Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm curious about the origin of the handshake snap.


1. I have a UPS tracking number for the proofs for Terminal Humming. I am doing a bad job not being nervous and excited about it all. Excited is good. Nervous--not so good.

2. It has not been sunny here since Memorial Day weekend. May and June here are the SoCal version of February: people are overwrought because they want it to be summer, they go swimming without wetsuits even though it's 65 degrees and the water is even colder, they drive worse than usual.

3. Being a woman in a microbrewery or bottle-shop is very similar to being a woman at an avant-garde jazz show, although the former is, admittedly, a much more social environment.

4. I'm not a skillfull handshake snapper yet, but I've only just started to get practice. Whenever someone goes in for the handshake snap with me, I kind of want to yell "whitey" at them, or at least have some third observer yell it at the both of us.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I have a tendency to be sarcastic, but I don't mind knowing that some kids I was kissing when I was 12 went on to become ecological engineers.


When I was in fifth grade, I went to a winter solstice party at a friend's house in Maine. The friend was my boyfriend (in the 5th grade sense of the term), and his family actually lived in the same house that my aunt had lived in a few years before, so I knew the surrounding woods well. Me and my fifth grade boyfriend used to wander around the woods behind the house all the time. I remember once we went out barefoot during deer-hunting season. I just remember that I had pine sap all over my feet at the end of the excursion. Every so often we'd stop and yell "don't shoot me, I'm human." Anyway, it was the kind of party where there was ice staking and cider and spiced wine and cookies and probably pot. Me and my friends burned a lot of candles and made huge piles of wax on the floor. I remember talking with my fifth grade boyfriend's youngest brother, who was about four or five. He explained to me that he used to have a hundred pennies, but now he only had a dollar. He was unsatisfied. My fifth grade boyfriend and his brothers now work at the Metta Earth Institute, a retreat center in Vermont. I've blogged about my experiences at the Bay School before. Power to hippie education!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Now it's really really forthcoming


Several days of relaxation and etc ruin me, a little. Yesterday while I was hooping on the beach I had a crowd of about 20 people watching me. Someone asked for my card, and if I could be booked at parties. I don't have hooping cards, and I have no idea how much I'd charge for hooping at an event, or how I'd even draw up a contract. There would have to be all sorts of specific clauses detailing that no one could touch me, that I'd have to have a certain amount of space to perform, and that I wouldn't hoop on weird raised platforms, and that were I to accidentally doc someone with my hoop, I wouldn't be liable for any injuries.

But I have other things on my mind--like my book (Terminal Humming, Edge Books), which was sent to the printer yesterday. Proofs by the end of the week, actual book in my hand, and hopefully yours, very soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

6 x 6 Poetry Reading

I'm going to be participating in this reading event this evening. If you're in north county, come on by!

Taken from an idea of poetry readings started by poets Sonnet Graham and Jeffrey McDaniels a few years back in New York, we are very excited about the first installment of our very own 6 x 6 Poetry Night, featuring twelve diverse and talented poets from all over San Diego County (well... one coming down from Los Angeles). We have put together six men and six women, and will alternate male/female with each poet reading for 6 minutes. This reading is in conjunction with our current series The Saturdays of May with Matt Curreri, and will also feature live music by Mr. Curreri & The Exfriends and Joanie Mendenhall.

Saturday, May 23rd @ The Andrews Gallery.

The night begins at 7PM and the performances will run until 10:30PM

A list of our participating poets:

- Amy Dixon
- Morgan Fritz
- Tomas Gayton
- K. Lorraine Graham
- Michael Horvitz
- Tomas Lucero
- Brad McMurrey
- Michael Meleck
- Camille Tallon
- Frank Tangherlini
- Gabriela Anaya Valdepeña, Winner of this year's San Diego Book Award for Best Poetry, for her book "Roses of Crimson Fire", written in collaboration with the Bay area poet Richard Denner.
- Amanda Walker

As always, this event is free and open to the public. Drinks and light food compliments of The Andrews Gallery.

SEE YOU THERE!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yesterday I saw a guy on a skateboard wearing a shirt that said "I heart Conceptual Marxism." In my ESL class earlier that day, "materialist" was a vocab word, and one of my students asked me if there was any relationship between "materialist" and "materialism." So, when I passed the guy on his skateboard, I said "Woo hoo! I heart historical materialism!" It was a nerdy and vague exchange.

