Saturday, July 5, 2008

Party photos


Just go to Clay's flickr page, that's all you need to know, visually speaking.

By the bye, Clay Baynes will be taking over Neily-Bob's position as Sales and Markteting manager.

SPD Party Up!

I should've mentioned before the party that the party was happening, really, but now I'm mentioning it now. The party was a goodbye one for me, Alli and Neil and a hello one for John, Tetra and Clay. Change of the guard! Crazy.

The party happened at the home of Juliana Spahr, Bill Lluoma, Charles Weigl and Sasha's house in Berkeley. What a place, what a garden, really. Thank you to them for their gracious hospitality.

There was a cake in the shape of a book with the words "Brave New SPD" written across it, delicious all around.

Laura read a fantastic speech by Jeffrey Lependorf, SPD's Executive Director and then sang each of the leaving SPD-ers college fight songs before then singing the new and improved SPD fight song.

Just for posterity's sake I have to clear up a little misunderstanding along the fight song lines. I did not in fact go to Reed College, I went to The Evergreen State College. I stand by Evergreen but hell Reed does sound a lot better doesn't? I'd say nothing just to have a gaggle of bay area poets continue to think that I went to Reed except for the fact that Evergreen's fight song is really superb and worth knowing. So with that, here it is:

The Geoduck Fight Song

words and music by Malcolm Stilson, 1971
Go, Geoducks go,
Through the mud and the sand,
let's go.
Siphon high, squirt it out,
swivel all about,
let it all hang out.

Go, Geoducks go,
Stretch your necks when the tide
is low
Siphon high, squirt it out,
swivel all about,
let it all hang out.

Thanks SPD for the great send off and for everything. Lucky are we who have toiled in your warehouse. Love, love, love.
*Photos are forthcoming.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SPDLand says, "Hello!" to Poetrylandia

Here I am back at SPD, at the old desk. John (Sakkis) is poeting in Greece right now and I needed the bucks so here I am. I can tell you that all of the SPD employees and cat are as charismatic and attractive as ever. Currently, MSG (Media Services Group)our database system is down (for repairs not of its own doing) so I'm amusing myself here. MSG and I go way back and during my time with SPD has acquired a few nicknames that I'd like to share with you:

Monosodium Glutamate

...that's really the best one. I'll forego the others.

Neil, Alli, Brent, Laura, Andrew, Jesse, Art? Do you have any you'd like to add?

...okay, I like these too: Maliciously Sluggish Gargomel, Malevolent SPAM Gobbler

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ecopoetics Panel

Here's what I like to call a "gang of smart". From left: Andrew Csank, Nick Smith and Laura Elrick

This panel hit harder than really anything during the whole conference weekend. Without going into detail now, I would just say, read Laura's paper Poetry, Ecology and the Reappropriation of Lived Space I was incredibly impressed by Nick and Andrew's presentations and would like to devote some time to a discussion of them. Let's start with Laura's paper and go from there. You can find my own analysis of her paper on my other blog . Boy talk about hogging space and resources. 2 blogs Lindsey? Really.
I have questions about blog growth and the motives behind them which I hope to come back to soon.

Oh! During the Ecopoetics Panel I learned that the internet is not in fact limitless (duh) and at this rate we'll run out of space by 2012. Is that figure correct? Anyone know more about this and care to share?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Journalistic Brilliancé

Andrew Bleeker and his hybrid journalism:Rise of the Lady Hurricanes Basketball in the Shadow of Emily Dickinson. Here's the article's preface to wet your whistle: "The following review consists of sentences lifted in full, yet recombined and out of context, from In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais. The book documents the inspiring 1992–1993 season played by the Lady Hurricanes, a high-school basketball team in Amherst, Massachusetts. Our intrepid book reviewer loved it for several reasons. This review documents the struggle between amazing real-life achievement and the bizarre verbiage of Madeleine Blais."


Saturday, May 31, 2008

I lied

I in fact did not make it to the Aggression conference as the call of life-maintenance called, beckoned and harangued this weekend. Miss Boldt needs a job. So, instead, I recommend you check out these fellow blogs for reports on the conference.

