Distribution Automatique

Saturday, February 7

Noam Chomsky
who we've been watching tonight on
C Span
is a brilliant academic political commentator
Reno {click here}
who will be
back at the Bowery Poetry Club {click here} for two shows:
Fri., 2/13, 8pm
Sat, 2/20, 8pm
is much funnier! And also politically astute!
Her recent scathingly funny
but thoughtful and insightful monologue
on the far right Christian coalition
mesmerized the Bowery
Poetry Club audience a few weekends ago,
and, I'm told, the Poetry Project audience
on New Year's day.

Excuse me, but remember the time when most lit bloggers
didn't blog on weekends? I just checked my "favorites"
on bl.ogs and counted 33 bloggers who posted today. And these
are not by far all my favorites! Including
Notes from the Dovecote {click here},
the former *Solipsistic Gazette*, surely among the
most drop dead beautiful of all blogs, who apparently now has a partner,
and has been presenting a new blog daily of late.


After publishing one of the best blogged
reading reviews I've seen yet,
Pantaloons:Tykes on Poetry (Jack Kimball) {click here} on Friday posted a lovely prose poem
titled, quite simply, "Close".

from *Fits of Dawn*
Joseph Ceravolo
C Press, 1965

'There the same squint untrue of the feast
There songe utility
Swoop quays of skies
Whore for the cyclone always
Hum cherry fleet lettuce of the hill---
Day listing quiet who love booze of
The clothes, hannibal tumble.
The stars a doze C soothing counter!
Poor sessame his self
Dawn the evening this this acquarian unwren
In the bundle of the coo some-
Times Theodosia is yours
For the lotus like a toy you marry
Eternity wink: jamais hotel'"
Thanks to Vanishing Points (Tom Beckett){click here}
for the link and kind words about this blog and
our Friday *Desert Island Book List* post

from Where is Raed? (Salem Pax) {click here}
"My new computer background image says:
'Re-examine every thought and concept you have'".
:: salam 4:52 AM [+] ::

Friday, February 6

Bemsha Swing (Jonathan Mayhew) {click here} expressed jealousy regarding my
copy of *Fits of Dawn* by Joe Ceravolo.
But may I remind him that on Feb. 3rd
he published the following:

"The urge to collect additional Ceravolo books...
Some are quite difficult to find, but the
internet makes it all too easy."

A cursory check of about 6 used and rare
book search web sites turned up 0 for "Fits of Dawn."
While the web is good for finding some
books, others are impossible to find this way.
I learned this searching for first editions of
certain books by William Hazlitt, which I am still longing for.
Desert Island Book List

Consciousness, that master poet, never forgets that final touch
even when the heart itself does.

Awhile back in blogland, there was a spate of writers listing
what books they would take with them to a desert island.

Having spent a little time over my life in places where I couldn't
get the books I needed, you remember how this kind of list can have serious consequences
in terms of readerly frustrations.

For one thing, for example when I lived in Rapallo, Italy once for
six months I realized not only quality, but quantity can be a real issue
for readers who have all their time free and want to read all the time.
Also, in this town there was no tv and no movie theaters either, no
bookstores with English language books either. I brought a huge
suitcase full of books, but that went quickly. Luckily there was an English
language library. Every single one of Virginia Woolf's books were there, a
lot of other stuff and then I went through all of that. Though all this
was annoying, I got so bored that that's how I started to make collages, which
I made by obtaining large quanities of European magazines in Genoa, with
the help of my friend, the artist John Freda.

Somehow thinking about how Gill Ott had died the same day that the Chax/Boog
City reading took place (I had had a strange thought the night before that I should post
a part of a poem by Gill Ott ; I had heard of course that he was very ill, that very soon
he would no longer be with us). Today I thought about
the title: *Knowing When To Stop* by Ned Rorem. That Gill Ott's timing of the moment
to die was a kind of spirit-poem- an elegie concrete, perhaps. In any case, thinking
of that title gets me back to the desert island issue.

