Wednesday, February 28, 2007

that's what i'll call it




Tuesday, February 27, 2007

following the top 10 movie meme i've been tagged by crag hill for a list of top ten books. listing them should be easier than listing movies, but also harder too, for i have hundreds of favorite books. and poets, and poems. not to mention prose works and so on. and i'm always having crushes on poets, whether they know it or not. that's one of the things that makes the net so great. i can google a writer till my fingers are raw from all the typing.

so i'll go for a list of poetry books that not only set me on fire, but changed the direction of my life. i'm being sincere here. not only have some poets opened my eyes and ears but they also thru their work created the mysteries of possibilities, which in turn makes its presence in my daily living, however small or subtle.

so here are a list of 10 early books that, for better or for worse, became a threshold in my life of reading/writing.

the dream songs by john berryman

the illuminations by arthur rimbaud [translated by louise varese]

a season in hell by arthur rimbaud [translated by louise varese]

selected poems by rene char [published by new directions with various translators]

collected poems by constantine cavafy [translated by edmund keeley and philip sherrard]

collected poems by hart crane

windows by robert creeley

a borges reader [ed. by emir rodriguez monegal and alastair reid]

collected poems by richard hugo

collected poems by james wright

and here are a list of 10 books the past 10-15 years or so that opened trap doors and sent me falling headlong into (re)newing the art, as best i can.

collected poems by jimmy schuyler

mr cogito by zbigniew herbert [translated by john and bogdana carpenter]

red sauce, whisky and snow by august kleinzahler

slide rule by jen hofer

selected poems by larry eigner

the source by william wantling

valparaiso by duncan mcnaughton

selected poems by denise riley

the collected poems by edward dorn

selected poems by john weiners

and the book i return to again and again is the collected poems by thom gunn, one of the best pleasure-giving poets ever to walk our earth.

and i can't leave out ted berrigan, who perhaps has had the most profound influence on my reading/writing. at first i rejected him, then came back to him. as soon as i opened a certain slant of sunlight i was fucking hooked.

i don't normally consider individual collections by writers but poets as individuals. my favorite form of publication is the chapbook. which has also now expanded to e-books.

as i look over my list i see there is a paucity of women poets, who are perhaps writing the most vivid texts now. i was concentrating only on those collections that made poetry the path and the threshold as i was developing into the life of reading/writing.

some of the women poets essential to my development, in ways big and small, are anne sexton, hannah weiner, sylvia plath, rae armantrout, kay ryan, marina tsvetaeva, susan howe, medbh mcguckian and lyn hejinian.

[shit, everytime i get up to go to my shelves i find an essential poet that i've not listed such as tomas transtromer and big james dickey. also villon and catullus are critical poets in my life.]

finally, i'll conclude by listing some poets who i don't know personally but currently have crushes on. i don't have any of their books but read what i can via the net.

ryan eckes; michael estabrook; hoa nguyen; jennifer k. dick; tina celona; reb livingston; rob cook; mickey o'connor

and those are just the textual. i'll stop here, for now.

i'll tag logan ryan smith, steve caratzas, derek motion, jean vengua, jen crawford, jesse crockett, jim mccrary, alex gildzen, alicia sometimes and richard taylor.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

i'm a nut for lists, as i've mentioned before, so reading around the blogosphere poets' list of top 10 movies, is as we used to say in the old days, rad. i'm with geof huth who lists one of his favorite films to be the remake of breathless starring richard gere. it's one of my favorites too. esp. powerful is the end when gere starts dancing in the street surrounded by cops as the band x start in on the soundtrack.

the mail yesterday and friday brought with it the latest fhole with terrific texts by kevin thurston, greg evason [who's poems published by dfb brought me to dig evason's work a lot], gustave morin, nico vassilakis, david-baptiste chirot [a fucking great writer visual and textual] and judith copithorne. those are just the highlights for me, the whole of the zine is excellent. check out the links to the right for daniel f. bradley's zine and get yrself a copy.

and robert vandermolen sent along some poems of his from a journal called bald ego, a new mag to me. bob's a singular talent, hardcore poet all the way. seek out his work. now.

also, got a letter from alex gildzen yesterday. alex and i correspond via email so getting a letter from him puzzled me. but when i opened it i found part of a torn photo and an accompanying letter with list of names who also received parts of that same photo. the letter is titled 'pieces of ira joel haber'. the photo is of haber who in a tradition between alex and himself often exchanged these sorts of surprise packages. alex is passing along the pieces now to various friends throughout the country. a lovely and very moving gift of which i have no words to express my thanks.