Ms. Laura Moriarty's fine Atonalist Notes
Conference Blog
Mr Andrew Kenower's audio archive A Voice Box

Sorry I missed it, looks to have been quite the event. I'll see you all around PoetryLand soon.

Friday, May 30, 2008

AGGRESSION: A Conference On Contemporary Poetics and Political Antagonism

Eh hem! I interupt my trickling transmissions about the PRESS: Conference to announce that I'm back in the Bay Area and there's another incredible looking conference this weekend.

It is AGGRESSION: A Conference On Contemporary Poetics and Political Antagonism an SPT (Small Press Traffic)event organized by Chris Chen, Cynthia Sailers and Stephanie Young.

I will do my darndest to hit the highlights and report back eventually. More still forthcoming on PRESS as well. Don't worry, my head won't 'splode. Not if I can help it.

Good to be back in the Yeah! Area as Miss Alli Warren calls it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Press: More photos

Here's Hui Hu again, looking a more loved by the camera this time. In this picture he's about to go to the panel "Mind Parasites"

...that featured

black lights, Fun Foam (tm), caution tape, psychadelic cinema images, and the idea that language exists as a parasite and that we are its hosts. Evergreen can be a wild, wild place.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Press + Press + Press = Success (heh heh) again

Here are a pair of genii, Holly Melgard and Todd Harris. Genii are rarely seen in pairs and even more rarely smiling, so this really is an excellent specimen here. Holly will soon be a PhD student in the Poetics program at Buffalo. This photo was taken on Saturday. On Sunday Holly performed a new piece written for 8 metronomes and a Theramin. Insane! So few can pull off a multi-media reading as intricate as this one and Holly did. I was reminded of Hannah Weiner's performance work with The International Code of Signals. Really, she's one to watch folks. Holly edited Evergreen's literary journal, Slightly West, for two years I believe and bears the honor of being the first to publish many fine young poets. I am a HUGE fan.

During this staged lay-in on the sunny grass we decided that: a) inactivism is the new activism b) binaries are the new multiplicity

Press + Press + Press = Success (heh heh)

Please excuse the cheap rhyme, but believe me when I tell you that Press: A Cross-Cultural Literary Conference was an incredible success. As far as first ever Olympia Poetics Conferences and first ever Lindsey conferences go, I can't imagine a better outcome. It's hard to know where to start so let's start with pictures and work from there shall we? True to form, my digital camera crapped out at several points and besides that I felt shy at several other points so please know that the photos here do not represent the full spectrum of that which caught my eye during the conference. For one, the pictures are heavier on male-poet than I would've liked, partly because us ladies were so well represented at this conference. Note: if anyone has photos from the conference and no ridiculous blog of their own to post them on, please send them my way and I would be happy to host them and give you all the due credit.

So, on with it:
David Michael Wolach greets us on Day 1, Reading 1 of the conference. Mr. Wolach, a surprising and talented poet and professor at Evergreen, bears much of the responsibility and credit for organizing the conference. It was a sincere pleasure meeting this fellow.
Here's Steven Hendricks reading on Friday. This guy, lemme tell ya. This guy. Steven is also a professor at Evergreen and author of the fantastic novel Finn which is a wonder of book arts and meta-style-fiction. He once told me, when I was about 17 and a student in his Writing 101 class at an Olympia Community College whilst I was in high school, that I would be "cursed by my potential." I've been trying to reconcile that statement ever since.

Next, you will not see a photo of Zhang Er reading or Kaia Sand reading Susan Schultz' translations because I was feeling too shy. The camera is old and makes a heck of a grinding noise when you turn it on. I'll just say that the reading was worth a thousand pictures and I got to hear it and you didn't.

Next, you will also not see a photo of Laura Elrick reading on Friday night. Same as above, you missed out. She's a rock star.

