Thursday, December 31, 2009
Last night I made stew. It's the kind that gives your bones hugs from the inside. I've also been painting Native American figurines. They only give you 4 colors and 2 shades. One guy has a buffalo head. I like that guy the most. Sometimes I wish I had a buffalo head. I'd walk around the mall letting people touch my buffalo horns and then I'd wink at them. I'd be just as interested in the men as I would the ladies. My father would call me his bi-son.
I've been downloading tracks from this website all day today. It's Midwestern, just like me.
Today is the last day of 2009. I have two New Year Resolutions: one, never try to get my oil changed on holidays, and two, never try to get my dog's nails clipped on holidays. I have other days I can do that. Why go when everyone else needs to get it done...jeez.
Now that Christmas is over, I have a BUNCH of books to read. I've already told you what they were...most of them, anyway. I'll let you know how they are later, when I stop playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii obsessively.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
So we (A and I) got a new camera (a Nikon) for Christmas from both our parents. I have sworn it off until the actual holiday is here...with limited success. Mostly, I've taken pictures of my dog. Which is ridiculous, I know, but she's just so f-ing cute (she also threw up on my bed as I was typing that).
I recently submitted a few chapbooks to Greying Ghost. It's one of those eggs in one basket deals. I really don't know who else would be willing to publish this stuff, so it's most likely this, or nothing. So far, they have been the only press willing to bring my work into the physical world in their Corduroy Mtn. journal. So, let's hope I get lucky.
I'm 1/4 of the way through my MFA.
I'm currently reading Killing Kanoko: Selected Poems of Hiromi Ito. Johannes gave me a copy at his reading a few weeks ago, which was super nice of him. I also loved his reading. Watching Johannes read is like watching someone push words through a working mouth. The product and the process of it being made are hard to distinguish.
My hands used to smell like onion, now they smell like dog puke.
I'm going home for Christmas today. I will be getting a camera box. How about you?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Have you heard of this movie? It sounds totally rad, especially in a culture where a good chunk of our entertainment is based on previous entertainment. When you constantly feel the need to properly cite everything? When you're demanded to cite everything? When even our president is basing his presidency on previous presidencies? Why not stop referring and just use the original? If you haven't heard of this movie, it's narrative is entirely based on found footage and it, odd as it sounds, might be the most original movie I've read about in a long time (I don't actually go to a lot of movies, but I read about them maniacally). And at a time when I have a hard time sitting through most movies (graduate school has only multiplied my ADD), this sounds so cool...you should probably look it up yourself.
These are books I've read, and at time loved, over the last few weeks:
An Earth of Time, Jean Grosjean
The Difficult Farm, Heather Christle
40 Watts, CD Wright
The Sonnets, Ted Berrigan
The Last 4 Things, Kate Greenstreet
Pilot, Johannes Goransson
History or Messages from History, Gertrude Stein
These are books I want for Christmas:
A mouth in California, Graham Foust
Destruction Myth, Mathias Svalina
Lots of Gertrude Stein
Archicembalo, GC Waldrep
Anteparadise and Inri, Raul Zurita
Dream Songs, John Berryman
Also, I want a new camera. A and I have one picked out, now we're just hoping that our parents will be willing to work together...
Speaking of Johannes, he is reading here in IC this Thursday. You should probably go. The reading is celebrating a new journal of translation. It could be pretty sweet. Maybe even this sweet:
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
After class the other day I was walking through buildings and I came across a hallway that has been a part of every nightmare I can remember having...turns out my mom took me here once. It's like walking down the Terminator-animal hall of fame. Oh, and then there were some skulls and then a table of elements.
Ununhexium is elemental mystery.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Mr. Dan Perry dropped off the covers for Further Adventures next book. With this, we are officially entering the world of single author chapbooks. This will make a great gift to give your loved one(s) during the holidays. That's a promise. What do you think? Are you excited? Excited as I am?
