Wittgenstein's Wiener


     "My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)"
            -Ludwig Wittgenstein

     I feel like Wittgenstein made a mistake here in his choice of metaphor. If his 'ladder' were instead a 'wiener,' as in wienerschnitzel, the statement would be both more logical and more senseless. At least more nonsenseful, for as every good philosopher knows, it is much easier to throw away the wiener once you've climbed up on it.


PageBoy: It's a Family Newspaper

     Here's the interview that Chris Rock was so gracious to do for PageBoy while the editors here get ready for the next issue:


Where the Line Is

where the lion is

     "...you know what I like to do, I like to bother people. I like to find out where the line is and deliberately cross it, and drag the audience with you, and have them happy that you did it, and once you get them over there they say, 'yeah that was good.'"
         -George Carlin.


Poetry/Prose: Domingo Domingo Domingo!

poetry and prose wrestle in france

Poetry and Prose

I came to the conclusion
that poetry was a calling
an intensive calling
upon the name of anything
and that prose was not the using
the name of anything
as a thing in itself
but the creating
of sentences that were self-existing
and following
one after the other
made of anything
a continuous thing
which is paragraphing
and so a narrative that is a narrative
of anything

That is what a narrative is of course

one thing
any other thing

             -Gertrude Stein


When a Cage Falls

Is he lying?

     "I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry as I need it."
                       -John Cage.
     The most amazing thing about this statement is that Cage was in the forest when he said it and there was no one around to hear him. The original citation has baffled critics for decades. Cage, meanwhile, has admitted to being alone but is unsure whether or not he fell while he was speaking. Conjecture ran rampant as soon as the citation appeared, and the controversy escalated quickly.
     At Naropa Universtity's Summer Writing Program later that year, Cage felt compelled to defend himself: "Some have implied, or even assumed, that I fell that day in the forest when I had nothing to say. I would like to state here that I am unsure if this is true, but resent the accusation nonetheless." Cage then went on to say that he had "nothing further to say and he was saying it again." When asked whether or not this further nothing was poetry as well, he quipped awkwardly: "I don't need to say nothing else there I have said it."


Love Fifteen

Robert Peters' Critical Work - Delicious!

    "You shouldn't pay very much attention to anything writers say. They don't know why they do what they do. They're like good tennis players or good painters, who are often full of nonsense, pompous, and embarrassing, or merely mistaken, when they open their mouths."
              -John Barth.
     I agree entirely, but whether or not he was describing this blog is unclear. Probably not.


Your Immortal Need

Baudelaire: satanic and perverted.

     "Rhythm and rhyme answer man's immortal need for monotony and symmetry, as opposed to the vanity and danger of inspiration."
          -Bowed Lair
     Okay I forgive you, you absinthe soaked madman. Thank the devil you wrote prose!


Fuck the Lotus Eaters May They Rot in Hell

Otis Leader

     "Do you hear those voices, charming and funereal
     Singing: 'Come this way, you who wish to eat

     This perfumed Lotus! this is where men harvest
     The miraculous fruits your heart hungers for;
     Come and intoxicate yourself on the strange sweetness
     Of that afternoon which never ends'?"

              -Baudelaire (trans. Fowlie) "Le Voyage" Les Fleurs Du Mal

     This from the au pair of modern poetry? Save us from that afternoon that never ends! Who wants eternity? Let us all be grateful that we end. Yes. Done. No. The eternal is for the brain dead and lobotomous. They can have it, and find other vapor awful there.


Find Morass Here!


     In an essay on 'melody' in Gertrude Stein's work, Marianne DeKoven speaks of Stein's "assertion of the freed magic of the signifier over the repressed, hierarchical order of the signified." That is, the triumph of language as music magic over language as meaning morass.


Darius Polytonalius

Darius Milhaud with G. Stein mug

Terminal Sound

someone has taken Darius Milhaud
and rhymed him with various rainclouds
this is not fair I know
but still he gets thunderous applause



S.izable T.ennies Coleridge

     A weird anecdote in a Wallace Stevens essay:
     Once on a packet on his way to Germany Coleridge was asked to join a party of Danes and drink with them. Coleridge says:
     "I went, and found some excellent wines and a dessert of grapes with pineapple. The Danes had christened me Doctor Teology, and dressed as I was all in black, with large shoes and black worsted stockings, I might certainly have passed very well for a Methodist missionary. However, I disclaimed my title. What then may you be, a philosopher perhaps? It was at that time in my life in which of all possible names and characters I had the greatest disgust for philosophers.
     "The Danes then informed me that all in the present party were philosophers. We drank and talked and sang til we talked and sang altogether, and then we rose and danced on the deck a set of dances. My large feet and calves never were so sore as then, dancing on that packet with those men."


who nose

     "I have, of course, been struggling with this thing, to say what you nor I nor nobody knows, but what is really what you and I and everybody knows."
          - G. Stein.

