Friday, October 09, 2015

Martin Bauman Painting/"lighght" and Pat Nolan/ Daniel Y. Harris of XPeri Interview/2 Ed Coletti Poems/

Martin Bauman 2015 Watercolor

Pat Nolan on Minimalist Poetry and Aram Saroyan's "lighght"

My friend Pat Nolan is one terrific poet who is well known in many circles and should be wider known and appreciated in all.  Pat recently wrote a terrific piece on minimalism in his witty newsletter, Parole.  He featured Aram Saroyan's poem "lighght" reproduced above and in full!
I most strongly recommend that you read this piece in full!  You will thank me!

For starters, permit me to quote from Nolan's article:

To: The Membership & Interested Parties From: The Parole Officer, NBBPS Subject: A Conceptual Roundtable

Fortuitous accident, chance, a throw of the dice, a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, call it what you will, is a kind of backdoor inspiration. Suddenly the sagging universe is given a shot of irony and the range of possibility is expanded.  Subsequent attempts at explanation or analysis are invariably misguided, overwrought, tiresome, and mostly miss the intent of the randomly generated.

Minimalist poetry is a poetry of opportunity, like finding a lucky penny on a rain wet sidewalk.  As Basho, no slouch as a minimalist himself, states “The basis of art is change in the universe.”  In this case, it is spare change.

A list of modern Minimalist poets or poets who have put into practice Minimalist tenets would have to include Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Robert Lax, Ivan Akhmetyev, Mikhail Faynerman, Alexsandr Makarov-Krotov, John M. Bennett, Lillian Van Den Broeck, Robert Grenier, Clark Coolidge, David Gitin, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Tom Raworth, Robert  Creeley, Ed Dorn, G.P. Skratz, judi goldberg, Eric Johnson, Pat Nolan, Steven Lavoie, Alastair Johnston, and that barely scratches the surface. The Dave Morice/Joyce Holland minimalist/conceptualist collaborations, especially their one word poetry magazine, Matchbook, the tiny pages of which were stapled to the inside of an actual matchbook, cannot be overlooked.  Anselm Hollo, Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Darrell Gray used aspects of minimalist and conceptualist strategies that have now worked their way into the contemporary poetry skill set. And then there’s Aram “my arms are warm” Saroyan, whose one word poem, lighght, generated an awful lot of literary and political heat for such a tiny morpheme, particularly because the poem received an NEA award of $500 in 1965 which back then was real money.

Whether it is the appropriation of an object or a typo, the effect is the same, the recognition of an inherent absurdity and its specific ironic gravity.  And depending on its critical mass, it continues to hold attention and be assimilated.  What Marcel Duchamp taught with his appropriation of a urinal designated Fountain was conceptual as well as minimalist.  Certainly by the piece’s singularity in attracting attention that still resonates to this day, it was conceptual; by the fact of the negligible expenditure of effort in its actualization, it was minimalist.  Saroyan’s poem exists within the same framework: conceptual with a minimum of effort.

Not all discussion about the controversy surrounding the validity of Saroyan’s poem as a poem and the political furor that ensued is enlightened as the appropriation of this random sampling of opinion shows.  It is, however, authentic and a median indication of relative sophistication.  Think of it as a chorus of voices attempting dialogue in a crowded room. 
Caution: some of the opinions expressed can cause despair, sarcasm, ridicule, and bouts of disgust.  Trying to explain the meaning of a poem or poetry is often the playing field of platitudes as the following discussion more than amply illustrates.

—The Parole Officer

 Now, enjoy the full article

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Interview With Daniel Y. Harris of XPeri

 I knew the very erudite, interesting, and sometimes outlandish poet Daniel Y. Harris when he lived in California.  Now Daniel charicteristically comes to us with the incredibly interesting and important blog site x-peri.  This month, I conducted the following short interview with Daniel.  First, here is a brief biography.

Daniel Y. Harris is the author of The Underworld of Lesser Degrees (NYQ Books, 2015) Esophagus Writ (with Rupert M. Loydell, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2014), Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Cervena Barva Press, 2013), The New Arcana (with John Amen, NYQ Books, 2012), Paul Celan and the Messiah’s Broken Levered Tongue (with Adam Shechter, Cervena Barva Press, 2010; picked by The Jewish Forward as one of the 5 most important Jewish poetry books of 2010) and Unio Mystica (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009). Some of his poetry, experimental writing, art, and essays have been published in BlazeVOX, Denver Quarterly, European Judaism, Exquisite Corpse, The New York Quarterly, In Posse Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine and Poetry Salzburg Review. He holds an M.Div from The Divinity School at The University of Chicago where he specialized in the history and hermeneutics of religion, and wrote his thesis on The Zohar. His website is

1.  Daniel, when did you and I meet and what were you doing in Santa Rosa (with dogs etc)

I met you Ed in 2008 through a mutual friend, the Santa Rosa-based poet and playwright, David Beckman, at a poetry event you hosted in Santa Rosa. At that time, I was the Northwest Regional Director of Development for Canine Companions for Independence, headquartered in Santa Rosa. If memory serves, the night we met David brought a service dog in training to the reading. He and his wife Sharon had been longtime CCI Puppy Raisers and Board Members.  

