Tan Lin
Atelos 2003

Lin prefaces his long revel with a defense of poetry that's 'relaxed' as "non-designed furniture, time-lapse photography, forms of yoga," drolly preferring a textual surface for its looks rather than how it reads. Dilution of style features, branching, repetitive samplings, diffused misreadings, erasures of 'uninteresting' egotistical history -- these are talking points within Lin's processed 'boredom.' Boredom is good, it makes "our desires reverse themselves." The effect is that of an epic text that keeps forgetting what it's talking about, since there is always something else to forget. What a difference there's a silo before you. "The silo is standing / The image of a movie star's teeth approaches... // In mutilation is my envy..." BlipSoak01 fills up the left fold of almost 320 pages in total. Occasionally lines run long, from the left to right page, resulting in retinal discontinuity (because your eye is used to staying to the left) but also visual release (because your eye enters an emptied space on the right page, with just a few text bites, e.g., "red Cone / s"). The left pages comprise mostly two-line stanzas of lists, description, unarguable propositions ("...the speeches that they wrote // me / are probably unlike the stairs..."), and many improbables ("I heard your dog in photos... // In butter there was a kiss... // These are half rooms of rooms..."). Quite a few lines in the first hundred pages bear digital imprints ("01"; "06"; "20:01"; etc.) that help break semantic continuity, yet yield alternative semantics like a new math. Lin almost 'forgets' these imprints in the final 200 pages, resorting more to dense provocations in cohesive forms of narrative and meta-narrative snippets: "I wrote this was repeated / I wrote this again and again // I wore white gloves / I loved to see her smile." Haus remixes by Stephane Pompougnac pump in the next room as I finish this sentence. My favorite title is "Limbo Experience." Tan Lin writes, "I am indirect / like the square, fuschia and panty by Blumarine."


Lost and Found
Michael Gottlieb
Roof 2003

You don't expect to unearth humor in a three-section suite under the influence of nine-eleven. Section Two, "The Dust," somberly line-items what is identified: "...Johnson & Johnson Band-Aid... / Picture Frames by Umbra... / Daniel C. Lewin / C++ for Dummies... / Lite Source, Inc. portable lamp... / Totes Automatic collapsible umbrella... / John J. Tippling, II." A dead person or surely the limb of a dead person is a thing like an umbrella part. The humor derives from our refusing this. "None of us are any wiser. / And here you are, walking already..." Gottlieb observes one's failure to settle on despair, a "miming inaction": "That despicable buoyancy. / I can't throw you over, / not for long, at least." Defense mechanisms are set on "hexing the prey," "jouissance," "a sneering reliquary." But happily, ironically, there is no defense, no aesthetic stance worth counting on. Waiting, a poet's generic stratagem, is "a kind of decision tree." Refusing the discourse of prophecy, Gottlieb still makes it clear "This is the end / of the chin music... what else is there we can admit is / amiss? // Warning shots."

Allison Cobb
Portable Press 2004

Lab notes in an emergency. Cell is in fact the operative conceit for Cobb's syllogistic PowerPoint drenched in supernatural marine biology. The experimental objects consist of the smallest, often terrifying units of sense, the show unfolding, it appears, aboard a lateen dry-docked on words "beyond The word" because "the poem : departs from sense." Cobb inserts just enough authorial extravagance within conundrum -- "To make things wild I thought : would make them real real." Squids, whales, cockroaches, and monkeys are tokens of the sentient and their spreading sensuality floating in nipped stanzas of three-to-nine lines with ample spaces between colons and equal signs. Humans are tokens, too. Two thirds into the poem Cobb welcomes us to "boyfriend town" that "uturns into a target" dredging up "my father," "Mutter," along with "forefather cough : up...WIFE : & MOTHER." Cobb points without emphasizing: "scissors to babies," "machines spreading," "Am I lying? Or I don't know : what I know / as in : broken."


