poetry, the go in the between, liminal, press

Sunday, August 5, 2007


the last few days in the city before heading into the deep south. nyc has a lot of bridges...george washington towards new jersey, brooklyn and manhattan bridges, the bridge to long island, and a bridge that connects manhattan to queens. a friend says that i am going thru my honeymoon period with new york. the city just makes sense to me, this way of being. living amongst a place of so many contradictions: progressive political attitudes to uptight, privileged attitudes; conservative writing to some of the most courageous and experimental writing; the coolness and flexibility of evolved culture to the entrenched social hierarchy of wealth, academia, writing; the laidback and real attitudes of friends to narrow lifestyles formed from enclaved communities. but the beauty of this city is that all of this conglomeration exists within this given space, this given radius, this given...

a friend drove us into the city from park slope this morning, and looking out to see a picture-perfect image of the brooklyn bridge mirroring the manhattan bridge, i said - 'i can't believe how huge this city is.' but physically speaking, it isn't too big...it's expansiveness is its in its occupation, its civilization. for that, i'd like to move here...at least for a few years.

the studio architecture program @ columbia made me excited about writing again...i have a better sense/grasp of what open field poetics is because i worked so much with the physical parameters of paper. in some ways, i can understand the gist of concrete poetry more since i had to study form/structure from a more formal/technical perspective.

marllarme wrote a concise description of what i think is something like visual grid poetry. also justifies printing in a compelling way...

* * *

A page is printed in signature sheets, the most common one being in multiples of four; signatures are then
folded to page size, the largest signature being a folio. Pages appear as verso and recto. Hence, a page is a
fixed framework which delimits the amount of words and lines which it can support. A page may be said to
represent a unity of space, the place for the confrontation of printed elements, but the writer does not own at
any time a whole page because of the dictum of printer space. Printer space is space owned by the printer, not
the writer, to wit the first verso after a title is generally unprinted and each page is surrounded by dead, unus-
able space or printer’s margin. The margin frames or encloses the printed elements. Center margin or gutters
further compromise the integrity of the page and create a columnar effect; as a result, the vertical always
dominates the horizontal although the horizontal does not actually oppose the vertical, but is harmonious in its
subordination to it. The restraints of a page impose spatial ordering. Every page in a given printed work begins
and ends with a predetermined line length, a length further dictated by type selection and margin space, which
is a function of line length.24

Saturday, July 28, 2007


a lot has happened the past month. does it sound like a cliche to say that i have sufficiently fallen in love with new york. i leave for alabama in a week. a part of me is looking forward to it. a part of me is dreading it.

discovered: hannah weiner. it's wonderful to go back to a writer whom you felt indifferent about and seeing the work and understanding it in a different way. (http://www.ubu.com/ubu/pdf/weiner_indians.pdf)

wrote a poem. im pretty exhausted. little sleep the past month, but still loving the studio program here.

* * *

(from "some firsts" series)

sunset 1

uberlyptic, utter -
dance, in quiet
reckoned, view(s)
a trip of deep plains
unssized, the tires,
kut inside, it feel,
please feel
you dunce. eroded.
what's in my pockets,
what's luck tangential, what's
insight, err
and roof-top
indepedence, or
just busy, the light
thru ropes and branches,
like life at some west-end
but broken,
but conform or fight,
no tiny numbers, what
meaning, right(s)
whats left
whats me, into?

