Tag Archives: poetry

Louis Zukofsky, Poet

Zukofsky
Poet Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978)
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Published on October 24, 2010

LOUIS ZUKOFSKY IS AN important American poet. Why? Because I said, so, naturally, and even though the bulk of this essay is snitched from other sources, I have split my sandwiches with this poet in question on many a toil. All italics mine. His book, A, dominated my thought back in the late 1980s, when I was still chasing a reason to be poet after already having written what I consider my best work, until I rode my elephant sling shot straight into punk rock, fickle women, and cheap booze, and friends who never knew where I was coming from much less where I was aiming to sink a mark, if any. This is my story.

The son of immigrant Russian Jews, he was born into the Jewish ghetto of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1904. What a headstart he had. I was raised by intelligent but socially illiterate, lingusitically stunted, financially crippled parents with little historical awareness of places and predicaments in a tiny town in SE Georgia, and I don't mean the Caucasion state in Asia. Zukofsky's conception of himself as a poet was indebted to Kaballistic Judaism, with both its emphasis on the magically transforming power of language and its division of the world into a tiny circle of initiates and a great mass of ignorant outsiders.

If Zukofsky was a New York Jewish poet, responsive to the cacophonous voice of the cosmopolitan city and determined to find a place for himself in the world beyond the ghetto, I was the epitome of plain white bread sandwich Tom Sawyer—with the crusted edges still attached. Zukofsky's route out of his festering ghetto was poetry. Mine was the result of that ever diminishing highschool diploma and the vital scream for liberty and exile I found in the wet sack and subsequent scattering of seed called making my way into the world without a clue. Leaving home within a month following a pirate's blue and gold graduation, I soon married a woman twice my age, with three kids nearly my own age, and a religion I was never built to suffer. But suffer I did for three years almost to the day under the yoke of the Jehovah's Witnesses, once removed, and a family I was ill-prepared to feed, clothe, or diminish that ridiculous notion that shibboleth shell games were all that mattered in a book so heavily translated and re-translated that no pretty monkey could ever come clean with the notion of theological typing again. Anxious for something else altogether, I hungered after something of a higher or lower caliber; it didn't matter, so Jehovah God (her phrasing) and I parted company for those three years as I sunk into a calculated misery with an initial declination of 180.

Rather the objectivists wanted, as Zukofsky declared in his Poetry essay "Sincerity and Objectification," to see the "poem as object," calling attention to itself by, for example, deliberate syntactic fragmentation and by line breaks that disrupt normal speech rhythm.
In his brief Autobiography Zukofsky reported how he began to appropriate the heritage of Western literature, first in Yiddish and then in English: "My first exposure to letters at the age of four was thru the Yiddish theaters.... By the age of nine I had seen a good deal of Shakespeare, Ibsen, Strindberg and Tolstoy performed—all in Yiddish. Even Longfellow's Hiawatha was to begin with read by me in Yiddish, as was Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound.... By eleven I was writing poetry in English, as yet not 'American English.'"

At age sixteen, Zukofsky entered Columbia University, where he wrote for and helped edit various student literary magazines. He identified with the literary avant garde (as represented especially by James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot) that saw itself as an elite committed to a revolutionary assault upon a dead bourgeois culture.

Zukofsky's first major poetic work, "Poem Beginning 'The,'" written in 1926 and published in Exile in 1928, demonstrates his commitment to a modernist poetic. "The poem's obvious predecessor," said Barry Ahearn in Zukofsky's "A": An Introduction, "is T. S. Eliot's 'The Waste Land.' In an attempt to surpass Eliot, Zukofsky pushes formal details to an excessive, but liberating, limit." "Poem Beginning 'The'" cultivates a tone of Eliot-like irony, as the poet tries to mediate between the insistently alien, Jewish particulars of his experience and an aspiration toward a broader American, "English," vaguely Christian culture.

poet
Zukofsky, as usual
If "Poem Beginning 'The'" resonates with echoes of Eliot, Zukofsky soon abandoned Eliot for Ezra Pound, who was at once more approachable and more overpowering. Pound's warm response to "Poem Beginning 'The'" led to a flurry of letters between the two men, and Zukofsky eventually visited Pound at his home in Rapallo, Italy. Pound gave Zukofsky's poetic career an important boost by urging Poetry editor Harriet Monroe to appoint the young New Yorker as guest editor of a special issue devoted to new English and American poets.

For this Poetry issue Zukofsky invented the name "objectivists" to describe himself and the other poets—including Charles Reznikoff, George Oppen, Carl Rakosi, and Basil Bunting whose work he liked. (Zukofsky, however, never used the term "objectivism" and never claimed to be the leader of a movement named "objectivism.") Most of these objectivists also appeared in Zukofsky's An "Objectivists" Anthology, where they were joined by Pound and even Eliot.

The core group of Zukofsky, Reznikoff, Bunting, Oppen, Rakosi, and Niedecker eventually cohered into something approaching a movement, with Zukofsky established as both the principal theorist and—until World War II—the most diligent critic of and advocate for the poetry of his friends.

Objectivist verse owed a great deal to imagism. Indeed, in his preface to An "Objectivists" Anthology Zukofsky quoted Pound's 1912 Imagist credo: "direct treatment of the 'thing' whether subjective or objective." But in two respects objectivist poetry went beyond imagism. First, unlike such imagists as Amy Lowell, most of the objectivists were unwilling to treat the poem simply as a transparent window through which one could perceive the objects of the world.

Rather the objectivists wanted, as Zukofsky declared in his Poetry essay "Sincerity and Objectification," to see the "poem as object," calling attention to itself by, for example, deliberate syntactic fragmentation and by line breaks that disrupt normal speech rhythm.

Second, following Pound's poetic practice of the 1920s, the objectivist poets were at least as much interested in historic particulars as they were in immediate sensory images. All the objectivists shared Pound's aspiration to create a "poem containing history"; and Pound's incorporation into his Cantos of various historic documents showed these poets a way of incorporating history into their poems without violating the principle of objectivity.

Read it all.

The Critique

experience
Experience
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THAT'S A KEEN INSIGHT into the poetics of good metaphor, Paige, by insisting the "tree" is neither happy" or "unhappy", but rather merely exists within the framework of its own inanimate kind.

However, as if I were Ezra Pound dancing with a pronoun and you were Thomas Sterns Eliot sipping a cup of Earl Grey, might I suggest, without airs but in an uncompetitive spirit of respect, changing the rather inactive choice of "Withstanding" which is repetitive of the earlier uses of "standing" to the deeper, richer word "weathering the elements" if the poet's style insists upon a common vernacular. And in that sense, one might also write:

              Yet there it still stands
              Rain or shine, sheet or snow,
              an ornament to the elements.

Or better yet, a rebuke to the elements:

              Yet there it still stands
              Rain or shine, sheet, or snow
              a rebuke to the elements.

Thus avoiding a third usage of "stand" in so few syllables. And adds a function to the existence of the tree.

But it's a wonderful poem, Paige. Just take my comments as a persnickety old poet who himself is constantly seeking a more compelling poetics from which to put matters that strike a chord in himself, or better yet, in others, as well.

The tree, a noun, of course, is a living thing, unlike a firelog, so a better choice of words than "inanimate" would have served the argument better, but sense the difference between using an adjective like "happy" or "unhappy" and the device of the active verb "rebuke" to better reflect the context of the "thing" in its apparently subdued and hampered existence.

Gabriel

Money For The Poets

kerouac-cassidy
Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy
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DECADES OF PUBLIC and private funding have created a large frumpy professional class for the production and reception of new poetry comprising legions of teachers, graduate students, editors, publishers, and administrators. Poets? Based mostly in universities, these groups have gradually become the primary audience for contemporary verse. Consequently, the energy of American poetry, which was once directed outward, is now increasingly focused inward, but I guess it's been this way for a long time. Me? Think I'll pull, push, exhort, pry, torque, haul ass my own weight outside the grinding gears of establishment bureauocracy poesy. Hence this website and its demands on atomic clearance, where animated bias is the pungent cream of festivities. Click. Click. 404 error. File not found on this server. Click. Click. Damn, this is what I hate about linking to outside tiddly winkers. Link expirations. Here today, gone tomorrow. I had linked to a page touting a national poetry month special called Show Me The Money. It was a good read, but now the link is dead, and I should remove it to keep my SEO score respectable. This is the primary reason I link to Wikipedia pages. They may not be the most thorough or even the most factual presentations of a given subject, but one can link to them and count on their continued existence. At least until their self-funding dries up. Money, money, money...

