Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Friday March 6th! Armantrout and Sims!

Rae Armantrout’s most recent book of poetry, Versed, was published in Feb. of 2009. Next Life (Wesleyan, 2007), was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2007 by The New York Times. Other recent books include Collected Prose (Singing Horse, 2007), Up to Speed (Wesleyan, 2004), The Pretext (Green Integer, 2001), and Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001). Her poems have been included in anthologies such as American Hybrid (Norton, 2009), Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (1993), American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Language Meets the Lyric Tradition, (Wesleyan, 2002), The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford, 2006) and The Best American Poetry of 1988, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008.. Armantrout received an award in poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2007 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. She is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, San Diego.

Laura Sims is the author of two books of poems: Practice, Restraint, winner of the 2005 Fence Books Alberta Prize, and Stranger, forthcoming from Fence Books in 2009. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in Boston Review, New England Review, Rain Taxi, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction, and she has recently published poems in the journals Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, CAB/NET, and Crayon. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches writing at Baruch College in Manhattan.

Follow Up to Poets Theater: Installation for Letting Go By Lara Durback

To those that participated in letting go of something in my Ritual for Letting Go Tank installation on the first night of Poets Theatre, here is an update.
(If you did not know what this was, people wrote on a paper something they wanted to let go of and forcefully threw it into the tank after thinking about it for a while, walking on the concentrating path, as I played irritating tones on my toy keyboard.)
I had all the items sitting in a bag for a few weeks gathering strange energy with very strong magnets that were originally in the bottom of the tank. On one spooky night, (called Burns' Night in Scotland, I later found in my roommate's witchy calendar, but it was for Robert Burns though. I thought it had much witchier intent than that) I snuck into my favorite parking lot/backyard where the lines from the fences make plinko shapes on the pavement in the moonlight. I removed the slips of paper that were rubber-banded to the objects in complete darkness, then burned all these pink papers in the dark without reading them. I did see one that said "Peepee Poopie" which made me laugh, and also made me mad, but I'm glad I did not see any of the serious ones. I put the pink papers in this lovely metal bowl thing as they burned. I took pictures of myself with my Photobooth on my Mac and I smelled like campfires all night.
I felt deliciously high after doing this, but completely depleted the next day. This is what happens when you're dealing with everyone's shit, but it is all for the better.
So if you dropped something in there, it's really gone now.
Oh, and did I mention, it was also the night right before Chinese New Year.
So, my people, you are healed now. For this whole year, you have been.
And to those who tripped and fell on my installation, esp. Erika Staiti and Morgan, I apologize. I didn't have time to fix it.
Sasha Spahr played with the pathway like legos. This was good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Preparation for Tonight!

Rachel Zolf's current project, The Neighbor Procedure, is title partly for the Israeli army policy described in this haunting testimony.

To read more about her work visit here and here and here.

Christian Bök will read from a variety of projects.

To read more about his work visit here and here.

See you tonight!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


What would the Iliad look like if rewritten using only one vowel? What happens to political poetry when channeled through the waste of corporate language and search engines? On February 20, Small Press Traffic presents Christian Bök and Rachel Zolf, two celebrated members of the Canadian avant-garde, who will read from their landmark, award-winning books.

Christian Bök's Eunoia was an instant bestseller in the U.K., where it was just released in the fall of 2008. First published in Canada in 2001, Eunoia is a univocal lipogram (using only one vowel per chapter), which achieves its full impact when performed live by Bök. Charles Bernstein has called it 'an exemplary monument for 21st century poetry.' Bök will be reading from the Griffin Prize-winning Eunoia, among other recent works.

Rachel Zolf's Human Resources is a writing machine in which poetry and ‘plain language’ collide. At the intersection of creation and repackaging, we experience the visceral and psychic cost of selling things with depleted words. Pilfered rhetorics fed into the machine are spit out as bungled associations among money, refuse, culture, work and communication. With the help of online engines that numericize language, Human Resources explores writing as a process of encryption. Zolf will read from Human Resources and her current work-in-progress on competing knowledges in Israel-Palestine, The Neighbour Procedure.

Small Press Traffic Presents Christian Bök and Rachel Zolf
Friday, February 20, 7:30 p.m.
Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco
$10 suggested donation

In Case You Missed It: A Reading Report by David Brazil

[[SPT READING REPORT, 2/6/2009]]

[[transcribed from [future] notebook No. 9049]]

[[KEY :

*** = page break
[ ] = transcribed brackets (written at time of composition)
[[ ]] = brackets subsequently inserted (editorial brackets)]]


At the reading, SPT.
Kaia & Yedda & Kim.

