Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I should have listened to myself,

seven years ago.
"What I really think is getting at me is that I am no longer stimulated by Rockhampton. I've explored it as far as I can. I went to a concert on Friday, in the local municipal theatre. Enjoyed it, but the sound was designed for a larger venue, was overwhelming in the context; & that is almost a summation of my vexation.

"In retrospect it was the re-settlement period, the transition from big city to small city, that kept me agile. But now I am settled in, & I look around, I find I am living in a bigoted, racist, country-music loving, redneck environment."
Pelican Dreaming, 12/13/04.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

At the time

I was growing up, this 1946 tobacco ad

was fairly standard.

Now, with legislation passed in the Federal Parliament, Australia is moving to this

as standard packaging, provided the big tobacco companies don't manage to have the laws overturned as they embark on a multi-million dollar legal challenge.

Bit too late for me. I've just commenced a stopsmoking regimen, brought on by my recently being diagnosed with emphysema—or COPD (chronic obstructive pulomary disease) as they like to put things acronymically these days. The disease is irrepairable. My lung capacity is down to 53%, will deteriorate even further if I keep on smoking until I will only be able to get around with the help of an oxygen cylinder. However, stopping smoking will inhibit any further deterioration, & the use of a range of bronchial dilators will ease some of the symptoms.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today the
postman brought
me Babe
Ruth's Greatest
& Jane
Greatest Misses.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It was at this point that he uttered imprecations at the sky.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today's oxymoron

controlled burning

in light of the fact that many of the bush- & grassfires that ravage vast areas of Australia are the result of what are euphemistically described as backburning or prescribed burning or controlled burning getting totally out of control.

As per this current news report.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pom 'po pom 'po pon po pon pon

La vache quit rit
& les lapins
qui jouent des
little in common
except that Magritte
called this his
vache period &
painted lots of
rabbits—& other
animals—during it.

So, there goes the
neighborhood now
that musicians
have moved in next
door, & everybody
knows, as Leonard
Cohen reminds us,
that musicians fuck
like . . . well, fuck like
rabbits. So, pom' po,
paradiddle. Pom 'po,
paradise lost. Pon
po pon pon paradox.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mental Complacency

My grandfather was
a technician for Ma
Bell. He said, "We are

complacent in our
color attributions. The
only way to receive a

signal is to eliminate the
noise. There are no co-
incidences, merely portals."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In this age

of digital displays—clocks beside the bed, in cars, on microwaves, ovens, phones, et al.—I find such signs as 11:11 or 7:47 or 12:34 quite talismanic. Wake up or walk into the kitchen or whatever & come across such a display & I think it's a good thing. Not necessarily propitious, but at least offering something positive.

I have similar attitudes towards the chance sighting of particular birds, or the hearing of particular songs that have some sort of charge for me. I don't follow through on them, to check to see if they're prescient incidents, just note them in passing & move on. Enough that they've occured.

Of late, however, they've become something more. Not premonitions, more akin to knots in a rope that provide handholds. I see them, hang on to them, refuse to let go until another one comes along. & they're no longer chance: I seek them out. As I write this, I have a YouTube track of So What playing in a minimized browser.

Nine more minutes of future I don't have to think about.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Cover her face,

mine eyes dazzle,

she died young.

John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi

Friday, November 04, 2011

Today the
postman brought
me an Andy
Warhol silk-
screen print of an
Iams Veterinary
Formula Intestinal
Low-Residue Dog
Food can, done
before The Factory,
before fame. De-
tractors call it
his Pup Art phase.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Issue #23 of Otoliths is now live

Okay, maybe it's living vicariously, but I can think of no better way to enter my eighth decade than by bringing out a new issue of Otoliths.

