Kyphotic Hermit

"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brands by Dave Oliphant

Cover design by Jim Jacobs after Pancho Villa's death's head brand When I last awoke this morning, thunderstorms were blustering thru, so I spent some of that time reading Dave Oliphant's Brands, a chapbook published by Road Runner Press in 1972. In it I noted his "Padding" poem had four lines which were obviously too long for the page and therefore had their ends tucked under to the far right. It could be they are supposed to be that way, but I will be sharing "Padding" here with the lines full out. He was in Malta, Illinois, at that time. Ten years later, when I was briefly in Austin, Texas, I had a short visit with him. His chapbook's title comes from a sequence of six cattle brand poems in it. He is a native Texan who for many years was the editor and publisher of Prickly Pear Press. - PADDING anything to make it easier on the mind to keep the real thing out of the crush block passage on the House & Senate floors in verse Unamuno justified / found it fitting but for none / not one of the reasons above & o what stoic Spanish tho't would've been his comfort then lined / laced with arabesques / Moorish words like almohadas on hearing me declare verbiage to be the lot / the lonely the only stuff for making song / when what he wanted was marrow / a little carne along with the bone just to get free from figuring it out I'd say / well / waste is the American way cardboard-box a tree & save a buck eighty but that won't do & neither will asylum walls this banging unbruised into devils inside our cells when everywhere it's plugging up or knocking holes in the Giants' / the Rams' / the Jets' defenses covering up for the collected poems can't even copy lux fiat under the stoop leaves & twigs hibernating the frogs string & straw soon to hatch a singing in the eaves kh00032

Saturday, June 6, 2009

ragged publication list

Haven't been a conscientious record keeper, but I have some informative index cards here from the years when I cared and was more actively trying to publish my writings in literary journals and elsewhere. So this is a convenience exercise. Most of what I have had published appeared in various issues of Wisconsin Review. In the late 1970's and early 1980's I was publishing under the pen name of Alden St. Cloud, a name derived from a family history fact and a supposed fact. However, I have used other pen names on occasion, but only once was anything legitimately published that way. * Reviews - Marvin Bell's The Escape into You Atheneum, 1969, 1970, 1971) in Road Apple Review Vol. III No. 4 Winter 1971-1972 pp. 48-50 - "Keeping Us Mad" Peter Wild's Magical Book of Cranial Effusions New Rivers Press, 1971) in Wisconsin Review Vol. 7 No. 2 Spring 1972 p. 32 * Cover designs - Their Place in the Heat Road Apple Review Spring 1971 Vol. III No. 1 - Road Apple Review Winter 1971-1972 Vol. III No. 4 * poems in anthologies - "February" and "September" (as by Alden St. Cloud) Wisconsin Poets' Calendar: 1982 and "Snow" (Alden St. Cloud) Wisconsin Poets' Calendar: 1983 Tom & Mary Montag, editors Midwestern Writers' Publishing House Fairwater, Wisconsin - "Where Once the Old Mill" and "307. November 2nd" (as by Alden St. Cloud) Poetry Out of Wisconsin V edited by Mardi Fries & Jeri McCormick Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Madison, 1980 - "The Mind Has Seasons Out of Time" "Beauty" and "Being a Poet" Minnesota Poets Anthology—1973 Vol. 2 No. 1 St. Cloud State College - "Woodland Shades" (sonnet) National High School Anthology 1959 * poems in magazines and newspapers - "Woodland Shades" (sonnet) Marquette Journal - "Into the Marsh" and "Solitudo III" Marquette Journal - "The Lone Pine Tree" Pursuit Spring 1963 Vol. III No. 2 - "To John Keats" Pursuit Spring 1964 Vol. 4 No. 2 - "After Almost Five Years" "Rome, 300 A.D." "Sea Shells Are for Hiding" "The Evening Soliloquy of Samuel Portal" Pursuit Winter 1964 Vol. V No. 1 - "Symphony" "The Rock Garden" "The Mind Has Seasons Out of Time" "The Purple Fox" Pursuit Summer, 1965 Vol. V No. 2 - "Cave" and "Swallow Bend" Wisconsin Review Vol. 3 No. 1 Fall, 1967 - "Beauty" (first published as "The Swans of Winnebago") Karamu No. 4 June, 1968 - "Sitting at My Desk" "A Dream of Collaboration with the Muse" (Is now simply "Muse Dream" but was first published as "A Dream of Collaboration") Karamu Vol. II No. 1 April, 1969 - "Starting Over" Road Apple Review Vol. II No. 4 Winter 1970-1971 - "Behind the Garage" and "Transferal" Wisconsin Review Vol. 6 No. 2 Spring, 1971 - "The Mystics" Small Pond Spring 1971 #22 - "Notes at the Watershed" (Christmas Season 1970-1971) Wisconsin Review Vol. 6 No. 3 Summer 1971 - "Being a Poet" "The Maverick" and "Imagining Myself on a Hill near the Old Mill Stream, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin" Wisconsin Review Vol. 7 No. 1 Fall 1971 - "Revealing the Source" Yes Vol. Two No. One Autumn 1971 - "Martha," (accepted by Free Debris, 1972) - "After the Funerals of a Friend and an Uncle" Sou'wester Winter 1972 - "Prosody" (a broadsheet in Oshkosh, 1972) - "Words for Walt" GPU News May/June 1973 - "Tonight" Saltillo Vol. 2 No. 3 Winter 1974 - "Apology of a Hypocrite" Mouth of the Dragon #6 Sept. 1975 - "20° Breeze" Abbey #20 October, 1976 - "82. March 22nd" (for Sandy Troedel) "Funeral Words" "Admonition" and "The Administrator" The West Bend News in "Spice of Life" section, Feb. 4, 1977 - "61. March 1st" "69. March 9th" "137. May 16th" (under a pen name I never used again) River Bottom Vol. IV No. 2 Summer 1977 - "105. April 14th" "106. April 15th" "110. April 19th "112. April 21st" Song #2 1977 - "Watermelon" and "The Mystery" Wisconsin Review Vol. 8 No. 3 - "Child" and "A Wall" Wisconsin Review Vol. 12 No. 4 1978 - "Michelangelo," and "Four for John Ashbery" (as by Alden St. Cloud) Wisconsin Review the fifth season Vol. 14, Nos. 2 & 3 1980 - "248. September 4th" Ramada Regular Vol. 6 No. 7 November 1980 - "The Barn Was Cold" RFD Fall, 1985 - "December 26th" The Sun: A Magazine of Ideas issue 124 March 1986 - "Saying Good-bye" "Pride" "Axiom" "Then Millicent Said" Studia Mystica Poetry and Mysticism Volume IX, Number 4 Winter 1986 * kh00030

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coteries Categories Individuals

See prior Stephen Burt posts: kh00027 and kh00028. As strongly as I am against literary packaging, which arises from the human need to label things, I cannot figure out why I consistently allow the ruminations of others to draw me into that habit. Yes it is a memory aid, and yes in the sciences it is essential, but it tends to limit the scope of what a given maker actually makes. Scientifically, I am in the category of humans who are less than five feet tall. In the realm of poem-making are those who prefer to be members of a coterie and/or to be identified as being a maker whose works are examples of a specific categorizable nature. I find nothing wrong with that. But yesterday Mark Wallace led me to a post by none other than that erudite independent John Latta, a post I had already read or at least glanced through. I read it, and realized that my willingness to let Burt or whomever have hir say without my trying to be confrontational lessens the worth of what I say. So this is how on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Latta wins. kh00029

Friday, May 29, 2009

Regarding Burt's The New Thing

essay in The Boston Review, which I read today via a link at Silliman's Blog, several thoughts: Stephen Burt did a lot of research. - His essay is therefore historically valuable. - Establishing and supporting the existence of a poetic trend requires a node of activity dedicated to making poems of a particular kind. That, as Burt recognizes, poems of the kind he discusses have been made for years do help to support his position; they are not sufficient to establish a trend. - Anthologies, presses, journals, blogs, poet-to-poet communications are the means by which trends are established. - I and many, many others are among those who for years have written poems of The New Thing kind; but it wasn't until recently that numerous poets began writing entire books of such poems. * Stephen Burt notes that the two best books are Mark Levine's Debt and Rae Armantrout's Next Life. kh00028

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

John Latta post for today

will be of interest to all who hold a view similar to mine. What view? I think that if you read his post you will figure that out easily enough. I'm having my usual evening breathing difficulties. So there are circles and squiggles and interior rattlings, and semi-conscious rockings I/ find hard to stop even though I know that they exacerbate my breathing difficulties. Well, don't just sit there, hop on over to Tuesday, April 21, 2009. Note: his archive information is at the bottom of his page. kh00026

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Post-Industrial World and Poetry

Natura naturans (the Coleridgean ongoing) lies outside us; and yet we are part of it, and more and more are changing it to meet our perceived needs. If we get there, the post-industrial world will find us more intimately connected to machines than we have ever been. So much so, actually, the industrial world will seem ancient to us. Imagine weather control, an Edenic planet, immortal or nearly immortal bodies, brains far superior to even the best now. Homo sapiens will likely be discarded in favor of a more appropriate name. Will poem-making disappear? No. Will there be poem-making contests between humans and robots? If you have been paying attention to Blogger word verifications, there already are. The Flarf, then, and Conceptual modes are precursors. Each, however, while able to accommodate varying approaches, is specialized. Practitioners have an affinity for what they do. ** Had planned to write a lot more, but between my body concerns/ nothing. kh00025

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cover scans plus five poems

2009-04-03: Yesterday was cloudy windy and later rainy, and tomorrow will be clear cool early, then up to 70 under 100% cloudiness, then rainy late w/temps moderately cooler. Scanned the covers of 15 books. Most are books of poems. Among them are Another Song I Know, short poems by William Michaelian, Hardwood by Gary B. Fitzgerald, Instead by David Lunde, Perdition's Keepsake by Charles Behlen, and Making Hay & other poems by Tom Montag. See this William Michaelian site. From page 62 of this 2007 Cosmopsis Books book: The Age of Us All My father is a boat no longer fit to sail. He sits in the harbor, rocking in a wooden chair by the fireplace, waiting for the tide to take him out. If both of us survive, come spring, I'll lift him out of the water and scrape the barnacles from his feet. He will like that, and I will too. See Tom Montag site. From this 1975 Pentagram Press book: Rain: an Old Hat rain: an old hat caught by wind, tossed down the street into the face of an old man. i chase the rain as if my hat & find it fits that old man's brow. *** David Lunde

"Fruitful is the Vine": cover art by David Lunde Exit The four red letters, lurid in the dark theater, the only distraction, a subliminal reminder that every story has an end. And though optimism calls each death a birth, still there is the disorientation, that readjustment to the world which exists. It is not the one you lived in; it will not be. You try to hold on, imagining perhaps a repeat performance, but when the time comes nonetheless you Exit, determined to love the new, asking yourself what it was you used to love as if you didn't know. *** Charles Behlen Dust Storm/Slaton, Texas I kick the earth, the dust, a ghost, leaps at my face, reminding me with gritty tears of lovers, whores, friends and kin, gone to the ground before I was born. *** Gary B. Fitzgerald Hello Hello, everybody. I miss you all. I'm sorry I haven't been to see you, but it's not my fault. After all, you're buried all over the damned country. I can't drive that far. But being that you're dead, I figure you can hear me anyway. Hello, everybody. I miss you. --- Please see my comment. --- kh00024

