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August 27, 2003

 
9for9
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set 1 of 9

Anselm Berrigan
Buck Downs
Mytili Jagannathan
Kevin Killian
Eileen Myles
Alice Notley
Gil Ott
Frank Sherlock
Magdalena Zurawski

copyright © 2003
to all participating
poets upon publication

questions by
CAConrad

published by
Mooncalf Press
POBox 22521
Philadelphia, PA 19110
MooncalfPress@hotmail.com

9for9 is a collection of 9 questions for 9 poets and their answers. This is the first set of 9 sets. Some of the questions came from dreams, others from waking ideas. The project was conducted through e-mail, questions arriving in Inboxes once a week, usually on friday.

If you wish to communicate with any of the poets included, please feel free to send correspondence to the e-mail address CAConrad13@aol.com, with the subject line "9for9 correspondence". I promise to forward your message to the poet you wish to connect with.

Thank you,
CAConrad

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QUESTION 1:
Doctors have invented a new implant which can be placed in the brains of newborns to prevent all forms of suffering for a lifetime. Is this a good choice? Explain your answer.

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
No. Is the implant some kind of life-lasting inner joint or something? And that seems to imply that joy and suffering can be implanted (I mean if you can eliminate suffering you can probably double the load too, right?) -- i.e.: if some non-sufferers have some bombs dropped on their heads are they not going to suffer?
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BUCK DOWNS
Steve Abbott had a questionnaire form for poets that I assume got distributed around to his students & they used it, because it wasn't Steve who sent it to Joe Brainard. Joe did try to answer it pretty honestly even though the questions were all not ones that applied much to the life that Joe was living. For example, there was a question about significant audio & all Joe could say was I have a tape by Morrissey because so-and-so gave it to me & I listen to it some because I have it, and a question about flying saucers that shows Joe to have been more or less indifferent to the phenomenon of humanity's projection of its self-image onto foreign rocks & into strange cans.

I never think of suffering in the way this question thinks of it. I think of my sore knee, I think of my mom's bronchitis or Tom Raworth's, etc. etc. The race of newborns and the race of doctors are both demographic fictions that don't correlate to the life I live. I would not trust any scientist or medical professional who accepted the concept embodied in this question as a principle for research; I would expect them to be a serious fuckup, and the inventor of some high-priced piece of shit that would first magnify human suffering to catastrophic levels before addressing it, and then failing to address it in any significant way, and mostly leaving a big mess for crackers like me to have to come clean up and/or pay for.

I would be a lot more impressed if these doctors would come up with a pop to give my mom or Tom that would undo a lifetime of cigarette smoking and life and give them back undiminished lung capacity. Or any other serious effort to tackle an actual problem.

Ugh. I think this question was supposed to be a big fat softball that would allow me to rhapsodize in a long eloquent 'statement' about the beautiful animal man [sic] and s/her ability to transcend bad breaks & shit; sorry to have blown it, but I don't give a fuck about 'newborns' or any other abstracted classes of humanity at all. Demographic abstraction is an enemy of human contact, and human contact is all poetry has left going for it in the media/market/culture that is its substrate. Everything else, as Dave Hickey once said, is advertising and term-papers.
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
I guess I disagree with the premises and assumptions of this question. First of all, on a very basic level, allopathic medical science has a lot to learn about the operations of even "physical" pain, let alone emotional pain and suffering. I mean, just to take something widely diagnosed in the U.S. like depression; sure, there are drugs that have been invented that do help some people, presumably by acting on neurotransmitters, but even the details of this process are unclear to scientists. Also unanswered (perhaps unanswerable) is the question of causality—-are changes in brain chemistry the cause of depression, or does depression cause changes in brain chemistry? And organic bodily processes are not simply "mechanical"—they're informational and "intelligent," so even something like genetic engineering is more complex than discrete and dramatic on-and-off switches. And other kinds of suffering: what is suffering? How could you catalog, much less prevent "all forms" of it?

So that's one part of my objection. The other part is that a lot of suffering-as-we-know-it (which is where we begin, after all) is intricately bound up with social/political/economic relations and our experience as part of collective forms/structures that have powerful energies and effects (need I point out the previously unimaginable scope of contemporary global capitalism?). Of course there are biological factors that influence physical and psychic experiences, but such factors are always in play with environmental conditions, in the broadest sense of "environment." So, I think that "suffering" is not an individual condition that can be "solved" by genetic/medical solutions.

I think that socially, politically, prophetically, if you like, of course struggles for justice proceed with the "end of suffering" as a horizon, but it's just as important how we imagine and enact those transformative processes. I think the processes are inherently social, material, relational, and yes, embodied; but it's certainly not going to come about through any top-down techno/medical Big Bang. And creating a dynamic, relational justice doesn't necessarily mean the end of all pain (we won't overcome mortality, after all, we're dying all the time at the cellular level, and extending old-age might even create as-yet-unexperienced forms of pain, who knows?), but an end to those social structures that "freeze" or institutionalize suffering.
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KEVIN KILLIAN
I hope they invent a similar implant that would induce tolerance and respect as well, otherwise what's to prevent the human race from turning cruel if no other human will suffer because of the first implant? Then our animal friends among other species will be living worse lives than ever. Save the animals now!
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EILEEN MYLES
No this is a bad choice. They would have to be adjusting it constantly which would disturb the growing infants sense of balance. Actually I think they have already done this and it is vaccinations and they have so much mercury in them that kids are coming up autistic.
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ALICE NOTLEY
What are 'all forms of suffering'? How can science define them? I wouldn't let a scientist define what constitutes suffering -- I know you are after an answer concerning the role of suffering in existence and whether living would be better if suffering were eliminated, but I can't relate to the idea of the scientist or doctor as the eliminator of suffering. Or is it that you are thinking only of disease and physical difference as forms of suffering? I tend to think of suffering as something caused by other humans -- I tend to think of the other animals as beings who don't suffer unless we cause them to suffer or who perhaps suffer in their death throes but not much before. If you want to know if suffering is of value, that's a different question. I would prefer not to suffer and I would prefer that others not suffer even more than I do -- to know that they do is horrible and makes me feel guilty. But there is no 'doctor' and to even fantasize one is to miss the point: the doctor helps create suffering by presuming to know more about its forms than others do. My suffering has been of value to me partly because it has rescued me from the doctors and their mechanistic view of reality. But I don't think I should have had to suffer in order to find out what I know.
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GIL OTT
Answering this question can only be a matter of faith, replacing a spiritual entity with "science." I think the question is asked more playfully than that, but I don't think there's any other way to honestly answer it. A poet recognizes that it's one's suffering (or vulnerability) which determines one's character - I recently read a passage in Rilke's Brigge reaffirming this, though I can't locate the exact passage now - so the question itself is moot. More likely: If the suffering person could escape his suffering, would he (which raises the nearly redundant: could he, and still be himself?)? A point of honor among contemporary disability activists is that they would not accept the cure for their conditions, were one concocted. Disregarding the inexactitude of applied science, and the concomitant sufferings it inflicts on subjects in pursuit of cures, the question becomes one of identity.

