Thursday, March 29, 2007

We still have a few more days of vacation



But we're back in North County. I'll write a proper reading/travel report tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Actually, there's more to be said about this, but I'm on vacation.

Portland, my Portland, my eyebrows are changing color. They used to be dark brown and they are now approaching dirty blonde. What does this mean?

The sun came out today.

Mark and I had fun at our reading. Compare Portland to DC.

We had fun on Monday and today, also.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mark & I are reading in Portland this Sunday evening

Mark Wallace & K. Lorraine Graham

Sunday, March 25th
7:30 pm
New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny
$5 suggested donation

Mark Wallace's books include Nothing Happened and Besides I Wasn't There; Sonnets of a Penny-A-Liner; and Temporary Worker Rides A Subway. He is the author of a multi-genre work, Haze, and a novel, Dead Carnival. With Steven Marks, he edited Telling It Slant: Avant Garde Poetics of the 1990s. Forthcoming in 2007 is a book of short stories, Walking Dreams, and in 2008 a book of poems, Felonies of Illusion. He is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at California State University San Marcos.

K. Lorraine Graham is the author of two chapbooks: Dear [Blank] I Believe in Other Worlds (Phylum) and Terminal Humming (Slack Buddha). Moving Walkways, a full-length chapdisk, was recently released from Narrowhouse Recordings. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Area Sneaks, WOMB, Foursquare, My Spaceship, Magazine Cypress, H u n d r e d s, MiPoesias Magazine, No Tell Motel, Rock Heals, Take-Home Project, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And the Emu

I am going to wear dark colors in Portland this weekend and next week! I am so excited about dark colors and fake mod-looking pants. I am going to wear fake mod pants in Portland. And boots. I will not wear yoga clothes there, except to do yoga or sleep.

The search for the next Pussycat Doll is cult indoctrination. They are sleep deprived, they all stay in the same room, they have to recite sacred texts (Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me) over and over again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today, I am dressed like Robin Hood

Although I'm not wearing the right sort of hat. Somewhere, maybe at my Mom's house, I have a Robin Hood hat. I played Robin hood in a 6th grade production of "Robin du Bois." It was in French and produced in a Protestant church.

I graded all day today. And then participated in a conference call. Dressing like Robin Hood makes me feel like my life is more exciting and daring than it really is.

I did go to yoga. I can nearly go backwards from standing into urdva danurasana. I tried it today and almost made it. I would have fallen on my head, but someone was spotting me. I actually think that having a spot messes me up, because I get all worried about them.

I enjoy being upside down.

I am strong, but not very flexible--except in my back and feet.

My teachers say I have a lot of masculine energy. Ah, content-free binaries.

Monday, March 19, 2007

So, the next time you see me, and it's clear that I'm wearing false eyelashes, think "ethical text."

Today someone came into the studio to buy yoga mats, looked around, and then asked us about the pictures of naked women she'd heard about. We do, in fact, have pictures of naked women in various asanas on the walls of our studio. Many. I found it interesting that the woman had heard of them, but did not notice them on the walls (there are seven in the boutique alone) until I pointed them out. She didn't mind them, she said, as long as they were tasteful and there were no nipples showing. But there are nipples in some of them. Nipples seem to bother people. Even the word. Nipple. Nipple. Nipple.

1. Female nudes are mainstream, if you want to cause a stir, display pictures of nude men.
2. I am glad that there are no pictures of nude men at the studio.
3. Female nudes are mainstream because both women and men are used to thinking of women as sexual objects. Duh.
4. Whether or not being a nude woman or looking at nude women is empowering depends on all sorts of things, like how one comes to be the nude woman or the person looking at the nude woman.
5. As I've written before, breasts, whether they are displayed ironicaly, for art, or to convey some kind of spiritual ideal (or some combination of all this an more), are still sexual. This isn't neccessarily bad, but let's be clear. Sex and objectification doesn't go away.
6. Etc.

