Thursday, March 31, 2011

Not my idea of poetry

"A suicide bomber killed six senior Revolutionary Guards commanders, including two of its top officers, and 25 other people on Sunday in one of the boldest attacks against Iran’s most powerful military institution.
"There’s a poetry here - a terror-sponsoring regime now the target of terrorists itself."

Andrew Bolt, rightwing columnist for a number of Rupert Murdoch's tabloids in Australia, climate change skeptic, all round bigot, currently facing a charge of racial vilification in the Australian Federal Court.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The first movie

I ever saw was Elizabeth Taylor's second, Lassie Come Home. She's the one on the right left. She was twelve when she made it, I was five when I saw it.

Needless to say, Muammar Gaddafi wasn't in it, thus underlining my earlier comment.

& an unbidden segue.....

Gaddafi? Wasn't he the poet from Alexandria that Lawrence Durrell was always going on about?

So that's why

you never ever

saw them together.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Out from Otoliths — j/j hastain's the ulterior eden

the ulterior eden
j/j hastain
56 pages
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9808785-0-9
$11.75 + p&h
the ulterior eden presents us with a contemporary Song of Songs in which allegory is subverted by eros into a more explicit and boldly unconventional passion. Large with life and ecstatic with the “names and innumerable sensations” of adoration, this communion joins beloved and beloved in the erotic chaos of a “newest pronoun.” j/j hastain makes this pact of bounty both politically and spiritually charged, shaping poetry’s intimacies as a means through which we can “mature all historical/grief/ into luminosity. —Elizabeth Robinson

j/j hastain’s poems thrust through language's own limits, opening it, re-making it to carry ideas it could not otherwise accommodate, “like a neoteric intimacy all pluck-penitent”, “the dispositions we intone rather than recant.” Short-circuiting erasure, j/j’s verbo-visual texts create a space for embodied being which transcends binaries, oppositions, proffers instead the gap into which we must leap. hastain reimagines the possibles in an ecstasy of sound/sounding and meditation, “a thing overflowing with curvature truths and tugs… an inter-ethereal design that renders its subjects submerged” in a new real. These erotic, potent, spiritual poems cast us in between, inside, loose but never aloof, as we enter into an evolutionary dialogos. A discourse through wilderness into a new wild. A birth, a dream, a text of being, hastain’s poems and image-poems “midwife” a new body, lover-and-beloved, “feral heart” beating against our ribcage, “a newest pronoun” exploding on the page. —Marthe Reed
The full catalog of Otoliths books can be found at The Otoliths Storefront

Sunday, March 20, 2011

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ceci n'est pas une pipeline
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday, March 19, 2011

small snake

this time



maybe abt a ft long / in the old language

35cm in the new


which means



either way


downstairs toilet

white tiles

easily seen

sneaky, though

up the wall

path between the bricks

smaller than


back to the floor


no spade / this time



severed snake

half & half & a pile of blood & guts

no pics

not into snuff

uneasy now


look before stepping

are there

snakes in the wall?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A letter to the Editor

"When do you make exceptions for reprints? I have a story titled Rxxxxxx Cxxxxxx that has been accepted by four different literary magazines, two have been published and two will soon be published. Would I be able to send that story?"
At least s/he was open about it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Tale of Toxic Titties

As the YouTube video below confirms, part of the recent story about a snake biting a model's breast is real, even though the breasts obviously aren't — "the largest implants available in Israel" according to the Old Testament.

However, not so real is the much-published punchline to the story, that the snake died of silicone poisoning.

Nor, it appears, were the less-reported before & after lines from the snake. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

from the vaults

Backtracking in the Early Nineties

The dispersed pieces of a former life
fly together like a film
run backwards. A single word
sets them off — Owsley, king of the
acid chemists, the eponymous chapter heading
of a remaindered detective novel bought for
$1 in a Woolworths variety store. I see it
as I turn the page; & associations
pile up so fast I confuse the front porch
with Freud’s casting couch. Dear Doctor, I
dropped a tab for the first time on an
afternoon in spring some twenty-five years
ago. No-one else was then & there
though I do recall the cushions were this
amazing shade of purple that sang
to me, & a sudden satori gave me insight
into the hidden meaning of the cover of
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
& the deeper mysteries that lay beyond.

In the here & now the cushions are red,
have a black ideogram embossed on them
to match the cane suite
that they rest upon. The birds are back
but it is the sun that sings above a lawn
that is mowed & watered regularly. Each
month the bank deducts the mortgage
& the car payments automatically; & I am
writing this on a PC paid for by
credit card. Sic transit gloria mundi. Then
into it all comes this chapter heading
& I am out of it again. One word that
probably cost me one quarter-millionth of
one dollar & gave the writer even less
dissolves the entire environment & once again
I race through stainless steel tunnels
where lights bounce back from the shiny walls
faster than words, slower than the eye can see.

first published in can we have our ball back?
included in Sun Moon's Mother

Monday, March 14, 2011

don't ask, children

Owsley Stanley, 1935-2011

Killed in a car crash in North Queensland where he had been living for the past 20 years.

