Sunday, April 30, 2006

I need advice

I'm going to compile a CD of songs and poems for my three little sisters. They are 7 (and triplets). So, the questions are then,

1) when you were a child, did you already have favorite songs or poems?
2) can you think of any songs / poems that 3 tough, athletic, artistic and beautiful 7 year old girls might like?

I have my ideas, but I'm curious what the rest of you might think.

looking forward to / I'm supposed to

"Por cabezón estropeé la plantilla anterior. Voy a aprovechar para darle un nuevo concepto al blog, apenas tenga tiempo. Mientras tanto, les agradezco su visita y hasta nuevo aviso los invito a leer cosas más interesantes." from Heriberto Yépez.

  • I'm supposed to try and blog about the movie Gothica, communication and the "feminine."
  • I'm supposed to write a review of Jacques Roubaud's newly translated The form of a city changes faster, alas, than the human heart. This means I must read it.
  • I'm supposed to finish unpacking my clothes. I need to make an outline for a month long intensive pre college course in Chinese philosphy and religion from Daoism all the way to Mao and also a creative writing course incorporating Chinese literature and other literature influenced by Chinese literature.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Third Wave Joy / Owen and Mzee / hostility

Oh no. There's a book about the orphaned hippo (Owen) and the old tortoise (Mzee) in Kenya. Obviously I want it.


I saw a new brand of mascara advertised something like Mabelline "Lash Architect." I try it. Now that I work at home and sit about all day in jeans and my Lucifer Poetics t shirt (not every day), it's important to have many kinds of mascara that make my eyelashes unnaturally long.

Conversations about gender, public space, small press publishing, and MFAland continue. I was thinking this morning about environments conducive to or supportive of certain kinds of traditionally "feminine" behavior. Remember, I'm going to think/type sweepingly, not specifically, and that "feminine" and "masculine" are socio-cultural constructs which refer to qualities that our culture traditionally has assigned to women and men, respectively, m'kay?

So, sweepingly, I'm going to say bureaucracy (and academia as a definite kind of bureaucracy) functions, in part, by covert aggression. I'm thinking about how "feminine" aggression is covert, passive, and, like traditionally "masculine" direct aggression, in support of existing power structures, not opposed to them. There are a lot of passive-aggressive folks working in middle management, as administrators, and on hiring committees (for example). They're not the ones directly in charge, but they're really invested in 1) being angry about it but saying they're not 2) not changing the status quo 3) punishing or not ever hiring someone who will not be subservient and also, like them, secretly angry.

What I mean is that in order to function, a bureaucracy needs it's middle managers to act this way. It's structure both reinforces such behavior and also depends on it.

Sweepingly, remember. We all know really fabulous folks who work/exist in bureaucracies and academia, many of them artists--I'm trying to talk about structures, not individuals.

Understanding the qualities of aggression and how it operates, I think, is useful. Hierarchies are supported and maintained through aggression. Aggression has, like, major gender/class/race overtones, and it's psychological of course, so no one in avant-garde/experimental poetry ever thinks about it--I mean that historically we've been mostly interested in Marxist critique, and that this doesn't always help us access the reasons why we, personally, are often real jerks to each other.

That's all for now. I'm supposed to try and connect all these points to a discussion of parties and publishing. I might not ever. Maybe I'll draw a picture about it.

I have to go buy milk etc before it RAINS HERE AGAIN.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The statidum in Cleveland is called Quicken Loans Arena. So much for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Camille P.B. has some more post moot stuff up on her blog, including a video of Keith Tuma reading "Pigs" on Sunday, and a work of reappropriation on Steve Lansky's "Bratwurst. Ra ra!


Well. The post about twee and contemporary poetry is going to take a while.

Blogging about the yoplait is easy, however. So light and fluffy! But Jessica's right--avoid the flavors like "orange cream" and "lemon chiffon" and "key lime pie." I like their basic fruit flavors. I did have a chocolate one that was pretty good, but a little too sweet.


