Friday, November 12, 2004

from mozarabkultur blog

my most recent poem was an e-lipogram, double sestina in "rime" (number-rhyme).
instead of twelve stanzas of twelve lines each, i divided it into nine poems of sixteen, in 8-syllable lines & four-line stanzas.

(i also made one of the sub-poems a secret ghazal.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

things to do instead of writing poetics

Fly in a Zeppelin.

Friday, August 27, 2004


make a cento from a poet you like

make a cento from a poet you don't like

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Wiki

The Wiki

Collective Writing
Tuesday, July 20, 2004


borrow someone else's blogroll for a week.
better still, borrow their poetic idols.
we will not be remembered for our good manners.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Some proposals

Seeing as this group weblog has, ahem, stalled somewhat, I've been think of some ways of making it more interesting. Now that I have a new job, with far fewer hours and more free time, I've been thinking of someways to liven this weblog up a bit now that I have the time to do so.

With the advent of audioblogging, I see no reason that we could not regularily conduct short "mini interviews". You have five minutes to record a post - so what if someone contacted, say, Louise Gl├╝ck and did a five minute interview with her to be posted on the weblog? You could do a three-way conference call.

I'm also considering a radical makeover of the template, so anyone with ideas please contact me.

Anyone who has any ideas on how they think that this weblog might be made more relevant and interesting to a larger number of people, please let me know.
Sunday, June 20, 2004


Must include the word 'vapid.'
Friday, June 11, 2004

V-Day for Ye Ol' Fashion Versifiers?

After reading the inept journalism about the inane writing referred to on Silliman's blog, a few thoughts:
  • People's endless capacity to lump things together that don't belong together. For example, just try calling an Irishman an Englishman. They nearly come from the same part of the world, don't they? The same way people lump "free verse", or for that matter, Silliman's "School of Quietude", together. The map is not the territory. What sort of taxonomy lumps the writings of Lyn Hejinian together with that of Carla Harryman? There is no such thing as free verse - not because "no verse is truly free" but simply because it is a convenient, and often incorrect, label.

  • Free verse did begin in the fifties... of the last century, with the publication of "Leaves of Grass" in 1855. We are still trying to play catch up with Whitman.

  • If "Idle keyhole / Terminal door / Tilted table / Cast from shore" is offered as an example of the relevance of New Formalism, I'm not quite certain what battle has been "won". This is scarcely better than Ginsberg's latter-day doggerel, to my ear.

  • "the hard battle... has always been and will always be to write magnificently," Thank you Mr. Gioia. Clearly the NEA is in good hands with wisdom such as this.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Last quarter I submitted some stuff to the undergraduate literary magazine at this campus. I figured it was one of those 'You wrote it? It gets in' type of deals and, unsurprisingly, two out of the three pieces I submitted were published. Yesterday I got an email from this guy asking if I would like to come in and read some of my work and be interviewed.

So.. I will be reading on the radio tomorrow.


On the one hand I'm flattered that he liked my work, but on the other I'm petrified. Is he kidding?? I've never really published outside the web; I'm not a writer. I just.. write, for no one in particular and with no hope of ever getting anything out of it.

All I know is I will be mentioning As/Is. I will be mentioning Malcolm. I will be mentioning Tom. I will be mentioning Mark. I will be mentioning Sheila, because I've always been faintly in awe of her work. I will be mentioning just how long-running my website is.

In other words, humiliating myself on the radio.
As/Is 2... 2?

Four More Questions

1) What sort of ideal anthology can you envision, if budget & resources were unlimited?

2) Is there anything that is neither over- nor under-rated, but is rated exactly as it should be?

3) In what ways can you re-imagine the act of canon formation?

4) Describe your ideal day job & how it would interact, or interfere, with your writing activities.
Monday, June 07, 2004

Tom's questions

1) What inspires you to write poetry in both the short- and long-term? In other words: what gets you started, and what keeps you going?

I keep going because it's what I do.

Honestly, that's all there is to it. I'm an underconfident sort of girl, but I've written my whole life. I used to write short stories and so on but I have no head for fiction. Poetry is the way I make sense of the world. It's where everything crystallizes.

As for inspiration... God, it could be anything. I'm a foolish 21 year old college student and I write like that. Boys, girls, parties, booze, music, term papers, loneliness, squirrels, scrub jays, shoes, t-shirts, sorority girls, shows, Australia, California, the tree outside my window, the excruciating slowness of time, how difficult it is to get out of bed, dreams, pine trees... everything. Sometimes life seems so full I can hardly stand it. Otherwise it feels echoingly empty. The usual.

2) Is poetry the primary genre that you work within? If so, why? If not, why?

Yes, but in terms of volume I write far more research papers than poetry. It's the primary genre I work within because I feel most confident there. I'm trying to push myself to write fiction but I've yet to find my, I don't know, groove? Caught the correct train of thought?

I also take photographs. Photography is different. Photography is about being unafraid to press the shutter button. When I'm behind the camera I fall in love with light. When I write I fall in love with space.

