Tuesday, September 30, 2008

my "beings punctual" reworked

by harry k stammer





Deep thanks, amigo.
feetish

Cover poems

I have just caught part of a video of Bryan Ferry's recording of Dylan covers, & it prompted the thought that, if covering other people's poems was possible, what poems would I cover.

Numero uno on the list would be Rexroth's The Advantages of Learning. I posted about it 3½ years ago at the pelican, & have delved into the archives to purloin & repost what I said then.
There are certain physical characteristics you saw in your parents as they aged that you knew you would inherit. The hair colour you shared with your mother, how it would fade. The pattern of the thinning of your father's hair, & the extent of it—good to know that when he died in his nineties he still had plenty of it. The skin blemishes, the way lines formed on their faces. Your father's shoulder slump that you also share.

But it is a poem I feel I have most grown into, unshaped by genetic inheritance. One I came across more than forty-five years ago, that moved me then, that spoke to the inner me in a way I had never experienced. I do not know if it was some sort of premonition or whether it became some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy but it is the poem that I have most inhabited, that has most inhabited me, over all the inter-vening years. & even though I have read much that I have liked / loved since then, even though I have written much in which I expose or privately see parts of me I would have preferred remained hidden, it still remains for me the poem.

The Advantages of Learning

I am a man with no ambitions
And few friends, wholly incapable
Of making a living, growing no
Younger, fugitive from some just doom.
Lonely, ill-clothed, what does it matter?
At midnight I make myself a jug
Of hot white wine and cardamon seeds.
In a torn grey robe and old beret,
I sit in the cold writing poems,
Drawing nudes on the crooked margins,
Copulating with sixteen year old
Nymphomaniacs of my imagination.

Kenneth Rexroth

Monday, September 29, 2008

sonnet

The birds
are over-
whelmed

by the sound
of a military
transport

flying
regimented
training

runs. I am
reading
Umberto Eco.

Foucault's
Pendulum
.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the ants in harriet's pants

The following piece of spam was found in the comments boxes of a page at the Penis Foundation's website.

There are poem enlargement pills in the market, but finally, a safe, all-natural solution for a stronger, longer poem.

What is the effect of poem enlargement pills based on? How does herbal poem enlargement work?

Read more at the poem enlargement pills url.

An old world recipe

We planted a sustainable garden
to meet our annual ritual needs.

A number of editing tracks play off one another.

The first red maple began to turn in mid August.

Routine acts & their
contextually determined meanings
overwhelm good planning & common sense.

The barrista used
either too fine
of a grind
or maybe even the
wrong temperature.

Events are encoded
in terms of their
serial order & timing
relative to other events.

The service for the dead
was then read by
General Pendleton.

The frame within which
we are encouraged
to read this text

is divided.

If you can't grow radishes
you can't grow anything at all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dear John McCain

Watching you
on the first of the
debates, can I
just say that
the more you
try to distance
yourself from
George W Bush
the more you
end up sounding
like him. &
from where I'm
sitting on the
other side of
the ocean, eight
years of lies &
ineptitude is
already eight
years too many.

Friday, September 26, 2008

±

It is as if I am walking underwater, or, rather, not walking, since the tide I am pushing against is not strong enough to drive me back but too strong to allow me to progress. My lungs ache, my head beats, my heart does nothing—the other two appurtenances have subsumed its activities. I am swathed in water. They are lining up terracotta poems in channels on both sides of me.

Thank you, Nicholas #1


"The formality is not dry or overworked, the occasionality never sentimental or gratuit. In this way, the two aspects harmonize one another: they exist, not only together, but with an extraordinary complementarity. It is perhaps for this reason that Young’s poetry seems almost more comfortable with itself — with its status as well as with what it has to say — than much of the poetry of the New Americans which constitutes its vital, and readily declared, lineage.

