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People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share...
-Paul Simon

Music, I regret to say, affects me merely as an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds....
-Vladimir Nabokov

To my wife Anne, without whose silence this book never would have been written.
-Philip K. Dick, dedication page from The Man in the High Castle

Ben Luzzatto’s THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, ABRIDGED (UDP, 2010) is one of those rare artifacts that transfers its own actual magic—and it is real magic—until the possessed begins to lift a bit toward the sky.

[Poem of the Week: 3/23/2010]

I've decided to change my strategy for blogging through Grossman. Not only is it almost impossible to try and successfully capture the first part of the book in any systematic way (the conversation shifts too rapidly and it's almost maddening to trace any idea), but the second part is so lovely and systematically broken down, that I keep gravitating toward it. So I'll leave the first part of the book for those of you who desire to read it (very much worth it). Instead I'll be blogging through Grossman's "Summa Lyrica," which is the second part of The Sighted Singer. Grossman begins his Summa by speaking about immortality: The function of poetry is to obtain for everybody one kind of success at the limits of the autonomy of will....The limits of [...]



Dear Angry Mob,

Oak Wood Trail is closed to you. We
feel it unnecessary to defend our position,
for we have always thought of ourselves
(and rightly, I venture) as a haven for
those seeking a quiet and solitary
contemplation. We are truly sorry
for the inconvenience....

"When we define the Photograph as a motionless image, this does not mean only that the figures it represents do not move; it means that they do not emerge, do not leave: they are anesthetized and fastened down, like butterflies."

In appreciation of Amy Lawless, to whom I dedicate this post.

First he gave me
his heart. It was
red fruit containing
many seeds, the skin
leathery, unlikely.
I preferred
to starve, bearing
out my training.

Sometimes when I happy get I turn on my television set and disappear into its glow like a pixelated crow I flap my wings so pure and black and feel like there's no going back inside the tube I'll stay forever consider thrown the simulacrum lever if my mother comes home and turns it off at her love I'll scoff happy on my own terms you see like a Titleist balanced on a tee waiting for the coming thwack to send me into orbit's knack for spinning guests in skyward order free I am a floating boarder everywhere I go I smile I see my reflection in bathroom tile my grin it gleams with the purity of creams freshly descended from the cow of bacon from the virgin sow who [...]

I’d caught glimpses of them before. Maybe I’d been up very late and into the morning, taking the Brooklyn-bound train from Manhattan and had seen them standing with briefcases on platforms waiting for trains. Maybe I woke bright and early for my hangover, craving Naked Juice and sparkling water from the corner bodega. Maybe I had wild notions of pretending I had a nine-to-five writing schedule so that there would be an end to the thankless work.

Before I post my regularly scheduled post, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I give you an excerpt from James Joyce's "The Dead."

This is a poetry blog, and I’m a poet, and I’ve written many poems and essays about poetry, so you’d think I’d be a natural choice. But the thing is, I haven’t read or written a poem in some while. And it all has to do with investment capital. Several months ago, I finished a poetry manuscript and sent it out to world of contests. It’s currently awaiting judgment at the Yale, the Whitman, the Bakeless, and a dozen others. And since sending it out, I’ve found that I’m not really able to focus on poetry. The only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is the following: producing a manuscript, for me, is like starting a business. I’ve tied up my poetic capital in this venture. And until it’s either successful, or bankrupt, my poetic assets are not liquid.

Sunday evening I encountered this artifact created out of the weekend's leftovers. I had been showing family around who had never been nyc before. That meant three miserable days of walking in the rain while forcing myself to be cheerful. This stream or river or rainbow or spittle-barf of umbrellas was an affirmation to me of whats most at stake in being conscious, (which could be described very quickly, I guess, as a reaction). Whoever made this left no trace of themselves nor stuck around to explain. Less is almost always more. I love you, whoever made this, for that.

If I am anything at all, I am a vaudevillian. Considering that vaudville has been stone dead the last 80 years, that's a hard thing to be, but wouldn't you want to attend a reading where, first, someone read Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" beautifully, followed by a white poodle jumping through a fiery hula hoop, then a great tap dancer, and then a good torch singer doing "Strange Fruit," topped off by a rousing version of Etheridge Knight's "All Fucked Up"?