1. Invisible Skratch Piklz- Clams of Death (Second Half) 2. Public Enemy- What Kind of Power We Got 3. GP Wu- Smoking 4. Spice 1- D Boyz Got Love For Me 5. Too Short- So You Want To Be A Gangster 6. Eazy E- Luv 4 Dem Gangstaz 7. Spice 1- 1990-sick 8. King T- Got It Locked 9. Snoop Doggy Dog- intro/ Dogfather 10. Land of Da Lost- Never Too Late
1. DJ Dish- To Me It's Scrambled Eggs 2. A Tribe Called Quest- Start It Up 3. Aceyalone and Abstract Rude- Me and My Main 4. Method Man/ KRS-One/ Prodigy and Kam- Bulworth 5. Blood Hound Gang- Mama Say 6. Mix Master Mike- intro/ Hi Shit 7. Digital Underground- Walk Real Kool (Side A)
1. Boogie Down Productions- Poetry 2. Beastie Boys- She's Crafty 3. Beastie Boys- Rhymin and Stealin 4. Beastie Boys- Super Disco Breakin 5. Beastie Boys- Shake Your Rump 6. Beastie Boys- Ricky's Theme 7. BS 2000- Nobody Beats BS 2000 8. Beastie Boys- Cooky Puss 9. The Utensils- Beastie Wrap 10. DJ Q-Bert- Turntable TV 11. Black Fasiz- Futuristic Rhymes 12. Fugees- Fu-Gee-La
1. Lauren Hill- Lost One 2. Method Man- Judgement Day 3. Cosmic Slop Shop- Sinful 4. Killah Priest- Cross My Heart 5. Xzibit- What U See Is What U Get 6. Salt N Pepa- Tramp 7. Third Rail Vic- STR8 Savage 8. Mix Master Mike- Surprise Package (Remix) 9. Invisible Scratch Piklz- Klamz of Death
thanks to all the kids who came out yesterday afternoon for my Canessa reading with Megan Pruitt and Antonin Artaud. Canessa's a really great space sort of hidden at the mysterieus vortex of Montgomery and Columbus. and thanks to Tiff Dressen for inviting me to read and for the tasty wine.
dreamt last night that i went to a garage sale in my neighborhood and found these two decks in perfect condidtion
and then when i asked the dude how much he wanted for them he was all "take em..." and i was all "what do you mean?" and he was all "i try and do good by people...i can see you like em' a lot so i want you to have em'..." and i was all "wow, thanks so much, you don't know how much this means to me, i've wanted this Lee Smith deck since i was like 9 years old...' and he's all "well, you know i wouldn't say no to a donation..." and i'm like "how much?" and he's like "whatever you feel you'd like to give will be fine..." at this point he holds out this clear plastic bag stuffed with money, so i pull out my wallet and take out a five doller bill, i try and stuff it in the dudes money bag but he's holding it from the top so i have to sort of stuff the five doller bill through his hand into the bad, dude tries to grab a 10 out of my wallet and i'm like "eh, okay, eh, thanks for the decks man, have a great day..." and then i leave.
my first book, PSYCHOPOMP, is a ghost story. my second book, he, don Juan, a translation, is about sorcery and translation. my third book, Thrush-too (possibly changing the title to Rude Girl), is a love poem. my fourth book, Modesto, is a true crime mystery. my fifth book, An Anglo-Saxon History, is a history. my sixth book, The Islands (in progress), is a memoir and a history.
that being said, i think my next book is going to be about aliens. i think my next book will be about aliens and NASA. just like the book i wrote about sorcery and translation this book is going to be about technology.
i think i will use YouTube as much as i'll use other books to write this book. i think this book will rely on technology. i think i might be able to find this book in Concord. in other words, i don't think i'll have to go to the library to write this book. i think being un-specific will be very important to the writing of this book.
i think this book will be about aliens and technology and Mexico and the BBC and NASA and biology and lucid dreaming and computer hackers and the movies and humans and astral travel and memory (but all my books are about memory).
in my wildest dreams this book would resemble an episode of The X-Files.
i would like to write about aliens and such as though all the videos on YouTube were authentic.
i don't want this book to be (too) funny or precious.
i would like to write about the way i feel about these subjects as honestly as i can.
