I’m pleased to announce that I have two books forthcoming: The Art is a Lonely Hunter, Autobiomythography IV is a chapbook due out in May 2018 from Post House, and Spork Press will be publishing the full-length Operating Systems, Autobiomythography III in April 2019.
Woke up to this wonderful review, from the PW website:
“In this satisfying second Autobiomythography collection (after Autobiomythography & Gallery), Pan hits the ground running with brief snapshots of life in the U.S.—and later the world—that hover in the same emotional sphere as haiku. Through Pan’s striking cinematography and use of perspective, readers see how “bugs practice shadow puppets/ behind the green leaf” in vivid close-up and experience in panorama the “sad, lived-in silence” of places like Anchorage, Alaska. In terms of autobiography and mythos, Pan hits the clearest notes when reconciling with his own place in time, as in the startling sequence “Nineteen Years After My Nineteenth Year,” which opens with a “Mayfly/ in my coffee, stroking/ (goddamnit) down my throat” and closes with the listless observation that “every city is a Seurat/ & no city as well.” Along the way, Pan alights on tercets that blend hilarity, apathy, bemusement, and love for his adopted home of N.Y.C. The ambitious final sequence, “NyQuil™ Lucid Fever Lucky Dream Light Emporium,” makes optimal use of his tercets while he devilishly blurs the line between dashes and chemical bonds. This clever and fascinating take on organic chemistry makes a perfect closer. Pan’s latest presents new rewards with each reading.”
Got a buck? Then you can grab a new pamphlet of my poem “The Poem,” released by Greying Ghost Press.
From their description: “Not just The Poem but Thee Poem. One that featured both the “pained cry from the city’s boiling vortex” and “the lone cricket barking from a rusted Buick.” If you say ‘Damn!” to that, you would be well within your right.
Quartered 8.5×14 laser printed pamphlet available individually or free with purchase of one of our chapbooks! If you own or know of a shop which would like to carry our pamphlets feel free to contact us!”
For the past 2 years, I’ve been attending conferences all over northeast Europe, in celebration of the work of 3 artists, where academics, artists, & writers showcase their own work or speak to one idea or another in relation to the art/act of archiving. This was the final conference, held at MIT in Boston. The others were held at the Norwegian Theatre Academy, York-St John in England, & Kiel University in Germany. The artists were Wen Hui, a dance choreographer/performer/installation artist who I spent a nice cold day walking a short Norwegian coastline with, Arnold Dreyblatt, a composer/installation artist who set a short work on some folks in Kiel, having us read from strange texts in a verbal/voice-musical/light installation work, & finally dancer/theorist/director Louise Höjer, who is a collaborator with artist Tino Sehgal.
In 2015, in conjunction with NTA, I’ll be publishing a book on these adventures, a compilation of works by some of those people who attended the conferences & found they had something to contribute to the idea of archiving, this idea of a record being kept. There was an amazing array of speakers & artists at these conferences–Claire Hind, Gary Winter, Jay Scheib, Anna Kohler, Petra Meyer, Josh Lubin-Levy, Ingrid Jungermann–along with Karmenlara Ely & Maria Magdalena Schwaegermann, who are responsible for envisioning this project after reading Ivetta Gerasimchuk’s now famous essay, “The Dictionary of Winds.”
I’ll update this site when it becomes available.
I’m on internet TV!
Check out this first episode of the second season of Ingrid Jungermann’s “F to 7th,” a homonuerotic series of webisodes, where I play a Jehovah’s Witness beside across from Annette O’Toole. If you haven’t watched season 1, I highly recommend it…
I’m proud to be announcing the Hyperallergic Poetry Reading Series, in which I will be choosing interesting locations for readings by poets published in Hyperallergic. The inaugural reading will be hosted by Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop, with readesrs Joanna Fuhrman, Dan Magers, Debora Kuan, & Ana Božičević.
I wrote a Hyperallergic piece about taking on the job as Poetry Editor, with a bit of social history & a smidgen of ars poetica.
Also: HYPERALLERGIC IS NOW OPEN FOR POETRY SUBMISSIONS!
Yes, after receiving many requests, we’ve opened ourselves up to submissions. You can email 3-5 poems in a pdf or doc to poetry (at) hyperallergic.com.
