I suggest that you read about FEMMAGE.
Poetry season is Here Now, and it opened with a bang, for me at least, last night at the Zinc Bar with the stunning triple bill of Drew Gardner, Dana Ward, and Gary Sullivan. Drew opened, reading meditative poems about, among other things, wanting to explode. In the vid below he reads a Shakespeare rewrite. Dana read first an extraordinary dream thing, (it had, I mean, “dream” in the title, but whether it was an actual “dream narrative” is doubtful, as it was too riveting)and then an extended utterly masterful prose piece that interwove the role of the poet, toxicity, the story of a friend’s suicide, and a riff on a film about Joy Division. Gary read a number of shorter pieces, including a list of clown names, a wicked poem to Drew (in the middle of which G. cracked up), and a twisted version of “I Remember.” All poets were applauded with great enthusiasm.
Attendees included: LRSN, Anneliese Chen, Sharon Mesmer, David Borchardt, Katie,Degentesh, Sara Wintz, MacGregor Card, Nick Piombino, Toni Simon, Brandon Downing, Karen Weiser, a Spanish translator/poet/painter whose name I have forgotten, Kim Lyons organizer & introducer, and a few others: apologies if I have not mentioned you or do not know you.
This is the season for fashion sightings. This trio on the corner of MacDougal and West 3rd happily posed for me. I love everything about them, but especially the orange tabi footwear with the “cloven” effect.
In transition time, people wear odd combinations to wonderful effect, like over-the-knee boots with twill shorts, or sleeveless mohair sweaters. Please note also the uniform (tangerine bowtie! pink pants!) of the man selling ices from his little unicorn cart.
Me I’m still posing for you.
points to notice: bubble skirt, Indian shibori scarf, fake leather jacket that actually looks (I think) cool, big ol’ boots, print skirt with contrast hem, ruffle wrap top, noseless overexposed mask face, etc.
Thanks to Ben Friedlander for pointing me to this.
that some of the rigorous among you may be annoyed.
If we go ahead and say that “everything is prosody,” how then will we describe the particulars of poetic technique?
I should know better.
I’m a little late on the uptake, having got off the track of my ululations thanks to the beginning of the semester and all its concomitant exigencies, but it’s not too late, I hope, to acknowledge and respond to Laura’s superb post on prosody and dressing.
She refers to Robert Kocik’s work on his Prosodic Body site. He has what he calls an extended definition of prosody here, but it’s actually extremely abbreviated compared to his essay, “Prosodic Body”, that appeared in the most recent Crayon magazine. I do wish I could link to it. In my perfect world everything would be available BOTH online and in paper. It is certainly one of the most exciting essays on poetics I’ve read recently, partly because, as Laura mentions, its sweeping scope (‘prosody is everything”), but also because of what Gary called (after I had enthusiastically recommended he read it), its rigor. Well, rigor is not a word I like very much; I find it prosodically disturbing, maybe too mechanical. The essay is rigorous, but more than that it is vigorous and inventive.
He begins by tracing two possible etymologies of the word prosody (did I mention how much I love the word? It enacts itself. I want to roll around in it as much as I want to roll around in what it represents… whatever that might be). He then explores how words might be medicinal: pharmakons? He poses a number of questions to make one consider the relationship of a work’s prosody-form to its psycho/somato/semanto-affects. But you see, he does this beautifully; summarizing (especially in the awkward way I do it, because I hate summarizing, I’m much too impatient) butchers it, so you really should just go and read it. At first reading I remember thinking that it was a little kooky the way Gins and Arakawa (whose work I love, by the way, and with whom Kocik is associated)’s work is kooky: Fourieran, utopian, nice for dreamers but hello what is the real world application. Then I read it again , and then again, and realized that, no, in fact his argument is logical, not just visionary, and I’ve thought these things a million times, although I haven’t articulated them in his vigorous and inventive way. I don’t mean by that to neutralize the originality of his ideas, but rather to praise them for the way they round out with argument what most of us, I guess, already know by poetic intuition.
But, yes, well, prosody is everything: what he calls “the ploy of tension/relaxation”: day and night, zeroes and ones, black intervals between film frames, breathing, and the rhythms of digestion, movement, and sex. I apologize for being too obvious here, but prosody seems to me to be very obvious since it’s what we live in. These are all binaries, not the sort one complains about, but the practically primordial given facts. Prosody is not just binaristic, but, as shape, and as shape as sound, is given to all sorts of parallelisms, tangents, and, as Laura points out, repetitions.
She rightly points out that my outfits are “always the same but always different.” Today’s outfit is especially always the same, in that I could probably do several variations of it each time using entirely different items in my possession. That is because I am attached to certain sets of signifiers that today’s outfit, and the countless others like it, sends forth. I did take to heart, though, her comment that my poses tend to be the same, so I will try to be more inventive in my poses henceforth, more modern dance and less hi I’m posing. The only problem is that then one sees the pose more than the clothes, and I thought the clothes should be the point of this. Well anyway.