I think what I would mostly take with me would be diaries- for example, the diaries of the American
composer Ned Rorem. Rorem is the author of *The Paris Diary*, *The New York Diary*, *The Nantucket Diary*, *The Later Diaries*, *The Final Diary*, (which, of course is not the final diary) and the more recent *Knowing When To Stop*. Having these books, as a group, that I've never
had a chance to read exhaustively, but have nibbled at endlessly, would be the equivalent
of having a complete daily blog to read daily for a long period of time that evokes the dailiness of
an inventive and witty mind.

Quote from *The Paris Diaries*:

"'Nothing is worse than death. And if one consoles oneself
that death is the end of all, it's also certain that nothing is
worse than life.Why work, Why bother? For of that which was
Nikolai Nikolanievitch nothing remains. (Tolstoy on his brother's
death). '"

(to be continued)
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson and Jordan Davis
campaign for vice-president on Jim Behrle's Famous: The Jim Side {click here}
Many of the poets at yesterday's Boog City/Chax reading
at ACA Galleries, including the publisher/poet Charles Alexander
were close friends with Gill Ott, poet and publisher of Singing Horse Press
who died yesterday. It was noted that Charles Bernstein and Bob
Perelman both had visited him at his hospital bed last Tuesday. Mr. Ott
had had numerous kidney transplants throughout his brief but
very fruitful life, so had faced this threat for nearly 25 years,
as Charles Bernstein explained during his portion of the group reading.
The reading was in honor of Chax Press' 20th birthday.
Here is a bit more of Gill Ott's poetry from his book *The Whole Note*
from Zasterle Press.

"This feeble stick, this debris. Pry with a twig
the mass aready man dances to reconcile
sounds from a rural grave with vacant uni-
son. He is revealed

spirits demanded split from the grove of
hands to burn, incarnate, white up a sweat.
Name deity the rounds of the blank assem-
bled to charge fealty with alcohol, poverty to

penury undone. Out of the blood a knife's
work freed him for these rounds and un-
marked he every mark inspected. Glazed

the city of souls thick dependence momen-
tarily undone. Raw sensory equivalence an
animal tongue, a limp or worse affliction
raises the dead among us. Harm and again

(another short passage from this book
appeared on ::fait accompli:: yesterday.)

For More on Gill Ott click here for Ron Silliman's Blog
Gill Ott memorial page & more links right now on The Philly Sound {click here}
Saturday, February 7th. 4:00 p.m.
Eleni Sikelianos
Christopher Stackhouse

Segue Series at
The Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
**** $5.00 cover ****
Coffee, tea, sandwiches plus full bar available.

Note: We are trying to start readings promptly this spring.

foot of First Street, between Houston & Bleecker
across the street from CBGBs
F train to Second Ave, or 6 train to Bleecker

Christopher Stackhouse’s writing has appeared in the journals Aufgabe, Bridge, Hambone, and NYArts, among others. Seismosis, a book featuring his line drawings with text by writer John Keene was published as a letterpress, limited-edition book by The Center for Book Arts in NYC in November 2003. He is a poetry editor for Fence and a Cave Canem Writers Fellow. He is also a former events/readings curator at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church.

Eleni Sikelianos' most recent book is The Monster Lives of Boys & Girls (Green Integer/National Poetry Series 2003). Previous books include Earliest Worlds (Coffee House) & The Book of Tendons (Post-Apollo). Forthcoming are The Book of Jon (City Lights) & The California Poem (Coffee House). Sikelianos currently lives in Colorado, where she teaches at Naropa & Denver Univ.’s Creative PhD Program.

The Segue Reading Series is made possible by the support of The Segue Foundation and The New York State Council on the Arts. For more information, please visit www.segue.org/calendar, http://bowerypoetry.com/midsection.htm or call (212) 614-0505. Curators: Feb.-March by Dan Machlin & Charles Borkhuis, April-May by Karen Weiser & Tonya Foster.

