Poets are getting sexier.

Male poets attract females with tall tales, long lines, sharp codas, and European researchers have observed that over the last 20 years those features have become much more pronounced, especially among American poets.

"We've demonstrated quite a dramatic change in a short period of time," said Dr. Pierre Joris, an evolutionary philologist and poetics analyst at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, who conducted the research with Dr. Charles Simic of the College of Nyiregyhaza in Hungary. The findings are to be published in The Journal of Evolutionary Poetry, Bolinas, California.

Experiments suggest that the male poets' tall tales and long lines act as advertising for good genes because males must be in good health to spend the energy writing and perfecting them. The females, the researchers say, are particularly attracted by the tall tales and mean-spirited two-line codas.

Dr. Joris, who has been documenting this preference for more than two decades, found these outer features had increased by almost 10 percent in the U.S., one of the biggest evolutionary shifts ever documented in the literature of a living population of poets. By contrast, other prosodic elements, such as internal rhyme and aliteration, which don't produce a reaction in females, haven't changed. Kabbalist Adeena Karasick concurs. "Hah. I couldn't give a hangman's fig for off rhymes, syncopation or aliterative chords, but I'll turn the Buddha head or throw my voice for a whopping fib or a snap at the finish," Ms. Karasick said.

Over the last 30 years, researchers have made more than 1,500 measurements of prosodic elements in populations of poets. Cutbacks in new media employment in New York, Boston, and San Francisco, for example, have winnowed the ranks of so-called airhead poets given to frivolous distractions, thus favoring the more 'serious' writers who produce larger manuscripts with grander geopolitical thematics, more proto-intellectual vocabulary and, of course, fewer line breaks, because these 'survivor poets' believe their marketability depends on more abstruse but also more prosaic-appearing texts that are harder to crack.

Dr. Joris and Dr. Simic suspect that the agent for this is the long-term spread of continental theories, post-structualism and neo-Franfurtism, to name two. In addition, the poets they are examining migrate from less promising centers of academic enterprise and commerce to New York, Boston or San Francisco in the winter, then return by way of Florida or southern California for the spring break. The reduction of vegetation in those locations around the beach and desert may mean fewer natural metaphors like body lice, tics and other insects for the hungry poets to digest and subsequently regurgitate in their poems.

"If they get across the Panhandle, say, and there's nothing to do but swim and drink, it's tough," Dr. Joris said. Weaker male poets starve for meaningful experience or go to work in an academic factory; stronger ones reach Cambridge or New York to intake more theory and subsequently compete among their strong counterparts. There they pass on their genes to the next generation -- including genes for longer texts and taller tales.

But that explanation has prompted some skepticism.

"I am prepared to believe that these poets are probably evolving, but not that change in employment prospects or a paucity of natural imagery or sensory stimulation is the cause, simply because there can be so much else that's fucked up going on," said Dr. David Larsen, a cultural ahthropologist at the University of California at Berkley.

Dr. Joris plans to search for more evidence.



Nick makes the case against boredom in poetry, that is, in the poem-making venture. Boredom? Blame it on the empire-prone riding escalators up and down the Radisson nearest you.


Who is Alan Waldman, and why do I resist his argument? Implicit differentiation? Or a sentence like this. "The reason it was so easy to steal this election is that, unlike the situation in Europe, where citizens count the ballots, employees of a highly secretive Republican-leaning company, ES&S, totally managed every aspect of the 2004 U.S. election." ??
Bad Taste

The new north-south divide,
Older women, younger men.
Optimism in the middle of adversity.
Blood cells are "furtive" winking updates.
Downloads at a buck, a "mote"
Red light bulbs and dead exit signs,
Pores that show traces of violent entry
By drum bash and club muscle.
Two more, come on
Two more.

Give it up, Clem and the soft spots,
Two more cheeky dedications
Sleeping on the roof -- adios, U.S. $.
Geeky, winsome, a rustle of counterfeits
Watch pretty people in Manhattan
From a distance, leaking melancholy.
A comb passing through a bald head
To the sounds of fountains of friends.
Sociologists are stepping up and nodding off
Under the influence of futon cramps and cars
Full of pouti webs and the elephant men,
Dostoyevsky wrote.


