Distribution Automatique

Saturday, May 12

On My Desk

Mark Young, *Falsely Goethe*, Otoliths, 2007

"Day seventy-four

Today the
postman brought
me John Cage's
*X, writings
'79-82.* I went
to sign my
name. "Already
done," he said. "Seen
one X, seen them
all." I watched
the postman until
he went around
the corner. Took
him four minutes
& thirty-three
seconds. I stood
silent. He kept


In 1982 I went to a book signing for John Cage's *X writings.* Cage signed the book for me and said he was double signing it (meaning he signed over his own signaature) because then it would be worth more. Cage was not only brilliant and productive, but kind.


*Franz Kafka: The Zurau Aphorisms* with an introduction and afterword by Roberto Calasso*, Schocken

"All human errors stem from impatience, a premature breaking off of a methodical approach, an ostensible pinning down of an ostensible object."


"From a certain point on there is no turnng back. This is the point that must be reached."


"The spirit only becomes free at the point when it ceases to be invoked as a support."

Friday, May 11

On My Desk

Joshua Corey, *Selah*, Barrow Street Press, 2003, Barrow Steet Poetry Prize selected by Robert Pinksky

"I refused to stoop to your level.
I was only lips on the stoop.
I was a life-support system for a scream.
I was a brain in a vat of Fresca.
I was an eyeball in a ziplock bag of eyeballs.

I was neuron, twitch. I was detached.
You straddled past and put me in your pocket.
Kept walking. You burst into sun

and disappeared."


William Worringer, *Abstraction and Empathy*: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style*, International Universities Press, (1908, first published in the US 1933, reprinted 1980)

"The enfeeblement of the world-instinct, modest contentment with an external orientation within the world-picture, is always accompanied by the strengthening of the urge to empathy, which is latently present in every human, and held in check only by the 'dread of space', by the urge to abstraction. Anxiety diminished, confidence grows, and now, for the first time, the outer world begins to live and it receives all its life from man, who now anthropomorphises all its inner essence, all its inner forces.The sensation of oneself-in-things naturally sharpens the feeling for the inexpressibly beautiful content of organic form, and paths are revealed to artistic volition, and paths of artistic naturalism, for which the natural model merely serves as a substratum to the will to form that is guided by its feeling for the organic. Now the artist learns 'to apprehend every random form as a theatre within which to experience the joy of moving hither and thither in the company of nameless forces.' (Lotze, *Geschichte der Asthhetik*, 75).

Brooklyn Rail/May

Art Seen/Brooklyn Rail: Susan Bee


Diary/blog by Tan Lin- The Brooklyn Rail


Gary Sullivan's New Comic!



the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Hypertext Index
via Charles Bernstein Web Log

Wednesday, May 9

Joel Kuzsai and Wystan Curnow

read last evening at Saatchi and Saatchi. It's an impressive place, though some of my poet friends described it as a corporate cathedral. Huge gorgeous Elizabeth Murray painting/assemblages[my mistake- Wystan corrected me today at lunch- they are late Frank Stella paintings] grace the walls of the lobby when you enter.Three doorman were needed to guide you to an impressive reading room on the 16th floor that had a skylight on a round gabled glass ceiling thaf must have been 30 feet high. There were elegant aperitifs and an open bar. Both poets read from recent and earlier work, and the performances complemented each other well. When I thought about what these poets had in common I realized that both have a powerful curatorial impulse, Wystan in art and Joel in publishing (he's the publisher of Factory School books, along with Bill Marsh). These were readers who offer multilayered performances of striking intensity and subtle, yet pervasive irony which no doubt stems from a profound critical impulse. Joel's references included the Wizard of Oz and Wystan's another Oz known as Dada. Both poets clearly have thought long and hard about what they had to say before they said it, yet read with relaxed directedness and focus that lets the listeners think- but not overly long - always moving right along, no carelessness, but little rigidity. Joel read a second autobiographal, and very dramatic piece that I enjoyed immensely. Wystan ended with a poem about Matisse's erratic sleep habits that was both dreamlike and intensely wakeful- how did he do this?- that seemed to amplify everything that been performed thoughout the evening. The audience was excitedly appreciative: there were three children there who were graceful and attentive- a significant coup for any group of readers (Adeena Karasik's daughter and the daughters of Joel Kuzsai's associate Bill Marsh's- my recent publisher's- wife Octavia Davis. She'll be teaching writing at St. John's in the fall). Although she and Bill are relatively recent arrivals in Jackson Heights, Queens, I was happy to hear they are considering moving so they can stay for a long time. Charles Bernstein introduced both readers as close friends whose work he strongly feels deserves complete and wide attention. He is right, and the audience members, that included numerous fine poets and artists (I think I had met the painter Max Gimlet once before, as well as book collector and soon to be publisher Patrick Lovelace), Of course there were many others frequently mentioned on this blog. When Wystan comes next from New Zealand don't miss him; and if you see him ask Joel Kuzsai if he might read more often. Another treat was a quick conversation I had with Robert Fitterman whose review in Jacket was mentioned here this past Sunday. I told him that I had pointed my readers to Gilbert Adair's fascinating review of Rob's newest episodes of Metropolis. Rob mentioned an earlier review in Jacket sometime back that would complement this one- I plan to find that one too. Joel announced that all his poetry is procedural, and Patrick Lovelace mentioned to me that the graduate school poet friends he knows are all interested in Rob Fitterman's-and, no doubt Joel's, conceptual (found) poetry. Also, I had a chance to tell Susan Bee how impressed I was with her two page spread in the Brooklyn Rail-I liked the smiling photo (taken by Charles B it turns out). Also the interviewer, while pointing to all the important info- like the availability online now of M/E/A/N/I/N/G that Susan edited with Myra Schor, was witty as well. I left the reading feeling I had had a vacation in Oz and I wouldn't mind staying longer. But someone has to point you to the Emerald walk, don't they? Plenty of poets aournd these days seem willing and able to do just that, Wystan and Joel last night invoking and evoking the Tin Man, Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters,and Dorothy; Lex- who knows Maryann Shaneen reminded me how we had all been graced with Bunny ears and photographed at her birthday party a couple of years ago, in honor of Marianne's upcoming documentary about the Furries- people who take their animal personas very seriously.. Poets as Furries; must be something to that. Wystan said-in one of his poems- that at times Max Ernst truly didn't know if he was a man or a bird.

