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