1) When Sachin Tendulkar, famous cricketer, walked back off the Wankhede field in Mumbai after having accumulated nearly 16,000 Test Runs in exactly 24 years at the highest international level (a career surpassed in excellence only, perhaps, by Sir Donald Bradman) he proclaimed “I am ready to die a violent death.”
Yes, it seems the world’s most famous cricketer (a virtual God in India and the rest of the subcontinent) is headed for new glories, laurels and great, foaming spikes of URL fame in the crazy, wide-open world of Alt Lit.
2) “Yes,” Sachin continued, “I plan on running amuck in the woods muttering glorious Carpe Diem extravagances”— whereupon Steve Roggenbuck leaped out of the Wankhede stands and hoisted Sachin up on to his shoulders and started chanting “Boost! Boost! Boost!” and the whole crowd, 40,000 strong, joined in immediately, voraciously chanting “Boost, Sachin, Boost” and Eternal Lief seemed all-too possible. Beautiful. Exquisite. Here. Now. Now.
3) “Will you be going to Brooklyn?” READ MORE >
World Series baseball is quite comely. The competition is carried out outside in the fall, so leaves are dying and falling off trees, it’s cold, and you get to start sporting layers, like multiple hoodies over a meaningful sweater over a button-down.
Moreover, baseball is slow, like an elderly person, and it’s quiet, like a deaf-mute. Both the elderly and deaf-mute are meritorious. The elderly are grumpy and crabby (as one should be), and deaf-mutes don’t talk and don’t hear, which is optimal, as there is very little that can be conveyed through talking and listening that can’t be conveyed much more marvelously through a poem, a story, or a Tumblr post
In “[The crowd at the ball game],” New Jersey boy William Carlos Williams compares the baseball setting to a totalitarian society, and that’s sensational.
This World Series is especially estimable because the St. Louis Cardinals are participating, and they feature many cute boys, like the hard-throwing closer, Trevor Rosenthal, and the tough as a truck catcher, Yadi.
Presently, the Cardinals and the meat-head East Coast liberals that some refer to as the Boston Red Sox have each won two games. If you haven’t been keeping up with all of the excitement then read Baby Marie-Antoinette’s recap of the first four games:
Last nighttime the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox in game 2 of the World Series, and their triumph made Baby Marie-Antoinette less woeful than she was on Wednesday night when the Cardinals lost (which they’re not supposed to do).
As with Baby Marie-Antoinette, I think the St. Louis Cardinals should win the World Series, and I also would be fine if their commendable closer, Trevor Rosenthal, wanted to be my boyfriend.
But this post right here sort of tackles another topic.
Before the bottom of the 7th inning, the Boston Red Sox commemorated all of the people who were blown up in the Boston Marathon.
They came out onto the field, and James Taylor sang a song.
This instance illustrated a theme from one of my favorite books, Frames of War by Judith Butler.
In this book, Judith distinguishes between greivable lives, like the people on the Boston Red Sox’s field, and ungrievable lives, like the Muslim creatures who continue to be blown to bits.
Being a boy, I like violence. But I don’t like phoniness, and it seemed to me to be really phony for all of these Boston Red Sox people to portray themselves as empathetic and moral-loaded and whatever other terms they might throw out, when, really, they’re only empathetic and moral-loaded to those who subscribe to America’s depiction of a grievable life.
Erin Lyndal Martin’s Response to the Anonymous Letter Addressed to Sandra Simonds in Response to Her Open Letter to The Poetry Foundation
Dear Buzz Poet,
One basic fact missing from your letter is that you seem to forget that poetry is work: “The difference between poets and the general public is that some of us, like you, Sandra, are fortunate enough to have an audience and a platform to reach them. In today’s rocky economic climate, one governed by debt and political deficit, I do not think it is in the best interest of your audience or the poetry community to model such irresponsible behavior in asking for a financial handout from the Poetry Foundation to support the poets you hold in such romanticized esteem.” Simonds has an audience and platform, mostly from within the literary community, because she has worked hard to build those connections through her work and social networking. Much of the work associated with poetry is thankless and unpaid; Simonds’ audience includes many of her peers who face her same financial reality. They may put in hours editing literary magazines that don’t make a profit, or they may write countless unpaid book reviews in an attempt to garner support and audiences for other poets. They publicize and promote poetry. Is it, indeed, a “handout” when one is asking to receive support from a foundation for forwarding the same work as that foundation? The Poetry Foundation’s website says that they are “committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.” Is Simonds, who writes, teaches, and reviews contemporary poetry not furthering the same agenda?
