Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Toast in the Po(a)st, Week 1

For a brief explanation of this, please see Sunday's blog poast, lovers.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Toast in the Po(a)st

For a two month period in 1998, myself and my good friend Jerome took a reference from a Stephen Fry novel as inspiration and decided to send someone toast through the post. the criteria were simple:
  • The friend of choice should be close enough to observe, distant enough not to know it was us
  • all toast came with a letter, which got increasingly experimental in nature
  • Toast would be sent on a Sunday, in order to arrive on a Tuesday. Without fail.
  • Toast would be carefully prepared, and would be every bit as important as the letter.
And so, for the next two months, I will be presenting each installment of the letters, delivered to the blog every Tuesday. There is one omission, which was a hand-scrawled note in week 7 or so, telling the recipient "toast it yourself". Enclosed was, instead of the usual toast, two slices of uncooked bread.

Stay tuned for your first piece of Toastal Service through the Poastal Service, oh my bloggers.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

An epigram by Bernadette Mayer

Listening to her readings on Pennsound today, this one in particular tickled me. It think we've all, at some stage, been dismissed from a class at less than 5 years old, quite unaware of what we had done wrong. This one is particularly inventive, though.

Check out Pennsound's archive too.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Let me post!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Small Publishers Book Fair, this weekend

Royal Holloway's MA students are showcasing some recent work at the Small Publishers Book Fair. Check it out:

Link to the Royal Holloway MA Poetic Practice homepage.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Mesostic for Damon Moss

When in Rome...

It's been a long time since I did one of these, and, in teaching a John Cage course the other day, I remembered the value of this type of text.

To cut a very long story unfairly short, the name, DAMON MOSS, forms the central letters of the poem. These letters dictate where to find source texts, to put parts of, which I took from books he has bought for me.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Brian Catling

Looking up some references for my MA class, I came across Brian Catling, whose work I have only read in the form of The Blindings, a series of text / image 'happenings'. I remember greatly enjoying the work, feeling gratified at the power it gave and demanded of me not solely as a reader, but in my capacity as a reader to imagine, to fill in the gaps, to wonder whether any of the bizarre events ever happened, even in embryonic form.

In Catling's own words (from his departmental website):

I am obsessively engaged in the collision of separate activities that sometimes fuse together in a hybrid event - they being the writing of poetry, the constructing of sculptural installation and the action of performance. Most recently they have fetched up as video works.

Perhaps it is the hybrid event which, being clearly (or is it?) unlikely as actual event, is nonetheless richer in the mind of the reader for being so. Gaps are filled in with imagination, the level of ambiguity promoting a participation by the reader to connect the dots with actual, real reality. The photographs imply an event taking place specifically at that point then!, but only offer a snapshot of what might have happened either side of that instance the shutter was released. It reminds me of reading Lyn Hejinian whilst having images of Cindy Sherman's film stills projected into my eyes. That really happened, by the way.

I recall seeing one of Catling's films at a conference. This, like The Blindings, hit me in a strange way in which the clearly comical effect of the performance - literal on film and imagined on the page - was laced with a kind of sadness which I can't account for. There is something empowering in the ability and encouragement to use one's imagination as part of the storytelling. But I think there is also - as in Sherman's stills - something abjectly sad or chilling about a knowledge of un-reality, when faced with supposed documentation to the contrary.

I think this largely has something to do with the fact that most of us know what role documentation ought to fulfil - the coverage of fact. The simultaneous paradox of evidence and contrary evidence is not easy to reconcile, unless you enjoy (and implicitly create) the fiction which at least you can be satisfied must exist. Which, I suspect, brings it into being.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sign spotting

I saw this sign at college the other day, next to the student residents' pigeonholes, and thought it worthy of a mention. Nothing else to say, really... not the best advert for the university!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More from the other night

A gust of metal

A gust of metal
You have ruined our lungs

Delayed combinations of multiplicity and minuteness
Equation to diseases

On the heels of effort
You have
A balancing act of perishable goods

Add me as your plausible
Could we share the plaza?
It’s that or
Admit it’s the fault
Of Christianity

By no means is progress

Wide-open eyes postage stamp
The city launched
It’s easier to climb the walls
when they have collapsed

Who’s very quality with their Mexican culture?