Absolutely ecstatic about this. Dillon’s work is so great.
Absolutely ecstatic about this. Dillon’s work is so great.
reading the s c a t t e r s t a t e that is in new H_N_GM_N in the dark place.
1. if carrie lorig isn’t on yr radar right now who ARE you???
2. if you don’t have a big ol’ crush on carrie lorig get lost scram i’m so over you
Ted reading from In the Early Morning Rain during an episode of Public Access Poetry.
Drawing by Emily Pettit
Maggie is a little magazine about dogs, inspired by Maggie Zurawski’s Companion Animal (Litmus Press 2013).
Editor: Sue Landers
omg it’s a dog poem magazine sue landers is giving the people what they want
HAPPY FRIDAY! We are so excited to give you GUIDEBOOKS, new work by CASSANDRA GILLIG! Enjoy!!
This is the final piece in one of Alice’s long out of print “chapbooky” (she has a lot of shorter books that came out between her longer titles, though they’re not necessarily “chapbooks”) things, For Frank O’Hara’s Birthday. I love it.
I guess I must address you
begin and progress somewhat peculiarly, wanting
not afraid to be anonymous, to love what’s at hand
I put out a hand, it’s sewn & pasted hingewise &
enclosed in cover. I’m 27 and booked, and my
My grandfather, I begin with, played dominoes
called them “bones”. Bones is a doctor on Star Trek.
Black, intensive, rectangular solids starred
with white dots, and laid end to end. Mysterious
perfections, l ike flowers, but all, all as we can
know, give, take down address of, felt in the (bred
in the) bones. Loose cloak with half-mask
worn to conceal identity, esp. at masquerade, whence
which I am
I saw it in a movie THE BLACK KNIGHT, with Alan Ladd
and Patricia Medina
the room of skulls of the
sacrificed at Stonehenge, wearing silky wigs blond
as Victoria’s our visitor’s hair. We intermingle.
That night I dreamed of my grandfather, playing
dominoes, and my mother my aunts—dreams are not
brightly lit—a brownish dream. Once, I dreamed
of the in perfect happiness, a motion not too fast
through space with one with whom I was completed.
Tetherball, skull and strung bones, my nightly fantasy
when an aunt died, blond and mad, I was six so I’d
something great to tell everyone. My father’s best
friend died, I was twelve and excited, my
What is this from??
A review by Michael Robbins of the recent Wesleyan reprint of Hejinian’s My Life and My Life In The Nineties
Oh my god he called My Life “monotonous” WHAT ARE YOU SERIOUS WHAT GO TO HELL MICHAEL ROBBINS
I’ve been thinking about Eileen Myles all evening. This morning I read some medieval saint legends then I started into another Roth novel (very jarring transition) & all the while I’ve been navigating The Plumed Serpent for one of my classes. So strange. Then out of nowhere I got all nostalgic about the time I spent in high school obsessing over Russian literature. Thought about Babel for a time—Roth brings him up. Hadn’t though about Babel in years. So awful to think I can abandon things I love like that. Anyway, out of distracted curiosity I picked up the goddamn Green Mountains Review at about 7pm & fell in love w/ Eileen again. Which isn’t necessarily the most rare thing to have happen.
Just after AWP, my friend Nathaniel gave me this brilliant CD, Harry’s House, which is an album of poetry & music from Anne Waldman’s new record label. It’s called Fast Speaking Music. (Which is a great play on her book of essays Fast Speaking Woman & made me laugh for ten minutes. I remember reading Fast Speaking Woman on a lot of bus rides back in Chicago; I would chant under my breath. So excellent.)
This CD’s so great. I don’t know how I feel about all of it, but the pieces that are good are REALLY GOOD. All of this brings me back to Eileen, of course—this track, “No California.” The first time I heard this poem it was at one of Eileen’s readings. We were all in a hot dog store or something. Very strange. Anyway, everyone was drinking wine in this hot dog store—it was AWP gone wrong, I think. One of those off-site readings that just should not have happened & suddenly it’s on, but in the absolute wrong place. Eileen read this & I almost died but who does that at a poetry reading.
Green Mountains Review has a feature on Eileen Myles in its newest issue. The full interview is wonderful & thorough & amazing, but I found this part to be particularly thought-provoking. (We’ve all seen the VIDA numbers for last year, right?) Anyway, riddled with typos because this is long & I’m no perfectionist, Eileen Myles interviewed by Brian Russell for GMR:
GMR: Another thing I wanted to ask you about … I read your interview with CA Conrad [“You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” from Poetry magazine’s Harriet Blog] and you started off with a couple of interesting statements about sex. You said, “Sex, increasingly an undesirable subject in the poetry world” and later, “Sex is problematic. I mean, isn’t it? In the world, and definitely the poetry world.” I wondered if you could talk about that a little more. I’m interested to know what you mean by problematic. And why it’s specific to the poetry world. I don’t disagree with you; I’m just interested to hear you talk about it.
