8.31.2006

Casa Libre

Ocotillo Literary Endeavors, Inc. & Casa Libre en la Solana (in cooperation with Kore Press), present:
The 2nd Annual OLE Residency

The winner of the OLE Residency will receive a $300 stipend, featured reading, and two weeks stay at Casa Libre en la Solana (www.casalibre.org ).

Deadline: October 1, 2006
Judge: Camille Dungy
Entry Fee: $20.00
Notification by: October 20, 2006

Residency: Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2006

Contest Rules:
1. Open nationally to all female poets / prose poets of color who have not published—through the Internet or any recognized press—a full-length collection (more than 30 pages) of poetry. Only one entry per poet will be accepted.

2. Entrants submit two (2) identical sets of up to ten (10) pages of recent work. Only one poem may appear on a single page; poems of more than one page in length are acceptable. Entrants’ name must NOT appear on manuscript pages. Please staple the individual sets of ten (10) pages together.

3. Poem entries MUST be mailed unfolded in a 9 x 12 envelope. Enclose a title page including your name, address, day & evening phone numbers, email address, and titles (or first 2 lines) of the poems submitted. Your check for $20.00, payable to Tucson Poetry Festival, must also be enclosed. Entries containing incomplete or false information will forfeit Entrant’s eligibility for the Contest. No manuscripts will be returned.

4. Winner of Residency must provide own travel to and from Tucson, AZ.

Mail entries to:
OLE / Casa Libre Residency, PO Box 44000, Tucson, Arizona 85733
Entries must be postmarked by Oct. 1, 2006.

For more information contact:
Teresa Driver, Executive Director
Tucson Poetry Festival
PO Box 44000
Tucson, AZ 85733
(520)620.2045
info@tucsonpoetryfestival.org

8.29.2006

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Read:
Veronica, Mary Gaitskill
Loved it.
The David Museum, Ron Mohring
Fantastic.
Mutant Message Down Under, Marlo Morgan
Interesting and strange! Also, an easy read.
Here, Bullet, Brian Turner
Understandibly an important book right now
Miracle Fruit, Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Delicious with some very arresting pieces
New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader
Very thought-provoking; expect a blog post about some ideas from this later

Practiced:
Outdoor yoga on the deck overlooking Lake Michigan

Watched:
Memoirs of a Geisha, Strange Relations, Arrested Development Season 1, Vertigo, Derailed

Finished:
LOCUSPOINT design and layout!

Enjoyed:
Lake Michigan's brisk swimming
The hammock
T-shirt and jeans weather every day
Rain

Eaten:
Too many amazing home-cooked meals to mention!

Played:
Countless games of crazy rummy

Written:
The first section of the Vertigo poem (film criticism in lyrical prose)

Taken:
Gratuitious photos, to be shared soon

8.27.2006

Pt 2...

Just to complete what I had posted on Friday:

The reason that the marked text idea is interesting to me right now, is that it has made me look at the works of several digital artists in a slightly different way.

The work of jUStin!katKO, in particular Reading Palm, uses a simplistic but effective method of filming and obstructing parts of signs and writing around the city. Situated in the everyday, with the contexts of the signs intact, KatKO’s work creates a sort of abjection through the creation of errant messages through erasure. It’s also pretty funny, with some impressive on-the-fly obstruction:


It’s entertaining and thought-provoking to see what can be made from such subversion of use value-centric objects such as commercial signs. It’s is perhaps fitting, then, that Reading Palm ends with the owner of a filmed dot-matrix specials board at a café blocking the text with his own hand, containing a wad of cash.


katKO’s work is an example of the sign in situ, retaining its contextual identity whilst having its use value subverted, turned potentially into a number of alternative social values – smut (humour), pun, a message construable as a political statement, etc.

