Michael North1 tells us that That Shakespearian Rag2 was first published by Joseph W. Stern & Company in 1912 and that the words were by Gene Buck and Herman Ruby, and the music by David Stamper. The lyrics are:

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen,
I come not here to praise,"
But lend an ear and you will hear
a rag, yes, a rag that is grand, and
Bill Shakespeare never knew
Of ragtime in his days
But the high browed rhymes,
Of his syncopated lines,
You'll admit, surely fit,
any song that's now a hit,
So this rag I submit.


That Shakesperian rag--
Most intelligent, very elegant,
That old classical drag
Has the proper stuff
The line, "Lay on MacDuff"3
Desdemona was the pampered pet
Romeo loves his Juliet
And they were some lovers
You can bet, and yet
I know if they were here today
They'd Grizzly Bear4 in a different way
And you'd hear old Hamlet say
"To be or not to be"
That Shakesperian rag...

"My Kingdom for a horse,
Was what they used to say;"
It's different now, you will allow,
A tune, play a tune, start to croon, soon,
"As you like it" Brutus,
We'll play a rag today.
Then old Shylock danced,
And the Moor, Othello pranced.
Feeling gay, he would say,
as he started in to sway,
"Bring the rag, right away."

Exploring The Waste Land notes on the above:

[1] Eliot, T.S., The Waste Land: authoritative text, contexts, criticism, Michael North, ed., New York, London, W.W. Norton & Company, A Norton Critical Edition (2001), pp. 51-4
looking up the wasteland

is "spiritual drag" close enough to "shakespearean rag" to be an allusion?

here are some song lyrics not in the wasteland final:
(Thomas Allen)

Benny Carter & His Orch. (vocal : Roy Felton & The Mills Brothers)

(Mills Brothers)
Lindy, Lindy sweet as the sugar cane
Lindy, Lindy say you'll be mine
When the moon am a-shinin'
Then my heart am a-pinin'
Meet me, pretty Lindy,
by the watermelon vine

Lindy, Lindy sweet as the sugar cane
Lindy, Lindy say you'll be mine
When the moon am a-shinin'
Then my heart am a-pinin'
Meet me, pretty Lindy,
by the watermelon vine


and my evaline / sweet aldeline, most recently covered by WEEZER?

My Evaline (my Evaline)
Say you'll be mine (say you'll be mine)
Won't you come and let me whisper in your ear
Way down yonder in the old corn field
For you (for you)
I've pined
Sweeter than the honey
To the honey bee
I love you
Say you love me
Meet me in the shade
Of the old apple tree
these are the confetti poems, which were printed on the backs of already-used paper, put in the recycle bin which was poorly emptied (stuff spilled into the street), and then the street sweeper came


OK, I didn't write a poem yesterday, or the day before. I have been thinking about the space between these two quotes:

"St. Athanasius... claimed the supreme revelation and blessing... [of] Jesus was the appreciation of virginity and of chastity."

[can't find this in Athanasius yet, just some stuff about unconsecrated baptisms having the force of the sacrament -- which -- parody, humor and sacramental grace conflated?]


"...houses of debauch... are the worm-eaten centers of cities and towns. But these are necessary evils, and if forcibly abolished, men of unrighteous principles will become like raveled thread."


Franz Kamin
grear organization (of course I just read there)

Sacramento Poetry Center

2010 SPC Annual Writing Conference
Joseph Lease, Toni Mirosevich, Donna de la Perriere, Flatman Crooked, Indigo Moor, Peter Grandbois
And Foshang with Lawrence Dinkins and Ross Hammond

Friday April 16, 2010 7:30 PM
Saturday April 17, 2010 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM
@R25 at 1719 25th Street
Sacramento, California
All readings and workshops are FREE
For registration, contact Tim Kahl at tnklbnny@frontiernet.net

Friday April 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM Reading: Indigo Moor and Peter Grandbois
Saturday April 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM 1st Workshop Session

Indigo Moor • "Writing to History and Culture" In this workshop participants will discuss examples of poetry and prose to discover: How does a writer handle emotionally charged events in a professional manner? How does a writer maintain objectivity without obscuring the heart of the past? How do we uncover the passion in dry facts, accounts, testimonials, and interviews? [lecture, discussion, writing exercise, and take home materials]

Peter Grandbois • "Leaping Prose: How to Create Story Between Your Sentences." With a title that pays homage to Robert Bly, participants will examine the bridge between poetry and fiction with parataxis. Parataxis — n. the justaposition of phrases and sentences without coordinating or subordinating conjunctions.

