Solid Quarter

Blood Jet Poetry Series in New Orleans, weekly poetry and music as well as open mic performances

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Monday, December 05, 2011

175 Poets for 2011 or Unhand Me, Vendler (part 3: 112-175)

"No century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading, so why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?" -H. Vendler, reviewing Penguin's Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, ed. by Rita Dove


I've had to really dig into my piles of books and memory for the latter portion of this list, mostly poets still living and writing today. As before, this list is not ranked. It's a list of poets that I've read or heard this year that strike me as praiseworthy. Who knows what lasting value they will have, and who cares. I enjoy them and maybe you will too, in the here and now. I want to open with two anthologies that I enjoyed this year; two amazing collections filled with poetry, essays and personal testimonies. 


Thanks for playing. Crack a book, hit play, and go listen to some live poetry before 2011 escapes. 


112) Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northen (editors), Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability
113) Susan Deer Cloud, editor, I was Indian: An Anthology of Indigenous Poetry 
114) Paulette Swatrzfager, Years of Dust
115) Anselm Hollo, everything, (well, you should read everything...anyway)
116) Michael Ford, forthcoming from Ugly Duckling, Where We Expect to See you Soon
117) Dr. Jerry Ward, Jr.,  The Katrina Papers (probably the best book published about the Katrina and New Orleans)
118) Dennis Formento, Looking for an Out Place
119) Jim Gustafson, Virtue and Annihilation
120) Norman Shapiro, trans and ed. Preversities: A Jacques Prevert Sampler
121) Sunnylyn Thibodeaux, Palm to Pine
122) Michael Palmer, Thread
123) Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Exilee/ Temps Morts: Selected Works
124) Ron Padgett, How Long
125) Ingeborg Bachmann, Darkness Spoke: The Collected Poems (I haven't read all of this, it's about 650 pages)
126) Bill Berkson, Darkness and Light
127) Bone Bouquet, Vol. 2, Issue 2 with contributors: Shira Dentz, Gina Myers, Eileen Myles, Deborah Poe and more, (whole issue, excellent)
128) Jim Brody, Fleeing Madly South (Dave said this is hard to find, read this, so I did. I had to return it immediately to the Brinks' archives or pay a fine)
129) Jeffrey Young, Ed. Birds & Beasts & Sea: Nature Poems from New Directions (Bernadette gifted this to us on our visit; it's pretty sweet. )
130) Al Young, ed. Something about the Blues (another fun anthology)
131) Lisa Pasold, Betting on the Horses
132) ruth weiss, Desert Journal
133) Unica Zurn, Dark Spring (I probably read this every year as I love Zurn)
134) Jackson MacLow, Thing of Beauty (This is a great collection of MacLow's work)
135) Ed Dorn, Gunslinger, (I'm including this as I listened to the recordings this year on Penn Sound: http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Dorn.php)
136) Everette Maddox, I hope it's not over and good-by and Umpteen Ways of Looking of at a  Possum
137) Bob Cass, Special Edition Broadside in Entrepot, issues 3 &  4
138) Bob Kaufman, Ancient Rain
139) Hank Lazer, Days

Poets Heard this year:

140) Nicole Peyrafitte (via the phone speakers in Bernadette Mayer's living room)
141) Jimmy Ross (our indefatigable host at 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series)
142) Kalamu Ya Salaam
143) Mark Folse
144) Kim Vodicka
145) Geoff Munsterman, editor-in-chief of Entrepot
146) Michael Ruby
147) Phil Johnson
148) Kataalyst Alcindor
149) Lenny Emmanuel
150) Vincent Farnworth
151) Gwendolyn Albert
152) Felice Guimont
153) Herbert Kearney, forthcoming chapbook from Trembling Pillow Press, Water Speak
154) Nanette Morin
155) James Nola, Higher Ground, (not poetry, but he is a poet and this latest novel is another great post-K New Orleans book)
156) Sam Jasper
157) Dario Suchkova
158) Kelly Clayton
159) Ange Mlinko (Penn Sound recordings on Bernadette Mayer: http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Mlinko.php

160) Jean-Mark Sens

161) Kathryn Schaeppi, Video of Dusie reading c/o Deborah Poe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGMah7udK10&feature=related

162) Jonathan Kline

163) Jamba Dunn, American Dust on Ubuweb: http://www.ubu.com/ubu/unpub/Unpub_011_Dunn_American.pdf