Ah ha, and here, would will not see Jules Boykoff reading on Friday night. Hilarity ensued and the socially aware kind too which impresses me to no end. I especially appreciated his use of language from the media's coverage of the Seattle WTO protests. Hats off to you Jules!
is the charming Tung Hui Hu, a San Francisco poet who I swear I'd seen around the bay area before this conference. You may not recognize him in this picture as his face has been smeared beyond all recognition. Hui Hu and I later enjoyed a panel entitled, "Mind Parasites" that I'll have more to say about later. Excellent reading by Hui Hu.
Here's Tom Orange who suffers from the same schmear problem as Hui Hu and Steven. Mr. Orange also performed with Rodrigo Toscano's Collapsible Poetics Theater on Saturday night, hilariously and exuberantly. I'm a fan.
Here's Mr. Wolach again, this time presenting his multi-media piece. I love this. If you can't read it, he's listed various forms of poetry for sale.

Okay, so that's Round 1 of photos and commentary and it only covers Day 1. So, chew on that and I'll get some more ready for you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Press: Day 1 Reading

Press: A Cross Cultural Literary Conference kicked off with an excellent reading last night at The Evergreen State College featuring:

Laura Elrick
Zhang Er
Steven Hendricks
David Michael Wolach
Tung-Hui Hu
Tom Orange
Jules Boykoff

Besides being a total blast from the somewhat recent past for me and somewhat overwhelming in that regard, it was also one of the most engaging readings I've attended in recent memory.
Favorite lines of the night:

"a viagra niagra" - Laura Elrick
"fish soup dissolves the imagination"- Zhang Er
"impressed with his own Catholic posture despite his dormant Judaism"
"friendly fire will love you forever/friendly fire always and forever"-David Michael Wolach
"do squirrels ever say fuckit?"
"global village idiots"
"the revolution will not be re-formatted in the Chicago Manual of Style"- Jules Boykoff

Beyond singular lines, it was an exciting evening full of energy and a sense of play. I'm a fan.


Rodrigo Toscano's Collapsible Poetics Theater
Kaia Sand
Roger Farr
Kristin Prevallet
Leonard Schwartz
Mark Wallace

I have to go run off to a panel now but you'll be hearing from me soon! Pictures coming soon as well!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Press: A Cross Cultural Literary Conference
Hello all. After some much needed recuperating due to a slight hazing by The Universe by way of my roadrip, I'm ready to report back to SPD blog duty. If you're interested to know just what flavor of hazing aka fun and adventure I had you can go to this blog where I will be posting photos and a full report soon.

In the meantime, Poetryland calls and right now it's saying, see what happens when you neglect me? See? I think The Universe and Poetryland are in cahoots. But uh...really, this weekend (My alma mater The Evergreen State College is hosting Press: A Cross Cultural Literary Conference featuring readings, panels and performances. For a full list of events and readers check out their fine, fine website. I will be reporting from the conference via this blog and this time I'll have a digital camera. Huzzah! Stay tuned for that.

Also, heads up for self-promotional plug #2: I will read on Sunday and hopefully throw a rippin' workshop with my friend and colleague Holly Melgard, more on that coming soon as well.

All very exciting.


Whew. Rough roadtrip. Back in Olympia from Utah sans car. More soon. In the meantime check it out, The Press Gang posted one of my poems on their blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

West Coast represent!

Here I am back on the West Coast at its little known poetry hub, Olympia, Washington. Birthplace of such poets as Sam Lohman, Michael Nicoloff and Lindsey Boldt. Home to poets Leonard Schwartz, Jean Lohman and prose stylists-poets David Wolach and Steven Hendricks. Pretty good for a scruffy little burgh, I'd say.

You fly-over states are probably wondering why I flew over. The simple answer is that I don't know anyone in the Midwest outside of Illinois and as a result would have no couches to snuggle up to. I'm not made of money folks. I would however, like to spend more time in the Midwest. I hear there's a pretty good little poetry scene going in Minneapolis.

Hey Southern U.S., you're next so don't feel left out. I don't know how you feel about poetry but uh, we can work something out.

Stay tuned for a full analysis of the state of poetics in the U.S., East Coast vs. West Coast Poetry Wars and how to fund your small press on trips to Atlantic City alone (I recommend the roulette. Red, baby red! Poetry needs a new pair o' shoes!.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Patton and Bernstein at Bowery

Last night Charles Bernstein and Julie Patton read at the Bowery Poetry Club as part of Leonard Schwartz’s Evergreen College reading series. I waltzed, or rather hobbled in late as usual and so only caught the second half of Julie Patton’s reading. She sat perched on the edge of the stage, microphone in hand crooning her poems to the audience in a quiet sing-song. She later described this reading style as having derived from cat-talk, the here-kitty-kitty-kitty-meow-kitty-kitty speak that cat lovers use to beckon their loved-ones. She mentioned also that her “Blue” had been written based on transcribed, sometimes strictly from conversations between she, her mother and Harryette Mullen.