Tim Kahl • "InDesign, Photoshop and POD: A Step-by-step Introduction to Bringing Your Literary Publication into the World" This workshop will be a brief overview of bringing a literary publication into the world using InDesign, Photoshop and print-on-demand technologies (such as Lulu). The workshop will focus on practical resolution of production hang-ups and keeping one's costs down as a part of production. Screenshots of the various different crucial steps in using these software programs will guide you through from the moment of conception to the moment of realization in the world. [lecture, demonstration, take home materials]

Saturday April 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM 2nd Workshop Session
Joseph Lease • "Images and Voice" In this hands-on workshop participants will explore images and voice. We will write and read poems in which each word makes the story and the music clear, when there is nothing in the way. When the music is right, that's when a poem reaches people, lets people in. Participants will explore how poems animated by powerful images and voices can also become acts of resistance. Participants will write poems that open the possibilities of image. Participants will also move between verse and prose to explore narrative and imaginative shifts.

Toni Mirosevich • "In Through The Small Door: Using the random, the Inconsequential, and the Discarded, to Find Entry into New Poetic Material." In this workshop participants will turn their attention away from attempting to write `the big poem' to find other approaches that can yield the important poem. Along the way participants will utilize oblique strategies, such as "Honor thy error as hidden intention" (Brian Eno/Peter Schmidt) to help us find the small key that fits the small lock.

Donna de la Perriere • "Writing Place, Family, and Identity." This workshop will explore the ways in which poets write about family, place, and identity. Just as a poem is a space where the poet can construct a version of "self," family and place also function as a spaces in which people build identity/-ies; thus, not so surprisingly, the story of identity is often the story of how a person, in this case a writer, understands and translates her/his place of birth and family of origin. We'll explore the ways in which various poets and writers write about their families and places of origin, their various identities, the often-conflicting demands those identities make, the difficulty (perhaps the impossibility) of being accountable to one aspect of one's identity without potentially betraying another--then through a series of writing prompts, we'll begin to write into our own versions of place, family, and self.

Flatman Crooked [Elijah Jenkins/Deena Drewis] • "Intro to the Indie Publishing World"

Saturday April 17, 2010 at 3:15 to 5:00 Reading: Donna de la Perriere, Joseph Lease, Toni Mirosevich
Saturday April 17, 2010 at 5:00 to ?? Reading/Performance: Lawrence Dinkins and Ross Hammond

Indigo Moor's Through the Stonecutter's Window was selected for the 2009 Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize. His first book Tap-Root was published in 2007 as part of Main Street Rag's Editor's Select Poetry Series. Other honors include: Cave Canem writing fellowship; former vp of the Sacramento Poetry Center; 2005 Vesle Fenstermaker Prize for Emerging Writers; 2008 Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize.Other honors include: finalist for the T.S. Eliot Prize, Crab Orchard First Book Prize, Saturnalia First Book Award, Naomi Long Madgett Book Award, and WordWorks Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in the Arkansas Review, Xavier Review, LA Review, Mochila Review, Boston University's The Comment, the Pushcart Prize nominated Out of the Blue Artists Unite, Poetry Now, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African-American Nature Poetry, Cave Canem Anthologies VIII and IX, The Ringing Ear, the NCPS 2006 Anthology, Blue Moon Literary & Arts Review, Breathe 101: Contemporary Odes, and Gathering Ground. He was recently the featured artist for the Suisun Valley Review. Indigo is a graduate member of the Artist's Residency Institute for Teaching Artists and he teaches residencies and workshops across the country. Recent appearances include Johnson C. Smith University's World of Words Poetry Festival `09 and the GoldRush Writer's Conference. Collaborative efforts include readings for the Artists Embassy Intl. Dancing Poetry Festival, the Livermore Ekphrastic Project, and the Davis Jazz Arts Festival.

