Distribution Automatique

Saturday, February 28

Brilliant review by
Ron Silliman {click here}
on Bertolucci's fascinating, controversial new film
Silliman is reading with
Michael McClure at the Poetry Project
on Wednesday, March 3rd (see the
sidebar to your left)
Wood s Lot {click here}
has opened some links to info on
the great composer and musician, the late
John Fahey.

Noted on the Crony {click here}
comments section:
UMBRISM, n. Pure psychic automatism,
by which it is intended to express, verbally,
in writing, or by other means, the real process
of thought. Thought's dictation, in the absence
of all control exercised by the reason and
outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.

And the list of people and what they're
Umbrists of was great. But I must confess
that words like "manifesto" "proletariat"
and "revolution" make me sleepy.

I am a poet.
Gunther | Email | Homepage | 02.28.04 - 3:07 am | #
*fait accompli* is pleased to be
honored by some discussion of our work
by the Umbrists at Crony {click here}
The link to our "Marriage of Language and Being" post
on Thursday, February 26th
has led to further parodies
and a discussion of parody.
Thanks, *Crony*!
Tim Peterson, who I am told
is a close associate of Karl Merleau-Marcuse,
author of the inimitable
Semioanalysis Discotheque {click here},
has opened a blog called
Mappemunde {click here}
via Limetree {click here}
New Edge Books from Sand and Wallace

Rod Smith has issued the following notice:

Edge Books is pleased to announce two new titles:

Interval by Kaia Sand and Haze: Essays, Poems, Prose by Mark Wallace.

Special Offer: Order both books before April 1 for $15 postpaid.

or get Interval for $8 (regularly $10).

or get Haze for $10 (regularly $12.50).

Select Edge titles also available during this special offer at discounted rates:

The Sense Record, Jennifer Moxley, $10 (regularly $12.50)
Zero Star Hotel, Anselm Berrigan, $11 (regularly $14)
Integrity & Dramatic Life, Anselm Berrigan, $7 (regularly $10)
Ace, Tom Raworth, $7 (regularly $10)
Aerial 9: Bruce Andrews, $11 (regularly $15)
Dovecote, Heather Fuller, $7 (regularly $10)
Perhaps This Is a Rescue Fantasy, Heather Fuller, $7 (regularly $10)
Comp., Kevin Davies, $10 (regularly $12.50)
Sight, Lyn Hejinian & Leslie Scalapino, $10 (regularly $12)
Marijuana Softdrink, Buck Downs, $8 (regularly $11)
Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn’t There, Mark Wallace, $7 (regularly $9.50)

Checks payable to:

Aerial/Edge, PO Box 25642, Georgetown Station, Washington, DC 20007

Thanks for your support!

Kaia Sand
ISBN: 1-890311-14-6
2004, 80 pages, $10

Kaia Sand’s Interval establishes the “hunger throated sound” of a language in the act of interrogating its moment.  Hers is an unflinching and thrillingly political practice….  Sand is a necessary poet, and bracingly new.
—Carolyn Forché

Read this book for its evocation of the sublime in the face of the populace’s raw complacency telescoped and interpreted, and do follow the ample instructions: “holler away our do-not-disturb quietude.”
—Heather Fuller

Haze: Essays, Poems, Prose
Mark Wallace
ISBN: 1-890311-15-4
2004, 104 pages, $12.50

This new collection of poems, essays, and divagations might be the essential Mark Wallace to date.  Always the supreme contra-stoic, Wallace gets us to somehow bear it all the better.  The strange world of literature is not only astutely observed, but transfigured, page by page.
—Rodrigo Toscano

Marvelous!  A book that thinks! and that speaks out plainly and politically.  Mark Wallace takes poetry seriously—and often in the most tongue-in-cheek way, but below the quick wit is a belief in and love of language and the art that it can make.  “If poetry is, as I believe, the art that allows people access to their own complexity…” he writes, and goes on from there to show what can happen in a world where this is true.
—Cole Swensen

Forthcoming from Aerial/Edge:

American Whatever, Tim Davis, Summer 2004

Metropolis 30: The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, Rob Fitterman, Summer 2004

Aerial 10: Lyn Hejinian, ed. Rod Smith & Jen Hofer, Winter 2004

Visit our web site www.aerialedge.com for a complete catalogue.

