Friday, December 17, 2010



Bloodhound in front of my heart
Watching over my fire
You that feed on bitter kidneys
In the suburb of my misery

With the wet flame of your tongue lick
The salt of my sweat
The sugar of my death

Bloodhound in my flesh
Catch the dreams that fly off from me
Bark at the white ghosts
Bring back to their pen
All my gazelles

And savage the ankles of my fleeting angel

-Translated by Michael Hamburger

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Li Po: "For Tu Fu"


by Li Po

On Boiled Rice Mountain
I met Tu Fu

wearing a big round
bamboo hat
in the hot noon sun

Tu Fu
how come
you've grown
so thin?

you must be suffering
too much
from poetry!

Translated by David Young

Friday, December 3, 2010


by Benjamin Peret

There was a big house
with a fire diver swimming on it

There was a big house
surrounded with kepis and golden helmets

There was a big house
full of glass and blood

There was a big house
standing in the middle of a swamp

There was a big house
whose master was made of straw
whose master was a beech tree
whose master was a letter
whose master was a hair
whose master was a rose
whose master was a sigh
whose master was a sharp turn
whose master was a vampire
whose master was a mad cow
whose master was a kick
whose master was a cavernous voice
whose master was a tornado
whose master was a capsized boat
whose master was the cheek of an ass
whose master was the Carmagnole
whose master was violent death

Tell me tell me where is the big house

Translated by Keith Hollaman

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


by Stephane Mallarme

The flesh is sad, and I've read all the books. Away! away! I sense
the birds are drunk on being between the unknown foam and the skies!
Nothing, not the old gardens reflected in eyes will hold back this
sea-soaked heart, O nights! not the desert brilliance of my lamp on the
empty paper defended by whiteness, and not the young woman nursing
her baby. I will depart! Steamer, rocking your masts, weigh anchor for
an exotic nature!

A boredom, aggrieved by cruel hopes, still believes in the last farewell
of handkerchiefs! And maybe the masts, inviting storms, are the ones
listing in wind above the shipwrecks lost, with no masts, no masts, no
fertile islets ... But hear, o heart, the master-singing sailors!

Translation: Peter Manson

Sunday, November 28, 2010



Then it's true! Here am I like Philoctetes! abandoned by the ship on an unknown cliff, because my foot hurts. The unfortunate thing is that my trousers were torn off by the sea. Upon inquiry I find that I am nowhere else but on the shores of chaste England. "I shall soon find a policeman!" Which is what happened: a policeman who spoke French. "You don't recognize me," he said in that language, "I'm the husband of your English maid!" There was a reason for my not recognizing him: I never had an English maid: he led me into a neighboring town concealing my nudity with leaves as well as possible, and there he took me to a tailor. And, as I was about to pay: "Quite unnecessary," he told me, "Secret fund of the police" or "Of politeness": I didn't quite catch the word.

-translated by John Ashbery

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I woke up on Monday morning to the threat of tornado, a "tornado watch" they call it. I realized that I have no idea what to do if a tornado hits. In the Northwest, they only trained us to be prepared for earthquakes. It seems like when you move to a different state, you should get some kind of a handbook, "What Terrible Things to Expect Here." It would only be fair.

I read this poem on Verse Daily yesterday, and really enjoy it. I thought I'd share it here; it seems good to share poems by people I don't know. This poem is by Marc Rahe. It is from his book The Smaller Half, which is available from Rescue Press.


The cold night is starry.
The starlight has no warmth.
A loved one is standing
farther away, farther
than I can see.
The sky is getting darker
earlier. December's well-lit nights.
Sometimes waiting alone
after work, I feel
like I'm watching magic
on the window.
Like somewhere
white gloves raise to music
and there are car lights
passing streetlights.
The light inside the coke machine
outside the car wash across the avenue
is the same as the light of the stoplight.
That the light could almost change color
and mean its opposite.
Doesn't white, white snow turn
to spring flood? Can't a blue horizon
fill with warning? These things
happen. They're possible.
I have no music,
but sometimes when I'm waiting
I get patient.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Octopus Books will publish my first book, The Black Forest, in 2011!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


You could learn about "The Turk," a fake chess-playing machine from the 1770s (human pretending to be machine)


You could chat with "Cleverbot," an AI website built in the hopes of passing the "Turing Test" (machine pretending to be human)


Bonus: read this amazing 2007 article from Discover Magazine in which two chatbots chat with each other!

Sample from article (A= A.L.I.C.E. and J= Jabberwacky)

A: Who is your favorite philosopher

J: Can’t say. I’m not very much into philosophy.

A: Can a book have no title?

J: Of course.

A: Blimey.

J: Are you British?

A: Does it seem like that? I was born in America.

