Harryette Mullen | from S*PeRM**K*T | I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women
"They just can’t seem to…They should try harder to…They ought to be more…We all wish they weren’t..." July 26 2014They just can’t seem to…They should try harder to…They ought to be more…We all wish they weren’t so…They never…They always…Sometimes they…Once in a while they…However it is obvious that they…Their overall tendency has been…The consequences of which have been…They don’t appear to understand that…If only they would make an effort to…But we know how difficult it is for them to…Many of them remain unaware of…Some who should know better simply refuse to…Of course, their perspective has been limited by…On the other hand, they obviously feel entitled to…Certainly we can’t forget that they…Nor can it be denied that they…We know that this has had an enormous impact on their…Nevertheless their behavior strikes us as…Our interactions unfortunately have been…
- harryette mullen, elliptical. (via black-poetry)
"If the encyclopedia collects general knowledge, the recyclopedia salvages and finds imaginative uses..." July 25 2014If the encyclopedia collects general knowledge, the recyclopedia salvages and finds imaginative uses for knowledge. That’s what poetry does when it remakes and renews words, images, and ideas, transforming surplus cultural information into something unexpected.
- Harryette Mullen, “Recycle This Book,” in Recyclopedia, vii. (via femmefag)
"Shedding toughness peeling layers down to vulnerable stuff And I’m blinking off old eyelids for a..." July 25 2014Shedding toughness
peeling layers down
to vulnerable stuff
And I’m blinking off old eyelids
for a new way of seeing
By the rock I rub against
I’m going to be tender again
- Harryette Mullen, Shedding Skin. (via fortyonethieves)
Number Song by Anne Waldman
I’ve multiplied, I’m 2.
He was part of me
he came out of me,
he took a part of me
He took me apart.
I’m 2, he’s my art,
no, he’s separate.
He art one. I’m not
done & I’m still one.
I sing of my son. I’ve
multiplied. My heart’s
in 2, half to him & half
who are also a part
of him, & you & he
& I make trio of
Bernadette Mayer | The Helens of Troy, NY
Photo July 23 2014
http://projecttile.tumblr.com/post/65443311618/portrait-of-bernard-by-india-radfar-hes-done July 23 2014http://projecttile.tumblr.com/post/65443311618/portrait-of-bernard-by-india-radfar-hes-done:
PORTRAIT OF BERNARD
BY INDIA RADFAR
He’s done with Italy
He’s done with India
He’s done with Woodstock
He’s done with the Pacific Palisades
He’s done with my family
He’s done with his Indian clothes
He’s done with the avant-garde
He’s done with poets
He’s done with most of my friends
"We are not responsible for your lost or stolen relatives. We cannot guarantee your safety if you..." July 22 2014We are not responsible for your lost or stolen relatives. We cannot guarantee your safety if you disobey our instructions. We do not endorse the causes or claims of people begging for handouts. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Your ticket does not guarantee that we will honor your reservations. In order to facilitate our procedures, please limit your carrying on. Before taking off, please extinguish all smoldering resentments. If you cannot understand English, you will be moved out the way. In the event of a loss, you’d better look out for yourself. Your insurance was cancelled because we can no longer handle your frightful claims. Our handlers lost your luggage and we are unable to find the key to your legal case. You were detained for interrogation because you fit the profile. You are not presumed to be innocent if the police have reason to suspect you are carrying a concealed wallet. It’s not our fault you were born wearing a gang color. It is not our obligation to inform you of your rights. Step aside, please while our officer inspects your bad attitude. You have no rights that we are bound to respect. Please remain calm, or we can’t be held responsible for what happens to you.