“Spring has come to New York. We have 20 sleeping bags left, which means that we gave 30 away to people who are homeless & to homeless shelters. Instead of handing the remaining 30 off to shelters, we have decided to hold onto them until next season. Although I’m not feeling great at having not handed out every single bag, I do think that we—my friends who helped along the way, those who went on runs, donating their time & cars, my wife, & I—have made a small difference in some people’s lives this winter.”
Read more at: brooklynartists.tumblr.com
For the past 2 months Wendy & I, along with various friends, have been driving around delivering sleeping bags to homeless people.
You can read more about it here: http://brooklynartists.tumblr.com. I’d suggest starting from the very beginning. It takes about 15 minutes in all.
We have 29 bags left, & I would love to invite any NY artists with cars, or who’d be willing to rent a car, to travel out with us a few late nights in March to hand-deliver the rest of these bags to the people who need them. You can contact me via Facebook.
I believe I just discovered the meaning behind Mike Tyson’s answer to a question I posed to him last night at the New York Public Library, where he was interviewed by Paul Holdengraber.
The answer is a little overwhelming, truthfully. Through tears & self-effacing comments, he spoke about many things, but spent a good deal of time talking about what it was like to be trained as a killer for a life of war, an animal loosed upon the world. He talked about contemplating murder by gun & suicide before going off an a five minute expose of all the French farmers who rose from humble beginnings to become gods of war (with Mike naming these farmers turned warriors, their ancestors, & the successors who eventually conquered Attila the Hun).
Mike’s head is smooth & hard & deceptively flat looking from the front, eyes set & facing straight forward. It’s difficult to keep his gaze. He glanced up & said, “Hey there, mister.” I said, “Looking forward to reading the book. You ever write poetry, Mike?” “Poetry?” “Yeah, poetry.” I was thinking, I wonder if Mike Tyson would collaborate with me on a poetry chapbook. The universe is crazy in allowing certain ridiculous things like this to occur; I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing such things come to fruition before, so I figured to try my luck again.
“Poetry?” he paused.
The guy responsible for getting the line moving was annoyed but he wasn’t going to tell Mike Tyson to speed things up.
“I don’t know,” said Mike. “Maybe it’s in me. If I wrote poetry it would probably be like Bonnie Parker.” & then chuckled, looking around. Everyone chuckled but no one had a fucking clue what he meant.
This is what I believe he meant: Bonnie Parker, of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde duo, supposedly wrote two poems while they were being chased by the law.
Here are links to the two poems. One’s about murder, the other’s about suicide.
Both speak of a tragic trajectory forced upon the speakers early on, & the prices to be paid for the freedom they allow themselves. It’s all a little melodramatic, but there lives in each the occasion of emotional truth, anger & spite & a fortitude the stepped-upon, encased in the glory & fame we honor our outlaws, which makes these poems attractive in ways not necessarily agreeable, but still attractive, perhaps even to Mike Tyson, a retired god of war.
Check out the Brooklyn Rail for a long poem I wrote about an evil twin. Which is evil? Neither, surely. But at least one is a lying, conniving sociopath.
Click to read The Vargas-Vargas Affair.
I wrote this poem as I write all my poems: music first, then meaning. A few minutes in & I’m thinking, another narrative poem? Really? But here’s the thing with my narrative poems: musically, the all originate in the lyric mode. The sounds the words make create the original tension for me, always, & what initially comes out is often a string of like-sounding slurs & slurps, & train-into-car wrecks (rack & pinion), etc…. Then comes sense, & then (if I sense an autobiomythography rising up) a sensibility. A voice. Then I take each line & make it work for its money, cutting back always as I write, stingy for a clean line that a) makes the most of its music, b) creates friction, tension, & urgency, & c) feels unique enough to drive me forward in its writing.
& then I write like that for 20 or so pages. Or until something breaks, feels unnatural, or like I missed something. I’ll go back later that day, or the next, & find the point the magic seemed to stop for me & start from there, cannibalizing all those misguided lines that appeared after the break. & do that for a few months. Seriously, each day, when I can bear it, for a few months. Until it sounds like it took me a lonely weekend with a working coffee pot. Pound the lines, work the linkages & entendres, make it so poetic they’ll call it prose.