The embroidered skirt quotes the skirts of the women I imagine to be my ancestresses back in the shtetls: diasporan nostalgia. A full skirt is absolutely the most feminine signifier of any fashion item, although maybe not the sexiest. The length of this one, above the knee, says playful and juvenile despite the chronological and hormonal reality, so: fantasy, but not a kinky one. This is me fiercely asserting my youth in age. What are you going to do about it? I suppose the little heart barrettes (can you see them?) do the same thing. Heart barrettes. Black tights. It’s the first day cool enough to wear black tights. God I LOVE black tights, especially at the beginning of the season (by February I’ve had enough); my mother tells me she went to college with 26 cashmere sweaters and came home a beatnik, wearing… black tights. So I suppose I’m quoting my converted mother-as-beatnik here. New Docs to break in, even chunkier than normal pairs: fuck yeah. Again, the first day that it’s been cool enough to go there. I’ve said this before, but the way the Docs speak to the little skirt just makes me incredibly happy. Yet another variation of the ¾ sleeve cardigan, in a jewel tone to complement the jewel tone of the skirt. In my Fourier world, everything would be a complementary jewel tone: garnet, sapphire, emerald, topaz, peridot, ruby, etc. No pastels. And then the glasses, the goddamn glasses, well, I don’t know, do I look smart? Anyway, this is my semiosis and my prosody today.
well, today I should like to be Kerouac,
except not male
not a misogynist
not an alcoholic
and not on speed
Thanks to Ben Friedlander for this Facebook meme from the nineteenth century, by way of Sidney Lanier (best known for The Boy’s King Arthur), who was tagged in the winter of 1874 by a Miss Anne Perot of Baltimore, Maryland. For Lanier’s answers go here:
1. YOUR FAVORITE COLOR?
roses, roses, roses
and meat flowers
of life (Indian bedspread)
4. OBJECT IN NATURE?
the fact that the “separability” of so-called “objects” in nature is temporary. this fascinates me.
5. HOUR IN THE DAY?
6. SEASON OF THE YEAR?
autumn for its orchestral lugubriousness
roasting green tea
those on the fake nightingale
9. STYLE OF BEAUTY?
10. NAMES, MALE AND FEMALE?
13. PIECE OF SCULPTURE?
the large glass
16. PROSE AUTHORS?
17. CHARACTER IN ROMANCE?
Lucifer in Paradise Lost
18. CHARACTER IN HISTORY?
Elizabeth 1, although she was an imperialist. still.
19. BOOK TO TAKE UP FOR AN HOUR?
oh, too many of these
20. WHAT BOOK (NOT RELIGIOUS) WOULD YOU PART WITH LAST?
21. WHAT EPOCH WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE LIVED IN?
Heian-era Japan (as an aristocrat) or Edo-era Japan (as a regular person)
22. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE?
Bali, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Bolinas (and some yet unvisited places)
23. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AMUSEMENT?
24. WHAT IS YR. FAVORITE OCCUPATION?
25. WHAT TRAIT OF CHARACTER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE IN MAN?
grace and intensity and a way with words
26. WHAT TRAIT DO YOU MOST ADMIRE IN WOMAN?
a way with words and intensity and grace
27. WHAT TRAITS OF CHARACTER DO YOU MOST DETEST IN EACH?
dullness, vulgarity, meanness
28. IF NOT YOURSELF WHO WD. YOU RATHER BE?
a much-loved housecat
29. WHAT IS YR. IDEA OF HAPPINESS?
30. WHAT IS YR. IDEA OF MISERY?
disconnection, also chronic pain
31. WHAT IS YOUR BÊTE NOIR?
32. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?
33. WHAT IS YR. FAVORITE GAME?
34. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE YOUR DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC?
35. IF MARRIED, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE TO BE THE DISTINGUISHING
CHARACTERISTICS OF YR. BETTER HALF?
36. WHAT IS THE SUBLIMEST PASSION OF WHICH HUMAN NATURE IS CAPABLE?
I know, but I’m not going to tell you.
37. WHAT ARE THE SWEETEST WORDS IN THE WORLD?
marzipan? praline? honeycomb?
38. WHAT ARE THE SADDEST WORDS?
don’t know and don’t want to know.
39. WHAT IS YOUR AIM IN LIFE?
to write baroque poetry that no one understands
40. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO
Everything is material for poetry.
I was just walking down the street thinking that my next movie should be a HAIR FETISH movie when a guy pushing a trash can said to me, “beautiful hair.” So that confirms it: hair fetish it will be. Now I know all kinds of creepy people will find this post because they were searching “hair fetish.” But so be it.
Did I mention that I love what Juliana wrote on Influence & Originality?