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Attention Span 2011 | Nathaniel Otting

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Amanda Nadelberg | Bright Brave Phenomena | Coffee House | 2012

It’s been another Year of the Song Cave & it’s hard to believe that Nadelberg’s Building Castles in Spain, Getting Married, the second book in this peerless series, emerged in November 2009. The Age of the Song Cave is too long (it’s ongoing) to properly document here but it seems wrong not to sing some books: Amaranth Borsuk’s Tonal Saw (“tremble | fire | A | kind | of | fire” & “o | o | o | stumble” & “mmandm | Append”), Jane Gregory’s Some Books (“Instead of this book I set out to prove the birdnoise to the bird as my mind was in my office and my office was in my mind.”) Jared Stanley’s How The Desert Did Me In (“Uh! Principia, uh, I’ll think about it.”), Macgregor Card’s The Archers (“There there, manual severity / of being, bonus being, being general / general poet—”), and Graham Foust’s To Graham Foust on the Morning of His Fortieth Birthday (“Tiny hawks of poetry all over you, you sit at screens to punch a book into the world.”), Lisa Jarnot’s Amedillin Cooperative Nosegay (“odyssia’s very original boobs and the warm apt facts of john thaw”) to list just half the 2010 titles. Songcavewise, 2011 has been nonstop, too. To name only the first few (well, half): Andy Fitch’s solo Island, Rod Smith’s whatwow What’s the Deal, Peter Gizzi’s purplegreen Pinnochio’s Gnosis, Jennifer Moxley’s worldly Coastal, and Dana Ward’s doubleheader, The Squeakquel. When I visited the Cincinnati of The Squeakquel, I told Dana that my dad had left Erga kai hemerai in the car back in Kentucky, so he lent me Bill Luoma’s Works and Days (with a graceful note from Michael Gizzi: “Dear Mr. Ward”) which probably would have just been this list if I hadn’t left it in a car bound for Kentucky. One of the greater Song Caves, Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s Hesiod (“All song at once, isn’t this / like balancing the needs of friends?), a working over of Hesiod’s ‘Days,’ is as beautiful as the original chruson genos, the Golden Age. Like Luoma’s, O’Brien’s Works is as ageless as H’s. (And an H is not even an H.) All of this just to say that Amanda Nadelberg is our age’s poet in an Age of Poets. Awaiting Bright Brave Phenomena is like waiting for the things themselves to appear, brighter and braver and phenomenally more than ever before.

Brandon Brown | The Persians by Aeschylus | Displaced
Farrah Field & Jared White | Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Book Shop | Est. 2011

Bookstores need to get brighter and braver in the Post-Border’s Age and Brooklyn is the beacon. Jon Beacham’s Hermitage presses on, as The Brother in Elysium, on Bedford Ave. Around the bend, Book Thug Nation maintains a sill full of Book Thug (no relation). Above all, may Adam Tobin’s unbeatable Unnameable Books, in Prospect Heights, outlast all of us. Into the fray, enter poets Field and White, whose Berl’s, growing so well it may have a roof before Fall. When I made a pilgrimage to their table at the Brooklyn Flea, I found the only thing one can ask, exactly the one book I was looking for in the whole world. No small feat considering they display around 20 books on any given day. Tyrone Williams’ beautiful, everything-breaking elegy, Pink Tie (Hooke Press, 2011). Chapbooks to seek at Berl’s: Wondrous Things I Have Seen (Mitzvah Chaps, 2010) by Herodotus, jk by Brandon Brown (aka Aeschylus aka Catullus) & Preserving The Old Way Of Life (Factory Hollow Press, 2007) by Shannon Burns.

James Copeland | Fax II | self | 2011
CAConrad | MUGGED Into Poetry | Cannot Exist | 2011.

Copeland knows, and how, his Hölderlin. Does Coolidge (circa THIS 6) know his Copeland, writ large? Fax II exists, tho it doesn’t say so. Andy Gricevich’s Cannot Exist (Issue 7 has Conrad + Coletti, Copp, Hauser, Higdon, Larsen, Ward, &c) exists chapbooks! Besides Conrad’s: Roberto Harrison’s Bridge of the World, Sara Larsen’s The Hallucinated, Jess Mynes’ How’s the Cows. Conrad continues being amazing. His devastating reading of “MUGGED Into Poetry” (written after he was mugged en route to a reading by new CE co-editor Lewis Freedman) at the Supermachine 3 launch awed my mom. Cannot wait to get her A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (Wave Books, 2012). Until then, I got her Heather Christle’s The Trees, The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011).

