Friday, December 31, 2010

Artist Statement #5

These trees are merely a fence around discovery. As a woodsman, I am constantly searching within my own heart to understand the wolves around me. The forest is a metaphor for the union of time, and the earth and the sky. The girl wearing the red cap appears ageless, and serves as the visual equivalent of an apple. It is the overwhelming presence of grandmothers which first drew me to the practice of the ax.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quoting Mr. Joshua Marie Wilkinson

"Nothing reeks of maintaining the status quo as much as this call for poets to be 'accessible.' I don't blame you for not wanting to get into poetry. It's a murky, strange set of practices. For some, that work's a great pleasure. For a few, it's synonymous with life. But why denigrate poetry just because you don't care to do the work to enjoy it? Baseball, continental philosophy, and flamenco have their own difficulties—and pleasures, no doubt—too."   (I took this from his statement here.)

I agree with Joshua. In every art form there are critics (and lazy audiences) who cry out for accessabilty--why not paint a still life of flowers?  Why not dance The Nutcracker again?  Why not write a novel about suburban angst? Let's just keep things nice and easy and familiar, shall we?

The reverse of this, the danger, (and I fall into this trap myself) is this-- Watch me be arty by painting these paintings that are utterly white except for one green dot.  If you don't "get" this, you are shallow. Read this poem: it's murky, uses unclear diction, and messes with the rules of normal grammar. So it is new and good, and revolutionary.

I'm not faulting Joshua.  I admire his work greatly.  I just bought his latest book,  Selenography, and am eager to delve into it. I am just saying that I myself veer back and forth between a desire to write poetry as clear and plain as Amish furniture, and as beautiful.  And then I want to write murky hard poems, poems that take a reader a lot of desire and committment to deal with.

Do writers need to worry about an audience?  About writing poems that the untrained, non-poet reader can "get?" Is it worrisome that the only people reading contemporary poetry are contemporary poets? Baseball has it statistics and acrane rules, yet non-players watch it. Flamenco has devotees who do not dance a step.  But poetry?  I am not sure who is out there paying attention to it but people writing poetry.  And I do not know if this is a problem or not.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Artistic Statement # 4

Our pies are inherently connected to physical and spiritual spaces. Berries transform a pie--it's no longer a passive setting for a bear. A picnic basket generates myth. What interests me is my next transformation: while I sing, the oven becomes a physical space once again. It flickers and somehow, in  my kitchen, hides more than it heats.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Artistic Statement #3

(The artistic statements are collaged from and draw in part on artist statements from New American Painting No. 69.)

My work is an aggressive attempt to redeem corrupted youth by rebuilding our lost mechanical wings. Through this process, I hope to reconnect to the primary experience of giddy flight, as I experienced it with my prom date, Darlene. It is, in great part, a search for the dregs of vodka cocktails, the cultural icons of my father's generation.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Artistic Statement # 2

I was born and raised at the bottom of the sea, but have lived in a coastal town for the last 14 years. My life has been shaped and informed by shoreline scenery and ocean culture: reflective water, angry surf, seagulls, beach gear, board walks, mudflats, and the arias of seal wives basking on rocks.

I'm a man, mostly, a swimmer first and foremost. I change strokes and depth at will to suit my needs and hungers, eschewing a narrowly defined distinction between land and sea, and life and death. When I breathe I reference the work of any other breather, in a spirit of earnest exploration, thereby acknowledging my affinity with birds. I am never strictly romantic or drowned.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Artistic Statement #1

There also exists for me the formal madness, a uniformity of screaming and the relationships within the spheres. The simplicity of the clown image allows for an investigation of knives, color, and unseemly couplings between red-faced old men. I try to imbue my large-scale, multiple-ring circus with the drama I find in cities like Vienna and St. Petersburg, where the fear of meeting a gang of shave-headed toughs (one holds a length of rusted chain in his hands) in an alleyway is one's natural experience.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Post Recycled from an Old Myspace (remember them?) Blog

Joseph Ceravolo--check out the little-known New York School poet

Hey, if you have not yet read this guy, check him out: Joseph Ceravolo--so far, it seems,  known mostly to other poets--he studied with Kenneth Koch and has some of that guy's humor, but he's a lot more nature-oriented than most of the New York School folk, and his wordplay and syntax disruptions recall Tender Buttons by Big Mama Stein. Here's one sample from the posthumous collection The Green Lake is Awake.


All I will amount to: knowing
your sound, small bees,
the winter wind
is green

See? simple, odd, beautiful and way cool!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Death of Snow

I have a poem just published at elimae, a very cool literary journal. This is from a long series of 13 sentence poems, with the individual sentences collaged and collected and then altered from art journals and my own notebooks. Then the sentences are put into a room together to see if they have a conversation. It's a fiendish experiment.

Lots of other good stuff in this issue.  On a first reading I am particularly struck and pleased by this poem by Feng Chen, and this one by Jon Cone.

In other news, I am already looking forward to the death of snow.