I continue to think about the issue of gender and public space. In part because of conversations with friends, in part because I'm reading about dance (dance is performed shared public space), and in part because of my still recent change in location. There's a deffinite mistrust of urban public space here in San Diego--but the beach is mostly public, which is astounding.

I want to read Beyond Chinatown: The Metropolitan Water District, Growth, and the Environment in Southern California, by Steven P. Erie.

There's a romance here about wide open spaces ("don't fence me in," etc). At the same time, or maybe because of, there's strong denial of the actual environment and geography. Water. Mudslides. Forest fires. The supposed lack of rain.

I also want to read Mike Davis' Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster. Mayhap this summer.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm going to have a poem

on MiPo Radio's Goodnight Show sometime at the end of this week.

Here is a man among butterflies:

I'm at work and can see the ocean and the mountains

from my desk, which isn't really my desk but my boss' desk. But I get to sit in it because it''s the only computer here with InDesign. So, nice chair, big screen, good view.

Joanne Kyger''s reading was pretty fabulous and made me go back and read Again, again. (I took pictures but left the camera at Joe and Sara's, so will have to upload them later after I get the camera back sometime this week). I now want to look at her earlier poetry that I don't know as well, especially the Japan and India journals. It's not hard to imagine why I want to read these:

"Nemi I do hope my humah was not so heavy handed in my last letter that you misinterpreted my zealous social and political goals. Do not worry. I still hate everybody."


"We met the Dalai Lama last week right after he had been talking with the Kind of Sikkim, the one who is going to marry an American college girl. The Dal is 27 and lounged on a velvet couch like a gawky adolescent in red robes. I was trying very hard to say witty things to him through the interpreter, but Allen Ginsberg kept hogging the conversations by discribing his experiments on drugs and asking the Dalai Lama if he would like to take some magic mushroom pills and were his drug experiences of a religious nature until Gary said really Allen the inside of your mind is just as boring and just the same as everyone else's is it necessary to go on; and that little trauma was eased over by Gary and the Dalai talking guru to guru like about which positions to take when doing meditation and how to breathe and what to do with your hands, yes yes that's right says the Dalai Lama. And then Allen Ginsberg says to him how many hours do you meditate a day, and he says me? Why I never meditate, I don't have to. The Ginsberg is very happy because he wants to get instantly enlightened and can't stand sitting down or discipline of the body. He always gobbles down his food before anyone else has started. He came to India to find a spiritual teacher. But I think he actually believes he knows it all, but just wishes he Felt better about it. "

Have a look at the Joanne Kyger feature in Jacket 11, edited by the fabulous Linda Russo.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

I must remember to blog about 1) twee, contemporary poetry, and blogland 2) yoplait whips

Joanne Kyger / Food / Cunningham

We're going to hear/see Joanne Kyger this evening--I'm very excited!


The pictures are of me with food that I like: tacos and rubens. MMM. See how happy I am?

Thinking about the following from the Roger Copeland book on Merce Cunningham:

"Certainly, when it comes to current academic fashion(s), this book is vigorously polemical. It champions a number of the ideas most vilified by the race/class/gender gurus: formalism, objectivity, disinterestedness, the value of
the visual (as opposed to the tactile)--terms often associated (naively, in my view) with patriarchy, 'the prevailing culture,' the West, phallocentrism, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Indeed, the primitivism that Cunningham, Johns, and Rauschenberg collectively repudiated has enjoyed a revival of sorts in recent years in the work of many feminist choreographers and performance artists" (24)

Martha Graham's work deals in heavy archetypes, for sure. I think any art that seeks to be comforted by unexamined primal or natural instincts is going to be problematic--I want to explore and examine earth mother possibilities, not embrace them as my true self.

Even if my poems come out as more loose lyric type things, I need my poems to have an awareness of form that they highlight. Joanne Kyger's poems have an awareness of form that is rooted in speech, rather, in talking. That's not as obvious an attention to structure as a procedural poem, or something working with constraints, but it is a kind of formalism, I think, rooted in the tactile. Jessica and I have been talking about kinesic / gestural memory, trying to imagine/feel out what a poem rooted in a form based on gestural memory might be.


