30 sept 2005

I'd rather write a long poem that ends up being something significant through sheer accumulation or accident.

I have no wish to do a project that starts up as a long pretentious plan of action, of which I have to fill in the parts.

Is there any difference between these two things? Why do I reject willfulness? Poems that proclaim their own importance?

I hate the idea of having an "obras completas." Yet not having an oeuvre is as worse than having one. You must shoulder your own narcisissm, take responsibility for it. Do people dream of being part of the Library of America? Is that Rachel Blau du Plessis' ambition?

Can you imagine someone kept up at night by the doubt of whether he is a major poet or not? That sort of willful canonicity doesn't bother me in some poets, but does in others. Why is that?

I'd love to do a medium-length poem in collaboration with someone else. Why is collaboration impossible. The narcissism of poets? Who is my poetic soul-mate? Whom can I trust?

29 sept 2005

I got the new chapbook by Kate Greenstreet, "Learning the Language." The first poem in there is the one I published over at The Duplications. Thanks for the book Kate.


New York trip November 2. How am I going to get a hotel? It's the week of the New York Marathon.

28 sept 2005

My confession: I'm not interested in Bob Dylan in the slightest. I can't force myself to watch more than five minutes of a documentary about BD. I don't even dislike him that strongly. Me tiene sin cuidado. I don't even lament the fact that he is significant to a lot of people, of which I am not one. He has cultural significance galore. I'm not interested in things that have cultural significance in this way, I guess. There is a lot of music influenced by Dylan too, and I'm not interested in any of this either, I'm sorry to say.

27 sept 2005


Juuiac, huuacc, mqqrsty, svvnehy!

Grryystc um grymmtc, drrvvwwp.

Hooxxk crck?

Smbbdmm, lsstm.

26 sept 2005

Take Kenneth Koch's "The Art of Poetry." Most of the advice he gives is actually quite sincere and heart-felt, but the tone is "mock-earnest." He is parodying at least two genres at once (self-help and how-to literature along with the classical ars poetica), but he actually means what he says. The miscellaneous organization of the advice comes right from Horace, I imagine, but results in odd shifts of tone in the "postmodern" context. That is, the meaning of the disjunctions is different for Horace and Koch. The poem woudn't work without this ironic dimension--the prosaic language he falls into at times would be seen as simply prosaic, not prosaic-ironic. So he feints in the direction of irony in order to achieve a sincerity that cannot be got at "straight." It must be told slant, on the bias.

When he tries to do a similar thing in Making Your Own Days in straight-ahead prose, there is an element missing. The flatness of the instruction manual at times threatens to make this book difficult to swallow without imagining a different audience: one that would not feel condescended to by it.
Here's my stab at irony, discussed over at limetree.

Irony is about contradiction. There is a contradiction between two perspectives, and this contradiction is manifested as some sort of dissonance. It is not surprising that people use "irony" to refer simply to something unexpected or incongruous. Situational irony is simply the gap in perspective between expectations and results.

There is widespread tonal irony in contemporary literature that is characterized by a more diffuse or multidirectional clash in perspectives. This is known as postmodern irony and can take many forms. For example, I might not just say the opposite of what I mean (classic verbal irony) but rather

take a tone that is incongruous with the subject matter, treating it less seriously or more seriously than it deserves

pretend to invest affect in something that I don't actually care about that much, or adopt a "cool" affect in relation to something I do care about

take a "knowing" tone toward something I know nothing about: faux sophistication

take an "unknowing" tone toward something I do know about

adopt a tone that does not reveal what I really think about what I am saying, or mix several tones together

satirize something I really love, with the understanding that everyone understands that I love it and that the irony is directed against myself

parody "blankly," without any affect that reveals how I really feel about what I am parodying

parody so viciously that it becomes a parody of someone with a parodic attitude

use a tradition parodically, showing that I don't really respect its conventions, but adhering to these conventions enough so as to create doubt in the reader's mind as to what my true attitude is

The forms of insincerity are multiple. Nobody could list them all. Postmodern irony is metaliterary, in that it makes references to the literary discourses and traditions used. There is always some ambiguity about which direction the irony is pointed in. And it usually involves a particular tonal modulation that is more subtle than rank sarcasm.
The Duplications

I have David S. at The Duplications today. If all goes well I'll have Tony T. (Towle not Tost) soon. (Of course, Tost is quite welcome too.)

