Friday, April 22, 2005


Poetry flapdoodle

As this site was originally meant to be used to keep anyone coming by abreast on poetry news, thought I'd pass along some of the "hotter" controversies in the poetry world, for anyone who might want to get the scoop. Right now, there are three stories, all in various stages of development, that are of some moment to poets--and all of them have some real ramifications for poetry on the net. My own thinking is that poetry must engage the web more closely, both for economic reasons and for the fact that it is so conducive to the use of multiple media in presentation and collaboration in at least near real time. The net--whether conceived of as medium or channel--is an odd animal to be working with, and the reasons why it is might fairly be understood in terms of that '90's net phenomenon, the chat room. I don't figure I really need to go into any details for anyone who has made their way to this blog, but basically, the mode of communication in a chat room either bridges or falls into the gap between oral and written communication--it is both/neither, clearly written in the sense that it relies upon text, but oral in its immediacy, and it results in some interesting situations as a result. There are many, and better writers with better resources than I possess have already written books about it, but to take but one example, one cannot raise one's voice in a chat room, except to write in all caps--but even that does not allow one to interrupt what someone else is saying--something we can readily do in real life. This changes social dynamics.

Anyway, I'm not after a thesis on this stuff here, (though at one point, I'd hoped to write one detailing the effects of such on the discipline of poetry...perhaps I am writing that thesis, only it is taking a far different shape than I'd imagined...) just indicating that this is an area that interests me deeply. Beyond the more fundamental dynamics of communication over the net, there is also the question of accountability, or lack thereof, that one can use or abuse as a result of online "anonymity"--and there are many artists who are quite interested in exploiting the possibilities offered by the use of multiple persona. Two recent dust-ups in the poetry world speak directly to the set of issues arising from this aspect of internet communication, and have to do with accountability and the legal issues of the 'identity theft' we have traditionally termed plagiarism.

First, there is the strange and unusual case of, an online community, until recently anonymously maintained, devoted to "Exposing the fraudulent "contests." Tracking the sycophants. Naming names." Some of the contests and judges 'exposed' on this site have termed's efforts as slanderous, and you know, they just might be. Recently, the New York Times released an article suggesting that had closed down--but the site's up--though who knows for how long, or how the exposure of Alan Cordle, who maintains the site, will affect their tactics. There's also an April 22nd write-up on the matter at Silliman's blog that's worth the read. Money quote, as far as I'm concerned, from Silliman, is to do not with foetry specifically, but the question of the "economic" nature of poetry: "A lot of people claim that poetry is non-economic, which is a statement I understand, but which I think is more false than true. Rather, it’s an economics of extreme scarcity and subjective authority, which sets it up perfectly to be a test case for the worst possible instances of human coercion and duplicity." I'd quibble, but I have not, as yet, fully articulated my own thoughts on the poetic economy...though I do think I can say without reservation that the 'net is having a profound effect on the nature of that economy, not least in providing voices not aligned with the academic structure a vehicle by which they can reach a large audience without going into too much debt. Perhaps in a future post.

The second case is that of Amari Hamadene, an Algerian poet--or is he?--whose online body of work was recently discovered to contain multiple instances of plagiarism. Why it contains multiple instances of plagiarism is still very much a source of conjecture, with theories running the gamut from the most simple--Hamadene plagiarises--to the absurdly complex--the plagiarisms are either a ploy by which to publicize the band "Lucid Nation" or coded messages from Hamadene to his 'militant cohorts'. Who knows? Not I. But you can read Lucid Nation member Ronnie Pontiac's take on the matter here.

Finally, on a note that is more than a day late and a few dollar short, still think poetry makes nothing happen? Campus Watch disagrees. I had a link to the physical address of--I think--the author of the above article at one point, so that you, too, could send in your dangerous poems, but I can't seem to locate it right at present. If anyone reading knows the name/has a link to the blog that published that address, I'd be grateful if you'd share. In the meantime, I know I have it stored somewhere, and once I stumble across it, I'll be sure to share.

Okay, I gotta hammer out some menus today, among other things. Happy surfing. --tchitch

Monday, April 18, 2005


Very exciting news

If this story pans out, it just might be a major point of reconciliation between the humanities and sciences ends of the campus. I certainly hope it does.

All thanks to Sin for the heads up.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


Trip's up

Sans pictures, so if you like the text w/ pics (and we have some good ones this go), wait just a few and it will be up properly--however, after a harrowing run at a deadline, w/ myself staying up until 4 am (and having to be back up at 8 for a tutoring gig this morning) and my co-editor suffering a spat with her always helpful husband (one of the secret angels of the site, really...) on the other side of the Atlantic, ISP issues, etc, we do have liftoff re: text. While you're knocking around, don't forget to go check out Randall's 1st place finish in our prose poem contest. Hope your check came in the mail, man--and no, I had no hand in the judging, so it wasn't me who put Randall in the winner's circle.