"The same type of intriguing reconciliation between form and occasion also occurs in the tone of this poetic. There has always been, for me, a strangely almost cosmopolitan flair to Mark Young’s poems — the sophisticated frime of a repressed flâneur — which sits intriguingly next to the down-to-earth pragmatism. To watch him one moment lunch with O’Hara, converse with Magritte, then dream with Bosch, is to experience the breadth, not so much of influences, but of interests and of an intelligence. Also, and just as for O’Hara, Berrigan or Rexroth, there is something sly, and darkly astute, to Young’s plays at insouciance. Every clever click of the lexical fingers or flick of the grammatical wrist carries beneath it an undertone: an analytic, and often political, force."

From Nicholas Manning's review of Pelican Dreaming. Jacket 38, late 2008.

Thank you, Nicholas #2

"These poems, read together in this excellently selected book, speak and sing to and of and with each other. Their humor and humanity, frankness and wealth of example and reference work together to create an appetite of readerly curiosity to want to keep reading and thinking, laughing, and connecting, and with this a desire to get to know the poet more, to come back to particular poems more and more."

Nick Piombino on Pelican Dreaming, at ::fait accompli::

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Missed / out on / an Emmy, but

have just shared the inaugural Galatea Publisher Award with Reb Livingston's No Tell Books. Sheesh! Thank you, Eileen.

Do I have room on the mantelpiece for the gilded chateauette that accompanies it? Do I even have a mantelpiece? Do I get half? The navel up or the navel down? Which portion do you want, Reb?

I think, in light of the post immediately below this one, that it's slightly ironic, but, hey, maybe the Federal Reserve will now come & bail me out. I was never one for bake sales.......

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I / have spent / the past week

reading, weeding the garden, catching up on cable movies, adding some more things to the next issue of Otoliths, deliberately avoiding putting (metaphorical) pen to paper.

Mainly, though, I've been doing a deal of soulsearching about the future of the book component of Otoliths; &, regrettably, have come to the decision that the round outlined immediately below this post will be the penultimate formal round I'll bring out. There'll be the occasional single book & the print copies of the e-zine after that—I have a few commitments, & there are still some things in the wind that I'd dearly love to do—but to the full-on schedule I've been running with for the past couple of years I bid adieu. The reasons are multitudinous, but basically they're variations on or combinations of three things: market, economics, geography.

Market
The obvious response is what market? I've previously outlined some of my thoughts on this in response to Eileen Tabios' questionnaire about book-buying habits. But one thing I noted in the fuller responses she published was the high percentage of books bought that were selected or collected volumes especially by authors with a longtime reputation. New books by newish authors didn't show up much. Additionally, I am limited to direct selling via Lulu. My non-U.S. resident status & lack of a U.S. bank account mean that places like Amazon or Barnes & Noble are out; I refuse to go through SPD because their markup means that the books would be —to me, at least— overpriced, especially those that use color; & if I set the selling price at what I thought reasonable, I'd lose money on everything I sold through them. Plus, 50 copies of, say, seven books per round, paid for up front because that's the way print on demand publishing works, even for the publisher, would be a total impost I couldn't afford. & booksellers? These days they work on sale or return, consignment stock in other words.

Economics
If I followed the—what seems—normal route of many small presses, that is, publish a book & that's the end of the story—should the author want copies, s/he has to buy them—then I wouldn't have any problems. There'd be no expenditure. But, even though I don't pay royalties, I do give the author a number of copies, the number varying on the basic cost of the book, they get proof copies to check, they can buy any additional copies they want at a significant discount, the cover artist gets copies, I pay for the ISBN. So, adding all that up, I have to sell quite a few copies to recoup my costs. So far, I think I've broken even on roughly 15% of the titles I've sold & they have all been relatively low-cost productions where the author(s) have done their own p.r. & now, the exchange rates being what they are at present, the $AUS is currently worth less than cUS80 so that a $10 book converts to $12.50 in local currency plus I get slugged an additional credit card charge because the transaction was in a foreign currency.

Geography
So the distances are, Galatea. I would love to keep copies & sell directly as an additional avenue. But whatever market there is is primarily in the U.S.A. & supplying it by this methodology would mean a couple of trips across the Pacific for a book, & the postage is horrific. As well as that, if I was paid by check for a book, it now costs me $15 per check for the foreign exchange conversion, even if the check is for less than that. Forget about it.