Thursday, February 5

Notebook: November 2000

God Bless Obscurity

God bless obscurity
land that I love
stand beside her
and guide her
with the dark from the spark
of a glove

[inspiration=concentration/yearly income]

[or concentration=inspiration x yearly income]

from the dictionary
to the libraries
to the used bookstoress
deep in debt
God bless obscurity
my home sweet home
that dear old gnome


Graffiti In The Cafe Jaffa

"Give me ambiguity or give me something else."

Since there has been building noise on the street outside
my apartment for months, it seems for years, and since
because of this I listen
to music every morning. I got into the habit of listening
to Chopin, particularly the Ballades. I don't know why, but
this music appears to be of inexhaustible interest to me. Surely,
eventually I will tire of it, but when? Like Debussy, it
opens out into feelings I want to return to endlessly.
from *The Whole Note*
by Gill Ott
Zasterle Press, 1996

"My love, in all my imperfection, are here,
despite your attribution to another entry. Less
than breeze, than presence, the transmission

circles like a hawk, or any other problem set to

candles to tense, in our knowledge of each
other, three. This difficulty multiplies a pin-
point phrases, care taken in song's resolve.
My rider has descended, you."

Wednesday, February 4

Elsewhere (Gary Sullivan) {click here} is suggesting, along with
ululations (Nada Gordon) {click here}
[scroll down to Monday, February 2
*When Will The Book Be Ready*]
that they are anxious to see
a "big book"
of *fait accompli*. Among other nicer things,
they've observed that time is passing.
Well, the manuscript is
in the works, but first Toni and I have to move.
Many thanks to Gary and Nada for the
Lorianne Schaub (Hoarded Ordinaries) {click here}
posted the following (and more) on
Heart @ Work,
a blog that is now running a series on one
of my favorite topics, "Why I blog": "The thought
that you are sitting there reading keeps me writing,
for writing is lonely if not shared. In my mind nestles
the hope that if my memories inspire--
if they touch a trigger in your own
heart, a place where similar
memories reside--you too might notice the
the ordinary, the forgotten, and the unloved.
For the world is filled with ordinaries--a limitless,
unending supply--but we have only a finite number of
hearts and eyes. Pay attention, pay attention: the
world is passing like a parade, and all its
drummers and dancers are destined
to die. How much can you notice
of this beautiful daily panorama?
How many shop-window
bargains in your
heart of hearts
can you save?"
# posted by Lois @ 7:37 AM

I don't know if there is a conscious
reference to Walter Benjamin's
*Arcades Project* here, but
I appreciated the connection,
and the thought.

Beginning Again At The Mouth of the River

Often I'll think of adding something here, and then
think, why would I do that? I feel strangely
embarassed about the idea, like why would anyone
want to to see this, or, everybody knows about
this, say, or has read it.

This is what happened with these lines from *Four Quartets*
by TS Eliot. Ah, the old anti-semite, everybody's bored with his stilted
mawkish jokes and musings. But then I reread it in a few minutes and think:
(I'm moving so I'm starting to pack my books and this one somehow ended
up on the floor in front of my reading chair)-

But it's all there, isn't it, a lot of what I think about still.

"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past."

This is what I understand as the basis of
time travel. If we examine the past carefully,
we find correspondances and links to the present,
possibly by means of a kind of linking between the two,
a very brief hopskotch into the future.

"Go, go, go said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.'

This seems obvious, yet again...

"Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present"

Gertrude Stein all the way.

..."Time past and time future
Allow but little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time...
Only through time, time is conquered."

Now we're getting into the meat of the matter.

For most, all that can be expected is

",,,Only a flicker
over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction"

A simpler, or more basic description or diagnosis of contemporary consciousness
is hard to imagine- so much said in five words
about what continues to be the heart of the backsliding
observeable in the overall human ability to focus and comprehend
a situation and its implications, its roots and branches into the future.

"Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometime break, under the burden
Will not stay still....

It appears that a pattern is being sought, but this
isn't true

"For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been..."

This timeless place is in time and is found
most of all in memories.

