Thursday, December 2, 2010

Other Letters

Thom Donovan has set out to do something that feels very much like a corollary to his work as part of the ON: Contemporary Practice editorial team. In Other Letters, his new site project, he wants to document the letters and emails that poets, writers, and artists exchange with each other. I'm honored to be featured in the inaugural post, with the incredibly generative series of emails Stephanie Young and I exchanged around the 880 project that is linked on the sidebar of the blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Onthology/audio feature

Exciting news from Baltimore—Christophe Casamassima has me as a featured poet as part of his audio anthology project.

Check it out here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Attention Span 2010, Dana Ward, props

thanks, Dana, for the W+S shout out.

Check out Dana's list—and the whole (and wholly excellent) Attention Span 2010 at:

Dana's List.
The 2010 List.

In addition to Dana's I highly recommend the lists of Brent Cunningham, Jennifer Scappettone, Joshua Edwards, Barbara Jane Reyes (especially her take on Murillo's Up Jump the Boogie, very smart), Kevin Killian (love his reading of A Community Writing Itself), and Suzanne Stein.

So yeah, there's a lot to like.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Furniture Press chapbook

Very exciting news this past week—Baltimore's Furniture Press will be publishing a poem of mine called "Seaming" (written for Sonia while she was in utero) as a stand-alone chapbook, as part of their fascinating and excellent PO25EM series, which (like our own dear W+S project) puts poetry physically into the world for free.

Check it out here.
—A chapbook from Lars Palm is also part of the new run of the series; it's exciting to share the bill with him.

Also be sure to check out their link page—they're compiling quite an interesting list of people and projects.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Versal Rock Steady

I have a minute here while waiting for a class to vacate a room so I can see if I left my waterbottle there while talking to them about this Clipse video. During this minute I want to write, briefly, to say that Versal #8 arrived from Amsterdam yesterday, and it is amazingly beautiful. It is up there with the most impressive journals I have had the pleasure of being part of. I'll write more, maybe about how fucking awesome Brandon Shimoda's piece is, or about Editor Megan Garr's intro on the translocal which I was immediately fascinated by, when I'm back with the journal, which traveled with me yesterday but today did not.

For now, I just wanted to shout some props out there into the ether.

Monday, May 17, 2010

and since I made it here...

Writing about Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind." How there's only states of mind left, not states, when it comes to empire. The last gasp of the rap of American hegemony. The true end of the 20th century, the American century; thus the black and white, thus the Sinatra references, thus the vested heights for the final verse, thus the cloudy and overwhelming nostalgia of the whole thing. A dirge for place, for the era when place mattered, for the version of capital accumulation in which seats of power were physical and not financial, for the tangibility of monuments. "The upper-crust landmarks [Jay-Z] now references are a far cry from the grimy Marcy Projects sights that he once detailed, something that perhaps is to be expected from the self-described 'new Sinatra'" sez USA Today, by which Steve Jones really means that white people miss the financial bubble too, so we're feelin' it.

"Long live the world trade"—as in the best art the song gets it, precisely, and precisely does not. It is the living long of world trade as a system—of the age of globalization, we might say, or postmodernism, others might scoff—which sculpts all of the above. It was the spectacular death of the physical version, of the towers, that marked one version of the end of the American century. So it does and does not live long, just like the New York City of the video, in enough b&w for a Sinatra box set (I would've guessed sepia, though perhaps the case can be made that sepia intones 19th c., ceding the 20th to b&w). When, at the end of the video, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys spark into bright color, on a glowing red staircase in Times Square, they read not as suddenly contemporary, but rather just laconically aware that the second half of the 20th century is also over. "These streets will make you feel brand new, bright lights will inspire you," croons the hook, but it sounds like a plea. Alas, "make it new" was a directive for a different day; the song isn't about youth and vitality, and it isn't a song for graduations or bar mitzvahs. "Empire State of Mind" is a song for a retirement party, for the end of a good run, a song to remember you by. It marks, as I said, the true end of the 20th century—when New York as a place, when place as a meaningful marker and America as the center of something, finally shut down. It was Ford who said Drop Dead, but Obama presides now as the whistle signals the end of the shift.

This is where the conclusion, the final coda, of this dissertation begins—not at the beginning of the end, but at its end. The moment when art recorded again the ages-old historical inevitability that all empires shudder to a finale. Welcome to the 21st century! (And who else could be coming up the bright red staircase but China?)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shout out from Silliman

Le Grande Dame de poetry blogging has links to my Bruce Andrews interview and With + Stand's Lisa Robertson issue in his 4/6/10 post. That's right, two links, and both in the top ten. I'm Sillifamous. Thank you, Ron Ron.

Shout out to Brent @ SPD for the heads up!

Monday, March 15, 2010


With + Stand's spraypainting Party was insanely productive. 202 out of a possible 200 issues were created. Sonia was slightly afraid of all the painters and tapers and staplers. Good times were had. A huge thanks to everyone.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Deactivation vs. deletion

This is a topic that I'm sure people have covered in greater detail in other parts of the interwebs, and if I cared more I would research and post links, but I don't really.

