Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I did the post below

late at night. I've been thinking today about specific books of poetry that influenced my writing, so I'll give an additional list.

Donald M. Allen's The New American Poetry is still the headwaters for about 50 books, including several by Denise Levertov who I left off the list, & Gary Snyder's Myths & Texts which would be added to it as one of the standouts.

The additional books are, in no particular order:

W.B Yeats' Collected Poems
William Carlos Williams' Pictures from Brueghel along with Paterson — I didn't get to the early Williams until later, through a Penguin anthology that had Levertov & Kenneth Rexroth in it as well as Williams,
F.G. Lorca's Poet in New York
Arthur Waley's translations of Chinese Poetry & later Rexroth's
Apollinaire's Alcools
a collection of Paul Eluard, possibly from Gallimard
The Penguin Book of Contemporary German Poetry
Basho's The Narrow Road to the North
Bob Dylan's Writing & Drawings
Ferlinghetti's translations of Prévert's Paroles


Crag Hill has tagged me for another list, this time the ten most influential books on my writing. I think Crag had poetry books especially in mind, but essentially one book influenced my poetry, but a lot more influenced the way I approach my poetry / general writing. So, to start,

The New American Poetry edited by Donald M.Allen
(this is a cheat, since by listing just this one saves me having to list the books within & without it which would include Lunch Poems, Coney Island of the Mind, Preface to a 20 volume suicide note, Riprap, For Love, The Maximus Poems, Ko or a season on earth, Howl, etc., etc.)

& since it by itself would constitute the most influential — the only (?) — book in/on/of my poetry, then let me list my next ten eleven twelve.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary

The Big Sleep — Raymond Chandler

Labyrinths — Jorge Luis Borges

The Einstein Intersection — Samuel Delany

The Ascent of Man — Jacob Bronowski

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions — Thomas Kuhn

Monkey — Wu Ch'eng En

Patterson — William Carlos Williams

The Name of the Rose — Umberto Eco

Kim — Rudyard Kipling

The Thief's Journal — Jean Genet

The Naked Lunch — William S. Burroughs

Apart from the last two named, which probably influenced my thinking more than my writing, that's the list of books that influenced the allegrezza ficcione which I consider to be my best book so far.

& the list doesn't include a number of other authors who should be in a list of writers who have influenced my writing like J.G.Ballard, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Albert Camus, a large number of SF writers including William Gibson,Fritz Leiber, John Brunner & Roger Zelazny, Dashiel Hammett as much as Chandler, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, Walt Whitman, John Rechy. & the list goes on…

Since this is something I'm actually interested in, let me now tag Martin Edmond (whose list I would especially be interested in seeing), Jill Jones & Bill Allegrezza.

& / a note / of brotherly love

Tom Beckett interviews Karri Kokko at e-values. It's a wonderful, wonderful interview.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Drove up from the riverside carpark mid-morning, halfway up passed a young Aboriginal boy, early teens, stationary, astride a pushbike, looking innocent like a shepherd from Fragonard or Watteau or one of those French painters. Except.....

Spraycan in one hand, other holding a plastic bag up to & over his nose.

Chroming is supposed to be endemic, but this was the first time I'd seen it so upclose & personal. Such self-destruction frightens the shit out of me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New Books from Otoliths

I am pleased to announce the first of what will be a quarterly round of new books from Otoliths; & I'm extremely pleased that the four books in this initial launch are wonderful offerings by four exceptional poets.

Rather than drool with unadulterated joy any further, I'll just point you to the Otoliths shopfront — http://www.lulu.com/l_m_young — where you can also find other books & chapbooks plus print versions of the magazine, & would suggest to U.S. residents that, rather than use couriers, they select the USPS Media Mail default as the means of delivery since it's economical &, from our experience, efficient.

The individual webpages for each of the books are given below.