and today we ran into jim denboer at ikea. without being specific we spoke for a few minutes, hugged a couple of times, and i was nearly brought to tears.

b. and s. and their son j. were over last night. b. and i were looking for punk bands on below is the only video we could find of the bay area band code of honor. the song 'fight or die' is off their 1st album which as far as i know remains long out of print. i saw them a number of times in the early '80s.

shit, maybe i should rename this blog 'tales of a middle-aged punk'. whatever, i'm now gonna watch the bird with crystal plumage, written and directed by dario argento.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

does anyone know, or know how to contact, seattle poet mickey o'connor? thought i'd read a short review of a chap of his couple of years ago on someone's blog. name stuck and i found some of his poems i like very much. mucho appreciated.

peas out

Friday, February 23, 2007

the top movie meme has me ruminating about all sorts of categories re: my favorite films. i have movies that i hate but are obsessed by anyway. and i have movies that i love but consider to be pieces of shit. e.g. close encounters of the third kind would fit into the first category, and a shitty late corman rip-off munchies is in the second category.

and but so, here is a very short list of favorite movies about writers. most movies about writers fail because the act of writing is not cinematic. watching somebody bent over a legal pad or computer screen or staring off into space is not compelling imagery. thus filmmakers must resort to telling the story about the fucked-up life of a writer, such as drugs, drinking, fornicating ad infinitum.

what the hell. here they are:

barfly [not a fan of bukowski so much, but this is a damn good film by barbet schroeder starring the brilliant, if erratic, mickey rourke and the sublime faye dunaway as 2 losers in love with booze and each other]

a fine madness [this sean connery-joanne woodward vehicle is the only film that comes close to approximating the poet's obsession with his/her work. connery simply is a bad-ass actor in my estimation and his poet character oozes wit, menace and sexuality]

mishima [based on the life of japanese novelist yukio mishima. a soaring score by philip glass illuminates the life and obsessions (yeah, i know that word again) of this fascinating writer and his work]

reuben reuben [tom conti protrays a dylan thomas-like character in this small film. conti's gowan mcgland has stopped writing but not given up the lecture circuit, booze and women. cliche and a tad trite but conti gives a knock-out performance]

where the buffalo roam [bill murray as gonzo journalist hunter s. thompson. a match made somewhere between heaven and hell]

that's about it. can't think of anymore off the top of my head. most movies made about writers i think suck. but being the poet that i am, i'm ever hopeful a good film about writers and writing will be made. in the meantime, there are a few here and there that ain't all that bad.

et tu? have favorite films about writers, then list them!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

logan ryan smith tagged me for a top 10 movie meme. shit, just 10? i could go nuts with sub-catagories such as my top 10 italian cannibal movies. or my favorite giallos. or my favorite post-apocalyptic tales. or comedies. or musicals. you get my drift. so i'll concentrate right now on a few of the several of the films that have mattered the most to me in my life. these are a few of the films i return to again and again. like logan i'm hardly one for art-house preciousness. most of these films are base and popular. but tell me, are there any other kind.

star wars [seeing darth vader enter the frame as a 10-year-old was a spiritual awakening]

blade runner [so far this is the best adaptation of dick's work, ever; a masterpiece]

day of the dead [this 3rd installment in romero's zombie splatter is the most bleak, and thus for me the most exhilarating]

mad max [george miller's 2nd max film the road warrior is the most accomplished, but this 1st outing was hell on wheels. i saw this one with my bros at a matinee movie theater. we came in a few minutes late. max's chasing the toecutter thru the australian wastes was like mainlining adrenline]

jaws [saw this one at the drive-in (where i watched most movies as a kid) which suited its summer hype. spielberg is a talented, but sentimental director, however this is him at his best]

saturday night fever [this movie was meant to be a cheap rip-off of the disco fad of the late 1970s. instead it is a beautiful bildungsroman. admit it, not only is travolta gorgeous, but you still can't help but dance to the bee gees]

enter the dragon [the 1st bruce lee flick i saw was the chinese connection at the long-dead drive-in mather auto movies. but this u.s. production is lee at his most acrobatic and charismatic]

the big brawl [this movie is jackie chan's 2nd u.s. production. unfortunately, it tanked at the box office and it would take chan another 12 years or so to kick up a little u.s. gold. but i dragged my bros to see it every weekend for a good month and half while it played at the crest theater, at the time a local grindhouse]

the hitcher [saw this one on videotape. i became obsessed with it, and parsed it like a graduate student writing a thesis. one of rutger hauer's most enigmatic performances]

grease [the 2nd travolta vehicle on this list. i wore out the lp when i was a pup. travolta and newton-john are magic together]

the warriors [i still get a frisson of excitement when i watch the opening credits. this is one of director walter hill's best films, an action movie par excellence]

well, that's it for now. i know there are 11 movies on this list, but it is constantly rotating. ask me next week and you'll get a different list of perhaps even more films.

those with blogs i tag gina myers, steve caratzas, alex gildzen, jean vengua, jill jones, derek motion, jim mccrary and tom beckett.

and to keith at reelfanatic.

those without blogs [hint! hint!] i tag jill stengel, jonathan hayes and randy prunty.

and whomever wants to play, or not.

soon i'll get back to writing about my favorite movies from the 1980s.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

whoa! okay, i admit to a reluctance [related to shyness, i think] about promoting my own work, but jean vengua has written what i think is one of the best review/responses i've had the pleasure of reading -- about anything -- regarding Super8 here.

thank you, jean. you've made a grown man cry!

The poetry was in the gore. . .
kevin killian (w/ dodie bellamy)

Friday, February 16, 2007

emily dickinson's definition of hay(na)ku

the back
of my mind

Thursday, February 15, 2007

truesoundsofliberty hay(na)ku

old punks
dead not yet?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

okay, i've switched over. don't seem that bad. perhaps i'll even learn someday to alphabetize my links and post photos of my chaps and shit.

got several cool things in the mail the past couple of days. kevin killian sent me his book argento series, poems based on the films of italian maestro dario argento, and a bucket-load of his and dodie bellamy's zine mirage #4period(ical), a journal similar in format to daniel f. bradley's fhole and lee thorn's fuck! in other words, just my speed. #135 is pretty damn good since it has poems by gina myers and berkeley-based poet richard krech. the most recent issue has poems by thom donovan, an always outstanding poet.

and received dredging for atlantis by eileen tabios a few days ago. it is published by mark young's otoliths press, which is a pod affair. again, just my thing.

and so here are a few poems you should be reading:

here by daniel f. bradley


here by jonathan hayes


here by jill stengel

and with a bit of humility (cuz it's dedicated to me)

here by steve caratzas

finally, do you know kevin thurston? make his acquaintance by reading his blog, now.

peas out

Sunday, February 11, 2007

looks like this will be the last post i can make on the old blogger. signing in i was nearly forced to create a google account. i'll do that a bit later, inevitable as it is. don't worry cliff, i'll change in a couple of days and sign up for the newly taking the brim blog.

reading blogs this afternoon i ran across this list of books read in '06 by chicago poet steve halle. okay, i'm a nut for lists like this. being writers we are of course readers too. what i'd like to see is a list of websites, e-zines and blogs read with some regularity by you. what interests me are the range of obsessions displayed by these lists, whatever yr obsessed with. perhaps that is a driving character trait of writers. perhaps obsession(s) is what makes the being human.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

for mccrary

sittin around doing nothing
gathering texts
in a bundle

ah at the end if we're lucky
it gets a big paperclip

who was it that answered
when asked about
having readers

yes i have readers
and personally know all 25
of them

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

alright. blogger still won't let me link, i mean i can link, but the movie link i want to use from internet movie database is a bunch of code, and i can't write over it with the name of the film. so i'm going ahead anyway.

electric dreams [1984] is either the first or second movie to feature virginia madsen. the premise: madsen is a cellist for the san francisco symphony who moves into a flat and becomes the love object and neighbor of a young architect [can't recall the actor's name] who is working on a project to improve structural stability for buildings in the case of earthquakes.

our young, hapless stud buys a home pc. the pc is dropped at the store so it is sold at cost. then as he is setting up the computer he spills champagne [he's out of beer] on it. lo and behold the pc becomes sentient, calls itself edgar, calls hombre moles because edgar deliberately mishears the name miles as moles, and then competes for the affection of madsen by wooing her with music. it starts like this: madsen is in her flat practising with her cello. edgar hears this thru an air vent that connects both apartments, then times in with a little synth stylings. soon they are making sweet sound.

edgar gets pretty mean to moles as he fights for madsen, who has no idea edgar is a talking computer. but to make a long story short, edgar learns humility, backs down and helps moles, now miles, successfully win the divine ms. madsen. the film ends with the happy couple driving over the golden gate toward sausalito for a long weekend. edgar then slips from being a pc and is now on the airwaves and our happy couple listen to his first radio show. pan out, then fade to black as the human league play on the soundtrack.

