Sunday, March 24, 2013

80. “…grandiloquent soliloquy, riot police.” On } Being Che.

I regret my inaction more often than my actions—tho, if I took action more often, the opposite might be true,—& thus, inaction.

At the Flim Forum table in the AWP book fair, Lori Anderson Moseman, Matthew Klane, and I hemmed & hawed about what to do to promote (Being) Che, Klane’s latest. My proposal: buy a Che poster at Newbury Comics and hang it up behind us. Not inspired. If I’d gone ahead and done, I’d’ve realized: not inspired, and would’ve gone across the street to Johnson Paint Co., bought a can of spray paint (gold? Maybe green?), some stencils, and sprayed “Being” across Che’s face. That’s better. Is that better?

So, Che is published, by Stockport Flats Press. Che is “Unquiet Youth,” “Being Che,” & “Making the New Man.” Find “Unquiet Youth” at Harp & Altar. From: “Spikenard // quince, oleander. / Kiss me on the mouth. / My jaw, / a sonnet of myrtle swoon. / My maw has no bottom.”

I know if I wrote about my ma like so, I’d be in trouble—but Klane cares not, he has cojones.

“Being Che,” of which an excerpt lives here, is a departure from Klane’s exploration of the square page toward “a series of radically left-justified spinal columns,” as he ironically describes the highly traditional appearance of this sequence. “pull the pin. // Here is hoping” Read the letters c, h, & e throughout. Being Chevrolet.

I’ll buy a copy when in Albany reading from The Problem of Boredom in Paradise for the Yes! series reading on Friday, April 26th. That is to say the Paul Hannigan selected I edited. Note that this Saturday’s Yes! event hosts Clark Coolidge. Me, I’ll see Coolidge in Hadley, the day before, when he’s still fresh. “Te amo, / dizzy pompoms…”

Friday, March 22, 2013

79. A few words } re. Pear Noir!

When Daniel Casebeer emailed to ask that I submit to Pear Noir!, my first reactions were Daniel Casebeer is a fake name and Pear Noir!, really? Turns out yeah, really, there is a journal called Pear Noir! However, there is no Daniel Casebeer; the name represents a collective, or maybe a cult, led by a high school English teacher and an Anthropologie catalog model.

A copy of Pear Noir! #9 was delivered to my office Tues. morning. I’ve not yet read all of it. I like the impulse behind Christopher Urban’s “Empty Black Haunted House”; Maureen Seaton and Samuel Ace’s triptych is of interest—“A Guide to the Perplexed” name-checks Maimonides, author of the original Guide

In a communique with the collective, I proposed they include a selection from Angela Denstad Stigeler’s unpublished, unfinished ms.; the collective agreed and took the three pieces I selected. They’re different from everything else in the issue, straightforward and realistic. There’s irony, but not in the telling. Her stories give weight to the issue. I’m proud to’ve had a part in their creation.

Wendy Zhao’s drawings of soft bodies twisted and taken apart and Dmitry Borshch’s family portraits and murderous acrobats are outstanding. The image the accompanies this post is by Zhao. I stole it from Small Drawings.

My contribution is “Some Bedtime Stories.” I co-wrote it with my eldest. My wife read it and cried.

Friday, March 15, 2013

78. Readings & } reading.

A week ago Wed., attended the Catenary + Convulsive off-site reading at Outpost 186 in Inman Square. A hailstorm kept me in the car a few moments. Yoga students stood on a porch with their mats. Just enough time for a slice of pizza / to work on a few pages of Afton Wilky’s ms. Just hours before, at the MFA with my family. Massive sculptures of Bad Baby. Poet Margaret Ross started the reading and impressed me most. Read as if wearing braces and held my attention absolutely. Bought her chapbook Decay Constant. Read, from “Of Late,”
…Walls bare between the hooks
from which starched whitecoats plunge like so
many ruined candles in a row that once could
light one’s passage in toward
innermost enclosures. Labmice there glow
green and beautiful, infected shades expressing
Sat with Jennifer Moxley, author of There Are Things We Live Among, from Flood Editions. We talked about George Oppen for a second.

Next night I read from Color Plates. Haven’t read from CP in ages. I like the story a lot, but I dropped a simile and cut the phrase “God’s hands”—an improvement. Everyone who read, without exception, proved to be excellent readers; a fair number were good writers, too. Harold Abramowitz read from a Not Blessed-esque work in progress. Liat Berdugo read from The Everyday Maths. I bought a copy. She inscribed it, “to Adam, the first book I’ve ever signed.” Cole Swenson wrote, “this is a book truly like no other”; in fact, it reminds me of a book I loved as a boy: Science Made Stupid by Tom Weller. Read that book over and over. A diagram illustrating tides accompanied by the caption, “To observer water level appears to rise; actually, land has sunk.” I still find this hilarious.