29 Cheeseburgers
Mark Lamoureux
Pressed Wafer 2004

At a point when a good number of other poets are re-evaluating the languagescape for rudimentary alternatives to political process and cultural narrative, Lamoureux criss-crosses narration and the politics of self, of family matters and of travelogue via recollections of consuming cheeseburgers from over a decade ago (high school, college) up to nearly contemporaneous reminiscences of eating in dives in New York and New England. At times the culinary memos are foodie anomie, as in #15: "Here I strategize the second drink / try & remember where I've put / my hands..." Later pieces trace Lamoureux's Fung Wah-enabled relations with NYC-Boston poets. Familiar but strong observance of the romance in self-observing: "I'm blasted infantlike: / from the envelope of sense"; "I'm young & strong in this light, / folding rays into origami animals, / a skinny runner in an open space..."; "the plate's lozenge reflects my true face: / elongate, cavernmouthed & / prodigal / hungry ghost."

Sometimes Inspired by Marguerite
Corina Copp
Open 24 Hours #15 2003

Proof that poetry is much better than blogging. Copp does a stand-up in belled trousers "of a truer expression of what we've got," titanium-clad "wondering which lollipop will turn," flaunting hazards at "a dangerous intersection as if fate and safety have a logical rapport." This is some of the most corporeal, daredevil verse your meta-theorizing mamma never wants you to read. "I want to think like you, the you of shapes..." Sobriety is a heavy harp. Why? "A baby doesn't think it needs an enemy to be disgraceful or otherwise deserving..."; but "Where are we going," Copp asks in a slushy-diaper, whiny deadpan, "I'm not sure, it looks like a jungle of some sort. Veining through the air we drink." It is rare "to find a moment between self / and image," yet Copp captures the slivered electricity you see in video game moirés. Hey "mate," if you "look good in blood, forgive / the red light at the end of the tunnel..."


Version 2:

The sky pressure is scents diffusing
the air has the outer above
marshaled over property wings
the bubble places the blue matter
level over and over and way out
a headlong cloud chalking everyone.

I put my finger inside
this was the first time
"Great but I'll just hold your lips"
it was maybe a couple of weeks later
I was sober in no time
"I feel like burning myself for 10 years"
she poked at the remaining bubbles
not really, she said.

The patio was perched high above
how? I was supposed to know.
The sky pressure is scents diffusing
the air has the outer above
marshaled over property wings
the bubble places the blue matter
level over and over and way out
a headlong cloud chalking everyone.
I put my finger against a suicide. This was the first time. "Great but I'll just hold your lips." It was maybe a couple of weeks later. I was sober in no time. "I feel like burning myself for ten years." She poked at the remaining bubbles. Not really, she said.

The patio was perched high above how? I was supposed to know.
Follow-up on the Luoma and Raworth reading in Berkeley.
Congrats to Kasey!


Follow the trains.



Today's catastrophe. Step here.
I could loop back
eager on

as all coke

For ours of vanishing
services met brush chalk

There's rings training
its robin limits

Yet look with
am winked

Now as Linnaeus
for arc

Lake eats then I'm and
metal in the practices

Slow show using the
there in the you

Tree I my paint in my
Afro the just that's realize.


Shocked like in by

Whose by has unseasonably

Into colored lifted as

To what itself when.
You just and how stretching
until out and
with the fusing ten bundles

From it and in where
sotto I and to ecstatic
toward one, a of an a

For an it the down she
and after lift and is panting
the will (the they) and relaxed

And from condense don't
never that because that
crossing and there more.


Poking around in Juliana Spahr's english 270 blog, I come across a symptom of what's attractive about San Francisco and the Bay Area and, in contrast, what's particularly galling about Boston:

Thursday, February 19
at the Miles House aka the Berkeley Center for Writers
2275 Virginia St. between Spruce and Arch in North Berkeley
7 pm potluck, 8 pm (sharp) readings

The Bay Area has a long tradition, now, of opening its intimate environs to poets in ways that allow for extraordinary interchanges. Impromptu readings, beaucoup venues, permeable allegiances that allow for both institutional and informal sponsorships to flourish with (gulp) potlucks, even. Compare the fabulous openness of the above with current salon mentalities prevailing here in Boston. (Jimmy Behrle consistently and for the most part singlehandedly works against the exclusivity schtick implicit in the college-backdrop and/or invitation-only readings that comprise a significant fraction of the B-town poetry scene.) Passing between NYC and Canada, Tom Raworth read in Boston last year at Bill Corbett's house, a great reading, a fine host, a special but nonpublic venue, and minus Bill's impetus, an event that could not easily take place anywhere else in Boston.