One question that lingers for many poets who founder without the support of the Poetry Foundation or similar arts organizations is what those organizations do with their money if not support poets. In President John Barr’s 2011 Year-in-Review letter posted on the foundation’s website (no similar letter for 2012 seems to be available), Barr is directly evasive: “Not all of the ‘hard metal’ that nurtures and contains the poetic energy at the Foundation is visible to the naked eye. The strategic plan, the annual forty-page operating budget, managing the endowment.” So why not make it visible to the naked eye? Why not publish the budget or the strategic plan? And why is the latest Audited Financial Statement READ MORE >
The Malt Whitman literature, beer, and camping festival is happening this weekend in Southeast Ohio. More info — including schedule, directions, and contact info — here.
The forthcoming, and 10th, issue of “Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics” will be the last. Yes, of course, just like people are born and die, journals come and go:
And yet— And yet—
Sentence is where I discovered poems and poets that changed the way I wrote: poems and poets (dead and alive, American and otherwise) that changed the way I thought about Poetry and its possibilities. Furthermore, Brian Clements, one of the founders and long-time editor of Sentence, was my first and best mentor when I began writing again (and for real) in Dallas in the late 1990’s.
So, to follow is a little Q & A that I just did with Brian which, among other things, looks back a bit over Sentence’s excellent 10 year run :
(note: back issues, except 1 and 2, are still available)
And yet— And yet—
Rauan: The Prose Poem seems to be in a much better place than it was when you started Sentence in 2003? I mean that now it seems Prose Poems are welcome and present just about anywhere. Is this part of the reason you’ve decided to stop?
Brian: I don’t know if the prose poem is in a better place; it’s in a different place READ MORE >
“Here, the obsolete game-as-medium lights its fires with the levity of camp. Its “new aesthetic” texture makes a tragicomic figure for contemporary poetry: an anachronistic genre of gaming while Rome burns—or dreaming Rome might burn, while in fact the empire goes on using stuff up outside as usual, pleasant or painful, awful but cheerful, the deflector shield quite operational when your friends arrive.” — David Gorin at the Boston Review considers the perverse negativity of those crud-ducks over at Claudius App, whose reading this Saturday 9/21 @ 9PM @ Reena Spaulings with Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Ariana Reines, and Keston Sutherland
you should definitely avoid, because just look at this animated GIF below they made for it that links directly to the Facebook event, which supposedly 118 people are going to, and look, I’ve been to Brooklyn, 118 people don’t even live in that pie shop, so, yeah, sure, keep murdering your brother, Claudius, it’s not like we don’t all know he’s the real king, and it’s not like we’re not going to keep putting slippers on your hands so you rub your eyes with your slippers when you wake up:
Sign up for $30 and get three sweet books in the mail over three months. Seattle folks: you can talk about the books with other attractive brains at the Frye Art Museum Cafe every month. You have to RSVP, so that’s important. The first book is our own Matthew Simmons’s excellent Happy Rock, and the meeting in Seattle is October 6th at 2PM.
On the day when al-Qaeda toppled the Twin Towers with commercial airplanes I was very upset, not because thousands of Americans had just died, but because the snack that my mommy always had in the car when she picked me up form school — a yummy, delicious, chocolaty, nutty, and creamy Snickers — had melted.
A lot of people seem to be very perturbed by 9/11, and these types are, according to me, phony, stupid, or both. What turns 9/11 into a tragedy isn’t that tons of humans beings die. Tons of humans beings die all of the time. Right now around 5,000 Syrians are dying per month, and only a tiny percentage of Americans seem to care enough to do anything. 9/11, though, is different because, as Noam Chomsky says, “For the first time, the guns have been directed the other way. That is a dramatic change.” Normally, America’s the country who gets to be grandly violent, like when Bill Clinton sundered a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, decimating their medicine supplies, causing thousands to die from treatable diseases. But on 9/11 the opposite occurred. The country whose interests, according to Woodrow Wilson, “must march forward” got gashed. People — white people, Capitalist people, Western people — who weren’t supposed to die, died.