- harryette mullen, we are not responsible. (via black-poetry)
Photo July 22 2014
- Bernadette Mayer, “Experiments” (via fscottfitzgerald)
OMG BERNADETTE MAYER
CATHERINE WAGNER AT SEGUE KILLIN IT W A LIL BERNIE TRIBUTE &
bernadette mayer & anne waldman at naropa :)
photo by Rebecca Bush
Ceremony Latin (1964) by Bernadette Mayer (Angel Hair, 1975). The book is 23 pages with no front or back matter and the Angel Hair address stamped on the inside of the back cover. The year 1964 is in the title because that’s when the book was written, so it is Bernadette’s “first” book, though it was her fourth published book following Story (1968), Moving (1971) and Memory (1975). In a July 17, 1989 lecture at Naropa, Bernadette describes Ceremony Latin (1964):
The structure of this book is simply the duplication of a journal that I kept when I was about 17, and it includes translation from Ovid, “The Golden Age,” and sort of funny journalistic notes and poems and things about how much I hated my grandfather. So all I did was print the journal itself and the reason I wanted to do it was because the keeping of this journal was what had inspired me to really want to become a poet, so I thought it might be beautiful and useful to other people.
Here’s a link to the full lecture: https://archive.org/details/Bernadette_Mayer_Lecture_July_1989_89P076. Bernadette would have been 18/19 in 1964, but 17 is a fair stretch. Ceremony Latin was reissued in 2006 by Shark Books, which is only $6 at SPD and worth buying. They also did a reissue of The Baskbetball Article. I ILLed an original copy from Ball State that’s been maimed by being unbound and restapled into unmarked hardcover vomit brown flaps, though the cover and interior pages are in pretty good condition.
The book begins with a translation of Ovid, followed by pages of what look like poems but could be lists of notes and imagistic jottings, some “formed” poems, quotes from Psalms and Genesis, and transcriptions of dreams. For as disjointed as the materials in the book might appear, and for as casual as Bernadette makes the book’s preparation seem (“simply the duplication of a journal”), Ceremony Latin has a deliberate structure and accumulative movement that show the early formation of her poetics. The integration and appropriation of multiple voices using quotes and quotation marks, rich syntactical juxtapositions (“smells / lemon satchet”) that led to Bernadette’s importance for Language poetics, the mixture of the contemporary and antiquity (“the western party, Vestal Virgins”), and a vernacular prosody that integrates dream into the consequences and crises of the everyday — all formal choices that would become important to works such as Midwinter Day — are at work throughout Ceremony Latin. At one point “Christ” and “Billy Budd” parallel one another. At one another point she writes “A couch is but an imprimatur / for farts.” I cried, on the beach, when I read that.
Her poems’ interest in desire, sexuality, and gender are also present here, most obviously in lines like “I masturbate with you I hope and my love is greater / than yours,” but in more subtle ways as well, like when she dreams of two women, “One is 189, the other 144 years old. Their breasts are / large and firm. They do not know how they can be so old. / Their conversation is trivial,” which echoes her earlier quote from Genesis, “And Lamech lived a hundred & 82 yrs and begot a son. / And Lamech lived after he begot Noe, five hundred & 95 yrs / & begot sons & daughters.” The tension here is between how men control the privilege of time, of being named, of being progenitors, and how women, despite their bodies, or perhaps because of how their bodies are compartmentalized based on male desire, remain anonymous, confused, trapped in “trivial” speech. Bernadette’s poems have never stopped insisting on the unacceptability of this paradigm, of confronting its violence, and forming movements through its difficulties. Later in the book she writes, “A nun helps me climb back up. I cling to her wondering / how my body feels to her. It is natural for me to be / clinging to her and not a man.” Her Catholic upbringing, and her struggle with its orthodoxy, is apparent throughout the book. The title Ceremony Latin, implying both the monolithic power-language of Catholic mass and the potential liberatory gesture of the poet-translator’s ritualistic attention to a “dead” language’s constructedness, foregrounds this question of language’s role in restricting/allowing certain ways of being in the world.