2.  Where are you now and what are you doing?

After 27 years in California (San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Windsor, Sacramento, Orange and Tustin), I have moved back to Boston. I have very fond memories of Boston, as Boston was the first American city that I moved to after being born and living in Paris. I have immersed myself in the Boston and Cambridge poetry scenes. I just recently published my 6th collection of poetry entitled The Underworld of Lesser Degrees (NYQ Books, 2015) and have been doing readings. My 7th collection of poetry, The Co-Ordinates of Doubt, co-authored with Rupert M. Loydell (The Knives Forks and Spoon Press), is due out in early 2016 in England. Currently, I have just completed a manuscript entitled The Rapture of Eddy Daemon. This manuscript is comprised of 154 post-human sonnets as homage to Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. I am submitting these sonnets now to national and international journals, with the hope of publishing the manuscript as a book in 2016.

3. What is Blue Jew Yorker?

The wonderful “Blue Jew Yorker” was the brainchild of the New York-based poet Adam Shechter. Adam and I co-authored The Messiah’s Broken Levered Tongue: An Exponential Dyad (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). It was picked by “The Jewish Forward” as one of the 5 most important books of Jewish poetry for 2010. The webzine was live from 2008 to 2012. I became Assistant Editor in 2010. We published cutting edge Jewish and non-Jewish poetry.

4. What is X-Peri and where do you see it going?

X-Peri is the new movement of our time. X-Peri assembles experimental poetry, hybrids, essays, prose, and post-human philosophies. We are the new DADA of the digital age. X-Peri is edited by Gloria Mindock, Irene Koronas, Tim Suermondt, Pui Ying Wong and Daniel Y. Harris. X-Peri is currently a blog, a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. We will be launching a webzine in the next few months and are planning to perform throughout the Boston/Cambridge area.

X-Peri can best be summarized by the following brief essay written by me and published by Doug Holder in The Somerville Times in September 2015.

In poetry’s narrative schism between the 20th and the 21st centuries, pre-lingual and post-lingual tropes vie for the dominance of a new poesis. The pre-lingual confesses. The post-lingual is post-digital and therefore post-human, now determined by Internet detritus. Human beings can now be created out of the refuse of bandwidth. The poetic self is now a digit, an algorithm invented as a bot. Figures are now the boolean crisis of traditional form. To confess is to blog a confession from the spontaneous viral media of annihilation. The original self is an avatar of post-humanity, quicker than the emptied quick of the spammed full. Malicious software spread diseases of hyperlinks. Vessels break to account for another unbreakable form. The text is shattered like glass. The libido,
ripe as anthropoid fertility, conjures the last Hebraic hermeneutics.  

Post-humanity will/has broken authorial intent. Spiritus, geist and neshamah have become the codes of Emerson’s “transparent eyeball.”  Normative narratives will not relent to purple mold and the affected seasons of self. There are no confessions in post-humanity. Pellicles will evoke the future as a golemic rise of the dark prompt. Now, the hagiography is broken from She, who births a new catastrophe-creation myth as untested experiment. Place will be severed from reference. Acrostic Kabbalah will trumpet the new era. Why, ask the professors of belatedness? Because the future agon will be an ur-femmed account of creation. This pilfering of humanity is not unoriginal genius, but rather a mock arriere-gardism, now committed to recovering the new format of disregarded predecessors. Then, the rabblement will be aroused to poke through platitudes seeking the hybrid, clad in its multi-genre glam. Gray indifferences of moderation are computer viruses. Web nonce is paravisual.

The post-human archive will betray region when invention is an android Tetragrammaton. Shattering. Severing. Hemorrhaging. Bifurcating. Decoding a rogue pastiche. Tradition and ancestral memory shatter like cheap alley glass. Notarikon and gematria vie for a registered domain. In this pivot of course there are no balms and bromides. Tradition is a hernia. Geography is a weakness of place and suspicious. The anthropoids never lived here, they never heard the monotonic chimes of recall. 

Thank you, Daniel.

Thank you, Ed! 

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2 Ed Coletti Poems

Epiphany Near San Francisco

“I am so jealous of color.”

- Patrick James Dunagan

Big blond girl


wearing yellow
moves me to pull over

recover, record
dandelion woman.

— cardiac arrested
                all unexpected.

                in Spillway Fall 2015

Steve Jobs’ Glasses

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him but
I will maintain mine own ways before him.
                                                Job 13:15

His sister Mona Simpson
revealing final words, how brother Steve
gazing beyond her suddenly exclaiming
“Oh Wow! Oh Wow! Oh Wow!”
never letting on quite what he’s seeing,
hearing, discovering — a place, ancestors?
the iPhone 17? the infinite iPad?
More wares hard and soft?
The beauty that heaven is
before being lost to a final judgment
Catholic theologians now describe as
separation from the presence of God,
the beatific vision from which
when the sentence prescribes absence
becomes the hell too subtle for Dante
who could only imagine ever-burning
smelly flesh being consequence enough
while dogmatists far more fiendish
describe a blindness, a banishment,
terminal absence of vision,
Jobs’ eyeglasses on the floor beneath
this horrifically silent bed.

In California Quarterly Fall/Winter 2014
  also in The Problem With Breathing (Edwin E. 
   Smith Publishing - Little Rock-2015) 
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