Been spending most of my time working on the book manuscript, which has left little time for blogging. This is my first book, and assembling poems in an order is a bigger challenge than I had thought. My goal is a solid 48-56 pages, without sections. The three-section method of organizing books of poems seems overused now - more of a publishing convention than anything else. Glancing over the poetry shelf nearby, I see a couple titles where the sectioning makes sense: Pattiann Rogers' "Geocentric," a relatively short book in four sections, and Beth Ann Fennelly's "Open House," the latter of which I will blog about one of these days.


Referring to Nagarjuna, Leslie Scalapino discusses Buddhist ideas of emptiness and the nature of phenomena ("Perception is phenomena."), then: "Poetically in present-time this suggests to me writing that is its syntactical and structural motion (doesn't exist -- 'there' at any place as a sole entity in the series or sequence or whole -- nor in any other form than its moves) by not asserting its content simultaneously or sequentially. Authority is ignorance. One is to find out what's there, as occurrence."

It suggests something like that to me as well, but I'm skeptical - as I've said before - of any attempt to delineate it, my own attempts included. There is a vast difference between religious ideas and religious practice - particularly meditative or contemplative practices. I've alread backspaced over half a dozen attempts at this paragraph.


Because of my interest in Zen I finally got around to Leslie Scalapino's Public World/Syntactically Impermanence. I was curious (and a bit skeptical) about it, but she makes some interesting connections, which I will come back to in another post later today. I also picked up Susan Howe's Europe of Trusts and Rae Armantrout's Veil, New and Selected. There's a haunting kind of tension in Armantrout as well as a humor that is not always immediately apparent, if my first reading of these poems is at all just.


Yes, Joe, I saw the Land Rover ad and found it disturbing. I went to their web site and told them so. Can you imagine that spot with the "Pope-mobile" instead? There'd be calls for a boycott as we speak.


I appreciate John Everhardt's post on Ashbery and share some of his thoughts, but my question of 6.18 was more about Gioia, in the context of recent discussions on traditions. Something about saying that Poet X is "wonderful" so long as Poet X know's Poet X's place bothers me, unless I'm reading too much into Gioia's comment. His assertions often strike me as those of a debate-team captain, who arrives with a stack of notecards from which he will not deviate.


Question for my fellow bloggers. What do you think of this comment from Dana Gioia in the short piece on Ashbery from "Can Poetry Matter?"

"[Ashbery] is a wonderful minor poet but an uncomfortable major one."

Been working on the poetry ms, which is why I have not posted in the last few days. Today the book is half as long and twice as bad as it was yesterday. Note the new blog, HatStuck, linked at right.


The idea of tradition - at least as far as constructing lineages from writer to writer to writer - still strikes me as somewhat artificial, which I suppose is why I'm suspicious of anthologies. Question: if the post-avant attitude towards tradition is one based on a shared general attitude towards art (make it different) as opposed to one of values applied to specific modes (new old formalism), why call it a tradition? And if it is a tradition, is Charles Bernstein "traditional?" Or am I just nit-picking?

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