Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Harmonium vs. Harmonium

"There is a man whose work makes most of the rest of us quail" says Hart Crane—on poems from Wallace Stevens's debut, Harmonium.

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"Brilliant. Alarming. Majestic. Bewitching. Gothic. Melancholy. Cryptic. These words and countless more describe Vanessa Carlton's sophomore album 'Harmonium,'" says Amazon reviewer Rudy Palma on Carlton's collection of the same name.

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The similarities are too many to enumerate, so I will leave you to be the judge. Which one of these Harmoniums is the key to unlocking the mysteries that lie past the thresholds of contemporary poetics—that lead off through the cellar door to an underground system of roots and influences which have shaped what we write today?

W. S.: "It is the huge, high harmony that sounds / A little and a little, suddenly, / By means of a separate sense."
V. C.: "Ohh ohh ohh / Ohh ohh ohh / Gotta get a little / Gotta get a little"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Popsickle was going to happen. Then it did.

This weekend was good. Popsickle, the self-proclaimed "first monster literary festival" in Bushwick happened. I felt like we were sitting inside of a hot bucket—i.e. the hot bucket that it is contemporary Brooklyn (i.e. Bushwick) poetry.

How about some highlights.

1. The heat index:

2. The organizations representing organization:


3. A poem by Emily Pettit—from her collaborative chapbook, Cock Fight—that goes:
I have this to say, Something was going to happen
and then it did
. Our gestures exceeded
the speed of light. They were practical
efforts. Practical efforts, such as raising chickens.
Such as, someone buying many hotels!
Such as, standing and standing. Processing
information in your sleep. When you build
a fire in the snow it's a speculative treatment
of certain problems. I feel better when I feel
better. Let me explain the agreement. Or else
you explain impossible colors. Impossible
colors are a catastrophic visual failure
and not impossible. Not a ship sinking. A shore
out of shape. Some things will get lost. A neck.
The circle running. A true yellow blue.
There are always competing signals from one
system to another. There are options regarding
the ice. We can lick it or cross it. Further information
when you want it. Information always blinking.
A chime that rang. I fluctuate by night. I fluctuate
by night. In my head is a station where you
practice landing.

4. Egg Pizza.

5. That damn train in the window.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mayakovsky's Birthday

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Поздравляю с Днем Рождения
(Congratulations with your birthday.)

"A Cloud in Pants?" you ask ?
July 19, 1893.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Poetry" by Revlon

I don't know what is more beautiful about this. That this wig is named "Poetry," (presumably after the Marianne Moore poem) that the color of this wig is "Champagne Blush" (a veritable surrealist haiku), or that it costs ($225.00) $157.50 to own.


Naming something poetry is this easy, whether we'd like to believe so or not. Here she is, the goddess-muse, a red streak laboring across the Amazonian sky, teeth flashing their way forth like those unforgotten minions of the deep sea who lead their ways off to its center. If I buy this wig, and wear it whenever I write, what will I be deemed to be?
Answer: Poet.

If one is called to strive for beauty, then, Keats would argue, one should also strive for truth.

Where is the beauty in beauty products? In their design, yes, but, presumably, in their end result.

Truthfully, Revlon and I are set to the same creative grindstone. Truthfully, they've done a better job than me at grinding out said ineffable beauty. Luckily, they are providing me with this easy way to put on beauty like a hat. A hat that appears to be real. That turns reality, perpetually, like Wordsworth turning his crystal daffodils between two facing mirrors in the dusklight of yore. Real truth folds on itself.

I can only offer my humble gratitude. Revlon, vous me maître.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Alex Katz's Frank O'Hara

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14th Street is drunken and credulous,
53 rd tries to tremble but is too at rest. The good

love a park and the inept a railway station,
and there are the divine ones who drag themselves up

and down the lengthening shadow of an Abyssinian head
in the dust, trailing their long elegant heels of hot air

crying to confuse the brave "It's a summer day,
and I want to be wanted more than anything else in the world."

With an emphasis on summer.