The archivist

1. Ron Silliman, in his recent linkdump, notes: "One of my favorite early poems (i.e. pre-Ketjak) is now available on the web". As if he had no ability to put his poetry on the web, as if getting one's poetry on the web was a hard-won battle. All of Silliman's poetry should be on the web! If it's juvenalia that he's embarrassed by, he doesn't have to publish it; if the poem simply doesn't "translate" into an online format, so be it; if publication rights are controlled by the publisher, oops!; if he simply doesn't have a copy of the journal that this poem was published in, or any archive of the poem -- well, that seems unlikely, and anyway he's in a good position to be able to track such a thing down. If Silliman's poetry isn't available on the web, he has only himself to blame.

2. I read this quote that I disagreed with, and wanted to write a little about it. It reminded me of a piece by David Abel. David is arguably the hardest working poet in Portland, but very little of his work is published, and there is very little online evidence of it. I couldn't remember all the details about the piece, and there was no online (nor offline) archive that I could check. When I lived in Portland, David's work (like the work of all my poety friends in Portland) was there, was present in the air; now that I'm in Toronto, it is not. Being in Portland was being in the David Abel archive, as it was continually being built and rebuilt, organized and reorganized. And now, yes, it's not as if I couldn't e-mail David and ask him for the details of the piece. But also it would be nice to be able to point to it, point others to it, and incorporate it into my thinking here, into my living/archiving in Toronto. And yet at the same time I want to resist the pull to archive everything, and I want to encourage living where you are, when you are, allowing the past to be past without dragging it to the present, allowing elsewhere to remain elsewhere, allowing becoming who you are rather than being who you have been. And yet it would be nice to have access to all this. And yet, and yet, and yet.

3. Which is to say: Is poetry a gift economy? Is memory a gift economy?

Update: I have since written a little bit about David's piece.

If you translate a poem that, for its original readers, expanded the possibilities of what poetry could be, then your translation must expand for your readers the possibilities of what poetry could be. That is the most important aspect of the poem to retain.

Similarly, if the poem was "just another poem", then your translation should also be "just another poem".

Want to decide whether the translation you're reading of Ovid's Metamorphoses is a good one? Here's a sample verse for you to test out!

It's from Book 3, the story of Narcissus being chased by Echo. Echo, we're told, would chattily keep Juno distracted when Zeus was off diddling his ladies. Juno, miffed, cursed her so that she could only repeat the last bits of what people say. (You know, like an echo does?) Or as Ovid puts it:

'huius' ait 'linguae, qua sum delusa, potestas
parva tibi dabitur vocisque brevissimus usus,'
In super-awkward translation style: "[Juno] said: 'Of this your tongue, by which I was duped, little power will be allowed you, and of your voice the littlest use.'" Except that the grammar is relatively clear, for Latin poetry, and not awkward and stilted like that English crib.

What to look for: The lines end with their own echo: "-us usus". There might be a precursor to this with "tibi dabit-" and certainly a connection with the us in "delusa" (duped). But the speech ends with this little echoing effect; it's the culmination of this mini-scene. It is, arguably, the main point of providing these few lines of backstory.

So how does your translation handle it?

Arthur Golding's translation from 1567:
This tongue that hath deluded me shall doe thee little good:
For of thy speech but simple use hereafter shalt thou have.
("Good" rhymes with the previous line, and "have" with the next one, if you were wondering.)

Joseph Addison's translation (finishing up what John Dryden left unfinished at his death) from 1717:
And then she cry'd, "That tongue, for this thy crime,
Which could so many subtle tales produce,
Shall be hereafter but of little use."
A.D. Melville's translation from 1986:
...'Your tongue', she said,
'With which you tricked me, now its power shall lose,
Your voice avail but for the briefest use.'
So... it looks like none of our translators reproduced the effect. Hunh.

Writing poetry for poetry-readers is like fucking a philanderer. Cui bono?

