Thursday, December 30, 2004


Someone has done me the honour of translating my poem "Snow" into Dutch. Thank you, 1hundred1.



Binnen holle vermoeide klanken ben ik
voorzichtig met uitspraken

Wie kraakt niet?

mechanismen opgenomen in
hun omgeving

De droger is niet
meer alleen

De mensen glijden uit
over zichzelf

Niemand belazert
dit bedrijfssysteem

Het licht aan
in en uit

Here's the original:



Inside hollow tire sounds I’m
careful with sentences

Who isn’t knocking?

mechanisms built into
their surroundings

The dryer isn’t
lonely any more

People trip
over themselves

No one screws with
this operating system

The light on
in and out

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Thinking of a Martin Creed piece I saw at the Hamilton Art Gallery in which a couch is placed in the doorway of an empty room.

Thinking of a Martin Creed piece I saw at the Hamilton Art Gallery, in which a couch is placed in the doorway of an empty room.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

More catching-up thoughts

Grammar (not necessarily normative) may be the way through, or in between.

Yeah, but toward what?
Thinking about "ordinary flat language." Thinking about the disruptions (the spatial, the multi-dimensional) that, of necessity I think, occur within it and support it.

Within it.

In it.

"Yeah each way was still lit."

A day and a night at the movies

Saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou yesterday afternoon. I love Wes Anderson's deadpanning, not just in his dialogue but in the very structure of his films. You get halfway through before you realize how thoroughly ridiculous and tragic they are. Despite their comedic vocabulary, there's a glorious flatline feel to his films that allows their darkness to fester.

Also, revisiting the Criterion DVD By Brakhage. Watched Desistfilm, Wedlock House: An Intercourse, Window Water Baby Moving, and The Stars Are Beautiful. Thinking about the spotlighting in Wedlock House and how it folds into the (original) medium but of course not entirely.

More Pac-Mondrian

Heads-up reruns of yesterday's Times article in our very own Globe and Post.

Hey, while you're here, give the piece a play.

Monday, December 27, 2004

'Tis the season of the list sickness, but still it's nice to see Guy Maddin's mug in the pages of our paper of record. Careful is second on my list of all time favourite films. No, first.

Big news day for PBFB

Our friends the budgies make the Times. That's on top of appearances in the Star and Art News.

Also, I get a nice mention on Silliman's blog. I am a bit overwhelmed.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Happy birthday to Lisa

It's my partner Lisa's birthday! Happy birthday. Love you.

More on Mouré


This emotional current is pure reason. Before reasoning. Before the word "reasoning," which is only a social convention and has nothing to do with pure reason at all. The ordinary language is just a surface pushed up & flat from underneath. It contains the ordinary flat language, but not necessarily the converse.

Then Mouré problematizes:

If there is a name surface then what else is there. Is what is "different" from the surface depth or is it another surface.

But then:

The emotional "depth" under the surface is NOT the culture that occupies the page, with its easy affirmation.

But before that:

PURE REASON is, of its essence, UNreasonable; it can't be itself reasoned or it wouldn't be pure reason. PURE REASON is the source of our reasonableness; our reasonableness (which may or may not be "reasonable") is its flaw. A leak. An uncontrolled space, at the edge. Where the so-called "purity" is already broken.

Trying, between family functions, to determine whether Mouré is positing an essentialist (pure) emotional depth (or perhaps dancing nimbly to avoid doing so). In any case, an interesting argument to orient myself to, given her discussion of prepositions I've quoted below.

LATER: Of course puzzlement and exploration are possibilities, ones that are extremely live.

Friday, December 24, 2004

It was kind of a failure, due to the limitations of the elementary-school stage.

— Wes Anderson, in 2002, describing a stage version of Star Wars he mounted as a schoolboy in Texas

This from the sidebar next to the Globe's interview with the director about his film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I've got to say, as someone who saw Star Wars six times in the year of its release (I think it was only the second film I'd ever seen), who still owns all twenty volumes of the Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau encyclopedia set (though they're at my mom's), and who loved Bottle Rocket and Rushmore (I wasn't sure about The Royal Tenenbaums), I can't wait to see this film.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Dear loyal readers: I'm catching up on e-mail. Plus now I have to shovel snow. More here soon.

The pressure.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

How I get sidetracked

Okay, Dianne says she finds reading posts boring (she says she finds thinking about what she's reading boring, too), but here goes anyway.

After I posted the text for my talk to the Lexiconjury list (I'll post it here when I've revised it a bit), Katherine Parrish asked me if I'd read Erin Mouré's explorations of the preposition in her book Furious.

Let me lay some on you:

If the preposition can disturb the force of the utterance and phrase: this changes reading. Like the eye reads the TV screen: the screen's multiplicity of repetition creates the image for us, the image not On the screen but embedded IN the repetitions. The THING we are seeing is a MOTION. The Motion before the Name. The image/thing is not object, but act. Not act, but act act act &mdash a continual relation.

If we can read the page as the eye reads the screen. The act of speaking it. The kind of motion that our eyes read not Verb-al, but Preposition-al. On across under toward us...

It is the force of the preposition that alters place! Can its dis-placement of the noun/verb dis-place also naming, dis-placing reality? Even momentarily. Make a fissure through which we can leak out from the "real" that is sewn into us, to utter what could not be uttered in the previous structure. Where we have not been represented, except through Dominant (in this case, patriarchal) speaking, which even we speak, even we women.

I think I'll put Philosophical Investigations to the side for a little while.

This, followed by a rereading of Twilight of the Idols and Beyond Good and Evil, thanks to Neil Hennessy.

Records I've tried to like #1

Bows + Arrows = Rattle and Hum with a cowlick? I just can't trust it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Thanks to Jordan Davis for his mention of my book on his blog.

