The Next Big Thing

So, it has been a number of years since I've bothered to post. I really had nothing worth saying, anyway.


Whit Griffin recently invited me to participate in a kind of viral interview project called The Next Big Thing, which, I admit, I probably had a little too much fun with. His interview can be found here. For next week, I’ve invited Jess Mynes to participate.

What is the working title of the book? 

Near Point Balance.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’m a word writer, not strictly an idea writer, a point to which I’ll return later. Suffice it to say, the book emerged from the writing of the book. That said, the art of rock balancing eventually occurred to me as analogous to not only creating a poem, but to the mathematically isomorphic structuring of an entire book as well, hence the title. The act of finding a form specific to its occasion carries over, too, into the precarity of daily life. How does one create the specifically lived rhythms of a given day? How does one structure life meaningfully? It would be unfortunate to mistake balance for symmetry.

What genre does your book fall under? 

As a term of convenience, poetry. I have my suspicions about “genre.”   

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The movie rendition? Fun question. Friends who appear throughout the book would play themselves. Lovely cameos.

As for others who deliver lines specifically in “A Slip of the Pencil and We Begin to Draw a Passage”—a dense prose poem that constitutes four major sections of the book—it would be an interesting game of semblances for readers themselves to decide on the actors.

The main cast, not in order of appearance:

Socrates, Plato, Diogenes, Walt Whitman, Phil Guston, Jack Clarke, W.C. Williams, Joseph Ceravolo, Erwin Schrödinger, René Descartes, Octavio Paz, Edgar Allen Poe, Diane Di Prima, David Hilbert, Frederic Jameson, Hannah Arendt, Paul Blackburn, Rosmarie Waldrop, Jed Rasula, Clark Coolidge, Samuel Coleridge, Charles Olson, Madeline Gins, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida, David Antin, Ezra Pound, Mahatma Gandhi, Gertrude Stein, and Albert Einstein.

Now that I’ve compiled this list, I have to say that Mandy Patinkin and Ian McKellen should star in this movie. I’d very much like to be played by Katee Sackhoff.

And since we’re making a movie, I’d have to add a part specifically for Felicia Day.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

The book carries two epigraphs, the first by Clark Coolidge and the second by Charles Olson. The Olson epigraph can effectively serve as a synoptic epitaph as well: “Writing is what love is.”

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 

Unlike my latest book, Of Love & Capital, which was written over the period of several months, Near Point Balance collects a range of work written and variously published in magazines, chapbooks, and whatnot over the period of several years, during which time Playing the Amplitudes appeared, in fact.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Writing itself inspires me. See said synopsis. Which is as much to say that ideas—ideals—stripped of their materiality don’t inspire me to either actualize rational poetic form, or try to disrupt said rationality. The dialectical divide between the real and the ideal is too 400 BC for me. I’m not interested in footnoting Plato.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I prefer not to presume. Is that too Bartleby of me?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Agency? Near Point Balance  is forthcoming from Skysill Press, but I had originally wanted to be represented by Fringe Division. Dr. Bishop turned down the manuscript. “Fascinating, but not enough Bowie,” he said.


Good Point

"It is no more possible to compose with the paraphernalia of critique than it is to cook with a seesaw."

"An Attempt at a 'Compositionist Manifesto'," Bruno Latour


Di Prima In Gloucester

While I haven't posted in some time, this generally neglected blog is usually in my thoughts. Not long ago, I attended the centennial celebration of Charles Olson in Gloucester with Michael Peters. The effort it took to arrive in Gloucester for the festivities was downright Herculean, but well worth it. I've posted below a video of Diane Di Prima reading "Rant" at the Independent Christian Church in Gloucester during the centennial weekend, a poem which she wrote while lecturing on Olson at the University at Buffalo in the mid-eighties. I'm especially fortunate to have heard her read this particular piece, as I happen to consider it one of the most engaging poems that I've ever had the pleasure to discover.


John Wieners Online

A thorough and thoroughly interesting John Wieners page is live at EPC. Be sure to check it out when you have the chance.


There Is A There There

The new issue of There is now live. Excellent work. I especially found Carrie Hunter's pieces engaging...


Living Waters

If you've been following the BP oil spill at all, then you'll want to check out Poets For Living Waters, an action response to the disaster, which is edited by Amy King and Heidi Lynn Staples. The work posted thus far is not only interesting, but topically poignant.



I reread a bit of Grenier's Series tonight. Opening the book at random, I found one of my favorite pieces. Thought I'd share:

for John Dowland

you will not
save things or
make them perfect

music is power
lustrous ox

lightly the
transfigured leaves
ok on that



Issue 17 of Otoliths is now online, featuring a special section on Poet-Editors curated & introduced by Eileen R. Tabios.

43 poet-editors respond to the question: "What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?"

The respondees, who also provide—sometimes quite extensive—samples of their work, are:

William Allegrezza, Ivy Alvarez, Anny Ballardini, Joi Barrios, John Bloomberg-Rissman, Ana Božičević, Garrett Caples, Brian Clements, Bruce Covey, Del Ray Cross, Patrick James Dunagan, Elaine Equi, Adam Fieled, Thomas Fink, Luis H. Francia, Geoffrey Gatza, Tim Gaze, Crg Hill, Aileen Ibardaloza, Vincent Katz, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Burt Kimmelman, Mark Lamoureux, Amanda Laughtland, Timothy Liu, Dana Teen Lomax, Joey Madia, Sandy McIntosh, Didi Menendez, Lars Palm, Guillermo Parra, Ernesto Priego, Sam Rasnake, Barbara Jane Reyes, Christopher Rizzo, Patrick Rosal, Sarah Rosenthal, Susan M. Schultz, Logan Ryan Smith, Jill Stengel, Fiona Sze-Lorrain, Jean Vengua, & Mark Young.

It is indeed a special section, as I'm flattered to be included in such company.


Juxtaposition Just A Position

"I didn't really say everything I said."
--Yogi Berra

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened by the old ones."
--John Cage