The controversial French boy, Jean Baudrillard, says that 9/11 made our “fantasies real.” All of those terrific and terrifying disaster movies — Independence Day, the Transformers, Schindler’s List — had tumbled into America’s tangible territory. The acts actually annihilated USA bodies. But just because Jean used the word “real” doesn’t make it so. For Jean, “reality only exists to the extent that we can intervene in it. But when something emerges that we cannot change in any way, even with the imagination, something that escapes all representation, then it simply expels us.” Just as I can’t kiss that cute Nazi boy in Schindler’s List, nobody was able to cease the Twin Towers’ collapse.
I want, genuinely, to be hopeful and optimistic about the future of Egypt even though I am, sadly, an inveterate pessimist and doomsayer—but in order to instill a kind of complicated hope in me I am going to begin this post by talking a bit about South Africa, the country in which I was born some 45 distant years ago (I moved to Dallas, TX with my family in 1980).
South Africa is a great success story. A miracle. A miracle that she was able to emerge from Apartheid with, at the end, such a minimal amount of bloodshed and economic damage (so many, within and without, had predicted total calamity: a bloodbath accompanied by economic ruin). READ MORE >
Today is the day a stork (supposedly one who was wearing a Miu Miu baby doll dress and a demure dark bow in her hair) delivered Carina Finn — poetess, visual artist, baker, and girl — to her mommy. Everyone should buy her a present. Here’s some suggestions.
* A cupcake with lemon frosting.
* A cupcake with mint frosting.
* This Belle Ensemble.
* A cupcake with strawberry icing and sprinkles.
* A pair of sunnies or maybe even a pair of specs, like the kind Marilyn Monroe wears in How To Marry a Millionaire.
* This Belle Fairytale Journal.
* A chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing (if there are sprinkles on it then don’t bother).
* And obviously this Belle Tiara because all admirable girls should absolutely be attired in a Belle Tiara.
You can read about some of the gossip concerning the birthday of Baby Carina (who’s not interchangeable with Carina Finn, ok) on Bambi Muse right here.
BILLY: THE SPORT
“Billy” fucked the love of my life.  I had known Billy for a longer time than I had known the love of my life, and that still holds true from an objective standpoint where time is universal. I knew him to be the person I was not expecting to be friends with today, not because he fucked her–because I was actually not expecting that at all–but because our friendship was extremely mild.  There were also haphazard and unrelated–as they pertain to each of us as friends–shared chronotopical coordinates. We happened to be at some of the same places at a lot of the same times: the concert where I met the girl I dated before I met the love of my life, the liberal arts institution in the Midwest we both attended and, finally, New York.
Understanding how memory is determined by the chronotope has always been an arduous battle between logic and emotion, because time becomes connected to the space the memory is produced in and the intensity of the experience held in each memory shapes one’s perception of time. Time may appear to no longer be measured by any watch or clock, but by the strength of one’s emotions. Space is also prone to personal subjectivity, as past memories tend to engender feelings of the past, arguments fought and wet kisses shared.
To construct an understandable narrative, the creator must give in to the limitation of linearity, regardless of how convoluted the structure of the linearity becomes.  As a producer of memories who also chronicles them in prose, I have often manipulated myself for days until I surrender to an objective need to stop giving in to my desire for the (re)production of an intense memory.
Last time I saw Billy we met at the Highline,  which is always awful and never ceases to surprise with how awful it will be over and over again. Time definitely stops forever at the Highline and the space becomes a mini-simulacrum of all that is hell: enthusiastic teenagers, people who like to document their everything for antisocial media and runners who run for fun. No wonder Billy had a freakout and cried, even if the space actually had nothing to do with it. 
This time I was meeting Billy at a Vietnamese place in Chinatown called PHO-BANG. I go there a lot, because the wait-staff is extremely rude, but also because I like their pho and it is definitely enough for two meals, or even sometimes all the meals of a day if you get the large size with the beef chunks. My favorite detail about the kitschy exotic ambiance is the clock that is next to the counter, a clock that ticks but has stopped forever. On the clock there is a visual of the Twin Towers, a space that real time has made a non-space. I find that definitely inappropriate, but maybe I am silly to think that, especially after really loving the Tom Junod article in Esquire that beautifully conveyed the tragedy of imagery recounting the 9/11 tragedy. 