Brownies in the hallway

I'm sitting in the back row

[[drawings of cubes]]

Sara me Konrad Erika Buuck


Kaia, "Remember to Wave"

Directions read by
Samantha for how to get
to the poem.
"civil control


effects of the living"

"to that which can be carried"

"pods transform the hassle"

divagation into PODs,
if secularity proceeds
out of uprootedness,



"it may prove useful in a time
of emergency"

"alteration therefore are
not allowed"

"portable on-demand shelter"

"We Refugees" (Arendt)

people were living in the
during Katrina

David Buuck, Stephanie Young,
Konrad Steiner.

"free speech ends when
you shout fire in a crowded theatre
-- *but there is a fire*"

slides from Oregon Historical

dialectical tercets

liquidity --
profitable disaster -- what
happens when capital comes
to town --

rewrite gemeinschaft

only language from
starting *now* --

"with fine animal hair"

at lunch I was reading
Kit Robinson on the Dolch
Stanzas --
restricted vocabulary
which is also our
restricted common.
possibility of transfer --

but also with Jules & Taylor
was talking about
Marcus Rediker's "Slave


Ship," which made me think of
Zong!, composed from a
restricted vocabulary (from
court records relating to the
jettisoning of cargo from
the Zong, cargo which
happened to be human
beings) --
and whose
method's spectral, corrosive,
or brings elements into
relief, composes another
song out of the known one
as Radi Os
(Johnson says, "I composed
the holes," on the
model of Lukas Foss' Baroque
Variations, which turns
repertory warhorses into
reminiscent of Webern) --

why anyway now is redaction &
erasure a
crucial tactic,
why do we all know


what redaction means.

"the NAFTA"

"The President Probably Talks"

"who the president is
is shifting"

"my [[illegible]] voices are still talking"

litany of commodity,
commodity litany, & what
cant wedge into that grammar --

"somehow ... hears this"

Samantha's email to Yedda.
Yedda's email back.

Steven Farmer :
"I have no idea what's going on here."



[revisit Girl Scout Nation since the
lights were out during Yedda's
reading] [[see below]]

She had a vest & read by
the light of a Coleman
lantern, & wore a
hood for the middle segment of
the reading --

"I am burning like fire.
I am burning right now."
--Tiffany, age 8,
Troop 64.

Kim Rosenfield.
A scent she's
crafted is wafting its way from
the front of the audience,

"I am not only my
brother's keeper, I am
my brother"
--Samantha's introduction [written by Kim I understood later]


Sure, echolocation, sure.

Kim dedicates her reading to
Abraham Lincoln &
Charles Darwin,
who share a Feb. 12 birthday.

Landscapes of Dissent
of Man,
joked Konrad, earlier.

"sex organs
buried in the earth
beneath a living tree"

"every blank's like the
setting sun"

"the I would go so far as
to reinvent all language"

"economy as waste product"

"ontological and essentialist

"the lake of knowing"


lago di cor

"genderlicious genderbars"

"Vermont frogs
will never meet Florida frogs"

(as I'm writing this
the perfume baton
"The Other Me"
is handed to me by
Konrad & I
pass it on to Sara.

"People, are they different from

"Gender is datum and
we suffer for it."

"Almost the last thing
that keeps people together
is the law."


the vertigo of disgust.
"Sex is nature's trap."

"a creature properly known
as homo apien"

"saintly variants"

"Impulse is the most beautiful force
in human nature,
when it is."

[[codicil to 2/6/09 reading report, transcribed 2/10/09 --
some lines I remember Yedda reading, transcribed out of my copy of Girl Scout Nation,
and in the order of the book & not the reading :

"The unprecedented violence of human power has its deepest roots in (the)
structure of language." --Giorgio Agamben [[not, however, read as an epigraph to the
reading, but rather amidst it, as though it were poem, which perhaps it is?]]

"this goddamn exquisite Winnebago"

"and soft in the Locust we clammy do sing"

"like the moving hairs of the drowned"

"There are these two girls named Fawn"

"Dr. Phil would like to see Fawn H. return to Meadow Haven. Fawn H. is skeptical."

"Oh to be an image

Friday, February 6, 2009

Inter-Media Follow-up & Links

Due to a little hiccup in last Friday's program, Linh Dinh's video got skipped, so here's the link for those who'd like to check it out, plus some other fun "poets-video" links...

Linh Dinh's A Smooth Life

Henry Hill's Money

Eirikur Örn Norðdahl's Kreppusonnettan (IMF! IMF! OMG! OMG!)

