some poetry, politics & what have you

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dumbledore's death in the style of Charles Bukowski
by Jonas Svensson

Killing time on a barstool at Potter's, you soon get to know most of the winos & coppers & whores & punch-drunks passing through the door. But this odd old-timer at the corner table sure is something else. Hasn't seen a razor since birth, a great white beard reaching to the floor. He probably use it as a trunk, sucking up the puddles of alcohol from the dirty floor under the table. Stranger things have happened at Potter's.

Remember when that wierd chick Rowling picked a fight with a dozen drunk demons. Or at least that's what she called 'em. Anyway, dressed in his feminine cape and long toga, the man looks like a drag queen Santa. A true misfit. I ask Harry, the bartender, if he knows the strange figure.

"Oh, that's Albus", he says, "Albus Dumbledore, he stops by every fifty years or so, for a couple of Millers and some action".

Dumbledore? What kind of name is that? I get curious, and stagger across the room.

"You Dumbledore?" I ask, putting my beer down on the table. The man looks up at me with foam in his beard, and wrinkles his bushy eyebrows.

"Yes!? And who might you be?"

"Bukowski! But you can call me Hank, all my friends do. My enemies as well."

"Ah, you're that American author, eh, writing all that realistic crap!? Do me a favour and leave me alone."

Uhu, this guy really puzzles me. Popping up from nowhere like some tripping hippie, being rude and refusing to accept the realities of life.

"Come again, old man?!"

"Now listen to me you very ugly person, if you don't leave right now I'll have to put a spell on you, and we wouldn't like that, would we?"

"I've got some pretty good spells of my own you know..."

I finish my beer, lean forward, and give Mr Dumbledore all I've got. Potter is already on the phone, dialing 666. It's one o'clock am, and the evening is already turning for the better.

Jonas Svensson is a writer, editor, translator, blogger (so far only in swedish) & football (as in soccer, for those of you on the western shores of the Atlantic) hooligan living in Malmö, sweden. The next issue of his fanzine has been a few years in production, but may appear some time. He's one of, so far, three people in sweden published in broadside format.

I solicited this story from him, because I don't know how long Guardian will keep it online & because I liked it. It was first published by Guardian on july 12, 2005. A tuesday

Sunday, July 24, 2005

About a week ago, when I posted about being published in Can We Have Our Ball Back? we were 25, now we are 36. I will comment on some of them, the ones that pulled me in on first or second reading. Sonya Arko starts out with a poem in eight parts which has it's moments, but it's the second (& last) poem that makes me wonder why no one has been saying great things about her. So, I guess it's up to me to say that anyone who can do (something like) this deserves at least as many constant readers as Stephen King. Jane Adam contributes three brief, delightful poems. Jennifer Firestone has some poems here from a sequence called Flashes. They are rather quirky political poems, with a few recurring words, that in a larger format (the whole sequence, anyone?) could be really effective. The small selection here is just beginning to give that effect. So, I want to see more. Jay Snodgrass' six prose poems concerning his ghost's art movie are consistently intriguing & if it didn't entail a notion of lifelessness, I would say ludicrously well-crafted. Instead I'll say exact, musical & with a forward motion I rarely experience in poetry (a reason I like some hard-boiled crime fiction), just read them aloud to yourself. This would make a great little chapbook,unless he has more of them. I would like to quote all six poems in their entirety & so resist altogether. Genevieve Kaplan had me despairing for a while, then her third poem came & put a silly smile on my face:

If the land had wandered

Clap! she said

as she raised the frame. Blam! he moaned

as the bird cowered down.

Eek! she yelled at the sight

of the crow. Pow! he tumbled

out the door past the mail box and the bent post it lived on.

We admitted it got us to this end. What's alive

was alive. What kept pace kept

pace. Blam! he shouted

as we walked through the plaza, our hands hard with stones.