Eileen goddamn Myles you stupid moron duh who else: Yeah, well I think it’s interesting. The whole history of literature and publishing and court cases are loaded with obscenity trials, and yet, even now, look at THE NEW YORKER. Would they ever have a poem with “pussy” in it? Never. Couldn’t happen. It’s not just the poetry world. I think female sexuality is more problematic than male sexuality. I think it matters who does it and how they do it. I’m reading Samuel Beckett right now, and it’s just dirty. It’s completely filthy, but you know, he’s Beckett, so it’s couched in something that’s safe. When you use graphic sexuality in your work, certain doors close. Certain parts of the poetry world, like POETRY magazine, won’t publish you. I think it’s a class issue. I think some people consider it too close to slam poetry or spoken word.
GMR: It’s too low-brow to write about sex. It should be beneath us, as writers. No pun intended.
EM: Too low-brow and too in-your-face and too subject matter specific. For instance, have you followed the Marjorie Perloff conceptualism argument? She had an essay in BOSTON REVIEW.
GMR: Oh right. Yeah, I read that.
EM: She had a lot to say about the lyric and epiphany poems. It was like, writing programs: bad. Personal anecdotes: bad. She made a distinction that’s understandable but it doesn’t entirely work. For one reason because poets of all stripes are teaching in writing programs now. And also because one can tell a story in a poem. By the end of the piece she was picking out Peter Gizzi and Charles Bernstein as two poets who were on the conceptual list but when you looked at the poems Perloff picked, they seemed in many ways to fall into those categories she considered bad. And she was really comfortable talking about people who write issue-oriented poetry and meant feminism and homosexuals and political poems … And so on, I think she literally said. She lumped a lot of things together as unfortunate content-based work.
But I think the weird thing about sex—and I don’t necessarily mean gay sex—when it’s in a poem, it becomes labeled as somebody’s poem, but not everybody’s poem. Which is offensive I think. Because it says, only certain people need to do that. And those people aren’t us. I mean if you look at the early Language poetry, the discourse around the work was very theoretical and the work itself wasn’t sexual at all. I think the theory was hot, not sex. So the people int he writing world of the 70s and 80s that really wanted to write about sex, what they did is they moved over to writing prose. Like the only way they felt in the avant garde they could do what they wanted—which was to write about sex, and excessively even, was to leave poetry—Dennis Cooper, Bob Gluck, Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killan, Kathy Acker. It wasn’t that they weren’t reading theory, it’s just that they had other agendas. They wanted the body to be in there, and there’s a whole theory about that too.
I’m a part of that generation; and I’m friends with Language poets and really I came up with them. Or next to them. My joke is that I’m not not a Language poet. Depending what I did people warmed or cooled to me. I mean that’s a career, I guess. But for the most part, nobody in the poetry world except for the queers wrote about sex. Nobody wrote about AIDS. You’d think no one died of AIDS. It wasn’t a big issue in avant garde poetry. Sex wasn’t. And that makes you want to walk away. I said something like this a couple of years ago in a talk. It seemed important and interesting. And I’m mentioning it again because even today there are people who won’t talk to me or go to my readings. I once heard someone say that I insulted an entire room. I think what Perloff is saying is what a lot of people think. Sex is heavy content. Once it’s in a poem, it’s not formal anymore. And I think that’s not true and we need to hear the other side.
GMR: I think you’re right that people automatically treat sex as a heavy subject. You brought this up about CA Conrad’s BOOK OF FRANK…that by putting “cunt” on the first page of the book, you’re going to turn certain people away immediately. I’m fully aware that people are going to respond that way; I just think it’s unfortunate. Anyone who’s going to put that book down because of a pussy is missing out on so much. I just feel bad for that person for missing out on what poetry can do. It makes me think of your poem “Transportation” from SNOWFLAKE/DIFFERENT STREETS: “I bought a bigger / pinker dick / for you / but then I / didn’t / call. It seemed necessary / you’re tall.” The way you follow up the first thought with the second—“it seemed necessary / you’re tall”—is so funny to me. It cracks me up every time I read it.
EM: People always laugh when I read that one.
GMR: And it should be funny. That’s an example of a poem that some people are going to say, sorry that doesn’t belong in a poem. And that’s such a disservice to poetry.