When they are done, I will let out a mighty roar. Wait for it.
I ordered some 1/2-priced-post-Halloween animal masks early last week, and got them in the mail yesterday. These are pictures of me trying them out. I can say with some certainty that when they make these masks, they don't take into account the human face underneath. The sheep mask touches my eyeballs. The bear's eyes are so far apart you have to walk sideways...bears don't walk sideways and thus the disguise is completely blown. Oddly enough, the wolf fits me perfectly.
So, if anyone is interested in playing out a lover's triangle starring these three, let me know.
Friday, October 30, 2009
This has been happening a lot lately. Don't know if it's because I'm reading so much right now, and that all things poetic happily dance with each other, or if it's some mystic bullshit, but it seems every thing I read has a direct and noted connection to something else: I read Simone Weil. Then I read T.S. Eliot and he mentions Simone Weil. I read Jabes' "Questions" translated Rosmarie Waldrop. Then I read, "Boris" and it has a blurb by Waldrop.
There are more, but I'm out of time. Ask me about it...I'll be happy to tell you about them.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Yesterday, instead of reading my students' fiction work, I drew this. It's jowly. I don't think I have that much face above my nose. Though, maybe I've just never paid that much attention.
I finished up with, "Boris by the Sea." I have to admit, it did lag in a few spots. I wasn't as much a fan of the "plays" as I was the prose blocks. That shit got real! Here's a line: "And then he thought and understood that to think and to create something resembles defecating and peeing." Before this book I never would have thought of CA Conrad's "Book of Frank," and Edmond Jabes' "Book of Questions," as long-lost lovers, but when you see their kid standing there, holding each of their hands in his and his logic is a little cyclical and his hair is actually some kind of fire that is more frightening than any fire you've seen before, well...
Hey, did you know that both a new issue of diagram (9.5) and h_ngm_n (9) came this week? They did! Wow!
The other day I saw my first beaver roadkill. It was everywhere. I kept telling myself, "but his tail was already flat." When they came to scoop him up, they realized that he was the perfect beaver-pile. Everyone had a good story to tell their wives. But that was last Friday and ever since we've been chasing beavers across 1st Avenue. Wives will only listen to the same story so many times.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This weekend Jon B. is coming. We're going to the Iowa game. It will be epic.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This blog is the grossest and coolest blog I've ever seen regarding pigs and bugs. The exactness of data collecting language is practically poetic. From Day 11: 27 June 2009:
The carcasses are in the post
decay stage of decomposition,
but are becoming more
leathery on the surface.
is still present
in the soft
tissues that remain.
Beetles have been collected
from the carcasses as well
as the pitfall traps.
My line breaks, but still, pretty cool, right?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Books I've read over the last few weeks:
- Kate Greenstreet's "The Last 4 Things." It is the best book I've ever read that came with a dvd. Greenstreet writes poems for the multitasker at the end of long day.
- Raul Zurita's "Purgatory." It's a new translation recently out from the U of C press. I've had a tumultuous long-distance relationship with Zurita for about a year now. He writes poems for the revolutionary at the end of a long day.
- Edmond Jabes' "The Book of Questions." I'm reading this one for school. Jabes writes poems for the post-Holocaust Jew at the end of long day.
- A shit-ton of essays on poetics, namely, "The House that Jack Built," which collects Jack Spicer's Vancouver lectures, but also pieces by Robin Blaser, Louis Zukofsky, Ezra Pound and the rest of that lot. I like to read these essays, but they usually lead to me having a long day.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Hello, my name is Friedrich Kerksieck & I operate Small Fires Press. So far the venture of running the press has been wonderful – I’ve put out two issues of Matchbook Magazine & many books, including authors Scott Pierce, Mathias Svalina, Julia Cohen, John Chavez, Megan Gannon, Rachel May, Joshua Ware, MC Hyland & numerous others.
