c-h-a-n-g-e-v-a-l-u-e-s


Ripple Effect:
New & Selected Poems
by Elaine Equi

Friday, March 30th
6:30 PM

CUE Art Foundation
511 W. 25th St.

Theremin music by
Andy Karlock


2 reviews, one brand new (Today), one old (2000) on the poetry of Rae Armantrout
by Stephen Burt

NY Times

Boston Review

Truth might visit the solitary but will rarely find liars alone.


Life is the desert, truth the oasis.