Monday, February 27, 2006

Discrete this Friday

Hey all,
The site is down so please spread the word that this Friday, March 3rd at the SpareRoom space we'll have Joel Craig and Tom Raworth reading. 7 p.m. $5 suggested. Not to be missed!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ray's comment raised some questions for me. If experimental poetry is in some renaissance in the city/region, is it being written from a specifically Midwestern viewpoint? Is experimental poetry "regional" in the U.S. any more? What schools of experimental poetry are there in the city and who are the poets associated with them? Do the different poetic groups in the city depend on economic or academic standing? Are different groups really open to each other? What experiments are being done here that are not being done other places?

Anyone want to offer an opinion?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

This week

Hey all, I expect I'll see some of you soon with all the stuff on tap in the coming week...

On my radar:
Nathaniel Mackey at U of C Thursday night, which I have to miss, but he'll read again Saturday at the Harold Washington Library at 1:00 I'm told. I should be able to make it to that one.
Ken Goldsmith and Matthew Goulish read at Links Friday and Saturday nights. I made my reservation for Friday.
Joseph Donahue is reading at Myopic Sunday night. I'll be reading a few poems then too. Sunday there's simultaneous activity at Links and at the Spareroom with Nathalie Stephens in person and kari edwards remote among the guests for the Red Rover installment.

Oh jeez, a Danny's event this Wednesday night too.. a group of Legitimately Dangerous local poets.

Now if it'll just get warm enough to BBQ.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Don't know how I didn't see this sooner. Good thing Jen K. forwarded it to the Buff list! Jeff's been a part of this in past years. It's always lively, provocative and smart.

Version>06 :: Parallel Cities
April 20- May 6, 2006 Chicago U$A

Call for Participation // Projects // Presentations
// Provocations


Version is a hybrid festival focused on emerging
discourses and practices evolving between art,
technology and social and political activism.

Version>06 is our fifth convergence and is dedicated
to the theme of Parallel Cities. We will investigate
and share local strategies and models to inspire
action within local and global counter cartographies.

We will convene in Chicago for a seventeen day open
laboratory to explore a diversity of tactics and
strategies to activate our communities and amplify our
ideas and practices. Alternative spaces will be open
for staging actions. Public spaces and corporate
places will be terrains of intervention.

Version presents a very diverse program of activities
featuring an experimental art exposition, artistic
disturbances, exhibitions, networked urban events,
screenings, interactive applications, performances,
street art, presentations, talks, workshops, art
rendez-vous, parties, and action.

Please visit
for more information.

Or go to
to use the online submission form.

Alternatively, you may mail your proposals to:
960 W 31st St
Chicago Il 60608

Contact ed(at) for help.

Links reading 2/18

The Daniel Borzutzky Proxy read the latest missive from Istanbul. A poem written on Valentine’s Day. Goats’ buttocks, mushroom caps, butterflies, donkeys are made magnificently celebratory against a sky suggestive of copulation. Makes me very curious about Turkey, and wondering if grilled cheeses, stains on walls ever appear in the shape of Walt Whitman.

In between there were a few readings by younger writers, students at the Art Institute I think, working through narrative and epistolary forms, with slides and objects lending to a staging evocative of Godot, but I must get right ahead to the magnificent Jen Bervin.