On footnotes

[T]he abundance, as well as the stylistic and philosophical quality, of the footnotes to [Theodor Adorno’s] Philosophie der neuen Musik is itself “no accident” and has symptomatic value. The footnote in this context may indeed be thought of as a small but autonomous form, with its own inner laws and conventions and its own determinate relationship to the larger form which governs it—something on the order of the moral of a fable or the various types of digressions which flourished within the nineteenth century novel. In the present instance, the footnote as a lyrical form allows Adorno a momentary release from the inexorable logic of the material under study in the main text, permitting him to shift to other dimensions, to the infrastructure as well as to the wider horizons of historical speculation. The very limits of the footnote (it must be short, it must be complete) allow the release of intellectual energies, in that they serve as a check on a speculative tendency that might otherwise run wild, on what we will later describe as the proliferation of “theories of history.” The footnote as such, therefore, designates a moment in which systematic philosophizing and the empirical study of concrete phenomena are both false in themselves; in which living thought, squeezed out from between them, pursues its fitful existence in the small print at the bottom of the page.
—Frederic Jameson, Marxism and Form, 9 (footnote)
My brain has been on vacation the last few days, I guess. I was going to offer this quote bare, so that you could agree or disagree or be made a bit queasy by it or whatever. But I had this half-thought. If we think of "the inexorable logic of the material" as forming a one-dimensional train track of thought -- and anyone reading this can think of examples and strategies and conceptual reinterpretations that encourage us to disagree -- but if we support a one-dimensional sense of a "main text", then footnotes allow this text to develop a second dimension. If the train comes to a fork in the road, it knows its chugging along in two-dimensional space. But if the footnote needs to be "complete", then perhaps this branch loops around, or dead-ends. Does this need to be read as two-dimensional, then, or can we suggest that it is fractal, somewhere between one and two dimensions -- until the footnote itself branches off, until the nodes form something like a grid? Of course, that moment of stepping out of one-dimensional space is exciting (think Flatland) and feels like suddenly "living thought". But we knew that, right? So much poetry strives to turn the one-dimensional railroaded experience of reading or listening, done through the resolutely single dimension of time, into the explosion of dimensions that we perhaps suspect our inner lives exist in. Here I want to say something like: Poets don't suffer from dementia, but dimension. And duck, and run off the stage.


  1. English syntax the to anew change. (via)
  2. British English, elaborated, is different from American.
  3. Is this the new old new old conceptual poetics? (via)
  4. An alliterative anti-alcohol argument from 1882. (Craig alerted me to it)
  5. James Earl Jones recites the alphabet, and it's almost like a Warhol screen test, with minimal (liminal?) content.

The Agora is a very new website, with spit and polish still being applied; it will offer reviews of poetry, as well as broadsides and other publications. We like reviews, right? We bemoan the lack of reviews in our culture, we complain that the book review sections of our newspapers are shutting down, we wish for ever more discourse about emerging work? So much work, not enough thinking about the work, is that the cry? Well, let's get to work, then.

The editor, Aaron Tucker, asked me if I'd contribute some reviews, so I agreed to. The first one is about Joseph Bradshaw's This Ocean, or Oppen Series. It is part of my ongoing process of building a bridge between Portland and Toronto. Enjoy it, and check out the rest of the site.

This overview of the history of writing (which mostly looks at the distinguishing characteristics of the writing styles of Greek and Latin in the classical and medieval eras) is from 1932, and many of its notions are perhaps a bit outdated. Certainly, Ullman's rah rah sense that the Roman alphabet is the bestest one ever seems based more in his deep familiarity with that alphabet than with any sort of empirical evidence; his hope that all the world will soon turn to the Roman alphabet (especially those stubborn Greeks!) is odd for those of us who appreciate the existence of, say, the strange (to our eyes) and evocative Georgian alphabet.

But Ullman clearly adores the (Roman) alphabet:

1. Early on, the Romans had three letters for what we think of as the /k/ sound -- C, K, and Q. Which you used seems to have depended on what followed it: ka, ce, ci, co, qu. Of course, if those three letters were in fact representing the same consonant (or didn't mark a distinction that mattered to the speakers) then it makes sense that eventually they were smoothed out: Q soon was only used before consonantal U (that is, as it typically is in English: a /kw/ sound, before a vowel), and C was used everywhere else. K basically disappeared, except in a very few well established words, like Kalends, the name of the first day of the month. But:

But when the Roman alphabet was adopted by English and German, k again came into honor. And so we see that letters, like human beings, have their ups and downs.
Even punctuation marks are anthropomorphized:
The question mark is first found in the [eighth] century. At first it looks something like a prostrate S, then it becomes semi-erect, and finally stands upright -- thus portraying the evolution of homo sapiens himself.
Ullman frequently gives human characteristics to letters, punctuation marks, and scripts, not just as a pedagogical tool, I suspect, but because they are vibrantly alive to him.