I hope it's not unseemly to say this in the same post, but if you're looking for wide-ranging, intelligent and well-disposed coverage of the New York City poetry scene, Jordan is your man. Also, check out his reviews in the Village Voice. And take a peek at his attempt to write a million poems, a sample of which is in his excellent book.

Listening to

Christian Marclay and Otomo Yoshihide, Moving Parts

The sound of recorded culture playing (with) itself. Slicing across space and through time on the hard edge of the medium. Am I supposed to find this haunting? I do.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Nelson Ball, At the Edge of the Frog Pond
Rob Read, 18 Full English Breakfasts
Stacy Szymaszek, Some Mariners
Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A startling admission

Because I'm a little uncomfortable with the direction this blog is taking, I've been looking at other site configurations. One of my favourites is Steve Evans's Third Factory: Notes to Poetry, especially from the "ensemble" view.

I'm thinking less chit-chat and more of an orientation toward reading and writing. And I've been checking out WordPress.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Film recommendation

Everyone should go out and watch Jorgen Leth's and Lars Von Trier's take on the reality show craze and the anxiety of influence, The Five Obstructions. Bonus material includes Leth's gloriously antiseptic Perfect Human. Plus, it's Danish. And so is about a quarter of Lisa.

On on on over

Thus was my response to Kyle Buckley's request for four words, of which at least two must be prepositions, to describe my own Speakeasy appearance. (No, honestly, it was a lot of fun thanks to good questions and comments from Kyle, Adam Seelig, derek, Angela Rawlings, Pete Huggan (I think), Jay, Neil Hennessey, and Stuart Ross.)

Derek Beaulieu lead a discussion on the state of the Canadian micropress that started with an account of his own housepress experience and of his decision to shut the press down and ended with a lively discussion of the poetry community's place in the larger economic and political sphere. Among thoughts I've come away with: the fact that the response to a press's work can be more "structural" than verbal, the need for some kind of review forum, the possibility of "leveraging" (that's the last time you'll see me use that word that way) the influence of people who have it (I mean, why do we have a poet laureate anyway?), and the wide range of reasons for which people start micropresses and the equally wide range of visions they have for them.

Speaking of economics (gift and otherwise), here's my haul from the Apollinaire's Bookshoppe table and from various people in the audience (don't worry mom, I used my talk payment at the table):

Some Design Issues: Crystal Goblets and the housepress Digest, Neil Hennessy
Pencil of Rays and Spiked Mace, Niels Lyngso
ESP: Accumulation Sonnets, Jay MillAr
Open Letter, Closed Book [ed: an intriguing, and self-reflexive I'm guessing, objet], Rob Read
Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, Lisa Robertson
Hands Face, Adam Seelig

P.S. I'll post the text of my talk to the "Reviews and Notes" section of my site. This will be followed quickly by some reviews of others' work, just so you know I'm not a fucking egomaniac (sorry mom).

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Let's talk

If you have nothing better to do tomorrow, please stop by This Ain't the Rosedale Library, where I'll be delivering a talk called "A Field Guide to One-, Two, Three-, and Four-Letter Words." derek beaulieu will be talking as well. His is called "You Can't Go Home Again: The Rise and Fall of housepress" and will likely be much more interesting than mine.

12 December, 2:30 pm
The gallery space above This Ain't the Rosedale Library
483 Church St.

Friday, December 10, 2004

More Mac Low

Here (free registration). Here. Here. Here.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jackson Mac Low, 1922-2004

Russell Smith

I honestly think Russell Smith knows (subscription, sorry) that it's a good thing that there really is, as he says, no publishing "industry." I also think he knows that the key words are "art" and "community," not "sales" and "fame."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Very good news

Congrats to my friend Derek, and to Lisa Robertson and Michael Redhill.

Some good news

At least we can be relatively happy with city council. This meeting notice came from Rob Read on the Lexiconjury list:

Planning application for: 76 Wychwood Avenue, The Wychwood Barns


The subject 1.9 hectare site is owned by the City of Toronto and currently contains five vacant TTC Car Barns. The site has frontages on Wychwood Avenue, Benson Avenue and Christie Street.


The applicant proposes the adaptive reuse of 4 of the TTC Car Barns in the context of a proposed public park. The project aims to provide affordable space for artists and environmental initiatives.

The four barns would accommodate a range of uses including 26 affordable artist live/work units, artists studios, multi-purpose areas, administration spaces, rehearsal space, a greenhouse, an exterior sheltered garden, and a community bake oven.

The remainder of the property is to be used as a public park to be designed by City parks staff in consultation with the local community.

Purpose of the Meeting

The meeting will provide an opportunity for the community to have input on this project, view the plans and ask questions. If you cannot attend the meeting, you can still make your views known by sending a fax (416) 392-1330 or by writing to Ted Tyndorf, Director, Community Planning, South District, Urban Development Services, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2.

If you would like further information about the proposal, please contact Joe Nanos, Senior Planner at (416) 338-5747 or Sarah Phipps, Assistant Planner, at(416) 392-7622.

Amazon is a Republican donor

It's true.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

He's back

Let's not let anyone forget that Stockwell Day will be our minister of foreign affairs should the Conservative Party win the next election.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


Apologies for the lack of posting these days. I've been consumed by preparations for the talk I'm going to be doing next Sunday.

Actually, I've been thinking about posting less frequently and less frivolously (i.e., longer, more meaningful posts). We'll see.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Dennis Cooper on the Arcade Fire: "Yet more proof that, music-wise, Canada is the new England."

Let's not get swelled heads or anything. Our prime minister just confirmed that he's a loser.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Freshly obsolete technology alert

Put your slide projector next to that old eight-track tape player.

Let's toast the brand new old.