Hi! Honestly, the only advice I can really give is make sure you tag and be patient. It took me almost a year of steady posting before it seemed like people were “reading” my stuff. Be concerned with honing your craft, with reading a ton, which connecting with other writers and artists. Notes don’t make good poems, and good poems don’t necessarily get notes. Don’t get discouraged though! Just keep at it!
8 Dec 2013 / 13 notes
Just a peek. Been working on this steadily for awhile now. Sorry it’s taking so long. Appreciate your patience.
My heart’s aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the face
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it’s throbbing!
then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.
I love you. I love you,
but I’m turning to my verses
and my heart is closing
like a fist.
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,
and I’ll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick
with bloody blows on its head.
I embrace a cloud,
but when I soared
That’s funny! there’s blood on my chest
oh yes, I’ve been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.
The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.
It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.
"Mayakovsky" by Frank O’Hara (via greenfinch)
Winter Issue 2013, Issue 4.
I have three poems published in the newest issue of Episodic. Check it out!
David W. Pritchard is throwing down the fucking gauntlet over at Route Nine. Just a super smart consideration of how oppression isn’t about a state of being: one is not so much a homophobe as one enacts homophobia.
NO MORE RAIN: A REPLY TO JOHN KINSELLA
by David W. Pritchard
In my recent column, entitled “Get Outta My Way!” after the Kylie Minogue song of the same name, I wrote 1,992 words about Kevin Killian and how wonderful he was. Of those 1,992 words, 55 of them refer to the Australian poet John Kinsella, mentioning him only by way of talking about an excerpt from one of Kinsella’s memoirs—this one unpublished—that Killian read to us at Flying Object that night. Here’s the paragraph, in full, for context, etc. (emphasis added):
Maybe that’s it, maybe that’s how I’ll write about Kevin Killian. Kevin Killian is a poet of the invitation. An incitement to discourse in the best New Narrative way, where we get interpellated by pirouetting and curtseying when we turn to face the cop who just yelled hey!, by embarrassing ourselves—witness Killian’s brilliant reading of a page from Australian poet John Kinsella’s autobiography which Killian glossed as a book “about being the number one poet in Australia,” a page about Kevin and Dodie and their perpetual adolescence and “chill”ness, a page dripping with more than a little transcoded homophobia insinuating that drug use, nonnormative sexual practices, and being an avant-garde writer were all constellated around “deviance” or whatever. In any case one never feels imposed upon by Killian; one always feels as if one is in on the joke, which is that you can write however you want to write even though you are very worried sometimes about being Serious because what if someone thinks perhaps you did something ephemeral and contingent? What if someone thinks you aren’t A Major Fucking Poet or something? “I don’t even have an MFA” Kevin Killian told us “but they asked me to write a sestina”—one in which the end words were “Stritch,” as in Elaine, and “scotch.” That’s it that’s the sestina. Don’t you feel a little scandalized? Don’t you feel a little guilty?
In light of Mr. Kinsella’s response to my column, which manifests itself in its most reasonable form in the email posted on Route Nine this past Saturday, I feel obligated to respond. So let me get right to it: I do not think John Kinsella is a homophobe. The thought has never crossed my mind; indeed, no thought about John Kinsella has crossed my mind before this Tuesday. Let me make that quite clear. I am not interested in disputing John Kinsella’s avowed commitment to gender respect.
Let me make something else clear: not only do I not think that John Kinsella is a homophobe, but I did not write that John Kinsella was a homophobe, either. To do so would betray a fairly narrow view of the processes by which we, as subjects, are constituted; and how embarrassing it would be to betray such a thing in a paragraph beginning with a goofy reference to Althusser! I wrote that the passage Killian read dripped—a figurative way of characterizing the implications or effects of something, not an ontological claim about its inner being, much less the inner being of the person who wrote it—with “transcoded homophobia,” which I think is different in kind from an accusation that someone is a homophobe. The reference point for my terminology here is Fredric Jameson’s masterpiece of Marxist literary criticism, The Political Unconscious, in which he introduces the term “transcoding” in a discussion of the indispensability of mediation for a politically engaged criticism. “Transcoding,” he tells us, is a “more modern characterization of mediation” than the ones found in earlier Marxist theoretical treatments of the concept: it is “the invention of a set of terms, the strategic choice of a particular code or language, such that the same terminology can be used to analyze and articulate two quite distinct types of objects or ‘texts,’ or two very different structural levels of reality” (40).