Monday, May 7

On My Desk

David Antin: The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Spring 2001
"If I draw on the sense of exile, it's more in the cheerful exilic mode of Marcel Duchamp than in the anguished mode of Kafka. Probably because by now it seems clear nobody has a permanent home on the face of the earth."

Richard Foreman, *No-Body, a novel in parts*, The Overlook Press, 1997
""Oh, Eddie, Eddie-you broke my heart with your stories about a brilliant childhood."

Somerset Maugham, *The Moon and Sixpence*, 1919
"'I think Strickland knew it was a masterpiece. He had achieved what he wanted. His life was complete. He had made a world and saw that it was good. Then, in pride and contempt, he destroyed it.'"

Sharon Mesmer, *Half Angel, Half Lunch*, Hard Press, 1998
"He said, 'I'd like to explore the erotic aspect of this relationship.'
She said, 'Can it wait till the commercial?'
He said,'Have you ever read 'The Wasteland?'
She said, 'My last boyfriend took me to Hoboken for the weekend.'"

Otto Rank, *Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development*, 1932
"Achievement and success are seen to be psychologcally representative of the two basic tendencies that struggle against one another in the artist, the individual and the social. Achivement is ideological, success is personal; and the more the artist achieves in idea, the less disposed he will he be to follow this up by personal success...for success, even when it is won by artistic means, implies a personal success in life and is thus that very life from which the artist had originally fled to art as a refuge."

Wallace Stevens reads (cassette, recorded 1955, digitally remastered 1993), includes, *The Life of a Poet (A Prose Note)*

Arthur Sze, *The Redshifting Web; Poems 1970-1998, Copper Canyon
"Reality /is like a contemporary string/ quartet:/the first violinist puts on a crow's head./ And the cellist/soliloquizes on a white lotus/in the rain./The violinist discusses/love, rage and terror/And the second violinist reports on the latest coup/in Afghanistan"

(All, except the Maugham, found Sunday at Unnameable (formerly Adam's) Books-456 Bergen Street, Brooklyn; 718-789-1534 for $40!)

Sunday, May 6

The Past Refound Rebound or Rebounds: Visitations, Celebrations, Reconstructions, Citations, Quotations

Jacket 32

The Holiday Album: Greeting Card Poems For All Occasions, edited by Elaine Equi, Douglas Messerli's What Is To Be Done, Fitterman's Metropolis deciphered by Gilbert Adair, Joan Retallack on Juliana Spahr and Jonathan Skinner, Jena Osman on Cecelia Vicuna and found art, Michael Gottlieb on flarf and Katie Degentesh's Anger Scale, James Sherry on The Grand Piano, Carolyn Bergvall's The Franker Tale and much,much more



The only things worth being understood in what we say are those things we make clear in what others have said.


Truths about poety are the keys that unlock the cages. You are there to watch the birds fly away and when they go you never think twice about the truth, the keys or the cages,


Freud's Discontents in a Post 9/11 World- "Hail to the Analysand* NY Times Op-Ed