     I know what you're thinking, that you and I and everybody's nose is right above what you and I and everybody knows, which is perhaps what is so difficult about writing what you and I and everybody knows. That is, if you think it's difficult. Perhaps nobody does.


PageBoy in City Lights

     PageBoy can now be found at City Lights Bookstore in SFCA. Grab it before the tourists do (grab it)!


The Poems He Would Have Written

one of her best lines is of course her hairline!

     "...when Gertrude Stein wrote the poems called Before the Flowers of Friendship Faded Friendship Faded she began writing them as translations of a group of poems in French by her friend Georges Hugnet. They are far from being literal translations, even in the beginning, but they take their point of departure from his poems, and they remained 'the poems he would have written if he had written them.'"
              -Thornton Wilder in his essay on G.S. "Four in America."


We're Not Shy

PageBoy's been a-traveling, and this time we made it all the way to the big shy shoulders of Chi-cago. Purchase the new issue extrovertedly at Quimby's on North Ave. http://www.quimbys.com/


The One-Eyed Giant

"Most of the time we see only a portion of the person with us, the other parts are hidden by a hat or clothes or by light or shadow. Every one is accustomed to completing the whole entirely by memory. But when Picasso saw a single eye, the other ceased to exist for him."
                            --Gertrude Stein

Whereas often the prose writer's business is to communicate in fullto deliver through seamless language the perfectly framed thought, the argument intact, the most artful reportage—the poet falls wholly in love with one-eyed language. With language's beautifully uncooperative profile. Heather McHugh describes, for example, Dickinson and Celan's lyrical structures as "a math of the missing." Says McHugh: "[Poetry's] economies operate by powers of intimation: glimmering and glints, rather than exhaustible sums...It is the space that defines the words, the skull the kiss, the hole the eye."


Cezanne's Debris

     "Nine days out of ten, all Cezanne saw around him was the wretchedness of his empirical life and his unsuccessful attempts, the debris of an unknown celebration."

     Look how the garbage piles up! Still, if you could be successful one time out of ten, I think most of us would take it.
     Strangely, the word 'debris' comes from the OFr. debrisier, "to break into pieces," and carries with it as well the geological meaning "an accumulation of relatively large rock fragments." Both of these definitions could describe Cezanne's large block fragments of paint used to portray Le Mont Sainte-Victoire again and again. So then, has he succeeded one out of ten, nine out of ten, or ten out of ten?

PageBoy in the Bay!

     PageBoy Magazine is now being sold at Dog Eared Books on Valencia and Needles and Pens on 16th in S.F.'s Mission District, and at Pegasus Books on Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley!
     PageBoy Magazine: If you don't get it soon, you'll contract it.


Some Pics from PageBoy Release Party (Arabica)

Sarah Erickson provides rather unconvincing evidence that the cover image is actually a portrait of her.

Paul Nelson has eyes not only on his head, on the head in front of him and on the heads behind him, but also beneath his hat. It's true!

Whoa! These poems'll knock yr teeth out yo!

The Myriad Minions, having emptied myriad bottles, now search the air for onions... and find them!

The editor being scolded for his loose interpretation of copyright laws and bow ties.

Sarah Galvin: laughing casually after threatening to tie the audience to a radiator.

Thanks to Duvel for sponsoring the event.


PageBoy Now at Powell's Burnside*

*see blog entry title for information concerning the nature and purpose of this entry.


H.D. C.U.T.U.P.

Vision is of two kinds:
     Venison of the womb
     Venison of the brain

Most of the so-called
     Artists today
Have lost the use of
     Their brain

Over-mind artists
     Usually come in a group
This is called a circle jerk
     And there is no

Great art period
     Without great lovers
Of course:
     There is no great art,

     Great lovers however
Hover forever
     In a kind of

Jelly-fish mind
     Lingering alongly

To sting you.

