9.29.2005

Angels



kinemapoetics will be silent for a long weekend in observance of our annual visit to the Left Coast and all its sparkling beauties.

9.28.2005

All the News that Fits

The new ms is in the can. And by "can" I (hopefully) do not mean the toilet. I mean "the can" as in, "the [film] can[ister]." Meaning I feel like it's as done as it can be—for now. This also means I will be obsessively reading it, re-reading it, returning to it, and finally making necessary changes over the next six months.

And so another project comes and goes.

9.27.2005

I Heart Huckabees



Vivian Jaffe: Have you ever transcended space and time?
Albert: Yes. No. Uh...time, not space. No, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Over the weekend, I rewatched I Heart Huckabees, seeing it for the second time. I initially avoided seeing it at all because my parents said it was the worst movie ever made. The first time I finally did watch it, I was perplexed: it's not that I didn't fully understand the film, but I couldn't decided what I thought of it. I mean, I was attracted to it, but I wasn't sure I liked it.

Upon the second viewing, I've decided it's one of my favorite movies.

What's brilliant about it is its absurdity. I really like the comedy of the absurd. In this case, it takes the form of two very dedicated "Existential Detectives" investigating one confused man's triple coincidence and their battle against a very dark, seductive French nihilist. If nothing else, I Heart Huckabees is the cinematic version of Mid-20th Century European Philosophy for Dummies, breaking down both the existential and nihilist traditions into squabbling factions, each bent on total universe dominance.

If nothing else, there is joy in watching Marky Mark (formerly of the Funky Bunch) cry out that the universe has no meaning and that all meaning is nothingness.

The biggest fault in Huckabees is probably also its greatest strength. The humor is so delicate and nuanced that it would be easy to misinterpret its comedy as earnestness.

"We're not in infinity; we're in the suburbs."

9.26.2005

Good McSweeney's Lists of Late



Totalitarian Institutions That Would Have Been More Fitting for George Orwell's 1984, Considering How That Year Turned Out.

Chapter Titles from My Creationist Textbook

And my current favorite, possibly for its obscure reference to a once-popular mid-90s alternative grrl-rock anthem I continue to love and know the lyrics to and in which my friends and I used to replace the word "seether" with "beaver":

Ways One Could, In Theory, Fight the Seether

9.24.2005

When you get the blanket thing, you can relax, because everything you could ever want or be, you already have and are.

9.23.2005

Great Ad Campaigns of Our New Century

Tonight at the mall, I saw this plastered on an SUV's back window:

CAN'T READ THIS?

Call The Reading Clinic
480-555-4325

Twenty-Three Five

Twenty-third post made on this blog, fifth sentence:

"Most parking spaces near (and not so near) Gammage Auditorium have been closed for the debate tomorrow."

The Raw and the Cooked

One of the things I've been kicking around in my head lately concerns the whole "cerebral" versus "emotional" dichotomy the Alfred Corn interview re-raised.

While there are a few Wallace Stevens poems I really enjoy, by and large his poems, to me, are big brick walls. When reading him I feel like there isn't a way in for me. But I think that's because I have different expectations about how a poem should speak to me (I mean, we all do). I know a lot of poets I treasure in turn treasure the work of Stevens, and so I end up feeling really complicated about it and I continue to ask myself why I can't get into him, or Elizabeth Bishop (who is less brick wall and more privet), or Marianne Moore. Or why "oppositional" poetries like Plath—who is also listed as being counter to the "cerebral" poets—appeal to me more.

But then again, someone like Cavafy, who is a bit "cool" but not what I would consider "cerebral," is very homelike for me.

I know that I prioritize the personal over the universal in nearly every instance. It might be that what I respond to in the cerebral poets is the objective distance they take to their subject. I don't want to understand the world from the outside in. I want it from the inside out. Extrapolation over interpolation.

And it's not that I need first-person narratives or voice. I do tend to dislike third-person narration in poems. I almost prefer not to notice a narrative source.

Feeling muddled today.

9.21.2005

Balance

In the mail:

Rejection from AQR. Granted, the kindest, most encouraging rejection I've ever received.

A special package. If you're out there, reading this: thank you, thank you. You picked me back up on a strange, sad day.

Size Queen

Does anyone know what to do with a long poem?

