Monday, May 30, 2016

Rae Armantrout, Two Poems

Execution Grass, image by Irene Koronas


The way
a new blade
steadies itself
as it slowly

It’s not glazed
donuts or

it is.


Gray and silver
of clouds, sun-slit.

Power  lines swooping
out and in. Ridiculous!

“People are happy
when their lives have purpose,”

some plan
to execute.


To say “I”
am my “own”
makes no sense –


This white fuzz-ball
atop each
rubber-hose thick
bolted stalk
of onion
which leans out
away from the rest

—Rae Armantrout

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Black & White Series, image by Rupert M. Loydell


for & from Peter Dent

It is my own conspiracy. I am responsibly
indebted and will leave you questions
and answers that are correct in theory but
cannot be apprehended in any real sense.

Speak soft with a fair hand, be neither lame
nor doing impressions of anyone we know.
Trouble, as is all too familiar, simply unhinges
colour from the mirror of our lives. Each person

is an avant prince of something and we should
relisten to their quiet classics, even if they are
a pillar of salt in my canon. Perhaps plays could
be performed sans actors, poems without words?

A dictionary is useful but answers are thin
on the ground; I prefer kindle or vellum.
Anyway, let problems subside into good health
but in the meantime please take note:

no two things can be done at the same time,
especially if time zones do not intersect.
I now move at the pace of the premature,
irresponsibly wounded and wondering.

—Rupert M. Loydell

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, excerpt from Suicide by Language

Juliet, torn and pasted paper collage by Joseph F. Keppler 

excerpt from Suicide by Language
a flash-fiction novel by Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino

The thing about the Mermaid Parade is everybody looks so bad and yet if you ask them they’ll tell you they feel fabulous. 

In 1987 she wrote, all the pilots drive Lincolns and have pink skin.  The stewardesses fuck like bunnies.  After Cixous, the envelope is sealed with a kiss, is this poetic justice?  Write for rules and detailed information. 

She wrote, Last night we made love like two retards.  And then the doodle of the Wonder Wheel. 

Poetics.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

The monster rises from the pit.  The lovers turn.  She screams.  He fires.  Roll credits. 

We practiced pulling up and jumping out and hurrying into the buildings. 

The poet’s mechanicity.  Fabulosity. 

Sex and Poetry. 

This episode: “Sex and the Collage Poem.” 

Or you could say poetry is like sex, in which case you want to ask yourself: If this poem is sex, do I want to have sex with it?  Well, if it’s a collage poem you don’t know where that poetry’s been, and the poet who wrote it really doesn’t want you to know; or maybe that poet will tell you, but then that’s like that poem saying, Yes, I want you to have sex with me, but just not with me exactly, I mean with these other poems. 

Forks and Knives

An anthology of poetry by women who have had episiotomies.  

Part One: The Midline.  
Part Two: The Mediolateral.  
Part Three: Forks and Knives. 

There’s a whole belt of avant-gardist territory where to criticize them is like telling the Fat Lady at the freak show to lose weight. 

This movie was shot on cell-phone video.  It’s the footage of the head of Jacques Derrida on the body of the Bigfoot. 

The poet’s mechanicity.  The poet as ironist.  Where he fails is in that his irony fails to rise above the rank of sarcasm. 

In a previous life I was a chorus girl and I died very young and with a broken heart. 

This is the part of the asylum where they let you go ’round naked.  Robert Lowell is here.  And so is Anne Sexton. 

Manners.  Recoverable at will. 

Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino’s most recent volume of poetry is The Valise (Dead Academics Press, 2012).  He is founding editor of the online poetry journal, Eratio.  For more from the novel, Suicide by Language, visit

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Alien Eyes, image by AC Evans


La beaute sera CONVULSIVE ou ne sera pas – Andre Breton

Ladies and gentlemen:
Please try to forget, if you can, those heretical convulsionnaires, dismissed by Diderot as ‘a sect of fools’ and derided by experts of the day as an unfortunate by-product of deranged gynaecology, or of the 'moral inferiority' of women.
More profitably, consider Baudelaire's view when he said inspiration ‘has something in common with a convulsion’ and noted further that all sublime thought is ‘accompanied by a more or less violent nervous shock which has its repercussions at the very core of the brain.’ The constitutive qualities of ‘convulsion’ may be detected in the oneiric aura of Paquita Valdes, as described by Balzac in La Fille aux Yeux d’Or (1835). He wrote: ‘there was something sombre, mysterious, sweet, tender, constrained and expansive, an intermingling of the awful and the celestial, of paradise and hell…’ Again, consider this landscape from Flaubert's Salammbo: 'An immense mass of shadow lay spread out before them, containing vague crests that looked like the gigantic waves of a petrified black ocean.' 
A more recent example, ladies and gentlemen, may be the up-tempo classy yet anarchic 1960 mambo-cha staccato interpretation of Frenesi by the Edmundo Ros Orchestra with crystalline vocals by Caterina Valente; perhaps he ideal soundtrack of convulsive beauty on account of a predominant sense of ‘apparent gratuitousness’. It was Garcia Lorca who reminded us that it is not a matter of theatrical intonation, dynamic vocal flourishes, skill or virtuosity (without question in this case), 'but of a style that's truly alive.' Just like a little girl the poet saw in Puerto de Santa Maria singing and dancing a 'corny Italian song... with such rhythms, silences and intention...', that 'she turned the Neapolitan gewgaw into something new and totally unprecedented...' She has duende
Convulsive Beauty is paradise deranged.  
Thank you for listening, and


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Steven Waling, Flarf Poetry

Dead Pang Flarf, image by Daniel Y. Harris 


Homeless dog rejected hundreds of times
he doesn’t actually have heterochromia
but this week we’re remembering a King
of glam rock applying his Ziggy Stardust
make-up with two different coloured eyes.

Some results may have been removed for
what colour are his eyes – many aspects of
the mismatched colouring. Diluted pupil,
his friend George Underwood punched him
in 1962. The many faces birthed movements –

one eye green the other blue. Today revealed
as something of an enigma, looks and guises
a key part of his iconic stomping along
as you’ve probably heard. His alien openly
bisexual eclectic body elevated though

not technically. Unequalled vision the best
of related searches: the perfect metaphor
until people can shoot lasers from their eyes.
But there’s a lot more to it than a
playground fight. We were so saddened to hear

a parting gift: visions of death and sickness.
The artist wrapped his eyes in bandages
-even creepier when they finally appear
to be different colours. Has died of cancer
being in his beautiful meaninglessness.


Jump to navigation: search more
images. Born in Providence, online
he attended. Groundbreaking people
also search for wishes and the Art
of Living shipping Selected Talks

in early February of 1962. Together
in a single landmark, I think
there are two kinds: this is in
the American comments and
analysis. We’re going to continue

on now and in the margins best
known for catalysing the so-called
edited transcript of the biggest
thing arriving, feeding of a talk:
the final three words of New York.

Since its original publication
don’t take more than a few clear
history minutes. Consider using
the air about the free listening in
the 2nd Generation: cause of death.

—Steven Waling

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Susan Bee, Monster Mitt

Monster Mitt, Oil and Collage on Canvas 1990, Susan Bee 

Susan Bee: Monster Mitt

Lisa Cooley Gallery
107 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002
Susan Bee: Monster Mitt
April 3 - May 15, 2016
Press Release by Alex Fleming

Lisa Cooley is pleased to announce Monster Mitt, a presentation of canvases by Susan Bee. For the past 40 years, Bee has worked as a fine artist as well as a book artist, writer, teacher, and editor. During the late 1970s Bee collaborated on the design and production of the influential L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E journal together with Charles Bernstein. As co-founder of M/E/A/N/I/N/G magazine, Bee’s prolific work as an editor situated and created a context rich with discourse around artists and themes unrepresented elsewhere. In her own practice as an artist she has produced prolifically, moving through photography, collage, and—most centrally since the early 1980s—painting.