This I like. & I know there's a story somewhere in there, apart from the she & he thing. Rachel M Simon offers us some fine phrasing, among her maybe a bit too long poems. That's a sin that's easily forgiven in the light of stanzas like the one closing Edibles

The gratification of home cookingends with a bulldozer.
Unbroken dishes and
indecipherable paprakash recipes
may be passed down to youngsters
disinterested in any nostalgia
lacking a self starring role.
Do not chop them into a sauce of the ungrateful.
Nobody likes the flavor.

or for that matter this (the third) one from First Aid

Second degree: leave the identifying information
of your internet date with someone you trust.
Screen name alone is inadequate. Set a panic time.

As for the three poems by Dustin Williamson I will only say read them, they're more than worth it. They have not stopped resounding, resonating & (un)reasoning in the back of my head for a week or so now. In fact they seem to be getting no(i)sier as time goes. & check out the titles of the first two: The Vincent Price is right & some sort of zebra. The third one takes place between two quotations from Carey Grant.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Yesterday afternoon Ron Silliman's blog hit 400 000 visitors. He is amazed, humbled & awed. I'm not amazed. You probably won't be either if this post gets you there for the first time

Friday, July 22, 2005

Thank you Sawako for the karaoke link

One of the victims of my translation efforts is rob mclennan, tireless poet, editor, publisher, organizer of events etc. Yesterday he sent a link to five new poems published in Softblow, edited by Cyril Wong out of Singapore. It's a good mag that's confessedly strictly subjective - I wish more editors could confess to that sin.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Some recent nearly haiku

black & white
birds explode from
the trashcan


compete for
the beer


flung into
nocturnal cop car
for what?


the city


opens up
to us


please keep
it down flies
I need sleep


the baby
cares not about
the wedding


warm day
thinking of
other things

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

an australian call for help

The following was forwarded by MTC Cronin, an australian poet well worth checking out (googling her is really rewarding). I'm posting the email as it stands, in the hope that mischievoice may have at least some australian readers. This is, I think, the best thing I can do. It was originally sent by Barry Traill & Susie Duncan at The Wilderness Society. If you want to sign it, just copy & paste into an email. Here goes

Hi all

Margaret and Kim have prepared the following email which you can forward to all sympathetic friends and networks. There is a letter attachment addressed to Woolworths which needs to be signed off by individuals.

Cheers        Susie

Good afternoon Sir, Madam, Family, Teenagers, Kids, Uncles and Aunties,

We, the people of Maleny a small mountain township of approx 4200 in Queensland, are asking you to please read our plea to you. If you would consider supporting us in our final hours in our fight against Woolworths, please sign the attached message and send it to Woolworths and agree to an embargo we wish to enact against Woolworths. Our right as individuals in protest is to send the clear and loud message that small Communities around Australia have wishes which do count. Sadly our Politicians have bowed as usual to the wishes of Big Business.

Fact...>80% of our Community do not want Woolies or at worst would support Woollies to relocate to another suitable site other than the current one which now has concrete piers laid.

Fact....It is within 4 Yes! 4 metres of a habitated Platypus Stream ... we know of at least 50 platypus burrows entering under the construction site, no-body but no-body with a sane mind wants this site developed except Woolworths.

Fact....We have as a small Community desperately over three years, tried by all reasonable means to negotiate and reason with Woolworths’ Management but they will not listen to us......but of course they will take our and your hard earned money at every opportunity.

As Australians, we have all seen on Television how the big supermarkets are importing more and more food product from overseas and selling them as their own in-house " Home Brands " slowly but surely killing our own farming Community and families, right here in Australia. There is a tractor drive across Victoria highlighting this very topic, right now.

Do Woolwotrths care about sensitive Community issues or the impact it has, let alone the effect it has on fellow Australian families....No Way... It is the bottom profit line syndrome every time.

It is time that the Directors and Management understood that they have a moral commitment to listen to their local customers no matter where they are and their respective local Communities as they blatantly do not care a "hoot" about local Community fears, families or wishes.

