Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Grand Piano -- Holloway Reading Series

This Friday, November 18, at 6:30 The Grand Piano will be read at the Holloway Reading Series at Cal Berkeley in 315 Wheeler Hall, the Maude Fife Room. The Grand Piano is "AN EXPERIMENT IN COLLECTIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY ... a multi-volume, collaborative work centered on the rise of Language poetry in San Francisco in the second half of the 1970s." Should be a notable reading!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Breath Control"

Lately, I've been spending a some time on a random word generator site, WatchOut4Snakes, and have been using some of my lunches to try my hand at flash fiction. I find it a brilliant escape for a little while, which makes it fine for those products of my escapism that find egress themselves back into oblivion when I delete them. That said, a few seem worthy of this modest publishing:


Breath Control

When I was younger and the sky seemed larger, I was told that the wind was alive. That the breezes and currents and gusts were the world’s breath and as such were what animated all of us. I liked this idea because of the slight dissonance it caused: I knew I was not my little brother or neighborhood friend but if the wind was everywhere and animating everybody then how were we different? I spent a lot of time as a kid holding my breath trying to figure out who I was.

I got pretty good at it. At first, I could only hold it for a minute, but after months of practice, I could last over three minutes. I’ve heard that some magician held his for 17 minutes, which impressed me but also made me wonder if he was searching for himself as well. At some point I stopped practicing, and forgot all about the winds—though I always loved windy days, the way that autumn leaves go crazy and how trees seem suddenly to be more alive than you recall.

My mother was the one who told me about the wind. When I heard that she was gone, it was pretty late. I got the call, cried, told my wife, made arrangements, and finally went to bed. I woke up when it was still dark; the house was still and I could hear the wind right past the windows. I wanted the wind to crack its cheeks, for branches to break from trees, to hear her in the world.

The moon was covered with dark clouds so the hills surrounding my house were great black giants hunched over, the oak to the west of the house was swaying and twitching like it was going to take a step, like everything was on a cusp, was holding its breath. I realized that I should stop. I opened my mouth wide so the wind, the night, everything rushed in and I knew she had been right.


Oh yeah! If any are very determined, November is National Novel Writing Month, and there is still time to get going! Read more here:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Interesting story on librarians' tough decisions...

It's a tough reality that librarians have to weed collections--that means getting rid of books. Sometimes there are books sales, sometimes donations, and sometimes straight-up destruction. If this is something you find interesting, you may want to take a look at Libraries Really Do Destroy Books over at

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lagerfeld Loves Books

Karl Lagerfeld Loves Books

So this is pretty fantastic: Karl Lagerfeld, fashion king and head of Chanel has decided to create a fragrance that smells like books. Ink, paper, leather, cotton, glue--these are the smells bibliophiles (such as yourselves) love and soon you will be able to announce your passion for print with a fragrance. Kristina Rodulfo writes:

According to FOCUS, a weekly magazine based in Munich, Lagerfeld is collaborating with Geza Schön, a perfumer from Berlin, to create a scent directly inspired by the smell of ink on paper. The fragrance, apparently called Paper Passion, is said to come in a package resembling a hardcover book as designed in collaboration with Gerhard Steidl, Lagerfeld's Edition 7L partner.

Read more here:
and here:

"Why?" you may ask would Mr. Lagerfeld choose to make this perfume. Well take a look at his personal library and you'll see how much this man (who said, "I buy my shoes a size too small. I like the way it feels") loves books: a picture of karl lagerfeld's library

And finally, if fragrances derived from books interest you, perhaps this book all about fragrance will interest you as well: Perfume, The Story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Oh my Elder Gods!

So my pal Grant saw this on BoingBoing and posted it on FB and here we are.

There is an awesome blog in the swirling aether we call the internet and it is full of eldritch, remorseless critters which can be found at Yog-Blogsoth. One artist, Michael Bukowski, risks madness most foul to illustrate every entity that Lovecraft ever put to page.

Can't find the words to express your revulsion and fascination? Don't worry, the Lovecraft Engine will find the words for you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Schematics of a Librarian

It should be known that even I own a pair of cat eye glasses and wear them when I need to shhh patrons; when you receive your MLIS diploma, the glasses come with a ribbon.

++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
Anatomy of a Librarian | Infographic |
Source: Master Degree Guide

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three of my favorite things! Poems, indices, comics together in one post

Never have I had the pleasure of labeling a post with three of my favorites: poetry, libraries, and comics. Yet thanks to Eric Baus, I can do so today. Eric's post at Jacket2 "...explores the poem as index, bibliography, catalog, or otherwise arranged list."

Of specific interest, Eric writes:
I am interested in what the arrangement and interplay between selected materials suggests as well as how indexical forms often point to the hidden, the unacknowledged, the invisible, the partial.
This is a topic that fascinates me as well. I am curious about syndetic structures. What rules act as their structure, what atypical forms might an index utilize and how might one use this creatively, and how do they look when they are evolved/automated as with somefolksonomies? These are just some ideas to play with you listen though the post, which can be read here:

If you have patiently read thus far wondering when the comic angle was going to appear, then, first, thank you, and second, be sure to scroll down to Alice Notley's recorded poem which uses comic book titles to exist as both the poem and non-alphabetized concordance. Mar-vell-ous!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Brief review of Maureen Thorson's Applies to Oranges

Applies to OrangesApplies to Oranges by Maureen Thorson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maureen Thorson's Applies to Oranges is an excellent first book of poetry. The oranges, spiders, ships, and Zeniths almost become recursive magical traps looping the reader into the speaker's longing. Some poems were stronger than others and some seemed to rely more on surprising language than content or structure, but even with this slight criticism, A to O is one of my favorite poetry books this year. As well, it's from Ugly Duckling Presse which consistently publishes lovely editions, and this collection as a book is really well-designed and looks great in its dark blue and orange letter-pressed cover.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just finished the first quarter of a new manuscript...

...and it feels terrific (and cetainly took long enough...).

Here's a poem from Somewhere there is a forest

O floor, O foothills. Languor
holds deep here, this tight
fitness of your mouth to mine,
cursive of your tongue
caught in my indecision, perfect
as quarks as photo emergent
as birth in its soup; soon wreckage
becomes what it is so nothing needs
be what it ought not; nothing
ought to be here in me but
the grace of your sweat, tender
looks, hips rolling yonder.

This one is a bit romantic I think. Anyhow, there are 24 more in this section, "The Book of the East;" now comes the fun part of sending these out, while finishing writing "The Book of the North."