Laura O'dell's Unmaking Whoopee, or the Text is Thus a Gas

Helen Adam's Cheerless Junkie Song

Paul Chan's Untitled Video on Lynne Stewart and Her Conviction, The Law, and Poetry

Ivor Cutler's Shoplifters

Dylan Morgan's Rejection Letter

Rives' De(a)f Jam

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Case You Missed It: A Reading Report from John Sakkis

A full house, a fundraiser, questionable wine, minimal ventilation and 2.5 hours of inter-media work. Thus was the Poets Theater 09 Inter-Media night. Typically my favorite SPT night of the season.

Karla Milosevich:"My Past Life" and "29 Palms"
I think what they said was "I was a horse" and then there were two women, one of them Karla, standing next to each other off of I-5 looking at the sky maybe, or making big Tai Chi circles with their arms, I think the other women, Paula Pereira, was miming Carla's movements but I could be wrong, and I kept waiting for Karla to turn into Steve Martin and pipe "What the hell is that?" and for the other woman to morph into Bill Murray and say "I don't know, what the hell is that?"

and then Karla: Hey, you kids! Get away from there!
Paula: I would not mess with that thing..
Karla: Don't put your lips on it!
Paula: [ ever curious ] What the hell is this?
Karla: Well.. get a photo of me with it, anyway!

But none of that last part happened...but it looked like it might have.

Dillon Westbrook:"pan(Oa)ic(k)land"
This one featured Westbrook on drums and Woodcock on bass. I think they were both wearing Oakland A's jersey's...but then Westbrook put on a jacket, so I could be wrong...and then a video by Nao Nakazawa driving around Oakland (quick zooms, slow pans, landscapes, architecture, people, signs, OAKLAND, mirrors) with live jazzy musical accompaniment by Westbrook and Woodcock. David Harrison Horton's dubbed voiceover reciting poetry things but I forget what and I couldn't take notes even though I brought a notebook because it was pitch black in the theater...and then suddenly it wasn't Horton's voice anymore (Westbrook's?) and it reminded me of Jim Morrison's post-humus spoken word album An American Prayer esp. that track where he says something like "Did you have a good world when you died? enough to base a movie on...?"

Heriberto Yepez:"Voice Exchange Rates"
Probably my favorite of the night, anti-fill-in-the-blank iconography a la Hot Topic and the AK Press Catalog (at a slant) (I think...)) as moderated by a 4bit robot-voiced human skull...super funny and charming. The part where the robot-voiced human skull repeated glitchy variations of the phrase "Americans rule the world" made me laugh and then feel ashamed of laughing in the same way that Nate Fisher's (Six Feet Under) first AVM (arteriovenous malformation) seizure in the Chubby's drive-thru where he ordered his food all "I'd like a chubb-chu-ch-ch-ch-cubbbbb-FUCK!!!-chchchchch-Chubby's Burger" made me laugh and then feel ashamed. And then something about Gertrude Stein and Nazi's and a big black dildo.

Bill Luoma:"The Concept of Ass"
A blooper reel! A baseball blooper reel! A baseball blooper reel Benshi Particle Physics cut-up delivered by a baseball-cup-wearing-baseball-shorts-sporting Bill Luoma. Bill "Homer" Luoma. Everyone laughed. A Dragon Fly on a pitcher's cap. Bill and David Hadbawnik used to show up to Poet's softball in SF in full uniform. David's uniform really annoyed me, Bill's didn't. Success!

Claudia Rankie & John Lucas:"Provenance"
Zinedine Zadane headbutts Marco Materazzi in slow motion with a Terminator 2 Brad Fiedel like sound design. Compelling. Materazzi got "owned" but so did Zinedine. I love Claudia. I love soccer. There was a rumor going around Naropa in 06 that I loved Claudia. Which was true but besides the point. Naropa's only sports team is a soccer team. I was in Claudia's workshop during the 06 World Cup.

Paolo Javier:"FYEO"performed by Dennis Somera
I have never met Paolo (or seen a photo), and I had never met Dennis (or seen a photo). And I didn't read my program closely enough, so the whole time I thought that Paolo was the one on stage performing his piece, not so, it was Dennis. A slide show, lot's of Filipino puns, drawings, comic book erasures, poetry, quotes, mis-ques and National Anthems.

Intermission:Henry Hills's "Money" (1982)"feat.
John Zorn, Abigail Child, Bruce Andrews, Sally Silvers, Charles Bernstein, Arlo Lindsey and dozens more..."like, a young Jack Collom!!! and then LRS remarks "poets seemed a lot less inhibited back then..." and then says "I think my wine is bad..." and then buries his face in his contributor's copy of Mrs. Maybe handed to him earlier by Lauren Levin. Hills's "Money" was the best piece of the night that nobody saw. We were either smoking, or eating cookies, or drinking 2-buck Chuck, unfortunate. Have you ever seen that rare 1979 Graf documentary Stations of the Elevated? "Money" is like the "innovative poetry" version of that.

