January 25, 2007

I drive through Exeter Rhode Island all alone

Jacob Hashimoto, Untitled (Tree sculpture), 2005

* The World Agrees: Stop Him. excerpt:

"Stop him before he kills again. That is the judgment of the American people, and indeed of the entire world, as to the performance of our president, and no State of the Union address can erase that dismal verdict.

"President Bush has accomplished what Osama bin Laden only dreamed of by disgracing the model of American democracy in the eyes of the world. According to an exhaustive BBC poll, nearly three-quarters of those polled in 25 countries oppose the Bush policy on Iraq, and more than two-thirds believe the U.S. presence in the Middle East destabilizes the region.

"In other words, the almost universal support the United States enjoyed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been completely squandered, as a majority of the world’s people now believe that our role in the entire world is negative."
"Americans understand in their gut that the long-term consequences of disillusionment with democracy, here and abroad, would be disastrous. In the same way Congress repudiated an out-of-control president three decades ago, the House and Senate must show the world today that our celebrated system of checks and balances is not just a fanciful mirage.

"Spreading the ideal of democracy throughout the world remains a compelling obligation of those who enjoy freedom, making this an excellent occasion to demonstrate that we still possess a system capable of holding a deceitful and egomaniacal leader accountable."

* 2005 interivew of Chris Stroffolino. excerpt:

Aryanil Mukherjee: Casting a look at the different periods of American poetry, which era do you think stands out in terms of its innovation of the poetic language and why?

Chris Stroffolino: I'm skeptical of talking about poetry in terms of periods or eras, at least in any definitive way. Eras tend to be ill-defined, or tend to come down to a few individuals whose ideas of poetry, for rather arbitrary reasons, get put forth as maxims more than others. Often, if we're thinking of American poetry, the name that comes up as the most influential innovator of 'poetic language'(which is in my opinion less profound than other forms of poetic innovations) is Ezra Pound, with his theoretical/aesthetic tomes and machinations that persuaded many of the need to 'modernize' language and other aspects of poetry to suit what he perceived 'the age demanded' and to justify his own particular aesthetics. Thus, it's no accident that he would be held up for his superior 'music' or 'ear' as many of Pound's 'innovations' have now become 'naturalized' in many discussions of American poetry of the last 100 years—despite what discomfort many may feel about his poetic project. One could say the Beats did much, for a time, to help provide an alternative to Pound—obviously on an ethical and content level, as well as in terms of language. But this question for me is ultimately more about individuals than movements or periods, and about much more than language. I might even argue that the most important poets for me, even if they can be seen as 'innovators,' are not primarily so, at least if we restrict the question to 'poetic language.'"
AM: How have the times changed for poetry journal editors in America compared to when, say, Ed Sanders published his journal FUCK YOU?

CS: Well, I'd say one big difference is that there are simply so many poets today—perhaps even more than there are readers of poetry. It's a more conservative time (both politically and socially) than the 1960s, and probably even than the 1950s. Many poets (on the self-proclaimed 'cutting edge') claim the 'shock value' of those words, or of strapping your naked self to a nuclear warhead, no longer exists, and is now simply passé. But when Albert Gonzalez comes, can Lenny Bruce be far behind? Besides, there are still magazines that are more similar to FUCK YOU than to most poetry magazines, but more likely they are connected to the 'underground' or 'punk' music magazines. That culture is more truly the heir to the spirit of the Beats and to Sanders (whose band the Fugs inspired many punk-like bands in the 80s and beyond) in its youth, and its desire to want to change culture, and not strictly publish poetry, or 'LITERATURE.' I think most poetry magazines today are much more like the way poetry magazines were before the Beats came around and traded in 'respectability' for a certain 'hipness.' I think many magazines, even many I'm glad to have been published in, reek of respectability—and having just said that, I'll add, it's not really their fault. It's but a symptom of what has happened to culture in general in America."

* "Creativity is a meeting, a conversation. When you listen to a symphony by Mozart, that is a conversation with Mozart . . . In this conversation . . . there is much that is intuitive and not spoken." -- Jean Renoir


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