Thursday, April 14, 2011

From the Poetry Project Files, Scrilla, Chris Toll, Blake Butler, Submissions,, Lyn Hejinian

Here is audio of me reading "From What I Understand About Liberation Theology." This poem was published not too long ago in The Shattered Wig Review #28. I sound like a white preacher. I mean to, always, no doubt. I'm very happy with this audio, except for when I messed up. How could I have messed up, I read so slow.
In other news, I rolled my 401k into an IRA today, so you know, I'm not exactly sweatin' it (is what Bill Murray says in Caddy Shack).
Chris Toll's book, The Disinformation Phase (original video trailer here), went to the printer today. Next week I get the proof. You know what that means? Pre-orders will open next week. We'll have a special deal this time, no doubt. Heather Christle (recently New Yorkered) said this:   Chris Toll has looked within words and entities to discover almost everything is weeping. Emily Dickinson’s breaking code in the Pentagon, Toll’s heart is aching and full, and meanwhile these poems are tenderly repossessing the ineffable and the commonplace. It is a grand and lovely thing to read this book.
I've been doing that thing where I wake up at 4am to watch DVDs of The Wire. Most recently I did that early rising so I could cruise through Veronica Mars. Anyway, it's Omar who makes me say "no doubt," doubtless.
Justin Sirois's novel, Falcons on the Floor. I bet you wish you were reading this book instead of me. I've also been dabbling in my lit crit book from when I took a great class in theory in 1997. The book is Critical Theory Since Plato, Hazard Adams, editor. I read ValĂ©ry two nights ago. Matthew Arnold then Northrop Frye last night. I'm also reading Kitchen Confidential.
And There Is No Year by Blake Butler. It is really good. It is better even than I expected. Note 1) it's often said "I can't wait to touch that book" or "hold that book" -- in this case, it really is something to look forward to. The cover stock is akin to the papery soft Black Sparrow covers, but the book's dimensions are bigger, so not only is there a softness but also a floppiness. When Blake said about ARAOP, "This is one to drink milk in bed with," I think he should have been talking more about his own book; it's a cuddly bear. Note 2) When I bought the book at the Johns Hopkins B&N, the clerk said, "Oh, this book." It was on display at the register. The other clerk said, "I was looking at that. It reminded me of House of Leaves, I guess with the ." I said "I think Danielewski said something about it somewhere," but she seemed to think I was wrong. I could have been -- I just know I saw official press material about the book mentioning Danielewski and I was surprised by that. Anyway, so, I bought the book and they seemed surprised by that. I showed it to Stephanie and she seemed surprised too. Note 3) It is even better than I expected. I read a bit of it at the NYC release week thing and what I read didn't make sense to me at the time (which of course is okay by me), and I thought it was perhaps more abstract than it actually is (which of course isn't what makes it better). I read it like it was abstract, but that was because I started at the third section without having looked at the beginning. When I started reading the book on p1, duh, I found that the characters -- the family and their copies -- were introduced in a more straightforward way than I thought at first, and that the story that surrounds them ties together and rolls around like a knot. I freaking love untying knots. The things that happen are sensible. Note 4) The prose, I have found, is closer to Virginia Woolf than to Danielewski. As in this sentence, "The grain in the glass in the windows in the halls in the rooms in the houses on the yards along the streets aligned for miles." Though I guess that's hallmark Butler to bury the predicate. I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Note 5) I expect I'll make more notes after I get past page 25.
Submissions for books opens May 1. Octopus is reading now, though: -- get on that. I'm thinking of a reading fee this year, or maybe to have people show proof of purchase of a PGP book. If you have ever bought a PGP book, you can submit for free. Otherwise, it's $5. Something like that, is what I'm thinking. Is that crazy?
I got to see Lyn Hejinian read on Tuesday. I took notes, a picture, and recorded sound all on my phone with an app called Evernote. The app then syncs up with my computer at home and my iPad.
    I got to see Lyn Hejinian read on Tuesday. Here are my notes: 

    1. Adverbial, how, in Hejinian poetics
    2. Chris Nealon's intro is great
    3. Lyn's two thousand volume work
    4. Poetry can make better rulers, at least she wishes
    5. Sets watch
    6. "exceptionally languid snail"
    7. "forever incomplete, as a holiday"
    8. Drinks water, says "air travel is a killer...on voices"
    9. "obsidian"
    10. "now that was an excellent astronomer"
    11. Straightforward poem of "tales" with 3 morals
    12. Poem including a phone number
    13. Chris Mason-type click poem
    14. Longish poem about clowns
    15. "I'm writing this, pretending to be a filmmaker"
    16. Laughter at mention of a Nigerian spam email
    17. Two rhyming quatrains, Chicago w/ virago
    18. Saga Circus, a book that started with the question, Why is literature not supposed to be strictly entertaining (which explains why clowns keep coming up)
    19. Introduces a poem saying, "Last time I tried to read this I laughed so hard I had to stop" then reads a not terribly funny poem about naming things like motels, bands and streets
    20. "now I'm glad to withdraw from sound/now is that withdrawal"


    Justin Sirois said...

    I am goin gto spin you over my head on Friday.

    BlogSloth said...

    "forever incomplete, as a holiday"

    is a good one

    The blog of Adam Robinson and Publishing Genius Press