perhaps I should call this "big big like" or the epic simile -- ie writing poetry

just found I was noted in

Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia

because of a review I wrote

Smell Last Sunday Series reading
Jennifer Calkins, Stephanie Rioux, Elizabeth Treadwell, Christine Wertheim Sunday February 26 at 6:30pm

directions? visit www.thesmell.org

Jennifer Calkins is an evolutionary biologist living in Seattle with her husband, two children, three cats and four birds. She received her MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine in 2000.

Stephanie Rioux graduated from California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in Writing in Spring 2005. Her writings have appeared in the literary journal nocturnes (re)view, are forthcoming in the journal Trepan, and are self-published on the internet at willowbutton. Stephanie teaches English and writing to middle school kids in Diamond Bar, California, ghostwrites e-books for infoproductguy.com, and co-curates L.A. Lit with Mathew Timmons. Her main interests currently dwell in poetry, entomology, and embroidery.

Elizabeth Treadwell is the author of Populace (Avec 1999), Eleanor
Ramsey: the Queen of Cups (SFSU 1997), LILYFOIL + 3 (O Books 2004), Chantry (Chax Press 2004), as well as several chapbooks, including two small volumes of her long poem, Eve Doe. Treadwell has been the director of Small Press Traffic in San Francisco, and has edited Outlet magazine.

Christine Wertheim is a trained critical thinker with a doctorate in philosophy and literature, and a background in studio arts. Wertheim has lectured internationally and published articles on the arts, architecture and language, and is currently writing a book entitled Do it Again!: The Art of Excess, on the ethical function of visual art in contemporary society. Her main research interest lies in art and theory that deals with the limits of sense, from the sublime to the ridiculous. She also has a book forthcoming from Les Figues.
>Readings by Nico Vassilakis and Amarnath Ravva
>along with a group reading by the Global Village Collective of “Flag”
>Ara Shirinyan from his book Waste the Land forthcoming from Factory School

>Tuesday, February 21 at 8pm
>The Global Village Collective is Harold Abramowitz, Stan Apps, Tova
>Cooper, Joseph Mosconi, Amarnath Ravva, and Stephanie Rioux.
>Amarnath Ravva lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He recently
>finished his first manuscript, a work of non-fiction called American
>Canyon, that blends South Indian and Californian history, memoir, poetry,
>documentary, and compassion. When he is not writing or producing art, he
>teaches at Glendale Community College. Since 2001 he has served as an
>advisor for the journal nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts. He has
>published several poems in Interlope: a Journal of Asian American poetics,

>nocturnes, The Berkeley Poetry Review and has work forthcoming in the
>journal Trepan as well as the anthologies Risen from the East: the Poetry
>of the Non-Western World, and Writing the Lines of our Hands. To learn
>more about him or his work, visit videopoetics.org.
>Nico Vassilakis lives in Seattle. He is a member of the Subtext

>and co-founder of the Subtext Reading Series in Seattle. Recently, his
>“concrete films” have been shown at Rencontres Internationales
>Paris/Berlin, Encuentro Internacional de Poesía Visual, Sonora y
>Experimental (Argentina ) & ERRATA AND CONTRADICTION :: 2004 :: Dudley
>House (Harvard). More of his work can be found in Chain, Talisman, 3rd
>Bed, Ubu, Bird Dog & The Organ. His chapbook, Species Pieces after Perec,
>is forthcoming from g-o-n-g press. He is publisher of Sub Rosa Press.
>Directions to Betalevel:
>1. Find yourself in front of “FULL HOUSE RESTAURANT” located at 963 N.
>Hill Street in Chinatown.
>2. Locate the alley on the left hand side of Full House.
>3. Walk about 20 feet down the alley (away from the street).
>4. Stop.
>5. Notice dumpster on your right hand side.
>6. Take a right and continue down the alley.
>7. Exercise caution so as not trip on the wobbly cement blocks underfoot
>8. The entrance to Betalevel is located 10 yards down on left side, behind

>a red door, down a black staircase.


how long should a poery book be? how long is long?