Tim Dlugos | A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos | Nightboat | 2011
Patrick James Dunagan | A Gustonbook | Post-Apollo Press | 2011

“It’s hard enough to find a parachute / in New York City, I remember thinking, / but finding one the right shade / of canary is the accomplishment / of the sort of citizen with whom / I wish to populate my life.” Dlugos’ “Parachute” (and Conrad’s devastating reading of it) is one of the saddest, and most beautiful, wakes, and makes me cry every time. And “G-9”, with its double wake, is the great elegy of our time. If Steve Carey was the news of 2010, and to me, too, he was, Dlugos is, to me (with Carey, still, too) the news of 2011. Except to me (tho nothing new is in print) the news was, and will be for some time, Peter Seaton, who would not have existed so suddenly and indispensably in my life without Craig Dworkin’s Eclipse. A Book + Craig Dworkin = Eclipse. (Dworkin’s own The Perverse Library, like all of his books, is to be owned.) I’ve only started settling into Dunagan’s There Are People Who Think That Painters Shouldn’t Talk: A Gustonbook, but already it’s taken its place next to Coolidge’s Guston’s Collected Writings (UC, 2010). Banes’ (copy of) Rodefer’s Four Lectures aside, “Writers paint, they don’t speak.”

Emily Pettit | Goat in the Snow | Birds, LLC | 2012
Ben Estes | Alan Felsenthal | The Song Cave | Sea Ranch

I’ve been in love with Pettit and her poems since I first read three of them, in the second issue of Seth Landman’s Invisible Ear, in October 2008. Her poetry workshop at Flying Object is a laboratory for making poets, and no wonder why: reading her poems taught me how to write. There are so many great Bens (at least ten), and Ben Estes, whose Cymbals (“Like a container for a flower inside of a flower.”) opened The Song Cave, is beyond exception. If Estes’ Lamp Like L’Map (Factory Hollow Press, 2009) is every indication, and it is, his The Strings of Walnetto Arrangements (Flowers and Cream, 2011) will be every sensation.  There are a few Alans, too, but only one this one. The ultimate symmetry would be an ultimate Song Cave; until then, the inaugural Sea Ranch, a split with his co-editor, is the best start imaginable. Long live, Song Cave, up with the Sea Ranch. P.S. Dos-a-dos are the new split 7”s. Flying Object paired James Copeland w/ Alex Phillips. I would like to hear Will Edmiston’s effing great Effie (3 Sad Tigers Press, 2011) b/w Lewis Freedman’s Freedman’s font-glossed Non-Symbolic Non Symbolic Non-Symbolic (for Catherine Malabou)

Renee Gladman | Event Factory | Dorothy, A Publishing Project | 2010
Rachel B. Glaser | Pee on Water | Publishing Genius | 2010

Prose by poets, does saying that make this not bending my own one-from-2011 rules? Whatever, Glaser is killing it in 2011: poems plenty, “Turid,” the soon famous “Ellen” story. Gladman, of course, is one of the Greats, and who wouldn’t have started a press, as Danielle Dutton (whose Sprawl, Siglio, 2010 fits right in here) did, to publish Gladman’s Ravicka trilogy? That the sequel, The Ravickians (Dorothy, 2011), is to be published on the same day as Gary Lutz’s Divorcer (Calamari Press, 2011) will make deciding what two books to read on that day very easy.

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Attention Span 2011 | Kevin Killian

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Martine Bellen | Ghosts! | Spuyten Duyvil | 2011

Martine Bellen is one of the poets I most often wish I had met; when I read her work I feel the thrill of making a new friend, someone just for me. Her new book Ghosts! begins with a sensational, almost flip title and never looks back. Sketched within three series of poems, a woman’s story reflects and refracts through the brackets of life and death, and the “story,” as I have called it, never manages to dry into any flat sort of wholeness. How to see her? It would be like defining what Ingrid Bergman was like through the six films she made with Rossellini. What happens in Ghosts! is, on the other hand, strikingly similar to what happens to Ingrid in Europa 51 and that one with George Sanders—we change, change utterly as the words mount up to our waists like dry leaves in a red country.

