4.01.2005

Annie Finch responded to my wompo post -- something I should post here --

she is arguing that sound in poetry, whether derived from etymological word play and/or "ear" is the ghost of meter

[I don't agree -- I don't think that you can argue that any rhythmic language is metrical -- seems to be putting the cart before the horse]

talked to Shanna Compton and others in the GAMERS anthology (which Kasey Mohammed bought) about the IRC chat game of Sarah's New Media Studies friend. everyone pretty much agrees with me on the lameness of this game, and the ubiquity of men gender switching to female in chat games. there's an essay in the anthology about one man's experience gaming with a female username, playing male and female characters.

1:30 - 2:45 April 1

Fairmont Hotel
Saturna
Discovery Floor
(elevator only)

Lights, Camera, Popcorn: Writers and
Film. (John Yau, Therese Bachand, Susan Wheeler,
Catherine Daly) Interest in film, television, and
performance is enhanced by the accessibility of these media.
Film schools and students abound, many in departments associated
with English and creative writing departments.
Can methods used to create film be useful in the
process of writing poetry, fiction, and creative
nonfiction? How does this process of viewing and
imagining ourselves translate from leisure activity
to creative one? How does film writing and editing
translate into literature, and vice versa?


Daphne Gottlieb, Diane Ward, and John Yau will be unable to attend the panel; I was
the moderator and helped design the panel, now I get to talk as well!

3.29.2005

Read some of the wompo posts one this topic -- again, the nameless performance poet proclaiming the end of "page poetry" is conjured -- who are these commentators? (if "everyone's" saying it some people must be saying it individually? on a national level?) Guess you can't say "first in print" --

in any case, my questions are what is the replacement of "page poetry"? a return to the oral tradition, where three red-wine free hours must be spent an hour from home in order to hear about the death of someone's grandmother? or hear a funny poem with written-and performed spanish "simultranslation" which is not a translation of the poem, but a second level of humor [a poem I heard at the same slam that I bombed -- it was funny] is there a digital/online poetry viable enough to replace print media? the answer being no? a correlary being the vast majority of poems online are lyric narratives written for print, and the vast majority of performance poems, ditto, and a great deal of the flash work is just animation without celluloid.

what is performance poetry -- a question I haven't successfully answered myself? I know the use of having young poets and people beginning to write become used to getting up and reciting or reading -- it improves the work, confidence, etc., but if I wanted to teach jr. high I would. That's a bit snippy -- one of the things behind the Nite Cafe readings at Columbia is you'd damn sure better get practice before your publisher sends you on a junket. Why isnt performance poetry performance? performance art? a capalla music? theatre? why does most perofrmance poetry change genre & venue when it is good? why are most performance poets white and most good intermedia / performance poets not white? why is so much performance poetry ultimately translated to the page? why is it translated to the page in a boring way?
ooh -- now I have a text only interface! blog fun!

anyway, some of this is going to be echoed at

http://www.english.wayne.edu/fac_pages/ewatten/post13.html
I just answered this question in detail for 1/2 hour and it was deleted by super slow blogger, guess time to look for a blogger with more server space:

I'm curious about what contexts you've heard/read those comments: critical? Casual? Post-reading? What do you think they're getting at?

I was called a page poet -- writing "page poetry" -- the epitaph is deliberately clunky -- this is a group of white working class poets who call themselves "performance poets" -- they do mostly have college and even graduate level educations -- after reading, to the surprise of one and all, "my real work" at a poetry slam in Orange County [two or more years ago -- I'm not nursing a hurt so much as -- wondering].

I'd always throught that art rewards multiple encounters, and this is what separates it from Rosanne reruns (which -- it is not in syndication, partially because it was so issue based). But the poetry of the local self-labeled performance poets is designed to deliver total affect in a single performance. Yet, since the performers "tour" locally (and some even internationally), they have all heard the poems several times -- they "know how they are supposed to respond."

I had a slam in here about Sinhead O'Connor's teardrop in a video she made in the 80s -- this sort of performer respecting that, doing that (there is a lot of melodramatic gesture -- touching the chest, welling up, etc.), but my opinion is that it is rather easy, but also, if it is precisely the same each time -- it is easy, but it is also like going to the concert and having the live performance be identical to the recording (that seems to be the standard for pop now).

OK, I drifted off from what I WROTE AS A CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED ESSAY last hour. In the interim, my husband's had to use the computer and I began to install a toilet paper holder in the bathroom, patch a few walls, received a delivery of two wine racks and filled them with Torani Syrup (sugar free), and am now behind in packing for Vancouver, going to the doctor, cooking for Ron for a week, etc.

But my comments which bloggers slow server didn't write to db were too carefully constructed -- and are far too politically charged for local poetry politics -- to just slam in here.

Hm. several usages of slam.

I read excerpts of Palm Anthology and I read some of the LA poems, Dystopia. Palm Anthology was written for Palm, not the page. And it uses the artifacts of that environment and its technology as items which have meaning in the poem. It is a sound - rich poem that sounds different when read, is different to read on a Palm and read on a page, and which, like a cult novel, means more the more you know (about tesla coils, say, violet wands, different sorts of commands, palm markup, wireless communication in general, and the Greek Anthology, etc.) Dystopia really benefits from an appreciation of film lore, the "local lore" of LA (not a mythology). And of Hesiod. I designed the poems that way, and also to have several appealing ways in, doors open, red carpet unfurled -- including eroticism, digital poetry, history of poetry (in particular, greek anthology, Eliot, Joyce), blah, blah. [PA originally had little palm icons too.] So I was insulted that while it succeeding in doing what I wanted to do -- it was seen as a failure BECAUSE of this -- the standard of the single-type-of-delivery, single meaning speech is one that I find dull, but also that I wonder about -- these performance poets are after all actually working professionals, college grads some with graduate study, teachers, etc. but in service of "popularity" only choose to write and receive single vector truisms. And they are popular.

I was insulted by the offland Olson (and Pound) reference, poems that print bred, because N. Katherine Hayles said that to me after I handed to her a plum co-curation that she ruined. This was after she'd seen that I couldn't get into UCLA.

3.28.2005

reply to Annie Finch on WOMPO

Free verse and open-field verse is clearly more visual in appeal, dependent on typography, and metered verse more audial (is that a word?) in appeal, more dependent on hearing.

> Isn't this pretty much assumed to be self-evident by most
> readers/poets?

Well, I've written a lot of free verse, poetry of the field, and digital poetry which queries that supposition.

[Thus when I am called a "page poet" or a writer writing "verse that print bred" I tend to take the comment as an insult.]

While the generic left-justified free verse poem has very little that appeals to the eye or engages the eye in a meaningful way, it is a common observation that lines and stanzas are often broken by appearance rather than anything inherent in the poem or reading of it (like breath or something).

And I would also observe that rhymed and metered poems when written in service of "plain speech" seem to be unrhymed and unmetered when read aloud.