After leaving Tuscaloosa’s MFA program & beautiful studio, I’m asking for your help to set up my own studio so that I can continue my work. I’ve accumulated 8,000 dollars for a Vandercook Press & Photopolymer Plate Maker, but I still need about 3,000 dollars more for all of the various items needed to finish setting up a workspace to print upcoming book projects. Items needed include: a paper cutter, metal type, type-high gauges, inks, tympan paper, challenge key & quoins, press furniture, a boxcar base, etc. etc. etc.
What can you do? Well, there are lots of things – the simplest way to help me out is to donate money or equipment. If you’ve got a print shop with a lot of duplicate equipment you can send it to me with the promise that it will be well-used and cared for. You can purchase a book from the press that you’ve had your eye on. You can pass this note along to friends that might want to help a little press survive. You can show my books to your localand convince them to purchase my catalog.
In turn I promise to keep working to produce new texts in innovative packages, and to do my own part in supporting our community of artists, printers, readers, and writers.
If you wish to send something, please do so to:
Donate through paypal.
Or visit the website and make a purchase:
Friedrich Kerksieck, Small Fires Press
Monday, September 28, 2009
- My bones are not bones but bee swarm...
- Since last we spoke I killed two more crickets and a fistful of birds...
- When I discover my dinosaur I will name it after you...
- I’m still trying to figure out your occasional beard...
- It’s Armenian in the most actual way...
- I was born a deciduous boy...
- Before there was fear, there was the scarecrow...
- First and foremost, you will have a heart and it will beat, though, slightly irregularly, you see, your heart will be pumping spiders...
- Adventures are non-native speakers of English...
- I trained 1000 spiders to kiss you...
- He squeezes his his fingers through bird throats, wearing them like rings...
- Last Friday, I pulled out all my insides...
- In the notes section of my hospital body you wrote, “this boy is not a scarecrow...”
- I killed the mouse with my tongue...
- And look! where your heart once was...
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here are a few things I've been doing and/or want to do instead of reading more French poetics:
- Nate Slawson has a chapbook and it is the most fun thing I've done today.
- Issue #3 of FOU is up, though a little hard to navigate through...there are no names on the lilly pads and you have no idea whose poetry you've just clicked on, which I'll admit is, in turns, both exciting and time consuming (if you'd much rather be reading someone else).
- Next Wednesday Kate Greenstreet and Elizabeth Robinson are reading at Prairie Lights, I'm seriously considering canceling class for this one...worth it, totally. What if I gave the students a chance to make-up an absence by going to it? Yea/neigh?
- The very next night I'm going to see Wilco, which, currently, is a band I've only heard (they were playing at the Pritzker in Chicago and I sat nearby and listened.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
These are things that have happened since my last post:
- I purchased two copies of "Scary, No Scary." One is a collector's edition. The other, I've read 3 times in the last week. On my uncle's farm there is a pond completely surrounded by corn fields. By this pond there is a small shack with broken windows and a rotting porch. Inside the shack there is the skeleton of a baby crib that my cousin and I were frequently placed in when my family would visit theirs. This book is just like every dream I've had of that place.
- The class I'm teaching has turned into a totally awesome example of what I want every class I teach to be like. Seriously, these kids are rad...one of them even hops trains in the summer.
- I've seen a black squirrel, but as of yet, have not been able to capture it.
- I watched John Koethe read at Prairie Lights and I'm glad I didn't make a special trip to do so. He only read like 5 poems and they were all about famous people/poets he once knew, and were too prosey for my tastes. I was happy to have to catch the bus back home.
- I've been readying the new Further Adventures chapbook. Not only is the content totally sweet, but the package will be a major step forward for the press. Pretty psyched.
- I've been reading and writing a ton and want to write a long-ish poem titled, "Your New Anatomy," but so far, just have the title typed onto a blank document.
- I'm being slowly eaten alive by spiders...it's an itchy process and I look forward to its conclusion.
