Distribution Automatique

Saturday, June 2

Vanishing Texts

Beckett's *Unprotected Texts* are rapidly vanshing-get 'em while you can [via Soluble Census]


I'll be reading on Thursday, June 7th at 7:30 at the Ceres Gallery 547 West 27th Street NY NY 10001 (212) 947-6100 with Corinne Robins. The gallery is featuring the excellent work of Carol Goebel.


On My Desk

When I received my library copy of The Selected Letters of Stephane Mallarme, I opened it to a letter to Odilon Redon. Mallarme wrote to Redon on February 2, 1885: "A highly mysterious sympathy made you depict in that delicious mad hermit the poor little man who, in the depths of my soul, I'd like to be; and I'll hang this drawing on its own on a wall of my memory so I can judge the others in a more disinterested way. The head of Dream, that marsh flower, illuminates, with a light known to herself alone and which cannot be pronounced, the whole tragic lantern of ordinary existence..."


Yesterday I happned to visit Mercer Street Books & records (206 Mercer Street) and walked straight into *To Myself: Notes on LIfe, Art and Letters* by Odilon Redon, Braziller, 1986. Lately I've been obsessed with the music of Robert Schumann. If you've never heard the early piano works of Schumann, like Papillons, op.2 and Davidsbundler-Tanze, op. 8, you have a major treat waiting for you. I opened the book to this passage (about Schumann): "'Be a noble artist', Schuman said, 'and all the rest will be given to you.' It is because he was noble himself if one understands by "noble" the absolute unselfishness, generosity, expansion and the vivid exuberance of a full and strong soul. Schumann has given his fruit: he has given it, as the apple-tree gives apples witout personal wishes, and without regrets. He has given his heart and his thought, his works, his life in the same way as those who suffer for others, and therein lies the supreme grace, the characteristic sign of profound genius. One cann say this about everybody; one could not say this about somebody like Berlioz, for example...(December, 1915)

By the way, Debussy wrote of Berlioz in *Monsieur Croche* his book of articles about music: "Incidentally, the work of Berlioz, through he pre-occupation with color and incident, became at once a subject for artists; one might even say without irony that Berlioz has always been the favorite musician of those who do not know much about music."


St,-John Perse, *On Poetry*, translated by W.H. Auden, Bollingen Series. (Nobel prize acceptance speech, December 10, 1960. "Poetry rarely received public homage. The gulf between poetic creation and the activities of a society subjected to material bondage grows ever wider,..the poet keeps us in touch with the permanance and unity of Being. And his messsage is one of optimism. To him, one law of harmony govers the whole world of things. Nothing can occur there which by its nature is incommensuable with man. The worst catastrophes of history are but seasonal rhythms in a vaster cycle of repetitions and renewals. The Furies who cross the stage, torches high, do but throw light upon one moment in the immense plot as it unfolds itself through time. Growing civilizations do not perish from the pangs of one autumn; they mrerely shed their leaves. Inertia is the only mortal dange. Poet is he who breaks for us the bonds of habit."

Friday, June 1


Every moment offers its part of a nimble, affectionate melody that counters contentious disharmony.


But once in a while play a strong, harsh chord to discourage the bullies.

Dreamers of the World, Unite


Ray Davis has some kind words to say about *fait accompli*, blog and book.

Ray: gather ye damn rosebuds, put together a book and get it published!



by James Sherry

She'll be comin' round the mountain when the shell sometimes is empty
She'll be comin' sometimes and the shell is an evasion,
when she comes round the mountain
to put in an appearnce
and this is the introduction we're all trying' to come 'round to.

She'll be drivin' six white and well-bred young mares,
She''ll be trying' to be comin', when one of the horses slips on a curve,
but the traces hold her up
like a beautiful horse about to describe
the great vehicle she'll conduct, when she comes.

And we'll all go out to meet her when the well is dry and cracked
and the water is too neutral to hold
even a chance encounter when we're tryin' to be comin'
and breathe too much or that's what I
heard when tryin' too hard to meet her, when she comes.

