Choreographed Umbrellas

...to "Singing in the Rain," of course—here (QuickTime only). Gets more interesting towards the end.

Also available here, at the artist's website, in multiple formats, along with clips of other installations.


Flarf, Uncreative Writing, and Neo-Oulipian

Interesting discussion in a post on Ron Silliman's blog comparing flarf (Google-search or spam generated poetry), uncreative writing (e.g. Kenneth Goldsmith's Fidget), and neo-oulipian work such as Christian Bök. Not sure why "Oulipian" would be "neo" at this point, but....


Arrogance Meets Ignorance

...and the ignorance is dumbfounding and frightening. Clip (Quicktime .mov file) from a British program showing Ted Haggard telling Richard Dawkins that he (Richard Dawkins) doesn't know anything about biology. Watch to the end to see how Haggard and company really react to the "discussion."

Gnoetry & Beard of Bees

From Eric Elshtain at Beard of Bees:

Beard of Bees Press is pleased to announce the publication of the latest experiment with America's premier computer-generated poetry software, Gnoetry0.2: Shaking Back the Kiss is a collection of poems composed according to the statistical analysis of four texts: The Custom of the Country (1913), by Edith Wharton; Emma (1815), by Jane Austen; Sex and Common-Sense (1922), by A. Maude Royden (1876–1956, English preacher and social worker); Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brönte. Two 19th and two early-20th century texts—all of them about the sexes, and so all of them about power.

Most of the chapbooks (including Shaking Back the Kiss) are downloadable PDF files.

And the Winners Are...

Firedoglake announces the winners in their Dickfest "late nite poetry" contest. The 1st runner-up is a gem:

An accident it must have been,
And not a planned attack
Because Dick shot him in the face
Instead of in the back.

by rageneau

Go read the winning entry. You'll be glad you did.


Sad Happy

Peter blogs about Gregory Orr's This I Believe segment on NPR. Peter quotes Orr: "[E]ven the saddest poem I write is proof that I want to survive."

The This I Believe segments almost always bring out the cynic in me. Yeah, OK, I have issues. But my first thought in response to the Orr quote was to invert it:

"Even the happiest poem I write is proof that I am dying."

Cynicism aside, I like it that way, with its Zen fatalism, much better. Poetry can't be a bulwark against chaos. (Been there, tried that in the 19th century, failed miserably—see Shelley, Percy Byshe, The Triumph of Life; Eliot, T. S., The Wasteland.) It has to include that chaos in its very fiber or we're all just wrapping up in our blankies and waiting for life to go away.

N.B. I don't mean to diminish Orr's experience nor to state that his process isn't important for him. What concerns me is that this sort of statement tends to be seized upon, generalized, and turned into a Universal Truth About Poetry. It isn't and much is lost if it is taken as such.


Singles Culinary Tip: Eating in Front of the TV

Don't eat red sauce and pasta while watching Masters of Horror. Just don't.


Move, Moved, Moving

"I don't mind being moved but I don't like being pushed."

John Cage's answer to a friend's question about whether he felt moved by the Hallelujah Chorus.


We're a Minority

From Para Publishing (search for "Who is Reading Books (and who is not)" on the page):

One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Many do not even graduate from high school.

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.

More reading and publishing statistics there as well.

Online Research

A new, significant tool here.

And remember, always open the front door slowly.


Soundtrack for the Day


Onward Christian Soldiers II

Things I wish I had to make up: C.O.M.B.A.T. 4 Christ. Maybe Cheney should take the shotgun class?

UPDATE: Jesus's General adds his take and discovers a story showing that the Rev. Mowery is quite a piece of work.


Lorine Niedecker

Fog-thick morning—
I see only
where I now walk. I carry
             my clarity
with me.

from "Linnaeus in Lapland," Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works, ed. Jenny Penberthy

Samuel Menashe


gives wood its grain
Dreams knot the wood

   —from Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems,
      ed. Christopher Ricks


Cartoons, Cartoons, Cartoons—The Good, the Bad, and the Hypocritical

Ah, yes, principled stands for free speech.

The Guardian reports that the Danish daily that first ran the Muhammad cartoons turned down a series of cartoons of Jesus. Why? Because the cartoons weren't funny and were offensive.


15 Seconds of Fame

Linking to the WaPo story about the Toles cartoon put this oh so very humble blog in the link list to the right of the story. At least for a few hours. The result? Traffic quadrupled! Into the low tens! Yes, we are very humble, both in attitude and fact.

This Could Get Nasty

The Rebeccas throw down (here and here). And no one expects a clean fight.


Cartoons, Cartoons, Cartoons—The Good, the Bad, and the Stupid

Richard Silverstein does a good job of putting the Danish anti-Muslim cartoons in context. As he mentions, and as NPR failed to mention this morning, the cartoons were published in a growing right-wing anti-muslim atmosphere. This was a calculated provocation. They're also pretty darned pedestrian.

Meanwhile, Toles and the Washington Post respond (indirectly) to the letter (PDF) the Joint Chiefs sent about the Toles editorial cartoon. Looks to me that, once again, the political-military establishment attempts to divert attention from its screw-ups by calling critics defamers of the soldiers.

Use BugMeNot to avoid the registration hoo-ha with the Post article.

UPDATE After all of the riots, etc., I'm thinking we should put together a two-page spread of cartoons that make fun of each and every major religion, publish it in every major paper in the world, and have done with it.


Christian Bök & Eunoia

My friends and fellow Floating Bridge Editors Peter Pereira and Kathleen Flenniken have discovered Christian Bök and his univocalic work Eunoia. Each chapter of the book is written using only a single vowel. The title is the only word in English that includes all of the vowels.

Here's the link (not work appropriate—sex scene) to a recording of Bök reading Chapter U and the link to Peter's blog entry.

And when you're done with all of that, you can go to Coach House Books, read the book online (if you choose), or order it in print or on CD with Bök reading it aloud. Buy some other things, too, while you're at it. They're a very important and very small small press.

I told Peter and Kathleen about Bök almost four years ago, but let that pass. He read here in Seattle a little over a year ago, but let that, too, pass.

UPDATE Kathleen let me know that you can listen to Bök read all of Eunoia here at the Ubu Web site, another one of those places you can spend months exploring.