- A and I decided to stop loading up our Netflix queue with every new movie that comes out and just watch what we have on there already...this has led to the viewing of some real shitty movies and may be a factor in why I'm not all that concerned with spiders eating me.
Monday, September 07, 2009
So I bought a new computer the other day. It wasn't exactly a necessity, but I think good times to buy computers are when that happens to be the case. Anyway, it's a Mac Book and I haven't yet grown comfortable enough looking into it to believe that poetry will eventually be staring back at me. In the meantime, I've found, or re-found, I guess, writing with pen and paper to be a good time. Like taking your dog to the dog park good time; you just feel better afterwards knowing you made someone really happy by both letting them play and by taking them with you when you went home. I've talked with people extensively about this, me being, primarily, an on-screen composer and a good chunk of folks I know using the pad. Previous computers I've owned had essentially become poetry machines capable of untold evils, meaning, writing on them had become a fluid process in itself...I could type, look up words, research anatomy and reformat virtually all at once. Seriously. Anyway, I'm finding a real genuine pleasure in writing in notebooks or paper scraps again, and though I can't speak to one method being better than the other, the physicality of dragging that pen across the paper has, in turn, added a deeper sense of the physical in my poems.
I am 31 years old and by the time I turn 35 I want to have my first full-length book published. When I'm 32 I want a chapbook.
I realized today that I'm the kid who never wants to be a club that's willing to have him. I lusted after Iowa for years. Now that I'm here, I'm like, "meh." I feel like an asshole. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather be doing this than working, but the reality is that, after 6 months of anticipation, nothing was going to be as awesome as the Iowa I had pieced together in my head. I think feeling a little let-down is natural, I just hope I can control it so that it doesn't deteriorate into distaste or, even worse, angst. I'm far too old to be angst-ridden. It would probably give me shingles or something...
So today is a day off...for everybody but those of us fortunate enough to be poets at the University of Iowa. Though Labor Day, Monday is also workshop day and thus, far too important to skip, even on the event of a federal holiday. This fact upset my father-in-law yesterday, and he kept coming back to it while we spent a Sunday at his house. "So wait, you're really going to school tomorrow?" And then when I'd nod "yes," he'd look away in disgust. This disgust, though, was focused on many things and not just the fact that I had to go to school; it was also the nail in the coffin for school being a waste of time, it was the fact that we drove all the way up there just for the afternoon, it was that, in no possible-to-imagine way, was poetry more important than a day the man was willing to give you off from work.
A few additional things that happened yesterday:
- I realized that reading Oppen in bed is a horrible place to read Oppen.
- I fixed a bike.
- I ate awesome chicken parmesan with homemade marinara sauce that used garden tomatoes and freshly picked green pepper. Awesome.
- I got two phone calls from McNally after 2am. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and believing that he had no idea I would be in bed then...I'm usually not, but as I mentioned, today's a work day.
- A friend of my dad's told me how he was going to kick his son's ass, "but maybe I won't...he thinks I will though, so that gives me the advantage, right?"
- There was a totally wicked harvest moon in the early evening. Pictures of which turned out looking like nothing more than an orange dot and not at all like this other picture of a harvest moon, which would be okay, this picture looks pretty professional, but c'mon camera, you gotta do better than that if you want to stick around here.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
I've had two classes now, with Elizabeth Robinson. She is a very rad lady, who writes some very rad poetry. You can listen to some of that here. There's something to be said about a teacher who kicks off class by having her students fill out the Poetry as Magic Questionnaire. Rad.
Workshop is going alright. I feel, but am certain that it's all in my head, that my poetics and ideas about how poems should and can work, are different than all the other kids in my section. Week One was a bit of a disaster. I opened my mouth at completely inopportune times and most of what I said was unfortunate, at best. I am looking forward to this week's poems, though, as my first run-through of the material appeared to be a lot more interesting (which isn't to say, that I believe my poems to be more interesting than anyone else's...in fact, I don't believe that all). A few of the poems have stuck with me for few days now, which I think is a good sign.