I recently took a look at some of the work from the DVD of the Ars Electronica festival 2003, and one of the installations, Listening Post, “[culled] text fragments in real time from thousands of unrestricted Internet chat rooms, bulletin boards and other public forums. The texts [were] read (or sung) by a voice synthesizer, and simultaneously displayed across a suspended grid of more than two hundred small electronic screens.”


The readouts from these screens are marked texts in the respect that the original aesthetic (itself an uncertainty, since the chat room texts each come from different computers, with presumably differing operating systems, borwsers, browser settings, chat room aesthetic settings, etc.) has been removed and has been replaced with the green LED-style format of the scrolling electronic text, which presumably the hardware has dictated. However, this new style stems from the aesthetic flattening of the source texts, bringing them into an even arena where emotive, historical, social biases such as gender, age, emotional state etc. (sometimes indicated by an avatar and personal formatting settings) are not an issue, save for what might be in the actual content of the posting. Furthermore, this flattened formatting forces the text to be received as a whole, with the voice reading text readouts (admittedly and perhaps problematically a distinctly male – if distinctly artificial – voice) also being constant. There seems to be a deliberate turning away from individual identity, in favour instead of the excess created by one voice and many similar-looking texts constantly referring “I”. It is at times overwhelming, at others amusing, and I don’t think it would have worked had the aesthetic settings of each post been preserved, or an effort made to distinguish through variant voices the postings. The result instead is similar to reading Ron Silliman’s Sunset Debris – a repetition of sentence structure which plays with being absorbed into the text, only suddenly to snap out of it, with multiple “I”’s interrupting any sense of prolonged narrative flow.

Anyway, I think that’s really it from me and back to Charlie! I hope this was at least something to read in Charlie’s absence. If anyone is interested in my blog you can find it at http://itchaway.blogspot.com and my website is at http://www.textosterone.co.uk (it has a bit of my work on it).

Thanks for making me feel welcome and Charlie – thanks for trusting me with your famed blog – I don’t think I broke it.

Tootie xxx


8.25.2006

The Significance of Marked Texts, pt 1

Over recent weeks, I have been reading up on work by and about Johanna Drucker and Susan Howe. Drucker, whose Figuring the Word book has become a bible to me, has an interest in what she sees as an inseparable association between the word's semantics and its physical qualities, the two combining to create a meaning, rather than either quality being merely supplemental to the other.

Drucker's own work showcases her regard for the importance of the physical in her work, creating dense, beautiful and thought-proviking work. The Word Made Flesh (pictured) is an example of her work with typesetting:


Image comes from BOOK/ENDS page

Here, letters being are into sizes which allow them to span more than one phrasal unit. The reader of the work must abandon most traditional left-to-right, top-to-bottom reading in order to navigate the text, and the work exposes how the spatial arrangement of the text can force associative links from one side of the page to another.

Along with other poets such as Tina Darragh, Joan Retallack and Susan Howe (among others!),, Drucker's work often bears the mark of her process, urging the reader to decipher the modes of interpretation possible in the text, and be rewarded by partaking in the interpretive process, which becomes an active inquiry.

MARK is an important word here; it is used by Drucker - highlighted in Rachel Tzvia Back's Led by Language book on Susan Howe - to describe a text whose physical traits bear the mark not necessarily of the author's ego, but of the intervention of the author in the inscription process. This is as opposed to the unmarked text, which obviously bears little evidence of the authorial intervention from the source.

This got me thinking (a rare occurance indeed), since, especially in the cut/copy-and-paste world of digitised typing and editing, it is equally possible to duplicate content and its style, and to remove style. This sense of the marked / unmarked text perhaps extends to a sort of 'anti-formatted' text, or uniformed text, in which source texts are collated, edited or manipulated, and are transformed in a way which seeks to remove the original context. Instead, the new texts would then demand a new hollistic interpretation in terms of themselves, or their new aesthetic identity, due to stylistic consistency.