Don't misread me. Poetry gatherings at someone's house can be great. I champion Tim Peterson's birthday party at his apartment in Somerville last month. Part of what made that atypical of Boston, however, is that Tim invited a slew of readers and welcomed just about everyone in/around town who's interested in poetry. When Jimmy Behrle put together his "50 at MIT" weekend series last spring, Brandon Downing and I threw an open house at my place. Fun as it was, the stench of mighty exclusivity was still in the air, as another Boston fellow insisted on having a party at the same time, making a point that several poets, including me, were not invited. Boo-hoo, I say, for the diminutive appetites of Boston. Let's move it, Boston, a city this size needs one or two more Jimmy Behrles. At the 'corporate' level, let's have more nervy readings at Harvard -- we need these for sure, and more readings at one or more of the dozens of other colleges and art-production sites. And each of us, one poet, can do it on her own, one dinner at a time. Hey, open up your apartments, townhouses and all that prime suburban acerage. I'm hungry and ready to rally for potlucks every other night!
Extraordinary to some to others
the took to before with
under the everything rooftops clouds

They the that's but
something something
my when and not

Our the at
other still this
yet it unremembered not it.


Across laughing it
because all given
in I think living.
The the her the
those but it so
no he that how
she that when every
what pushing is.


For Valentine

It's not just money: I'm afraid
it's a Little Dipper:

If you or I pick stub A,

The light (incense)
fails every defense: it's disaster an
edge the future the invisible
income bulking in idiom
like over the hold (financial)
to become walled-in

-- the heat behind things all curled
into cold style

& it's going to be a pass:
still & all, the rise,
the subterfuge supplants a new
genomic remedy / comedy

...in the process
(we lost x million viewers):

I've been thinking how victimization
fouls up the law:
insofar as our ignoring it
makes fortunes: my stubs:


You're handsome!

Hold on?
membranes are functional! It's an open

Darwinian algorithm to back more
nano-proposals, human teeth
footbinding to the light,
the present fireflies turning in sandbars
speaking their minds to hollow
the new & smoky fabric:

Gleamed birds in the enough!

They, pear bark, a worm in 5,000
in & out with chirp...
the white ceiling off...

& trees droop
looking up, they're Spencerian: stranded
leave war to the professionals:

The room freshener of income estimating:
(the new & smoky)

...these better left by an entire proof lived out
but as the circular exhorts, spluttering
stance (fireflies).

Am telling you this because?


Always suspected Mr Yu was just a little bit Canadian. Congratulations, Tim!
My Bitch

's got bee-stung lips, post
Mohawk, an otherworldly air, fists
on the walls, rushed
when I got home I thought I'd been robbed

Discovered cute, pouring concrete
at a construction site, sent snapshots
to the agency, a person
and a product...

The whole experience a
piece of luck, gypsies started
me thinking, 50mg found in a
trunk, pieced together or stolen:

The bitch's a fuck'em if they
can't take a joke blankness
and nod, nastier, scare them pissless,
scare the living shit...

Until incarcerated we slow into Tuesday
and smash in the shadows
(this gets better) and weave
just once off chilling.


Thoughtful capsule review of Christopher Edgar's At Port Royal here [Feb. 9].

Ben Basan continues to generate cranial kieselguhr (formatted into call & response) mining KJ's restive quiz.

And over at arm sasser, randy things are getting savage [Feb. 10].

Riffs on "Zenith's Paintbrushes Pergola" from Chris Sullivan:


and tho pom poud thai may di

I hear some Thai in there!

Its just a very engaging textual object on the internet!

I read it three times and plan some more.

Keep falling for it

when I do read a striking internet text my mind

often wanders to a picture of it on nice fiberey sun drenched paper isnt that funny?

Ji choose to read jave as Ha-Vey,

which was derivative of my cousin J.V.

quite often stated: Ha-Vey darlin..

F= solving finger oomp

I heard Century 21 Green Eggs and Ham!

I believe your text should oppose this one in Signature!

