One, everyone, hey man you're zeeeeriously crazy if you miss Godfrey & Weiser Wednesday, October 1, 8:00pm, St. Marks Church in The Bowery. (I'm a fan.)

Kyle's buckets of rain have gone away. Someone has cut the grass, the greeny, wettish smell is everywhere. Hay. Optimism.

Remember to slam the parentheses behind you
) bang and ) bang and ) ) double bang
(to be on the safe side).

— James Schuyler

The Demolicious series winds down October 5. This is the latest in the pile-up of farewells to Boston/Cambridge poetry readings. It's a big city, and of course poets show up at other places, but for now it's down to the congruence of three, Harvard, MIT, and the Pierre Menard Gallery (where the Demolicious gallows humor party takes off, 10 Arrow St., Harvard Sq., starting at 3:00).


Kim Lyons, Jess Mynes, and Geof Olsen read last Sunday, also at Pierre Menard. Report to follow.


Part 2 [Part 1 here]

Turk suggested ...

... Corduroy meth? Wanda snaps into her nonmeditative swagger, I'd prefer you wait on the 16th if you're going to bring him up.

The reset button still works. Only an hour ago two counties away — Turk's '55 Thunderbird powered over a familiar, pristinely self-sustained bridge exiting horse country in the rain. He's dumping Huntley in the rearview, a blur of the town, erased footholds in luxury, speeding elsewhere.

To Echo Press. What, it's 1:02, and here's Turk Foxbridge, another keeper of the proofs, but haywire-English-y and more seasoned than even his moody, postdoctoral toil suggests. Zoubok and Wanda see him now through the clerestory of the elevator that's floating up to her office, the entire 17th floor of the Flatiron. Sauntering in without an appointment, pressing a bulldog valise of seashells, feathers, idées fixes. Absorbed showing his thinking process.

Wand, dizzy dress, R U ok?

Pavel and I are punching through straws and colorless spheres...

Amazing, so simple...

Fuck, the most cinched at the waist of the trio, Wanda interrupts Turk while Zoubok falls into a collaged kitten mural of plastic joined by static hanging in back.

This book is a fake, an obvious microparadigm of inflatable logic kept on life support by nothing more than crumbs and fan-blown air. Especially the reactive troubadour bits, like 'rectangles of blackface' — sure, they're great, but with Pavel's name on it, the opus is a whiskey trough filled with cuticle pairings from the bottom of the mountain.

Left flattened, Zoubok struggles to formulate a humanist message, Turk billows smoke: No, fake is not right. No. That's componentially wrong. This is Pavel's desiderio a performative allegory for variations on insensate figuration and ellipsis...

I've got e-lists to purge, guys, and anthologies to disgorge. Look, unless you're hot this moment to put a genuine boy, a boy's boy, on the cover, the forged initials stay.


These pols are creeps. 24/7 coils of psycho-ephemeral crinkled creeps.


Durable goods down. Jobless claims soar. Tattoos gain more visibility.

DC's flips the spotlight on Kevin Killian's new Action Kylie. Like every other post there it's encyclopedic. Vids, blurbs, excerpts, everything you need to get (re)excited by the topic at hand. It's like getting tattooed with visceral consequence.

My little nephew in the Persian Gulf says

War is a disaster, my heart is beating faster

Slick in a white uniform, his head shaved, the top of his head a white ball

Flip over here and scroll to 9/25; as usual it keeps cranking — if you follow up with the comment box entries 9/25 and after, you'll extract disturbing ideas, chance disjunction, scrappy, BoHo-enhanced discussion and controversy.


A few pieces felt jaundiced. Complicity and resistance pushed further into a formless clot of mist. That Wanda had perfected this base of abstraction freed her to make things up.

The almost youngest panelist is held in high regard, even ten years later. She's an international character, now, a keeper of the coveted formulae to the MacArthurs. She's taken a shortcut, a dull passage into scholarship and multiple sex partners. She wakes up around noon to find herself daydreaming about, of all things, trade publishing and its discontents, except it isn't involuntary in fact and she's in charge.

She asks a minion, How many children can I have? We can package four right now.

This is her first attempt at working in three dimensions.