I need some quietudinous work too. Something that has cross-over appeal and that you think I might like.

25 sept 2005

Pope bans "sexuals" from ordination as priests

Applicants with "sexual' tendencies won't be admitted to seminaries

Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document that bans men with sexual tendencies from being ordained as priests, reports Catholic World News. Henceforward, only completely asexual men--men evincing no sexual urges at all--will be eligible for the priesthood.

The policy statement is a direct result of the pope's concern about the pedophilia scandal in the church ? especially in the U.S.

The text, approved by Benedict at the end of August, says that sexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate and refrain from spanking the monkey, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder that detracts from their ability to serve as ministers. "We are not discrinating againt homosexuals or heterosexuals per se," clarified Pope Razzi, "but against sexuality itself. There is a a disturbing 'culture of heterosexuality' in contemporary culture that is perhaps even more pervasive than the traditional 'culture of homosexuality' that we as a church have traditionally promoted. The church will henceforward be a haven for asexuality. Only truly asexual men can be expected to understand the church's teachings on sexuality, rooted as they are in the darkest period of the 'dark ages.' In retrospect, it was probably a mistake for us to allow sexuals in the church in the first place."

As a symbolic gesture, the Pontiff is donating his personal copies of "Penthouse Forum" and "Leather Boys" to the International Red Cross. He also promised that from this point forward he would be "master of [his] own domain."

Priests who have already been ordained, if they suffer from sexual impulses, are strongly urged to renew their dedication to chastity and a manner of life appropriate to the priesthood.

23 sept 2005

The reading went very well. Sitting on the floor room only at the Raven Bookstore, this tiny little store that sells a lot of mystery novels, and has stayed in business despite being across the street from Borders. There must have been 100 people crammed in there. David Perry came in from KC. Monica Peck flew in from San Francisco to read.

My Monk material went over well. It's interesting how presenting material to an audience changes your perception of it. My poetry depends a lot on tone of voice, so the transition from page to voice wasn't too hard. I got a few laughs, no sighs.
Slogans to live by:

Cada loco con su tema.

La loca en su casa sabe más que la cuerda en casa ajena.

No good deed goes unpunished.

De mortuis, nihil nisi bonum dicendum est.
Come through the torrential rain to see me read at the Raven Bookstore tonight at 7:30. (With a few other co-conspirators: Irby, McCrary, Roitman.) I promise not to do all those embarrassing poet things: explain my poems, ask if I have time for one more, fumble through pages, clear my throat, sit on a shelf, use the "poet voice," refer to myself as a "poet," not know my poems, read for too long. (Good thing I read Mairead's little essay last night.) I will not bore you, preach to you, evoke those little poetry reading "sighs."

Especially not those little sighs. Anyone who sighs like that will be ejected from the reading. They are like these little annoying sighing semi-orgasmic grunts really, when there's some poignant moment in the poem. Don't you hate that? No wonder people have contempt for poetry.

There will be no poignancy. I promise not to use the words "lucent" or "opalescent." No "poetry words." I will not be sincere, or insincere. I will not sing coloratura. I will not bring my conga drum. You will not weep during my reading. You will go away happy from it. You won't feel compelled to stand up and say "You make me sick with all your talk about restraint and mature talent."

I will, on the other hand, read a part of my major new medium-length poem The Thelonious Monk Fake Book.

And, of course, there's Ken Irby. It's intimidating to follow him.