Amanda Davidson & Cassie Riger:"A-Verbal"
This was a super cute piece (by "cute" I mean "fun" and by "fun" I mean "not bad"). And pseudo-interactive! I kept thinking "where do I know Amanda Davidson from?"...I still don't know. Great choreography and interaction between their video piece and their stage performance. I don't know, this piece just sort of "worked" really well. A refreshing way to start the second half of the night. They looked like they were having fun (a relief), and they took the "inter-media" theme to heart incorporating audience, video and set design, bully to you guys! And then those scenes that were shot in an SFSU classroom (burgundy chairs!) reminded me of having one of those dreams where you flunk your 9th grade pre-Algebra quiz and then you wake up and realize that you're 29 years old and never have to take a math class again...

Linh Dinh:"A Smooth Life"
I think Linh was a no show. I thought Ariana's piece was Linh's piece the whole time I was sitting through it. It wasn't. I think Lindsey Boldt told me Linh was a no show. Is that correct? Boldt is also the one who told me that Dennis Somera was in fact NOT Paolo Javier. Egads.

Ariana Reines:"Father"
Lot's of adorable Emo boys on stage reading a huge text in synch over an intermittent sound-scapey Macbook Pro score. Hmmm...Father talking to progeny about Mother on Father porn. About Mother's vagina, I think. I thought this was Linh Dinh. And it kind of made sense. But it seemed a little conceptual (or something) for Linh. I don't know, I was confused. I think I tried closing my eyes to concentrate better. But then Buuck (I think) turned on the air which suddenly ventilated the entire theater (ahhhh, sweet air...) which kind of distracted me which for some reason made me check my phone where I learned that it was 10:07pm which made me panic a little because I realized that I was already 15 minutes late for a date at Mission Hill Saloon down the street with 2 more pieces still to go after Reines's piece which was just now winding down. So after the boys left the stage I grabbed LRS and bee-lined to the bar, where my date showed up 15 minutes later than I did.

So, I missed Konrad Steiner's "Suite for Face" and the raffle drawing. Sorry Konrad! Sorry Raffle!

Addendum: Formally Sadies, Mission Hill Saloon is steadily becoming the new Gino & Carlo's. They love poets there. Not sure if Gino & Carlo's ever "loved" or just tolerated poets, but anyway, Mission Hill loves poets, just ask for Cesar!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In Preparation for Friday's Reading

Read Yedda Morrison here and here.

Read Kim Rosenfield here and here

Read Kaia Sand here and here
and these links show a bit of what Kaia's been up to lately--The "econ salon" (last link) is a project she's launched in Portland since the Economic Crisis became clear--

This Friday 2/6: Kaia Sand, Yedda Morrison, & Kim Rosenfield!

Small Press Traffic Presents: Yedda Morrison, Kim Rosenfield, & Kaia Sand

Friday, February 6, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.
CCA- Timken Hall
1111 8th Street, San Francisco

Writer and visual artist Yedda Morrison was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Morrison's books include; Girl Scout Nation (Displaced Editions, 2008), My Pocket Park (Dusie Press, 2007), and Crop (Kelsey Street Press, 2003). Morrison has exhibited her work in the US and Canada and is currently represented by Republic Gallery in Vancouver, BC. She lives in Montreal.

Kim Rosenfield is a poet and psychotherapist. She is the author of three books of genre/blurring language; Good Morning—Midnight—(Roof Books 2001), which won Small Press Traffic's Book of the Year award in 2002, Tràma (Krupskaya 2004), and re: evolution (Les Figues Press 2008). She lives in NYC with her husband, poet Robert Fitterman, and their daughter, Coco.

Kaia Sand is the author of the poetry collection interval (Edge Books 2004), selected as a Small Press Traffic Book of the Year, and co-author with Jules Boykoff of Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space. Dusie Press published her wee book, lotto, and Sand has participated in the dusie kollektiv for three years, making the chapbooks heart on a tripod and tiny arctic ice. Jim Dine created two artist book based on Sand's poems, lotto and tiny arctic ice. Remember to Wave, multi-media investigations of political histories lodged in Pacific Northwest of the United States, is forthcoming with Tinfish Press. The NAFTA, a chapbook of collages, is forthcoming with Duration Press e-chap series. Sand co-edits the Tangent Press.

Kaia will be also giving a presentation with Jules Boykoff on Landscapes of Dissent on Sat. 2/7 at the nonsite collective.

More Bev Dahlen Tribute Links

texts from Charles Alexander, Bruce Boone, Kathleen Fraser, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Ron Silliman, &
Stephen Vincent

Thanks to Robin Tremblay-McGaw & xpoetics -

audio from event will be up at PENNsound soon!