I've written a couple lately. Churchyard was kind of enough to take a 7-page piece after reading several excerpts from it. I didn't expect that. I continue to excerpt these longer pieces to send them out, but it seems incomplete. I mean, I wouldn't excerpt a smaller poem...so, what does a poet do?

> Are there specific journals that consider longer poems?

> And, if so, what's the best way to go about submitting them? I would feel really awkward submitting eleven pages to a journal.

"I wanna be cool, tall, vulnerable, and luscious."

9.20.2005

Money / Success / Fame / Glamour

"We are living
in an age
where the pursuit of all values other than

money, success, fame, glamour

has either been discredited
or destroyed."


Party Monster

9.19.2005

I hope this is like reading something that is the opposite of me

"I don't repudiate [the description of my work as "cerebral" or "cool"], because who can more cerebral than Stevens, and he's a great poet. Who could be cooler than Elizabeth Bishop? She's cool with me [laughs]. I try to avoid sentimentality in my work. We're on our guard against sentimentality that's based on tender feelings, but we're not on our guard against sentimentality that has to do with rage or fury. I like many Plath poems, but some of the famous ones seem sentimental in a negative key, like "Daddy" or "Lady Lazarus." I sometimes teach in poetry workshops that if you want to avoid sentimentality, you bring in the object world, you bring in irony and humor, and you try to argue against yourself. It's a good way to avoid one-way emotion: qualify emotions by bringing in other kinds of considerations and perceptions. That doesn't mean you don't feel. There's that famous line from Marianne Moore: "So he who strongly feels, behaves."

—Alfred Corn, from an interview with Christopher Hennessy, Outside the Lines: Talking with Contemporary Gay Poets

TiVo Woes

What's a queer boy to do? My TiVo only tapes two shows at once, and look at this line-up:

Wednesday, 7 pm:

NBC | The Apprentice, Martha Stewart
UPN | America's Next Top Model
FOX | So You Think You Can Dance

*chews fingernails* What to do...what to do...

From the Margins



The new issue of Marginalia—the magazine on writers, writing, and the Piper Center—is now available online. Click above.

Peace



The Blogoview Project has been retired. Thanks to those who participated.

Instead, please enjoy a feed of recent poems added to three candles.

9.18.2005

Festival of New Work

The past two years, fall has been my most generative times. I wrote the bulk of my last ms during October and November. This year the writing sort of started in July but really took hold in August and September.

My new ms is almost finished. I'm in the last phase of writing it and concurrently beginning to edit what I already have. Right now I have 58 pages of good work.

While this hasn't been the hardest book to write in terms of actually writing it, the emotional toll on me has been considerable, part of my greater fear about this work. I'm clearly invested in this and it's something I'm worried about. Throughout the writing of these poems, I've been tired, irritable, depressed, drunk, lashing out, sulking, immobilized, or otherwise unbearable.

This is not a coincidence.

I have a new working title that I am very tied to. A single word that appears at least five times and is the title of one of the poems. It has two syllables, six letters. It sounds like a bird. It's a wonderful, beautiful tihng.

That it's nearly done is a wonderful, beautiful thing. I need to move on in all sorts of ways.

9.17.2005

Found



At the bookstore:

Jorn Ake's Asleep In the Lightning Fields
Mark Doty's Sweet Machine

At the grocery store:

A fresh bouquet of alstroemeria in the "White Queen" variety.

In the mailbox:

Acceptance of "La Agrado" and "La Agrado 2" from The Journal.

At home:

Quiet.

9.16.2005

Some Lines I Like a Lot by Lucie Brock-Broido

       No one is
Exquisite anymore. The river is so small now

It will be hard to drown
In It. And still this world’s a pretty one.

What world.

— “Herculaneum”


Here is the maudlin petty bourgeoisie of ruin.

— “Basic Poem in a Basic Tongue”


I cannot tell you this, not now, not ever, even
In the letter I have written that is so epic

That if you were to open it, the pages would sail out
In the wind like confection moths being born

— “Self-Portrait with Her Hair on Fire”


Let me list here the things I wish to bring with me,
For the life after this or that. I will not go back the way I came

— “The One Theme of Which Everything Else Is a Variation

Perfect

Peter has beautiful poems over at three candles.

