Distribution Automatique

Tuesday, June 1

R. I. P. Peter Orlovsky; La Times
R, I. P. Louise Bourgeois Silliman's blog Wall Street Journal
MIra Schor- A Year of Positive Thinking
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Leslie Scalapino links, Silliman's Blog

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Alan Davies on why poets should write negative reviews, and how I tried to discourage him from doing so. Alan writes: "I have a friend (Nick Piombino) who has more than once advised me to not write a book review unless I have good things to say about the book. Nick himself doesn’t write book reviews / which might be an indication of how many books of poetry he’s found to be worth reviewing (?!)".

I can imagine that I gave Alan this advice, I don't remember doing so, but if I did it was possibly as long as 30 years ago! I am quite sure I wouldn't have given this advice to Alan within the last 20; I think in the past 20 I would know better than to try to deprive him of his peppery critical zest!

Alan also makes the point that I haven't reviewed anyone of late. Actually, I have posted quite a few poetry reading reviews of late on this blog, but I do want to take this occasion to mention that I edited in 2007 and 2009 two issues of OCHO, published and produced by Didi Menendez. OCHO 14, by the way includes a hefty portion of the work of, well, Alan Davies and OCHO 21 includes the work of 14 other poets whose work I obviously admire. Silliman says of Davies work in OCHO 14:" Davies, on the other hand, offers a wide range of works, including some (textually) discrete poems, a long critical work that organizes itself as an a review of Anne Waldman’s Outrider, then a series of excerpts from a longer text – it seems too limiting to call it a poem – entitled This is Thinking. Davies hasn’t been publishing a lot in recent years & to see this much work at once, this much first-rate work, is completely bracing. He hasn’t lost a step & is every bit as uncompromising as ever. This actually can make Davies a difficult read at times, but it never is complexity just for the sake of showing off. He continues to be the Diogenes of the New York langpo scene. At the same time, Davies always comes across as sweet, vulnerable, friendly, somebody you’d love to know. I’d say that Davies’ contribution is worth the price of the issue alone, but I’d say that of well about Gordon, Vassilakis, Mesmer & several other of the contributors." Not a negative review, but, I'm sure most readers will agree, interesting, at least.

OCHO 14 was also reviewed by Nick Manning in Jacket 35

But I will admit to being a subscriber of the following aphorism of Henry James:
"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind". Like most others, I can only claim this as an ideal. Certainly not as a political position, but when it comes to poet friends, well, yes.

Still, the article gives me much to think about.

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The way to know people is to care about them. The way to care about them is to forget most of what you know about them.

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If you are looking to get paid as a writer just remember that silence is golden- not your silence, their silence.