22 sept 2005

Jordan mentioned "A Cloud in Trousers." Here are poems "of a certain length" that I like:

Ill Seen Ill Said [not a poem maybe? but who cares?]
The Morning of the Poem [and all the rest of JS' longer poems]
Don de la ebriedad
A Handbook of Surfing
Piedra del sol
Radi os
Paisaje con pájaros amarillos
Many poems by Kenneth Koch in this category, too numerous to name
All of Basho's renga sequences

I like the "long poem" that's actually fairly short. Something you can read in an hour. In other words, not the Cantos or the Canterbury Tales or Paradise Lost or the Iliad. But not a poem that fits on one or two pages and can be read in five minutes. They are not long poems but poems "of a certain length." 20 or 30 pages is ideal. Read these and you will be happy. Very very happy. Just thinking that these poems exist makes me happy. If you read these and are still not happy I will buy you a beer at the AWP.
Sonny Clark. Check it out. Very straightforward post-bebop with clean lines derived from Bud Powell. His trio work with Philly Joe Jones and Paul Chambers. Chambers is my favorite bass player, and, reportedly, Coltrane's favorite as well. Philly Joe is perhaps the best drummer imaginable for this particular group. Basically anything Rudy Van Gelder recorded for Blue Note in this period is golden. I looked at my cd collection the other day and realized it was ninety percent Blue Note.

It's not transcendent music like Coltrane. It's a different kind of thing.

My favorite Coltrane album is "Coltrane's Sound." I'm finding I'm preferring this straightforward jazz "blowing" to the bombastic spirituality of "A Love Supreme" and "Crescent." Maybe it's because I've been listening to "A Love Supreme" every day for two weeks.

And Morton Feldman's string quartet with piano, recently released, from the Kronos Quartet. I can't get enough of that either. If you like loud, fast, bombastic music only, you won't like this one. It's slow, soft, long, and repetitive--and utterly captivating.
I need some more poems.

Send them to me.

I won't name names this time.

It did work--I got poems from people I named.

But it felt a little weird. For me and for you.

If I asked you for poems before, and you haven't sent them to me, you can still send them to me.

It's a good time, because I haven't been getting anything this week.

When this (The Duplications) becomes a famous journal, it will be harder to get into it. I will accept .0001%. Right now it is relatively easy. I can accept 50% and come up with four or five good poems a week. The best five I've published so far could be in the BAP next year. I won't tell you which five though. I'd like to award a prize to the best poem of the month not written by my daughter. You can put that on your c.v. The Duplications prize. However, I probably won't, on the "no good deed goes unpunished" principle.
What I'm most interested in--and this will come out in my talk Im giving 7 minutes from now--is how mutually contradictory and warring perspecties can exist. We call this "un diálogo de sordos" in Spanish. That is, how two groups of people can look at the same thing and come to radically distinct conclusions. I'm interested in the reasons people give, the style of argument deployed, on either side. The ideological presuppositions.

People on both sides of the debate can be well-meaning, intelligent, and talented. I'm more interested in seeing how the conflict arises than in winning the debate against the other side. Though I don't mind scoring a few points once in a while.
9:30-10:50 Spanish Grammar. Explain all 7 or 8 uses of the word "se" in Spanish.
11-12 Meeting of Graduate Council of the College of Liberal Arts
12-1-Give an informal talk on my own recently completed book on Spanish poetry in my own department.
1-2:30. Lunch. Prepare second class on Nada. Maybe write a blog entry.
2:30-3:50. Teach literature class.

Go home and rest for a while. Read some blogs. Prepare for Friday poetry reading.

6:30. Dinner with outside evaluator of the Latin American studies program.

21 sept 2005

Maybe we should go back to calling it Official Verse Culture. OVC. Or my favorite, the "period style."
Seth responds below to my comment about "invsibility." It's comment 7 and worth reading. He has some excellent points to which I try valiantly to respond.

20 sept 2005

There's still room at the Hilton as of half hour ago. I've never been to Austin before, or to an AWP meeting.

November NYC for the CCCP. I hope they accept my proposal.