As always, the southern spring, 2011 issue is chock full o' nutrition, with work across a number of media from Paul Siegell, Anny Ballardini, Ed Baker, Michael Farrell, Corey Mesler, Zev Jonas, Howie Good, Joseph Veronneau, Ana Viviane Minorelli, Kyle Hemmings, Peter Ganick, Geof Huth, Heller Levinson, Scott Keeney, Jim Meirose, Keith Higginbotham, Yonah Korngold, Dylan Fettig, Philip Byron Oakes, Sue Fitchett, Sheila E. Murphy & John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett, John M. Bennett & Thomas M. Cassidy, Michael Andrew, Steven Alvarez, Changming Yuan, Raymond Farr, Melissa Eleftherion, Caleb Puckett, Julian Jason Haladyn, Jen Besemer, Dale Wisely, Tyler Cain Lacy, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, Awa Loizeaux Zag, SJ Fowler, Jill Chan, James Cervantes, Adam Fieled, Márton Koppány, Jim Leftwich & Márton Koppány, Lakey Comess, David Herd, J. D. Nelson, Felino A. Soriano, Jeff Harrison, Adam Trawick, Bobbi Lurie, Tim Wright, George McKim, Scott Metz, Sheila E. Murphy, Vernon Frazer, Dysphasia Press, Grzegorz Wróblewski, Jo Langdon, John Pursch, Megan Anderson, Eryk Wenziak, Katrinka Moore, Charles Freeland, Steve Johnson & Cecelia Chapman, Scott Bentley, sean burn, Bob Heman, Michael Brandonisio, Zoe Dzunko, Paul Pfleuger Jr., Bill Drennan, Javant Biarujia, & Bill DiMichele.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Which to believe?


Threescore & ten I can
remember well: with-
in the volume of which
time I have seen hours
dreadful & things strange....

Macbeth, Act II, Scene IV

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The snot-eel — how could I resist?

A deep sea fish that uses gill-clogging slime to repel attackers has been caught on camera for the first time by Kiwi researchers.

Video footage from a study by Te Papa and Massey University researchers of New Zealand's deep sea animal diversity shows the hagfish — also know as the snot-eel — repelling sharks and other fish when bitten.

The attacking fish appear to gag on the mucus-like substance before releasing the hagfish and swimming away.

N. Z. Herald

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Once upon a time

I could multitask.

Could even manage to write the odd poem or two.

Now . . .

Sunday, October 23, 2011


What lips my
lips have kissed, &
where, & why, I
have forgotten, &
what arms have lain
under my head
till morning; but the
rain is full of
ghosts tonight, that
tap & sigh upon
the glass & listen
for reply; & in my
heart there stirs a
quiet pain for un-
remembered lads
that not again will
turn to me at mid-
night with a cry.

Thus in the winter
stands a lonely tree,
nor knows what
birds have vanished
one by one, yet
know its boughs
more silent than
before: I cannot
say what loves have
come & gone; I only
know that summer
sang in me a little
while, that in me
sings no more.
is no parenthesis
& death i think

for life's not a
back in my arms
laugh, leaning
each other: then
we are for

which says
eyelids' flutter
is less than your
ure of my brain
cry—the best gest-
all flowers. Don't
lady i swear by
than wisdom
are a better fate
approves, & kisses
my blood

Spring is in the
to be a fool while
kiss you; wholly
will never wholly
syntax of things
any attention to the
first who pays
since feeling is

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Out from Otoliths — Eucalyptus by Charles Freeland

Now out from Otoliths

Charles Freeland
108 pages
Cover image by Spencer Selby
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-9-2
$14.95 + p&h
In which we are invited to witness the protean prose of Charles Freeland as it enters and bends around our improbably porous bodies like smoke from a library fire. Until one can no longer tell where one’s limbs or eyelashes begin and the author’s sentences end. If either can, in fact, be said to begin or end at all. Pick any one of Freeland’s expertly carved sonic doorknobs and turn to open. The room waiting there contains the very universe, if not the socks, you’re standing in right now. Beyond which: “The doors to the research labs fly open and when you peer inside there are still more doors and probably more doors inside those…” —Travis Macdonald

Eucalyptus is an unforgettable narrative about desolation. There are stories that we can do without, and this is NOT one of them. —Kristine Ong Muslim

Eucalyptus reads like a collaboration between Henry Fielding and Mina Loy. And here's Charles Freeland planning the caper, raising the stakes, and getting it down. —John Hennessy

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Out from Otoliths — Densities, Apparitions by William Allegrezza

Now out from Otoliths.