Now ask me that question: Could science free me from the notion of identity, would I take the cure? But then, perhaps science, or some agency, would necessarily supply me with a reliable identity to start with.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
Of course this is a terrible idea! It can only lead to fascism. Those of us already walking the earth sans suffer block will be forced to suffer for those who can't feel it. Camps. Torture. Entertainment.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
Don't you think that a prevention from suffering would be a kind of suffering in itself? People with the implant would wander through a culture without the possibility of empathy. What an alienating feeling!! Imagine the loneliness when listening to cowboy songs about loneliness knowing that you do not know the loneliness they sing!! Having such an implant would probably be very similar to watching war live on CNN. This week I saw a movie and the girl said "I just want to feel loved" and the boy said "I just want to feel." And it seemed to sum things up in a nutshell. I wasn't even stoned when I saw it and I thought "I used to be the boy, but now I'm the girl." I think the implant would keep us all on the boy's side of things. It's a terrible place. I'd rather be lonely than be lonely, if you know what I mean.
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QUESTION 2:
There's a face of a poet on the kite you are flying over the city. Who is this poet? When you reel them back from the wind what will you ask?

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
Face of Steve Carey. Steve, how did you get here?
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BUCK DOWNS
well if it's my kite I must've painted drawn or ironed-on the poet's picture since it's not likely that I'll be buying any e.g., Jack Spicer regalia, or anything else, at Toys-R-Us anytime soon.

Was it Jack Spicer who said,

"I think that I shall never cite
a poem as lovely as a kite?"

of course it wasn't. It was I, or actually, me.

I hope I would have the perspicacity not to reel in the kite at all, but get it up to a way cool height & then cut the string, allowing the kite to crash in a faraway place like Baltimore or even Glen Burnie, where a youngun would find it & say, "did Jack Spicer run for President, or what?".
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
Interesting: the form of this question—-the delicacy, intimacy, and magical quality of this imagined act—-makes me think of the Chilean poet and artist Cecilia Vicuña. She grew up in Santiago, supported Allende's participatory socialist government, and lived in exile after Allende's murder and the long horror of Pinochet. "Thread" is a central figure—-both material and symbolic—-in her poetry and installations. All of her work seems to be a kind of "activation": making visible and visceral the reality that we are all connected. It sounds so simple conceptually but it's so incredibly powerful. She's done installations where she has woven threads connecting two sides of a street, or the opposite banks of a river, both below and above the water's surface. I've seen a photograph of an action she did in Bogata, Columbia, to protest the distribution of contaminated milk. It was called "Vaso de leche": she announced beforehand the time and location of her action. At the appointed time, she pulled on a long piece of red yarn that was wrapped around the a glass of milk, spilling it into the street. Then she wrote a poem in the street: "The cow/is the continent/whose milk (blood)/ is spilt./ What are we doing/ with life?" Cecilia says: "I look at things backwards, as they are going to look when I am gone. I have a very intense feeling that what we do is already the remains of what we are doing. The dead water, our poems."

So this is why your fascinating image of this face on a kite, held by a string, floating over the city, reminds me of her. I'm not sure I can guess what words she'd say, perhaps some new instance of her practice of poetic etymologies emerging from what she saw across Philly, breaking words apart "so that their internal metaphors were exposed" and new paths of meaning revealed. One of my favorite of these etymologies she's done: "SOL-I-DAR-I-DAD (Give and give sun)." What spaces, what words would she thread together in Philadelphia?
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KEVIN KILLIAN
The poet is Ronald Johnson, and when the kite comes back I'll ask that face, will you ever forgive me?
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EILEEN MYLES
Bob Kaufman. How did it feel?
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ALICE NOTLEY
No identifiable face -- it keeps changing. (No special poet.) The question I ask is awful.
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GIL OTT
The poet's face on my kite is Frank Samperi, reclusive when he was alive, but now deceased at least a decade. I would ask him to elaborate on the word "procession," which he used to distinguish from "process." I imagine this man's mind as pure witness, tuned to the essential deity of events, and so
endangered.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
It is the worn, defiant face of Osip Mandelstam. I read him "Nightsong" and ask if American poets will likewise study the science of saying goodbye.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
The kite is a mirror that shows me I have no face. The kite asks, what are you, little girl?
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QUESTION 3:
You open a book that won't close. Maybe you accept it? Maybe you struggle to close it? Each chapter is titled INSTRUCTIONS FOR POETS. Instead of words a variety of strange shapes fill the pages. The last page is blank so you can communicate to other poets an idea you feel is vital. The only requirement is that you use no words, but draw a picture instead. Describe what you would draw. Explain the drawing if you want, although it might be more interesting to let us figure it out.

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
I would draw a three-dimensional cube.
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BUCK DOWNS
In the alternate universe from which this question comes and in which I can draw with any efficacy at all, I would take yet another page from the Bill Hicks playbook that is my practical guide to spiritual matters & draw a picture of my parents fucking, in honor of the great creative power of cock & cunt that makes the human race go cat go.
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
A book that won't close—-another magical image, reminds me of my earliest obsession with fairy tales. But I don't know what I would draw. If I can pile magic upon magic here, perhaps this: a page of unidentified animal sounds, actually heard when the page is touched.
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KEVIN KILLIAN
A drawing of a green fairy, sprung from the absinthe label, quickening silver wings above the old city night sky, some would see it is of Kylie Minogue, others will turn the page and end the book.
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EILEEN MYLES
It would be a bear trying to get his paw in a honey jar.
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ALICE NOTLEY
The drawing is of a human torso between the shoulders, throat area and just below the navel. Above the navel are several holes, small rather blurred circles in which one can see the remnants of letters of the alphabet without being able to make them out precisely. An upper curve of a P or B or R for example, but what you see looks damaged as if the letter has been roughly pulled out. One is not sure if there are four or five holes because one of them is so faint. However, it is possible to see that the holes are bleeding. One has the impression that a word has been ripped out of the torso and what is left are the ghosts of letters, the ghost of a word.
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GIL OTT
This question is too cute. I am a poet, a writer, a word artist, and my medium is words. Indeed, "strange shapes fill the pages" when I read, but their articulation is verbal. In my experience, an image is a knot, a complex made of words that is untied through a visual synapse. If I am to continue playing this game, I will offer the image of fire, not A fire, but the Biblical or spiritual fire, that burns everywhere and consumes nothing.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
Paging through this imaginary book, I imagine myself trapped in a prism- or bouncing around a cylinder, like a nerd stuffed in a dryer. Maybe I'm running the outside of a spinning wheel like a sequined circus vet. My page would be simple- the outline of a thick, red arrow pointing to the top of the page. Away from the map reader.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
A small dot slightly left of center. It looks like a perfect dot, but with a magnifying glass you can notice that the edges are uneven. Most importantly, the dot is so small you can easily pass over the page and assume it is empty. The title of the chapter is "The definition of poetry."
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QUESTION 4:
S.A.M., the three things Elizabeth Bishop believed made a satisfying poem: Spontaneity, Accuracy, Mystery. How does this compare with what you look for in a poem? Or do you have an acronym of your own?

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
I don't know, I haven't known how to answer this one. I'm afraid that looking for satisfying elements would fuck with my head in a way that I'm not into, at least not right now. I'm lately very interested in a quality or disquality of poems that makes readers uncomfortable, even scared. But the poem still has to be alive, and that does take skill, if not necessarily technical skill. Skill of word by word awareness of all that juice you and I know poems may have. Maybe that is a technical skill, like attentiveness being a technical skill, or kindness(?) -- another set of questions there. I know a lot of very intelligent poets who know what it is their poems are doing, and have a lot of interesting things to say about poetry, other peoples' poems. But their poems are weaker than their ideas, essays, theories, and I find myself not wanting to engage. As for S.A.M., the idea of spontaneity as something to look for strikes me as passive-aggressive. I now want to say that I look for poems that are as fucked up as people, but that doesn't sound right either. I like music. I got told that was simplistic once by a guy poet, but I'm a simple person.
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BUCK DOWNS
hmm how about SPAM (SILENT POWERS ALL MINE)

well one person's Mystery is another's Empty Ritualism, and Elizabeth Bishop seems about as spontaneous as Halley's Comet, I mean really. But then perhaps she sought those things because she knew from her own poetry how they are forever in short supply.

Since I don't teach and I don't learn, I feel relatively freed from the need to be consistent or coherent in what I seek & all such as that; & indeed, if all or most of what I got from a poem conformed to what I was "looking for", wouldn't that be like changing socks twelve times a day for variety, & shouldn't I just quit.

But I was thinking about the death of Jeff Buckley again this weekend after "Mojo Pin" came up on the old shuffler. The mysterious flavor of Jeff's predicament arouses me whenever I think about it, to be misunderstood so thoroughly, so terminally; as though the soul of 29-year-old Freddie Mercury woke up one morning to find itself trapped in the 45-year-old body of Bob Dylan. What a curse! to go to bed supple and sexy and powerful, and wake up profound and appreciated and old.

It's hard to imagine what E.B. wanted to get over in formulating her S.A.M.; I would tend to dismiss it as cheap pedagogy. But mnemonics are for the givers of tests and grades, and so are not of any real concern to poets and poetry.
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
I'm friends with spontaneity and mystery, though I'm not sure about accuracy. This is the kind of question that's quite dependent on mood. And I love the activity—-reminds me of Lee Ann Brown's _Polyverse_. Here are two (I had to stop, I could go on forever):

SCRIPT SCRIPT

Surprise
Caressing
Reverberate
Inciting
Plurals
Tender
Scrappy
Capacious
Runaway
Intersecting
Potent
Traffic

or, together:

Scrappy Surprise
Capacious Caressing
Reverberate Runaway
Inciting Intersecting
Potent Plurals
Tender Traffic
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KEVIN KILLIAN
I'm not particular about accuracy, and spontaneity is an illusion isn't it, the great artifice of Bishop's own poetry, which so many seem to like so much, and that precisely introduces the element of mystery, so it seems like a fine definition viewed at in one light. She's so articulate, she makes me feel like the fuzz that rises off of an old dead dandelion.
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EILEEN MYLES
I like legibility, pace and artifice.
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ALICE NOTLEY
I look for Truthfulness, Relevance, and Great Skill. They do not make a good acronym.
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GIL OTT
Sounds good to me. I wouldn't second-guess another poet's criteria for satisfaction. But what I look for in my reading anymore isn't satsifaction; I want the writing to spur me to write.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
D- directness
E- engaging the world of objects & of souls
R- redirection
A- action, verb attention
I- illumination
L- liberation
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
I think that I probably would agree with Bishop, though I do not know what she means exactly by "spontaneity," "accuracy" and "mystery." I only imagine that I know what she means. I haven't read an essay or anything. When I'm at a reading my "liking" or not "liking" is usually answered by my snide "he ain't got no music" or "she ain't got no music." But music is more than sound or more accurately meaning is not separate from sound.
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QUESTION 5:
All day long whenever you open your mouth a song comes out. Maybe you get used to it. Maybe you want to adjust the bass or treble. But what is this song? If there are lyrics, is there a particular line you want the world to hear come out of you?

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
It would be something like Joe Strummer's incomprehensible singing; you'd have to be willing to feel it in order for it to be anything for you. This is similar to my feeling about drawing the three-dimensional cube: I drew that because it's the only thing I can draw. I can't sing, so I relate to Strummer's singing, and I love it anyway, and his lyrics, even though I discover that I've imagined them wrong from time to time. Then I just have two possibilities for the line instead of one, which is how i like to approach lines anyway, at least. I've almost always had crappy radios so I can't say much about bass or treble. The basis for my music has always been incompetence of a sort, and music.
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BUCK DOWNS
The hoot about this, as well as one of the bona-fides that prove my freakhood, is that this question pretty accurately describes my daily life for the past twenty years or more. All day long whenever I open my mouth, a song does come out. This happens most intensely when I am walking; in converse of the old joke, it seems I must "walk and chew gum" at the same time, or I won't get down the street. This despite the fact that my voice to me sounds like a fifty-fifty blend of Martha Raye in her Polident years and Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon.

