1.03.2007

beginning some reviews

I will be bringing some books with me to JURY DUTY

among these, Sunday Houses the Sunday House, the first poem of which I first read as follows:

south -- what is this poem about? is quote from bishops north & south?
summer after summer (is this about unchanging weather or duration?), afternoon came UP on the window (as opp. to sun coming...), someone had forgotten to CLOSE. It -- afternoon? - was a cab, streets were like corners (of streets?), corners were like a variety of light. On the other side of 30 minutes (since seven o clock -- am? pm? well outside afternoon -- is also mentioned -- lots of time, little direction in this poem), he (cab driver?) remembered luggage. sentence fragment. country glisding (like afternoon) through houses. Night FALL. tablecloth lit (sun? lamp?) as though south (sun?) decided to pick UP (lift -- also to give a lift, as a cab?) the sky

a prose poetry of limited domestic affect, blurbed by the tate - weir zoo mass mfa teachers
object: something thrown down, something presented to the mind

while in OOD I'm trying to continue the women's writing/sprint thru the "canon", computer / technology, and 20th century poetics in Da3 (under the rubric of the confessional as a sort of who's in, who's out), TO DELITE was or perhaps still is a part of a distaff trilogy which includes PAPER CRAFT (which now has a sequel of its own), and GAMELANd, and maybe is related to LOTUS, which just can't be on blue lion, as its cover has to be yellow with white print.

subject: placed close, ranged under
The talk of the subject and the object I read earlier today leads me to a long overdue entry on TO DELITE AND INSTRUCT, my new blue lion book. The heart of this book is a manuscript once called PHYLUM, including the prose poems in File 'Em (a near-anagram of MY LIFE). Tihs manuscript, in turn, was once part of the (still unpublished) sequel to DaDaDa, entitled OOD: Object-Oriented Design.

Now, having been in catholic high school, subjectivism - objectivism (not the poetry movement) and symbols figured large in english class. An other memory from school was the speed test, where the (arithmetic drill) handouts were designed to be used once, but they had been used and reused for about 30 years by the time we got to them. Not marking the tests was more important than actually learning the drills. Ah, Sister Josephine.

In any case, the genesis of the majority of the poems in TO DELITE is the mimeo master, grade school workbooks (often without accompanying texts) from the 50s and 60s, the strange annual AWP conference "papers" which actually consist of writing expercises typed out on letterhead, and also office procedure manuals from the "library" of a fly by night degree completion school in the Wilshire corridor where I briefly taught. I wrote the poem "Palm Anthology" from DaDaDa concurrently with many of the poems in the File 'Em section.

The hallmark of the "exercises in perception" handouts that made up the core challenge in the book was page after page of 50s clip art. Various language tapes I think were meant to be played, and various functions performed with the clip art, as a step toward reading. There were also black faces to be filled in with facial expressions.
Tom Orange has a response to the Argotist essay "voices of denial: poetry and post-culture"

in the narrow poetry scene where a former BRANDING exec derides academia's influence in poetry while flogging his Stanford BA to the head of the NEA and embracing Weldon Kees as -- well, as everything free verse is not poetry, then Kees is a Beat poet? something like that -- and of course Beat poetry is not academic (although, hm, don't some of those Beats teach?), so gotta choose one of "them", the identification of experimental (I'm preferring "adventurous" poetry right now) poetry with academia seems a crucial dismissal since it is "unreadable" to those without suspiciously large amounts of schooling (although there are more "experiementalists" coming out of MFA programs now than in the recent past)

anyhow, when Orange quotes Olson's "getting rid of the lyrical interference of the individual as ego, of the "subject" and his soul" I just wanted to add that one of the neat things about the Beat Buddhists and other Buddhist poets (Whalen) is that Buddhism doesn't have a notion of the soul -- now, the Buddhists were formerly not Western (there are plenty of them this side of the international date line now, however), as Olson has in his quote, but --

anyhoo, onward, rhapsodes