30 April 2009

appreciations 3: Karl Young

(third in a series of brief "appreciations" of less than 200 words on various figures, with, sometimes, a sample of work)

Karl Young, Alfred Jarry: Unfinished Wood

Can I possibly honor KARL YOUNG in 200 words? (That question & this parenthetical remark do not count.)

He does not mince words, or, he does mince, twist, hone, shine, shape, and more. When experimental poetry was vast and exciting and not nearly as narrow as at present, he was active in making visual poems, working with sound poets, creating artist's and performance books, and a lot more. He also created communities, such as that which grew from BOOX to become WOODLAND PATTERN under his guidance as founding father and visionary programmer.

He created MEMBRANE PRESS, publisher of everything from a book of commentary on Clark Coolidge to books of disintegrating photocopy procedures by internationally active writers and artists. Later, he created LIGHT & DUST BOOKS, carrying on his nearly-one-person anarchical constitution of a kind of culture few of us can encompass, and the marvelous LIGHT & DUST web site, which remains perhaps, THE great literary (in a broad sense) repository of our time. All while rarely venturing from either Milwaukee (early) or, more recently, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Karl Young's Score 7 (based on Tu Fu's Night in River Lodge)

Had he been in New York, I think he might be the most celebrated experimental literary artist of the last 40 years. In Wisconsin he has created a body of work that may well grant him that title over time.

alexander on mappemunde

MAPPEMUNDE is always a blog worth attending. I am honored that Tim Peterson chose to write a report about my talk in the THREADS series at Granary Books and place it on his Mappemunde blog. Here is his take on PRESSING BETWEEN . . .

28 April 2009

appreciations 2: The Invitation, by Cynthia Miller

(second in a series of brief "appreciations" of less than 200 words on various figures, with, sometimes, a sample of work)

The Invitation, by Cynthia Miller (photo by Tim Fuller)

Paris, an apartment with open window, bird and world flying in, a view of the Eiffel Tower. Kinetic energy, indoor/outdoor disturbance of picture plane, color as waves of light, questioning and ecstatic.

First shown in a rare outside-of-Arizona exhibition by this Tucson artist, at the CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY, 2008. Amazing that Miller’s work is not more widely known; it’s one of the great bodies of painting I know about over the last 30 years. The provenance of this painting is obvious to those who know Pierre Bonnard’s brush work and use of color, multiple colors in one, as though color is living substance (which it is). Particularly relevant are the many Bonnard paintings with window at or near center, indoor and outdoor life, objects, and colors interpenetrating. Miller's painting, in addition, freed from ground, as objects float and interact, calls Marc Chagall's work to mind. David Jones, in a painting like Manawydan’s Glass Door, is also relevant, where the distinction between indoor and outdoor, and with it the picture plane, collapses. In this Miller painting the outer world rushes in, in the form of the bird, as exhilaration, giving the work a kinetic energy that is her own entirely, making the painting the kind of “high energy construct” that the poet Charles Olson called for in words.

27 April 2009

appreciations 1: Lu Xun

(first in a series of brief "appreciations" of under 200 words, with, sometimes, a sample of work)

Marxism Is the most Lucid and Lively Philosophy, 1974, woodblock portrait of Lu Xun by Li Yitai

Lu Hsün, or Lu Xun — my edition of his complete works is getting a little dusty with age — is one of the great modernist writers, and one of the world’s greatest short fiction writers, yet a writer no one in the United States seems to read. His The True Story of Ah Q is a masterpiece in what is “not” said, as well as a sensitive portrait of underclass life in China in the early 20th Century. It is the place, if you will, where Joyce meets Steinbeck, where the aesthetics of vision and writing combine with a social vision that is so clearly shown that it need not be said. I was fortunate to be introduced to his work in classes in the Asian Languages department when I was an undergraduate, and I teach his work in introductory literature classes whenever I can. If you seek him out, you might want to start with the most anthologized works, Ah Q and Diary of a Madman, but don’t stop there. Read other stories, and read his piercingly honest essays, including his late essay on sickness and dying, and his social commentary.

from The True Story of Ah Q:
Then a man in a long coat brought a sheet of paper and held a brush in front of Ah Q, which he wanted to thrust into his hand. Ah Q was now nearly frightened out of his wits, because this was the first time in his life that his hand had ever come into contact with a writing-brush. He was just wondering how to hold it when the man pointed out a place on the paper and told him to sign his name.