Densities, Apparitions
William Allegrezza
80 pages
Cover image by Deborah Meadows
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-8-5
$13.45 + p&h

This book explores influence by crossing out or responding to poets who have influenced me. The Whitman and Andrade pieces are cross-outs, and anyone familiar with the first version of Calamus will notice that I did not respond to the entire collection. I left out pieces that I did not think would cut well for my project or pieces that have too much personal meaning for me. The response pieces to Leopardi and Neruda are probably even more telling, for in these pieces, it is sometimes difficult to see how the pieces directly relate to the original. Still, the influence is there reworked through my experience. —William Allegrezza

William Allegrezza edits the e-zine Moria and teaches at Indiana University Northwest. He has previously published five books, In the Weaver's Valley, Ladders in July, Fragile Replacements, Collective Instant, and Covering Over; two anthologies, The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century and La Alteración del Silencio: Poesía Norteamericana Reciente; seven chapbooks, including Sonoluminescence (co-written with Simone Muench) and Filament Sense (Ypolita Press); and many poetry reviews, articles, and poems. He founded and curated series A, a reading series in Chicago, from 2006-2010. In addition, he occasionally posts his thoughts at

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Today the
postman brought
me a letter
for Abraham
Lincoln. He's here
only during the
winter months
so I sent it on,
c/o his Gettys-
burg address.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Today the
postman brought
me a blow-
up sex doll
which, it is
claimed, can be
to become moist
whenever a
music of the
user’s choosing
is played. I tried
it out with the
pipes & drums
of the Southern
Highlanders. It
      worked. Un-
the music didn’t
work for me.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Out from Otoliths — John Martone's Storage Case

Now out from Otoliths.

Storage Case
John Martone
72 pages, full color
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-7-8
$24.95 + p&h

john martone’s collages splice images and text drawn from Buddhism, radio schematics, cell biology, and natural history to open the Storage Case of the Unconscious. All of martone's visual poems stand alone as individual works, but he assembles them into book-length sequences, where their effect is enhanced. This volume offers a triptych of these visual books, in full, for the first time.

john martone’s many collections of poetry include st. john’s wort, shooting star and ksana. He currently produces his handmade books and ebooks under the samuddo / ocean imprint.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Literal Meaning II

salon hair

gods false

trap death

bell door

rail guard

balance trial

idea bright

time prime

spectrum broad

room drawing

avant post

black token

drama high

fire forest

Friday, September 30, 2011

The 2011 Ig Nobel winners,

awarded Thursday at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine:
PHYSIOLOGY: Anna Wilkinson, Natalie Sebanz, Isabella Mandl and Ludwig Huber for their study "No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise."

CHEMISTRY: Makoto Imai, Naoki Urushihata, Hideki Tanemura, Yukinobu Tajima, Hideaki Goto, Koichiro Mizoguchi and Junichi Murakami for their wasabi fire alarm.

MEDICINE: Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder, Robert Feldman, Robert Pietrzak, David Darby, Paul Maruff along with Mirjam Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop for studying the effects of holding in urine.

PSYCHOLOGY: Karl Halvor Teigen for trying to understand why people sigh.

LITERATURE: John Perry for his theory of procrastination: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that's even more important.

BIOLOGY: Daryll Gwynne and David Rentz for discovering that certain kinds of beetles try to mate with certain kinds of Australian beer bottles.

PHYSICS: Philippe Perrin, Cyril Perrot, Dominique Deviterne, Bruno Ragaru and Herman Kingma for trying to determine why discus throwers become dizzy, and why hammer throwers don't.

MATHEMATICS: Assorted doomsday predictors throughout history for teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations.

PEACE: Arturas Zuokas for solving the problem of illegally parked cars by crushing them with an armored vehicle.

PUBLIC SAFETY: John Senders for his experiments in which a driver on a major highway repeatedly has a visor flapped down over his face.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My paranoia

reaches the unconscious.

A fragment of a dream, from last night. & though I probably — must — dream, I rarely, if ever, remember them, so this one quite powerful.