9.15.2005

Recently Read Index

Current number of titles on my Recently Read list: 19

Percent chance a title was written by a woman: 60%
Percent chance a title was written by a homosexual: 40%
Percent chance a title was written by a heterosexual man: 5%

Percent chance a title's author is not caucasian: 25%
Percent chance a title is an author's first or second book: 45%

Percent chance I have seen the author: 30%
Percent chance I have heard the author read: 25%
Percent chance I have spoken with or met the author: 15%

Percent chance the book was recommended to me or was mentioned by another poet: 25%
Percent chance I have or will recommend a book to another poet: 55%

Percent chance I purchased the book before reading it: 55%
Percent chance the book was a review copy sent to my office: 10%


Veronica Mars season finale: Wow.

9.14.2005

Fall Season Stats So Far



WINNERS
Weeds: Mary-Louise Parker will go to Heaven.
Prison Break: Triumphant reinvention of the serial genre.
Supernatural: Hot guys, cold thrills, great writing.

LOSERS
Reunion (Great concept; unfortunately, script ideas were handed over to 12-year-old children to write)

TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Rome

NOT YET JUDGED (Not Premiered or on TiVo)
Bones
Kitchen Confidential
How I Met Your Mother
Head Cases

Lost

9.12.2005

Everyone approaches a song with their own baggage and their own ideas. It's weird; at the time I was writing "Loser," I was really into Dada. I was reading a lot about André Breton, Tristan Tzara, and Duchamp. And I was big on Artaud and the Theater of the Absurd. So, in my mind, "Loser" also had those influences. But not a lot of people picked up on that because it wasn't wearing it on its sleeve. It was being filtered into some kind of haphazard rap song. Even the video for "Loser" was partly a take on Buñuel's Simon of the Desert. But if someone's radar only goes as far as The Brady Bunch, that's what's going to get reflected back at you.


Beck, from an interview in The Believer, June/July.

Orange Tic Tac

You will need

1.5 oz Absolut Mandarin
1 can Red Bull

Directions:

Pour vokda into regular shot glass and set aside.
Fill highball glass with Red Bull just over half full.
Drop vodka shot straight into glass.
Drink contents of glass quickly.

9.11.2005

I was reading through your Handbook for the Recently Deceased. It says live people ignore the strange and unusual. I myself am strange and unusual.

9.09.2005

I'm Not that Girl Anymore.

As soon as I think Veronica Mars has plateaued, reached a high point it can't possibly surprass, I'm summarily dumbstruck by an episode.

So was the case last night, when I saw what I think must have been the first season finale.

Oh, shit.

At one point, I actually gasped and said, "OH MY GOD. NO WAY." Out loud. In a room by myself. To no one.

What I respect and admire about the show is that it doesn't avoid messy, difficult things. In the pilot episode, here is what you learn about Veronica:

1. Her hot, loving boyfriend has suddenly dumped her without any explanation.
2. Veronica's best friend (and her boyfriend's sister) has been violently murdered.
3. Veronica's father, the sheriff, was fired for "bungling" the investigation and has become a private investigator.
4. Veronica's mother has abandoned them.
5. Veronica, because she is poorer than her richy-rich classmates, is completely ostracized from her high school's social circle and becomes a social pariah.
6. In order to show them she doesn't care, Veronica defiantly attends the end-of-the-year popular-kids party and wakes up in spare bedroom with no memory of the night before. Her underwear is in a small pile on the floor.
7. When she files a police report on her rape, the new sheriff ridicules her and rejects her story.

And so, season 1 begins with Veronica stating

I'm not that girl anymore.

And she begins rebuilding her life, seeking answers to these mysteries—and others—along the way.

Season 1 comes out on DVD next month. It's really something spectacular.

Kinemapoetics

The human eye has its limits. For motion, the eye can detect variation in approximately 50 frames per second.

The camera is like an eye. It lets light in. The camera-eye needs light to perceive an image. Film slips through behind the eye and light activates chemicals on the celluloid, which makes an image semi-permanent. We give to the camera a kind of memory, unstabilized, unlimited.

The camera projector is the opposite of an eye. It puts the memory out into the world. It creates light.