It's 1:00. Pavel Zoubok, the last Ashberian, walks into her office. She greets him, We didn't know you wrote this when we selected it. We're holding to our agreement, and we'll print it but under the alias with the forged initials.


Because that's how you sent it in.


Latest polls trend to Obama in Florida and Virginia, even as the race is closer in dem must-win Great Lakes states that are still in the Obama column. Tightening. Tight. It's enough to reinvigorate earnest leftists to keep up the good fight, at least through Friday's debate. Questions: Why did Obama agree to switch the subject of the first debate from the economy to national security and foreign policy, areas thought to be McCain's strong cards? Will he and McCain deconstruct every question into a security tirade on the Wall St. meltdown? Will the rules of the debate allow them to? Open questions, for me, but key ones, especially since the alleged winner of the first debate goes on to be seen as the victor, overall, of the debate process. Not that that honor did much for Kerry in 2004. Then, maybe Kerry won, if we can trust the data complied over some time, now, by BradBlog and uncountedthemovie.com/blog. (Remember the exit polls showing Kerry's lead in Ohio four years ago? The disparity between the poll counts and the official vote was statistically incredible, something like a 1 in 10,000 probability.) Both Bradblog and uncountedthemovie/blog track current initiatives by leftists to counter rightwing systems analysts and hackers trying to tweak the electronic vote counts to benefit republicans. In a tight national vote, countering rightwing voter suppression and manipulation of tallies is the most important grassroots work of this cycle. As in other recent elections, while at least margins of the vote counts are subject to fraud, we will base our decision on vital atmospherics gushing out of debate substance and technique, the economy, and other catastrophes.

Finally, for a leftist slant on Paulson and Co. to restoke skepticism about the one-solution to the financial markets crisis, you might like the frequent updates at housingpanic, a site I learned about reading Linh Dinh's Detainees.



Best wishes to Douglas Messerli for a speedy and full recovery.


Postcard (Voices/World Flag/Theory) 4 for Larissa MacFarquhar

Postcard (Voices/Disinheritance/Ocean Flowers) 3 for Nancy Rubins


I know democratic wordsmiths and political journalists have other fish to fry 'n stir into their bouillabaisse of money melt on Wall St. and Main St. I hope, though, some are preparing a discourse analysis of how republican candidates are wholesale re-speaking ideas, vocabulary, and idiosyncratic phrases from Bush II. There have been flashes of this evidenced on YouTube, but a reasoned exposé could prove extremely useful. I've already squawked about dems' underplaying McCain repeating Bush II's convention speech. In addition, there's the now-ultra-relevant head-turner, the now-reformed-and-discarded Bush II phrase, "the fundamentals are sound," uttered by MCain at least 16 times on the campaign trail. About a week ago we heard Palin's response to Charles Gibson's crucial question concerning her readiness for the v.p. slot and her ready acceptance of McCain's offer to become his candidate. She used variations of the stalwart phrase did not blink many times in reply to that and other questions. Up until the last year or so Bush II himself had used that phrase repeatedly, often with reference to staring down terrorists. (Even before she went national, Palin was behaving like Bush, using private e-mail for government business, setting up roadblocks to bi-partisan investigations into questionable practices by her administration.) Key to any exposé, most of the strategic support staff for Palin are ex-Bushies, Tucker Eskew, Tracey Schmitt, several others. Simply put, one could assert Palin cops others' playlists, says what others dictate. The salient points about McCain and Palin's lack of independent thinking, coupled with her ahistoric protection from unscripted reporters' queries and their continually exaggerating on the stump (energy innovators, outsiders, etc.), could be the basis for a partisan invective, something like this: If it looks, walks, and talks like a Bush, it's Bush III.


I'm no collector so I'm not versed in postcard art or theory. As for theory, I hear it's packed with shrill ideology, multivalent intelligence, ultra-experimental conversation. Both objects below came silently attached to an e-mail today and they felt good in a marginal-figures-in-a-dominant-culture way. I call them Postcard (Voices/Allegory/Crisis of Faith) 1 for Kutlug Ataman and Postcard (Voices/Push-Pull/Serenade) 2 for Zac Posen, respectively.



so many scurrilous appeals start this way: Frankly,

if Barrack Obama doesn't find his voice and take over the discussion about the mal-adjusting economy,

if he doesn't grow a pair as Amy Poehler put it (altho she was talking about the media calling out McCain...),

I'm going to sharp-border myself and become an oddball.