I know some of the best American poets. Some are friends of mine. You are nothing. She added.
Finally, an intermedial thesaurus for those beyond Achilles, like me!
Heat smells coveted house and neighbors hair and voices throat and greed stretching the interstate coaxing punsters and mimes. Spines, waists and tooth,

Drug spending feeling cold on either side. Nothing. Never win. Except at night and the post-night bounce.

The machinations' scantiness. Morning pix to match your moods. The crucifix is a perk?

The key of sledge, the swing of Yiddish.

We love publish. Clouds were better off flinging carrots. I need new work.

Inside Cezanne you'll find warm things. Alive, charged, brilliant to the eye. Stuffed-ish.

Not bad. Ok. Bye.

Alexander has the worst gays ever! Hence

It's an epic about a guy that was the old me. Years of sonic youth.

Black eyebrows associated with French blond.

It's what I do. Did. Ate. Eat no remix.


12 new e-books for your holiday perusal:

Carl Annarummo: High Heaven Ugly Hat
Micah Ballard: Unforeseen
Corina Copp: Carpeted
Joe Elliot: 101 Designs for The World Trade Center
Mitch Highfill: A Dozen Sonnets
Jukka-Pekka Kervinen: Permutations
Michael Magee: The Complete Plays
Tim Peterson: Trinkets Mashed into a Blender
Kelly Sherman: With love always, Kelly
Christina Strong: Utopian Politics
Stephen Vincent: Sleeping with Sappho
Alli Warren: Yoke



Sex is immediate, overwhelming, terse and decisive. A thousand and one nights. Little river hotglass. The poke boats. George Balanchine.
The Aztecs, nothing more than mothers and daughters wrapped in chicken wire. The empire framed against browning palmetto. They drew on elements of their own lives. The world of female emotion figured as farce. They made connections and at night frequented the underground. Pop. Gay. Comedy skits!
A regimen of half truths. The regime. The women unload credit reports from the hatchback. At my request they circle the flashlight hidden in my breath. A daring effort to wrest myself from family debt. I had one chance once with a boy but chose not to. Everybody has a chance. That's what we call sport.
Her complaints are unspecified. They seem never to be true. Like no European had tasted coffee. She plants herself before the screen and waits.
My teaching career leaps to its death in a ghoulish curse of Cocteau-esque atmosphere. Thankyee, Alli.
Work needs to get done. I regret suing Pfizer, still, I'm taking home a 50,000 pot and a Chevy Cobolt. Voters rising up out of the condo communes. Huffy about fur? Yo, feed me braised and gratineed celery, por favor. What the devil is this? Puzzled? Stick to the itiveness and there's only one direction to go: Access is by key only. I'm inviting some old friends home. Had it not been for the tungsten T5 and the egg-roll joke I might not be here. The only problem we may face is getting them to leave.
We can harm poor children by asking them to the high-tech holidays.


Stephen Vincent's Sleeping with Sappho.
The Complete Plays of Michael Magee, beta version.


A couple more betas -- Mitch Highfill's A Dozen Sonnets and Cori Copp's Carpeted.
Poetry Brings the World Together

It's a level playing field. Once the animal has been rendered lifeless, the rest is simple. Feather duster in a child's grip. My heart is a snake farm. You with your go with the flow. We're done, nothing left to bastardize. You that sang to me once, sing to me now. (Aren't we getting a little too attached to the lab specimens?) I will listen until the flute stops. We're but sixteen miles from the crowd heads. Autumn in our great room, hooded up.


3 new beta texts at Fauxpress.com/e -- Carl Annarummo's High Heaven Ugly Hat; Micah Ballard's Unforeseen; Tina Celona's When I Am Done with Cookies I Look for Pie.


