on the so craze

For a time, about two years ago, I so thought that my students were mainly the ones putting so somewhat randomly in front of verbs - between subject and verb - but now as an addicted listener to news and culture podcasts I realize that everyone is so doing it. It's an intensifer for the most part. Inserting "very much" in the same spot would have done it 50-75 years ago. I very much want you to come visit me. And sometimes "so very much." So I'm not against so, since it's succinct and even dramatic. The stronger the verb the better the effect. Weak verbs, and to-be verbs make me less a fan. I am so against that. And negatives, in the same grammar: I am so not with you on that point. Now find a two-word subject pronoun ("We all," which is a rarely used first-person plural form of "you all") and stick "so" between them and one of those weak verbs ("have") and you've got a sign Linh Dinh saw recently and snapped for his blog. All I can say is, they'd so better be friendly.

Jack on Long Island

Last year, the folks at went out to Northport, Long Island, where Jack Kerouac lived from 1958 through 1964. In a 5-minute video, one of the two poetryvlog producers, George Harris, takes us on a tour of the town, which was in the midst of a community celebration at the time. A general holiday it was, into which honor due Jack fits as a small part in the municipal unconscious. (Ah, Long Island.) Here's your link to the the video and here's the link to the blog entry.

tapeworm foundry on KWH-TV

an opening for TAPEWORM
a collaborative exhibition based on Darren Wershler-Henry's
The Tapeworm Foundry (and/or the dangerous prevalence of imagination)

Thursday, 11/20 at 7PM
Kelly Writers House | 3805 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

This event will be webcast live: find out more by clicking here.

Tapeworm is a collaboration of art projects radiating from a writing piece by Canadian artist Darren Wershler-Henry, The Tapeworm Foundry (andor the dangerous prevalence of imagination). The text is available on UbuWeb. The Tapeworm Foundry is an intriguing instance of conceptual writing, faithfully formulaic but also unusually compelling in its fruition: a single rambling, unpunctuated sequence of possible projects, ranging from quirky to absurd to highly ambiguous and all largely allusive of the twentieth century avant-garde. The potential 'instructions' that comprise Tapeworm, linked by the pulsating conjunction 'andor', are themselves mini-premises for a thousand other projects, making the 50-page list the ultimate conceptual catalyst.

This exhibition challenges a group of young contemporary artists and writers at Penn to realize some of Wershler-Henry's hypothetical instructions. The Penn students and graduates participating in the exhibition include: Grace Ambrose, Joyce Lee, Ned Eisenberg, Vladimir Zykov, Kimberly Eisler, Artie Vierkant, John Carroll, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Arielle Brousse, Manya Scheps, Brooke Palmieri, Nick Salvatore, Robin McDowell, Sofie Hodara, Cecilia Corrigan, and Thomson Guster, with assistance from James La Marre and Trisha Low. Curated by Kaegan Sparks. There will be a limited quantity of complimentary exhibition catalogues available at the opening. Please email for more information.

on your holiday list

A short but sweet review of my recent book appeared yesterday on Tom Devaney's blog, here. Upon which one reader commented: "On my holiday list!" (Yes, go ahead, shop this depressed season!)

At the North Carolina Press site you can buy your copy easily.

wide circulation

Our 12th PoemTalk show is being released this week. Here it is. You've not heard PoemTalk yet? Well, it's 25 minutes of talk about a single poem. Tightly focused talk at moments, but mostly rather loose. Which is why I say "a close, but not too close, reading of a poem." Some poems are left largely unsaid by us by the end, but for some few poems we're really able, it seems, to cover the ground. I think we cover most of the ground this time, talking about Ezra Pound's broadly satiric - and wonderfully performative - early poem, "Cantico del Sole." Give a listen and let me know (afilreis [at] writing [dot] upenn [dot] edu) what you think. The thought of what America would be like if PoemTalk had a wide circulation. (I don't flatter myself.)