Charles Bernstein adopted a mix of the professorial and the bar patron air for his reading, choosing to sit at one of the bars round tables and cozying up to the microphone, with a grey goose martini straight up. At Leonard’s request, he read Louis Zukofsky’s “A Foin Lass Bodders” translated from the Cavalcante poem “Donna Mi Prega” (I believe), which he read in a thick Brooklyn, Yiddish accent or in “Jew Face” as he called it. As of right now there are no recordings of Zukofsky reading his work available to the public but Bernstein informed us that he and Paul Zukofsky are currently working to make several recordings available on PennSound and that they should be up in the next couple of months. Such good news! I never realized what a ham Bernstein could be, seriously, give the guy a microphone and…he has a good time. I enjoyed hearing his poems “Thank you for saying Thank you” and “The Girly Man” read aloud as the injection of his animation and sarcastic tone added to the overall effect.

An engaging discussion followed the readings but I won’t try to recreate it here. I believe the reading will appear on PennSound pretty soon as part of the Segue Reading Series.

An excellent evening of Poetry all around and an excellent way to bring my visit to New York’s poetryland to a close. Thank you to all for that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Nickelodeon Camera R.I.P?

About those pictures I promised you...well...they didn't turn out too well. I won't go into details but here's an example of the havoc and desolation that is my camera:
These were taken during the Barbara Guest Tribute reading at St. Mark's

If you would please, use your imagination, you'll see Charles Bernstein on the right and shoot, Susan Bee?

Wow, I'm going to say...Africa Wayne and Richard Tuttle.

If you squint your eyes, cross them slightly and turn your head a quarter turn North you should be able to make out Marjorie Welish here on the left and Anne Lauterbach on the right.

Uhhhgh. In those gaping black spaces, imagine if you would the photos you would like to see, the ones that shyness probably did not permit me to take or may not have happened in the first place ie: Bernstein and I mugging for the camera, he making the devil horns and I making the hang-loose sign; Marjorie Welish holding down the Brie with one finger so that I could slice off a piece (that really did happen); a crowd of handsome, young, literary types; a staring contest between Rena Rosenwasser and Erica Kaufman; John Ashbery making a toast to Barbara Guest with a champagne flute of bubbly water. You know, fill in the blanks.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I went to The Brooklyn Rail on Monday to help with production which in my case meant proofreading and ended up staying for a delicious dinner of thai food, wine, chain smoking and a rousing conversation with the Rail-ites and their editor Phong Bui. Sylvere Lotringer, philosopher and editor of Semiotext(e) came by and joined us for dinner or rather his visit was the impetus for the dinner. What was said, I'm having some trouble recalling now...yes, the illusion of choice in America and the creation of identity based on consumer choices ie: condiments at Subway and shoot if I can't remember anything else. Well, the whole thing rang of serendipity and synchronicity. Sharp young-folks sparring with established smarty-pantses all sitting around a big wooden table, digging into take-out, very picturesque. I laughed to myself on several occasions.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Guest Fest 2008

No poet, no poems get me so hot to write as well as Barbara Guest and hers and for that I will be forever in her debt. As a self-proclaimed color monger I feel a pretty intense kinship with Ms. Guest. I've been aware of a desire of mine to eat colors for a few years now and was blown away to find a line from her poem "La Noche Entra en Calor" in the collection Fair Realism that described the very sensation that I've experienced: "he feels color scratching his tongue". For the full context of this line I highly recommend reading the whole dang poem, it's real good. Of the NY School poets, she best captured a viewer's experience of color in visual art and was then able to reproduce that experience in her readers via her poems. Reading or listening to Guest's work is a full body, full contact experience because she hits every sense, or rather gently places her finger here, here, here lighting up nerves as she goes. She's able to bring out the textural and tactile elements of words. One can almost feel them vibrate together, creating colors and sounds all their own.