My two-week experiment with facebook ended this morning, after a bizarre comment that was posted to my 'wall' by a 'friend'. I showed it to Kate and we agreed that any facebook is probably too much facebook. I have deactivated my account, which is apparently as close as I'm allowed to get to deleting it. Because you never know when you'll want to come back. Kind of like all those old friends and former partners and estranged family members that facebook 'connects' you to. It's the 'you never know' network—maybe you'll want to actually be friends with those people again, or rekindle that old flame, or talk to those family members—on some level you're pretty sure you won't, but YOU NEVER KNOW. Sort of like how gmail doesn't actually delete anything—you never know when you'll want to read that email you thought you threw away. In the age of digital reproduction, there is no reason to end anything. The false infinity of capitalism.

Anyway, facebook people should know it's nothing personal. Ha.

In other, significantly more exciting/interesting news, I just got word from editor Megan Garr that Versal Magazine of Amsterdam will be publishing a poem of mine called "Cottage industry" in their 8th issue this spring. I'm honored to be a part of Versal—it's a gorgeous magazine, from what I've seen of it (which is only one issue, but it was lovely!), and I dig their collective exploration of the notion of the 'translocal'. Cottage industry is also one of my favorite poems that I've ever written, so it's exciting for me to think about seeing it in print. They'll be having a release party in Amsterdam in May—wouldn't it be nice if Kate, Sonia and I could somehow make that trip...? Day dreaming; stay tuned.

[Also, upcoming:

1) A blog post about ON: Contemporary Practice #2. I've begun reading through and continue to be blown away by this magazine. It's like having a great conversation with a bunch of smart poets. Learning so much, and loving every minute of it.

2) News about With + Stand's Lisa Robertson Issue, which is going to shatter all records.

Soon soon.]

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

ON reading

Moe's Books on Wednesday, reading for a release of ON: Contemporary Practice's second issue. The mag offers writers writing about other writers; the first issue was a genuine pleasure, and I'm sure the second will be too, thought-provoking and lovely.

Monday, January 25, 2010


[Shout out to kewzoo's flickr stream for the photo!]

Ten reflections on Impersonal Space with Dana Motherfucking Gioia:

1) Became much more personal/mantra-like than I expected. Isolated, walking those streets. This felt like failing (for the same reasons as below, a worry over a recreation of personal/reflective lyric space, rather than exploded public), though it was interesting to experience.

2) Walked the same route, a loop between the CCA Writing Center and the ReBar installation (was that the name of that group…?). Most electricity/static/energy when encountering groups.

3) Decided, based on availability, to read Gioia’s book of essays, rather than poems. This also seemed appropriate given that I bought the book at the talk he gave where I first had the idea to do this performance. Started with “Can Poetry Matter?” expecting to read several essays (business and poetry, and notes on the new formalism).

4) The text stretched out—the single essay took the entire hour.

5) I found the switch to prose pretty fascinating. People would walk by and the looks on their faces suggested that the normative syntax of the essay seemed even more disorienting than poetry would have. The mad wanderers jabber in poetry; prose as a jeremiad is somehow out of place. This was excellent and generative for me.

6) The content of the essay worked pretty well—the call for a more public role for poetry made public and somehow shamed by being screeched at the streets. At times I couldn’t help bursting into laughter at some of the ridiculous claims, but this didn’t feel out of place. Some knowing laughter as I approached groups.

7) Given the context of the event, impersonal space invading was drained of its aggression. Not sure if this is good or bad; made it easier, in some ways.

8) Decided, spur of the moment/while in performance, to ‘leaflet’ car windows with the ‘business card’ I printed, which said:

Dana Motherfucking Gioia
Poetry CEO

Google me, Barbara!

It’d be interesting to know what the afterlives of those scraps of paper might be.

9) The ‘impersonal space’ element would work much better when there’s more street traffic. A kind of tunnel vision ensues, reading and walking simultaneously, making it hard to ‘aim,’ as it were. With more traffic, one could bumble around side to side and still be a personal space invader. But catching the locations of individuals or small groups in my peripheral vision was hard to do. This is interesting to me—the movement/text/intervention into public were somehow not able to coexist as a trio. I worry that the effect was a kind of recreation of the lyric space, and felt like a failing of the piece. I’d like to try a similar project on a larger scale, in a more public public—something where a group of people read a variety of essays on poetics while walking circuits around some place, perhaps Union Square or some other shopping district. The overlapping ideas/voices and intersections between individuals and their experiences of the texts could be great—a kind of disembodied seminar.

10) The book burning was great. It didn’t feel monosyllabically political or aggressive, as I had worried. In some ways the most purely aesthetic moment of the entire process. Meditative in an unexpected way, too, watching the pages curl. Someone compared the new artifact to birch bark.

All in all, a fascinating and thoughtful afternoon. My only complaint was that I would’ve liked to see/participate in more of the performances…