September 2016


This set explores a style I use every once in a while which I think of as a word “stream,” kind of like the “skinny poems” of James Schuyler or the long, run on poems of Ammons. But also included are poems that use some sort of stanza form, many of them written as “streams” that just had to be broken up for legibility. Some of the poems are collages made up of drafts and move along in discrete bits, something I picked up from Tom Raworth and Charles Bernstein. Many of these were published in my first books, “Free Space Comix” and “Gulf” (in the first set) and “Kluge” (in the second), but about half are unpublished.

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This is a PDF version of a draft of “Alpha Betty’s Chronicles,” and HTML poem I created from bits of poetry and prose I hadn’t used for books. I basically ran the texts through a program that used a random-number generator to decide size, placement and color, along with inserting extra spaces between the words and letters. A version of this appears on ubu.com. The strictly HTML version is no longer available.

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“Wand” is an experimental poem-essay inspired by Charles Bernstein’s “Artifice of Absorption” and A.R. Ammons long poems, notably “Extremes and Moderations.” This was just an extended doodle but I still appreciate certain parts.

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This PDF contains my collaborations with Judith Goldman, Sianne Ngai and Jeff Derksen that were written in the late 90s and early 00s along with my first visual poems, created on an Apple SE and printed with a huge dot-matrix printer I got from MoMA (where I worked at the time) and a later, one-page poem that I made at Stephen Rodefer’s request (using his text) for his 1995 book Mon Canard. Included is a small set of “white out poems” that used white out type to “revise” printed poems, often working at the level of the letter or even the gram or mark.

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“Strange Booty” is a title I used for a section of my book “Viva Miscegenation” that contained older material that I continued to be intrigued by and wanted to publish (though I regret including that section since it really broke up the book). Poems date from mid-90s (including drafts of material that appeared in Free Space Comix that I now prefer) up to about the mid-000s. Included are poems in the Roger Pellett style of “Overtures of Holograms” (a set that appeared in Angry Penguins in 2000) but lacking that sets satirical element, language-poetry experiments, a set of poems I was writing based on animals, and a longish poem called “Furniture Music” composed in 2016 of shorter bits from my papers at the time.

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The first of these is a sort of computer-generated collage in the style of works that appeared in Gulf in 1998, composed on a pre-Windows 95 computer while I was in graduate school in the mid-90s. The second is an attempt to take a piece of prose and turn it into something dramatic, or at least mildly poetic, using search and replace, kind of like what I did with my short essay “When Lilacs Last in the Door” that appeared in “computerized Scots” in Fashionable Noise in 2003. I don’t remember when I made this.

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I moved back to my house in New Jersey for a few years while doing coursework at the CUNY Graduate Center (never got the degree) during which time I used an electric typewriter to generate material. I often, probably out of a sense of conservation, continued to use that the same sheet of paper when a poem, or often single line, achieved some sort of completeness. I pulled much material out of these pages for Free Space Comix and Gulf. Looking back at them now, I must have been using the page as something as a canvas; many of the pages resembled the all-over collage aesthetic of Ted Berrigan and Ron Padgett’s collaborations such as “Bean Spasms.” This PDF is a selection of the best of those pages, along with a few bits that resemble (to my mind) Clark Coolidge’s work from Space.

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This is a version of “Alpha Betty’s Chronicles” that only employs a minimal amount of computer-generated randomization. It’s far more legibile. The “Loaded” version appears elsewhere in the Versuchen series. This one is far more legible, however.

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As with “Alpha Betty’s Chronicles,” this is a long poem using drafts and other bits of writing that never found their form as discrete works. But rather than being jarring and (nearly) impossible to read, “A Poem of Attitudes” takes its inspiration from Brian Eno, not only his music but the writings of “A Year with Swollen Appendices” (a rere book these days). This is pretty much the same poem that appears in Fashionable Noise, but with a cover using a photo of Eno sitting, in beret and make-up, before a large painting.

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This is a seven-page poem that I created out of the same material that I generated for “What is Said to the Poet Concerning Flowers” in my book of that title. These poems are “ambient” to the degree that the lines can be read out of order and are only meant to be of mild interest (with a few exceptions). The text was written for a collaboration I did with the Australian artist geniwaite for a series she was doing that can be viewed here.

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These poems from my year living in a rooming house Chelsea around 1994. I was working through various influences and hit upon a style that seemed somewhere in the milieu of Williams, Mayakovsky, O’Hara and Schuyler. The main attempt was to work with language on a granular level and move away from the fluidity of Ashbery which could be addictive. I think the Mac SE, bought used about three years after everyone got theirs and my first computer, might have been the biggest influence on these poems, but I also used typewriters at my office and at home, sometimes challenging myself to take perfectly banal or awful lines at the start and crafting something like a poem from it. I was working at MoMA at the time and faxing poems back and forth to Jordan Davis, Robert Kelly and on occasion Tim Davis. The first “set” are poems I thought at the time (1994) were representative of the “Little Orphan Animal” style while the rest have been culled from my papers at the time. A few of these appeared in the journal “First Intensity” in the infamous Araki Yasusada issue, my first published poems.

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This set reflects a style I started experimenting with after first reading Nathaniel Mackey’s poetry and essays, but also continuing on an interest in speedy poems (like those of “Little Orphan Animal”) and largely indeterminate poems based purely on “sound as sense” as in Clark Coolidge. I’ve dropped a few of these in my books: the two “translations” of Rimbaud appeared Angry Penguins and What is Said to the Poet Concerning Flowers. The title poem appeared in Callaloo, while a few others appeared in The Impercipient. “Califonia” appeared in Free Space Comix and “Wild Sublimations” in Gulf.

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