So, it was a pleasure to hear her work read aloud at St. Mark's Poetry Project on Saturday. Granted, I love the recordings of Guest reading her own work, found on Penn Sound, especially those from The Location of Things. Her voice mesmerizes with its semi-aristocratic pronunciation that is both precise and sensual. I'd love to get her voice down pat and do a reading as her, same goes for James Schuyler who's voice is actually a bit easier to mimic. In any case, as much as I love Guest reading Guest, I enjoyed hearing her poems interpreted by other poets and hearing some pieces that were entirely new to me. Marjorie Welish injected a spooky and ethereal quality that was oddly fitting though not readily apparent in the work. Anne Lauterbach's reading was an equally personal take that seemed to emphasize the musical cadence of Guest's poetics. Charles Bernstein read from an essay on Guest and made the point that Guest "used no hooks", no cop-outs, no immediate crowd pleasers. I call that integrity. Unfortunately, I missed the first half of the reading (dang L train!) thus missing Mei Mei Berssenbrugge, John Ashbery, Rena Rosenwasser (SPD board member) and several others that I would have loved to see. Everyone read beautifully and paid due tribute.

This was my first exposure to St. Mark's and I must say, well, well done, like char-broiled guys. The reading was held in the main hall lending the reading a bit of a funereal air. I noticed a slightly cleaner area where a large cross must have hung on the altar wall before St. Mark's was converted to the poetic devotions. I have to say it felt a bit like church for poets and I personally enjoy the connotations that that association might incur, at least this time around.

Oh and the refreshments were delicious!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bah! So man readings!

Dang dude, there are a lot of poetry events this week. The Flarf Festival started yesterday, Thursday and will last 'til Saturday. Ugly Duckling hosts a reading at their workshop in Brooklyn tonight. Charles Alexander and Ron Silliman read tonight at CUE Arts in Chelsea. I believe there's a reading at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn as well. More tomorrow and Sunday. Wowee. This country (San Francisco) girl's head is spinning. "Shooot, these buildings sure are tall!" = "Boy oh boy there sure are a lot of readings this week!"

Be assured that I'll have somethingto say about any and all readings I do end up attending.

I want to say that I realize that this blog has a flagrant dirth (sp?) of image content and I just want to say, if you're patient, you'll be pleasantly surprised and rewarded. I brought with me my favorite camera ever, a Nickelodeon 35mm camera that takes four pictures on one regular 35mm frame with which I have been snapping away. The camera itself is a great conversation starter as it is purple plastic with a splash of green slime, very attractive. Once this film is developed, you'll be so stoked you won't know what to do. We're talking chaotic, absurd, random pictorial narratives including some of your favorite small press stars. Just you wait.


Okay, so I was wrong Schwartz and Roffé did not read at The Bowery last night, it was a book release party only. Mr. Schwartz has a new book out from Chax press and a chapbook from Ugly Duckling and Ms. Roffé has a new book out from Shearsman. They will both read with Erin Moure at McNally Robinson Bookstore on Thursday, May 1st @ 7 pm.

The party was a big blast from the past for me, it being hosted by an Evergreen College class. I counted four kids from my poetry program, which was pretty teeny tiny. They're all living in New York, kicking serious publishing tukas and poeting too. The new crop of Evergreen students looks very promising, good kids, I think.

From Left: Michael Barron, Holly Melgard, Leonard Schwartz, Maxwell Heller, and me at bottom.

Anna Maschovakis and Matvei Yankelevich of Ugly Duckling Presse were there with their GORGEOUS chapbook by Mr. Schwartz. Both Anna and Matvei will read at the Bowery next Tuesday, April 29th at 5pm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ugly Duckling Presse!

I stopped by UDP on Monday and had the pleasure of folding, awling and sewing some of the chapbooks with Matvei and Michael McCanne. Matvei and Michael designed the gorgeous, did I mention gorgeous? chapbook all in-house.

This here is Matvei. Michael, I have to apologize that your photo didn't make it here because my janky little Nickelodeon camera is thoroughly busted.

