Friday, February 28, 2014

Last weekend we took our two grandsons to see The Lego Movie.  I enjoyed the experience but I can't get this song out of my head.  Help!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm weary of winter.  Weary of grayness and cold.  February's the cruelest month, Possum.


I'm waiting to hear if an artist I admire will consent to an interview with me.

I'm also waiting, counting the hours, until I have lunch tomorrow with an old friend who is very important to me.  He's leaving the US on Wednesday to take up residence in Nicaragua.  It's quite likely I'll never see him again which only adds another layer to my seasonal depression.

I wait, too, for some revelation about how to proceed with Appearances.

And I wait for news about Dipstick(Diptych) which I heard a week or so ago is rumored ready for the printer.


Since Appearances isn't being cooperative I think I'm going to start reading through some old word files with an eye toward assembling a new collection.  This would entail reworking some pieces.  Might be good therapy.


Friday, February 21, 2014

What I don't know, as they say, could fill volumes.  And it actually has filled a couple, if not more, of the volumes I've written.

Part of the difficulty (there's that word again) of being a writer is trying to move back and forth between ambition and humility.

Ambition in the work--the text, the project--is a necessary and important thing.  Ambition for position in the poetry or art world is quite another thing.

I'm a person who hasn't moved with ease in the world.  So suspect anything I say.  Suspect anything anyone says, I say.

Expectations of success or of being understood are almost inevitably destined to meet with disappointment.
Believe me, I know. Good intentions aren't immediately recognizable by others.

Where humility enters into things for me is with the recognition that I will frequently fail to accomplish what I want to do as an artist.  That's not a pleasant recognition.  But it is a very real one.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

This semester my guitar class is a group.  Last night we were working on a three-part rhythm and my instrument went wildly out of tune.  I left the room while the rest of the class continued but couldn't put the strings back in shape.

The thing had been working well up to then.  I'd practiced for well over an hour before coming to class. And it seemed to be in tune when I'd started playing in class, but then wham! Or whang!?

Anyhoo... At first I couldn't figure out if the problem was with my tuner or my guitar.  Because the tuner was reading the 2 string as the 4 string and the 4 string as the 6 string.  I was confused.  But I checked the tuner against my Stratocaster and realized the tuner wasn't the problem.

Long story short: I took the guitar back to the place I bought it in November. The proprietor listened sympathetically and tried to tune the thing.  Ultimately, after a lot of discussion about temperature, humidity and acoustic guitars, he destrung it, massaged it with oils, rebored some holes  and replaced a "plug thing" (can't remember what that cap is called that holds the string in the saddle) restrung it, retuned it and regaled me with some most excellent guitar playing.

I also bought a new tuner.  But that's another story.  The one I had is really more appropriate for electric guitars.  This new one, which clips on, should be just right for the acoustic.

The new strings are really different.  Kind of sexy.  Smoother.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Part of me wants to smash my beautiful acoustic guitar against the wall and hear it cry.  Part of me wants to tear up Appearances and sob.


Shoveled  snow for over two hours today. Knocked down icicles, etc.  Winter is a bitter romance, for sure.


Monday, February 17, 2014

One of the things that's most difficult about any art--writing say--is self-editing.  One falls in love with the initial impulse, with a clever phrase, with a performative rhythm.  First thought/best thought is bad advice.  Look. And look again.  Think.  And think it over.  Feel it, but all the way through.

Friday, February 14, 2014

READING THE DIFFICULTIES Now Available at a Discount!

Reading the Difficulties: Dialogues with Contemporary American Innovative Poetry edited by Thomas Fink and Judith Halden-Sullivan is available at a discount.  Go here for more information.  I hope you check it out.  It's a terrific book.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Listening obsessively to Trios, an extraordinary CD, by a trio made up of Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve Swallow (piano, saxophone, and bass).  So beautiful...


I scrubbed floors this morning.  I enjoyed the work but my knees didn't.


It's a group situation in guitar class this semester.  Am feeling, still, like I've no intention of quitting.  Yet, at the same time, I seem   incompetent, slow and unmusical.  There are moments when I surprise myself, but I have no illusions about my talent.  Thunk, thunk, thunk doth not a song make.


Besides beating my hands up, guitar is teaching me some things about listening.  And about sound generally.  I mean it's no accident that the chromatic scale alludes to color.


Friday, February 7, 2014

It's like freakin' Antarctica outside now.  But I'm listening to Jimmie Vaughn who I'm going to get to hear live  in town next month, so it's all good.  Freaks me out that I'll be able to walk  to the venue and see him in my home town.

I mentioned last night in guitar class that I'll probably start getting good about the time I enter the nursing home.  My teacher, Jim, said that he's played at nursing homes.  Yeah, I said, but you got to leave.


On Re-reading

I have a piece about re-reading over at Eileen Tabios' terrific new blog.  It's here.  Thank you, Eileen, for hosting it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Marsh Hawk Press Spring Book Launch

I know it's weeks away, but the Spring book launch for Marsh Hawk Press will be on April 11, 2014, 7 PM, at Poets House in New York City.  Maybe I'll see some of you there. I'll be reading from this:

William S. Burroughs

I was listening to NPR this morning and caught this story about Burroughs (today is the 100th anniversary of his birth) in which Jim McCrary is interviewed.  It's a nice piece.  Enjoy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Reading the Difficulties

Reading the Difficulties: Dialogues with Contemporary American Innovative Poetry edited by Thomas Fink and Judith Halden-Sullivan (University of Alabama Press, 2014) is an embarrassment of riches.  Fink's essay "Problems of Context and the Will to Parsimony: Reading 'Difficult' Recent U.S. Poetry" discusses my poem, "This Poem" from  This Poem/What Speaks?/A Day, as well as work by Sheila E. Murphy and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge.  Tom's essay is brilliant. As is the  book in general.  I'm sure I'll post more about it at some point.