Monday, April 30, 2007

A single glass of water illuminates the world

"In other words, instead of the poet being a beautiful machine which manufactured the current for itself, did everything for itself - almost a perpetual motion machine of emotion until the poet's heart broke or it was burned on the beach like Shelley's - instead there was something coming from the Outside coming in. ... That essentially you are something which is being transmitted into ... "
(Jack Spicer, Vancouver Lecture 1)


"The poem is not this word itself, for the poem is a beginning, whereas the word never begins, but always speaks anew and is always starting over. However, the poet is the one who has heard this word, who has made himself into an ear attuned to it, its mediator, and who has silenced it by pronouncing it."
(Maurice Blanchot 'The Space of Literature')


"And I would think that we probably always will be crystal sets, at best." (Spicer)


Spicer. Cocteau. Blanchot. Radio.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


This book arrived in the post yesterday. Times coincide.

"Words and rocks contain a language that follows a syntax of splits and ruptures. Look at any word long enough and you will see it open up into a series of faults, into a terrain of particles each containing its own void."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

... a place from which to wait ...

Today the inside of my head has felt like this.


"That the word "poem" means "to make" is an overstated fact—poetry is, I think, most interesting (and most vital) when it dismantles. Not that a poem should concern itself with laying waste to what is made—though that might be of some help at certain times—but maybe poems can show us how to take objects, places, one another and ourselves apart. Might we agree that a clock’s innards can be more compelling than the time of day?

I like to think of poetry as kind of anxious patience. We wait for the poem to arrive; we wait for the poem to mean. But to wait is also, in some way, to set out. Waiting, we are pitched toward coming climates, bodies, times. A poem is a place from which to wait.

In order to "interpret" a poem, readers need space in it. Too much and they’re lost; not enough and there’s nothing for them to do. But unlike, say, a luxury hotel, an incredibly comfortable poem will insure that readers won’t return—there needs to be some sort of serration along which we can drag their minds and tongues. Otherwise, the poem is just a consumable object best eaten and forgotten. I suspect that there are endless ways to make the proper spaces in poems—blank space is only one of them."
(Graham Foust)


Also worth checking out: Coolidge talking about bebop prosody at

Friday, April 06, 2007

Clark's Cool Edge

So where have you been?

Here. There.

What have you been doing?

Reading. Work stuff. Not getting down to it.



A trajectory (of sorts):

Eva Hesse.

Sol Lewitt & Carl Andre at Tate Modern. Thinking in terms of Minimalism and its influence upon L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets.

Barrett Watten ‘The Constructivist Moment’.

Peter Gizzi’s new one – ‘The Outernationale’ – sends me back into the earlier volumes.

J.G. Ballard & Borges short stories. Ballard's landscapes.

Miles Davis ‘Complete Jack Johnson Sessions’. Teo Macero & editing. ‘Love’ by The Beatles. George Martin & editing.

Gizzi’s interview with Michael Palmer in Exact Change Yearbook.

Emilie Simon. Waif vocals & glockenspieling. (same cabinet as Lisa Ekdahl, Stina Nordensten).

Michael Palmer – poems from ‘Blake’s Newton’ and the early pages of ‘Notes from Echo Lake’.

“my poetry ... tends to concentrate on primary functions and qualities of language such as naming and the arbitrary structuring of code – its fragility – the ease with which it empties (nullifies?) itself or contradicts what might simplistically qualify as intention. (And I might add conversely, its tyranny – how it resists amendment.” (Palmer p164, the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E book). McCaffery’s text, too.

Bill Evans ‘Live at the Village Vanguard’ & ‘Everyone Digs’

‘Don’t Start Me Talking’ eds. Allen & Duncan - especially Out To Lunch spilling his Mr Ben baked beans and Harry Gilonis and Sean Bonney.

Lisa Jarnot’s ‘Black Dog Songs’ on the day I went to the zoo with Lara. Inspired. Inspiring.

Robert Creeley ‘Pieces’ and ‘Words’ and essays and interviews.

And, above all, Clark Coolidge and ‘The Crystal Text’. Ten pages a day.


“Quartz is the original untampered word.
When I propose a live reading of poem I think of
going up there to cut some fine edges”


“What do you see when you look out with your language?”


“One could divide it all up into
those who know how the work should be
and those who never know before the work.
But then those who did not know began to know
the materials, an intimate action ... “


"For whatever you can’t know you do write”


“A phrase is also a wave”


“Everything that surrounds
it and is not
part of it”


(from ‘The Crystal Text’)

. Driving into work the other morning with 'Village of the Sun' playing & humming & drumming along  & think...