Gregg Biglieri | Little Richard the Second | Ugly Duckling | 2011

Ugly Duckling puts out some striking books and this one, without a spine or really much of anything holding it together except for a length of brown string and a trio of tiny bored holes, is one of the fairest. Biglieri’s poem is pretty short and is printed I think all on one side of a length of paper with two dozen folds in it. Every time you turn a page you’re conscious of the pages as uncut; squeeze them between your fingers and they balloon out, revealing blank folds underneath. The writing produces an uncanny, And Then There Were None feel of words eating themselves, disappearing before one’s eyes, often enough through a puns and anagrams approach Mel Taub himself might envy. Or “Captain Mnemo,” Biglieri’s mascot. “Hurt his iris/Hiss her ear.” Yes, it’s a short book, but humankind cannot stand much reality.

Brandon Brown | The Persians by Aeschylus | Displaced | 2011

 Displaced Press from Michigan has put forward an awesome initiative, printing the first books of a handful of young American poets I’ve been following for some time. One of them is Brandon Brown, a figure on the San Francisco poetry scene whom I first met some years ago when I enlisted him to help me and Peter Gizzi and our work on collecting Jack Spicer’s poetry. Brown is a classicist and it shows up in his work to an almost irksome degree, but his book is a rousing reminder, not perhaps of the relevance of ancient Greek drama, but of the ways in which change is forever written into all things, a golden thread amid the dreck. I remember hearing about the poets’ production of The Persians, held outdoors at the Presidio, and I was actually present for a scene or two Brown delivered onstage at Timken Hall, where the parallels between the Persians of Aeschylus’ days, and the Iranians of ours, were made very clear through deft riffs of stagecraft, declamation, and an Olsonian take on the function of the city in poetry.

Stacy Doris| The Cake Part | Publication Studio | 2011

People know so little about the French revolution, but they do remember the cake part. Publication Studio is a sort of “print on demand” company based in Portland (Oregon) that can take on the most innovative and complicated sort of project, and has made a perfect match with Stacy Doris’ unique text application. Part found poem, part manifesto, part investigative poetry, and sometimes as silly as Ronald Firbank. In recent months she asked a whole bunch of poets and other friends to make little videos based on assigned parts of her book, so I got to know “mine” pretty well, and to launch the book she posted them all on her own Vimeo channel which please check out. This sort of history lesson is infectious, like a show and tell lesson combined with a trip in the Wayback Machine—there can be nothing, literally, more outlandish.

Jennifer Natalya Fink | Thirteen Fugues | Dark Coast | 2011

Fink is the veteran author of several books, but she keeps surprising the attentive reader. Her stories share textual strategies with prose poetry, woven together out of myriad weaves and looms, tying themselves together in what I, if I knew more about music, would ascribe to some sort of fugal structure. Here the stories slash prose passages accrete into what could almost be a novel in the hands of a lesser writer, and sometimes prose itself breaks down into the stronger and harsher mode of poetry itself, line breaks and all, when “Tanya,” Fink’s appealing and yet scary heroine, decides to stop making sense and to give her soul a little room to breathe. Fink ignores also the conventional geographies of writing, and her book transports itself with abandon from South America, to Canada, to the US suburbs of her deep affection.

Colleen Lookingbill | A Forgetting Of | Lyric& | 2011

Did you ever write something, almost a book’s worth of it, and then you put it away for one reason or another? Perhaps life intervened, perhaps something more interesting than life. In the gritty and determined world of A Forgetting Of, Colleen Lookingbill performs a complex and dangerous operation, that of reviving a forgotten body of poems. She had made a wonderful debut in the 1990s with her first book, Incognita, and then nothing. So much talent and grace, however, coupled with a health scare while she was still young, could not let the matter rest. From somewhere deep within, and accompanied by a suite of full color paintings very much in the Romantic vein of the poems, a book came to life, and a family of fans, at last, finds entertainment.

