Originally Published: February 5th, 2010

Sotère Torregian is an American poet, born in Newark, New Jersey on June 25, 1941. He attended Rutgers University, and taught briefly at the Free University of New York and Stanford University, where he helped establish the Afro-American studies program in 1969. In the mid-1960s he was associated with the...

  1. February 5, 2010
     Peter Greene

    We all should try to strive at least once to master a form, in order to understand viscerally mastery. The English language is a form; a burrow in which animals are hidden, a growing conversational echo of genes. It is, however, a rather sizeable form – I gave up everything else a long time ago, and I must say I still read words over and over again in a given sentence, marvelling at them. I am a broken thing in terms of our Imperial education systems; not a unit acceptable, I failed to understand that my own mastery was separate from the act of being mastered, i.e., I took it personally and crashed my life, instead of striving to stay above strife. If you find (acknowledging the audacity of a younger man like me saying this to you) that the English language is not saying what you want it to say, I submit that you have not given obeisance to the Word, which is all thought. Below the Word is the world of humanimal – belt discipline (by which I mean the meaningless, mandatory nature of l’etude as well as the arbitrariness of understanding that one does not throw one’s belt upon the ground*) is the way up.\r

    The Celtic ancestry you speak the time the English, slaves of the Eagle that they are, came along to influence Joyce’s perception of history and his own slavery, the tribes of Brettany had hidden deep in the double helix of Norman, Spaniard, Chinese, and Frank. There is a cultural river lost in Europe, lost to the culture-crack of the great Mediterranean agri-technos. I wrote a paper on’t, when I was still academically viable, and it was lauded. Anyone wants to read it (aaaahahahahaa!), lemme know.\r

    Pollock was a very sick man, and very great. It’s a shame when those things must eclipse, and the light so painfully bright is only a few lumens around the edge of the occlusion. I feel that Pollock was a hero, too, but a tragic one. What do you think of C. Wright Mills?\r

    Sotere, thanks again. No brains today to respond to your whole post (picture=thousand words, spoken word=thousand pictures/sec), as I’m terminally manic and unslept (transcribing 'til 4:37, read 'til dawn, got up, cat’s ANGRY and tired).\r

    Keep rockin’, dude.\r


    *The man I am VERY proud to have fallen before in 1988 – VJC, Junior Men’s Unlimited, I got 3rd, Koga...Koga SUGOI!

  2. February 5, 2010
     Peter Greene

    Aiiieeeeeeeee, link error! (click the Word error)\r

    Sorry all. And...Koga SUGOI!\r

    I lasted slightly over two seconds against him, and we were both kids at the time. Now that I understand what he does with the seoi-nage, I see that again mutation is an act of will and understanding, not of some random, mad god.\r


    ps - morote-seoi-nage was the end of me against Koga (that and less will than that magnificent human being), and I fell better than any of the badly-taught ego-feasters in the video...thx sensei Denis, thx sensei Inouye. For everything.\r


  3. February 5, 2010
     Peter Greene

    pps: I humbly apologize, from my own ego-feasting table, for my slights toward judokas better than I. I'm proud to have fallen well, but I was wrong to speak of others the way I did.\r


  4. February 6, 2010

    I disagree with the speaker. He says Finnegan’s Wake works. It doesn’t. Joyce tried to make the English language picturesque. See also Ulysses. He failed. The English language is not naturally picturesque. About a century when the Joyce works appeared, Yiddish began to enter American English. Yiddish is naturally picturesque. Dozens of Yiddish words are now in English, and none of Joyce. Sorry, James.\r

    Let me rant for a moment about audio, the medium of the post. Silliman’s blog is gradually abandoning the written word, going over to audio and Youtube. You do whatcha gotta do.\r

    Although I wouldn’t know, as far as I can tell Harriet is the only moderated poetry forum around these days which keeps mostly to text, all courtesy of Ruth Lilly’s millions. Everyone has gone to Facebook, Youtube, multi-media.\r

