Monday, August 29, 2005

Big idea

Okay, a name for my reading series has come to me.

The Test Reading Series. That way it will always be fresh and provisional no matter how stale the programming gets. Also, since the readings will be sort of long.... Well, you get it. (I think I've just disqualified myself from a career in advertising, but that's okay.)

I like the word "test." It's plain and boring, yet it has a slightly threatening edge. At the same time, it's non-committal. What do you think? Perfect, say I.

In other news, I still haven't found a space for said series, but that may change on Thursday. Stay tuned.

Also, the countdown to Maria's reading has begun. Diana Fitzgerald Bryden is good too. I don't know who Dayle Furlong is. See you there.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Phew! For a second I was concerned.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pontiac Quarterly

It was fun. Damian puts on a slick yet warm show. Lots of friends. Lisa tells me my reading was good, though of course it didn't feel it. I've only done three readings that felt good immediately afterward (Hamilton [GritLit], Ottawa, and Milwaukee). All the rest have been disasters. Just kidding. Andrew Kaufman did a memorized story-telling kind of thing. Claudia Dey read a good passage from her play Beaver, which wasn't quite as disturbing as what she read at the Box (or was it just me?). The essay on a high school class's reception of A Steetcar Named Desire was hilarious and pretty interesting.

Jay's IV reading

What I found most notable about Jay's reading was his revelation that the Lack Lyrics were composed through an e-mail conversation he had with himself while sitting around at work after learning he was going to be downsized. I've always thought that the Lyrics have the feeling of a mental rehersal of a confrontation, so it was interesting to discover that Jay has developed a technique that more or less externalizes this dynamic. This supports my idea that the forms and procedures Jay uses in his poetry are always consciously tied to his life and are in some sense then almost autobiographical.

In other news, the issue of filling Station with my Speakeasy text showed up in the mail. Cringe. Good stuff otherwise though.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The melancholy of time's passing (yes, I'm pretty sure this W.C. is R.C.'s son). Good interview though.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Okay, I'm announcing the first ever Said Like Reeds or Things contest. It has recently been determined that Kyle Buckley has a secret blog. You know, one where he collects his wisecracks and tender, introspective thoughts. The thing is, no one except Kyle knows the address. Therefore, for the benefit of humanity, I will award a prize ($10 and a chance to borrow my copy of Leonard Nimoy's classic poetry collection You & I) to the person who finds said blog.

Hint: It's not at I've already checked there.

P.S. The guy could be hiding it anywhere, so if no one finds it, the best (i.e., most likely) guess wins.

Who is Kyle Buckley, out-of-towners might ask. I'll pick up on something Nadia once said and compare him to Statler and Waldorf on the Muppet Show (yeah, both of them). Only he uses more hair product.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

See you at Jay's reading tomorrow night?

Friday, August 19, 8 pm
I.V. Lounge
326 Dundas St. West
(with Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Adrienne Weiss)
Thanks to everyone who made it out last night. It was great to see you. Report forthcoming. Perhaps a contest announcement too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Recurring thought these past few days: The key poetry-wise is the basic stuff we revisit again and again, making it contemporary. Zukofsky's horse. What is the basic stuff? Good question. Being or its absence? the relationship between language and the rest of the world? Maybe this is just a figure I've absorbed.

Other days my impulse is quite the opposite, that the key is to try to destroy poetry, to write something that "isn't" poetry and to get people to accept it as if it is.

Wait, is that the opposite?

In other news, a few weeks ago I joked with a friend that the Leafs should bring back Stumpy. I didn't realize I had such influence.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hey, I'm reading next Wednesday at the Drake Hotel as part of Damian Rogers's series, the Pontiac Quarterly. This installment's theme is virginity. Here's the info:
Wednesday, August 17
Drake Hotel
1150 Queen St. West
8:00pm, $10 or pwyc

Readings by Karen Hines, Claudia Dey, Andrew Kaufman, Mark Truscott, and angry man Edward Keenan. Essay by David Balzer, advice column "Liz, What the Fuck?" and a short film by Alex Pugsley.
So why would you want to pay $10 to hear me read at some hotel where, from what I hear, the staff wear those annoying headsets? Good question. As far as I know, the other readers are good. Plus I'll be reading very little from SLROT (i.e., most of what I read will be new). That's the virginity tie-in. Get it?

Also, Rogers seems to be doing what she can for the interesting lit. scene as arts editor at Eye.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

K. Silem Mohammad celebrates the "totally obvious." Interesting paper on blogs. The need for distinctions vs. the creation of hierarchical oppositions. Gated communities and communities of, I don't know, military industrialists. None of these are related. Well, some are I'm sure.
Define 1 Give the exact meaning of (a word etc.). 2 describe or explain the scope, essential qualities, etc. of (something) (define one's position). 3 make clear, esp. in outline (well-defined image). 4 determine or indicate the boundary or extent of (something). 5 specify, fix with precision; prescribe. 6 Computing create (a macro function) by assigning a particular series of commands to a single key. definable adj. definer n. [Middle English from Old French definer, ultimately from Latin definire (as DE-, finire finish, from finis end)]

Monday, August 08, 2005

The following is the first page of Stacy Szymaszek's Emptied of All Ships (from "Shift at Oars"):




no one
the brains
I am now

Friday, August 05, 2005

From the big dumb question department

In a conversation about Forrest Gump with my sister-in-law last weekend, I said something like "I don't like being entertained." I'm sure this statement is a bit ridiculous, but I think I stand by the impulse behind it.

What is entertainment anyway? I remember reading in Atom Egoyan's introduction to the screenplay for Exotica something about his avoiding entertainment in his films (something I don't think he does entirely successfully). I guess in light of a comparison between Exotica and Forrest Gump one could suggest that entertainment involves escapism whereas art involves engagement. Is entertainment then something like fun as opposed to joy or pleasure?

And here's the big question (you saw this coming): Is there a place for entertainment in poetry?

P.S. I think it's time I read me some Adorno.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I imagine that people are wondering what I think of the Gary-Joe departure. I think it's sad but likely a good move on Ferguson's part. Prediction: the Leafs will not win the cup. You heard it here first!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ah, the computer is free! Lisa's been pretty busy working on the anthology she's editing, so these moments have been somewhat rare lately.

I've always felt that because I don't have the access necessary for anything nearing a clear view of the field of U.S. poetry (SPD, various blogs, a few mags and journals, and friends being my main portals, all of them tending toward the post-avant), Ron Silliman's term "School of Quietude," while I get the gist of it, is to a degree untranslatable for me. It's helpful therefore to see him, in his post on Breathing Fire 2, musing about the differences between U.S. and Canadian contexts himself:
In many ways, these poets, to think of them as a group, straddle that ambiguous ground that has one eye on the side of the New Americans & another on that side of the School of Quietude that followed Steve Berg & Phil Levine in their revolt against the old formalism, arriving at something like the APR Free Verse Format. Is this a Third Way -- rather the way ellipticism has functioned south of the border -- or is this how Canada reinvents its own School of Quietude?
Okay, this has got me wondering again about the Vancouver poetry conferences of the 1960s and the impact they've had on Canadian poetry. My impression is that their effect has been asymmetrical in the U.S. and Canada and that this is key for an American trying to understand Canadian poetry, but I could be way off. I've been meaning to ask derek beaulieu about this.

In other news, we watched the film Distant last night, and now I'm wondering if photography and film necessarily have to be lonely from the point of view of the media themselves or if it's just the way they tend to function.

Lots of catching up to do e-mail-wise, etc.

P.S. Sorry for the chunky syntax.