October 2009



Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 4:00pm

@ The Poetic Research Bureau
3706 San Fernando Blvd
Glendale, CA 91206

Doors open at 4:00pm
Reading starts at 4:30pm

$5 donation requested

Kate Greenstreet‘s second book, The Last 4 Things, is new from Ahsahta Press and includes a DVD containing two short films based on the two sections of the book. Ahsahta published Greenstreet’s case sensitive in 2006. She is also the author of three chapbooks, most recently This is why I hurt you (Lame House Press, 2008). Find her poems in current or forthcoming issues of jubilat, VOLT, the Denver Quarterly, Fence, Court Green, and other journals. Visit her online at kickingwind.com.

Aaron Kunin is the author of a book of poems, Folding Ruler Star, and a novel, The Mandarin. Another collection, The Sore Throat and Other Poems, is forthcoming. He will be reading from a new chapbook, Cold Genius. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Friday Oct 30, 7pm
@ 5941 Maccall St (@ 60th St)
North Oakland
near Ashby BART
please BYOB
costumes encouraged…

*Area Sneaks* is a Los Angeles-based journal edited by Joseph Mosconi and Rita Gonzalez which seeks to encourage dialogue between the worlds of visual art and poetry.

The Bay Area launch of Area Sneaks 2 will include:

A video presentation by artist Hillary Mushkin
A screening of Marie Jager’s short film *The Purple Cloud*
Readings by Therese Bachand, Mathew Timmons & Ara Shirinyan
Poetry by Demosthenes Agrafiotis read (and translated) by John Sakkis

…and possibly even more surprises!

The second issue features interviews with artists Edgar Arceneaux and Analia Saban; portfolios by artists Jody Zellen and Demosthenes Agrafiotis; a forum on Visual Poetry conducted by K. Lorraine Graham that includes contributions by Robert Grenier, Johanna Drucker, Peter Ciccariello, Jessica Smith, William R. Howe and Derek Beaulieu; poetry by Aaron Kunin, Elissa Gabbert, Kathleen Rooney, Will Alexander, Richard Kostelanetz, Ara Shirinyan, Mathew Timmons, Doug Nufer, Franklin Bruno, Harold Abramowitz and Amanda Ackerman; and artist-poet collaborations between Jen Hofer & Hillary Mushkin as well as Nick Moudry & Kerry Tribe.


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I just bought my ticket to this… yes, it means I’ll be missing the PRB reading, which I was looking forward to, but this is a rare appearance in LA of the filmmaker, and I missed his show at Redcat earlier this week.


Thursday October 15 2009, 7:30PM
UCLA Film & Television Archive
at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum


“A stereo-photo of an ocean wave slowly turns and churns. The hidden forces of Cinema conspire with an instant of history to produce actions that never were or could be. 3D for everyone (one eye will do).”—Ken Jacobs

One of the key American media artists of the postwar era, Ken Jacobs (Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son; Star Spangled to Death) has crafted a unique, powerful and ever-evolving body of work over a career that has spanned five decades. Appropriating and reinterpreting existing media artifacts, and subverting conventional modes of presentation, Jacobs has applied his highly original techniques to both formal considerations and social and political topics with equal aplomb.

This program showcases some of Jacobs’ most recent work, much of which creates new forms of three-dimensional depth, and is presented as part of a week-long artist residency in Los Angeles, in cooperation with REDCAT, Los Angeles Filmforum, and CalArts Film/Video.

A SCORCHER IN ITALY (2009, DVcam, Color, silent, 7 min.)

WHAT HAPPENED ON 23RD STREET IN 1901 (2009, DVcam, silent, B/W, 14 min.)

JONAS MEKAS IN KODACHROME DAYS (2009, DVcam, silent, color, 3 min.)

BOB FLEISCHNER DYING (2009, DVcam, silent, color, 3 min.)

HOT DOGS AT THE MET (2009, DVcam, color, 10 min.)