Let me just say that walking into the UDP workshop brought on a sense of immediate euphoria. Maybe it was just the thick combined smells of ink and cigarette smoke that met me at the door which always conjures raving bohemian associations for me, but I don't think so. UDP is housed in a big building that they share with several other presses and creative studios out in Brooklyn near the Gowannis Canal. Ahhh...(I sighed) this is what small press publishing looks like. Yes. This feels good, real and immediate. The presence of charming men didn't hurt either. Soon I was bone folding with the best of them, comparing Bay Area and NY poetry scenes and singing the praises of dear, dear SPD champs Brent Cunningham and Neil Alger. All in all, UDP is rocking its own socks and mine, and those of many others by any measure. That day, Monday was the awards ceremony for Aram Saroyan who won the William Carlos Williams award. UDP recently published his Complete Minimal Poems and Matvei was on his way to the ceremony when I left. Hooray for Small Press Literature and hooray for UDP. I was a fan before, from afar but now I'm a...uh....huge fan.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Reading Tomorrow @ Bowery Poetry Club

Tomorrow, April 22nd, Leonard Schwartz and Mercedes Roffé read at The Bowery Poetry Club at 5pm (Free) as part of the Evergreen College Reading Series. Evergreen is my alma mater and Mr. Schwartz was my professor. Should be good, should be good. I'll be there with bells on.

I may also try to catch this event tonight at The Bowery. Shoot, there's also Kate Greenstreet and Frank Sherlock at St. Mark's Poetry Project tonight. Whew! Decisions, decisions.

Spoonbill and Sugartown Books

Yesterday, after a gigantic breakfast, I went to Spoonbill and Sugartown Bookstore in Brooklyn. I'm positive that I placed orders with them over the phone on a few occasions while working with SPD. They have a good selection of art books and magazines and a smattering of used and new of everything else. The big, fat, black cat, Hayes (or Haas or Haze or Heys) stood out as the store's best feature but then, I'm biased toward cats. Still no digital camera so sorry, no pictures of him. Myopic Books, in Chicago, also featured an excellent cat though I didn't catch his name. After chasing Hayes I bought a copy of the music magazine Yeti and a postcard of a hotdog cart. Lou Rowan, author of Sweet Potatoes will be reading there tomorrow, April 22nd.

All in all, excellent bookstore and excellent cat.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How I Feel

This is how I feel about New York so far:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hello to you, New York

Sitting here in the office of George Braziller Publishers in Manhattan with dear dear Maxwell Heller, associate editor. It is a G-Orgeous day, can hardly believe it. Big plans afoot for the weekend. Big plans afoot for the next three weeks here. Much to do, much to see. Will keep you posted, with posts, of course.


--Stay tuned for a belated Chicago post still beavering away on my desktop.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chicago/Patrick Durgin/Kenning Editions

Ah, Chicago. You cold blustery place you. This past Thursday, April 10th got me the wettest and coldest I'd been in quite some time, it also happend to be my sweet Grandfather's birthday. I took the train from Lombard into Chicago to meet with a dear friend of SPD's, Patrick Durgin, poet, professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and editor of Kenning Editions ( ). According to Mr. Durgin, Kenning goes well. Hannah Weiner's Open House, edited by Patrick, has sold well and garnered a number of reviews. I am personally a huge fan of this book, especially Weiner's work with The International Code of Signals. The most recent volume of Dolores Dorantes', Dolores Dorantes called SexoPuroSexoVelos, which was co-published with Counterpath press (another SPD press) has also sold well and has received much praise (see: ).

New projects in the works include: A history of Poet's Theater (up to 1990)edited by Kevin Killian and David Brazil. A chapbook by Kyle Schlessinger (due out in the next couple of months). A new collection by Pamela Liu (in composition stage). Dolores Dorantes is currently working on Volume 4 of her serial poem Dolores Dorantes.

Patrick described the poetry scene here in Chicago as feeling diffuse and lacking community or a figure or figures to rally around. Chicago does not have the same poetic history or tradition of poetic community that the Bay Area or New York are known for and by extention lacks identity. It would be interesting to find out which poets have lived here and attempted to build a community here in the past. By Patrick's assessment there are several poets doing interesting work here but everyone seems to work independently without a cohesive scene.

