Solid Quarter

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 4 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poetry and 2 years out from the BP Disaster

Last Friday, I was invited to the New Orleans Museum of Art along with poet Gina Ferrara and Artist Tricia Vitrano to talk about poetry and art. I talked about my new chapbook from Fell Swoop Press called irrational knowledge and showed a series of slides by Surrealist women artists including Claude Cahun, Alice Rahon, and Ithell Colquhoun among others. irrational knowledge is based on a Surrealist game called irrational knowledge of the object, and I also discussed other Surrealist games. The video of the reading is below, and you can also find on our 17 Poets! Youtube Channel the other presenters as well as a two part discussion moderated by Susan Larson where we all discussed how art and poetry overlap and influence our respective works.

Poet Nathan Hauke wrote a nice letter in response to irrational knowledge over at the OPEN Reviews section at Horseless Press's website.

I also have two new poems in the latest Horse Less Review #11 along with great poems from Paige Taggert, Jess Rowan, kathryn l. pringle, Curtis Perdue, Jesse Morse, Rob MacDonald, Valerie Loveland, Mike Gross, Kit Frick, Maurice Burford, Ark Codex, Stephanie Anderson, Kimberly Alidio, and Kristin Abraham. Cover art by Dagan McClure-Sikkema.

ALSO in breaking news Nicki Minaj dropped her twitter account for a week but has reemerged on the social media site. Once at 11 million followers, she now only has 9.2 million followers.

Oh, finicky, finicky public. How shall we ever appease your incessant needs?

I'm pretty sure this news event received better coverage than the 2 year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster.

One engineer has now been arrested due to his role in the BP recovery after the explosion.

As I'm pretty sure no one was ever arrested in the Federal Levee Failures in New Orleans; this actually signals an upsurge in prosecution in criminal activity cloaked in the form of corporations and/ or federal bodies. And remember the magic microbes that cleaned up the oil in the fantasy land of media spin and BP output: well, they're not done wreaking havoc on the Gulf. Seems that microbes eat not just oil, but also crustaceans. BP oil is the event that keeps on giving. Health concerns for children are still not recognized by the Federal Gov't or covered by insurance companies.

From the Surreal to the absurd. We can drink oil, people.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yoniphobic Language: Azealea Banks

Between costumes:

     and between the desire for:

       and who decides what spins:

             here's a snip/ snip: the

a woman's body is a tableau for war

Azeala Banks says in an interview that this is not a Nicki Minaj diss song.

She told Vibe magazine:

“I don’t think Nicki necessarily opened the door for anyone else but herself.” 
“I don’t think the door was ever closed for urban female artists,” said the “Needsumluv” MC. “There has always been a female killing it. Have we forgotten about Eve? Eve had hot records, movies, a TV show, fashion line, ad campaigns, etc. Right before Remy Ma went to jail, she was killing it, and was well on her way to the top. She had bars on bars on bars. Lil Mama also made a splash with ‘Lipgloss.’ Plus all the other alternative chicks like M.I.A. and [Santigold]. I don’t think Nicki necessarily opened the door for anyone else but herself,” she laughed.
She continues: “I think she’s doing a great job with what she’s doing. But I don’t think any of the current female rappers’ success’ are contingent upon anything Nicki Minaj did. It’s contingent upon our talents and creativity.”
She goes on to praise Pink Friday‘s beats, hooks and lyrics, and even calls Nicki “mad sexy”. But her main criticism is the “Stupid Hoe” rapper’s wild style. “I think a lot of the things she started doing with her look were distracting,” she says. “I think she’s talented enough to sustain a very fruitful career without the ugly wigs and ugly costumes.”