Jen read the entirety of A Non-Breaking Space.. the title taken from hypertext markup language, “the only thing I learned in a web design class” she quipped. It’s a gorgeous book—I was eager to touch it afterwards, as it had appeared to me so much more solid, encrusted with pastiche when I read the scanned version on the Ugly Duckling website, but it’s actually a very fragile thing composed of many transparencies. Her voice and presence gave the language a sense of warmth that reminded me of Kaia Sand’s reading a few years back. –side note: Jules Boykoff is in town in a few weeks reading at Myopic, don’t miss— I think the room was full of old friends since she had done a turn through SAIC a while back, so I was lucky enough to be a barnacle on that sense of intimacy. One of the things I love about the Links Hall space is that the el runs literally right next to the building, and the stage area is bordered by a wall of windows which can’t entirely stifle the noise of below's converging Clark-Sheffield-Newport streets. Earlier there had been glorious moments of fire truck vs. Leif Eriksson, wheezing mufflers vs. “my love,” but while Jen had been reading an el train crept next to the building, silently idling in advance of the Addison stop a block away by Wrigley Field. So it was to everyone’s surprise when she read the passage, “I am talking to you the way some people talk to God,” held a slight pause before the next phrase (because her sense of reading is so careful, permitting), when three bright bleeps sounded almost next to her, and after a night of other “mixed media” type of readings, there was a brief moment of wondering whether it was intended. She held for the interruption as it continued, “Your attention, Please. We are being delayed because of track work ahead.”

I thought she might also read from Nets, or something else, but the reading ended with the end of Non-Breaking Space. I wished it were longer. Instead I’ll look forward to the next opportunity to hear her read again. I may have to go to New York. Things could be worse.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Adonis on Surrealism and Sufiism

I was at Seminary Co-op yesterday with Mark Tardi and I picked up a wonderful thin volume called Sufism and Surrealism by the Syrian poet Adonis. It is published by the British publisher Saqi. I bought it as a throw in to some other books I wanted very much and I have found that the throw in is more interesting.

In the work he addresses the following topics-Knowledge-Imagination-Love-Writing-The Aesthetic Dimension-Harmonious Difference in the first part and then he compared Sufi writers to Surrealist writers in the second part. The work is so interesting because of the joining tissue
of the book. It brings in so much and fills the book.

Sufism is interesting for allot of reasons. As with all mystical systems in the Abrahamic religions Sufism is the most in touch with religion as experience rather than religion as rules. The Sufis have been profoundly influenced by Christian Desert mysticism and Buddhism and they in turn have influence Hinduism, and Spanish Mysticism this mixing gives me hope in the current violent world we live in. The most interesting part of this book is that Adonis reads Rimbaud as an oriental (his word) Sufi poet. To put Rimbaud in that category makes this book particularly delicious.

The most provacative quote Adonis uses in from the poet Al-Niffari

" The more you see, the narrower the means of expressing it"

Friday, February 17, 2006

Did anyone make it to the Chris Middleton reading last night?

Another simultaneity--"The World," what looked like an excellent film at MoCP at 6. Anyone get to that?

This weekend: Jen Bervin et al at Links!

Looking at the poetry calendar, aw bullocks.. I'll also miss Nate Mackey next Thursday because of preexisting tickets to symphony (t'is Barenboim's victory lap).

Recap/some thoughts on Matthew Goulish's lecture, School of the Art Institute, 2/16

I first heard about Matthew Goulish and his work through Jesse who had published his Parisitology lecture in an issue of Antennae. I think it was about two years ago, in the same auditorium in the School of the Art Institute, that I saw Goulish perform the same piece, a hybrid form of writing that incorporates processes of memory, association and research into a presentation involving A/V support and the premise of the lecture format as a conceptual jumping off point.

Last night Goulish read in this auditorium again, to share four sections of a work in progress over his recent sabbatical, a lecture drawn from a work based on his friend, the artist Lawrence Steger (not sure if I have the spelling right there). This Lawrence Steger Remix I believe it was called was prefaced by a few statements. First, that this work was connected indirectly to history, but directly connected to memory. That it was a project of writing through and around the texts, memories and performances of LS in memory of LS who died too young in 1999. Goulish reassured us that it was OK if we didn’t know who LS was, that he had worked in invisible ways.

We are introduced to Lawrence the person through a letter he has written a friend in which he voices his worries with the complications of a life made tenuous by art.. lack of money, food, work. He talks of “feeling the pang s of non-ownership” as he finds some work off the IRS’s radar painting the condos of yuppies next door. “They work in real estate. In Lincoln Park no less. I think we’re the same age or maybe I’m a year or two older.” That doubt or that sense of comparison at least seems to come to the fore in one’s thirties, when LS was writing.