Peter Grandbois is the author of The Gravedigger (Chronicle Books, 2006), a Borders "Original Voices" and Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection and The Arsenic Lobster: A Hybrid Memoir, (Spuyten Duyvil 2009), as well as the forthcoming novel, Nahoonkara (Etruscan Press, forthcoming in 2010). His essays and short fiction have appeared in numerous magazines and recently received an honorable mention for the 2007 Pushcart Prize. In addition, his translation of San Juan: Memoir of a City was recently nominated for a PEN Translation award. He is a professor of creative writing and contemporary literature at California State University in Sacramento.

Tim Kahl (http://www.timkahl.com) is the author of Possessing Yourself (Word Tech Press, 2009) He has published work in Prairie Schooner, American Letters & Commentary, Berkeley Poetry Review, Fourteen Hills, George Washington Review, Illuminations, Indiana Review, Limestone, Nimrod, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, South Dakota Quarterly, The Journal, Parthenon West Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Texas Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He has translated German poet Rolf Haufs, Austrian avant-gardist, Friederike Mayröcker; Brazilian poets, Lêdo Ivo and Marly de Oliveira; and the poems of the Portuguese language's only Nobel Laureate, José Saramago. He also appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the video, poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup (http://greatamericanpinup.wordpress.com/). He is also the editor for Bald Trickster Press, which is dedicated to works of poetry in translation into English.

Joseph Lease's critically acclaimed books of poetry include Broken World (Coffee House Press) and Human Rights (second edition forthcoming from Talisman House). His poem "'Broken World' (For James Assatly)" was selected for The Best American Poetry 2002 (Scribner). His poems have also been featured on NPR and published in The AGNI 30th Anniversary Poetry Anthology, Bay Poetics, No Gender, and elsewhere.

Marjorie Perloff wrote: "The poems in Joseph Lease's Broken World are as cool as they are passionate, as soft-spoken as they are indignant, and as fiercely Romantic as they are formally contained. Whether writing an elegy for a friend who died of AIDS or playing complex variations on Rilke's Duino Elegies ("If I cried out, / Who among the angelic orders would / Slap my face, who would steal my / Lunch money"), Lease has complete command of his poetic materials. His poems are spellbinding in their terse and ironic authority: Yes, the reader feels when s/he has finished, this is how it was—and how it is. An exquisite collection!"

Michael Bérubé called Broken World "remarkably inventive and evocative work from Joseph Lease, one of the finest poets writing today."

Ron Silliman wrote: "One test of a book is how you feel about the writer & his or her work on completing the volume. In the case of Joseph Lease's Broken World , I want to read everything he's ever written, and for everything that's written but not yet in print to get published as soon as possible. Broken World is a dazzling performance whose only weakness, to my eye & ear, is that it could have been much longer."

The Boston Phoenix wrote: "Joseph Lease is making a reputation as one of the exciting young voices in American poetry . . . Few poets these days are publishing verse this musically alive."

Thomas Fink's book A Different Sense of Power: Problems of Community in Late-Twentieth Century U.S. Poetry includes extensive critical analysis of Lease's poetry.

Lease is Associate Professor of Writing and Literature and Chair of the MFA Program in Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Toni Mirosevich is the author of a collection of nonfiction stories, Pink Harvest, (winner of the First Series in Creative Nonfiction Award, Lambda Literary Award Finalist in 2007), and three poetry collections; Queer Street, My Oblique Strategies, (winner of the 2005 Frank O'Hara Chapbook Award) and The Rooms We Make Our Own. Her multi-genre work has appeared in a wide range of anthologies and journals including The Discovery of Poetry, The Progressive, Zyzzyva, Best American Travel Writing, Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, AutoBioDiversity, Gastronomica, Puerto del Sol and elsewhere. Literary honors include fellowships with the MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Blue Mountain Center, Astraea Emerging Writer in Fiction Award, and multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. She is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at SFSU and former Associate Director of the Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives.