MLA in Washington. Will someone let me know backchannel if any readings are being organized?
One characteristic of the customary way of doing things is its invisibility. That's why the SoQ doesn't exist, because it is simply a name for what normally goes without a name. It's only visible to those who don't belong to it. It's not that we don't LIKE it. I could like or dislike a poem whether it belongs to the SoQ or not.

Put another way--someone who claims to like poetry of all different types but in the end as an editor only publishes what I would consider SoQ. The claim rings hollow. Of course, this SoQ editor is an urban legend, like the cat in the microwave or the Community College narcissist-hoaxter-sociopath. We know these people don't exist. All resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

19 sept 2005

Still trying to figure out what any of this has to do with protective tarrifs on British grain. And tomorrow I won't even know what this sentence refers to.
Every dud poem in a magazine.... That's the way I think of it too, but it raises another question: did the editor know she was putting a dud poem in there? Or does he really think that the dud is a firecracker? Dull editors are nothing if not "sincere" in thinking they're putting on a quality show. They're just people with a dull attitude toward poetry.
We're reading on Friday to celebrate the Lawrence issue of Black Spring. At the Raven Book Store on 7th St. That's Lawrence, Kansas.

Speaking of the Lawerence poetic community, I suddenly realized today that I doubt if Ken Irby has ever read a poem I've written. At most, he's seen what I published in this issue of Black Spring. A combination of me not being the person to thrust my work at other people, and Ken not being the kind of person who asks to see what one has written. (If I've thrust my work at you on email in the last year that is uncharacteristic behavior on my part. I always feel weird about it. What is the ettiqutte here? I never know whether I know anybody well enough, even my best internet buddies.) I've never published in First Intensity either. Never submitted there. Never given a reading in Lawrence. Maybe because I'm a zombie when I'm here? Maybe that we don't do much as a "community" unless someone gets off their ass to do something. Lately it's been me bringing people like Ron Silliman and Jordan Davis in. Earlier it was Judy Roitman and others bringing in the likes of Bromige and Tills. Now it's McCrary organizing this event.

18 sept 2005

"Generic voices, formulaic poetry, and poems which adhere too narrowly to a single school are unlikely to appeal to the editors."

Unless, of course, it is the School of Q. The school which is not a "school," but simply the normal way of doing things. They are all very nice professional-sounding poems, but with a certain "sameness" to them. Indeed, it all sounds extremely "narrow," "generic," and "formulaic" to my ears. One cannot object to any of the poems, but simply to the (implied) claim that together they represent a broad spectrum of poetic styles and voices. The exclusion of "schools" is the classic ideological move, as one realizes once one starts thinking of what these other schools might be. There can be no allegiances, no affiliations--except to the mainstream, the normalized practice--whether "formal" or "free." I'm even sorry to have to repeat this same tired argument. Maybe someone will find it here for the first time.

17 sept 2005

New work by Murphy and Tsuchiya-Mayhew at The Duplications.
How do you pronounce the name of the city that was lost on Bush's watch?

1. NAW-luhns.
2. New-or-LEENS.
3. New OR-lee-uhns.
4. New OR-luhns.

I've always used 2 or 4. 1 sounds faux-Southern. 3 is NPR newscaster and responsible public official. I know there are more urgent issues to consider in times like these.
Since a favorite poem is by definition one that hasn't been written yet, here is my favorite poem. I will now write it. Then it won't be my favorite anymore, after it has been written. But it is my favorite now, as I am about to write it:


I have lost the ability to weep. Formerly I could weep quite easily--up to the age of thirty or so. Gradually, however, I lost the habit and the knack. I haven't wept since my cousin's wife died in 2001. I didn't know her well.

I hear they are offering classes. At the YMCA. Classes in weeping. In sweating and bleeding. Classes in godamn punctuation, for chrissake. In cursing and bleating.

But the classes in weeping are full! The laughter classes are full!

For weeping, now, special prophylactic devices are required. Weeping cannot be responsibly depicted without mention of these devices. You must sign a release form--before taking the class. Who is the Professor of Weeping? It could easily be me! Except that, despite my thirty years experience, I know longer know how to weep.

