4 ago. 2005

Increasingly I'm writing in suites or sequences of short poems. The original model for this (in my case at least) is certain medium-length poems by Kenneth Koch. "The Aesthetics of ......" But I want the individual poems to be more differentiated in style and voice and genre. The first poem I wrote in this style was "Sunday Morning," published in The Hat. The next was The Thelonious Monk Fake Book, which was much longer. I'm envisaging a book containing three or four of these mini-books. The next is going to be composed of more lyrical poems, without the prose or the centos mixed in. A little more uniformity of tone, perhaps.

(Come to think of it, I've done this more in the past than realize. I just never thought of it as the organizing principle. And there are other models besides Koch. Spicer and David Shapiro come to mind. However, Kenneth Koch is the number 1 influence on my poetry and always has been. It's not that I think of him as the greatest poet of our period--that might be Frank O'Hara, but Koch is the one I feel closest too myself. Maybe it's the anxious heterosexuality, I don't know. Because I'm most interested in Koch, I don't tend to write poetry that's "difficult." In fact, I think "mainstream" readers would like my work if I could get it out to them, and they could stop reading their damned Louise Gluck for a moment and pay attention. That's why I send poems off to "mainstream" publications. I believe in a sort of immediate emotional pay-off. The intellectuality has to be there too, but mainly in the form of "smartness," sharpness of attitude. I hate versified "ideas.")

I write extremely short poems anyway, but have needed to find a structure intermediate between the very short poem and the 70-page "Book-Length Manuscript." In fact, maybe my next mini-sequence should be called "Book-length Manuscript." NOBODY STEAL THIS TITLE PLEASE: I thought of it first. It's sort of a joke in academia. I don't have a book yet, we say, but I am working on a "book-length manuscript."

5 comentarios:

Gary dijo...

Dude, I am so stealing that title!


by Gary Sullivan

Part exploration of "the book," part romp through the National Union Catalog, Gary Sullivan's brilliant Book-Length Manuscript may be the most important book since Howl. It may also just be another head-scratcher from the 'post-generation' generation.--Ron Silliman

"Simply the best book-length manuscript that he has."--John Ashbery

Jonathan dijo...

I knew Gary would want to steal it, that's why I said "Do Not Steal this title." Here's another title for Gary:

Please Do Not Steal This Title

Gary dijo...


by Jonathan Mayhew

"The ingenuously tantalizing Mayhew writes like an Auden or Wheelwright sent through the digestive tract of Steve Levine. His work asks, repeatedly, 'elsewhere/ the snow is/ shimmering/ please// please do not/ steal this title.' The poet's paranoia is for once justified in this case, viz. last season's Hey, Would You Please Give Me My Fucking Title Back (Berrigan, Edge), Stealing All My Titles (Mohammad, Combo Books), and my own Are You Finished Stealing My Title Yet? Because, Um, I'd Like To Use It For My Own Book-Length Manuscript (Sullivan, Faux Online). But Mayhew, in this extraordinary testament to good manners and tact, exposes all of us for what we are: Crud. Vicious, thoughtless, thieving crud."--Gary Sullivan

"Simply the best stolen title that we have."--John Ashbery

Jordan dijo...

Help.. choking.. laughing too hard..

shanna dijo...

oh ho ha ha hee