"I — I — can't write," said Ah Q, shamefaced, nervously holding the brush.

"In that case, to make it easy for you, draw a circle!"

Ah Q tried to draw a circle, but the hand with which he grasped the brush trembled, so the man spread the paper on the ground for him. Ah Q bent down and, as painstakingly as if his life depended on it, drew a circle. Afraid people would laugh at him, he determined to make the circle round; however, not only was that wretched brush very heavy, but it would not do his bidding. Instead it wobbled from side to side; and just as the line was about to close it swerved out again, making a shape like a melon-seed.

(translated by Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang. In Lu Xun: Selected Works. Beijing, Foreign Languages Press, 1956)

25 April 2009

entomology and poetics

. . . and then there are VISITORS.

One more brief note from Buffalo, this one from the Karpeles Manuscript Library, where some of Sigmund Freud's papers were on display during the time of POET-PUBLISHER [a small press symposium].

from the Karpeles Manuscript Library (photo by Jay MillAr)

Evidence that, as Jay MillAr put it, "other species are interested in diverse subjects like the unconscious and hysteria . . ."

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23 April 2009

and not only BUFFALO

Me at NY coffeeshop (photo by Tim Peterson)

My 2-week trip away from Tucson was not just about poet-publishers in Buffalo, but began April 8 in Olympia, Washington. Claire Sammons picked me up at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and I gave a reading, answered questions and engaged students and community in conversation, and met students individually for advice and critique, over the next few days at Evergreen State College, whose poetry & poetic needs are in the talented hands of Leonard Schwartz (author of Chax Press published A Message Back and Other Furors). I stayed with Leonard and his wife Zhang Er and their lively 9-year-old daughter Cleo (or is it Clio?). Zhang Er has, for some time, been one of the best listeners to my poetry, always having something insightful to say, particularly about the ongoing poem Pushing Water. This time was no exception.

Highlights of the Olympia stay were a seder at the home of Ariel and Sequoyah, and meeting their new baby, Isaac; hiking in the Capitol Forest with Leonard, Zhang Er, and Cleo, spotting the "ghost cat" outside the window, seeing early trillium blossoms, talking with the students about their work, particularly spending a bit more time with Claire and Corwin, talking for the radio with Leonard, meeting Ernestine Kimbro at the Evergreen Library, and of course the 3:30am wake-up and ride back to the airport with Claire. I don't have photos from this part of my travels, which is too bad. The radio talk with Leonard will soon be available for listening on the Pennsound web site.

After Olympia, I got to be home for a day and a half (this saved me, I think -- at least a little time with Cynthia & Nora, and an easter dinner with Sheila & Rowe & Brian, too!), then boarded another early morning flight, this time for New York City. Flew into LaGuardia, bussed to my abode there, The Hotel Alexander on W. 94th St., and quickly found, about 8 blocks north, on Broadway, Cafe du Soleil —I highly recommend that restaurant. And this was a Monday night, "steak night," with several steak options, all priced at $12.95. Mine was terrific. I ended up eating at this restaurant 3 times, and I would go back. Reasonably priced, excellent service, terrific food — possible to spend quite a bit here, but, if you watch the choices and don't drink 3 glasses of wine, actually quite reasonable. And on Wednesdays, as I recall, wine bottles are half price.