The works from the early to mid-1990s exhibited in Monster Mitt represent an earlier phase in Bee’s investigation of painting, one in which the canvas is treated as an uneasy stage set for an array of collaged textures, motifs, and ready-made characters. Figures represented range from cartoon decals to Bee’s own children and are arranged amidst a variety of other (two- and three-dimensional) activities enacted on the surface of each canvas. Collaged elements bring together mass-produced vernacular with an expressive painterly landscape of gesture and mark-making.

One finds Bee’s characters relocated from their cheery origins to psychologically complex dramas, hovering in indeterminate, emphatically flattened surfaces. Combined with these figures are artifacts from Bee’s own personal life. Narrative fragments from her family appear, emphasizing a characteristic tension in the artist's work between personal archaeology and pop culture vernacular.

In the titular work, Monster Mitt (1990), a nightmarish abyss threatens to consume three cartoon figures whose languid expressions hover in a hazy, dark landscape. A hand-like form, emerging as if belonging to a bandaged burn victim—or presumably a monster clad in lace gloves—interrupts the foreground. The jarring but hypnotic effect created through these tableaux relates to Bee’s longstanding intellectual engagement with themes of psychoanalysis, motherhood, and the politics of painting.

Link to other paintings in the show:

Alex Fleming Interviews Susan Bee  

Alex Fleming: I’d like to start by talking about your relationship to painting…. How did you start and when? Can you give us a context of how you came to the paintings that are in the exhibit? About how long were you producing work in this idiom?

Susan Bee: I started painting as a child. My parents, Miriam and Sigmund Laufer, were artists and went to their openings and shows as a child. My mother had a solo show on 10th street in 1962 and continued to paint her whole life. She died in 1980. In elementary school, I went with her to her studio and painted in the corner with oil paints. My father was a printmaker and graphic designer and I would make etchings with him on weekends at Pratt. I also studied in a painting class for children at the Museum of Modern Art. I grew up in a bohemian atmosphere in Manhattan and in the summers in Provincetown. You could say that painting is in my blood. See this interview:
Miriam Laufer:
Sigmund Laufer:

The works that are in the exhibit are mostly from 1990-1996. I went through a time of doing abstract paintings and photograms, during the period that I studied with minimalists and conceptual artists and theorists at Hunter MA from 1975-77. My most influential teachers there were Robert Morris and Rosalind Krauss. Some of that work  was recently exhibited at Mitchell Algus Gallery in Concept, Performance, Documentation, Language:

I returned to painting figurative works as I came into the orbit of the early feminist artists. After my mother died in 1980, I felt a need to paint again. I was working on L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E then and being influenced by the work of the poets that I knew. I started to add collage to the paintings in about 1989. My daughter, Emma, was born in 1985 and I started to be inspired by her childhood toys and her playfulness to return to a spirit of play in my work. The pop imagery that I used in the 1980s paintings that were derived from film stills morphed into this search for a decorative and humorous approach to painting. I wanted stuff from everyday life to come back into my work.

At the same time, my husband, Charles Bernstein and I moved to Buffalo for a year. This was a place full of wonderful kitsch and crafts stores with trinkets and decals and to amuse myself, I went to thrift stores and shopped for odd items to put into the painting. I was hoping to disrupt the purity of the surfaces and to create an uncanny space, which could accommodate little bears and Raggedy Ann and Andy and postcards and paper dolls within a painted surface. During that year, I got pregnant and had a miscarriage and this work turned darker. However, the work in the show, Twinkle Little Star, from 1996, has a self-portrait by Felix (age 4) and a photo of both of my children together. It also has pom poms and pages torn out from my children’s nursery rhyme books that they liked to scrawl on. I was also experimenting with different textures and surfaces including dripping in enamel in a Pollack-like manner.