EXCERPT FROM THE SKY SOCIALIST STRAIFIED (2009, DVcam, silent, color, 18 min.)

GRAVITY IS TOPS (2009, 10 min.)

BRAIN OPERATIONS (2009, DVcam, silent, B/W, 22 min.)

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Thursday, October 15th at 8:00pm
C.J. Martin, Julia Drescher & Michelle Detorie

Doors open at 8:00pm
Reading starts at 8:30pm

This reading will be hosted by our special guest, Harold Abramowitz. C.J. and Julia are from the Lone Star State and edit Dos Press. Michelle is from Goleta and edits Hex Presse.


Sunday, October 18 at 3:00pm
“Things & Ideas”: Martha Ronk & Andrew Maxwell

Doors open at 3:00pm
Reading starts at 3:30pm

Martha Ronk and Andrew Maxwell play the old modernist saw and tip back that sweet Tennessean jar for a weekend reading on classic ontological themes. Hypostatizers unite as Martha reads from her new collection about things, and Andrew reads from a few new chapbooks about ideas. Ponge would be piqued!


C.J. Martin lives in Lockhart, TX, where he co-edits Dos Press with Julia Drescher. He’s also a contributing editor for Little Red Leaves (www.littleredleaves.com) & LRL e-editions. 3 chapbooks: _WIW?3: Hold me tight. Make me happy_ (Delete Press, 2009), _Lo, Bittern_ (Atticus/Finch, 2008) and _CITY_ (Vigilance Society, 2007). Work recent and forthcoming in Antennae, Broke (w/Julia Drescher), try! (w/Julia Drescher), Coconut, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, P-Queue, kadar koli, American Letters & Commentary, The Argotist Online, zafusy, the tiny, & Damn the Caesars.

Julia Drescher‘s poems may be found in Dusie, Broke, Try, The Colorado Review, P-Queue, goodfoot, & the tiny. A chapbook, Book of Hilda’s Hunting, was recently published as part of the Dusie Kollectiv. She co-edits Dos Press (with C.J. Martin) & the online poetry journal Little Red Leaves.

Michelle Detorie lives in Goleta, CA where she edits WOMB and Hex Presse. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Daphnomancy, Bellum Letters, A Coincidence of Wants, and Ode to Industry, the picture-poem series Psychedelic Domestic and Die*o*rama, and the pamphlet How Hate got Hand. She is currently working on a series of synesthetically coded visual poems that investigate the question of women and animals and whether or not they are real.

Martha Ronk is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Vertigo, a National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House 2008, and In a landscape of having to repeat, a PEN USA best poetry book winner 2005, Omnidawn Press. Her fiction, Glass Grapes and other stories was published by BOA Editions 2008. She is a 2007 NEA recipient and has had residencies at both Djerassi and MacDowell. She teaches both creative writing and Renaissance literature at Occidental College, Los Angeles.

Andrew Maxwell is co-director of the Poetic Research Bureau. He edited the occasional poetry journal The Germ, directed the Poetic Research reading series out of Dawson’s Bookstore in central LA, and was a founding member of the online French-American translation collective Double Change. His aphorisms, poems, essays and translations have appeared in several American and French magazines including Jubilat, Fence, Triple Canopy, The Hat, Area Sneaks, Arsenal and Poésie.

@ The Poetic Research Bureau
3706 San Fernando Blvd
Glendale, CA 91206

$5 donation requested



Same building, we’ve just moved our operations and bookshelves next door to the Luna Playhouse. Readings still take place in the same theater in which they’ve always taken place.

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I’m sure this will be greeted with some consternation by some! But, alas, what can I do. Here is a draft of my course description for an undgraduate class called “American Poetry Since 1945.” It’s one of the standard “on the books” classes here at UCLA, and has been taught in the past, in very different ways, by Cal Bedient, Harryette Mullen, Stephen Yenser and Kenneth Lincoln. (And others, I’m sure.)