164) Vanessa Place, Statements of Facts, Ubuweb: http://www.ubu.com/ubu/unpub/Unpub_042_Place.pdf

165) Vincent Katz, Shopping for Oliver's Chil, Ubuweb: http://www.ubu.com/ubu/unpub/Unpub_041_Katz.pdf

166) Sunday Shae Parker

167) Patrice Melnick, director of Festival of Words in Grand Coteau, LA
168) Janine Pommy Vega: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiEuNVasZk4

video break brought to you by Deborah Poe. Please watch this before we complete our list: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84UuV0ZhuIk&feature=relmfu

I'm going to end with some books that I want to read and/ or finish reading before the year turns over:

169) Joseph Lease, Testify (reading this right now, and it's wonderful)

170) Carrie Hunter, The Incompossible
171) Kate Schapira, The Bounty, Four Addresses and How We Saved the City
172) Renee Gladman, Event Factory and The Activist
173) Sommer Browning, Either Way I'm Celebrating
174) Joshua Edwards, Campeche
175) Arielle Guy, Three Geographies


And 'tis the season

Video via UBUWEB:
William Burrough's The Junky's Christmas (1993) 
http://www.ubu.com/film/burroughs_xmas.html






Sunday, December 04, 2011

175 Poets for Pleasure or Vendler's Constraint (Part two, 59-111)

"No century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading, so why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?" -H. Vendler, reviewing Penguin's Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, ed. by Rita Dove



Continuation of my 175 poets and editors of poetry from books/ chapbooks I've read this year or last. The list is not ranked, it's in the order that I think/ remember what I've read. I've tried to stick to living poets who I've read this year, with only slight fudging when necessary.  I thought listing books was getting too boring, so I've included some variations as well. Thanks for playing.


Hope some people enjoy the list and add some new names and titles to their rotation.


59) Penelope Rosemont, (ed) Surrealist Women: An International Anthology
60) Thaddeus Conti, Listen Loud, Listen Long
62) Chris Pusateri, Molecularity
63) Michelle Naka Pierce, Symptom of Color
64) j/j hastain and Marthe Reed, Lafayette a Lafayette
65) Sara Rosenthal, The Animal
66) John Pluecker, Undone and Routes into Texas
67) Michalle Gould, 100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum and 15 Untitled Works in Concrete
68) Sara Mangold, An Antenna Called the Body
69) Dawn Pendergast, Leaves Fall Leaves
70) Johannes Goransson, entrance to a colonial pageant in which we are all beginning to intricate
71) Mary Ann Caws and Nancy Kline, trans  Furor & Mystery and Other Poems by Rene Char
72) Marilyn Kallet, trans. The Big Game by Benjamin Peret
73) Andrei Codrescu, Whatever Gets You Through the Night, (OK, it's not poetry, but he is a poet and this is a kick ass book.)
74) Julie Carr, 100 Notes on Violence
75) Jonathan Cott, Dylan on Dylan (Not poetry, but by a poet about someone often referred to as a poet.)
76) Sandra Simonds, I've Lived in So Many Apartments
77) Jennifer Dick, Tracery
78) Susan Lewis, Some Assembly Required
79) Julia Cohen and Brandon Shimoda, Samaritan
80) Kristen Sanders, Orthorexia
81) Sarah J. Sloat, Excuse Me While I Wring this long swim out of my hair
82) Inger Christenson, It, Alphabet and Light, Grass and Letter in April 
83) Laura Mullen, Dark Archive
84) Robert Duncan, The H.D. Book, (ok, they are both dead, but the book was just published and it's a must read)




This part of the list constitutes books read in 2010 that still stand out to me:
85) Allison Cobb, Green-Wood ( I would really like to see another Cobb book in 2012)
86) David Rowe, Unsolicited Poems
87) Karen Weiser, To Light Out
88) Christine Hume, SHOT
89) Ruxandra Cesereanu, Crusader Woman
90) Brenda Hillman, Practical Water
91) Moose Jackson, Loup Garou
92) Cynthia Hogue, When the Water Came


Poetics: 
93) Pierre Joris, Justifying the Margins


Online or Print Journals,
94) Megan Levad, from You are Where you Live (Fence, fall 2011)
95) Tyler Flynn Dorholt, from Nightmare Directed by Ingmar Bergman, (Horseless Review 8)
96) Rachel Marston, The Signal for Instant Action, (Diagram, 11.1)
97) Cara Benson, [The first man...] from Summer Stock, 5


This part of the list is made up of poets that I've heard read this year, and for various reasons have not read a book of theirs this year, but who still deserve mentioning:


98) Brenda Coultas (Brenda, please, you're killing me, I need another Coultas book STAT)
99) Tracey McTague (long overdue for a collection in my opinion)
100) Jen Tynes (reading from an exquisite long poem that will be a book soon, I hope)
101) Gina Ferrara 
102) Mona Lisa Saloy
103) Quess
104) Simon Pettet
105) Bill Zavatsky
106) Lewis Warsh
107) Shafer Hall
108) Kelly Harris
109) Andrea Boll
110) Rodger Kamenetz
111) Brendan Lorber (who probably deserves his own category as I've heard him read poetry both in person this year and on his acculorber reports, which are their own poetry, so he would be under poets I've heard via video stream)









Saturday, December 03, 2011

Poets Worth Reading: 175 in 2011, Part One (1-58)


"No century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading, so why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?" -H. Vendler, reviewing Penguin's Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, ed. by Rita Dove

Since I apparently read way too many poets not worth reading according to Vendler, I thought I would further the torment by sharing all the wonderful books and poets that I have read in the last year. It didn't even take me a century to read 175 interesting poets, so you can probably dismiss this list entirely if you agree with the above statement.

I'll start with what I've read most recently and branch out including only living poets writing in this decade, in a further effort to point out the viability and importance of poetry being written NOW. I read a lot of dead poets too, so don't worry Vendler. I even cracked the Cantos again this year. I'm sure reading Mina Loy's short stories and plays makes that last gesture null and void in Vendler's eyes, but what can you do? I also may have published and/ or may be married to poets mentioned, but unless anyone becomes a millionaire or exceedingly famous from this list, who cares?

If you're not on this list, either I didn't read you this year or I've never read you and you can remedy that by sending me a book that I may or may not read next year.

Let's play:

1) Ed Sanders, Fug You
While not a book of poetry, it outlines Sanders' long commitment to poetry and revolution, and since I learned most of what I know about the 60s and all of what I know about investigative poetics from Sanders' verse, he gets top spot.

2) Bernadette Mayer, Ethics of Sleep and Studying Hunger Journals
It's a good year when you get two Mayer's to challenge and thwart your knowledge and understanding of the written word.

3) Alice Notley, Culture of One and Reason and Other Women
Reason is an older book, but I love the complicated narrative and read it often this year.

4) Anne Waldman, Soldatesque/ Soldiering with Dreams of Wartime (with Noah Saterstrom)
Waldman continues to plunge into the depths of political inquiry and social justice accompanied with beautiful half page images scrolling across the top of the book's pages.

5) Jack Collom Second Nature (unpublished) This is an as yet uncollected manuscript of Collom's life long commitment to nature and poetry; invaluable, experimental and, of course, humorous.

6) Bill Lavender Memory Wing
Poetic memoir trumping through life and the afterlife, new from Black Widow Press

7) Philip Good, Untitled Writings from a Member of the Blank Generation
Long awaited first collection from a poet long on the scene of poetry happenings over the last several decades

8) rob mclennan, C
Small chunks of syllabic beauty caught in the sparse form and space of this chapbook.

9) Deborah Poe, Elements
Examining the invisible architecture of the world through the lens of association and inference

10) Claire Hero, Sing, Mongrel
Strange, bestial, and hard to look away from--

I'm going to stop commenting on the books only because I will start repeating myself, if it's on the list, I'm saying it's worth reading:

11) Bei Dao, Endure (trans. by Clayton Eshleman and Lucas Klein)

12) Jennifer Denrow, California


13) Alison Pelegrin, Hurricane Party


14) Jenny Bouly, Not Merely Because of the Unknown Stalking Toward Them 


15) HR Hegnauer, Sir

16) Jen Hofer,  slide rule and one


17) Susana Gardner, Herso, An Heirship in Waves


18) Dara Wier, A Civilian's Journal of the War Years


19) Sergio Medeiros, Vegetal Sex (trans by Raymond Bianchi)

20) Niyi Osundare, City Without People


21) Mairead Byrne, Lucky


22) Jimmy Lo, A Reduction


23) Dave Brinks, (forthcoming) The Secret Brain: Collected Poems

24) John Sinclair Song of Praise Homage to John Coltrane 


25) Lee Meitzen Grue, DOWNTOWN


26) Danielle Pafunda, Iatrogenic, Their Testimonies


27) Laynie Browne, Roseate Points of Light


28) Kate Eichhorn, Fieldnotes, a forensics


29) Richard Froude, Fabric


30) Eileen Myles, Sappho's Boat: Poems and Pencil Poems (OK, Sappho's Boat is an older book (and I also read Inferno: A Poet's Novel), but it's a great book that I reread this year)

31)Annie Finch, Among the Goddesses


32) Elizabeth Willis, Address


33) Jamey Jones, Blue Rain Morning


34) Joel Dailey, Surprised by French Fries


35) Travis Cebula, Jamaica


36) Julie Kane, Jazz Funeral


37) Daniele Vogel, lit


38) Brad Richard, Motion Studies

39) Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker, Home/ Birth


40) Kim Rosenfield, Trama


41) Camille Dungy, ed. Black Nature


42) Anne Tardo, The Dik Dik's Solitude

43) Joan Retallack, Procedural Elegies/ Western Civ Cont'd


44) Dodie Bellamy, The Buddhist


45) Susan Howe, That This


46) Carmen Gimenez Smith, Can We Talk Here

47) Cecilia Vicuna, beforehand


48) Benjamin Morris, Coronary


49) Brett Evans, Pisa Can


50) Brenda Iijima, If Not Metaphoric


51) Peter Gizzi, Threshold Songs


52) Julia Cohen, The History of a Lake Never Drowns


53) Emma Bolden, The Sad Epistles


54) Daniel Kerwick, Attach It To The Earth


55) Kirsten Jorgenson, Deseret


56) Brooklyn Copeland, Laked, Fielded, Blanked


57) Nathan Hauke, SEWN


58) Darrell Bourque, In Ordinary Light

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Poetic Space


I've been reading Gaston Bachelard's the Poetics of Space. It's interesting; I find I'll totally blank out while reading huge chunks and then suddenly something will come into focus. Does everyone read like this sometimes, I wonder?

Here's some bits I jotted down:

"To read poetry is essentially to daydream."

"Space is everything."

"Was the room a large one? Was the garret cluttered up? Was the nook warm? How was it lighted? How, too, in these fragments of space, did the human being achieve silence?"

"When two strange images meet, two images that are the work of two poets pursuing separate dreams, they apparently strengthen each other."

"slow sonorities"

"dream upon their name"

And some things that came up around the text: a remedy of words, value of intimacy/ scattered/ where they feel along the wall/ in darkness/ remains

I guess, too, a product of its time (?) as "they" say, there is a huge chunk of text that romanticizes the woman's place in the house, pointing out that her attention to dusting and waxing the furniture is akin to communing with angels. I often feel this way myself when doing housework; I really look forward to my angelic face poised over a sink full of dirty dishes and some time for me to compose a beatific picture of domestic happiness over the frothiness of caked on grime while visions of sugar plums dance through my mostly empty head. *Sigh*


For further reading: Frances Yates, The Art of Memory



I'm  a huge Wilkie Collins fan and intrigued by this book.


Elizabeth Robinson's Three Novels

Check out the review over at Jacket:

http://jacket2.org/reviews/point-contact-they-create

Friday, November 11, 2011

Black Widow Salon at Crescent City Books


This Monday marks the return of Crescent City Books' Black Widow Salon hosted by Michael Zell. At 7:00 PM, join poet, publisher and author of the newly released Memory Wing, Bill Lavender
as he reads from and discusses this work. 

The Black Widow Salon, sponsored by Joe Phillips and Susan Wood of Black Widow Press and hosted by Michael Allen Zell, is a monthly Monday event, existing to dig deeper into the literary arts.  November 14th: Bill Lavender.  December 5th: Josephine Sacabo.  Crescent City Books at 230 Chartres St. from 7-9 p.m.  Seating is limited.  RSVP’s preferred.  More information at crescentcitybooks.com







Memory Wing by Bill Lavender

A memoir in verse that explores the outer reaches of truth: of memory, language and art. Loosely based on the tripartite structure of The Divine Comedy, this poem appears as a simple memoir in lyrical and immediately accessible language, yet it works by accumulation to question the very fact of memory and the foundations of truth and identity. This is a poem that reads as easily as a memoir but which is as dense with allusion as one of The Cantos. As Andrei Codrescu has said of it: "This is a grand American long poem Doc Williams would be proud of."