Aerial/Edge, PO Box 25642, Georgetown Station, Washington, DC 20007

Friday, February 27


Dear Bernadette I was leaving the church with Paul after the
workshop last night and he suggested I send the poems to you
to give to Ann Waldman I picked out five and typed them here
at my office during the lunch hour so they are really lunch
poems! On the way home last night I read Basil Bunting several
times and couldn't sleep later so I kept reading, while my
girl was sleeping and I was awake so it had the feeling of
happening right then it is a difficult work to read the kind
that makes you work the only kind I really like I was writing
this letter last night in my head happy to have an excuse to write
a few words to you & gossip the reason I wrote Phase as 0-9
your Story and those magazines really stimulatetd me I had only
read a few issues by April 1969 when I left for Europe and when I
got there & tried to write long poems theycame out differently,
lyrical again so I ended by doing some collages instead
which were also lyrical it was only about two months before
the workshop started that I could do some "automatic" writing
using source material, etc By the way you know that letter
by Frank O'Hra was interesting because I was in Zagreb in the
summer of 1969 and the people (especially the young men) are
really crazy one guy picked us up (we hitched from Rapallo to
Banja Luka, Yugoslavia) and spent all night in the train station
with us drinking cognac at 20 cents a shot the next morning
at 6 Am he took us to the zoo there it is tiny & beautiful
and the animals there are very lively, clean and active one bird
cage was full of birds of different shapes and colors & when we
found the flamingoes one immmediately went into a dance so gentle and
graceful that I literally fell down on the walkway from dizziness
(I was also whacked out from no sleep and the strangeness of being
with somebody I really liked a lot and couldnt speak one word
with) later during that same time, going back to Zagreb we me
a guy who was just as friendly and wierd all he could say
in English was "I love you Bob Dylan" also, the guy who took us
to the zoo could say "I like Dean Martin" "He is from Yugoslavia"
Well, I have to leave now thank you for trying to help me get
into the world o yes the Alan Grossman bet was written for
was my shrink

rhetorically yours,
Nick Piombino

Thursday, February 26

Heathens in Heat ...David Hess {click here}
back (via Poop Chute (Brooke Nelson) {click here})
Notebook: 7/10/86

The Marriage of Language and Being
[based on Blake's *The Marriage of Heaven and Hell*]

Feeling roars & shakes his fires in the burdened mind:
Radioactive clouds sway on the deep.

Meek, expression follows a perilous path.
The so-called fair woman keeps tracks along
The vale of control.
Words are planted where memories stay.
And on the barren slate of meaning
Sing the commercial poets.

Then, some poets incorporate this stance.
And a stream of thought and a quick utterance
On every ad and show.
And on the emptied mind
They managed to get control of the media.

Till the investor stops reading trash
Is to continue the parboil any original thought and drive
The so-called sensible woman into writing dry hymns to money.

Here comes a hot agent, cool & quite hip
And our poet is tearing her hair out, walking around on Columbus Avenue
Where literary lions roam.

Feeling screams and blows off some steam-
What could this do against billions of units of radioactive vapors?

As a new literary movement is begun, and it is now about 10 years
since its advent, popular opinion roars its ugly attitudes. And lo!
Hilton Kramer, and occasionally Tom Clark put our vicious literary slander
attempting to court public opinion; their statements try to wrap some rebellious
poets in nast publicity. Now is the dominion of Reagan, Ray-gun as he is
affectionately called- just read nearly any issue of your local newspaper.

Without a lot of sharp disagreement, the public won't notice anything is
going on, so intrinsically this is not a bad thing. Attraction and repulsion,
thinking and feeling, love and hate, are all typical of human experience.

From this kind of total trashing springs more clearly defined philosophical
differences, formerly labelled Good and Evil. Now that we don't have authentic language,
attitudes have taken on infinitely increading inflationary conviction.

Good is Public Awareness; Evil ot Total Marginality.


All books, poems and theories have caused continuing distortion:

1. That humankind has two responsibilities: acceptable attitudes and rent money.
2. That language, called marginal, emanates from a lot of bullshit;
and that Feelings, called Public, are the only authentic expression.
3. That Administrators will torment humans in Eternity for giving expression
to anything unique.

But the following contraries to these are True:

1. Humans have no language distinct from experience, for that which is called
language is a portion of Thought discerned by the five senses, the
chief inlets of Soul in this age.
2. Words are the only proof of expression, and are from experience, and
Feelings are bound to a socially determined set of attitudes.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The Argument

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden'd air
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow,
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees.

Then the perilous path was planted:
And a river and a spring
On every cliff and tomb:
And on the bleached bones
Red clay brought forth.

Till the villain left the paths of ease,
To walk in perilous paths, and drive
The just man into barren climes.