Fri., sloshed through Harvard Sq. to the Advocate reading with Song Cave, Fence, etc. Jacob Wren, in spite of his performance, convinced me his book Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed was worth reading. Rebecca Wolff tried to keep me from buying a copy, but I persevered. I insisted on telling Wren how good his book is. He aggressively did not care and inscribed my copy, “I hate you, Adam” No matter. In a few years I’ll believe I inscribed the book myself and all will be forgiven. I haven’t finished Wren’s book yet, but thus far, aside from some minor tics, it’s brilliant. Wren’s technique is complex and satisfying.

Already wrote about Sat. reading at the Burren. I didn’t buy a book there, but Sarah Suzor generously gave me a copy of Highway 101’s latest chapbook. Afterwards, an excellent conversation about the borderlands between fiction and non.

Wed. night at Real Art Ways heard Sueyeun Juliette Lee and Natalie Lyalin. Lee's reading was fun, Lyalin's wasn’t, quite, but her poetry is good; bought Try A Little Time Travel. Instead of page numbers, left-facing pages are “past,” right-facing “future.” Read from my collaboration with Anna Eyre and Kaethe Schwehn’s contribution to Ghosts. I shared a table with a tall, slender woman. She said I am an eccentric. Watched her walk to her car. Once inside and safely buckled, she burst into a brilliant white flame.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

77. Post conference & } The Problem of Boredom in Paradise.

Saturday, in Davis Square, Somerville, Matthew Klane and I got up on stage together and read from The Problem of Boredom in Paradise: Selected Poems by Paul Hannigan. Matthew read short pieces, including the first poem of Hannigan’s I ever read: “Bringing Back Slavery // I think we should have a parade for it.” I read “Homage to Toth,” a long poem of reactions to the 1972 hammer attack on Michelangelo’s Pieta. I could have used a rehearsal, but the response to our reading was positive.

Ethel Rackin, who read for Parlor Press, and Travis Macdonald, for Fact-Simile, were among those who expressed especial interest—in Hannigan, and in the project itself. I noted in my introduction to the Selected the comfort I felt one evening when I imagined someone doing for me what I was doing for Hannigan; Ethel had the same thought, and I bet other poets in the room did too.

When DeWitt Henry, a founder of the literary journal Ploughshares and a contemporary of Hannigan’s, saw the Selected, he was quiet a moment, then excited. He had ideas—how to get the word out, who’ll be interested. On Thursday I sat in on a panel to honor Henry’s long career. I took two courses with him as an undergraduate. Both were important to me: an advanced writing seminar and a course called literary editing—the latter a primer for New Genre, which led me to Flim Forum Press.

Song Cave, another little poetry press, released A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton. Also a recovery project, I’m told. Jane Gregory read from it and from her own book My Enemies at a reading with Fence and Triple Canopy. She was good.

I started to assemble the Selected in 2007 and finished just months ago. I'm relieved it's in the world.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

76. Boston AWP } two readings.

“This story happened before television ceased to be.”

Thursday, I’ll read from Color Plates at the CCTV studio in Central Square (438 Massachusetts Avenue). The reading begins at 6pm. Also reading for Rose Metal Press is Aaron Teet, from his chapbook Shampoo Horns. We’re sharing the space with readers from Les Figues, Anomalous, Gold Line and Tiny Hardcore Press. I’m a fan of Les Figues—they published Alta Ifland’s Voice of Ice, Matthew Timmons’ The New Poetics, Harold Abramowitz’s Not Blessed, etc.; books I admire all. I’m not familiar with the other presses, tho I’m intrigued by Liat Berdugo’s Everyday Maths from Anomalous.

At the Burren, an Irish pub in Davis Square, Flim Forum press will join eleven other little presses, including Stockport Flats and Instance, Saturday at 6pm. Presumably we’ll be screaming poetry over the din of the regulars. Perhaps appropriately—Matthew Klane and I will read a few poems by Paul Hannigan, to celebrate the release of The Problem of Boredom in Paradise, my selection of his poems.

"there are two outstanding unproved conjectures / 1 / 2 // here are answers the Diabolical cube / the only reader / John Horton"