Burn after Reading makes do without a head or heart. Joel and Ethan Coen figured out, movies ago, their first task as writers and directors is to keep the eye busy. In Burn they parade celebrities Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, George Clooney, along with familiar faces, Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Elizabeth Marvel. These folks are washed out collision cases. Outdoors the D.C. light ages Clooney, Malkovich, and Pitt about ten years apiece. Their phenotypes convey the wild emptiness of the District without Pity, and it's a patchy humoresque for a few minutes. Right off, worker drone Malkovich is fired by his fake-polite bosses at ...? CIA, I suppose. When he gets home we see how people with taste and no power live in Georgetown. Next, we stumble across Swinton, Malkovich's wife, sidled with Clooney who, as the last man standing, goes to bed with all the women. Burn is about screwing without screwball. Death floats from bedroom to sidewalk. Clooney kills Pitt, a Billy Budd-like naïf, one of two male leads who doesn't get laid. The other, Richard Jenkins, is hacked to death by Malkovich. In a nod to plot compression and symmetry, Malkovich is sliced up into an irreversible coma by a fed, offscreen. No time for any wink, wink, epiphany, except for the two operatives back at the agency who watch over the fornication and clean up after the kills. They narrate traffic and attendant statistics. What was Malkovich's clearance level, one asks. "Three." "OK then..." a turn of phrase accompanied with one eyebrow slightly arched. 'Pointless to worry' would be one paraphrase. That would be my conclusion.


While we're at it, financials-wise, Lihn Dinh reminds us what a catastrophic loss to anti-predatory forces has been Eliot Spitzer's disappearance. Back in February Spitzer wrote, "...the Bush administration [has] looked the other way and [done] nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers." Going in, the banks' appetites are facilitated by the right wing, and it's the same for the slow, painful flush job, going out. Spitzer again: "Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye."

Several dealers, stoic defenders of market flux, wielders of pointy-headed instruments, are speeding into the anomaly that has been the NYC-still-the-good-times bubble.

A dark day. (One of a number.) We have wanted and want too much; we look everything into and through the eye of our collective addictions to wanting. Here's a moment to look into and through AIG, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch — they're only today's losers, but they mark an occasion — time to tie their collapse and other malfunctions in our politics and economy (Evil brings so much more "to the table") to our poetry. Into and through what is "in us" ourselves.

[...] in America poetry’s pulsing truth reverberates with the irony of our images to placate our need to despair and revolt against the outer forms of evil instead of embracing the Bad Thing extant in us causing this to go down, ultimately, as a resource war—looking for oil, water, rest—all it takes to make life easy at the expense of all others. But without our conscious or unconscious senses of entitlement and righteousness, there’s nowhere for any of us to hide. This is what we’ll learn as the banks fail and oil dries up and we have to re-orient life to other methods of getting by.

— Dale Smith, 9/14


Both democrats and republicans, in particular, have succeeded in converting presidential politics into a vote on who has the better campaign backed up the biggest, most brazen falsehoods. The best campaigner, the formula stipulates, is destined to be leader since political control is a perpetual campaign. The good-cop-bad-cop republican ticket is our latest sample. By contemporary standards it's not only above-board but widely expected that an inexperienced candidate turn ingenuousness into a positive. Not a good old boy, she's a reformer. And if she snarls, so much the better. Given power, a feisty female who makes herself 'average' is a terrifyingly bad cop. When her old boy partner faces the media-elite women of The View and is told he's lying about Obama's record, McCain needs only to insist he's not. And that's it. He's the good cop. For additional oomph Cindy McCain walks out in Oscar de la Renta to make her reinforcement cameo on The View. How many houses has Cindy got? That's not part of the campaign, snaps Cindy. She's a bad cop too. Strong. Forceful. Sticks to her guns. TV news analysts fill us in on the meta-levels of such processes — the horse-raciness, the perception game (so-called), demographics, strategies, tactics and execution — and they fill gaps, foreclosed-on neighborhood-wide gaps, in their first-order reporting, using and re-using loops of video material produced by competing entities from both campaigns. Issues are effectively snowed over by trivia and ruses that only huge capital can sustain. Just as gas and oil consortia attempt to calm us with deceptive portrayals of their token initiatives toward cleaner energy, democrats and, I emphasize, republicans continue to perjure themselves during this every-fourth-year trial for democracy, telling stories and pulling off tricks about what politics is doing to the American economy and to our freedoms.


