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Jerome Sala
New York City
I've got 2 blogs: "Espresso Bongo" is on poetry and the culture at large. "Direct Hits" covers creative ideas and trends in Direct Response Advertising.
Interests: music, film, advertising, politics, poetry, literary criticism, cultural theory, Direct Response advertising, Direct Marketing.
Recent Activity
If you're in town, please stop by! Where and When: ZINC BAR Sunday, May 7th, 5-7PM 82 W. 3rd Street NYC Who and What: Three poets read to celebrate their new books: David Lehman New Book: Poems in the Manner of... (Scribner) David Lehman is the series editor of The Best American Poetry, and is also the editor of the Oxford Book of American Poetry. His other books of poetry include New and Selected Poems, Yeshiva Boys, When a Woman Loves a Man, and The Daily Mirror. His most recent nonfiction book is Sinatra’s Century. He teaches at The New... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at espresso bongo
In addition to bravura performances, the Feud miniseries offers surprising insights into our current political mood. Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2017 at espresso bongo
What the filmmakers of "Arrival" added to Ted Chiang's novella, "The Story of Your Life", is just as intriguing as the original tale, especially in light of the 2016 U.S. election. Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2016 at espresso bongo
Yes, I know the arthritis poem. Never heard of the "potato" remedy before reading it there!
Thanks, Paul. Sure are a lot of interesting new forms of "realism" springing up in the last few years. Hope we see you soon!
Laura Riding's poem "Beyond", offers a fascinating meditation on how our words can't keep up with our experiences. Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2016 at espresso bongo
Recently, a TV spot for Toyota's Tacoma (a pickup truck) caught my eye. Its combination of music, sound effects and imagery prompted all sorts of warlike and post-apocalyptic associations in my mind. Check it out: You probably recognize the score that these truckers sing along with -- Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." The same tune was used in an iconic movie scene: the helicopter assault in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Film blogger B. Ruby Rich once wrote about the film that, in it, Coppola was "playing at war with all the passion of a schoolboy, relishing its spectacle." With... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2016 at espresso bongo
GEICO's iconic campaigns offer some valuable insights on integrating Direct Response with Brand Advertising. They also show how to keep your offer fresh, year after year, even if it doesn't change. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2016 at Direct Hits
Thanks all! Wanted to mention that there's also a technical brilliance to Lally's book -- specifically the way he puts his own stamp on the Sonnet form. David Lehman covers this in his review, here:
Have you seen the recent Sanders commercial, scored to Simon & Garfunkel? Wondering, might he be a rebirth of 60s energy -- or is he something new, altogether?
The final poem of Michael Lally's moving new collection, Swing Theory, keeps coming back to my mind. I think this is because it illustrates so well what's uniquely cool about poetic thinking. Check it out: SWING THEORY: 5 When I first read about string theory I thought What about swing theory? The ways the uni- verse is secretly governed by the same laws that sparked The Big Band Swing era, park swings and taking a swing at something or someone. I thought of "Swinging on a Star" or Swing Time I mean the ways reality swings not just in the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2016 at espresso bongo
Recently, a wonderfully witty and satiric book of poetry came my way -- Paul Fericano's The Hollywood Catechism. Among other things, it takes a playful look at the way celebrity worship almost resembles a religion. Here's the first poem: The Actor's Creed I believe in Brando, the Godfather of enormous weight, creator of mumbling and angst, and in James Dean, his only ward, our Jim, who was sold into celluloid by Jack Warner, born of the hustler Strasberg, suffered under Rock Hudson, was speeding, died, and nominated; descended into gossip hell; and on his third film was chosen again from... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at espresso bongo
Wallace Stevens' essay on Marianne Moore suggests how poetic vision can breath life into the often dull world of prosaic fact. Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2015 at espresso bongo
A.R. Ammons' poem, Sphere, seems to predict, poetically, the concept of "memes," which Richard Dawkins invented a few years later. Ammons' poem also points ahead to the fascination around the idea cultural evolution. Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2015 at espresso bongo
William Bronk's poem about changelessness is oddly relevant for a time like ours, supposedly marked by rapid transformation. Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at espresso bongo
I hadn't thought of the ideological spin on the fact that these characters are born with these powers, but, of course, you're right. This fact does a lot to temper any rebellious aspects of these flicks. I wonder what you think of The Hunger Games? I remember a review in The Nation, I think, which made the point that the movies of this franchise are vague enough so that any sector of the political spectrum can read what they want into them...
Interview by Tony Trigilio with Jerome Sala on his new book of poems, The Cheapskates. Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at espresso bongo
I see your point: the dinosaur movie is a kind of "faith in nature" (within limits, as you mention), vs. the superhero as faith, ultimately, in technology. Both myths, it seems, are compelling enough to draw the kind of crowds needed to fund blockbusters. In this context, I wonder what you think of the X-Men franchise? As I remember it, these heroes are born with their powers -- they're evolutionary anomalies, freaks of nature -- and it's because of these talents their society hates them. In part, of course, the films are designed to appeal to adolescent angst, but it's interesting that the heroes end up defending the very society that rejected them. One way to read this: like so much in pop culture, the freak flag is allowed to fly at the beginning of the film, but by the end, it's recuperated -- and ends up a sign of patriotism. Any thoughts on these flicks?
Thanks! Your comment has me wondering what these cognitive-science oriented literary scholars would do with other Koans. Could be fascinating...
In a recent issue of Poetry Magazine, I came across a translation (by Suji Kwock Kim and Sunja Kim Kwock) of a poem by Korean poet Ko Un. It caught my eye because, in a few brief lines, the poem created a whole, mysterious imaginative world. EAR Someone's coming from the other world. Hiss of night rain. Someone's going there now. The two are sure to meet. One way to read this poem is as a reflection on birth and death. A sort of balance is envisioned; one person leaves the world, another one comes (or perhaps returns). What interests... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at espresso bongo
Very happy to be reading with Elaine and Ray, Saturday, 11/15 at 6PM. Info: POETRY READING: Elaine Equi Jerome Sala Ray DiPalma AT: Studio 26 Gallery 179 East 3rd St. (between Ave A & B) Saturday, 11/15 6 PM Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2014 at espresso bongo
Yeah, that whole area of speech used more as a gesture than to communicate the meaning of words -- of sending a message through tone, noise even -- is fascinating. This must have something to do with the fact that a lot of times you can't understand the words of some pop/rock song, yet it carries its message none-the-less...
Barbara, thanks for the insight on dog language. The symbiotic side of what you're saying is fascinating to me; the fact that humans become "pack" leaders adds another dimension to this poem (the poet and dogs really can speak to each other). I just came across this free online book, by noted cultural critic Dona Haraway, titled When Species Meet. You might find it interesting:
Recently, I came across a Philip Whalen poem that offered an amusing example of interspecies communication. Check it out: The Turn Walking along Elm Road Handful of nasturtiums, butter, some kind of bread 75¢ the loaf no advertising included Bread and air and a price tag wrapped in plastic The dogs come out as usual to roar at me I find myself screeching wildly in reply Fed up with suppressing my rage and fear I bellow and roar The dogs are scared and their people scandalized "What are you trying to do? HAY! What are you trying to do?" I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2014 at espresso bongo
In the film Godzilla, the monster saves not only the earth, but the entertainment industry. Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at espresso bongo