Advance comments on Memory Wing:
Delving with brilliant image precision into the power of the past, and chanting in plain lyric to the ghosts of his mother and father & the futurity of his sons, Bill Lavender takes us back, down, deep into a psychological Arkansas and New Orleans that resonate with Dante's three part journey. In the vast field of felt memory, he guides us into subtle territories of torment, recognition and reconciliation that are Lavender's contemporary equivalents of Dante's inferno, purgatory and paradise. Bill Lavender's Memory Wing is a contemporary autobiographical masterpiece.
-Rodger Kamenetz

The poet's mother lives, dies in an Alzheimer's wing. The poet takes wing, remembering more because his mother remembers so little. He takes his past-and some of hers-under his wing. There is no waiting in the wings here; everything's laid out on memory's stage, surreal as the Roman memory exercises ordained. The poet may be left wing, but he steps out from under the wing of Arkansas, Blake-like tragedy, and Dante, into the elegiac present, where parents cede to children and in all their dreams come responsibilities and their evasions. The OED's 12th definition best defines wing as "part of a spectral line where the intensity tails off to nothing at either side of it," but that fails to describe the utter intensity of the flight between points in Lavender's book. This non-fiction epic poem flies through past, present, and hallucinated futures at the speed of unpunctuated sound.
-Susan M. Schultz

What a grand concerto! Read this epic eulogy and weep! Lavender is a resplendent Virgil traversing the woods of his memory, which coincides at unexpected places with our own. I'm happy to see the terse minimal suitcase of his lyrical self unpacked and overflowing. This is a grand American long poem Doc Williams would be proud of.
-Andrei Codrescu

Bill Lavender shifts language in rare combinations that unsettle the reader. Memory Wing is no different except that it takes a lifetime to inhabit, but lets us dip into that proper distance between knowing and learning where we hold down our own memories for comparison and where we sit in the same tragedy and splendor….
-Megan Burns

Bill Lavender is a poet, editor, and teacher living in New Orleans. He is the publisher of Lavender Ink, a small press devoted to contemporary poetry, and he is Managing Editor of UNO Press at the University of New Orleans. Besides his dozen books published to date his poems have appeared in numerous print and web journals and anthologies, and his essays and theoretical writings have been published in Contemporary Literature andPoetics Today, among many others.


Coming in November 2011
ISBN13: 978-0-9837079-0-5
219 pages $19.95

Friday, November 04, 2011

NOLA SATURDAY: Poetry Reading Throwdown

Jarret Lofstead of NOLAFugees Press and the People Say Project and Megan Burns of Trembling Pillow Press and 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series are issuing a poetry reading challenge to celebrate the three all-day poetry readings happening this Saturday, Nov. 5th.

How often, New Orleans, do you get the chance to attend three readings in one day where each reading features a host of local poets as well as visiting poets for two amazing literary events: Ladyfest New Orleans and the NOLA Bookfair


Answer the call to attend all three and you can win the POETRY AWESOMENESS PACKAGE:

CHALLENGE:

Attend all three readings (listed below) and document your attendance, so we know you were there. Don't just jump in and out, but listen and let us hear what you liked, what inspired you, what made you jump up and down. We want active listeners and participants to share with us their experiences at these events.



Once you complete your challenge, make your way over to the Maison at 6:00PM for the Printer's Ball, the date on the image below should read Nov. 5th,  and find Megan Burns. The first 5 to complete this challenge will be awarded their certificate of Poetic Awesomeness as well as the prize package:



1 Book from NOLAFugees
This is Megan Burns. 
1 Book from Trembling Pillow Press
1 20.00 Bar tab at Handsome Willy's
1 personally dedicated poem written to you by Megan Burns



Come on,  New Orleans, we know you love a challenge. Show some love for your poets this Saturday and score a little lagniappe for yourself.