Monday, July 9, 2007

shadows, 1 Uptown, the weather

blogging mite be sporadic this next month. im currently in nyc, participating in a studio architecture program @ columbia.

update on spahr's chapbook: the folios were boxed. val at one heart will ship in late july, so i'll have time to finish up the folios (hopefully) before orientation (boot camp) back in alabama.

currently reading: sporadically, a book on the objectivists. i need a small break from poetic theory.

michael ondaatje's _running in the family_. his one-worded sentences and sense of timing is impeccable.

peter eisenman (for those of you who don't know, he's an established architect, known more for his conceptual theories than his work) said last week: "all sustainable development architects are bad architects." mark wigley said (another architect taking part in an ongoing discussion series between himself and eisenman): "sustainable development architects are irresponsible, because they're not pushing the boundaries of beauty and structure." what world do these architects live in? do we even have a choice these days in not taking a somewhat sustainable route??? it clearly established that both are working within very specific parameters of "beauty" and "architecture."

we finished posting up broadsides for the RAT project. unfortunately, the NYPD caught on and was on the brink of charging the folks who started the cool project thousands of buckaroos for illegally posting up fliers. the trouble was really posting up the broadsides in certain parts of manhattan ( = $$$$ + prissy).

our first studio project was to construct a 3-dimensional object that expressed the relationships between light, time, and a specific site. part of my studio critic's assignment was for each of us to build a tool to make the 3-dimensional object, and we could only use this tool to construct the object. the 3-dimensional object then also became a drawing tool - the shadow patterns was supposed to reflect our observations.

i realized at the end of the project, my model was really about a dead track on the 1. the center track at 116th isn't in use. yet, it's a track. the only time when one realizes that it's day underneath is seeing the reflection of the light around the pools of water on the dead track.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


happy independence day - whatever that truly means ( i.e. the celebratory what in indepedence??)

it's about to rain in the city. i ran into an old high school friend in prospect park, out of all places! ivan is finishing up his phD in philosophy at univ of michigan. i see him sporadically, but he is honestly and truly one of the nicest, good-hearted human beings i know. im headed out in a bit to catch up and eat some veggie burgers (im guessing) with him and some of his friends.

anyhow. a poem.

* * *


i. first dream

A clear blue day, height of a wood-post fence. A fist, a riff, waking
to remember, at a slower speed of auditory. Hissssss, split, riff.
Listening, if patiently. If it was another time, another prevailing
weather. A clear blue day, spray-paint inscriptions of names and
holidays, territorial to laid thick. Fade like the fate of a letter
written by a skywriting plane, fog, a crowd. A smoke machine, as well
as a visual recording machine. A balcony, a boulevard, open, arrivals.
A small room with portraits of icicles. Desolate and sculpture, a
feel of incidental, the panhandle of Texas, Nevada. A clear blue day,
the sight of telegraphic poles, when it rains, a stir of adolescent

Monday, July 2, 2007


peeps. things are happening in philadelphia...


Sunday, July 1, 2007

nyc, ahhh

just arrived about a couple of hours ago. nyc has this expansive feel to it. so different from sf.

currently reading:::

_the objectivist nexus_ edited by rachel blau duplessis and peter quartermain.
press: university of alabama press (hank lazer and charles bernstein edit some pretty amazing books - check out the series sometime).

reading about louis zukofksy, in general, makes me very happy.

what was objectivism - i havent read too much of the historical proponent of it. zukofsky is fucking amazing. i like some niedecker stuff ("i'm going off the page..."). george oppen is ok. i am into basil bunting, or what ive read so far of his work.

objectivism was a movement of poetics (and yes, objectivism was a kind of lyric, for those who disagree...) that was distinct from modernism (pound, eliot, altho those two poets were also very different), with much of the nexus formulated between 1927-1935. the poets most often recognized as the main core are basil bunting, lorine niedecker, george oppen, carl rakosi, charles reznikoff, and louis zukofsky. objectivism suggests exactly what it implies - objectivist poetics wrote and saw a poem as an object. most of the time, they were suspicious of metaphysical, metaphorical writing, and rejected symbols. the literal sufficed.

apologies if that was dry. i often have to re-articulate and re-define things to prove that ive digested it.

a warm and lovely night in brooklyn...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

heading for nyc

my last day at one heart is tomorrow...then it is time to say goodbye to san francisco and head out to nyc.

picture above: proof run of the title page to _inticate systems_. the good news is: i got most of the runs in today (da-da-da-dum!). bad news: two poems are flipped in order, and that is bad because one of them is part of a sonnet series. so...i had to dampen paper today and am waiting to print two runs tomorrow.

dude, printing is super expensive. if you want to be anal and have a really beautiful object for people to read, you'll have to shell out quite a bit of money...

lastly a poem...