Consider, for example, the clairvoyant work of Hannah Weiner, whose texts are typewritten, but interrupted / augmented by handwritten words which Weiner has 'seen'. The psychic intervention, a voice which, although Weiner's, implicitly throws a notion of "I" truly into question, is scrawled in as a definitely marked text, where Weiner has allowed the words to speak on the same canvas, but distinct from the rest of the text.

From another angle, Robert Smithson's Heap of Language:


which uses a variety of source texts, represents them, literally as a heap, in one hand-written aesthetic, placing the focus on the interrelation of the words in the heap, unusually and unnaturally juxtaposed. I suppose there is an artifice of the natural here, the uniformity of handwriting, which commands the assumption that words were written chronologically and therefore possess a flow of meaning.

Lyn Hejinian's My Life might be another example of such a text. The passages of the text, coming from various voices, shifting "I"s, come together on the page in a relatively conventional form (save for the square of text around which the rest wraps). No one phrase therefore commands attention over another. This furthers the text's ambiguities of meaning, a mixture of clarity and vagueness which has the balance needed to be enterable at any point, and promote the reader to introduce personal experience to fill in the final experiential touches to the text. The uniformity of formatting in the piece allows such an interaction with the text to take place.

Either tomorrow or Sunday - whenever I can next get on the internet - I'd like to try to give a few examples of some interesting multimedia works which take this in other interesting directions....

If anyone's out there, have a nice weekend!

J

8.24.2006

pale-face reunion

my brother smokes like mouth-to-mouth
regulatory deadline for
not ok

overweight mercy rule
but saving
embraced her
father believes

Naomi's lung
is European
whereas I

walk soup
conventions of the sea
familiar objects
my captive audience
lies still

8.23.2006

Happy Sad Computer

Generative art is a murky area. Ranging from conceptually fascinating and interesting work to little more than wallpaper, its satisfaction level is not always guaranteed. Kind of like the Oulipo movement, in which mathematical constraints were applied to text, or multiple choice and random elements were incorporated into the text's production. This often sounds better in terms of the concepts discussed rather than necessarily the texts produced.

A piece which I stumbled upon recently stuck me as pretty interesting, until I really began thinking about what was happening. It's focus is not on textual output (in the respect of producing a text) and yet, ironically, this is what makes it such an interesting application.

Happy Sad Computer - an application which I'm afraid is for Mac OS X only - needs an internet connection. It scans through internet pages, following links and scanning those pages, then following those links, etc. It looks at the language in these pages and becomes increasingly happy or sad depending on the language in the pages. If it cannot find a link (presumably) the application begins again from a random list of web sites it knows.


Screenshot from Happy Sad Computer. Pressing the space bar toggles between the visibility of the URLs being visited

Disconcertingly, the face often ends up sobbing buckets of electrotears rather than bearing a cybergrin. This is perhaps unsuprising since it appears to begin its scan on CNN, and as everyone knows, good news is no news.

I guess what interests me most about this piece is how it treats linguistic components objectively, and thus invites the consideration that the system of language is riddled with ironies, double-meanings, metaphor, all compunded by sound byte jargon. I imagine, for example, the expression "friendly fire" having an interesting impact on the face's mood.

Also interesting is the paths which the application ends up pursuing, as links from one page to another take the scanning process seemingly to the other end of the cyberspectrum, highlighting the fact that "each text contained in an electronic network is in active dialogue with the others" (quote, Brian Kim Stefans, Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics p.129)

Anyway, it's an interesting and free way to pass the time for 5 minutes. I think, in light of the above, that such investigations are very closely linked to the kinds of inquiry which make hypertext theory and the writing which can come out of it fascinating and unique. Happy Sad Computer deals with language in a way which is reflective of the objectified scans of a robot, and applied to the subjective realm of emotion, and as such, it functions as an interesting engagement with language at the multiple tiers of interpretation which occur in a networked process of electronic parsing and reader (human) inference.