Our garage, in sunlight, empty of cars. But curled towards one end, a black snake.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

geographies: DeKalb

The energy other-
wise emanating
       from basement
birthed recordings

is often blocked
by big red candles
       decorated with
Chinese ideograms.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

100 Thousand Poets for Change

This place may be built on a floodplain, but it's a desert when it comes to ars poetica. It would have been futile to attempt to organize anything significant to mark 100 Thousand Poets for Change day.

However, my heart is fully behind Michael Rothenberg's wonderful concept, & I would feel awfully guilty if the worldwide muster only reached 999,999. So at midday, I went outside &, in the shade of a mango tree, read a couple of poems to a hovering hawk & a transient troupe of rainbow lorrikeets, all of us unperturbed at the potential gatecrashing of the event by a six-tonne NASA satellite as it falls to Earth.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today the
postman brought
me a compendium
of investigative
studies by Shop-
Wiki & others
that report an
average of 13
people per year
are killed by over-
tipping vending
machines but less
than one every
two years is
killed by under-
tipping a waiter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some names

should never be.

Acting director of AUT University's Institute of Public Policy, Associate Professor Love Chile, said he was not surprised New Zealanders rated the rugby and the election so close.
OMG. Diana Ross songs as soundtrack wherever he goes.

(This post is dedicated to all those parents, family name Head, who have chosen to call their son Richard.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My dulcet tones

can be found in the just-gone-live issue #4 of Raft.

My audio & text can be heard/read here

& the full issue can be found here.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Bono gets up close & personal with Nelson Mandela

as does the Dalai Lama

but then the DL gains bonus points under The Great Race's Vowel Replacement Clause by being photographed with a mandala as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Today the
postman brought
me a sacrificial
pig. Looks
like lamb like
most red meat
these days
is too expensive
to be used as
anything more
than metaphor.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Bald Eagles

Have you ever listened
to the way most
drummers sing? So
regular, so pedestrian,
a freight train held captive
by its tracks. It seems
they cannot forget
that they are drummers
so sit on the rhythm
of the song as if
scared of losing it
if they let go. Welcome
to the Hotel California.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Out from Otoliths — Tom Beckett's PARTS AND OTHER PIECES

Now out from Otoliths

Tom Beckett
80 pages
Front cover image by Rosaire Appel
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-6-1
$13.45 + p&h
The difficulties that language presents have their analogues in life. Whether posed, or proposed, or just tenuously poised on the thin line that divides articulation from understanding, the phrases and phrasings of Tom Beckett's elegant and nervous Parts and Other Pieces challenge the givens of experience. The excitement and beauty of this four-part book are the product of a mismatch between words and worlds. And it is, indeed, a beautiful and exciting book. Variously witty, angst-ridden, melancholy, sweet, Beckett's parts provoke a powerful whole. —Lyn Hejinian

If Tom Beckett cares about anything, it’s everything. “Are you with me, Columbus?” Why yes, you are, we naturally reply, since Beckett has asked us a question he already knows the answer to, since he loves and respects the durability of our imaginations, desires, impulses and anxieties. Our answers, in substance and scope, are the very near silent dialogues that Beckett hears in the thought acts generated by poetry: openness taken from the shadows of openness alone. Beckett’s poetry has always reminded me that we are all in the process of our obsessions, where “What I might be able to do for you and not myself is to/mirror you,/establish your presence.” Tom Beckett is the poet in all our poems, goofing off when we harden in our terrible seriousness, and in the next moment, attentively concerned with how loud we just laughed. —Jordan Stempleman

Tom Beckett writes from the lab. His work, in its observational acuity, gives back to us all the stuff we see floating in the peripheries – of language, of social order, of identity – and places it smack dab under the lens. Where it pulls us in, performs for us, makes us marvel at its range, occasionally repels us, often makes us chortle. Parts and Other Pieces is alive, emotionally raw, self-effacingly hilarious, and ultimately quite beautiful. Beckett is the master; we’re damned lucky he’s got the white coat. —Jessica Grim

Tom Beckett's Parts and Other Pieces bristles with a fierce, rhythmic relentlessness. These are poems of urgent self-reflection, caught between the demands of everyday life and a consciousness haunted by spikes of piercing perception. —Charles Bernstein

