Friday, January 21, 2011

poetry heckling

i love this snippet of alice notley talking about bill brown heckling her at some poetry reading.

"Bill Brown. He's in Phil's poems. Ted told Bob Creeley that since he was an elder of the town he should do something about this because people should not be allowed just to heckle. And so Bob found Bill Brown and they took acid together, and they went down to the water and picked up these ducks and petted the ducks and talked to the ducks and then Bob said to Bill, 'You know, I think you should apologize to Alice for heckling her at the reading.' So then I met him at the bar, one of the two bars. Smiley's or Scowley's, and we had this kind of John Wayne moment when he said, 'Well, I'm really sorry that I heckled you.' And I said 'It's okay.' We shook hands. And that's the story."

sexy poetry? or the sexiest poetry?

[nsfw] here's a bit of, well, let's say, "writing". oh, and don't read this if you're easily offended by sex, or more importantly by bad descriptions of sex.

however, if such writing interests you, head on over to the petals fall twice subreddit where the reddit community is hard at work composing this passably eye-catching bit of absurdist erotica.

hurry now, because no one will find this interesting tomorrow.


ok, so i do find this sort of writing interesting. i like community writing projects, i like their awkward stupidity. but, that's not it's only charm for me.

it's the sort of writing that seems to come from a young writer's mind (i don't mean that as an insult). it reads as amateur, yes, but it also reads as conscious of it's own amateur style. the characters in the piece often reacting to the awful wording that the author puts in their mouths and minds.

its angsty obsession with words and wordings are more its subject than the bizarre sexual encounter being described. its use of certain idioms ("of old", "all-too familiar", "only too eager") aren't wrong really, but an early writer's awkward attempt to sound overly "writerly". this angst becomes carried on, and parodied with infantile words like "peeny" and "hooha": the self-conscious awkwardness of the writing mirroring the awkwardness of the "sex".

but all that just comes off as charming to me. the writer is willing to expose him/herself in a way that's rare in poetry. i don't mean "expose" in a confessional sense (which isn't rare in poetry), but in the sense that the writer is able to lay bare (and even utilize) their own writing weaknesses.

and yes, this is "just" a piece of anonymous amateur comedy, produced for the passing entertainment of an audience of bored forum lurkers. but i've been interested lately in how writing that's outside of poetry, writing that is written as "mere" ephemera, as easily forgotten pabulum, often resembles what i want from poetry more than "poetry" does. i'm not interested in stuff like this because it's publishable as poetry, i'm interested in it because it isn't.

anyway, the moral of the story is: don't learn to write better, just learn to compensate for your terrible ability to write.

[EDIT: the piece was written by illustrator Chip Zarsky as a part of his "one page series" where he posts a single page of a "work-not-in-progress".]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

bullshitting: part 2

this is a great interview between new york school greats, kenneth koch, and john ashbery. the nature of their back and forth feels very personal, and so, a little hard to penetrate what, if anything, is genuine. another good example of how the way a poet talks about their work is more interesting than their "real answers".

as john ashbery says in the interview: "the worse your art is, the easier it is to talk about. or at least, i'd like to think so."


i love how bernstein takes on these mundane questions. he reveals more in his bullshitting them than whatever his real, boring answers are.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reading this Monday, August 30th!

The Sexy Poets Society presents the Month of August!

Going down at Beezys Cafe @ 5:30 pm. Third room.

Line-up for this month:

Angela Hardy
Elizabeth Dieterich
Daniel Florida
Elizabeth Mikesch
Tony Spicer

Also, the amazing artist, Genevieve Mihalko who is responsible for all of our posters is celebrating her birthday on that day.......
So, come out, hear some poetry, and drink with us at the Corner Brewery afterwards.

Any questions, feel free to hit me up on here, or email me at

Monday, August 2, 2010

Well, maybe if you weren't such a douchebag...

Iain Marshall wrote a great blog post discussing the recent shutdown of comment threads on Ron Silliman's blog as well as on The Harriet Blog a few months ago.

This is a topic that Marshall and I (and plenty o' other people) have been discussing lately since it is quite a big blow to take away a life force for poets, when poets are already struggling for cohesion and satisfying discourse. I agree with a lot of what Marshall has to say about how it's not unprecedented, nor unnecessary what Silliman has done, though it certainly is unfortunate.

It's also encouraging for me to notice that The Sexy Poets are yet to be cursed with a lot of the problems the online-world-o-poetry is experiencing. Certainly we're still a baby as far as communities go, and maybe it'll just take a bit before the milk sours. However I enjoy seeing time and time again such varied voices and poetics being put on display at SexPo readings, and people ending up having great discussions with people they disagree with. I've certainly received negative reviews about people who have read, and about my own stuff, but it's never been in the spirit of trying to prove oneself or shut down other voices.

I really do want to work on making Ypsilanti a place where people can feel free and enervated to discuss what they want poetry to be, and maybe what they think it should be, and be able to have reasonable and interesting arguments and ideas for their beliefs.

And feel free to use this blog and comment threads for your opinions. I've never had problems with any of you, so by all means, use it for discussion.

Anyhow, scroll back up and click on the link for Marshall's blog, unless you opened it in a different tab already.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Thousand Words is Directly Equivalent to One Picture

Iain Marshall. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Below you'll see pictures from the July Sexy Poets reading. I really appreciate everyone who took them, sent them to me, or posted them on facebook. Pic creds go to Genevieve Mihalko, Sara Kennedy and Anna Vitale. Totally stole some of these off of facebook, but I don't think anyone cares.

Thanks for an amazing reading and a great hang out afterwards. Part of what I look forward to with the reading is getting drunk at the brewery afterward, because everything is so electric and everyone is so giddy post-poetry. You guys are great :-)

Melissa Welsh starting off the night. Photo taken by Genevieve Mihalko.

Andrew Stevens, MC McGee. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Half of the audience, laughing at Andrew Steven's hilarious jokes. The audience not pictured may or may not have been laughing as well. Photo taken by Genevieve Mihalko.

Lucy Carnaghi. Picture taken by Sara Kennedy.

Theresa Rickloff. Making a funny face. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Theresa Rickloff, less silly face. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Iain Marshall. Photo taken by Genevieve Mihalko.

Anna Vitale. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

More Anna Vitale action. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Crew hanging at the Corner Brewery afterward. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Theresa Rickloff & Matt Thomas in the background looking attractive. John Peter Demsick in the foreground. Photo taken by Sara Kennedy.

Lucy Carnaghi & Carson Boron at the Corner Brewery. Photo taken by Anna Vitale.

A fistful of Sexy Poets. Left to Right - Lucy Carnaghi, Andrew Stevens, Theresa Rickloff, Ian Murray & Iain Marshall. Picture taken by Anna Vitale.

Anna Vitale & Theresa Rickloff. Picture taken on Anna Vitale's camera but presumably not by her. Poets don't do Myspace poses, apparently.

Lucy Carnaghi and Theresa Rickloff. Photo taken by Anna Vitale.

As ALWAYS, thanks to Beezy's Cafe for being an amazing host and supporting Ypsi poetry. Without you we couldn't be doing this!
And to the Corner Brewery for making great beer for us afterward. Without you, we wouldn't be high-fiving as much.

We love you Ypsilanti,
The Sexy Poets