When I first started taking classes here, I noted the pictures. Most are black and white, or in sepia, with moody drapes and lighting. All of the nudes are women (although the photographer does have some male nudes as well). They're very stylized and slick. They're supposed to be celebratory and, I suppose, inspiring. I either ignore them or find myself staring at the models' breasts. If I were a teenager I might feel uncomfortable around them. So, the woman who came in wanted me to pass a long a formal complaint about them to the directors. They're not pornographic, but they are female nudes. A lot of people comment on the pictures, but this is the first time anyone has complained about them.

This ties in with something Nada wrote about a few days ago (and for some reason, the computer I'm on won't let me post a link just now, so I'll have to do that later). So I'll quote:

"Is my extreme self-consciousness in fact a kind of “false consciousness” (a phrase I was reminded of reading a review of abook on poverty in the Times today, in which a woman rationalizes her extreme poverty and alcoholism by saying that she must have committed some grave sins in previous lives)? Am I deceiving myself that I am reclaiming roses and ruffles, and that because everything I do is steeped in performative irony I am not buying into received notions of womanhood? That my parade of images of myself is not in fact a true narcissism but rather a going-to-extremes of self-consciousness in order to work through it, as an aspiring Buddhist might lose himself in alcohol and promiscuity on the way to enlightenment? Aw, hell."

I wrote about this in the dialogue Jessica and I published in Traffic--I'm interested in heightening the substantial gray area between what is real and what is artifice. This isn't an especially new Feminist tactic or anything. It's pretty basic, but I think that we (Feminist experimental poets) need to keep talking about performance, artifice, and recieved notions of womenhood--so I was especially happy to read Nada's post for that reason.

Again and again I rely on my ability to play (BE) a sweet, sunshiney, (and sometimes Californian) blonde as a way of manipulating recieved notions of womanhood, and recieved notions of what a Feminist, politically aware experimental poet should look and act like. Although manipulating it to what end, I'm not sure. Maybe it's just as simple as Kristeva's idea of an ethical text. Which, to generalize and paraphrase in Lorraine language, is just a text that makes the reader aware of how it is constructed. An ethical text says, "look, someone made me. Here are my seams, here is my form."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Denunciation will make me powerful!

One of my students is headed back to Venezuela this weekend. She said if she ever starts her own company and becomes rich, she will be my patron.

Harlequin Knights reports that, at a recent UCLA lecture, Zizek castigated all the "experimental American poets" who are in love with Hugo Chavez. My student is not in love with Hugo Chavez and neither am I. Like Joseph, I wonder who he means. However, some of us must be prone to a romantic love of his rhetoric, that seems certain.

Here in the San Diego suburbs, having recently returned from a trip to Target, it's tempting to get all teary-eyed about Chavez addressing a crowd of protesters in his customary red shirt screaming "Gringo, go home!" or "Those who want to go directly to hell, they can follow capitalism" and "Those of us who want to build heaven here on earth, we will follow socialism."

This fire and brimstone rhetoric appeals to my Feminist WASP guilt complex. Yes, yes, I think, let the denunciations continue! Denounce me! I want to be denounced!

But I'm also tired, and have just had a big capitalist breakfast.

I work hard. And a lot. I want a big capitalist breakfast and also health care.

I wonder where a journal like Cross-Cultural Poetics might stand (or have stood) on loving Chavez or not. Has there been a recent issue of XCP?

In fact, what are the current magazines that feature a combination of poetry, critical pieces, reviews, and other stuff. I mean magazines in the tradition (if I can even say that) of XCP, Chain, Tripwire, Ecopoetics, Tinfish, Verdure, The Poker Magazine, Jacket, How2....

I have a copy of Pilot 2006 on my desk that I'm still going through. This might count. A fairly wide range of material. A fairly rigorous attempt at discussing poetics. Uneven but risky, so I like it.

Well. Given my list, it looks like that when I talk about magazines "that feature a combination of poetry, critical pieces, reviews, and other stuff" I often mean magazines connected to Buffalo. Or, magazines edited by people who are well versed in experimental poetics since 1920.

With the exception of Jacket and How2, I don't think any of the magazines above would make my favorites list. But Lorraine, what are your favorite contemporary magazines that are still active/in print? Um, um...

How2
Jacket
Foursquare
Tarpaulin Sky
Pilot
Big Bridge
Fiction International
Submodern Fiction (which, yes, Mark edits and I will soon co-edit and which is on hiatus but will have another issue by this fall)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Foggy

It, the fog, came in yesterday or the day before and hasn't gone out or up.