3) Do you believe that a poet has any special sort of social responsibility?

Yes, but no more than anyone else. I'm a feminist and sometimes this imbues my work. I can't help but think about gender and sexuality and the way our society works. Sometimes poetry is the best way to express this.

4) What does writing poetry do for you? Why does poetry matter?

Like I said before, poetry is how I make sense of the world. When I'm really going what I write seems realer than anything else. Poetry bears witness to my life.
Sunday, June 06, 2004

Pre!scription Dr!ugs ej

Someone must have signed me up for an anonymous poetry mailing list. Here's the latest from my inbox:
zimentwater bays. fantasms arithmocracy unfoundedly contractedness scarifier miteproof playgoers unbranching immorality. discoloring ciboule dome earcockle roughtailed bouncingly. hefted wardsman mega pseudoviaduct vibracular sheiklike roughleg mahatmas. stiffing decipherment floured plumped unsuperscribed. onychophyma unbetrayed disqualification snooperscope gratifies choloidic epinephrine.
subserrate coheirship rhyming dewlaps unpeaceful rebecs boots erythrin reflectionist. shog chicayote eucre unproportionality precanceling checkrowed precanceling nogal. verbascose expatiating ultramodernist psychoanalytical angarias pillmonger. sentry smockings kiblas lutianid.

What do you make of it? How would you describe it? When you read a poem like this, how do you find yourself going about it? Do you read it aloud? Do you read it from first word to last or do you hop about in the text and try to find or make associations between nonadjacent words? I see hints of things everywhere, as in this negative string, "unproportionality precanceling checkrowed precanceling," in which I read check and row as stop and argue, followed by the Afrikaans adverb for moreover. And "sheiklike roughleg mahatmas" has me wondering. And what about that title with the playful exclamation marks -- "Pre!scription Dr!ugs ej" (unless "ej" the writer) -- why do you think that wasn't carried over into the rest of the poem?
Thursday, June 03, 2004
If you could model a writing program based around any famous teacher, real or imagined, whom would you choose?

I would probably have to choose Pai Mei. "Your braying poems hurt my ears! Now I will pluck out your eyeball with my deadly Lotus Poke! Be happy I am still leaving you with one!"
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
And Ol' Man Quietude blabs on and on and on...
We can only hope she never decides to publish...

"I spend more time on my hobbies. I do a lot of photography and write poems." - Meg Ryan on her divorce from Dennis Quaid

When is poetry a dangerous threat?
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Four Questions

1) What inspires you to write poetry in both the short- and long-term? In other words: what gets you started, and what keeps you going?

I can only plead a nausea towards inertia. What keeps me going is not all that different from what keeps sex going.

2)Is poetry the primary genre that you work within? If so, why? If not, why?

What is genre? What is work? I suspect that I have what would now be called "ADD", which I simply consider to be an attention span that is on a differing track from most teachers, thus poetry suits my purposes quite well. I prefer to concentrate intensely for short periods, which is nearly a definition of poetry.

3) Do you believe that a poet has any special sort of social responsibility?

To not behave as a total beast, at least until people start behaving far too civilised. To maintain the integrity of the individual vision. To be fearless.

4) What does writing poetry do for you? Why does poetry matter?

Much like my sex, my race, my DNA, at times it means everything, at other times nothing at all. Poetry matters because it is the last bastion of true play possible in the literary arts.
Saturday, May 29, 2004

More of Tom's Questions

1) What inspires you to write poetry in both the short- and long-term? In other words: what gets you started, and what keeps you going?

What got me started was a gale of emotion I had no idea what to do with combined with an innate love of language.

What keeps me going is habit. What also keeps me going is that I find no greater pleasure than interlocking a series of words together to create something.

2) Is poetry the primary genre that you work within? If so, why? If not, why?

Yes. It wasn't always. I used to write a lot of short fiction, a novel, plays... I also used to be a musician and a painter. All of the above simply require more time than I have to give them. And none of them give me what poetry gives me. What Michael said about poetry's laucunae, its silences. That's something I am drawn to. I am drawn to the quiet of a well thought out, or accidental phrase. The effort of making poetry is natural for me. Music for instance was always forcing myself a little further than my abilites. Whereas with poetry I feel that I'm forcing myself to expand my abilites, and they grow. It's much less of a fight. Much less painful and ten times as rewarding.

3) Do you believe that a poet has any special sort of social responsibility?

No. And then yes. I think that the responsibilites hover over the Poet. But then I don't think that poets have any more responsibilites than that rest of us. Ideally. I think that every artist, every person has a responsibility to memory. It's just that poets use words, the most common thing in at least my life. I think that poets have a much greater responsibility to love poetry and to share that love to spread it around if possible.

4) What does writing poetry do for you? Why does poetry matter?