AF: What kinds of concerns did you have in the early 1990s as an artist and person? What were you reading or thinking about at the time and how did this inform the evolution of this body of work?

SB: I was very involved with feminist theory and discourse. I had started my magazine M/E/A/N/I/N/G with Mira Schor in 1986. We were looking to get away from the orthodoxies of the art world of that time. See the introduction to our 25th anniversary issue:

We reproduce the flyer for our first issue. We wanted to emphasize social issues, but also reintroduce the concept of pleasure to painting. In 1992, we published a groundbreaking issue on motherhood and art making at the time that my son Felix Bernstein was born and was still an infant. That same year, I had my first solo show of these collaged paintings at the Virginia Lust Gallery in Soho. The motherhood issue had contributions from many women artists about the problems and joys of motherhood and art making. In other issues, we also examined racial issues, problem of longevity and meaning in artmaking, as well as gender issues. We wanted to address art theory in terms of poetic and personal discourse and move away from the accepted formulations of that time. We emphasized the importance of publishing artist’s writings and writings by poets and others about art in a nonstandard format.

AF: You are also known for your work in other fields, though you are not a poet you are well known to many through your connection to poetry, as well as your photography, collage, graphic design and book arts, how or did your other activities come to bear on this particular body of work?

SB: I was working as a designer and editor for commercial publications as well as poetry books during this period. I was the designer for Roof Books, a small press poetry book publisher, during that time. I designed L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and M/E/A/N/I/N/G. I was also started doing a lot of book covers. My first artist’s book, Photogram, came out in 1979, and then I started to work with poets on various book projects. I often used collage in the books, for instance, in The Nude Formalism with poems by Charles from 1989, I collaged various pictures and used a variety of typefaces to make up the imagery. I liked the poets’ use of collage in their work. They would take a line from a text or recast a text like Kathy Acker and Hannah Weiner and I found their approach very inspiring. They had whimsy and freedom in their work and the idea of the cut-up still seemed vital to me in that period. In 1995, I did my first book, Talespin, for Steve Clay of Granary Books, which was all made up of collaged pictures from 19th-century magazines and antique children’s books and drawing manuals I had collected.

The Nude Formalism:

AF: What would you say was your intellectual and artistic context, you had a relationship with the infamous A.I.R. gallery, we’ve discussed briefly, but can you give a context of who your peers were and who you were thinking about or engaging with in terms of other people’s work?

SB: Well, I went to A.I.R. Monday events in the 70s and 80s and was friends with Nancy Spero, Carolee Schneemann, and other women artists. I was involved with poets, painters, and the people around the magazines I edited. Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Johanna Drucker, Mira Schor, David Reed, Susan Howe, Richard Foreman, Jackson Mac Low, and Mimi Gross were some of the people, who I knew and whose work I was seeing then. If you look through the names of authors in those publications, I knew practically everyone associated with those various groups. Poets and other artists were the ones who supported my work during that period. They bought the early paintings and gave the paintings titles as well.

I was not supported at all by the commercial art world and could not get the work shown during this time until Virginia Lust showed it. In Buffalo, I was told by dealers and curators that my work was too original to be shown there. It didn’t look like anyone else’s work, so it couldn’t be absorbed into the discourse. I was very frustrated that these works were not exhibited then. I remember that people were puzzled by these works, even when I finally showed them at Virginia’s, although I got enthusiastic notes from Barbara Guest and Miriam Schapiro. My collectors and supporters of this work at the time were Ann Lauterbach, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and Richard Tuttle, Johanna Drucker, Erica Hunt, and other poets and artists. I was also looking at the work of Joe Brainard and Jess, who I knew and who worked with collage in wonderful ways. In addition, I loved Mexican art, folk art, and the work of outsider artists. Other influences were Florine Stettheimer and Marsden Hartley and the work of the Abstract Expressionists, Surrealists, and the Fluxus group, especially Alison Knowles.