In May, America’s Kenyan-esqe president announced the War on Terror was over. But I don’t want it to be. War is such an over-the-top production. Just a short while ago, my trustworthy teddy bear Kmart and I saw Zero Dark Thirty. That chunk of cinema centered on the War on Terror and it was very enticing, and the redhead girl, as Bambi Muse baby despot Baby Idi pointed out in his review of the film, is also remarkably pretty. The War on Terror need not and should not end. But it does require a new name. “On” is an ugly word. It starts with “o,” which is a lewd looking letter. “Ovary” has the letter “o” in it, as does “ovum” and “Obamacare” — all of these terms are either associated with girls (who can be obnoxious sometimes) or white liberals (who are always obnoxious all of the time). The new name that I (with assistance from Kmart) came up with does have an “o” in it (as you can’t spell “terror” without an “o,” it’s quite impossible) but it has banished any word commencing with that gay bitch of a letter. From this point forward, I, along with anyone with taste, will label the War on Terror the “Terrorist War.” “Terrorist” is superior to “terror” for a fountain of reasons. The main one being the sound the “ist” makes. The concluding syllable in “terrorist” sounds similar to “hiss,” which is the sound you emit anytime you encounter one of those modern, New York Times couples on the streets.
Now that there’s a satisfyingly sounding name for America’s attack against Middle Eastern countries, it’s acceptable to consider the components of this Terrorist War. A girl who has already done this in a most insightful manner isn’t just a girl, she’s a girl-boy, and her name is Judith Butler. In her book Frames of War, Judith sorts through some of the ways in which America’s continual conflict with Middle East countries and subjects is executed and explained. For Judith, the Terrorist War relates to boys-who-like-boys or, as others call them, “homosexuals.” In both the first Gulf War (the one George W. Bush’s daddy commanded) and the second Gulf War (the one George W. Bush himself commanded) “up your ass” was inscribed on America’s missiles. Judith views these two occurrences as evidence of America’s intent to “inflict the ostensible shame of sodomy on those who are bombed.” The source of the Terrorist’s supposed shame has to do with their dislike of homosexuals. A lot of the boys in the Middle East abhor the Frank Bruni Dan Savage Jason Collins race (and, truthfully, so do I). An example of Muslim boys’ intolerance for flamers is illuminated in Lawrence Wright’s popular history of Middle East terrorism, the Looming Tower. In 1995, Islamic extremists, with support from Osama bin Laden and Sudan, attempted to assassinate Egyptian president Honsi Mubarak. But the former friend of America survived and retaliated by kidnapping the primary plotters’ sons, gang-raping them, taking pictures of the gang-rape, and telling them if they didn’t become their spies and try to kill their own daddies then they would show their daddies the gang-rape pictures. The sons selected to snitch on their daddies since if their daddies were to see the pictures they would sentence their sons to the firing squad (SPOILER ALERT: thanks to Sudan, the daddies caught on that their sons were trying to have them killed and sentenced them to the firing squad anyways).
8/9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Unnameable Books 7pm Danniel Schoonebeek, Mark Cugini, Jennifer H. Fortin, Nate Pritts, Nick Sturm hosted by Alexis Pope8/10 – New York, NY @ H_NGM_N H_NG__T 49 West 11th Street #3&4 with Wendy Xu, Ben Kopel, Curtis Purdue, Jennifer H. Fortin, Nate Pritts, Nick Sturm hosted by Russell Dillon
8/11 – Washington, DC @ Three Tents Reading Series with Carrie Lorig, Aubrey Lenahan, Nick Sturm hosted by Mark Cugini
8/12 – Pittsburgh, PA (TBA) with Carrie Lorig, Nick Sturm
8/13 – Akron, OH (TBA) with Carrie Lorig, Mike Krutel, Nick Sturm
8/14 – Cincinnati, OH (TBA) with Carrie Lorig, Austin Hayden, Nick Sturm
8/15 – Lexington, KY @ Black Sheep Reading Series at Black Swan Books with Carrie Lorig, Nick Sturm hosted by Adam Clay
8/16 – Chattanooga, TN @ Fusebox with Carrie Lorig, Nick Sturm
8/17 – Athens, GA @ Avid Poetry Series at Avid Bookshop 6:30pm with Wendy Xu, Jess Grover, Nick Sturm hosted by Dan Rosenberg
8/18 – Atlanta, GA (TBA)
8/21 – Delray Beach, FL (TBA) with Steven Karl, Caroline Cabrera, Phil Muller
8/22 – Miami, FL (TBA) with Steven Karl, Caroline Cabrera, Phil Muller
Get Sturm’s HOW WE LIGHT from H_NGM_N Books
Watch Sturm’s Book Trailer for HOW WE LIGHT
Get Lorig’s NODS. from Magic Helicopter Press
The conference was kind of (though not really) supposed to take place soon after, but due to incidents involving peanut butter, Sean Cody, and tea parties, the conference kept incurring delays.