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Toward morning while

still on my bed I began to feel unusually cold; so I pulled the top fold of the comforter I was on/ off to the right and slipped beneath it and pulled it back over me. My bed, which is big enough for two sleepers, has two comforters on it and the mattress just beneath them has a white fitted sheet on it. The bottom comforter's fold is on the left side because I'd roast if I tried to sleep under three comforter flaps. To be clear, the left side is the right side when one stands at the foot of my bed. That is the side where, for a number of reasons, I get in and get out. A couple minutes after 7 this morning I pulled the drape cord--there is only one window in this room--and was greeted by patches of snow. The sturdy bush continues to grow, become more green and less white since while new blossoms appear on it/ its blossoms have for the most part dis- appeared. In the distance is a tall tree that still looks like a winter tree. At its top was a single silent crow. In its silence it said to me: I am your new Christmas angel. Given the state of this union of states I live in, I was reluctant to disagree. In fact, I began to see that crow as my nation's new national bird. Then a second crow alighted at the top about two feet to the west. Together they reminded me of a chicken wishbone. Some minutes later three more crows flew in beneath them, but did not stay long. Still, I heard no caw. Then after more minutes, the crow that had been there when I opened the drapes/ flew off to the east, and soon the second crow flew off to the north and then to the west. kh00023

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

twenty influences on my writing

were not 20 books as such, but were collections mostly in the form of anthologies. Still, I'm going to just sputter along here instead doing any research to get the details right. 01 nursery rhymes, especially "Mary Had . . . ." which I've used as a base several times ex.: Mary had a little lamb, and Charlie had some beef. 02 In our house was a small print single book edition of Shakespeare's works. Unlike Mr. Z, I have never read all of what he (the 17th earl(?)) wrote. I tended to read certain poems and plays over and over. 03 In our house was a set of E. A. Poe's works. Never read all of those either, but I did discover that he wrote humorous stories. 04 I was 11 or 12 when I attempted to write my first poem. It was about the Milky Way because at that time I thought I wanted to be an astrophysicist. 05 In high school the desire/need to attempt to write poems grew, but that school was a Roman Catholic one outside a small and mostly conservative Fox River Valley city, and I didn't aggressively scour libraries or magazines for poems, but somehow the first poet I tried to learn from through an effort at imitation was Charles Péguy. 06 Did find out about a national high school poetry contest. Sent in my first sonnet. Got an honorable mention, as I recall, & it was published in that contest's book. Am sure I read most of the poems in that book, but the book at some point wisely disappeared. 07 Then for one year/ I studied at the physical Marquette University. While there, two books by Alan Paton influenced me, and I wrote a freedom poem for Southern Africa which was partly influenced by the drum rhythms Vachel Lindsay used. 08 During my second semester I took an English class taught by a Jesuit. My term paper was on Dante's Divine Comedy. I wrote a 9-line prologue for my paper, using a difficult rhyme scheme I think I invented. 09 Further, that teacher told us that anyone who had poems accepted by the Marquette Journal, the student magazine, would get an A for the course. So I got three of mine accepted, but I am here to tell you that a poem by another student, a student I am pretty sure was in the dorm wing I was in, is far better than any of mine. "Pride's Offering to the Gods" is its title. 10 During my shortened two years in a Jesuit Novitiate near St. Bonafacius, Minnesota, Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Keats. 11 Forgot to mention I took Latin in high school and so Arma virumque cano preceded and may have been why I chose to read Dante. 12 Then it was three years at Wisconsin State College–Oshkosh where two of my teachers were Iowa Workshop graduates. Oddly I don't remember what poets we studied, but my teachers encouraged me to seek admission to the Iowa program. 13 At Iowa circumstances kept me isolated from other student writers; but George Starbuck, who was my mentor my first year there, was the sole reason I made it through. 14 Marvin Bell was my second year mentor; but W. D. Snodgrass, and fellow students such as Phil Hey and James Tate and Michael Dennis Browne, and hill courses like the one that introduced me to Ben Jonson and highlighted my trauma-caused (due to my being too sensitive) lack of self-confidence// held sway. 15 And yes there was Lowell, Bly, Wright, Plath, and numerous anthologies; and I do not know what order all these came in; but T. S. Eliot had been and remained important to me. 16 Dylan Thomas was another early influence, and Auden and his circle, and E. A. Robinson, and Whitman, and Dickinson, and Homer and beyond. Had taken a Milton course when I was an undergrad. Even Edith Sitwell. 17 Once had the original Donald Allen anthology, and the Rothenberg anthologies, and Kelly and Leary's A Controversy of Poets, and the first edition of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetics. I read far and wide, yet there were many I was not aware of. 18 I did have Ginsberg's Howl. I do have a selection of Lorca's poems. Tom Montag gifted me with a copy of Lorine Niedecker Collected Works. 19 Even though I have a poor rote memory, poems and lines from poems are more important to me than books of poems. Among the poems I have a special feeling for is: "The Ship of Death" by D. H. Lawrence. 20 Unlike many, I am less attracted to jazz than to classical music, and I am not into movies. Guess I'm not with it, but I'm not against it either. -- So, given that for 20+ years poets and poem-making were incidental interests, I am playing catch-up, an endeavor I know is totally futile. -- a toy ot! kh00022

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

their conversation continues

Now into a greatness phase, the conversation between Joseph Hutchison and Adam Fieled has moved me to share two recent posts a response from Joseph Hutchison a response from Adam Fieled and to cease making comments beneath their posts relating to this conversation. If I have anything to say, I will say it in this blog. kh00021

Monday, March 2, 2009

Denise Low's blog

is next door in Kansas. She posts about what is happening there and near there. She often will showcase a particular poet. A cowboy poet is or was the current feature. Take a look. kh00020

Sunday, February 22, 2009

James Wright James Wright Robert Bly

In my original Rooted Sky (1972) is a poem written for the poet James Wright. Years later it also became for a quasi-neighbor named James Wright as the result of a conversation between my father and that man's father. Aware of my poem, the father of that James Wright had asked my father if I had written the poem for his son. In informing me about the conversation, my father said he told Mr. Wright that I had. Softly shocked, I was about to ask him why, but the wow of knowing my father had a sensitive side moved me to explain to him it was for a poet named James Wright but--that's okay--I'll just change the dedication. The Maverick. Another poem in that book is for the poet Robert Bly. Its title is almost longer than the poem, so I won't reveal the whole of it. Imagining Myself on a Hill kh00019

Saturday, February 21, 2009

K Silem Mohammad on Flarf

In 2005 Tom Beckett conducted an interview with KSM. A link to the entire interview will be the focus of what is in this post, but so that you have an idea of what to expect, these excerpts: * "Form makes us feel." - ". . . it just means we all use what we've got in whatever way we can." - ". . . curiosity. . . ." - "The first thing I try to do as a writer is surprise myself." * My point is to forward the human behind the artifact. I don't care if I have trouble appreciating what results from acts of flarfing. That is for me to deal with over time. I do care about the process, about the efforts a flarfist makes to create an artifact that communicates, that has value for those who can appreciate artifacts of that type. Artistry is artistry, no matter its origin. I was 18 or 19 when I first heard music by Stravinsky, and I thought/ what in the--. With help from two other students, and through listening to it several times, I began to understand and feel why it was highly touted. During my last years in Gainesville, Florida, the San Francisco Symphony presented a series of radio pro- grams moderated by a woman whose name escapes me. It was about American maverick composers. Read the interview. kh00018

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I Cant Stand Being Human

anymore: so weak, so stupid, so full of false pride. Humans are too adept at fashioning idiotologies: I- am-better-than-you-are power fantasies: globalized ickonomies / inhumane religions / suicide deceits. If I can not be a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King-- who who-a-who who-a-who-a-whooo who who-a-who a-who-who who who-a-who who-a-who-a-whooo who who-a-who a-who-who - who who-a-who who-a-who-a-whooo who who-a-who a-who-who who who-a-who who-a-who-a-whooo who who-a-who a-who-who The rings of my life are riddled with errors. So I surmise I am an average human. Say ah. Say oh. Giants and Dwarfs is a book of essays (1960-1990) by Allan Bloom. A hardbound copy of it has been in my meagre library for some years. Recently I began reading it. Have so far read the Preface and Western Civ. He is a believer in knowledge derived from the greatest thinkers of important Western civilizations. Cultural persuasions are passing power-oriented missteps. Promoters of such--let's just say he doesn't trust them. In turn, of course, they tend to misunderstand him. Western Civ was an address Bloom gave at Harvard University on December 7, 1988. On page 18 in the book, this sentence from it: Pascal's formula about our knowing too little to be dogmatists and too much much to be skeptics perfectly describes our human condition as we really experience it, although men have powerful temptations to obscure it and often find it intolerable. From page 23: What we are witnessing is the Quarrel of the Canons, the twentieth century's farcical version of the seventeenth century's Quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns---. . . . From page 27, however, this caution: It is a grave error to accept that the books of the dead white Western male canon are essentially Western--- or any of those other things. From page 29: Each must ultimately judge for him- self about the important books, but a good beginning would be to see what other thinkers the thinkers who attract him turn to. Allan Bloom wants us neither to be "culture-bound" nor to miss the "great dialogue". So I should read his essays, though I cannot be sure I will. kh00017

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Theme Variation

The world is. . . . Well through ill, the journey of my life has/// been a piece of cake; but, I tell you: You would not want to eat it. Recently, I have found myself often re-imagining incidents in my life based on the old saw: Knowing what I know now, if I could live my life over again, I would. . . . *** Reflecting on this, I have arrived at two conclusions: 1) "Knowing what I know now" cannot be substituted for knowing what I knew then -- 2) "If I could live my life over again, I would" do exactly what I did. Even if I grant that all my choices were made/ selflessly, I could only have made them as the wisdom I had at those moments moved me to. I am a creature of a continuum of present moments exiting from and entering into present moments, and the excellence of my memory and/or ability to devine the future notwithstanding, the best I can do is the best I can do at the moment of each choice because I am not a perfect being. "All you who are without sin cast the first stone." So, the idea that I should not fuss over a choice I have made because the past is past is inconsequential. I am not a Fatalist. In spite of the barriers against it, I know it is possible for me to improve, and to that end/ re-imagining an event which cannot be changed is not without value. About my memory: My memory tends to be tied to the traumatic, to those occurrences which impact my emotions. I do not have a strong rote memory. Only the first line of the poem linked to above remained available to my consciouness. Therefore, when I read the entire poem earlier today, I was shocked by a reference to a mythical being in it. A verse I included in my 1982 Alden St. Cloud First Pick, a verse written when I was in high school, appears to have been directly influenced by that poem. A mere twenty or twenty-five copies of First Pick were printed, and since I no longer had any of those copies, I have picked that book apart, placing what is in it in other books. Being a selected and new book, most of what is in it is from yet other books anyway. About my IQ: My first recollection is 117, but I have scored as low as 100 and as high as 150. Big deal. The only important test of that nature I did well on was the 1984 GRE I took at UF in Gainesville, Florida. I was 43 then, and had been motivated by a lawyer I knew to seek a degree in Accounting. In preparation I took several computer and accounting courses at the local college. I also studied rigorously for the exam. This is not the first time I have written about this online, but I scored 740 on the Verbal section and 630 on the Quant. I was accepted by the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting but I couldn't even muster the energy to make it through one semester. So I thought-- since Donald Justice, whom I had missed at Iowa, was conducting a workshop at UF--I should try to get into the university's Doctorate in English program. With help via a letter from Marvin Bell, I was accepted. However, unknown to me until after the fact, I chose to take a course in non-Shakespearean Renaissance Drama, a course presided over by that department's most difficult professor. Not that that would have made any real difference since even though I did get through the semester, I knew I would not be able to muster the energy to continue. The drama professor said I should continue writing poems. My spurt in Accounting, alas, had me in the stock market; and the GRE preparation had me into heuristic delvings in mathematics. I wrote some papers and a tome on the latter, and I built a tomb in the former. Back to the GRE. Online is a site which shows the IQ (using 2 measuring methods: Wechsler and Stanford-Binet) and also the Percentile a GRE score approximates. * Rather silly, but hey. Onward is the only direction: which means/ ever, ever closer to being no longer Earth-alive; which is why I say: Death is the only life worth living. kh00016

Monday, January 19, 2009

In Remembrance

Somewhere I heard the voice of a man charge the world; somewhere I heard a voice of might. Somewhere I heard the voice of a man large and deep; somewhere I heard a voice of light. Somewhere I heard the voice of a man word on word well up in me; somewhere I learned how the right words can turn the one who's heard inside out. Somewhere I heard; somewhere yearned. - The above, the octet of "January: Year-day 15" remembering Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was written in 1976 and is in my 1976 Today. ** "I Have a Dream" speech (17 minutes) kh00015

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A disheveled life

is a sad life. Or is it? Here at the beginning of my 69th year as an Earth-alive human, I have set upon this rumination meaning to bemoan many of the choices I have made, believing them to be deleterious, and yet I know that had I not made them I would not be here as I now am: physically (i.e., bodily), geographically (i.e., in this bedroom in this apartment in this city, et, et, et), mentally (i.e., the locatable but intangible me, the "I am thought" as Rimbaud wrote), and/ spiritually. So: Were my sometimes outright hurtful choices necessarily without-redeeming- value choices? This morning while combing my hair, I broke my habit of always trying to make a straight part, and sought out how my hair wanted to part--I have a nasty cowlick. Voila! Odd, but: much better. A truly wise human--it could be asserted--is one who is able to learn quickly and thereby structure his/her life diligently. Were I to detail my life journeys/ it would be evident I am not a truly wise human. So what kind of human am I? I am a well,-that-didn't-work;- so-let's-try-this-approach guy. Result? A vast unevenness in antithetical disciplines. A hiatus of twenty years (approximately 1987 into 2007) from the realms of poetry. And what of my constant buying and moving and general fiscal irresponsibility? But Brian, how often must you go over these? Do you think you are a tragic hero? Were there no joys amid your so-called errors? Get a fife. Nonetheless, my major regrets: -- Stop! I just recalled an incident where I should have raised a question, but didn't; and recalling this incident has made me realize I cannot have any regrets/ because I would not have done anything other than what I did. I am a flawed being, and the flaws I had and have/ always impact my judgments/ positively, nega- tively, inconsequentially. So: where to/ then? There were the many relevance and categorization discussions. Now there are Don Share's recent posts on a variety of topics in the air; Joseph Hutchison's openness/closure conversation with Adam Fieled; the new multiplicities conversation about younger authors between Mark Wallace and Joseph Mosconi. All such--and there are like others--are good for the communities of poets. kh00014

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sometimes I think

an important part of who I am is stuck in my pre-teen and teen years. Why? As it pertains directly to me I am not sure, but as it pertains to others when they are compared to me by me in particular/ it seems they are--no matter their age--more serious in their daily doings than I am. Strange. My temperament is not a sanguine one. Lonelinesses are my milieux. Yet I am riddled by a playfulness that undercuts my sadnesses. And I never know when or how it will show. Most often it enters spontaneously. It is in its way a safety valve I ought to be grateful for, but I sense others see me as silly and insincere because of it. Perhaps I am wrong as no one has ever said anything more than: "That's not funny." Of course, what I blurt isn't supposed to be funny, just goofy. My humour is of the dry British sort. Sometimes I would say: "Well, I got it from the Imp from the Garbage Universe, and when I die I am going to kill him." Poor Shakespeare, or the 17th Earl of ?. One day a coworker's remark led me to say: "I once read that Hamlet had a weight problem; so this is what I did with the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy: Tubby or not tubby, that is the question. Whether 'tis better to go on a diet, or build a kite, and fly it." See what I mean. Another day when I was with two coworkers who were talking about the movie, Amistad, and one of them said the main character knew only 5 English words, I immediately responded: "Yes: 'You stupid. I go home.'" It is for reasons such as these that I have concluded it is best to read many of my poems with an accent quite unlike one's own. The resulting angularity juices them. kh00013

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I cannot be consoled

and so if it seems I have thereby condemned myself to a kind of eternal hell, then is does. Why? Primarily because I have made too many self-destructive choices, but angers not directed by me at me but by me at others are also part of the why. Read this vestibular homily which serves as the first page of my Venturings book. If you don't, you will not be able to properly understand the rest of this rumination. Today (2008-12-02) over at KSM's Lime Tree I came upon a link to this. One sentence in it is: "It's all a question of where you put the emphasis: on the self or on the poem; on the art product or on the shared activity of making." After all the opinions I've encountered about language these past two years, this is the one that broke the proverbial camel's back. Will get to it later. First, me. In approximately six weeks, birthday 68. I am a small human. A frail human. My physical back has been broken several years. My body has other ailments. -- I was raised in the small (30,000+) Fox River Valley town of Fond du Lac, WI, situated at the southern end of Lake Winnebago. The Roman Catholicism which I absorbed made it difficult for me to be honest with myself. Being somewhat intelligent, I allowed too much false pride to reign and not enough integrity. So the sources of my/ disruptive choices: sexual, financial, day-to-day. From this vantage, some of them prove that at those moments I was "verifiably" insane. Neoliberal Poetry Broadside. The authors of this straw clearly enough indicate what poetics they prefer though they do admit that anathema transgressions occur there too. The problem for me is that I am not committed to one way of expressing my It Poetics. Therefore, all the labels flitting about and about strain my tolerance beyond annoyance since their flip existence undermines the arguments of those who fling them. Talk about ego. Anti-I? anti-capitalist?: with that kind of hegemonic staging!? I just don't get it. Sure, those who are in with what these authors espouse, generally love what is in their broadside. Poets who align themselves with this group or that group/ do so because they feel comfortable there. It isn't easy--and scientific studies say, not even healthy--to be isolated. One of the finest statements Ron Silliman ever made was the praise he accorded the late Quietist (yet not so quiet) Reginald Shepherd. That is where we should be. Fine poems can be wrought in any style, and every day are. The more ways found to make great poems, the better. Is not each poem an experiment, an innovation. Have you not noticed how often the most loved song by a rock band is that band's quietist one? Bang, bang, bang / bing, bing, bing / trang, trang, trang / yangy, yangy. That's noisy. Oh huff 'n' puff. "Revolving door." kh00012

Monday, November 10, 2008

sullen grey

Today began as partly cloudy, and then became mostly clear, but by early afternoon was overcast. Yesterday and the day before were overcast just as large swaths of my life have been. Two minutes ago 9:41 PM passed. Earlier today I read through an AOL picture-post about handwriting. Guess I had it in my head I might find something there that related to me. Nevertheless, when I was quite young I let a sporadic question: "Can't you ever do anything right?": traumatize me; and I now suspect that most of the poor choices I have made were the result of my stubbornly trying to prove that indeed I could do things right. In other words, instead of allowing reason to guide me, I allowed emotion to, thereby undermining my efforts to attain certain goals I had set. Would I have attained those goals had I been willing to view with a colder eye opportunities I was looking at? Without a doubt. What opportunities? Not sure I want to say, but there were at least a dozen of them presented to me, and had I recognized them as worthy of a small risk--a risk I could afford to take--I would have been, if all the other events of my life had remained as they turned out to be, a wealthy person before the diseases that forced me into early retirement impacted me. As it is, it may be I am poor beyond repair, which doesn't mean I haven't made good choices or haven't been inexplicably blessed because of certain other efforts of mine. I have. I have. And yes, I am being blessed right now. Do you know who God is? No. Nor do I. But I do not go with coincidence, or with fate, or with luck; therefore, God for me is that power which makes possible everything; is that power which most makes its presence visible when inexplicable blessings enter one's life at those moments when one is most in need of them, whether or not they are recognized for what they are. Watch God moments is what I have come to call them. This is my ruminations den, and I decided tonight to hide the comments option for this location. ----------- kh00011

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Poets are conduits

On October 24, 2008, on his not poetry blog, Bill Knott posted which is too much. Through an anecdote from the Selected Writings of Walter Benjamin, the practice of Mallarmé initiates what soon becomes a serious discussion about poets and what to him are the two core esthetics. - Thus Brecht versus Rilke and their associated ramifications. See the Selden Rodman quote taken from the Preface for his 1949 Anthology: One Hundred Modern Poems. Reading Mr. Knott's words hit me in the head much as (when we were in grade school) Markevich's glove did in what was supposed to be a controlled boxing match I immediately stopped, knowing I would not be able to defend myself against his longer reach. Honestly, I do not intend to counter Bill Knott's thinking here either; but I will be sharing past and present turns of mine that will include some poems because of the ideas in them. Stunningly--to me at least--back in the 1960s I wrote this sonnet and in the 1970s this for Doug Flaherty poem; but just so you can grasp-- should you prefer to ignore them--why they matter now, here are their titles: "The Future Belongs to the Rilkeans" and "The Marriage of God and Money". * I was raised as a Roman Catholic. Knott: "The question then as today seems to be, what 'faith' should one aspire to 'contribute' one's artistic efforts toward the furtherance of: individual (spiritual) or collective (socialist)?" And later: "'Individual faith' versus 'Collective faith.' Capitalism (Religion/ Fascism) versus Socialism. Or: Style versus Content." What is difficult for me now is that I cannot take one side over the other. Further, equating Religion with Fascism forced me to seek an extended definition of the latter. I found one. It is at Old Amercian Century. 14 Points are listed. However, under each point are numerous links to copyrighted material. I suggest you read only the 14 points and what the final link zaps to. Humans are humans, and while extensive quality-of-life changes continue to occur, quality-of-thought changes have taken on different faces but essentially remained the same. Know that I say this, hoping I am wrong. - Still, poets are conduits. Some are so of this. Some are so of that. Some consistently/purposely change. Some are so of whatever, or like to imagine they are. I am among those. Accordingly, the aesthetic I support is: Write as you are moved to write. Here are three more Knott statements: - "In fact, in this dispensation, in this scale of esthetics, the more insignificant the ostensible subject is, the better." - "The more boring the content, the more intriguing the style (theoretically)." - "Content/subject/intent are excrescences that burden the work with extraneous matter." Finally, as befits him, Bill Knott ends his post with: - "Form is never more than an extension of breakfast. As shown in this poem by Jacques Prévert, trans. by the forgotten poet Selden Rodman:" The translated title of the poem is: LATE RISING Kh00010 *

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My routine for visiting blogs

got interrupted during the summer. Tonight, starting near the bottom of my lengthening Blog List, I reinstated that routine. This post, however, is not going to be about my routine or about my being remiss. When I arrived at Mark Wallace's blog I encountered an opinion post preceded by a cartoon that made me laugh. I paraphrase: Is making a poem a form of work or a form of play? It may not seem so, but to me this is a complex question; therefore, my answer will be complex. - I make poems, or objects like poems, using what I will call here an open aesthetics because any object I am making, or which I am participating in making, takes precedence. I have sometimes called it my It Poetics. Do I care how good it is? Yes, but only to the extent that it is true to itself. As a result of my openness, all manner of objects occur: ditties, muttobs, multimedia poems, picture poems, phonetic poems, silly poems, varing degrees of serious poems. Further, I contend that some of those objects are best read with an accent or in a tone that is unlike my accent or the tone I would normally use. Point: the perceiver of an object ostensibly from me becomes that object's judge and jury; so let each such perceiver interpret it as s/he wills. I, while I am Earth-alive, can make known my insights about it and can change it if I so desire; but after that it is in stasis until it is perceived. - So, is my making/ work or play: both. A poem may come to me in its final form, or it may take years for it to attain a form I am satisfied with, or I may let it out to be seen even if I'm not satisfied with it, or even if I am satisfied with it/ I may never let it out. Do I ever use a set of constraints prior to making an object? Yes I do. See my alphabet experiment in the ghost in the dumpster. kh00009

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Somewhat likeable but inconsequential

is how i feel most bloggers regard me, and i think i know why; but it doesn't matter/ because the only person i am competing against is me: the silence in the showy fields. In an old poem of mine i compare my voice to a pale blue moth. It isn't that i can't go on at length as so many do, eliciting: "Oh, oh, that Dragon Cecropia is here again." Or maybe it is. Admittedly i have been until recently/ away from the fray. Admittedly i am not about promoting a manifest point-of-view. Admittedly i could never fit in with certified groups, which does not mean i am uninterested in what members of such groups make. The isolation i've chosen undermines those urges in me to complain; and that, actually, is a good: it frees me. Still, i know my long absences (along with my decision to exit from submitting to editors) may have cloaked my freedom, made it impossible for any of my artifacts to ever be taken seriously. Talk about a game of chance. Whatever happens, it will be as it will be. kh00008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Reginald Shepherd

and I had scant contacts, and only two of those (possibly three) were meaningful. However, first go to Ron Silliman's Blog and search out his Saturday, September 13, 2008. * ". . . poems are, or should be, experiences in themselves, and not just accounts of or commentaries on experience; they should be additions to the world, not simply annotations to it." - This is a quote from Reginald Shepherd's essay: On Difficulty in Poetry which is available at J. J. Gallaher's site here. * From Nic Sebastian's site: Reginald Shepherd's answers to The Ten Questions 2 here. * At poems and * At Poetry Foundation's Harriet, Emily Warn's post and the comments beneath it. * From Joseph Hutchison: Sad News * From Jasper Bernes: this remembrance - Earlier this year when I was posting on my Rhodingeedaddee site/ sections of what had been my Tripod Brian's Brain log from 2000, Reginald Shepherd (having somehow found it, and thinking I was writing about 2008 events in my life) placed beneath page 4 a comment which exemplifies his empathetic spirit. If you wish to, see here. In March of 2008, "Robert Duncan and Me" appeared on Reginald Shepherd's Blog. 11 comments are beneath that post. Do read his post and the comments beneath it, if you take this link to there. kh00007 =

Monday, September 1, 2008

Poem Reading

A poem is a made object, an artifact, a thing that waits in stasis until a perceiver comes upon it and favors it with an attention of one depth or another. No two persons interpret a particular poem the same way unless they have persuaded each other that a specific view is the correct one. No/ one person interprets a particular poem in quite the same way each time that poem is encountered by that person. A person is constantly changing. A poem, unless an event has altered it, exists/ as it/ last was. One could argue for an entire lifetime about how best to read a given poem, and then/ just before dying see something new in that poem. And as to whether a poem is worthy of one's interest is also up to each perceiver. o o Writers often write about reading, and not dogmatically about it either. After all, every act of writing is exploratory. After all, every act of reading is exploratory. Whatever language is / or languages are / being explored, the serious writer is always on a learning curve as well as on a teaching curve. Three recent examples: On Alvin Feinman's "True Night" at Reginald Shepherd's Blog; When Four Tribes Go to War at Cahiers de Corey; William Shakespeare's Sonnet CXVI at Lime Tree. o o I, as you should know, do not have a staunch aesthetic; and, therefore, I usually do not like to argue with someone else's aesthetic, even if I disagree with aspects of it. At times I will support a view which differs from mine. When I do, it is because I think I understand it well enough to see why it works for the person who holds it. Just because it varies from core leanings in my universe is no reason to argue against it. I'm not trying to make others into a shadow copy of me. What for? How many schools of poetic thought have there been since humans invented structured lingual sounds, sounds that codified meaning? Still, words are malleable. How words are manipulated is. One thing about new that always is true: it is different. o o So I am not going list any rules. - If you come across something that doesn't make sense, that makes you afraid it might invade, that moves you to want to change your font, then--at least for/ inspection and safety--put up a fence. - After a while, if all seems okay, you can roll up the fence, and ________________. kh00006

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aesthetic openness

is my way. Why? I prefer variety. I want the signs I use to be partners in what I make. Do I never force my will on those signs? Not never, but wicked wonders they often are/ that have in them wisdoms I would miss if I was always constraining them to my designs. Let them breathe. Stanley Kunitz believed poems come as a kind of blessing. So do I. Besides, though I do want my artifacts to please and enhance, I don't demand praise for any of them. I realize I'm taking risks, and that in the end I might be a lonely and forgotten group of one, but if that is the fate of my project I'll still have the satisfaction of knowing I did not shatter/ my own lights. Moment-to- moment each must do as each sees. Like Jon Anderson said about his: my poetry is not for everyone. (But, Brian, you don't write poems. Well, shit. That's right: that's what it is. Thank you.) So, how does this aesthetic openness play out? Oddly. For one thing, lines become more important to me than whole poems. I know: that's true for a lot of people. However, if two people read 25 poems and were asked to pick 25 lines, one from each poem, it would be a tad freaky if their choices were the same. To begin with, person 1 might pick a line from poem 4 because it was hilarious, while person 2 picked a line from poem 4 because it was sonorous. Have me pick a line from 4 and I might pick one because it had a word in it I was unfamiliar with. I'm the same way with popular songs. Staggeringly weak rote memory. When I write I try to in this noisy world deepen my concentration. Nonetheless, anything can happen. There are ways of making poems I am unlikely to ever try. During the last two years though/ I did try several of the less demanding, especially in my This Day's Poem e-chap and in my online June 2007 book. From ditties on through muttobs, and bad / mediocre / good poems, most of those I've written and am writing are online. Muttobs exist in a space between ditties and poems but it is a fuzzy space. "Dog On" is an example. It has six one-word lines, and each word begins with an "m". Notice the two conventions I do not follow. There are others. There are new ones I've adopted and new ones I've invented. I am certain I am not the only one doing such things. As an undergrad in the mid 1960s the professor I took a history of the English language course under/ predicted that the apostrophe would fall out use and that eventually the language would devolve to grunts and groans. I have no clue about the language, and "it's" seems to be the only sticker re the apostrophe. As to what happened to the semicolon, I still use it. I also use the slash (virgule) as a pause notation. In my time I have lived through many technologies. During my childhood we had a mimeograph. We even got into laminating and wood burning. My dad set ads for the local newspaper, but we never explored the world of fonts and presses at home and nothing aroused an interest in me about that world. I have consistently used basic HTML since coming online in 2000, but I was more into math than poetry at that time. There too I went my own way. So I am out there, or in here, or somewhere: I am a flutterby. One day--last year, I think--I got the idea I could produce a book of 1024 blank pages. It would be my collected works. Invisible Ink would be its title. I mention this because I don't want K G to one-up me on it. Lawrence Sterne is probably laughing. Doesn't all this tickle your widgets. A few years ago--maybe it was in 2004--I created a new Olympic sport: Dot Dancing. There's an explanation of it in one of my journals. See my "2 Curious Lines" poem (?) in the ghost in the dumpster and read my comment on it if you happen to read this and have not yet read that. Contagious cadenzas. kh00005

Friday, August 29, 2008

Julia Vinograd

was a classmate of mine at Iowa (1965-67). She had a limp. Never did ask her or anyone else why. Today I searched her name again as it had been a while since I last did. Found out she had had polio as a child. For many years she has been a Berkeley street poet and has been honored by that city. Here is a simple introduction: Julia Vinograd and here is the transcript of a 2004 interview by Judy Jones: along with several family photos. Some of her books have unusual covers and titles. See kh00004

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doing Time at Iowa

or: My Iowa Isolated Freedom (1965-67) - I was 24 going in, having been delayed two years by an errant yet necessary venture in a Jesuit facility in St. Bonifacius, Minnesota. During my junior and senior undergraduate years I was the lead editor of Pursuit, a dying literary and arts journal. Thankfully, after my departure, Professor Richard Lyons changed its focus, and renamed it Wisconsin Review. In June of 1965 I married the woman I was most attracted to when we were in grade school. Subsequently, by means of a ruse, I initiated employment for her at the university, but we were not able to find living quarters in Iowa City. In Solon, about ten miles north, we found an upstairs apartment in a large house. All in all, though it kept me away from other students in the MFA program, it was/ a pleasant place. Solitude appealed to me. My first year my mentor was George Starbuck. For reasons I do not recall/ I decided to write Onefor, an epic with a torturous rhyme scheme. I did manage to complete a draft of Book I. However, it was not acceptable, and the efforts needed to make it acceptable would have been Herculean. I was not faring all that well with the hill courses either. Starbuck could have sent me packing, but an intuition he had, plain and worn as it was, led him to tell me to: write about something you are familiar with. Already nearing the end of year one, and knowing I had not written enough good short poems, on a return to my hometown, I walked through important parts of it. Thus, Fond du Lac, a loose blank verse long poem, a lyric narrative, speckled with others its protagonist encounters/imagines. Compared to the epic, it is like a happening. By the time the first lines of it appeared on a worksheet/ Marvin Bell was my mentor; but Starbuck's intuition, pressuring me as it did, had freed me. The change was palpable. Alas, it perturbed one student so/ he walked to the front, and--sitting in a chair behind a table--began reciting from memory a composition of his he was certain was superior--which indeed it was--but was made comical by the juxtaposition of a deeply felt personal truth. Laughter erupted. I, though I may have smiled, was sad. That student rushed out; and to this day I wish I had had the strength to convince him to stay; but childhood traumas prevented me from helping him heal the trauma/ he was experiencing. - [ Note: My memory is fallible, but I am relating all here as my memory has retained that all. ] - Afterwards, out in the hall, James Tate (god that he was) asked me: "How do you write those long poems?" Stunned is the word. First off, if he actually did use "those long poems"/ it didn't register. Had it, I would have questioned it/ as I didn't think anyone knew about the epic. Perhaps it's neither here nor there since I was stunned. Not having a clue how to respond, I asked him: "How do you write your short ones?" At that point the word became silence. Had I known then what I know now: that he was into jazz, I would have mentioned that and then told him I prefer symphonies. I did have brief conversations with two or three other students while I was at Iowa. Here are names of those I remember, whether or not I ever spoke to them: Phil Hey, Michael Dennis Browne, Peter Klappert, Harold Bond, Peter Cooley, Steve Orlen, Jon Anderson, David Lunde, Julia Vinograd, Richard Geller, Eric Nightingale. Some side notes: - During the summer of 1966 I worked in a pallet factory in Coralville, Iowa. - When I was a child, my parents learned I had allergies the day I went with my father to help him pick corn on the land where he was a child. It was less than four blocks from our house, but by the time we got back to there/ my eyes were pasted shut. One day in Iowa City when I stopped to get my wife, she told me my face was all white, scaly white, that I looked like a ghost. - Julia Vinograd has written over 50/ books of poems. kh00003

Saturday, August 23, 2008

sort of an intro

B I R T H Still do not have a guiding plan for this. I have around a dozen notebooks partially or totally used for diary/journal purposes, but they would be hard to work with. There are topics I want to explore, but I am not quite ready. So even this may take days to complete. Was just at a page asking: Are you a left-brain or a right-brain thinker? There were 10 yes/no questions. The point of them was career advice. Librarian, accountant, hospitality industry and counsellor were four of the possibilities. In general, writers tend to be right-brained and mathematicians left-brained. I am not a natural genius but on a GRE I took in June of 1984--I was 43 then--my Verbal score was 740 and my Quantitative score 630. The Q score put me with the bioengineers. Another test I took during that decade indicated I should be a librarian. I've not been either, but most of my working years I was a Holiday Inn 3rd shift clerk (a night auditor), a position which requires left-brain and right-brain abilities. Ditto for my teaching positions prior to drifting into the hospitality industry. Am I now just the hunchback of no name? Could be. I am edging closer to/ being an ash. See brain/career article here. So where is this trekking toward? Nearly all the information above can be found elsewhere in my online posts, but not all in the same place. If I'm allowed to live until I am 80, I may do more in fifteen years than I did in the first 65. I'm now a week past 67.7. Obviously, my health--what there is of it--will have to be enabling; and that does not look good from today's vantage. Really, I ought to be residing in a place where I can walk to/ the services I need. There may not be such a place/ in this city: hospital, doctors' offices, church, library, university, superstore. There was a time when I was a superior runner/ over short distances. I can still walk fast, but I doubt I can run. What I do see a few years out--if I get there--is a wheelchair. Who knows, though, since good things are happening every day. My mother's body was in bad shape when she passed, but her mind was fine. Meanwhile I am trying to do and learn more, which is why I am a reader of comments. For example, yesterday I learned a new word, a word which isn't even in my Collegiate Eleventh. It is in Silliman's recent link list, but I didn't notice it. It was in reading the comments that it got caught in my thought. That word is "asemic", and clicking it will take you to the perfect site for learning about it. kh00002 2008-08-23

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Rhodingeedaddee is my node blog. See my other blogs and recent posts.