Monday, January 23, 2006


from 1001 Sentences


The cat is back in the bag.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Jim defends himself against my vicious, brutal use of scare quotes around his blog name in my blogroll. Yes, I do take the term "greatest living poet" very seriously, as according to my HBR (Harold Bloom Ranking) I am currently 4,283 spots from the top (twenty spots behind Trudi West, but fifteen spots ahead of Franz Wright).

So, my assumption is if I start jogging, keep on eating salads, then the title should eventually be mine for a one week period in 2061. [continue facetious tone . . .]

Seriously, Jim, you're taking my scare quotes too seriously! They are wink-wink nudge-nudge quotes!

I'm sorry if I, or my quotation marks, have hurt your feelings. I know you tread lightly upon these types of subjects, are respectful of other people's feelings, and I should return the favor.

Does this mean the return of Chewbacca?
I love it when poets I really dig start up blogs. Or I stumble upon them.

Happy to have recently found:

Tom Orange's Heuriskein

Brent Cunningham's Twenty Thousand Thousand

And A Tonalist, a collective blog whose contributors include Laura Moriarty, Alan Halsey and Andrew Joron. (Find out more about A Tonalism in the upcoming Fascicle.)
Giddy making a mix CD for this Saturday's Blue Door reading -- Kathryn Salisbury and I will be doing a collaborative reading after the Desert City Ed Roberson-Todd Sandvik, and I think we have a few good ideas up our respective sleeves.

The mix is looking good as well. Right now, artists include: John Wayne, Gang of Four, The Monks, Curtis Mayfield, Scott Pierce, Jimmy Cliff, The Walker Brothers, Barbara Guest, Prince, Henson Cargill, Common, Sly & the Family Stone, Ted Berrigan, X-Ray Spex, Can, John Ashbery, The Legendary KO, Jorge Ben, Robert Creeley, Bob Dylan, Lee Ann Brown, GBV, The Beatles, Wimple Winch, Tom Raworth, Cat Power.

Might be hitting the wall on Fascicle stamina. Still chugging forward towards a launch in a week or two. My mind's almost completely on that right now.
Anyone have leads on translators of contemporary African poetry?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Looking around in my email account for a Fascicle file, I stumbled upon my "draft" folder with some poems written from 1999, including some of my earliest search engine sculpting-type things. One of the pieces actually made a couple people get up and leave workshop in disgust! Good times. I like these poems as much as anything I've done lately . . .



During the second movement, the conductor established tempo.
the tempo? absolute pitch? Relative pitch

The note may be
The music is you consider that music?

color in Stravinsky and music in Giotto, maestro

i love


Music That Changed My Life


The English word baroque is derived
from Bach

Melody and
tone color and
form and.......

music has certain recognizable clichés,
Vivaldi, Geminiani, Corelli, Scarlatti,

Bach owned and/or copied.

Handel dead on April 14th, in the music of JS Bach.

If only old Bach could have heard the performance! a fast, almost racy tempo-
a concerto! two solo instruments! In music too, music is

music. A good Bach performance

might be summarized in one simple adjective


his gut-stringed
is in the shape of
an instrument: an important dramatic feature

Women respond to the energetic gut string;
battles have been fought,

"Dazzle the Listener"

Another radical piece is called "Loudness"

"Simply Toss the Dice" is
"The Finishing Touch Left Incomplete" has
a secondary theme concerning the gentle,
flowing textures of females. a maestro
cannot give ideas head. Our discussion will not be limited to ideas.


BIZ: Hey. Biz shrugs to Rocco.

BIZ: Hi, I'm Biz. JOLLY: No.

BIZ: Listen, Jolly. JOLLY: What for?

BIZ: Well. JOLLY: It's okay.

BIZ: Hey. BIZ (o.c.): What?

BIZ: Sure.

JOLLY: Yeah.

JOLLY: Nothing.

Biz waves back.

JOLLY: Just some boy.

Biz sighs.

BIZ: Well.

Jolly sees Biz approaching the house.

BIZ: Hi.

BIZ: Quit my job.

JOLLY: Great.

JOLLY: Spanish.