What does it take to create a poetic community? What components are necessary? Thoughts?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Reading Series = New Fun

I haven't even left San Francisco yet and my literary adventures have begun. Very exciting indeed. K. Silem Mohammad and Lyn Hejinian read at The New Reading Series (yet to be named) hosted by Alli Warren and Brandon Brown at the 21 Grand in Oakland on Sunday. Such a great evening. The lack of provided wine was hardly a problem and everyone was brown-bagging it in style.

Bill Luoma introduced Kasey by way of a great sort of Flarf collage befitting the occasion. Kasey read from his new book Breathalyzer from Edge Books and from an ongoing series of Sonnegrams in which he anagramatizes Shakespeare's sonnets in iambic pentameter according to Elizabethan rhyme scheme leaving any remaining letters to make up the title. My personal favorite line: "Those bitches know that Ivanhoe's the best ho".

He's well known for his involvement in Flarf which described as, ( and I'm crudely paraphrasing) "Poems derived from the results of google searchs + soul." If the internet is an unregulated distillation of culture, then Kasey's Flarf poems act as a further distillation and crystallization of our culture with the added filters of intention, an incredibly keen ear for language and like he said, soul.

David Brazil introduced Lyn with another sort of collage, this time of quotations, indicating her position and interest in a poetic community and that community's relationship to politics or lack there of. I'd met Lyn a few times at SPD when she came to drop off cases Atelos books but this was my first time hearing her read. She has a striking presence of calm and steady purpose that commands respect and attention. The fact that she cracked herself up in the middle of a poem really tickled me too.

After a reception including ambiance provided by ipod DJ Stephanie Young (great idea by the bye) we moved on to Lukas bar. I was in the middle of complaining about my former position as a Medieval Studies professor at Yale before being fired because I was too "real" for them and because the fact that I spoke Middle English made the other professors feel inadequate when David Brazil whipped out a book of Middle English verse that he happened to have with him and handed it to me, effectively taking the joke further than I could trail after. I really shouldn't have been surprised. Then, Kasey Mohammad leaned over and began to read to us from the Middle English, accent and all and translate as he went. It was a strange and beautiful moment in poetry.

Thanks to all for a great evenin. I dub The New Reading Series a huge success and a damn good time in Poetryland. I'm sad that I'll miss the next two readings in this series but I expect all of you who can go will, and will tell me all about it. I want details.

Bye for now. I'm off to Chicago!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Last Day at SPD

Oh beans. Today is my last day at SPD. Things are winding up nicely. I shook the crumbs out of my keyboard, did a quick swipe for grime with a damp paper towel, played with the cat (who climbed onto my shoulders and tried to eat my hair), received 1 box of books, wrote to my dear publishers whom I will really miss, took orders from my dear customers, gave away my desk objects (plant, robot, book girl action figure), made a list, boogied in the warehouse and sent emails with lots of exclamation points to my co-workers. It's sad to leave but good to launch into travel mode.

Would that I had my digital camera so that I could post some pictures with this my first post but alas, I do not. We had a GREAT pizza party yesterday including 3 count 'em 3 pizzas, 3 count 'em 3 litre bottles of soda, salad and rousing conversation about poets across the country, celebrities and Sean Penn's post-Madonna-breakup poetry. Prime photo opportunity. I really felt like I was at a seven year old's birthday and that I was the birthday girl.

Tonight the youngin's of SPD go for drinks and then on into the weekend and semi-permanent weekend for me.

Actually, this is exciting, this weekend the first reading of THE NEW READING SERIES at 21 Grand happens this Sunday. Alli Warren and Brandon Brown host/curate this new series. Here are the details:

March 30, 6:30 pm = HOT FUN

Lyn Hejinian & K.

Silem Mohammad

21 Grand / 416 25h St / Oakland CA / 3 dollars

The reading is EARLY, 6:30, and a reception is to follow. No alcohol on tables at 21 Grand, but BROWN BAGS are VERY WELCOME. Stephanie Young as IPOD DJ following the reading.

I'll be there and so should you be. So stay posted, folks. There will be plenty more out of me. Post SPD time starts in T-minus 58 minutes. In the meantime, hello from SPD land. SPD loves you.