"There is a time for the evening under starlight
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album)"

And despite this, due to time's ultimate paradox
"...not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or will arrive at any terminus...
You shall not think "the past is finished"
Or "the future is before us."

Because the final surprise is
"I sometimes wonder of that is what Krishna meant-
...The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death'- that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)

So it seems that

"...to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
with time, is an occupation for the saint-
No occupation either, but something given
And taken..."

Since this is an impossibility, yet human
must move towards this,

"...right action is freedom
From past and future also,
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realized..."

That this is an idealization is acknowledged,
so we have to search the past for specifics
to ground ourselves in life as we actually live

"We die with the dying:
See, they depart and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.

After all this learning, and striving to
connect with all being and not-being

"We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

Full circle: the paradox of living is
not eternity, but the interconnection
between all states of being and not-being

There is a kind of surprise in all experience
which is a constant reminder of the

"...unknown remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall."

At first the sound of the waterfall
is distant and strange, maybe even
an invasion of the quiet soundlessness.
Something is jarring, a sound is heard'
as though a thought wanted to be heard.
The thought at first was a naive thought,
a shy being hardly even dressed or self-aware.
It has to be left to itself to find its feet at last,
to find a way to dress itself, and then address
itself to others to be heard.

Now, again I guess I'll leave these poems to themselves
for awhile, even a long while, it doesn't matter. They
themselves more and more become what they tried
to address in the world- finally becoming more known
than unknown, and thus becoming less distinguishable
from their objects.

I just noticed that "The Dry Salvages" is a small group
of rocks ,with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann

All these books scattered around like rocks on the shores
of my consciousness. Or are they the shores of my consciousness?

Tuesday, February 3

Poetry In Boston

Jack Kimball {click here} reports on
a group reading at Tim Peterson's apartment.
Never Neutral (Ernesto Priego){click here}
opens with a sweet tune today, played
hauntingly on a what sounds to be a slightly out
of tune old piano or a child's music box.
Jonathan Mayhew (Bemsha Swing) {click here}
boasts of finding a Joseph Ceravolo book
online, and how easy it was, speaking
like a hunter disappointed at the relative
ease in tracking down his quarry.
But he is unlikely to match a great find
I purchased some years ago from Steve Clay
of Granary Books. A copy of * Fits of Dawn* bound by
Ted Berrigan in pebbly black dissertation covers, and published by
his *C* Press in 1965. By far Ceravolo's most abstract work
it features poems with lines like:

"...Beyond you jar unself
aroma ax almul chad rugyrebel sex
Leapon silent rebel chain riding
silence aback him eruption pile-
on disk outsent babe nibble have
a shu lift Kota memory ahoy
cultivate so all chomine recussion
soulen boy mirage resume
Ecola! Going there! make ya took
Caribbean remind exuberance
tabu avalance voyant will curse"

What moxie, eh?
And how about that Ted Berrigan
for publishing it so lovingly?
Recently I rather peevishly complained
that a certain blogger had incorporated
my link list without acknowledgement.

Now, This Certain Blogger {click here}
has not only acknowledged my link list,
but he's added a photo of the cover of my most
recent book to the list. I'm smiling from ear to ear
and I am abashed. Thanks, Mr. Gordon!

Where else could this happen but in Blogland, I ask you?

Or, maybe I should say, Massachusetts?

And, this is, as I am on record as having stated before,
further evidence that the New Brutalists are anything but.

Black Spring (Menno ter Braak) {click here}
dedicated a poem yesterday to
Tom Beckett (Vanishing Points of Resemblance) {click here},
along with some laudatory words, that
this tireless contributor to the contemporary
poetry scene certainly well deserves
(be sure to check out
Beckett's new blog).
Black Spring also features a discussion of
Barrett Watten's excellent book
*Bad History* (scroll down to January 29).
A controversial, imaginative hybrid of fiction, essay, prose poetry, philosophy,
commentary, this 1998 book from Atelos is, in a word, indispensable.
from Buzz Machine {click here}

I dislike lists of precepts like this about blogging, but for some
reason they fascinate me (I had typed gascinate me!).

