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What a marvelous pursuit September 30, 2009: Today I come to the end of my hitch as a Harrieteer. My thanks to all at the Poetry Foundation for this opportunity, and to all of you for the lively conversations. I leave you with this short prose/poem by Julio Cortazar. I've always loved it, but only recently came to understand that it's really about blogging. MARVELOUS PURSUITS What [...] by

SpeedReviews(TM) September 23, 2009: Poetry magazine people: How many review copies of poetry books do y'all receive? It must be bargeloads, because I'm just one low-rent sometime-freelancer who writes maybe five or six reviews a year, and I get something like, I don't know, probably six or eight review copies a month. Some from presses, some from the poets themselves. Let there [...] by

Being Here September 18, 2009: "Here" at the University of Alabama's creative writing program we've been enjoying this week the company of poet Juliana Spahr. Scare quotes exhaustively (and perhaps exhaustingly) explained after the jump. Last night Spahr gave a vigorous and mesmerizing reading of two long pieces rooted in places. The first piece, a sort of [...] by

Back to Skool September 14, 2009: "The folklorist Vladimir Propp thought he was accomplishing something worthwhile by identifying in Russian folktales thirty-one functions and 151 elements, with a mathematical symbol assigned to each." -- Roger Shattuck, Forbidden Knowledge * Asked why he continued to live in Vienna after the war, Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal said, "If [...] by

Today September 11, 2009: I was deep in the heart of the heart of the country on September 11, 2001, and spent much of the day trying and failing to fight off abstraction, to somehow worm my way into the reality. Poems can sometimes help with that. The Poetry Foundation has these poems available for your perusal today. No offense, fine poems, but kind of a weird [...] by

Boox September 8, 2009: Quick: What do these books have in common? The Venus Hottentot, Elizabeth Alexander Louise in Love, Mary Jo Bang Controvertibles, Quan Barry Questions of Travel, Elizabeth Bishop Installations, Joe Bonomo I Remember, Joe Brainard Centuries, Joel Brouwer Asphalt Georgics, Hayden Carruth The Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson Blue [...] by

Overheard in the hallway September 3, 2009: I only smoke when I have too much to do or not enough. * Music never makes me cry anymore. * All she eats is bananas. * "Silence of Lucky." * Is there anything that's exactly like alcohol but isn't alcohol? * But electricity is the same for everybody. by

how give any spice to our truths, to our errors? August 29, 2009: When autumn approaches -- or rather, when I start to long for its approach, knowing full well it's still far off -- I take my old frenemy E. M. Cioran down from the shelf and prepare to savor Persephone's desertion. The morsels below are from Anathemas and Admirations. The translation, by Richard Howard, was smartly reviewed by Edmund White [...] by

The old mule delivers the goods August 25, 2009: It's municipal election day where I live. I went by the activity center at a Baptist church to vote on my way to work. Got there early and was first in line when the doors opened at 7:00, so I got to be the very first person to sign in. The poll workers were still drinking their coffee, still a little unclear on the procedures, still a little [...] by

Hoodoo You Love August 24, 2009: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens was the fourth book of poetry I ever bought, with a gift certificate to Schuler Books in Grand Rapids I'd been given for a birthday, probably my sixteenth or so. Why that book? I'm not entirely sure. I would have known from my English class that Stevens was capital-I Important. I probably liked the notion [...] by