Now out from Otoliths — Marcia Arrieta's triskelion, tiger moth, tangram, thyme

triskelion, tiger moth, tangram, thyme
Marcia Arrieta
80 pages
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9807651-8-2
$13.45 + p&h

What do the Golden Ratio, Tassajara’s kitchen, and Noguchi’s fascination with form have to do with natural cycles and the written word? In Arrieta’s triskelion, tiger moth, tangram, thyme, language flows between forms and fascinations sharing the elusive nature of sand, bear, and canyon and the infinite enigmas posed by modern physics, the green dragon, and the infinite reversals of Chinese puzzles. Arrieta’s poems are overlapping spheres, vanishing points, circles that reflect her fascination with modern cosmology, aesthetics, and the spirituality of language. — Andrea Moorhead

I have long followed Marcia Arrieta’s poems, impressed by her minimalist approach to language itself, her quiet southwest surrealism—reminiscent at times of the visionary artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe. Her poems are compelling, marked by deft and abrupt turnings, a total mastery of paratactic construction, and a dazzling sense of the landscape of the heart played against that insistent inner voice. Here, at last, they are gathered together, a gift well worth having, a quiet visionary voice which surprises and invites the reader to be attentive. — David Cope

Geometry defines symptoms of reality. Its elements hold in common a range of distances from other presences. In the perpetual imaginary search for probable freshness, what angle offers the most valid view? Marcia Arrieta’s book enacts philosophical inquiry into tangible experience, by way of a series of inductive expeditions. At the intersection of multiple wavelengths are poetic choices of mosaic segments that the poet sculpts into a metonymic actuality that far transcends harmonics of the selves. — Sheila E. Murphy

Marcia Arrieta’s long overdue first volume of poems charts the cycles of language within consciousness by plotting the recurrence of concepts and ideas and of certain words which, planet-like, wander among them. She has, through a process of extreme selectivity, crafted these poems-in-motion, poems on the outer reaches of philosophical thought. These poems are not for the mentally inert, but one willing to “staple the head to the sea” will receive much delight and intellectual stimulation from them. — Celestine Frost

The poems in this book are complex, "intellectually emotional" tangles of observations. Rather than through commas, these short — frequently only one noun long — observations are related to each other through periods, line breaks, empty spaces. They die out instant to instant. But they're also connected by Marcia Arrieta's acute attention, the fingerpointingtothemoon-like unpredictability of her imagery. She is a wonderful observer, for whom the naming process and the names, the things and the silhouettes of their distances, "the literary symbol." /period/ and "sea. clay. tree." belong to the same landscape, where "between the absolute." /period/ "the door is partially open." — Márton Koppány

The full catalog of Otoliths books can be found at The Otoliths Storefront.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm not into

conspiracy theories—well, not too many of them—or Nostrodramatic prophecies of the world coming to an end later on this year—let me consult my appointment book; no, it's not scheduled for at least the next two years—but I do believe that sometimes unusual phenomena occuring in nature may be harbingers—love that word: just been watching reruns of BSG on cable; "You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace"—of forthcoming extreme events.

Thus, birds falling from the sky, on New Year's Eve. Since then.....

Monday, March 07, 2011

Out from Otoliths - Arpine Konyalian Grenier's The Concession Stand

The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins
Arpine Konyalian Grenier
84 pages
Otoliths, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9807651-5-1
$16.95 + p&h
(currently on sale at a 20% discount to the rrp)
Will also be available through Amazon later this month

Arpine is one of the few living American writers to whose works the term "profound" may be meaningfully affixed. She has as capacious a consciousness as any I have ever encountered: Science weds Philosophy and yields the Poetic and the Fictive (in Wallace Stevens' sense). Her mind is fertile like the garden and pond of Giverny. To fully appreciate her writings one must strive to emulate her genius for synthesizing the currents of a personal and intellectual history. We should not be surprised if we do not accomplish this overnight — although Dream is indeed another state of Being and Becoming: A Rainbow at Midnight, and A Dawn Eclipse. — Gerald Locklin, California State University, Long Beach

In Armenian, we learn, the word for money is the mirror image — the antigram — of the word for human. In her focus on the word as the smallest unit of composition, Arpine Konyalian Grenier’s essays and memoirs light the darkest corridors of history and disaster. That's her method. In practice, she provides a deft gloss on Fanon's notion of occult instability, locating it in language, more precisely in poetry, and always in music. Her wisdom comes not from the bookshelf, though she is the most learned essayist I know, but from life itself, or from cultural memory and its subtractions. Through her observations a longing absence ferociously prowls, growling like a lion. — Kevin Killian, Novelist, Poet, Playwright

Konyalian Grenier's The Concession Stand makes language take new turns. Her essays are poems, really. Her quest is to understand what it means to be human, in terms of poetry; she takes us along, thinking, listening, reading, laughing and seeing the world for what it is. —Jonathan Cohen, Stony Brook University


The print parts of Otoliths #20 are now available from The Otoliths Storefront.