Sunday, May 29, 2005

At Buckingham Fountain

let's enjoy this
for the picture
that's fluctuating
all the time
stop where i went
iceskating and got the autograph of
(actress from the 40's)
just as beautiful in person
just glad no one tore it down


I don't want any sun on my arms prettier than the place du concorde.
I can't have any more damage.


And there's the sun
that's something
if my picture will also come out

Which Major Romantic Poet Would You Be (if You Were a Major Romantic Poet)?

P. B. Shelley
You are Percy Bysshe Shelley! Famous for your
dreamy abstraction and your quirky verse,
you're the model "sensitive poet." A
vegetarian socialist with great personal charm
and a definite way with the love poem, you
remain an idol for female readers. There are
dozens of cute anecdotes about you, and I love

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

being in the past
a time to suspend contains

The Shrubberies

The Shrubberies
Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

moment, we are not made of a monument

Monday, May 23, 2005

closing argument, my first of the losing horses
i match the flood with my toe*

*misreading of a line by liz willis

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Recent Reading

With Li Sci on hold, more recent reading and micro "reviews"...

0.10 by Craig Watson
Poetry that investigates the nature of perception as it relates to real and imagined architectural spaces. I think this book was prnited in the 80's by Awede Press which is no longer active, but known for their very fine letterpressed editions.

Mani by Roberto Harrison
I had just finished his other chapbook when Mani arrived in the mail. This work makes the manifold world manifest with mantra-like clarity.

Blindsight by Rosmarie Waldrop
Each image is a lens, each lens a map. Moving contours of insinuation, memory overlapping reference. Oblique, strategic and luminous.

Red Juice by Hoa Nguyen
The compression she achieves while keeping the poem bouyant--wow. Joyous, tangential minis rich with goddesses.

Eureka Slough by Joseph Massey
Pacific, solid verse in the Objectivist tree.

O New York by Trey Sager
Trey's work winds like a tendril down the page in a momentum of aches and humors. A fitting ode to the city I love from a distance and within.

Meteoric Flowers by Elizabeth Willis
Lots of words I've never seen next to each other before, but seeing them there they feel familiar-- like, how has this never been a sentence before? "As a lever, I fail before dog-eared magnolia things." Every line of these prose poems is an invention, not an improvement upon or combination of existing gadgets, but bright points of eureka light cast with tenderness and verve.


I am struck by the resurgence of the fine art chapbook- as exquisite objects and containers of compelling, innovative texts like those found on the imprints Ugly Duckling Presse, Answer Tag Home, Atticus Finch, Effing, Gong Press. A good sign that poetry is in robust health is the artful and painstaking work of the individuals animating publications like these.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

what part
of the lake is a state
line in sight


for unauthorized
gathering trees
gather finally
a season slough
for us through


friends a need
in dispersal highrises
grow into
over view we are also
mean to uproot

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

All over our neighborhood demolition and condos are taking former storage warehouses and service shops. Out collecting language off of signage the other day- enough to warrant a poem mini-series?
Mortimer Forwarding Co.
Universal Differentials
Federal Mogul
Fuller Transmissions
Quality Service Economy

Monday, May 16, 2005

Fire & Ice at Rodan 5/15/05

Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

The original piece that started it all: Fire & Ice played Fire & Ice as part of the Native Instruments night at Chicago electronica restaurant Rodan. Always a different performance driven by a core of predetermined video and audio samples, Fire & Ice remix feature length films, usurping narrative, focusing instead on the visual orchestration of its various elements via live control of a character's movements to create an additional expressive and musical dimension. Through repetition, variation and manipulation, reference points are abstracted and the code of the body is reimagined/reevaluated.

Jeff did double duty by VJ'ing to featured laptop musicians after jumping off his hybrid drum kit at the end of Fire & Ice's performance. J pictured here simultaneously knob-twiddling and eating maki.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

to classify conditions
to ignore ourselves
attention in one
being central
pose an illustration
ribbed somewhat
of their inward species


for land
the periphery
of signals
to easily love
capacities around

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lee Friedlander at MoCP

Popped into MoCP for final day of Friedlander show. The Sticks and Stones series most striking- architectural spaces, my fixation lately, yet these photos of outdoor spaces explore architecture through very active compositions of line generated from urban detritus: fences, barbed wire, telephone lines, designated parking spaces. Titles only denote city and year, though, with the exception of the New York shots, most of the environments pictured do not appear to be nearly so specific.
In a single space. Inflection red like a stop toward. A ship before electricity five sails wide takes its own time into the scene.

Pink tiara to toe for her quinceanos
she might never unclose. Her hands around
the stiff bouquet she is
lifted into a horizon
by cousins, tuxedos.
Will this to resemble a memory.

Thin light a cause which spirals many birds.