Today I tried to suggest to my students that the expression "Tête de Turc" might suggest something about the way French speakers view Turkey, but they were skeptical. I think the figurative translation is something like "the person who is the brunt of all jokes" or else "scapegoat" or even "whipping boy."

Friday, May 15, 2009

There doesn't need to be an approved by Lorraine (or anyone) historical trajectory to make Gurlesque legit

However, I'm unsatisfied with something about Lara Glenum's fascinating and enlightening description of the Gurlesque on Exoskeleton. So I'm going to try and think that through. My interests and concerns are really quite similar to those that Glenum describes: I'm very interested in a poetic practice that

1. is interested in gender--especially femininity
2. challenges and investigates traditional gender roles
3. messes with gender binaries and all sorts of other assumptions about power and hierarchy that stem from those gender binaries
4. is concerned with the relationship between performance and gender
5. uses camp
6. emphasizes/investigates corporeality and materiality--i.e. bodies--in relation to all of this
7. and so is also interested in the grotesque and the abject

And yet, as I'll readily admit, these particular concerns that I share with Gurlesque (as described by Glenum), don't seem especially new. Not that everything has to be new, and not everything has to have precursers--and someone with any energy will perhaps criticize me for wanting to even construct a Gurlesqueish lineage...but these concerns have existed in various forms of writing since at least Comte de Lautréamont, who is a rather obvious and easy starting point, and certainly before. Marie de France wrote a werewolf-romance poem!

So, what really leaves me unsatisfied? Maybe it's the potential for theory head that I feel? Where are the other inspirations and precursors for Gurlesque? I love Bakhtin, but I'm not satisfied with Bakhtin and (again, fascinating) description of Victorian London burlesque performances. How did we get to them? Bakhtin's description of the grotesque is, yes, incredibly helpful, but he doesn't define the grotesque, he just describes it--using specific literature. Even now when I hear the adjective "Rabelaisian" I'm more likely to assume that someone's been reading Bakhtin, not Rabelais. Snotty and whiney of me, I know.

I manage to lead just about every conversation about Feminism and the grotesque back to my feminist Modernist power trio of Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy, and the Baroness Elsa, but I do wonder why their names--and others--don't come up more often in conversations about the Gurlesque. There seems to be a really thriving list of contemporary referential points.

There doesn't need to be an approved by Lorraine (or anyone) historical trajectory to make Gurlesque legit; that's not my point at all. I confess, though, that I like to make lists. One such list I've been working on--not yet finished, includes a very roundabout description of how I actually arrived at all of those poetic concerns listed above. For example, my interest in camp, performance and gender has a lot to do with Mae West and Star Trek.

More later. I need to take a shower.

Peace out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh, I am just grading. That is all. Mark (Wallace) wrote a response to the Delirious Hem forum, and I'd love to not be the first and only woman to comment on it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I keep thinking about Plath

I keep thinking about Plath, how she's just not a foundational poet for me--I had no Plath moments in high school or college--and I can't be the only white girl Feminist poet in the entire universe to feel this way. My relationship to Plath (and Sexton, and Rich) begins in retrospect (i.e. after I was already very much a poet and very much a Feminist. And I've always been white). And by the time I found them, they seemed..well...weighty, formal, rich, and alien. Sexton, thus far, remains my favorite.

More about this later.

Monday, May 04, 2009

More recents

Birds: indigo bunting, western bluebird, nesting egrets, nesting house finches

Food: farmhouse cheddar and strawberries and apricots

Drink: Tetleys

Asana: Marichyasana F; drop backs

Reading: French grammar review book, still reading the Sunday paper

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Recent etc.

Recent visitors: Heather Hurwitz, Colin Smith, Lee Ann Brown, Julie Patton, Brian Kim Stefans
Recent readings: Colin Smith, Lee Ann Brown, Julie Patton, Brian Kim Stefans, Geoffrey Dyer
Recent food: stuffed artichokes, mixed berry spoon cake, grilled vegetable pizza
Recent exercise: running
Recent asana: handstand (as usual)
Recent news: my book will be out soon
Recent dreams: dragonflies and something about Nada and Gary having a big dryer in their apartment.