Read it all.

My Only Book Review

jaden
Jaden
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Nearly two years after its publication, and despite the dissemination of forty or so copies among the few friends, family members, and strangers beating back the night sweats of literary intent, I have come to accept the fact that I write in such an outlandishly dull way as to render this special class of improbable bibliophiliacs completely and utterly devastated to the point of unleashing their inner mute upon the very grains of sand upon which I stand.

Now, I have not handed this book away to just anybody with a cap size or a Big Gulp to spare, but only to those who pleaded, cajoled, paid for in the case of some of the more deep pocketed critics, wished for, promising a review each and every one of them, and if cool beans are a good source of protein, threatened my well-being for a personal copy of this collection of visceral sweat and tears, bloody for the twenty-five years it stewed in the making, usually a signed copy, and usually accompanied by some petty insolence that they loved poetry, or some such glad-handing gush as that. Notions of the silent rejection, notwithstanding, The Silent Cull & Other Mechanical Ideas, Collected Poems 1980-2005 is not your usual thin volume of contemporary poetry, but is four hundred pages of seething canonical arrest, and I use the word "canonical" and "arrest" in all their usual connotations plus a few more that I insist are both canonical and arrested within the pages themselves, banking on subtleties of style and insight that are only coming apparent to the ill-prepared general public in these, our own spectacular terror-driven chaotic times. Well-minced words are a swallower's delight, and this book rarely portrays paradise, or other romantic follies of the past or future tense of mankind, but in its own galloping way wraps itself in the contemporary physics of time and thought itself, tackling its author as much as the culture that spawned him.

But this entry is not about describing the book. It has been aptly described elsewhere.

Here I wish to fan myself with those few words of praise, or words of any kind that have wafted my way in the context of this inpenetrable book. The following paragraph was sent to me by a local artist, a young painter of some early renown, still in his late twenties, whose first son was to be born on my birthday (the second of my friends whose firstborn sons arrived likewise) named James Coleman:

I really like the book man, I read it out loud to Christie at night when we go to bed, they say the baby can hear it and its good to read to him, but I dont know. I really love it man they say if you reach one person, blah blah blah, well thats me. I can sit on the roof and smoke a cigarette, lay in bed at night, damn i would even take it to the beach. It flows it pulsates, it moves me. Im not kissing your ass, I have no reason to. Just wanted to give you an honest opinion, and for whatever reason, it speaks to me. When I read it I feel like I did when I was in college smoking opium and reading boulbelaire or at the coffee shops reading dylan thomas, thinking I should start a fight. What I am trying to say is that at this point in my life your book works for me. Great job man, Im not a literary figure or even a good writer but just wanted to tell you. If I see you and I am drinking and tried to tell you all this, you would think I was full of shit.

What can I say? For all the silent pretenders haunting my crude ambitions, this single review is just about the most stirring string of thoughts an old poet, fat on the failures of inertia, far past his gameface prime, could ever hope to absorb.

Thanks JColeman...

Lost & Found Art Cannot Be Put Into Context

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Lost And Found Art
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Allow me to explain my predicament. Up until March 29, 2003, I had carefully maintained, organized & archived my entire email history from 1993 when I first joined Prodigy, Compuserve, and AOL all within a few weeks of each other, having been instantly smitten with this new world of messaging and self-publication. I hail from a damned near illiterate background—from an alcohol-hardened household, from a band of brothers who somehow esteem reading and writing of little use above that required by law.

This is not an indictment of them, but a tiny spotlight onto the struggles for my own sense of clarity, given my own poetic nature, and desire for pursuing and comprehending the incomprehensible. I had been fortunate that during my ten years of archiving, I had never lost anything I had ever emailed, or had received from someone. Except for obvious and useless SPAM, and lower tier business correspondence, I cherished and kept every bit of communication I had ever mustered.

And I'd been fortunate to have met and sustained along the way a steady string of aspiring authors, so our email wasn't of the dull flat liner variety that would soon cloak the long silences of previous generations who had transitioned from sincere letter writing to the less literary and more immediate telephone call and special event card. Now we had access to a marvelous combination of the two, letter writing nearly extinct, and the telephone call, often as mundane and flawed for its archival challenges as the polaroid in the digital camera age.