Donna de la Perrière is the author of True Crime (Talisman House, 2009) and the forthcoming St. Erasure (Talisman House, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Agni, American Letters and Commentary, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Five Fingers Review, The New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly, New American Writing, Parthenon West Review, Volt, and other journals, as well as in Bay Poetics (Faux Press, 2006) and No Gender: Reflections on the Life and Work of kari edwards (Litmus Press/Belladonna Books, 2009). The recipient of a 2009 Fund for Poetry award, she teaches in the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs at California College of the Arts and San Francisco State University, and curates the Bay Area Poetry Marathon reading series at San Francisco's The Lab gallery and performance space.

Elijah Jenkins is the Executive Director and founder of Flatmancrooked. At California State University Bakersfield, he majored in, of all lucrative fields, Religious Studies. Suffice it to say, he neither became a pastor nor a professor. Instead he has worked as a debt collector, teacher, case manager at various non-profit organizations, social worker to sex offenders, promoter of independent bands, and graphic designer to the stars.

He also writes. His work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Concern, NOO Journal, Underground Voices and Flatmancrooked's Anthology, all under a pseudonym. He does not approve of blogs, and was alarmed to hear that the New York Times has several (accordingly, you can't read his blog here). He frowns upon MFA programs, though secretly wishes he'd studied in one. He also climbs V3/5.10d routes/problems, enjoys and advocates the regular use of tobacco products, is an unapologetic fan of Kafka, and is an avid typographical nerd. As the photograph suggests, he has excellent breath and a fine taste in belts.

Deena Drewis is the Senior Editor and a managing partner at Flatmancrooked Publishing. She is not a hippy but still managed to graduate from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Once, Newsweek gave her money for an essay. Most recently, she had a very, very short story appear in SMITH Magazine's Six Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak. If you happen to read it, she hopes you will not think less of her personal hygiene.

from dementia blog (Susan Schultz) something to think about:

I ask my students to think about the larger problems their favorite tropes pose to them. Metaphor totalizes, is imperial in its force (we're reading Walcott's Omeros, where that matters), anaphora annoys, repetition treadmills, oxymoron cannot decide.
not-taxonomy for obscure poem

Some Characteristics Of An Unclear/Difficult/Obscure Poem:

Purposefully Evading Understanding << I don't like this obscure poem
The poem was not meant to be clear or to be understood in any conventional sense. Purposefully the poet has crafted something that can’t be parsed or comprehended. It may have been out of fear that the reader would think the poet thin of mind, or it may be just that the poet resists the notion that poems should be knowable.

It's All There With Enough Time, Effort, And Will
It may take you several hours, days or weeks, years or a lifetime, but nothing in the poem is not stated or has been misexpressed in a way that it can never be comprehended or experienced fully. You might need a bigger dictionary or full encyclopedia set, or the ability to develop the emotional perspicacity of a Collette, but you can get there from here, eventually.

Merely Readerly Failure
The poem is reasonably clear and understandable if the various references and allusions made in the poem can be recognized and grasped. But they can‘t be: (a) Because you have different knowledge set or (b) you have a fairly low level of erudition. The latter is not elitism; it’s a fact that the more you’ve read and studied, the more you’re likely to understand. Some poets prefer to throw a wide net. Others are perfectly happy that only readers of a certain level of knowledge will gain entry to the poem’s fullest sense.

The Translation Or Transference Problem
The poem was perfectly clear in the poet’s mind, but, as rendered, most readers can’t understand it. A translation/transference problem occurred: words as ‘shabby equipment’, or the author’s inability to shape/make the kinds of sentences and language elements that would make the poem understandable across a wide & diverse group of readers

Mimesis Doesn’t Mean Clear
Mimesis of the chaotic or confused: The world is chaotic, life is disorderly and imperfectly understood by the human mind, therefore the poem can or must mirror that disorder and chaos. The jigsaw puzzle spilled, with no attempt made to organize and piece it together.