Lots of other great stuff in this issue as well...I can genuinely say I am very proud of this one. Yawp was a blast (3 day crunch through "The Time Machine" engaging one of the funnest--and most educational (for the writer) genres around--the parody), and the Spotlight found me in the dead center of an extremely engaging conversation with Lindsey Collen, who just recently won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for the region of Africa for the second time. Very cool having the opportunity to talk in depth with established writers, and some very interesting material from her, both for the politics (some more conservative readers may have some difficulty reading her views...) and for the keen insight she offered into the real risks writers face.

Enjoy, y'all. I'm gonna get away from the computer screen now, cuz I've had entirely too much of it in the last 24 hours. Tschuss--tchitch

Friday, April 15, 2005



Always have been somewhat taken by the idea that so many people feel so driven to share such intimate a younger man, I remember being approached on an extremely regular basis by real street freaks...the list of names is crazy long...Screwy Louie, Red, the Bead Lady, much in New Orleans...and of course just the regular, run-of-the-mill encounter in pubs, in libraries, public transport, those odd little encounters when you suddenly find a total stranger telling you things you cannot imagine telling anyone, even after years of familiarity with another person. Poetry I guess is one means of doing that and keeping yourself safe behind the conventions of art...though that, too, comes with risks. I remember at one point being so puzzled by this willingness, so regularly encountered in my life, on the part of strangers, to approach me in particular, that I felt compelled to explore the issue with my wife, who gets less of it, and who is much more likely to walk away from such an encounter. She put it simply: 'It's because you listen.'

The net's added a whole new dimension to this, of course, with online journals, but also with those sites I come across that are oddly poignant to me, and clearly to others as well. A while back I posted a link to Found magazine (yeah I know, sooo last week, but I haven't moved into hyperspeed yet and don't imagine I ever will, really)--but this morning, starting this last day of work on Triplopia, I encounter this blog, launched the first of this year of our Lord 2005, and once again found myself drawn into the wonder of the secret lives all around us.

I dunno. I prolly ought to take some time to really sit down and write what I feel when I see this sort of thing--the only thing is, I usually feel like once I do that, I'm never gonna stop, it's just that complex. Far beyond simple voyeurism (and I do have to admit to a very strong streak of that in myself as well...), more a matter of really being centered in what is apparently a need, comparable to eating, among humans, to let themselves be known to communicate...and how often this is stifled or staunched, either by our social structures or by the language itself (arguably, I suppose, one of those social structures)--as you can see, this gets complex, and quickly, and I suspect that even a fully fleshed out oeuvre of works taking up an entire library shelf would not exhaust the subject for me.


On the physical front, blood work done this week, first time in about 2 decades and the major source of anxiety for me, came out clean, so I'm a lot more settled about that. I go in for surgery a week from this coming Monday, but it's a minor operation, and will probably settle a lot of abdominal pain I've been feeling for quite some time. Good, good. I understand I may even have a copy of Dark Nature: A Natural History of Evil to keep me company. Between that and the complete Brothers Grimm, I should manage to keep my head busy.

Okay, me out, back again at a later day...tchitch

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Apologies, many apologies, for my long absence. It's been slammin' busy, I've limited internet time, and I found out this month that I need to go in for surgery on a hernia. Yum. Positive side: it's minor, and I'll no doubt emerge with an inside take on the German health care system. Also, Trip is speeding toward us, so most of my time on the internet is taken up by that. We have an excellent interview in the next issue, real feather in the cap time, and I'm currently banging out one of those parodies I've been known to produce from time to time, and this time the target of my homage/satire is this fellow. It's fun. Also, I will have a couple of online publications to direct you to shortly, some stuff that nobody's seen unless they've come to the open mic I help to organize every month here in Munich. I am fortunate enough to have about 6 pubs coming up in the next few months, some online, some in print (believe it or not). I'll post details as they become available.

Also, congrats due to Randall, who won the prose poem contest over at Trip. We'll be including his winning entry in the coming issue, out April 15th, technology gods willing. His blog's on hiatus, but keep an eye on that link, because I'm sure he'll post something sometime in the future.

Finally, the reason for the title, and the reason I had to come over here and post, this story just popped up on the most e-mailed list over at Yahoo...and I wanted to make sure that anyone who didn't catch it caught it here.

Back to parody. Hope you're all healthy and happy, and I'll try to make the space between posts a little less lengthy in the future. Tschuss--tchitch

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