Nico Vassilakis: DIPTYCHS
60 pages, full colour
webpage: http://www.lulu.com/content/670787

"The individual pieces in this book are tiny visual poems that examine the materiality of visible language and find beauty by looking at that language from unexpected vantage points. Nico has created each of these poems through a sequence of steps that included capturing video of text, editing and modifying that video (which included changing the color), capturing screenshots of the video, and cutting and putting these final pieces together in little diptychs consisting of one rectangle of prepared text atop another. To some degree, the results are the children of Nico’s important videopoetic work, Concrete: Movies, released in 2005."
—from the introduction by Geof Huth

harry k stammer: tents
60 pages, including colour
webpage: http://www.lulu.com/content/629289

"Make no mistake about it: harry k. stammer is one of the boldest pioneers in contemporary experimental poetry—and one of the most successful. His new work tents is edgy but accessible; challenging but rewarding. stammer mixes a sort of poetic cubism with wordplay, startling typography, and a wide array of other adventurous techniques with creative intensity rarely witnessed. In this singular text, the reader is confronted by a dizzying maelstrom of meaning and image. Kaleidoscopic and impressionistic, this interpretation of our postindustrial, postmodern society is a must for any serious reader of today's poetry."

Jordan Stempleman: What's the Matter
112 pages
webpage: http://www.lulu.com/content/629216

"Maximizing the tension of line breaks, making the most of each word’s nuances, Jordan Stempleman creates a stunning landscape of precision and delicacy. There are gorgeous moments here, and they always “begin with the actual condition”—this book constitutes a commitment to the beauty of the world, and a new instance of it."
—Cole Swensen

"In this impressive, replete collection, Jordan Stempleman takes us repeatedly to this place of contemplation, where only a few rare words are necessary. We are invited to a course of thinking that locates intensity without demanding it—for therein lies the fabled difference between an exploratory and settled poetics, to open out and out again upon present history. This is, quite simply, a wonderful book."
—Paul Hoover

Vernon Frazer: BODIED TONE
132 pages
webpage: http://www.lulu.com/content/629262

"BODIED TONE is terrific—the rhythmic vitality is just that, full of life, but it is seductive too; one gets caught up in the percussive musicality of the phrasing . It’s a driving musicality—more bebop than balladry, for sure.”
—Lyn Hejinian

So why not splurge a little & be swept up by pleasure.

Mark Young
Editor, Otoliths

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A note relevant to two pasts

"The recorded conversation took place at Kankiritja quarry and explains some of the general unrestricted Dreaming stories associated with the site. The names of the two men talking are Nuggett Collins Japarta (NC) and Abby Thomas Jungala (AT). The taped conversation has been edited slightly to remove irrelevant material and to help clarify some points.
NC: Pelican history.
AT: Pelican you call him. We call him wallambee.
NC: That's where they been coming here [pointing around to the quartzite outcrops]. Land on this place. That's why they call Kankiritja [means pelican landing place].
AT: Kankiritja this one now. That's his knife [pointing to a blade]. Pelican been have this. Cut anything or kill someone. And he used to have that spear, that mouth he got now, that pelican [showing how two blades, one on top of the other, makes the shape of a pelican's beak].
NC: That's the one pelican Dreaming, this one [points to a blade]. Pelican been come in, land here. Well this is the stone he made.
AT: He made him for knife. We call him giru [local name for the leilira blade].
NC: Three names; giru, jabiri, maruba [different languages]. This one now. Pelican been land here. Oh, big mob. Million. That why the hill over there. That why the big hill right there, round and round. All this, all the way along. Some over there where we went this morning. This way. Keep going thataway and some big hill there now. This a pelican Dreaming. That's why he been come in. Make Dreaming stone."

Robert Paton: Speaking through stones: a study from northern Australia; World Archaeology 26 (2); pp. 177 ff.(1994)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me a gift-
wrapped camel. I
invited it in for
tea. “One hump
or two?” I asked.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Story board

A Newspoll survey this week found 68 percent of respondents now believe it was not worth sending Australian troops to Iraq, and only 30 percent agreed with the government's view that they should remain "as long as necessary." More than a quarter of people interviewed wanted the soldiers brought home immediately.

Christian Science Monitor, 2/22

If the United States invaded Mars, Australia would send a battalion along to guard the supply depot.

