Friday, June 28, 2013

I love this line from the beginning of Peter Sloterdijk's Bubbles: Spheres I  [Semiotext(e), 2011)]:

"The limits of my capacity for transference are the limits of my world." (13)

Gotta wonder what Ludwig W. would have thought of that.

There's a list poem in this.  Just don't know that I want to write it.


Thunder.  The weather folk speaking of day after day of rain.


Picked more raspberries this afternoon.  There are few things that make me happier than a bowl full of raspberries from our back yard.


Was looking at a catalog of Edward Hopper's drawings this afternoon.  I love the magic that can come from a pencil.  There's something about the power of degrees of shading that I don't know how to articulate--tonalities of dark and grey.

This is not unrelated to my obsession with shadows.


Eileen Tabios' recent post about the haptic drawings of Jean Vengua is inspirational.

Jean's one of my favorite poets.  That she can also channel what I think of as graphic song is crazy beautiful. Kudos to Steve Vincent for inspiring her with his own inspirational drawings.

I'm tempted to pick up a pencil myself.


Actually, I've just put down a pencil that was used to underline the quote which began this post.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I was picking raspberries in the backyard moments ago.  Just me in the midst of the prickers and the Aedes vexans.  Got a little over a pint of the little gems--the first substantial pick of the season.  Yum.  They're rinsed and chilling for later.


Norah Jones singing now.


I've been obsessing over Appearances and Dipstick (Diptych)  today.


Lot of rain the last few days.


B.B. and Clapton singing now.


My back itches.


I can only speak in monosyllables on the guitar.


In my writing I'm inclined toward a simple vocabulary.  It's not that I don't know some big words.  I am, actually, capable of getting polysyllabic on your ass.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Listening to Steve Reich's "Violin Phase."  It's my favorite Reich piece.


I read my Marsh Hawk manuscript out loud to no one but myself today as a way to think about the(s)pacing of the texts.  And I wound up thinking about how little I care for the poetry readings I have done.  When I put a poem together I think carefully about line breaks and etc.  I know how the pieces should be read.  Mostly my work should be read slowly, deliberately.  That is not to say expressionlessly.  It's to say that pace is important in terms of how the thing gets heard, felt as meaning.

In practice I tend to read in public too quickly.  My nerves overtake me, so I rush things.

 I'm not theatrical and I am bothered by poems that are.  I am more bothered though by the divide in me between the writer and performer.


Ultimately, though, I would rather be a good poet than an entertainer.  I, of course, speak only for myself.  And I recognize that this might be rationalization.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The only writing managed today has been to rewrite the section of Appearances that I wrote yesterday.  The manuscript is unfolding very slowly--one step forward and then back.


Very hot and humid.  Picked 6 raspberries.  A bunch more on the horizon.  Can't wait to get scratched up in the bushes.


I've been a "published poet" for 40 years--from the time of college and local magazines until now.  It's been a ragged progress (of sorts).  I'm a late bloomer who's needed to find out for myself, and have made a lot of mistakes along the way.

For 34 point something years I worked as a Public Health Sanitarian in the Kent City Health Department.  A small department in which everybody did everything.  I inspected restaurants, housing, followed up on nuisance complaints, dog bites, worked in a mosquito control program, dealt with rats, communicable diseases and a host of other things.

I wanted to be a poet.  I didn't want to be a professor or a business man (like my father), or a Health Inspector for that matter.  I was (as I still am) enthralled by poetry and ideas.

At the same time, I love philosophy.  My B.A. is in Political Science, my focus was political philosophy.

 Additionally I had an undeclared major in Italian.  I took every course offered in Italian at Kent State and was offered a graduate assistantship--which I turned down because I didn't see myself as a teacher.  & I certainly didn't feel competent to teach Italian (the language, the culture, which I idealized--but that's another story, for another day).  I had no confidence.  Period.

Anyhoo.   Poetry writing as a vocation or avocation in this culture is a suspect one.

During my wage earning days I learned not to talk about poetry, my magazine, my artistic activities (the only things  really keeping me going) because I would either be perceived as  snob or an airhead.

Early on in my so-called poetic career Ken Irby advised me not to think of myself as a local poet.  That was the permission I needed and it was one of the spurrings on that led to the creation of The Difficulties.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Made a bit of progress with Appearances today.


