Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Box

The Prize Budgies hyped Pac-Mondrian last night, as Neil Hennessy and Mike Brown took to the stage and breathlessly read both complimentary and crabby on-line reviews and message board posts about their work, first to the boogie-woogie beat of their game's New York level and then to the Detroit level's techno hustle, as the corresponding game screens played on behind them. The techno groove mixed with the Budgies' chatter gave the proceedings something of a Moses Znaimer feel (think, I don't know, Fashion Television), which of course was entirely fitting.

The Budgies have springboarded beyond their original mash-up and, reaching further into Broadway Boogie-Woogie and guided by an inspired "what if," have substituted the city on which the painting is (or is not) based with another. And another and another (i.e., Toronto and Chicago). Truly brilliant. "And fun."

Other highlights: a Steve Reinke video work that delighted in meandering thought and pulsing image. Emily Pohl-Weary showing off her impressive throwing arm. An illuminating and moving Terence Dick talk on some recent obituaries of seemingly unlikely and disinterested inventors, including Hedy Lamarr.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Question

I've been noticing that my U.S. friends use the term "scholar," often when speaking of poets, much more than my Canadian friends do. You know, like "poet A is a Zukofsky scholar." Do we just use a different term? Do we read our forebears differently? less academically? less seriously? Or does it have something to do with that speech by Emerson?

Do you consider yourself a scholar of anything?

I'm curious.
Ch-ch-check out the Box tonight, and witness amazing acts of art and sword-swallowing:

The Box returns with readings, screenings and music by Jubal Brown, Gentleman Reg, Terence Dick, Steve Reinke, Picastro, Prize Budget for Boys, Mariko Tamaki and Emily Pohl-Weary.
23 February, 8.00 pm
The Box
The Rivoli, back room
332 Queen St. W.
Toronto
pwyc, $5 suggested

See you there.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Tour of them there Internets

Have been working on some reviews and struggling with some Web site stuff, but in the meantime a quick update:

There are birds in Toronto. It's snowing in London. We Canadians talk funny. I made chili for dinner. Agnes Martin was born in "the vast praries of southern Canada." There is still no NHL hockey. And sometimes things that should don't make the front page.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Lex update

Fabulous photos and video clips courtesy Sharon Harris.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Corm cops a nomination

Quotable quote

The fact that language is an ordered totality and that it reveals a plan, prompts one to look in the formal system of language for the reflection of a "logic" presumably inherent in the mind and hence exterior and anterior to language. By doing this, however, one only constructs naivetes or tautologies.

Emile Benveniste, Problems in General Linguistics

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Lex last night

I tell you, Angela and Bill are veritable geniuses. After last month's boisterousness, which threatened at times to blow the roof off the poor Cameron House, our dynamic duo returned with some subterranean homesick sign work to cast a quiet spell over last night's Lex. But fear not, underneath the hush were quiet quakes of pure Lex energy all the more intense for its containment.

Highlights from this all-star all-female evening (i.e., some things that stick to my mind at the moment): Margaret Christakos read from some new work in which words disembodied from their speech acts spoke somehow hauntingly and directly at the same time. I'm still mystified by how Christakos can make such disjointed work feel so inhabited. Sandra Alland, who to be honest I was lukewarm about going into the evening, won me over with more homolinguistic Beckett translations. This reading was slightly longer than the last time I heard her read from this project, and she was better able to show its range and, especially, its humour. And the group reading of Rachel Zolf's Masque, in which the various voices of the book had a chance to by turns overlap and stake out their own space.

Not to sound all gushy and everything, but Bill and Angela have my limitless admiration for their ability to curate a series that, through thoughtful revisioning and renewal, seems to get fresher each month. Congrats.

UPDATE: Check out Nadia Halim's account on her new blog.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Thought on Ampersand Squared

The feature of the pwoermd (Huth's term for a one-word poem with no title) that I find most compelling is its frustration of vector-like readings, in which the object is to get to the end of the sentence or line to collect the semantic payoff. The pwoermd forces the reader to focus on the kinetics of the single frame, which can involve movement in all directions. Yes, and still remain in the realm of the lexical.

