Distribution Automatique

Friday, August 22

Toni and I will miss you too, .Jean. By the way, I've been thinking of Bernadette and tried to find her book *Studying Hunger* in Moe's and Serendipity without success. "Studying hunger I had to stop. I had to stop and begin again slowly."

It's too hard to say goodbye to all you beautiful bay area people and the beautiful bay area itself so, not goodbye, but au revoir! (Hopefully, I'll soon be able to post the lovely photo Nikki Schrager took of us out here).

from ululations... Nada Gordon

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


Give to gold its weight
Regent of dewy night, Fawn-
spotted cooling stream

Unite, impel, di-
late th' effulgent whole he
sparkling daughters crown'd

of stern Eluding
mortal sight, He fades; he dis-
appears And silence

lulls the sky we court
nor sings nor many-tinted
rays concoct, refine,

And hymn, concentrick
orbs struggling to impair bless'd
quaffing nectar Rob'd

Till twitter moving
lancer of the golden keen
by green-hair'd Ocean's

gem-bespangled shore
charm'd Gocul's od'rous cleft head
sandal-breathing flow'r

attesting secret
deeds, skirts, robes, charm, form, and stain
load the tortoise bore

Thursday, August 21

Dig it! Heriberto is back, in English! This blog is: Mexperimental

Do check it out.
The first reading in Stephanie Young's apartment reading series featured David Hess and Catherine Meng. The evening, to say the least, was an immense treat for bloggers! Alli Warren drove all the way from Los Angeles, picking up Kasey S. Mohammed on the way. Catherine and David each read with completely contrasting but utterly engrossing sorts of quiet intensity. Catherine Meng's reading matched the clarity and precision of her poetic style. This isn't to say her work isn't without paradox, enigma and poetic reverie but like her co-reader David Hess, when wit informs the whole, a reading becomes more than the poetry plus the poet. David read serious poems and funny poems and explained why he was drinking so much water. He had used a tube of moisterizer this morning instead of his toothpaste, wondering all the while why the toothpaste looked so thin! To my delight, David also read a poem that referred to *fait accompli*! A five minute break seemed to stretch into 15 and there were lots of people to meet and greet. Bloggers James Meetze and Tanya Brolaski were there as were Cynthia Sailers, Stephen Vincent (here's a scoop: SV may start a blog soon!) and Cassie Lewis. Cassie Lewis graciously gave me three more Postcard books, and now I have the whole stunningly lovely collection. My postcard book with Stephanie is now in the editing stage and hopefully will be available in October or thereabouts.

David has two more readings in the Bay area this weekend so check the blogs for more information! Kasey and Noah Eli Gordon read at 21Grand on Sunday. Cassie Lewis and Mei-Mei Bersenbrugge are also reading this weekend. Toni and I will be back in New York this weekend and we will surely be missing our Bay area friends who have shown us such amazing California-style hospitality in every single case. Last night everyone was saying to me "Are you still here?" My answer: You may have to get used to it. We will be back soon- and again and again. We love it! Wow!

Wednesday, August 20

Over the past few days Nada Gordon posted the following:

Interesting that Nick and Jean assumed that my "My Dilemma" poem with its constant refrain of "no one loves me" was necessarily a personal expression.

( 7:23 AM )
Before all my friends start sending me emails to cheer me up: I am not sad. NOT sad.

( 7:22 AM ) Nada
If I think about crying I come to the conclusion that it's an attention getting device. I mean it gets MY attention. Yesterday, for instance, I woke up and felt like crying before a thought even entered my head. No memory of what I'd dreamt...

(Aphorisms from "Voices" by Antonio Porchia translated by W.S. Merwin.)

Here's a little bouquet of them for you, Nada:

"We tear life out of life to use it for looking at itself."

"More grievous than tears is the sight of them"

"Nothing ends without breaking because everything is endless."

"I have come one step away from everything. And here I stay, far from everything, one step away."

"There are sufferings that have lost their memory and do not remember why they are suffering."

"I have loved for the sake of what I loved, and what I loved I would not go back to loving."

"Only the wound speaks its own word."

"The grieving for everyone and about everything has grown and become a grieving for myself, to myself. And it is still growing."

"I will help you to approach if you approach, and to keep away if you keep away."

"I believe that the soul consists of its sufferings. For the soul that cures its own sufferings dies."

"To wound the heart is to create it."

"Every time I wake I understand how easy is it is to be nothing."

"Among the superficial, if you are not one of them, one of them has to lead you by the hand."

"They are like me, I tell myself. And in that way I defend myself against them. And in that way I defend myself against myself."

"I stop wanting what I am looking for, looking for it."

"Sometimes I think that evil is everything, and that good is only a beautiful desire for evil."

"My 'I' has gone farther and farther away from me. Today it is my farthest 'you.'"

"Do not speak of your misfortunes harshly to anyone, because everyone is partly to blame."

"I am yesterday, today. And tomorrow? In tomorrow I was."

"I can wait for you no longer. Because you have arrived."

Tuesday, August 19

Thanks, Johanna (Rutabaga) for quoting from my discussion of Carla Harryman's upcoming play at the LAB opening on September 10th,"Performing Objects Stationed in the Sub World."

