File:Ruins of an Ancient City by John Martin, 1810s.JPG

We thought it might be amusing for Scarriet to take a full tour of Ron Silliman’s Poetry Links.

Ron provides this service every couple weeks, an internet feast of what’s happening in the poetry/art world.

So without further ado, let’s get started!  There’s 134 links!

Scarriet looks at August 12, 2013:

1. Rae Armantrout interviewed by Poetryeater blog—Worshipful, boring.   Long question re: “Section breaks.” zzzzzzz  Interviewer: “current fetish for metrics.” ???  “I wish I could write like E. Dickinson” —Rae A.  Uh…quit being so damn clever in the modernist mode and write poetry. 

2. USA Today story: Jane Austen replaces Charles Darwin on 10 Pound Note, as English women pushed for more representation after Winston Churchill replaced Elizabeth Fry on another piece of money.  Bad for Darwin, good for Darwinism?

3-6. BBC stories on twitter abuse against women campaigning for Austen; Tony Wang, Twitter UK boss, apologizes; male is arrested for the twitter crime.

7. Book Riot reports singer Kelly Clarkson cannot have the Jane Austen ring which she purchased; it belongs to England!

8. Jacket Book promotion: Boston scenester poet William Corbett (recently moved to NYC) remembers good times with his friend, the late Michael Gizzi.

9. Fanny Howe wins $100,000 Ruth Lilly prize, the Vineyard Gazette reports.  Shit, there is money in poetry.

10. Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets Blog features Kenneth Koch’s daughter Katherine. She has written an essay on growing up among the New York School scene, which basically highlights the fact that few New York School poets had kids, and they didn’t pay much attention to kids when they were around.

11. “33 Reasons Not To Date A Small Publisher” from Five Leaves Publications Blog’s Ross Bradshaw.  Now this link is really worthwhile!  Hilarious!  “He will be broke.”  “He might be a poet.” “He will talk non-stop about how terrible Waterstones is.”  “His office will be very untidy, spilling over with unsaleable books.”

12-13. Guardian on the 500 fairy tales recently discovered in 19th century archives of Franz Xaver von Schonwerth and one copied out: “The Turnip Princess,” which is not very impressive: cluttered, contrived, confusing.  Perhaps we have enough old fairy tales?

14. Kenneth Goldsmith in the Globe & Mail says he likes “smart dumb” and lists The Fugs, punk rock, art schools, Gertrude Stein, Vito Acconci, Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, Seth Price, Tao Lin, Martin Margiela, Mike Kelley, and Sofia Coppola.  But couldn’t this list go on forever?  How about Victorian poetry?  American sitcoms?  Yoko Ono.  Yoko Ono, by the way, seems conspicuously absent in all these Conceptualist discussions.  Everyone remembers her “Yes” at the top of the ladder John Lennon climbed.  Duchamp already told the joke that’s being told over and over again, but even Ono makes Goldsmith seem old hat.   Isn’t all comedy “smart dumb?” Aren’t Shakespeare’s clowns “smart dumb?”  Isn’t everything “smart dumb?”  Goldsmith is spreading himself too thin, like the Risk player taking too many countries at once.  This can’t end well.

15. And Kenneth Goldsmith, according to the News & Record of Greensboro, NC, does “Printing Out the Internet,” where about 600 people send tons and tons of printed out internet pages to a gallery in Mexico.  It’s a memorial for Aaron Swartz, somehow, the JSTOR downloading suicide, which, we suppose, makes it criticism-proof, since it’s a memorial.  But really, who has time for this?  Well, we suppose if one does have time for this, that does make one superior, somehow, in an elitist sort of way…  Just having time for something is a statement of sorts…Look, we might as well admit it…Kenneth Goldsmith is on a roll…

16. Over at Rumpus, Marjorie Perloff tries to shout down Amy King in the Comments section to Amy King’s “Beauty & the Beastly Po-Biz” piece, pointing out “Conceptualism is the only game in town” is not really what she said, but it is what she said, because her only stated alternative is “the return of the lyric” as “found poetry,” which is Conceptualism, anyway.   Perloff’s objections are hollow.   More interesting was David Need’s comment, who questioned “fighting capitalism” as the “standard  that MUST BE MET, for art to be credible.”  How about this standard, instead, he asked: “Successfully bringing up a child.”  We like that.

