Friday, September 29, 2006

A friend weighs in on Tao Lin

This is what an old friend of mine just wrote to me about Tao:

"I usually hate Frank O'Hara-inspired stuff, but there's a creepy emotional deadness in his poems (in a good way!) which is really intriguing. It's like Frank O'Hara as written by a zombie."

The Book vs Writing

“The idea of the book is the idea of totality, finite or infinite, of the signifier; this totality of the signifier cannot be a totality, unless a totality constituted by the signified preexists it, supervises its inscription and its signs, and is independent of it in its ideality. The idea of the book, which always refers to a natural totality, is profoundly alien to the sense of writing. It is the encyclopedic protection of theology and of logocentrism against the disruption of writing, against its aphoristic energy, and, as I shall specify later, against difference in general.” (from "Of Grammatology")

Tao Lin reviewed

Here's a review of Tao in "The L Magazine":

It doesn't say a whole lot. It's the kind of review that the reviewer might have written after reading three or four poems.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A message from your friendly Action,Yes editors:

Dear, dear subscribers:

We apologize for the late announcement on this one,;issue 3 of Action,Yes is available (and has been for two weeks). This issue includes a special section called "Tokyo Refuge" that features the work of non-native artists and writers living in Tokyo (including AY's first motion picture). We've also included the work of Action Books authors Sandy Florian and Tao Lin. And a lot of other great stuff ... go have a look.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


(I shut down slapkoppel for a while because I was tired of existing in virtual space. Unfortunately I can't take the name back. Exoskeleton-Johannes was the only name that wasn't taken.)

Suburban-guy and Jimmy have been harranguing David Lehman over his self-aggrandizing "Best of American Poetry" series. On one hand, they are absolutely right. It's Lehman's pet project (and he is his own pet most of all).

However, I think the most foolish aspect of the project is the perpetuation of the idea that there is such a thing as "best" poems out there.

(Or that it's important to limit it to "American." As I'm not an American citizen, I guess I'm not eligible!)

This seems like such a rudimentary observation, yet I find that (most?) people are still invested in the notion of a "best" poem, or at least "legitimate" poem.

All you need to do is glance at Silliman's blog. He's incredibly conservative in his thinking, constantly needing to make simplistic judgments. So and so is the finest poet of her generation, so and so has the best ear, so and so has the best vocabulary. (He also believes in the supremacy of the "native speaker".)

I think it's useful to think about how different poets/poetriues are legitimized or de-legitimized.