what makes this film interesting is how centrally placed the pc is, long before the internet became a world-wide necessity. that the computer is first menacing in the movie perhaps echoes trepidations people felt at the time by encroaching digital life. but this being the 1980s the computer is the coolest thing to have [recall that the most successful superbowl commercial ever was the ridley scott directed orwellian spot for apple macs in 1984], and synth pop is the dominant sound. on the soundtrack are good examples of this: human league and culture club were two of the biggest bands at the time.

the direction is pretty flat, editing sluggish, yet the movie is an enjoyable love story. virginia madsen is one of those rare actors who is a pleasure to watch in anything she is in. i can't recall if this film had a theatrical release but by 1985 i must've seen the film at least half a dozen times on video. in fact, lost count on the number of viewings after 1985. either i'm a masochist or this movie ain't half bad.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

below is electronica band, boards of canada, video 'dayvan cowboy'. i've become obsessed with this video not just because of the music but because the 1st half of the video is footage of joe kittinger's record breaking skydive from an altitude of 102,800 ft. in 1960. that's pretty damn close to the edge of space. being the son of a skydiver i find that jump stupid and astonishing. breathtaking, even.

can't seem to link otherwise using the hyperlink tool on blogger. so my review of a favorite '80s trash film is gonna be tomorrow night.

Monday, February 05, 2007

fuck labels, anyway. so i was moping about this past week. guess it was post-publication blues. now that i have this made thing, now what. there is always the fear that i've got to let the poems stand or fall on their own. can't really articulate what i mean, except that the publication, a state i enjoy and fear at the same time, of the texts is sorta anti-climactic. no, don't expect the nobel committee to call me up. nor do i think the phone will ring from the macarthur foundation with a big, juicy grant, so that i can pay off my mortgage, quit my job, find something part-time, and just write.

ain't gonna happen. nor are these scenarios fantasies of mine. what i should do is stop bitching and mean it when i say that poetry is a gift economy, and i'd be pleased to know that my books are out in the world making homes for themselves. shit, that is more than enough.

my good friend b. is a gearhead. he loves cars and he set up a blog first generation monte carlo detailing his restoration of his beloved car. i kinda dared him to post some pics of our drive-in sorties. he did. so you'll find me fucking around there. if you wonder why he calls me 'bo' that is because it is my long-time nickname. most people call me rich, or richard, now. but my family and b. and his wife s. still call me bo.

in the mail the past couple of days got some beautifully produced chaps from logan ryan smith's transmission press. traceland by mark lamoureux, passion by larry kearney and 908-1078 by brandon brown. kearney is new to me, so i'm eager to dive right on in.

and and guillermo parra sent me a couple of things via snail mail, including a typewritten poem 'charles baudelaire'. there is a different look, feel even, to typewritten texts. to borrow a word from guillermo they are 'sculptural'. a fantasy i do have is to create a small book or journal using only a typewriter, leaving in misspellings, graphical errors and all. would anyone know if someone is still publishing via mimeo press?

and and and saw pan's labyrinth last week. dragged a friend to see it with me after work. mesmerizing, a masterpiece. del toro has created not a fairy tale so much, but tapped into myth. brutal, heartbreaking beauty.

finally, i've been enjoying gina myers' movie reviews. she usually writes about '80s flicks, esp. john hughes directed movies. having grown up with those same movies, she's inspired me to write about my own favorite '80s films. starting tomorrow night i'll begin with some classic cheese from back in the day. the cheese might stink a little. but hey spread on water crackers and washed down with a good ale it might be okay.

word to yr momma

Thursday, February 01, 2007

ah labels. how we [me] crave them and reject them all at once. an individual in a crowd of us. an army of me. etc. etc. so what kind of poet is i?

today i read letitia trent's and brian howe's interviews at sean kilpatrick's blog. trent rejects, if i read her correctly, the often stifling binaries we as a society place on sex. men do this, women are like that. i agree. but then what. . .

howe rejects, if i read him correctly, any poetic label, whether it be 'post-avant' or what have you. i agree too. but. . .

loving language as i do i'm in a quandary. i want to be known as a poet. in fact, i love the sound of that noun. but often i use the word writer in its stead, since a poet writes and poetry is written. and poets often write more than poetry, whether that be in fiction, non-fiction, critical work, theory, journals, laundry lists.

you get the idea. therefore, i'm making up my own label thusly:

post-lyric poet -- form of man, but of woman too