What I’ll remember of June is
walks I took. Once, I got lost
in Golden Gate Park, after my
sister had parked her car at 39th
and Fulton, or so. The park is
some 170-acres larger than
Central Park. The de Young is
there. I remember because when
it reopened in 2005, for the first
week or so, the Museum was
opened all the time so that if
someone drove past a certain
part of the Park, say, around 2
a.m., there was a curved line of
people disappearing into the
entryway of a building that
seemed to landscape, rising and
falling at familiar places. It was
a beautiful day, unusually warm
and as I walked back to my sister’s
apartment, I noticed how light went
into everything, even the cement
seemed to glow. Later, angry, my
sister asked, “How could you just
leave like that?” I didn’t know what
to tell her except I had searched for
a long time and still could not find
the place I begun. On a map, Golden
Gate Park panhandles the Pacific. A
month ago, I fell asleep near another
body of water, the Gulf of Mexico.
When I woke the tide was quickly
pulling in, which somehow empha-
sized the sensation of my sunburn
on my shoulders, as my shoulders
and only my shoulders were grazed,
burnt by the sun. On a walk that
same afternoon, I saw several
license plates from Quintana Roo,
a state that borders the Yucatan.
When I awoke, I went to swim
into the Gulf. What I’ll remember of
June is when waking, the tide was
high, carrying - maybe
three or four - young boys, who
were shouting, trying without much
luck to stay put on their body boards.
A month later I was lost in Golden
Gate Park.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

new british prime minister

gordon brown.

party: labour

the UK Times says he is a smarty-pants and is profoundly "bookish." let's see how smart he really is.

not much to say tonite. had sushi at kiji, down the street. what was for dinner: a dynamite, spicy tuna, rainbow roll. (not all by myself, mind you).

appetizers: gyozas (fried dumplings) and sweet fried prawns. drinks: 2 carafes of warm sake. the owner gave us free mango and strawberry mochi ice cream. yum.

last nite, crystal's college mate, shilpa (lovely shilpa), cooked us chicken biryani, salad, some kind of rice dish that tasted a little bit like cous cous.

shilpa and crystal both love food and have sworn that east oakland has excellent food. the pizza joint they want to try:

cheeseboard pizza, in berkeley. supposedly it is unbelievably scrumptious.

the title page to juliana spahr's chapbook is done. now, the real test is: can i finish all the printing before i leave for ny (this sunday)?

what i have left:

- run of titles/subtitles, page #s (for a total of: 14 runs)
- cover: 4 runs

* * *

later gators.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

did you know


the poet tan lin is the brother of architect/sculpturist maya lin?

that's crazy. to have all that talent in one family.

* * *

what does lin (the poet) have to say about his art:

“In a perfect world all sentences, even the ones we write to our loved ones, the mailman or our interoffice memos, would have that overall sameness, that sense of an average background, a fluid structure in spite of the surface disturbances and the immediate incomprehension. The best sentences should lose information at a relatively constant rate. There should be no ecstatic moments of recognition.”

* * *

description: temporality and sex

autocratic behavior
audacious behavior
asinine behavior
allusive behavior
allegro behavoir
anonymous behavior
illicit behavior
illegal behavior
behave your behavior
syndicate your behavior
sensitize your behavior
sterilize your behavior

basil bunting and palestine

a good site for folks to check out:::


also, some good advice from the northumbrian poet, basil bunting:::


1. Compose aloud; poetry is a sound.
2. Vary rhythm enough to stir the emotion you want but not so as to lose impetus.
3. Use spoken words and syntax.
4. Fear adjective; they bleed nouns. Hate the passive.
5. Jettison ornament gaily but keep shape

Put your poem away till you forget it, then:
6. Cut out every word you dare.
7. Do it again a week later, and again.