In order to celebrate the weekend I'm going to my in-laws house to bbq. While all the other people I interact with became displaced when the moved to Iowa, I came home. That excited my family tremendously and to an extent, me.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Yeah, that's awesome. You wanna know what's not awesome? Missing the first big meeting of the really prestigious writing program that you don't deserve to be in in the first place and then confusing Cole Swensen when you show up for the class you thought you'd registered for, but had actually just place held and were supposed to sign up for at the meeting, but didn't 'cause you weren't there...SUCK!
Have you ever fully realized your situation and then looked around, the whole time thinking, "what the fuck did I get myself into?" Within seconds of my first class starting, every bad feeling I'd ever had towards poetry in academia came rushing back in all its rawness and badness. "What the fuck did I get myself into?" Plus, my feet hurt...I don't own sensible shoes.
You know what I really hate? Not being the guy who knows what's going on. You know what I hate even more? Literary criticism.
Today, we were asked, first thing, to write a sentence on our poetics and then to boil that down to a few words, and then again to one word. This is what I wrote, but was too embarrassed to say in class (thereby, leaving me squirming in my chair blurting out, broad and vague to the point of idiocy, statements that I didn't really believe):
Sentence. Poems should cut open cats and show you their lungs...a revelation.
A few words. Cat lungs.
One word. Meow (sigh).
I started re-reading Noah Eli Gordon's "The Frequencies" today. I haven't read that book in 5 years and think the last time I tried I was too ignorant and not at all literate enough to do so. My notes in the book are trite at best and are clearly clinging to the easiest phrases and images in the poems. Now, it almost seems easy, especially for a Gordon book. It is my opinion, that NEG is very much a language poet, only, with a penchant for odd, occasionally impossible image. "Frequencies" is not that kind of book. To be fair, this was early in his publishing life, but to read this book now and realize that a good chunk of MFA students are now doing exactly this kind of thing makes you see just how ahead of the curve Gordon usually is. He's like the Jay-Z of poetry, by the time you start writing prose blocks, he's "Off That."
Whilst on the subject of hip-hop, beat-boxing is totally rad and I wish I was better at...or at least had a comfortable place to practice. Seriously, where does on practice beat-boxing?
Friday, August 21, 2009
These are things I bought at Goodwill the other day. If you happened to have dropped off a sweet Sears typewriter or a frog mask in the last few weeks, thank you for totally making my month.
I think the class I'm teaching this Fall is going to totally kick ass. I've given myself all the room I need in my syllabus to change directions, move with the students' interests, and basically make things up as I go...which is really where my best teaching comes from, and I hate being roped in by syllabi that I wrote months before the actual class takes place (just because it interested me on August 16th, doesn't mean it will still interest me on November 21st).
A and I finished unpacking yesterday. The apartment is finally put together (almost) and ready for you to stay, if you are so inclined. You should come. It'll be sweet. I'm an above average host and I make a good pot of coffee. We could sit around the kitchen table and chat...over coffee, of course, and we could talk about how much we miss lightening bugs, or any number of other topical current events. I really miss lightening bugs and enjoy coffee.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I registered for classes yesterday, making this whole thing official. This whole thing officially scares me a bit. I'm taking a scary workshop with Cole Swensen, a scary class on Modernism and Mysticism and another scary class having to do with poets and their respective poetics. I hope this works out like most scary things and wind up not being scary after all...but sometimes things really are scary. That scares me most of all...
My reading back on July twenty-something went pretty well. I was nervous and I think that showed, but afterwards my father-in-law, whose knowledge of poetry extends only as far as that he knows I do it, told me he really liked my poems and even recited a few lines back to me. I'm really tired of the pompous grandeur of poetry readings and I work hard to be the exact opposite of that...but even that has a touch of bullshit in it.