But then came the shock and awe of that March 29 data loss. Ten years of treasured exchanges gone in a keystroke! Ordinarily I kept a rather recent back-up of my work, but for reasons of brevity, let's just say I had little to rely upon that day, so in one terrible keystroke I lost my entire hard drive of personal information while visiting the terminal for my first and only peek at the guts of the operating system. After the week long stress, sweat and toil of data recovery magic, I found that I had recovered maybe two-thirds of my email data. I lost so much more other work, but it was my treasured email that mattered most to me at that point, and the process was too inadequate to worry about the rest of the loss. Now, of course, my email did not recover its former glory. So, instead of each individual mail stored away in personal boxes and folders, where I had immediate access to them in plain text, I now had over 22,000 individual files each named, starting at number 1, increasing in value one file at a time, like this:

Email file (generic) 16784

And since it seems as apropos as a summer shower on a blue heat afternoon, given a rather new MySpace friend’s recent smackdown of a type of Internet personality she called the Intellectual Predator, it’s a keeper; here’s yet another redux, circa 1993-4 from my AOL years (when I signed on there I was among a mere 250,000 subscribers. When I left, over 25 million. But I’ll leave that story to later.) Can’t wait to get more of these posted somewhere new. All I can do is work the process with ev’ry muscle I’ve still got in the game…
And to make matters worse, each recovered file, no, did not include just a single piece of mail, but sometimes two, five, or three, point three emails. And these texts were not alone in their new miserable state. Now each file included huge chunks of header and other inexplicable strands of ASCII gibberish, cast off, decidedly boorish digital DNA that I would have to clear away like so many acres of undergrowth in order to isolate a long lost masterpiece from my friend Steve, or a stroll through Landryville with the wit and sarcasm of her spicy Cajun' upbringing, or merely a well-written communication from back in the day, those early days when so many people inside and outside the industry mocked the functionality, or inspirational value of email, while here we were composing masterpieces, detailing small everyday events of those days of our lives, marching to our exciting times with an eye on posterity.

Yes all this, BEFORE THE DELUGE OF SPAM. Before Internet porn. And for several years, before the WWW itself. Ah, yes, we were there, and we were writers, and yes, we could be bombastic or plain spoken. We could lie with dogs, or we could ride elephant ears. Those were the days where great plans ruled the great plains.

Nostalgic, but that's merely the background noise of my original purpose in posting today. Now here's one of those recovered files I just opened this morning, randomly. I did not write this, it seems to be unsigned, but I did save it. And since it seems as apropos as a summer shower on a blue heat afternoon, given a rather new MySpace friend's recent smackdown of a type of Internet personality she called the Intellectual Predator, it's a keeper; here's yet another redux, circa 1993-4 from my AOL years (when I signed on there I was among a mere 250,000 subscribers. When I left, over 25 million. But I'll leave that story to later.) Can't wait to get more of these posted somewhere new. All I can do is work the process with ev'ry muscle I've still got in the game...

Lampshades Made Of Flesh

Long and white pickings
of the litter slid past
this old television set
where filthy & famous
flying objects affectionately
gorge themselves on civics
the fool's camera, off topic,
some gorgeous idea devoured,
their own well-greased
bravado and beauty
to set Smith free from
the mules of mockery
of misery and forty acres
of danger, democratically.

Society of the spectacle
ain't without its icecapades
or pumpkins carved up for freight
until writing clay poems in short raids
scattered along the glittering class
loving then shooting on first sight
sane pigeons walking the awful plank
hands in nobody's pockets, nobody's
like some promised quack on the run,
we believe ourselves dutifully astonished
swooning at the slow taint of suicide songs
entering nations now as the thief moons
simple courtesy to some frenzied
God of the dead licking steroids.

Hatred and phobias best in news
best in show, framed for flight
no time for sergeants or shirtless Jews
no cross-bearers, no Zen numbers, no holy waiver
to rot this new perspective, only
the icy pool of blood to spend
words in a book of terror
left as Joe Mohammed's
calling card
to each of us who doubt
we're on the invitation list
engraved by fourteen centuries
of lust wandering the sands of time's
last stand. Time is the detonator.
Time is the fire, the flame, the scream.

Time in due time will prove itself the liar,
or bring back lampshades made of flesh.

[ 2002, Washington, DC ]

An Interruption: Time Stretchmarks

time-stretchmarks
Time Stretchmarks
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BUT SUCH IS TIME and perfect timing, off time, under time, in time, time and time again, sloppy time, never enough time, Miller time, tea time too.

