Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Today in class I watched, for the first time, Dr. Strangelove. I'm almost ashamed to admit it (that its my first viewing). I've seen everything of Kubrick's except for this and the Killing, which Tony thinks highly of (it is on my Netflix list though). Anyway, George C. Scott is genius in this movie--has blown me away so far. We watch the second half on Thusday. Can't wait.

I have got to do some reviews. Got a couple lined up for Cutbank, and the Burning Chair, but I'm stuck in scholarly paper hell. I've got the fun part done: the books are read (Knox's Gringo Like Me and Greenberg's My Kafka Century). Just two weeks until I break out the pj pants and do the fun stuff for a couple weeks. Poems, Octopus, and what-not, and a trip with A to San Fran to see M and P. Aaah.
I went to the Devil, I mean, dentist today. My god, I'm sore. Apparently, instead of brushing side-to-side, I should consider brushing up-and-down and in circles. And: I'm a grinder and all my teeth are wearing down--quite a lot of wear for a 28 year old, I'm told. And maybe I should think about paying a bucketload of money for a night-time mouth guard. Oy.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A and I just arrived home from a fairly successful Thanksgiving excursion to Omaha/Council Bluffs and Norfolk, NE. Lots was eaten. Cards were played. Football was watched. I did 21 push-ups in there somewhere as a challenge to cousin-in-law marine. I lost. I have a lot to catch up on now as the semester heat turns up a notch for the next two weeks. But instead A and I ironed some clothes and spent an evening with Saddle Creek from Netflix.

Here is a pic from my messy closet where I stored a poster from a local showing of the Saddle Creek documentary. To its left is Denny's poster from Clean Part, which just propped up for the picture. The furthest left clothing item is my new suit jacket that I'll be wearing to a funeral tomorrow barring a blizzard. I bought it at Herberger's in Norfolk this weekend. What do you think?

I also lounged for a few seconds in front of our very own fireplace. It works now. Thank you, M.

And if you want to hear some archived My Vocabulary radio broadcasts, and hear me and some cooler poets read some poems in those broadcasts, go here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Two or three years ago I had a brief but heavy fascination with a poet named Wong May after finding a book of hers, A Bad Girl's Book of Animals, at the bottom of a pile in a dusty Ohio bookstore. I wrote a Recovery Project on this brilliant book in the 3rd issue of Octopus (one of my favorite all-time issues I think) that concluded with a bit of a biographical (or anti-biographical note) that read: "She is almost completely undocumented, unphotographed, and unreviewed. She got a BA at the University of Singapore, got her MFA at the University of Iowa in 1968, and wrote three books of poems (Reports [1974] and Superstitions [1978]). In 1978, she curled up into a tiny ball and disappeared." For a while, I was bent on discovering more about May, but she seemed pretty reclusive. She is completely absent, as far as I am aware, from any sort of conversation about contemporary poetry, but has produced three killer books. Anyway, just this week I got an email from a friend of hers who promises to straighten things out. This I know, so far: she is alive and lives in Dublin, Ireland, with her husband. She has two adult sons. She is apparently still writing, but has not published any of it since 1978. A door has re-opened. I'll keep you abreast.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Denny made some killer new posters for the second Clean Part. Mathias and I are excited to litter them about town. Anyway, make your plans now to come to Lincoln on December 8 for the best poetry in the tri-state area. Anthony Hawley and Amanda Nadelberg. Don't disappoint us.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Simon is back and he's tackled Heather Christle in the open field.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Walking from the Union to Andrews Hall yesterday, I heard some loud clunky footsteps directly behind me that had the exact same gait as my own footsteps, the same exact pace, which I found unusual. Our paces matched for too long so I decided to speed mine up a bit, but the pace of our footsteps still matched. I then slowed it down: still the same. Pass me already! Finally, I kinda held one foot in the air an extra beat before I let it down, and they did too. It must be somebody I know putting me on only a few feet behind me, but when I turned around there was no one there. Apparently, it was the damn buckle on my pack, unlatched, and tapping the canvas. I felt pretty dumb and I wanted to tell someone, but I was all alone. So, I'm telling you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

It is now winter outside on my lawn

so I've been growing my beard.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I've been a little down lately. I'm sure it doesn't help that I've been listening to this depressing crap:

Death Cab's Plans

Sun Kil Moon's Tiny Cities (covers of Modest Mouse songs)

Thanks Adam.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A blues-filled weekend in Norfolk. I'll give you more on that as soon as I can wrap my head around it.