My yoga studio of choice in town has a workstudy position available. Keep your fingers (or whatever you do) crossed for me.


The guy next door is playing that same shitty rap he always plays. C'mon dude, play some interesting rap instead.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

nephew / Cunningham / Bausch

My nephew is Liam Thomas Murphey Graham. I like this name. Liam is strong, a bit unusual, but not too unusual.


I've started reading Roger Copeland's critical biography of Merce Cunningham. I'm always interested in how Cunningham's choreography (and the music and the stage and costumes) shift the focus from the bodies of the dancers to the bodies of the audience. Copeland places this shift in the context of a move away from impassioned abstract expressionism (and of course, Martha Graham and primitivism).

Copeland also places Cunningham's work in a kind of dynamic tension with Pina Bausch. I know little about her work and have never seen her company perform. There's a pretty good profile / interview of her here, good enough to make me want to learn more.


I wish I had a scanner. I used to. It was old and became older and stopped working, alas.


Tonight is grocery shopping and Hershels night. I am going to have a ruben sandwhich on dark rye bread. Because of Hershels and tacos, I look forward to grocery shopping. I've probably already blogged about grocery shopping before.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In search of some useful pop-psychology or self help books on hostility

Mine and everyone else's. And I don't mean getting rid of it. I mean understanding it and being up front about it.

There was some discussion at Post Moot about blogland and the net as public and/or social space...about the ways it both creates connection but also reinforces distance and alienation. I'll go back to my notes on the discussion, but my notes are all doodles.

I'm going to go buy broccoli at the farmer's market and go for a run.

San Diego: 365 days of "Ahhh"


Regarding the Michael Kearns reading yesterday: I don't like being manipulated and having someone tug at my heartstrings. This is why movies often freak me out: the premise or the dialogue becomes false and yet there I am in the theatre, weeping. Or, like, when the news does a story on the baby panda Tai Shan right after a stock depressing interview with the parents of a dead soldier.

Micheline Veaux suggests a vocal equivalent of the mirror stage. Who is Micheline Veaux? I want to read about vocal equivalents of the mirror stage. Screw occularity! I'm tired of looking and being looked at.

Of course, what felt most manipulative about Kearns' performance yesterday was his tone. Manipulative is the wrong word. I mean there were predictable dramatic crescendos, conflict, and melodrama [the subject-verb agreement in this sentence still sounds weird to me. Why?] Drama and conflict and even dramatic crescendo are believable and real, but they need alienation to be believable.

Anyone know anything about the recent history of the dramatic monologue--I mean its history as being a genre separate from a persona poem, written for and performed on stage by an actor?
Rodrigo Toscano's radio dramas and polyvocal pieces from Post Moot made me pull Frederic Ewen's book on Brecht off my shelves. I didn't finish it before I left DC. I had just started the section called "Chorales of Chaos and Doom." It makes me swoon.

Here is a picture of Lester. He is so pretty:

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Going to hear Michael Kearns at UCSD this afternoon. If I were still in DC, this is the kind of event that I'd probably skip, just because I would be going to a lot of other events. Ditto with the Rikki Ducornet reading I went to last week. But it's been good for me. Here's Mr. Kearns' bio:

Michael Kearns has been writing, producing, performing, and directing socially relevant theatre for more than thirty years. The author of five theatre books, Kearns has been a consistent voice in the battle against HIV/AIDS. In addition to his internationally acclaimed solo work, Kearns has also appeared on television and in film. He currently teaches acting and solo performance in Los Angeles, where he is Artistic Director of Space At Fountain's End.

I was going to post a picture of me and Lester, but I'm all sweaty after my run and kind of cross eyed. Lester, of course, looks green and fabulous.

Oh, I'm on Myspace now. C'mon over and be my suburban despaced displaced electronic friend.

Two poems I need to write are:

1. Man Among Men
2. I Come from the Land of Ice and Snow

Monday, April 17, 2006

Nephew / Sisters / Drawings / Monks

Erin gave birth to my nephew / my nephew was born in Berkeley early this morning at 1:06 am--a healthy 7 lbs 12 oz. Although he doesn't have a name yet, I'm sure he's busy developing asserting his personality already!