Deborah Meadows | Saccade Patterns | BlazeVOX | 2011

She has published ten books of poetry since 2003, and here comes an eleventh. I’m sure that, like Leslie Scalapino used to, she will forgive you if you haven’t read all of her oeuvre. (RIP Leslie!) Saccade Patterns are apparently the movements of your eyeballs in your heads, back and forth, up and down, the rotations eyes make continually until pattern recognition momentarily soothes that restless urge to know. Meadows has been good at evoking patterns (of loss, of recognition, of right and wrong) for a decade, and here she steps back from the powers of her own sight and applies what she’s learned to the social and political problems that engorge our times.

Jennifer Moxley | Coastal | The Song Cave | 2011

Steve, you thought you could box in Jennifer by referring to her then-ongoing long poem “Coastal” as “your 9/11 poem”? Ha ha, she responds with a quick twist of her poniard. But I sympathize with you because to all intents and purposes I agree a little. “Coastal” is a continuous unfolding of a book that contrasts the southern Maine of Moxley’s present surround, with the Southern California in which she grew up, and in the telling, Maine comes to stand in synecdochically for middle age itself, San Diego for youth. And the poem organizes itself along these lines (there’s also a James Schuyler/Rae Armantrout dialectic) until the artist reveals that despite obvious differences, the similarities that link worlds together—poetry and painting—the East and the West—the heterosexual and the lesbian—the past and the present—are more provocative, more enigmatic. I’m sure you were just testing this theory when you made your now famous faux pas.

Olumide Popoola | This Is Not About Sadness | Unrast Verlag | 2010

The reverberations of African revolution shake up a mixed neighborhood in a working class backwater of London. This is the first full-length book by the Nigerian-German author Olumide Popoola, published in English in Munster. Wait, is that the same as Munich? When “Olu” came to San Francisco recently, introduced to me and Bob Glück by UK novelist Shaun Levin and by Olu’s advisor the poet Tim Atkins, we had the feeling that a necessary voice was being heard, and that the world had expanded from within. “We don’t measure in impossibility/ in anguish or that which sliups/ through our hands,” writes Popoola. Two women, one old, the other young, meet in London—two different Africas in their pasts, and the secrets they have kept begin to break down under London’s weak and tenuous sun.

Jane Sprague, ed. | Imaginary Syllabi! | Palm Press | 2011

This has got to be the funnest book I’ve read in eons. Editor Sprague’s opening statement tells us that she has made up a book by multiple authors “that aims to collect writings which […] essentially challenge pedagogical strategies pursuant to the work of teaching writing and other disciplines.” The book has some utopian syllabi, but not all of them are as imaginary as others, and some have actually been taught in classes in college programs in official “and mongrel” schools. An expansiveness fills the volume, even when the courses offered have a touch of our 21st century despair to them; Sprague must have felt like, oh who was it put out that “curriculum of the soul” and assigned all his favorite poets to writer on all those topics in the 1970s? Anyhow I think you get the gist. OK, not all of the contributions are of equal value, but I can see myself as an eternal student making use of them all for my own edification. And if I ever teach a poetry course I’ll be thinking primarily not of my own students, but of how to make my syllabus thrilling enough to get into Sprague 2.0.

Nicholas James Whittington | Slough | Bird & Beckett | 2010

I read the whole book several times and only now, as I struggle to type out the author’s name and the name of his book for the demanding readers of “Attention Span” have I realized that the book is not called Slouch, but Slough. It is the sort of California-landscape poetry, honed and polished to a few memorable lines per page, that I think of as the province of sloughmaster Joseph Massey of Arcata, but no, in fact it is written by someone totally different, and someone with his own sort of dreamy and visionary consciousness, a man with more air in his slough, with more than a trace of Beat DNA in his blood. And Jabès too. It is a wellshaped book, not quite small enough to fit in your hip pocket, but you could slip it into a trenchcoat pocket without protest and with a certain synchronicity. “Tell me where you live,” Whittington writes, “light’s particles shall settle in/ troughs of your voice.” I’m saying he ain’t no slouch.

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Kevin Killian is a San Francisco writer  His books include Bedrooms Have Windows, Shy, Little Men, Arctic Summer, Argento Series, I Cry Like a Baby, and Action Kylie.  His new book of stories is called Impossible Princess (from City Lights Books).