8.19.2006

Project Funaway

My posts on Project Runway are few and far between - due mostly to the fact that THIS MAN does it a whole lot better (pictures and sound clips included) so it seems kind of pointless duplicating his fine work, and wasting my time when I could be picking my nose, or even my ear.

However, this week's episode warrants a word or two, since (a) I need some content to keep this blog afloat and (b) there is some funny, serious and upsetting content I need to get off my CHEST.

Once more this week, I was confounded by how the completely untalented Vincent got away yet again with style murder as the panel lynched yet another designer ahead of her time. I can, at a stretch, imagine why Angela is still with us - her team leadership in the joint challenge was admittedly good. Vincent, however, has consistently been on the edge of nervous breakdown since he was first asked to do anything requiring creative thought. I am still holding on to the hope that he will go completely postal in an upcoming show.

Michael's victory last week was bittersweet. Sweet because he finally got the recognition he deserved, both in terms of his coverage throughout the show, and in the respect that he won the challenge. Bitter, because it was the only damn challenge without immunity for the winner, thanks to Keith's untimely exit in the previous show. So how f***ing brilliant was it to see Michael win again this week? Pretty f***ing marvellous.

Yet, although I'm glad for the designer I honestly think is the greatest talent there, I'm not sure his design was better than Jeffrey's, whose dress, the panel admitted, was the only one which moved down the runway (evidently no mean feat when the garments were made out of recycled trash). Jeffrey's reaction was arrogant, which I didn't like, but I felt that he too deserves some recognition for what is clearly some special talent.

So it was goodbye to Alison, which left Uli as the only likeable woman left in contention. I had liked Laura, until this episode, in which she systematically rubbished everyone in that "I don't realise I'm being such a bitch" way which, to me, implies an even stronger character flaw than someone who just comes out with it and is knowingly a bitch. To be like Laura was, it has to be pretty deeply engrained in your personality.

However, perhaps the most shocking and disturbing event occurred during one such outburst. What would have been a literal outburst, of boobie proportions, if there had been enough boobie.



Now, this I DO know. This is NOT COOL. If you're going to criticise the FIT of someone's OUTFIT with such gusto, you do not do it while you fall out of your own, very poorly chosen outfit. Lordy lord.

Yes indeed. Quite horrible.

Oh, and I'm glad Kayne made it through, after making an outfit correctly described as a pinata. A lapse in fashion judgement it was, but he's very good. I'm sure he won't nake that mistake again.

Predictions for the final 3:

Michael - consistently EXCELLENT
Kayne - again, brilliant, but has the potential to suddenly design a nasty
Uli - although she has won a challenge, she seems to take a bit of a back seat. That said, she consistently makes thoughtful, well-made outfits, and I think she has the talent to make the final 3.

4th player will be Laura. She will win the boobie prize. --------- HAAAAAAA!!!

8.18.2006

Blogsitting, round 1

Well, yes. Hello everybody! And thanks to Charlie for entrusting me with the keys to his blog while he’s away. I have promised him I’d keep on posting, and rather than try to emulate his sequined text and silky tones, I’d just stick with what I know, and hopefully keep you interested for long enough to hold this blog together until Charlie returns.

My background is that I’m studying for a PhD in Poetic Practice with Royal Holloway, University of London. I’ve been looking at a Poetics of Disgust and Performances of Technology, and so a lot of my work is multimedia-based and attempts to look at multimedia in unique, poetic ways…

Well, thank God that’s over. Now I can get on with the post. It seems fitting to begin with a brief one about my personal favourite in terms of online poets right now.

Brian Kim Stefans has been producing work for some years now, and whereas a lot of online work tends to fall into extensions of print such as animated linear narratives or visually stunning yet formally pretty conventional poetry, Stefans’ works bear a conceptually interesting dialogue between language and the technology which is used to articulate it.

This is also distinct from poetry whose “theme” is technology itself. As above, this is interesting, but I think that Stefans’ work is more relevant to my personal investigations and poetic practice.

