Dag y'all, Buck's new book is here!
For years, I've been posting Buck's postcard poems on my office door, which edifies my students and makes colleagues wonder why I stand in front of my own door for so long.
I suppose I should confess that I've actually sat atop one of those contraptions illustrated on the cover of this book. There was an ancient cultivator of this type on my grandfather's farm, though I had no idea those things in the middle were called "hooded shields." There have been many times in my life when I could have used a hooded shield.
And why is it that every time I read the title of Buck's book I hear Marvin Gaye off in the distance singing "Distant Lover"? Marvin, like me, said "dag." Buck's from outside the beltway (as our media insist on calling the rest of the country), so he says "dang."
Blessings to rob mclennan's above/ground press for this latest. You can find out how to get a copy here: http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.com/2016/10/new-from-aboveground-press.html
And here is an excerpt [fair use -- buy the book and read the whole poem] from the right Buck Downs poem for our time:
ask me if you want more
starting from where
I was turned out
turned out to be
a bad position -- I lacked
to move myself,
I did not have
a fuck to give --
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Friday, November 18, 2016
Fate and friends put me on a panel at 8:30 in the morning, but our Chinese friends, body clocks still a day ahead of us, were up and in the room. My paper was drawn from an essay in progress on Amiri Baraka's second novel -- more to come at future conferences as I road test the thing.
In the course of the morning I heard papers by Wei Wang, Ning Zhou, Jerry Ward, Carmaletta Williams, Kedong Liu and Zuyou Wang. Jerry and I had a chance to catch up over lunch at Octopus Restaurant, after which Anna and I joined the audience for the panel of poets moderated by Charles Bernstein that included Yuansheng Li, Yi Lai, Susan Schultz, Tony Barnstone, Zhimin Li, Lauri Ramey and Zhuo Wang.
The conference closed with plenary talks by Lauri Ramey and Lianggong Luo, moderated by Anna Everett.
Then we were all off to Pacific Palisades, where Marjorie Perloff hosted the lot of us for an evening of conversation and fine dining.
[thanks to friends who supplied the photos in which I appear.]
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
After a night of post-election demonstrations in the city of angels, the sun was up and we gathered at Cal State L.A.'s downtown campus, site of last February's grand What I Say group reading.
After greetings from our conference organizers, Lianggong Luo and Laurie Ramey, the sessions began with Marjorie Perloff's discussion of Charles Bernstein's "Lives of the Toll Takers," from Charles's 1994 collection Dark City. The first plenary panel, which I moderated, began with Charles reading that poem, followed by a partly autobiographical paper by Yunte Huang and a study of Australian works by Brian Reed.
Among the concurrent sessions, I chose the ones on Sound, Visual and Performance and the panel Dorothy Wang organized on "Colonialism & Modernism: American Poetry and the Circulation and Branding of 'China.'"
Following the evening banquet, we convened in the lobby area for a performance of Stephen Dembski's settings of poems by Zhang Er and Martine Bellen. The performers were Zachary Deak and Susan Mohini Kane.
Monday, November 14, 2016
All day at the Sheraton in downtown Los Angeles I kept running into poets from around the world as they arrived and tried to outsmart the "smart" elevators.
After dinner things kicked off with the group poetry reading, delivered in English and Chinese. One feature was hearing Jerry Ward read, among other things, from his long awaited book Fractal Song. I'll be posting a recording of this great event to Penn Sound in the coming weeks.