J: You are definitely flirting!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Dear Owl-face,

Factory Hollow Press is amazing. A second printing of my chapbook, Fireproof Swan, is currently in production, and will be available in the near future! I am excited to get more copies of this book out in the world- the FHP team makes a habit of creating impossibly beautiful books, and this one is no exception, with its French Flaps, heavy paper-stock, and gorgeous end-papers.

Factory Hollow recently released their first full-length book, the incredible book-length poem Crash Dome by Alex Phillips. The poem is ambitious and lovely, and the production is typically breath-taking. From of the back of the book: "That from the twenty-six letters of our alphabet this book could be born is a miracle, a heartbreakingly glorious one that demands it be read, and talked about, and marveled over, and, like all true miracles, doesn't give a damn if it isn't." -- Mary Ruefle

Lastly, here's the hip hop owl. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Westward Ho!

This blog has dissolved into summer. I apologize. I blame 1) The World Cup, and 2) writing poems. I just got back from Florida, the land of golf carts. I just got back from a store called "Discount Hotel Supplies" and that's what it sells. We just got a full-length mirror, and the cat stood in front of it, grooming himself. He is a genius. I feel like summer is nearly over, but actually it isn't.

I bought a plane ticket! I will be in the Northwest! I will be reading on August 19th in Port Townsend at the Northwind Arts Center with Heather Christle. This will be my first hometown reading, and I am kind of excited about it.

Here is what Port Townsend looks like if you are a dolphin cam.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Every week and a half or so, I remember that I haven't checked out Mark Baumer's "official #1 'I am walking across America' blog" for a while. Which is great, because it's amazing to have a week's worth of photographs and words describing his walk across the country. I think his blog might be my favorite use of blog technology.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I am sitting within Logan International Airport in beautiful Boston, MA. Yesterday in Northampton, Maurice Dubois saw me on the street and gave me three radishes he had grown. Today in the little convenience store by the bus station, there was a shopping cart full of FREE LOCAL ORGANIC PRODUCE. Northampton is awesome. It is my spiritual home. Now I will go back to Atlanta and I will sit in my apartment and write poems.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Above is a map of New York City created by Eric Fischer that defines the city in terms of who took photographs of it and posted them on Flickr. Red means tourists, blue means locals. Yellow means it was impossible to tell. See similar maps of different cities here.

Monday, June 7, 2010


This is a great short piece by Glenn Gould about recording, performance, and technology.

"I was making an unnecessarily rhetorical statement about the music, simply as a consequence of having attempted to project it in very spacious acoustic environments."

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Hello, I am here to let you know about a good deal. Fence Magazine is once again offering a year's subscription for whatever you want to pay for it (between 1 dollar and ???). Go here for the details. I am always excited to read the latest issue of Fence (we have a lifetime subscription). Even though there are usually plenty of pieces I don't fall in love with, reading Fence always provides me with some new ideas and discoveries. And it is possibly the only magazine where the poetry and fiction and non-fiction actually make sense together. THIS IS A GOOD DEAL!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


1. Flarfists use "Google Sculpting" as a collage tool. Flarkists will use our "Internet Brains."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


#1: The World Cup starts on June 11, which is also my sister's birthday!

#2: Heather Christle will be tweeting for the Poetry Foundation all month. Read what she says here.

#3: My poem "The Rapture" is in the "Summer Reading" edition of Tin House. I'm excited for you to read my poem at the beach! I believe it to be the only post-apocalyptic poem ever written that features former Seattle Supersonics great Detlef Schrempf (pictured above).

Monday, May 31, 2010


You could adopt a cute tiny fox pup

OR, you could wear a "laser fox" t-shirt. IT'S YOUR DECISION!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Friday, May 21, 2010


The lyrics to "Everything Zen" by Bush translated into Korean.

우리가 먹어서 좋은 무언가가 이어야 한다 어쩌면 다른 애인을 찾아내십시오 나가 만일 로스앤젤레스에 날기 위하여 나의 똥구멍 형제를 찾아내십시오 미키 마우스는 암소를 자랐다 Dave's 다시 판매에 우리 뒷 전망에 있는 kissy 키스 We' 이렇게 지루하는 재 You' 비난할 것이다 레늄 나의 방법 그것을 한 번 보는 것을 시도하십시오 모두 선 모두 선 I don't 는 이렇게 생각한다 세기 동안 Raindogs 짖는 소리 백만 달러 말뚝 당신이 당신의 반신반인을 찾은 대로 그리고 당신은 성자와 날조한다 There' s 당신의 폭력에 있는 성 없음 There' s 당신의 폭력에 있는 성 없음 나의 방법 그것을 한 번 보는 것을 시도하십시오 모두 선 모두 선 I don't는 이렇게 생각한다 I don'tElvis가 죽은 I don't다고 믿는다; 는 Elvis가 죽은 I don't다고 믿는다; 는 Elvis가 다고, Elvis 이다 믿는다 There's 당신의 폭력에 있는 성 없음

The lyrics to "Mmmm Bop" by Hanson translated into Korean.