Finally, on a cool summer night, the primary participants of The Hunger Games % Academic Conference — New York City Poetry Festival princess Stephanie Berger, Carina, and me — gathered at a sharply secret location, and the conference, after so many months, commenced.
Before the first panel was to begin, controversy came. I noticed that the then title of our conference, The Hungers Games Academic Conference, looked sort of weird, like Barack Obama’s birth certificate (which I still haven’t had the chance to see, by the way). I suggested that we add percentage symbols before the “The” and after “Games.” Carina concurred that The Hunger Games Academic Conference was too plain to be pretty, but she deemed that two percentage symbols was a surfeit, and declared that there should only be one, and that one should come after the “Games.” So that’s how The Hunger Games Academic Conference became The Hunger Games % Academic Conference.
Stephanie, who’d been texting with boys throughout the title alteration, then declared, “We’re off to a good start.” But her cheer was countered right away when a stack of referential texts, including Kate Durbin’s Kept Women, Sianne Ngai’s Our Aesthetic Categories, and an alien anthology of film theory essays, toppled over.
And on that odious note, the first panel — The Hungers Games As a Micro/Macrocosm of the Hungarian Doctor in Celine’s Oeuvre As Interpreted by Kristeva; or, Stephanie Drops Her Port — proceeded with both Stephanie and Carina recalling the specific time when the former dropped her port; both labeled the occurrence “a moment of abjection.”
Carina then touched on the Celine component of the panel by describing both Celine and The Hunger Games as dramatically violent and pastorally lovely.
[ No, this post isn't about the current state of Politics in the “greatest nation that’s ever existed”, or The Vatican. But it is me being, as usual, angry and amused, reductive, pessimistic, excited, juiced up, judgmental, and making sweeping generalizations about humanity, our plight, our collective cultural soul, blah, blah --- note: I am a big fan of the Tour de France, absolutely care and absolute also do not care about the cheating. And I will be following as much of this year's Tour as I can.
I think, really, that I care more about the Tour de France than I do about humanity ]
In less than 48 hours the 100th edition of the Tour de France will begin with huge fanfare. Does it matter that Lance Armstrong finally came clean (in his way), admitting he’d cheated his way, coldly and methodically (Armstrong headed up, according to USADA, “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”), to his record 7 consecutive tour titles? READ MORE >
Readings, performances, & screenings by JARETT KOBEK, JANEY SMITH, DEAN SMITH, DAVENZANE HAYES, DOROTHY TUNNELL, M KITCHELL & TATIANA LUBOVISKI-ACOSTA, featuring music from ANDY TISDALL.
Wednesday, June 26th
at The Secret Alley
LAST SUMMER, EDITOR & fellow UDLE member Weston Smith & I began a dialogue revolving around inside the symbol of the BARRED ZERO. I posited that, among other things, this zero was an exclusionary invitation to break thru, to shatter the toppled phallic tally of the 1 barring the path and pass from the gyre on one side to that on the other, becoming in the process an act of pure verbing.
Or as Weston would come to say later, “The Zero has 2 parts: the black shape of its symbol-ness, and its hollow. Nothing becomes tangible, constructed of the emptiness of its core.
“So there. Nothing is still nothing, but what, we need it, to do math and stuff. Our minds are not equipped, but our symbols are, and they stretch, equally infinite, in either direction, buoyed by this Thing that isn’t. Pass through that zero, baby, and your negatives turn positive.
“Where does that leave us? Nowhere, but we can be sure we were there. You feel it when you -work, cash the +check, and pay -rent. You remember it when you +drink so much that you don’t -remember it. Nothing is the Now, that other thing that there isn’t but is somehow all we have.”
This whole conversation birthed a publication called THE NO THING, ‘a demonstration of a performance about paralyzed economies’, considering, for example, ‘organization, pragmatism, and luck’.
All of you New York types should check out their party/poker tournament tonight at 100A Forsyth Street.