Friday, October 08, 2004

*adding a new link to the links-list on the sidebar*: Halvard Johnson

To the links-list of weekly readings for the course I'm adding some great reading at this blog, "Entropy and Me." It's a new blog from a well known contemporary poetic innovator, Halvard Johnson, who lives in NYC with his wife, the artist Lynda Schor.

Hal has a new e-book out from the Non-linear Dynamics blogger, Jukka Kervinen, who publishes the xPressed line of e-books and book-books (!). Hal's e-book is "G(e)nome," and can be checked out via this link.

There is also some fine work of Hal's at the website he shared with Lynda the Halvard and Lynda website --so that address can be bookmarked for reading and reference, as well.

on Sandy McIntosh's prose poem, "With Ignatow":

I want to comment at length here on how very much I like the Sandy McIntosh work in the latest issue (# 2) of Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics. To my mind, it's highly provocative for student writers of all genres, so I want to post some of it here.

I'm also very happy to note here for Y'all that Sandy McIntosh and Eileen Tabios will be here to read for my Poetry_Heat series in UTA's Spring Semester, Mar 3-6, as well as to give a presentation on publishing, at the UTA Writing Center. We're also planning a road trip to Austin, so stay tuned on all that...

Sandy's poem, "With Ignatow," is about various encounters with North American poet, David Ignatow (1913-1998), a few of whose poems can be found at this link on Webdelsol. Ignatow was known to be very definitely a unique thinker and writer, one who called it as he saw it and settled for no less along with commanding not only great respect, but great affection, as well. Sandy's poem shines with this problematic (not in the sense of problem but in the sense of conundrum, sets of contradictions that may not be resolveable, and may not need to be).

An excerpt follows here, but I hope Y'all will seek out your copy of Sentence and read the entire piece, as well as the rest of this outstanding issue. I confess I have been reading it non-stop for several days now--the variety, the range, the quality of work is outstanding in this issue. I'm honored to have my review of Eileen's fine book, Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole, in such an excellent mix that is representative of some of the best of contemporary prose poetry and criticism.

Here is the excerpt from Sandy's much longer Sentence work, each section crisp and exquisite--ultimately an epideictic tribute to David Ignatow--"With Ignatow" :


I stopped off at his house with a new poem I wanted him to see.

“He’s teaching today,” said his wife. “But come sit at the typewriter in my studio and wait for him.”

In the next room I could hear a radio announcing the death of General Eisenhower. She was surprised. “I thought he’d been dead for years.”

We listened together as the announcer read off a complex list of funerary events. She remarked on how chilling it all was. “They couldn’t wait for him to drop dead.”

That gave me an idea. She encouraged me to use her typewriter. “Go ahead,” she said. “Type all you want.”

My father had admired Eisenhower and always voted Republican. At his death I’d been fascinated with the preparations for the funeral, especially the process of embalming the corpse. I was thinking as much of my own father’s funeral as of Eisenhower’s while I worked at the typewriter.

He returned from teaching in an acrimonious mood. After supper (canned salmon on dry lettuce, water), he motioned me to hand him the poem.

I gave him the one I’d arrived with something I’d worked on for weeks. This, I wanted him to know, was finally the real thing.

He made chomping sounds, cleaning his teeth with his tongue as he read. When he looked up it was with a sour expression. “This is crap,” he pronounced. “Why are you wasting your time with this garbage? You can write better than that.”

I was devastated. I couldn’t breathe. I felt as if he’d shoved me backwards through the wall; that I was being pinned somewhere within the airless beams of the house.

“Come on,” he chided. “You can talk. You’re not going to die.”

But I couldn’t talk, his condemnation so forceful, unexpected. To play for time, I opened my notebook and offered up the new poem I’d written about Eisenhower. It wasn’t much. I’d just been having fun with it. But that’s all I had.

He grabbed it. His expression softened and he looked up from the typewritten sheet. “Now, this is something,” he said. “This should be published. Why didn’t you show me this the first time?


~~~~~~~~~prose poem copyright of Sandy McIntosh~~~~~~~~~~