she has some kind of viral cataracts in her eyes
she has some kind of viral cataracts in her eyes

Here let this image of my new gray kitten, Myshka ("little mouse") stand eternally (and here let the internet stand for eternity) in for my realization that I am not suited for blogging. I've realized this before, on my own blog over at Fence. I started that blog more than a year ago, and thought it would be so great to have a space in which to relate all the things I thought about on my long drive to my office. Now, I thought, now I see what this blogging thing is all about. It's about speaking TO THE WORLD! A whole other kind of engagement, never before possible. But my blog has really slogged--it's there, we use it more as an announcement board type thing--as it seemed to turn out that really I'd rather keep my random thoughts to myself. My speech has a lot more reverb, it turns out, when it's bouncing around in my skull-cage.There is a big difference between speaking to an imagined audience, as I do when I write poetry--and when I prepare speeches in my car--and one who might actually respond. Speaking out loud one's random thoughts to an audience that might actually respond turns one willy nilly into a Public Figure. The dialogic nature of this blog, for example, has me running scared from being heard, and it's easy to notice that I don't accept challenges (like Jordan's provocation, here, to blow it up), or even less tentative invitations to "step it up, yo", and I don't seem to have much endurance, either, for exploration. If I did, I guess I might try my hand at criticism. Instead, I throw out a word like "Puritan" or "transparency" or "kitten" and then I pivot on my platform, go inside the cuckoo clock, and shut the door behind me. This is the kind of provocateur I am: a non-dialogic provocateur. Now that is a fun word to spell. And I mean that.

Here's someone who likes to blog, and for free (we on Harriet are Paid to Blog): Zachary German. And here's some of his poetry. I've been noticing, amongst Fence submissions and out in the world, this new flat style of confession. I call it confession because it seems to me to take Robert Lowell entirely at his word. It's irony free (or so saturated with irony as to be involute), it's shame free (except when it outrightly proclaims a shame reaction to something, ie, "I picked my nose and was embarrassed when someone saw me"). It's really different from the New Quiescence that an older generation of still younger-than-I-am poets are engaging in, which Steve Burt has alerted us to, in the BBR. Here's another, more nuanced practitioner of it, Jon Leon, or rather a piece about what poet/publisher Dan Hoy calls The Now Wave which includes Jon Leon. I like it! It's incredibly easy to read. I'm going to start writing like it. But I'm just going to write letters to my friends on paper in this style and mail them to them and you'll never see them.

Originally Published: July 23rd, 2009

Born and raised in New York City, Rebecca Wolff earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She authored Manderley (2001), selected for the 2001 National Poetry Series; Figment (2004), winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; The King (2009); and One Morning— (2015). Her work has appeared in BOMB...

  1. July 23, 2009
     Desmond Swords

    Fab: what a really cute kitten, so cool. I bet Meghan hasn't got a pussy that colour, all grey and mousey mousey like the housey ho ha yo ! what's danglin yover yoyvoar yoyvair, spending upwards into the really nice to know stuff. Cheers.\r

    THIS IS AN EXPERIMNTAL BLOGGER PHENOMENOLOGIST\r receipt of monies and being (rightfully) paid to speak the amazingly penetrating thoughts as one deserving of a few crumbs off the millS doze rebs is like, sooo spacey macey and really, really fab about here; at wherever it is HQ. Thank you very much for being YOU and not us. This is a public service announcement to the flowing psychedelic day trippers who are trapped without and within being nothing but this, what is it we can say to Zachary (German) with the piece \r

    Eat When You Feel Sad (?)\r

    This is a poem about a man called Robert in American Apparel: a store where he's holding pink v necks to his chest and over it loops, this cute kinda new gear, same as same as the old, some say: the wise in Stuyvesant, Sunnyside or Poolsburg where the same kind of innocence harmlessly flitters in the air of 23rd and 68th Avenue west of the Bedford river within the wear where letters to and fro hither and tither. \r


  2. July 23, 2009
     Michael James

    You have the same style of Harriet-blogging as Olena K. Davis. I spend a lot of time in the Harriet way back machine and her posts have a certain accessibility. As if she is half speaking to you and half to her self, letting her mind spill forth. And the same insights which are normally shown up front (by force) in most academic endeavors, you can gleam from hers and perhaps many more as I believe it is easier to understand the direct imaging of another mind versus that filtered through the piercing eye of the conscious 'I'.

  3. July 24, 2009

    I got off the blogwagon when the action shifted to the comment field. My feeling was and is, comment-makers can get their own damn blogs. \r

    Having had a blog, and posting this remark to a blog comment field, I believe I've made my irony quota for the month.\r

    Keep the provocations coming!

  4. July 24, 2009
     Gary B. Fitzgerald

    You should know, regarding the name of your cat, that cats are very offended by the 'M' word. :-)\r

    Actually, I once had a Russian Blue kitten named 'Pushkah'. One day a friend who was Hungarian came over and when he heard my cat's name he burst out laughing. He explained that 'pushka' was Hungarian for shotgun.

  5. July 24, 2009
     Rebecca Wolff

    Pleased to be mentioned in the same breath that mentions OKD.

  6. July 24, 2009


    I miss yr robot!