And we'll all have chicken and dumplings in a context
of the human shell, water in the trough,
the gopher holds, how hot leather is in the desert mining town
except to the horses,
when she comes."

from *Part Songs* by James Sherry
Roof Books, 1978

Thursday, May 31

On My Desk

Selected Letters of Stephane Mallarme, edited and translated by Rosemary LLoyd, Univ of Chicago, 1988

"Leo d'Orfer 27 June, 1884

It's a real punch, momentarily blinding, that abrupt demand of yours: "Define Poetry." Bruised,I stutter:

*Poetry is the expression, in human language restored to its essential rhythm, of the mysterious meaning of the aspects of existence: in this way it confers authenticity on our time on earth and constitutes the only perpetual task there is.*

Farewell, but you owe me an apology."

"Paul Verlaine 8 December 1884

Of course. [Verlaine had written Mallarme apologizing for not sending a free copy of his book of poems,* Jadis et naguere*, but explaining that the publisher opposed such a move on the grounds that even for a poet the cost was not too high. Verlaine asked Mallarme to explain this to their mutural friends]. Basically the poet has no other choice; and his destiny becomes too ironic by far if he has to provide free copies to the hundred readers who would otherwise allow him- I won't say to live!- but to have bread or cigars. In future this will have to become standard practice between colleagues, and, something that's tacitly understood".


George Burns, *Gracie, A Love Story*, GP PUtnam's Sons, 1988

"Sex is certainly a very important part of any marriage. Gracie and I had a wonderful life together, and a wonderful marriage, and sex was part of it, but not the major part. Probably the most important thing about sex is that it helps sell a lot of books. I have to be honest. I was a lousy lover. Fortunately Gracie married me for laughs, not for sex. Of course she got both of them- when we had sex, she laughed.

Gracie and I always had a nice time together, but after we'd made love she never gave me a standing ovation. In our marriage- I suspect in every marriage- the really important things became, "How do you feel?" "Is the soup hot?" "Want to see a movie tonight?" These are the things that keep a marriage together."


Poetry on You Tube by Nico Vassilakis from the

Continental Review


DIPTYCHS a book of visual poetry is out from Otoliths.

New poem by Ray DiPalma from The Harvard Review

Sunday, May 27

Rae Armantrout and Elaine Equi

read at the BPC on Saturday, hosted by Tim Peterson and Erika Kauffman. This was the last reading of the season. When I arrived I found standing outside at the door Michael Lally, Anne Waldman, Jerome Sala, and Elaine Equi. Soon after, Abigail Child and others arrived. Plenty of people were inside already. After a few minutes of chatting Tim Peterson came to the door and waved us in. I needed to ask Michael for his New Jersey address as he has a particularly important cameo in my book *fait accompli* and I wanted to mail him a copy. This was surely one of the best readings of the year, if not the decade. Both readers read from new books. The place was packed. Elaine and Rae are close friends and have no doubt been following each others work closely for many years. Both write gnomic, terse poems of infinite wit, shrewd social critique and verbal grace; Rae seems to draw more from irony and Elaine from pop culture but these are only surface qualities. Hearing them together, you realize how much their combined work encompasses what is most treasured and loved in contemporary poetry:aphoristic insight, humor, pungent, but not complaining, satire, compressed imagery and sophisticated, imagistic word play. And this isn't even half of it. There is also not a small amount of tough love and self mockery. I could go on and on but they don't and that is one of the things we like best about them, no? Rae is a fairly infrequent visitor so may I share with you the inscription I wrote in the copy of my new book, I brought for her? OK, I will, thanks:

Dear Rae: Listening to your reading I thought of two things I wanted to tell you about your poetry. 1) It is sharp, but it doesn't wound, so this is maybe one of the reasons why my mind allows your words to go in so deep. 2) One of your poems says that you heard a couple bickering and why not. I am married to poetry and we have plenty to bicker about- and why not? Love, Nick

Next BPC reading is in October.