This morning I had one of the wickedest ear-worms known to man: the guitar solo leading into the second chorus of "I Love A Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbit, as thoroughly muddled and irreparable a song as could be heard on AM radio in the last thirty years. Later, sweet relief, it was fragments of "Testify" by Ronnie Wood, but as if it were sung to the tune of "Mustt Mustt" by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party. Or sounded like that to me, who knows what it sounded like to anyone outside of my head. "Imagination," as Chet Baker once sang, "is funny."

I used to be ashamed of this habit when I was a kid, because most everybody who ever heard me do it either made fun of me or they put the glad hand on me about how I should join the chorus, the choir, the whatever; stupid pimps, always trying to sell you a stupid job. But, you know, shame is for chumps; and every day is another opportunity to get the fuck over it already.
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
Oh god, this actually happens to me all the time. I have songs in my head that I sing and that can fill me up for hours. I can't really describe the lyrics I sing in these moments—-maybe a few English or Tamil words in the mix, but strangely for the most part, they're not really words in any language that I can identify. (I sometimes joke that it’s "fake Hindi"). It's more a matter of melodies that stick in my head and syllables that ride across them. A kind of folksong—something you can sing in a group—clap your hands to—-or weep strongly to—-a simple stanzaic structure, but punchy words/rhythm, lines ending in vowels. Within the group singing, moments of call-and-response, join and depart. Sometimes the same songs recur, weeks apart, innocently.
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KEVIN KILLIAN
Oh, I'm too shy to sing in public . . . Maybe in the shower.
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EILEEN MYLES
he whistled and he sang
and the green woods
rang
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ALICE NOTLEY
There is no song that comes out of me. My head is full of the shitty lyrics of others, countless songs, I wish I didn't know so many. I have a fear of dying with my mind playing some hideous Beatles song or an ancient show tune. I don't think song lyrics should be memorable.
---------

GIL OTT
(...)
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FRANK SHERLOCK
"Minstrel Boy" is an Irish traditional song that can carry me through just about anything. It's an amazing idea, to walk the streets of Philadelphia with the bagpipes moaning out my mouth. I'm partial to a recent version of the song by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
These are the words I can remember from the last few days. Name the songs and win a prize: "Puerto Rican Jane, o won't you tell me what's your name," "And Mary Lou, she learned how to cope, she rides the heaven on a gyroscope, the daily news asks her for the dope, she says, man, the dope's that there's still hope", "I said I'm hurt. Honey, she said, let me heal it." "Man that ain't oil that's blood," "I guess I really dug her I was too loose to think", "Hey bus driver keep the change, bless your children, give them names", "Let the broken-hearted love again!!," "Did you hear that the cops finally busted madam Marie for telling fortunes better than they do, for me this boardwalk life's through, you ought quit this scene too." And each line comes one at a time upon waking and grinds like a washing machine as if the words were the window for the day. Maybe that's why there's been so much "that ain't oil, that's blood".
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QUESTION 6:
IS THIS AN EXCITING TIME FOR POETRY!? PLEASE EXPLAIN! THANK YOU! (or explain why it is not)

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
This is an exciting time for poetry, to me. But I always think it is an exciting time for poetry, no matter the realities present. I started writing poems and being involved with poetry in part because of that excitement and the fact that it felt and feels timeless and immediate at once. I do not care about the apparatus of publishing, or the local politics, or the attendant map-making and map-burning that go on within poetry communities and circles in the face of this question. Time is exciting, devastating and cruel, yes, and there is kindness in there, and joy -- any particular time contains these things. Poetry allows me to see it. Not to see it better, more clearly, etc., but to see it at all, I think sometimes. Time, the times, anyone's times. Poetry is never not there, despite rampant claims otherwise, or, more to the point, despite no claims for or against, in many places. Poetry is older than money, and fresher than money. And lately I am excited by and for poetry because I do not want to see it be anything defined by "our times" or "the times", which cannot be owned, like poetry.
---------

BUCK DOWNS
well you get the times you get
& you can get excited about it

why do I continue to remember Ms. Dabney who in 8th Grade covered an entire blackboard with the words 'ONLY THE BORING ARE BORED' Ah well it keeps me entertained.

As poetry's social obsolescence has become nearly complete some 100+ years after the advent of recorded sound, I feel pretty good, freed as I am from the tale of the tribe, unacknowledged legislation, arms and the man, and all the rest of the pre-20th Century crap that has been foisted upon poets by the collected cops priests and teachers of the race, who have always resented the fact that poets get to talk right to god all the time, no vows, no training, no tenure required.

The load of social relevance, poorly-borne for centuries by poets and poetry, has been taken up by the media, thanks, and the newspapers and their generations of broadcast descendents have wonderfully siphoned all social obligation out of the making of poems. The politicization of literacy has, despite itself, been quite a helpmate too, since poets no longer have any reason to teach anyone how to read in the wake of government monopolization of the education industry.