Stefans is perhaps best known for two online works. The first is The Dreamlife of Letters, a flash poem which seems to draw from concrete poetry in the respect that each “scene” is a self-contained, self-referential entity, often utilising text rather than using it, creating indeed dreamlike animations made of transforming texts. Interestingly, Stefans’ poem can, like concrete poetry, be taken in terms of its semantics, although these are bound to the formal makeup of the poem, creating often complex interpretations out of little more than a couple of words.

Detournement – the reworking of a recognised form against itself – plays a part in this engagement with the text, compounded all the way through by the fact that such an animation would not look out of place – to the unsuspecting reader – buried within a webpage full to bursting with animated web banners and square advertisements. The section below:


could be interpreted to death. The text, clearly spelling “(your”, also spells “(you”, whose sense of independence or self-ownership is undermined by the registration symbol tied to it. One could take this further, looking at such a statement in the wider context of consumerism and rights of privacy – a thorny, sticky issue in the online world, outside of which this poem could not exist effectively.

It doesn’t take long to become used to the formal style of Dreamlife, and once this formal familiarity has been established, it becomes not only a semantically rich text, but a beautiful, mesmorising and at times a humorous one too. Flashy extras in the animation, floating, fading words and letters. This is a long poem, but I find it difficult, once started, to close it again.

Brian Kim Stefans is also somewhat famous for his detournement of the New York Times some time ago. For this, Stefans lifted the contents of the home page of NYT, adverts and all, and inserted his own text in place of the speeches of President Bush and Tony Blair. He was given a cease and desist order quicker than you can say “shut it”. What was interesting about this piece was not the reaction it got from officials, but more the concepts of appropriation which the piece raised. The internet, and digital technology in general, allows for precise duplication and non-destructive editing, allowing for interesting grounds for working with politically contentious materials, and making unique statements, using the object of critique against itself.

A few links, if you’ve read this far, which might interest you. Stefans also hosts the UBU Editions series, an incredible collection of freely downloadable PDFs by a range of diverse and amazing poets: http://www.ubu.com/ubu/index.html

Brian Kim Stefans' home page, Arras.net: http://www.arras.net/ which contains lots of his work. Some interesting ideas here, such as dot matrix concrete poetry, and a few online settings for chapbooks.

Free Space Comix, Stefans' blog: http://www.arras.net/fscIII/



I hope I haven't bored you to tears. Let's put it this way, if I have, Charlie will be back soon. And keep your chin up, as I'm working on a post devoted entirely to Project Runway. Oh yes, there's something for everybody here.

Thanks for listening!

J

8.16.2006

Au Revoir

Friends, the time has come for me to say goodbye...

...but not farewell.

I'm off to the Wisconsin for a week of R & R, lakeside, with a laptop. No internet, no cell phone, no Blackberry.

Here is where I'm going:



Here is how you get there, after seven hours of flights and layovers:





My dear friend, the poet John Sparrow, will be guest blogging here at kinemapoetics in my absence. Please be kind to him.


Fig 1. John Sparrow holding an actual gun, which you can do in Arizona.

I will let John provide his own introduction, but hey—you've been warned.

Au Revoir

Friends, the time has come for me to say goodbye...

...but not farewell.

I'm off to the Wisconsin for a week of R & R, lakeside, with a laptop. No internet, no cell phone, no Blackberry.

Here is where I'm going:



Here is how you get there, after seven hours of flights and layovers:





My dear friend, the poet John Sparrow, will be guest blogging here at kinemapoetics in my absence. Please be kind to him.


Fig 1. John Sparrow holding an actual gun, which you can do in Arizona.

I will let John provide his own introduction, but hey—you've been warned.

There Are Many Such Stories, 2

You see the same kind of feminine identity crises in other Hitchcock films.

In Rebecca, the creepy Mrs. Danvers does everything she can to overlay the dead wife's personality and artifice onto the Second Mrs. de Winter, at one point even dressing the poor new wife in an outfit Rebecca once wore. Everything in the house bears the flourished "R" of Rebecca's monogram—even the stationery in the new Mrs. de Winter's writing desk.



