Thursday, May 31, 2012

Have been distracted by a number of family obligations lately. Life doesn't get simpler as one gets older.

Also a bit distracted by Ron Silliman's mention of me in his blogpost yesterday. But I'm letting the emotions stirred up go.


I don't get out enough. Haven't been to many live music events over the last several years. This weekend, though, Robert Cray is going to be in town and I'm going to be there. Can't wait. Among contemporary bluesmen, he's one of my faves.


I'm devoting a new notebook to a new poem which I'm hoping will shake me up. I'm trying to start over and really move around some intensities of thought and feeling. I'm in one of those periods of time where I feel very clearly the need to change my approach to as much as I can. It's not a matter of procedures, it's a matter of proceeding from necessity.

I'm so fucking tired of the hegemony of academic/workshop modes of writing/publishing, especially of a kind of institutional avant garde which is anything but inventive/paradigm shifting.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Another Plea on Behalf of Allen Bramhall's Kickstarter Proposal

I'd really like to see Allen get the support he needs for this important writing project. Please, please, please contribute what you can. I'll be your best friend.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Listening to the Tedeschi Trucks Band. It's humid. Fans are humming.


Earlier watched the "R" (Resistance) and "S" (Style) segments of the A-Z Interviews with Gilles Deleuze. I'm really looking forward to the "W" (Wittgenstein) segment. But I won't skip ahead.


At times writing is a struggle and at times writing is a joyful struggle.

I do what I think of as my best work when I have a generative, open framework, and a rule or two. Rules, it should be noted, don't always have to be scrupulously obeyed; but they are good focal points.


My writing often fails, often disappoints me. Failure, I must admit, is an important--though frustrating--part of the process.

Occasionally I manage to do something which embraces more than I know.


Learning to edit one's work. Learning when to toss, when to recycle, when to seek another's opinion, when to say "Fuck it, I'm going with this anyway." All crucial.


"Art is of the animal. It comes, not from reason, recognition, intelligence, not from a uniquely human sensibility, or from any of man's higher accomplishments, but from something excessive, unpredictable, lowly. What is most artistic in us is that which is the most bestial. Art comes from the excess, in the world, in objects, in living things, that enables them to be more than they are, to give more than themselves, their material properties and qualities, their possible uses, than is self-evident. Art is the consequence of that excess, that energy or force, that puts life at risk for the sake of intensification, for the sake of sensation itself--not simply for pleasure or for sexuality, as psychoanalysis suggests--but for what can be magnified, intensified, for what is more, through which creation, risk, innovation are undertaken for their own sake, for how and what they may intensify."

--Elizabeth Grosz, Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (Columbia University Press, 2008)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Poetry is constituted through rhythms of attention,
through intensities of directed focus and drift.


Questions matter more to me than answers.


Frames, limits, boundaries pervade everything.


I can’t
Always dream,

Can’t always

The realm of
Being entered.


Do you want to become-other?


Are there binaries you've escaped?


Monday, May 21, 2012

In my last post I asked folks to consider donating to Allen Bramhall's Kickstarter project. I signed on and made my donation earlier today. Please help him out if you can. A lot of great projects die for lack of support. I, for one, believe in this project of Allen's.

Allen himself has been an inveterate supporter of small press projects. When I was editing and publishing The Difficulties back in the 1980s, he was a consistent and generous supporter. Now it's his turn. Send some good karma, not to mention cash, his way.


One of the things I did yesterday was write a review of Bhanu Kapil's Humanimal. What a book.


Listening to the White Stripes. Love their stripped down sound. Guitar and drums.


Am a little at sea now. Writing projects started but stalled. Interview projects in a similar state. Sometimes it is this way. Uncomfortable and frustrating. Anxious.


Reading a lot. Philosophy engaging me more than most things. But that Bhanu Kapil book. Geeze. It is going to be haunting me for awhile.


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Please consider supporting Allen Bramhall's kickstarter project. Go here for information. He's one of the good guys.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

from "I'm not a bundle of nerves" (a work in progress)

Possession is,
It’s said,

90% of
The Law.

The number
Of those

Who desire
To be

Possessed hasn't
Been released.

New from OTOLITHS!