Pushing Language To Its Limits
With a vast vocabulary and syntactical inventiveness, the poet uses the language in a way that is often hard to follow, difficult to parse or make sense of. Maybe the poet has pulled out all the stops or is pushing the language envelope, so to speak. Think Hart Crane or Gerard Manley Hopkins. Or the way Wallace Stevens feels his way through a poem by thinking based more on sound than sense. Ordinary words can be apt neologisms in the hands of certain poets. Gertrude Stein pressing ordinary rhetoric into the ‘surrhetorical’.

The Attraction Of The Fragmentary And Disruptive
The aphoristic and imagistic attractiveness of certain sentences and phrases are undeniable. So much so that some poets are content to string these elements together or to splatter them about a page and just let them do what they may in the mind of the reader. Sometimes it’s just enjoyable to cut things up, to collage. To revel in the kaleidoscopic and ‘kaleidosonic’: the slamdance of words and syllables. To break sentences unexpectedly, to leave the reader hanging on a ledge of words, to practice legerdemain with language.

It’s Ineffable Or Just Too Complicated
The difficulty/obscurity of the subject matter or the psychological state that impelled the poem makes the poem difficult/obscure. The writer intended to be clearer but couldn’t manage it and perhaps no writer will ever be capable of capturing the meaning/essence of ‘it’ in words. The experience is real but ineffable. The emotionally driven lyric flight, or the speaker surrendering to a language rending state that may verge on glossalalia, hysteria, or a speaking in tongues. Or, in fact, the subject matter is too large in scope and too multi-faceted or too deeply layered to ever be captured in language or in the space of a single poem or even a sequence of poems. Think of the poem of America that Whitman almost managed to write.

One Or More Possible Readings
The poem is composed in such a way that perfectly good readers will come away with vastly divergent notions of what the poem is about or trying to get at. No one reading is correct; all readings represent valid interpretations and experiences of the poem. The composition may have been intentionally constructed to expose multiple facets and interpretative aspects. Or it just came out that way. Once the poem enters the public domain, whether the poet intended this is somewhat beside the point; though the poet has a right to be disappointed if his/her preferred interpretation/experience wasn’t carried over to the reader (which is related to translation/transference problem).

Calling Attention To The Materiality of Language
The poem is meant to be an experience of perception, rather than to be understood. The experience being on the level of the materiality of language (sound, alphabetic construct, shape, etc., being foregrounded) and consciously not employing the communicative elements that language offers. Sound poetry, pure poetry, certain forms of language poetry. Of course, many readers may experience it in many ways, which is generally not seen as a deficiency but as an opportunity.

It’s Surrealist, Fantastic or Dadaist
The poem intentionally takes the reader into a place where things aren’t clear in any ordinary sense, in order to give the reader some new and intriguing experience. Often employing extravagant collocations of things and weird imagery. It can be the dream poem rendered exactly as remembered or stream-of-consciousness dictated. Or, as in dadaism, the wholesale rejection of poetry as anything more than a conceptual art or a socio-political act that should push, if not shove, the reader out of his/her complacency or literary comfort zone.

Strictly Experimental As To Form Or Rule
The poem is using a particular pattern or formal construct for its structure. The form is paramount, not the content. Poems based on a mathematical sequence, like a Fibonacci. Ignoring grammar and syntax for effect. Or language games: Purposefully substituting a random noun wherever the verb is supposed to go in the sentence, for example. It’s Oulipo, baby.

Too Spare And It Becomes An Open System
The poem is stripped down to a point that what words remain, as clear as they are, invite or allow many different ways of fleshing out the poem in reader’s mind. Or the poem is a pane and now many people are now going to see many different things through it. The paradox of description: Too much and too detailed in description and the reader’s mind is not be given free rein to explore in & around what has been expressed, the mind gets lulled and becomes too lazy to tease out nuances. Too little descriptive guidance and all control of the reader’s experience or of any particular taking away from the poem are surrendered, whether intentionally or unintentionally.


proust qnairre

I wonder if I should translate my answers into mauvais francais. I wonder if they are like answering a marketing survey for cash.

Your favorite virtue The principal aspect of my personality

I'm not sure. I want to say "courage," but I know I don't respect foolhardy courage.

Your favorite qualities in a man. The quality that I desire in a man.