Killian’s Attention Span for 2010200920072006200520042003. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Dana Ward

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Patti Smith | Just Kids | Ecco | 2010

I read this as the sun went down during a three hour layover at the Philadelphia airport turning what looked to be three of life’s most tedious hours into three of its most magical.

Franco “Bifo” Berardi | The Soul at Work | Semitotext(e) | 2010

“The mobile phone makes possible the connection between the needs of semio-capital and the mobilization of the living labor of cyber-space. The ringtone of the mobile phone calls the workers to reconnect their abstract time to the reticular flows”

Word to Bifo.

David Brazil | Spy Wednesday | TAXT | 2010
David Brazil | 1-18-09 | @ A Voicebox | 2009

“One is not permitted to forget that/this world is ordered as it is/according to protocols of violence/& exploitation. On which we/batten.”  (from Spy Wednesday)

Anne Boyer | The 2000s: A History of the Future in Advance of Itself

“I wrote yet another revolutionary email. The revolutionary email said: ‘Culture is a barbarism against the soul’ & ‘because I have loved so many others the stakes are not myself.’”

Laura Moriarty, ed. | A Tonalist Poetry Feature | Jacket #40 | 2010
Laura Moriarty, ed. | A Tonalist Poetry Feature | Aufgabe #8 | 2010

“Some people write lyric poetry because they just want to and think it’s great. Some write it though they think it’s impossible. The latter are A Tonalists.”

So much incredible writing in these two sections that I can’t even begin to name favorites. Both sections have been inexhaustible resources of pleasure & inspiration this year.

Thom Donovan | Wild Horses of Fire | whof.blogspot.com | ongoing

Thom’s blog is an incredible ever evolving constellation of art writing, poems (his own & others), proposals, calls for action, & always, more generally, a call for re-thinking. Astonishing intelligence is mated here to astonishing warmth.

Lisa Robertson | R’s Boat | California | 2010
Lisa Robertson | The Lisa Robertson Issue; ed. Dan Thomas Glass | With+Stand #4 | 2010

Glass’ great editorial work in the Lisa Robertson issue of With + Stand made for a beautiful & diverse companion while reading through R’s Boat this spring in one long extended sigh of happy envy.

Lisa Howe | Sensible Sensations | unpublished manuscript | 2010

This long poem of Lisa’s is a work of ekphrasis (written after a show by Cincinnati artist Matt Morris), &  also a  celebration of community, written with a special consideration for the artists & writers & musicians in Cincinnati’s Brighton neighborhood. I had the pleasure to hear Lisa read it twice this spring, & each time the dynamism & loveliness of the writing linked me up to the loveliness & dynamism of our local experience together.

Lauren Dolgen, concept | Teen Mom | MTV | 2010

Too powerful, complex & problematic to say a lot about here, but this is the first reality series I’ve ever loved, if that’s what I should say about how this show makes me feel.

Mark Fisher | Capitalist Realism | Zero Books | 2010

“So long as we believe (in our hearts) that capitalism is bad, we are free to continue to participate in capitalist exchange.”

Helene Cixous | Three Steps of the Ladder of Writing | Columbia | 1993
Brandon Brown | The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catallus | Unpublished ms | 2010

A friend sent me the Cixous thinking I’d like it & boy oh boy was he right! With the Patti Smith thing this book has been the calibrating writing of my summer. I’ve read it twice & keep going back, & every time I end up exhilarated, dying to read all the books she’s attending, & dying to write more books of my own. Outstanding! As to Brown’s translation of Catallus I’ve been reading this book off and on through out the year& it’s as big, as stupefying & wondrous as the universe itself. Don’t sleep.

More Dana Ward here. His Attention Span for 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Nada Gordon

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Stan Apps | Universal Stories with Unknown Particulars | valeveil e-book | 2009

A work of conscience and searching thought: What does poetry do in the world? What does it do for us?