Goulish credits Steger’s work as “a force captured by juxtaposition,” of disparate things conjured into stunning relation. One can easily see that this homage and their friendship extends into that shared artistic prime mover, as Goulish’s own work, this one and others, are masterful feats of juxtaposition, threads that connect the world without the tidy artifice of closure. G’s text spends some time looking at the parallels and relationships between Steger’s “invisible labor,” under the table income earned to survive but not jeopardize his medical support, and his “invisible performance,” ephemeral, Fluxus-inspired installations and performances in unusual venues. “It’s not the kind of thing one comes to see” he admonishes Goulish at one point when he’s expressed interest in coming to see a cabaret solar system of balloons Steger tells him he’s installed above dance floor of a night club.

The text also explores the notion of invisibility as it pertains to the performance instruction texts of Yoko Ono, whose work was very important to Steger. I don’t have the quote here, but her piece from Grapefruit that instructs the reader/performer to count 1000 suns in the sky and make a tuna fish sandwich comes to bear on G’s exploration of what is “visible” and what is “invisible.” “To quote Yoko is to quote a gesture beyond possession.” Even though this isn’t quite halfway through the content and duration of the piece, I’ll leave off here. Because this is Goulish’s purpose with the arc of it all, “to converse with Lawrence without possessing him.”

It’s a mighty act to conjure the dead back into the world of the living. I can see why so many spiritual traditions have their own versions of this attempt. Is art a singular spiritual tradition? Because Goulish is without question successful in this task. He is successful by not paring a life down to the commonly austere talking points of more formal memorial. His reach is lyrical, absurd, pedestrian, philosophical, and locates itself within the first, second and third person in the process of making its spectacular prism.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Anonymous posting is off folks.

Monday, February 13, 2006

More On Moribund

So Much to Choose From is not the sign that a poetry community is thriving.

We are getting allot of out of city readers doing our circuit so?

If you look at the marquis reading series' in Chicago they serve very small communities, Danny's serves the hipster scene, Poem Present the U of Chicago, Chicago Poetry Project a Saturday Crowd, Discrete, Experimentos but I think that the problem in Chicago is that our institutions are at best underformed. We are talking about a total audience with Slammers and Barnes and Noble Readings of say 200 people that is a small audience in a city area of 9 million people don't you think?

I could list here every poet and press of note in Chicago there would be say 20 names two or three presses and one or two magazines but is their work really interesting and worth reading?

Is the work intellectually honest?

Is it really innovative ?

or is it formulaic?

What we need in Chicago is vigorous discussion and critique and out of this friction we will create poetry that is worth reading and worth thinking about.

Today we have allot of poets who are concerned more with opportunities and meeting and impressing the right people. What we have now is syncophancy and what we need is art. I would love once for someone at a reading to criticize a reader the way Kerouac criticized O'Hara just once to get the fake smiles off everyone's face.

What we have now is a poetic landscape of friends publishing friends which has made the artform unimportant and ignored.

March 20

Does anyone know.. Is there a reading ofWeinberger's What I Heard about Iraq being planned in Chicago on 3/20 to mark the beginning of the war?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

check out this online audio archive i stumbled across recently.. it's a great idea, no? a much-needed mouthpiece for younger writers utilizing a free and simple technology. i add this as a sidebar to the conversation already going today about big and little efforts that can enhance a community of writers/readers/listeners.

the latest installment is jordan stempleman, a former chicagoan who also read here last december.

It seems to me...

it seems to me that Chicago has entered a moribund time kind of quiet.. I am going to be putting up tomorrow on a new reading series with the guild complex and notre dame on latin american writing many of the readers are just ok but it is the principal of the thing it is important.

Chicago does a bad job on the ethnic front. Just think last year was the year of Gombrowitz in the world and yet in Chicago the second city of Poland we had not events that was a travesty. i would like to see a reading series here or a magazine that creates a dialogue between international poets and local chicago ones. it seems that so much of this is filtered through new york or universities this could be interesting.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chicago Underground Library

Hi all -

Please see the message below, sent by Nell Taylor & Emerson Dameron.


