I live a life of laziness and luxury,Like a hare without a bone who sleeps in a pate.I met a fellow who was so depressedHe never got dressed and never got undressed.He lived a life of laziness and luxury.He hid life away in poetry,Like a hare running still running from a gun in pate.He didn't talk much about himself because there wasn't much to say.[...]There are other examples butA perfect example in his poetry is the whatWill save you factor.The Jaws of Life cut the life crushed in the compactorOut.My life is a snoutSnuffling toward the truffle, life. Anyway!It is a life of luxury. Don't put me out of my misery.I am seeking more Jerusalem, not less.And in the outtakes, after they pull my fingernails out, I confess:I do loveThe sky above.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Firstly, check out this picture of Senator Bill Nelson (formerly of NASA). How cool is that NASA suit and the sculptured chin, hair and smile. Googling your own name is never much fun, unless I suspect you are Bill Nelson and so damn good looking. I want one of thos NASA suits, those zips look incredibly practical, although I'm not sure in which way, something to do with doing something mundane in zero gravity I'm sure.
Monday, June 22, 2009
My new Jackson Mac Low book arrived today. It's called Thing of Beauty and is his selected and new works. Only just got into obviously and mainly only read the foreword and a few of his early ones.
[...]I have been told that a child crying indicates the death of a songbirdI do not know whether to believe this, but I know crickets are oftenaffected by high temperaturesI would like to know what the bug is with long thin six legs who pausedfluttering up and down for a while just now and thenflew awayIt might have something to do with the crying of children[...]
Anyway, he is much more well known for his chance-operation poems or his 'systematic' type ones, where he uses two texts to create a new one. And the foreword goes into quite a bit of detail about why he went this way and it basically comes down to his buddhist belief about removing ego from art, although he later admitted there is as much ego in chance operation as in the traditional lyric poem. He also talks about politics (hello, back on that again) which is strange for someone who has pretty much no control over his how his work comes out. It sounds like he had very strong view on war and violence, but I wonder how many people would know that of him from his work (his earlier lyric poems were often heavily political)? I guess there is nothing wrong with that, but to talk about it so heavily in the introduction to a work spanning 50 years that could be interpreted in an almost infinite number of ways strikes me as a little strange. Perhaps he considered his rejection of the ego as his ultimate political statement? He does talk about poetry as being capable of change, but subversively so and not through direct agitprop argument which I agree with, but I'm still not sure he is doing that either:
The politically aware artist can hope that what gives her pleasure and what gives her pain will give others the kinds of pleasures and pains that may help engender more positive social arrangements [interesting that the artist is a 'she' like a boat].
Friday, June 19, 2009
Just to go back to yesterdays post about politics...
I've been doing some more research on it because I really want to know what this politics thing is.
There is this poem by
We are children of our era;
our era is political.
All affairs, day and night,
yours, ours, theirs,
are political affairs.
Like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin a political cast,
your eyes a political aspect.
What you say has a resonance;
what you are silent about is telling.
Either way, it's political.
Her position seems clear, although she does qualify with the first line of course, but isn't every era political in some way? The world is never devoid of problems. So I guess that didn't help much as far as defining what is political and what isn't. So I went to trusty old wikipedia which seems relatively well referenced in this case and had this to say:
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.
"Politics" ultimately comes from the Greek word "polis" meaning state or city. "Politikos" describes anything concerning the state or city affairs. In Latin, this was "politicus" and in French "politique". Thus it became "politics" in Middle English ( see the Concise Oxford Dictionary).
There is no academic consensus on the exact definition of "Politics", and what counts as political and what does not.
defined politics as the struggle for power. Max Weber
So it seems power has something to do with it and group (or societies?) as well in which case, is there such a thing as personal politics which people talk about a lot. Can one person be political, or is politics by definition trying to convince people of something, thereby creating a group of people who (supposedly) agree on some issue. If that is true then I would be uneasy about calling any of my work political. I've never written a poem with the intention of convincing someone of something. I'll go back to what
I'd also be uneasy about having a struggle for power in my work. I find that kind of thing pathetic to be honest, the want of some people to control other people. I'm no anarchist by any means, and probably the opposite when it comes to ideas of state control, but it seems those things have no place in poetry. It isn't an exercise in power over the anything, over the reader, over the poem, over the poet. It just isn't like that for me. So maybe I am an anarchist when it comes to writing, I like the words to govern themselves or something, create some kind of rule free utopia without the need for an interfering, pesky poet to control them. I guess the key word there is utopia, in that it those ideas can never exist in the real world, even in the poetic world, but fuck me if I'm not going to try.
So yay! Down with politics! Up with art (entertainment - groan)! Now that sounds like politiking.
And morality? That is another topic. Maybe I'll google that tomorrow. Some pious person must have written a poem on it at some stage. In fact, wasn't there several centuries dedicated to it?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
In a soft East River breeze -- like glowing fireflies of snow.Dear Hart, it is spring.Cutting a person openIs possible without pain.