Neat time, time in a bottle, my time, the time of my life, in the life and times of Uncle Joe Stalin, time to shape up, time to get a job, time it all the way to the bank, time to take it to the enemy, tell me when it's time to get married the fifth time.

Shallow time. Shag time. Sane time. In the time it took to drive a bus off the cliff on a Seventies cop show, that's show time. For the third time today I needed time. Time to go to the bathroom. Time to shit or get off the pot. Time was when fun just cost a nickel.

Time this. Time that. Time warp. Time tunnel. Time is where the heart is. Time enough to think of a good response this time. Time to grow up. Time to eat and run. Time to suck the chrome off that bumper crop of party time. Time to beg the difference.

Time to cut the mustard. Time to pick out a receiver downfield. All the time in the world. Time to wipe my ass with a timely hook and refrain. Timex time. Time to cash a cheque. Time to win the battle but lose the war on drugs. Time it took six women to satisfy each other's curiosity in a dark room over lunch time. Time to kick the bucket.

Time to write a novel about time. Time to brush her hair the same way her sister used to brush hers, timing each stroke to the beat of time. Time to draw a conclusion. Time to mark a certain number of correct answers to the incorrect questions with a number two pencil.

Time to give up a lost cause.

Time to shut down the chicken farms along that sparkling river. Time to read the classics in their original language. Time to make lunch bags sing before our children race off to school. Too much time on my hands, not enough too keep my feet warm.

The time it takes to build a universe only to have it collapse in your face is nothing like the time I helped Aunt Mardis rip through a chocolate cake in the olden days of French ascendency.

It takes time to learn to ride a bicycle. Time to reap what one sows. Or maybe not, this time. Maybe that time is instantaneous time, time accurately remembered. Time to sing before she swallows for the last time that nasty pill. Time to harvest a generation. Time to swallow before you hang ten. Time to look before you cross.

By the time it took to dig up the Erie Canal times they were a changing. It's not about time, it's about attitude. By the time I get to Phoenix many husbands won't have time to take out the garbage. The driver swore to the witness that he didn't have time to stop. Time takes a holiday but time never vacates the premises.

Time laughs at odd moments but time never bargains with the Devil or leftover sandwiches. Time is that which doesn't kill you. Time kills that child inside only to seemingly reappear later.

Time is a long, cool woman in a black dress. Time is kinky. Time paints by numbers. Time is a disease of the pancreas. Time is a pretty heart-shaped tattoo on Wendy's breast in some window in Times Square. Pi is a variable in a timeless equation.

Time understands all wounds. Time wounds all heels. Time is an asset. Time is a pain in the ass. Time is only as good as your next biological movement. Time is the needle in the haystack. Time is secondary but don't tell her that.

too-much-time
Too Much Time
Nothing like a good time in the sack to make time fly. Time has no fear of flying, but Erica and Henry both knew what having a good time was about, and it was not about time, but the enjoyment of time. Grown-up time.

There is no such thing as time travel today, but recordings keep time in ways none of us truly understand past its fetish draw, but time was when a fine time was had by all, double time, life plus time. High time that boy got a job. Time the unfortunate child born without legs who beats a faster smile than you do.

Observe that same child pursue time into measuring itself with old technologies in a world that presumes time can't reverse itself while it can so readily repeat itself dipped in statistics. Time is a two-way mirror. Time is a dirty joke, rain, and the annual flooding of the muddy Missisippi.

Time is nothing but what you or somebody else makes it, except when it's game time, and don't try to tell me about how much time it would take to make the timeless world safe for timelessness because everybody knows it's all in the timing, even though most of us are suffering a bad sense of two timing.

There's never enough time to transcend one's station, especially when mobile. Time is far too formidable a friend on feverish afternoons to let stand in the cold rain without knowing that time sometimes stands still without your assistance.

Without time on my side I perish with the daffodils. Time is a time-honored sport everyone must play in order to graduate. Time forgives. Breaking rules for time is not always a bad time, but does require timing it just right. Time scars. Grab the moment to make time while others bargain, losing time to others, until another time comes.

