Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Otoliths Is Live!

Issue twenty-four, the southern summer issue of Otoliths, is now live.

It's as eclectic & full of energy as ever, has as a special feature Michael Gottlieb's new essay, Letters to a Middle-Aged Poet, & contains new work from Grzegorz Wróblewski, Noha Al-Badry, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Tom Beckett, j/j hastain, Arhm Choi, John Martone, Philip Byron Oakes, Bobbi Lurie, John M. Bennett, Raymond Farr, Donna Kuhn, Calvin Pennix, Cecelia Chapman, bruno neiva, Travis Cebula, Theodoros Chiotis, Adam Trawick, Sean Ulman, Ana Viviane Minorelli, Lakey Comess, Spencer Selby, James McLaughlin, Katie Berger, Caleb Puckett, Stephen Nelson, Andrew Topel, Jeff Harrison, Claramarie Burns, Zachary Scott Hamilton, Marthe Reed, Kit Kennedy, Jill Jones, Márton Koppány, Andrew Taylor, Stu Hatton, SJ Fowler, David Harrison Horton, Daniel f Bradley, Susan Gangel & Terry Turrentine, Howie Good, John Pursch, Joseph Cooper, D.J. Huppatz, Cherie Hunter Day, Stuart Barnes, Bill Drennan, Charles Freeland, Adam Fagin, Marty Hiatt, Eva Heisler, Helen White, dan raphael, Bob Heman, Tim Wright, Michael Brandonisio, J. D. Nelson, & Mark Cunningham.

Gotta love that gorgeous Spencer Selby cover image!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I need to get out more. ( Should I lineate that like a hay(na)ku? Nah. I don’t think so.)* What I need to do is to strike some sort of balance between really working at the writing and having some fun. Right at the moment I’m not getting any writing done (but not for lack of trying) and I’m not having fun (largely because I’m depressed about the writing not working). How fucked is that?

Writing is, as an activity, sort of inherently manic-depressive. Don’t you think? Major mood swings when things are going well and when they aren’t. At least that is my experience.

Sometimes the pieces one works hardest on are the most screwed-up, the most impossible to realize. Sometimes, too, it just takes awhile to see what one’s doing, what’s really there—or not.

My problem with Appearances so far is that I’ve been writing to make something happen (I don’t know what) that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t know if it will or can. I’m not writing from an outline or a plan. I’m writing by throwing a few different constellations of elements into play and hoping for the best.

Appearances is a plotless novel in fragments. Maybe I’m out of my mind. Of course, I spent over a year working on EXPOSURES , a sex book of many layers, and then withdrew it from the press which had committed to getting it out. A failure of nerve on my part. What is wrong with me?


*It strikes me how often I write a phrase or sentence not knowing if it will be a poem or blog note or note to self or the next deleted whatever. I’m always asking “What is this thing I’ve just done? Is it something other than what I think it is?”

Friday, January 27, 2012

I shot baskets for 40 some minutes this AM before my regular exercise routine. My legs are still (7 hours later) feeling all of those jump shots. At one point I made 8 foul shots in a row. About which I felt inordinately proud. Of course, I subsequently missed a lot more. It was fun. Even. Though. My. Gams. Feel. Like. Lead. I must say I love the sound of a round orange ball whispering through a net. It's especially sweet when the spin on that swish is such that the ball makes its bounce back to you at the foul line. Oh, yeah. The old guy was enjoying himself this morning.

After exercise I grocery shopped, came home and put things away, carried/walked/fed our ailing dog Cassie, ate a small lunch, went to the bank and then settled into the recliner and watched Godard's Film Socialism. I love Godard's work and am gearing up to soon watch his Histoire(s) du Cinema.


All of my various writing projects are at frustrating stages right now. I'm realizing that while I'm trying to do Appearances it might not be possible to write poetry and that's making me feel funny. Also that several interview projects are stalled is giving me pause. Sigh.


This has been a strange winter thus far in NE Ohio. Last year winter was relentless. We've had a few big snows this season, but none that have stuck around very long. So far, at least. 10 or so weeks to go. We'll see how it plays out. I could do with a milder winter for a change. The big rain yesterday created some leakage issues in our basement. I could do without that. Living in an 112 year old structure has its issues. I get anxious about what might go wrong next.