Who will take my class? Or should I be a mere disciple, study with some master weeper? At the godamn Y, for chrissake.

I hear they are offering classes. Classes at the YMCA. Classes in weeping...


There, it is no longer my favorite poem. It is now my fifth favorite poem.

15 sept 2005

I would never post a poem I had written and say "that one's my best." My reaction to others who have done so is, why would you want to do that? If someone didn't happen to like it, they wouldn't have to bother with the rest of your opus. After all, if "that" is the best you can do... Maybe I'm thinking about it perversely. Maybe it's the depression talking. Not wanting to open myself up to derision at this particular point in time. I'd rather say, "here's a poem, of course I've written much better ones..." When in doubt, reach for the false modesty.
The poetry we have is the poetry we deserve. It fulfills the functions we demand of it. It would not do a better job of meeting these needs and social functions if it were somehow "better."

Or is it that what we ask it to do makes it worse, acting a corrupting influence? We use it to credential teachers of writing, for example. For social intercourse and mutual gratification between friends. It is the basis of many narcissistic friendships. (I hope I don't have to explain that one.) It bears all sorts of ideological alibis.

I've always maintained (actually I haven't: I came up with this idea today) that you can't get rid of these secondary functions and just have a poetry free of all these burdens placed on it. The poetry that resulted would not only not be "better," but it simply wouldn't exist. You can't just have lipstick without lips.
Value Village Is Booby-Trapped!!

14 sept 2005

A few things I know how to do:

Make a perfect caldo gallego. Make a "tortilla española." Teach children to write poetry. Complete the Saturday NY Times Crossword in 40 minutes. Do sukoku puzzles. Recognize any jazz standard. Make C. Dale Young laugh out loud. Play a four-against-five polyrhythm. Memorize a sonnet in 15 minutes. Memorize the names of all my students the first week of class. Translate poetry from the Spanish. Irritate Tony Tost. Get academic articles published in specialized journals in my field. Write the perfect "tenure review letter." Speak in blank verse. Read French and Catalan. Play a "tumbao" on the congas. Write academic prose in Spanish. Explain the subjunctive for three hours straight without using any notes. Bore you to tears with my lecture on Thelonious Monk. Speak in public in either Spanish or English. Ride a bicycle. Make amusing lists. Write pantoums. Write parodies. Curse. Babysit a three-year-old child. Juggle. Juggle a soccer ball with my feet for 4 seconds. Make a copy of a drawing.

A few things I cannot do:

Fix anything mechanical. Play the piano. Tell a joke. Tolerate a poem by C.K Williams. Teach adults to write poetry (I never tried!). Keep my desk free of clutter. Act. Sing. Complete everything on a "to-do list." Listen to "books on tape." Sell anything to anyone. Tell anyone to do anything. Meet a deadline. Grade more than three papers in a row without my brain rebelling. Learn html code for indenting a line. Remember my students names a week after the semester is over. Get a book of poetry published. Make hollandaise sauce. Shoot a basket. "Turn" a double play. Play tennis. Understand hockey. Watch an entire football game from beginnning to end. Cut hair. Shave without cutting myself. Go a day without reading poetry. Relax. Give up my blog for a week. Publish in APR. Beat people up. Write a sonnet. Get a job at a "liberal arts institution." Surf. Make small talk with someone cutting my hair. Remember whether it's "Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon," or "Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger."

I guess I'll call it even, although somehow I think the things I know how to do are pretty useless--except for the caldo gallego of course, and a few things I cannot mention here. Tomorrow: things to do before I die.
There's a general problem with the poems originally in English in the New England Review -- they all have that strained wispy poetry aroma to them, like we're supposed to get excited about ordinary events observed ordinarily by not particularly excited people.

Just thought I'd take note of this, since the post is going to self-destruct in 3 hours.