2. The letter W is a relatively late addition to our alphabet, popping up first in seventh century Anglo-Saxon sources to represent the /w/ consonant we still use it for today. This had been represented by U in Latin (where it meant both the /w/ consonant and the /u/ vowel) but consonental U had migrated to sound like our /v/ (more or less, with regional variation). Then W spreads to Germany (where eventually it represents /v/!) and France (where it remains rare).
To-day it is looked upon as a characteristic letter of English and German, and Italian printers love to introduce it in quoting an English word, whether it is correctly used or not, as if no English word were complete without it.
So W serves as a prototypical mark of an Italian elaboration of English! I wish that there were an example of this reproduced in the book. I love elaborations of things that are "natural" to me -- like foreigners doing American accents.

3. Gothic script reduces a few lowercase letters to one or more of the simplest possible lines: i, n, m, u. Such a line is called a "minim", which is a terrific name, considering. An i (there were no dots on them yet) has one minim, an n or a u has two, and an m has three. So if you see five minims in a row, you have a lot of options: um, nin, uni, etc., etc.

This, as you might imagine, gets annoying. So there's an anecdote from the thirteenth or fourteenth century; the book has the relevant quote in a Gothic typeface (reproduced below), which isn't nearly as unclear as the actual handwritten text would be:
The story tells of a letter sent to the senate at Rome by actors of small stature expressing their unwillingness to give up their function of distributing to the actors the wine obtained from certain vineyards near the walls:

[mimi numinum niuium minimi munium nimium uini muniminum imminui uiui minimum uolunt.]

"The very short mimes of the gods of snow do not at all wish that during their lifetime the very great burden [munium is neuter singular] of (distributing) the wine of the walls to be lightened."
"Written in Gothic," as Ullman notes, "it makes a first-class riddle." (Compare it to this.)

As both poets and programmers have realized, for different reasons, the reader's mind works most actively on sparse materials.
Charles O. Hartman, Virtual Muse: Experiments in Computer Poetry (31),
as quoted in C.T. Funkhouser, Prehistoric Digital Poetry (56)
In the language of Adorno – perhaps the finest dialectical intelligence, the finest stylist, of them all – density is itself a conduct of intransigence: the bristling mass of abstractions and cross-references is precisely intended to be read in situation, against the cheap facility of what surrounds it, as a warning to the reader of the price he has to pay for genuine thinking.
Frederic Jameson, Marxism and Form (xiii)

A cliché is a phrase that has become a word.

Foreman Fest

This weekend is the sixth annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival over at Performance Works Northwest in Portland. Each year they gather up a dozen or so "experimental" artists in various genres and, about two weeks before the show, send them a chunk of (NYC-based experimental theater writer/director) Richard Foreman's notebooks and a few rules with which they create a new work (about 5-10 minutes long). The results are diverse -- ranging from silly to somber (to, ideally, both!) -- and encourage people to play around with a more Foreman-esque presentation, or to bring Foreman's ideas into their own practice.

This is the first year I am not taking part (as either a creator or performer). Even last year, when I was in NYC all summer, I managed to contribute a video. I have no particular feelings one way or another for Foreman's work, but it is very usable and reusable to foster this type of event, and it is always a highlight of summer in Portland.

Since I can't be there (sigh!), if you're anywhere near Portland, you should go for me and report back. (In particular, I think Rodney should participate next year.)

Sixth Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival, August 15 and 16, 8:30 pm. Tickets $15-$50 for one night; $25-$75 for both nights, sliding scale. Reservations: 503-777-1907 or

Satellite Telephone #2 has arrived, with a great pink cover and featuring work by Rodney Koeneke, Dan Raphael, Kimberly Lyons, Sam Lohmann, Fanny Howe, Kevin Killian, Lynn Behrendt, and many more. Including me.

It's been a few years since I've had poetry published in a journal. I only write (or submit) poetry when asked. There's more than enough of it out there. But Robert Dewhurst, proprietor and editor of Satellite Telephone, did ask, so I found something for him. Issue #1 was typed on a typewriter (I can't tell whether #2 was, but it might as well have been). I gave him a very old piece that requires a monospaced font. (And one that, I realized upon rereading the published version, I totally cribbed a line from and reused it in Exercises In Penmanship -- ah well!)

But (more than) enough about me. Two other thoughts before you scamper off to get your own copy (Robbie will do trades, so you have no excuse).