The first issue of M/E/A/N/I/N/G contains a piece by me: “Running on Empty: An Artist’s Life in New York” with all the rather cutting verbatim remarks made to me at studio visits up till that time:

I also lost shows in alternative spaces when I became pregnant with Emma in 1985. Remember that my friends the Guerrilla Girls started their mission in 1985. I am listed by name on one of their posters from 1990 as a member along with many other women artists in my community:

M/E/A/N/I/N/G also grew out of an artists and critics group that met in the 1980s before the AIDs crisis and our first issue featured a tribute to a member of the group, Rene Santos, a wonderful young painter, who died in 1985 at the beginning of the crisis. This was a terrible time, and many of our friends passed away then.

For a fuller list of my friends from that period and background see my piece for the Feminist forum:

Susan Bee website:

Alison Ross, The Arabic Zero

             Ho|ma|ge to the Arabic Zero, image by Daniel Y. Harris 

The Arabic Zero

The Arabic Zero is an apparition.
It will crack the code in your eyes.

The Arabic Zero is an alien.
It will burn the books in your eyes.

The Arabic Zero is an atom.
It will slash the photons in your eyes.

The Arabic Zero is a number between yesterday and never.
It will solve the universe in your eyes.

The Arabic Phantom is a Zero.
It will burn the aliens in your books.

—Alison Ross

Friday, May 6, 2016

Mike Ferguson, The Spam Poems

Ho|ma|ge to the Eschatology of Spam, image by Daniel Y. Harris


The eighty librarians are incomprehensible.
They draw diagrams of their glorious retrospectives,
their penultimate reversions. Like Cain, they are as

incomprehensible as a spade. Do we denunciate these
eighty librarians? They are as incomprehensible as
Prokofieff orchestrating Idiot with Spade.

Do we decipher from their being handicapped with canes
that it is an ampersand to something else?
It is important, but incomprehensible.


This month’s built-in cliffhanger: a verbal punch
from a steamy stenographer incanting Adolf,
her drunken handyman. Once a lapdancer, Sue

incants her silly drunken Adolf!
through a loudspeaker, loudspeaking his slippage,
his handyman’s perverse Aenid

He is inelastic.
A jesting slippage? A gap. She loudly stenographs

Story of Bend

Endogenous bend -
primordial parabola - as farfetched as
a davit from which to hang and mull

on the juice of neurosis.
Bent to a moronic
juice, primordial,

the hub of its
farfetched parabola,
this rotund saga.


Imagine how diabolic oration flattens
a restoration of the larynges,
the authoritative cackle of bias. Transference

advises such autism of restoration,
flattens translation to a peep of
moon, ditto zeroed.

It’s a modern cyptanalysis of a gripe,
of self-bias:
translates to zero.


Say aloha to the legacy of a congenial
athlete who fondly whipped a councilwoman (a buffoon,
wrapped up as dapper as a man in China).

This congenial destiny. How to wrap up the anniversary
of such descent?
A graven image:

athlete on lithium – feed, toss, hit.
Congenially dapper?
It involves woe.


Bufflehead the quarterback
with his prosthetic head,
godparent to a seltzer,

taxis on the runway of his own travail.
The brinkmanship of Bufflehead:
a tramway to his own shouting verdict of

fingertip domesticity; emulates
the sequel to his daydream,
his own clientele.

—Mike Ferguson

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Anne Tardos, The Rothenberg Variations, 2011 Nine NINEs for Jerry, on his 80th

Writing (3-of-6 panels), image by Anne Tardos 

The Rothenberg Variations, 2011
Nine NINEs for Jerry, on his 80th

Anne Tardos

While going through a dozen of Jerry’s books, I copied out any line that came to nine words. A selection of these formed the nine 9-line stanzas. Jerry’s words remain unchanged. The order in which they appear is my own. The resulting poems give a sense of his voice, and mine.