Now out from Otoliths

These Peripheries

James Maughn

Cover image by Susan Harlan

100 pages

Otoliths, 2012

$14.95 + p&h

ISBN: 978-0-9872010-3-4


In a kaleidoscope of shifting voices, James Maughn embraces world poetry in his immensely creative new collection. Maughn's poems unlock new ways for us to think about voice, poetic interactions, and the structures of free verse. Each poem is written 'following' the work of another poet, either a contemporary writer or a recent translation from earlier literature. "These Peripheries" tenderly and with great skill, create a formal and nuanced conversation on contemporary poetics. Maughn's poems, traversing geographies and cultural locations, unsettle the concept of translation as a concrete, fixed mirror and opens it up, like the door of a bird cage, to immense possibilities, infinitely expanding the journey of both the new poems and the source poems. It is a stunning collection which takes a new shape every time I come to read it. —Judy Halebsky

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"...a fuzzy something appears..."

I've been doing some household stuff today--laundry, dishes, etc. Also have read a lot. Finished the new John Irving novel, In One Person. I'm not sure that it is finished with me though.


Tinkering with ideas for a new long piece and struggling with how to reconceptualize Appearances and get back to work on it.. There's something in this segment from the new piece which I keep worrying:

I am not
A grammarian.

Every time I think
I see you,
You are different.

Patterns sometimes
Unbecome me.

NB:This segment follows a segment on an explicit erotic dream.


Listening to Pat Metheny.

This passage from the new Zizek (Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism) resonates for me:

"This, perhaps, is how one can imagine the zero-level of creation: a red dividing line cuts through the thick darkness of the void, and on this line, a fuzzy something appears, the object-cause of desire--perhaps, for some, a woman's naked body (as on the cover of this book). Does this image not supply the minimal coordinates of the subject-object axis, the truly primordial axis of evil: the red line which cuts through the darkness is the subject, and the body its object?" (60)

Here's another quote from recent philosophy worth thinking about (from Graham Harman's The Quadruple Object):

"The word theory can serve as our term for the fission that splits a unified sensual object from the real qualities it needs in order to be what it is. We will have to decide later whether animals, plants, and airplanes are also capable of theory in some primitive sense." (104)


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In addition to the Zizek,and some other titles I've mentioned recently, I'm also reading John Irving's In One Person and have just cracked Roland Barthes' Travels in China. Am also finishing up William Gibson's recent nonfiction collection.


Listening to Jack White's Blunderbuss. I really love the instrumentation on this CD. Hell, I love the CD period.


Today's been a day of errands--getting my car serviced, picking up this and that, going to the gym, etc.


Birds are making manic noises behind me.


Am about halfway through reading__Looking Up Harryette Mullen: Interviews on Sleeping with the Dictionary and Other Works__. I'm planning on reviewing it for Galatea Resurrects. I admire the book. I would love to do something on that level myself--a focused booklength exchange with a poet or other creative person I care about.


Watched Anthony Bourdain's most recent episode of No Reservations, which was set in Finland, and wondered what Karri Kokko's up to and wondered if I'll ever meet him over a plate of reindeer meat.


Hoping tomorrow can be a writing day. Some things are stirring.


Monday, May 14, 2012

I've been going through an email exchange with John Bloomberg-Rissman about philosophy and philosophical confusions. John has one of the most acute minds I've ever encountered. So, the exchanges are bracing and I feel a bit out of my depth. That being said, I'm grateful to feel thus. It's always better to engage with people smarter than you. That's when learning has the potential to happen.


What John has me thinking about is contingency--the idea that all of reality is pretty precarious.

What is reality? To ask that question seriously is to beg for a framework. Is one asking from the standpoint of the individual or something more global, less human?


Everything Is Not Connected

This keynote address by Graham Harman is worth checking out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I am still from time-to-time watching segments of the A-Z interviews Claire Parnet did with Gilles Deleuze. Have watched A-O so far. I can only watch a couple of segments at a time and remain attentive. I'm learning from these exchanges though and thinking about how to work on and improve my interview skills.


What philosophy is about for Deleuze is the development of concepts.

What I, more and more, want to ask poets is: What is poetry about/for?


I, for one, appreciate art that makes me question what I think I know. I especially appreciate work that inspires me to make work. And I aspire to make work which inspires others to work. To be part of a deep conversation that takes place through the work has always been my dream. That is the music of meaning.


(no subject)

All the shadows
In the world

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy afternoon. The cable company was here to troubleshoot internet problems we've been having for the last few weeks.

