Monday, March 31, 2008

Daniel Borzutzky, Patrick Durgin, Tim Yu, and Simon DeDeo after Patrick and Tim's reading last night at Myopic. It was a huge weekend of readings. Kristy Odelius read collaborative poems with Tim, too. Chicago = ground zero for much exciting writing recently.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'll be reading some of my poetry this Friday for Cracked Slab Books as part of Small Press Poetry Month at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Ballroom at 6:30.

Small Press Showcase
[sponsored by the Poetry Center of Chicago]
Friday, March 28, 6:30
SAIC Ballroom
112 S. Michigan Ave.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Here is my homophonic or blind translation of Baudelaire's poem L'Albatross followed by the original.


Souvenir for the amused, home for equipment,
pennant deaf, I’ll bat Os, vast as axes, these marred
solvents, indolent companions, the voyage
navigable and glistening. Surface of gilded Americans

a penny haunts the dispossessed, plantains
aren’t ok, big and blue, there are malleable honchos
lazy pity parties, grand and blanching. My
communiqué trains aviators, coats and ducks.

Ill voyager, commune with gauchos playing violas.
Naugahyde bro, quit Comcasting and lay.
Lunar grape minus vex, a billiard ghoul
auctions mimes, and buoyant we confirm violets!

Poet, you resemble a prince at a new desk,
but quit haunting tapas and write about archers.
Your exile is a solitary and million wheeze.
What ailment gallops ‘cross the peach of March?


Souvent, pour s'amuser, les hommes d'équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l'azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d'eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu'il est comique et laid!
L'un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L'autre mime, en boitant, l'infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l'archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l'empêchent de marcher.


Homophonic translation: Take a poem in a foreign language that you can pronounce but not necessarily understand and translate the sound of the poem into English (e.g., French "blanc" to blank or "toute" to toot). Some examples: Louis and Celia Zukofsky's Catullus., David Melnick's Homer, now available via Eclipse: Men in Aida -- part one and part two. The preceding is a description of homophonic translation from Charles Bernstein's Web page, but this "form" has had many various practitioners since Bernadette Mayer created her famous list of writing experiments. It's a great way to break out and create some fresh word associations from old poems.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Signing up for Google Analytics allows me to check in occasionally to see who’s reading Visitors to the site come mainly from these ten countries: United States, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Malaysia, South Africa, China, Brazil, and Japan.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I have a specific memory of seeing “2001: A Space Odyssey” with my parents at the movie theater. I had fallen asleep about midway through the film and woke up during the time-travel sequence. From watching “Electric Company” and “The Flintstones” to that was quite a huge leap—I’d never seen anything like that in a movie. Arthur C. Clarke, a man who envisioned the idea of telecommunications satellites in the 1940s, has died. It goes without saying that minus the satellites circling earth, our world would be a much different place.

Stanley Kubrick turned “2001” into a huge visual metaphor that still has the power to amaze. Let’s hope Hal never comes true. On an semi-unrelated note, if you haven’t seen “Colour Me Kubrick” with John Malkovich, it’s worth a look.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vanishing Point

The particular yous
that witness some conscience
remember the light.
In the pool of metaphor
there floats drifting and blowing
the shape of a skyline.

These details that bark
attest to the discovery of thought,
and the snow remembers
your eyes’ invitations.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I've uploaded an e-chapbook to It's Unusual Woods by Gene Tanta. And here's the cover of the editor's favorite Beefheart album. But Doc at the Radar Station is pretty cool, too.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Witness the spectacle of the resurrection of the Exquisite Corpse. Codrescu and Co. live to edit another day. In other news, I'm going to hit the west coast for a week of much-needed sun in LA.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Upcoming Poetry @ Myopic Books, 7pm

Sunday, March 23 - Andrew Lundwall & Daniela Olszewska

Sunday, March 30 -Tim Yu & Patrick Durgin

Sunday, April 20 - Kathleen Rooney, Elisa Gabbert, & Simone Muench

Sunday, April 27 - Nikki Wallschlaeger & Kelly Lydick

Sunday, May 18 - Bill Berkson

Sunday, October 19 - Brenda Iijima


1564 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


Monday, March 03, 2008

The Five Obstructions

Jørgen Leth assumes a Sisyphean task, as assigned by Lars Von Trier, and descends into a creative hell of his own choosing. Leth’s assignment: Remake his own short film “The Perfect Human” numerous times using various constraints dictated by filmmaker Lars Von Trier. Leth accepts the challenge and I had to wonder how two American filmmakers would handle a similar duel. It would be interesting to see Christopher Nolan go up against Tim Burton, for example. The sparring could most easily be compared to a game of chess, were it not that Leth seems nearly gleeful in some existential way in his knowledge that accepting the challenge means he is already the loser. Or do I mean winner? Somehow this acceptance riles Von Trier all the more as he realizes that Leth’s centeredness makes him nearly impenetrable and not the target that Von Trier hoped he would be. The final obstruction finds Von Trier in an attempt to “become” Leth, as he commands that the latter pronounce dialogue written for the “perfect human,” which we now realize is Leth (according to Von Trier, anyway.) If any, or all that, is confusing it won’t be after you watch the film. Interspersed throughout, Leth’s original 1967 short film, “The Perfect Human” perfectly underscores “The Five Obstructions,” which is the best documentary I’ve seen recently.

Direct any calls to Waveland Bowl this weekend. I'll be hitting the '08 Lebowski Fest and rolling a few games. We'll be working in shifts.

{from} Life Cannons

We thaw to change and break the anger of its days,
when beaches stretch to the vision of some Goofy, who

plates a table for a last supper had by cartoon seagulls.

As when Buster Keaton stands and the framehouse falls around him,
or the singing of "La Marseillaise" in "Casablanca."

Else Snow White kissing Bashful and Dopey on the head in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Like Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo," approaching Kim Novak across the room, realizing she embodies all of his obsessions—better than he knows.

And John Wayne putting the reins in his mouth in "True Grit" and galloping across the mountain meadow, six-shooters in both hands.

Remember Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discussing what they call Quarter Pounders in France, in "Pulp Fiction"?

The Man in the Moon getting a cannon shell in his eye, in the Georges Melies film "A Voyage to the Moon"?

(Urgent, ringing telephone.)

Nearly identical to the way Zero Mostel throws a cup of cold coffee at the hysterical Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," and Wilder screaming: "I'm still hysterical! Plus, now I'm wet!"

Marlon Brando is still screaming "Stella!" in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Jack Nicholson is still trying to order a chicken salad sandwich in "Five Easy Pieces."

However, the ambiguous pair of lips in "Citizen Kane" no longer pronounces "Rosebud."

How about the haunted eyes of Antoine Doinel, Truffaut's autobiographical hero, in the freeze frame that ends "The 400 Blows"?

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate, Cool Hand Luke.

Anne Frank said "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."

We need Jean-Paul Belmondo to flip a cigarette into his mouth in Godard's "Breathless" and Moses to part the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments."

We need to find an old dead man in a child's swing, his mission completed, at the end of Kurosawa's "Ikiru."

We need to hear the word “plastics” in the “The Graduate.”

We need "There's a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick!" from Woody Allen in "Annie Hall."

We’re running down that hill with Indiana Jones being chased by 100 Pacific islanders with bows and arrows as he leaps into a plane with “Snakes!”

You are the knight who plays chess with Death, in Bergman's "The Seventh Seal."

And “We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" according to Alfonso Bedoya in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

We need "I want to live again. I want to live again. Please God, let me live again."

We need "Forget about it, Jake. It’s Chinatown."