Recent Publications

october

Woodcut from October, The Shepheardes Calender

Some recent publication news as projects and poems slowly come to fruition and rise to the surface:

Thrilled to be in the latest issue of Press Board Press volume 2, edited by Patrick Riedy et al. The piece I have in here, “Confessions of a Car Salesman,” hearkens back to a difficult time in my professional life, and I’ve tinkered with this series off and on in the years since then. You can download the full pdf from the link above and check out the wonderful poems and images in the journal.

TAG Journal operates by a unique editorial principle: each issue features two poets, who “tag” the next two poets to appear, thus self-editing the journal as they go. I was tagged by Dan Remein, who was tagged by Eileen Joy — in turn, I tagged Lisa Ampleman, who will appear in the next issue. For this I sent along some bits culled from my notebooks over the past year, including song lyrics, story ideas, invented band names, and some lines derived from an amusing conversation I had with Chris Vitiello and Kate Pringle about words we should never use in poems.

Jeffrey Side, editor of the Argotist Online, sent out a questionnaire to some folks on the topic of Conceptual Poetry. Even though I find myself wanting to talk more about poetry I’m excited about these days, this turned out to be a good exercise in thinking through some poetics issues (and working in ways to discuss medieval and contemporary poets I like). The results, with other respondents, can be found here.

Finally, the culmination of a year-plus effort, my essay “The Chaucer-function: Spenser’s Language Lessons in The Shepheardes Calender” appears in Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies. There are so many people to thank for this, but I want to give a special shout-out here to Sara Gutmann and Nick Hoffman for valuable feedback every step of the way; Graham Hammill for pushing me to ask tougher questions; Randy Schiff for steady encouragement; and Upstart editor Will Stockton for his enthusiasm and work preparing this for publication.

I’d also like to thank Ron Silliman for blogging/tweeting the Jack Spicer talk I gave in Boston recently.

Posted in Interviews, Literary, Medieval, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gloucester / Kalamazoo postscript

Drove around the corner to Forest Automotive this morning to drop off the car for routine service, saw this scrawled on the chalkboard next to the front desk:

Maximus III.38

Maximus III.38

Asked the mechanic about it — he said his father really likes the poem and wanted a poster made, but he decided to write it on the chalkboard for now. Apparently he used to go fishing in Gloucester a lot when he was a kid, but I’m not sure whether there’s another, more personal connection to Olson or what…

*

Another Kalamazoo is in the books, and as always I come away inspired by everything I’ve seen and heard. Highlights include the “Rogue Session” of GWMEMSI’s “Impossible Words” at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, an incredible and haunting first evening of short performances by an all-star cast of scholars, including Lara Farina, Eileen Joy, Karen Overbey, Marty Shichtman, Alan Montroso, and Jonathan Hsy, among others. I also attended “Materialities II” with Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Karl Steel, and several Spenser panels in addition to the one I was on. Finally, the Punctuation panel organized by Rick Godden was a real hit, full of provocative, funny, and even moving presentations on the comma, the space, the ampersand, etc. — I was honored to be a part of it, talking about the apostrophe. Kisha Tracy, who helped perform a little comma-drama during Josh Eyler‘s talk, blogs about it here. Big thanks to Rick for organizing this, and I suspect we haven’t heard the last of it — hopefully there will be future panels including our friends the semi-colon, the ellipsis, the dash…

But the most stimulating part of Kalamazoo for me is always the social gatherings around the conference — the dinners, happy hours, and little moments of interaction with old friends and new acquaintances that suggest further lines of inquiry and future projects. In that vein, though I didn’t set foot in a single “Valley” open bar this time around and had to miss the dance on Saturday night, I had a great time catching up with Will Rhodes, Susan Morrison, Chris Piuma, Michael Collins, Dan Remein, Carla Thomas, Megan Cook, Myra Seaman, Karl Steel, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Chris Taylor, Ben Ambler, and so many others I met for the first time or enjoyed hanging out with again. Some memorable rides also punctuate the trip — the long drive to and from with Randy Schiff, my dissertation director and huge basketball fan; and a ridiculous odyssey around Greater Kalamazoo with Dan Remein when we got on the wrong shuttle on an exhausted Friday afternoon.

*

Finally, I’m grateful to the Harriet Blog at the Poetry Foundation for excerpting some bits from my conversation with Kent Johnson.