A dozen or two fans of, and some newcomers to, the poetries of Jordan Davis and Stephanie Young were rocked into new senses Saturday at the duo's Segue reading at Bowery Poetry. Jordan's reading of mostly recent-sounding poems couldn't have been much of a shock, categorically, except the lyrics are just that, and they run for more time, and if possible, log in more breezily than ever before. The rocked senses, for me, come with the sure-footedness of the -- what are these? -- unheavy but breathy, skyscraping lines and piles more of them in welcomed longer poems with titles such as, "Almost Named Horace" and "Flash Pictures from the Top of the Empire State Building." A shout from the audience: Jimmy Berhle asked how Jordan spelled Horace, but poised Jordan paused and then sped on without interruption. In "Flash Pictures" Jordan laid down a few rules:

Rhymes, puns, midtown; all ugly things stir me,
The rain does well for itself with the songwriters;
The blue sky with poets and strobe-lit securities dealers,
As for me whatever I am it's got to be overcast
      to mean business.

No, these aren't rules, they're descriptive conditions to get to the rules that indeed came later in the reading. Jordan let me scan his handwritten ms. and here's what I heard and then read in another longer poem, "My Desire Lines":

1. Make everyone on earth cry and laugh
2. Be a voice that makes those who hear it
Know how to read 3. Live here and a ways out


Reading this now is a shock.

Stephanie Young is wild with reserve. She read poems of this century, longer ones, too, but the lines were short, disputative and motioning:

Hole in my sweater
I mistake for a hole in my arm. Dirty sock
asleep in the wrong room, commas
some in the notebook
back at work

Thus speaks the poem "Mutable, Positive, Fixed," and with a title like that, I think you see why I chose 'motioning' and 'disputative.' In her splendid New York debut Stephanie spelled out her refusals -- thousands -- to take sock for sex for an answer, e.g. When I hear these next lines in the poem -- "I left the notebook on / and now licking the plate full of macaroni" -- I know she doesn't mean only that food is sex, and no, "I have a sincere desire to change. / Back again. Little sock / licking my paws..." Yes and no. What we have hearing and reading Stephanie is the metal rock of the coy overcome by guffaws and weightier desires. She read poems as entwined as this and better for thirty minutes. Poems of selves. Poems that mocked self-help. Poems that helped. A dozen poets gave Stephanie the high-five after she finished. More to come.


Someone, someone leaned out and shot me.
Yes. My sentiments too. The best sex ever.
Good v. wild lasted too long then half-boned
into a curvaceous mustard fart,
the lord's will tilting my ribs reflected aphids
gathering on a wall, unanswerably,
in the hand. Whose hand? Those were
my sentiments. The last ones.
I'm pretty sure.
If I weren't sure I'd take it back.
Sure. The poetry is street-people leftist, a tad fallopian-centric and his piss is only digital. Still, why hasn't Alan Sondheim been acknowledged as the founder of flarf?


And while we're gearing up for an Ohio recount, Tom Clark leans another way. The world is done. The world maybe, but not the word.


Been thinking the last few days, look, we almost didn't lose it. That hasn't helped but then Bill Berkson and Barret Watten, along with Kenneth Fearing, pipe up, taking opposite but satisfying approaches to adaptation in the post-age-of-reason (PAR) climate. Agree with Nada, as well, Alan Sondheim's summary notes are bracing reading. Ontology matters, Sondheim claims, and punches epistemology. I'm looking forward to the new poetry PAR inflicts on the language. Shit, yay!

I'm reading for a few minutes with Allison Cobb, David Cameron and Africa Wayne at Teachers and Writers (for Brenda Iijima's Portable Labs of Yo Yo) this Thursday, starting at 7. There are other readers with books from Litmus Press. It would be so fine to see you. Meanwhile, before the reading I'm meeting Thom Browne to get fitted for one (or two) of his new suits. He's my favorite flattop now.


Verbs like craven, firebug, Stradivari.
Jousting snacks.
Fit chair fillers.
Plastic trophies from boyfriends.
Four husbands.
Lead-free prose. (Kerning excepted.)
Antic intellectualism.
The work. The work & the life. The life.
Illegal use of hands.
Six large egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Marsala (=zabaglione).
Solitary genius in the workplace (seaside, e.g.).
Red boa remnants of Alli Warren's.
Ange Mlinko.
I'm voting for integrated taxonomy.

And David Hess.


Simplistic, Manichaen juxtaposition. Why me?