I read Frank Stanford's selected poems last week after having gotten it back from the friend I lent it to the day I got it last October. I think you should read it too. The upside is how totally awesome most of the poems are. The downside is that the section titled, "Unpublished Poems," should have stayed that way. I mean, within the context of a book that is a "selected" previously unpublished poems have no place. Have you ever seen Michelangelo's David? Having those poems in this collection is like the hallway leading up the sculpture that is lined with partially finished statues...when you're expecting the masterpiece, who gives a fuck about the pieces the artist didn't even see all the way through. There was a reason Stanford didn't publish these poems, so why include it with what is supposed to represent his best work? Right?
I also finished James Tate's selected. I love James Tate and thus, I love this book, but it did get me wondering about the validity of "selected's" winning prizes. This book won the Pulitzer of poetry as well as the WCW Award. Though I think Tate deserves these awards, giving them to a book of his selected verse is totally bogus. It would be like giving the Beatles a Grammy every time a re-packaged greatest hits comes out! It just seems bullshit to me is all...
Anyway, there were a few other things I was going to tell you, but I forgot what they were.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Aaron McNally. BJ Love. 2 grown men wanting to convince you that they are actually bears from outer space...who write poems...and then read them aloud.
C'mon! That sounds interesting, right? You should come! You should come! You should come!
Addendum: Reading Octopus 12 is also quite ethical.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Also, new H_NGM_N! AND I've got a poem in it! Exclaim? Here's the deets:
OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT --->
Like, it's night time & there are these two guys & they're all like, I'm gonna break into this BANK, yo. To steal the MON-ey. And the other guy is like, yo, what about the H_NGM_N? Like for realz? And the first guy is like what - that tired old washed up old guy? Like no one has even SEEN him for like YEARS or something. Guys probably dead.
And the second guy is like yo. And so it was that there were guys straight up robbing banks all over the city & when I say bank I mean JOURNALS PUBLISHING BAD POETRY & then there's like this quick cut, right, where you see like SOMEthing on a balcony or some junk, like high up like looking down all bad@$$ & then these two guys are like about the break into the bank still? By which I mean BAD POETRY RUNNING RAMPANT all up in the grill of the fair city? And what?
So that's it man. It's like yo - H_NGM_N #8. SWOOP. And like everyone thought he was dead & yo & like that was it? But he's here & cleaning house & by house I mean THE LANDSCAPE OF CONTEMPORARY POETRY & by cleaning I mean like straight up cleaning.
So it's like not only for you but for the city & banks & POETRY & also for yourself that you must needs click yon link & spread the word that, like, if you were afraid to go out at night? Or read poetry? There is no more reason to fear ever now:
yrs ever & always -
n8 & crew
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I don't know what it is about summertime sky, but I can't stop taking pictures of it.
Went back to Chicago last weekend to visit some friends and because Anne and I have never been so bored and because it's only a few hours from here. We did some stuff, most of which was this fad called, "hangin'." We almost got caught in a gang war and I slept the best I have in weeks. Do they make white noise machines that sound like buses, kids rapping and drunks yelling at everything? I need one of those.
I also went to the Seminary Co-Op bookstore and picked up Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Tupelo book. I've read it a few times so far and believe it to be totally rad. It sounds weird to say, but the poems feel organic...more so than his previous collections. The flow of the book as whole is dead on and even within the "fragmented" sections the poems are little like walking through a steady rain as opposed to the lightening storms in his Iowa book.
I've had the really odd circumstance, for me, anyway, of having been solicited for work lately. Ultimately, I think this is what every poet hopes for; not having to research journals, painstakingly piece together a submission and spend months hoping for the best. Instead, they contact you asking for poems and you slap a little something together for their project and a few days later...voila! Anyway, it's been really awesome and I've got four more poems coming out and I couldn't be more grateful to the editors who have contacted me.
Things to peep:
dear camera #9