Readings:

Ladyfest New Orleans:


Poetry Book Signing
Maple Street Bookstore, Healing Center (2372 St. Claude Ave), 11am-2 pm
Featuring: Valentine Pierce, Lee Grue, Omaira Falcon, and Gina Ferrara
Poetry Corner
Café Istanbul, Healing Center, 1:45 pm-6pm

Hosted by: Megan Harris
Ikon, 1:45
Sam Jasper, 2pm
Laura Mattingly, 2:15 pm
Sandra Johnson, 2:30 pm
Roselyn Leonard, 3pm
Leeandra Nolting, 3:30 pm
Biljana Obradovic, 3:45pm
Laurie Williams, 4pm
Kelly Harris, 4:15 pm
Gina Ferrara, 4:30 pm
Allison Pelegrin, 4:45 pm
MonaLisa Saloy, 5:00pm
Beverly Rainbolt, 5:15 pm
Sunday Parker, 5:30 pm
Valentine Pierce, 5:45pm
Lee Grue, 6pm


Apple Barrel (NOLA Bookfair)

Hosted by:
J.S. Makkos
Apple Barrel: All Day Readings @ the 2011NOLA Book Fair 

Noon-1: Dead Poets Evocation

1:00 Laura Mattingly
1:10 Marlo Barrera
1:20 Megan Harris
1:30 Jamie Bernstein
1:40 Gina Ferrara
1:50 Sandra Grace Johnson
2:00 Jonathan Kline
2:10 Jenna Mae
2:20 Benjamin S. Lowenkron
2:30 Tara Jill Ciccarone
2:40 Angus Woodward (of Baton Rouge)
2:50 Mary Griggs
3:00 Wendy Taylor Carlisle (of Texarkana)
3:10 Michael Harold (of Shreveport)
3:20 Kristina Marshall (of Lafayette)
3:30 Jonathan Penton (of Acadiana, formerly of El Paso, Texas)
3:40 Clare L. Martin (of Acadiana)
3:50 Frankie Metro (of Albuquerque, formerly of Tampa, Florida)
4:00 Jenn Marie Nunes
4:10 Mel Coyle
4:20 Mac Taylor
4:30 J.S. Makkos
4:40 Sean Munro
4:50 Thaddeus Conti
5:00 Jonathan Walters
5:10 Ben Kopel
5:20 Jim Tascio
5:30 Danny Kerwick
5:40 Adam O'Conner
5:50 Joseph Bienvenu


Maison readings (NOLA Bookfair)














Sunday, October 30, 2011

NOLA and Brooklyn Poets Collabs and Readings

Happy to have with us all week the amazing poet Tracey McTague, poet-mama, curator of all growing things at the Mother Ship, editor at Lungfull Magazine and one of the curators of the Zinc reading series. She joined us Thursday night at 17 Poets! Literary and Performance Series to read from a collaboration done with NOLA poet (Bucktown representin') Brett Evans. The collaboration began as a  project for the Boston Poetry Festival but it continues to flourish under the right circumstances, and we were happy to hear the two performing it live for our enjoyment. One of the constraints (joys?) of long distance collaborations other than the time delay in mailing (emailing) words across space is the lack of opportunity to hear the voice of the person you are working with: does the fictional voice you respond to parallel the flesh voice of the poem, and how does the work change when that intimate space of sharing and creating is breached and brought out into the public sphere?






The dynamic duo of Brett Evans and Tracey McTague were reunited again in under 24 hours to participate in the new series Left of the Dial hosted by poet Ben Kopel and housed at Euclid Records in the Bywater. Standing room only among LPs and waves of nostalgia, Brett Evans delivered his usual punch of wit, cynicism, and lyrical delight scraping the detritus of verbal spoofs, twists, and tongue twisters with comedic timing and surprising juxtapositions. Take for instance a series of poems titled "Versus Verses" which is both exactly what it implies with technicolor Evans panache:

"drunk tank vs. Panzer/ weeping willow vs Sword of Damocles/ emergency milk vs. needed ade/ Imaginary Friend vs. Bride of Mother-in-Law handshake/ Cross the Rubicon vs. Jump the Shark..."

From that surrealist game play, Evans turns towards a complicated invented form that involves a sonnet crossed with a cinquain crossed with Evans particular mode of transmitting the image along a play of word exchanges. "XIII" ends (in the sonnet form): "like I told you once in Oahu/ Suzanne Vega turned 50 today carbon dating/ reveals how long I've loved you"



Poet Tracey McTague celebrated her birthday in style by stepping up to the mic to share her blend of words and syllabic gymnastics to her soon-to-become new fans as well as the old. McTague's poems are like waterfalls, you have to just sit back and let them fall over you and just as your poetry eyes are lured into a slightly relaxed squint, the rainbows appear. McTague eschews narrative for the lightning connections made on the cerebral & subconscious levels allowing syllables and synapses to guide the jumps and ducks around the swirl of her language. Poems are filled with concrete nouns stacked up to create tumbling blocks of images as she sweeps around the puns and delicately trips among the catches and consonants that sing us our familiar sounds like a nursery rhyme. Suddenly, Shelley is standing mid-watered in his sea changed grave, a levee is made for breaching, a cup is turned over and your future falls out: That is the poetry of Tracey McTague.