“As a writer,” we read in an interview with Tom Beckett, “it can be more important to pay a lot of attention to a few things rather than a little attention to a lot of things.” Touché! Beckett’s new collection begins with a sequence of questions posed on the Ohio State campus (Goodbye Columbus!) and responds with a series of answers—not quite to the original questions and hence all the more pertinent and mysterious. The connection between A and B is provided by the middle section, “Between Asymmetries,” whose maxims, written under the sign of Emerson, enact the truth that “Language grids support the inexplicable.” The final poem, the minimalist “Parts” provides the “break (brake)” that makes everything that precedes it come together in one radiant whole. —Marjorie Perloff

Also by Tom Beckett & available from The Otoliths Storefront:

This Poem / What Speaks? / A Day

& the three volumes of the classic interview series:

E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The First XI interviews
E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Second XV interviews
E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S: The Final XIV interviews + One

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Living next door to Alice Nature

1) The downside

Had hoped, now that the flood is receding into history, that the snakes would have also disappeared. I mean, three close encounters—two indoors, one outside—are at least three too many.

No such luck. Watched the 7 p.m. news, went outside to have a cigarette, & there's a fucking black snake sussurued on the front porch. Smallish, but enough, these days, to frighten the living crap out of me. Besides, they're poisonous. No implements around, no way to smite the serpent, so, close the door, headed downstairs for my nicotine fix. Looked outside an hour later. Still there. Had gone next time I looked, but I'm still twitchy, though the nauseous fright-laden feeling has passed.

2) The upside

We have a lot of what my bird book describes as "Diurnal Birds of Prey" around. Usually at a distance, overhead, circling, too far away to easily identify.

The close encounters we've had are generally not that close. A bird on a fencepost on the other side of a lagoon, or feeding on roadkill & then flying away as the car gets near. There was one quite freaky experience when we were driving home from up north, coming over a rise in the road to see a wedge-tailed eagle attacking a carcass not that many meters ahead, thinking we're going to hit it, the bird rising slowly, its wings outstretched & flapping, filling the entire windscreen so we couldn't see beyond it, thinking we're really going to hit it, & then it was up & over the car.....

Last week, though, a genuine close encounter. Again as I went outside for a cigarette. A bird flying from the tree at the front of our place to the palms across the road. Large tail, causing me to first think it's a cuckoo, then turning & I could see a curved beak, a tuft on top of its head, stripes on its breast. Flew back across the road & into another tree, maybe 10 meters away from where I was sitting. Looked a bit unsteady. Then another similar bird arrived & perched a bit further away, from where it could keep an—dare I say?—eagle eye on the other. Not sure, but I think was probably parent & offspring, one seemed a little larger than the other, though they could have both been young. Beautiful to see.

Looked up my bird book, identified them as crested hawks, aka Pacific Baza.

The photo above comes from a namesake's blog, Mark Young's Birding Blog.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


the anniversaries Google decides to depict with its banners. Not so much the people, but the numerical values. I mean, the 112th anniversary of Jorge Luis Borges' birth? I would have thought something like the 111th would have more potency.

Or is it that in their capture—captcha?—of everything on the Web, they've come across a Nostradamus lookalike, in whose books there resides a quatrain:
Find ye a blind bibliophile in the New World. On the
112th anniversary of his birth, broadcast that fact wide.
Thousands of leagues away, reverberations. Amongst the
flaming fountains in the sand, the Tyrant of Libya will fall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama

He did not ask
for permission to
come aboard. The
bar was open &
he was thirsty. A
country band. Sweet
Home Alabama
, just
like in that Reese
Witherspoon movie
he only ever saw
the end of, late
at night, on cable
tv. He drank. It was
raining. The credits
ran down his face.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Out from Otoliths—Alex Gildzen's The Arrow That Is Hollywood / Pierces The Soul That Is Me


Alex Gildzen
40 pages
Front cover photograph by Kevin McCollister
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-5-4
$10.00 + p&h

Subscribers to the Otoliths list know Alex Gildzen (It’s All a Movie) as historian of the film-going experience. In this new collection of poems he plumbs the mythology of Hollywood. Taking on stories both familiar and obscure, Gildzen gives close-ups of legends such as Chaplin and Welles. But he affectionately offers star billing to many of Tinseltown’s lesser-known characters – from the woman who may (or may not) have been the first Native American movie star to character actors Victor Kilian and Percy Helton.

