June 26, 2013

I Am Not Your Map

Yayoi Kusama, Dots Obsession (Infinity Mirrored Room), 1998

* Don't forget: Klipschutz has a new book - This Drawn & Quartered Moon -- out now, buy it.

-- Here's an excerpt from this recent interview of Klipschutz by the Canadian poet Jon Cone:

JC: Roughly midway through your book is the poem “Elvis the First,” which seems central to me, not only physically but thematically, historically: it reaches back to the earlier poems and prepares the way for those that follow. What is it about this poem, apart from chronology, which makes it such an important one, both for you personally and for the entire book?

K: The poem is “about” Elvis Presley, but also about my family, and reaches back to some rough times, when the ’60s were just kicking into high gear, when my siblings and I were starting to do drugs, and my parents didn’t have a clue how to handle us. Then my dad became Elvis’s doctor. Maybe if Elvis had come over for dinner, as I fantasize in the poem, he could have helped. After all, he did have that drug enforcement badge Nixon gave him! Seriously, the poem gave me a way to write about family, and as someone else pointed out, it encompasses four different forms in one poem, hopefully unifying them thematically.

JC: Your poetic practice is complemented by your songwriting. What do you consider the essential differences between writing poems and writing songs? How does the song-practice influence your poetry?

K: I’ve been writing songs since the mid-1980s, and with Chuck Prophet, on and off, since about 1990. I’ve been lucky to have collaborators who insist that a song be a song, rather than some hybrid between poetry and music. Poetry has to carry its own music, and a song has a melody, which is more important than the words. The words only matter at all if the melody is memorable, or at least enticing. And songs benefit from repetition, hooks. “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” Songwriting is usually concise. Maybe it helps keep my poems from “going on,” as the English say.

JC: Such a large collection as “This Drawn & Quartered Moon” suggests many precedents, many traditions. From your perspective, what are the major influences that helped you when writing this book?

K: So many influences, so much thievery. I only wish I had incorporated, like those guys in D.C., Thievery Corporation. A DJ duo who also own a string of high end restaurants. What a life! And we had to be poets instead. My influences are all the usual suspects, from Homer to Dylan, with a lot of painters and comedians and architects and baristas thrown into the mix. Practically everybody except Whitey Bulger. Truthfully, your whole life up to that point goes into every poem, every draft of every poem. And my poems have to endure about fifty drafts, on the average, at my hands. The hard part is erasing the stitches so hopefully the reader feels like the poem just kind of happened, poured out in one sitting.

* Fantastic: Lou Reed on how he stays creative (last 30 seconds of interview). Watch it.

* "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat." -- Lily Tomlin

June 13, 2013

Call Me, Call Me Any Anytime
Call Me

Chris Protopapas, telephone shop nyc, 1976

* Excerpt from Land of Hope and Dreams: Rock and Roll, and the Rebuilding the Middle Class:

The music industry is a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. economy at large. We are increasingly becoming a “winner-take-all economy,” a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced. Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress. The lucky and the talented – and it is often hard to tell the difference – have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up.

* Solved: The Mystery of the Allen Ginsberg Diana Trilling fued.

* "Keep some sunshine on your face." -- Richard Pryor

June 11, 2013

I'd like to know completely
what others so discretely talk about

Alma W. Thomas, Spring Grass, 1973

Three Poems by Richard Brautigan:


she tries to get things
out of men
that she can't get
because she's not
15% prettier

I Live In The Twentieth Century

I live in the Twentieth Century
and you lie here beside me. You
were unhappy when you fell asleep.
There was nothing I could do about
it. I felt hopeless. Your face
is so beautiful that I cannot stop
to describe it, and there's nothing
I can do to make you happy while
you sleep

The Moon Versus Us Ever Sleeping Together Again

I sit here, an arch-villain of romance,
thinking about you. Gee, I'm sorry
I made you unhappy, but there was nothing
I could do about it because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would have been different
if you had stayed at the table or asked me
to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with

June 3, 2013

it's the simple stuff I need

Pep Suari, A Patchy Woman, 2005

* Watch the book trailer for Klipschutz' This Drawn and Quartered Moon.

* Download all issues of Ed Sanders' mimeograph mag: Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts.

* "Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities." -- Frank Lloyd Wright