PageBoy Magazine Reviewed:



PageBoy at Spine and Crown and

     PageBoy is now at Spine and Crown Bookstore (315 E. Pine St., Seattle) in addition to the other Seattle stores listed on this blog. Go get it.


PageBoy Reading Recording (Regarding Greg Bem)


     The honorable Greg Bem has posted a recording of the PageBoy reading at Arabica. Find it here:


Over-mind not Over Mined


    Here are some quotes from H.D.'s amazing little sketch of a book Notes on Thought and Vision.

     "If you cannot be seduced by beauty, you cannot learn the wisdom of ugliness."

     "There is no trouble about art. There is already enough beauty in the world of art, enough in the fragments and in the almost perfectly preserved charioteer at Delphi alone to remake the world.
     There is no trouble about the art, it is the appreciators we want."
     "My sign-posts are not yours, but I have my own trail, it may help to give you confidence and urge you to get out of the murky, dead, old, thousand-times explored old world, the dead world of overworked emotions and thoughts.
     But the world of great creative artists is never dead. The new schools of destructive art theorists are on the wrong track. Because Leonardo and his kind are never old, never dead. Their world is never explored, hardly even entered. Because it needs an over-mind or a slight glimmering of over-mind intelligence to understand over-mind intelligence."


Reading Tonight!

     We have magazines yippie! And will have them at the reading tonight, so come get one.
     PageBoy Reading June 4th 8pm at Arabica, 1550 E Olive Way, Seattle. Readers Sarah Galvin, Sarah Erickson, Paul Nelson, Erika Wilder. Artist Shannon Perry (portraits). Music: Myriad Minions oh my god!
     PageBoy: Better than a can.



"Go to the reading, pussy cat."

     "Art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony - art removes objects from the automation of perception."
                  -Victor Shklovsky

     PageBoy has proofs, and the proof is in the, uh, printer. Issue III 11 will be out and all over everywhere soon - like pudding I guess. If you want to see the magazine FIRST, join us at Arabica (Capitol Hill, Seattle) on Sat. June 4th at 8pm. We will be celebrating with readers Erika Wilder, Sarah Erickson, Paul Nelson, and Sarah Galvin. Shannon Perry will be showing her (amazing) watercolor portraits (featured in the magazine), and Myriad Minions will be performing LIVE NUDE MUSIC!



Caveat (for reading a poem at a spoken word event)

     I am going to read a poem. It may be metered at times.

     It is not in first person. You is.

     It may be too masculine for some of you.

     It is not pc, why would it be?

     It may be too feminine for some of you.

     It may be offensive at times
     These are just x's and lines.

     There is nothing poetic about pc, Pussy Cat.

     I am offended too.

     I am not mad at anyone. Thanks for letting me read anyway.

     Is it spoken word, or 'broken word?'

     There is no chip on my shoulder, Chip.

     There is, however, a chip in my head.
     Say 'hello' Chip.

     Is it spoken word, or 'broken girl?'

     Poetry as therapy
     Is mental midgetry.

     Was that an off rhyme, or an offending rhyme?

     Everything rhymes with everything.

     Boys get broken too. (boo hoo hoo).

     Rimbaud's line was: "I is an other,"
     Not "I against other."

     Poetry is not therapy.
     Therapy is therapy.

     Who speaks more clearly:
     Gertrude or Franken Stein?

     White guilt, Black power.
     Can't we all just take a shower?

     Perhaps I'm a midget
     and I just don't know it.



     PageBoy is hosting a reading in celebration of its third issue, which is due out any day now! 
     When? you might ask... at Arabica on Capitol Hill in Seattle at 8pm sharp on Saturday June 4th (and other prepositions). Readers will be announced soonly. Mark it on your calendar Mark, Gene and Jori. 
     PageBoy Magazine: Better than indie pop.©

     P.otato S.oup: We will also be celebrating in Portland on June 25th at The Waypost. And maybe in Olympia too (thirdly). We will let you know the details when we know de tails. (You still can mark it on your calendars though, just very bigly.)


what american lit needs

Malcom Cowley
     "What American Literature needs is not more poets (we could dispense with most of those already writing), but mature poets who are willing to devote their whole time to the most difficult of arts."
               -Malcom Cowley

     Critics have argued for over fifty years as to what M. Cowley meant by "the most difficult of arts." It seems clear to me, however, that he was either referring to teaching undergraduate creative writing classes, or flash animation.



     explode < Lat. explodere meaning "to drive out by clapping."
     What an odd form of exile!