Gwynne Dyer, The Jordan Times, 2/17

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday indicated between 50 and 70 extra military instructors would be sent to train the Iraqi army and police to deal with growing sectarian violence.

Australia now has about 900 military personnel in Iraq, including about 30 Australian trainers.

The Herald-Sun, 2/21

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrives in Australia on Thursday to thank one of Washington's staunchest supporters of the increasingly unpopular Iraq war -- an ally that has become a rarity by offering more, not fewer, troops for Iraq.

CNN 2/22

Centre-left Labour opposition leader Kevin Rudd, who will meet Cheney on Friday, has an 8-point lead in opinion polls on the back of a promise to withdraw Australia's 520-strong battle group from southern Iraq if he wins power.

"This war in Iraq represents the single greatest failure of Australian national security policy since Vietnam," Rudd said late on Wednesday.

Independent online 2/22

My congratulations

to Jean Vengua for her winning of The Filamore Tabios, Sr. Memorial Poetry Prize. Terrific news.

Can't wait to read the book.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The noise the two kookaburras engaged in a mating ritual on a tree branch in the backyard are making could quite easily be used as the soundtrack to Peter Weiss' The persecution and assassination of Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A note from Michael Rothenberg

Dear Friends of Big Bridge,
We are now accepting tax-deductible donations.

For almost a decade we have been able to produce and maintain Big Bridge at a minimal expense, however, due to rising costs, staff changes, and the need to continue to bring you more of the best poetry, art and everything else, we humbly ask for your support. Every little bit counts. Please, help us keep Big Bridge online.

Please make checks out to Committee on Poetry, Inc., and specify on the check FOR: Big Bridge. Mail donations to:

Big Bridge
16083 Fern Way
Guerneville, CA. 95446

You will recieve a letter of acknowledgment upon receipt of your donation.

And, of course, we thank you very much for your many years of support.


Michael Rothenberg, Editor
Big Bridge

out from the et ceteras

One of the things about processes like lists or reviews or arguments is that you often walk away from them &, or just before you go to sleep, additions, alternatives, augmentations slide into your mind.

Finished the post below, didn't think about it again, then, head on pillow, came the knocking. "What about these?" So, since posting is a continuity that can be added to, this supplementary list:
Dr Strangelove
The Defiant Ones (Curtis / Poitier) which leads on to
The Sweet Smell of Success & Some Like it Hot in one direction &
In the Heat of the Night in the other
Easy Rider &, at least, the chicken sandwich scene of
Five Easy Pieces
those two great nouvelle vague films Hiroshima mon Amour &
Last Year at Marienbad
&, since music hasn't really got a look in yet,
The Last Waltz

Monday, February 19, 2007

Flicks shot

I'm part of the cast assembled by Ivy Alvarez to nominate their ten favourite movies.

Kinda hard to do because I don't go to the movies much these days — Lord of the Rings & Star Wars before that the latest I saw; don't rent or download dvds; & commercials on free-to-air tv tend to create a kind of flickus interruptus.

Add on to that that I have favourite scenes in movies — the debut(?) appearance of Julie Christie in Billy Liar, the ballroom scene in The Leopard, the scene in Casablanca where they sing the Marseillaise in a bar full of German soldiers. Compound it by the fact that my ten favourite Kurosawa movies would have a significant overlap with my ten favourite movies.

So, to try & speak my part, this list of more than ten:
Blade Runner
Rocco & his Brothers
Being John Malkovich
Kurosawa 10
La Strada
Casablanca / The Maltese Falcon / High Sierra
Touch of Evil
Battleship Potemkin
The 400 Blows
The Silence or maybe The Seventh Seal
Pather Panchali
Elevator to the Scaffold
Apocalypse Now
Les Enfants du Paradis
Viva Zapata
On the Waterfront
Twelve Angry Men
Paris, Texas
Two Men & a Wardrobe
a number of American International b-graders
The Burmese Harp
etc., etc.
Today the
postman brought
me The Second
Coming of The
Lord. I found it
impossible to
     swallow. Just
like the first.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Forty years ago

in answer to a questionnaire, I wrote:
My main concerns with other people's poetry are: how close to my heart is it? how does it sound?
That attitude hasn't changed, though I would perhaps now add: how does it look, what is its balance? They're subjective, not objective, criteria which I still use; a kind of matrix. Fine for passing personal judgment, but fuckall use for writing constructively —or even destructively— about something.