Paintbrushes Pergola Zenith

I will be dree amama shexee alays, it is which red 4 imeyu 16 eerd ma 116 red colors main

the eye of prodavetsov alway 4 V re the depressed places March dreems

my dree raskrylo the red honor of the eye of my shex savant in grow prettier to the head

puppy soxtee jave pry o poured oppey Thor

hor honre or the ministry of attempt at the red attempt shexee odious ruined

the red color bama amway puppet Thai also heads ma good to after it it is brought also

did have not uh? Columns of the gel of sale F=.fiery for bra

brea on I will eat doorstop dow shex boards in I will grow prettier in arch 16 with the the parallel goalee

it heated in sun jave trea: bay jave bama shexee passed coasts eerd ma preloiter f =

razreshayushch example oomp of finger my utterly my eye dree my ministrist of ox shex connect upward

lauts chamber in my praise'll mise oomp you not delayete it only made well me

slept fie it grebet zea 7 zea besides paradise 116 or it stops upward according to connection baba of the white

wheat hurl stone F=.in passed brea.

Picture brush Pergola zenith

Me the dreeamamashexeealays and it which red 4imeyu it is important and to peel the eerdma116 of 16 it is will connect a deep-red color and

Place March it is dejected, one dreems again the eye of the V of the prodavetsovalway4 dog

Me the eye inside t the shex company v by a deep-red honor in inside in the head grows my dreeraskrylo which prettier

The pup soxteejave lever o followed the oppeyThor

It is destroyed deep-red reading shexee to the unpleasant thing the horhonre or the government of reading

It also after bringing, the tie the deep-red color bamaamway puppet also is the n which will lead to the good ma

The uh which is not be? The brassiere hazard sale F=.fiery it is Jel

The brea above me it bites and inside will eat the iron multi right shex board which it props in me by in the goalee which will be parallel to grow prettier inside arch 16

It ten did inside the solar javetrea,: The bay javebamashexee the f= passed the coast eerdmapreloiter

The razreshayushch of finger me my ministrist of oomp Hwang smallness shex whom it sees link with an upper direction it is complete, my eye dree

The lauts chamber it will spread out inside my praise'llmiseoomp and delayete it it will carry only and well it created

On it paradisiacal 116 outsides of the fie which sleeps grebetz U Oh 7 z U Oh or it when the link rum of white it follows in the raisins cookie which taste it puts out mainly, stops at upper direction

The wheat pebble F=.in by throws out the brea which is passed.

Congratulations Jack, on the generation of language that appears to infringe on the notion of indelible, nay, indeed Herstorical Inevitable!

"BamaAmway Baby" and some punkrock band would have been famous


Thank you, Nick, for your Feb. 3rd & 7th mentions of my blogging on Tim Peterson's poetry party. I think Nada's Feb. 7th report on the reading at Bluestockings ups the ante for the genre, however, since she zeroes in on what's inside her own reading: "that stressy nutty feeling of fingernails running down your psyche."



Close range, a dedicated follower, double large, an elegy of values, love trouble, the last blinded person by twilight (the essential booth). A morning taxi to the sporting interpreter is more a matter creating hysteria to build the play.

A go in years, light with green, the sea in the flask this February of the seals, two cold together that appear suddenly uplifting singly in a relaxed wave, the same exact, in each. Hummer black, large, like the beach staring away and upright, both of us twice done apart, broken then hung. The wave lightening the lip on the floor goes. The rose hitch for gladness reasons. One, this, could be foremost the zeal, vipers' kingdom, lights and old switching, rewinds and rises -- the flow and kick to begin more, once.

Rembrandt's eyes, no one you know. The river sound mourning the orchard life.


Zenith's Paintbrushes Pergola

I am alays shexee amama red dree
I have sixteen 116
red head ma eerd

salesmen alway
eye me in re
dreems dents mar

my dree opened red
eye honor of my shex
by savant in good head

puppy the Thor
oppey bay pry
O jave soxtee

honre hor or
shexee red try odious ruined try

amway puppet Thai
bama red likewise
head ma good at born likewise

had hadn't uh?
F=fiery sale gel
columns for bra

brea at it board shex
doorstop dow in good in
arch sixteen with parallel goalee

sunning trea jave:
preloiter ma eerd shore pass
shexee bama jave bay F=

solving finger oomp
example my utter my dree eye my
shex ox ministrist tie up

ward lauts in my
oomp mise praise'll
you don't but do good me

sleeping boo row
zea zea 7 besides heaven 116
or stop up baba white tie

wheat hurl brea
pass stone F=in.