Time is a stiff upper lip in a compromising position. Time defers to gravity, but for one writer, time is nothing but a madcap schemer bought and sold on the installment plan, money paid back over time, but then earning time for Old Doc Destouches who didn't live long enough to get mixed up in time, time and time again, was a thankless time.

Time is a nightmare to Klaw's girls who prefer time raw and risky more often than their less time-tortured sisters. Time dresses up for special guests. Time is the major importer, exporter of stolen goods across state lines in situations where time is barely legal. That's time standing in the shadows, losing her shirt to timeless romance.

Time is nobody's business but the rates are skyrocketing. Time is colorless, odorless, tasteless. Time left is time right on time. Time left to itself is useless. Time blows tall buildings to the ground. Time grounds water tables and small asterisks into dust bowls older than TIME ITSELF because time is the wind in the sails of marginality until time itself stops.

April 2000, Washington DC

Typing With Dignity

The Shrew
The Shrew
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Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 00:51:25 EDT

Dear Gabe—Damned busy myself. Hosted a Poetry Grand Slam at my work tonight (working in a used bookstore—there is a god!) Just finished a 7-week community theatre run of Taming of the Shrew, and I'm starting to feel a bit crispy. I checked out the site; interesting spot.

Not much wordage out of me, written-wise in a while. John Carle someitmes prints my odds and ends in his webzine, Gravity. which is a long-standing spot I highly recommend. But the honest truth is, I'm such a Luddite anymore that if a tree didn't die in the publishing, I'm less than patient with any magazine. The net has become a necessity, like a telephone, and, unless those Freenet guys have the impact that some predict, it's nothing much more than pay-per-show TV.

Glad you're moving out of the DMZ—I've learned in recent years to understand about hearing gunshots at night (in the summer, several times a week). Hell of a world, and probably just what we really planned back when...though the reality of near-anarchy is rather nastier on the nerves than the theories and predictions were. Oh, well, maybe we'll swing Fascist for a decade or two, see if that works...

Good luck in your endeavors, send interesting things. I'll check into that site and send what small intelligence I may from Deep in the Heart of Happy Valley—the Promised home to the fools who followed dick-head with the tablets and burning foliage. —M

Damn, Max, seems neither one of us can type with any dignity, and since that website has such a polysyllabic crunch to it, it's a wonder I ever found it. Meanwhile, I was checking out the Ernest-Curry wedding snaps until the server failed after a few closeups.

Did you cast to type? I'd pencil you in for a Lucentio to Roland's Baptista.


Katherine - The “shrew” of the play’s title, Katherine, or Kate, is the daughter of Baptista Minola, with whom she lives in Padua. She is sharp-tongued, quick-tempered, and prone to violence, particularly against anyone who tries to marry her. Her hostility toward suitors particularly distresses her father. But her anger and rudeness disguise her deep-seated sense of insecurity and her jealousy toward her sister, Bianca. She does not resist her suitor Petruchio forever though, and she eventually subjugates herself to him, despite her previous repudiation of marriage.

Petruchio - Petruchio is a gentleman from Verona. Loud, boisterous, eccentric, quick-witted, and frequently drunk, he has come to Padua “to wive and thrive.” He wishes for nothing more than a woman with an enormous dowry, and he finds Kate to be the perfect fit. Disregarding everyone who warns him of her shrewishness, he eventually succeeds not only in wooing Katherine, but in silencing her tongue and temper with his own.

Bianca - The younger daughter of Baptista. The lovely Bianca proves herself the opposite of her sister, Kate, at the beginning of the play: she is soft-spoken, sweet, and unassuming. Thus, she operates as Kate’s principal female foil. Because of her large dowry and her mild behavior, several men vie for her hand. Baptista, however, will not let her marry until Kate is wed.

Baptista - Minola Baptista is one of the wealthiest men in Padua, and his daughters become the prey of many suitors due to the substantial dowries he can offer. He is good-natured, if a bit superficial. His absentmindedness increases when Kate shows her obstinate nature. Thus, at the opening of the play, he is already desperate to find her a suitor, having decided that she must marry before Bianca does.

Lucentio - A young student from Pisa, the good-natured and intrepid Lucentio comes to Padua to study at the city’s renowned university, but he is immediately sidetracked when he falls in love with Bianca at first sight. By disguising himself as a classics instructor named Cambio, he convinces Gremio to offer him to Baptista as a tutor for Bianca. He wins her love, but his impersonation gets him into trouble when his father, Vincentio, visits Padua.