17. On Blog Harriet, Robert Archambeau defends Conceptualism (while pretending not to) with his piece, “Charmless & Interesting.”  Again, the ghost of Duchamp is raised, as Archambeau says Conceptualists are not charming, but they are interesting.   Really, Bob?  We thought it was the other way around.  But more importantly, the Conceptualist joke is charming once, but not over and over again.

18.  More Conceptualist ado, this time from the ever long-winded but keen Seth Abramson on the Volta Blog: Conceptualism doesn’t exist, according to Abramson, because the concept self-negates the work and Goldsmith is wrong that anyone will be interested in discussing the concept, so that leaves nothing.  Like an enraged New Critic, Abramson points out Conceptualism makes us look at the poet rather than the poem.  Abramson defends the avant-garde, though, which makes his attack all the more interesting.  Or problematic?

19. Jeffrey Side, in his blog, also raises the ghost of Duchamp as Conceptualism’s modern founder.   A popular guy, this Duchamp, all of a sudden.  Side quotes Archambeau: “In what sense is pure conceptualism poetry?”  Side says it is not poetry.

20. Tony Lopez on his blog, discussing something called the Dublin Pound Conference, says it’s great to “go out in Dublin for drinks and dinner.”  Good thing he didn’t talk about Pound.  Thanks, Tony!



  1. August 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Dear Tom, I spent the past few days reading “Surprised By Joy.” I had forgotten it was just suposed to be about Lewis’s early life, so of course there was nothing about Joy Davidman in it, and I didn’t see anything about his theories about love-making to unattractive women. But I did find two things of interest to me that I hadn’t gone looking for. First, I’ve always wondered, since seeing “Shadowlands,” whether that statement commonly attributed to Lewis, “The reason we read is to know we are not alone.” was really Lewis’s or just Hollywood’s. I found it stated a total of four times in “Surprised by Joy,” each time a little differently. So that satisfies me that the quotation was genuine!
    Second, Lewis seems to think real “joy,” the kind associated with religious experiences, is just as rare as religious experiences, themselves. in other words, the realest joy and the realest religious experiences only come when you least expect them to. I can vouch for the second. I am interested in a charismatic rabbi who lived around the beginning of the Common Era. His name was Elisha ben Abuyah and most people of his time considered him a horrible heretic. In the Talmud his name is not even given and he is referred to as “Aher,” meaning “the Other.” I, on the other hand, am sympathetic to such mavericks, especially when they lived such sad lives as Elisha ben Abbuyah did. So there I was in 1996, tooling through the Galilee on an ordinary Israeli bus when the bus driver said the town of “Migdol” (Hebrew for “tower”) was just off to our left aways. Well, I recognized it as the town where Elisha ben Abuyah lived and I felt a sudden rush of closeness to this poor, tragic man who had lived 20 centuries before me! If anyone reading this is interested in further reading about Rabbi Elisha ben Abbuyah, there is the wonderful fictionalized biography of him, by Rabbi Milton Steinberg, called “As a Driven Leaf.” It is a common item at many libraries.
    One more thing, please, Tom. in my e-mail of August 10, 2013, at 10:30 o.m., I use the expression “left-brained” to describe myhself. Of course I meant “right-brained.” Can you fix it for me? Thanks. Yours, David

    • thomasbrady said,

      August 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm


      I changed “left-brained” to “right-brained.” I hope you don’t mind if some of your typos remain. Fixing them becomes a little overwhelming. I’m sure our readers don’t mind a typo or two in the comments.

      So you are an ENFP, the “Journalist.” That makes sense. I was pretty close.

      Your comments jump from post to post…I sometimes miss them. Sorry.

      I might characterize romantic love as “religious.” Some say love doesn’t exist; would it be cynical to say that religion and love only exist with a powerful imagination?


  2. January 21, 2014 at 1:54 am

    […] Silliman’s blog […]

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