Dialoguing the Critical Curvature

Dialoguing the Critical Curvature
Mind can overcome matter
of footbones, ankles, knees,
hip lumbar limbered up
cervical nattering
snare drum kit of the static
vertebral crackle
jaw like lightning
masseuse uses elbows
deep sweeps trigger points
disarming, from limping, mechanically
rotating swing step on magically
stretching risers of stairs
to enlimpating the limbs
hesitation becomes abstract
I’m fine faltering mid-
stroke, deep scapula
release impart a spark
connection restored a hum of cheer
-ful resistance, rubbed smooth
unshackled from strain,
loosened from flesh’s flares
drooling into a pool
of liquid potential energy
slipped disc spas-
med moan
segued to ooohh
The good leader is he whom the people revere.
The great leader is he of whom the people say,
“We did it ourselves.”
–Lao Tzu

Book knowledge of Heat (May)

We harlequin-dream to be plastered with cherry
petals, lips holi-dusted in crocus pistils.
We plead of sky and each other: make us sweat,
bait us to unswaddle without the suffering of
late frost. April showers thaw the shoulders,
showing skin is months away, other side of spasms
of lumbar, shoots of brave green, shiver of May
flowers, snow coated. Warnings of global warming
seem not so much cruel tease as naive, or perhaps
tongue-in-cheek, like latin lover’s spar, designed
to pique, to be fire pokers to spark the ole
coal noggins into remembering father sun.

Formative Pressures on Poetry

We are creatures of action and reaction. We have little choice but to react to our constraints even if we don’t know what they are consciously. It’s like responding to tone or body language. There’s an intuitive response.
We learn to use what we have to work with. If conversationally we know we may be able to slide in a uh-huh through the unending speech (that miraculously by some science unknown to me does not cause hyperventilation on the part of the speaker). We don’t form long replies. If we learn how to speak 1-2 minute presentations in a second language then are told to do a 15 minute talk, we aren’t practiced and trained for it any more than writing haiku trains us to be the next great hope novelist.
Ron Silliman (May 9) was talking about how the internet pressures us back to left justification since HTML can’t do any fancy fontwork. After a decade of typing the format becomes ingrained, second-nature, cognitively structured almost.

I had had to forego the machine for maybe three weeks back in 1968 when it was in the shop – a key broke off – and I tried to handwrite my poems on legal tablets. Later, when I typed up these manuscripts, they were almost all exactly one typewritten page long.

I have seen myself doing something similar in page. In diaries, somewhere between conscious and unnconsciously scanning the page, the clockface and figuring out how to maximize a chunk of thought in the space existing, forming the narrative by my constraints.
What if we took off the constrainsts or changed them? Would we change what is produced? Or shock ourselves into numb silence? For a while we would be stunted, just like our productivity may dip as we take on a new job, new role. Then do we exceed our previous box’s level? Can’t know until your try.
Also from Ron Silliman:

According to a survey by the Book Industry Study in 2005, Under the Radar, there are some 63,000 small presses generating $14.2 billion in sales. By comparison, as a result of industry consolidation there are about six large publishers today. And according to the Association of American Publishers, based in New York City, overall book sales hit $23.7 billion last year, up a slim 1.3%.
$14.2 billion out a total volume of $23.7 billion. That’s more than half. Isn’t it thus time that a majority of book coverage – and book reviews – concentrates on small and independent presses rather than the big six?

Poetry can be business but it’s also a buyer’s market
Joseph Bednarik in The Law of Diminishing Readership said

In a statistical mood, I once estimated how many “good poems” were being produced by recent graduates of MFA programs. Keeping all estimates conservative, I figured there had to be at least 450 poets graduating nationwide each year. If each MFA graduate wrote just one good poem a year for ten years, at the end of a decade we would have 24,750 good poems—not to mention 4,500 degree-bearing poets, each of whom was required to write a book-length manuscript in order to graduate. New poems, poets, and manuscripts are added to the inventory every year.

mandate expansion

This journal is languishing with my only putting up the subset of poems that I wrote which are not dreck, which may be of interest to others and yet cannot be sent to market immediately.

Therefore I’m going to pad. ahem, that is expand my mandate.

The thought is I will include what poetry I’m reading, perhaps even what lit I’m reading generally and thoughts on that. Not to take it to the extreme of book discussions or literature reviews. Heaven forbid my making that much work for myself. We’ll see how it goes.

At the moment my head is reeling (in a good way) from the books I picked up at Baico books.

Since I should decompress after an exciting hockey game, poetry isn’t any better than chocolate for the need of the hour but if we stuck only to needs and excluded desires, whereever would we be.

I really should be asleep for an early start tomorrow, I’ll only mention this topmost thought:

Letters on Birchbark are poems of Quebecois writer Uta Regoli in translation by Henry Beissel which have the inner sing of walking deep in the woods as the mind clears and some amalgam rhythm of heart, pulse and footsteps come into music. That may be an entirely internal way of describing it but let me quote a bit and see if you can hear that something beyond words or word choice in a way, beyond concepts. Something like spartan, something like lyricism. I don’t even know if I’ll hear tomorrow but now:

City In March

But in the backyards
there is snow
and broken pieces of plastic
and the wings of seagulls
or paper
caught in wires
and ice […]
But up above
in the tattered clouds
geese cackle louder
than the acid breathing
of this stone animal.