A video of Alex Gildzen reading a poem from the book can be accessed at

Tom Beckett's interview with Alex Gildzen can be found here.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The faces of Keith Moon

This ran into me on TV today. Knocked me over, as always.

One of the great rock bands. One of the greatest drummers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

geographies: Duluth

                      Blame the oil 

companies! Toy
dogs made from
synthetic chicken
feathers are
lyrically un-
ambitious &
need a heavy
dose of organic
fertilizer before
they sing like
tigers in the sun.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Stage 4

Bono appears with Oprah Winfrey. It's a commercial venture, but still qualifies.

The Dalai Lama reciprocates, & manages to score a few bonus points through the hint of shapely legs on both participants in the photoshoot.

Then Oprah appears on South Park & immediately joins the coterie of CotWOs, Celebrities on the Way Out. The adjudicators of The Great Race hold an emergency meeting & declare Oprah persona non grata, meaning this stage of the race will no longer be included in the final points tally.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

from topaz

"Had he mentioned the trams, the public baths nearby? Ernst’s elephant? The last typewriter factory in the world has shut its doors. He remembered the Alamo. Insouciance. Pietà."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Is being

able to recite Wordsworth's Daffodils from memory

confirmation of a misspent youth?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Issue twenty-two of Otoliths is now live.

front cover image by Rosaire Appel

Issue twenty-two of Otoliths has just gone live.

As always, it presents the broad church of creativity the journal is renowned for, with new work from John Martone, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Richard Kostelanetz, Philip Byron Oakes, Karen Neuberg, dan raphael, Márton Koppány, Martin Burke, Stephen Nelson, John M. Bennett, Morgan Harlow, Sheila E. Murphy, Anny Ballardini, Raymond Farr, Ray Scanlon, Marco Giovenale, Ryan Scott, Tom Beckett (interviewing Kirsten Kaschock), Kirsten Kaschock, Erica Eller, Jim Meirose, Howie Good, Enola Mirao, Jean Vengua (on Dion Farquhar’s Feet First), Walter Ruhlmann, Jill Jones, David James Miller, Michael Caylo-Baradi, Catherine Vidler, Jillian Mukavetz, Zachary Scott Hamilton, Jill Chan, Glenn R. Frantz, Felino Soriano, Iain Britton, Mark Cobley, bruno neiva, Brenda Mann Hammack, Toby Fitch, Tony Rickaby, Grzegorz Wróblewski, Lisa Samuels, Kevin Opstedal, Gustave Morin, Rich Murphy, Laura Wetherington, Jeff Harrison, J. D. Nelson, Charles Freeland, Rosaire Appel, Ann Vickery, Isaac Linder, Bobbi Lurie, Sam Langer, Rose Hunter, Spencer Selby, Jason Lester, Michael Brandonisio, Bob Heman, Keith Higginbotham, Connor Stratman, & Marcia Arrieta.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Out from Otoliths—Philadephia's Notebooks by Carlos Soto-Román

Philadelphia's Notebooks
Carlos Soto-Román
36 pages, full color
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9807651-9-9
$14.95 + p&h

Carlos Soto-Román writes from the center of Empire with a sense of play (game pieces included) and clinical examination. Philadelphia's Notebooks is the work of an artist/world citizen who critiques the daily interrogations that come with being a new immigrant. The fun fact that Ellis Island was greatly expanded with landfill in the late 19th -early 20th century provides a basis for Soto-Román's signage marking poetry's place in a disposable culture. There are workbook exercises that encourage creative ways to answer the calls for loyalty oaths with a demand for radical possibility the host country includes in its PR material. This work also includes what the USA brand doesn't advertise—isolation and moments of utter despair. It is a truly American poem in that it's internationally inflected, from George Perec to German cinema to self-immolators from all over the world. Philadelphia's Notebooks could not be a more artful and timely reminder that “Every heart is a revolutionary cell.”—Frank Sherlock

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Stage 3

Both contestants achieve zero degrees of separation from Kevin,

but since it's the wrong Kevin, neither bring home the bacon.

