Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I just got done reading Anthony McCann's "I (heart) Your Fate," and, like, whoa.

A few notes: The poems in this book border on being overtaken with naming, with applying meaning, with, well, being overtaken in general, "While all this time the highway poured towards me/ Bringing you and the promise of words..." It's hard to argue that all poetry isn't, in some way, a search for meaning, but McCann simplifies his search to just the language we use, implying maybe, that there can be no greater meaning without recognizing the impossibility of meaning in the first place, "and I wonder what all your things mean..." The book then takes on the responsibility of beginning meaning by giving everything a name. Words have names. You have names. Lives have names.

And McCann pushes this idea by limiting his vocabulary; words, phrases and images are recycled to both limit and expand their respective meanings (brains, hands, teeth, knees, wrists, and birds, feelings, words, names). Sometimes it works by process of elimination, i.e., I don't know what I mean, but I don't mean that. Other times meaning keeps unfolding and expanding as if he were saying, I mean this and that and this and this and that too:

"It's almost as if I were saying these things
To someone--to you--or not even to you
You stood--like the day--by the beach--with you bag
While the birds and the traffic referred to themselves"

This book is a dance that is meant to mesmerize. This book is like Jamie Lee Curtis in "True Lies." Yes, it's entertaining, and in the poem, "The Visitor's Locker Room" (which seems maybe in reference to the U of I's visitor's locker room at Kinnick), it's even pretty erotic, but what you quickly learn, these are just distractions while McCann sneaks in cleans both your palette and palate, sweeps them free of anything we'd call meaning and remakes it right before your eyes. And though this will read as hyperbole, after reading this book it's easy to imagine it like a prism your white light just passed through...

Look at you now, you're all rainbows and shit.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Whoa. Madison. I went for a reading. I came back totally in love with you. Like, I wanna make love in this club. To your marches. To your placards. To your version of active democracy. Madison, you are so rad. Down at the hotel I was staying at, old people were dressed in revolutionary garb, celebrating George Washington's birthday. Back at the capital, they were just being like George Washington and starting a revolution. Much like the old folks at the hotel, it was coincidence that brought me to you, but isn't that pretty much the deal with love? I think so...Madison, it was nice to meet you. I hope you get yourself figured out in all the best ways. I hope your mean governor tells you he is sorry and runs home embarrassed. I hope all your jobs stay just as they are, but maybe a little better. And I hope you are proud...

Let me know if you ever need me,


Monday, February 14, 2011

Hey. Look what I did. I mean, look at what Dan Perry and I did. I really mean, look at what Dan Perry, Joshua Ware, Erika Jo Brown and I did. We made a book. We made a book that's really fucking good. Maybe this is because I've been sewing them for the last few days, but they just feel right. Also, I have a sewing tip for you; if you're fumbling with your needle and it drops from your fingers, don't attempt to keep it from falling to the ground by quickly making your legs into a lap...that needle was in there a ways.

Buy the book here. Please.

Don't forget to come to the Monsters of Poetry reading this Friday in Madison. I'll be there with a poem for you...

At the request of Jim Galvin I've begun reading Robert Walser. I'm only halfway through the short story collection, but I get why he thought it might be helpful. "I am thrilled to writing a report on such a delicate subject as trousers, and thus to be licensed to plunge into meditation upon them; even as I write, a desirous grin, I can feel it, is spreading over my entire face." Walser, much like myself, seems to enjoy the sounds of ideas being formed, the language of formation, maybe? It's like a slow boxstep, you don't really notice the dance, but know something going's on.

Anyway...Happy Balentimes!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

If you could take pictures of cold, this might be what it would look like. But you can't take pictures of cold. Cold is just an idea. A thing that makes us wear coats. An idea that messes up our hair. Cold can also be scary. Like, what if our feet freeze into the ice and no one helps us out? Scary...

You know what else is scary? Monsters. Next Friday I'll be reading with some in Madison. Only, this won't be scary. It will be awesome. More here.

Then, two weeks later I'll be reading at a thing called The Twins of Evil at Cup of Joe in Cedar Falls. I'm in charge of this one. If you're in Cedar Falls or whereabouts, check us out...

Last week I read in Washington DC. It was awesome and a little unexpected, but mostly awesome. Also, I bought these books: Julie Carr's "100 Notes on Violence," Sommer Browning's "Either Way I'm Celebrating," Anthony McCann's "I (heart) Your Fate," CA Conrad's new "Book of Frank," and Dan Boehl's "Kings of the F**cking Sea." I think that was it, though I did trade for some stuff too. BUT, you should defs check out all these books. They're totally rad.

Tonight I was watching a documentary on Philip Glass, scored by Philip Glass and I heard this line: "A new language requires a new technique." I like that, but don't know how well it stands up...because I also wonder if it isn't new techniques that beget new languages, like the internet, or say, the need to fix your car...