I also received a postcard from my sisters today. I mentioned before that I got their age wrong on the birthday card. Ugh. I really did think I was still a year younger than I am, which would have meant that they were turning 6. While I am clearly old, forgetful and preoccupied with dubious things, my sisters are obviously intelligent, thoughtful, and creative--they even say hello to Lester:

Here's a report from Post Moot. More pictures (not scans, so they're a bit blurry) are up at flickr.


I met Mettanando Bhikkhu today, and found him personable, intelligent, and, well, impressive. He was visiting my boss for a few days and lead a noon mediation in which I participated. I'm not in the habit of meditating with my coworkers, but found it did help me relax and focus. I couldn't feel my hands or legs at all at the end of the mediation. They weren't asleep or numb, I just felt like I was floating. Yes, I did just write that.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Back from Post Moot

Pictures. I'll be filling in the names soon. And uploading doodles.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Went to hear

Rikki Ducornet at UCSD. I drew a picture of the reading but am trying to pack for Post Moot, so I'll upload it later. Instead, here is a picture of durian pod people who have landed on a person:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Deadlines, proverbs, gruel

make my shoulders pop out, even though I have a comfortable office chair. Here is a Chinese idiom:

Ren cai ji ji (the number of unemployed is more than the job vacancies available)

Here is another:

seng duo zhou shao (many monks and little porridge).

My first Chinese textbook translated that particular "zhou" as "gruel." I ate a lot of pea zhou in China. It was good. Rice zhou is good in the morning with sweetened condensed milk in it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Since I came to California I have

1. Found a joint, a hat, a drivers license, a pack of cigarettes, and a pack of eclipse gum in the parking lot of the apartment complex where I live.

2. Inexplicably, begun to say "motherfucker" a lot. This is my least favorite swear in all the world, though also one of the most effective when telling off a man in the street. My employers swear, although they don't use this particular one. So perhaps that's part of it.

3. Had several conversations with people comparing astrologically signs. Today someone asked me what my rising sign is and I said I didn't know. Because I didn't. I just looked it up on Astrolabe. My rising sign is Aries--so apparently this is the first impression I give to others:

You are a free spirit and you must be first at everything you do. Very energetic, self-assertive and active, things must be done your way. Even though you may feel calm and serene on the inside, you certainly do not act that way. You want to do everything full-tilt, 100 miles per hour! A great competitor, but a poor cooperator -- you must learn how to lose more gracefully. Very self-confident, ambitious and passionate, you radiate positive energy. You are blunt and direct, but at times unfeeling and tactless, especially if anyone offers you any resistance. You fight for your beliefs, but your tendency to act first and think later often causes you much grief.

I'm not so into the words "free spirit," but whatever.

4. I have had conversations about health food and vitamin supplements. I've blogged about the King of Fruits before, but I'm sure I've never mentioned the Queen of Fruits, mangosteen. Mangosteen juice tastes like tart strawberry juice and apparently has lots of a particular antioxident called xanthone. Strangely, xanthone is used as an insecticide. Mmm.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I like breakfast / I wrote some stuff

I just finished eating breakfast. This picture was at breakfast yesterday. Many of my travel photos are of my breakfast or me eating breakfast or places that serve breakfast.

I have been busy meeting a typesetting deadline. I've done everything but the table of contents. But since this particular project is really the first complicated thing I've ever done in InDesign, I am cursing some of my design choices because they make doing the TOC rather difficult. So I'm busy.

I have written some stuff, though.

The reading went well, and the audience was bigger and more responsive than I was expecting, so I was pleased. I read stories.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm giving a reading tomorrow / post moot schedule

Post-moot (conference in Ohio in 2 wks)
about schedule participants housing contacts links


I'm giving a reading at Cal State San Marcos tomorrow with Sherre Myers. That would be Thursday April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Grand Salon at M. Gordon Clarke Field House.