I've become more conscious of my inabilities over the last few years. I'm blogging, editing, even writing fucking reviews. I feel I should be able to say something more, write about a book rather than just my reaction to it. Write at length about it. But I can't. I emote, structure my emotion. I write about me.

Maybe that's why I started a magazine. The mute editor, signing my likes for all to see.

Friday, February 16, 2007

the listening room

This month's press releases from the DoD

02/15/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/15/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/15/2007: DoD Classifies Marine Casualties

02/14/2007: National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Mobilized as of Feb. 14, 2007

02/14/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/14/2007: DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

02/14/2007: DoD Announces Afghanistan Force Rotation

02/13/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/13/2007: U.S. Department Of State To Pilot Military’s Electronic Health Record Systems

02/13/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/13/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/13/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/12/2007: DoD Announces Recruiting And Retention Numbers For January

02/12/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

02/12/2007: Flag Officer Assignment

02/09/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/09/2007: DoD Identifies Navy Casualties

02/08/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/08/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/07/2007: Seasoned Judge Tapped to Head Detainee Trials

02/07/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/07/2007: Defense Department And Italy Sign Joint Strike Fighter Agreement

02/07/2007: National Guard (In Federal Status) And Reserve Mobilized as of Feburary 7, 2007

02/06/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/06/2007: Navy to Commission New Guided Missile Destroyer Gridley

02/06/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/06/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/06/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/06/2007: Flag Officer Announcement

02/05/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/05/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/05/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/05/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualties

02/05/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/05/2007: General Officer Announcement

02/05/2007: Fiscal 2008 Department of Defense Budget Released

02/02/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/02/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/02/2007: DoD Identifies Army Casualty

02/02/2007: DoD Identifies Navy Casualty

02/02/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/02/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

02/01/2007: Civil Support Teams Certified for Five States

02/01/2007: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me 101 things
you always
wanted to know
about yourself. At
least I thought
I did until I
read the thing
about the
serial killer
inside us all.

Monday, February 12, 2007

if you are reading

this in the cursive mistral av, then you're one of the 40% or so visitors to this site who are using IE 7.0.

Sometimes I like to use embellishment in a post or poem. Mistral AV is a cursive font that's good when you want to simulate handwriting or create contrast.

I can live without it on this blog; but it's Otoliths I'm more concerned about. That already takes a fair amount of time to put together without having to add in the additional steps of checking non-standard fonts in every browser known to wo/man. Will just have to cross my fingers & hope that there aren't any wysi(not)wyg things.

What a pity there's no standard for browers. But, it looks like, to be on the safe side, I'm going to have to resort to CSS for anything I'm not too sure about.

My thanks to everybody that commented & emailed on my requests below.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


what he

But then,
it never

was. In
small things

joy. The

How about this?


              MORE WAR

If you are reading this

then I am running for Congress or have been abducted by aliens. Oops, wrong dream.

The lines below are from one of the postman poems lower down the page. They're formatted in two fonts, Times New Roman for the top line, Mistral AV for the bottom. In my browser they show up as nature intended. But I discovered yesterday, visiting through another browser, they both appeared to be the one, TNR, font.
              MORE WAR

What I'd like to know is how they are seen in various browser windows. Can you help?

Then someone spoke

& I went into a dream

Who knows why those words from a track from Sergeant Pepper suddenly manifested themselves; but the jukebox mind works on several levels — selected, associative, random.

I am on the front porch comparing leaf shapes, trying to identify what a couple of plants that have pushed their way through to the surface after a few days of rain are. In this place, nothing that you plant seems to grow. It's self-propagation most of the time, with the result that trees & shrubs that would be quite nice to have around if there were only one or two of them suddenly assume pest status. Not only that, their growth is accelerated. If you don't get them in the first few days then it's time for the chainsaws.