It was a treatment calledDoctor Love, after the main character.One of the producers discoveredTo our horror a real[...]
It was a treatment called Doctor Love,After the main character.One of the producers discovered to our horrorA real Dr. Love,[...]
Monday, June 15, 2009
So I've been reading the genius of Frederick Seidel (The Cosmos Trilogy. 2003. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-52891-8). His poems are strange, slippery, all the same length, sometimes shallow, sometime incredibly deep, sometimes perplexing, but always interesting. I don't know what he does, but it works. I think it is tone partially - you never know where an image or metaphor will go, he doesn't set up expectations I guess, right from the first stanza we know this work will go places:
The wobbly flesh of an oysterOut of its shell on the battlefield is the feelOf spacetimeIn the young universe.[...]
[...]The universe is a single organismMade of twoOr more individual,Or many more than two, individualMoving parts and blitzkrampf,Explosive but balletic slow-moOf vast organsOf ecstasy making soundsThe radio telescopes will hearBillions of light-years from now,The way whales croonWhalesong through the ocean microphoneTo an audience in the darkness far away.To live your lifeYou have to use it up.A star performs its nuclear core.[...]
Thursday, June 11, 2009
- Bloodclot, Tusiata Avia
- Favourite Monsters, James Brown
- Everything Talks, Sam Sampson (been wanting to read some of his stuff for ages)
- How to Live by the Sea, Lyn Davidson
- The Fainter, Damien Wilkins
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Also, pretty close to finishing The Rehearsal. It is a fantastic book. I read a review by (I think?) the NY Times that said it was good and when Ellie learns to pack an emotional punch she will be great. Interesting comment (in relation to poetry too). Does writing need an emotional punch? Can it operate successfully on an intellectual level? Or is it just great to have both? But yeah, I think it is a great book, although I can't help wondering if it hammers home the whole 'performance as life' theme just a little too often. Dunno about that though. Maybe we wouldn't get it then? Or would we. Is just having the two different worlds enough to show this. The high school and the drama school. Do we get it, just from that?
Amazing insights though. Like the person who when thinking about death comes to the conclusion that they feel nothing and their life returns to normal pretty quickly. They don't have any amazing epiphanies or view life in a different way and they have to force themselves to feel sad. I have always wondered about the performances people put on around death. The few encounters I have had with it have always left me thinking more about myself than anything else. The kind of selfishness that no one ever seems to admit to. We have to be strong at those times. Why? It seems to be only truly incomprehensible thing humans have to deal with. Why can't we just be confused and ambivalent and selfish? Sorry, ranting. This isn't about literature any more.
Monday, June 8, 2009
But he went on to compare this with the nature of language itself, how all words and stolen from the past and reinterpreted, recontextualised every time we use them and it is just that poets are conscious of this process and actively seek to give old words new meanings, old poems new life. I like that too.
Poetry is "about" the past, in that poets understand that language itself is history and that words have slipped through time, undergone mutations, shifts in meaning; but each word is a palimpest as well: it contains multiple erasures, which underlie its current meaning, coloring it, giving it character and ambiguity and direction. A poem, in this sense, is also a palimpest, a "writing over" of previous poems, and therefore a gift to the future, where it will be misread, misdirected, even misplaced.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Nothing again today. I've been reading some stuff for a workshop with the guys from my old studio. Very interesting, makes me want to write some prose. Meeting with Chris in 2 hours and 4 minutes.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Haven't written anything new today. Just editing old stuff.
Also, spent a large part of this morning drafting acceptance/rejection letters (is there a nicer word than rejection?) for BMP. The issue if looking fucking awesome if I don't say so myself. Quite a lot of really exciting stuff that makes my skin tingle. Can't wait for it to come out. I never thought it would be so exhilarating editing other peoples stuff.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
- Ambiguity/elusiveness. Still don't know what to do about this, in some ways I like the reader to bring their own experiences and wants to the poem, but I don't want that to completely fail, so I am reluctant to put in stuff that waves a flag saying 'this is what this poem is about', although the 'long' poem, Making nice things out of straw, which for me is just as elusive as the others seemed to be better received. Maybe this is to do with if you read something longer the meaning kind of soaks out of it a bit more. Rather than ending in a kind of abrupt way, leaving the reader hanging. Maybe long poems might be the answer. The other day someone was telling me how Amy Brown is doing her PhD in Melbourne and trying to create one epic poem in 3 years. Go the Cantos! But I don't think I want to go there. That seems a bit too much like a selfish challenge to me. The whole 'can I pull it off' thing, but a few that are 5 pages or so long would be nice I think. Concrete details are always good too I guess.
- Tics. Like the repetition of sentences twisted around or negated to achieve an effect. Damien mentioned that too and I think I've started to hold back on that a bit with my later stuff. Well at least I hope I have.