But I've enjoyed doing it all. I've brought out some great books, & I'm proud of the catalog which will continue to be available. I've had immense help along the way, especially from harry k stammer who has made the books great-looking as well. My thanks to the cover artists, & to those typesetters who I've occasionally had to call on to negotiate some tricky passages. & my heart-felt thanks to all the authors I've had the pleasure of publishing. I hope I've done you proud.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Books from Otoliths—Beckett, Edmond, Fieled, Huth, Manning, Puckett, Rosenberg

A September septet of new books from Otoliths. The direct URLs are given below. The full catalog can be found at The Otoliths Storefront.


E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Final XIV Interviews + One
Tom Beckett (curator)
372 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-1-8
$19.95 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/3918209

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Final XIV Interviews + One contains interviews with Ernesto Priego, Catherine Daly, Karri Kokko, Jill Jones, Javant Biarujia, Barry Schwabsky, Peter Ganick, Joseph Lease, Stephen Vincent, Alan Davies, Noah Eli Gordon, the late Mary Rising Higgins, Jessica Grim, & Tom Mandel, plus more than 100 pages of poetry from those interviewed, much of it new. The interviewers this time around are Tom Beckett, Bruce Holsapple & John Tritica, Thomas Fink, & Sheila E. Murphy.

The + One is the shoe on the other foot. Done especially for this final volume is an interview by Nicholas Manning with Tom Beckett, the creator & curator of this important resource for contemporary poetics.


The Evolution of Mirrors
Martin Edmond
108 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-6-3
$12.50 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/3372034

“To dance we need those three original muses: memory, voice, occasion ...” Martin Edmond begins his new book of prose meditations, The Evolution of Mirrors with an account of the evolution of the Muses, the daughters of Memory. As his own memory moves from Ohakune to Alexandria, Sydney to San Francisco, we are invited to look into a series of mirrors trained upon the past. “We remember in order to write but we write to forget,” he quotes himself. At times his lapidary prose echoes Borges, elsewhere he appears to be channelling Pessoa. Whatever he writes, though, he remains one of the true originals of our epoch, a stunningly inventive writer whose prose is as haunting as any poem, whose poetry is as circumstantial as Thucydides. As memory folds into memory, mirror into mirror, something starts to come into focus, some justification for our – perhaps quixotic – belief that “across all versions there is something incontrovertible, a substratum of truth.”—Jack Ross


When You Bit...
Adam Fieled
72 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-3-2
$12.50 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/3100247

Not all vampirism transpires on a grassy hill deep in the Carpathians. We may all, in fact, be vampires: blood-crazed, hungry, equipped with sharp teeth for a life-and-death struggle. The struggle is for love, in all of its myriad manifestations: physical, emotional, spiritual. In When You Bit…, Adam Fieled has crafted what may be the first post-avant sonnet cycle. It concerns these themes; how we feed on each other, consume each others’ vital resources, prey upon weaknesses to get those first teeth-marks in. In these sonnets, we see a sensibility equal parts Barrett Watten and Sir Philip Sidney; the post-avant impulse towards openness meeting a Renaissance-like ideal of courtly love, phenomenological inquiry, and good old-fashioned heartache. The goal, perpetually renewed in the text, is always the same: to make the reader complicit in attacks on frigidity and an embrace of the artfully carnal.


Longfellow Memoranda
Geof Huth
148 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9804541-9-2
$13.50 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/2753783

"This book is an accident of the imagination. The poems were originally written within the pages of a tiny book I had ordered online to serve as my diary for 2007. What I needed was a blank or near-blank journal whose structure fitted 2007, and this offering was from 1917, a year that met my requirements.

"Once I had the book in hand, however, I realized that the four short lines allowed for each date would not serve me well as a diary. The book was primarily a place to note the birthdays of important people in one’s life, with an extract, facing each day’s entry, from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poet whom I do not much admire.