당신은 이 생활에 있는 이렇게 많은 관계가 있다 단지 하나나 둘개는 지속될 것이다 당신은 이 고통 및 투쟁 전부에 가고 있다 다음 당신은 당신의 뒤를 돌고 그들은 간다 그래서 빠른과 이렇게 빨리 간다 진짜로 걱정하는 그들에 따라서 파악 하나 그들이 결국 거기 유일한 그들 있으십시오 당신이 오래되게 되고 당신의 머리를 잃기 시작할 때 당신은 여전히 걱정할 저에게 말할 수 있다 당신은 여전히 걱정할 저에게 말할 수 있다 합창: Mmmm는, 바륨 duba dop 때린다 바륨 du는, 바륨 duba dop 때린다 바륨 du는, 바륨 duba dop 때린다 바륨 du Mmmm는, 바륨 duba dop 때린다 바륨 du는, 바륨 duba dop 때린다 바륨 du는, 바륨 duba dop 때린다 바륨 du 씨를 설치하고십시오, 꽃을 설치하고십시오, 장미를 설치하십시오 당신은 아무 그것들중 하나나 설치할 수 있다 성장한다 어느 것이 알아내기 위하여 설치하는 보유 아무도가 모르지 않는 비밀이다 아무도가 모르지 않는 비밀이다 반복 합창 mmm 그들은에서 간다 때린다. mmm에서 때리십시오 그들은 거기 있지 않는다. mmm 그들은에서 간다 때린다. mmm에서 때리십시오 그들은 거기 있지 않는다. 당신이 당신의 머리를 잃을 때까지. 그러나 당신은 걱정하지 않는다. 반복 합창 당신은 저에게 말할 수 있는가? 당신은 당신이 다는 것을 그러나 당신이 모른ㄴ다는 것을 말한다. 성장하기위하여지 가는 어느 꽃 당신은 저에게 말할 수 있는가? 데이지 또는 장미이기 위하여 려고 하는 경우에 당신은 저에게 말할 수 있는가? 성장하기위하여지 가는 어느 꽃 당신은 저에게 말할 수 있는가? 당신은 저에게 말할 수 있는가? 당신은 당신이 다는 것을 그러나 당신이 모른ㄴ다는 것을 말한다.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Two videos: EMF and Jesus Jones. Just watch the keyboard players. I think I'm on to something here.


One of the most exciting parts of the MOMA show "Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937" that was up a couple of years ago was a big gallery full of collages he made as studies for paintings, and then the paintings that resulted.

For example, the collage above turned into this painting:

It was so exciting to see these next to each other! Miro claimed "I want to assassinate painting" and he actually meant it. He was not applying for a grant. He was not writing a cover letter. He wanted to assassinate painting.

I've been reading Paul Klee's Pedagolgical Sketchbook this morning. It is full of beautiful drawings, diagrams, and statements. I've been thinking about daybooks, journals, studies for larger works. Is that what blogs are? Do we have other, private places where we plan our poems, where we arrange images and study figures?

Here is an amazing section from Pedagolgical Sketchbook. (Click it to make it larger!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Ryan MacDonald is a person who seems to have a lot of good ideas. He makes a lot of great things. But what I want to show you are these pictures of what his art students made. THEY ARE AMAZING! These are all giant stuffed object sculptures. Check out a whole mess of them at his blog.


Welcome to a new feature of this blog, "SHIVERING FRAGMENTS!" In this feature, we link to quotes that contain the phrase "shivering fragments."

Today: Virginia Woolf.

I attain a different kind of beauty, achieve a symmetry by means of infinite discords, showing all the traces of the mind’s passage through the world, achieve in the end some kind of whole made of shivering fragments—to me this seems the natural process, the flight of the mind. Do they really reach the same thing?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Lapham's Quarterly is really doing it. Almost half of their new Arts & Letters issue is available for free online. This is really exciting! On their Roundtable blog, there is a great piece by Colin Dickey called "On Bones and Libraries" that I think you might like.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Word Shop

If you live in New York, please check out Rob Fitterman's Word Shop this month before it closes. It is open between 11-2 from Tuesday through Thursday until May 27, and is located at 308 Bowery.

