Issue VII!

Anne Petty, Sara and Her Dog
     PageBoy Magazine Issue VII 15 is now out and features work by Chris Ashby, Amaranth Borsuk, Sarah Erickson, Andy Fitch, Richard Froude, Catherine Karlak, Rauan Klassnik, Ed Skoog, and Jeanine Walker. Artwork by and interview with Anne Petty.


Richard Hugo Says Nothing

Large Mouth Bass Bites Large Mouth Poet's Short Stubby Fingers At Colorless Lake
"Say nothing and just make music and you'll find plenty to say."
          -Richard Hugo in The Triggering Town.


The Polite Drivel of Perfectly Predictable Music

Cocteau's vision of Stravinsky composing The Rite.

     "Without artists like Stravinsky who compulsively make everything new, our sense of sound would become increasingly narrow. Music would lose its essential uncertainty. Dopamine would cease to flow. As a result, the feeling would be slowly drained out of the notes, the polite drivel of perfectly predictable music. Works like The Rite of Spring jolt us out of this complacency. They keep us literally open-minded. If not for the difficulty of the avant-garde, we would worship nothing but that which we already know."
          - Jonah Lehrer in Proust Was a Neuroscientist.


Cezanne's admonition for the matriculated student

Cezanne's head, like his paintings, frequently let the bare canvas show.

     "Teachers are all castrated bastards and assholes. They have no guts."
              -Cezanne on his painting instructors.    



Fine art by R. Mutt.
     "I had got it backward all along. Not 'seeing is believing', you ninny, but 'believing is seeing', for Modern Art has become completely literary: the painting and other works exist only to illustrate the text."
     -Tom Wolfe in The Painted Word.
     This is Wolfe's epiphany. He finally figured out why he wasn't "getting" Modern Art ... namely because you have to be familiar with the theory behind the painting first. The painting merely illustrates the theory, and is not necessarily meant to be pleasurable, not meant to be whole. It is not the point, but points to the point.
     The same can be said of a large swath of modern poetry as well, where the reader/listener feels as if he/she's walked into the room at the end of a rather boring theoretical conversation. Uh, okay?
     Here is Wolfe's advice (from the same book, which is a must read) for such encounters, he warns:
     "To be against what is new is not to be modern. Not to be modern is to write yourself out of the scene. Not to be in the scene is to be nowhere. No, in an age of avant-gardism the only possible strategy to counter a new style which you detest is to leapfrog it."



Right brain sandwich left brain sandwich.

     "Rearranging a vertical list of items horizontally makes the relationship of the parts to the whole more difficult to perceive. For example, telephone directories would be nearly impossible to use if the names were arranged across the page. A person scanning vertically can appreciate spatial relationships all at once; horizontal scanning is better for tracking time - one thing after another.
     "Perusing all the elements of a vertical row is primarily a right-brain function; following a horizontal line is primarily a left-brain function."
     - Leonard Shlain in The Alphabet vs. The Goddess.


Contempt for Prettiness

     "The peculiar quality of Chinese and Japanese art that is influenced by Zen is that it is able to suggest what cannot be said, and, by using a bare minimum of form, to awaken us to the formless. Zen painting tells us just enough to alert us to what is not and is nevertheless right there. Zen calligraphy, by its peculiar suppleness, dynamism, abandon, contempt for 'prettiness' and for formal style, reveals to us something of the freedom which is not transcendent in some abstract and intellectual sense, but which employs a minimum of form without being attached to it, and is therefore free from it."
     - Thomas Merton (in Zen and the Birds of Appetite)


Straight is the Gate

El Payaso Porchia

"Following straight lines shortens distances, and also life."
    -Antonio Porchia


Honor the Maggot

action painting
     Honor the maggot,
     supreme catalyst:
he spurs the rate of change:
(all scavengers are honorable: I love them
will scribble hard as I can for them)

          -Ammons (from "Catalyst")


Roethke (pron: 'freaky deaky')

Roethke cracking up.

     A few quotes from Roethke's book On Poetry and Craft (Copper Canyon Press):
     "If a thing fails rhythmically, it's nothing."
     "Art is our defense against hysteria and madness."
     "Inspiration? The important thing in life is to have the right kind of frustration."


