Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mixed media messages

The Introvert by Jill Moser, poems by Charles Bernstein

paint & words

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tidings of comfort and joy

This year, I came to the no-brainer revelation that the inevitable "What do you want for Christmas?" doesn't have to be answered complicatedly, nor bashful and ostensibly hesitant: "Um, yeah, well, I can always use..." Thanks to that thing called email, I got a head start by simply copy-and-pasting my Save for Later purchase items from Amazon, then hiring the Mom as my familial shopping-ideas agent. In addition to the usual yuletide necessities (shoes, socks, cashews, wine), my procurement of the true meaning of the Season (i.e. material goods) occurred without any painful awkwardness. Let's just say, I'm pretty stoked:

-The (new, unexpurgated) Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1
-An Anthology of Twentieth-Century Brazilian Poetry (bilingual), ed. Elizabeth Bishop
-Planisphere: New Poems, by John Ashbery
-Mean Free Path, by Ben Lerner
-The Alphabet, by Ron Silliman
-Brecht and Method, by Frederic Jameson
-Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never- Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems, by David Rakoff
-Language and Mind, by Noam Chomsky

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Da Bomb'

Flipped through the latest issue of BOMB Magazine today at B.A.M. Great interviews with Adam Pendleton and Rae Armantrout. Excellent literary supplement as well. Jotted the following notes:

"I couldn't say whether the Situationists failed or not. My feeling is that when you contribute, there is no failure. It's like an unspoken law. I like your use of 'provoke.' When you provoke you have contributed. When you become a part of what happens next you have contributed." -Adam Pendleton, in conversation with Thom Donovan

"Of course, there are so many hallmark readings of a person like [Rosa Parks], because it is more convenient to deradicalize her than to radicalize her. She becomes a hero. And to be labeled a hero is one of culture's ways of depoliticizing you. You become part of what culture has dealt with. In this sense, one should always strive to be the opposite of a hero." -again, Pendleton (emphases mine)

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Come you masters of war'

Yesterday, Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers whistleblower) and 131 U.S. Veterans were arrested in front of the White House during a nonviolent protest of the Afghanistan war. Watch the highlights below:

"You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks"

-Bob Dylan

Dreams, wakes


"the wind like an ocean
but sometimes the sun stills it
and the surface is solid

why shouldn't life pass as in a dream
or a dream itself, there are different degrees
or different dreams reality
at one with a dream

the naked sea
is fresh
in time,

(o shut your eyes against the wind"

-Larry Eigner


"All experience is conditioned by expectation... [Debussy] arousing different levels of dreaminess and wakefulness. We wake from a dream to enter, clearly, a daydream." -Nick Piombino

(I think he means: consciousness is but a daydream, since it is clouded by our ingrained expectations of what is and should be)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Liu Xiaobo

PEN American Center protest of Liu Xiaobo's imprisonment on Christmas, 2009. DeLillo, Albee, and others read:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Recordings of the U of Penn 'Poetry in 1960' symposium, held on Dec. 6, 2010

Discourse and Truth

The Problematization of Parrhesia

An online version of Foucault's lectures on the historical problem of truth-telling. Published as "Fearless Speech" by Semiotext(e), 2001. An audio version is also available.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Samuel Beckett's silent, quotidian-titled Film (1965), starring Buster Keaton

Monday, December 6, 2010

Julian Assange = the Language Poets?

I love when (self-assuredly) clever conservatives highlight similarities between vastly different political philosophies (in vastly different political contexts) in order to expand the net of blame. Anarcho-Libertarianism can take many different forms, and in response to many different sources of social inoculation/coercion. My own dissenting feelings take aim at the corporate bodies that manipulate government institutions and orchestrate fruitless wars. And while I count LangPo as a major reference point, or historical nexus, between the present and the radical Left of the 60s/70s, I don't consider them my sole ideologic influences. You'd think conservative (pretend-) pundits would want to spend this much critical energy on demanding explanations from the U.S. government. Is it really enough just to conclude that our leaders are corrupt? Is that all it takes to rally the (merely) anti-establishment?

Essay: What is Julian Assange up to?

Poets going on, even while they can't go on

Whoever finds a horseshoe

"We look at a forest and say:
Here is a forest for ships and masts,
Red pines,
Free to their tops of their shaggy burden,
To creak in the storm
In the furious forestless air;
The plumbline fastened to the dancing deck
Will hold out under the wind's salt heel.
And the sea-wanderer,
In his unbridled thirst for space,
Dragging through damp ruts a geometer's needle,
Collates the rough surface of the seas
With the attraction of the earth's lap.

But breathing the smell
Of resinous tears oozing through planks,
Admiring the boards of bulkheads riveted
Not by the peaceful Bethlehem carpenter but by that other-
Father of journeys, friend of seafarers-
We say:
These too stood the earth,
Awkward as a donkey's backbone,
Their crests forgetful of their roots,
On a celebrated mountain ridge;
And howled under the sweet cloud-burst,
Fruitlessly offering the sky their precious freight
For a pinch of salt.

Where shall we begin?
Everything pitches and splits,
The air quivers with comparisions,
No one word is better than another,
The earth hums with metaphors.
And light two-wheeled chariots,
Harnessed brightly to flocks of strenuous birds,
Vying with the snorting favourites of the race-track.

Three times blest he who puts a name into song;
A song adorned with a name
Survives longer among the others,
Marked by a fillet
That frees it from forgetfulness and stupefying smells,
Whether proximity of man or the smell of a beast's pelt
Or simply a whiff of thyme rubbed between the palms.

The air dark like water, everything alive swims like fish,
Fins pushing aside the sphere
That's compact, resilient, hardly heated-
The crystal in which wheels move and horses shy,
The moist black-earth every night flung open anew
By pitchforks, tridents, hoes and ploughs.
The air is mixed as densely as the earth-
You can't get out, to get inside is arduous.

Rustling runs through the trees like a green ball-game;
Children play knucklebones with the vertebrae of dead animals.
The fragile calculation of the years of our era ends.
Let us be grateful for what we had:
I too made mistakes, lost my way, lost count.
The era rang like a golden sphere,
Cast, hollow, supported by no one.
Touched, it answered yes and no,
As a child will say:
I'll give you an apple, or: I won't give you one;
Its face an exact copy of the voice that pronounces these words.

The sound is still ringing although its source has ceased.
The horse foams in the dust.
But the acute curve of his neck
Preserves the memory of the race with outstretched legs
When there were not four
But as many as the stones on the road,
Renewed in four shifts
As blazing hooves pushed off from the ground.

Whoever finds a horseshoe
Blows away the dust,
Rubs it with wool till it shines,
Hangs it over the treshold
To test,
So that it will no longer have to strike sparks from flint.
Human lips
which have nothing more to say
Preserve the form of the last word said.
And the arm retains the sense of weight
Though the jug
splashes half-empty
on the way home.

What I am saying at this moment is not being said by me
But is dug from the ground like grains of petrified wheat.
on their coins depict a lion,
a head;
Various tablets of brass, of gold and bronze
Lie with equal honour in the earth.
The century, trying to bite through them, left its teeth-marks
Time pares me down like a coin,
And there is no longer enough of me for myself."

My time

"My time, my brute, who will be able
To look you in the eyes
And glue together with his blood
The backbones of two centuries?
Blood, the builder, gushes
From the earth's throat.
Only parasites tremble
On the edge of the future . . .

To wrench our age out of prison
A flute is needed
To connect the sections
Of disarticulated days . . .

And buds shall swell again,
Shoots splash out greenly.
But your backbone is broken,
My beautiful, pitiful century.
With an idiot's harsh and feeble grin
You look behind:
A beast, once supple,
Ponders its paw-marks in the sand."

-Osip Mandelshtam, 1923

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

There is still "an agonistic struggle over who controls language"

"Transnationalism and Cultural Translation: Distinguished Lecture Series and Symposium"
Charles Bernstein & Youngmin Kim
Dongguk University, Seoul, Oct. 19, 2010

Install the Flash plugin to watch this video.

Charles Bernstein's talk/reading/discussion on poetry, sound, and technology starts at 40'

Soft spot for photo-collage

Brian F. Wilson at Booooooom
"Tom Edwards"

"Lena Wolff"

© Brian F. Wilson

"Reduced-fat" reading

Paul Kozlowski's satirical rant on the ceaseless trials of an aged critic, with apparent malaise at having reached a position of influence and no more passion (or time) for the intricate: "I want easy answers coming out of fast books. That's all I have time for."

You can never get away from yourself