Wednesday, December 21, 2005


JH: There are certainly sacrifices to be made initially, and sometimes an artist will superstitiously continue these sacrifices once the ball is rolling (it certainly cannot hurt one's writing too badly, though it may have psychological consequences of varying degrees). But soon enough a poet will come to love the lash, and poems become more important than yacht parties. Here's a poem of yours called "well..."

zeppelin plodding has been set up

in advance of falling across

themselves with new outlook

one floor down

stumblebum, thou art

some kind of wonderful

goal yew only you, will you still hire kidneys?

foam dash have lyric poetry,

rictus wavelength pose

made like poetry

darkened hopping stays like poetry

just blinking leaks news as poetry

stuffy glandular jumps dopey like poetry

surely stupid hoops like poetry

poetry frame word hopeful:

enter up to 1

This poem certainly tightens the reader's attention, with lines that have a base of three to six words apiece (though the "goal yew" line is nine words long, it can be thought of as two lines occupying the space of one line. it is also the only other line with a comma caesura). Could you speak about this poem, please?

AHB: I wrote it just a few days ago but labour to recall. Which is a funny sort of aspect, and I'll say a beauty, of posting to Wryting-L. because I posted it as soon as I finished. and by saying I finished, I mean that I thought it was 'of a piece' at the time. so, tho I could rewrite it, it has a life to it, having been made public. I something something then sent the piece thru Babelfish. I think with this one, I took my English text and translated it as French. Babelfish is so much fun to watch. I wonder where they get the squirrels that do the translating. perhaps I also did random spell check on the piece. and I always reshape whatever happens after such practices. I regard all this as play. I know the verifiable practitioners of flarf consider what they do fun--sometimes rude, sometimes satiric, sometimes silly--which does not cancel the seriousness of their work. now as I think a bit, the core text of this is a random portion of something much longer. the word zeppelin was preceded by the word led in the original. but why would I like the results? I don't look at the poem as a container of meaning particularly, as in 'poetry frame word hopeful' means... it's more a matter of sound,with intent in the sound. I think it is the Coolidge book Polaroid that I had the thought (years ago): it just seems like a list of words. I like Coolidge's work but I guess I didn't hear the sounds, and the conjunction of the words into meaning didn't ring for me. I haven't looked at the book in a while, I don't mean to say this expressed opinion is what I now think. I'm not the most absorbent of readers but I try to be kind to what I don't get. resistances are telling. people have foamed against LANGUAGE poetry, and recently flarf has been assailed. lots of that antipathy owes to political/personal issues rather than the work, but there exists as well the sense of aesthetic boundary. which we all have, of course. can you name yours? what resistances do you admit to?


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