Blue Press Poets a reading and conversation with Kevin Opstedal, Michael Price, Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, Patrick Dunagan, Micah Ballard and Cedar Sigo Thursday February 22, 2007 3:30 pm @ the Poetry Center HUM 512, SFSU, free
• Kevin Opstedal is publisher of Blue Press Books and editor of an array of sub-radar literary magazines, the latest being Blue Book #8. Recent works are On the Low (Gallery Books) and Rare Surf, Vol. 2 : New & Used Poems (Smog Eyes Press). He lives in Santa Cruz, and is writing a literary history of the Bolinas poets. • Michael Price, co-editor of Blue Book magazine and Blue Press Books is author of Doombook (The Figures), On the Eve of the Death of Michael Price , and his latest, The Year of the Mother (both Blue Press). He lives in Boulder. • Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, from New Orleans, has been in San Francisco six years. Her books include Last We Spoke (Auguste Press, 2004) and 20/20 Yielding (Blue Press, 2005). • Patrick Dunagan's chapbooks include: Young American Poets (Showerhead), U.S.A. (surfZombie), Baby Skull (Yenless Rumsoaked), Of Stone (Snag), Fess Parker (Red Ant), and After the Sinews (Auguste). • Micah Ballard, from Louisiana, lives in San Francisco and runs the Lew Gallery at New College of California. His books include Emblematic (Old Gold), Bettina Coffin (Red Ant Press), In the Kindness of Night (Blue Press), and Evangeline Downs (Ugly Duckling Presse). • Cedar Sigo is author of Goodnight Nurse (Angry Dog Press, 2001). His Selected Writings was published by Ugly Duckling Presse (2003; second edition, 2005). Forthcoming is a book of collaborations, Deathrace V.S.O.P. He lives in San Francisco, where he is the editor of Old Gold Press.
John Sakkis: Could you speak a little to the importance of Ernst Kantorowicz as a formative educator, and maybe through that talk a bit about your relationship with Dante and the troubadours?
Robin Blaser: Ernst Kantorowicz was a professor of history at Berkeley, this would be in the '46-'47 period, a medievalist who wrote a great book on Frederick. Kantorowicz was a splendid historian, another one of the Jewish escapees from Germany. He brought us into history, into the stream of it. He let us look into the tale of everything from Byzantium to his course devoted entirely to the thirteenth century, which brought us to Dante in the very midst and commotion of that period. Dante with his great work The Divine Comedy divided into hell, purgatory, and Paradiso. And he could still write paradise, Dante, that is. I think you've heard me say elsewhere, “I'll challenge you to write the paradisal.” Kantorowicz brought us into history in the grandest possible way. We were brought to read texts; we were made to look very carefully at the Middle Ages as a period that vastly shaped Europe. America sometimes likes to pretend that it has nothing to do with that history but of course, we have the teachers, Kantorowicz leading them, bringing us into the European history that we belong. And so it was a great gift, it was simply beyond any ordinary sense I had had of a history course, where the teacher goes 1-2-3 with all the numbers and dates and certain people and so on. He gave the entire intellectual effort of historical conditions at the time and it was stunning. And none of us ever got over it. Now, Dante as a fascination for me from childhood, that big fat book.
JS: A book half your size.
RB: Yes about half my size, but before I could read, it was the Dore illustrations that held my attention. So it was there, in that sense, but it was with Kantorowicz that we went into Dante and what he was, what his effort was, what the structure of hell, purgatory, and paradise would propose. And it made all the difference. It meant that Dante became the Dante of his time, we would then look for the Dante of our time. Dante was a guide to the very beginning of our own secular work. A task, it's a real task, to write and think within your own time, to watch that as a great movement that sort of bursts out of Europe by way of the troubadours, Dante picking up from the troubadours and having enormous courage to be guided in his moving-through-the-world by his beloved Beatrice. Not through Hell of course, but through the rest of the journey.
JS: And also through his mother tongue? Something that comes through the troubadours?
RB: Dante was clearly able to read the language of the troubadours, Provençal, because it's a carefully related language. So he was clearly able to read it, the contact with it meant that it brought out the voice, the love voice in the poem. There is a love voice in which you are at stake, your world is at stake, which is very different from the great Latin tradition in which what is at stake is your relationship to God. There's very beautiful Latin poetry, behind it of course is Virgil and all that. But when we get there, we've opened up into our own secular task. And the secular task turns out to be as grand as Dante. Our ordinary is never ordinary. And Dante could teach us this by way of his own love poems and the great Divine Comedy. Of coarse Kantorowicz didn't exactly speak of it this way. Hannah Arendt was on campus for a year, and her way of speaking about politics became very influential for Jack [Spicer] and me, we wound up with an extraordinary sense of having to take on the whole crappy mess around us, to try and find what was there that could last, or even that could be changed. It was a sense of language that I don't think we'd ever had before, it was the language that probably came to us through the history of human genius, which was a very good point to begin with because it was our ordinary task that came out of that period. The troubadours are very, very important. The troubadours came because we were learning about Dante.
