Sunday, January 29, 2006

waves, autumn 1975

Waves was apparently a York U. "Tri-Annual", with folks such as Louis Dudek, Purdy, and Gustafson on the booklet's Advisory Board. I like to pick up old collections like this to see what -lies/lies are- inside. Something I found particularly interesting was a review of "Horse d'Oeuvres" from the Four Horsemen (link opens as a sound file--in fact, you should visit the whole page from PennSound). I've decided the review is charming enough to detail in its entirety:

"Both in performance and on LP, the Four Horsemen seem to be attempting the revival of the spirit of Pentecost. It is difficult to be neutral about their displays. But in another communal enterprise, the collection "Horse d'Oeuvres," they emerge as people of what can only be called geniality - a trait absent from most writers until they're 97 and soaked with booze. What artsy pretending is in the book lies mostly in the titles, and every so often in poems devoted to the Grand Affirmation of Love: what's left on the culte de Molly Bloom, to coin a phrase. In short, these poems, without being "nice" or sodden, are very likeable. Beyond that, there is little enough to say about individual pieces; one notes that bp Nichol is apparently the chief theoretician of the group, and also the funniest of them in his work. Something like the following won't make Nichol coequal with Noam Chomsky -

      is merely

      memos re

- but equally it isn't anything to task him with. And his playlet "the brown book", together with the prose-work "some descriptions of her," are worth the price of the book.

No, that's unfair: the whole book is worth its modest fee, not merely for what it is, but for what it could portend. A run on this collection would provide the Horsemen with what Pound once called the "poultice of money"; and it just might convince PaperJacks to issue other collections, or even individual poets, in a like format. With most paperback books of poetry going for five and six dollars, and with a real and documented audience out there for the stuff, there might be a minor revolution in selling such bargains. At least the game is worth trying, on the grounds of what one political philosopher once said were the only two positions open to the inquiring individual, Why not? and Can't hurt. So there it is: Can't hurt. Why not?" Kenneth Gibson.

Question, what the hell is the "culte de Molly Bloom"? I played her once during an impromptu acting-drunk at the Irish embassy in Ottawa, but hell if I know what it means. But she's pretty fiesty, and I bet that's enough to incite a cult following. I can imagine, as Pound goes on all marshmallowy about Joyce, that Miss Molly could have erected men's, ahem, hearts. Who knows.

I like this reviewers questions at the end of the piece. Supposing we only have two positions of inquiry, would they really be Why not and Can't hurt? Well, I guess it can't hurt.

Is the "poultice of money" similar to the poultry of appetence? Nah. Poultices of cash. What a silly image.

Love that there exists a "documented audience" for poetry.

And why do I keep having dreams of old men, unfamiliar rooms, and delivery trucks?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Compliments of

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Shift & Switch Anthology

My review of the experimental poetry anthology Shift & Switch is up in Ottawa XPress today. Make sure to read it. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I call myself a poet

Really, what the hell's wrong with me? I have entire collections of delectible poems, anthologies, philosophical triumphant dissertations... at my fingertips, merely inches away as I type this--and I can't read them in full. When I've decided it's "reading time", I grab not one, but several juicy bound collected's and scatter them excitedly on my bed, shuffle into choosing position, pawn over each one lovingly, then 1) can't decide which one to gouge myself on 2) get distracted with entirely unrelated thoughts 3) get so wrapped up in my not being able to concentrate on such magnificent stuff that I plain give up 4) go to sleep, or, grab a drink, or, go to sleep with a drink in my hand.

Anyone else have this problem (the reading, not the drinking)? At this rate I'll be lucky if I fully absorb a book a year.

Oh, and I've updated my links list. Stay tuned, next week maybe a review of Shift & Switch in the Ottawa XPress, if I'm lucky. Hope so, I'm terribly broke.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Hey, look at me

Better than bowling scores: (well, nearly)

And, compliments of Homer Simpson: Trying is the first step towards failure.
Now let's go back to that ... building ... thingie ... where our beds and TV ... is.

Now I need to say a word bout the craziness of Concordia's departmental grading-uniqueness. Coming from Ottawa U, I assumed all schools to be the same, but apparently they all don't employ a universal grading system. Odd, you'd think it'd be easier. So, the Classics department (under the modern language portfolio) rates higher than the English department. A "Classics B-", say, is equivalent to an English B+. How screwy.

Monday, January 02, 2006

They Might Be Giants

Who wouldn't appreciate the appeal of the band They Might Be Giants, with their pseudo play on the rhetoric of fingertips, gingerly stepping into space suits, their mingling of Nostradamus and the evil twin, brassing the phallic statue, and the old number 'palindromic poem on the death of mum'... Oh but this is merely conjecture.

You might enjoy They Might's recent round of "venue songs", here. 'Orange peel' from Asheville is particularly heartwarming.
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