Writing poetry clears out my head. It is like creating a set of flashcards, so that at a later date I can flick through them and remember things. Remember lies and exaggerations, moments of clarity. Poetry matters to me because it is my inner soundtrack. When I walk, talk, listen, I'm creating it inside my head even if none of it gets recorded it's the ceiling to which I look up at when lying in bed. It stimulates and strengthens me. It makes me calm.

Poetry matters because it's a time stamp. It carries our social context and dialects. It carries so much more than I read into it. It carries little pieces of me to other people. And it carries little pieces of other people to me.

Tom Beckett's Questions

Questions via Vanishing Points of Resemblance.

I want to answer Tom's questions here in AS-IS, partly because of his note that AS/IS-2 has seriously stalled. I agree also with his comment of too much "flip dismissiveness," but I also feel guilty of "too few attempts to connect" and all the rest, etc. Also I think these questions are a healthy way of maybe trying to reconnect, to take this project (AS/IS-2) seriously.

1) What inspires you to write poetry in both the short- and long-term? In other words: what gets you started, and what keeps you going?

I think that what gets me started is curiosity. Sometimes surprising things happen when I write poetry, and I hate being bored. Also, I have to admit to being a "romantic," in that I love the mysterious aspects of writing -- not knowing what will come next, looking forward to whatever emerges. Reading other people's poetry also gets me going. And sometimes, yes, there is that "subvocalic" muttering. I want to find out what it's saying.

2) Is poetry the primary genre that you work within? If so, why? If not, why?

I discovered that poetry is the primary genre for me when I stopped doing it for years (while in grad school), and realized that not doing it was making me crazy, unhappy, selfish. Which is probably why I'm now over-doing it by keeping several blogs going all devoted more or less to poetry.

3) Do you believe that a poet has any special sort of social responsibility?

Yes. Inasmuch as the world enters into poetry. And poetry always emerges in historical/political, geographic, ethical, spiritual, sexual what-have-you context. That's the framework I carry around with me. But I don't believe in setting out to make "socially-conscious" poetry. Sometimes my focus will reflect more strongly a political situation. But one doesn't really have to try, because the historical/political context is just there, in the language. Sometimes I wander around and around inside my little interior world. This doesn't mean, however, that the material contexts are not there; they recede, they come forward. Whatever's necessary.

4) What does writing poetry do for you? Why does poetry matter?

It helps me to make sense of things, I suppose. Although that sounds simplistic. Sometimes I think that it took the place of religion for me. I think it was at the point when I stopped counting on a Catholic Jesus (one day, when I was a sulky kid, I challenged Jesus to appear in front of me, right NOW. He failed that one) and started to get interested in the aesthetic beauty and ritual of catholic altars, and I started to look for meaning and life (and mystery) in the things of this world and the relationships therein.


Friday, May 28, 2004

four questions on writing

1) What inspires you to write poetry in both the short- and long-term? In other words: what gets you started, and what keeps you going?

there is a continually reviving subvocalic nattering. in its lacunae, poems are glimpsed.

2) Is poetry the primary genre that you work within? If so, why? If not, why?

in a very real way, whether i make music or paint or draw or write, in prose or poetry, it is the same process--one that i have given no single durable name to, except "grace".

3) Do you believe that a poet has any special sort of social responsibility?

absolutely. the poet is a custodian of memory. this entails, unfortunately, paying attention.

4) What does writing poetry do for you? Why does poetry matter?

actually, writing poetry interferes with my life a great deal. not only in the moments when i am trying to do something else, but also in the obligations of perception & post-production it imposes on me. it is something, i think, like being a parent (which i am not). poetry matters because everything matters--& that only. if poets were more willing to take a vacation from their self-importance, they might gradually come to understand that the main thing is not writing but the cultivation of relationships. writing is one way of doing this.

Questions via Vanishing Points of Resemblance.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
This was left in my comments box by one T. Any comments?

The problem with fluctuations in structure in poetry is, (as pointed out) that it must have a point to it otherwise its a whole lot of crap with a meaningless breaks in reading pattern. This is indeed a personal subjective view and having said that, poetry to me is about rhythm. Rhythm and imagary. The point is to express.. so we need to trace this discussion back to its original purpose.. its functionality.. and that is where the problem is.. for most people especially where I'm at.. poetry is dead.. in fact there is no publisher (exclusing penguin) who is willing to publish poetry.. and it's staus quo until we find a way to make contemporary poetry truly contemporary. Hyper modern text isn't truly communicating.. it may be a reflection of the way our society is moving.. but it isn't necessarily communicating.
Poetry is a form of friction. It either creates heat then light, or an abrasive screeching noise.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
truth or suspicion
nothing else
comes second

billy jno hope catharcyst


What is the poet's responsibility to maintenance of the noosphere at the End of History?
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Non-Blog Announcement

I'm announcing the creation of my new non-blog - A Poet's Notebook - which will post poems in progress, with revisions included.
Tuesday, May 04, 2004


a word which i use to designate the practive of inventing a new system of aesthetics.
these grids which some poets were posting awhile back, even if only in jest, were something like a sketch of this.
it is not dissimilar with trying to write a new feeling, or a new thought.
but it will have more staying power if it has at least two, or even three, major components.

poems written to a new aesthetic may be judged faulty according to whatever old system the reader perceives it as aspiring to. therefore, the context is all important. which is why paegilchang only succeeds in literary history if it becomes a movement.

we tend to believe art progresses by separate masterpieces which inspire emulation.
this gives us objects of study. how convenient.
"the Spirit is a wind".