Water leaping at the opportunity to be in the photo. When a wind picks up the wrappings of two Muslim women Falun Dafa's soundtrack comes toward. Turning with the synthflute the backs of their shirts: "Truthfullness, Benevolence, Forbearance." Red leaf on each wing in tripping flight for a country that has been a refuge.

Of the five gentle exercises, the Falun Heavenly Circuit brushes something over or away from the body. A simple word kites like a spasm into view. Out of time of the words being sailor. In white like a page possibly brushed with erasures. These too distances to trust as there.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Discrete Series 5/13/05

Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

An auspicious day for poetry, Anselm Hollo and Chicu Reddy read for the I-lost-count-a-long-time-ago-th installment of the Discrete Series. Reddy's work presented with all of the halting and accentual silences that add to the potency of his quietly enveloping lyricism. His poems are moved by a range of interesting sources, the meditative exercise of imagining the final moment of one's life and successive moments following that, as well as Esperanto as utopian idea. This was the first time I had heard Anselm read, and he rendered wonderfully the tone-shifting charisma his poems emanate from the page. I always like it as an audience member (and series curator) when I get to laugh out loud at readings. Seems like a historically elemental response to language and yet it's a. a relative rarity in much of the work I admire and am able to program b. is certainly a challenge to use humor while also mediating social and political gravities, which Anselm does with great mastery.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"And the sound of words has no measurable size." -Rosmarie Waldrop

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

2005 Reading

Since I'll probably only be reading li sci books for the next year, it seems like a good time to inventory books I've completed in the last 5 months (list doesn't include all the books I've picked at in little bits in that time).

Mansfield Park- Jane Austen
A curative companion for the week spent in bed with the flu, and since my reading is slim in the pre-mod dept., a welcome diversion.

Devil in the White City-Erik Larsen
A compelling read, very fictionesque in craft, though it's non-fic and meticulously researched re: of the making of the 1893 Columbian Exposition and the exploits of murderer H.H. Holmes. As an architecture and Chicago history nerd, I was much more engrossed in the Burnham and Olmsted half of the book.

In Contact- Jesse Seldess
A handsome chapbook published by Bronze Skull will be gathered into the forthcoming bookbook by Kenning Press.

Eight Short Stories-Virginia Woolf
Happily making my way through her ouvre.

Home: A History of an Idea- Witold Rybinski

A fascinating study of the history and evolution of concepts such as privacy and domesticity. Written by an architect, he's also going back through periods in Western tradition that affected room configuration, furniture design and development and the innovations like plumbing and ventilation systems that are now commonplace. Spends last few chapters of the book railing against 20th century furniture design for its failure to marry aesthetics with comfort, i.e. the homely La-Z-Boy, the Wassily chair that cuts off leg circulation.

Airport Music- Mark Tardi
Another jewel from Bronze Skull. The implied reference is no doubt Midway airport, the environs around which do not, for me, evoke Brian Eno's blissful soundtrack, but Tardi's poems are concerned with the grit beyond, actual and metaphysical, rather than sanitized spaces within. However, his precision and parataxical wit forge their own beauties there.

Blood Money- Dashell Hammet
I don't read many crime novels, so it was a special pleasure to catch up with one so full of dated diction and gum-shoe swagger.

The Sleep That Changed Everything-Lee Ann Brown
Reading Lee Ann Brown makes me want to write a lot and experiment with material/techniques outside of my usual. Her plangency/fervor fevers poem upon poem.

Of The Frame-E. Tracy Grinnell
An e-chapbook on Duration's website. Existential with room to breathe. One's reference point for making meaning is turned over thoughtfully, elegantly.

The False Sun Recordings-James Wagner
Started this book ages ago when he came to town to read and just returned to it recently as I found myself writing "translation" poems. Wagner's writing is sonically dense, inventive and playful as he employs this method at times throughout the book.

Beauty is Convulsive: The Passion of Frida Kahlo- Carole Maso

Carole Maso rekindles my belief in the potency of beauty, a typically tired and cliched stance, in art and writing. Her writing is full of empathy and the beauty she finds in the world 10,000 things in spite of the sufferings of her characters strikes a highnote of humanity.

Around Sea-Brenda Iijima
Another book that I've purposefully spent years reading because one is present in its process whenever reading...the scope of its wordhorde, the exhaustive exploration of place (sea) that too many poets evoke in a brisk, readymade gesture.

Bus-Roberto Harrison
Language must proliferate in air around Bob while he brushes his teeth every morning. His output is astonishing, and this lengthy chapbook makes the claim that it was written in a single bus trip, albeit tri-state. Bob's writing never feels contrived, is always pulsing with imperative force.

Oh-Cole Swensen
Travels through the topic of opera in deft arcs from the perspective of listener, incorporating at times text from various libretti. As I'm always negotiating the influence of music on my writing, it's instructive to see how others attempt to synthesize a polyphonic, durational artform with language on a silent page.

