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Alan DeNiro
Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2003 - 06:56 am:   

Just got a book I'd ordered in the mail yesterday by Kevin Davies called Comp. (Edge Books). And...holy shit. Is it good. This is the opening poem to the collection:

http://www.arras.net/the_franks/davies_comp.htm
(I can't get the formatting to quite work...)

The whole book is essentially constellated fragments like this, yet the tone of the poems binds the whole thing together is oracular, absurdist, funny and (above all) urgent and desparate. My partner Kristin--not always a fan of the loopy poems I like--was flipping through the book herself and showing me her favorite passages.

For me, this is pure-grade speculative poetry--less tied to a subject matter than the entire notion of language as a speculative process. When I read the lines:
______
Why be sad?
Kissinger will die
before they can upload him.

Yet
what if there's a perfectly natural
form, and god wants us to kiss it and talk dirty?
_______

...I'm less worried about what it "means" and the lack of my interpretive faculties to pin down meaning. It's more like an English maze that a person likes to get lost in.

What we're talking about is not only different types of poetry, but different paradigms of what the use of poetry should be altogether. Not that that's a bad thing.

Anyway...

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Trent Walters
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 07:04 pm:   

Alan,

I'm not sure anyone knew you started a new thread.

The lines you give us here and some in the review site are good although a number felt a little like predictable politicking.

Perhaps this would be an interesting vein of speculation for genre poetry to explore. Kind of Allen Ginsburg done SF style.
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Haddayr Copley-Woods
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 07:14 am:   

Alan:
Loved the bit you have given us here. I am going to look up the book. After this discussion, I went home to tell Jan how much I liked the poetry in Strange Horizons and about my guilt regarding poetry in general. I told him how much I'd liked Ginsberg, Whitman, and Jordan, and he showed me a poet I'm sure everyone on this list knows but is new to me: Charles Bukowski.

So now I'm a convert. Any other suggestions? I'm in a tiny bit of heaven here.
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Alan
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 07:22 am:   

Trent,

About the thread, oh well. Maybe this will catch on. Just tryin' to help those folks with slow connections. :-)

It's hard to get a sense of the whole of Kevin Davies's work in little snippets; the 100+ page book has only 6 or 7 poems that have an accretive power.

More later today, hopefully...
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Alan DeNiro
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 01:09 pm:   

Haddayr,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier; we must have been writing and posting simultaneously. Try CD Wright, Forrest Gander, Cole Swenson, Dean Young, Tessa Rumsey, Melvin Tolson, Lorine Niedecker...feel free to borrow these books from me, btw (well, the ones I have).

I haven't read any Bukowski, actually. Have you ever read any Frank O'Hara?


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Haddayr
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 07:06 am:   

Alan:
Perhaps I will borrow some of these from you, after the wedding. I seem to have a huge stack of Bukowski here, so if you're interested we can swap. If I've read Frank O'Hara, he didn't make an impression.
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Alan DeNiro
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 11:44 am:   

Also, don't know if this will interest anyone but I've started a weblog of a series of poems based on chess openings:

http://theopenings.blogspot.com

You can't get any geekier, I guess. I wrote a chapbook full of videogame poems (well, kind of), so I guess this is a natural step?!? Anyway.
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Trent Walters
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 09:52 pm:   

Haddayr,

Bukowski was so damn prolific that he should last you into the next lifetime. Have you seen Barfly? Great flick. He wrote it. He actually cameos in the bar scene when Mickey Rourke goes into a new bar. Watch who's seated at the bar as Mickey saunters to the end.

I enjoy Bukowski most as a prose writer, myself. Witty as hell. People sometimes associate him--mistakenly in my mind--with the Beats. It has some validity, but O'Hara was of the avant garde-ish New York School while Bukowski learned his trade in the blue collar school.

He has his legions of immitators. Too many try too hard for wit. It should be right there. In front of your nose.

Alan,

I read and enjoyed "Queen's Gambit." I like the concept. Do you have any of the videogame poems online?

I just heard from a college classmate that he won the latest Walt Whitman award. Holy shit. He and another former classmate are now running http://www.octopusmagazine.com -- a poetry site with a buttload of classy poets.

Worth checking out.

Trent
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 10:20 pm:   

Wow. Octopus looks really great. Nice poems, too. I'll definitely be returning to it.

Incidentally, my own ezine just launched, though there are a few kinks to be ironed out, and so we haven't started publicising yet. There's a fair bit of poetry there, if it interests anyone. (I suppose it'll be there even if it doesn't, but you get what I mean.)
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Thomas R
Posted on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 01:21 am:   

Okay I realized I was wrong. I said that there is no place to get contemporary poetry here and that my credit card is kerwacky enough right now I can't order.

Well the card is going to be fixed soon. Also they have some contemporary poets at my college bookstore. For reasons I'd rather not go into I can get them basically free. Thanks everyone for introducing me to what's out there now!

(My opinion has not entirely changed though. I think in theory you could write in least interesting poetry even if you are ignorant of what happened in it over the last few decades. This might even be true in SF to a degree and depending on what you mean by "interesting.")
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Haddayr Copley-Woods
Posted on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 06:17 am:   

Trent:
Believe it or not, I've never seen Barfly. For various reasons I just can't seem to bring myself to watch it, even though I know it's brilliant and everything.

Perhaps the reason I like Bukowski so much is because he's blue collar instead of avant garde, although I love Ginsberg, too. I just think my Midwestern sensibilities make me lean in a Bukowski-ish direction.

Now that I've read him, I see that I've also read many of his imitators and the reason they seemed hollow was that . . . well, they were imitators.

Although it's becoming clear to me as his books pile up around me in my dining room that he _could_ last me a lifetime, this whole passionate conversation has gotten me feeling adventurous, so I'm going to check out some of the other ones folks have mentioned, too.

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