Tim Peterson at NY coffeeshop

The next morning after breakfast I took off for Grand Central Terminal, catching the train to East Haven, Connecticut, there picked up by Tim Peterson and his mother Lynn, and driven to Storrs and the University of Connecticut. Talk in the car was of Wordsworth, Spenser, allegory, David Jones, and Charles Olson. At 4pm I gave a talk at the university, sponsored by the Dodd Research Center (home of the Charles Olson archive) on David Jones and Charles Olson, issues of space and time in their work. A fair crowd, talk well received, but we hardly made a dent in the lovely spread of food and drink provided. Then we were off for a pizza dinner, with Richard and Lynn, Tim and me. I tried Dogs Head ale for the first time — it was fine, as was the pizza. Always great to see ALL of the Petersons!

I was lodged well at the Nathan Hale hotel on the U-Conn campus, to which I returned, and I was picked up the following morning (now Wednesday), by the Petersons, for a drive across Connecticut to the coast, then down to East Haven, where we saw a bit of Yale architecture, art museum (terrific Picasso/language exhibition), then the Beinecke Library, which is a wonder. Unfortunately, our visit there was cut short as we were literally hounded out. A foreign ambassador or other dignitary was about to visit, and security personnel with dogs came in to clear out the building — oh why can't the likes of them mix with the likes of us?

Lunch at the Anchor Inn, once proud purveyor of fine college fare, now a bit down from its historic heights, but still welcome to the hungry traveler. Then the train to New York and the only mis-adventure on the trip, as Tim, traveling with me, exited the train for a soda, not knowing the train was about to leave. He couldn't get back on in time, I couldn't open the door from inside, so I was off to New York's Grand Central on my own with Tim's luggage. He arrived about an hour later, and I was waiting for him. I think, perhaps, in my attempt to get all of his gear and mine, I may have left my calendar book, with all my travel contacts, on the train; somewhere about that time on this trip, I lost that book, so I didn't manage to contact several people I would have liked to have seen, though most made it to one of the events I presented over the next few days.

Grand Central Terminal, NYC

I made it back to the Hotel Alexander, where my suitcase was waiting, a little late to be able to make the Alice Notley/Ron Padgett reading, which had been on my agenda. So instead I went back up to the Cafe du Soleil again, and had a lovely light dinner of salade mescluns and onion soup, with a glass of champagne. I then went to find a book for my daughter Kate, who was seeking a complete edition of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, in Middle English. That ended up being harder to find than I thought, and while I couldn't find it that night on the upper West side, I eventually found one later at The Strand bookstore. I was well ready, then, for sleep.

The next morning, Thursday, was about visiting the Met to see the Pierre Bonnard show, which was stunning. Bonnard's late paintings, and his thoughts on painting, hit me at just the right time. I could see connections in his handling of interior/exterior divisions, as well as in his brushwork, to the poet/painter David Jones, who has been the subject of my research and reading for not quite a year now. I also simply felt awed by the paintings. I had gone there specifically at the request of my wife, the painter Cynthia Miller, whose own work bears more than a little relation to that of Bonnard. So I bought the catalogue for her, but in a way, for me. I was then able to drop my purchases at the hotel before having lunch with Kyle Schlesinger (Cafe du Soleil again).

Kyle and I then spent a few hours in Central Park amid the walkers and the cherry blossoms, and he interviewed me for a book he's working on, of interviews with poet-bookmakers. Kyle himself is the new (not so new now, though, as he's been up to it for several years) lion in this field, and is doing heroic service by documenting, presenting, and celebrating the work and thoughts of others in the field. I'm happy to be included in his work.

I stayed with him through the day, arriving at a few minutes before 6pm at Steve Clay and Julie Harrison's loft, also home of Granary Books, in Soho, where I was to give a talk in the "Threads" series, a group of talks by poet-bookmakers. The talk I gave was an early preview of what would be my talk at the Buffalo Poet-Publishers symposium a few days later. Before a choice audience of great friends and book people and poetry people and art people, including Simon Pettet, Tim Peterson, Jen Bervin, Jessi Atwood, Joe Sierra, Summer Browning, Steve Clay and Julie and their lovely daughters Ruby and Naomi, and just a few others (small "studio" audience, with the talk intended for web broadcast later via Pennsound), I gave this talk which traces my own life toward books, during (and forecasting after) books, and between the various places that poet-bookmakers find themselves between. A mix of memoir, poetics, poetry, and consideration of problematics of poetry & book issues, this was a truly important piece for me to write, and I was really glad it was received so well.