Blogger Robert Baird points to James Fallows's scrutiny of Sarah Palin's first interview, part one. Fallows notes her unfamiliarity with foreign policy and, worse, lack of interest and, worse still, lack of curiosity. (This actually does sound like Bush III.) Fallows's argument at TheAtlantic.com is a rapid swirl of what matters first about her candidacy and second, as Fallows puts it, "about the person who put her in this untenable role."

Kissing a wall. Not hiding her sexuality. Silhouette on Walnut —

book list = subjective state

tribal identity or trance

the underground = finding America

career trajectory or cast figure

abnormal grace or poetics = what's this? Imagine the movement of a classical dancer's silhouette crossing Walnut St. Compare it to that of any pedestrian who is not a dancer. A poet acquires some form of correspondence to the dancer, a verbal equivalence to her process repertoire.


There's another form of repetition I don't do here. I don't talk about my dreams. Or if I do, it's dealt with subtextually, not like this. Last night both republican candidates came to my place for dinner and a sleepover. Sleeping over was awkward because my guest bed wouldn't accommodate McCain's expanding girth, much less the two of them, but I'm getting ahead of myself. John and Sarah — we're on a first-name basis now — rang my bell and came in unannounced. They were fabulously foreign, not talking directly to me much; mostly, they shouted to each other lifting fringe-accented lines from their stump speeches. So it was an acoustic nightmare with visuals that popped. Sarah was dressed from nose to toe in tangerine raw silk rope that kept her immobile and a little less talkative than expected. John's a riot in umber and maroon brocade. He insisted on fixing dinner himself, something goulash-y with chicken parts, which I passed on since I'm vegan. At some point mid-meal I was hiding under the sink in my own house chewing celery. John never got the goulash right because every five minutes or so his neck inflated another shirt size, 16, 16 ½, 17, counting. His upper torso got so filled up that we scrubbed the overnight and I called the EMTs. After, Sarah slipped out of her top ropes to dial operator assistance. She was like a kid with a hamster, cool, distant, and fleeting, to me, asking the operator to connect her to some number she pronounced slowly in a Slavic language she hadn't mastered. Winding up, she forgot the last digits, which in English are six, six. (Those years living next to the Russians have rubbed off, but not entirely.) Sirens, ambulance flashes of bright red, kisses all around, and out they wheeled as briskly as they came in. All evening they acted as if they were on Fox, and everyone stayed in character. I wore the lipstick.


Pretty, fine. John Latta's reading and (scroll to 9/9) appreciation of The Golden Age of Paraphernalia by Kevin Davies.

Antecedents and indebtedness toward them could be handled better if influences of egotism, fashion, clique formation, and friends-enemies were lessened or eliminated. That's asking for several parcels of human experience to disappear or to be disappeared. And, odd thing, for each poet and her cohort these defining matters of personalities, preferences, biases, etc. do vaporize in time. The whole being of Charles Olson dies, biases and all, and a few of his living descendants, equipped with their new rules, re-arrange the family tree, cutting him off entirely. Others put him far out on a sprig of a limb, hanging precariously. Some have other ideas. Poetics with its winners and losers is a humanist game, after all, subject to emotional habits. What will matter, in time, is how to find and/or place each poet phylogentically. A poet will be classified based on her evolutionary (if you will) adaptation that is passed on to descendants. The field for evolution is as it has been the work and all the other work around it and after it. The work in our time includes more than one poet's composition, but each poet's words make everything she does her composition, her part of the work.