"Nevertheless, I spent 2007, the 200th anniversay of the birth of Longfellow, creating a poem for each day of the year, a poem based on or inspired by the bits of Longfellow’s verse that faced me each day. My goal was to use his archaic poetic diction, and the British spelling of the book, to create modern poems with a scent of the past." —Geof Huth


Novaless
Nicholas Manning
160 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-2-5
$13.50 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/3101286

Paul Valéry wrote that “a poem is a really a kind of machine for producing the poetic state of mind by means of words.” Novaless is a device for producing reveries composed of precognitive, poetic thought constructed as a schematic screen of letters and symbols flowing continuously across several axes. Each generation of poets must crack the codes for detecting culturally jammed poetic wavelengths. Like Ray Di Palma’s ur-texts, The Sargasso Transcries and Marquee in the early 70s, Manning’s Novaless permits us to listen directly to these currently camouflaged poetic bandwidths, where strata of definitions, distortions and dreams may be accessed and deciphered, tracing an essential foundational blueprint for future visual/verbal poetic wordscapes. — Nick Piombino

Nicholas Manning’s gifts of a poetic intelligence and sensibilities are immediately apparent in this diction, this sense of relation and proportion, and overall in the choices he’s made. Here, in Novaless, he sets forth his cosmogony, and it is boundless and it is brilliant, and it is on the tips of our tongues. All things, divine and physical, grammatical and pragmatical, and in line with Theogony and Metamorphoses . . . — Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

Like stars sending light beyond their time to us, Nicholas Manning’s Novaless reads like a constellation of remnants of geometric form, metaphysical lingo and traditional lyric, making and unmaking voices of these almost-characters, in these practically-places, painted in variable gradations using a vast pallet of colors. In the end, the narrative (mythic, intertextual, anecdotic) defaults to the way these poems function “by reason of their own noise”, as they come at us “in excited semitones” from worlds made and unmade. Languages, history, landscape fold in and over themselves, interjecting, unbalancing, as all the while some ultimate equilibrium – physical, intellectual, global, universal – is sought within the units and disjunct unities of these carefully-wrought verses. – Jennifer K. Dick

Novaless is “wild reportage” of experience and perception. This serial poem re-visions narrative, delimits boundaries, refracts syntax, weaves languages, and re-imagines punctuation — with “all perfectly attuned”. In this space, we traverse “across * the field * of visions : / the distance of the world its / latitudes and longings / in glowing lines”. Novaless is a luminescent first collection. – C.S. Perez


Tales From The Hinterland
Caleb Puckett
60 pages
Cover design by Mary Ellen Derwis & Joe Balaz
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-4-9
$10.00 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/3100307

In Caleb Puckett’s Tales from the Hinterland, prose and poetry swim among the blocks of text. Is “Paolo’s Politics” – a lovely lyric of a piece – flash fiction? A prose poem? Some fascinating hybrid that has characteristics of both parents? Puckett’s collection leaves a reader contemplating these kinds of questions, even as its whimsical realism deftly dodges similar ones: is “The Case of the Missing Chin” surrealism? What about “Make the Man,” with its sympathetic characterization of a very odd protoganist? “Claims,” given line breaks, would be a recognizable poem. Certainly words like “slither-love” and the play with language and syntax in “A Latin Maxim” are more familiar from poetry than prose.

But Puckett’s collection resists easy categorization. “The Assault,” one of my favourites, offers a staccato beauty in the musical language; its images speed by as if seen from a swiftly moving train. There’s a similar resonance with other art forms in “Postmodern St. Louis.” Authors interact as if on stage. That sense of framing – the theatre, a window, a single moment – connects several of the narratives in Puckett’s collection. “Magician’s Commiserations” (another favourite) is the closest to a ‘traditional’ narrative, but like its siblings in the collection, the voice is haunting, ironic, and exquisitely drawn. Prescient undercurrents – vaguely foreboding, mercurial and sometimes almost capricious, but never quite – move heavily beneath the tightly crafted surface. It’s a description that fits Tales quite well: vaguely foreboding, tightly crafted, and often hovering above its own darkly musical undercurrents. An excellent collection. —D. Britton Gildersleeve


RED
Marilyn R. Rosenberg
56 pages, full color, 9" wide x 7" high, coil bound
ISBN: 978-0-9805096-5-6
$19.95 + p&h
URL: http://www.lulu.com/content/3314953

RED is blood, passion, life. Yes.

