Commentaries - October 2012

All the Whiskey in Heaven: Selected Poems -- Salt Publishing UK edition

Salt Publishing has just released the British edition of All the Whiskey in Heaven.  Also available at Amazon/UK. While the text is the same as the U.S. edition, there is a new cover, with a painting by Susan Bee -- Blue Ladies (2006, 11 x 14") (collection: Michael Davidson).

“Charles Bernstein uses words as a surgeon uses a scalpel. He strips away the skin and cuts to the bone to reveal reality and—ultimately—to heal. This essential collection from 30 years of cutting edge work will confirm Bernstein as our true poet laureate—the voice of a new generation.” —John Zorn

The age of plastic

The death of typography

Apple iBooks announcement, October 2012
Apple iBooks announcement, October 2012

There was a time when the Apple Macintosh computer was known for its graphic design style. Excellent typography was part of the Macintosh mystique, perhaps deriving from Steve Jobs’s time spent in a calligraphy class at college. Well, Steve is gone, and so is the typography. Read this, and weep.

At the recent (23 October 2012) Macworld event in the California Theatre in downtown San Jose, California, we were treated to the release of iBooks, Apple’s software product that allows writers and publishers to create, sell and buy their own e-books. Apple CEO Tim Cook began his iBooks demo with a brief overview on the iBookstore, noting that customers have downloaded more than 400 million books. The iBooks app is ‘one of the most popular apps on the store,’ said Cook, before outlining the enhancements in the new version, iBooks 3.0.

Alas, the engineers who designed the program and the people who designed the presentation of the new version of it share a dirty little secret: they don’t actually read books, or magazines, or newspapers. What do they read? Nothing, it seems. And here’s why…

Short Takes on the Long Poem

Auckland, New Zealand, poetry conference

New Zealand map, text by John Tranter
New Zealand map, text by John Tranter

I left Sydney at dawn on Wednesday 28 March 2012 headed South-east over the Tasman Sea, aiming for New Zealand, on an Emirates A380 Airbus, a massive double-decker airplane that drives like an aircraft carrier full of warm mud.

I had been invited to attend the Short Takes on the Long Poem symposium at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, right at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean. If you look South-west into the setting sun from San Diego and fly at thirty thousand feet for fourteen hours, there it is. From Sydney you do the opposite, more or less, except that is a much shorter trip.
You can read hundreds of pages of poems and commentary and see dozens of sparkling photos on my Main Site here.

Charlie Morrow at Kelly Writers House

Charlie Morrow. Photograph by Sophia Ciocco.

Charlie Morrow visited the Kelly Writers House recently and gave a packed house quite a performance. As usual, of course, he got us involved in making meaning of “mere” sound. The program is further described here. Soon — but not yet — links to both the audio and video recordings will be available at that page and also at PennSound.