Thursday, April 29, 2004


what happens when
we flip

harbor prison

barbed wire
metal detectors
paranoid androids
ego glacial
searches me
for things
I won't search for
in flesh and fruit
they slip by me.

billy jno hope catharcyst
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

On Style

Are there words you must use? Are there words you can't use? What secrets would you give to someone who wanted to imitate your style?
Sunday, April 25, 2004

A Poet's Arse Poetica

wish I
could write hay(na)ku

But were I able, perhaps I wouldn't keep blathering on about it....and on.....and on.....

Saturday, April 24, 2004

heteronymity considered

wetsu- a heteronym devised to omit one significant aspect of your personality

for example: i decided to reinvent myself as a neoformalist poet who was NOT anti-war. i would write poems in verse in support of the troops, or against the faint-hearted. as a side product i decided to make my heteronym single instead of married; then i could write new poems of beginning love & perhaps rejection. all those emotions i have no reason to write about now.

snail weather- the features you devise for a heteronym

another heteronym i removed to a far city i had never been to. there is a radio station here that plays only 70's music (which, growing up with, i tend to despise): this would be the favorite of my alter ego. i investigate the local poets this one would have to contend with, as forebears or in reaction to.

Yeats's "Mask of the Anti-Self".
what will this do to my regular games?



Thanks to everyone for their support of As/Is 2, especially Benedict & Malcolm for agreeing to take over admin duties, including revamping the design a wee bit to make it more pleasing to the eye. Treat them like you would treat me - only nicer. If you wish to contact me, feel free to do so.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Photography as Poetry

I am a political animal, so I hope that all of you will pardon me any of the politics I am about to say offends any of you. It is not my intent to do so.

Poetry is about free expression. It is perhaps the most free form of human expression ever devised. It can be beautiful or it can be ugly. It can be current or it can be ageless. It can be simple emotions or it can be wildly political. Poetry does not care. It reaches out to embrace all of this.

It is a quite similar inspiration that besets those with a camera in hand. So many photots are taken seeking just those few that are exactly right. Exactly poetry, and needing no further words. Tami Silicio did this and got fired.

Since 1991, photographing of the caskets of dead U.S. soldiers has been banned. It was a ban that was never enforced until now. Tami Silicio took a series of photos of this, and one got published in the Seattle Times. This is what she was fired for.

Tami Silicio did not have any political intent in her mind when she gave her photos over to the press. Instead, she was just awed by the great reverence with which we treat our fallen soldiers, and wanted the rest of us to know that we were indeed acting in that fashion. Nothing more. She saught to exault the dead; not exploit them. And she was fired for that.

Later that day, they also fired her husband for what she had done.

Photo 1Photo 2

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Tami Silicio has made her point.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
What are we doing to ourselves?

Why are we so focused on infecting others with our fears?

Why are we so intent on spreading them to our children?

What are we doing to ourselves?

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Hay(na)ku Anthology: A Submissions Call

Mark Young has asked me to post the following announcement:


Meritage Press is pleased to announce a Submissions Call for THE HAY(NA)KU ANTHOLOGY, co-edited by Jean Vengua and Mark Young. Deadline: December 31, 2004. Send submissions (cut and pasted in body of e-mail) to:
Please submit no more than ten (10) hay(na)ku.
Full details are available at the Hay(na)ku blog

A Late Start

Since I have had so much to say it is only fair to place myself in the opposite position. So here is something you can chew through.

No No

this house
you are
I am
your arm

my skin leaps
off me
and I collapse

a paper house
with toothpick

Knock to the
sound of
tearing tissue.

Ask questions
and for fifty

I may answer.


Monday, April 19, 2004

Au Revoir

I have decided to take a break from all internet activities. For the next while I will only be checking my email every week or so. If anyone wants to take over the administration of this weblog kindly let me know.

The Blood Is...

Submitted for yr discussion - add, subtract, multiply or divide as you will:

The Blood Is...