In Shadow of a Doubt, the doppelgangers cross gender lines. Young Charlie (Teresa Wright) and her Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) share more than just a name; their bond is more than just purely familial. And when Uncle Charlie appears to be the cold blooded Merry Widow killer, young Charlie must act.



In Notorious, Ingrid Bergman's identity as a young, flamboyant jet setter is stripped away from her as she is installed in the home of a probably Nazi war criminal. Cary Grant acts as her Svengali, dressing her up and coaching her to play the part.

8.14.2006

On Disequilibrium

In the film Vertigo, Hitchcock begins by showing you a chase across San Francisco rooftops. Jimmy Stewart and a uniformed cop chase a criminal. Stewart slips on some tiles, clutches a flimsy rain gutter and goes numb. The cop bravely tries to help, reaches his hand out, but falls. It’s more chilling than we care to admit, this small unknowable death that begins the film: the body plummets from the roofs to the ground below as Stewart clings to the edge of a building. And so begins the source of his titular malady: the full disequilibrium of the mind inside the body, the perception that the world is in constant motion around him.

Stewart hangs by his hands. Hitchcock invented the technique to signify his sudden dizziness: the track-back zoom. The background retreats while the foreground moves closer to the viewer. To do this, Hitchcock used a backward tracking dolly shot coupled with a zoom-in shot. It cost $19,000 to do this single shot in 1957.

Spatial distortion is the hallmark of true vertigo.

8.13.2006

In a Name

Courtesy of Google's "define:term" command.

  • Charlie (born c. 1899), also known as Charlie the Curser, is a blue and gold female macaw living at Heathfield Nurseries, a pet sanctuary in Reigate, Surrey, United Kingdom. Charlie became famous when The Daily Mirror published an article about her in January 2004.


  • First Lieutenant Charlie (known as Nash in Japan) is a video game character from Capcom's Street Fighter series of fighting games.


  • American soldiers’ slang for “Viet Cong.” “Charlie” (or “Charles” or “Chuck”) was short for the phonetic representation “Victor Charlie” for “VC.”


  • Another name for cocaine.


  • An extremely lightly marked animal in marked breeds or Broken Groups. Usually having colored ears, light eye circles and a Charlie Chaplin mustache like marking for a butterfly and are also usually devoid of back and side markings. The trait is usually genetically recessive.


  • the enemy.


  • This term applies to rabbits that lack sufficient markings for the breed or variety. Often, this term refers to a rabbit of a Broken variety that has less than 10% colour markings.


  • perjorative term to designate someone's anonymity or social insignificance: "Can it, Charlie."


  • slang for penis.

8.11.2006

Everybody Here Wants You

The Piper Center for Creative Writing is seeking a Publications Coordinator:

Coordinate and oversee editing, design, production, distribution, marketing and fulfillment operations for Hayden's Ferry Review and Marginalia magazines.

Advise and mentor staff of LUX magazine.

Supervise activities and training of student editorial staffs.

Coordinate and administer the production process, including photography, artwork, layout, and preparation of copy for publication.

Coordinate editing and proofing processes.

Solicit bids and coordinate printing.

Oversee marketing activities, including development of new outlets for sales and subscriptions.

Oversee contracts and payments to writers, artists and staff.

Develop and maintain budget.

Develop and maintain HFR and Marginalia websites in accordance with the Piper Center website.

In association with the Creative Writing Program, develop educational opportunities for staff.

Work with Director of Publications on special publication initiatives.

Full posting is here.

8.09.2006

Poop Scoop

I recently had the displeasure of going to see the new Woody Allen movie. I went for three reasons:

1. Shirtless Hugh Jackman
2. Radiant Scarlett Johansson
3. I heard many people say Match Point was very good

Of these reasons, only the first satisfied me at all and even then only for about 30 seconds.