Maleny has ( 7 ) seven Woollies within a 40 minute radius, nearest 20 minutes away, if it were seven smallpox cases it would be declared a major outbreak.

Fact....we have raised over $800,000 locally already to negotiate to buy the site for the platypus and the remainder of the approximate $2M has been guaranteed, but Woollies won't listen and YES there are other suitable options available to them within our township as they made a commercial decision to come here.

The only way we have left open to us now is to hit them where it hurts and ask fellow Australians to assist us in our fight to have Woolworths listen to our wishes and relocate their proposed store away from the sensitive and precious water source we wish to save and keep pristine. This is not only happening here. Moree is currently planning  to fight a similar battle. Buderim tried, but are now ravaged by the resultant traffic chaos.

Please read our message and if you support us, please fill out, sign and forward to Woolworths. We would further ask of you to send this to as many of your friends as you can, as quickly as you can for us, as time is fast running out. Construction has commenced in earnest as all piers have to be in place before the Platypus breeding season in August.

We are a small caring Community with much history that truly cares for our surrounds and is desperate for your support. This may take a little effort from you to assist us in sending a loud and clear message to the Board of Woolworths as the Management will not and does not listen to our Community concerns.

Your Community may be next.

Many Many Thanks

The Community and Platypus of Maleny Queensland.

To: "rcorbett@woolworths.com.au"
Subject: Woolworths and Australia

The Chairman and Board of Directors,

Woolworth's Australia.

I, the undernamed, do fully support the endeavours of the people and Community of Maleny Queensland, in seeking to have Woolworth's relocate their proposed new store site away from the environmentally sensitive fresh water stream occupied by our native species namely the Australian Platypus.

As a current Woolworths1 customer, I would further strongly urge that the Woolworths' Board instruct Management to enter into fair and reasonable negotiations to sell the site to the local Community of Maleny so they may return it to it's original sub tropical condition to protect the Obi Obi Creek, platypus, fauna and flora and their Community surrounds.

I would further urge the Woolworth's Board to instruct Management, as a new policy of Woolworths, to "listen to their customers and to the wishes of communities" as they hold the money that you constantly seek for your continued growth.

As an Australian, I would also wish to register with you, my very real concern as a consumer, at the growing trend of the Supermarket Chains buying non Australian produce instead of that produced by our farming Community locally, and trying to disguise it as a 3Home Branded Product ". Should I have to pay a small amount more to have Australian, I will, and am prepared to do so for the benefit of my greater Australian Community.

Your Woolworth's Supermarket that I shop at locally is at SUBURB NAME and that I will use my best endeavours to shop at a local shop first, and then at IGA, Bi-Lo or Coles Supermarket or any other alternative Supermarket as of the 1st August  2005 as part of my sincere protest should I not be given the courtesy of a suitable written reply by the said date to my address below (or e-mail address), clearly outlining Woolworth's decisions on the Maleny Project and other concerns I am in total agreement with, as listed above.

Yours Most Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Address

| |

Monday, July 18, 2005

call for submissions

My plan is to expand mischievoice into a somewhat random online mag. That is, when something I like comes my way I will post it. So what am I looking for?

Poetry not demanding formatting beyond the possibilities of blogger, any style or school, from one (1) up to ten (10) poems.
Short prose of no more than 2000 words.
Essays on most any subject, or poetics, not exceeding 2500 words.
Translations of either of the above are, of course more than welcome. Just keep in mind that I prefer that the original author be living at the time of posting & that you should have his/her permission to submit the work.
Brief reviews, preferrably of small/micro press or online books will also be considered.
All work should be previously unpublished.

Simply paste the text(s) in the body of an email, put the word "submission" in the subject line & send to larspalmeAThotmailDOTcom
Attachments will not be read at this time.