Never explain - your reader is as smart as you. >>

Monday, June 25, 2007

back in sf

i am back from los angeles. came into the city late morning and went straight to one heart press. now i am back home, sippin' some wine before heading out for drinks w/ a friend.

the reading went well. i read for the last sunday series, put on by les figues press and others. thanks for les figues and especially, teresa, for their/her help.

los angeles is so cool. the poets i met at the reading were laid back and funny and had a sense of humour. it was a good change of pace from what i am normally used to.

thanks to julie for housin' me.

after the reading, some friends and i made our way to get some pizza, then for a drink at the short stop, a divey bar that now is a hipster joint (like so many divey bars). in any case, it's still a nice place to grab a drink or two. dim lighting and a pool table, as well as a dance floor (which is usually empty).

i saw someone i used to sort of date, briefly, last nite. you sort of forget certain emotions you used to have for someone when you havent been around them. it was nice, tho, seeing him. even momentarily.

it's also nice to see friends' lives changing, how simple and good you feel when yr'e around people you love. i thot on the ride to the airport sat., sometimes life is as simple as walking a dog.

have you heard of d-day?


( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) _ _ _ _ ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) - - - -

ending this post w/ the astounding ezra pound:::

"there is one quality which unites all great and perdurable writers, you don't NEED schools and colleges to keep 'em alive. Put them out of the curriculum, lay them in the dust of libraries, and once in every so often a chance reader, unsubsidized and unbribed, will dig them up again, put them in the light again, without asking favours."

rock on ezra.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

the smell

flying into los angeles tonite. first reading at the smell tomorrow evening. im not so much nervous as excited to be back.

the "RAT" project...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

RAT is here



proof run from yesterday.

sometimes i just like to look at text as a picture, an imagescape that has a meaning outside of what that "image"/"word" signifies.

i felt similarly when i stepped out of the plane in seoul last summer.

i was suddenly surrounded both visually and auditorily by hangul. one strikes a simultaneously contradictory relationship with his/her first tongue - it stays a part of me, even if im not readily surrounded by it. im grounded by it. somehow this language that is so difficult for me to speak and almost impossible to communicate with is the only language that i feel a proclivity towards, a personal tie that extends beyond a functionary relationship.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

back seat and grind

"bare life" (zoe)

fit fir
fist fi
pulse on
to last,
what work(s)?


two runs in today at one heart press.

chad tells me: do not redampen paper. redampening paper will make the paper expand and dry differently. so the registering (i.e. really, the measurements of margins) will be off if you need to do multiple runs on the same paper that already has printed text.

a boo-boo : one side of a folio hit very hard. the impression is deeper than i'd like.

_but_ the ink distribution is perfectly even and black. thumbs up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

from _19 lines_

an anthology im reading...

by kevin davies
_the golden age of paraphernalia_:


If it isn't sex
why are we thinking about it?


If it isn't food
why are we thinking about it?


If it looks like a poem, it's a restraining order.


So what kind of artist were you
before you became the worker you are now?


The neighbour cat has elaborate
aesthetic responses to weather.
I would stake Robert Creeley's life on such assumptions.

Mansion, yacht, and high-powered friends.
I woke yet again in a parking lot with graffiti on my ass.
Remarks are literature.

oh and...

this was drawn by my sister's friend dave.

who knew jelly donuts had so much attitude?

press run

photo is of my print run yesterday. letterpressed poem from juliana spahr's "blood sonnets"...so far, the printing on the uni 1 has been relatively smooth.

update on _intricate systems_:

juliana's chapbook is about halfway done. printing is slow going tho. i tend to get a late start (not really truly up and going until usually after 11am) and i also prefer printing late at night. got into the habit of being in the studio back in tuscaloosa until 2am or so. not possible here (altho one heart press has been more than generous in giving me free press time), and the trip to and back one heart press is about an hour. so, not really worth while unless im actually going in to do work for chad and val, or to print. tomorrow, early start. i am really hoping to get at least 2 runs in.