JS: About Dante's architecture, you've spoken to the idea of humanity existing in a “purgatory” and of the somewhat oblique (bleak?) possibility of attaining paradise. How does one (Dante or otherwise) begin to edge nearer a paradise? Is this even a question of attainment? You write, “Purgatory remains the poetic condition--the experiment of writing--the feel of writing--Paradise, where words wander in the wild-wood” (Even On Sunday)
RB: Did I say that?
JS: You did say that.
RB: (laughs) Yes, well, I put the emphasis on purgatory. We're in a kind of hell, you know, we’re certainly in a world that makes hell for others without attention to the human cost. It's always one kind of victory or another. Iraq is an extraordinary experience. God knows what the soldiers who are sent there go through. I'd be almost frightened to ask. There's hell all around us, and I think that you can find yourself in hell intellectually, that is, in a culture that is refusing to listen to the intellectual task of its philosophers and its poets, writers. So there's that sense of hell, but of course we live so comfortably, and we live so richly, so many of us, not to forget the poor who are all around us and part of the cost of this wealth. But it's purgatory that we really need to know about because the entire Western tradition at this point has much to make up for. And purgatory is the place in which both personally and culturally you purge yourself of error, of crime, of lack of love; you purge yourself of lacks, which I find fascinating. Purgatory is our condition, we have to live in it and I think we have to recognize it as such. Now for the paradise in all this, paradise is in any historical period that we know anything about, a visionary matter. Purely visionary, and by visionary I mean something a little more splendid than wishful thinking. It's the sense that there is a paradise beyond us, and of course if you remain within the traditional religious view we will all be saved, and we'll go into something like paradise. Now, all right, all right, all right. I wouldn't depend on it if I were you. Paradise is the great vision of a goodness and a love that would be social, that would be the condition of community, of one to one, of our enlargement of our personal love affairs.
JS: “good is not etymologically related to God.”
RB: Absolutely not. The good is our task. And God isn't our task, God is a tradition. I'm not going to deny people who have belief, but I do think they’d better look around and see what they've done to it. It's an astonishing, terrible, collapse really. That's the guiding view I have of the religious movements, current religious movements. They trade in a higher spirituallity for a particular kind of politics. They also believe in their paradise, which is to say the last coming, an end to the world as we know it, a return of Christ and all of that. These are all aspects of the expectation of paradise, and it's really quite brutal because only certain people will be saved. I’ve pointed out several times, and you must have heard me do it here once already, that the Book of Revelations indicates 144,000 get through. Now the rest of you can just roast!
JS: Which brings up Mr.Van Impe.
RB: Oh this is the Reverend Jack Van Impe. And I don't wish to be unkind. I used him as an example of television ministry. There are many who participate in this, but Jack Van Impe is the one who interested me most, because he's particularly articulate about the second coming, that it's here. He can read the Bible so that when his wife Rexella says “Oh Jack, look at this in Time magazine, what do you think it means?” He then goes immediately to the Bible, and he is able to do it spontaneously, a make connections from this book or that book, this verse or that verse, “It's here! It's here! It's right here!” He never gets away from this excitement and I suppose it is his vision, the vision of the fullness of Christianity, as the final map of paradise, the final map of heaven. Now, what do we do with all the other speakers from that? All this is drawn through the Old Testament, you have the Hebraic elements, and right now, with the far right in Israel, there's agreement between the far right religious people in the United States. This is a curious thing, it's very useful to what is happening in contemporary Israel. The view of regaining all the Biblical lands, those were of course done by terrible military action in the ancient world; the most extraordinary instances of God in the Bible are when he, in order to prove his power, kills off thousands and thousands of lambs. The brutality of the religious mind is very very strange indeed. But the beliefs of the Bible all come forward and you've got the Christian, the Muslim, and what else? They're all visions, lives, beliefs, drawn from the book. It's very interesting the way the Muslims were totally disregarded and held in contempt by this kind of far right Christianity. Even though the Pope has made some peaceful movements toward the Muslim world. Now we have the situation where the entire Muslim world, which is enormous, stretches across Asia, is being brought up into our world, and I think, yes, the notion of having perpetual war seems to be the result. I sometimes wonder if it isn't what's desired, the easiest way to become a billionaire is to get into the business of the military. The last important figure that really spoke about this was Eisenhower, when he wanted a military industrial complex. And now that military industrial complex is very much in charge of things.
JS: The role of philosophy, particularly Giorgio Agamben, in your recent work seems to share a mutual if not equal playing field with poetry. How do you qualify these two disciplines in your work (poetry, essay, or otherwise)?
