04 December 2005

The Beeg Epple

Looks like I'm going to New York, after all! Some of my blog readers were really helpful, with suggestions and offers, and now it's happening. I'll get to make the Kenneth Koch launch on Wednesday and see Padgett and a bunch of others read, and I'll get to hang out with Kim Bernstein, who I met at the Padgett workshop last February, and likely I'll get to see a little batch of Little Criminals (people from the Randy Newman listserv). Gonna be a busy three days. And Lynn McC — whose Aeroplan points (in exchange for poetry tutoring) made this trip possible — will be in New York at the same time, by coincidence.

Tonight, Sunday night, is the first instalment of the Fictitious Reading Series, and as usual when I'm involved in organizing an event, I'm nervous about attendance. But at least this time I get to share my nervousness with Kate, who probably isn't nervous. I really want this to work. It really is weird that there is no fiction reading series in Toronto. About a million poetry series and no fiction series. You'd almost think it'd be the other way around. How come it isn't?

Had a fun Friday night with Dana at the Prefix Photo gala party shindig hoedown. Met some cool people. Saw some good video art. Ten artists were asked to do a short video about "selling." Dana's was great — a straightfaced Yiddish vaudeville turn of old jokes; Andy Patterson's was really fine, too, and so was R.M. Vaughan's. R.M. did a sort of inept 20-minute workout (though only for a couple of minutes) wearing a black ponytailed wig.

The ongoing saga of the Lex list debate has taken up too much of my time, and left me a little exasperated. Some weird chill going down just for making a rather mild remark or two about a couple of reading series. Will I think twice next time? Nope. But things got very crazed when Daniel Bradley stepped in to show me how it's really done. Daniel embraces the aesthetic of reckless slagging. I wish people would pay as much attention to his remarkable, unique writing as they do to his wild swings (both mood and fists) on the Lex list. Seeing the controlled intensity of his dense poetry of the last few years puts a different spin on his combativeness. Anyway, he made me gasp with fear for him and laugh out loud at the same time with a couple of his posts this weekend.

Been fitting in a fair amount of reading: the usual endless stuff about Iraq and the Bush admin's unbelievable attempts to spin the news. It sure does feel like things are finally crumbling. But when I wrote to my friend Kim in New York that the Canadian government fell because of a scandal, she said, "Misconduct brings consequences, who knew?" It's mind-boggling to all of us that Bushco haven't just resigned in shame.

Also reading Barbara Caruso's fascinating journals of her life as a painter in the late 60s/early 70s. It's an absorbing mixture of the banal, bouts of self-doubt, brief anecdotes about not-yet-famous friends, and so forth. I really like how clear her writing is, how straightforward. Even back then. Also going through derek beaulieu and Gary Barwin's collaborative poetry book Frogments from the Frag Pool — I put a rush on it because I wanted to see what it is that DfB is slagging so vociferously.

And I've started Clint Burnham's novel Smoke Show. He's really taking this "realist dialogue" thing to extremes. It's the most meticulously sloppy thing I've ever read. I mean, he is depicting sloppiness meticulously. Really enjoying the book and eager to see what kind of response it gets. Hopefully he'll come to town and read, and maybe even in The Fictitious series.

I'm weary with hunting fain would lie doon.

Over and out.


At December 04, 2005 9:39 am , Blogger dfb said...

stu – don’t worry about me , there is nothing they can do to me (it’s not like they publish me – in fact i publish them)

don’t worry about gary and derek – it’s not like they won’t get published again (and maybe my me – if the work is good)

have fun in nyc (i’m always interested in the fact that you are new to that city)

one of my favorite parts of the lex action – was Friday night when k. parrishka used Barbara Caruso's words is bitch slap me (very funny as i’ve know Barbara for 15 year and we have always had long wonderful conversations- make you wonder what our kids are learning from).

i understand why people pay more attention to the e-wars i write and much less to my poems – cuz the poems make their heads hurt and people are not comfortable in the shifting floors of my poems (by the way there will be/is a review of my book in rain magazine from vancouver – which is pretty interesting)

sorry to take up some much space i’ll go back to raising my little Baader-Meinhof.




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