The blood is a crimson metronome.
The blood is a parachute of amethyst formeldahyde.
The blood is a sleepless night in abrasive pyjamas.
The blood is a red zinnia blooming with prayer.
The blood is the velocity of a palomino locomotive that comes from nowhere.
The blood is a pyroclastic surge of bloodstone ink.
The blood is the radiant flux of the vein's love for the body.
The blood is the shine of meat.
The blood is the osmosis of sea and skin.
The blood is the raspberry whetstone sharpening the eye's edge.
The blood is spasmodic paradise.
The blood is a smooth adder's tongue.
The blood is a tabernacle of binding energy.
The blood is a liquid warehouse of salt.
The blood is an arterial locomotive.
The blood is a thirst for pulse.
The blood is amethyst altzimuth of basilica star.
The blood is both prism and peephole.
The blood is also Zermolo's axiom.
The blood is a paper tiger stalking ashes.
The blood is the bonelace maker for the primordial courtesan.
The blood is Ground-Zero for Godzilla.
The blood is free-range calligraphy.
The blood is the resurrection man.
The blood is the glow of insurgent pesticide.
The blood is the taproot of Heaven's weathervane.
The blood is the rapier of the rose.
The blood is the sawdust in the workshop of determinism.
The blood is the scientific calculator of ancient Mesopatamia.
The blood is the silver locust.
The blood is the viscera laundromat.
The blood is the carrier-wave of sacrifice mechanismo.
Sunday, April 18, 2004

Book Announcement

Vanishing Points of Resemblance
by Tom Beckett

"Here we have a hybrid work, an autobiotextography, where the text qua Subject qua authorial voice-over invokes selected events of a (his?) life (which is also the life of the (creation of the) text) with clarity and a fully self-conscious honesty."
--John Byrum

21 pages, perfect-bound paperback
$7.00 US

To order, send check to:

Generator Press
3503 Virginia Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44109

Inquiries to:

Have at it

Here is a poem to say something about, if you feel like it, and maybe a chance for revenge. It's small. You could kill it with a swipe.
A space-craft
we fashioned
from glass and
solder and bright
copper leaf
has arrived at
the farthest moon
and sent back first
silhouettes of
Eisenhower's dog
Saturday, April 17, 2004
If we're to criticize one another's work, we ought to strive to be constructive. Sometimes the best answer to a poem is another poem, or another version of the poem under consideration. I feel that on this blog if one is to say a particular line is what's key to a poem and all the rest is filler, then perhaps the putative critic ought demonstrate through writing of his/her own how that might be so.

Making a provocative statement about a poem is not necessarily enough. I don't think negative comments are necessarily a bad thing, if you back them up. Unbacked up comments behind pseudonyms are something else altogether. Something altogether too easy and unearned.

That, anyway, is how I feel. I don't defend my poems. They constitute their own reality, their own defense.
Friday, April 16, 2004

Might as well give it a whirl.


To travel to Wales
to search for myself
and wonder why
I do not know
To connect with artistry, poetic soul
plucked up by that dreadful force
concealed in memory
which shattered the innocent in me
so long ago
and yet still today here
I am picking up the shards
feeling afresh their pricks
welling crimson from pale skin
Thursday, April 15, 2004

dirt pan

hurt prophecy
in a dirty pan
decoding babies fear

billy jno hope catharcyst
Monday, April 12, 2004

OK. I accept your challenge.

The following two-part poem is offered up as a test case for yr consideration (slaughter?). I'm going to try and refrain from comment. This poem was published in Separations (Generator Press, 1988):

Diptych / Dipstick


The Library's hours determined

what I thought.

I turned the radio off

thinking it was on.

I guess I transmit

my image of me to myself.

I guess you transmit

your image of you to yourself.

I guess I am possessed

by my own outside.


The Library's hours determined

what I bought.

I turned the radio off

thinking it possessed.

I guess I transmit

my image of you to myself.

I guess you transmit

your image of me to yourself.

I guess I am thought

by my own outside.
Sunday, April 11, 2004


It's fun to talk about what a poem should be, but I'd like to see how you apply your rules. What if poets here took turns posting a poem (their own, of course) that they are willing to have discussed (torn apart, analyzed, praised, stolen, mocked, mislabeled, dismissed, revered, etc.)? You could start by saying anything you want about your poem, or you could just respond to the comments of others, or you could stand back and leave the whole thing to other people to discuss. Just make it clear that your poem is here to be honestly discussed and not given the usual praise-or-remain-silent treatment.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004


What do you think about "difficult" poetry? What makes a poem difficult? Does difficulty add value?

Is there anything that you think a poem must do? Is there anything that you think a poem should never do?

This Week in Blogland

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

givin it a whril

asking little

I see the strange beauty more clearly
With it’s hardness and meanness
(and the delicacy too)

but it’s the streaks that fascinate me
the brilliant brittle streaks of tenderness in the flinty rock
life asking little

So what are you afraid of?
hide behind that smoke of your own making
like that will keep you free from risk

remain untouched, unmoved
but life is changing more than you know
sooner than you know

approaching something larger
witnessing something
stay back along the edges though

things develop in the edge
The edges that peel back, blister up, fragile
The edges that overlap

Just the edges
Life around the edges
The overlap

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

come on, let's sing


The sun'll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there'll be sun
Just thinking about tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow 'til there's none

When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely
I stick out my chin and grin and say

The sun'll come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on 'til tomorrow, come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow
You're always a day away
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow
You're always a day away


Music: Charles Strouse
Lyrics: Martin Charnin

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

In response to "Tom" ...