BIZ: You're a redhead.

JOLLY: Just don't... BIZ: Yeah?

JOLLY (startled): Okay.

Biz and Jolly are sitting under a tree.

Biz and Jolly are necking underneath some bleachers.


Jolly necking with Biz.

BIZ: Yeah.

BIZ: Yeah.

JOLLY: Yeah...

BIZ: Sure is pretty.

BIZ: You know Jolly... well. JOLLY: Yeah.

BIZ: Listen.

Biz waves goodbye.

Biz approaches Jolly's house.

Biz draws the pistol.

BIZ: What for?

Biz starts forward.

BIZ: Hey... BIZ: I shot you.

Biz's breathing is heavy.

Biz rushes down the stairs. BIZ: Hey, where you going?

JOLLY: Rocco... This is Jolly...

BIZ (sighs): Well...

This startles Jolly.

Biz touches Rocco's heart.

Biz drags Rocco into the cellar.

BIZ: Listen, honey. BIZ: Wouldn't be funny... BIZ: Oh...

Biz studies Jolly for signs.

BIZ: How you doing?

BIZ: Yeah, me too.

Biz and Jolly building a treehouse.

BIZ: Take a break. JOLLY: Time passes.

BIZ: Jolly!

Jolly is telling a joke at Biz's urging.

BIZ: Isn't that funny?

Jolly smiles politely.

Biz and Jolly eye one another. ROCCO: Biz... BIZ: Okay.

BIZ: Okay.

Biz walks out into the field to join Jolly. BIZ: Put that down.

Suddenly, Biz spots Rocco.

BIZ: Rocco!

Jolly sits down.

BIZ: Bunch of junk.

Biz walks back into Jolly's life.


BIZ: Well, he's gone.

Biz draws his gun.

BIZ: No... BIZ: You don't mind?


JOLLY: I've got to stick by Biz...

BIZ: You tired?

JOLLY: Yeah.

BIZ: Yeah, you look tired...

Biz and Jolly build a large Victorian mansion. Biz rings the bell.

Biz winks at Holly.

BIZ: Hi.

BIZ: Good deal...

JOLLY: Hi... BIZ: Hi.

BIZ: Yeah. BIZ: What's that?

BIZ: Sure.

Biz closes the door.

BIZ: Groceries.

Biz and Jolly come out the front door.

JOLLY: Don't.


BIZ: Positive?


Biz chuckles at this, which pleases Jolly.

BIZ: Everybody loves trout.

JOLLY: I'm serious.

JOLLY: You're crazy.

Biz spins the bottle.

Biz inspects its position. BIZ: Never mind. JOLLY: What?

BIZ: Nothing... JOLLY: I'm sorry. BIZ: Well. JOLLY: Yeah.

BIZ: Hey. BIZ: God... BIZ: Love this air.

BIZ: Morning... BIZ: Well, listen. BIZ: Now don't worry.

BIZ: Name is ... JOLLY: Biz!

BIZ: Okay, friend.

Biz joins her.

Biz looks at her.

Biz walks closer to Jolly.

BIZ: Hey, anybody here?

JOLLY: Hi... BIZ: Damn.

Biz heads down the highway.

BIZ: Hi.

Jolly is startled. Biz turns to her.

Biz turns back around.

BIZ: No.

ROCCO: Biz... BIZ: Mmmmm.

ROCCO: You like people?

ROCCO: Want a comb?

BIZ: Damn! ROCCO: Jolly's over here, Biz. BIZ: Sure.

Biz leans against the car.

Biz turns serious.

JOLLY: Yeah.

BIZ: Thanks anyway.

ROCCO: Well, Biz...


BIZ: Thanks.

