Saturday, February 26, 2011

Intense dissatisfaction with my own work is a constant. I try to psyche myself into a sense of optimism but can never maintain the fa├žade for long. I don’t have the supreme confidence of the Master to project. I’m more of an assemblage emerging dans la merde than an outline coming out of clarity -- more of a morel than a moral.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Too Brief Note On Flux, Clot & Froth ,Vol.s 1 &2, by John Bloomberg-Rissman (Meritage Press, 2010)

John Bloomberg-Rissman’s work frequently reminds me of what I thought I knew but really didn’t. The guy’s got mad skills. He’s a collagist-philosopher-epic poet with a real feel for the Real. He’s someone whose work you ought to get to know. I’m just saying…

Flux, Clot & Froth (Volumes 1 & 2), recently out from Meritage Press, constitutes the middle term of a tripartite project—a project which bears the same name as JB-R’s blog—Zeitgeist Spam. It’s an ambitious project . The first part, No Sounds of My Own Making, was issued by Leafe Press in 2007. The final part, In the House of the Hangman, is in progress now at Zeitgeist Spam (

The 1st volume of Flux Clot & Froth (FCF) is a poem just over 700 pages in length. The 2nd volume documents the source material for FCF, Vol.1, in 2764 footnotes; it also includes a "Special Bonus Party Remix," a 10 page poem written in honor of Geof Huth’s 50th birthday.

In Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics (, 2009), philosopher Graham Harman (whose work I was introduced to by JB-R) rejiggers a brief passage from Latour to read:

“No matter what an object is, if it affects no other objects, then it is as if it never existed at all […]. Reality is so much a collective process that an isolated object is merely a dream, claim, or feeling, not a fact.” (p.50)

FCF is about nothing if not context and relation. Everything, every element of this poem is in play with every other element. It begins to feel like a kind of ecosystem.

Most of FCF is written out in the hay(na)ku stepped tercet form that was invented by Eileen Tabios, but there are also stretches of prose and lists, dialogue, images and etc.

JB-R works with appropriated materials, almost entirely. He harvests—snips and prunes—bits of poetry and philosophy blogs, journals, books, etc., and makes the material new by reconstellating it, by situationing it in overlapping networks of similarly relocated passages.

It’s interesting to me that JB-R rarely alters what he snips, except in-so-far as he’s altering the context in which it appears. It’s interesting, too, that the result isn’t some kind of hot mess. The work reads really well.

It reads well, I think, because JB-R has a refined understanding of how to negotiate multiple registers of thought and feeling. (There are too many registers to begin to catalogue here.)That he reads as deeply in philosophy as he does in poetry is surely significant in this regard.

That FCF is constructed of excerpts from 1000 other writers should give one pause. Snips from my own work figure in the project. That gives me pause. No one really owns their words, do they?

FCF is avant writing as interesting in practice as it is in theory.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whatever one is
is it
in a game
of tag.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An Orphan Universe

I don't exist.
Not exactly anyway.

Outside between things.
That's it entirely.

Except that every
thing changes in

all ways. Always
it is all

a performance, every
piece of us.

Each performance melts
into another thing

becoming something else.
An orphan universe.


I'm struck by
how often I

don't know what
I write means.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

the mess
inside of this

is about
to leak out.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I've been thinking about the detours one takes in life. Detours, I mean, from one's supposed course, one's projected path.

I don't want to go all Dante on you or anything, but...

I've been thinking too about Ovid's Metamorphoses, about -- you know -- how everything becomes something else.

Fuck metaphors. I'm talking about something else. This is serious. Really.

Anybody out there?
thing is
a negotiation --

an outcome
of relations.

There are
only actors.

Our network
is farflung.

To repeat,
do not draw --

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rae Armantrout's Money Shot and Susan Howe's That This are recent reads. Both are fascinating in entirely different ways.

I've worked on projects with both Rae and Susan and doubt I've endeared myself to either. No matter. We still did good work together.

Of the two books, Money Shot appeals most to my own sensibility. I share Rae's tendency to pare things down to the epigrammatic phrase. I love the way she surfs the zeitgeist for poignant snips of speech to torque and recontextualize. That said, Susan's book fascinates me more.

That This is a book of three section. In the first section, "The Disappearance Approach," Howe's recently (2008) deceased husband, Peter H. Hare is memorialized. In the second section, "Frolic Architecture," Howe collages poems out of the private writings of Lucy Wetmore Whittelsey (the daughter of Jonathan Edward's sister, Hannah Edwards Wetmore). In the final section, "That This," are 7 short poem-segments. Each have 4 lines which are split into 2 stanzas. Except, that is, for the penultimate poem in the sequence. It has 6 lines and exists as a single stanza.

"The Disappearance Approach" is as elegant a meditation on loss as I have ever read. It grounds the book. "Frolic Architecture" is trace and aporia--tattered flags of meaning ripped from the archive (ark hive?). "That This," the title poem--the final poem, is a gorgeous distillation of Howe's metaphysics. I'll leave you with one of the segments:

The way music is formed of

cloud and fire once actually

concrete now accidental as

half truth or as whole truth