 If these rock stars should grace a poetry venue in a town near you or perhaps you should wake up in the  middle of the night with the sweet sound of WHAM wafting through your walls: know you're in good hands. This review might be slightly biased as I adore WHAM, but who doesn't?

(photo by Michael Dominici)



Also, it's Ezra Pound's B-day. 







From Canto LXXXI






But to have done instead of not doing This is not vanity To have, with decency, knocked That a Blunt should open To have gathered from the air a live tradition or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame this is not vanity. Here error is all in the not done, all in the diffidence that faltered . . .

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dylan Symposium at UPenn


In celebration of Dylan's 70th birthday, PennSound presents a Dylan symposium by some self-proclaimed Dylanologists. I was a bit surprised Jonathan Cott wasn't included, as I would name him one of the top Dylanologists of our day. If you're a huge fan, this is probably both fascinating and horrifying. And the video is both, as poets and fans try to pin down the elusive aesthetic of a legend as well as present some examinations of an occasionally off-Dylan in the 80s. It concludes with a sing-along of "I Will be Released," which is both endearing and a bit hard to watch. What the participants don't lack is enthusiasm and, in some cases, bold insights into the language of Dylan. The irony, of course, is trying to package, in the university, talks on such a character. These discussions and talks, as well as these sing-a- longs in all their vulnerable glory, should happen in smoky bars and at late night parties when everyone is feeling quite mellow. So, the medium is a bit forced and a bit awkward, but the intention is true. And for any Dylan fan, the enjoyment is real. At about 90 minutes, this video is certainly worth a watch if Dylan lyrics have been spinning through your head most of your life.
Dave and I saw Dylan here in New Orleans right after he turned 70, and the concert he gave was the liveliest I've ever seen him. So, enjoy PennSound's Dylan Symposium:


http://writing.upenn.edu/wh/multimedia/tv/reruns/watch/119028

Friday, October 21, 2011

Live Painting and Poetry at the Healing Center: Saturday, Oct. 22

Fatoush Restaurant, Coffee Shop, and Juice Bar in the Healing Center, (at St. Claude and St. Roch) hosts a live painting and poetry reading this Saturday, October 22 at 6PM.

Painter and Poet Herbert Kearney will be putting the finishing touches on the wall mural: "All Mothers are Boats" which is the image on the cover of Dr. Jerry Ward's The Katrina Papers (UNO Press). Dr. Ward will read from his book as Kearney paints. Kearney and Poet Megan Burns (yep, that's me) will read from their water healing collaboration poem written and first performed at 17 Poets! in March 2011. Dave Brinks will also read and there will be music from John Spuzzillo.

Please join us for a tribute to water and healing in the aptly named Healing Center.

                                                              Artist Herbert Kearney

The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery by Dr. Jerry Ward, Jr. 
Dr. Jerry Ward

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thursday, Oct. 20: 17 Poets! Dara Wier, Jen Tynes and Jen Denrow



This Thursday, 17 Poets! welcomes back fantastic poet Dara Wier. There is a beautiful interview with Dara by Cynthia Arrieu-King in the (old layout) Jacket Magazine (2010). Dara says: "Imagination is something that you’re supposedly able to own yourself. It’s your imagination. If anybody starts telling you what you should be imagining or what would be appropriate or good or just to imagine, or necessary or required to imagine, you better be suspicious of that."



Excellent advice. And she will probably be laying so more wisdom pearls out among her wonderful verse, so don't miss her.



Also, super excited to have first-time-with-us readers Jen Tynes and Jen Denrow both of Horse Less Press. Here's a great interview with Jen Tynes from over at the infamous rob mclennan blog. Horse Less press not only puts out a wonderful review in .pdf format for your viewing pleasure stocked full of amazing poets but they just recently started publishing full length books including Richard Froude's Fabric, which I reviewed over at Tarpaulin Sky. 2012 books include: Daniela Olszewska’s cloudfang : : cake dirt  and Kate Schapira’s The Soft Place.



Jen Denrow has a great interview here with Thermos about the publication of her first book, California (Four Way Books). 

I'm super excited about this line up this Thursday at 8:00 (www.17poets.com). 

These poets are gonna rock your world.