after the printing, i trekked to berkeley and met up w/ friend and fellow poet, sara ( http://www.myspace.com/prettypanicks) at moe's last nite, for a stephen ratcliff/laura moriarity reading...it was nice to see her. i am wishing for a comrade (and fellow female poet) like her back in tuscaloosa. she'll be writing in brooklyn next year, doing awesome things.


in general, im not a huge fan of readings, altho i like both stephen's and laura's work. (laura moriarty's _self-destruction_ is haunting).

favorite reading:::

back in tuscaloosa this spring, lisa jarnot.

she has a quiet sense of her work, which is expressed in her odd(ly delighful) and idiosyncratic way of reading. plus she'd just sort of go with the flow of her environment (a quietly improvisational reading), like when one embarrassed student walked in late, she just looked up and said "hey". those moments were interwoven into her writing (the wonderful part was the total un-stiffness to the reading, being aware of the relationship between context and text).

and her work is gorgeous; the repetition marches forward, where repetition is used as a method of change and destabilization.

vocalizing poetry, the performative aspect:::

the expectation that poets should be aware of how they read, how to extricate their words as sound, how to read _well_. ive noticed from the readings ive attended, many poets just look...uncomfortable. in the back of my mind, i often say things like 'pronunciate!'; 'slower damn it, slower!'

but on the other hand, it's good to go to readings to support fellow writers, check out the general scene, and talk to other writers.

reading poetry:::

the strong resonance of the word on the page, how the visual aspect of the word - it's tangibility - allows the work to change in a way that is impossible during readings. the spoken word is so transient, and in a sense, doesn't seem to do a good poem or poet justice, unless the poet is willing to stylize the reading, emphasize the spoken element (which seems separate and distinct from the life of the poem on the page) so that element allows the poem to come alive thru the performance. or else, the poem as a _spoken_ entity flops, fails, is forgotten.


slow goin'. i figured i had the time to go yerba buena to dampen paper, but am in the studio reading an anthology.

ezra pound's _ABC of Reading_ is up next to be tackled.

weather: sunny but windy. deceivingly chilly.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


what sort of flower is this? alienesque. i found a bush of it after an early morning run.

doesnt it creep you out, just a little? like two different flowers accidentally breeded together, and a fascinating little monster became the concoction of this "accidental" floral consummation?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

geese shit, chapbook, podcast

i took a long walk around lake merrit after stepping out from a friend's bbq.

in the summer, the sun sets late in the bay, not until 10pm or so. there was a soft radiance from the lake, sun light and dissipation, a visionary view of the civic center, a cloud of geese, and as a consequence, the smell of geese shit. despite that little detail, i like the thot of settling in oakland sometime soon. i dont like the idea of leaving so soon, or from a more macro perspective, not staying long enough to make it feel complete. certain places feel right. given, there's a certain amount of time one needs to acclimate, but sometimes, that process of acclimation is effortless. san francisco and the bay, in general, is like that for me.


in the car we pass jack london square,
grand avenue,
a crest of restaurants, including an old dim-sum
place we used to walk across to sunday

late noon & still the geese, so many
bikers, walkers, grand avenue theater.

now back on 24th and guerrero, from
meklit's room, a view
of twinkling bay bridge, lights -
we were just on. from her window, and
overlook, o a part
of oakland.

btw, the bay bridge is a huge sprawling steel mass; it's exquisitely constructed, a terrific bridge (at least viewing it, not necessarily driving on it - i.e. traffic is not so nice):

and, soon, soon people, a podcast! meklit (crystal's roommie) sings, runs an art space called the red poppy (http://www.redpoppyarthouse.org/). last week we spoke briefly about recording/broadcasting her work. both of us are new to podcasting and would love help/advice. so all ye podcast obsessed nerds, come hither, post a comment re:
the mechanics of getting started.

