Thursday, May 31, 2007

now playing: Glenn Bach

from Atlas Peripatetic

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Beyond the Pale

Today is the two year anniversary of Dick Cheney asserting that the insurgency in Iraq was in its "last throes." In honor of the two year anniversary, here's a flashback to some inane rambling from the one year anniversary:

Since Cheney asserted the insurgency was in its "last throes" 1,799 U.S. soldiers have been killed, roughly half of all (3,468) U.S. fatalities. At least 12,378 U.S. soldiers have been wounded.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly Passed Away Today

I, like most Americans, was shocked to learn today that Charles Nelson Reilly was still alive.

Friday, May 25, 2007

now playing: Brian Howe

Sudden Spider (feat. Rod Smith)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Special Comment:

Keith Olbermann is one of the few good things about cable news.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Foreign Debt: Redux

I came across this table today which lays out foreign ownership of United States Treasury Securities -- essentially how much of the United States is owned, via debt, to outside interests:

Japan 612.3 billion
China, Mainland 420.2 billion
United Kingdom 145.1 billion
Oil Exporters 113.0 billion
Carib Bnkng Ctrs 84.4 billion
Brazil 70.6 billion
Luxembourg 61.6 billion
Hong Kong 58.7 billion
Korea 58.1 billion
Taiwan 57.9 billion
Germany 47.7 billion
Mexico 35.3 billion
Switzerland 32.9 billion
Singapore 29.7 billion
Canada 29.7 billion
Turkey 27.6 billion
Netherlands 21.0 billion
France 20.4 billion
India 20.1 billion
Thailand 17.9 billion
Sweden 15.0 billion
Israel 14.1 billion
Italy 14.0 billion
Poland 12.2 billion
Belgium 12.2 billion
Ireland 11.7 billion
All Other 153.2 billion

The average American, myself included, may be a little unsettled that so much of our country is owned by China and Japan...the average American may also find it a little fishy, myself included, that so much of our country is literally owned by private oil interests and Cayman Island banking centers. These stats were as of March of this year, and considering that the occupation of Iraq has cost us $426 Billion already, paid for mostly with deficit spending, we can only see this debt ceiling increasing. Coupling this with out trade deficit to practically every other country on Earth, it's something to think about, espcially for my young generation, as we move into the future.

Monday, May 21, 2007

now playing: Brian Howe

Marta E Davide

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

a voice box

I know that Patrick has already mentioned Andrew Koerner's site a voice box, but it deserves another mention. Great recordings of East Bay poetry readings. I hope he keeps it up for a long time.

Most recently, he recorded the release party for the fantastic anthology Not for Mothers Only.

By the way, we'll be back from Spring Break with some delightful poetry later this week.

Synthetic Performances

I know I've already written too much about art in Second Life, but this was too delightful not to mention.

Digital Artists Eva and Franco Mattes have been recreating seminal works in performance art in Second Life. So far, they've covered Seedbed, Shoot, and Tapp und Tastkino (pictured above). Beuys' massive 7000 Oaks is currently underway.

The project is hilarious to me, and don't think for a moment that the irony is lost on the artists. So much of the effect of performances like this comes from the fact that they are taking place in the real world. Removed from meatspace, these performances lose their inherent shock value (yeah, they're weird, but not the weirdest thing in SL) and can be viewed with a certain objectivity and clarity. But of course, the whole point of performance art is that objective distance from art is a myth.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Recommended Reading

Whethering -- Poems by Rusty Morrison

Rusty Morrison uses form to affect breath, and breath to accent even the simplest of words into space and gravity. That isn't to say her words are simple--quite the opposite. Morrison is playing a game of language, using internal and slant rhyme so subtly as to draw attention to and from a point on a line, becoming speech, becoming a distillation of human conversation.
Morrison moves from image to Imagism, , sparsity to Oppen, simile to the audacity of Frazier and Stein. Her poems are elegant without elegance, and densely layered--there is an intelligent design at work here, to borrow the parlance of our times.

Morrison intermingles weather and certainty, showing us how both can change in a matter of moments. The body in her poetry is assembled from pieces, each excerpt becoming sign and symbol for something more. She moves fluidly through forms, scattering words on a page like fireworks to slow the readers attention, then moving o prose blocks, condensing the language to emphasize the narrative and emotion. Often in her poetry she staggers our perception, emotionalizing the dry and factual, while analytically approaching the emotional self. Whethering is all the accompaniment of a storm front.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Recommended Reading

Flying in Water -- Poems by Barbara Tomash

Barbara Tomash's art is based in a myriad of icons and iconoclasts, the pieces of her poetry seem a delicate Williams, or an East Coast American H.D. Those line structures, that careful attention to image and scene, take on new life within Tomash's structure -- the prose poem. She takes the tools that most of us use to measure breath, and, instead builds and atmosphere.

Tomash juxtaposes image and statement to create metaphor, sans the heavy handed baggage which so often accompanies it. Even within the form of prose poem, she shows remarkable restraint in language and meter -- the prose poem becomes unexposed paper, and her film has been shot at f22. Everything is in focus, and everything in the frame is necessary. The eye cannot see the entirety of a landscape on its own, and Tomash reminds us of that.

The poems freely move from one into the next, the beauty of us piece rising up as a wave and lowering us into the first movements of the next. The story is the entirety of a photograph, but also within Flying in Water is a gallery of emotion and experience. Tomash touches on all our senses: we hear piano music played by her son, smell bread and straw, feel the veins in our arms and suffer the vertigo of waking dreams.

Flying in Water becomes a kitchen floor covered in dropped moments, becomes a life viewed from outside of life, at f22, when everything is clear and connected (and not in so off New Age way.) The language is wonderfully original and unwavering in its poise and poignancy. Tomash balances the spreading of ashes and the spreading of jam, promises both failed and fulfilled, motherhood and sexuality, the violence in beauty and vice versa; in essence, life. Tomash dances us through all of it.


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