Circles and eggs, although squeezed are repeated, and imply renewal. Some have the illusion of cut-outs, holes. We feel like we can see through areas, looking back or hinting to the future. The muse hides as time flies.

Rosefish represents M. Rosenthal Rosenberg; the Granny apple is transparent. Uninvited, the mouse brings annoying problems. Asides abide.

Calligraphic marks, the living line, become beings, ghosts, are language. Bold letters become organic and architectural objects in each underwater and sky atmosphere, the mindscapes; fragmented words are strong entities. The reader is enticed to turn the page and read on.

Reading upside down excites, as it irritates the reading process.
      Circular-like images are fragmented. Half of the visual poem suddenly overlaps its capsized other half; read in one direction, turn, now differently reread each strong colored panorama.
      RED has a beginning, middle and a starting again.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mid-morning.

I sit outside & plan what I will try to accomplish today. A poem perhaps, a few more pages added to the next issue of Otoliths. But I procrastinate too much & know that I will probably accomplish nothing, get sidetracked, end up reading a book or surfing cable tv. Fill in the expanding spaces with what I'm doing now, sitting outside, smoking a cigarette, maybe watering the tomato plants.

Which means I am selling myself short with my musings. If I don't achieve any of these quite modest plans, why then don't I plan on doing more major things & not do those instead.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Excuse me, but......

"The Federal Health Minister says Australia's midwifery services need to be updated because the nation is on the cusp of a small baby boom."

What other size do they come in?

Boom, tish.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The voice of the kangaroo

A note in the comments box of my post on Twelve Canoes provides a link to another website from Ramingining, Bula'bula Arts, this one about the Djadawitjibi people of the Djinang group.
"Ramingining is a small, remote community in Central Arnhem Land located some 400 kms east of Darwin and nearly 30 kms from the Arafura Sea. The tract of land upon which Ramingining township is built, is owned by the Djadawitjibi people of the Djinang group.

Their principal creative being is Garrtjambal, the Red Kangaroo. Travelling from the south-east in the Roper River region across the mainland and over to Milingimbi, Garrtjambal links all the land-owning groups in the region.

The name Bula'bula was selected in 1989 by local artists for their co-operative as it refers to the message embodied in the song-cycle of Garrtjambal's journey from Roper River to the Ramingining region. More literally, Bula'bula translates as the tongue, or voice of the kangaroo."

The painting below of Garrtjambal, done by Philip Gudthaykudthay in earth pigments on canvas, is one of the many works by the local artists available through the site.

Today the
postman brought
me a horse de-
signed by a
committee. They
call it a camel.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Smashing / particles or / articles of faith

The Present looks towards The Future
Scientists will conduct the world's greatest ever particle physics experiment, a historic "Big Bang" experiment, on Wednesday 10 September, hoping to revolutionize our understanding of the universe, according to media reports.

In the 6.4 billion euro (9.2 billion U.S. dollars) CERN experiment to be conducted inside an 27-km tunnel deep beneath the French-Swiss border, scientists hope to detect evidence of extra dimensions, invisible "dark matter" and an elusive particle called the "Higgs boson."

"Higgs boson," named after Scottish physicist Peter Higgs who in 1964 pointed to such a particle as the force that gave mass to matter and made the universe possible.


Large Hadron Rap

Scientists plan to smash particle beams together at close to the speed of light inside CERN's tightly-sealed Large Hadron Collider to create multiple mini-versions of the primeval Big Bang, which occurred about 13.7 billion years ago and led to formation of stars, planets — and eventually to life on earth.

CERN scientists insist that while the collider is capable of creating black holes, they would be miniscule and incapable of growing.

