Tuesday, January 24, 2006


JH: I'm looking forward to Bob BrueckL's new book! The two books I sent you - one is # 4 in the PO25¢EM series

It may be purchased, for 25 cents, from Christophe Casamassima

The 12 poems in this pamphlet are brief, older poems - some of them (I think three) can be found in my book "Fickleyes, Futilears, & William Wormswork", from Mag Press

The other book is "Queen of Hearts", available from PERSISTENCIA*PRESS

"Queen of Hearts" is a poem which uses recurring lines and words. My "Lives of Eminent Assyrians" is written in this manner, but in a larger scale. While I'm hawking my wares, I may add that a chapbook from Writers Forum is available - "The Unread is Carefully Ancient"

I really like your poem "Soaring Kierkegaard"

depend on
all the names

creatures meet
the after effect

in the
sentence of going

in words
falling into play

a virtual
spice of light

says most
tremendous leading phrase

of silly
action figures alert

on dude
nice new explosion

viewed under
consciousness of having

final rupture
with Regina thereupon

work was
“accompanied” rather tardily

us assume
that Isaac knew

didst believe
it was God

stands at
dialectical turning point

can make
the repentance but

is what
the poets mean

regular clearance
sale everything is

ask them
where they are

time is
nobody content further

ancient Greeks
who also had

in the
morning everything was

Abraham to
oblivion or us

can bear
it would not?

Could you speak about this poem please? And, if you like to continue the thread of artwork as life-form, do you think the perishing of books, and authors, is a matter of "the few must die so that the many may live"? Is this a physical law, pertaining to all material things? And what does it mean for books, and for the symbiosis of books and humans?

AHB: hawking wares aint a bad thing. I'm sure I am erred in not doing more to get my own work into the public's eyes. And I do like speaking of other writers who interest me. With “Soaring Kierkegaard”, I had the rhythm of hay(na)ku in my ear. The form consists of stanzas of three lines, one word in the 1st, two words in the 2nd, three words in the 3rd, or variants of that. It is simplicity but even so places a metre to your writing. Just the matter of counting. Some of the stanzas in ”Soaring” were taken from “Fear and Loathing”, as that book was nearby when I wrote. It intrigued me that the rhythmic or formal overlay could change things so much, but formed into those stanza beads the words quoted took on a different meaning and dimension. One of the early discussions amongst the LANGUAGE poets was expressly decontextualization. I think it is right to think of poetry as language with a charge, tho to define poetry always seems to limit possibilities. Speaking to the life of artwork, I did four pencil drawings last december. I used the same subject, an ebony (or ebony like) sculpture consisting of a swooping figure that has two heads, as if a couple were dancing in space. It was something I found at a store called Home Goods, where there is no lack of gimcrack. It amuses me to see so much stuff, mostly made in Asia, aimed at the U.S.market. Visions of old-fashioned Christmas scenes and carvings of salty Cape Cod cap'ns, made in enormous lots by uncomprehending Malaysians. okay, back from tangent. The 1st drawing I did went okay, albeit painfully, drawing is a labour for me. Then I got the inspiration to cover the drawing with charcoal, to give it more depth and atmosphere. Which just about obliterated the drawing I made. Which anguished me so, as if I had injured the picture. My wife reminded me that I could use an eraser to bring the image back, which succeeded somewhat, but I felt I had betrayed the picture with my ill-advised use of charcoal. we all produce much more work than we can or would even want to show. I think a lot of that, even if 'good' work, is a sacrifice to whatever will live on. I was facing the loss of a large quantity of work trapped on a broken computer. In sooth, when I finally got around to getting the stuff rescued, I lost nothing. But I have lost work. Yes, more work can be made, but it still feels like a dearth. And one knows of writers who weren't noticed in their day (Dickinson, for one) who were later found. I think there's a hole in our collective whatsis that Sappho's and so many other ancients' work is a matter of a few surviving scraps. Doesn't the work, all the work, somehow stay around?

Friday, January 20, 2006


JH: I like the idea of artworks having rights. Do the artworks themselves regulate these rights? Do they look after themselves, as far as preservation goes (with so many books lost to us - I'm thinking here of the myriad of ancient Greek texts)? There are many exciting writers who have yet to be extremely well-known. All the writers on the Wryting list, for one. Also, a poet new to the publishing scene: Diana Magallon. Her work is certainly exciting - literary and well-thought out. Her work often reminds me of Zukofsky's short poems.

7 poems (click on the "next page" link at the top of the Great Works page to see the rest of the poems) to read the rest of the poems)






Another excellent poet is Séamas Cain -


His lines are worlds of their own, a sign of true poetry. He's also one of the best theatre authors around.

Cain Photo

Petra Backonja is another fine poet. She indeed plays on a particularly extensive set of verbal chimes,


Backonja again

and on a extensive set of visual chimes as well.


et puis plus

et puis...

And so many more poets I've missed in this quick off-the-top-of-my-head list! What are your picks?