So, look around, see what these could be. Nothing obvious close by, consider what's next door, or round the back. No idea. Will have to wait till they grow a bit more. Then someone spoke & I went into a dream. Ah, look at all the lonely people. Woops, wrong album, but, overall, the one I like more. Override the jukebox, pick up the rice in the church where a wedding has been. Live in a dream.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Today the
postman brought
me sixteen
Roman Catholic
priests. I'm going
to have to post-
pone services. I need
another five for
a critical mass.
Today the
postman also
brought me
Tolstoy's master-
piece annotated
by the Shrub. I
couldn't get past
the title page —
              MORE WAR

Meanwhile, in a part of the world that is outside the law

The head of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre has described Australian detainee David Hicks as a dangerous terrorist.

Hicks, originally from Adelaide, is facing terrorism-related charges after five years' detention at the prison in Cuba.

Rear Admiral Harry Harris has told the ABC's PM program that Hicks is being kept in his cell for 22 hours a day because he, along with the other inmates, poses a real security threat.

He says Hicks has been a co-operative detainee but there are no innocent detainees.

"We are detaining enemy combatants here in Guantanamo," he said. "That's the right of any nation at war to do that and it's an internationally recognised right.

"There's no expectation that they be tried or charged, with exception of those that are alleged to have committed war crimes."

He has previously said he believes there are no innocent men being held at Guantanamo.
IF Australia wanted Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks home it would be possible but that is not the government's intention, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says.

The government is unwilling to bring Hicks home because he cannot be charged in Australia over his activities in Afghanistan.

US prosecutors recommended last week that Hicks face charges of attempted murder and providing material support for terrorism, but it could be several weeks before the draft charges are approved - and they could be changed during the approval process.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Easy to see

why these would appeal to me.

The Washington Post's annual neologism awards.

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

9. Karmageddon (n): it's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

16. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Monday, February 05, 2007


It's been raining

on & off for the last few days, quite a bit of on, currently off.

Which means that there are lots of mosquitoes around. Several varieties, all of them vicious little bastards.

Got the shit bitten out of me this afternoon when I was cleaning the pool of little yellow flowers & attendant tree cast-offs. Good thing my (admittedly poetically-licensed) paranoia remains in the conspiracy theory domain & doesn't extend to hypochondria. Otherwise I'd be off now being tested for Kew Fever, Ross River Fever, Dengue Fever, Leishmania, Nile River virus, Ebola, ague.......

Instead took great unBuddhist delight is smiting the varmints down as they alighted on my bare limbs. Smite, smite, smite. But later, scratch, scratch, scratch. & I'm starting to feel a fever coming on. Quick, Murgatroyd. The quinine s'il vous plait.

seems like my seduction

of Google paid off.

Nine months of ignoring Otoliths & now it shows up. Maybe it had to come to termination first.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Because I play

only a minor part in it, I feel quite comfortable about mentioning THE COUNTDOWN #19, the last(?) Bob Marcacci-hosted podcast from MiPoRadio which features a nice collection of poems from Bill Allegrezza & additional poems from Jill Chan, Peter Ciccariello, Del Ray Cross, AnnMarie Eldon, Juan Jose Martinez, Shin Yu Pai, Carol Peters, Rachel Phillips, Larry Sawyer & myself.

Because I am far less comfortable with praise, I hesitated before mentioning this extract from a forthcoming review by Eileen Tabios of my speculative novella the allegrezza ficcione. I think the book is something special, something I'm extremely proud of having written. Whether it goes on to become a "21st century classic" as Eileen suggests I leave to the future, but, shit, the fact that someone thinks it might gives me a real buzz.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


this afternoon, 15 hours after I made Otoliths live, that I'd overlooked linking the CONTENTS tab on the front page to the actual contents list. Oops.

Fortunately, I'd decided to start, with this issue, listing the contributors on the front with links to their first pages. & once in through there, you stay in. But it could have been nasty......& somewhat embarrassing.