are MFAs -- among others -- trained to read books or individual poems? I certainly found it difficult to read entire books until several years after graduation, and still find it difficult --

no secret that most of the poems of yore that I'm digging up now are in very long (by our standards) formats -- this seemed to change from victorian / post victorian books (lots and lots of sonnets, ballads, common meter ditties) and modernist short volumes

but it is also something that seems to stunt a lot of popular opinion about poetry -- that if it is a long book of poems, they are tripe, and if it is a short book, it was easy to write

see my discussions earlier on this blog -- under I hate chapbooks -- shorter is easier for me to write -- or, conversely, I have single poems or "entries" in larger projects which are pamphlet to chapbook length, series, etc., but -- for example, Secret Kitty was supposed to be a chapbook, but to finish it, carry it out -- make it what it should have been without cutting it short etc. -- to make it a complete "node" as Kasey says -- it had to be its length...
found that cookbook again...

slightly off this topic, tho, is -- I've got a book coming out any second called SECRET KITTY (ahadada) and half of it is written through various search engines (flarf) and half of it is machine translated to Japanese and back -- online machine translation (a la babelfish, there are others) -- there are plenty of English words that persist

it was easy to supply synonyms for those

but there were even more Japanese words which didn't come through in the other direction -- what I did (which was a bit silly, but fit the project) is put the mystery characters through google Japanese and picked from what came up, translated that --

All best,
Catherine Daly

-----Original Message-----
Dan Waber

I would like collect examples of words that are untranslatable and provide a web-based publishing outlet for them to be found.

I am most interested in single words (lacuna) which require phrases, paragraphs, or pages of explanation to try and give a reasonable approximation of their full meaning, but am open to considering anything at all (really, try me) that fits (or answers to, or responds
to) the notion of untranslatability.

When submitting, please include:

1) the native language the word (or phrase) appears in

2) the target language(s) into which it is known to be untranslatable

3) as much explanation as you feel is necessary to communicate the
full meaning of the word, possibly using a standard dictionary
attempt which fails miserably as a starting point (or not, as you
see fit)

or, for submissions that don't fit this idealized set of guidelines, a brief note explaining your submission's connection to the concept of untranslatability.

Submissions can be as casual or scholarly as your experience dictates, the format I'm planning will allow multiple approaches to the same translation challenge.

Please address submissions to your favorite word, whatever that may be, at logolalia.com.

When I have a few solid examples to launch with, I'll announce that it's ready for viewing. When that times comes, the URL will be (but is not yet) http://www.logolalia.com/untranslatable/

Please circulate this call as widely as possible, to anyone in any country or field of endeavor who might have examples to share. This is an open an ongoing call. I will attempt to accommodate all native and target languages to the best of my abilities.


got a book I'm giving to the library -- the LAPL is going to stop supporting used book sales / book donations, leaving the branches, who raise money for thinks like BOOK PURCHASES that way, looking for donations --

in any case, received a bizarre little anthology called PSYCHE: THE FEMININE POETIC CONSCIOUSNESS edited by Barbara Segnitz and Carol Rainey in 1973 by someone -- she helps put on the reading series at that outsider manuscript library in Santa Barbara -- there's a chain of them now -- in any case, she knew I would love this, and I do, but here it is: I'm jettisoning it, but not before I mention that alongside the "usual suspects" for this period in NA poetry (Rich, Sexton, Wakoski, Lifshin, Atwood, Swenson, Brooks, Plath, Giovanni, Kizer), there's Goedicke, which one no longer hears about, Rochelle Owens, which you do, but never paired with this group, and two unknown to me: Mari Evans and Besmir Brigham.

Wylie is here to follow the beginning at Dickinson.