Now the sneaking serpent walks
In mild humility.
And the just man rages in the wilds
Where lions roam.

Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden'd air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

And now a new heaven is begun, and it is now thirty-three years since its
advent: the Eternal Hell revives. And lo! Swedenborg is the Angel
sitting at the tomb: his writings are the linen clothes folded up. Now
is the dominion of Edom, & the return of Adam into Paradise; see
Isaiah xxxiv & xxxv Chap:

Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion,
Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human

From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil.
Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing
from Energy.

Good is Heaven . Evil is Hell.


All bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following
1. That Man has two existing principles: Viz: a Body & a
2. That Energy, call'd Evil, is alone from the Body, & that Reason,
call'd Good, is alone from the Soul.
3. That God will torment Man in Eternity for following his Energies.

But the following Contraries to these are True:
1. Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that call'd Body is a
portion of the Sould discern'd by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul
in this age.
2. Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the
bound or outward circumference of Energy.
3. Energy is Eternal Delight.

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be
restrained; and the restrainer of Reason usurps its place & governs
the unwilling.

And being restrain'd, by degrees becomes passive, till it is only
the shadow of desire.

Wednesday, February 25

I keep coming back to this post, and the Terry Teachout points about blogging, so...

from A Fool In The Forest {click here}

February 18, 2004 from {A Fool In The Forest} ( originally published by
George Wallace in Arts and Culture At Large, Poetry, Weblogs)


"Garrick Davis, editor of Contemporary Poetry Review, offers up a thumbnail history of "the little magazine" in his own online journal's freshly scrubbed Mission Statement:

The history of 20th century poetry is inextricably linked with the genre of the little magazine, and much of that genre’s history has been forgotten. We must remember that the little magazine was an outgrowth—and the necessary vehicle—of Modernism. When the Modernists attempted to publish their works in the general-circulation newspapers and magazines of their day and were rebuffed, they were forced to organize their own magazines in order to break into print. Ezra Pound was the very type and role model of this era; he was the midwife of 20th century literature by helping to found, edit, and fund dozens of literary magazines.

Many of them foundered, of course, though there are a few honorable exceptions still among us. . . .

The real problem with the present world of literary publications is, of course, cost and distribution. . . . Possessing a tiny readership, the little magazine cannot attract advertisers. Lacking advertisers, it cannot offset the costs of production. With no profit margin to encourage its sale and distribution, every issue of the little magazine begins its life stillborn as a commercial enterprise. . . . The result of this marketplace Darwinism is that the little magazine is almost a couture object in our society—both difficult to obtain and expensive to purchase.

Since there are literally thousands of little magazines, the cost of “keeping up” with the important literary periodicals of the day to the individual reader is prohibitive, and the cost to libraries is staggering. . . . The genre of little magazines, which was originally conceived to publish the difficult art of the Modernists, has ended up making literature itself inaccessible.

Terry Teachout, in the notes I linked to below, suggests that weblogs "will be to the 21st century what little magazines were to the 20th century," but he may have gotten the mechanism wrong. Because the hurdles that must be negotiated to create -- and, more importantly, to access -- a weblog are so modest, instead of having "influence . . . disproportionate to their circulation," the best weblogs may finally accomplish the feat of finding an audience large enough to match the caliber of their content.

Davis in his Mission Statement reminds us that T.S. Eliot's Criterion magazine had a peak circulation of 700; Pound and the Vorticists' Blast was presumably even smaller. Those journals' influence in the long term was out of all proportion to their circulation. Without the practical and financial impediments that Davis identifies, the potential influence of the right weblog at the right time could -- he said, thinking wishfully -- be even greater.

A random example, picked largely because he has actually voiced his goal in terms of audience size: Neocalvinist cultural observer Gideon Strauss is content to "dream[] of achieving my own little micro-readership of 250", a humble and seemingly achievable objective for many sites. If some significant percentage of even so small a core of readers have weblogs of their own, as is probable, a writer's best material will likely be linked and relinked, those links serving as levers with which the right post might move the world.

Then again, maybe this guy is right. [Link via American Digest.]"

Posted by George Wallace at 12:48 PM in Arts and Culture At Large, Poetry, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)
Class Struggle

Student and teacher disagree about me!
Read it for free

right now on:
Bemsha Swing (Jonathan Mayhew) {click here}
"I am not like you. But if you are not
like you either, then I am like you."