It's clear in this film that Allen is becoming a sad parody of himself. The majority of this half-assed script involves complicated and convoluted Vaudevillean set ups for unfunny puns and punchlines, delivered by Allen with a sort of resignation. And poor Johansson, here directed by Allen to be his surrogate, picking up where people like Kenneth Branaugh have left off in the past. Unfortunately, Johansson's kvetching doesn't suit her and, side-by-side with Allen for much of the film, she seems a cheaper, more pleasant-looking alternative to him.



Jackman is lucky; he survives the film relatively unscathed, but playing a charming millionaire playboy with dashing good looks probably isn't much of a stretch for him. Additionally, he perfects the art of acting topless, and I believe this might be one of the few films in recent memory where the leading man is topless more often than his love interest. Let's keep this up.

Overall, there isn't anything to redeem this tacky, poorly-plotted film. Glacially paced with questionable "clues" along the way, Scoop doesn't offer anything we haven't seen before—or better.

8.04.2006

I am in a state:

: in which all I want to do is read books, except I have no attention span for books and so I read blogs.

: in which all the clever blog posts I publish in my head never make it onto the internet, and so all of you, you poor saps, live in a sad shadow world deprived of my witticisms and incisive views on life.

: in which all I want is mail or its homophones.

: in which I want to be done with thinking about publishing anything ever again.

: in which I create a fantasy world wherein I invent a pill to offset rejection, which results in uncontrollable shivering, for which I create a pill that creates a feeling of constant and total rejection to offset the shivers.

: in which there are no penguins, not a single one, not ever again, and I wonder about them.

: in which I wake up each morning feeling giddy and shocked to be waking up. What am I dreaming about? Nothing I am allowed to take with me into the day, it seems.

: in which my apartment maintains a steady state of cleanliness enviable by God.

: in which I am Kelly Clarkson on acoustic guitar.

: in which I hope I write books people end up caring about. And I'm talking about non-relatives here.

: in which all the poems I write about Matthew Shepard are really about losing your love.

: in which the photos only pretend to smile back.

: in which I am exhausted each afternoon after lunch, and sickened by what I have eaten, which is usually junky or fatty or full of preservatives, unless it's something I've brought from home, in which case I am in a state in which I am the envy of all my office.

: in which I'm holding out for a hero.

: in which I'm the hero I could be and not the dog I was.

: in which something matters. Something is crucial. Why bother with all this non-essential? Why bother with _____?

8.03.2006

YOU NEED THIS

The new issue of Hayden's Ferry Review just landed in our office and it's amazing.

You need this.



This issue includes a special CD, "Songs of Borderlands and Actions," which contains six recordings of Native American songs by Henry Oso Quintero.

There is also the second section of International Writing and a special section of fiction, poetry, and art called "Modern Magic." And an interview with Dave Smith.

More here

A note about the cover art: called "Untitled fish #1 from the Little Deaths Series," this is a piece by Christopher Colville in which he placed actual dead fish on a surface coated with film developer and then exposed the surface to light. The result is both chilling and beautiful.

8.02.2006

Non-sequiturs

I hear a lot of talk about negative comments and negative emails resulting from blog posts in other people's blogs.

I'm here to tell you that I think I've received one or two mean comments in two years of blogging, and never a mean email.

Am I not enough controversy? Am I too Pollyanna? Are none of you ready for this jelly?

* * *

Last night I taught myself to play Kelly Clarkson's "Gone" on my guitar. It's not half bad!!

Oh, and PS, Monday night I got a FREE TICKET TO SEE HER CONCERT. It was awesome. It was a big vagina fest, but I have an honorary vagina, so it was all good.

Kelly did not: change costumes, have back up dancers, lip synch, or wear a headset mic. She worked her ass off during the show. It was fantastic. She is the kind of person I would want to be friends with. I think Kelly and I would be good friends. We're both very Pollyanna.

* * *

Why do I keep blogging? Because I like you, I really like you.

* * *

Here is what it is like to live alone:

6:00 pm. Arrive home from work
6:05 pm. Check email. Have none.
6:10 pm. Feed the dog and take her out. Turn on Tales of the City.
6:20 pm. Begin cooking dinner. Have a sip of wine.
6:25 pm. Throw away empty wine bottle.
6:30 pm. While food simmers, check email. Have none.
6:31 pm. Check to see if anyone has called and maybe I didn't hear it.
6:35 pm. Stare out window while food cooks.
6:40 pm. Eat
7:00 pm. Check email. Have one, but it's spam.
7:05 pm. Log onto myspace.
7:55 pm. Realize have been goofing around on myspace for an hour.
7:56 pm. Check email. More spam.
8:00 pm. Play Nintendo.
8:30 pm. Pause Nintendo game to see if anyone has called my phone.
8:31 pm. Send Montgomery Maxton a text message.
8:32 pm. Send everyone else I know a text message, probably about Veronica Mars or with Mean Girls dialogue.
9:45 pm. Eat something.
9:48 pm. Feel disgusted with self for eating junk food. Vow never to eat junk food again.
10:00 pm. Open new bag of Doritos.
10:07 pm. Throw away empty bag of Doritos.
10:08 pm. Check email, get Doritos dust all over keys, but have actual email that isn't spam. Think about replying, but have nothing to say.
10:30 pm. Fall asleep during Buffy rerun.

* * *

It is hot everwhere except Arizona. Yesterday was the only beautiful summer day I've ever experienced here. The monsoons have cooled the air a bit (and raised the humidity to far, far above it's normal levels), but yesterday, even though there was sun, there was a less hot breeze blowing.

I feel for you out there in the world that is baking. I know how it can feel. But here, now, this is nice. Come to visit. Stay awhile.

8.01.2006

This Just In from Veronica Mars

Wallace: Man, that guy Logan is like a cat.
Veronica: You mean completely useless and selfish?

Legitimate Dangers Deathmatch!

Stephanie and I met twice since my last update, so here is your very first (and hopefully very last)

DOUBLE-HEADED LEGITIMATE DANGERS DEATHMATCH UPDATE

MATCH 1
Sabrina Orah Mark
on
Brian Teare

This was an odd match for us. We both liked most of Sabrina's poems in the anthology, with the exception of the very first selection. We both agreed her use of lanaguage was interesting, her play with narrative inspired, and her turns of phrase compelling.

We also both liked Brian's work. (!!) Stephanie had some reservations about the way in which the word "incest" was put right out there in the first anthologized poem, and I agreed that it was very blatant. We both liked that Brian has a poem called "Set from a Southern Gothic" and then a subsequent poem called "Detail from Set from a Southern Gothic," which is really brilliant.

RESULTS:

Stephanie: Tie
Charlie: Tie

Official ruling: Sabrina Orah Mark and Brian Teare are evenly matched.


MATCH 2
Josh Bell
on
Mónica de la Torre

This past week was a total converse (inverse?) of the previous Deathmatch. I did not like the Josh Bell poems included in the anthology; I felt they played too much with language and didn't take me anywhere with it; in fact, I purported that they evidenced a sort of "hip, detached irony" that I'm personally not a fan of. Stephanie felt similarly and probably liked his work just a little more than I did.

The reverse was true for Mónica. Stephanie wasn't really into her, but I liked her first poem about the Mexican highways and sort of enjoyed her last poem about golfing, although Stephanie and I both felt it was off-putting when the speaker/writer commented on herself during the poem. I enjoyed the form work in the first poem, but the rest did leave me a bit cold.

RESULTS:

Stephanie: neither
Charlie: neither

Official ruling: Wow! Our first week where neither poet really captured us! Amazing!

Tune in next week when Katie Ford takes on Joshua Beckman. No child admitted without parental guardian!