Evans seems to have "lost out" to Lucille Clifton in writing a similar sort of poem


oh, bother, now it is clear I can't get rid of this book
I started to discuss this a bit on my blog, and then – well, another of things I was doing fell through, and I started to clear out some papers, so other things have come up –

one think about Jeffrey Levine’s / Tupelo Press’ advice is that it is very “of the moment” for grads of the mainstream MFA programs – you know, those academic writing programs which don’t seem to lead their students to pay too much attention to composition, form, style, history, criticism, pedagogy, or subject matter – something that would lead the students to create the types of super-unified book projects that are most of what is being published right now (i.e., lots of “a book of poems in and around Moby Dick” or “a book of poems I wrote in a few weeks at Yaddo last summer” and not very many “collections”)

the two ridiculous pieces of advice I got, and I was at Columbia, but during a time we were all on our own, was 1) lay out the poems in a big space (floor, dining room table, bed), relax, have a glass of wine, and put them together and 2) bookend the ms with the two best poems (as I generally try to do with magazine submissions)

other advice / things I have tried have been

- get someone else to do it

- tell a story / make an arc

- buldigsroman

- make it kind of like a THEMATIC crown or bob n’ wheel – you know, this one is about sledding and sailing, and this one is about sailing and swimming, and this one about swimming and marriage, so put them next to each other

- make it in sections according to some rubric

- group the poems like with like and make those the sections (my current newest book out, the poems are in “pairs”)

- keep the poems that are alike as far as possible from each other in the ms

in any case, looking at books by poets we’ve forgotten about right now has led me to say:

presses are as lazy as poets; mostly they’ve done a cost benefit analysis for length, paper cost, shipping and have a template that – with minor changes – they prefer to use. ex., one press prefers ms. under 72 pages, another, under 96, still another, over 150 – why? because they want something that falls evenly within the signatures, that fits their template, that looks good with their design, etc. No very many skeltonics published by U of Iowa Press when they had those really wide format books, right?
aargh, a post it took me AN HOUR AND A HALF TO WRITE has been deleted by BLOGGER

about the books I got

February 22, 7 p.m.
Langley Hall, CalArts
24700 McBean Parkway

Dodie Bellamy
Writing Program reading by the fiction writer and essayist. She is
the author of Pink Steam, Feminine Hijinx and The Letters of Mina


February 24, 7:30 PM
Skylight Books
1818 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles
(323) 660-1175

TWO magnificent book debuts:

The Wild Creatures
by Sam D'Allesandro, edited by Kevin Killian

Best Gay Erotica 2006
edited by Richard Labonte, selected and introduced by
Mattilda, a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore

Featuring readings by Dodie Bellamy, Trebor Healey,
Skylight's very own Darin Klein, Ralowe T. Ampu, Blake
Nemec, Kevin Killian, Mattilda, a.k.a. Matt Bernstein
Sycamore and ???
thanks to the LA Public library, I'll be starting my scanning project again; I will not be keeping such a narrow focus on female early modernists, tho -- some of the things I discovered yeterday -- well, the light of modernism just hasn't hit these sleepy little sonnets (mostly) and common meter ditties. also, who knew damon runyon wrote poems.

One of the poets I was most looking forward to was Carolyn Wells (married name, which she didn't publish under, Houghton), since one sees everywhere that she writes "nonsense verse" -- holy cow! I thought -- this is a find, paper worthy, etc. etc. Nah, it is just gently humourous verse -- not even genuinely funny like (poets writing later) Parker and ADM.

But a writer -- short stories as well as the poetry, editing, and children's books -- and also

The Library's most outstanding nineteenth-century collection is formed around the great American poet Walt Whitman. In 1942 a bequest from Carolyn Wells Houghton brought us copies of every publication Houghton cited in her A Concise Bibliography of the Works of Walt Whitman, among them approximately 100 copies of Leaves of Grass, including both issues of the 1855 first edition. The division added to this collection through the purchase of the Charles Feinberg gathering of Whitman materials, including first editions of most of Whitman's writings as well as works about Whitman. The Feinberg Collection of Whitman's manuscripts, housed in the Library's Manuscript Division, is the most extensive in existence. The combination of the printed works and manuscripts gives the Library of Congress the finest Whitman collection in the world.