So all told it seems like a great deal if you have no aspirations to boss others around. Poets no longer have to do any of the cultural shit-work that they have been forced to do for centuries in order to make their way in society, and or but they still get to make poems, talk to god, get real high, & about two or three other things that make being alive so very cool to begin with.
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
Yes, definitely! There's such a proliferation of kinds of poetries that people can encounter now. So many language traditions and evolving practices, sonic propensities, cultural contexts, nows/thens, oral/aural, pictorial, pixeled, parchment, palm leaf. . . And movements in many countries have been challenging the class/color/communal/gender lines within their cultural spheres. I think for people who are aware of this intense spectrum of activity, it might also make them anxious in some way, either because of loss of previously held power, or simply because people need sustainable communities, and the continuity that underlies real conversations. Of course, global and local power imbalances on the language/culture front will affect the way any interactions occur, but I'm interested in seeing where these crossings take us.
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KEVIN KILLIAN
I'm excited. There were a few years in the doldrums in the late 80s and early 90s, when it seemed that everything was just being done to death, and the people who were experimenting in prose were miles and miles ahead of the poets (excuse me for casting this in the form of a competitive trope like CHARIOTS OF FIRE). And then something turned around and I began to notice immediate, local, grass roots signs of a rebirth of poetry, here in San Francisco at any rate. There was a lot of excitement, stemming as usual from the young poets who were going to school at New College, at UC Berkeley, and at San Francisco State, as well, of course, as a larger group without any academic affiliation, these homogenous lumps of people suddenly met up, collided, brokered up, reformatted, and, I think changed the nature of poetry here in the Bay Area. With this new generation came a subsequent return to status of an older, unfairly occluded and in some cases half-asleep generation whom the new kids took as their models and teachers, Whalen, Kyger, Clark, Berkson, not only the Bolinas bunch but a dozen others as well. Someone should write a book, or better yet create a documentary that would trace the sociological roots of this renaissance. With Helen Mirren as Lyn Hejinian, Ashton Kutcher as Anselm Berrigan,Casey Affleck as Adam DeGraff, Michelle Rodriguez as Renee Gladman, Johnny Depp as Travis Ortiz, and Ian McKellen as Philip Lamantia.
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EILEEN MYLES
Well, we're in a very conservative repressive time and poetry can always get up on its hind legs and speak and the temptation to say the wrong thing is there, and so you can do that or not, I mean there's a lot of choices and I say we're living in a state of active complexity, so yeah I think I have to agree, it is an exciting time for poetry. Dive in.
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ALICE NOTLEY
I don't care if it's an exciting time for poetry or not. Though I wonder what it's like for the poets in Ethiopia right now.
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GIL OTT
The only "exciting" times for poetry are those when the art permits the illusion of progress: either when the scales fall from my own eyes and I write, well, without obstruction, or those glorious moments when I perform and click with the crowd. These are both personal excitements, and I think you're asking about the collective. There the illusion of power is magnified, but its beauty is diluted. The community of poets grows diverse and accepting of its diversity. This, I do believe, is happening in Philadelphia. But while a crowd is necessary for an audience, it grows oxymoronic when applied to poetry, which is intrinsically individual. Back to my statement about diversity. Tolerance, cultivation, eagerness for diversity, these are the only collective strengths of poetry. The community in Philadelphia was long balkanized, but is putting that behind itself, and that is exciting.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
This is very exciting time for poetry! More poets than ever before-more styles. More style integration. Less Cold War leftover new-boss-same-as-the-old-boss bunk. To the chagrin of select elders looking for direct overthrow attempts (for relevance confirmation), today's poets take influence & move in their own direction- albeit outside the established framework.

This is an exciting time & an important time, particularly in the United States. A "war without end" has begun. The American poet is much more likely to suffer a civil liberty attack from John Ashcroft than s/he is to be attacked from Al Qeda. The coming years promise to be even more exciting in a dark & vital time.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
Any time is an exciting time if you're in a room alone or with people and excited.
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QUESTION 7:
Are you living in the same geographic region of your childhood? If so, how does this affect your poetry? If not, is that location still relevant to your poetry?

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
I am currently living about five blocks from where I grew up in Manhattan's East Village. The fact of living here does not affect my poetry, although I have noticed in considering this question that I haven't written as much here as I did in Brooklyn, San Francisco or Buffalo (11-12 years that period, covering 1989-2000) -- but that is incidental so far, I think. The location is still relevant to my poetry as a source of personal shaping, tho' the neighborhood was different when I was growing up (more families, more dangerous, more politicized, less expensive; somewhat kinder). I did not like this area when I was 16, and I don't think that has much to do with anything but me at that age, and our small apartment. My tendencies to like people (individuals, as opposed to the species; like Swift, in a sense) and to look at them are highly shaped by living in this area along with being brought up by parents who were very open people, in a community-oriented sense. God damn people coming through the apt. every day. This is built into my poetry. Also, we had a railroad apt. of four rooms for a family of four, which meant not a lot of space. Consequently I read a lot, though I might have done so anyway, and I learned to be comfortable in my head (for privacy), and to search around its edges (tho' I never would have put it that way until now), which is also built into the poems, I think, or has been a constant source of poetic incitement (is that a word?). I tend to feel incited into writing, as opposed to inspired or agitated. This neighborhood does all of those things to a person who spends substantial time here, however.
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BUCK DOWNS
I grew up in a part of the southern U.S. (Florida below Lake Okeechobee) that has enjoyed a rather retarded integration with the antebellum Union, Dixie, and the reconstructed postwar States in turn, and in fact has not been overly friendly to human development as far back as the Micosukee. Of course, some ten years plus after the build-through of I-75 and the expansion of Alligator Alley through the Everglades, the predecessor landscape has knuckled under to subsidized agriculture and luxury residential construction. So where I grew up no longer exists in every relevant sense except for a resuidual taxonomy of older roadways &c.

My people are not from there at all, but from Mississippi, specifically Jones County, whose slight claim to historicity [sic] is a secession against the secession [a.k.a. THE FREE STATE OF JONES], led not by anti-slavery ideologues or pro-Union crypto-nationalists, but by straight fucking crackers who saw both Feds and Confeds as rolling up to screw them over.

So whichever of these places I am from it is all about place out of place, intuitive and rational senses of stepping out of the national or community sync to do the necessary work of covering your own business. And the discovery that every described place is nowhere, that it always already no longer exists, or only exists in a fatuous dream, or only exists as a social limit of the allowed, or only exists in "advertising and term papers", to quote Dave Hickey (again).
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
I've lived in Philly for the past 7 or 8 years, so no. I grew up in West Virginia. It's such an interesting question for me—I haven't really thought about the physical geography consciously in relation to my poetry, although I'm sure some level of influence still operates. But I can say that one of the most important moments for me as a poet was finding and reading Muriel Rukeyser's stunning documentary poem, "The Book of the Dead" written in 1938 after she traveled to West Virginia to investigate the story behind the escalating numbers of deaths from silicosis of mine workers in Hawk's Nest and Gauley Bridge. It's a breathtaking poem that both exposes the complicity of Union Carbide and its local subsidiary in the miners' deaths and registers the landscape and people with passionate integrity. The crazy thing is that I never heard of this poem while I was growing up in West Virginia—I read it for the first time in my senior year of college in Boston. Why wasn't it taught in every high school in the state?? But as fate would have it, I spent the year after college back in West Virginia doing domestic violence work in Sutton, just an hour from Hawk's Nest, where there's now a beautiful state park. On a trip to the park, I found a sign that mentioned the site of the old mine, but no mention of what happened there. (And this was national news in its time, Congressional investigations were held, etc.). I think that experience, the embodied re-experiencing of a landscape first encountered through a poem—-and the simultaneously visceral consciousness of an erased history—-changed my relationship to West Virginia, gave me a deeper sense of locatedness, and gave me a shifted context for my own memories of growing up there.