[UPDATE] And in fact already has self-destructed.
At The Duplications I've got kari edwards, Noah Eli Gordon, and T-Rob. Plus, going back a few more days, E-Tab and T-Beck, KSM, and Kate Greenstreet. Read these poems while the ink is still wet.

In other news, I will be going to AWP in Austin to participate in a panel on Kenneth K, along with some people who know a lot more about Kenneth's work that I do. Though in devotion to KK I am second to almost nobody.
There are those whose fatuous self-regard
Provokes tears of anger in their compatriots:
One such is I; the texture of my nights
Leaves behind ravaged limps and lips.

13 sept 2005

Blog Heaven

I wake up and check Silliman's blog. It is about me, about how I am the best poet to do whatever it is I do: exactly that thing that I do, nobody does better. Nine poets who are also bloggers have accepted my poems today. Nine others write in agreeing with Silliman. Curtis loves my work and Mike Snider wants to give me a hug. I will be in Shampoo, Octopus, No Tell Motel, CWHOBB, and the Canary. I am on all the crush lists. I will be in the 2006 BAP, edited by David Lehman and Gary Sullivan. I play a minor but flattering role in a Jim Behrle Cartoon. Latta's blog has disappeared. Gabe Gudding can no longer stand Kent Johnson. I am going to NYC in November.

Well, at least some of this is true.
Of course, CCCP is the Soviet Union in cyrllic script. I guess you knew that. isn't that cute. Not really.
I'm going to the CCCP thing in New York in November, if they accept me and if my school forks up the cash.
The BAP 05 doesn't look good. Not that I've looked at it for very long, but surely the format itself is due a revision. What's so sacred about 75 poems in alphabetical order? I'm sure there are some worthy poems by my blogging buddies, a little essay about the very act of choosing these poems and what it means for The State of Poetry Today. I'm just bored with the very idea of buying the BAP and discussing the poems. I'll let Behrle do it this year. His idea of crossing out most of the poems and scanning the results is brilliant, even though I am generally in the pro-pantoum crowd.
Why is it that I want to resist all pretentiousness, all unnecessary verbiage, in critical response? Maybe because I am an academic and am reacting against my own ambience. I already own this pretentious language, I don't need to acquire it for professional legitimacy, so I can afford to run away from it. Someone else looking at it from the outside in might see at as an object of desire, a way of being taken more seriously perhaps.

I hate handwringing and apologizing for my critical reactions. My reactions are my own. I own them. I don't need to examine their provenance or situate myself in an anguished or supercomplicated way.


I got rejected from a few SoQ Venues recently, like the New England Review. My experiment was to see whether I had crossover appeal. Apparently I don't. But more importantly, I am not sure I have appeal even within the anti-SoQ camp. That is, I have also been rejected by journals where I might fit in stylistically quite well. The difference is between batting .000 in the SoQ and about .400 in the non SoQ. I am Ted Williams against left-handed pitchers but hitless against righties.

12 sept 2005

What interests me in Ange Mlinko's poetry--one of the things that interests me--is the effect of emotional distancing. There's an indirection, a reticence, reminiscent of early John Ashbery. It's not an absence of emotion, but rather a certain coolness. For example, the poem "The Girl With the Black Square Hair":

It was a more sensuous oppression back then.
Now summer is a long illness; confined to the room

was the air-conditioning unit, notebook my birdbath
(come, invisible birds) where are my special

solar eclipse sunglasses? Left in the long grasses
of the Île de Batz. One cannot close a park;

I am reassured of its longueurs extending into the night,
for I have seen its gaslamps on past noon

but also great liberal jurisprudence.
The adult sibling finds it unremarkable

there used to be jacqueries and fires and demi-vierges.
It's currently the year Contemplative is overrated.

You should still be able to appreciate the Maleviches;
it is usually the middle child who is supersititious.

It has that cultivated NY School feel to it, for sure. Surely the poetic "charge" comes not from the inventive use of vocabulary alone but from the implied emotional tonalities in these words. The wistfulness of "special / solar eclipse sunglasses" or "adult sibling." The irony is not overdone, because it's not a matter of words saying the opposite of what they mean, but of simply leaving behind a certain residue of dissatisfaction (or muted satisfaction) with life. Needless to say, the title is brilliant for this poem, and the poem is perfect for the mood I'm in today. I am the middle child.