The Chicago Underground Library is a project that aims to
create an archive of independently published and small press
works in Chicago.

The Chicago Underground Library announces its first
community meeting. Publishers, writers, artists, printers,
readers... we want to know what you want from this project.
Come out, drink some coffee, learn more about the project,
and give us a piece of your mind.

What: Informational and organizational meeting for CUL and
the independent publishing community.

Where: Mercury Cafe, 1505 W Chicago Ave. (West Town, 1 block
east of Ashland on Chicago.)

When: Saturday, February 11, 2006, 3:00pm 'til ?

The Chicago Underground Library is a project that aims to
create an archive of independently published and small press
works in Chicago. Through a searchable online archive and
eventually a physical space, it will open new opportunities
for research, inspiration, education, and collaboration
among those in and outside of the publishing community. By
putting fiction, critical journals, zines, poetry, comics,
political pamphlets, and art books side by side, CUL hopes
to bridge the gaps resultant from stratification along the
lines of content, production value, and commercial

To be added to our news and updates list, ask a question,
make a comment, send baked goods, or offer words of
encouragement, please email

Nell Taylor & Emerson Dameron

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bok reading, Links Hall 2/3

The evening began with “Educational Policy Speech,” one of Daniel Borzutzky’s dispatches from Istanbul, read by the evening’s proxy, Matthew Goulish. It starts by praising all that is good, wrinkles, boredom. Goulish holds a pen and thrusts it with Dole-like emphasis. There are breaks in the rapturous prose where he deadpans, “applause.” Then come the rails against the sexu-pedagogical perversities of community college professors, those whom the speaker scorns as “operatives” of liberation. “Such enemies can only be eaten,” he declares in a turning point of the address. What follows is a detailed plan for the war on education which involves marinating, filleting, an epicurean rhapsody of ingredients and preparations, including a “special sauce.”

Christian Bok was amaaazing! He launched into Seahorse and Flying Fish by Hugo Ball for starters.. an uber-verbal, proto-lingo utterama. Then “Grain Memories” from his most recent book “Crystallography.” I wish there were a button I could press in the world that would produce Bok, Obi-wan Kenobi-like, bellowing “Sim!ulacrum!” I see there’s a boatload of mp3’s online of Bok performances, which is only necessary given how high the work rates on the aural axis, but is there much video? The facial expressions and postures are, after all, part of the show. Glad I was in the front row for this one. He faux checks his watch between poem/runs. He’s got an “official” voice like a professional broadcaster—I think, I’d watch more sports if the commentary was this. In fact, I’m going to dub a hockey game with this as soon as I’m able. Then Eunoia begins.. Chapter A, ribald indeed! Everything’s a headline. “Hobos shoot photos of foot-long schlongs!” In an aside between chapters, Bok: “It’s pretty relentless, hey?” As the sections go on, things get more vowel (adj.), carnal. “Ubu gulps up brunch!” Then he read from the Cyborg Opera, the syncopated, percussive “Mushroom Clouds,” and then a “side effect poem” to the Mushroom Clouds which was the most virtuosic display of beat-boxing I’ve ever beheld, done to some notation as he clinically flipped the pages of his manuscript all the same. The Imperial Decree of Ubu Roi is then performed on behalf of Donald Rumsfeld who couldn’t attend this evening to give it himself.. “juggernaut of bugaboo!” He closes with another Hugo Ball piece, I didn’t catch the name, only that it’s “a sort of Dadaist dirge.” Great Scott, it was Cookie Monster possessed by the EU! All hail the silliness that got us all into this language racket in the beginning, and which will never let me tolerate another reading in the precious key of “poet’s voice” again.


Seating is limited and you can call Links and make a reservation to ensure a seat for the other goodies on the way.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Is anyone going to Links this Friday for the Christian Bok and Terry Kapsalis reading?

And where's Ray been? Ray?