(( meklit's voice is strong and alive, full of varying intonations, but carefully checked by a discipline that makes her singing simultaneously overwhelming and graceful. all in all, meklit's singing describes meklit. keep checking back for a link to her recording. ))

currently reading:

* h.d.'s _thoughts on notes and visions_
* the most recent vanity fair issue (meklit's friend and crystal's crush just contributed a film noir piece)
* laura moriarty's excellent _self destruction_.
* some ready-made book, which i hope will teach me how to construct a chandlier from old glass bottles. photos of that to
* lisa jarnot's "the bridge" (opening poem to _ring of fire_). there are lines about oakland and the rain.
and it's a mesmerizing poem.

update on chapbook:
i am guestimating that the chapbook will be finished, at least in terms of printing, by the end of june. hopefully bound as well, but i think that's being overly optimistic.

title: _intricate systems_
poet: juliana spahr (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/spahr/)
edition size: 125 copies
isbn: soon.
printed: letterpress (uni 1, 4 - vandercook)
price: $10

i'll find way to post images of the finished commodity. will try to consign w/ small book stores here and in nyc, as well as hook up w/ paypal so folks can buy the chapbook, if you are interested in doing so.

one other project:
RELAY ACTION TRIP project w/ poet kristen prevallet (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/prevallet/).

what is RAT: a broadside project (size/color parameters: 8.5" x 11", b/w) that'll use text/image to interrogate the intersection of three occassions: independence day (july 4th), women's suffrage, and labor day. im having a tuff go of it for several reasons...i dunno want to think, or how to think about independence day. i have a certain amount of distance, despite my residency/citizenship here. and it's a rather ironic holiday at this current moment. im not quite sure that it's necessarily a day of celebration so much as a day of/for contemplation.

"freedom" is as an ambiguous and unspecific word as "love."

a line i "l o v e" - ah hem - by simone de beauvoir:
"the division of the sexes is a biological fact, not an event in human history."

at the very least, different kinds of feminists can find a common point to start from, despite differences in approach, by recognizing biological difference and emphasizing that it's (changeable) social constructions that has expressed that biological difference in a specific way.

entry and fotos re: one heart press (http://www.oneheartpress.com/) to come monday.

what ive learned so far at one heart press:

*use thicker photopolymer plate material! chad and val order rigalon from anderson & vreeland. it's a good 2 to 3 times thicker than the plate material i was using previously. makes your plates less susceptible to bending.

*spray mounting is handy-dandy

*the paper from the fone book is a good substitute for tissue paper (when you need to readjust the height of certain parts of your plates). it's a tiny bit thicker than tissue paper, but not as thick as newsprint.

*use pts. instead of picas when yr'e readjusting your plates on the bunting magnets, and just in general...much more precise, because the unit is smaller.

i'll put this all to good use on the next chapbook...

Monday, May 21, 2007

5.21.2007 - stuck in dallas

restless, stuck.

in fort worth.
four bloody marys.
ten in the swear jar's accordion solo!
me likes the cover::: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3c/TITSJ_Accordion_Solo%21.jpg.

thanks to mateo for sending me this letterpress link:


reading: murakami's _hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world_.

what sort of person is haruki murakami?

on the tube: _lost in translation_. yawn.

mateo also gave me an interesting tidbit that i should use when i am in mexico ( i didnt mention that i am stuck in the holiday inn, instead of romping around mexico city in colonia roma because in a rush, i left that all important little book called a "passport" on a scanner at gorgas...):

"perdoname que se me hayan caido los sesos," which loosely translates to "forgive me, i dropped my brains," but you have to be careful to say "sesos" and not "senos," or you'll be telling people that you dropped your breasts. >>

a friend who kindly fedexed that important little book called a "passport" told me:
" start meditating. maybe that'll help you to focus. "

yet i don't actually think focus is a problem; i can be incredibly diligent and focused when i choose to be.