The projector works at near-capacity for human eye perception. It runs at 24 frames per second. Two little panels slide up and down to block out the light, reveal the light, block out the light, as each frame appears. (clickclickclickclickclickclick, etc) This light-no light-light-no light-light redundancy is what creates the illusion of movement. Movement in cinema does not exist. Only the film moves. Movement is interpellated by the small differences between frames.

Each frame is lit twice by the projector bulb, revealed twice through the snapping panels. This, ultimately, implies 48 frames per second. Why we don't get angry that the movement is claymation-like, or stilted, or phony. We interpellate effectively at this rate. The magic of motion is nothing more than clever illusion.

In other words, watching a projected film you watch every frame twice. In essence, you see the whole film twice.

All in the name of fluid movement.

Goodbye John



You are "tits up," friend.

9.08.2005

ASU/LSU Football Match-up to Aid Hurricane Victims



This Saturday's ASU/LSU football game has become a Hurricane Relief fundraiser.

Read more here

It's That Time Again



To drop your brave little manuscripts from the nest.

Oh, the entry fees add up...

9.07.2005

Death Kiss



I quit smoking three years ago. It was tough. I'd been smoking for seven years and working on quitting for about five of those seven years. And I didn't just take up smoking over time: I basically wrapped myself up in it over a weekend, and then I was (for good) a Smoker.

And I loved smoking, really. Loved loved loved it.

In college a boyfriend bought me nicotine patches to help me quit (he was quitting also, but cold turkey). But, we did them wrong, buying patches that were stronger than our addiction to cigarettes, and so, like the Tori Amos lyric, I became addicted to nictone patches.

I tried Zyban the year I was a residence hall director at the University of Minnesota. My student staff were very vocal about wanting me to quit, and I wanted to, too, to an extent. Zyban made me so happy—it is, after all, just the antidepressant Wellbutrin in a different hat. I found myself not wanting to smoke, and when I did, I felt sick to my stomach. Imagine! Aversion therapy in a pill. Then, a student in my residence hall fell from a lofted bed and died. I started smoking.

I tried Zyban again in grad school. Zyban is also like taking crystal meth. I stopped sleeping and was up all hours of the night doing little projects, reading, writing. I was a machine. I needed no sleep and never felt tired! I was also an emotional roller coaster—which face would I be wearing in five minutes? Nobody knew! And so, laughing to crying, thanking to chiding—you name it. My mirror had about seven faces. All of them crazy.

I finally quit on the patch, doing it correctly, then even cutting down the smallest patch into halves and wearing them for an extra four weeks. It worked. I quit smoking. I kicked the addition. But

there are nights, like last night, when the man in front of me at the convenience store buys three packs of cigarettes and I can smell that smoke on him, the brand I smoked, and I'm back. I'm craving. My head swims and all I can think is PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH.

I remember the way an unlit cigarette smells: raisins.

I remember the way a first drag tastes: toasted peanut butter.

I remember the smoky goodness, the swirl of it sucking down into a lung, the flush in the brain—the way the world tilts forward like a car coming to a hard stop. Sending the smoke back out again, watching it leave the mouth and disbanding into the air...

9.06.2005

On Kinemapoetics

I changed my blog's name and location because I wanted to place it squarely in the zone of where I'm writing. The old name wasn't really capturing anything and was, in all honestly, just something I plucked from the air that was tangentially related to my poetry—and not to my poetics.

Kinemapoetics is about the visual lyricism. It's about the process of collecting a manscript of poems as akin to the job of the film editor, who takes the dailies, the rushes, the raw footage and shapes them into the filmic thread. It's about each poem doing its piece of the work as a whole, not about poems as sad little individuals with no friends.

Kinema, in Greek, means motion. Origin of our word "cinema"—motion pictures. Kinemapoetics means poems move—in image, in narrative (whatever that means), in effect.

Kinemapoetics uses film and poetry as lenses each to better understand the other.

We've Had a Little Work Done

New blog title and address, same great taste.

9.05.2005

Poignant Pop Song of the Moment

I've got reservations about so many things

but not about you,
not about you.





(I think that I would die if anyone ever wrote or said that to me. I mean, die happy.)

Formula

C-SPAN + Tacky theme-room hotel + Masterpiece Theatre accents + Skinemax = HBO's Rome.