On this very subject:


You could watch this amazing video of The Moldy Peaches performing The Spin Doctors hit "Two Princes" live WITH lead Spin Doctor Chris Barron

OR you could watch the Spin Doctors performing an alt. version of their hit "Two Princes" On Sesame Street. IT'S YOUR DECISION!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

John Gallaher on The Franz Wright Critique of the MFA Generations

This is worth reading and thinking about.

Nothing to Say & Saying It: The Franz Wright Critique of the MFA Generations


You could spend 25 years slogging through almost impenetrable jungle-forests mapping the remains of a forgotten city. Or, you could lay in a hammock drinking pina-coladas for 24 years and then use a laser to map the forgotten city in four days. IT'S YOUR DECISION.

Monday, May 10, 2010


My poem "The Black Forest" has been reprinted on Verse Daily. Thank you, Verse Daily. Also, thank you, Black Warrior Review. Thank you, owls.

Friday, May 7, 2010


If you have $1330 dollars, you can buy a machine that uses "fat beam" laser technology to terrorize birds you don't want on your property. For six dollars a pack, you can buy cigarettes and distribute them to all the bird-life on your property. IT'S YOUR DECISION!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


This post is about revision and specificity. And emotions. I've been thinking about the Modern Lovers song "I'm Straight." There is a live recording of the Lovers performing this song in early 1972 from the live cd PRECISE MODERN LOVERS ORDER. Here it is:

To me, there is no contest between this version of the song and the 1973 studio version. The live version is more dynamic, emotional, surprising, and funny. The difference between the two versions of the song can be encapsulated by the revision of the name of the song's antagonist from "Hippie Ernie" to "Hippie Johnny," a change said to be made because the band's bass player was named Ernie, and Jonathan Richman didn't want to offend him. This change significantly weakens the song. Instead of singing about the actual Hippie Ernie, Jonathan is now singing about the idea of a hippie. Listen for yourself:

All of a sudden, Jonathan is saying things like "I like him too....I like Hippie Johnny"- the acid loathing that powered the early version of this song has all but disappeared completely. The song's Duende has been practically shaved away.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Friends! Wax cylinders were the first commercially produced sound recordings! The Department of Special Collections at UC Santa Barbara Library has been preserving and digitizing their collection of nearly 8,000 original turn of the century wax cylinders here. The archive contains three songs about or including "owls" as their subject, including the rousing, mostly indecipherable lyrics of "The Owl in the Old Oak Tree" by "That Girl" Quartette.

At the beginning of many of the wax cylinders, the same voice enthusiastically announces the song title and name of the performing artist or orchestra (as heard here on "The Cannon Waltz" by Issler's Orchestra). This in itself seems like a conscious archival act; a way of preserving and maintaining biography and access to information. At the time, recorded music was attempting to compete with sheet music (in 1892 alone, the Tin Pan Alley hit "After the Ball" sold two million copies) and I can imagine the purveyors of this new technology picturing the first seconds of a recorded song as functioning similarly to the cover of a piece of sheet music.

When I learned about the existence of the Wayback Machine, which has been archiving the internet by continuously taking "snapshots" of it since 1996, I felt surprise, then relief. Why relief? Because ever since I found the mysterious "This Is Fun to Make a Blog on the Computer Website" last Fall, I have lived in fear that it will disappear, as it's creator, Eggagog, seems to have abandoned his/her project in 2007. Already, many of the embedded images that so vitally provide visual counterpoints to Eggagog's continued narrative have disappeared, replaced by tiny empty boxes, headstones where hosted images used to be. People of the future! Head into your digital museums and view the work of Eggagog, a true visionary of early Internet Folk Art!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Napoleon's Oraculum (or BOOK OF FATE) promises its reader that it is "a verbatim copy of the London edition... which professes to be a perfect facsimile of the one used by NAPOLEON, and consulted by him on every important occasion. Happy had it been for him, had he abided or been ruled by the answers of this Oracle.... in this enlarged state it is adapted to all conditions of life; and persons of both sexes, whatever their situation or capacity, may with confidence refer to its pages to derive information, and for the purpose of regulating their future conduct according to its ORACULAR COUNSELS."

The rules are hard to master- the system of organization may be slightly confusing. Turning the page, however, we find a beautiful "KEY TO THE ORACULUM" which makes all our efforts at understanding this system worthwhile.

Perhaps the best feature of the Oraculum, however, is the ease with which the arcane and confusing rules for its use end up producing cross-wired fortunes. For example, attempting to answer the question "Shall I ever find a treasure?" I receive the answer "Never drink until the game hath ended." When I ask "Have I any, or many enemies? I learn that in fact "Tyranny will soon be engulfed in the abyss of its own iniquity."

All of this is to say Hello! I'm here! The Oraculum is ready to answer your questions!

Important Clarification

This blog is not about owls.