And here's one from 2001 that after quite a few revisions and expansions ended up in Invisible Bride:


I’ve heard, and it seems true, that winter brings
more serious outtakes. What we see as color is actually
the amount of energy in the light hitting our eyes.
Charles Darwin says that he was told elephants would
sometimes weep from sorrow. I have cardinals
attacking windows at my house almost every spring
and summer. Likewise, winter uses some extreme methods
to punish its prisoners; this includes a riveting scene
where I must carry rocks back and forth and then
go back home and make some sleep. I like it when people
come and go through me and get lost in there; anything
to be weightless. Again. When a bird sings, framed by
a background of snow, it is liable to be ornithological fantasy.
The most important thing that your Mom ever did was to
acknowledge that you had to come down from your artificial high.
She didn't try to keep you aloft in that artificial state.
She didn’t take a road trip to come get the glass off your hands.
And how do wolves react when they find a dead wolf?
They just continue to search out prey, and save
for a few poor souls stuck in an elevator for awhile,
life goes on pretty much as normal. Wolves don’t really
prepare for the winter, but with its illusory, ethereal
production, wistful melodies, and oft-funereal pace,
winter is one of those rare seasons that can completely
absorb you in such a way as to almost dissolve
the wolf inside you. When light is reflecting off the snow
and into my eyes, I detest the quality of the reflection.
By the way, this attitude towards nature is fairly recent;
we have problems believing in heaven, but not in wolves.
The texture remains clear as water and everybody
is beautifully in tune. There is a saying prevalent
throughout much of the Southern states of the U.S:
"If you don't like the wolves in this state, wait ten minutes
and they will change." The flies are noting rain.
On a more serious note, Darwin says that the shape
of the new moon gives an indication of the likelihood of pain.
He says that we will be either holding it in or pouring it out.

My boys are told where to dig and given a meager supply
of water and food in spite of the awful cold. As I watch musicals
set in the 17th and 18th century, I wonder how people
occupied their time other than killing, digging, and writing letters.
People go, "Well, what's the fortune at the end? It doesn't
give the fortune." Exactly. What's the point of Song?
To get it wrong. To tear separately and separately: always
that house, those heights, these spirituals (which are incorrect).
Most of this world is small. Me: the table that covers the pebble
which comes out from the dog that talks, that divines to the world
what is important, what is not: which are the right rivers
in the correct tunnels. Because? Because the afterlife
is only as attractive as the traveler. Because the first afterlife
goes out to cross the river that borders it. Because a cloud is a boat.
My eyes cry out because what I see talks like I do: like this,
from inside a cloud. In the winter we separate thoughts from
that which is vivid. This is a detail, a fact: to be heavy is sufficient
knowledge of our account and our attitude towards grace
has long been like that of the driver who cannot stop
when his headlights illuminate an obstacle. He’s going so fast.
Science is providing us with somewhat shinier obstacles. Indeed,
there is black ice. Yes, the ice drops down from above.
Winter grows the more it talks. My hair goes down to my waist;
it is not aware that it is wretched, thus it continues to grow.
Winter substantiates itself in the genuineness of the chill
that it speaks. It grows and is pleased by the idea
that a chill is our fate and should be our practice. My boys
come in, sometimes, and leave snow-puddles by the door,
their ears cabbage-red, their noses too. Their sweaters are often dark,
their conversations often intelligent (in a repressive, diaristic
sort of way). The story of children in the snow, of being chased
by winter but never caught, is the story of us being chased
by our childhoods, of our childhoods always escaping and becoming
“the collective memory” when we, after years of running, suddenly
turn and return the favor. Still, certain things stay stable.
Weeks before it arrives, I taste winter in my mouth, which is always
as startling as a loud knock on the snow. If I were to search
for a vast habitat, it could be found, though the place to draw
its borders would not be between, for example, winter and spring,
but winter and snow—and yet, this is how the little girl in me
wandered off in the first place, bored, stained and ruffled,
not a part of the game anymore.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

For those of you keeping score at home, I've finalized my schedule for next semester.

Two lecture courses:

1) Intellectual as Writer; Existentialism. Instructor: Frederic Jameson.

Synopsis: Reading of Sartre's major philosophical works, preceded by a brief history of existentialism (Pascal) and followed by an equally brief look at Sartre's afterlife in present-day constructivism (Judith Butler).

2) Paradigms of Modern Thought; Post- Structuralism: Semiotics. Instructor: VY Mudimbe.

