Wednesday, August 31, 2011

interrupted by your heart

I have proved myself a diurnal incapability. It's because there are only so many things I can do each and every day: sleep, breathe, eat, wish, love. These fundamentals of our existence were once the fundamentals of our writing. At one point, or rather, for some time, poems of being in longing or being in love were the measure. I don't regret that language has become self-aware, in fact I think that is part of the goal, of universal self-realization.

At the same time, I am glad there are poets like Paul G. Maziar, who use their heads to address their hearts.

I asked Paul to edit the new issue of the newsletter, ciel de lit. It will go out in the mail today, or maybe tomorrow, which is a little late by my usual standards, but I had some stuff to do.

Friday, August 26, 2011


See more incredible visual poetry by Kaalam at The Renegade

Thursday, August 25, 2011


In 2002 I was living on Jefferson Street in Moscow, Idaho. I was playing a major role in the local radio station, I was helping operate KUOI FM 89.3, I was watching bands like Animal Collective and Old Time Relijun play to crowds of 30 in my basement, I was making junk sculptures, I was reading Kerouac and Ginsberg. Every once in a while Brad Watkins would come home with something else to read, Charles Olson or Crag Hill, I would watch him read from a distance, and when he went off to wherever he went off to, I would steal what he was reading and read it to.
Brad's taste in "experimental literature" (is that what he called it?) resonated with me. He had this "procedural" book of writings (did we even call it poetry?) by Jeff Noon called Cobralingus. In addition to being vaguely Oulipean (not that I knew that then) it was riddled with references to European electronic music. The Thermals slept on our couches and passed typewriters around with us. Then I met the folks on the Hobo-a-go-go to tour Patrick, Elkins, Jason Voss and Justin Shay who had a lot of "poetry" and music in them, and a whole lot more that seemed positioned in between.
A year or so later I dropped out of college for a minute, and made a trip across the country to see my family, stopping in Ann Arbor, Michigan to play music with Patrick Elkins and Dustin Krcatovich (Actual Birds). Dustin and I recorded an EP of poetry and noise called "Small Creatures of the Wood Play Well Together." I went back to Idaho. I, at least sort-of, graduated from college. I started doing the odd reading. One was at the 1912 building and Crag Hill read, with one of his kids, I guess it must have been Noemi, one his knee, reading stories they wrote together. The reading was apparently secretly intended to be a pulpit for some evngelical folks, but we did a decent job of underminding that.
I moved from Idaho to Arizona to live with Brad. It was hot and boring but occasionally I went to open mics and read poetry. The poetry "scene" was boring, too but it gave me something to do. Brad and I moved to Portland, Oregon a few months later. I started going to readings at Tony's Talkin' To, and hanging with a guy who called himself Frank Sauce. Frank told me about "Language Poetry" and also that Crag Hill was the torchbearer for concrete and visual poetry in the United States.
I started reading language poetry and the scene in Portland got to seem more and more boring. I started writing letters to Crag, and told him this. He pointed me in the direction of Spare Room. He specifically said "meet David Abel, Mark Owens, Maryrose Larkin and Joseph Bradshaw." I went to one reading, and I don't remember it, but I did chat with Mark and Joseph. Then I moved to Alaska. Or tried to. I sat in a cabin in Fairbanks for a couple weeks and made "poems" with black pens and red markers. I came back to Portland.
The second or maybe third Spare Room reading I went to was their hundredth - a marathon! One hundred poems by one hundred poets from the last hundred years. I even got to participate in it, and as such was introduced to the work of Andrew Joron, Kevin Noonan, and John Taggart.
When Joseph invited me to open for Jim McCrary at a Spare Room reading, Crag came to town. Around this time he introduced me to the work of Nico Vassilakis, and I travelled to Seattle for a Subtext reading with the intent purpose of meeting him. In August 2010 Crag, Nico and I went on a short tour of the midwest, doing readings in Chicago and Madison, and attending the Avant Writing Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, where I met, read, and performed with mIEKAL aND, Camille Bacos, John M. Bennett, MusicMaster, Maria Damon, Matthew Stolte...
I had a birthday last week and Crag was in town. I'm still wearing his performance. Happy birthday to you, Crag.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