10 sept 2005

Isn't satire supposed to be funny and intelligent? Otherwise it's just crap.
Conchology: Literary Narcissism and the Manufacture of Scandal

Bravo, GG.

9 sept 2005

Submissions for TD have died down a bit, so I need to reiterate the fact that I need your poems. Especially if your name is

Bob Basil, Tony Towle, Jordan Davis, Lisa Jarnot, Danielle Pafunda, Barbara Guest, Nada Gordon, Rachel Loden, Tony Robinson, Laura Carter, Gary Sullivan, Ron Silliman, Juliana Spahr, Sarah Manguso, Douglas Rothschild, David Shapiro, Frank O'Hara, Eileen Tabios, Cecil Taylor, Henry Gould, John Ashbery, or Tom Beckett, That's just off the top of my head, so don't worry if your name is not on this list.

I know you might have more "important" magazine to submit to. Don't let me get in the way of your Nobel prize. Seriously, though, I think TD has the potential for gaining a certain following. It already has published more worthwhile poems than the entire Sept. Poetry.

8 sept 2005

I sometimes post nasty stuff and then delete it soon after. So if you read this blog right now you might be getting something that might not be here later.
Certain people are simply toxic. They are narcissistic and passive-aggressive, with delusions of grandeur. Everything is about "them." They will waste your time and energy in pointless and trivial squabbles, and imagine that other people spend all their time plotting their downfall. They will accuse you of all their own worst flaws. Disloyal, they will demand loyalty from their friends, who are called upon to take their side in some other pointless squabble. They will do small "favors" for you to create a sense of endebtedness. They are no respecters of boundaries. They will beg you to tell them what you think of their work, then use whatever you say as ammunition against you. They will pretend that they welcome negative criticism "in the spirit of open dialogue," then scream bloody murder when anything negative is actually said. They will say, no, I really enjoy it when people make fun of me. I have a sense of humor, I can laugh at myself. I am humble and am the first to poke fun at myself. But of of course they don't really mean one word of this. They wonder why people don't always like them. Maybe it's because they are so virtuous that they threaten the corrupt status quo. Yes, that must be it. People who don't like them are by definition motivated by base instincts. They are an evil cabal organized to persecute such unworldly virtue. It couldn't be that these people are former "friends" who have gotten sick of this toxic behavior!

They think they are Laura Friggin Jackson and will write letters of rectification or correction to magazines, or, even worse, get their friends to do the same. They claim credit for the ideas of Roland Barthes. If you wrote a poem with a particular idea, they anticipated this idea in a poem they wrote a year before. They will say, I liked your poem, it reminds me of a poem I wrote, in fact. Everything is about them, you see.

Their friendliness is but a ruse, a way of getting into your good graces so that they can start their toxic behavior all over again. If you let them insinuate themselves into your life again, watch out!

Fortunately, I have to say, I don't know anybody like this. I imagine people like this must exist somewhere, but maybe this is just an urban legend, like the cat in the microwave.
They are Spanish majors. They don't like grammar, particularly. Don't bother them with the fine points of linguistic analysis. They can't be bothered with writing a correct sentence. They're not in it for the literature. "No me gusta la literatura." Maybe they like "culture." What did you like about your study abroad experience?--"the bars." Imbibing alcohol in a foreign country, that is so different from imbibing alcohol in Lawrence KS. What a wonderful cultural experience.

Of course, the top 20% of the majors do like literature, at least enough to keep class discussion from dying; they do want to learn to write a sentence without an error every other word.

7 sept 2005

Up at the top, Ricardo Aleixo, trans. KSM,

Jim Behrle's blog today has a the phrase: "Our Safeword: 'Mayhew'!" upfront. I have no idea what this means. I've only received 2% of the vote in the recent poll. Obviously you don't know what I look like--or I would have received even less. Don't even ask why I have blazer thrown over my zildjian tee-shirt. It was not a good wardrobe day. I usually don't dress like that. (Well, actually I do...)

