poetry/fiction/lit type stuff

Everyone is an artist…

So says Joseph Beuys, via Ben-Ami Scharfstein; I’d never heard of Beuys until I started reading Scharfstein’s Art Without Borders, which is a tremendously exciting book for an number of reasons but especially because of the above premise: everyone is artistic all the time, we are constantly creating and interpreting, always using artifice, nothing “as it is” because we are fundamentally incapable of “as it is,” as Scharfstein puts is, “nothing made by human minds or hands, nor any human act, is without its aesthetic origin or aura.” We recognize and appreciate great art because we recognize the action of our own beings within it, and in recognizing and appreciating, we collaborate in an ongoing act of creation. Not a new idea, of course… might well be the oldest idea. That’s why the delivery system matters, why seemingly arcane hipster dithering like this essay actually do mean more than they appear to, because the way we learn to engage art shapes how we are artistic on a daily basis; if someone learns that only art that emerges from corporate massaging is worthwhile, then they are likely to make their own daily art the same way, they will move through their…
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More, briefly

The great Busy-ness is nearly slackened, soon 70-80 hour weeks of work will be done and perhaps I will write more about each CD then. Or maybe I will go fishing, or work on other writing, or practice walking on my hands. Or, i will go our and try to sell my next book, which BlazeVox books has accepted for publication in the near future. Woo-hoo! 148) Van Morrison: Down the Road My wife has a spreadsheet with every Van Morrison CD listed on it, because she gets me one every Christmas and doesn’t want to repeat. Luckily for my lifeline, he has oodles of recordings, and keeps cranking out good new ones, like this bluesy bit of comfort and yearning. 149) The Psychedelic Furs: All This and Nothing Hits, hits, hits from the 80’s–“Pretty in Pink,” “Heartbreak Beat,” Ghost in You,” “Heaven”… $2.10 is scrawled on the back in crayon, so I must have gotten this at the Goodwill store. 150) Harry Nilsson: Best of This CD got at a gas station, I remember, somewhere in Georgia. More hits, hits, hits, “Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Jump Into the Fire,” “Me and My Arrow,” and of course, “Coconut.” 151) XTC: Waxworks, Singles…
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Wowza…

Scholar/Author/very busy man Jamey Hecht has written a far more insightful review of my book of poems than it probably deserves, and it is currently the feature review on Rattle‘s website. Thanks much, sir. Mr. Hecht’s website. The contradictions that reading my book seem to have provoked in Mr Hecht–he didn’t like the poems, hated reading them but thought they were successful, that it is a “good, strong book” and would recommend reading it–is wonderful. That Mr Hecht did not find the book funny, which it is certainly meant to be, says something about how social class works, I think, but ‘m not sure I’m ready to explore that argument just yet. Also, he began the review stating the poems were “unabashedly autobiographical” but later recanted and said that I might be a very different person from the narrator. I’m not sure why folks want to try and find autobiography in these poems; maybe because many are in first person, and they follow a fairly straight chronology? In any case, how much of the book “really happened” and how much did not is irrelevant. What is important, from a critical perspective, is that I am the kind of person who…
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Finally have mp3’s

I have posted mp3 recordings of the first part of my book of poems here. I will try to finish them all by the end of April, and will also start messing about with them, chopping them up and splicing them with other things… please feel free to do so as well, if you are so inclined. Also, I will be reading tonight at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main St in Buffalo, with Rebekeh Keaton. I’m lousy at self promotion, boy…

Book Selling

I have a publisher, Zeitgeist Press, that is small and has not the resources a huge publishing house might have, but they have the freedom to publish work that they like, not just work they think can sell a boatload of copies. Because they cannot send me a $10,000 advance and put me on the John Stewart show, I have to do some of the work if I want my book to sell. And I do want to sell copies of my book, as well as copies of any other books I might write in the future. In the traditional publishing model, or at least the most recently dominant model, I would try to parlay the reputation gained early in my career, via small but prestigious presses, into a contract with a larger publisher. This larger publisher would then print and distribute my later books, set up publicity campaigns, and so forth; in return, I would get a small percentage of the profits of each sale, called a royalty, as well as positions on the boards of poetry journals, increased reading fees, and so forth. The internet, however, has made the exchange of media so easy that this old model…
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Book

My book of poems …and the whole time I was quite happy is now available from zeitgeist-press.com. I am setting up a separate page for the book and a link to it on the right, and I plan to record the whole thing as a group of podcasts, accessible through that page. Should be up in the next week or two… (wink, nudge).