And, at the same time, the tree service was here to remove a huge storm damaged tree and assorted debris from the backyard. I wish my grandsons had been here to see the crane lifting huge sections of trunk away. It was kind of awesome.



It came to me.

I appeared in it.

It’s not unusual.

One imagines it,

Hopes to encounter it.

Some consider it

To be a mistake.

It is often mistaken

For (fill in the blank).

It should never

Be forgotten.

It is shrouded

In language.

It is of a piece.

It is at hand.

It is nowhere

To be found.

Its nature

Is debated.

Some say it

Has been debased.


Am enjoying the new Zizek, Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism, but it's a slow read (not a bad thing) and I'll be reading it for a very long time. One of the affinities between poetry and philosophy is that both disciplines require patience and slowness. Much like love. Eros runs all the way through the greatest poetry and philosophy. You heard it here first, peeps.

Anyway, this passage from the Zizek is one I keep returning to:

"A 'raw' Platonism would claim here that only the beautiful body fully materializes the Idea, and that a body in material decay simply falls away from its Idea, is no longer its faithful copy. From a Deleuzian (and, here, Lacanian) perspective, on the contrary, the specter that attracts us is the Idea of the body as Real. This body is not the body in reality, but the virtual body in Deleuze's sense of the term: the incorporeal/immaterial body of pure intensities. (One should thus invert the usual opposition within which true art is 'deep' and and commerical kitsch surperficial: the problem with kitsch is that it is all too 'profound,' manipulating deep libidinal and ideological forces, while genuine art knows how to remain at the surface, how to subtract its subject from the 'deeper' context of historical reality.)"


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

(no subject)


Of a

Thought balloon

(no subject)

Of tattoo

Of erasures

(no subject)

Haunted at

Stares ahead

By presence

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dinner's simmering.


It's 85 degrees F. here. And extremely humid. Heat in OH always comes with humidity.


Wrote a review of Coeur De Lion by Ariana Reines. While I was composing it I listened to Norah Jones' new CD, Little Broken Hearts. It seemed appropriate.


I've read a few pages of the new Zizek. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.


Yesterday, because of something Kate Zambreno posted, I read Anne Carson's essay, "The Gender of Sound." Now I'm thinking a lot about mouths. And Baubo. And the many, many women writers I admire.


My sister is 2 years younger than me. When she was an adolescent in the '60s she was diagnosed with diabetes. The physician told her she would not live past 40. What a prick.

His prophecy would have come true, but she was saved by organ transplants--pancreas and kidney. Before she turned 40.

She's been through a lot over the last 40+ years. She's among the most courageous people I know.


The chili I'm making smells great. I'd share some with you if you were here.


Stop by and say "Hello" sometime.


Later, agitators.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In the course of assembling that chapbook this afternoon (work which I think is very strong) I realized that I have about a 100 pages of uncollected poetry that I really like. How did that happen?


I need to get a few more things done before I run out of time.

Entered a chapbook contest this afternoon. I like the title of my manuscript: Practice might be everything.


Have been a little out of rhythm today. After 7 days with Amy I'm whistling tunelessly and hoping that I can find my way back to whatever it is that I have to do.


I do miss those highly competitive games of Scrabble with my sister.



I’m not a bundle of nerves.

(I’m aroused and wanting my blanks to be filled, wanting the parentheses that enclose me to fall away.)

I’m not a bundle of qualities either.


My iPod just segued into the Rolling Stones.


I think the new Zizek might arrive today. I keep going to the front window looking for the UPS truck.


It's very humid. A storm's brewing.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Just back home after dropping my sister at the airport. Amy has lived in Colorado for over thirty years and has recently decided she needs a change, so she'll be moving to Ohio in coming weeks. She stayed with us for the past seven days while looking for a suitable rental.

She did find a little house which fits her needs. The lease has been signed. So, it's definite.

I haven't gotten any writing done recently. My sister and I did have an intense Scrabble marathon though. And I'm proud to say I'm the only contestant to have played any seven letter words (twice) -- take that!


Finished the second volume of Susan Sontag's journals. Eagerly (I think!?) awaiting the arrival of Zizek's massive new tome on Hegel (over a thousand pages) which should arrive in the next day or so.


More soon. I'm tired and need to get some routines reestablished.