6 sept 2005

A succint summary of Fence's brazen market strategy here from "Jane Dark".
A couple of people have commented that I make blogging about poetry seem "natural." I never thought about it like that myself, but I'll gladly accept the compliment.


A nice poem by Kate Greenstreet added over the holiday weekend to The Duplications. I've probably rejected a few I could easily have accepted. Editor's remorse.

5 sept 2005

Today is the third anniversary of this blog, founded on Sept. 5, 2002. Around the same time Jordan Davis, Gary Sullivan, and Henry Gould started theirs, shortly after Silliman. This was the real beginning of the blog phenomenon in poetry land, although Duemer had his for a year or so before.

3 sept 2005

I'm translating another collaborative work, "Tensó" by Claudio Rizzo and Leopoldo María Panero. I'm drawn to collaborations as a translator because then I can be the third collaborator. The authorship of the text seems more open when it is already a collaboration. I just realized this. I haven't heard from Lola and Amalia yet about Fascicle. Of course August is vacation month in Spain and nobody checks email.


Looking for a naked woman for the cover of The Duplications. (Just kidding). What I really want is for women to submit to it. I'm getting a lot of guy-type people and not so many women.


A hint on comment spam in blogger. Turn on word verification in the comment preferences under "settings." Then anyone will have to type a word in to leave a comment, avoiding systems that automatically put out spam-comments for internet gambling, prescriptions, irrelevant websites generally.

You can also see if the comment spammer has a blogger profile and go to his/her blog and leave nasty comments there. Little good that will do, but it feels good. I've done it following links from Tony's and C. Dale's blogs, in between translating these weird poems.


Last but not least, if I've amused or edified you this week, give to the Red Cross Katrina relief. Even if I've merely annoyed you, give to the Red Cross.

The Duplications.

I'm starting this magazine [today.] Send me your submissions if you think I'd like your poetry. I'm only publishing poems I like, not necessarily poets I like. That is, I might like you as a poet, but not like the particular poems you send me. Think of it as Little Emerson, but you don't have to please 9 editors, just satisfy the 9 outrageous exigencies of JM. In searching for a title, I looked over at my bookshelves and saw a copy of The Duplications. That's it! I said. This publication will duplicate the efforts of other existing magazines that I like.

I'm especially interested in poems that "duplicate" other poems in some way. Counter-discursive poems, faux-translations. I won't publish my own poetry, except for my own translations. No critical work or reviews.

Take your Journal Envy elsewhere. There is no way this is going to be better than Little Emerson, Fascicle, The Canary, The Hat, The Tiny, The Poker, Notell Motel, Call:Review, Shampoo, or Can We Have Our Ball Back?.

I tend to like short poems, and I tend to like poems that I would like to have written.

Publication in "The Duplications" carries no prestige whatever. You can publish here and then publish the same poem in a print journal later. I'll even delete it for you if the print editors care about such things.

I'll do it for as long as it works. Maybe 6 months, maybe 5 years.

2 sept 2005

Some guy I never heard of in APR, a former Creative Writing Bureaucrat apparently, is dissing language poetry for its lack of emotion. His poems, on the other hand, try hard for emotional effect but have no linguistic energy to make this emotion meaningful or truly "felt." There's nothing in the LANGUAGE.

And I just acquired a complete set of The Poker. An interview with Ange Mlinko in which she talks about reading mainistream journals as a kid, Poetry and so forth, and knowing that it wasn't "poetry," that it was mediocre and "middle-brow." Then picking up Creeley and knowing contemporary poetry was still possible.

1 sept 2005

I'm wondering if I should go to the AWP. Anyone have a panel with space for me. How is this done? I'm not even a member but I'm thinking this might be a way of meeting some old and new friends. Back-channel please.
I hate poignancy.