EM: I know. I think certain people need to do this, and I’m one of those people. because I’m a poet and I’ve got this instrument, I just want to put things in there that don’t belong in there. And show how the instrument can hold it. There should be a dick in a poem every once in awhile. Why not? Just because I’m a female or because I’m a lesbian doesn’t mean I’ve lost the right to have a dick in my poem. I think it shows how strong the poem is…that it can contain the dick but also be funny. I’m really interested in crossing those lines and crossing back. But it doesn’t mean the culture wants that. We’re in such a niche moment. I think it’s one of the gifts of the internet—there’s so much space and so much information and so many little parts that don’t speak to one another. One of the biggest urgencies of our moment is to figure out how to keep changing the locks. Because that’s the nature of censorship these days. It’s not that you can’t say anything; there’s just a cap on how far your message can go.
GMR: What do you think is driving that, in poetry specifically? I think you’re right. Because I feel that fiction doesn’t necessarily suffer from that.
EM: It does to an extent, if you look at what’s published.
GMR: I guess that’s true.
EM: On Twitter, someone was celebrating that Graywolf was publishing Josh Cohen’s…
GMR: FOUR NEW MESSAGES.
EM: Yeah. Brainiac meta-fiction. And there was a big review in the Times by Dwight Garner, who’s a very conservative guy. I mean of course, and I have a novel, and Laurie Weeks has a novel and Gail Scott has a novel which is meta-fiction, which did not get reviewed in the Times, and these along with a lot of other books by women that aren’t getting reviewed in the Times. It’s like the celebration of David Foster Wallace—and I mean more DFW alive than dead. It’s not that he’s not wonderful, or Josh Cohen, but it’s always these complex books by men and you don’t see a female equivalent. You don’t even see the tiny masterpieces being celebrated. The odd brainiac meta-fiction. It’s not that these kind of books aren’t being written by women. It just seems we don’t trust women that much. To let us play and make a mess.
Sexuality is that way, too—there’s a right way for women to talk about sex and we’re told frequently what that right way is. But poetry is the worst I think. Paul Hoover once wrote an essay about poetry and class. I think poetry is so intense emblem of class. And we search for the class we want. I think there are still issues with beauty. Did you see the Norton anthology, AMERICAN HYBRID? Cole Swenson edited it and both worlds were there—the Language and the post language poets and the personal epiphany poets. Everyone was there, but nobody’s dress was dirty. It was very careful. And I thought, well the corporate handshake has taken place in the poetry world. Thank you, Iowa. I’m of course very enthusiastic about my own work; I mean, I think you have to be the biggest proponent for your own writing. But I’m also part I think of a growing aesthetic and it’s why I love someone like CA Conrad. When I read his work I thought it was amazing because it’s formally strong but it goes into all the wrong places. That’s why people are liking his work. But there’s definitely a counter-force that sets up the rules …
GMR: Who do you think that is? It is the editors at the big magazines and big presses or do you think it permeates the system entirely?
EM: Probably both. Editors sure, though, because they want to appear responsible. I’ve published far more journalism in mainstream magazines than I have poetry or fiction, and I know firsthand how language is policed in journalism—I mean, language is so inherently conservative. People are very anxious that other people will think they’re broke or uneducated. There’s certainly a White English, and it gets smaller the whiter and whiter it gets. It’s Noah’s Ark. You can have representatives from many cultures but it’s still a pristine spot. I think that finally affects all people, not just white people.
These are all fantastic, but I keep talking about Shannon Burns’s “Kelly Brutal”; it is honestly the most incredible thing I have ever heard. She read it at the reading we did last week. I am so happy about this being a thing in the world.
Kelly’s got no tits, really.
Her nemesis got called “beguiling .”
That’s brutal, Kelly.
Out of nowhere she says her mom is her best friend. Kelly …
Her last name’s too short to say. It’s Eh–
The very first time she wore her chinchilla coat
out she got shot. Jesus, Kelly.
She’s burning up.
She’s threatening to dream of her dear grandmother.
She said drawer is her bed and she can’t get in it.
You know you’re breaking my heart, Kelly?
I know you’re waiting in the hot car.
I know you’re thinking of an old outfit.
You thought you found a little penis once growing out among pebbles
and sticks in your childhood yard, remember, Kelly?
And when you returned, it had gone back into the ground? Kelly, brutal.
I know you’ve always liked in repose to put your fingers on your neck and hold
one breast in the crook of your elbow. I think it’s sweet of you–
I saw you yesterday, you know? Standing downtown on the corner looking around.