1. Rodney's fun poem on Urdu is included. I heard him read this at a recent reading in Portland, and now I have it in print, in a journal. This seems like how poetry journals are supposed to work, for those of us "in the life". But I'm not sure I remember it happening before! I feel like it must have happened in FO_A_RM at some point. Maybe I'm crazy. Anyway it was a nice experience, seeing a poem I had heard appear in a journal. If you weren't at that reading, though, you might not get that experience.

2. There are several pieces of criticism. And they are interesting and well written, but I couldn't help feeling that because they're not online, they are somehow impotent. That is, they aren't part of the conversation. People wanting to think about, oh, Jeni Olin's The Pill Book won't know that they will find a few pages of thought about it here. It's not googleable. (Well, it is now, because I mentioned it!)

That's crazy, of course. It's good to have some discussion outside of the internet, and it's good to have these little pockets of modest obscurity. Not all thought needs to go into the database, though it pains me to say it.

Lynn Behrendt's contributions, some critical writings through of Ron Silliman's blog entries, erasures and poemifications (Lynn has been the one updating Ron's blogroll), feel somehow more real for being on paper (though maybe it's just because I still can't read poetry on the web), just as the criticism felt somehow misplaced for not being online; but this was criticism as well as poetry. It underlined my anxieties nicely.

Anyway, go get it!

That is, the Roman alphabet as it's typically used in English. We might look at some of its closest rivals -- the Greek, the Hebrew, the Arabic, and the Cyrillic alphabets -- another time.

1. If poetry is form, then there is much to admire about the form of the alphabet. The classic distinction in the alphabet is that between vowel and consonant, and the alphabet announces this in its first two letters: A, a vowel, is immediately followed -- in a classic case of poetic disjunction -- by B, a consonant. The vowel comes first, and the vowels serve as the landmarks, each one spaced like rest stations along an interminable stretch of highway.

Replacing each string of consonants with the number of consonants being replaced, we get:
A 3 E 3 I 5 O 5 U 5
3:3:5:5:5 -- a strict formula, like counting the syllables in a haiku.* But with a swerve at the end, for the penultimate letter is Y, which is sometimes a consonant, sometimes a vowel. A classic twist during the denouement! And one that causes us to rethink the pattern. Do we lose it, if we treat Y like a vowel? Not at all -- if we reconsider the alphabet as an oral text, and (like in a haiku!) count the syllables instead:
A 3 E 3 I 5 O 5 U 5 Y 1
What is that last letter doing? How does the alphabet end? Well, remember, we're reading it aloud now -- and we discover that not only is Y's status as a vowel or consonant ambiguous, but Z's status as a pronounced letter is also ambiguous -- zee or zed? The alphabet, which starts out so firm and resolute, with a clear vowel and a clear consonant, starting with letters that recall the very name of the piece, ends muddled -- or perhaps, ends by breaking apart the strict categories that seemed so necessary at first, leaving us with options, choices, possibilities -- in a word, freedom.

(When we do Hebrew we might see that this freedom was implied from the very beginning!)

2. If poetry creates form, if poetry creates structure and meanings we can hang our life upon, then the alphabet is a notorious source of such structure. We can alphabetize all day long (and yes, this is a poem that is clearly a technology, though perhaps not a technology in its role as poem). We can write abecedaria and we can organize our little black book. And the alphabet, as it rolls along, provides us with a form for such things. Who has not started an abecedarium excited and proud at how well it is going (apple, banana, cherry, durian, elderberry...) only to realize that, although the "B" challenge seemed tricky at the time, it is nothing compare to the clusterfuck of challenges meeting you at the end of the game: VWXYZ as the ultimate level boss. But it is good to start out with a light step, and end humbled but accomplished! This is a narrative of learning, a narrative we like seeing in our poetry (and in our alphabets).

3. If poetry is a delightful misunderstanding, then:

"Somewhere in the middle, it gets awfully QR to me!" A queer reading of the alphabet, on public television, in 1969! Heavens.

* * *

* Perhaps like a tanka, instead? And yes, technically you count the moras in haiku, not the syllables. Whatevs.

N.B. I'm totally stealing the initial thought about counting the consonants between the vowels from someone, but I can't remember who. I'm pretty sure the second part, about counting the syllables between vowels, is all me.

More Lakoff-inspired thinking about categories and poetry. (Though first, via Silliman, an article about Lakoff and politics.) Warning: I make a few logical moves here that I'm not sure I stand behind, although I'm more or less OK with where they end up.