There is a show up at galleryHOMELAND right now. I am often caught describing it as being visual art that displays "paratactical strategies foe reading and writing." The show of visual art, which must feaqture 25 or so artists, had an incredible response at the opening, and a few good write-ups, b ut in the end, I think that the show is incredible, and the appreciation, in print, has been meek.
I am biased. I have a piece in the show. Which may or may not have been a trigger to Lisa Radon's decision to put the showsw together. I have dabbled in sculpture very little since I focused on it in college, though I feel that so much of my work has nonetheless (since and including then) remained on the same track.
The piece, wnefe by Jackson Mac Low a Concrete Poem set to Doom music is a recereation of Jackson Mac Low's algorithmic reading of Ezra Pound's Cantos, or an 800-page book I layered on line after line of white-out, long after I broke the spine. I do think it was an interesting gesture but it wasn't far from the flashlit gallery reading I gave of Finnegan's Wake in 2006.
There is so much interesting work in this show at galleryHOMELAND and I cannot do it justice. Being interested in visual poetry I am, of course, drawn lake a goth to a flame at Derek Beaulieu's contribution(s), which are his readings of a Calgary newspaper, allowing the suggestions of color in each block of prose to take over any other content. Then there is the case I share with Numita Gupta Wiggers, with her textile homage to John Baldessari's "I will not make any more boring art," and one of R.W's seminal inspiration's Patrick Collier, whose visual poems are conceptual excisions from newspapers and the like.
Lisa Radon's own work, who I am also proud to share space with. Is work to be reckoned with, existing at the border of print the blur. Her Paragraphs on Paragraphs on Sentences on Sentences pitch one conceptual text against the other, for a moment, in the end revealing themselves to be the hand, The Hand, perhaps something neith Gertrude Stein nor Sol Le Witt, her sources, would ever admit.
On September 1st, as a part of the exhibit, David Abel, Rodney Koeneke, Lisa Radon, and I will perform at evening o'clock. And it will be terrific.

SE 11th & SE Division
Sept. 1

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Forth then, little blog

So, it's been 5 months since I posted anything. And a lot longer since I posted anything other than events I was to participate in, I have even failed to mention the last half-dozen readings and other events.

What is my excuse? A lot of writing on paper has been done, and a fair amount of publishing. I just got back from the IPRC where I printed most of the covers of the next c_L chapbook "Rotations" by Jesse Morse (don't tell him, please!). I've got to travel a bit, with a recent performance in Seattle alongside Garek Druss, John Teske, whilst tabling for c_L, Peaches & Bats, and Abandoned Bike. Also there have been the Spare Room and the Poetry on the Piazza series, the latter series meta-curated by David Abel, and last night's particular Piazza reading directly curated by him, which was a reading by Seattle's Robert Mittenthal, Vancouver's Donato Mancini, and Windsor, Ontario's Louis Cabri.

Robert is a friend, an influence even. Donato's work I either first encountered through Crag Hill or blown up on the wall of galleryHOMELAND for the Spare Room 100th reading (which was also the first Spare Room event I participated in by reading). I met Donato for the first time last night. Also, a poet I was unfamiliar with prior to the reading Louis Cabri, who Michael Weaver described to me as "the greatest hope for American poetry" (he's Canadian, but we Canadians are Americans to, right Vespucci?). Louis was an incredible performer of a brilliant and inventive poetry that reminded me of Jackson Mac Low but with a simple, bouncing, musical quality. I agree with Michael.

So I'm going to try and come back and write again, there is ernough going on that I should have something to say, but I would appreciate the odd comment, even if it's "stop." I'm obstinate enough to handle that. Even when it seems that comment boxes are where the mind goes to die.

And if you shoot me a line, and let me know what's going on, maybe I'll repost, process, or recant, and you'll get to give me or save me a little work.

Also, if you made it this far: thanks. I'll see you tomorrow.