Repetition and interruptions are at the root of things for me.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

I went back through the Marsh Hawk manuscript today and was relieved to find that I still like it.  I don't have that confidence gene.  I crave recognition but am suspicious of it when it arrives.


Writing is a strange activity.  One does it alone but (complete my sentence).


I've spent a fair amount of time today listening to Trombone Shorty.  Now there's a genius with the confidence gene.


Hot and humid here.  Summer has arrived.  As have the first few raspberries in our back yard.


It might be the case that I'll be reading in NYC next Spring when my "prize winning" book is released.  Holy crap!  It's been over 20 years since I last read in New York.  One of my sons-in-law opined that I should go into the venue with a retinue, dressed like a boxer.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

2013 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize

I found out earlier today that I won the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize.  I was surprised, but thrilled to hear the news.  Wow.  My thanks to all involved.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Here's the thing about trying to teach myself guitar: my student is a moron and his teacher is making things up as he goes along.


Barre chords might be the jail I make for myself or the dance I didn't know I could do.


Stayed up way too late last night.  Game 6 of the NBA finals was a marathon of misadventures.  I'm rooting for the Heat but think the Spurs play a much more disciplined game.  Hard not to like Parker, Ginobili and Duncan.


 Saw video moments ago of my grand daughter crawling for the first time.


Have been listening to the 2 disc recording of Sleeper: Tokyo, April 16, 1979 (recently released on ECM)  by the quartet comprised of Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen.  Hot damn it is good music.


Appearances making me crazy.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

do shadows
make of things?

(line from Appearances turned into a hay(na)ku)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Listening to Muddy Waters.  Thinking about divers things.

Appearances  stalled at the moment.  All sorts of ideas swirling.  I am though at a pivotal point in the manuscript and don't want to make a misstep.  It's a hesitation blues I'm singing now. That. is. what. I'm. trying. to. say.

I'm reading an impossible number of books at the same time.  One of which is America the Philosophical by Carlin Romano.  I'm not very far into this tome but I admire Romano's project.  I suspect I'll post something more about the book in coming days.

I've also just begun Fairyland: a Memoir of my Father by Alysia Abbott.  I never met Alysia's father Steve Abbott in person,but he was one of the first people to give respectful notice of the first issue of my magazine The Difficulties circa 1980.  He also published a piece of mine in his magazine Soup.  I regret I never met him.

I'm thinking a lot about Clark Coolidge's 88 Sonnets, particularly as regards poetry and number--a longtime concern.  More about that later in a review planned for Galatea Resurrects.

Note to Self:  if you ever write an "epic poem," call it Loose Ends.

Friday, June 14, 2013

To become
a room

passing out
of itself.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Philosophy, poetry, art are among the great braided pleasures of my inner life.  Each discipline, at its best, constitutes a series of inquiries into the meaning of everything one might encounter or imagine encountering in this and other worlds, this and other lives.

Maybe it's because I'm quixotically, awkwardly, crazily trying to teach myself to play guitar as I approach senility, but increasingly I think of a triad like philosophy-poetry-art as a chord.

Entertaining 3, 4, 5 possibilities at the same time definitely feels something like a chord to me--something beyond the individual notes, a synthesis (however fragile, however discordant).


Philosophy, poetry, art are always already endangered.  If one asks questions, one is in trouble.  Practitioners threaten the practice, don't you know?

The social response to philosophy, poetry, art is neutralization through institutionalization.

The universe does not reside in the University.  At least I don't think so.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It only took  a year or so, but I've finished reading Zizek's Less Than Nothing.  Over a thousand pages of Hegelian goodness.


Yesterday's mail: a senior citizen discount card from the Ohio Department of Aging (in anticipation of my 6oth birthday next  month).  Sigh.


Today I revisited one of my favorite concert videos, John Zorn playing live in France -- here.   I definitely recommend it.  It's all fabulous, but particularly love Marc Ribot's guitar work.


Started reading Clark Coolidge's 88 Sonnets.


Appearances proceeding slowly.  Recently finished fragment 230.  Only 135 to go.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The light's good, the windows are open ( birds are chattering outside) here in this 113 year old house we've lived in for the last 20 or so years.

I'm feeling old and sentimental.

I'm feeling old and...

I've been busy today with exercise and errands and yard work and house work and guitar work and thinking about Appearances and philosophy.  


Writing is a negotiation with parts and pieces.  

There might not be any wholes.  I'm pretty sure of that.

There are a whole lot of holes.  I'm pretty sure of that.