Link to Article:

Green-Wood Cemetery Video

A short film about Green-Wood Cemetery:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Days: To Write "of"


Rachel Blau Duplessis: Draft 3: Of

Please note that material has been removed from some of these papers, with regret, as a result of this demand from Paul Zukofsky: “I am the only child, and sole heir, of Louis and Celia Zukofsky. I am also the person with sole control over all their copyrights, including works both published and unpublished. Jacket 30 is in gross violation of those copyrights. [....] I demand that you remove all Louis (and Celia) Zukofsky material forthwith, from Jacket 30, as well as any other material that you may have posted. Please be aware that I reserve all options in the vigorous defense of my property. Sincerely, Paul Zukofsky

Monday, April 09, 2012

Language is Disappointment: A Series of Days


Excerpt from:
Critical Inquiry Volume 28, Number 3, Spring 2002
©2002 by The University of Chicago. 

"But is it possible to read this scene in terms of "transcendence"? Does one really forget or forgive the leopard skin, the handkerchief, the bugged eyes, the grin, the gaping "satchel mouth," the soap bubbles, the lyrics ("I take troubles all with a smile ... that's why they call me Shine") as soon as Pops picks up the horn? Or is Armstrong's "absurdist humor" ultimately a tricky willingness to inhabit all these trappings and more? He is the grotesque jester who preens and gapes, disturbing in his willingness to echo the melodramatic performance styles of minstrelsy. He is also the self-assured modernist, who negotiates the trumpet parts with brilliant technique and injects self-reflexive commentary into his vocal performance as well. (In one spoken aside during "You Rascal You," he tosses a line that slyly equates sexual contest with an access to recording technology: "You gave my wife a bottle of Coca Cola so you could play on her Victrola.") Moreover, Armstrong's mugging might not be simply "a way of acting out the music." What's striking about his movement is that he's acting out so much more than what's in the music: facial contortions, chest convulsions, head nods, even mouth movements, shadow pronunciations, that don't correspond to any discernible development in the production of sound. This is not at all "body English" or direct address; instead, one sees a spectral presence that seems to jerk and twitch and bulge in the somatic excess of that body. That excess outlines other possibilities, not taken, not voiced. There is no transcendence here; all these elements (at the very least), all these implications coexist in the performance, which is driven throughout by what Giddins more usefully terms Armstrong's "beguiling knowledge of the anomalous" (S, p. 37). The effect forces the viewer to confront a swinging incommensurability
an untamable, prancing set of contradictory indices that seem to be saying all too much at once.

This deictic complexity is not unique to Armstrong; indeed, it is a key component in black traditions of musical performance."

Copyright Notice from by PZ forbidding people to quote L. Zukofsky on their blogs.
A warning to all wishing to quote from LZ's works:

Copyright Notice by PZ

from Paul Zukofsky


Far too many people, especially perhaps-innocent grad. students, have been misled into thinking that, in terms of quoting LZ or CZ, they may do what they want, and do not have to worry about me. These people are then suddenly faced with the reality of an irascible, recalcitrant MOI, and are confronted with the very real prospect of years of work potentially down the tubes. I therefore wish to post an obvious "do not trespass" sign where LZ aficionados may see it.

All Louis and Celia Zukofsky is still copyright, and will remain so for many many years. I own all of these copyrights, and they are my property, and I insist upon deriving income from that property. For those of you convinced that LZ would find my stance abhorrent, the truth is that he kept all copyrights (initially in his name) as he had the rather absurd idea that said copyrights would be sufficient to allow for the economic survival of my mother, and their son. My stance is congruent with that hope.

Despite what you may have been told, you may not use LZ’s words as you see fit, as if you owned them, while you hide behind the rubric of “fair use”. “Fair use” is a very-broadly defined doctrine, of which I take a very narrow interpretation, and I expect my views to be respected. We can therefore either more or less amicably work out the fees that I demand; you can remove all quotation; or we can turn the matter over to lawyers, this last solution being the worst of the three, but one which I will use if I need to enforce my rights.

In general, as a matter of principle, and for your own well-being, I urge you to not work on Louis Zukofsky, and prefer that you do not. Working on LZ will be far more trouble than it is worth. You will be far more appreciated working on some author whose copyright holder(s) will actually cherish you, and/or your work. I do not, and no one should work under those conditions. However, if you have no choice in the matter, here are the procedures that I insist upon, and what you must do if you wish to spare yourself as much grief as possible.