RB: Poetry and philosophy are hand in hand. Philosophy, that language which searches for the syntax of the abstract and so on, bursts out of the ancient world, the greatest example one could think of is Aristotle and Plato. There was a tendency to develop a philosophical tradition in which philosophy would attempt to approach the Truth. The Truth is a very big thing to approach, beyond anything I would even try for, and this is too simplified, but originally the thought that is philosophical, the thought that tries to have a loving, broad sense of the world was hand in hand with poetry. Of course then the tradition developed in which the poetic and the literary were set apart. Dante had no fear of bringing philosophy into his great poem. In fact, the philosophers appear when, near the end of the Paradiso, he can't really say what that point of light is so he calls on Saint Thomas Aquinas to help him. I think nowadays very particularly with the presence of people like Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, Adorno, and I could name others, an entire group of 20th century people are begining to move philosophy back to where its attention to poetry is noted. Again and again, they'll turn to Rilke to explain something. They were once hand in hand, and then it became a curious flattening of reality, so that the notion of poetry as having a place in thought was ducked, and we got the poetry as simply personal expression, as feeling and emotion. This is of course insane. Emotion and feeling behold the highest thought, to the very highest thought. I could go through Plato with you if we had time and bring out where one can almost take Plato's hand because he is so emotionally present in those vast and marvelous arguments about the nature of reality. And they are arguments. And frequently of course dialogue. But the flattening of it, the dismissal of literature as having any relation to meaning is really late in development. It begins to stir most strongly in the 19th century, where a battle begins to put literature over to the side, where we go on to do something else, that is the politics, the social vocabulary, never to include within it that marvelous and splendid sense of the emotion of the mind. Coleridge, his way of defending this, and a 20th century poet whose work is most devoted to this is Robert Duncan, is the notion that you have got a realm of mind that is up here, the primary imagination as Coleridge called it, and our imagination meets it as a secondary. Now, Coleridge doing this is a major event. The primary imagination belongs to God, to the universe, to the divine. And we have a secondary imagination. Coleridge beautifully reflects that in his work. But will it hold? If you want to hold onto that, what are you going to do with the content of the primary imagination in our time? That primary imagination number one is not primary, not primal, but it is privatized, it is commercialized, it has turned into power, not into its vision. The primary imagination has been broken down. We can't do it. Yeats was trying to hold onto the same kind of thing. Ezra Pound in the peculiar disasters he ran into during his labor was still a major labor of the mind, in which he was still trying to write a paradise in the final Cantos. And could not. Could not. The structure of the Cantos, in many ways, including the anti-Semitic mess that appear in a few of the them, is still a record of the disaster, of the loss, of the fall, the break of what the voice can say of the primary imagination? Of paradise? It's our problem now. That's why when I throw that challenge out, “Okay I've got you in purgatory, let's see what you can do about it,” I just want people to notice what's broken and breaking that you put back together. You're a puzzle, I'm a puzzle, everybody's a puzzle. And then strangely our politics seem to gather all together into power. But then power is not the issue to reach paradise.
JS: Is it impossible for primary imagination and paradise to be one because of that element of the divine, or because of that element of God?
RB: These are transcendentals, and the transcendentals, Plato's is a great voice of the transcendental, and philosophy has held that even the logicians when they don't believe in God or anything else, are holding onto a kind of sublime abstraction. What you do with God is very interesting, because God comes out of the most ancient aspects of our world, and it goes on and on and on, I would say God is one of those transcendentals that has become irreparable. To say something is irreparable does not mean that it has disappeared. It means that it's a puzzle. It's in bits and pieces. And what you do with that afterwards is search for whatever it was that it once meant, not that the love of God is power, but that God could be that big overstuffed word that tries to tell us that there's something that has belonged to, in the broadest sense, the world. And not some divinity that will be the only way to approach it.
JS: The irreparable world, the world as it is?
RB: Yes. I'll be giving a talk [Language is Love] in a day or so. I'm going to bring up examples of the medieval problem, they tried to think about our bodies, the problem of the naked body, of naked life, which is the bottom line of the bodily condition. We work all the time to move that into some kind of form. And our reality is a form. That's where you'll begin finally. One of the medieval examples I’ll be giving is that question of if you go to heaven do you continue to eat and shit? What happens? What's being resurrected? These were serious concerns, even St. Thomas Aquinas undertook such questions. I'm just putting them in there, I have no wish to make a system out of this, I don't have a system. But I want the example of this whole thing of, what is to be resurrected, not who is to be resurrected. What is it that always dictates that one has to not take care of this life but instead has to take care of another one that belongs to someone called God? That's very peculiar. I think it puts God in a very uncomfortable position.
JS: What does the naked life have to do with the quotidian life? Are they synonymous?
RB: No, naked life is the reduction to the smallest possible aspect, the most difficult and naked aspect of what the body is. This is an Agamben interest, I'll be doing a little bit of this in the talk. And I'll call attention to two of the books that would be of interest for this. This is not to be dismissed, this is not what we are living for, our naked selves, it's a point at which we begin to have a form, which is the form of life, that we may offer then as form. Form is something much larger than your naked body or mine.