Overall, the book is funny, painful, and audacious, especially in its interest in the abject. How it is a book is also amazing to me, that it begins with a translation and moves through these various forms beyond a simple conception of “poem” and really kind of all collapses and rises together. It reminds me of the contemporary books I’ve been most obsessed by, how they break our idea of “poetry book” and “poem.” There’s also just no anxiety at all about this 23 page text being a book and not a chapbook, which is maybe a distinction we put too much weight on because of institutions. I don’t know, but I like how this book works as a book, and how it insists on being a book despite even how Bernadette tells us it is straight from a journal.
This is totally subjective, but the part of Ceremony Latin that most reminds me of “later” Bernadette poems is this page about halfway through the book, so I wanted to quote it in full. There’s no title. She mentions her sister, Rosemary Mayer, who became a visual artist, and Vito Acconci, who Bernadette edited the magazine 0 to 9 with in the late ’60s.
Dream more real than life. Every old woman
is a fetus at a phony saints feet. There are no works
of art without sentiment. I doubt Rosemary’s interest
in art. I never dream about Vito. My conscious feeling
about him must be more real than dream. Jealousy is
worse than morality. Instead of a harmless father image
he has turned into a lover image and I was too slow in
realizing it I have committed my self to a whole set
of institutions superstitions prejudices projections and
customs which I denied & deny in my mind. Marriage
like this is half old and half new. I love queers.
The last page of the book has this one line on it: “Scorpions when threatened by fire commit suicide.”
The Basketball Article by Anne Waldman and Bernadette Mayer (Angel Hair Books, 1975). I think Cassandra sent me a pdf of The Basketball Article. I printed it out and stapled it together. It sat on a shelf for a while, then I read it, re-read it, saw there was an essay about it in The Color of Vowels that I didn’t read, saw it mentioned in an essay by Daniel Kane about Angel Hair, read it again. This is Bernadette’s note at the beginning, dated July 15, 1975:
THE BASKETBALL ARTICLE was conceived in November 1974 & written in April 1975 as an assignment for OUI magazine. We got to go to all the Nets games we wanted through Barney Kremenko, Publicity, but Jim Wergeles of the Knicks balked, “What do you girls really do?” We heard he was a jock. We went to the first women’s basketball game held in Madison Square Garden. We wrote a review that was rejected for being too technical. We tried not to make THE BASKETBALL ARTICLE too technical so it was rejected by a group of editors a few of whom thought it “was a minor masterpiece,” the others “couldn’t tell what the hell was going on” in it. We were rejected by the Village Voice for whom the work was not technical enough. An agent told us THE BASKETBALL ARTICLE was fragmented and could not be handled. We never got into the locker room. A purely prophetic work in the tradition of social realism, THE BASKETBALL ARTICLE is duplicated here in an edition of 100 copies, by a Gestetner 420 mimeograph machine using green film stencils no. 62. We express our thanks to Mr. DeBusschere, Mr. Kremenko, Mr. Padgett, Mr. Rezek, Mr. Robertson, & Mr. Warsh.
Is there a school for sports announcers? They should all have to read this. The note is such an amazing performance of the intricacies and tensions of how the female poets of the “second generation” New York school fucked with and played against the warp and mess of gender expectations in the 70s. The whole book takes those issues of male dominance and exposes them in the scene and celebrity of basketball. Two women conceiving together in spite of the jocks, how technical mastery or a failure to master (mister) is noticed/received/reviled, what it means to be seen and given access (publicity/privaticity), to have or not have titles, to be whole or in pieces, what it means to (mis)represent an ideology, to be rejected/accepted/handled/owned/duplicated, the clout of expertise and the disregard of being inept, the prophetic in the easily reproduced and popularly reported. “We never got into the locker room.” To be a charlatan, to be marginal, and to write out of and through the thrill and profanity of those deficiencies not as deficiencies but as channels of renewal. Joyful, flamboyant little aporias as the clock ticks down.
The Basketball Article predates the funny ESPN office commercials by 30 years, and undoes all of them. It’s only 13 pages long, but the prose has this irreducible audacity that so excellently combines Anne and Bernadette’s hilarious charm with their insistence on performing the complications of consumption and desire attached to being a female body. They talk about wearing lipstick to the games and flirting with the players. “We begin to dress in red, white and blue, we do not stand up for the national anthem.” They talk about how baffling they are to players, managers, and the press. “We enter their consciousness. We carry a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets with us.” They talk about their female bodies and the male bodies of the players and the exaggerations of bodies. “It’d be interesting to put Oscar Robertson into a dream laboratory. He never crossed his legs.” They talk about how they love it and couldn’t give a shit less. “We were sitting in our hotel suite at the Plankinton House in Milwaukee drinking Tequila Sunrises.” It’s really about pleasure, the pleasures of ritual and attention, how sports direct our pleasures, how poetry directs our pleasures. It wants us to talk about that space. The fact that they called it The Basketball Article, with the emphasis on the definite article “the” and how it names the text as a singular, authoritative gesture, like saying we, Bernadette and Anne, are going to write the article about basketball, is totally indicative of their audacity on a larger scale. Also, there’s a joke at the end of the book about Full Court Press, an amazing press that put out Frank O’Hara’s Selected Plays.
The picture on the cover of The Basketball Article is of a man speaking, who looks like a basketball player at a press conference, and a woman not speaking looking at the man. The picture really foregrounds the problems of reverence that Bernadette performs in her introductory note when she thanks the basketball people along with “Mr. Padgett” and “Mr. Warsh.” Anne Waldman and Lewis Warsh, who edited Angel Hair together, used to be married. Bernadette and Lewis started seeing each other in 1975 and were having children together soon after. Anne and Bernadette’s shared pleasure in making this book, and their shared pleasure in these men, and how they articulate that pleasure on their own terms, is an incredibly radical sexual-poetic statement. It’s funny that Ron Padgett is mentioned though. Ron seems to continually end up being the butt of the joke whenever Bernadette, Anne, Alice, or Eileen talk about their relationships with male poets during that time. I’m writing this in Minneapolis where today someone told me they saw Ron read at a Swedenborgian Church. I want to play basketball with all of the poets at the Swedenborgian Church.
"B: House, what is your crime? H: I admit I was designed in blatant rectangles and even my windows..." July 19 2014
B: House, what is your crime?
H: I admit I was designed in blatant rectangles and even my windows contain 12 rectangles each a bitch to clean.
B: Should we move out of you?
H: I am gracious, I surround you, I have three exits, I will accommodate you but don’t tell me any more secrets till you repaint my walls and ceilings.
B: House you have too many but not enough doors.
H: And cease to drop the telephone on the floors, I have to sleep now you ought to go to bed too and by the way all those books make me seem smaller.
B: House, I am gay.
H: And I am too.
- Bernadette Mayer, “House & Bernadette” (via doskapozora)
"Your nostrils resemble the assholes of cops" July 19 2014Your nostrils resemble the assholes of cops
- Bernadette Mayer, “To a Politician” (via doskapozora)
bernadette mayer’s card for lucy lippard’s c. 7500 show, which u can read more abt in her wikipedia article which i wrote last week & will continue editing & encourage other “scholar” friends to help out w
"You thought maybe I’d give myself to you in ways I’d never given myself when taking polaroid..." July 17 2014You thought maybe I’d give myself to you in ways I’d never given myself when taking polaroid pictures.
- Dodie Bellamy | Cunt-Ups (via elanormcinerney)
"you’re all red. Your limbs could be so successful—they looked real, felt real, and smelled real" July 17 2014you’re all red. Your limbs could be so successful—they looked real, felt real, and smelled real
- Dodie Bellamy | Cunt-Ups (via elanormcinerney)
- Dodie Bellamy | Cunt-Ups (via elanormcinerney)
Dodie Bellamy | The Flowers of Mina Harker | Pink Steam
“the tiny garlic blossoms about my throat are innocent enough”
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