Lynn Berhrendt | petals, emblems | Lunar Chandelier | forthcoming 2010

My blurb: “The affect-drenched poems in Lynn Behrendt’s Petals/Emblems leap off beauty’s edge right on to the electrified grid of being: that difficult ‘barrage/ of having been born/ at all.’ There (here) everything’s objective correlative: love and pain ‘crave form like alms’ and surely find it, sensuous, phonic, and unsettling, ‘heavy’ with ‘gyn grief’ and ‘undaunted desire.’ ‘This ache to tell you something’ shoots the poems through with yearny rhetorical force like the ‘inward arch’ of ‘nostalgic ocean’: palpable, fluid, engulfing.”

Charles Bernstein | All the Whiskey in Heaven | Farrar | 2010

Do I even need to say why?

Brandon Brown | The Orgy | self-published | 2010

I wrote on Ululations that this book “… spreads a metaphorical net onto the orgy of late capitalism in the hyper-information age (‘this crystal mall must be destroyed’); and most compellingly, to me, it seems to refer back on itself to the orgy of writing that makes itself felt in every moment of this galvanized, kind of emo (in the best possible sense: ‘My heart struggles./ It’s big as a chard, but it never learns.’) poem.”

K. Lorraine Graham | Terminal Humming | Edge | 2009

I blurbed this one, too. [All “this shining and this _utter [!].” Terminal Humming is a very exciting book and I love it. Eavesdropping and borrowing from diverse discourses, K. Lorraine Graham has created a complex “essay on scrounging.” It is a wonderfully violent “attempt to unleash inner badness” in poems that are hot and audacious, in a girly way: “Wonder Woman boots twirl twirl.” Terminal Humming is just the right amount of weird. In it, “kinks become beautiful and obvious,” and “language [hums] as angry form.” Read this “downwind chess urine bird bathing extravaganza” of a book!]

Michael Gottlieb | Memoir and Essay | Faux | 2010

A moving, witty, precise and somewhat theatricalized bildungsroman. How he got this way.

Carla Harryman | Adorno’s Noise | Essay | 2008

Like psychedelics for the intellect.

Rodney Koeneke | Etruria | manuscript

Exquisite. Someone please publish this. This is poetry exuding the most poignant possible elegance.

K. Silem Mohammad | Sonnagrams 1-20 | Slack Buddha | 2010

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING upon reading these poems. Seriously. Kasey is my idol.

Mel Nichols | Catalytic Exteriorization Phenomenon | Edge | 2009

Mindbogglingly delicate and audacious, all at once.

Lanny Quarles | chapbooks

He sent us an envelope of chapbooks which I loved. Gary squirreled them away somewhere so I can’t check titles. Endlessly inventive!

Ariana Reines |The Cow | Fence | 2006

I know I’m late to this one, but wow, The Cow. She packs a punch.

Monica de le Torre | Public Domain | Roof | 2008

It’s conceptual! It’s funny! It’s whip-smart! It’s art!

Dana Ward |Typing Wild Speech | Summer BF Press | 2010

All the outspilling radiance of life and death here, like a pop Proust or a more-beatific-than Kerouac Kerouac.

PLUS: live computer-facilitated performances of Danny Snelson (“Mabuse”) and Alejandro Miguel Justino Crawford (“The Ballad of the Death of Spring”) Why limit ourselves to the page? This is a future of poetry.

More Nada Gordon here. Her Attention Span for 2005. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Suzanne Stein

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Jean-Luc Nancy, trans. Charlotte Mandell | The Fall of Sleep | Fordham | 2009

“But whatever one’s age, no one enters sleep without some sort of lullaby. No one can do without being led along by a cadence one does not even perceive, since it is precisely the cadence of absence that penetrates presence, sometimes in one single movement—in one single push that suddenly sends the present floating alongside itself—sometimes at several times—in several successive waves, like a tide licking the sand and impregnating it a little further each time, depositing flakes of sleepy foam. Rocking movements put us to sleep because sleep in its essence is itself a rocking, not a stable, motionless state. Lullaby: one charms, one enchants, one puts mistrust to sleep before putting wakefulness itself to sleep, one gently guides to nowhere—”

Kevin Davies | Pause Button | Tsunami | 1992

What would it have been to have been myself and to have already have known this?