JS: Could you speak a little to the idea of tradition, how tradition affects an history in the individual/reader/human? In what ways are practice or awareness of tradition related to language? You write, “Language is not our own--no more than our life or death is in our ownership--historically or now.” (from The Irreparable)
RB: I think if you don't have any sense of history, you're pretty mindless. That's what's wrong with the religious thing, because the religious thing turns all of history into a transcendental. History, whatever else it is, is not a transcendental. In fact history is a collapse of transcendence. It just irritates me. One has to know something about the history of us. Reading the Bible as a book which is a transcendental book means you don't pay any attention to what was the nature of the writing, the things that were to be gained by that writing, the difficulty of taking over all those lands from Palestine, those things. One needs to know those, they should be fully in touch with them. This is to a dependence we must have upon education, and look what's happening to it. When I was teaching I was often aghast at the condition of the students coming into the university; and what had to be done in order to try and fix the disastrous education behind them. Then you find out the teachers are not well-educated. They have been trained in schools of education where they teach you how to teach but you haven't any subjectivity. So you just go in there and pomp around with the system. It's an unforgivable situation. Then they start cutting the money for education, which is going on right now in the United States and indeed in Canada, in this situation you are not then working to let the young have their proper educational opportunity. Their parents haven't got it, but they could. This morning I walked in to have my little piece of breakfast at the hotel here, and I noticed that the cook is giving a Latin lesson to a young woman. And he was doing it beautifully. I thought, this is the way the whole fucking thing should be. He was unaware that I was being attentive, David was listening too, the both of us. When I grew up they divided the high school into those who wanted to go to university and those who didn't. Those who wanted to go university always had to go through Latin, and other languages if you were so inclined. But Latin was just flattened. That division should never have been made. I think there should have been a way to open that up for those who would not be able, or didn't want to handle it, at least they should have known about the future and why it was there. On the language thing, that's older than we are. We don't know where it comes from. Nobody knows what it is. It's an utterly astonishing thing. It's the only way we hold one another together. Sex is great, but even language is very important in how to get there. (laughs) I can see you're into seduction. In some way, someone should always be taught to respect language, how to love it. I'm going to go over here to the library [Allen Ginsberg Library] to see if they have the older edition of the Webster's dictionary, the big one, it has to be the old one because the newer editions are a disaster in themselves. Old Webster's, if you look up a word, will give you the etymology of the word. You will learn how many of the words you are speaking are actually Latin or Greek, and what pieces of those languages have turned into our word. I go everyday, I have for most of my life, to my dictionary, and it's play, it's not always, sometimes it's cause I plain don't know that word, but I'll go and check it. You'll find out how much German you speak, how much French you speak, because our words are made out of this conglomeration of languages that has been working and working and working. That dictionary is invaluable. It's got to be the big one, the old one, the 1920's or something was the last printing. In most current dictionaries has been left out because it's not of interest, so we've just got what I call “jabberwocky.” Who was talking about that the other day, that we'd have one language left? This is something that they're talking about, we'll have only one language left, which will be English, and it's going to be pidgin English let me tell you, if that's what happens. By pidgin English I mean that it's just the simplest matter of push and pull and not at all a sense of the absolute richness of the words. Where in the hell do they come from? How do they get together? Why does the dictionary have these words that are made up of two or three different languages and come as a single thing we use without any attention. We need to know that because it can tell us about the life of the language. The education thing is troubling me because they're cutting it all down and it's going to be turned into professions. And we already have all those awful things going on in English departments in which you get the emphasis only on the national literature and that itself tells you they're not interested in the language but only the nationality of it. And the other part is that you're not going to study literature because it's not useful. Not useful to what?
JS: To reality.
RB: Yeah. We're not after reality, we're after some money. We're after money and cars.
JS: You wrote about the separation of imagination and reality, how this is a contemporary condition.
JS: And the sort-of disaster of that.
RB: Well the imagination is in dispute, if it's taken seriously at all, otherwise it's dismissed. So it's a sad story, but on the other hand [sings] “zippety doo daa…” you gotta whack back. Imagination is everywhere, from the most ordinary level to the splendor of our new buildings. My companion David went down to Denver to see the new Libeskind [Denver Art Museum expansion] and unfortunately the Libeskind isn't built yet, but you can search around and look at his marvelous imagination of what the building will be, and these extraordinary buildings now, that are shaped in curves and folds and so on, there's an imagination there that's astonishingly wonderful and beautiful. It's all there, the thing is to not let yourself get too depressed about the other things. That's why I was talking the other day about how we’ve been caught in this business of sadness and disbelief, and yet at the same time everyone goes on, the poets go on, the architects go on, and architecture is one of the grandest forms of poetry, of poesis. You go through all this heavy-duty stuff and then you personally go back to exactly what's going on and it's absolutely extraordinary; you were asking me questions about the change in the 20th century, what about the change in the 21st century? Why does it seem to break in 1945, say, and so on. Now that's to know history, and then check out the art that tried to answer to what I would call vision, I don't want it called paradise, I want it to be just vision.