If I like the work & want to post it I will ask for a brief (say three lines or so) bio note which may include a link or two to other works of yours, if any.
Good luck

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Just some brief & shameless self-promotion. I am one of the 25 poets in the Even newer section at Can We Have Our Ball Back, which is one of the most beautifully named magazines I know. Will return shortly with comments on some of the others in the "issue", because although the colouring scheme is beautiful it's rather hard on my failing sight, so reading is rather slow

Some more music, & politics, & a source of information, & some cool & useful links. But mostly it's about the music

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tony Harrison is a poet who has written poems that sing, swing & kick. Poems that bite the hand that feeds him & then go for the arm. Not often, but enough that I might get curious as to what he's been up to lately. This year Penguin, celebrating 70 years as book publishers, have released 70 small paperbacks of approximately 60 pages each - one of those little books is Under the Clock by Tony Harrison. So what has he been up to lately? Nothing much good I must say. This is another batch of mostly rhymed, formal poetry with political themes. Iraq, of course, 9/11 of course, some private reminiscing he tries to give a wider appeal & so on & so forth. The main problem though, as I see it, is that this time, it doesn't sing, swing or kick. These poems sit down in the boat, they don't even nibble at a finger. This is the first book I've read by him which didn't produce a giggle, or a feeling that this I want to quote, or that. To put it bluntly: Penguin did not do Tony Harrison a service by accepting this book for publication

Friday, July 08, 2005

Evan Hunter, alias Ed McBain etc, né Salvatore A. Lombino (15/10-1926 - 7/7-2005). We will have to see if he got to kill Steve Carella, as he said he would in the last chapter of the last 87th precinct novel which was to be called Exit & published posthumously.
Why do so many good writers die at age 78?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Some music. Some of my favourite songs would be, & would have been for some fifteen years or so; Violent Pacification, Snap, I'd Rather Be Sleeping & Fun & Games

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


by hand or scissors or knife
or razor or trimmer or
terror or sorrow (greying first
then falling as if by age) or
wax or fire or scalping or
wind or shampoo or simply
by ignoring it long enough

Monday, July 04, 2005

Julia Mayhew is a ten years old girl writing some cool poetry. Found her through Ron Sillimans blog. Also learned recently that Michael Rothenberg, environmentalist & fine poet, is editing a complete collected poems of Philip Whalen. That is one book I'm waiting for

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Duration press, edited by Jerrold Shiroma, have started a new e-book series, on poetics. This is in addition to their very fine seies of e-chapbooks & their print translation chapbooks. They will also start an electronic newsletter "on the new poetries of France". The first book in the poetics series is focused on translation & is titled towards a foreign likeness bent. Normally I don't read much theory, but this book contains work by a few poets whose work I find s(t)imulating. Charles Bernstein writes about what appears to be one of his favourite subjects; homophonic translations - that is, translations by sound rather than lexical meaning. In the process he says several useful things about what is normally known as translation as well. One of the most interesting things is he suggests "taking translation as its own medium, not merely a genre of poetry: what is the translation doing that can't be done in any other medium?" This is truly food for thought for someone who dabbles in both poetry & translation. I may return with a meditation on that question in a not too distant future. Ryoko Sekiguchi writes on self translation, which she has practiced from the Japanese to the French with her rather mesmerizing poetry. Interestingly enough the text is translated into english by Chet Wiener. She says that in self translation "translation and writing are combined". Yes, probably, but that might be even more valid for someone writing in a language they don't really know, as many exiled writers are forced to do, unless they choose silence or wait for someone else, who hopefully knows the original language. Sawako Nakayasu writes about, among other things, "speaking Japanese and then moved to the U.S. and spoke English and was writing in English and it was strange." There is an essay, or another duration press anthology, lurking in that statement, the strangeness & possibilities in writing in your second language. She also writes about choosing to translate experimental writing & a bit about how she does it, for example that she often, when forced to choose, chooses to try to save sound "because it is such a large part of what makes poetry feel like poetry, and because it is a large part of the pleasure I find in the task of translating." Also, I might add, a large part of her own poetry, & of the pleasure of translating it. Further in the book, Jonathan Skinner has an essay on & translations of some provencal toubadour poets. & most everybody else does what they're supposed to.