Mark Weiss at NY coffeeshop

Afterward, dinner at Fanelli's, where my diabetic diet had me eat the sesame chicken salad and only glance lovingly at everyone else's famous Fanelli burgers. I was in great company, though, and that was true throughout these travels.

Next morning, Friday, spent shopping at Columbia for my daughter Nora, finding not one but two t-shirts, though not the sweatshirt (it had to be a very specific one) she wanted. Then off for a late morning conversation with Charles Bernstein at his apartment, a few words with Felix Bernstein, too, and a lunch with Charles at Saigon Grill.

After that, I made my way to the lower east side to rendezvous with Simon Pettet outside St. Mark's. Simon is a love, my friend, one of my favorite conversationalists, my co-reader of Wordsworth and Keats, a part of my heart. We were together for five and a half hours, sharing thoughts on Keats, David Jones, Allen Ginsberg, recent poetry history, problems with ambition in poetry circles, our common friends like Ed Foster, Leonard Schwartz, and Zhang Er, and a lot more. We shared bench time, a walk through community gardens, a bit of time in front of Charlie Parker's last residence, a pint of beer in a local tavern, and eventually a lovely Hungarian goulash dinner at The Neptune (favorite meeting place and dining place, always, for Simon), a meal entirely off my diabetic charts (but ok, my one indulgence on this entire trip), and eventually parted about 7pm, where I went back to the hotel to read the Belladonna book by and for Emma Bernstein (also by Susan Bee and Marjorie Perloff, with an additional essay by Johanna Drucker).

Emma full of life and art, Emma we miss — my two lasting memories of Emma will always be of her in Tucson at about 5 years old playing with her doll Angelina, holding a person-doll conversation under the dining table, and Emma at 15 riding in the back of my pickup truck on the way to a dinner for the Tucson Poetry Festival. Losing Emma, for all who knew her and her terrific family, was the low point of the last seveal months, and will continue to effect us. Thank you, Charles, for the book, and for a lot more. The book is terrific, although one prime effect was that it made me want to be with my family, amid such primary connections.

The next morning I breakfasted with the terrific Jessi Atwood, Chax bookbinder and New York art school model, in Soho, and went with her to Chelsea to see Richard Tuttle's "Walking on Air" show, which is well worth seeing. Then across the street to the CUE Art Foundation (Jessi had to leave for work about this time), where I said hello to Ryan where Cynthia had her terrific show last year and where I read with Ron Silliman. Ryan as bubbly and enthusiastic as ever, wanted to know everything about Cynthia's work now and my New York outings.

I then had enough time to go back to the hotel for an hour or so of rest before going to the Bowery Poetry Club for my reading at 4pm with Akilah Oliver. That reading was a treat, both the doing of it, the talk with Charles Bernstein and Ulla Dydo and Tim Peterson and Mark Weiss and Akilah and others. I was so glad Ulla (our great Gertrude Stein scholar and elucidator) could come. And I was particularly happy to see Susan Bee and talk with her!

Tim Peterson and me at NY coffeeshop (photo by Penelope Bloodworth)

That night we went to a fine and inexpensive Turkish buffet restaurant, then for dessert (I had a bit from others' plates) and coffee at a historic lower east side (1st Ave at about 11th St.) bakery and coffee house, with more conversation with Mark, meeting Tim's good friend Penelope Bloodworth who was delightful, and Geoff Olsen (I think, though I am beginning to mis-remember names, not quite a week later —I met so many people on this trip!). About midnight or so I made it back to the hotel, and the next morning, early, checked out and caught the M60 bus to LaGuardia for a flight to Buffalo, along with Brenda Iijima. And that is the subject of a different post!