But I was greeted with some good mail upon my return: Review copies of Arielle Greenberg's My Kafka Century (Action Books) and Jennifer Knox's A Gringo Like Me (Soft Skull)(Thank you Brandon Shimoda of CutBank), Public Works by Ronna Bloom (Pedlar Press), a very encouraging rejection from Joshua Marie Wilkinson over at the Denver Quarterly, and a postcard from the famous and talented Mary Ruefle which, among other things, said that she found a picture of me purchasing a soda for a youngster in a handmade book at the handmade books festival in Iowa City this week. Kate, you know anything about this? Why don't I?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Dean Young was #1 last night--very funny, very kind. He's a rockstar poet in my book, one of my heroes, but he doesn't act as rockstar as he could. We threw down PBRs and High Lifes together at the Starlight Lounge along with Hadara, Michael D, Anthony Hawley and Becka (sp?), played 50's trivia, talked music (Silver Jews, Sun Kil Moon, Beck) and poetry, I even asked about the fullest his mouth had ever been, and if he thought he could fit 100 plain M&M's in there. He said he probably couldn't.

I was a smidge disappointed in his reading, not because his performance wasn't top notch (it was, and his banter was admirable) but the audience was tired, unresponsive, and too small for a Young reading. Dumanis did such a killer job putting this together, publicizing it, etc, I just wish Lincoln/Wesleyan would have answered the call a little better. They're not going to have too many chances at Dean Young.

In other news: A and I are going to Norfolk, NE, this weekend. I have about 70 papers to grade. I figure Norfolk is a good place to do it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm having dinner this evening with Dean Young before his reading at Wesleyan. That's right. I said it. I'm a little nervous. I'm feeling sick. I have to do things I do want to (we're not talking about Dean Young anymore). I'm sad this week. My lower back hurts and I won't be hungry. I hope I say something insightful. I'm thinking of writing a poem with a line about Christmas in it. I have just the line.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I'm still recovering from this Clean Part weekend: the sleep I lost, the papers I didn't write, the papers I didn't grade, etc. But it was such a good time and I think this reading series thing will only gain momentum. Mathias and I are starting to get big eyes and bounce around some names of our heroes that have mentioned they might come. But that is for a later post.

We ate well this weekend. Indian food at The Oven afterward with Denny and Bri, Ashley, Kim, Michael Dumanis, A, and the other Clean Parters I've already mentioned. Diner food at Kuhl's. I got the BLT. Burgers at Red Robin on Sunday with Kim and Adam before they made the trek back to Arkansas. Pizza at Yia Yia's on Friday. Beer everywhere. I'm spoiled/broke now. I look forward to the next one.

Today, in class, I watched a terrific documentary called East Side Story on socialist propaganda musicals from the 1930's-1960's USSR. Fascinating. I want to write a poem based on some of the clips, using the titles of the musicals like I Don't Want to Marry (1961), Vacation on the Black Sea (1957), and Jolly Fellows (1934). The musicals were so ridiculous, so campy, showing men and women in the wheat fields, shoveling wheat and singing about what an honor and priveledge back-breaking slave labor can be, in order to support the country, or women sweeping up hog entrails in a meat packing plant while whistling about the great and wonderful Stalin. Hmm. Today I go to watch From Russia With Love with Connery as Bond for class.

Meeting A by the fountains now. We're going to have Subway.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The first Clean Part Reading weekend was an enormous success. All three of them poets are brilliant, friendly, and clean (or clean enough). About 35 people showed up to listen, a perfect number for that petite gallery, and they were engaged as the poets were engaging. Mathias and I couldn't have asked for a better reading to kick off the series. Anyway, the rest of the story will be told in pictures. Below are only a very small handful. See Anne's pics for a more thorough story, and Adam will post (many of these are his, that I stole) more of his soon too. And be sure to check out The Clean Part website later this week for a better wrap-up, pics of our raffle winner, etc.

A, A and A. Tired of mingling.

Anne in my dining room, walking away.

Mathias introducing Alex.

Adam wetting his lips for more playful between poems banter.

An interested Alex.

Mathias and Zach: attentive listeners.

Alex reading from Joshua Marie Wilkinson's A Ghost as King of Rabbits at Mathias' place.

Zach reading from the new Gulf Coast with both Alex and Mathias in it.

Mathias and a possessed Kim.

Kim happy in front of A and I's place, A and I discussing pumpkins in the backround.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Mathias and I are feverishly preparing for the Clean Part reading this Saturday night. We're passing around handbills, little miniature versions of our poster tonight, me at Rynn Williams' reading on campus, Mathias at the John D'Agata's reading over on Wesleyan's campus. We're also picking up the peanuts, raffle tickets, etc. It should be a good time. You should come.