In addition to my legs being tired, my eyes are tired. Since I retired a month or so ago I've been reading at least a couple of hundred pages a day. All kinds of things. One of the books I'm deeply into now is The Journals of Spalding Gray (Knopf, 2011). I'm really moved by the psychological nakedness in these journals. Gray was a person of great courage and a tremendous sexual appetite who was possessed by huge anxieties.

Haunted by his mother's suicide, he eventually killed himself. Not to say that there's a simple equation there. Far from it.


I know I've been neglecting this space, but it's never far from my mind. I am determined to do better by you, my babies.


Monday, January 23, 2012

"One keeps forgetting to go right down to the foundations. One doesn't put the question marks deep enough down."

Trying to add to or at least tweak Appearances a little every day.It's an ambitious project and I'm struggling with it. 12 pages written over the course of the last month. Still very uncertain and feeling my way into the possibilities.

Appearances is my attempt at something like a novel, but not a novel like you've read before (hopefully). I attempted to write a novel once before and what resulted was very much something else,a hybrid text called Vanishing Points of Resemblance, which was initially published as a chapbook by John Byrum's Generator Press and then later folded into my selected poems, Unprotected Texts, which was published by Eileen Tabios' Meritage Press.

I don't really believe in genres, anymore than I believe in genders. I believe in the ways that things and modes of thought phase in and out of one another. And that, in a way, is what Appearances might be "about".

Friday, January 13, 2012

La bella Anny Ballardini pointed me to this mention of my "Little Book of Zombie Poems" in the New York Times.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

As I've mentioned previously, one of the books I'm currently reading is Nick Land's Fanged Noumena. It's a magnificent collection of philosophical essays. I just, for the moment, want to note this one bit from the essay "Art as Insurrection":

"What the philosophers have never understood is this: it is the unintelligibility of the world alone that gives it worth." (167)

"Intelligibility." What a word. So many I's in it.


Seem to be on pause with the interview with Tim Morton. Hopefully it's because of his busyness and not irritation with my most recent question--which ,while it was awkward, is to my mind a crucial question.


OK. Another philosophy book I'm thinking about and want to quote from is The Quadruple Object by Graham Harman. Here goes:

"Consider the widespread empiricist view that the supposed objects of experience are nothing but bundles of qualities. The word 'apple' is merely a collective nickname for a series of discrete qualities habitually linked together: red, sweet, cold, hard, solid, juicy. What exist are individual impressions, ultimately in the form of tiny pixels of experience, and the customary conjunction of these puncta leads us to weave them into larger units. This empiricist model is seen as so admirably rigorous that even many anti-empiricists adopt it. Nonetheless, it is a pure fiction. For what we encounter in experience are unified objects, not isolated points of quality." (11)


I think that art (poetry writing, say) at its best is a question and a questionable method.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Listening to Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs. A CD set I first learned of while talking with Geof Huth in Cambridge, Mass. (circa 2007?). That seems like a lifetime ago. When Geof and I were friends.


Tuesday (two days ago) we had about a foot of snow. Happily the weather has moderated since then.


I'm trying to teach myself some new routines. Am building Appearances very slowly, fully cognizant that it is a project which will take at least a year to pull off.


One of the things I'm having a bit of an adjustment issue with is a sense of isolation. When I was a wage slave I spent a lot of time talking with people. Which I miss to an extent. I'm realizing that I can't just stare at screens and books all day. Which is pretty much what I've been doing for the last two weeks. I'm not complaining, mind you. I just need to figure out the balance to be struck between artwork, housework, socializing, etc. I'll get there.


I've always managed to do a lot of reading. Now I'm trying to kick the reading into overdrive. Partly in service of the new writing project. But also because I'll never be able to read all the things I want to. I'm just going to be damn sure to get through as much as I can while I can. Am particularly batting away at a number of philosophy texts.


In a funny way writing everyday, as I have for the last couple of weeks, is making me ask more questions of myself about why I am doing what I'm doing as a writer. I have the time now to really agonize about every word.


What I miss about the Hellth Dept. is positive interaction with people. What I don't miss are all the negative interactions, various sorts of politics, etc. It was, in many ways, an interesting career but one I wouldn't choose to do over in another life.

I do have lots of good stories from my time there. Funny thing about good Hellth Dept. stories--they're good in retrospect. Not so much at the time they took place.


I'm going to try to learn to relax again into regular blogging. Later, agitators.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm working on an interview of Tim Morton for Ask/Tell. It's off to a great start.