" .Laws of nature and blogging
: Terry Teachout's laws of blogging. Among them:

3. Blogs without links aren’t blogs. Blogs without blogrolls aren’t blogs. Blogs without mailboxes aren’t blogs....
6. Blogging puts professionals and amateurs on an even footing. That’s why so many professional writers dislike and distrust it.
7. The whole point of a blog is that its author controls its content. That’s why no major newspaper will ever be successful at running in-house blogs: the editors won’t allow it. The smart ones will encourage their best writers to blog on their own time—and at their own risk. The dumb ones will refuse to let any of their writers blog, on or off the job....
9. Within a decade, blogs will replace op-ed pages.
10. Blogs will be to the 21st century what little magazines were to the 20th century. Their influence will be disproportionate to their circulation....
14. If you want to be noticed, you have to blog every day.
15. An impersonal blog is a contradiction in terms"

Monday, February 2

Ludwig Wittgenstein on Fashion

"Language disguises thought. So much so,
that from the outward form of the clothing
it is impossible to infer the form of the
thought beneath it, because the outward
form of the clothing is not designed to reveal
the form of the body, but for entirely different

Look again, Ludwig!
*King Cowboy Rufus Rules The Universe* by Richard Foreman
opened at Ontological at The St Mark's Poetry Project, 2cd
Avenue and 10th street (212)533-4650 on January 8th and will
continue until April 18th. If you go by the list on the playbill, this
is the 40th play of Foreman's to be produced.

Don't miss it. It is a joy to behold,
though its subject is, of course,
among the most obnoxious possible.
At the end of the play, Richard's recorded voiced intones
over the loudspeaker that the audience,
in lightly applauding, will
not , in fact, be applauding the subject of the play.

Foreman has this to say
on the first page of the playbill:" I always
feel that my overriding obligation is to
make a complex compositional
object that gives aesthetic pleasure...
though I am anti-Bush and anti-
war- I don't find it artistically satisfying to simply
'preach to the converted'....
The solution I attempt in "King Cowboy
Rufus Rules the Universe" is to put on stage,
not George Bush
himself but a foppish English
gentleman who, while seeming a
figure out of the past- yet
dreams of becoming an imitation
George Bush- acquiring that
same power and manifesting
similar limits of vision..."

Toni and I went with
Nada Gordon (ululations) {click here} and Gary Sullivan (Elsewhere) {click here}.
While Toni has probably been to at least 15 of these plays,
and I have probably been to at least
25, this is the second for Gary and Nada.
All four of us left the theater feeling exhilirated
as I said so to Richard, who happened to trot
by as we were leaving. By the way, Richard
has been present at virtually every
performance of his plays that I have seen.

Lately, Foreman's plays have moved closer to
music and this work featured a number of songs,
a couple of them sung in a hauntiingly light,
lovely voice by the superb Juliana Francis, who plays Susie Sitwell.
The lead player, Jay Smith, who
plays gun-toting King Cowby Rufus in a huge cowboy hat,
is hilariously funny. He manages the extremely difficult task
of making every line sound like what they are,
lines of poetry. This is surely one of the best
lead player performances in one of Foreman's recent plays
since Tony Torn starred in *Now That Communism
Is Dead My Life Feels Empty.* I notice that Jay Smith
had a role in that play. I can't help mentioning, that still,
after many years of absence from Richard's plays,
I miss the presence of his brilliant wife Kate Manheim,
(Rhoda of "Rhoda in Potatoland" among many others).
Her genius is as yet revealed in the
performance of every lead actress in
Foreman's works.

As in most of Richard's plays, the audience plays an important
role. The stage lights always shine equally on the
audience and the stage. In this one,
Jay Smith frequently climbs a set of stairs
that leads out into the audience. At one point he urges himself,
to return to the world of the
stage and imagination where "nothing
is real." No doubt this is allusion to the clear
fact that to George Bush nothing appears
to be real.