    Remember Geocities, Angelfire? Poetry got a boost when about ten/twelve years ago some hip javascript forums/boards came along, Melic, QED, Alsop’s Gazebo, text-only and moderated to greater or lesser extent. All are now defunct. I think the Gazebo was first, beginning in early 1998. CE Chaffin, the moderator of Melic, is still around with a blog so any interested party can check. Chaffin claimed on his blog that his board was “overrun by barbarians.” He probably means the Yedi, who I happen to know was on his board.\r\r

    The real problem I think was that the audience went elsewhere, regardless of the barbarians. Chaffin said recently. “Facebook has in so many ways supplanted e-mail and blogging, as has Twitter.” \r

    I was the bad guy. I didn’t care if there was an audience or not, as long as there was one outstanding talent. I didn’t say this specifically but people sorta got the idea and I was unwelcome on the boards.

  5. February 6, 2010
     C. E. Chaffin


    You rightly recall the early days of unregulated boards--boards where registration was not required, thus policing could not be enforced. While other major boards instituted protective reactions, we labored on in faith, only to be overwhelmed by those seeking publicity for their own facile remarks without regard to the work at hand. One poster in particular used to always say "Shee-it." If that was Mabool I'd be interested, but for the most part it was impossible to save the venue without instituting restrictions like other boards.\r

    For the record, during our time of freedom, we dominated the IBPC.\r

    I still find boards worth posting at--I won't list them here.\r

    Thanks for the mention and the history refresher.\r


  6. February 6, 2010

    I will put up another comment having to do with Ethiopian. Unfortunately, for copyright reasons, the substance can't be here, it has to be on a different page, so below is a link to my blog. Down at the bottom of the blog page is ébéssi. The language is an amalgam of Ethiopian and French, I think. I was told once but may have forgotten. Also included is a link to an Ethiopian web page.\r

  7. February 8, 2010

    The profanity CE refers to probably came from the Yedi. It wasn't me. But I have certainly used other peoples threads for piratical purposes. Right here for example.\r

    The camment facility here seemed to get hung up for a couple of days. During that time I deleted the ébéssi that I referred to above. I put it back up.\r

    masbalo siba ochifi\r
    moula -bori sipa choni\r
    goula ossopo guiné fori\r

    continued on my blog

  8. February 8, 2010
     Colin Ward


    "Poetry got a boost when about ten/twelve years ago some hip javascript forums/boards came along, Melic, QED, Alsop’s Gazebo, text-only and moderated to greater or lesser extent. All are now defunct."\r

    Not entirely correct, and you've missed six of the major players, including the three earliest and two largest. \r

    In 1980, 14 years before the World Wide Web Consortium was established, Usenet started up. The unmoderated rec.arts.poems and, later, the alt.arts.poetry.comments newsgroups were created, attracting many of the world's greatest poets and critiquers--and more than a few trolls. To this day, Usenet sees more posts than the world wide web (minus the blogosphere) and is sometimes described as "the web's evil twin".\r

    The first "expert oriented" poetry workshop & discussion site was The Poetry Free-For-All, created by Usenetters as a tamer, troll-free version of rec.arts.poems. It certainly isn't for fragile egos, though. PFFA's "Blurbs of Wisdom" remains one of the best sources of technical information on the art form.\r

    Speaking as one of its moderators, I can tell you that The Alsop Review Gazebo is very much alive. \r

    While bloggers and online workshoppers strike me as two very different animals, a number of crossover bloggers here can attest to the popularity and benefits of Eratosphere, one of the few sites where the average member can be counted on to know that Millay's "Moriturus" isn't iambic or free verse.\r

    According to, among online workshop/discussion sites, hit counts are highest on the tiered (where, coincidentally, Melic's CE Chaffin is being honoured this month) and neophyte Zoetrope but these numbers are skewed by visits to their sponsors.\r



  9. February 9, 2010

    Colin, Thanks for the headsup on the Gazebo. I could have sworn that I was getting error 404 on that link, but clearly it works now. \r

    I took some stuff off that web page nine years ago and put it on paper. Included is a short quote of Jaimes Alsop and his pic. He was an odd cove.\r

    The material in the unpublished document is curiously influenced by African languages, which is perhaps why there is an Ethiopian web page on the subject, now linked on my blog.\r

    Glaminoo stoboree gamee um garamoe sakamo baleboo ee gra reema!