Monday, October 18, 2004



Just a brief passage to alert those watching of recent developments in my own life: I'm hoping to tend to the sidebar in the near future, slotting in a number of resources I've been gathering of late, and updating the 'work' field to reflect a few recent successes. I'm working on a few fronts, have a couple of poems--and a prose piece I am at present working on--being considered for publication. Also a poem, slated for publication in January, at a smaller zine entitled "Writers against the war." I have one sub out that has been getting the serious runaround, and I'm trying to remain patient until November before firing off an e-mail to the editors of that publication letting them know of my displeasure. I'll probably post the results here, just for funsies, though should I do so, I will likely assure myself of never being published in that zine.

Absolute Beginners is, at present, in deep hiatus, after a year and a half run. Many of the core members have moved, and I'm likely to be facing a move myself within the next couple of months. The energy required to keep the venue active and thriving simply has to be directed to other pursuits--like planning for what is very likely to be yet another shift to another continent. Hopefully Australia, where I have a PhD proposal being considered, one that would, if accepted, put me in a position to develop a thesis regarding poetics on the internet, with a specific focus on the particular economics surrounding the "commodity" of poetry. I posted, a while back, a brief question regarding how information stacks up to other, more physical commodities in terms of classical economics, and received some feedback on that, feedback that I am still very much mulling over. At issue for me, at present, is the base question of how the mathematics of a "quid pro quo" approach to exchange translates when the commodity is one that is not lost in transfer to another human. Basic talking point: if I have a bushel of apples, and I sell them to you, I no longer have those apples. If, on the other hand, I have information, and I sell that to you, I still have that information at the end of the exchange. Furthermore, the bushel of apples has value in and of itself--should I not sell them, I can still use them. This is not necessarily true in the case of information, for information often increases in value when shared. So. Still thinking all this out, and hoping I'm given the opportunity to more fully explore these thoughts on a more formal basis.

As this all pertains to poetry: simply put, while poetry is not, strictly speaking, information, it may act more like information than it does apples. I'm hoping to make use of insight into information exchange to illuminate the economic process involved in the generation and publication of poetry--and with luck, the discussion may also provide some insight into the exchange of information as well. Who knows? Thoughts welcome.

Slam: Saturday night, went out to a new venue here in town, hosted by the same people who are behind the big kahuna of Munich slams, but with a less exclusive policy regarding who reads. So, I got to read. Thing is, this is a slam directed toward Germans, and of 11 readers, I was the only one speaking English. This is less of a handicap than might be expected, simply because most Germans have a passing knowledge of English, though not always to the point of fully understanding English poetry (toughest form of reading, in my opinion, in any language, due to the denseness of the form). However, presenting English in such a venue does require one acknowledge the fact that they are making more demands on the audience's ear than others. This takes valuable mic time--as the readers are limited to 5 minutes in this venue, and the piece I chose to perform clocks in at about 3 minutes and 10 seconds, and contains a reference to Abbie Hoffman, a specific enough cultural reference to also require a brief note of explanation. I handle it like this, and this intro is actually surprisingly effective. "Entschuldigung, aber meine Deutsch ist kaput." (big laughs--literally says 'My German is broken,' but Germans don't use this construction to describe poor German skills--but the laughs are confirmation of the fact that they have enough of a grasp on English to know that we, in fact, do) Then, "Es ist schmertzlich fuer Deutschlander. So...Englisch." (schmertzlich=painful). Nuff said. Main thing: out of 11 readers, the top 3 scores were selected for a second round--and I came within .4 points (out of 30) of making that round, being edged out by the very last act. This in itself was enough to make me very happy with my performance--but more to the point, that crowd was hushed by what I had to say. Good night.

Does slam kill poetry? According to this guy, yes, and truth be told, this particular debate holds little of real interest to me, but I'm joining in the fray (Mr. Gene=papa_geno) because the author of this thread decided to diss my "hip and urban online slam rag" based not on his actually reading the thing, but because of his prejudice against the slam format. I wish I could say the discussion was enlightening, but so far, my interlocutor is not proving particularly adept at actually engaging the issues behind his topic of choice. I'm posting them here, just in case anyone wants to follow along.

Ok, me out. Politics I am actively trying to avoid, as mostly all I can do is hope and hope and hope. There's some good signs, but damn, I don't think the polls have ever been harder to read--especially as, this time around, many of us are better informed as to how those polls are conducted, and just exactly what kind of biases can be at work there. I generally trust Zogby, but even he seems to think the vote near unreadable. Again, my biggest hope is simply that we do not have a repeat of 2000.

Or, then again, perhaps that is exactly what we do need to come to terms with what needs fixin'. We'll see.

tchitch out...

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