1-- people who want to do their dissertation on LZ, or want to quote from him in their diss., must, if only as a common courtesy, inform me of their desire to use this material, and obtain my permission to do so. If you do that, and if I agree, the permission will be only for the purposes of the diss. and there will be no charge for limited use within the diss. You will not be allowed to distribute the diss. publicly. Distribution via on-line publication is not allowed. I urge you to keep quotation to a minimum, as the more quotation, the less likely I am to grant permission.

2-- people who quote Louis Zukofsky in their dissertations without having had the courtesy to request my permission, and who do so without having obtained my permission to quote LZ, do not have permission to use LZ quotations, and will, in the future, be refused all permission to quote any and all LZ in their future publications, and I promise to do my utmost to hamper, hinder, and preferably prevent all such quotation.

3-- people who obtain copies of LZ manuscripts, marginalia, etc. etc. such as at UTexas or elsewhere, and who have not first requested and received my permission to have such copies made, will thereafter be refused permission to use any such materials in any of their future publications. Note that fair use is far more restrictive on unpublished material than on already published material.

4-- people who wish to perform LZ or CZ (“A-24”; the “Masque” etc) require performance rights from me. A fee will be charged. People who wish to set LZ to music also require permission to do so.

5-- I forbid so-called electronic "publication". People may not quote LZ in their "blogs".

6-- if you proceed to the point of publishing articles in journals, books etc, or if you publish a book, you must obtain my permission to quote, and fees will be charged. Once again I urge you to quote as little as possible. That will minimize your cost.
Final points.

I can perhaps understand your misguided interest in literature, music, art, etc. I would be suspicious of your interest in Louis Zukofsky, but might eventually accept it. I can applaud your desire to obtain a job, any job, although why in your chosen so-called profession is quite beyond me; but one line you may not cross i.e. never never ever tell me that your work is to be valued by me because it promotes my father. Doing that will earn my life-long permanent enmity. Your self-interest(s) I may understand, perhaps even agree with; but beyond that, in the words of e.e.cummings quoting Olaf: “there is some s I will not eat”.

Next, other than for the following, I am not trying to censor you. I hardly give a damn what is said about my father (I am far more protective of my mother) as long as the name is spelled properly, and the fees are paid. My interest is almost purely economic. That being said, I do not approve of delving into the personal lives of my parents. If you wish to spend your time worrying if LZ did or did not shtupp alligators, that is your problem, but I will not approve quotation. That is not scholarship. That is gossip, and beneath contempt.

Third, do not lie, or try to dissemble. If I ask for something, and you agree, be certain that you do it. If I find out after the fact that you have not, there will be trouble.

Finally, when all else fails, and you remain hell-bent on quoting LZ, but you really, really REALLY do not want to deal with me, or you have been stupidly advised to try to circumvent me -- remind yourself again and again, and yet once more, what Lyndon Baines Johnson’s said about J. Edgar Hoover i.e.: “I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in”.


Hong Kong
Sept. 17, 2009 

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Nicki Minaj Project: Mask

Masking: Subliminal Tricks

the art of posing:

what the eye gets, in other words
how the world is refracted/ reflected back

The use of the mask both subverts identity and draws attention to it.
To remove one’s face is an intensely personal act, the body becomes a mirror offering back in many ways the norms and cultural neuroses of the times.

“Under this mask, another mask. I will never finish lifting up all these faces.”
 –Claude Cahun

Claude Cahun

The mask is the “escape valve.” It plays as a child does with the notion of singularity, of unity, of wholeness. In adults, the mask signals a break with normalcy. It’s a signal, a cipher that notes the movement from expectation to realization from the world of the real to the world of the unreal; the mask creates a bridge. The elaborate display of the body enacts first and foremost the promise of the elaborate display of the narrative, of the action and of the imaginary world.