Brenda Iijima in Buffalo

What a terrific trip to New York, and always a pleasure to read for the audiences there, and this time, to give much more of a glimpse, through the "Threads" talk, into who I am and what I do, largely among people who share the work and the life in some important ways.

And it is absolutely terrific to be home in Tucson with my family, my loves.

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22 April 2009

debriefing BUFFALO

Charles Alexander & Kyle Schlesinger (photo by Brenda Iijima)

Poet-Publishers [a small press symposium] was held in Buffalo at the State Univ. of New York, and at the Karpeles Manuscript Library, April 19 and 20, 2009. And a fine time was had by all, actually an exciting, dynamic, sharing, questioning, rollicking time. Heady days, as Brenda Iijima and I have said to each other.

Myung Mi Kim & Charles Alexander (photo by Brenda Iijima)

Brenda and I arrived by plane from New York City about 11:30am on April 19, and some 40 minutes later we boarded the shuttle for our hotel, ready to see people, meet people, get this symposium rolling. The rest of the next two days more than satisfied whatever we were seeking. We walked from hotel to Betty's for a good Sunday brunch, and Brenda hit the Rust Belt bookstore, where an arts reception was happening, while I retired to my room for a bit of a respite before the evening.

Brenda Iijima

First up was a dinner at the home of Jim and Lauren Maynard. More of party than dinner, but with good food and drink, and a houseful of people. Lots of conversations about presses, poets, eco-issues with regard to both and more, renewing hellos with old friends and meeting new, such as, for me, Jim Maynard, Gregg Bigglieri, and Margaret Konkol. Mike Kelleher took us to the party. No one really wanted to leave the party, so we all arrived at the first conference event, a poetry reading by Richard Owens, Anna Moschovakis, Jay MillAr, and Kyle Schlesinger, at the Karpeles Library, a former church now displaying important manuscripts, with a quite ample room for readings. I think Myung Mi Kim, Steve McCaffery, Karen Mac Cormack, and others there were glad to see us finally arrive. A very good feeling about the night, despite the location's cool temperature.

Margaret Konkol at the book table (photo by Brenda Iijima)

I am trying to remember all the introducers of poets. I think that Andrew Rippeon introduced Richard Owens, and that Rich sat down but had to get up again to introduce Kyle Schlesinger, and that Sean Reynolds introduced Anna Moschovakis; and now I have just been reminded that Steven Zultanski introduced Jay MillAr. While I remember faces of everyone, I can't quite put names to all of those faces. I needed another day, another round of talks. Introductions at SUNY Buffalo Poetics program are important, too — they are thoughtful, intelligent, quite studied, often humorous, and definitely a part of the show in a way that seems altogether appropriate. They help transform the event from "reading/performance" into sharing, even community building. Bravo to all those Buffalo organizers & introducers! If anyone can fill in my blanks as to names of introducers, I'll be happy to edit this post to make it more complete (I have already done so a couple of times). Or, if people can correct my misspellings of names or other such annoying mistakes, please do.

Andrew Rippeon (photo by Brenda Iijima)

I'm not going to try to summarize or critique the actual readings. Uniformly very good, but certainly not uniform. Some quiet and compelling, some more performative and rousing. Definitely "inhabited," i.e. everyone who read on Sunday night (and later, on Monday night) were there, into the poems, not blankly reading text, but wearing the work, moving it from inside out. After the reading, the conversations moved to a bar in Buffalo but lasted not too long — I think we were all to our respective homes and hotels by 12:30am or so.

at the bar: Mike Kelleher, Anna Moschovakis, and Charles Alexander (photo by Brenda Iijima)