     (Medieval court, rural Europe. JUDGE, cloaked in black robes stands to deliver his verdict; a rather meek and filthy BEGGAR hunches before him obediently,)
     JUDGE: Do you have anything to say for yourself, sir?
     BEGGAR: Please Your...
     JUDGE: Silence! (pause) Well then, due to the heinousness of your crime, the Court hereby and forthwith sentences you to... explodere!
     BEGGAR: No Your Honor, Please not that!
     JUDGE: (forcefully) Exlodere! Bring in the Band of Clappers!
     (Enter several men and women, all expressionless, clapping, who walk up to the BEGGAR, forcing him from the courtroom and out into the street.)



     "a horror picture really should have moments where you kind of rest up and laugh, even it's a nervous laugh, and then go on to another horror."
                    -Samuel Z. Arkoff (B-movie monster mogul)

     A poem really should have moments where you kind of rest up and laugh, even if it's a nervous laugh, and then go on to another horror. This probably could be said of any work of art. It is the thing that keeps the work from "flat-lining."
     In the same way that all horror all the time at some point ceases to be horrible, if it's all beautiful, then none of it's beautiful. Or: if it's all this, then it isn't this at all


Elevator Music XX


low hills, how binding
a mesmerizing klezmer band

apple blossoms off the porch
listen: the shadows pool

across the sunset painting
gin is crude, I know

but really, how can you bear
the inanity of music

without lens, cairns
are too pretentious, zinnias

painting dumb, song
it's true you have to have a

kind of faith in stupidity
to be happy here, and love


News Flash: Poetry Is Everywhere!

     Ann Sexton while at work on Love Poems (1969)

     Poetry is everywhere, and because it's everywhere it's ridiculous to transcribe it. Why capture something that is all around us. Like water, when we try to hold it in our hands it only slips through our fingers. There one moment, gone the next. At its very best it leaves us wet.
     Then again, that may be reward enough for the depraved. PageBoy, at least, seems to enjoy it.


Dueling Haiku

     Poetics Haiku

     a cutup's not an essay
     it's an easy knot
     so cut it out, cuteypie!

     This from PageBoy (2008-). The following rebuttal is from Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), who, incidentally, in addition to writing haiku was a literary critic.

     on how to sing
     the frog school and the skylark school
     are arguing


Pu-tai Says Laugh

     "... to talk too long, to examine too meticulously, to pile qualification upon qualification and add theory to theory, is to be in danger of upsetting the delicate balance of that life which one wishes to understand, or of destroying the fragile tissue into which one wishes to breathe new life. Here too, 'the letter kills, while only the spirit gives life.'"
     - Conrad Hyers (Zen and the Comic Spirit)

     Hyers could easily be talking about poetry here. Sontag's Against Interpretation comes to mind, as well as the famous Zen Master Pablo Picasso, who put forth the following koan:
     "Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird?"


Ludwig the Skeptic

     "It appeared to have little connection with reality and was more concerned with the study of language. 'Distrust of grammar is the first requisite for philosophizing.'"
                -Strathern referring to Wittgenstein's concept of philosophy, and then quoting him. He could be discussing poetry, and in essence, is.


A Series of Follies

     "For Levi-Strauss, the great ruptures that had thrilled him (namely surrealism, DADA, cubism) in his youth had led nowhere. The path to abstraction had become a story of failure as modern art degenerated into a series of follies and empty aesthetic gestures."
          -Patrick Wilcken (C L-S)

     The following is chosen at random from American Hybrid; A Norton Anthology of New Poetry (Norton 2009 ed. Cole Swensen and David St. John).
     Empty aesthetic gesture? Or great rupture?
     The excerpt is by Etel Adnan and is listed as from IN/SOMNIA. Here is "XIX"

1. Night falling. again. Not again.
    long / line no help help / less
    terror stop the terr...
    terribly all over / over

2. blows bellowing blowing
    paper and doors and what
    else? Is is it? is it coming?
    Yes. time. Last time

3. lasting timing ever-ever
    snoring orderal or deal
    dealer of cards     of smoke
    tick / no no end

4. shhh - weee - buzzz
    buzzing pele-mele
    keep     held hold-it! keep
    insane in / sane the right
    to wait wait! waited for
    for wait a minute for / the /
    dark / light of morning

