Thursday, September 30, 2010


The first I knew of Michael Gizzi came in the form of three small books of poetry sent to me by Rosmarie and Keith Waldrop more than two decades ago. I reviewed them for the journal Gargoyle. If you're reading this on a smaller screen, you probably can't make out the text in these images -- but feel free to download them for easier viewing.

When I got news of Michael's death yesterday, I remembered the quotation from Ponge with which I began my review. A fine title for Michael Gizzi's complete poems would be "Reasons for living happily."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Celebrating African American Literature:

Race, Sexual Identity, and African American Literature

September 30-October 1, 2011

Penn StateUniversity

Nittany Lion Inn (coming soon)

Join us for the next in our series of conferences Celebrating African American Literature, which will focus on representations of race and sexual identity throughout the history of the tradition. Confirmed speakers and presenters include

Sharon Bridgforth

Marci Blackman

Thomas Glave

Duriel Harris

Trudier Harris

G. Winston James

E. Patrick Johnson

Randall Kenan

Charles I. Nero

Robert Reid-Pharr

We invite paper, panel, and roundtable proposals on theoretical, critical, or pedagogical approaches to texts, topics, and authors, including any of the following:

LGBTQ Literature across histories and genres; Race and Sexual Identity; Interraciality and Same Sex Desire; Masculinity; Community; Sexuality, Desire, and The Harlem Renaissance; Homophobic Expressions; Critiques of Heteronormativity; Intersectionality; Transnational Implications; Comedy; Nationalism, Sexuality and The Black Arts Movement; James Baldwin; Richard Bruce Nugent; Marci Blackman; Ann Allen Shockley; Audre Lorde; E. Lynn Harris; Owen Dodson; Michelle Cliff; Cheryl Clarke, Alexis DeVeaux, Melvin Dixon, Thomas Glave; Shay Youngblood, April Sinclair; Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson; Gloria Naylor; James Earl Hardy; Gayl Jones; Wallace Thurman; G. Winston James; Brian Keith Jackson; Samuel R. Delaney; Helen Elaine Lee; Sharon Bridgforth; Jewelle Gomez; Jacqueline Woodson; Alice Walker; June Jordan; Carolivia Herron; Sapphire; Thomas Glave, and others.

A PSU Outreach event sponsored by the College of the Liberal Arts, the Africana Research Center, the Department of English, the Equal Opportunity Planning Committee, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Kelly Family Professor Aldon Nielsen, and the African American Literature and Culture Society.

Submit abstracts at by February 5, 2011. Email notifications will be sent by April 1, 2011. Conference presenters must register by August 15, 2011.

Submit questions about website/travel/lodging/directions to

Submit questions about proposals and abstracts to Shirley Moody ( or Lovalerie King (

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jayne Cortez New & Selected

That familiar defamiliarization of Melvin Edwards's art betokens the return of the original firespitter. Jayne Cortez' s first book since THE BEAUTIFUL BOOK is, as it happens, this beautiful book from Hanging Loose Press. The last "new & selected" volume from Cortez was 1984's COAGULATIONS (though the 2002 JAZZ FAN LOOKS BACK really did look back, it was limited to poems related to the music), so this is a particulraly useful publication for those of us who want to order Cortez titles for teaching.

How's this for a post modern?


Democracy is a word
made up by
dispossessed porcupines
in the rectum of another word
called modernity
that's why
when it comes to puffing cigarettes
the masses are uncontrollable