It should go without saying that the use of language is one of the most fundamental forms of social practice we engage in. But this does not mean that one’s formal political convictions automatically translate into actual ones. For instance, calling oneself a feminist, as a man, means nothing if one’s everyday comportment does not embody and express the kinds of solidarity such a label requires. No matter what Macklemore says about his noble intentions in songs like “Same Love,” they still do violence to those groups for whom the singer purports to speak, by virtue of the fact that he takes away the voices of those groups. Thus, to make politics primarily about the sorting of ourselves according to intention—good or bad, oppressive or not oppressive—has the potential to become no more than a tragic retelling of Joseph Grand’s rewriting until death of the first sentence of his novel in Camus’s The Plague.
These 55 words (2.7% of my column) are not any judgment or argument about the work of John Kinsella which, I profess, I have not read enough of to make. What is at stake is an attempt to characterize what I saw as an image-repertoire that repeated an older historical and social problematic in which queerness, in a proximate relation to the rhetoric of decadence, of drugs, of, as I said, protracted adolescence, becomes conflated with these things as though they are somehow more than contingent. In short, I was doing, in as limited and brief a way as I could, a reading of the text Kevin Killian read by Mr. Kinsella. I was talking about ideology, about the consequences of a rhetorical position, far more than I was about the author of this text, about whom I say not another word in the entire column.
I hasten to add that by “ideology” I do not mean a bowdlerized capitulation of “false consciousness” through which one, a self-styled Debordian type, might indict those one dislikes as being “in” a certain consciousness while remaining decidedly “out” of it. Mr. Kinsella and I, and anyone who reads this, is, ultimately, an ideological subject. That’s how subjectivity works. And as for politics, the problem is less our personal proclivities, the labels we pin to our lapels, how we nominally align ourselves, than it is what we do in the face of a demand for the systematic and total transformation of a world-system in which this particular political unconscious asserts itself. It is, I would venture, a transformation that is not possible if we don’t at first begin to question everything in our lives and in the worlds around us, including the array of assumptions we use to organize our day to day existences. It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around that, and I’m not saying I’m an expert at it, or that I am not liable to slip up on the way to doing so, but all this is hardly a reason to bear grudges against one another; as Robert Glück knowingly writes, “Of course, we are all fictions, and that should make us feel tenderness for each other rather than contempt.” I write in the spirit of tenderness, then, to say that I am saddened by this misprision as well as the pain it has caused Mr. Kinsella.
Let me make one last thing clear: I did not write a column with the intention to “humiliate” anyone. Instead, I was and am interested in discussing Killian’s own consideration of how embarrassment functions as a poetic tool, how it was the backbone of New Narrative writing. This isn’t to say that New Narrative is somehow about pissing people off, although it would be interesting to discuss the role of polemics as it relates to the variegated and still woefully under-read 1980s work from that Bay Area scene. What I do want to suggest, though, is that it is unfortunate that these 55 words out of 1,992 are being made the focus of the column instead of the joyfulness of Kevin Killian’s exceptional reading. And I should take responsibility for that, so: I am sorry that this has expanded from misunderstanding to kerfuffle.
My column is about Kevin Killian and an attempt to communicate some of the joy I get from hearing him read work that has been so important to me, a joy analogous to that of listening to AFI’s album Sing The Sorrow at 2 in the morning with my best friends in the world, trying to figure out what the heck Jade Puget is doing with his guitar in the solo on “Dancing Through Sunday,” or marveling at the boldness of sentiment early 2000s emo-punk allowed itself to express.; I understand, however, along with the father of the protagonist in The Trotsky, that “words have consequences”; I understand that I, like V. I. Lenin before me, must answer this question, WHAT IS TO BE DONE. And so I invite Mr. Kinsella to contact me the next time he is in the Amherst area, whereupon I will buy him as nice a dinner as I, with my graduate student paycheck, can afford, at which point we might begin to sort things out like comrades. And so in that spirit, I extend my apologies to John Kinsella, and hope to move forward keeping in mind those sage words Kylie Minogue sings so beautifully to us in “Limpido”: “Let it go, no more fighting.”
My most excellent friend DWP is throwing bones and I won’t even pretend like I got his entire argument because he’s super smart and I’m a dumb shit but I just get so much joy out of him being feisty that I have to reblog.