Friday, April 4, 2008

iPod Cento II

Far away
and fingers -- those
teardrops in my eyes. Uh-
uh. Why don't you melt
your heart again in my hand?

I know it's going
to feel like ice. In this charming
car, listening to the rain, the blue,
blue, blue sky felt

like you did then. So
fast it's real -- so
scientific it makes
no difference.

Same writing process as yesterday. Sources:
• Televison. "Marquee Moon."
• The Smiths. "This Charming Man."
• JYL. "Computer Love."
• The Monkees. "Take a Giant Step."
• Ronettes. "The Best Part of Breaking Up."
• Glass Candy. "Covered in Bugs."
• Pino Donaggio. "Someone Like Me."

Thursday, April 3, 2008

iPod Cento I

fffp — straight to gravitation. Straight
to "pulls you down" like nothing
's between my bones + skin. Oh
! It is so quick,
my heart — every beep, beep, beep,
beep, beep, beep, beep to the bottom
of the sea. Beep beep beep — can't you
see what I've seen? Do you see
what I see? Look in my eyes, night
and day with the force of lunar
gravity stopped my heart
and soul so soft and shaking my
name and I know.

An aleatory cento (the first of many) composed of lines and phrases from songs played by my iPod's shuffle function on the commute home from work. Material comes from:
• The Zombies. "Nothing's Changed"
• von LMO. "Outside of Time"
• The Velvet Underground. "I Heard Her Call My Name"
• Television. "Venus"
• Sam Cooke. "Cupid"
• Norman Greenbaum. "Spirit in the Sky"
• Love. "Andmoreagain"
• The Delfonics. "Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time"
• Silicon Teens. "You Really Got Me"
• Black Mountain. "Faulty Times"
• The Seeds. "Pushin' Too Hard"
• Scott Walker. "Mathilde"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Songs mean a lot (iii)


I’m gonna boy with
the steeples, graceful
to the only and ’til it
rests I try in a ways. To hear

shake lineament stars. I’m
a late the roof. Just you, so
only so nearly, so roving – I

chew and I’m empty, lose
the diamond completely.

Songs mean a lot


All in the bin: a hum
steed, a trouble mumbler
hour. On ten on
your on topster, stop. So
stop and I fled you. Sling

o’ the feat feath-
er thing, her finger
meal. Firing fly my
back there. There

rain, here sing there
sees the old thing, the nylon
let them, the spools or loose.


If I please
plank, if I risk, if
I sow the deep
and dangled. How
& if I coo &
how & sweet. To

been sold the ven-
eer, the moon and rivers’
rivers drop. In fits
and steps in line – no
reels, nor feelers’ fails.

I'm getting a late start on the NaPoWriMo experience this time out. Oh well -- only missed it by a little bit. Count this for yesterday.

These come from a new serial thing I've been readying to begin for a couple of weeks, derived from the lyrics of Pavement songs, mostly from their first two albums and a couple of early EPs.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

If you're going to be in New York City on November 10th, I'm reading with Daniel Magers, Alex Smith, and Steve Roberts at the Four Faced Liar on W. 4th St., between 6th and 7th.

The flier linked above will answer all of your questions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Book reviews

I've started an account at, and have uploaded most of my library (my similar account at LibraryThing made this an easy task).

I'm not sure about the site's general usefulness — it's interesting to see what books others are reading, or have read. And on the occasion that the users have given stars to a particular book, it's not clear that the meaning of a starred review is consistent, even among an individual's ratings: do the five stars I gave to Zukofsky's "A" mean the same thing as the same rating I've given to Tina Darragh's on the corner to off the corner? And what about a similar rating for a book of critical essays, or a novel? Certainly, we don't read poetry and criticism in the same way – their "values" (for want of a better word) are different, and their functions, both social and personal, are different.