Good news about Boston poetry.

Tim Peterson is a brainy poet living in Somerville, one of the 'deckest' places for poets to find themselves in metro Boston, because it's overflowing with post collegiate synthesists and medians, cafe-dwellers, and high-end style-critics who are not necessarily affiliated with Harvard. Tim gave himself a birthday evening last Friday, inviting eight poets to read at his apartment, inviting dozens of others to join in the cake- and poetry-tasting. Readers were Xtina Strong, Brenda Iijima, Ruth Lepson, James Cook, Mark Lamoureux, Sean Cole, Joel Sloman, and me. The readings were brisk and filled with surprises. Turns out Mark, Sean and Xtina were child poets together at Marlboro College, about ten years ago. Mark read some of Sean's juvenilia -- hilarious -- and Sean, of course, returned the favor, reading elaborate and highly credible romantic verse penned by Mark as an undergraduate. Brenda, the only reader not based in Boston-Gloucester, sounded as rock-bound as most of us, though, reading from her first book, unforgivingly complex, Around Sea, just released from O Books (Brenda grew up in western Mass., to some another outpost of Boston). Ruth read clipped and architecturally-toned entries from her dream records, which will be published soon by Potes & Poets. James Cook, whom I had not heard read before Friday's party, succeeded in taking up a number of formal strands that I associate with Olson, Creeley and others who might be identified with New England Projectivism: text as a field for argumentive experiment; unironic word-play ("What are you / righting? // What is left. Un- / orthodox tracts."); plain speech focused on communal history and psychic hesitation. Joel Sloman read pieces he called unfinished, but more often they sounded like parts of a whole (if still unfinished) suite. His first poem titled "Troglodytes" pierced me with 20 seconds of sharp pain, pain of the fun and necessary sort.

The fullest surprise, for me, was hearing Xtina Strong for the first time. Xtina is a fabulous cyberpresence in blogdom, we know. She's a regular reading-goer around Boston, as well, an attractive physical presence via her various forms of encouragement and approval. And, look, wearing layers of what you might first regard as eye-assaulting textures and colors, she is, I have to admit, the best dresser in town. Xtina ad-libbed her reading in the finest example of Wieners's force of influence. She read mostly from Sunday Morning at the Grand, an anthology of local poets she edited and just published under the aegis of Openmouth Press [contact chrisx@xtina.org]. This is a collection of work by regular attendees of Joe Torra's 'salon,' held Sunday mornings at the Grand Coffee Shop in Union Square, Somerville. The anthology includes pieces by Xtina, Michael Carr, Amanda Cook, James Cook, Mark Lamoureux, Chris Rizzo, Joel Sloman, Tim Peterson, and Joe Torra. The anthology itself is an important archive of what is being explored and accomplished by a significant fraction of Boston avants. I'd like to stick with Xtina's reading, however, because her first dipping into various texts by most of the contributors played well with her own collaged texts that she read after. Simply put, I interpret her reading as an occasion for an editor to show her enthusiasm for the processes of compiling poetry, hers and others'. Impossible to capture the density of her enthusiasm in snippets, but here's a sample from "Blue Perspective."

Do smoke another that comes dispersion possible
cigarette, is community hampen circulant sachet
I kept a book to loss loss of ted
ask and smoke another berrigan     lost a father
cigarette?     Smoke

Here, again, I sense a Boston or New England sobriety, a lack of irony in Xtina's use of "loss," a lack that is further evidenced by the nonparodic work-ethic admitted in "I kept a book to loss." A hierophantic self-disapproval common to not a few New England texts pops up a little later in the poem:

Circle     circle     Circle Ineffable injoke dies in the utter
encourages others I was political under
not through desiring.

For now, I haven't the time or space to fix on the intricacies of imagery, fonts, and so forth that Xtina chooses in order to convey her winnowing and merging of language sources, but, for me, given Xtina's dexterous appropriation of graphical texts, found objects, etc., the question of text field can no longer be merely bracketed as a concern exclusive to mid-20th century.

Another encouraging and newsworthy sign from Tim's evening of poetry and, especially, from Xtina's editorial work -- and a point that calls for more research -- Joe Torra as a generative model of teacher and poet.
Pardon, I'm having a wardrobe malfunction.