The following morning, breakfast at the hotel (not as good at Betty's, but OK for a holiday inn), then we woke Kyle Schlesinger (our guide and ride) whose alarm clock had failed, just in time to be only a few minutes late for the 10am opening talk. There was a little time to sample the coffee, rolls, juices, and other fare the library provided — the daytime activities were at the SUNY Buffalo Poetry Room, that fantastic rare book and manuscriptive/archive collection managed exceedingly well by Michael Basinski with the help of Jim Maynard and staff.

keynote address: Charles Alexander (photo by Brenda Iijima)

I gave the first keynote address to the audience of faculty, community members, and students -- a good-sized and quite active audience full of energy, curiosity, questions. My talk was titled "Between Poetics, the Poetics of Between, Pressing Between," and had to do with the meaning of text and "context" created by the book, but also with my own entry and work in the field of books and poetry, and what led me there, and perhaps where it's going. I posited several "betweens" that characterize the work of poet/bookmaker as well as my own experiences, such as "between 'not the book' and 'the book'," "between the pages," "between the letters," and a few more, each section being a sort of mini-essay, all adding up to something like a lifetime in books and also positing some ideas and problematics of the poetry book, the visual book, etc. Sometime soon, that talk will be available at the Pennsound web site in audio form, from a version I gave of it a couple of days earlier for the "Threads" series at Granary Books in New York City — I'll try to remember to post the link to this blog when it happens.

There were a few questions, more than enough to fill up the 15 minutes or so allotted for them. Geoffrey Gatza (BlazeVox) had particularly good questions about the work of books and community, which is both a practical question having to do with distribution, and a theoretical question as well. Others asked about specific bookmaking issues as well as relationships with poets, and my work as a poet.

roundtable: Andrew Rippeon, Geoffrey Gatza, Robert Dewhurst (photo by Brenda Iijima)

After which, a brief break, then a roundtable talk, with Buffalo poet-publishers taking seats in front of the audience. These included Joel Brenden (Enthusiast), Robert Dewhurst (Satellite Television), Geoffrey Gatza (BlazeVOX), David Hadbawnik (Kadar Koli / Habenicht Press), Margaret Konkol (Small Press in the Archive Series), Aaron Lowinger (House Press / Just Bufalo Small Press Reading series), Edric Mesmer (Yellow Edenwald Field), Douglas Manson (Little Scratch Pad), Richard Owens (Damn the Caesars / Punch Press), Andrew Rippeon (P-Queue / Queue Editions), Jessica Smith (Foursquare / Outside Voices), and Andrea Strudensky (Broke). At first, a breath at the beginning, and I wondered what this would be like — I mean, that's a big roundtable, and I wondered if everyone would have time to talk, whether there would be time for interaction. But quickly, as people simply stated what they do, it became a dialogue, with those people and with the audience, and a really comfortable sharing. This was when I really had the sense of, "Hey, we are all colleagues here, AND we really like each other, AND this gathering is a much-needed interaction, whereby we learn more about each other, about this work, and all get things we need to move on." Those things we need included practical issues as well as talk about eco-concerns and their place in poetry and publishing, and gender concerns (thank you Jessica for bringing this up), and a lot more. If I have any negative criticism of this entire conference, it is that it couldn't go on for about two more days. This session could have gone on for two or three more hours, I'm certain.

Lunch was down at the deli on the lower level of the library complex. Another chance to sit at a table with a few and talk at a different level. Mine was shared with Anna, Kyle, and Mike. But quick, then back upstairs.

keynote address: Michael Basinski (photo by Brenda Iijima)

Michael Basinski gave the second keynote address, titled "Exploration and Acquisition: Collecting All of Small Press Poetry." The emphasis here was on the ALL, and Mike alerted us to various enclaves of poets, fields of the work not all of us knew about, but how they connected with other niches, some more famous, how it all became a field, and all was critical to collect. And while that title may not show it, the talk was lively, a terrific performance by a poet and librarian/archivist. Basinski is a treasure those in Buffalo know well; yet he is a treasure for everyone of us in this field of poetry and its publications. He was inspiring. I hope it will be available in some form for others to read and/or hear. Mike, if you're reading this, I hope you alert us to where and how we might access your talk. And I thank you deeply for it.