The To Sound-Eric Baus
Echoic, image-laden and surreal. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" for the post langpo set.

The DaVinci Code-Dan Brown
Now that I've read this book I have one thing in common with the people at work. That intriguing strands of art, etymology, history and the occult hold up the plot make the contrived dialogue and wooden craft forgivable. Furthermore, I enjoyed it.

Devotional Cinema-Nathaniel Dorsky
Already written about at length in this blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Discrete Series 5/6/05

Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

Most of Chicago missed an excellent performance of Robert Quillen Camp's play for PA, piano and headphones, "Days of Rage." Referencing the failed coup by the Weathermen, the play takes place in present day New York, following a bunch of would-be activists who intermittently get high, wrangle a captive tiger, pick up girls and plan a revolution. While the sixties era of activism is mythologized into fiction and Bush-era activism seeks coherence and legitimacy, Days of Rage is a witty take on the contradictions of this new, more cynical, generation of insurgency. Two revolutionaries in the play attempt to woo a few monsters to their ranks with the offer of revolution-commemorating T-shirts. They argue about the message, finally insisting on something concise: "War No, Monsters Yes." Or just "Monsters" so they can wear the shirts on other occasions.

The audio is pre-recorded bi-aurally and the resulting experience for the listener (each equipped with her own headphones) is a 3-D environment of sound. The medium is one that reassesses the standard theater-going experience for the better. As the live component, RQC plays a live piano soundtrack, at times being drawn into the drama as a Sudanese roommate of one of the activists who responds to the banter of the revolutionaries in his living room with a cycle of "chopsticks." Quill gave 2 notable performances this evening, playing with one arm in a sling after dislocating a shoulder just hours before. His next project is another piece for headphones, but one to be performed by individuals in their own homes. By downloading the audio, listeners will experience the action via instructions of things to do/perform in the privacy of their own homes.

I would have wished the members of Chicago's thriving literary and arts communities had taken advantage of seeing this unique performance. It was not for a lack of publicity. Our city must suffer from the unfortunate malady of too much high quality arts programming.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Nathaniel Dorsky

Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

A still from Nathaniel Dorsky's film "Love's Refrian."

It was almost a year ago that Brenda I. first insisted I read Nathaniel Dorsky's book "Devotional Cinema." Originally given as a lecture, this is one of those rare texts that achieves great insight without becoming stilted by self-conscious, academic conditional gestures. Like a John Cage text, Dorsky illuminates abstractions (in this case, semiotics of film) with humane and pedestrian parallels. In talking about how a film should engage a viewer, a relationship that is an active one employing a necessary openness in meaning, Dorsky relates the dynamic to human interaction.

"Conversation can often be an exhausting exchange of self-confirming, predigested concepts with no real exploration: everything is already 'known' and is motivated by a need to maintain the status quo of oneself in relation to the other person. Nowness is tainted by the need to accomplish something, to stay in control."

In this section examining the function of time, the concept of "nowness" is proposed with many echoes of Gertrude Stein's notion of the "continuous present," that a work of art appreciates the real time of the individual's act of engagement since that process and interaction is integral to its experience of "meaning,"

It's clear why Dorsky's book was published by Lyn Hejinian's Tuumba Press as his ideas are very much in conversation with the avant-g poetics of the 1970's and beyond. For example, one can hear a lot of resonance with Charles Bernstein's essay "The Artifice of Absorption" in the following passage--

At the beginning of "Devotional Cinema" Dorsky defines the "alchemy" that is the prerequisite for devotional experience: "For alchemy to take place in a film, the form must include the expression of its own materiality, and this materiality must be in union with its subject matter... [A film that is overwhelmingly literal and illustrative] obliterates the medium it is composed of...[and] lacks the necessary ingredients for transmutation."

It's probably the Buddhism-informed lens through which Dorsky's thinking takes shape that I find most compelling. The pat spiritual experience that is typically ascribed to art-making put me on my guard as I considered Dorsky's thesis. My chum Ray calls it the wood jewelry syndrome- art or poetry that is intoxicated with a preconcieved idea of its own mystical powers, usually via subject matter instead of form, usually via tired and recognizable tropes. Dorsky's section on Intermittence strikes through all of that sludge and presents the most compelling connection of the spiritual experience and the medium of film understood by way of the visceral, bodily experience of viewing 24 still frames per second. This intermittence resembles the natural flickering of attention, and by extension, this vibration seems a fundamental human rhythm, or, if you like, the vibrational energy of all things (ala my crude understanding of string theory) (certainly ala Zen).

Sunday, May 01, 2005

City Landscape, Joan Mitchell

Originally uploaded by .Kerri..

how close
is this ransom
in warm

makes shipments

of us, things that could

not be

that gravity
rakes to