It's silly season. And it's serious. Every four years I turn entirely partisan and root for the left wing. I'll get back to poetry, but here are today's two cents on the state of the presidential race.

If the dems are counting on Sarah Palin imploding soon, they should flesh out Plans B and C even sooner. I can't imagine she won't flub it here and there, but she'll have a full contingent of explainers and counter-deriders to come to her defense. This is the big time for all the stakes. Republicans are guarding their much-improved prospects with everything in their arsenal, scores or more of talking heads on cable, along with cut-and-paste videosmiths, rascally trouble-makers, et al. on the phones, online, and in the field to shake up the opposition. Besides, Palin is wily and glamorously superficial, just what a leftie intuitively rejects or recoils from while summoning a logical, intellectual defense to explain why. If Palin makes mistakes, chances are leftist critics won't get their points across to Palin's newly-found, so-called soft followers. Not if the criticism only sticks to substance. As noted Saturday, George Lakoff prescribes reasoned argument in the form of symbolic and emotional appeals. When will that happen?

And what if Palin slides by, still stands or even scores points after her one debate? Plans B and C need to be in force in advance.

The blackbox term Plans B and C covers the following. Plan B would be a coherent and much simplified list of promises the dems can make to voters, focused almost entirely on kitchen-table concerns. Health care, fair taxes, and social security are foregrounded, tied to other key worries, the mortgage crisis, energy, jobs, education costs. Plan B would the basis for day-to-day, every day communication by the candidates on the stump and reflected in all media. Plan C would be background noise for cable shock, viral media, and buzz (in its many permutations). The C plan filters the best of the poop on McCain and Palin and hammers away at comparisons that both support Plan B, especially tax data, and generate other emotional appeals as gossip and facts dictate. One rallying cry to Plan C, something people could shout out and mean it: No More of the Same.

Timing is today, this minute. Why, I have to ask, is the production team of the Daily Show better at opposition research than the Obama-Biden people? Last Friday, for example, Jon Stewart ran a segment showing that not one or two but several (as in many, many) lines in John McCain's acceptance speech have been plagiarized verbatim from Bush II's acceptance speech eight years earlier! What a fantastic opportunity and stupefyingly convincing exposition for proving emotionally and symbolically that four more years of Bush is a reality. Palin and McCain have said stupid things over the last few years, but the stupidity keeps flowing. The Obama-Biden campaign needs to work this.

Finally, both Obama and Biden have to regain their sense of humor and start smiling again. I remember only a couple of weeks ago when McCain was calling Obama a traitor and smiling as he said it. He looked awful then, but after a few weeks of rehearsal his smile is coming across as quasi-authentic. Biden, don't get outsmarted and outsmiled by these bit players. Obama, smile politely, deeply, keep it epic.


John McCain has Aspen and Bal Harbour written all over his bulging face but fuck — Yeah, it's the hour for pantomime and rumpus and jive — field-dress the beast, mama, feed it to us along with som pulled pork and Cindy Lou's lizard. Got som poetry to go around it, to.

...Welcome to Chinchilla Villa Bing-bong. I'll have two tokens, pliz. Permeate me. Derby duster dingle autumn tea passed about as if Shakespeare were present. Vagrant tremens flock El Niño to Tarzana, then carpet down to Mexico in a cartoon drawn by sticks. Newsboys ready to kick the talking cure start penning in wavelengths. "Are drills old saws?" Homer Ludens traces a star back to his nursery.

— Michael Gizzi



I hate repeating myself. Semantic duplication is such a weak technique that so often turns into bullying or coercion to compel an audience's passive agreement and conditioned response. It makes your case, your cause, easy to grasp and familiar. Yes, yes, bring it on, Pavlov, Sir, I see what you mean. Make your point a few times and it seems like reasoning or normal talk. It's an old trick politicians, scammers, and seasoned writers adopt to set an agenda for the half-attentive. That said, I'll commit to the causes of irony repeating myself for political purposes. Like last week, Sarah Palin's inability to talk to us directly and answer our questions, now 10 days after her intro, insults our democratic traditions. Palin reads from scripted notes exclusively. This say-nothing-else tactic practiced day after day constitutes a series of insults, and her implicit lack of will to speak freely is now chronic. Public scrutiny in the form of fielding questions is a conventional and necessary means for assessing any candidate's mettle. Her refusal to submit to regular, uncensored examination by national reporters is more than a cynical application of a beauty-queen visual strategy; it is an outrage. Most ironic, it's time now in her second week to denounce Palin's repetitive scriptedness as dumb, the redolent gestalt of a spikey, funky dummy. It is intensely un-American.