My strange experience of racial identity/consciousness is also strongly shaped by the West Virginia context. The state is something like 97% white. I have repeated vivid childhood experiences of explaining that I was "Indian," and being greeted with racist miming gestures/ "war cries" that enacted TV stereotypes of Native Americans. "Not that kind of Indian," I would say. But almost no one, not even adults, in my early childhood world even knew that India was a country. (That began to change after the movie _Gandhi_, which came out when I was in 3rd grade). Now I see that those moments of "mistaken identity" forced open a different trajectory of connection and solidarity for me.
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KEVIN KILLIAN
No, when I was a boy I lived on Long Island's North Shore, and today I live South of Market in San Francisco. This transposition, from Northerner to Southerner, gave me more freedom to write. There it was always a question of duelling influences, Whitman whose mall I used to cruise on Saturdays, O'Hara who was run over on Fire Island a few miles from the house of the Amityville Horror. Walking home from school I met an old man who implied that in his own youth he had been the boyfriend of our town's famous novelist, Owen Wister who wrote "The Virginian." You long-legged son-of-a- If you wanna call me that, then smile. With a gun in my belly, I always smile.
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EILEEN MYLES
No, the region of my childhood is totally irrelevant. I'm looking at a different landscape at this moment and the more you sit with another set of conditions, the more you find yourself in a different poem. I want to be in a different poem.
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ALICE NOTLEY
At the moment, mentally, when I write I am living in the exact same geographic location I grew up in. I am writing about Alma, who is god along with various other women who are god, and the dead women, all the women who have lived and died and anyone alive who qualifies as a dead woman. I am a dead woman for example. There are also a few men among the dead women . After an exasperating time in the first book of it, trying to vindicate the rights of all the women who have ever lived, and then being confronted with the sheer maleness of the War on Terror, the bombing of Afghanistan and coming war against Iraq, the dead women have decided to relocate in a gully in my home town. That is a long preliminary answer. I grew up in the Mohave Desert, in Needles California, and I still live there in my head at the same time as I live in international cities. It is a town that has been vilified by many writers in single sentences; and Leslie Marmon Silko has burnt it down in a novel; but I think it is the most beautiful place in the world. I live in the gully of dead women, behind the wrecked Rec Center, with a lot of burrowing owls and such.
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GIL OTT
Yes, I came up in suburban Philadelphia, and so was implanted early with a fake rural ideal, which succumbed in adolescence to a yearning for true intellectual community. I never found this community in the university, and my early poetry is informed by those twin desires: idealized rural and alienated urban. What community I subsequently discovered, and has in time come to fill those gaps, is more international. Naturally, place is formative of any writing, even in suppression. In my adult years, the city proper, its decadence and its diversity, have provided the material of my writing.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
I have remained in the area where I grew up. The urban image & thematic patterns of the city run through my poems, not so much as a matter of intention- but of my personal factual base. It's what I have to work with.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
I'm too close to home, like a failed American dream. I keep looking to some horizon but the rising rents are starting to block the sun. It keeps the song sad and reaching.
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QUESTION 8:
How does the oral tradition fit into your poems? And/or how not?

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
The oral tradition, as I understand it, is built in to my writing and reading of poems. Basically, and most broadly, everything I write that gets shaped into poetry must work aloud. That means several, at least, different things; not all of which I can articulate at the moment. But I edit in part by reading the work out loud, and it has to finally work on the page and as a spoken piece of poetry for me to feel like something is done, and done well enough to take outside the parameters of my own attention. I love reading poems out loud, whether someone is there or not. The art of poetry as an oral practice is one that I feel deeply connected to -- understanding that I was raised around poetry as a spoken as well as a written art. The theatrical performance of poems or poetic monologues, spoken word and slam poetry/poetics, rap (music and freestyle), the many types of blues music I've been exposed to, certain modes of standup comedy, informal storytelling (and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out) -- all of these have influenced my listening, writing, and reading habits and practices in heavy ways. But you know, anyone who pays attention to how sounds come out of their mouth is interesting to me. So I take it as inherent to my work that there's an oral quality I need to attend to no matter what kind of practice I'm engaged in, i.e. even the most wacked out experiment or straightforward narrative has to work sonically, with a wide range in mind, deliberately, as to what I mean by "work". I consider every reading to an audience a performance, even if I'm just gonna stand there and read, which is generally what I do. But what the voice does in conjunction with the work makes for a performance, for me, so I try to work it as hard as I can to make for as good a performance as I can. And I know for a fact that all I need is my poems and my voice to give something to the audience, which has nothing necessarily to do with what they are looking for (other than a reading itself), that they can take with them. I like to perform, I like to read poems that I have read before (they always sound different), and I like to interact with an audience. These facts of my practice are, in my way of thinking, connected to the, or an, oral tradition. The history of the oral tradition is something that I feel I will be learning my entire life, as well, and that needs to be said. Much of what I know has to do with the English language and certain components of African traditions (for instance, it was very important for me to have someone explain at a certain point that alliteration was more of an early basis for poetry in English than rhyme - which was imported - largely as a device to make stories, poems, etc. easier to remember and pass on in a pre-writing age), and that is limiting (gotta work on it).
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BUCK DOWNS
Well I can start with the luxury of having thrown away my four previous answers to this question to say isn't it great we are no longer hemmed in by the limits on human achievement that reside in the "oral tradition" --