AHB: artworks have a life regulated by like other lifeform: random occurences and their own energy combine. It sounds lardy dardy but I'm down with the concept. Go little poem, and so forth. You bring up the Greek texts, and that is interesting, if tangential. I think I've read English translations of everything that remains of Sappho's work. Of course I'm reading thru quite a filter, but there's little enough to base an opinion on, except that people held onto the idea of her work, and place her in the empyrean. I don't think it is just her reputation surviving, I think it is her poetry, tho for us nowadays, it is such a fragmentary offering. Regarding less well known writers, of course the Wryting list, tho Sheila Murphy and John Bennett don't qualify as lesser known. Bob BrueckL does, and his work is a curious, intense, straining fare. He has a book coming out from xPress sometime this year. Joanna Sondheim has impressed me, she briefly posted to the Wryting list. Alli Warren is definitely underpublished. I know of her eChapbookfrom Faux Press. She also has a chapbook called Hounds that she published herself. I wrote to her asking for a copy and she obliged, presumably others can do likewise. Rodney Koeneke isn't well known enough, I wot. Of course I can go on. Jeff Harrison recently sent me two books that affirm myhigh opinion. Can you speak of these two works—they strike me as somewhat different from other works in your oeuvre—and perhaps you could even suggest how one might procure same.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


JH: To me it's the question of if labels are valuations. To some people they are, to some they are indexes. To me labels are names, and to me names stand distinct from what is named. Words are speaking about words, with what is alluded to being the poem. Reality, to use a quick label, being more poetic than poems, and poems being the prose of this poetry. The most rhythmic poem cannot compete with the rhythms of nature. What does poetry have that nature cannot compete with? I would say clarity, for no matter how obscure the poem, it cannot possess the enigma of nature. Imitating this enigma, trying offer the human with as little self-consciousness as possible in order to mimic nature, or to enact nature commenting on herself, is something that can be done in poetry. Mimicking classic poetry does the same with history. Here a lot could be added, by someone who knows far more about philosophy than myself, about what history has in common with nature. Nature has been around a lot longer than humans, and mortality is one of the certain things people have that nature lacks – our song to sing. Is nature just another term, though? Assigning physical laws, or habits, to events and assuming these laws comprise one single entity?

AHB: I dunno from all that, but you got me worried! The art therapist I took a course from this past fall writes of treating works of art as entities with lives, and rights. There's something natural about art. His thesis being that works of art are born, and no longer can be controlled by the artist. He wrote in a controversial way, but in fact, it's pretty reasonable. The nature of art! The house we recently moved from, my parent's, the new owners cu all the tall pines down in the yard and even the stately oak. I hate seeing trees cut for mere aesthetic reasons. Nature is bigger than that. I may be riffing well away from your point, and I always have difficulty twining ratiocinations and concatenations. I want to say poetry is deadly serious, but of course it's also a career dance of author photos and careful planning. pure distraction. The blog world highlights this aspect of 'the poetry world' as well as the the network communique connection. how about shifting me away from this half-assed pondering of mine and name an exciting living writer of little note.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


JH: A poem is a net that catches material to make it a larger net. Some of the weave of the net is more eye- (and ear-) catching than other weaves. These areas of the net are what is often held out foremost for fishing. Most of what is caught is regulated to the back of the net instead of being added to the main weaves. Many fishers study these back area weaves as intently as what is in the front of the net - after all, much of what is caught is weighty enough to be able to shift to the back. Some are airy enough to hang near the front, some of these Ariels threatening to escape, some content to play in the foyer. There's not a whole lot of agreement as to what the main weave is these days, which I like. Are poets part of the net? Was the net once human? I think poets are part of the net, because, to me, the written is what remains. Do old photographs, which also remain, partake of the poetic? Are they more poetic than quotidian prose documents? Such documents can be placed in a poem, but old photographs can stand alone - yet archaic
language is strange enough to stand as Literature rather than simple literature. Words plus time equals poetry? And, if old photographs partake of the poetic, how old do they have to be? Aren't they instantly poetic, being instantly archaic? Moments fly away immediately, but language conventions stick around a while.

AHB: I feel, and perhaps have long felt, that words like poem and poetry are irascible terms that get in the way more than anything. one of the stupider critical debates, and also one of the most common, circles around what a poem is. which devolves to labels, which devolves to totally missing the point, or at least the energy exchange. energy exchange, heck yeah! I just read a quick bio of Chaucer, as well as some of his work. his most ordinary statements are made strange becauee of the archaic spellings and constructions that modern readers can recognize as English but not feel comfortable about. which really isn't his intent (tho that he chose to write in English rather than French or Latin was a recognition of the possibilities inherent). Cummings (another bio I recently read) scuffed up poetic language, and Stein of course. when a crabby critic like Joan Houlihan scores points aginst LANGUAGE poetry, an extensive monolith in her eyes, she's just arguing for safety. the excitement is in the difficulties. I don't mean that obfuscation = poetry, but that the work that one must wrassle with probably has the most wortth. for instance, zen koans are simple enough in statement, but people (not me, admittedly) spend years working on them. I'm experimenting quite a bit now, I guess because I've felt the safety. posting to listservs and blogs is a way to feel less safe. how about you?