Lakoff likes to refer to certain interpretive models as being psychologically "real", meaning something like "not just an interpretive model, but one that can be clinically shown to have meaning." I'm not sure that's different from a non-"real" ("ideal") model?

But: One categorical concept he wants to suggest is "real" is the notion of the catch-all category, the "other" or "misc." category, where anything that doesn't fit into the other categories might fall. In English, we nouns are replaced by pronouns, and some nouns fall into the "he" category, some into the "she" category, and some into the "it" category. We can say that "he" and "she" are determined by rules -- categories which seem to have definitions -- and "it" is the catchall. Nouns in the "it" category don't necessarily share positive characteristics the way nouns in the "he" or "she" categories do. (This is my example, not Lakoff's, and like all such examples it might be philosophically problematic, but it still might be useful, so let's go with it.)

So I want to suggest that "poetry" is an "other" category. If you take the category of "writing", you can come up with rules that pull out various subcategories ("prose", "plays", "memoirs", "three-hundred-word album reviews", "personal ads") and what doesn't get pulled out has to be "poetry" -- what else could it be? (Well, "nonsense"? But we recognize spam as poetry! As better poetry than our own humble efforts. Well, many of us do, anyway.)

(I wonder if poetry in the small sense might not actually be an "other" category.)

Anyway I don't necessarily think this conceptualization of "poetry" as "catch-all" in necessarily true (or "real") but it at least points to a desperate plurality and heterogeneity within poetry (no shock there).

But that heterogeneity -- this possibility that poetry is not a thing but a collection of unthings -- might be why asking a question like "is poetry a technology" is so itchy-making. Poetry is not as specific or coherent as the sorts of things we call "technologies".

And so when Kasey wants to ask: "I want to ask if there's a way of thinking about this in which it becomes clear that poetry absolutely cannot be a technology, almost by definition." -- we can suggest that because poetry is so indefinite, it can't comfortably be a technology. (Though is the Shakesperean sonnet a technology? Is whatever you want to call the method that Kenneth Goldsmith used to write The Weather a technology? Probably yes.)

And when he adds: "And at the same time, I wonder whether poetry assumes an ironic relation to technology, in which it exploits technological resources, explores technological themes, and generally behaves as though it were a member of the set 'things that are intelligible under the rubric of technology,' precisely in order to burlesque that relationship, to flaunt its total resistance to any subsumption by (modern) technology." -- we can suggest that again, poetry is by definition heterogeneous and not assuming, en masse, a relation to anything (except those categories of "writing" that it is not falling into).

But then, is Kasey making a definitional move here? Is poetry, for him, going to be writing which "assumes an ironic relation to technology" (or things like technology), which aims for or acheives this (potential political) end? Is this descriptive or proscriptive thinking about poetry? Does it take into account Susan Polis Schutz (or is her work "not poetry")? Is this less a query towards the status of poetry than it is a query towards the formulation of a manifesto?

Following up on Kilmer, trees, and modernism! I'm reading George Lakoff's classic Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things, and it discusses this very issue, of the naming and categorizing of trees (pp. 31-38). In particular, it points to an article by J.W.D. Dougherty which finds that, while distinguishing between "maple" and "oak" might be "natural" for the Tzeltal Mayans, it is not so natural for urban Americans, who think of both as just "trees".

Dougherty says: "[T]here is a shift in the most salient taxonomic rank of a hierarchy toward increasingly more inclusive levels as the overall salience of the domain itself declines and the taxonomic structure devolves."

But we readers of poetry already knew this. So I want to point to Kilmer embracing this urban, modern unawareness of tree distinctions, an inability or disinclination to thinking of "oak" as a "natural" category -- to think of cats as "mammals" rather than "cats", perhaps? -- and also perhaps suggest this as part of the poem's popular appeal. It will not get bogged down in the distinctions of yesterday! He will strive to invent a cloying sentimality for the twentieth century, for the pre-World War I optimism of the future, today!

poetry : criticism :: mind : body

...or perhaps the other way around.