"Each collision of a pair of protons in the LHC will release an amount of energy comparable to that of two colliding mosquitoes, so any black hole produced would be much smaller than those known to astrophysicists."

The Present looks towards The Past



"You may have heard of Sarah Palin and her lack of experience with virtually anything having to do with national politics (except her talent in winning pork projects) and foreign relations. But she also doesn’t believe in evolution, which means that, in principle, [things like the Large Hadron Collider] cannot fit into her world view unless she actually thinks God designed the roseola virus into us rather than this being the product of a process of natural selection.

We don’t need a vice president or, should Senator McCain be elected and die in office, a president who disavows science. She insists Creationism be taught alongside evolution and opposes many forms of research based on her Biblical interpretations. The impact of a Palin presidency — or her influence within the administration as vice president — on U.S. research and development policy would be disastrous."

I could probably

write 1000 words & not sum up my disdain for creative writing programs as succinctly — although unwittingly — as the following sentence:
"The winner will be announced at the end of year Creative Writing soiree hosted by the Department of English (early-mid November 2008)."

Twelve Canoes

I have been making my way through a brilliant, brilliant, multi-faceted website, Twelve Canoes, which has been set up by the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land to "pass their culture on, not just to the next generation, but to people everywhere, all over the world."

I have just finished reading about the Gumang,
"One of the many species of birdlife on the swamp, the Gumang, or Magpie Goose (anseranus semipalmata), is a black & white native goose which, being a significant food source in times gone by, is an important part of some ceremony."
& have gone outside to have a cigarette, & hear the Gumang, who have recently taken to sharing the lagoon at the bottom of the street with the pelicans, calling out in the night.

Ah, synchronicity.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Notations #2

How I wish that "going up the road" meant something more than just going up the road.

That I could say "I'm going uptown" or "going downtown" & there would be something there that loosely corresponded to the appellations.

I wouldn't even mind if it was the Appalachians that they loosely corresponded to.

I'm going up the road to go to the bank. How I wish.....

I might look into the 2nd hand bookstore, where half the shelves are filled with Mills & Boon romantic novels, a quarter with war stories, a quarter with cowboy stories, just on the offchance that there might be a miscatalogued mystery story there I haven't read. How I wish.....

Or I might look into the 1st hand bookstore where the shelves are filled with books on sport & self-help & biographies. Where the detective stories are ones I don't want to read, or, if I do I've read them already, have got them from Amazon because if I didn't there's a good chance that they'd never get here because this is a franchised brand of bookshop which sort of equates to you'll never get a gourmet meal at McDonalds. There is never any poetry. Ballard is something you tie your boat up to. Ron Silliman? Don't be silly, man. How I wish.......

How I wish that there was something up the road that I could go to. Even just something up the road.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Notations

Just after midday. The
moon is out. Around it
large white birds ride
the thermals, too distant
to identify precisely
but a binary option—ibis
or pelicans. The parrots
are more direct, hydroplane
the highway, a lowdown
straightline to wherever it
is they're going. Four trucks
pass by, two 20' FCLs on
each, all eight carrying




markings. My
number is about to come
up. It does. I collect my fish
& chips & head off home.

Since, hopefully,

he will never get to be the President of the U.S.A., I'm just getting my kicks (in) now.



The following snacks are taken from Press TV's interview with Alexander Cockburn, the founder and editor of Counterpunch magazine

"Anyone listening to the convention will have heard the story of his intrepid conduct as an aviator and his great bravery when he was captive of the North Vietnamese. We and others have published several challenges to this story saying in fact that the narrative of McCain facing down his torturers is a lot of nonsense.

Actually McCain was saved by Vietnamese civilians and well cared for after his quite serious accident, descending after bombing civilians from his airplane.

There are allegations by people who shared his captivity that he received extremely favorable treatment and even allegations that he confided information to his captors which enabled them to respond more skillfully to American attacks."

