some poetry, politics & what have you

Monday, March 31, 2008

andy gricevich has some fine new poems up at dromedaires

Friday, March 28, 2008

dear friends & colleagues. now death is announced on the by the skin of me teeth blog. as barely available. so jack be nimble, jack be quick if you want a piece of the candle stick (& don't you just love kevin's description of the press?). what's up next?

amy king has moved

pfs post & realpoetik are on a roll

geert wilders
(google him for yourselves) is just a fucking eejit. the thing is that he balances on the border where stupidity could become a crime against humanity. i will not write about my view on "islam" except to say my opinion differs from his. strongly

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

among my bookshelves are four little publications by jonathan ball. three chapbooks & one folded broadside. they are both individually & collectively interesting. kanada, his first novel may well be something quite apart. the first chapter in which i is silent is recently out from no press in an edition of 40. it concerns i's graduation, mostly. it's exceedingly clear it's a poet's prose with an enormous attention to detail & the workings & (im)possibilities of language & narrative. no wonder it's growing slowly. i do however think it will be worth the wait. the archimedes chapter of pi is a neat little chap from by the skin of me teeth press, as is always the case with that press, in a run of 52. i read this as visual poetry (& so, as he said in an email, does jonathan) although it's made from blocks of letters, which if read/scan them with some attention yield short words in a few languages. on now to to his wolves, it seems there will only be the two parts that are published. wolves (reve(a)led) first published online by yours truly & later printed as a simple folded broadside in 40 copies. & wolves (lone.ly) published as a beautiful little chapbook by bookthug. what he has done is to simply take the the word wolves & run it through existing texts (& formal processes), in the case of (reve(a)led) the book of revelations. the poems coming out of the process are a couple of the most beautiful & challenging i've read in recent years. &, on a tangent, i don't know what the canadian relationship to wolves is, but i do know the average swede hates, fears & despises them. so we have been taught by a large part of our classic fairy-tales. but apart from that, because it may not be relevant, they are worth our attention. now, the total? a lot larger than the sum of the parts. & sometime in a not too distant future bookthug (once again) will release 1% of the king james bible co-authored by jonathan & kevin mcpherson eckhoff. i think i may want to read that

Monday, March 24, 2008

it seems rob mclennan liked my little shakespeare-beating. yay

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"bertold brecht
brecht told bert"

the boy bands have won. that's the short version of the title of the new album by chumbawamba, the english anarchist collective/band who have been releasing albums for nearly 25 years. the last few years they have been going acoustic, taking another logical step from the rather disorganized punk band they started out as. the logical final step would be to release an album of silence, although i would not support that venture. i simply like the sounds they make too much. & i don't think they ever intended to let the boy bands get an easy victory, if a victory at all. there are 25 songs on this album, ranging from the very short to the more traditional pop song format, from the elegiac to the wild. touching on things such as myspace, waitresses, lord bateman & john barleycorn, the mexican tale of a rebel surviving the firing-squad. & as usual a great deal more. there's one song in particular i would like to comment on, because it immediately went & engaged my whole being. it's called sing about love & is built on the principle of "i don't want to sing about...//i wish i could sing about love" with the song ending "so i'll sing them & sing them/'til there's no need to sing them/& then i can sing about love". first it's such a pitch-perfect way to express desire for a different world order. & second it's such a lovely tribute to noam chomsky, who on occasion has said things to the effect that he wishes he could simply be a linguist but the world keeps interfering forcing him to do all these other things. & third it's just plain beautiful. true, when it comes to singing acapella chumba are no steeleye span, but then again not too many are. & maybe that point is irrelevant. to finish i'd like to quote fine line in its entirety

"those who stand accused
& those who point the finger
are closer than you like to believe"

Friday, March 21, 2008

retiring an artist
i.m hugo claus

another white
knight comes
crashing in from the
plains not knowing
he's really a

& from a land not
that much lower a
heathen just a little
behind his tail
trailing his tale

chasing claustrophobic
countrysides craving
innocent (or so
they like to think)

& he belongs not in
his own words to
a country but to a

or more to the
point that language be
longs to him & who
ever else likes to
claim it

& claims are laid &
baited for the approaching
of the hour

saying thanks but no
thanks to the offer of
prayer for the sinners
so called strike up a
tune instead

& a cobra takes
off into a canvas

Sunday, March 16, 2008

20 years to the day since Halabja

Monday, March 10, 2008

i just finished reading bill pronzini's nightcrawlers. it's one of the latest in his long-running series of nameless detective novels the first of which was published in 1971. i have read nine or ten earlier books in the series, including shackles, a story he references on occasion in subsequent books & a classic in the field. & the most claustrophobic (crime) story i've read & almost unbearably so. & without spoiling anyone's reading of that one, the shackles of the title are very literal. anyway, it turns out our nameless detective isn't all that nameless any more. his first name is bill

one way to distinguish a good (crime) novelist from a not so good one is to see how they make use of the book format. give both of them 300 pages, which nowadays isn't a whole lot. the not so good one needs all that space for one story, or in some cases part of one. that's it. the good one may easily fit two or three stories into that space. if they're ed mcbain they might also throw a potential novel away in a couple of lines within one of the stories of the novel at hand. in nightcrawlers pronzini doesn't go quite that far, but he keeps three good stories going simultaneously. one about a couple of queer-bashers, one about a partner in nameless' detective agency who goes missing & one about a dying old pulp writer. in the first two we get to know almost immediately who the guilty ones are. in the last one we don't even know there is a crime until the very end. as bill says in the book. "timing". pronzini is a master of timing. when to give what away. when to tighten the screws & when to loosen them. & how to do it. there's also an economy to the story-telling that i find enviable. & very rare in contemporary crime writing (& in narrative prose of any kind). there are others in the field whose language is more of a tangible delight, james crumley comes to mind, as does sara paretsky & denise mina & marcia muller, who also happens to be married to pronzini, but there's a rhythm to his language that is a rare & a precious thing. & not just in nightcrawlers, but in most of the other books by him i've read. which, if i haven't already said so, are well worth your while

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

a sweet sequence, insomnia auditions by christopher rizzo is first up at my new mag dromedaries. submissions are by invitation only

& i have a new chapbook, death is
, out from by the skin of me teeth press.