JS: You've spoken about the notion of the “outrageous” in writing, that Spicer was writing a kind of outrageous, in your words, “kick-ass” poetry, and that Duncan was practicing a more “high traditional” form of writing. Where does your writing situate?
RB: Those are useful ways of talking about very different vocabularies, uses of syntax, but I don't think the division should kept as a real division. Duncan was really the first to know what Spicer was doing. He recognized the absolute accomplishment in him, the sometimes very agonized realm Jack Spicer worked through. I think Duncan maintained that business of the primary imagination on those explicit levels, the primary and secondary. I think he kept it because he adored the high language of it. I was trying to make the distinction that Jack went for the plain-spoken. He wanted to be with the hard hit of the very naturalness of language rather than that which is embroidered beautifully. And I think he accomplishes that in a way that very few others have done, though I could name quite a few who are working in that range. But Spicer, for me, has a tic that nobody else has got. And it was done with great cost, and it was done with a very strong center. He liked to go to ball games, all that kind of stuff. His sitting room was a bar. Duncan's wasn't, nor was mine. Duncan and Jess had this magnificent sort of castle where we'd go, that was very beautiful, and Jess became a very great painter and was full of marvels, collections of beautiful vases, a magnificent library. I just sent to Berkeley [Bancroft Library] the last books that I found in his [Spicer’s] final room where he died including the famous etymological dictionary, a small edition of that. The others, there were six books on the shelves five of them on chess and one book on computers. And that was that. That was Jack's library. He read enormously and widely, but that was from the library, he didn't keep the books, he didn't turn them into a palatial library of his own, he spent his time in his sitting room, in a bar, there were two or three in San Francisco and everyone would gather round him to talk at the table, really marvelous, crazy, nutty conversation. Jack had a naughty side to him. Robert Duncan wrote a play for Helen Adam and for me, we were staging the version of it lacking his last act, so Jack sitting down there, stirring the pot, at one of the bars there in North Beach, sent George Stanley and Stan Persky and, who was the third? up there with protest signs: “Fuck Duncan,” “Fuck Jess,” “Fuck Chi-Chi.” Well, Duncan called the police. I came out but forgot to take off my dragon costume which rather upset the policemen. I got in there and we talked. And so we let it go. But Jack would do things like that, and one of the things that I think brought that up, isn't that Jack didn't like music but he wasn't interested in the high sense of music at all. He liked the background stuff that didn't bother anything. And then the Beatles invaded.
JS: He hated the Beatles, right?
RB: Yes. Do you know why?
JS: Because they took away from Jack...
RB: Yes! It took everything away from the bar. We all got up and danced. Jack never forgave the Beatles.
JS: So he had no interest in the high music or the low music.
RB: The pop music would be all right if it didn't take away from his ability to sit there and have conversations and play language games. Conversations are a great part of language games and Jack would play these wonderfully. Well, you know how wonderful the Beatles are but it ruined Jack's living room, so to speak. So he never quite forgave that. But Jack had and wanted, and it's very peculiar because there's such a commotion of language in his poetry, but the fact that he wanted to be with the popular language doesn't come through to people who would consider themselves as speaking popularly.
JS: Could you talk about your lifelong work/poem The Holy Forest? It seems this project (if I may call it that) is at the root of your references and fascination with poesis, that is, “to make,” the projection of “making,” or perhaps, in your own words “to redefine the concept of the transcendental in terms of its relation with language.” I understand the University of California Press is releasing a new edition with over 100 pages of never-seen-before work.