Steve McCaffery (photo by Brenda Iijima)

The final panel was titled "Rethinking Poesis — Making / Remarking / Responding," and it was moderated by Steve McCaffery, a self-described "immoderate moderator." It included 15 or 20-minute presentations by Brenda Iijima (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs), Jay MillAr (Bookthug), Anna Moschovakis (Ugly Duckling Presse), and Kyle Schlesinger (Cuneiform Press). Brenda's talk, "Five Micro-Ecologies —A Presentation of 5 Portable-Press at Yo-Yo Labs Chapbooks," focused on five portable press titles as ecosystems, and the way into the books was through the covers, the art work on the covers as actions/interventions/collaborations with respective texts. This highlighted ways in which the poet/publisher is sometimes also artist/publisher, and thinks deeply and creatively about the physical and textual book. The Portable Press books were projected large on the screen behind Brenda, and we were all illuminated.

Brenda Iijima

Jay got up and asked, "what do you want to know," and proceeded to interact with the audience, informing us in useful and hilarious ways about book publishing, distribution, the communities of which we are a part, and more. All in a quite laconic way, recognizing that, while we all think the work IS terribly important, it's also just "what we do." And it exists with us amid our lives, active in so many ways.

Anna presented "the temptations of anti-sustainability, or wherefore survival?" which explored how a press might work, how it is constantly at risk, the numerous people who help in the case of Ugly Duckling, as they "shepherd" or "midwife" books into being. Ugly Duckling emerged not only as the collective of many that it is, but also as a concerted effort to enter literary and book arts culture on a multiply charted and multiply effective path, all the while putting it together as it goes, flying on, and maybe even sometimes being seen as a swan. Anna's talk was elegant and improvisational, moving.

Kyle Schlesinger may be the dean of this conference, that is, he has been proving himself not only as a brilliant publisher, but as one of the great documenters of poet-presses, poet-bookmakers, and poet-publishers. His talk, "Ragged Edges," was further evidence of the ragged existence we have, if I may use my own term, "between" the many things we do, "between" the many communities we inhabit.

Karen Mac Cormack and Jay MillAr (photo by Brenda Iijima)

My summaries here are both extremely minimal/partial, and possibly not all that well-remembered, i.e. I remember moments more than wholes, impact sometimes more than detail. So please, once again, if there are others reading this, who were present, and who would like to say more about these talks, and the questions/answers following them, please do. And if Brenda, Jay, Anna, Kyle, Steve, Rich, Andrew, and all the other participants could add to this, please do!

Charles Alexander and Myung Mi Kim (photo by Brenda Iijima)

The final event was the Monday night reading, back at the Karpeles Manuscript Library. Andrew Rippeon read, introduced by Rich Owens; Michael Basinski read, introduced by Jim Maynard; Brenda Iijima read, introduced by Robbie Dewhurst; and I read, introduced by Andrew Rippeon. Again, ALL introductions were magnificent. There was a nod toward an event that was "all introductions" for several hours. I think ordinarily I'd flee from such an event, but being around these people, at this conference, I know I'd listen and enjoy an event like that put on by these folks.

All of the readings were terrific, too, and by now we really were, at least for this short time, a community. I know when I read, to close the entire proceedings, I felt like I was among my people, and it was one of the most pleasant and involved readings (not just me feeling involved, but feeling others were involved with me) I have ever given.

Richard Owens (photo by Brenda Iijima)

Bravo to Andrew Rippeon and Rich Owens for organizing such a terrific event. May it be inspiring to all the poet-publisher-bookmakers there, and to those in the audience active in various ways. May it continue to live! And bravo to Myung Mi Kim for her stewardship of the Poetics Program as it presents such events as well as carries out its work in education and poetics! And bravo to Steve McCaffery for being a presence behind (and sometimes in) this particular event, doing so with immaculate humor and grace. Chax Press and I were very glad to be a part of the symposium.

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