I’m really glad they’ve let me take a stab at it. Clearly I’m trying to hit as many bases as I can — it’s a bit overstuffed (none of my predecessors assigned two books a week), but even so, misses a lot of points. Hence the final paragraph, which invites the interested student to pursue their own independent course of study within the context of the class.

One or two “contemporary” poets (whose names I’ll omit) I might have listed had I had any idea at all how to teach them. This isn’t to say that I’ve only included very “teachable” poetry, just that I felt compelled to omit one or two who I don’t think I understand enough to feel qualified to impart any knowledge about, or insight into, how to write about them (since, in the end, the students will be writing papers about one or a group of these poets). I also tended toward poets I thought would be appealing to the young.

I thought it was important to include a section of Los Angeles poets, since I don’t think (as I’ve stated elsewhere on this blog) anyone has any idea of the depth (not to mention strangeness) of the work that is being done, and has been done, out here. UCLA (the campus) feels quite far away from what one could call “Los Angeles” proper (you know, the dirty, urban parts), and of course I would want to encourage any of my young students, especially if they are writers, to think of this city as a place where writing can be done.

So, this is a draft. Many of my adjectives are a little funky (where’s Michael Scharf when you need him?), and there might be some switch-outs of names or titles in the next week or so. But I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and so I think it’s quite solid. I wanted to assign Donald Allen’s anthology along with the Norton but that seemed overkill and they duplicate a lot of material. The “Vintage” anthology is the one edited by J. D. McClatchy.

I’ll probably make a better go of this one than I did “American Poetry Before 1900,” which I taught last year, given my long acquaintance with a lot of these poets, not to mention personal interactions and friendships with many of them. I mean, I did pee next to John Greenleaf Whittier once at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project (1845 or so), but it didn’t help me understand his poetry.

American Poetry Since 1945

The Modernist Period in American poetry was marked by an incredible number of advances in poetics: the polyglot, metrically intricate work of Ezra Pound, the “Cubist,” nearly abstract work of Gertrude Stein, the word-centered “variable foot” of William Carlos Williams, the philosophically nuanced, European-inflected work of Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot, the typographical experiments of E.E. Cummings, the complex syllabic stanzas of Marianne Moore and the collective efforts of Harlem Renaissance writers such as Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer and Countee Cullen (along with prose writers such as Zora Neal Hurston) to create a distinctly African American voice in literature. More formally conservative, but no less vital, poets, such as Edwin Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost and the Southern Agrarians (John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate), were equally active during these years.

This course attempts to provide a map to the large number of important, engaging American poets who started their careers in the period following World War II, during which time many of the above writers were still very active and being accepted into the mainstream, and continues to consider several poets who are at present in mid-career.

The course starts with a consideration of the first major generation of poets to follow the Modernists, usually classed under the title of “Confessional” poets due to their tendency to reveal in their writing aspects of their personal lives that would not have been considered suitable material for poetry mere decades earlier: Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and John Berryman. Other important poets writing around this time – most notably Elizabeth Bishop – rarely were so candid in their work, but maintained strong ties with this group. A slightly younger group of writers, such as A.R Ammons, James Merrill and James Wright, will also be considered in these sessions.

The course will then move on to various other groupings of poets – such as the “New York School” (Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, James Schuyler), Beat Poetry (Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso), Projective Verse (Charles Olson , Robert Creeley) and poets associated with the “San Francisco Renaissance” (Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer) – all of whom first reached a wider audience through publication in Donald Allen’s seminal anthology “The New American Poetry” in 1960. These poets generally challenged not only the ways that poetry could be written, but also the types of content – openly non-conformist, sexually “liberated,” anti-academic, at times vulgar and often very funny – that could be included in poetry, setting the stage for what would become the widespread cultural revolution of the Sixties.