"poets disrupt and re-frame one's normal experience of language in order to show-up the received wisdoms embedded in language and to point the way towards other means of apprehension"

I guess I mostly agree with this, but when I wrote, I never intended to "disrupt". My poetry indeed disrupted, but only as the end of the reader's experience, not as an "in progress" sensation. This was quite deliberate on my part. I've read many "activist" poets, and while they did not at all offend me, it was clear that they would offend others. I was never interested in repeating this pattern.

When I wrote, I was in my great "Zen" period. There was no reason to offend if one could merely express oneself in proper words and without hostility. The disruption would only occur upon reflection of my completed thoughts.

As to reframing and embedded language, yes, these are absolutely the tools of poets. Taking common expressions that have never been pulled together and arranging them in unique thought trains is what poets do for a living. And well they should.

It is not as if poets are unique in doing this by the way. Many formal writers also do. But poets have unique, though difficult, freedom to combine and develop these in a way ordinary prose does not. This is both the poet's boon and bane. The prose writer can simply communicate his thoughts, while the poet is literally handcuffed between the limitations of words and the images that appear in his or her mind.

To those who responded ...

... to my previous (first) post, thank you.

My concern of course was that I see so little metering and/or rhyming in most poetry today that the forms almost seem to be unacceptable. But as "graywyvern" pointed out, it simply need not be "banal writing & cliche rhymes". "harry", in fact, provided a nice (though quite brief) example of this style.

Of late, I really don't write much poetry anymore, though I was quite active about ten years back. (My time today is spent on political and voting rights writing.) When I was active however, I was developing a style I self-named as rhythmic semi-rhyming. harry's short poem reminds me a bit of this, although rhythmic semi-rhyming requires much greater length to establish.

Using poetic wording, rhythmic semi-rhyming is like the flow of waves crashing on a beach. They do not crash quite in meter from one to the next, but overall, there is a sense of unity. From crash to crash, though sounding the same, each is different. Each has its own unique tonal qualities, though no one listening to a wave crashing would ever mistake it for anything but that.

How did this developed in my poetry from that time? My better examples would use metering that ignore line breaks. A line would be a phrase, a sentence, a thought, but I would not restrict the metering to anything so confined as that. Sometimes at the ends of lines but often interspersed within them, words would rhyme or just sound similar. I would often spread this usage of rhyming and similarly sounding words across lines, between different verses, and even at extreme ends of a poem. In fact, when I stopped writing poetry, I was actually working on a book that would spead this across all poems within it.

To me, the more exact rhymes were the sounds of the similar great waves; the less were simply the smaller but equal beauty of lesser waves. The rhythm was simply the rhythm of the sea, and if anyone here loves sailing, you will understand exactly what I mean in that. Quite regular, but not so much that you can ignore the differences.

Again, thanks to all who answered my first post, And I hope you find an equal curiousity with this one.
Monday, March 29, 2004

School of Quietude and Flarf

The first term was made popular and controversial by Ron Silliman. Maybe he'll weigh in.

Flarf, though, I'd like to see some writing about myself. Gary Sullivan would be a good person to ask. As would Kasey Mohammad. Especially Kasey, methinks. See his book Deer Head Nation. It's possibly the first flarf masterpiece if I have any idea what flarf is about.
It's certainly a terrific book in any case.

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry

What the hell. Let's give this a try.

L= poetry is, on the one hand, literally the poetry of a group of writers associated with L=A=N=G=U=A=G-E magazine, edited by Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews. In much broader terms it is a tendency in writing that foregrounds and interrogates the ways in which language constitutes our world.

L= poets disrupt and re-frame one's normal experience of language in order to show-up the received wisdoms embedded in language and to point the way towards other means of apprehension. And, a politics of writing.

This is, of course, an incredible simplification about which I expect to hear no end of shit.

Hey, excrement transpires. Doo doo develops.


A poem, for me, is an utterance apprehended with such intensity that it causes one to lose one's breath. It is other things too, of course, but it is not the "throughput" of a genre, to borrow an ugly business term. It is an unsolicited kiss--an utterance with exactly that element of risk and romance.


A "hay(na)ku" is a stepped-tercet: one word in the first line, two in the second, three in the third.

Here's one I posted recently on the As/Is blog:

falling on
top of water.


Would someone please define the following terms for me. Thanks.

1) Haynaku
2) Flarf
3) Poem
4) School-of-Quietude

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Two Questions

What is the social utility of poetry?

"What's love got to do, got to do with it?"
Thursday, March 25, 2004

oh, one (quest "ion") - - -

One question:

Nature becomes fragmented?

No, two questions:

Objects terrible and alone?

No, three questions:

"am I aware that I take issue?"

No, four questions:

Is writing in long complete sentences?

No, five questions.

Why does R. Barthes make me sleepy?

No, six questions.

Interesting argument from both perspectives, per anyone?

Just two questions ...

1) Is there any room left today for poetry that is formally metered to be taken seriously?

2) Is there any room left today for poetry that actually holds to a strict standard of rhyming?