In fact, both have had points deducted for publicly consorting with another media tart, current Foreign Minister of Australia & former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, star of the on-again off-again daytime soap, Tintin goes down under.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Great (Media Tarts) Race

Or, who's more holy, moley?


Surprisingly, the media were excluded from the pre-race briefing. All we can offer is this drawing based on eyewitness reports.

Stage 1

At the end of which the contestants were equal pegging, since both arranged a date with the newly-single Maria Shriver.

Stage 2

Now Bono moves slightly ahead, winning extra points for the exchange of shades, although the Dalai Lama, by getting the Pope to hold hands with him during the photoshoot, managed to claw back some of Bono's advantage.

(To be continued....)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dalai Lama

& Bono are probably the two biggest male media tarts around, but I doubt if even Bono—who I dislike—would do a celebrity appearance on the Australian version of MasterChef as His Holiness—who I used to like—has just done.

What's next? Jerry Springer?

& / on the / subject of TV . . .

One face I did not expect to see staring back at me whilst I surfed the movie channels on cable was Amiri Baraka. But, lo, in Return to Gorée, with Youssou N'Dour.
At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean there's a
railroad made of human bones
Black ivory
Black ivory.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Out from Otoliths—Raymond Farr's ECSTATIC/.of facts

ECSTATIC/.of facts
Raymond Farr
112 pages
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-3-0
$13.45 + p&h

In ECSTATIC/.of facts Raymond Farr brilliantly investigates the relationship between language, meaning and culture by vividly demonstrating how language can shape worlds. In an insightful and stimulating journey, Farr takes an intense and often playful walk through landscapes of significance in which we are faced with the “Onslaught of language,” only to find that the “amber light of meaning stares back.” To discover meaning in something as “fundamental as chaos,” we need go no further than American suburban culture of generic mega stores, chain restaurants, popular music and blockbuster movies. Reframing these ubiquitous icons in discursive language results in an effect rather like “Marcel Duchamp…singing songs once sung by Doris Day.”

Things are not, Farr shows us, as they seem – the daily reality we experience is not the only reality. With an astute sense of phrasing and rhythm, Raymond Farr explores the interplay of language and culture by taking us through “all possible versions of a straight line” to learn that there is “a cubicle in a circle after blue skies on Saturday night.” We are urged to take linguistic responsibility for the structure of the present instance through being reminded that, “We are the consequence of cause & affect,” and that only “moments ago there was the illusion of nothing.”

The dialectical “I” in these poems is our collective aloneness in the desert of constant traffic noise. Despite our need to belong, we are ultimately alone, members only of ourselves. Overwhelmed by the lies we tell ourselves to make the terror of existence bearable, our lives become “a dream we dream to the end of the world.” Farr invites us to strip away all pretence so we can listen closely to the amorphous flux of the real, where perhaps we will hear “the prayers of angels being answered in the dark,” and glimpse the inner heart where “answers are vague” and the “only true conclusion, we conclude, is always inconclusiveness.” In the end, we have only our shadows to lose. —John C. Goodman, author of naked beauty and editor of ditch

No new cities are being built. That arrangement is palimpsest. Boroughs carved by a metonymy. And oscillation. One may artery about thing, about a place, or both. Each fact is a tenement to situation a place from which oscillations are discerned. ECSTATIC/.of facts courses within this layout, and Farr engages in no liminal simplification charting arrays of snarl. —Matthew Johnstone, author of Let’s be close Rope to mast, you Old light

Cold, hard facts: not! As Raymond Farr demonstrates in this wonderful new collection, facts are the serendipity of the real. Farr takes sentences and fragments, and he builds tenements of facts from the sky downward. His gift to readers is a city of the materiality of language and of what is absolutely, astonishingly material to life. In Farr’s words, “The facts are convincing. I am one hungry carnivore.” —Joel Chace