Tranio - Lucentio’s servant. Tranio accompanies Lucentio from Pisa. Wry and comical, he plays an important part in his master’s charade—he assumes Lucentio’s identity and bargains with Baptista for Bianca’s hand.

Gremio and Hortensio - Two gentlemen of Padua. Gremio and Hortensio are Bianca’s suitors at the beginning of the play. Though they are rivals, these older men also become friends during their mutual frustration with and rejection by Bianca. Hortensio directs Petruchio to Kate and then dresses up as a music instructor to court Bianca. He and Gremio are both thwarted in their efforts by Lucentio. Hortensio ends up marrying a widow.

Grumio - Petruchio’s servant and the fool of the play—a source of much comic relief.

Biondello - Lucentio’s second servant, who assists his master and Tranio in carrying out their plot.

Christopher Sly - The principal character in the play’s brief Induction, Sly is a drunken tinker, tricked by a mischievous nobleman into thinking that he is really a lord.

Covad failed AGAIN to install my DSL line this afternoon. It's hard to swallow, like a fist-sized anti-anxiety chit, that one person can have so much failure generated in his name, but I sure have, of late. Is America's social dysfunction so agonizingly, so rigidly complete...

GT

Oscar Wilde (Museum Of Modern Wonders In Two Acts)

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Oscar Wilde
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Dateline September 11, 1999

Well Bracken (you still wish to be known as Bracken, eh?), as I said today, I was rather touched by that flick I saw last night, WILDE, and so have been reading up on Oscar via the web. Talk about the penultimate master of negation. Every utterance is an inverted of the common, a negation of the mundane, a transcendence of the obvious.

Of course he was a bugger, and thus he shall remain, shall we say, utterly worthless to you as a commanding spirit? But I am indeed awed, particularly since I now know he was such a sad, physical giant of a man, as personified in the movie and reiterated in the additional photographs and extensive commentary I've found this evening in a welcomed break from the stress of today's 14 hour DNS outage. Toad says they hope they've fixed it as of 10:30 this evening, but are aware that their upgrade is probably still buggy, speaking of the laws of buggery.

Fascination with Oscar? What that says about me is yours to ponder, for I surely boast no pat answers and homophobia is your bag, not mine, but I do host a lingering sympathy for that gentlest of giants.

Might you have preferred Oscar the Hun? He was a master negationist, so he is of your intellectual tribe, can't you at least agree? This reminds me, I am overdue in torquing Kubhlai's remarks on sexuality.

Penned Oscar: "We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless...real beauty ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face."

Flat out, Oscar Wilde was pure genius and the greatest of intellectual pretenders.

GT

Why I Am Expectantly Loud In A Salient Room Of Dropping Pins

Crudely I sing camp songs to a cast of mostly indifferent dozens
as I recline in the pit of this political orchestra
a former spring peach courting rumors of decline conventionally grown
bull market proud like most fevered conspiracies
jumping up and down until
they glance at me
embracing the minor posts of the very strong
for sake of the major ghosts of the barely known.

Once in the spotlight I cannot relinquish
long after I quicken, empty of undeputized words
I am she might and muscle as I am he who conjures noises
public displays, bodily functions, ditto hushed rebellions
aiming to keep audiences crouching in line
To watch
To listen
To me on nothing I can use to win.

Once I was pinched against the cold lost wall
an ugly frazzled flower always stripping for candy whistles
in gold pirate fan glossed high school halls
over long legs of boys, over long legs of boys
the grip of the cold lost wall was fierce
but refusing to take root or suffer this load
I made my escape in a green gray Chevy
up an unshouldered sexless bayou road.

That's why I am loud.

The more books I open the more I read
the less shy I pretend I am
when I ask the world to touch me with delicate fingers
desiring open spaces of mountain and sky, the orgasm that lingers
no walls but canyons and oceans for me

quiet places where I cannot be held by
walls that grope
or am forced to hang out
in dingy dark and dangerous coops
with petty chickens and their jailers.
______________________________________

This poem, written in 1997, is a collaboration with a SF poet named Landry. Although I only offered a few changes which she said she liked, she didn't think it was her poem anymore. Well, I liked her root images immensely, and despite the tightening chances I offer them here, I made more changes, and Landry if still around is merely a wisp, but I would prefer she speak for herself.