Can either of these forms (or both together) be taken seriously anymore, or are they out-dated? And if they are out-dated, can they be reinvigorated by a fresh poet?

what is

the fastest, easiest way to end apathy?

cleaning my fishes' (fish'?) tank hasn't helped. neither has doing a load of laundry.

i hate college. someone speed me to 40, with a cat and goat in the backyard, and an honest-to-god outhouse, and an honest-to-god interest in camellias and jacaranda, so i can skip over all this bullshit.

you can read this as "alcoholism is still alcoholism, even if you do have an interesting haircut."

This Week In Blogland

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Some More Nosy Questions

1) If you could have dinner with any poet, living or dead, which would you choose?
2) If you were a zombie at the WCU Poetry Conference whose brains would you eat first?
3) Who would be your dream celebrity judges for the World Poetry Idol Competition?
4) Who is absolute?
5) What would you replace the chicken with?

As/Is II Needs You!

Things in my personal life right now are extremely hectic. As it is I scarcely have the time to update & maintain my own weblog, never mind do all the work for administrating this one as well. If someone would like to lend a hand as co-administrator, please email me. The only qualifications are the time to do it, some enthusiasm & the ability to look sexy in old track pants. Thanks!
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
1. Deconstruction is to L= poetry as dogs are to Greek Gods.

2. To avoid the inevitable pitfalls, As/IsII must keep an active sense of humor and not devolve into flame wars.

3. The ideal poet's computer would have links to my favorite blogs, including my own.

4. The tonal quality is a flux of one's passions and intelligence.

5. If Jim Behrle's in love we must all do our best to stay out of his cartoons.

Sentience, the Wall of Things Finnish:

1) Deconstruction is to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry as dogs are to _____________ .
2) To avoid the inevitable pitfalls, As/Is II must _____________________________.
3) The ideal poet's computer would have _________________.
4) The tonal quality is a flux of _______________ .
5) If Jim Berhle is in love we must all do our best to _______________ .
Monday, March 22, 2004


Some thots on branding in poetry, after reading Silliman's latest entry & about the (ridiculously) vitriolic reactions:
  • poetic anonymity - esp. the use of monikers - is akin to D.J.s using stage names
  • poetry slammers often use names similar to those of hip-hop artists, who as they are often African-American, are often quite savy to the use of marketing - many hip-hop artists will admit that their act is just that - an act - while more hypocritical pop artists are claiming to be themselves
  • poetry is very similar to marketing - as someone who does door-to-door sales - the most direct, in-your-face form of marketing there is - I find the skills often overlap
  • Walt Whitman was not Walter Whitman
  • Karl Marx™ was not a Marxist
  • I fear that Silliman may be relegating a certain phenonemon among a number of poets - that of going by a "cute" name on their weblogs - unnecessarily to the margins by his dismissal of it - I suspect there is more there than one might suspect - in an earlier posting he compared these names to tattoos, in that they will be something that one will regret later - but what about the many, many people who do not regret getting tattoos, and take them on as an important aspect of their identity, indeed even an art form?

Sunday, March 21, 2004

dim hour

in the dim hour
my headache
sliced the universe
into raging splattering red holes
modern enough
for your morgue?

billy jno hope seeds
Only lips--
that kiss--
can part--
to release--
the loving--
that speaks.

the hand
that masturbates
can write.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
my penis
is a girl.

my penis
is a boy.

does this


Another Question

What is it
about poetry
that you love--

I mean
really love.


What, if anything, is absolutely unique to poetry as a genre?
Friday, March 19, 2004

finishing sentences

1) . . . professional lariat twirlers.
2) . . . each proclaimed its own hierarchy: put b first, put c last, provided only etymologies. . . .
3) . . . detonations of what Oprah would recognize whole.
4) . . . leash, for I am the little dog that knows you.
5) . . . stipulate to the boundaries of my suspension of disbelief.

Finish the Following Sentences:

1) Weblogs are to mountain goats as spitoons are to ________________ .
2) Dictionaries would be better if they _____________________ .
3) Writing experiments are ________________ .
4) When I hear the term "post- avant garde" I reach for my _______________.
5) The sentence must ______________ .
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Feel, Felt & Found

At work today the Boss was giving a lecture on sales tactics & offered up an interesting approach of "Feel / Felt / Found".

Customer: Well I don't want to help you out because of blah blah blah... Salesperson: Well I understand that you would feel blah blah blah, I myself felt blah blah blah but then I found that blah blah blah..."

I later thought about it & see that it might be applied to a poem's structure. For example (and I am writing this off-the-cuff)

I understand how
you feel about finding
me in bed with your
2 minutes younger
twin sister.

Other's, as well,
would have experienced
similar feelings
of murderous intent.

Still, research has
shown that 97% of
all infedelity can
be traced to alcohol.

It's your fault for not
locking up the liquor cabinet.

If nothing else it seems a solid structure to work into a poem that may require one, similar to the sonnet's rhetorical structure of "If... Then... Therefore...".

