By David Meltzer
City Lights Publishers, 2011
144 pages, $10.95
[Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of David Meltzer’s When I Was a Poet directly from City Lights Publishers last summer. While reading the book on a quick trip for a family-related emergency of sorts, I began to fill a small notebook with short bursts of a fast-clipped poem-series. This poetic assemblage mixing David’s lines between my own responses generated the gist of what became the official book review (see below)—the poem-series itself follows. I had the honor of reading this poem in David’s presence as part of a group reading celebration for When I Was a Poet @ the Meridian gallery here in San Francisco hosted by SF State Poetry Center on Sept 1, 2011. It’s a pleasure to see both versions find a home on HTMLGIANT thanks to Ben Mirov. Rock on. -pjd]
March 28th, 2012 / 3:26 pm
The 2012 Chapbook Festival starts tomorrow. I call it “the good AWP.” In preparation, this year I’ve asked Sampson Starkweather, 1/5th of the Birds, LLC braintrust and chapbook enthusiast, some questions about the form. Go get a blanket–he links up some great stuff that is way worth the read.
Hey Sampson, what’s the deal with chapbooks?
Funny, that’s how I start all my stand-up comedy gigs. It kills of course. So I wanted to start with a quote from James Haug’s Why I Like Chapbooks (Factory Hollow, 2011), who waxes lyrical “Chapbooks are stealth books./ They can slip under a door./ They don’t impose. They suggest./ They’re not one thing or another. They don’t take much time. They’re sly and easy to ignore. They imply, insinuate, inquire./ They don’t expect an answer./ They have a long history; they have no history.” READ MORE >
Hey, HTMLGiant. I recorded a commentary track for Drive; you can download it here. It’s an mp3, 42 MB, 104 minutes long.
Of course I made it so brilliant that you can just listen to it on its own. But if you watch it with Drive (recommended!), it’s all synced up, so cue it to start when the Universal logo starts.
- “Let’s watch a scene from Drive and analyze it”
- “Cliché as Necessity (Birthing Innovation)”
- “Something Film Understands but that Literature Doesn’t”
- “A Little Bit More on Cliché”
Next, I’ll record commentary for Inception.
And Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
And The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
And Southland Tales.
Update: I forgot to include a link to Scorpio Rising. Here’s a clip:
And here’s the full film.
In September of 2011, my colleague Laura Vena and I decided that we were both sufficiently interested in Evelio Rosero’s Good Offices to attempt a “collaborative review” of the novel. (As something of a student of the novel-as-form, I was intrigued by Good Offices‘ superficial resemblance to Lewis’ atypical Gothic The Monk. Laura, though she will probably raise a protest, is an expert in Latin American literature.) Laura and I ultimately agreed that our collaboration would take the form of a conversation about the book, which we each read yet refrained from discussing prior to our officially meeting. Presented here is as full, complete and accurate a record of our conversation as Google’s transcription of our live chat will allow. What it lacks in context and gracefulness I trust it makes up for in spiritedness and candor. In fact, reading over these exchanges again, I appreciate how they allow me to eavesdrop on those selves taking turns speaking up—can I really say that they speak through me?—when I talk about books. Or: when I am retelling yet again those fictions by virtue of which we can even discuss the notion of fiction. (JM)
A word about tone: due to the candid nature of IM conversations, much of the following text is raw in character. My initial impulse was to edit out all my informal language, which reflects not my intellectual self, but the manner in which I engage in impassioned conversation with friends… Not necessarily for mass consumption. But in discussions with Joe, we ultimately felt we should maintain the tone of the original conversation to keep true to the experiment of long-distance collaboration that resulted in this review. For better or worse. (LV)
March 26th, 2012 / 1:00 pm