If you mean homer cavalcanti & all the pre-typewriter stuff resusciatated and greenhoused for the sake of Western Civilization and its curators well sure anyone who hasn't done their homework is just a slob. But at the same time the lost world is the lost world & I for one am in no hurry to get it back. Orality is either an obsolete distribution channel or a skeleton key with which one may elude the ruthless commodification and trivialization of spiritual values that results from a print-publishing teleology, or both. Whichever. To paraphrase Ted Berrigan, if I really believe in it, I can't really talk about it.
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
I think the oral tradition/impulse is at the base of everything I do. All of those earliest experiences of aural meaning that are so deeply inscribed: lullabies, babytalk, Sanskrit chants, Tamil songs (both traditional devotionals and popular Tamil cinema songs), bilingual puns, the way something in your body changes when you switch languages, nursery rhymes, jump-rope rhymes . . . In terms of poetic composition, I definitely write both for the ear and the eye (love that linebreak!), but the spoken/heard dimension tends to come first in the sequence of my writing process. Sound captivates me and pushes me on.
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KEVIN KILLIAN
I think it's the other way round and the tradition is too big to fit into the poems, and yet the poems seem to fit into the tradition very comfortably. Huge goblet with room for all kinds of brandied waters, blood.
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EILEEN MYLES
Oh I think my poem is a magnetic tape of the oral tradition. Since I only imagine in the technology of my time I think of the poem as a gleaming stripe of highly sensitive material that is somehow marked by every quiver of the fluting human voice just the breathing and the grunts and fullblown words and phrases and the absence of sound of any sort, no wind hits the mirror, but all of it I think is oral I think because these electronic impressions are stuck on the tape by the idea of the voice as it narrates I'm sorry now the technological aspect might be wrong-headed possibly digital but the gleaming stripe seems more genital than say digital. I wonder why we are so damn fixed on the oral as the appropriate organ of poetry when it could be obviously as cerebral cardiovascular and genital. it all seems related and if you want to give it to the oral, go ahead. The oral tradition. I mean why not give it to the ass. The mouth or the lips or the throat are just the metonymically assigned organs when in fact the practice comes from all of it and seemingly in live poetry practice only huffs out orally last, like shitting.
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ALICE NOTLEY
Which oral tradition do you mean? My poems contain great sounds and tones and rhythmic figures; they sound terrific when I read them. They are meant to be read on the page aloud mentally. I am utterly influenced, in my writing, by the fact that I give poetry readings. I don't feel as if I belong to any tradition in this respect except for the general tradition of the performer for smallish audiences. I am thinking a lot, at the moment, about a flamenco singer named Tia Anica, who didn't begin to perform until she was in her fifties. I think I have to begin again.
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GIL OTT
I guess I have to turn the question around and ask: What is the "oral tradition?" I usually think of it in Western terms as the mnemonic devices in rhyme and meter, which enabled the Greeks to remember and pass on such epics like the Odyssey. This tradition flowered in the lyric of the troubadours. But I actually think the "oral tradition" in contemporary American poetry is more influenced by African and Caribbean poetries/musics.

However conceived, the oral -- spoken or sung -- is essential to any poetry; concrete poetry is really more of a visual art. Naturally, within that concept are many, many divisions, thus the great diversity and richness of poetry today. The big divider today seems to be "Is it for the page, or for the voice?" I could say I've written both, though the very notion of page-bound poetry is a fallacy. It will always be voiced, even if silently. (This is an admission that I still move my lips when I read!) I could also say that even when I write narrative or other prose forms, I am always aware of the music of the words, and the rhetorical, and spiritual, power of that music.

So in the end, I'd say my answer to the question is: to degrees.
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FRANK SHERLOCK
I'm paraphrasing an Alan Gilbert version of the poetics of orality (from an upcoming essay in FENCE), & it goes something like, "Poetry can never be separated from either its utterance or reception." Certainly not a brand-new idea, but it's the latest manifestation that caught my ear. Poetry for me is processed in a kind of Homeric, Burnsian, B.I.G. manner. The oral tradition is bona fide alive & I choose not to separate myself from it. But that's just me. Many poet friends I know choose to hone their work in relative solitude. To them I say godspeed & give me a holler once you're away from the desk.
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
I use my mouth a lot.
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QUESTION 9:
Write a letter to president George W. Bush.

THE ANSWERS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN
After sitting and writing a letter to George W. Bush, and even sending it off to CA to include in this piece, I felt foul and cheap. I only want to speak to the people who will be reading this, not to him -- a man of whom it has been said on CNN, "Even if there was zero percent support for invading Iraq the President would go forward anyway because he believes it is the right thing to do." I utterly reject this man's principles and morals, and his version of life; and I reject the terms of this reality that has been imposed upon us by ages of war and greed. It represents a total failure of imagination, and our consciousness, collectively, needs to be rebuilt -- a practical need of the species, as a matter of fact. That is the work I am interested in, beyond the immediate necessity of opposing war in all of its forms. Bush is just the most current visible by-product of this failure, and can go fuck himself.
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BUCK DOWNS
Dear Mr. President: I am a poet, arguably the greatest since Shakespeare, and I am writing you today to ask if Camp David would be available for my use at any time in the next twelve months or so.

My regular job has kept me pretty much on the hustle non-stop for the last five years, and it has been hard to devote the necessary time and energy to my poetry while holding up my end at work. I'd like to be able to take a break for a month or so & relax & catch up on my writing. Camp David is near my home here in D.C., & so it would be an ideal place for me to retreat for say 3-5 weeks. There I would be able to concentrate on reviewing and completing an initial draft of my next book of poems, to be called JONES COUNTY.

I know that when you are at the presidential retreat, it is a time to recharge, reflect, and return to Washington better able to fulfill your duties as President. It is that kind of experience I would like to enjoy at Camp David, and perhaps in some way even capture and preserve in my poetry. I also know that Camp David is primarily set up to provide you and your family the privacy they need, and I would not want to interfere with that purpose. So I would be interested in making use of Camp David at any time or times of the year when you are not actually using it.

I can drive, cook, and shop for myself, so the impact of my visit on your staff could be reduced to nearly nil. I am gainfully employed, but not within the precincts of academia; this means that other traditional writers residencies, such as Bread Loaf or McDowell, are not available to me. I believe that an opportunity to visit and create at Camp David would result in new poetic work for America and would reflect well on your administration's affection for literature and the arts.

If you want to find out more about me, you can simply type "Buck Downs" into Google & browse through the results. To discuss the availability of Camp David, I can be reached at the address below.

Thank you for your time, Mr. President. I look forward to hearing from you.

Buck Downs
Box 53318
Washington, DC 20009
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MYTILI JAGANNATHAN
DEAR KING GEORGE W(AR)

Cant write cant
sew cant stop
cant grow cant
cry cant constitute
cant count cant
route cant right
a letter by
sacrifice
the alphabet
---------

KEVIN KILLIAN
President Bush, how I wish that Bill Clinton were still in office. I always liked him and you just seem dumb. You make everyone look bad with your relentless paranoia and your greed. Dismantle the war apparatus, oh, but you can't. Soon we'll have nowhere to go and the lessons of the 20th century will all be unlearned. You remind me of the mad Nazarene with the demonic spirit in the pig from the New Testament. That must be the one parable you didn't pick up at Amherst or wherever it was. To you I feel that I must speak in very short sentences. Lots of periods. Bye.
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EILEEN MYLES
Dear George,

[Text unavailable. Poet felt unable to assemble language when confronted with the opportunity to speak to this "man." Poet thought of lips around the mouth of "president" which resembled mass grave. Saw shifting selfish eyes of college gang-banger. Poet feels there is no possible conversation with person who recently delivered supercilious state of the union "address."]