The Sources: Poems for the Game of Silence:1960-1970 (1971), The Notebooks (1976), A Seneca Journal (1978), Abulafia’s Circles (1979), Further Sightings and Conversations (1989), Khurbn and Other Poems (1989), The Lorca Variations I-VIII (1990), The Lorca Variations I-XXXIII (1993), An Oracle for Delfi (1995), A Paradise of Poets (1999), and the later parts of Retrievals (2011).

                                                   Rothenberg Variation 1

We—like all poets—have a taste for stones.
A rabbit sneezes with the desperation of a man.
On Friday, I waited for the revelation of Saturday.
The fur of dada stretched out in the sun.
The flowers here are so sad, I could cry.
A woman with a crown brings blood in buckets.
The conductors who watered our plants dropped by.
The conductors who walked with their coffins were there.
Do you see the pederasts in that yellow wetness.

Rothenberg Variation 2

The breasts of the housewives are heavy with salt.
It doesn’t matter how fast the reel keeps spinning.
When it was over blue milk bathed the beaches.
I can only remember the ache in your fingers.
The corner of your eye that sleeps inside me.
How many sounds, is what I want to know.
For what can a man see in the morning.
I could not plot the difference; time, I mean.
I had the same chances as any other slave.

Rothenberg Variation 3

I wanted a throne of husbands in my name.
She has their desire to be always in love.
There was nothing to talk about so he listened.
I go with the dead I don’t escort myself.
I can begin to live like a human being!
Soon I would watch the world with many eyes.
The inner breath is the horse of the bodhisattvas.
Is this the sound, then, that the breath makes?
There will be no sun from this day forward.

Rothenberg Variation 4

It is the only word that the poem allows.
I was like a mushroom that appears and rots.
One morning he saw a rooster in the elevator.
Who is fooled here    by the dead    the Jews.
Passing Chelmno on the main road driving past it.
Because it was his scream and wasn’t my own.
The poem is ugly and they make it uglier.
When listening that evening to the other poet read.
Those who are beautiful and those who are not.

 Rothenberg Variation 5

To dream that he is walking past a window.
To dream of hands that close over his eyes.
To dream that his door is made of stone.
To dream of where the white and green are.
To dream that these are people he doesn’t know.
To dream an alphabet maybe a calendar for dreaming.
To dream a stone face deep inside a mirror.
To dream that he had dreamed the face before.
In the heart of the Indian territory of Oklahoma.

Rothenberg Variation 6

A word written by accident remains the final word.
The way an eyelid covers all an eyeball sees.
As bright as mirrors in which our eyes play.
A yellow sky from which a bird pulls numbers.
When an umbilicus dangles from a body in Chicago.
A knife drops inward with the sound of water.
“That death could fall from heaven on so many.”
Little by little they would will themselves to die.
From the heart of darkness comes a finer light.

 Rothenberg Variation 7

A child born with a perfect sense of time.
Where the bathers in their terror move like fish.
The cruel majority weep for their unborn children.
If the cruel majority would only cup their ears.
Then the cruel majority line up to be buried.
Hail to their faces as they float around him.
Numbers so vast the mind will never grasp them.
Numbers we write down clank like drills or chains.
This is why the father spent the night in hiding.

Rothenberg Variation 8

There is fantasy no longer but everything true.
From up above, infinity seeps through the Milky Way.
A residue of cheese left on the milky paper.
It is their laughter dying out that frightens me.
Her fingers on the keys brought forth a song.
And next we come to things that really matter.
A number on the tape I still can’t read.
Accept our death played out where we find ourselves.
Too many poems about the dead she tells me.

Rothenberg Variation 9

The last surprise is to be left without surprises.
The poem of Picasso’s hundred rattles in my head.
A paint jar overturns the blanket soaked in red.
Only a weeping man can comfort a weeping woman.
Like that furry animal who pisses in your soup.
The supervisors seated in their chairs smell something rotting.
 The fish meanwhile had slipped out from the net.
 A man is breathing up the scent of soap.
Vowels and consonants cry out in every language: Help!