The course then moves on to poets in the spirit (though often actively contradicting the tenets) of the New Americans, such as the Language School – writers who sought to synthesize the most recalcitrant strands of Modernism with a Leftist critique of capitalist culture (Charles Bernstein, Bruce Andrews, Lyn Hejinian, etc.) – and poets of color who, inspired both by the Harlem Renaissance and various more revolutionary strands in American culture, sought to create a poetry that disturbed the normality of poetic discourse by including all sorts of elements in the language to signify their (and language’s) “otherness” (Amirki Baraka and other poets of the Black Art Movement, Victor Hernandex Cruz, Jessica Hagedorn, etc.). These poets could, collectively, be called poets of the “Americas,” not acknowledging that there is something called a “standard English” that poetry has to be written in but several different “Americas” existing in (and troubling) the whole.

It is, of course, nearly impossible to give a complete picture of the wilds of American poetry as it is developing today. With this in mind, the last 4 weeks of the course are devoted to 8 younger poets who are in mid-career.

One week will be spent reading two important Canadian poets who have made a huge impact on American poetry in the past decade and a half, the experimental, craftsman-like Christian Bok and the prolific classicist Ann Carson. We will then move to on to look at how lyric poetry is being employed in the philosophically nuanced sonnets of Ben Lerner and the hilarious, subversive serial poetry of CA Conrad. Next, we will look at “conceptual” poetry (poetry of process) as it is practiced, to very different ends, by politically-engaged poet/critic Juliana Spahr and the New York impresario avant-gardist Kenneth Goldsmith. Last , we will read two books by poets from East L.A., the imagistic, often satirical prose poems of Japanese American Sesshu Foster and the visionary surrealist work of the increasingly-esteemed Black poet Will Alexander.

This course is designed so that students – using the two large anthologies that they will be purchasing along with books they can purchase on their own – can trace their own thematic, formal, even geographical lineages, traditions and trajectories through the period covered and to write a final paper on them. Such alternative groupings include feminist poets, gay poets, California poets, visual poets, formal poets, etc. To this end, several “alternative” suggested readings will be provided, though, of course, each student is required to do all of the assigned reading and secondary assignments as well.

00. Introduction: A review of Modernism
01. Vintage Contemporary Poetry – Robert Lowell & “Confessional” Poetry
02. Vintage Contemporary Poetry – Bishop/Ammons/Merrill, etc.
03. Postmodern American Poetry –The Beats & the San Francisco Renaissance
04. Postmodern American Poetry – The New York School & Projective Verse
05. Postmodern American Poetry – Language Poetry
06. Postmodern American Poetry – The “Poetics of the Americas”
07. Two Canadians: Christian Bok & Anne Carson
08. Versions of the Lyric: Ben Lerner & CA Conrad
09. Conceptual Poets: Juliana Spahr & Kenneth Goldsmith
10. Los Angeles Poetry: Sesshu Foster & Will Alexander

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This just came in…

Eileen Myles

Join us tonight (Wednesday Oct 7th) at 8pm for Eileen Myles reading the entire text of her essay “Iceland” from her new book (also called Iceland). The performance is expected to last about 90 minutes. Eileen informs us that the audience is not compelled to stay for the whole reading, although you are welcome to if you like. We will have some large green beanbags around if you want to settle in for the duration.


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A launch party for the new poetry collection by Will Alexander:


The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (New Directions Publishing)

Sunday, October 11, 5:00pm

at Skylight Books


1818 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tel: (323) 660-1175

Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and visual artist who lives in Los Angeles, the city where he was born in 1948. He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002. Over the years he has worked several jobs (including the LA Lakers box office), has taught at various institutions, and has been associated with the nonprofit organization Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, working with underserved, at-risk youth.

The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (Paperback)

By Alexander, Will


ISBN-13: 9780811218290
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 09/01/2009

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One of the more pleasurable discoveries of my late night Youtube parties has been the songs and videos of Nelson Ned.

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