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!



new poem by scarriet editors

Great deeds are done by the blind.
The great accomplishments of Mankind,
In toil and sweat before falling dead
Are done by dreamers deluded.
But without those false dreams,
Without ‘what is’ covered up by ‘what seems,’
No soul would hold the wheel,
No effort made to serve the real.

Your safety’s comfort, which you can touch,
Is yours because one, without nearly as much,
Leaped without looking, and made
In dreams light against emptiness and shade.
Darkness, planetary, appears at every turn
Unless newly in dreams bright souls burn,
Before despair—with its plain sound—
Catches us, and we are convinced, and we lie down.

Light is not just light; light is how we feel;
The really blind are those who think real is simply real.
Mixed up with dreams that appear to be folly
Bends the real action; in longest melancholy
Science’s dreams are pursued;
In heavy meditation, flame’s bright results renewed.

The problem is solved by the genius, alone—
Not the howling crowd, or the idol on a throne,
Not by the journalist repeating what he hears,
His truth a truth because it vibrates many ears.
One mind that follows the thread of the thread
Brings life to the living—life loved by the dead
Before you lived; your life is here
Because of one, dead, who cried a tear
For reasons we cannot follow—but sorrow
Yesterday loves you now and tomorrow.

None of our truths, which approach us from afar
Dimly, are the same; every glimpsed star
Different within our difference;
Royalty exists because we are the prince
To ourselves; we are the measure
Of all; haste hastens to us—at our leisure.

The poem swam until it was memorized
By millions, and that was how the poem was prized;
Poetry still lives in the ‘Ordinary Joe’
Who will quote you, softly, a Shakespeare or Poe,
No poet’s vocation—but poems swim in their breast,
Joys, built and loved, as love loves what’s best,
Or sonnets jotted, without pretence or plan,
Fondly lying, yet steel’d in the heart of Man,
The simple song that uplifts and makes its story
Far above what is honored by trendy glory.
Since Higher Education feathered itself for song
One can see why professionalism is wrong.
Absent love, and absent hate,
In perfection lies the bureaucratic State
Which issues credentials based on the hell
Of the bureaucrat’s ideal of what is done well.
Bored, or running to a Ph.D. meeting,
Where Ph.D.s fawn on themselves their greeting; 
There the committee gradually decides
Others are wrong.  Politely, the truth hides.

Religion and poetry and science are everywhere wise
Until we figure out why each particular disguise
Enclosing this effect or that cause
Holds harm for us—circumscribed by laws
Made for someone else could very well be good
For us, even if the reason’s not understood
Since why that person behaves like this
Or why she hates, or why you may not kiss,
Is crucial only to our end and our desire—
Possibly sad in light, possibly happy in fire.

I would be a Christian, if it meant this or that sin
Would melt away, but any difficulty I’m in
Can always be fixed by my own mind;
I am the only thing that to myself is kind;
The abstract truth that flies above,
Or rests from its effort in a book, cannot be love
To a soul that knows itself as itself
Loving, and nothing ever put on a shelf.

But conformity to ceremony isn’t always bad;
Not every gesture needs to be new, or mad;
But vice can infest the public mind
And a whole society become unkind
Since cowardice and ignorance in the mass
Can bend the best minds like a breeze in the grass,
And one idea accepted, too late in its wake,
We fall, and it colors the entire lake.

Gamble not on what moves, or glitters, or dies;
Keen advantage, based on gulling surprise,
Grows dull; love is restful, life is not a war
On life; life loves life that life might be more.
Great deeds are done by the blind;
Judge not!  See how dark your own dear mind?

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