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Brian Bouldrey
Chicago, IL
Brian Bouldrey is the author of 7 books and teaches writing and literature at Northwestern University.
Interests: Don Martin's comic book noises, JoAnne Worley's "Whoopee", Ronald Firbank's fluffernut novels, honky tonk (Red Meat), opera (Britten), rock and/or roll (The Pixies), Truffaut's "400 Blows", Joe Dante's "Gremlins 2: The New Batch", Calatrava's bridges, Le Corbusier's Habitacions, cafeteria Catholicism, frisbee liberalism.
Recent Activity
Oh,thank YOU, Jane, and if readers suspect a little bit of logrolling, you're probably right--take a look at the conversation I had with the most enthusiastic of us all, Jane, Jane:
It was my pleasure! Let's do it again some time. Meanwhile, all my eyes are on Jericho Brown and his postings! Thanks to everybody who put up with me!
I'm glad--Creeley and his big g-d car and you are a couple of my favorite enthusiasts! MAAAHK WEH-BAH!
7 All Right, That’s Enough When I was a kid, one of the albums in my parents’ record collection was Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”. I would sit listen to it and stare at that cover, the lovely lady Redi-Whipped into a strumpet parfait (incidentally, that was shaving cream on her, mostly, which is something to remember as an artist when you are trying to be “realistic”—artistic truth is made of something other than). My mother must have had an egg timer set in the kitchen, because while I was allowed to look at that album, there were... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
6. What Mozart and Mike Tyson Have in Common Everybody loves the play “Amadeus”, but I don’t. First of all, the story of Antonio Salieri recognizing the genius of Mozart, and being the only one to do so in a world full of mooks who wouldn’t know genius if it hit them with too many notes, and deciding to spend a lifetime to destroy true genius—that’s not only historically untrue, as far as earth history is concerned, it’s not even emotionally or epistemologically true, as far as earth humanity understands it. Ruskin and I love the grotesque in art, but... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
As the kids these days say, "LOL", Shelley. It's a good idea, but who will fetch me my coffee?
5. This Posting is Ruskin-Free Here is a story from my life as a teacher at a university with very serious students. Since I've gotten everybody into a churchy mood, I will step into the posting pulpit. Enthusiasms 5:1-8 And it came to pass in those days that one of my disciples, one of those of the occident, dispatched unto me an email begging dispensation, saying, “I’m, like, chairing the dance marathon? And one of our big sponsors? They can only do lunch today? And I need to leave class early?” And you may ask, was this a request or... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Don’t miss Brian Bouldrey’s provocative one-week class where you’ll explore how to banish clichés and discover refreshing new approaches to nature and environmental writing. This class is open to all who have one nature-writing sample to share in the workshop. A great cross-genre experience with discussions of environmental poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Environmental Writing January 30 - February 3, 2012 Class Size: 15 $500 Level: 1-week Intensive Click here to apply for this workshop There are subgenres of creative nonfiction based on form (familiar essay, memoir), and there are those labeled according to subject (travel, science, food, cultural criticism). With... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
4 At Play with the Overly Revealed of the Lord To a certain point, Ruskin celebrated the “booby capital-ism”, too. And see here how he wasn't against "pee-pee capital-ism", either. File under: The Grotesque. Grotesqueness was one of the six things, along with changefulness, savageness, rigidity, redundancy, and naturalism, R-Tool admired in gothic architecture in The Stones of Venice. If I am tolerated to return as a guest-blogger in the future, my plan is to discuss each of these six things as they manifest themselves in good poetry. For the rest of this week, I’ll focus on “grotesqueness”. Grotesque: grotto-esque.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Yes, yes! This is a thing I'm getting at--it's that "sunglasses on" posture that inevitably ossifies into something creeky and merely ironic (and I think we can all agree that there's a big difference between "irony" and "merely ironic"). Enthusiasm is nude waterskiing and Byron with a hangover so bad he has to write "We'll go no more a-roving" about it and liking both language poetry and formal poetry. King David would have loved the internet.
3. No Pain, No Gain Okay, so what if we just say “enthusiasm” is not the most serious part of making or observing art? I am as guilty as anyone of pushing the serious aspect of art. When I speak of my principle influences as a writer, I say Iris Murdoch, or John Ruskin. But what I really want to say is Joanne Worley (“Whoopee!”) and Don Martin, that MAD magazine cartoonist. “Art is not cozy and it is not mocked,” says Iris Murdoch at the end of The Black Prince, “it sheds the light by which all human things... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
2. You Kids Get Off My Lawn Don’t be afraid of John Ruskin. Just think of him as I do, shouting at the neighbor kids who are on his lawn (it’s also useful to think of him as one of the early Game Board Throwers; I get the sense from his writing that he would spend a lot of time playing an aggressive game of Monopoly or Risk, have all of his armies in Australia and Asia or a dozen hotels on Park Place, and suddenly just pick up the board and hurl it across the room. Think of him... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Humility, Concentration, and Gusto. Okay, Mostly Gusto. Poetry is a serious subject. But I am not a serious poet. I am not a poet at all. I am a reader of poetry. Don’t get me wrong: I studied poetry and wrote poetry. Alan Shapiro was once my mentor, and he wrote on a poem, “Brian, this is a foolish piece of work; you have the attention span of a hyperkinetic three year old.” I have cobbled this assessment into a career. But what I lack in seriousness, I make up for with enthusiasm, and this is what my blog intends... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Dec 2, 2011