RB: Well they're proposing a new edition and this is wonderful. My editor, Miriam Nichols, along with Peter Gizzi, and Charles Bernstein approached University of California Press and right now, as a matter of fact, a contract is being sent for a new Holy Forest. So it's a wonderful thing to have that happen, a book of essays has been done to. The Holy Forest, what I had in mind there when I pulled that title was Dante and the whole sense of being in a forest, wandering in a forest, lost in a forest, finding yourself in a forest, or other people finding you and all that. I'm going to keep the title because I like it very much. It will have, oh, something like 160 new poems in the new edition because the Holy Forest as it is now, it's still available, was published in 1993. And so we move from 1993 to 2004, quite a number of years. The Holy Forest itself is an imagery in which you really are lost in a forest, of thought, of people, of things, and I have continued to work it all these years because it allows me my conversation with everything I can think of. I use quotation, I want them there in their own voices, I want my voice there with them so the interchange is a constant folding, I think of reality as a constant folding, and The Holy Forest is my way of folding tree after tree. I can wander through the forest, but I'm actually folding whatever reality I can find. It allows me to improve my reading, and my friends, it allows me to find my lyric voice, it allows me to find my other voice....[going through the Table of Contents], there are different kinds of poems, there are titles to each section but there are different kinds of poems that move, and they're fairly clearly indicated. They're sequence poems that I'm very particularly interested in, work that doesn't stop until you do. That's the real answer to your question. The Holy Forest is set up to go on as long as I can keep folding and folding and folding. And I like my laughter poems, “The Truth Is Laughter”, I very much enjoy putting those hither and yon when they turn up. And then we get to, oh things like, Exody and then we have the Great Companions, and there's only two of those written so far, “Pindar” and “Robert Duncan.” But there will be others. I hope very much to do one for Robert Creeley, one for Jack Spicer, and of course I have not done Charles Olson yet. It's meant to be a folding, continuous stream of language.
JS: What of chronology?
RB: It is kept.
JS: Why are the Boston poems are in the back?
RB: The Image-Nations, there are 25 or 26 of them, anyway, those will continue. The Boston poems, I like them. They were early poems, they were small poems. A terrible thing happened to me, and I'll never quite forgive my dear friend Don Allen for it, but when he was about to publish the New American Poetry, a big row started. Duncan was refusing. Duncan called me corrupt for having anything to do with it. It was an outrage. Don Allen did a magnificent job. The row started because Duncan had to be in that anthology. I was horrified, and then hurt, I couldn't figure what it was all about. But of course behind it all was that Duncan wanted the same amount of space that Charles Olson got. Now this meant cutting somebody, cutting several people. Well, I got cut as one of them. And the poem that got cut which I thought was the first really good poem I had written, was called “The Hunger Of Sound.” And there it is, finally. It should have been in the New American Poetry but instead Don goes with the metaphysical-like poems. They're good, they're well-written, but they don't have any of what my effort was. Other people got cut, so this ain't a whine. So here it is back here, and I debated whether I was going to move that poem out with the others, but I thought, no, the Boston poems have their own structures. It's not an ambition, I don't have that. But the Boston poems were not yet proposing a folding, a continuous structure that will just keep folding until I have to go someplace else.
i want to play Role Playing Games again...i just spent the last 3 hours reading about Roll Playing Games on Wiki. i might ride my bike to a used bookstore tomorrow (if it stops raining) and buy some Roll Playing Games.
had an incredibly intricate dream about Michael Myers last night. he crashed on earth on a spaceship. Michael was an alien. Michael was stalking me. it was Halloween. i think i lived in a community in the hills behind my house but it was also sort of Los Angeles. and then all the guys from the Star Trek Enterprise got involved. didn't exactly tell me but communicated to me none the less that Michael was a homicidal alien that they had been hunting for years. i remember thinking "wow, Spock will protect me, i'll be okay if i keep hiding in this bush...Kirk will protect me, i'll be okay if i keep hiding in this bush..."
and then i actually woke up laughing thinking to myself that that was a very funny dream.
** friends of poetry ** Frank Sherlock EMERGENCY FUND ** please read ASAP!******
The following link is for everyone to use on blogs and other online media: _http://phillysound. blogspot. com/ 2007_02_01_phillyso und_archive. html#1170786058 81722949_ (http://phillysound. blogspot. com/ 2007_02_01_phillyso und_archive. html#11707860588 1722949)
Our good friend Frank Sherlock was rushed to the hospital January 22nd with a sudden and mysterious illness which turned out to be a serious case of meningitis. He needed emergency surgery, and also suffered a heart attack and kidney failure as a result of symptoms related to the illness.
The timing could not be worse as this attack of meningitis happened during the two month window in which Frank is without health insurance.
His friends have come together to help raise money at this critical time. We are reaching out to other friends and the poetry community on Frank's behalf. Please consider sending donations for his hospital bills, physical therapy, as well as his very expensive medications and other needs.
If you can make a donation by check or money order at this time please send it to Frank's longtime friend Matthew McGoldrick.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please make check or money order out to Matthew McGoldrick, and send to his address:
1504 Morris St. Philadelphia PA 19145
We will be having a benefit show in Philadelphia in the very near future. If you would like to be notified of that event please e-mail _CAConrad13@ aol.com_ (mailto:CAConrad13@aol. com) for the details. Frank's poetry page can be found here: _http://FrankSherloc k.blogspot. com_ (http://franksherloc k.blogspot. com/) , and he can also be found at _http://PhillySound. blogspot. com_ (http://phillysound. blogspot. com/)
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT, AND PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD, from the Friends of Frank Sherlock
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY @ 6 pm IN CONVERSATION: Authors Kevin Killian & Chris Kraus talk about art & the literary life.