I will try to remember to have Mark to take some pictures.


It's rainy, then it's sunny. For the past three days a little fat bird that kind of looks like a chickadee and a sparrow but much smaller than either has been landing on my windowsill and tapping at the window. I'm quite flattered.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Soviet Poets / Crashing Programs

Adobe InDesign keeps crashing and my right hand is sore from all this typing. I suppose that means it's time to make dinner.

Why do so many San Diego apartments have wall to wall carpet? Carpet is terrible. I've spilled tea and wine on it repeatedly. Of course, carpet does mean that we've broken less glasses...

Michael Buble gave a concert here in San Diego that was poorly reviewed, and angry readers wrote letters to the editor about it. One reader went off into a diatribe about how awful it is that rap music has been allowed into the Oscars. Great--these are the paramaters for taste. Wonderful.

It's raining in San Diego even though the official weather policy is that it never rains.

I'm reading Ara Shirinyan's chapbook, Soviet Poets (Umbrellad Devil, no date but I believe it's from 2006), which is providing some cheer today. Here's a sample in honor of my former student Volodymyr, who I see just wrote me an email:

"He is seeking his own ways of developing modern
poetic diction and in doing so draws on the wealth
of the Ukrainian language. He is an innovator not
only as regards to form but also as regards to

Who is Colette? / New Narrative

a French novelist (1873-1954). This isn't going to be terribly thorough, just what I can remember without looking up much beyond spellings and dates.

Ever see the musical Gigi? (Try not to giggle). Well, she wrote the novel it was based on. Although she certainly didn't start writing about happy, fairly normal love affairs until later in her life. Colette's life and love affairs are almost as fabulous as her writing. Many of her books are at least semi-autobiographical. The best place to start with her work would be Cheri (1920) and The Last of Cheri (1951), about a relationship between an older courtesan and a young man (based on an affair she had with her stepson).

She also did a stint in the Paris music halls after she divorced her first husband and became the lover of Mathilde de Morny, the Marquise de Belboeuf, or "Missy." Other friends and lovers included Natalie Barney and Gabriele d'Annunzio (before he became, uh, totally nationalist and Fascist).

She had a cat who went everywhere with her. You can download Barks and Purrs, a little play/dialogue between a dog and cat, mostly, from Project Gutenberg.

Colette is just a fascinating figure for thinking about, decadence, the fin de siecle and into modernism and beyond. I haven't thought about her in ages. If I were to go back and think about her, I suppose I'd obsess on her music hall career.


Some helpful responses and thoughts about New Narrative are coming in. I've not yet had the chance to read them all, but I will, and then I will say something about them. Thank you! Anyone else who wants to weigh in should.

Monday, April 03, 2006

See it everywhere

Is my blog for poems and narrative things now.

I found a bunch of flowers from Australia pressed into my biography of Colette.

Him / What do you mean by "New Narrative" / Found my Audubon guide to California

He seems so lonely, inspite of his company's cheerful disposition.


Tell me what you think "new narrative" is. I mean beyond a reaction to Language Poetry.


The mystery gulls were Heermann's Gulls (Larus heermanni)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Angst or

"April. Month of dust and lies. The long, high-ceilinged office a gloomy storeroom for cigarette smoke. On the shelves the files enjoy an easeful death. How diverting they must find the civil servant at work, carrying out, with utterly serious mien, utterly trivial tasks. Recording the arrival of registered post. Filing. Incoming mail. Outgoing mail. Ants, cockroaches, and spiders, and the smell of dust stealing in through the closed windows."

This from Naguib Mahfouz' Adrift on the Nile. The first of his books I read. It was this paragraph that made me love his work. Weird, wealthy, alienated but intelligent people--including a female journalist and would be playwright--hang out on a houseboat on the Nile owned by a perpetually stoned civil servant.

Oh how I envy the perpetually stoned civil servant and his house-boat parties!

Pay Phone

Mark and I went hiking yesterday in the rain at a place called the Daley Ranch. Inland from here, near Escondido. It used to be a ranch and now it's a big park with a lot of wildflowers.