Alien Reader

Mandelstam with third eye and elephant ears.

     'Exchanging signals with the planet Mars ... is a task worthy of a lyric poet.'"
          - Osip Mandelstam on who a poet's audience should be.


What Is Progress?

...that the whole progress of humanity proceeds.
     "It is by the steady elimination of everything which is ugly - thoughts and words no less than tangible objects - and by the substitution of things of true and lasting beauty that the whole progress of humanity proceeds."
     - Anna Pavlova


An Imagined Post

Hugo with imagined bourbon on the rocks.
     "...an imagined town is at least as real as an actual town. If it isn't, you may be in the wrong business. Our words come from obsessions we must submit to, whatever the social cost. It can be hard. It can be worse forty years from now if you feel you could have done it and didn't. It is narcissistic, vain, egotistical, unrealistic, selfish, and hateful to assume emotional ownership of a town or a word. It is also essential."
          -Richard Hugo


as best we can

Berryman with windswept beard (looking rather bloated with mutter)

"mutter we all must as well as we can"
     - J.B. (Dream Song 219)


AWP Hangover

AWP (Where's Waldo Wittgenstein?)
     If you're still feeling a bit hungover from AWP, or perhaps that you weren't able to accomplish all your literary/self-promotional goals, it might help to remember Wittgenstein's feelings toward the end of his life (as he regretted not having committed suicide years before):
     "I ought to have become a star in the sky ... but instead I've remained stuck on the earth."
     You see, Wittgenstein too failed at AWP.

     And for those of you who did triumph, congratulations! Lao Tsu says it best:
     "Triumph is not beautiful
     He who thinks triumph is beautiful
     Is one with a will to kill
     Conduct your triumph as a funeral"


Welcome AWP (and AWT)

AWT 2013 (Boston)
     On the eve of AWP, some words of encouragement from Don Marquis:
     "Publishing a book of verse is like dropping a rose petal in the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo."
     Coincidentally, AWT (The Association of Writers with Tourettes) will also be having its annual conference next week. This event is sure to include many of the exciting phenomena AWT has become famous for: coprolalia (spontaneous cursing), echolalia (repeating the words of others), and palilalia (repeating one's own words). There will be a veritable epidemic of readers, all of whom will be mostly talking to themselves surrounded by others also mostly talking to themselves. You may find yourself unknowingly involved in one of their readings, as they will be taking place at innumerable restaurants and bars throughout the city. If you find yourself having a relaxing dinner one minute, only to be surrounded by raving lunatics the next, do not panic! While stopping, dropping, and rolling may be  effective, quietly removing yourself from the situation is probably best. Do not give them money! as this will only encourage their behavior.
     To be sure you won't find yourself in such a situation (or if you are curious to see them in action), we've provided a link to their list of events here: AWT.
     At no point in the history of the human race have there been more writers and writing programs in existence than at present. Enjoy the show!


To jump or to fly?

     "...the author who attempts to organize space while neglecting time is venturing into a field in which materials and the tools - paint, canvas, stone, metal, wood, and camera lens - are more effective than language. He is working in two or three dimensions instead of four and is thus evading what seems to me a more difficult challenge and a greater opportunity for innovation."
     This is Malcom Cowley's (one of Malcom Cowley's) attacks on the avant-garde, and specifically Robbe-Grillet's idea of the "new novel" and Andy Warhol's a in Cowley's essay A Defense of Storytelling.
     It seems to me that he has a point, though a decidedly conservative one - for after all, a writer must be able to write whatever a writer wants to write, right?
     But it's true, one must admit, that one advantage writing has over, say, painting, sculpture, music even, is time. The writer has the ability to lead the reader through maze after maze, the seeing forest and the hearing field, across the street and up the stairs, to open the door, to enter the room, to walk over to the window, to open the window, to step out onto the ledge, to look down, to sigh, and then, perhaps, to go back in or to jump or to fly.


Sacco and Vanzetti and Rexroth

                                          Many men, a long time.