5. collapsibles

     Note also that often today poems are "from" something else, something much grander we are to assume. We are also to assume that if we were reading the entire something else, we would surely think "Wow, that was something else!" Unfortunately, we rarely get access to this mysterious place all of these fragments are "from," but are nevertheless asked to say "Wow!"
     This alone could be a very important distinction between the American avant-garde of 1913 Armory Show New York, which somehow didn't seem to need to qualify its fragments, non sequiturs and general 'avantfulness' by claiming they were "from" some place else, and the avant-garde of the present day, which almost always does.
     Levi-Strauss had noted the avant-garde as a "story of failure" in 1959! Fortunately for him he didn't live to read the above-mentioned anthology.


Poetry as Alchemy

    ...if 'everything happens so often that speaking of it makes no sense,' the poet must find ways of representing those happenings so that their actual feel, their texture is re-experienced."
     PageBoy quoting Perloff quoting Hejinian quoting.



PB in PN

Can I Get Piano Lessons?

     Our interview with Natalie Phillips has been reprinted in.Poetry Northwest. Check it out.


Is it Still?

     While doing anthropological "field work" in a remote section of the Brazilian outback, Claude Levi-Strauss handed out sheets of paper and pencils to a tribe of native Brazilians known as the Nambikwara. They had never seen or used paper or pencils before, had never written or drawn "aside from rudimentary decorations - the dots and jagged lines with which they adorned their gourds. After initially ignoring the paper, the Nambikwara began scribbling a series of wavy lines, from left to right across the page. Unprompted, they had begun 'writing.' The leader of the Nambikwara went one step further, requesting a notepad from Levi-Strauss. Quizzed on ethnographic points, he 'wrote' answers in the pad, handing his doodles to Levi-Strauss. When later, during bartering between two different factions of Nambikwara, the leader made a great show of 'reading' the list of exchanges and beneficiaries from a sheet of scribbles.
     "Somewhere in those scrawled lines lay meaning, not of the literal kind, but in a metaphorical sense. The Nambikwara had intuitively grasped the power of paper, notebooks, pens and markings in Western culture... The leader's approach had been a pragmatic one, slotting into an alien culture with a certain ritual fluency, trading symbols alongside beads, arrowheads and lengths of cloth. Writing, Levi-Strauss concluded, was first about power, and only afterward used for the purpose of aesthetic or intellectual enlightenment. Far from being mankind's crowning cultural achievement, it had initially been used to create hierarchies between the scribes and the illiterate masses. 'The primary function of written communication,' Levi-Strauss concluded, 'is to facilitate slavery.'"


Post No Post (Dizzy) / Elevator Music XIX

     "I see some guys try to transcribe my music on paper, but if you play it like that it will sound corny. That's because they hear notes that I didn't even play. It's there without being there. It's implied. And although people can't really hear it, they feel it. It's an auditory illusion."
          - Dizzy Gillespie

     How to create an "auditory illusion" in poetry? Double entendre is one way, but that is more concerned with meaning than music. So how to make one word, or a phrase, sound as if it contains other words. Words that aren't there. The equivalent of bending a note in music, or simultaneously playing different notes. To make words sound that aren't even there.
     Here is some elevator music to listen to while you figure it out:

All That Is Normal or Possible

if glassful is
the quantity a glass can hold
then how awful
an awl can be
it baffles the crows caw

indeed, what is
the quantity a crow can hold?
what lawful reasoning
determines the count of caws
their fullness?

     the blacker the better the richer the darker
     when it comes to a crows caw or coffee

somehow the sunken panels
in a ceiling or soffit
are in fact higher than
the ceiling or soffit itself

sunken, sunglass
the quantity the glasses hold
     of reflection, of light, of eyes
     of faces, cheekbones and rooms
of sunflowerful August afternoons

and what then simply of full?
the quantity an of can hold
a quantity that can be held
     full of full of full of of
the quantity of music
                that can be held


One of These Frogs Is Doin Its Own Thing

(can you find his frog?)

Frog - a wedge-shaped horny prominence in the sole of a horse's hoof.

Frog - A loop fastened to a belt to hold a tool or weapon.

Frog - An ornamental looped braid or cord with a button or knot for fastening the front of a garment.

Frog - A device on intersecting railroad tracks that permits wheels to cross the junction.

Frog - A spiked or perforated device used to support stems in a flower arrangement.