Posted in Buffalo, Literary, Medieval, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview at Lana Turner Journal

Kent Johnson interviewed me recently for Lana Turner Journal. We talk about my ongoing translation of the Aeneid, translation in general, Jack Spicer, Field Work, Ovid in Exile, Diane di Prima, the San Francisco poetry scene, and a lot more. Big thanks to Kent for taking the time to do the exchange, and to editor David Lau for posting it.

*

Cotton Nero

Meanwhile, over at eth press, there’s a new title in which I’ve collaborated with medievalist/poets Chris Piuma, Dan Remein, and Lisa Ampleman: Cotton Nero A.x. We explore the works found in that manuscript, with my Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Dan’s Pearl, Chris’s Tidy, and Lisa’s Patience. It’s free to download or available for order in print.

Posted in Habenicht Press release, Interviews, Literary, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poets’ Graves

Last weekend, on a visit to Gloucester with Rich Owens and Boyd Nielson, we stopped to visit the grave of Charles Olson. It always feels somewhat macabre and fetishistic to do stuff like this. Yet we also felt compelled to do it, the same way people feel compelled to visit the tombs of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris (which I did as well, many years ago).

Charles Olson's tombstone, Gloucester

Charles Olson’s tombstone, Gloucester

The cemetery itself is quite unusual. A sailors’ graveyard, with many nautical ornaments and interesting monuments and engravings.

Boyd and Rich checking out the grave site

Boyd and Rich checking out the grave site

Me, standing by the tombstone

Me, standing by the tombstone

After hanging out by Olson’s grave for a few minutes, we wandered over to check out some of the other sections, including one devoted to sailors who had not actually died at sea.

Sailors' graveyard

Then we drove into town to visit with Gerrit Lansing and a few other poets. Interesting that while we were visiting Olson’s grave on the East Coast, Kevin Killian was making a pilgrimage to the newly discovered grave of Jack Spicer on the West Coast. What both poets have in common is an insistence on and association with a certain place, a city or polis; a relationship to locality that authorizes and in some ways makes possible their respective, but markedly different, poetics. As someone who’s wandered around a lot, I’m very attracted to that kind of relationship. And I suppose it adds an extra charge or imperative to the act of visiting their graves, as though they still preside somehow over their poetic realms.

Posted in Literary, Obit, Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spring

Morning coffee cooling, the language
just out of reach. Harsh slashes
on wind, on water, loves caught up
in old songs, gone
to seed. Yet we hear them
coming again, stirring
in groin, oh no
oh yes — it’s spring

*

And so I leave behind “National Poetry Month,” whatever that means; shocked that I actually managed to post something every day. I had fun doing it. Will try to keep posting regular-like, but my focus will shift to the ongoing translation work. Kalamazoo beckons with a couple of papers I need to write and revise, and what I would like to do — what I’ve been promising myself to do for many years now — is sift through the many books and chapbooks and zines I’ve acquired over the past several years and post about them here. Hopefully, then, I’ll keep blogging, “against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” as they say.

Posted in Literary, National Poetry Month, Poetry | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Sentence

Just because we don’t think
about the sentence doesn’t mean
we don’t think about it.
The sentence works on us
in our sleep. A voice calls
from the balcony jarring
the dark and the audience
holds its breath, waiting.
We wake up, stumble
out to the gray morning
where the sentence waits
to swallow us again

Posted in Literary, National Poetry Month, Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Jack Spicer Talk / Reading in Boston

What a wonderful, stimulating, exhausting weekend. Lots of great talk about Jack Spicer with Dan Remein, getting to see Robert Stanton and Dianne Berg and John Wagner, meeting and hanging out with Boyd Nielson, seeing Rich Owens again, driving out to Gloucester to meet Garret Lansing, as well as David Rich and Amanda Cook, heading out to Maine to hang out and drink scotch and talk about poetry some more.


“Jack Spicer and the English Department,” talk delivered at the Center for Marxist Education in Boston, April 25, 2014 as part of the Scrutiny Series.


Reading from Book IV of the Aeneid. Rich’s camera kept cutting out during the reading at the CME, so we did some of it over again in the car on the way down the freeway headed to Logan airport.

Also: Dan Remein’s talk and reading.

*

Things

A series of things I have
to do so I can do
other things. All of them
line up perfectly. I can
see them although I cannot
reach to the end.
The opposite of my body
which I can touch but
not see, groping along
into this new body built
of these endless things

Posted in Form and Theory, Literary, National Poetry Month, Poetry, Travel, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment