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To Do List

I understand the symbolic import of New Year’s eve/day, the turning over of a new calendar, leaf, rock, what have you, but I never much felt it, every day is the start of a new year. But, in keeping with my plan today to update all the various websites I shepherd, here are some artistic plans for 2014 (mostly so I remember to them): >Release 2 CDs, 1 by each of the bands I am in (Pants & the Family, 2Rabbit). With favorable winds, by the end of January. >Publish a novel, The Emissary, and a book of poems, Straddling the Sibyl. Both in March, with a party to launch. >Recruit some other authors for Pski’s Porch Publishing. >Finish my third novel, and a board game to accompany it. >Finish 2 books of poetry, 1 comprised of 100 sonnets, 1 a novel-in-verse about Louis Armstrong. >Finish listening to all the damn CDs I own. That’s good for now, and I can update the list as I finish or add items. Enjoy the next 12 months.    

Whence we revel in the objects of our revulsion…

I’ve not read any of the Hunger Games books, though (or maybe because) I do like science fictional dystopias in general, but I have now seen the first two movies, and I’m troubled by something–though maybe I just don’t get it. It’s clear the Hunger Games is meant to be a social critique of some kind; the author says she was inspired by channel surfing between reality TV programs and actual war coverage. On one channel, there’s a group of young people competing for I don’t even know; and on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting in an actual war. I was really tired, and the lines between these stories started to blur in a very unsettling way. That’s the moment when Katniss’s story came to me. So, she wants to make some kind of point about violence, and war, and our reality-tv-slash game show culture, and if I were to guess, I’d say she thought they were all bad things, or at least too much of them had saturated our media, most specifically the media made for younger people. So why revel in the violence to such a degree? She relies entirely on the things she critiques–violence, narcissistic…
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Gotta Serve Somebody

While reading articles in an academic journal recently, I was struck by how the mode of inquiry seemed derived from Management Science. The journal is written and edited by Humanities scholars and publishes articles about popular culture, yet almost every article, in the 3 issues I read through, eschewed any kind of moral or ethical argument in favor of describing the system that produces different works of art. I used to think this instinct toward systematization–in concert with a studied absence of moral critique, which I first noticed in academic literary criticism–arose from a disciplinary envy of the Sciences. The Humanities cannot prove things the same way the Sciences can, and for whatever reason, the proof offered by the Sciences has become much more valuable in the last 50 years. So, Humanities scholars have looked to a variety of systems to try and seem more objective in their scholarly work: linguistics, Marxism, structuralism, post-structuralism*, and so forth. Now, I’m beginning to think it’s not so much an envy of the Sciences, though that is surely a factor, but moreso an institutional need to appear more objective brought about by an increasingly Corporatized university system. More and more professional administrators, as…
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GTAV and the Communist Manifesto (and Derek)

I found the Communist Manifesto on the list of free ebooks available on Kindle, so naturally I downloaded it, and read it on my smart phone. I’ve read it before, and each time I’m struck by how right on the predictions of captitalism’s demise is, and by the naivete of the solutions offered. Maybe naivete is not the right word; a pessimism that clouds the vision of human innovation, especially when it comes to maintaining a sick body politic, is more accurate. I was reading it on my cell phone, did I mention, a book that could land you in jail simply for having a copy in years past. I read this:   “Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with…
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2 Tons of Gravel

Sounds intimidating, no? 2 tons, that must be a lot of gravel, #2 crushed, for those scoring at home. It will be dumped in my driveway on Weds, to fill holes in my driveway. It’s not that much, really, enough for about 20 feet of rut… I’m so excited. Summer is withering into Fall, time to spread the gravel. Pski’s Porch Press will be releasing 2 books in the Fall (1 novel and 1 book of poetry), 1 in the Spring (poetry), that’s the schedule thus far. Send me an email and I’ll come read from them in your house or yard or local tavern. The 2 bands I’m in (Pants and the Family and 2Rabbit) are getting ready to launch a Kickstarter to get some $ for recording. We need gigs! Anyone looking for bands to play cool as shit original music also send email, we’ll come play. email is marcpski at gmail dot com. CDs I’ve listened to, as I try to listen to all the ones I own: 721) Arab Strap: The Last Romance; 722) Living Colour: Vivid; 723) TV on the Radio: Return to Cookie Mountain; 724) Sunn 0))): Black One; 725) Ian Brown: Unfinished Monkey…
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Almost——>

Soon I will get back to blogging, I promise myself. Finished some projects, had a great party, now, time to get back to these goddamn cds and so forth, In the meantime, a great article by Chris Hedges: http://www.bostonreview.net/us/war-betrayal-chris-hedges?

New Book And Readings

I will be reading from my new book, and will have copies for sale, here: April 25th – Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, 28 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, NY. May 9 – Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main Street, Buffalo, NY. Wahoo! No Tribe, No Tribute poems by Marc Pietrzykowski Print: $13. 82 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1479212637 ISBN-10: 1479212636 Official Publication Date: March 23, 2013 If you would like to read about planes crashing, Cool Hand Luke, numerology, Suleiman the Magnificent, cleaning the cat box, the Tetragrammaton, traffic cones, circuit court judges with bad shoes, and Omaha, Nebraska, then wow, are you in luck. Marc Pietrzykowski’s fifth book of poetry mentions all of those things at least once! Also, No Tribe, No Tribute is inexpensive and completely blurb-free, as we at Pski’s Porch believe blurbs to be the buboes of the publishing world. We hope you find pleasure and value in this, the third book published by Pski’s Porch, and keep your antennae up for news of future releases. Addendum: I can see the end of listening to all my Cds, one at a time. I have a few hundred more to get through, but good god, I can see the end….
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Coevolutionary Fitness

I just started reading Not By Genes Alone, a book about gene–culture coevolution, the idea that human behavior is based on the interaction of biology and culture, that culture affects the evolution of our biological states, of our genes, and not just the other way around. It’s a way of thinking around the nature/nurture debate, which has always seemed a silly debate to me. So, the very first chapter is about how the Southern US is more violent than the North, how men are more likely to kill one another there, and how it relates to the concept of honor. The authors cite studies that show Southerners more likely to be both polite, because of honor, and likely to quickly become violent when they feel their own honor is challenged, accompanied by surges in cortisone and testosterone. It got me thinking about folks who are gun ownership radicals–a group far more prevalent in the South–and how they build these dramatic narratives in which they are protecting something heroically, something they deem a matter of honor, of citizenship: the right to own guns as a means to protect themselves. What they might be protecting themselves from is not so important (the…
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After the Fall

If No Moon is a book of poems by Moira Linehan, published as part of the Crab Orchard Review series in 2006. I read one of her poems online, I can’t remember where, and liked it enough to seek out more, and then to buy the book. I’ve read it through a few times now, and each time I find myself alternately moved and annoyed: moved by the way she treats the subject of caring for her husband as he dies, and annoyed by the way the rest of the poems in the collection make the same kinds of stylistic maneuvers but fail to move me. I feel a bit morbid, and not at all like blaming the poet for failing to push the poems about Ireland or poetics into the same melding of form and function that the dieing spouse poems do, but that’s what happens with this book. Perhaps having the more emotionally immediate poems at the start creates an appetite in the reader the rest of the work cannot satisfy. All the poems are very carefully crafted; some, in the manner of far too much modern poetry, is crafted to the point of sedation, all vigor machined…
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New Book

Oh such a lax blogger I’ve been. And shall continue to be for a few days, stopping now only to advertise a new book I’ve done with an artist friend. Instead of doing the usual reading tour, I’m going to try and upload some videos of images from the book and myself reading them (unless I can get someone with a better voice to do it), we’ll see how the virtual book launch goes… Announcing the publication of Conflagrations: Poems and Images an emblem book by Mary Leary and Marc Pietrzykowski Print: $17. 74 pages. ISBN: 1478159340 / 978-1478159346 Official Book Launch November/December 2012, by Pski’s Porch Publishing. Available soon now from Amazon.com and other retailers. Emblem books were all the rage during the 16th and 17th centuries. Pski’s Porch Publishing sees no good reason why they shouldn’t be all the rage in this young century as well. In an emblem book, image and poem are paired, producing a composite art where each element somehow amplifies or complements the other. This relationship might be comical, didactic, obscure, ambient, or all of these at once–the way each pairing constitutes a single work is left largely up to the reader. That said, there are…
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