Truly,

Eileen
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ALICE NOTLEY
No. I declared him dead -- a spiritual vacuity -- at the end of my talk on The Iliad and Postmodern War. I have no interest in expressing my opinions to him because he isn't there.
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GIL OTT
427 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia PA 19119

George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC

7 February 2003

Mr. Bush:

First, let me point out a few things:

1) You were not a popularly-elected President. You did not gain a majority of votes in the 2000 election, and the only way you received a majority of Electoral College votes was through the political bias of a discredited Supreme Court.

2) Your domestic programs - policies toward the environment, women's rights, affirmative action, worker's rights, and civil rights in general - run against the grain of the American experience of the past 60 years.

3) Your disdain for the common wealth in favor of privilege is bankrupting the country.

4) Your unilateralism in international affairs, and your apparent dismissal of even the most moderate differences of opinion has brought the world to the edge of worldwide conflagration.

Pretty impressive. How do you do it? You, more than any terrorist group, have benefited from the events of 9/11/01. You have shamelessly utilized that tragedy as a spectacle, playing it over and over again in order to diminish debate, confuse the public, and thereby cover your actions.

Mr. Bush, I believe in the future. I refuse to engage in the dialogue that will shape that future by utilizing the rhetoric which you and your handlers have created. It would be better for all of us if you would simply admit your failures and get out of the way.

Good bye.

Gil Ott
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FRANK SHERLOCK
Dear George II:

Thomas Paine will haunt you when you're gone. I may feel sorry for you someday, but not today or tomorrow.

Good luck,
Frank Sherlock
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MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI
Dear Mr. Bush,

How come you think that we're just a bunch of dumb hippies in the streets? I'm not dumb at all. In fact, your machine paid for my Fulbright scholarship. That's when I learned what capitalism was. When I got back from Berlin, I walked out onto Times Square and the lights were so bright, I had to hide in the public library. After I stop the war, I want to sue Nike, Pringles and Cup 'O Soup for taking up space in my brain without paying rent.

But back to stupid. This is what I think is stupid. 1)Occupying an Arab nation for 5-10 years and trying to build a democracy. You say you want to protect Americans, but occupying Iraq is a little or a lot like colonization and would make a great recruitment ad campaign for Osama. Meanwhile, you haven't managed to send any security funds to any cities. We're all having to pay for our own duct tape. And anyhow, the colonizer always loses. Remember, we used to be a colony. 2)The fact that you got to be president. I should have really said this first, but I'm not in the mood to cut and paste. But seriously, this is the whole problem. 3)The fact that people think I'm not American because I think it's stupid that you're president. In fact, this bothers me so much that at protests I've started waving an unaltered American flag when I yell "Drop Bush, Not Bombs." 4)Giving 30 Billion dollars a year to Israel 5)Writing mandatory public school reforms and then not giving states the money to implement them. There are more things that I think are stupid, but I don't want to overwhelm you.

I think it's very smart that you don't teach people to read in this country. It makes it easier for them to like you. Fox news has those great little slogans, so the people don't have to read. They can just love you and hate everything else.

Between the taxes and the war I've come to think you're evil incarnate.

Sincerely,
Magdalena Zurawski
---------


ABOUT THE POETS:

ANSELM BERRIGAN's latest book is ZERO STAR HOTEL. He has two other books, Integrity & Dramatic Life, and They Beat Me Over the Head With a Sack.

BUCK DOWNS lives and works in Washington, DC. His first book, marijuana softdrink is available from Edge Books.

MYTILI JAGANNATHAN lives in Philadelphia, where she has been actively involved in the community arts work of the Asian Arts Initiative over the past five years. Her poems have appeared in _Combo_, _Interlope_, _XConnect_, _Salt_, _Mirage#4/Period[ical]_, _Rattapallax_, and _Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics_. See Mytili at Pew Arts.

KEVIN KILLIAN is a novelist, art writer, poet and playwright. He has written several books including I CRY LIKE A BABY, SHY, ARCTIC SUMMER and ARGENTO SERIES. With Dodie Bellamy he is editing the work of their late friend, Sam D'Allesandro, for a collected stories volume. He lives in San Francisco.

EILEEN MYLES is a poet who lives in NY and a novelist who teaches at UCSD. Latest book of poems Skies, on my way, latest novel, Cool for You. Visit EileenMyles.com

ALICE NOTLEY is the author of more than twenty books of poetry. Her book-length poem THE DESCENT OF ALETTE was published by Penguin in 1996, followed by MYSTERIES OF SMALL HOUSES (1998), which was one of three nominees for the Pulitzer Prize and was the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry. Her latest book DISOBEDIENCE is the recipient of the 2002 Griffin Poetry Prize. She now lives permanently in Paris.

GIL OTT is Editor and Publisher of Singing Horse, a literary press. Now in its 27th year of continuous operation, Singing Horse has produced over twenty-five titles by emerging poets and writers. The journal Paper Air, which the Press published from 1976 through 1990, was the recipient of an Editors' Fellowship from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses in 1985. He has published thirteen books of poetry and prose, including The Yellow Floor (Sun & Moon, 1985), within range (Burning Deck, 1987), Public Domain (Potes & Poets, 1989), and The Whole Note (Zasterle, Canary Islands, Spain, 1996), and Traffic, Chax Press (Tucson, 2001). He is married to the poet and educator Julia Blumenreich. They have a daughter, Willa. They livein the Mt Airy section of Philadelphia.
Some links to Gil Ott on the web:
one
two

FRANK SHERLOCK curates the La Tazza Reading Series w/ Magdalena Zurawski in Philadelphia. His poems have recently appeared in Puppy Flowers, TOOL and can we have our ball back? Past chapbooks include 13 (ixnay 1999) and a collaboration with CAConrad entitled, (end/begin w/chants). Their latest joint effort is an open-ended project materializing as The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems. A new series of poems appears in the new ixnay reader

MAGDALENA ZURAWSKI is a waiter/writer living in Philadelphia. She is working on a novel called THE BRUISE. Pom2 includes her poetry.





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