The body is intimate and vulnerable, offered up for sacrifice. The body is armed and hidden at the same time, layered in costume and personas, so that the true identity can never be pinpointed. It reveals by hiding. The “world” of the body becomes a theatrical display. As such, the promise of the body is one of pleasure, one of entertainment even in moments of discomfort and disgust.

The self is flexible. It is the quality of the illusion that counts. To be indebted to an “other” is less important than the act of embodying the mask. The mask is a tacit agreement between the wearer and the viewer; it promises to excite and the viewer in turn promises to enact the role of awarding attention, be it positive or negative. It is an art of seeing and then an act of choice in the gaze or the refusal to participate.

“feminists have used self-images to describe a gender specific phenomenon” –Joan Rivéres “Womanliness as a Masquerade”

Aggression contained within the personal odyssey.

Vulgarity is a display, a language mask that provides a barrier while also signaling what is inclusive and who is excluded. The adoption of racial slurs and sexist epithets draws a line between the user and the other, and it includes those who are willing to trespass. It handles the uncomfortable, and it abuses the standards by which any “body” of people decides what is acceptable in language. Aggression shaped by language and enacted in language allows the mask to remain armed. It accepts into it the rite of a culture of aggression and attempts to contain it, in the same way that the mask and rites of mourning and funeral practices attempt to contain grief.

self exploitation:

“it’s a subtle abyss that separates men’s use of women for sexual titillation from women’s use of women to expose that insult”  -Lucy Lippard, “Scattering Selves”

If we accept this as true, then we must also ask what is subtle and who defines the edges of the abyss from the actual descent into it, and also in bounding holes, who guards the borders. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

Day 5/6: Come Late & Never

Kurt Schwitters Collage:
1919 Das Undbild [The And-Picture]

1919 Bild mit heller Mitte [Picture with Light Centre]


Kurt Schwitters on Ubuweb:


From Lafcadio Hearn's La Cuisine Creole

"Hard Soap for Household Purposes:

To seven pounds of tallow, or other clean grease, use three pounds of rosin, add six gallons of water to this, and stir in two pounds of potash; boil this together for five hours, then turn the soap, while hot, into  a washtub and let it stay all night; when cool cut into bars, and lay on a board to harden. This quantity should be sufficient for a family of four persons for one year. "


Harry Smith: Early Abstractions

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Day 4 Prompt: Rivered


The Mississippi River and its floodplain are home to a diverse population of living things:

At least 260 species of fish, 25% of all fish species in North America;
Forty percent of the nation's migratory waterfowl use the river corridor during their Spring and Fall migration;
Sixty percent of all North American birds (326 species) use the Mississippi River Basin as their migratory flyway;
From Cairo, IL upstream to Lake Itasca there are 38 documented species of mussel. On the Lower Mississippi, there may be as many as 60 separate species of mussel;
The Upper Mississippi is host to more than 50 mammal species;
At least 145 species of amphibians and reptiles inhabit the Upper Mississippi River environs.

"Rivers are controlled at their mouths..."  
-Lawrence Powell, The Accidental City

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Day 3: Prompt, Netted

"the fact of being kept, the act of keeping" 
-Deborah Poe, "Keep"

-David Halliday, photographs

"we are in the net and we are the net"

Monday, April 02, 2012

Prompt 2: Brakhage

Examine Light:

"It isn't only what is unsaid, you see, we have very few words to express the scientifically recognizable phenomenon of life"   -Stan Brakhage, (from Brilliant Corners Interview, Spring 1979)

"Oh yes, you don't get angels without devils, because that's the nature of life." -Stan Brakhage, (B.C. Interview, 1979)

Read more about Mothlight

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Surrealist Prompt: Claude Cahun


"It isn't enough to be good for clumsy sparrows, you must be able to help mechanical birds take flight"

-Claude Cahun "Captive Balloon"

"The root structure of the small molars forces the dentist to conclude that 'anatomy does not exist.'"

-Cahun, "Beware Domestic Objects"

Reading Claude Cahun: