October 31, 2007

Thursday NOV 8:
with DOUGLAS KEARNEY opening
7:30 pm @ The Victoria Theatre
2961 16th St (at 16th St BART)
tickets: $10 advance, $15 at the door; students $10 with ID

October 31, 2007

found near Lake Merritt

October 30, 2007

Holy cow! That earthquake I just felt was a 5.6 centered near San Jose.


October 28, 2007

Stuart Dybek, "Windy City," Streets in Their Own Ink (FS&G, 2004).

Part of the fun at crashing at friends' houses, especially when the other friend is also a writer, is raiding their shelves for things you wouldn't normally otherwise read. Hence Dybek, who I regret not having taken a workshop with while I was at Western Michigan studying medieval arcana.
"Windy City"
The garments worn in flying dreams
were fashioned there--
overcoats that swooped like kites,
scarves streaming like vapor trails,
gowns ballooning into spinnakers. (ll. 1-5)
I get the use of parallel structure at work here in lines 3 & 4, but to my ear "kite-like" sounds so much better in line 3.
And then I thumbed through the Bernadette Mayer science writing book.


October 28, 2007

Day 1 of Chicago Calling [10/24]:

1. Arrive at 6 am Midway. Take orange line to the green line; off at Kedzie. Dan Godston rolls up in a white car with a sunroof.
2. Back to Dan's studio and crash while Dan goes to jobby-job.
3. Green line into Adams stop.
4. Harold's Chicken Shack lunch crowd.
5. Bought a pen & new notebook.
6. Bought a thermal undershirt: Lake wind is cold wind, regardless of thermometer.
7. Sculpture garden near the Art Institute.
8. Lake Michigan=small ocean. [Last time I was here, I swam in my skivvies].
9. Planned garden and post-modern oyster shell pavillion.
10. Extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee.
11. Kasey's Tavern.
12. Met Dan at Columbia College w/ Bill [guitarist] and off to Northwestern.
13. Northwestern set-up at WNUR. Chicago Calling over live radio airwaves and internet feed. Studio is a nice performance space.
14. Ask radio station manager if I can swear if it's a literary context: he gives me the George Carlin routine, which while misguided ["community standards" being the never-defined benchmark for on air obscenity] is fine, since they're being nice to us and why would anyone want them to have the FCC on their asses. I did have to change my what-to-read plans at the last minute though.
14. Ed Roberson the first to read with the musicians. Just awesome, as in awe inspiring.
15. Musicians change configurations to make different ensembles. Mostly free jazz.
16. I start to read and the band goes from free jazz to quiet [I'm sure to privelege the spoken part]. It throws me off a little. I plinked on some instruments. Read from a notebook I'm working on, from a ms. I've been shipping around, and from a postacrd series I've never read out loud before.
16. Dan's neighbor Alpha has an art consulting gig between Chicago & Sacramento. She seems well-plugged into things.
17. Back to Dan's about midnight. Dan cooks salmon, rice & onions. We have a beer & catch up. A nice end to the evening.

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October 23, 2007


During the 2nd Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival, Chicago-based artists will showcase performances and projects that involve collaborations with artists living in other locations—here in the U.S. and in other countries worldwide. The collaborations between Chicago-based artists and those living elsewhere will be prepared, improvised, or a combination of both. For instance, a Chicago-based poet will be collaborating with a musician from Niger, a Chicago-based performance ensemble will be collaborating with a composer in New York, and so on. Some of the performances will involve live feeds between Chicago and elsewhere.

Artists involved with Chicago Calling work in a range of media, including music, painting, photography, poetry, dance, and so on. The festival’s participants will include Alpha Bruton, Julie Downey, Asimina Chremos, Craig Christie, Eric Elshtain, Douglas Ewart, Daniel Godston, Jon Godston, Guillermo Gregorio, Marian Hayes, Lisa Hemminger, Alan Emerson Hicks, David Harrison Horton, Hamadal Issoufou, Eric Leonardson, Elizabeth Marino, Sadira Muhammad, Susen James, Jennifer Karmin, Toni Asante Lightfoot, Jayve Montgomery, Charlie Newman, Zimbabwe Nkenya, Pam Osbey, Matthias Regan, Ed Roberson, Chuck Stebelton, Joel Wanek, Christopher Welch, Stan West, and other artists. Performances and presentations will occur in the following venues: Peter Jones Gallery, the Velvet Lounge, Elastic, 32nd&Urban, Café Mestizo, WNUR, Mess Hall, and other locations.

Thursday, October 25; Friday, October 26; and Saturday, October 27

6-9 p.m. on Thursday, October 25
Peter Jones Gallery
1806 W. Cuyler St.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 472-6725

9 p.m.-midnight on Thursday, October 25
The Velvet Lounge
67 E. Cermak Ave.
Chicago, IL
(312) 791-9050
admission: $10

7 p.m.-midnight on Friday, October 26:
2830 N. Milwaukee, 2nd Fl.
Chicago IL 60618
(773) 772-3616
$10 suggested donation, $8 for students

10-3 p.m. on Saturday, October 27:
Café Mestizo
1646 W. 18th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 421-59201
admission: free

3-6 p.m. on Saturday, October 27:
3201 S. Halsted St.
(312) 846-6569

3-6 p.m. on Saturday, October 27:
Mess Hall
6932 North Glenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626
(773) 465-4033
admission: free

The 2nd Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival is being organized by the Borderbend Arts Collective. Borderbend’s mission is to promote the arts, create opportunities for artists to explore new directions in and between art forms, and engage the community. Chicago Calling is part of Chicago Artists Month, the twelfth annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant visual art community. In October, more than 200 exhibitions of emerging and established artists, openings, demonstrations, tours, open studios and neighborhood art walks take place at galleries, cultural centers and arts buildings throughout the city. For more information, call 312/744-6630 or visit Chicago Artists Month is coordinated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and is sponsored by the Chicago Office of Tourism with additional support from 3Arts.

For more information about Chicago Calling, please visit or contact


October 22, 2007

One of the less favorable results of riding my bike to work is just how often I get to use the word door as a verb; as in, some Shemp doored me on the way into work this morning.


October 19, 2007

Bring friend to take my place, since I'm working
at the library and desperately want to go.


October 18, 2007

Thursday, Oct 18 2007 8:00 PM

Outsound Presents Luggage Store Gallery New Music Series
1007 Market St.
@ 6th Street

8:00 pm Joel Wanek & Dan Godston (CHI) w/guest Eric Glick Reimann
9:00 pm Michelle Webb (NM)

Friday, Oct 19 2007 8:00 PM

Free-Jazz Fridays Jazz House
1510 8th Street

THE STIR ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO featuring Dan Godston trumpet & Joel Wanek bass with special guest Jim Ryan winds.

Saturday, Oct 20 2007 8:00 PM

1510 8th St Performance Space
1510 8th Street

New Quartet w/ Jacob Lindsay - Plus Eric Glick Rieman/Dan Godston duo

Jacob Lindsay: Clarinets
Ava Mendoza: Guitar
Damon Smtih: Bass
Weasel Walter: Drums

Note: Special Guests - keyboardists Eric Glick Rieman and trumpeter Dan Godston from Chicago may also play. Eric plays an incredibly prepared (and very short) Rhodes piano, and Dan is a former Mills grad, and an excellent trumpeter.

October 12, 2007

Peter Covino wins PEN Award for Poetry
A South African sportswriter's strange use of Dylan Thomas
Poetry Box
East Africans define poetry
Ceptuetics on WNYU

October 12, 2007

from SPT:


For several years now, Small Press Traffic has been organizing an annual Poets'Theater Festival as our yearly fundraiser, with each year's event showcasingnew innovative works, often staged for the first time here in San Francisco. The festival has each year gathered huge audiences that come out to see writers & artists on stage, in innovative performance works, pushing the boundaries of theater and poetry in staged readings, musicals, neo-benshi film screenings, performance writing pieces, and the like. This year we are excited to have three nights of new programming, including a PoetsTheater revival night and a cabaret, as well as a night of newly commissioned plays and performance works.
We would like to invite you to consider contributing work for this year's cabaret - a full night of innovative performance works currently scheduled for Sunday Feb 3 at 21 Grand in Oakland, CA. We are looking for innovative performances in the avant-garde cabaret tradition. This could range from brief skits to musical acts, improvised performance to conceptual magic tricks, impromptu tableux vivants to feats of aesthetic daring. We could imagine instructional pieces a la Yoko Ono (to be performed by yourself or members of the audience), cross-genre collaborations, puppet shows, etc. The main constraints are that each piece be less than 5 minutes longe, require little-to-no technical support (beyond a microphone), and adhere to this year's theme, which is: "PERFORM YOUR SYMPTOM(S)"...
If you are interested, we would ask for a proposal for a work of NO MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES in length by NOVEMBER 1ST, to . If you are unable to attend but would like to send in a proposal for someone else to perform on your behalf, that'd be great too. You should know that the Poets Theater Festival is out major fundraising vehicle for this year's budget, and we will thus be unable to offer you any money to participate. However, we can offer this unique opportunity to perform or have your work staged in front of a packed house of enthusiastic audience members, in the context of an ongoing and evolving community of avant-garde writers and performers.
Please let us know as soon as you can if you are interested, and please don'thesitate to email with questions and the like.

all best,
David Buuck, Stephanie Young, and Cynthia Sailers
SPT PT 08 Committee


October 10, 2007

I found 45¢ on a couch cushion after our department Tea (yes, where I work has a a collegial tea ritual to get undergrads, grads, and faculty in the same place at one time--it's nice). I gave the 45 ¢ to a prof who helped me move a couch back to where it belonged. She said she was going to give the money to her son who was starting a collection of coins to amass enough to buy a two storied house in the Bay Area, California. Much later in the day, after talking to my father, I found a quarter placed just before my apartment door. I have obviously wasted a day working when I should have been gold prospecting up in the hills.
I didn't even play the Lotto, understanding the rudiments of math.


October 8, 2007

Understanding the art involved, I doubt I like sushi for the tastes presented. Which is really interesting. If I don't delight in the taste, why do I continue to eat it?

October 8, 2007

I like where I live.


October 7, 2007

The City of Oakland's "Lake Merritt Canada Goose Management Study" (July 2007) is available to read here.

I got all nervous the other day walking towards the #57 bus stop, when I realized that there are well less than half of the geese that there were at the lake a month or so ago. I had been feeding them cut up tortillas before work. Given the local media attention, I just assumed the city did something heinous. Apparently, a huge number of "non-resident" geese fly in in July for the molting season which lasts for about 8 weeks. So the goose population spikes into the thousands in summer, rather than the usual 200-400 geese that hang around here on a permanent basis. While molting, apparently the birds can't fly, so they prefer areas with a lot of grass and drinkable water, making Lake Merritt something of a goose summer resort.

Also learned from the pamphlet: the ethical "humane" way to thwart the goose population is to spray their eggs with vegetable oil. It forms a seal around the egg, causing the bird fetus to asphyxiate (How is this ethically better or more efficacious than cracking eggs?). The inclusion of these particular details is quizzacle, since the report admits that Lake Merritt geese are reproducing at very low rates--seagulls and feral cats, the most likely culprits. Egg oiling would need some kind of writ from the gov't to do. Using dogs to harass geese out of certain Lake Merritt areas, however, would not need a writ as long as the dogs didn't touch the birds.

Is this the earliest bird sanctuary in America, or isn't it?



October 5, 2007

Walter Lew's Orioles are well out, as are my Tigers but I'm still glad he convinced me to sign up to hear baseball over the internet. I'm an avid listener of the AL playoff games. Angels 3 Red Sox 3.

As a Detroit kid, I'm rooting for the American Leaugue to take the whole thing. But, I'm also secretly hoping it's anyone but the Indians. And overtly hoping it won't be the Yanks or the Sox, as they are "like rooting for Standard Oil." Which leaves me with the Angels, which itself is uncomfortable, being an A's (until they move to Fremont) fan by fact of location. The Sox and Yanks use the rest of the league as farm teams. I can't care about them.
Ron's Phillies enthuasism makes me want to care about the NL, but it would be pretend carpetbagger care. I've never followed the NL. I couldn't even tell you their best three pitchers. My baseball attention was (is still) always aimed at the AL and it's divisions.

October 5, 2007

Morri Creech, Field Knowledge (Waywiser, 2006). 76 pages.

from "Some Notes on Grace and Gravity"

3. Newton

A minor disappointment not to find
angels pushing the planets around their courses
as Leibnitz believed. A shame, but not a great one,
that the universe seemed less and less to hang
glimmering from God's chain like a gold fob,
although a pendant weight shaped Newton's thought.
(p. 27, ll. 1-6)


October 5, 2007

Ron Silliman read a section of his poem "Ketjak" at a quicker clip than I had read it in my head, which proded me to re-read the poem differently. I don't prefer the faster or slower reading; they both have their merits & different effects.



October 4, 2007

My nostalgic trip began on the #57 bus after work coming home while reading the opening (and disturbing) chapters of Guanlong Cao's memoir The Attic. I perchance ran into David Larsen on a bicycle where the #13 bus dropped me off, disrupting this indulgent nostalgia and throwing me into the now. The now. But when he left and I walked into Walgreen's, the now left too.
Nostalgia, of course, is a fake emotion. But isn't it great? The past's mythologizing. That time I did that thing on that street corner. Isn't it better now, more meaningful now, than 20 years in the past when it happened and 20 people saw it? The important stamp the event has now, it never had at the time.



October 2, 2007

Plato, The Protagoras [347c-e], as posted by Paul Deppler over at American Book Congress:

"Conversation about poetry reminds me too much of the wine parties of second-rate and commonplace people. Such men, being too uneducated to entertain themselves as they drink by using their own voices and conversational resources, put up the price of female musicians, paying well for the hire of an extraneous voice --that of the pipe-- and find their entertainment in its warblings. But where the drinkers are men of worth and culture, you will find no girls piping or dancing or harping. They are quite capable of enjoying their own company without such frivolous nonsense, using their own voices in sober discussion and each taking his turn to speak or listen --even if the drinking is really heavy. In the same way gatherings like our own, if they consist of men such as most of us claim to be, call for no extraneous voices --not even of poets. No one can interrogate poets about what they say, and most often when they are introduced into the discussion some say the poet's meaning is one thing and some another, for the topic is one on which nobody can produce a conclusive argument. The best people avoid such discussion, and entertain each other from their own resources, testing one another's mettle in what they have to say themselves. These are the people, in my opinion, whom you and I should follow, setting the poets aside and conducting the conversation on the basis of our own ideas."


October 2, 2007

Bus driver on the #57 let me on for free after the Ron Silliman reading. That's how good my day ended.


September 30, 2007

Valerie Coulton, Passing World Pictures (Apogee, 2003). 54 pages of non-paginated poetry. $12.95.

Among the books I bought at Laurie's used bookshop in the Nicolette Mall area of Minneapolis over the weekend. The bookstore has a special shelf for "hyper-modern" poetry (as they called it) next to the staircase downward to whichever sections don't merit a top floor designation. Literature (that is fiction, poetry [ie. poetry of the Pre-Moderns & Moderns], and drama) are all treated equally alpha by author last name on the entry-ground floor.

I like going to this bookstore because I end up buying books that go against my usual reading proclivities.


Arun Kolatkar, Jejuri
Morri Creech, Field Knowledge
Valerie Coulton, Passing World Pictures

Of Valerie Coulton's book: I read it in a sitting. It can be read quickly like that. Then I re-read it in the same setting; I was that engaged. There are 203 appropriated lines drawn from a single text on Japanese culture meant for a foreign audience to her 92 original lines.

There is the poetic concern of appropriation as source and form to a poem in the post-poem jaded era. Coulton acknowledges such in the front & end matter of the book by listing the source material twice, as well as italicizing borrowed text throughout. She clearly wants to point readers to the source, a material beyond the reach of the casual reader: We Japanese the 1934 and 1937 editions.

Despite the pointing, the text is very much her own, and it's a beautiful read: cut, spliced, & transitioned to make a poetic argument:

inkstones rubbed
between her sleep

oarsmen push
wave's body

parts are numbered
stored away


Someone please remind me of the html to properly indent text lines. These couplet lines are cascaded left to right in the text.