Humor, tolerance, fun.

Your favorite qualities in a woman. The quality that I desire in a woman.

Smarts, tolerance, fun.

Your chief characteristic.

What you appreciate the most in your friends What I appreciate most about my friends.

Humor, smarts, fun.

Your main fault My main fault

Poor balance of desire and necessity.

Your favourite occupation. My favorite occupation.

Your idea of happiness My dream of happiness.

A pig with a truffle, and no one to say, quel cochon or gimme dat truffe

Your idea of misery. What would be my greatest misfortune?

being less aware

If not yourself, who would you be? What I should like to be.

I think if I were not myself, I would be less. But I would rather be more.

Where would you like to live? The country where I should like to live.

As I proclaimed to Laura Milhauser in grade school after the Christmas recital, I would like a mansion in Manhattan and a beach house. On reflection, I would take a mansion in any major world city that has a garden, and a beach house on most any beach.

Your favourite colour and flower. My favourite colour.

In general, I love flowers and colors. I like warm and clear colors, even warm blues and clear reds. I am only now gaining an appreciation of? for? carnations and other cultivars which have been denigrated to (into?) cheaper "filler flower" status.

The flowers I most love last long, smell good, look good (esp. cut in water), draw butterflies and birds rather than dangerous insects or vermin....

My favorite bird. The parrot.

Your favorite prose authors. Pynchon. There are so many....

Your favorite poets. My favorite poets.

Me, idealized. Shooting images from my fingertips, leaping blank verse in a single bound, looking good in spandex. No, not at all. That was a joke. I have a post-grad-school fascination with classical authors mostly because I can't figure out the allure other than precedence (sp?).

Your favorite heroes in fiction. My heroes in fiction.

Pop culture sez detectives or would-b vampire victims. I must admit, I prefer the flaw to be something like memory or failure to see "the system" (non-paranoia).

Your favorite heroines in fiction. My favorite heroines in fiction.

Are there any fictional heroines? I can't think of one. Plz comment or e-mail.

Your favorite painters and composers. My favorite composers.

I was listening today to the top R&B Americans from 1950. David Bartholomew. He is not my favorite, but he seems as crucial as the major and the minor pantheons. Let him be the division, then. Less influential than DB, no.

I like to think that painting isn't as dead as music or poetry, but I guess it is: I know it less.

Your heroes in real life.

My parents, my sister: my family.

In a culture of celebrity, it is important not to have heroes. But it is crucial to have exemplars. I hope that's not too backhanded to my family: in reality, their former acts (reported) precede mine; their love encourages me.

For encouragement, I could add every publisher and some employers.

What characters in history do you most dislike.

Those hairy guys (as depicted, maybe they were quite "pretty") who hate women because they are women. No! Hate non-men because they are not men. [and not devo]

Your heroines in World history My heroines in history.

I need to expand my compassion to encompass first every single woman.

Then, every single not-woman. But that's unimaginable to me now.

Your favorite food and drink.

I love prime rib. I love grilled steak. Because I love foods forbidden to me, they are forbidden to me, but I still love noodles, any pasta; I love popcorn, shrimp, lobster; I know how to love rice, peas, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, ...

Your favorite names. My favorite names. Nouns are cool.

What I hate the most. What I hate most of all. What is bad about me.

World history characters I hate the most Historical figures that I despise the most.

I don't like the idea of conforming, adhering, there being a standard, especially one in text or for text (insofar as that's the way info is conveyed -- pics otherwise (this has less to do with fidelity)). There are ideas I hate. I suppose some historical figures embody those.

Why, what is good about me? Is there something most particularly bad?


The military event I admire the most The military event that I admire most.

The peace treaty part.

The reform I admire the most The reform which I admire the most.

equal rights

The natural talent I'd like to be gifted with The gift of nature that I would like to have.

How I wish to die How I want to die. But I don't. I would not like to die suddenly, unaware of what's going on.

What is your present state of mind. My present state of mind.

Still thinking about the self interview.

For what fault have you most toleration? Faults for which I have the most indulgence.

lack of seriousness

Your favorite motto. My motto.

"all or nothing"