Amy King notes George Lakoff's analysis of how the dems' language fails to measure up to the affective appeal of republican discourse. Lakoff asserts, "What Democrats have shied away from is a frontal attack on radical conservatism itself as an un-American and harmful ideology... Democrats, being Democrats, will mostly talk about the realities nonstop without paying attention to the dimensions of values and symbolism." Lakoff spells it out, looking for "cultural narratives" and "metaphors" to stir emotions in the heart and head. What's crucial now, in other words: Better writing.


84,000 jobs lost, unemployment at 6.1%. That should bring a halt to identity politics.

You can tell it's not prose when you fiddle with it for more than a day, fiddle with it all the way down.


A thoroughly justified call to action. Women first.

I'm "into" some kind of military opera. I have henchmen, dogma, and doily sculptures from needle-felted wool. There are two ambient music cartels: Doggone moosebirds and the dwarf striking the damnatory broguery goodies with all his power. Slangy melinite.

The de rigueur for now is far fetchedness. Let's consider stuff. Penology outranks the vanadic.

The practice of Zen is nothing at all, only sustained focus and innovation. I won't do it, no thanks.

Just piano and voice. I'll grieve later on, turning to useless glyphs inscribed into interior dialog dropped over auto glass and hoods of vans blurting out the dogtrack.

All right, I should add even as the comfort level is raised here and there, I don't know anything about microspores and heavy pollen. Queen Neptune, a steamy guitarist said, 'write something about me,' so evidently I did.


Any poem by Charles Simic is an invite to scratch over it. So much work!

He writes, f'r instance, "Every worm is a martyr, / Every sparrow subject to injustice..." Can't you feel substitutions coming on?
Every woman, p'rhaps? Every loud tick. Every this-is-so-cool.

Every woman is a loud tick
Every graveyard moos like a doggy.

Isn't this how Google started?

Thanks, Charles.


I wasn't planning to write today but I changed plans. If I were Ron Padgett or my wiseass self I might have said I changed planes. On cue, Ron will navigate a new visual plane, adjust what can be seen for a line or two, then veer off with dashes added (or multiplied) to another illustration made humane and of searing words although his specialty is everyday words that are always humane-seeming and amazing in how they fit together just this once on this page in this poem. He'll change planes a lot, losing his footing on the flat oily tarp, perplexed, take it outside a Rubik of a different color denatured by the octagonal gloom of hearing his thoughts erase similes, not needing traditional structures but throwing daylight out there between them to achieve a halo of wit with dimensionality for us to salivate over anyway, a blend of mesmerizing suspense and long-buried libido that reminds one one is reading poetry while famished, fasting, scrunched up in what feels like coach on a bi-plane skywriting. We're not amused, perhaps, to discover the plane is a midsize corporate jet piloted by a professional fathead who's not pretending — he's really, nuclear-related mean, misplacing his mom's name in the space of what he had for breakfast and the sky. I don't know, it's hard to see it. That's because this's my illustration. Not Ron's.


Under most circumstances unmarried-teen pregnancy is very low on my list of engaging political topics. If a woman chooses to stay pregnant, money should be provided to help if she needs it; a woman in turn should be offered appropriate incentives, if needed, for continuing her education and establishing a household which can and in many instances will ideally include the father. The woman chooses a) to continue her pregnancy; b) to keep the baby after giving birth; c) to receive educational incentives; d) to marry or to live with the father unmarried or not to live with the father. There are matters concerning how long and how far the commonwealth's concern extends for the mother and the child, and these can be legislated locally and at the state level. That's about as far I take it politically.

It's extraordinarily galling, on the other hand, for the nation to be presented a virtual unknown as one of only two likely next vice presidents and then learn three days later the unknown's unmarried 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant. Sarah Palin's daughter will enjoy the support of her large family, and she will access resources many women her age will never enjoy. The options I outline are not the same ones Palin would propose. But I am only guessing — I don't know!

Technically, Sarah Palin's strict evangelicalism, her unquestioned belief that abstinence is the only appropriate form of sex education, even her daughter's difficulty do not factor into the underlying dilemma. They merely underscore how narrow-seeming and blanked-out Palin's base of understanding and experience remains for her potential public. Four days and counting, she has not submitted to a national press conference, and she has not spoken in any form other than a scripted self-introduction. We are told by partisans that she is among the most dynamic of young conservatives. No arguments have been made. She is a reformer, the political mantra intones, but there are few details. She is more experienced than Barrack Obama. What a fabulous lie. If she expects to get away from public scrutiny by giving a tearjerker re-intro at the convention this week and then hopping on the campaign bus to repeat the same stump speech for the next few weeks, she deserves to be rejected. Palin might not want to speak up on her daughter's behalf this moment, but talking about how she squares her daughter's situation with her own morality and politics would be ethically responsible. And her speaking out now ought to provide an opening for more questions about what she is doing / where she thinks she's going with the rest of us.

Vanitas 3
Popular Song
Vincent Katz, Editor

Looks will kill. Ask Brian De Palma, Luis Buñuel, John Sayles, Claude Chabrol, filmic murderers who high-style it with the unsavory to waste blandness with a light touch and mean more. It's almost the end of the first decade of the 21st century, and there haven't been a whole lot of Chabrols, Buñuels, Sayleses, or De Palmas among poets. Not many have or get time to live and hang with painters, media artists, and conceptualists, so very little of the swelling innovation in graphic arts, much less its potential synergy for poetry, rubs off firsthand to enforce among poets distinctive methods and manners of looking and being seen. Vincent Katz is clearly an exception.

Growing up in a family of accomplished, generous, highly respected artists who have long supported their peers, Vincent comes to his wide-ranging esthetics naturally, expressing a poet's and editor's style as unforced and uninflected as a mother tongue. His editing for Vanitas, now up to its third issue, appears annually. As editor Vincent shows the mannered results of a seemingly effortless year of collecting work that comes to his attention directly, not secondhand, from writers and artists of older and younger generations. He fans controversy by inviting poets to mix it up writing on less familiar topics than literature, for example, and often, like a curator, he turns over big spaces to artists so they can display graphics as well as work from their journals and notes. Issue 3, subtitled Popular Song, yields a slew of poets taking on the Beatles and other musical themes; a poem by pop artist Jim Dine along with his writing about the rock scene in London of the 1960s; cover, writing, and a good number of different art pieces by photographer and sign-maker Jack Pierson. Sign-making, rock, and poetry. It's a luxuriant, sly merging of ideas, a light subvening of hardcore theoretical divisions, something we've come to expect from Vincent. (In Issue 2 he put together poems and art from 'far out west' alongside pieces implicated with poli-science or 'anarchisms,' as he put it.)

Impeccable style, unbesmirched taste, these uppercase ideals need more than good looks. Everything has to come together to inhabit what we used to call a state of grace. It's perhaps more temporal zone today than state, a point of irradiation in which elements of surprise and thunderous joy mount. You can find irradiation of this sort throughout Issue 3. I'll highlight two in closing. First is a theme-meshing piece "Great Clubs I Have Danced At" by Darinka Novitovic Chase, artist / hostess of a downtown demimonde. This is autobiographical evocation of glamorous clubbing through the ages, short notes on Area, The Pyramid, Club Metro, and this place: "7th grade, in the girls bathroom teasing my hair, the transistor radio we snuck into school propped up on the mirror ledge. Aretha sings 'I Say A Little Prayer...'" Second, I'm registering libertarian over the abbreviated funkiness of "Fireflies," a poem by conceptual artist Alix Lambert. I finish here with all six of her remarkably bliss-strewn lines.
I can't stop thinking about tying fireflies into my hair.
One firefly for each strand of hair.
A blinking halo of tiny yellow lights
that lifts me right off the ground,
all the way to another planet,
where I would battle aliens.