Antonio Porchia
translated by W.S. Merwin

Tuesday, February 24

notebook: 1987

K (*Reading As Revery*) in celebration of *North of Intention* by Steve McCaffery

1. It would be embarassing at the beginning to put my words in the mouths
of your characters, even if they are available to anyone, necessary but
not sufficient. History itself is just as fixed in the eye of a storm, in
the words themselves, that the characters beginning with A would not be
complete. But would it be possible to exceed "A" in another register, if
at least the integers compared to themselves were not abused by our own presence,
and the vault that enclosed such vocabularies, as arbitrary and unrecorded as
the (this) exact movement of tides: such are the boundaries of reading- ever
tidal and undeferred- and time itself accords with such vast rhythms. Imagine
the contrary: imbecilic gestures from the minds of tyrants- visual figurations
of their own power-lines. Like all insignificant and dried branches- leaving
all the more exposed the "north of intensions."

2. Is it by chance that I return to you by the same route that I came into
my own revery? A landscape that still bears a trace (*passed on*, not remaining)
of another epoch (not in the past perhaps, in another clime) which surrounds
some unspoken utterances in the full chorus of the senses. They came by here
by another route, i.e.: the cooling breeze on the chest and arms, waves crashing
between thick silences, gulls cries *and* the enveloping silence; engraved *and*
erased- that static. Dawns never confuse the issue, so exact, nor do the steady
afternoons, nights, shadows of gulls overhead. Into these serene particulars
comes one displaced opening, and then another, moves a corner of comprehension,
a welcome meaning freed of its image, a memory of speech to replace the holding
continuity of a particular place:- (imaginary small color photograph of Alan
Davies, Toni Simon and me sitting close to the waves edge at Jones Beach on a
hazy day in mid- June, 1987).

3. Any weakening of the will will be evinced by our action (its double in the
proximate actuality).The king of this terrain (Kafka-Khlebnikov) is its
experience in the slow dissolution of one meaning, and then another. But
time (and this includes this time in an album still gathering its forms,
always did, even as many immense particulars, these waves co-exist under
another measure- aspect of the so-called Now moment. Imaginary figures
rush by and are forgotten (never were) as they rush into an avalanche of one
duration (Smithson, "sandtorm of pauses".) The smell is still there, the sound,
the breeze's touch, and the remembered meaning (exactly zero) is still nascent.
That is to say, I almost forgot the sun and the gulls standing in a circle of wet
sand. Could the real itself have exploded from the tendency of all things to give,
or eventually give in (i.e., give way?)

4. "Nothing more. The image is exhausted in the multiplicity of meanings...One
might say that psychoanalysis gave the dream no status beyond that of speech,
and failed to see it in its reality as language." Dream, Imagination and Existence,
Michele Foucault (1954)

Giving, giving way, "making room." Now the gulls are standing closer. Had I
not given the day, in part, to you (as to them) such space would still exist.
And it may yet, since this gesture (this space) would not exist. And it may yet,
since it is, by now, already prefigured in its passing, antithesis to what I wanted,
or expected was in my reach, but beyond this choice. Noting the proximity of
this trebling I announce a tendency, meeting yours on a separate day, a widening,
not a focus, in order to engender space from space. This wrenching, simply said,
apocalyptic but minute, to hurl the discus of withered principles into an infinitely
distance place, intuited complicity.

Monday, February 23

"The project of a hybridization or con-fusion of genres which
Ponge's texts share with Bloch's *Spuren*, the paradigmatic
texts of the modern prose poem tradition we have previously
examined, and Schlegel's notion of a *Universalpoesie* suggests
two directions running counter to each other: on the one hand,
a utopian aspiration toward oneness: on the other,a perhaps
equally utopian drive toward the greatest possible difference and
diversity, a breakdown of rigid categorical distinctions. A total
homogenization of the "universal" threatens the one: a total
fragmentation threatens the other. Ponge's texts are themselves,
as he himself has acknowledged, "very diverse, contradictory,
varied as to form...in *Le Parti pris des choses* there is a little
of everything: there are closed texts, there are open texts; each
one proposes as well an *ars poetica*" (CC. 411-12). Although
Ponge displays at times a nostalgia for the Book, he has himself
said that for the most part he is concerned with *texts* (CC, 426).
In other words, although Ponge sometimes entertains thoughts of
a singular coherence of separate texts on some formal or other unity,
more often he focuses his attention on particular phenomena, on the
individual rather than the collective. What the prose poem leads Ponge
to is less Schlegel's goal of a universal poetry than the nominalist
fragmentation suggested by Schlegel's polemical contention that
"every poem is a genre in itself" (*Jedes Gedich eine Gattung fur sich*)...
In order to contruct a new unity allowing for the greatest possible diversity
and difference, the poverty of received forms and the speciousness of any
notion of an already given, preexistent unity must first be exposed. The
possibility of a universal poetry must pass, in other words, *through* the
fragmented world of prose, not around it..."