In 1913, Alfred Joyce Kilmer heralded a new era in poetry with a poem that began with the now-famous lines:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
For centuries, poets had been expected (it was in the job description!) to know the names of different species of trees, and so they filled their poems with alders, baobabs, cherries, dogwoods, elders, firs, guelder-roses, hawthorns, ironwoods, junipers, kiawes, larches, maples, nutmegs, osiers, poplars, quaking aspens, rhododendrons, sycamores, tupelos, umbrella pines, verawoods, willows, crossbreeds, yews, and zelkovas. After Kilmer, poets were free to say, it's just a tree. It’s lovely, and it’s called a "tree".


Hey, it just occurred to me: Some of you reading this have friendly feelings towards me, live in or about Toronto, and aren't friends of mine on Facebook, in which case: I'm meeting up with people for drinks tonight to celebrate my birthday (which was yesterday); 8pm at the Bedford Academy, and e-mail me (chrispiuma at google's mail service) if you need to. I have no idea how many people will be there (I suspect not too many, as it's all very short notice and I'm still new in town) but/so come if you can.

* * *

If you haven't noticed, I've started writing five-word poems via Twitter, which I'm Huthily calling "twitterms". The latest can be read on Buggeryville, the archive is on Twitter.

* * *

Also I've started a medievalist blog, which will surely be even less informed, less coherent, and less frequently updated than this one.

* * *

Which also reminds me: I've been thinking about writing a sort of user's manual or manifesto for this blog (and perhaps even more so the medievalist one), but all I've gotten so far is a half-formed aphorism:

That the erotics of failure should entice more than the erotics of righteouness.

Or, perhaps in a more practical way:

That I am here to be wrong, and you are here to correct me into a different state of being wrong, and vice versa.

Hence "erotics".

Yesterday, Sam Lohmann's new chapbook Unless As Stone Is arrived. It is a handsome publication, containing a single poem in seven parts (six plus envoi, perhaps?), variations on Dante's sestina "Al poco giorno e al gran cerchio d'ombra". I guess I could plot it along my recent theme of appropriation and emotion, but I don't have much to say there. Still, here are three nice poety things about the book.

1. Two colors (colours? I need to decide whether I'm going to "go native" about these spellings) predominate in the poem, "green" and "yellow". When I imagine those colors, they are like crayons, or Pantone swatches -- solid, bulky, no nuance. But the book itself has a chartreuse cover and manila pages -- a very different (and more interesting) suggestion of what "green" and "yellow" might mean. The physical book itself reminded me of further possibilities for these words; instead of having illustrations in the book, the book itself was the illustration. (Which itself is a reminder: Until Gutenberg, there was really no need for writing to be thought of as black and white. Was it? Someone investigate that. It could make an excellent Encyclopedia Brown–style plot point.)

2. I was reading the book aloud to myself, pacing back and forth in my kitchen, and stopped on this italicized line:

His science has progressed past stone.
And -- as I like to say -- I rolled it around in my mouth. I repeated it it a few times, really enjoying how the consonants propelled the sentence along. I have become a sucker for a repeated /st/. Here it makes a nice little dramatic pause before you get to the payoff -- and it switches from a-e-i vowels to an o-u vowel (which my research (and others') suggests is the major vowel divide for English speakers). And the meaning of the sentence tied in nicely enough with the Dante -- I was pleased.

And then: Sam does the same thing. He spends the next few lines rolling around that sentence, with its /p/, /s/, /gr/, and /st/ consonants:
Hiss, scient asp or greased piston;

as sign's hasp or grist turns to regress,
past's tone is graps;

as ions aspire, grass sought up a stone,
a sighing sass, poor grace to pass on:

siren's purr grates diapason

on stone in grass. Wake up,
"Wake up"! It was the same thing I had felt when I got through with the italicized line and though, oh, hey, I should get back to the poem. Here it marks the end of rolling around, bringing in a new set of sounds, its meaning echoing its form.

Really, when a poem reenacts my reading of it, it is very exciting.

3. This book makes no bones about being a poem, and yet I enjoyed reading it. That is something of an accomplishment!

(Nice poety thing #3 might just be a repeat of nice poety thing #2, however.)

You can get Unless As Stone Is at Powells, and a few other places (see Sam's blog for details).


  1. A short documentary on Jordan Scott, stuttering, and poetics thereof. (Part 2. I'm not clear on whether this is the documentary that aired on Bravo or just connected to it.)
  2. Oh sure, now that I've moved away, there's a contest for writing five words about Portland's transit system! (via Silliman)
  3. Dystopian lexicography.
  4. Craig Conley's take on "for Gale Czerski" continues its spread across the internet.
  5. On a well-annotated reviewer's copy.


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