Happy Epiphany! I hope you have one.
Yesterday I graduated from making my own errors to have but a small part of giant errors made mostly by other people. I also now get to inform my bosses of their part in these errors, as well as the existence of the errors. Oh joy! "Remember that thing you did (or didn't do) like a month ago? Well, that just totally f*cked everything up."
I think I should wear a grim reaper costume at work.
As my tarot says (via Ivy: past, present, future.
I'm going to be sticking close to home this weekend. Proofreading my first tiny press project (an extremely itty run of a hand-bound hardback of an old, out-of-copyright translation of Procopius of Caesarea's "Secret History" -- I want to test my bookbinding mojo), poking through Eastern Market, looking at used bookstores, and playing more with my website designs, both for this site and the tiny press site Fun.
Good discussion on POD options for poets in the comments fields at this post. I'm looking forward to seeing the book!
I suppose I should begin the new year with a bang and begin sending out the poems. Lord knows I have enough of em -- I'm up to 53 orange poems alone, and I have a mess of "Spectacle of Meat" and "What Would You Do With a Drunken Sailor?" poems as well. Future projects include "Clinical Vignettes," a series of medical mystery poems (it's like a primetime TLC lineup, but in verse!) and "Versos Mordidos," a project in writing only in Spanish. I've got some ideas for places to send, but if you were me, where would you go? (Seriously . . . I'm not terribly aware of the magazine and journal universe out there, and am often unaware of things that might be a good fit).
Even though it's a short week, I'm already looking forward to the weekend. I've had one of those weeks where things don't seem to go quite right. I can now say that I have made enough mistakes at work that I wonder that I have not yet been fired, and I can also say that of all the annoying things that your neighbors can do, practicing (badly) the flute in the dead of night is quite high on the list.
The weirdest thing about the bad flute music is that even once it stops, you still think you hear it. It must be something about the way your brain processes the higher registers -- you get tormenting mental echoes.
My New Year's resolution is to post more to the blog. And to pay more attention. I find poetry easy to write; hard to pay attention to. And I'm becoming comfortable with the fact that there is a whole lot of poetry out there that does nothing for me -- on both ends of the poetry spectrum (you know -- super conservative writing program aesthetics, and then super dissociative boho aesthetics). I want poetry with the narrative structure of South American boom fiction -- that doesn't lead you to the end by the hand, but provides at least a few partially obscured trail signs in a language more or less recogizable. Totally inward-looking and inward-referencing poetry is just too hard to pay attention to, and I don't find it enjoyable. When I read it, I feel the same feeling I get when I'm eating a food that's entirely unpalatable, but which is supposed to be good for you. At the same time, I find overly narrative, or overly sensical poetry -- not in a syntactical or grammatical sense, but in a cause-and-effect, reportorial sense -- to be just damn boring. Great. Your dog died. It was sad. Now you're in touch with the cosmos. Whoop. Dee. Do. Like you've probably read the latest salvo from ye olde Houlihan. I tend to agree with her, though. I'm just not terribly interested in poetry that doesn't try to tell me anything. She's mean about it, which is silly, but I also like her rewrite of the Rebecca Wolff poem better than the original. The problem is, of course, that Houlihan's own poetry, at least what I've read of it, which admittedly isn't much, is beyond dull. Instead of leaving the reader in a state of utter bewilderment, it's the poetic equivalent of a schoolmarm -- correcting the reader's posture, forcing us into a completely narrow and thus impoverished experience. I know I said yesterday that I'm read to be a word dictator and oppress my readers, but hey, there's a limit. Try this one. I'm afraid I'm all "bleh" to that.
Update on the teeny press: I am now awash in paper, glue, books on bookbinding, and ideas. It feels good. I've been making mock-up logos and mastheads for the website. Will there ever be any books? I don't know, but the prep is enjoyable.
Also going to do some chapbook reviews this week, hopefully. They're part of the "paying more attention" part of ye olde resolutions . . .
The Eighties Are Completely Dead
for Steve Roberts
"Blog not lest ye be blogged."
Ye cannot listserve God and mammon
but the 100% Alpaca wool socks
are fifty percent off. Design
your blueprint for real estate
success and help save the Berkeley
landmarks: togas for the killer
whale crowd. The tape rewinds;
the tape gets jammed; I end up
with magnetic tape all over the
floor. Respool with pencil,
will kill for a little sleeping-in.
Remember to plug in the Commodore
54, dance the night away, complain
to the Prime Minister of Japan.
What about the whales? The instant karma
of obsolete technology.
I am sorry if you hate this poem (I do, a little). It is exactly what I am thinking, and you are right -- I am completely scatterbrained.
I think I'm just going to be okay with my drive for narrative close. I'm going to be the anti-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet, using my words to oppress you. I'm a word dictator (redundant phrasing, huh?) But don't worry, I'm a benevolent despot and will endeavor to entertain you while simultaneously thwarting your will.
An orange poem for thee and thine:
In this special offer, I give my readers
Answers that Occam's Razor dictates they
Already know. Why no spiders? Because there
Are no oranges. Why birds? There are always birds,
And the river doesn't move because it's not
A river, after all. Reader, if you've worried
All this time about me, don't: this island,
Like all islands, is a paradise. Why did you go,
And where? I know exactly, and satellites
Aren't sinister -- they do nothing but relay
Our laughing phone messages. You're arriving
Any day now and so there's nothing wrong here,
Nothing wrong and even the orphans are just
Funny phonies whose mamas love 'em very much.
That's a bit of an odd one, I guess, and I don't know how well it stands up independently of the other poems that make its context. I'm trying to figure out the next move for my increasingly paranoid and fractured narrator.
In the meantime, I'm working on some bookbinding projects and the website for ye olde tiny tiny press. The bookbinding is what I need now -- some kind of physicality. I want to stick things together and poke them with knives.
The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel is now available!
Noah Eli Gordon & Sara Veglahn -- That We Come to a Consensus
Aaron Kiely -- The Best of My Love
Aaron Kunin -- Folding Ruler Star
David Larsen -- The Thorn
Marison Limon Martinez -- After You, Dearest Language
Julien Poirier -- Living! Go and Dream
and a weird little magazine/anthology thing called "Night Palace" published jointly by UDP and auguste press.