Franco “Bifo” Berardi, trans. Francesca Cadel and Giuseppina Mecchia | The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy | Semiotext(e) | 2009

Bifo prescribes: more time for talking, traveling, reading, thinking, loving, eating, and dreaming, and less time spent killing ourselves and each other with overproduction and that horrible farce of the contemporary age: “connectivity”. Thumbs up.

Dana Ward | Typing “Wild Speech” | Summer BF Press | 2010

the tender way is wilder than

Robert Glück | reading from About Ed (ms) | The (New) Reading Series at 21 Grand | October 18, 2009

Audiences never give standing ovations at poetry readings, not in the Bay Area anyway that I’ve ever seen, but on this evening Bob received the energetic equivalent of that just walking up to the mic. He read two pieces from a manuscript in progress, About Ed. The first piece would be very short, he let us know, as the second was to be very long. The short piece was called “Ed’s First Sexual Experience (Not Counting His Dad)”, and it involved Ed, Ed’s older lover, an acid (mushroom?) trip, a tree house, and an unexpected bit of coprophilia. This story from the first line had the crowded room laughing—not a little bit laughing, but kind of convulsively, hysterically laughing, embarrassedly laughing, laughing a lot, sweating with laughter, laughing ourselves to tears. The room felt warm, open, rowdy, and there were so many of us in it. What I recall is that the second part, “The Moon is Brighter than the Sun”, was about the death of Ed, and also about the breakup of Bob and Ed. The detail I remember best is that there’s an apartment that Ed moves in to, in the adjacent-to-Castro area, and Bob describes the location of the apartment extensively, what the neighborhood was like then and what it is like to drive past it now, and in the story he and Ed paint the walls of that apartment together, in the middle of their break-up, and maybe they fought a lot or didn’t fight a lot while doing that? Why do breakups so often also involve extreme acts of domesticity? During the breakup, in the story, we’re also in the middle of Ed’s death, the death which occurs much later, and Bob describes the loss of Ed’s death as also the intolerable revisiting of the loss of breaking up. As giddy as the room was during the first story, it was motionless during the second. That piece did go on a very long time, I remember, there was a part about Bob driving out to the beach in the story, or to the Golden Gate Bridge? to scatter Ed’s ashes? Am I misremembering? I want it to be that Bob drove to the Sutro Baths, where I’ve spent a lot of time living & mourning, but I don’t think that’s what happened. I really want to recount something else here too, and this is the way we, the audience, a community of friends and lovers, exes, enemies, “frenemies”, were held so entirely in the palm of the hand of this story of Bob’s. A lot of us were crying in the room that night. Is that stupid to relate? People I’ve been brutal or bitter enough to think had no capacity left for tears or sorrow were weeping openly. We’ve all lost someone, and reliving that loss, or projecting yourself into the inescapable future and feeling it, fucking awful. But being alive and feeling it while breathing and listening, in a room full of others, to Bob Glück—

Brandon Brown | Tooth Fairy; The Orgy; Your Mom’s a Falconress & Other Poems | all self-published | 2009-2010

Trapped in a humanitarian corridor, ordering
the end of the orgy. Ids in their
ordure. Hair odor in
the hallway. My heart struggles.
It’s big as a chard, but it never learns.
Blood makes us pet in the alley
behind the petting gallery. I love
sleep. I love eat. I love the perpendicular
orgy that makes my fingers (…etc)

Chris Kraus | I LOVE DICK | Semiotext(e) | 1997

“Dear Dick, I’m wondering why every act that narrated female lived experience in the 70s has been read only as ‘collaborative’ and ‘feminist’. The Zurich Dadaists worked together too but they were geniuses + had names.”

“I realized the only thing I had to offer was my specificity”

Plus, what’s that bit about how can a straight woman achieve every bit of outness as out, articulated gay pride? Thanks to Stephanie Young for running home after the mani/pedi to fetch the book and bring it back to me as a loan. And thanks again to Chris Kraus & I Love Dick for, on top of everything else, the introduction to the artist Hannah Wilke.

Erika Staiti | Erika has title anxiety until finished and these are unfinished writings | 2009-2010

I love a work, a practice, a thought held open as long as possible, and yet patient and persistent, and these atmospheric performative drafts enact that.

