Götterdämmerung Family BBQ
by Jasper Bernes and Joshua Clover
Commune Editions, 2013
1. I met Jasper Bernes at a café in Oakland. He was binding Götterdämmerung Family BBQ with a long arm stapler. Commune Editions is a new publishing venture organized by Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, and Juliana Spahr.
2. Jasper invited me to the Poetry and/or Revolution conference-taking place at UC Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz. I went to a discussion on manifestos where Joshua Clover delivered his Don’t Put the Rabbit in the Hat. Later, at “The Public School” Joshua and Jasper read from Götterdämmerung Family BBQ.
3. If it’s not clear you can read this online here along with works by Juliana Spahr, Diane Di Prima, and Louise Michel.
4. Poems. These are poems. Don’t forget. They look like poems. They taste like poems. They’re also full of frenetic pop culture references and blatant political antagonisms. They’re fun, but they’re trying to fuck shit up all the same.
5. The line that got the biggest cheer / laugh / reaction from the reading was “I wandered lonely as a drone / That floats o’er jails and landfill / And monitors what we say on the phone. // It knows an amazing amount / About One Direction / And sexting with frenemies of / the public good, who burn in the sun // of total transparency, / brains open to the screen / Memories of one Friedrich von / Ludwig von Mises on scene…”
6. There’s a kind of opulence to lyric like that – a lyrical richness, a sickly sweetness from the rhyme, an excessive beauty. Some other writers, like Julian T. Brolaski, and Joyelle McSweeney, also capture a kind of perverted poeticism, a lavish absence, bastard cousin of luxury rap. “I’m early to the party but my ‘rarri is the latest.”
7. While “I wandered lonely as a drone” pleases, much of the rest of the chapbook is more of a call to arms and a more vigorous critique of political ambivalence. “Your vocabulary did this to me and millions like me, the vulnerability of words wanna be starting something else: rockets, rain, renegacy. Turn it upside down and set it on fire / is too a solution if you believe in emotional truth”
8. Responsibility, commiseration, complicity. This work sits firmly on the let’s do something with our poetry side of the aisle, rather than the “everything is meaningless” or the “poetry can’t do real shit” side of the weird looking aisle.
9. Jasper told me that Commune Editions would focus on work with an anarchist lean. Publishing a recounting of the trials of Louise Michel achieves that in more than one way.
10. “We once thought that there was more to life than breathing carbon emissions through the holes in our faces and we were right” READ MORE >
October 31st, 2013 / 12:31 pm
“I am not opposed to poems. I love poems. I love people who write poems, passionately. But the SOCIAL ROLE OF POET is a disaster, just like every other social role. The struggle is for the end of roles, for the end of the division of labor, for the end of the gender distinction, for the end of identity as it exists. Free relations, not roles. Poems made by anyone who makes them. No poets.” — Joshua Clover has one point and it’s about rabbits
[NOTE: Guess which are which.]
“The Bubble and The Globe” – Joshua Clover on John Ashbery’s Planisphere as a chronicle of the financial collapse at The Nation.
Ashbery is heroically free of the world-was-better-when-my-body-was-younger piffle that mars some of his well-known contemporaries. Instead we have the sense of the poet (and us with him) being always inside time, suspended within it as within some queer medium (an entirely proprietary substance, one part limestone and two parts prosecco). There is no lyrical leap to ecstasy, to someplace beyond the capacious Ashberian land. Time itself is the worldly country, and there is no other.
Part two of Melissa Broder’s two-part series on twitter as a strange attractor in the writer’s life is now live. In Part 1 she spoke to poets, including Ron Silliman, Amy King, Tao Lin, and Reb Livingston. In Part 1.5 she spoke at some length with Brandon Scott Gorell. Now, in Part 2, she speaks to prose-writers, Kevin Sampsell, Dara Horn, Fiona Maazel, our own Blake Butler and Matthew Simmons, and yours truly.
Fiona Maazel: Twitter? What the hell is that? I, Neanderthal.
“Carded” – William Deresiewicz amply disgusted with the packaging of Nabokov’s Original of Laura at The New Republic.
The cards are perforated and, as Dmitri says in a note, “can be removed and rearranged, as the author likely did when he was writing the novel.” I’ll get back to the second half of that statement, a claim both strategic and semi-dubious (not to mention ungrammatical). The first breaks new ground in editorial chutzpah, inviting us to play a kind of Nabokov: Rock Band–the novel as theme park. One can only imagine what dear old dad–the ultimate artistic control freak, not to mention one of the all-time snobs–would have thought of the idea of letting his readers re-arrange his scraps and chapters at will.
And Boing Boing introduces us to Jake Adelstein, the American Jew who relocated to Japan and became the toughest reporter on the yakuza beat. Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice, will be collaborating with Boing Boing over the next two months, to bring out a series of exclusive stories about the yakuza. Which we’ll have our eye on, no doubt, but in the meantime they kick things off with an interview.
Do you worry about your family?
I have a guarantee from someone up high in the Yamaguchi-gumi that they won’t touch my family. Their word is pretty solid. It’s a gentleman’s agreement that they’ll only kill me, which makes me feel better.