Bu yao xie xie. That’s one of the first Chinese phrases I had to learn on the streets of Beijing. It means “No want, thank you.” Do you know what’s anathema to publishing houses & presses big & small & magazines big & small? That which falls between poetry & prose, which borrows from both but which is neither. “Boo yow, shay shay.” No want.
But that’s the kind of stuff that’s closest to my heart. Some of our major writers lurk in this field. Cormac gets close to it. Ondaatje maybe closest. DeLillo, oh, right there sometimes. But it’s pounded out & it’s rare, because it’s risky. These authors were for the most part ignored by readers, praised by critics, until they weren’t. Sometimes it takes a good film. But in the beginning, it’s a few thousand readers if you’re lucky. Which is lonely but gives you a certain amount of freedom. I remember reading those first few novels from Cormac after finding the first in a used bookstore. I was hooked. Later I read what David Foster Wallace wrote about his work after naming “Blood Meridian” one of the top 5 under-appreciated novels (at that time). Apparently Wallace’s own copy was so heavily annotated in red ink the book was rendered unreadable (a bit of hyperbole, I’m sure).
I have stories I could tell about agents. About editors at big publishing houses. About friends who’ve told me what doesn’t sell, or wouldn’t sell, or isn’t particularly interesting. Lyrical fiction. Anything that smacks of the poetic. Anything that could possibly call attention to the act of its creation.
Bu yao xie xie. Do not want.
But I’m seeing light at the end of that particular tunnel. I’m seeing a lot more of this sort of hybridization & mixing in the submissions we’re getting a BAP. Full-blown attempts to merge the poles, writers who are hitching their sensibilities to the music of the language first, trusting it to carry them into something interesting: a lyric, an erasure, a 215th generation New York School poem that becomes a sudden Sci-Fi event, even the lowly narrative. But every work is a narrative, really, isn’t it, if it teaches you how to read it, where it comes from? Everything tells the story of itself.
I hope you like the Vargas-Vargas Affair. It was a fun piece to write.
June is BAP’s open submission season. Luckily, I have readers, so I can focus on the 9 or 10 books I have to put out before Christmas. Plus, I’d really like to make a stab at getting another book of mine out next year, so I’m sending poetry off like everyone else, which I haven’t actively done in about seven years.
Last weekend was a nice respite from the chaos. Wendy & I were able to retreat up into Vermont to visit our friends Corina Medley & Dave Thayer & Kempton at Hooker Mountain Farms. We fed the pigs & the chickens & chicks, & Wendy made homemade ice cream as I sampled the new sodas they’re making to sell at the farmer’s market. De-licious. We were also able to stop by & help Bianca Stone at the beginning of her restoration of her grandmother’s house, ripping out shrubbery, clearing the land, boxing books, & sweeping up with Ben, Alina, & Eric.
Here are some pics. Cheers.
Helen Diffenderfer, my grandmother, died today. She was 85 years old. She was a badass. She worked at Cape Canaveral. She wasn’t much afraid to die, & had a pretty good last few days, from what I can tell. She ate like a trucker: two Christmases ago she berated me for not giving her a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel. This year she got one, & used it to eat what she wasn’t supposed to, again. She laughed a great deal, rather boisterously, which I used to think a lot of old ladies did but actually a lot of old ladies don’t. She loved Wendy. She loved movies & her family. She loved church. I could describe her a thousand ways that would only help to describe a thousand grandmothers, but she was mine & I’ll miss her dearly. Helen Diff-en-der-fer. I’ll miss saying that last name.
Blue Safari by Josh Bell continues to show why he should be considered one of our great poets.
In other news, I threw open the windows to the whole apartment & cleaned for two days straight. I could live there, I thought, looking in the room I live in.
I’ve been neglecting my own website for the Brooklyn Arts Press website, which is brand new (praise be to Martin Rock) and seriously pleasurable to look at. I’ve also neglected writing about AWP, which was a wonderful experience, given how I was finally introduced to some of the authors I’ve published. Our reading at the LIR bar in Boston really cemented the idea, for me & for others there, that BAP is a family. My thanks to everyone involved.