While the witty, complex, visually awesome
stage set (constructed my Michael Darling
and Paul DiPietro) remains constant throughout
the play, there are literally scores of scenes
as in every Foreman play. In this case, as I mentioned
to Richard afterwards, the transitions were so smooth
that they were, amazingly, nearly invisible. This is a result,
no doubt, of the long experience Richard has as a director
of his own plays. This brings about the strange paradox
that, although each scene lasts only a few minutes, the
transitions are never disruptive because the choreography
of these transformations is rhythmically entrancing. Which
returns me to the musical aspect of Foreman's work.

As we were leaving, Gary mentioned the fact that, although
the play is political satire, it is still extremely abstract. As we
know, music is the most abstract of the arts. It seems to me
that Foreman is among the greatest abstractionist of our era, and
this in an era with many great abstractionists, from Rauchenberg
and James Rosenquist to Gertrude Stein to
Jackson MacLow and John Ashbery, to, at some
their best moments, the Beatles. It is for this reason, perhaps,
that Foreman's work keeps evolving closer to music- and pure poetry-
(TS Eliot's "April is the cruellest month" is quoted twice-
perhaps partly referring to the
fact that the play closes in April,) and the play also includes a
quote from my favorite of all books of poetry *The Duino Elegies*
"Who, if I shouted among the angelic orders, would hear me", although
I prefer the the McIntyre translation of Rilke's most famous line,
"Who, if I shouted among the hierarchies of angels, would hear me?"
What more apropos line could a poet utter in the Age of King Bush?

Richard Foreman/EPC Home Page {click here}

Sunday, February 1

from *The Notebooks of Samuel Butler*

from "Truth and Convenience"

...The arrangement of our ideas is as much a matter
of convenience as the packing of goods in a druggist's or
draper's store and leads to exactly the same kind of difficulties
in the matter of classifying them. We all admit the arbitrarinesss of
classifications in a languid way, but we do not think of it more
than we can help- I suppose because it is so incovenient to
do so. The great advantage of classification is to conceal the
fact that subdivisions are as arbitrary as they are.


There can be no perfect way, for classification presupposes
that a thing has absolute limits whereas there is nothing that
does not partake of the universal infinity- something whose
boundaries do not vary. Everything is one thing at one time
and to some respects, and another at other times and in other
respects. We want a new mode of measurement altogether; at
present we take what gaps we can find, sent up milestones and
declare them irremoveable. We want a measure which shall express,
or at any rate recognize, the harmonics and resemblance that lurk
even in the most absolute differences and vice-versa.

"Attempts at Classification"

are like nailing battens of our own flesh, and blood upon ourselves
as an inclined plane that we may walk up ourselves more easily; and
yet it answers very sufficiently.
A Good Read

Found poetry by Chris Murray
right now on Texfiles {click here}


Prolific August Highland boasts the largest collection
of poetry on the web. His new minil-mag is online now at
Highland's Mini-Mag {click here}
and includes work by Tom Bell, Stephen-Paul Martin,
Daniella Gioseffi, Harry Polkinhorn, Suzi, August Highland
and 30 others


Ridley Scott's *1984* ad for
Great Scott! {click here}


Talking Trees

right now on The Cassandra Pages {click here}

Brian Kim Stefans' prose poem
"We Make"
Free Space Comix {click here}
I consider it a great misfortune that nature
has not granted me that indefinite something
which attracts people. I believe it is this lack
more than any other which has deprived me of
a rosy existence. It has taken me so long to
win my friends, I have had to struggle so long
for my precious girl, and every time I meet
someone I realize that an impulse, which defies
analysis, leads that person to underestimate me.
This may be a question of expression or
temperament, or some other secret of nature,
but whatever it may be it affects one deeply. What
compensates me for all this is the devotion shown
to me by all those who have become my friends-
but what am I talking about?

Letters of Sigmund Freud #93
to Martha Bernays
January 27, 1886