Needless to say, it's the reviews that are important, in that they at least allow for some explanation, if not outright defense. So I've decided to begin work on reviewing my entire library, with no formal plan for how to do so, and no projected date for completion. I procede with a sense of futility — there aren't many of these that haven't been reviewed countless times before, rendering my commentary frivolous and excessive in advance of the fact.

Oh well.

on the corner to off the corner
Tina Darragh
Sun & Moon Press, 1981

An exploratory surgery of sorts, Darragh's procedure, simple enough at first glance (the curious can vide her explanation in The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book), interrupts lexicographical discoure — its aim at closure, stability, fixity — as it re-reads the page, treating keywords as clues, suggestions for a derive at lyric's limits. The result is a meaning altogether at cross-purposes to definition's drawing of boundaries, its regulation of voice and of tongue.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Still more on criticism

Steven Fama, in a comment on one of my posts on criticism, suggests that I should have mentioned Olson's Call Me Ishmael. Consider it an addition to my list, and heartily endorsed, along with Zukofsky's Bottom: On Shakespeare and Edmund Wilson's Patriotic Gore.

There are, of course, countless other books (and essays) that I could add. Fama points out an apparent blindness in my list to anything more than thirty years old; it stems not from a deliberate project or agenda on my part, but from the non-systematic and off-the-cuff manner in which I approached the task. And his observation calls other omissions to mind as well, particularly of art and film criticism. Certainly Arthur Danto's Art After the End of Art merits inclusion, along with P. Adams Sitney's Modernist Montage and much of Cahiers du cinema.

Of course, there's more that could be added — as before, I remain stubborn in my refusal to stand up and have my memory triggered by even the most basic "research" of looking at my bookshelf.

But instead, I'm curious what other books you would include on your own list(s). Comment in the appropriate space, if you're so inclined.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Something else occurs to me, with regards to a couple of texts listed in my last post. Though I included, without caveat or hesitation, Fliegelman's Declaring Independence, it might more properly be considered a work of cultural and/or social criticism, as opposed to literary criticism, which was the ostensible purpose of the post, at least considered in the context of the discussion that prompted it. Nonetheless, it's inclusion is merited, inasmuch as Fliegelman's discussion of Revolutionary-era rhetoric is relevant to an understanding not only of the non-literary texts (where "literary" is bounded according to traditional dictates) that fall within his scope, but also to an understanding of the literature contemporary with, and immediately following, the era in question. Furthermore, his study of evolving notions of authorship are, by virtue of the potential for their extension, relevant to present-day literary issues, particularly with regards to copyright, which I take to be the legal codification of both authorship and ownership of a text, where "text" is defined in its broadest sense, and where authorship and ownership may not always be coterminous.

The same post-facto qualification applies as well to my inclusion of Ruttenburg's book. Though she does discuss a range of literary texts, her focus is on cultural and social notions, rather than on the texts as text, at least according to traditional and/or conservative considerations of the term's limits. Furthermore, the chapter of her study that is most interesting (to my mind, of course) has virtually nothing to do with literary writing, per se, as it deals with the Salem witch trials, and the social upheaval and spontaneous reorganization thereof that attended that moment. Like Fliegelman, she is interested in rhetoric and text as manifestations of, and as a force operating within, the socio-cultural sphere, rather than with text as "pure art," or some such...

All of which is to point to a fourth question I should have raised earlier:
4. Given historical criticism, the boundary between literary criticism and certain forms of cultural criticism is, at least in cases where cultural criticism deal explicitly with concerns at the heart of notions of textuality / literature, often indistinct. The cases of overlap are certainly less common than in the other instances of overlap or indistinct boundary than I mentioned earlier, but they nonetheless do exist, and pose a relevant question (if not outright "concern") to a discussion of literary criticism that might seek to define the latter rigidly, or according to traditional definitions. That is, it's not possible to make a statement — at least not without breaching good faith — that all cultural criticism involves literary criticism in the way we might, in good faith, make such a claim about poetry always involving a critical act. Nonethless, certain instances do demonstrably trouble a simple identification...