Kevin Killian is a poet, novelist, critic and playwright. He has written a book of poetry, Argento Series (2001), two novels, Shy (1989) and Arctic Summer (1997), a book of memoirs, Bedrooms Have Windows (1989), and two books of stories, Little Men (1996) and I Cry Like a Baby (2001). He has also edited a collection of short stories by the late Sam D’Allesandro, The Wild Creatures. For the San Francisco Poets Theater Killian has written thirty plays, including The Red and The Green (2005, with Karla Milosevich) and The Wishing Well (2006, with Lawrence Rinder). His essay Despite Our Gods: Karla Milosevich’s Sacramental Eye appeared in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue of Camerawork: A Journal of Photographic Arts. He lives in San Francisco.
Chris Kraus is a filmmaker and the author of I Love Dick and Aliens & Anorexia, and coeditor of Hatred of Capitalism: A Semiotext(e) Reader. Index magazine called her “one of the most subversive voices in American fiction.” Her work has been praised for its damning intelligence, vulnerability and dazzling speed. Recent publications include Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness (2004), Torpor (2006), and David Wojnarowicz: A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side (2006). She lives in Los Angeles.
SF Camerawork 657 Mission Street Second Floor San Francisco, CA 94105-4104
i got sick yesterday. i missed the final Poet's Theater last night. i'm going to miss hanging out with friends tomorrow for the Superbowl. i'm going to miss the release party for Benefit's new issue "Board Housewives" on Monday. i'm on deadline for Monday, i have nine stories to write by Monday. i had dreams about global warming and sex scandals all last night. crap.
...currently listening to Mikis Theodorakis Actas De Marusia...
“Hooligan’s Island,” / Written & Directed by Scott MacLeod
“Self/Cell” / Text by Olivia E. Sears / Images by Aline Mare / Music by Craig Bicknell
“The Deathperts” / Written & Directed by Chana Morgenstern
Selections from “James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet” (1982) Written by John Cage / Directed by Marie Carbone / With Gillian Conoley, Patricia Dienstfrey, Dale Going, Brenda Hillman, Denise Liddell Lawson, Denise Newman, giovanni singleton and Carol Snow
“The Gunfight” / Written & Directed by Brent Cunningham
and legos means little in Greek...i've always wondered if the childrens toy, Lego Bricks, was named from the Greek...i guess i could wiki that but whatever...
THIS IS THE SIZE OF YOUR AVERAGE GREEK. HER NAME WAS KATARINA (SAY: CAUGHT-A-REENA). SHE'S 43 YEARS OLD. SHE TOOK US IN AFTER OUR WATERTAXI ACCIDENT LEFT US CONFUSED AND BROKE. SHE WAS ESPECIALLY FOND OF BRANDON'S BLUE KANSAS CITY ROYALS BASEBALL CAP (NOT PICTURED).
THIS IS A SHACK BRANDON AND I SHARED ON THE MTV-BEACHHOUSE INSPIRED ISLAND OF MYKONOS. TAKE NOTE OF MY AWESOME WINGSPAN AND SEXY BLACK TANKTOP.
THIS IS A BED BRANDON AND I SLEPT IN...SEE THAT SPACE NEXT TO BRANDON? THAT'S WHERE I SLEPT. BRANDON AND I TOUCHED HEADS A FEW TIMES. IT WAS WEIRD.
AND THIS IS THE DWARF HOTEL ROOM. I'M ACTUALLY STANDING ON MY KNEES.
just got word from Eleni Stecopoulos about the upcoming 4th annual Translator's Symposium on Paros. i'm going to make a huge effort this year to get my ass to Greece. i want to see family and friends in Athens and Pireaus. i'd like to drink retsina with demosthenes. i want to rub exfoliating mud all over my body and take pictures (hello brandon brown). i want to go swimming with poets (it's not something you do often, poets aren't often in bathing suits around each other, it's fun). i want to almost kill myself yet again on a rented vespa. oh man oh man i can't wait.
The Islands (Nightboat Books), "now, 1/3" and thepoem (BlazeVOX Books) Chinese Notebook (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Maribor (The Post-Apollo Press)
Rude Girl (BlazeVOX Books)
Rave On! (Lew Gallery)
Gary Gygax (Cy Gist Press)
Rude Girl (Duration Press)
The Moveable Ones (Transmission Press)
Benthos (Silas Press). Lives in Oakland. Works for Small Press Distribution.