Monday, August 18

When I found out Carla Harryman planned to be in the Bay area the same time as me, she also told me she would be rehearsing a play here, and maybe the only time we could hang out would be at my reading at 21 Grand. Ok, I had to plead a little bit, but indeed Toni and I got to see and hear about 35 or 40 minutes of a rehearsal of "Performing Objects Stationed in the Sub World." Author Carla Harryman created the play in collaboration with director Jim Cave, visual artist Amy Trachtenberg, and composer Erling Wold. Principal actors include Ken Berry, Annie Kunjappy, Walonda J. Lewis, and Roham Shaikhani. Patrick Durgin and Taylor Brady will play the Poet's Chorus. The play will open on Wednesday, September 10th, which will be a Gala Preview and Season Opening Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of The LAB; it will continue on Thursday and Friday, September 12th and 13 Thursdays-Saturdays-September 18th-20th and September 25th-27th, 8pm. Cost: $20 for the Gala Preview, $10-$20 sliding scale admission for subsequent performances. At The LAB, 2948 16th Street@Capp, San Francisco. Info and res: (415) 864-8855 or go to www.thelab.org.

A busy -and lovely- morning up here in the Berkeley hills visiting with a herd of goats caused Toni and I to leave only an hour and half to get across the Bay bridge which was barely enough on a beautiful Saturday in August. We lucked out with an all night parking spot right near where we had to get to the LAB and to later visit our friend the artist Leonie Guyer. We knocked on the door and Carla came to get us. At just the point when Toni and I sat down, Ken Berry broke into song in his gorgeous, strong, resonant tenor voice, in face, a charming thing concerning little objects. I thought to myself: sounds like Carla! Full disclosure: I admit I've long been a partisan of Carla's writing. "Under The Bridge" (1980) was formative for me, an essential moment in my piecing together a structural, linguistic and emotive map of the contours of contemporary prose poetry. She has always been a pioneer in the evolution of transformational combining of formal structures in all genres of writing, yes, but more interesting, the connections and connotations not only seem true but ring true. The play. it seemed clear to me, is out to put us ringside of as many emotive and ontological soundings as are contained in experience, often in their raw form, or nascent form, and keep us there. Yes, things clash, they have to. As we listen, we can understand why, and appreciate that transformations occur constantly, and learn to enjoy that process, not have to back away from it so much or repress it. This play, and so much of Carla's work, is unafraid to reveal how much we take pleasure in the way sides of reality clash against each other, like wave forms, how the storms and resolutions may appear arbitrary, but are yet necessary. Things on a page won't stay put any more than they do in life; categories leap out at each other and dance with each other on their own, they won't passively remain in place they way we expect them to, any more than the erotic aspect of experience will give way to our moral and philosophical demands, custorms and expectations exactly the way we order it to. This play will use the interrelationships between sense experiences, will produce synaesthesias at the very nexus point where sound becomes meaning and meaning returns to its componant sounds. Carla shows us how we never stop reading, just as we can never stop hearing (though we can permit ourselves to stop listening), that reading and writing themselves are a metaphor for the way we make noise and life makes noise, we and life constantly fighting and celebrating each other. If we haven't understood, we will yet understand, the stream of life's repetitive clashings in sound and meaning is constant, and there is reassurance in that, and laughter too! Annie Kunjappy's acting and movement was discussed so interestingly at one point I was tempted to recommend that at least one discussion with the director be worked into the play itself! Jim Cave has such interesting things to say and oh, this is not all typical Mamet- like understatement at all. At one point, Ken picks up a huge barrel of various objects and drops them on the stage. Objects, as in Carla's poetry, are not subordinated to any other category of experience.They are right out in front as characters on the stage just the way they are in life. What is evoked? Berg and Bartok at least, but also Ernst and Duchamp and Beckett and Strindberg combined with Schwitters, Webern, Stein and Sofia Gubaidulina.

"Carla Harryman (writer/co-director)is the author of eleven books of prose, plays and poetry. Recent books include two experimental novels, *Gardener of Stars*(Berkeley, CA, Atelos, 2001) and *The Words:after Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories and Jean-Paul Sartre* (Berkeley, CA, O Bookss, 1999); a book-length play, *Memory Play* (Berkeley, CA, O Books, 1994); and a volume of selected writings *There Never Was A Rose Without A Thorn*(San Francisco, CA, City LIghts,1995). In 1996, she moved from San Francisco to the Detroit area. In the late 1970's she co-founded San Francisco Bay Area Poet's Theater. In May 1994, Harryman and the LAB staged a collaborative production of *Memory Play* with director Phillip Horvitz,and performance and visual artist John Woodall.She was the librettist and dramaturg fortwo San Francisco productions(1995, 2000) of Erling Wuld's *A Little Girl Dreams of Taking the Veil*, a chamber opera based on Max Ernst's collage novel. Harryman is on the faculty of Wayne State University in Detroit where she teaches Literature, Creative Writing and Women's Studies."

visual artist Amy Trachtenberg's work in theater includes costume and set design for new opera, dance and theater productions such as *A Little Girl Dreams of Taking The Veil* by composer Erling Wold, adapted from Max Ernst; *The Breasts of Teresias* by Poulenc and Apollinaire; Bartok's *Bluebeard's Castle*; *The Butterfly* with Darvag Iranian Theater Company; *Goya's L.A.* by Leslie Scalapino; and costumes for ODC Dance Company. Her numerous collaborations with poets appear in over 20 publications, including an image-text collaboration with Norma Cole in ZAZZYVA's 10th Anniversary issue. Trachtenberg's paintings are in public and private collections of embassies, banks and corporations in Houston, Paris, Heidelberg, New York and San Francisco.

"Jim Cave (co-director/lighting designer) has worked in all aspects of theater in the Bay Area for the past twenty-five years. Focusing on the development of new theater, multi-disciplinary, and site-specific performances, JIm Cave has directed and designed plays, dance, opera, new music theater, and even a flea circus (for San Francisco's Exploratorium) and has directed a number of critically acclaimed productions."

Sunday, August 17

I like *Blue Kangeroo* but I am going to miss Nightjar 2

"What's new on Blue Kangeroo?"

I like that.