“These are poems that need to be written” — (More on the Abramson Debacle)

In the Los Angeles Review of Books’ online Marginalia Christopher Kempf breaks, I guess, some new ground on the Abramson Debacle (ie, about Seth Abramson’s 14-hour poem, Last Words for Elliot Rodger):

1) The main thrust of Kempf’s essay (borne out of looking at and discussing Abramson’s poem “as poetry, as an aesthetic work demanding, as all serious art does, the careful critical attention that lies at the heart of the literary discipline”) is that poems should be written in response to tragedy but “they need to be written well.”

2) Kempf completely dismisses Diamond’s Flavorwire post because it “ultimately prohibits any aesthetic response at all to tragedy.” He is, on the other hand, more sympathetic to Laura Sims’ VIDA article because she “explore(s) in necessary ways the relationship between art and violence, helping advance the conversation about how writers can ethically and effectively engage with tragedy” but is concerned hers is “a rather conservative position with respect to art and culture” and that “(her) remarks perhaps too closely police, at least for (his) taste, who can and cannot write about violence and how.”


Web Hype / 12 Comments
June 11th, 2014 / 11:50 am

Championing Re Re’s, Condemning Democracy: the Baby Marie-Antoinettte Interview


Once on a day not too long ago (though not too recent either) I met up with Baby Marie-Antoinentte. The second Bambi Muse baby despot, Baby Marie-Antoinette acquired remarkable notoriety for her “Dear White Race” letter, published in the spring of this year. But, obviously, Baby Marie-Antoinette has monstrous more going for her than just internet fame. Soon, Baby Marie-Antoinette will be the queen of France. Her reign will coincide with the French Revolution, that disgraceful period when the Third Estate (know as “the middle class” in America) will degrade, divide, and, in some cases, behead Baby Marie-Antoinette’s adored family.

Our meeting place was a charming diner on the Upper East Side. In an old-fashioned red-and-white striped booth, I took sips of a Sprite while Baby Marie-Antoinette nibbled on a piece of positively sweet cherry pie.

Having turned down a tsunami of interview requests, I asked her politely if I could publish our chat as an interview. After pondering the possibility with her mommy, Empress Maria Theresa, Baby Marie-Antoinette agreed, as I am, after all, Bambi Muse‘s CEO (and, also, the Empress received final approval).

Me (M): Hi…

Baby Marie-Antoinette (BMA): Hullo…

M: Your cherry pie looks very sweet and yummy.

BMA: It is, just like Tinker Bell, Ariel, and Miley Cyrus.

M: Oh, a lot of people are saying mean things about all three of those girls.

BMA: Yeah, but America is governed by the 99 percent, and they’re average, so they hate specialness, whether it’s a special fairy, a special mermaid, or a special actress/singer.

M: There was tons of scorn slung at Miley’s VMA performance last Sunday.

BMA: Yeah, the 99 percent was very mean about that, but I wasn’t. Miley acted like a re re. And re re’s are magical, like bruises or something.

M: I have a bruise on my knee from getting tripped up on a sidewalk on Broad Street.

BMA: What were you doing on Broad Street?

M: Screaming curses at investment bankers.

BMA: Oy…

M: What is your perspective on capitalism?

BMA: I, too, champion inequality, exploitation, a class system, and so on. But none of those things should be based on money. Anyone can get that. The world should be based on something that’s not so darn indiscreet, like pretty dresses or poems.

M: Can you elaborate please?

BMA: Only chosen creatures can deck a pretty dress decorously, and, likewise, only chosen creatures can compose a captivating poem.

M: Who can compose a captivating poem?

BMA: Baby Ji Yoon can. And so can Baby Carina. They’re both re re’s. One of Baby Carina’s poems is titled CARIO, Y R U SO CRUELLL xXxX. As for Baby Ji Yoon, she says, “my bellybuttons are very impressionable.”

M: Uh-huh, they do sound like lovely and splendid special-ed girls.

BMA: There’s also this girl called Lauren Shufran. Many of her poems are metered. She also made up a word, “Turdecken,” a combination of turkey, duck, and chicken. Normal people don’t know how to count syllables or come up with their own vocabulary. They’re too laid back and communicative; for example, Cate Marvin.

M: The VIDA girl?


M: Do you abhor that advocacy group?

BMA: You bet I do. What consequence is it if Ploughshares publishes 14.759837422222222 percent more boys than girls? They’re all average, interchangeable poets anyways. VIDA doesn’t care if a poem is illuminating; for them, it’s just accessibility and equality. And that’s not poetry, that’s Park Slope lesbian self-esteem talk. Actual poetry is very discriminative and strict. Sylvia is — she killed her daddy and her husband.

M: Tyrants are violent too.

BMA: Yeah, they’re decidedly diehard. It’s delightful. I hope that Syrian boy wins. Americans should stop bombing other countries and mind their own business. Nobody wants to be a democracy, it’s so gross, like pecking the cheeks of Lloyd Blankfein, Ben Bernanke, and Timmy Geithner one directly after another.

M: Yuck!

BMA: We should do something pretty now.

M: Maybe we could quietly sing that song.

BMA: That song?

M: Yeah.


Author Spotlight & I Like __ A Lot & Mean / 1 Comment
September 4th, 2013 / 3:08 pm

Expanding Emily Dickinson’s Wardrobe

This past weekend I sort of wandered around Brooklyn. As I jaunted past a two-story Burger King, humming my favorite Lesley Gore tune of the moment, I ran smack dab into the ghost of Emily Dickinson.

“Hi,” I said to Emily’s ghost, calmly. I had no reason to be flummoxed since this sort of thing occurs frequently.

“Never mind the chitchat,” replied Emily (rudely, if you ask me). “Let’s get down to brass tacks. A cute and charming 21st-century poet has translated every single one of my verse compositions, attracting new fans and admirers. I certainly don’t want these fans and admirers to only see me in my one outfit – my white cotton dress. I want the world to think that I am a fashion-conscious girl who possess a plethora of clothes. Can you assist me in expanding my wardrobe?”


Author Spotlight & I Like __ A Lot & Mean / 4 Comments
October 15th, 2012 / 2:12 pm

VIDA has tallied the gender (im)balance in The Best American series. In their press release they ask, “What careers stalled because gender bias plays a role in preventing a writers’ work from reaching a national audience?”

It’s a scary thought. Is it also a fair question?

Bitches Be Trippin’

I love the Urban Dictionary because they seem to have a definition for everything. I spend a lot of time looking up dirty words and phrases. I learned what a snowball was via Urban Dictionary. It has nothing to do with the snow, that’s for sure. I love the phrase “Bitches be trippin’.” I don’t know why. On a whim, I decided to look up the phrase on Urban Dictionary. Sure enough, there was a definition. According to them, the phrase is “used primarily by heterosexual males to justify the irrational behaviors of women.” For example, when women bring attention to certain pervasive and longstanding disparities, one might say, “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Bitches be trippin’.”


Random / 167 Comments
February 8th, 2011 / 8:26 pm

Four Brief Notes of Varying Significance

If you’re interested in antique printing, there’s a whole plant for sale in Boston.

I love stand up comedy so I really enjoyed this profile of comedian Greg Giraldo and his untimely passing in The Awl.

Mima Simić writes a disturbing account of how her work was edited, without her approval, for Best European Fiction 2011, by an editor at Dalkey Archive. One of the edits assigned a gender to the narrator when the gender ambiguity was a deliberate authorial choice. It’s not a good situation.

Vida released a count for how women writers are represented across several publications great and small during 2010. Meghan O’Rourke responds at Slate. The numbers are not surprising. The issue is, of course, more complex than mere statistics but statistics are always a good place to start. I find the numbers disheartening.  Actually, I think it’s fucked up. I do. I understand if you don’t and why. We’ve had this conversation already but I thought I would share the latest numbers.

Random / 7 Comments
February 2nd, 2011 / 9:52 pm

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