Distribution Automatique

Wednesday, October 8

Issue #1 Faux Anthology

I would just call it-The Unbearable Lightness of Issue #1. There is something about that huge sudden ironic parody that calls for instant recognition of the non serious nature of the intervention. This is the "unbearable lightness of blogging" as I have termed it, par excellence. A poetry circus wagon blows in, warm wind and ill wind, spins a few sails, shakes a few tails and blows out: a party with real laughs, a few growls and roars and some intense conversations where you recognize a lot of people, don't know some, you figure "everybody" was there, but of course that's not literally possible. The feeling is, maybe they were out of town or something, or just couldn't make it, but not that they were deliberately excluded. I know I would have felt left out had I not been mentioned. But since I was I do get into that lightness, but it is a blue lightness while still feeling nostalgic for the more private days of the whole long stretched out thing- getting an invitation, figuring what to send, waiting to hear, then getting accepted. But in this party atmosphere it's just all so quickly thrown together, no time, so quickly check how my poem was dressed and acted, ok, did I see some friends, yeah, their poems are ok. So then it's over, and there's the hangover of- what did I do, did I actually write that thing, no way, nobody did, a computer wrote it. After all, it is the era of the machine. So what did I say- I'm not sure how I feel now. Then the party really starts and everyone talks about it for days. No, not like a reading or an opening, more like a bash, or an old fashioned happening where people were only half aware of what was going on. Maybe all the evidence has already been put away and the place has been swept up. Maybe a few people actually kept their party favors and others left and forgot them. But now there's a memory, that Godot thing that gets talked about. People have been saying that we are in a time warp in that in New York now, that we are in a repeat of the Weimar era. Maybe this Godot thing is our cabaret- rude, crude, risque, funny, a little dark, with music by Kurt Weill and a set by Kirchner, Grosz or Hannah Hoch. I had even written in the comment section of Issue 1, "There has been talk of a poetry bailout. Is this it?" It looks like the powers that be are plotting to send the whole batch of us poets and day workers out onto the streets as in *The Threepenny Opera* while "citibank" robs everybody blind. And then we'll listen to the barrel organ sound, in the city while the sun sinks low.


On a trade basis, the "Godot team" is making hard copies of the anthology available. You send a chapbook and postage and it's yours. Here's the link:

Sending for Godot


After writing that line I had to go and reread the poem I was thinking of by Alfred Noyes:

The Barrel Organ (1938

Monday, October 6

The Art of Prediction

It is fascinating that Nassim Nicholas Taleb the author of The Black Swan, the biggest best selling non-fiction book of 2007, who is extremely skeptical about the value of predictions, could have published this statement last year:

"As if we did not have enough problems, banks are now more vulnerable to the Black Swan and the ludic fallacy than ever before with "scientists" among their staff taking care of exposures. The giant firm J. P. Morgan put the entire world at risk by introducing in the nineties Risk Metrics, a phony method aiming at managing people's risks, causing the generalized use of the ludic fallacy...A related method called "Value at Risk" on the quantitative measurement of risk, has been spreading. Likewise, the government-sponsored institution Fanny Mae, when I look at their risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry, their large staff of scientists deemed these events 'unlikely.'"(p.225)