There's always the chance, of course, that the nonsense I seek is in:

The Jingle Book
The Story of Betty
At the Sign of the Sphinx

Idle Idylls was published in 1900, and re-published as Baulbles in 1912 -- I had been searching for Baubles, as, as a 1912 book of poems called "baubles" and billed as nonsense verse it had a chance of being, well, nonsense verse.

poems disappearing from the 1900 collection in 1912 are:

Tit for Tat (spoken by a bookworm, with the ending couplet, "This book has bored its readers, / now I will bore the book.")
An Artistic Evening (an evening described with each aspect named by an artist -- beginning with the cliche "Turner sunset" but going on to Wordsworth, Tennyson, Rosa Bonheur, Vereshchagin, Ruskin, Burne-Jones, Millet, Bouguereau, Corot -- thus, "pretty" pictures, pre-raphaelites mixed with pre-impressionists)
A Secret Woe (begins speaking to a framed picture of a gibson girl on the wall, see below)
A Patient Lover
My Choice
the Lastest Fate
The Poster Girl's Defence
A Ballade of Revolt
The Whist Player's Soliloquy
The Vampire of the Hour
Nothing to Read
Unkind Fate
The Trailing Skirt
The Ballad of the Ad
Aubrey Beardsley's Pictures
An Explanation
Auf Wiedersehen
The Tragedy of a Theatre Hat

and added are

that the beginning italic poem be included in the toc

Sighted (a valentine's poem)
the moss in the wood
The lure of the unknown
Impressions of Chicago
ifs for Cubists
The Glorious West
A Recollection
Country in Summer
The Ill Wind
A Tantalus Number
On Meeting an Old Friend
Personal Impressions of Texas
How to Tell the Wild Animals
A Christmas Petition
An Illusion
Baby's Laugh
My Favorite Author
With Trumpets Also and Shawms
An Overworked Elocutionist
The Order of the Literati

all in all, poems yanked were replaced with new; the new end, The Order of the Literati, is a "story" with quotes, a sort of report from a fake salon.

The dedications of the books I've found bear some attention -- as I'm reading them cumulatively, for example, that Wells has dedicated to Oliver Herford "Guide, Philosopher and Friend" rather than a relative. Herford was quite a quipster, the one who defined manuscript as something submitted in haste and returned at leisure. "The American Oscar Wilde" they say. He did illustrations for the first edition (and for many of his own books).

It is perhaps interesting to note that Herford wrote a humourous version of the Rubaiyat, which was at a peak of popularity at this time -- as did another poet I will be discussing shortly.

In any case, Carolyn Wells and Idle Idylls. The nonsense still may be out there, as she edited a 1903 anthology of nonsense verse, intro reprinted on the Lear site:


and blackmask has done a .pdf of this anthology:


Harriet R. White

Anonymous is heavily represented

Catharine M. Fanshawe
Jean Ingelow "a woman of impeccable manners" "mild mannered and humble... never took on a superior air"

the parody, as far as "nonsense VERSE" goes, is the evil twin of the "imitation", and the "imitation" seems to give rise to all sorts of formalist hogwash about finding your own voice and letting your subjects find you

Under the influence of Herford, Wells revised many homely sayings into slightly more clever ones, ie "of two evils choose the prettier" and stayed solid with the parody.

She, like many female writers to this day, also wrote children's books. Some of these are at Gutenberg (not the "real" short stories -- )


The book opens with "The Spelling Lesson," I think promisingly (having used a similar quote from the clap song Engine No. 9 to open my Masters Thesis):

When Venus said: "Spell 'no' for me,"
"N-O," Dan Cupid wrote with gless,
and smiled at his success;
"Ah, child," said Venus, laughing low,
"We women do not spell it so,
we spell it Y-E-S."

problem being Dan? Cupid -- Dan, who knew, is not one of "we women" -- so the book opens in this peculiar moment when mother-teacher Venus focusses ruefully on the generder differences not of language, but of language use, all because a meter required filling out.

In "A Warning," Time speaks to a young girl in a summery shirtwaist, and again, the tone is not light and funny, not gather ye rosebuds, but the brief "power" of the appeal of female youth is reduced to "play."

And finally, this collection is an odd assortment of milkmaid and poster girl (a la Gibson girls) poems, which I'll be investigating further, as I love the "girl poem," and the "girl song," have been devoted to them for years, and have a collection (unpublished) of them myself.