Synopsis: The aim of the course is to present a geography of the French post-structuralist intellectual configuration. The course, firstly, will evaluate the theoretical assumptions of Claude Lévi-Strauss’ critique of Cartesianism, and Roland Barthes’ institution of a semiotics and its conjunction with psychoanalysis in the work of Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. Secondly, in doing so, it will privilege a critical analysis of two sets of concepts, indexical (analogy, convenience, similitude, dissimilarity, etc.) and symbolic (contrariety, contradiction, subalterneity). Finally, this analysis will expand as to include critical issues from, mainly perspectives expounded in Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of ‘distinctions’, Paul Ricoeur’s conflicts of interpretation hermeneutics, Jacques Derrida and Gayatri Spivak’s search for alterity models and paradigms, and the presuppositions for a critique of everyday life in Jean Baudrillard and Michel de Certeau’s writings.

Throughout this course, a particular attention will be, indeed, devoted to questions concerning the practice of philosophy in our contemporary world as raised, among others, by Alain Badiou, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Vincent Descombes, Michèle Le Doeuff, and Bernard-Henri Lévy.

By semiotics, we shall understand the totality of skills, knowledge, paradigms that allows one to describe the social signs of a human geography; and by hermeneutics, we understand the totality of skills, knowledge, and paradigms, that allows one to understand the meanings conveyed by the articulation of these signs.

The readings, books or excerpts, all in English, will include the main oeuvre generally invoked regarding post-structuralism, including: Roland Barthes’ Elements of Semiology, Pierre Bourdieu’s In Other Words, Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life, Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology, Luce Irigaray Thinking the Difference, Julia Kristeva’s Tales of Love, Claude Lévi-Strauss’ Tristes Tropiques, and finally, Paul Ricoeur’s Conflicts of Interpretation.

And also one seminar course:

3) Special Topics Seminar; Negritude. Instructor: Mara de Gennaro.

This course will focus on the francophone negritude movement and its relationship to subsequent anglophone and francophone writing on Africa by African and Afro-Caribbean poets, dramatists, and critics. We will examine how and in what contexts the negritude writers imagined unity and difference by recourse to ideas about Africa and African identity, and we will consider why and in what ways a range of subsequent writers have rejected, qualified, or transformed the ideas of the negritude writers. Post-negritude theorizing of ethnophilosophy, antillanité, créolité , African humanism, historicism, nativism, and womanism will be read together with post-negritude poetry and drama. As we read these texts comparatively, we will discuss how regional, sexual, and political differences have informed the debates on the nature of African and Caribbean identity, and how they have informed corollary debates on the implications of writing in either indigenous languages or colonial languages; the artistic and political merits of African nationalism, nativism, assimilation, and cosmopolitanism; the means of constructively channeling the African or Caribbean intellectual's sense of complicity with colonial power structures; and the implications of gender consciousness on the imagining of Africa, colonialism, and diaspora. Texts will include extracts from the following: Aimé Césaire's Discourse on Colonialism; Suzanne Césaire's "Discontent of a Civilization"; Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth; Ngugi Wa Thiongo's, Decolonizing the Mind; Edward Said's Orientalism; Jacques Derrida's Monolingualism of the Other; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's Critique of Postcolonial Reason; Gauri Viswanathan's Masks of Conquest; Achille Mbembe's On the Postcolony; Robert Young's Postcolonialism; Arundhati Roy's Power Politics; Rajeswari Sunder Rajan's, The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, Citizenship in Postcolonial India; Sangeeta Ray's and Henry Schwartz's, eds., A Companion to Postcolonial Studies; Sara Ahmed's Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Postcoloniality; David Theo Goldberg's and Ato Quayson's, Relocating Postcolonialism; Robin Truth Goodman's Infertilities: Exploring Fictions of Barren Bodies.
Working on the next Fascicle, the all dudes issue.

On the pic below of Gioia, etc. I only know Gioia. The picture just kind of cracked me up in a creepy way.

And: If you'd like to write a news report on what's going on poetry-wise in your area, please email me at tonytost AT yahoo DOT com. If you wrote a news report before and would like to again, you could just go ahead and send the report if you wanna.