What is remarkable about Huth's anthology is the range of possible approaches to the form it reveals, from Cor van den Heuvel's "tundra", to Saroyan's "lighght", to bpNichol's "em ty", to Karl Kempton's "on((((i))))on", to Emily Romano's "egreturnswampwateripple".

More soon.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Coming soon

Scrambling to make it to my dad's to celebrate his birthday. Much is percolating though. Expect, tomorrow or the next day, responses to things I've received in the mail lately: highlights: issue three of Daniel f Bradley's fhole, Geof Huth's anthology of pwoermds, , and the last few issues of Thomas Evans's Tolling Elves.

Also, check out the beta version of the new look of Apollinaire's Bookshoppe. And I know I'm all optimistic and everything, but I'm expecting a flurry of activity tonight involving Messrs. Bettman and Goodenow. Message to the owners: grow up.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Public service announcement

Yes, the supreme court has ruled, but Stephen Harper and his loser friends are still trying to send loving couples to the back of the bus. Please visit Canadians for Equal Marriage and do what they say.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Upcoming reading

From the Coach House site:

Thanks to Upper Case Books, New Hamburg’s best independent bookstore, Torontonians Rob Benvie (Safety of War) and Mark Truscott (Said Like Reeds or Things) will join Corey Frost, author of The Worthwhile Flux, for an evening of commanding readings in the fine city of Waterloo.
27 February, 7.30 pm
The Jane Bond
5 Princess St. W.
Waterloo
Free

I will do my best to command.
"Language is actually the most paradoxical thing in the world, and unfortunate are those who do not see this."

Beck meets Marcel Dzama

Zoilus (via Stereogum, via Aaron) reveals the Marcel Dzama cover art for Beck's new CD. I took a listen to a track from the iTunes-exclusive EP, and I have to say that I think Mr. Hansen has ventured into the realm of self-parody. I will, though, reserve judgment until I hear the full CD. And then I will judge mercilessly. (Just kidding, because, after all, what's at stake?)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Jim Behrle's on a roll, especially with "What the Hell Is Up with Your Author Photo."

Later: Oh no, you can't go after Creeley.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Amateur linguistics

Okay, so get this. Apparently in some Turkish languages the function of the copula ("is" in "It is snowing") is served by a pronoun. Also, in Middle English and some current vernacular varieties of American speech, "it" serves the function of "there" in its existential sense: "It was nothing I could do" or "Cousin, it is no dealing with him now."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Shock Corridor

Watched Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor the other night. Appreciated its examination of the dangers of attempts to establish purity in various areas: the social, the political, the psychological.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Whacked

From Bob Herbert's column in today's New York Times:
In one hearing that led up to Monday's decision, Judge Green attempted to see how broadly the [U.S.] government viewed its power to hold detainees. Administration lawyers told her, in response to a hypothetical question, that they believed the president would even have the right to lock up "a little old lady from Switzerland" for the duration of the war on terror if she had written checks to a charity that she believed helped orphans, but that actually was a front for Al Qaeda.

Sparks

From Benveniste's Problems in General Linguistics:
Language in general admits also of being constituted in a structure of game, like a pattern of "figures" produced by the intrinsic relationships of constant elements. Here linguistics would become the theory of possible combinations among these elements and the universal laws that govern them. (14)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Highlights from the Art Bar

Stephen Humphrey reading a poem that, as he said, had everything in it and then more stuffed in. It did.

John Barlow displaying the cover of the forthcoming "glowheads" issue of Psychic Rotunda.

In other news: How could you go wrong with a name like Black Mountain?

Some signs I'd kick in if they weren't so funny, part 1

Outside a high-end hair salon: "Compassion for others begins with kindness to yourself."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Public service announcement

Hey, so if you're around tonight, come hear me read at the Victory Café with Stephen Humphrey and Donna Dunlop as part of the Art Bar series.

581 Markham Street
Toronto

8 p.m.