§

"The main thing about McCain is that this reputation for being a maverick that he's built up is completely bogus. We've pointed this out many times on our website that he would rise up in the Senate and make a magnificent speech opposing earmarks (you go to Washington you want some money for your town or your state and you do some deal and you get the money - Miss Palin did that from Alaska, everybody does it.) Then McCain would give this fervent denunciation of villainy and outrage of an earmark and the special interest and then he'd go and the he'd sit down and vote for them. So it's all a complete bunch of nonsense.

Every now and again you see a black face popping up in this convention giving somehow the impression that there's some kind of diversity. Actually in the whole of that convention which is about 2500 delegates, there are precisely 36 black people; that's 1.5 percent.

The Democratic convention was genuinely diverse. You actually had about 25 percent African Americans. You had about 12 percent Hispanics. Everybody's admitting that this Republican convention is the whitest, oldest convention in Republican memory. But if you look at networks - particularly when they mention Obama, boom!, you see a black face. I must have looked at the same black guy about 150 times. The whole thing is a very very decorous theater. Nothing to do with political reality."

The Republicans' Secret Dream Team

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I can breathe

a sigh of relief—Early Ferns ( a few posts below) finishes off my Genji Monogatari sequence/series.

So, as a kind of endpiece, I've posted an o-ban below, ukiyo-e, but falling into the category of what are known as shunga, wood-block porn. It's attributed to Hiroshige, even though it bears no signature. & it's not a picture of Genji, even though, if you translate the rather circumspect allusions throughout the book, he was quite sexually active.



The association with Genji comes through the crests—Genji mon—the geometrical patterns that are included in the border that surrounds the two blocks. Though now associated with the 54 chapters of Genji Monogatari, each with its own emblem, there were originally only 25 & they were used in conjunction with a guess-the-incense game, the precursor of Kodo, the incense ceremony.

There is a chapter in Genji—A Branch of Plum—that is about an incense game; & it was this chapter that prompted someone to align the crests with the book & extend their number.

Friday, September 05, 2008

He
paused, &
the ghosts returned.
Today the
postman brought
me the fifteen
nanoseconds
of fame allotted
me by the
latest Free
Trade agree-
ment. I
blinked &
missed it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Genji Monogatari: Early Ferns

Made lunch. Chicken
korma, with coriander &
lemongrass. Taste-testing
as he went, occasionally
adding a bit more spice
to suit his palate. Ate &
enjoyed it, finished off
with an informal cup
of tea, all the time brooding
on traditional Western
philosophy, its hierarchal
dualistic separation, binary
opposites, one privileged
over the other. How different
in structure—preparing
the meal had triggered the
train—from that of Eastern
cooking whose theory
& practice are relational:
practice informed by theory,
theory altered through
practice. The history of the
present served up en japonais.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Deconstructing Dickens

It was the
best of
times—

all
the big-
name philosophers were

in the room.
It was
the

worst
of times—
he didn't under-

stand a word
they were
saying.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sarah Palin faces the media scrum

A drunk man's words are often the disturbing thoughts of a sober man.

Who is going to cook dinner tonight, wash plates, change the baby's nappies?

The dialectical law of negation of the negation calls us to re-visit the historical context within which the Western myth of human rights is conceived.

Agendas enter the local context. Hollywood celebrities enter into pre-nuptial agreements. The ideal version of democracy is a fluid entity which we constantly construct, deconstruct , reconstruct.

A touch of the modern & it would not be at all acceptable.
hotgied

Monday, September 01, 2008






What's
the point
of    it    all?





Genji Monogatari: Butterflies

Little plot, not much
action. Forty seven
epiphytes, grown up
in vitro, soliloquize
in turn on how to
seek revenge for the
death of a host they
never knew. A chorus
onstage with them,
eight little girls in
costume, four dressed
as birds, the rest as
butterflies, chanting the
sutras interwoven with
items from the latest
CNN news—a ban
on the use of soya
grown in deforested
areas of the Amazon, the
privatisation about to
rescue the airport from
bankruptcy, how rainforest
mahogany is currently
being imported into the
U.S. in clear violation of
international agreements.
Rain has always been
used in Indian cinema to
portray rejuvenation. The
butterflies seemed to fly
higher than the birds.