Writing Experiments

  • write a poem with the refrain "the year I was born" detailing the events of the year you were born
  • unpredictable reverberations of the psyche
  • use knowledge management software to disturb yr usual syntax, eg Axon Idea Processor, Plumb Visual Thesaurus etc.
  • draw a Durer's grid on yr window, perhaps even in indelible ink (if you rent) & write about each square & everything that happens in it for one hour
  • the 'pataphysics of can-openers
  • a timeline history of the Universe in verse form
  • imitations of imitations, like photocopies see how far it can go until there is only a black smudge
  • write a letter to the credit agency explaining why you will not be paying them this month - quote liberally from Ezra Pound's economic theories
  • exact revenge sweetly
  • unfilmable absurdist film scripts - think "Reality is What You Can Get Away With" by Robert Anton Wilson


what is the name of pea soup?
what is the name all other food items?

not listed - not an existential question
as is although i too experience


"still in love with symbols,
doesn't have to be the real Elvis
just an Elvis"

[Insert Title Here]

Only 24 hours since starting this baby & already we have discussion, enlightenment, suggestions, input & confusion. It's set up now so you can post yr title & url - thanks Harry for the suggestion.

Reading Ron's comments tickled many of the ideas I already had in my mind. It is not difficult for me to imagine a far, far distant future where a half charred book of Robert Bly's, another by Rabindrath Tagore, and a third by Robin Blaser, are all that survive of pre-20th C. poetry. Distant literary historians would, no doubt, attempt to reconstruct our poetic climate from this. Imagine if even there names were erased, all that survived was a copy of Norton's Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry, with no names or attributions. That in itself would require a new seeing, a new approach to the text. My question is, what would your advice to the future literary historians/critics be, standing over this tiny pile of books left over from the cold ashes of a nuclear winter long since past? Our literary history begins with fragments of scrolls & shards - it may well end in fragments of electrons & ideas.

I tend to agree with Silliman on his use of real names in blogging. My blogroll, which was "borrowed" from Silliman's list originally, and later pruned for defunct blogs or ones I actively disliked for one reason or another, and added to as I became aware of interesting blogs even if I rarely read them, as much as possible uses real names. Ron mentions the difference between "generic oatmeal from your supermarket is not the same as Quaker Oats, which, more often than not, also manufactured that generic brand. " An interesting comparison. I'm struck that in taste tests people will often claim to detect differences between two colas that are the exact same brand. If the test (I originally mistyped that as "text" and perhaps should have kept error as a deeper truth) forces us to make false distinctions, perhaps our poetic tastes should be considered with the same level of reliability.

Hello! I have been translating Japanese poetry for the last few months, and so don't have much else on the brain - but I can't wait to share some of the work I've discovered! (They are being published very soon in HOW2 and Aufgabe, but I can't wait!)

So here is a poem by Chika Sagawa - she lived from 1911-1936. Some people consider her the first female Japanese Modernist poet (everyone else says ' There were any?') but her work was completely ahead of her time, really amazing and beautiful...



A fence dirtied by dust continues,
Leaves turn from red to yellow.
Recollections accumulate upon the path of memory. As if spreading white linen.
Seasons have four keys, slide down the stairs. The entrance is shut again.
The blue tree is hollow. When hit, it sounds.
While night sneaks out.
That day,
I am sad like the skin of the boy in the sky.
Eternity cuts between us.
I lose countless images to that other side.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
1) When at family reunions people ask me what I "really" do when I inform them I am a poet I tell them my day job doesn't pay enough.
2) The problem with poetry today is it has nothing to do with elections.
3) When I hear the expression "inner poet" in a self-help context I want to shove Leaves of Grass down someone's throat.
4) If I was poet laureate of my nation my first official act would be to appoint as many other poets as I can poet laureates .
5) Poetry contests are worse than presidential elections.
thrown broken sofa dump sub in fatho ey

something stunk and it wasn't me

my dog picked up some foul odor
she shouldered right into it and rolled
why are we doing this as a blog, and not a listserv?

possible answers:

1. Listservs are too complicated to set up.
^^ Less linear
<;)))>< I feel less compulsion to respond to you.
&&&& I feel obligated to respond to you
% My e-mail box is full enough as it is
$ I have enough blogs as it is
&&& hunger for ____ is endless aghhh
what is the value of pea soup?
what is the value all other food items?

not listed - not an existential question
as is although i too experience
Question, Part II (the Sequel):

What is the value of such a practice? Is there a downside to stringent writing rituals?

How do you maintain a daily writing practice? Or, do you maintain a daily writing practice?

Finish the following sentences:

1) When at family reunions people ask me what I "really" do when I inform them I am a poet I tell them _________________.
2) The problem with poetry today is________________.
3) When I hear the expression "inner poet" in a self-help context I want to ______________.
4) If I was poet laureate of my nation my first official act would be to _____________ .
5) Poetry contests are ______________ .
how are things as/is?
Welcome two As/Is2.

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