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Pretty pretty

“An aesthetic response to forms is essential to the attainment of an authentic subjectivity and a creative self-illuminating awareness that is immersed in nature beyond the vacillations of personal emotion” –Heine   The judgment of a thing as beautiful is typically predicated on comparison, that the characteristics of the beautiful thing are superior to another, flawed, less beautiful thing. Thus, beauty and perfection are aligned, beauty is the expression of the most perfect example of a thing, which strikes me as very Platonic. A better understanding of beauty, one that I’ve worked toward possessing without articulating it, is one of recognizing that everything is an example of perfection, and hence of beauty, and the hard work is not in discerning value by comparison with other things of the same class, but in being able to recognize, fully, the beauty of anything, in and of itself. So, a splotch of whitening bird shit on the sidewalk is beautiful in and of itself, though of course it is in a different class of things from a painting, or a symphony, or a skyscraper, or genetically modified seeds. I include the last because there are a whole class of things that I want…
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Moving

Hey hey, new(ish) book of poetry by me available! No Tribe, No Tribute poems by Marc Pietrzykowski Print: $13. 82 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1479212637 ISBN-10: 1479212636 I am about to start moving this blog, the Pski’s Porch site, and also my music sites to Rebelmouse, in order to spend less time dodging spam and phishing posts. If you’ve never tried to host a website, you’d be surprised how many people think posting “Hey, love your site! I’ll be sure to share it with all my friends” and then linking it to “bigtit.cialis.xxxcom” will somehow work. I guess it must. So, sometime in the next few weeks, on to Rebelmouse. Cds listened to (I can see the end. The last 2-300 or so are stretched out before me…): 672) The Staple Singers: Collector’s Edition: 673) Souad Massi: Deb; 674) Iggy Pop: Nude and Rude; 675) Rosemary Clooney: Sentimental Journey; 676) Michelle Shocked: Captain Swing (so sad, watching folks go mad); 677) Me’shell Ndegeocello: Plantation Lullabies; 678) The Pogues: Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash; 679) Taraf de Haidouks: Taraf de Haidouks; 680) Gogol Bordello vs. Tamir Muskat: J.U.F.; 681) Joan Armatrading: Me Myself I; 682) Mum: finally we are no one; 683) Bascom…
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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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Fall and What to do With It

The strange, broiling summer has given way to a strange, schizoid fall season, my nose is a-flutter with ragweed, and the blankets on the bed have multiplied. I have no idea how much of the erratic weather of the last few years is due to global climate change, and how much of that is due to human activity, but scientific consensus seems indicate the answer to both questions is, “a lot, maybe less, likely more,” and so another fuzzy layer of anxiety is woven into the zeitgeist, a future of refugees and food shortages, a JG Ballard eventuality seems more and more likely. Or, I’m getting older, and was already cynical to begin with, and all the wonderful potentiality embedded in the future will flower in ways I cannot imagine, let alone anticipate. Perhaps a human life is just long enough to think the whole species is going to shit, and that’s somehow an evolutionary advantage… ah well, doesn’t stop me from wanting to make a spectacle of myself in various ways: I read recently at a local bookstore to launch my first novel and nascent publishing company; I’m having a pub crawl and reading on Saturday, just because; I’ll…
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Books Books Books

Yes indeed, just what the world needs, more books. Well, actually, yes, the world does need more better weirder books, methinks, and so I’ve started a publishing — company? cooperative? club? cadre? — some kind of tiny organization meant to produce and disseminate print and digital books. More reasons why at www.pskisporch.com. Wow, CDs. I might actually be halfway through listening to all my CDs, in order, as has been the occasional purpose of this blog for most of its life: 574) Midnight Oil: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (forgot how great this was); 575) Brahms: The 3 Piano Quartets; 576) Richard and Linda Thompson: Hokey Pokey; 577) einstürzende neubauten: Silence is Sexy; 578) Los Lobos: Kiko (thanks); 579) Ethiopiques: Ethio Jazz and Musique Instrumentals, 1969-1974; 580) dredg: el cielo; 581) Michelle Shocked: Short Sharp Shocked (hell yes); 582) Los Jubilados: Cero farundulero; 583) BR-549: BR-549; 584) Tom T. Hall: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 and 2; 585) Outkast: Stankonia; 586) NRBQ: Peek-a-Boo, Best of; 587) Traffic: The Collection; 588) Michelle Shocked: Deep Natural; 589) Belly: star; 590) Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star;  591) Patti Smith: Banga (good on ya); 592) Kolveri…
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Another Next Step: Publishing

After publishing three books of poetry with fine, generous small publishers, I’ve decided to start an imprint (Pski’s Porch Publishing–website coming soon) and publish my own writing. Why would I decide to destroy my literary career this way? Well, because “the publishing world is changing,” as they say. And they’re right, but what kinds of changes does this godawful cliché refer to? The rapid spread and corresponding low cost of on-demand printing? The proliferation of eBooks and eReaders? The explosion of internet-based distribution networks? Or the acquisition of big publishing houses by even bigger international conglomerates? The right answer—yes, all of these—begs a further question: are these changes good for us? If “us” means authors who prefer to maintain control of their work, and of everything involved in getting that work to readers, then again, the answer is clearly “yes,” as long as their eyes are clear and their ambitions aligned with what self-publishing can offer. Even the bit about the traditional high cotton publishers getting eaten by media conglomerates affords an opportunity, since they will likely, in pursuit of profit rather than quality, continue alienating readers who want something more, thereby helping increase the audience for more challenging work….
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Pots and Pans and Poetry Books, too

Possible Crocodiles, by Barry Marks. Brick Road Poetry Press, 2010 The Coal Life, by Adam Vines. U of Arkansas Press, 2012. One of the things missing from a lot of the current poetry I’ve read is a strong sense of personality, that the poem in question is not simply a slight variation of the last one and the next one, but emerges from a sensibility unafraid to take chances, look the fool, leap into a crevasse…. I guess people are thus everywhere, not just in poetry: people tend to establish their personhood within a fairly limited set of largely environmental parameters, and even the biologically determined characteristics tend to find expression through cultural norms. If you like the predictability of people, and I think many people do, then this is a fine state of affairs. If you are more neophilic, as I am, then you get bored quickly and turn small talk snarly and weird at any opportunity. I am willing to grant that we live, in the USA at least, in a very conservative, corporatist, conformist period of history, but I’m not sure that accounts for the relentless predictability of so much art, and so much poetry, produced in…
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