T.J. Clark | The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing | Yale | 2006

Clark spent two months at the Getty looking at two works by 17c painter Nicolas Poussin: Landscape with a Calm and Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake. The subtitle of the book is sort of an egregious caveat: it seems to mean mainly that if you’re a famous art historian you can assert a pass on publishing your diary as crit and your colleagues have to swallow it, but who cares what they think? This was the greatest pleasure of my winter furlough from work, and I was grateful for so attentive a tour of just two paintings. The reproductions are wonderful, and multiple, and the opportunity to listen in on an extended meditation not only on the physical, visual, textual, historic, and metaphoric but also the locally atmospheric and the personally intimate and socially reflective (to the contemporary) felt rare. The writer begins this meditation quoting Poussin: “I who make a profession of mute things”

YouTube | has been | my primary text | of FY10

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iF-zSPHwuM

More Suzanne Stein here. Her Attention Span for 2009. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Rodney Koeneke

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Lauren Shufran | The Birds | self-published | 2010

“half Punkish ideology, half ludicrous athleticism,” all sleek Greek comic fronting “During Hella Restless Times.”

Bruce Boone | Century of Clouds | Nightboat Books | 2009

Served up last century, lost through the clouds, spiked in the now for the win.

Dana Ward | Typing Wild Speech | Summer BF Press | 2010

Lazarus reborn on Christmas as Ian Curtis.

Lauren Levin, Catherine Meng & Jared Stanley, eds. | Mrs. Maybe | 2010

What Timberlake did to sexy the Mrs. does maybe to staples.

Anselm Berrigan | Free Cell | City Lights | 2009

The socius blown through poet & getting its rhetoric high.

Ariana Reines going to Haiti | Blog of Ariana Reines | 2010

Poetics rethunk via contrails, tap taps, feet.

Brandon Downing | Lake Antiquity | Fence Books | 2009

History bending its head feelingfully to meticulously whacked lithography.

Sam Lohmann, ed. | Peaches and Bats | 2010

The regional conceived as planisphere.

Brandon Brown | Wondrous Things I Have Seen | Mitzvah Chaps | 2010

Latest stop on BB’s dromedary progress from strength to strength to strength.

Sara Larsen & David Brazil, eds. | Try! | 2010

We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one.

Lindsay Hill | The Empty Quarter | Singing Horse Press | forthcoming

Mauritania’s sand in metaphor creep to everything.

More Rodney Koeneke here.  His Attention Span for 2009, 2008, 2006. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2009 – Alli Warren

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Suzanne Stein | Hole In Space | OMG! | 2009

The poet’s body as a public communication sculpture.

David Larsen, trans. | Names of the Lion | Atticus/Finch | 2009

A pleasure to finally see this text in print after David’s jaw-dropping performance at the Unitarian Center in San Francisco, 2007.

Robert Fitterman | Rob the Plagiarist | Roof Books | 2009

“Why listen to my gut when I could listen to thousands of guts?”

David Brazil & Sara Larsen, eds. | Try | 2008-2009

AKA “Try!” Together with Dodie & Kevin’s “Mirage Periodical,” this little stapled, xeroxed magazine owns the Bay Area. It’s an INDUSTRY.

Lisa Robertson | The Men: A Lyric Book | Book Thug | 2006

“The funny pathos of men – I salute this.” I keep returning to this little lyric book.

Brandon Brown | The Poems Of Gaius Valerius Catullus 1-60 | Unpublished | 2009

Catullus is envious.

Abner Jay | One Man Band | Subliminal Sounds | 2003

Jay traveled around the South in a mobile home and performed as the (self-described) “last working Southern black minstrel.” Hilarious and heartbreaking.

Stephen Rodefer | Four Lectures | The Figures | 1981

News to me. Killed me. Continues to kill me.

Anne Boyer | Art Is War | Mitzvah Chaps | 2008

A new world treatise. Includes the smash hit “Difficult Ways to Publish Poetry.”

Bill Luoma | When the Pathogenic Wind Comes | Unpublished

The looping–“with crooked spring and great pouring”–is trance-making.

John Cassavetes | Films | 1959-1977

Especially “A Woman Under the Influence” and “Faces”—Gena Rowlands is my one true love.

More Alli Warren here.