Jonathan Monroe, *A Poverty of Objects: The Prose Poem
and The Politics of Genre*
Cornell UP, 1987
(from Chapter 8, *Fragments of a World
Restored: Francis Ponge's "Rhetoric of
Objects", pp 245-246)

Sunday, February 22

"Like the fragment, the prose poem presents an analogon of a
complete work gesturing toward the utopian nonplace of a collective
labor that would constitute a reconstruction of the individual subject
and of the subject of humanity as a whole (AL, 373). It is both the
promise of what Francis Ponge will call the *Grand Oeuvre* and the sign
of its continued absence. In shifting the site from verse to prose of
the critique of the idealist subject of poetry and the dominant class
which is necessary to give *form* to such an *oeuvre*, Schlegel's
fragments and Baudelaire's prose poetry provide not so much
a "poetry of poetry"-the subject's critique of itself "from within"-
as a concretization of the *inter*subjective
nature of the *intra*subjectve. They thus offer not so much an
illumination of the self *by itself* (alone and self-sufficient)
as an illumination of the discourses that surround, traverse
and overdetermine it and from which it cannot finally retreat-as
Baudelaire's "A une heure du matin" trenchantly suggests- into
sublime isolation....If what constitutes the subject per se is
nothing other than the self-engendering power of its own discourse
(AL, 392), both the fragment and the prose poem call attention to
the fact that the discourse of any given subject is never really
self-engendering or absolutely autonomous but is instead inextricably
bound up with the discourses of others. Both the fragment and the
prose poem offer a critique of the world of prose with a view to making
poetry possible again through a rejection of the uncritical reproduction
of either poetry or prose in isolation. Their critique constitutes nothing
less, in other words, than an attempted reconstruction of a unity
that is missing in the chaotic fragmentation of the modern world,
a reparation of the world..."

Jonathan Monroe, *A Poverty of Objects: The Prose Poem and
The Politics of Genre*
Cornell UP, 1987 (pps 69-70)
(from Chapter 1
*Universalpoesie* as Fragment:
Friedrich Schlegel and the Prose
"We hoped that in the peace after such a war, a great
expansion would follow in the mind of the Country; grand
views in every direction,- true freedom in politics, in
religion, in social science, in thought. But the energy of
the nation seems to have expanded itself in the war, and
every interest is found as sectional and as timorous as

Ralph Waldo Emerson
November 5, 1865
from *Amiel's Journal*
10th January 1881

"To let oneself be
troubled by the ill-will, the ingratitude, the
indifference of others, is a weakness to
which I am very much inclined. It is
painful to me to be misunderstood, ill judged.
I am wanting in manly hardihood, and the
heart to me is more vulnerable than it
ought to be. It seems to me, however,
that I have grown tougher in this respect
than I used to be. The malignity of the
world troubles me less than it did. Is it
the result of philosophy, or an effect of age,
or simply caused by the many proofs of
respect and attachment that I have received?
These proofs were just what were wanting
to inspire me with some self-respect.
Otherwise I should have so easily believed
in my own nullity and in the insignificance
of all my efforts. Success is necessary
for the timid, praise is a moral stimulus
and admiration a strengthening elixir. We
think we know ourselves, but as long as we
are ignorant of our comparative value, our
place in the social assessment, we do not
know ourselves well enough. If we are to
act with effect we must count for something
with our fellow men; we must feel
ourselves possessed of some weight and
credit with them, so that our effort may be
rightly proportioned to the resistance which
has to be overcome. As long as we despise
opinion we are without a standard by which
to measure ourselves; we do not know our
relative power. I have despised opinion
too much, while yet I have been too sensitive
to injustice. These two faults have
cost me dear. I longed for kindness, sympathy,
and equity, but my pride forbade me to
ask for them, or to employ any address
or calculation to obtain them....I
do not think I have been wrong altogether,
for all through I have been in harmony
with my best self, but my want of adaptability
has worn me out, to no purpose. Now indeed,
I am at peace within, but my
career is over, my strength is running out,
and my life is near its end.
"Il n'est pas plus temps pour rien excepte
pour mourir."
This is why I can look at it all historically."