Today was the last day of the ESL session I've been teaching. I almost always find myself really liking my ESL students.

I'll be taking the next month off from ESL, but I'll still be teaching online & doing writing/editorial work and some design. But I need some head space. Mark and I are heading up to Portland next week to give readings and have fun. So I have several days to think about my own writing again and remember what it is.

Time for a beer. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. That's the only good thing about fog, it's better for drinking stout.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Last of the famous

I watched "America's Next Top Model" last week and that show about the Pussycat Dolls, who, I'll admit, I'd never even heard of until seeing the promotions for the show, although I did hear the "don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" (which I often mis-speak as "don't you wish your boyfriend was hot like me") song in Oman on New Years Eve at a bar full of equal parts rich British girls and their pretty boy boyfriends from Dubai spending a fashionable holiday in quaint, nearby Muscat, men in various forms of Islamic dress, prostitutes, and engineers (both men and women) from India. The dance floor was crowded and the grope-factor was high, so I stayed away. My kind hosts bought me a monstrously expensive scotch, which I didn't really drink because everyone else was super blasted, and I designated myself the designated driver.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Has anyone written about Jean Rhys and "I walked with a zombie"?

It is very spring-like here, but all those people in the water today without wetsuits are crazy.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The tactile need not be at the expense of the visual and vice versa et al

My hamstring attachment is feeling better, for now, but I haven't tried hanumanasana this week. Leaping between worlds requires a lot of flexibility, even if it's a figurative leap:
"It was the greatest leap ever taken. The speed of Hanuman's jump pulled blossoms and flowers into the air after him and they fell like little stars on the waving treetops. The animals on the beach had never seen such a thing; they cheered Hanuman, then the air burned from his passage, and red clouds flamed over the sky . . ."
Laura and Rodrigo gave a good reading (or good readings) to the largest crowd yet at CSUSM--almost 80 people. It was good to see them and talk poetry. I might even say that the conversation was pleasurable, stimulating, and productive.

This morning was not pleasurable, however.

Two of my students also ride the 302 bus and one asked me, "why are there so many insane on the bus," so I told her about the shelters, hospitals, drug rehabilitation centers, and women's shelters along the 302 route. She said she was "relieved" that there was a good explanation. "Relieved" was a vocabulary word this week, and I'm always happy when students find the exactly right moments to use new words. I think it makes them happy, too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Moving Walkways / Rock Heals


I've got some poems and sound files from Moving Walkways, my recent chapdisk from narrow house recordings, as well as a few new poems and recordings up at Rock Heals this week.

I just got my copies of the chapdisk in the mail yesterday, and they really look beautiful, especially the hand letter pressed inserts from Newlights Press.

$7.00 plus $2.00 shipping and handling
if in maryland add .5% sales tax = $9.35 total


purchase any 2 narrow house titles for $20 (shipping included)
offer only good with check or money order

send check or money order along with your order form to

narrow house recordings
1 summerfield road
gwynn oak, maryland 21207

if you purchase more than one c.d. shipping is free
please include your full name address, phone number, and email,
how you heard about us and if you are interested in future projects.

Monday, March 05, 2007

It is March, and you are still cold and crazy

1. I'm going to be making designs for the Yoga Center that will eventually be silk screened (by someone other than me) onto T-shirts. Bring on the scalable vector files!

2. My left sit bone attachment--i.e. the top of my hamstring, where it connects to my femur/thighbone--is sore. Really really sore. It is usually sore, but not usually really really sore.

3. I am wearing contacts. This is new for me. I think that not wearing glasses makes me look tired. Now that I wear contacts, I need to learn more about eye makeup. Other than day-old mascara, I don't really have the necessary techniques down.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mom and I visited Mission San Luis Rey.

Mom, Mark and I visited the Zoo.

A good visit!

Now, it's back to grading and cleaning, booking tickets to Portland.

Santa Annas are here, briefly, so it's warm and dry.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy Ayyam-i-Ha!

Mom's here, and we spent a pleasant morning in La Jolla.