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Damon McLaughlin
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For my last trick this week, I’m going to write about some ideas I had when at Toad Hall. I think we were talking about Flarf and Language poetry when one of us—or maybe I thought of this after the fact . . . I can’t remember—voiced a unique theory on their origins: so many resources and years and years of traditions and movements had become available to us poets, we suddenly had to dump the excess. That is to say—we had to use the excess, even if it was garbage, because it was there and we could. These movements,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
The Chicago Marathon is just around the corner on October 9. My brother and his wife will be running it. I think they’re crazy. But, because my plans to hear Charles Alexander of Chax Press talk about Emily Dickinson last night fell through, I find myself thinking about running and not about Dickinson. I was thinking of writing about Carl Philips, Kay Ryan as inheritors of her poetics, of maybe linking that to last night’s aforementioned The Big Read kickoff, but alas. I’m thinking instead of marathons. The closest I’ve come to running a marathon was this summer when I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Interesting you bring up Wittgenstein -- I'm pretty sure Boroditzky mentions that exact statement in her lecture. And thanks for the comment, Leslie.
In his initial discussion of tone languages in Music, Language, and the Brain, Aniriddh D. Patel writes briefly of the Chinantec, an indigenous people of southern Mexico, who utilize a whistled speech in addition to their tonal, spoken word. They use whistle combinations “of tone and stress distinctions to communicate messages with minimal ambiguity.” And he’s not talking about a hey! or an over here! or some ridiculous catcall. He’s suggesting they actually have a whistle language. Patel quotes D.P. Foris, a linguist who has studied the Chinantec: Virtually anything that can be expressed by speech can be communicated by... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Sure, I don't see why not. Really, the self is beside the point, so "not knowing" probably isn't that big of a concern... although I personally find it handy to discover where "I" stand in a piece so I can push my self to the side and get down to the real business of poem making. That's usually when I make my best revisions -- when I have no attachments to the writing, as though the self/original-maker of the poem is no longer present.
Couldn't agree more. I don't think poets need be particularly emo, and I don't think poets particularly want to read emo--at least I don't.
A few days ago, poet Cameron Scott sent out an email that asked “What role should ‘the self’ play in a poem? In other words should a poem be about the self as little as possible, or what the heck, it’s all about me?” He’s a contributing editor for CheekTeeth, the blog for Trachodon Magazine, and is looking to incorporates responses into a future post. With his permission, I asked that I respond here at Best American Poetry. And this is what I have to say. In some ways, I feel like the issue is moot, yet it must be... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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When my mother and I were recently, briefly in Boston, she wouldn’t try oysters. We’d been in New Hampshire at Toad Hall (see previous post), and that day Legal Harborside was our final destination before we headed out. We had just enough time for lunch before returning our rental car and catching our planes. Like my mother, I too had never tried oysters before Legal, but with rare exception I am a seafood lover and always have been. When I was a kid, I once ate some 30 individual pieces of fish at a fish fry: bluegill, crappie, walleye, bullhead—whatever... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
Thank you, Maria. And (I can't resist) I'll be here all week ; )
Thank you, Grace.
Thank you, Leslie. You said it exactly.
Thanks, Terence.
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I was listening to a lecture at the Poetry Foundation the other day when I jotted down this little Brenda Hillman tidbit: “For the lover of poetry, there is a disequilibrium between himself and the world that nothing satisfies but poetry.” For one of my posts here, I was going to write about the manic state, itself an imbalance, into which poetry can thrust me, the effects of such a state, and to discuss that state in terms of writer’s process. Then I heard Hillman and was like—that’s it, that’s what I was hoping to say. My wife, who is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2011 at The Best American Poetry
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Hey Leslie. Interesting insights into the judging of this year's contest, and I like how you describe (in part 1) White's poems as having a simultaneous Zen sensibility and postmodern worldview -- paradoxical, to my understanding. Looking forward to the book when it releases.
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Sep 7, 2011