Commentaries - May 2010

down the line from Williams and Pound


The Pennsylvania Current is now running a story about the legacy of poetry at Penn: "Penn’s rich poetry legacy," by Tanya Barrientos. It features a nice mention of the Kelly Writers House and of PennSound.

an assemblage of paradoxes in one body

Listen to a brief audio biography of the Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven.

Here is a blurb I wrote for Irene Gammel's biogrpahy of the Baroness: "The Baroness cut the most compelling modernist figure. She literally wore New York dada, thus inventing it as a pattern of aesthetic costume to be worn so tight that it was her skin, her self. She was, as Irene Gammel puts it in this remarkable biographical study, an 'assemblage of paradoxes embodied in one body.' That the Baroness knew and inspired or inspiringly repelled nearly everyone associated with the rise of modernist practice in New York has been already part of the story, but it has never been so richly detailed. In Gammel's presentation the Baroness emerges as far more than an ingenue. She became a mature, self-conscious dynamic artistic force--and remarkably productive in her own right, not despite but because she exhausted herself up from the inside out."

a book launch event in which the book was re-published




Back on April 21, Danny Snelson, Tan Lin and others spread themselves across the entire first floor of the Writers House to produce an on-the-spot re-publication event around Tan's Seven Controlled Vocabularies (Wesleyan, 2010).

"Edit: Performing Networked Publishing," organized by Danny, focused on editorial strategies and textual conditions in contemporary writing. It was a roving events series exploring innovative performances, critical archiving, and live editing toward an exploration of editorial activity in contemporary writing and the arts. Featuring a team of poet-editors including Chris Alexander, Alejandro Crawford, Kareem Estefan, J. Gordon Faylor, Kristen Gallagher, Lawrence Giffin, Diana Hamilton, Eddie Hopely, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Patrick Lovelace, Jeremy Thompson, Sara Wintz, and Al Filreis accompanying Tan Lin in the re-publishing of SCV on the spot in a variety of formats. The event began at 1pm, with a reception and Q&A; that happened at 6pm. The works to be published include "Handmade book, PDF, lulu.com, Appendix, Powerpoint, Kanban Board/Post-Its, Blurbs, Dual Language (Chinese/English) Edition, micro lecture, Selectric II interview, wine/cheese reception, Q&A; (xerox) and a film.

goodbye Arlen, hello Ike

You like Ike. I like Ike. Everybody likes Ike. Ike for President, Ike for President. We'll take Ike to Washington. Hang out the banners, beat the drum, we'll take Ike to Washington. You like Ike. I like Ike. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their country. Ike for President, Ike for President, Ike for President, Ike for President....

It's a gem. A thirty-second television ad from the 1952 campaign. Yesterday, arriving home after voting against Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary election, I thought it might be apt to honor mindlessly for a few minutes the candidate who didn't know what party he belonged to until not long before he declared his candidacy for the presidency, whose centrism was real, whose legislative record had been nil, and whose campaign (quite aside from his Vice Prez choice) was innocent to the point of silliness. Then I washed my hands, cleaned out the hallway closet, and breathed the cool late-spring air. Ready to have my political lungs filled up again with the usual soot.

Anthony, Nate, Greg

From left to right: Anthony DeCurtis, Nate Chinen, and Greg Djanikian. Nate, my (and Greg's) former student and later a Kelly Writers House staffer, is now a regular music critic for the New York Times. See his NYT pieces.