Friday, May 27, 2016

Gig #100: Of late 35: Airport, Death Grips, Dane Law, Dan Graham & The Static, Glenn Branca, FLANCH, Gobby, Pita, Girl Sweat, Wire, Klara Lewis, Samiyam, Sissy Spacek, Jonny Trunk, Oren Ambarchi/Kassel Jaeger/James Rushford, Ana Caprix, Prostitutes

Airport Paean To Chi's Awakening
'Lorde Playlist is that fine line between background music and distraction. As if Justin Bieber were just taught how to use DJ production equipment, and that little fucker picked it up too quick. Or if the infamous “god from the machine” was Ms. Cleo dialing you from hell, but *dial tone* or *siren* and “Yo, you called ME.” And another one. But what binds us all the MOST is everything at once. If we could all have it all, then grip nuts and proudly admit to being a GIRLY GIRL. Ladies, throw up the *jerk-off* motion until y’all become rightful heirs of the gesture. Reclamation! Claim everything. Airport is an infinity of pop-culture chimes in your head. Wring out them sounds until it’s dry!' -- C Monster

Death Grips Three Bedrooms in a Good Neighborhood
'Bottomless Pit finds Ride (aka Stefan Burnett), producer Flatlander (aka Andy Morin), and drummer Zach Hill in their most cohesive and incendiary form since 2012’s The Money Store. Flatlander obfuscates and annihilates seemingly insurmountable soundscapes with the help of Hill’s passioned and precise drumming, as well as Ride’s occultist and misanthropic rage. All of this is focused through a new lens where the band’s actions no longer dictate their relevance — Death Grips are Death Grips because of what they make, not what they do. Bottomless Pit is Death Grips 2.0, as promised. The band’s backlash against fans and critics alike who purely see them as a gimmick is tangible, too. “BB Poison” finds Ride mocking fans who wildly speculate over the band’s tweets, saying, “Zach hit them off like, ‘It won’t lit,’ they shit bricks.” Not content to stop there, he taunts them: “I’m in your house like, ‘Oh shit, I own this’/ I’ll kick your ass out, don’t bitch, bitch, it’s winter, bitch/ Take my trash out real quick or live in it,” he adds, calling back to “Trash”, a track that connects 21st century world-weariness to our constant contact with the overflow of ultimately fleeting content. On “Eh”, Ride shrugs his shoulders and brushes off egotists and sycophants alike. Finally, with eyes wide and arms out, Ride challenges on “80808” with a striking “Fuck with me.” All of this approaches an intense level of irony, considering that Bottomless Pit contains some of the most accessible tracks in the band’s history.' -- Sean Barry

Dane Law United in Dance
'As Dane Law, Adam Parkinson makes music using single board and embedded computers, mixing sine waves and mangled rave samples on an entirely screenless, battery powered set up, exploring the possibilities of new digital instruments and the future of how we incorporate computers (and computer music) into sets with no obvious computer present, whilst producing glitched up beats and room shaking drones. His debut album, United in Dance, was recently released on Quantum Natives.' -- Gray Area

Dan Graham & The Static Live 2/24/79
'The tape’s careful presentation of minor archival material is not only a consideration of Graham’s entirely special performance, but a consideration of cultural transmission itself outputting in 1979, in 2016, and perhaps outputting into all foreseeable human exchange. Primary Information’s archival release of the performance is a post-production of affective memory embedded deeply in urban and cultural infrastructure, an archaeology of assembled data not necessarily meant for machinic dissolution or fragmentation, but deep, considered, and undeniably human interpretation. By presenting a minor moment and minor commentary on the nature of art perception, the tape is placed into an endless archival field, the endless consideration of an artist auto-performing themselves linguistically across the stage of history. Considering how this subtly is often unconsidered in plenty of modern music contexts, Dan Graham’s performance at Riverside Studios London is an enigmatic snapshot of a wholly different scenario — and an ever important one.' -- SCVSCV

Glenn Branca Band Dissonance
'Award winning 1980 recording of the "guitar attack squad" with Glenn Branca at Bogart's in Cincinnati, Ohio.' -- PB&J

FLANCH Pretty Girl
'FLANCH is a record that explores this blurring line between the online and the offline, and it is a record steeped in the aesthetics and iconographies of both the internet and religion. The production on this album melds clanging, futuristic beats with sometimes-Levantine-sounding melodies. The tone is variously devotional and oppressive, exalted and alienated. The record features hard-hitting raps and almost-rhapsodic singing, and the lyrics are at times explicitly religious, at others irreverent and profane, and occasionally a droll mixture of the two. (The track “hal0” concludes: “Come into my immortal spirit/ Come deep into my immortal soul.”) This record sounds and looks like a document of a culture in flux, a snapshot of humanity turned strange by our own creations. This is most evident in the treatment of the vocals on the record — almost all are heavily processed, some beyond intelligibility — but also in its accompanying visuals, from the futuristic humanoid featured in the cover art to the videos for the first two songs, both of which are built around images of the human form deranged by digital processes.' -- Stephen Weil

Gobby Romance Frog
'No Mercy Bad Poet is Gobby’s sensory deprivation. And shit can get grim. Modern living is so immediately isolating. But there’s always a way out of Brooklyn. Nobody has met someone who didn’t want their own private island. Gobby is presenting that as an audible offering. It’s color-by-numbers, only you do the counting. Or a game of peak-a-boo, but with ears instead of eyes. No Mercy Bad Poet is a tactical listening experience using layered sounds that increasingly tug at one’s psychology in a way that isn’t a minor note, but a stick in the mud waiting for its next adventure.' -- C Monster

Pita Aahn
'Twelve years have passed since Editions Mego boss Peter Rehberg released his last full length release Get Off on the Hapna label. In the interim, along with running the label, Rehberg has embarked on a series of soundtracks for the French artist and choreographer Gisele Vienne. Out of this collaboration the seeds were planted for the prolific KTL, guitar/computer duo with Stephen O Malley. After a surprise return to live performance in 2015 we are now presented with Pita’s new full length document under the banner of Get In. Get In extends the perennial Pita sound into a paradox of intimidation and beauty. 20150609 teases the juncture between the human and the tool, the improvised and composed and the analogue and digital. Aahn inhabits a field of electronic nebula, simultaneously inviting and alien. Line Angel could be a new form of minimalism for the post internet crowd. S200729 harks to an acid most splintered whilst Mfbk completes proceedings as an ambient drift underscored with classical overtones.'  -- EM

Girl Sweat Off The Tracks
'With Bad Happenings, his first full length release for the prolific Box Records following a number of cassette releases for various labels, Russell Andrew Gray offers up an engaging selection of electronic beats and stomping garage rock guitar. His vocals sound as though he’s channeling something between the manic screech of Tomata du Plenty of the Screamers and the spaghetti western drawl of Suicide's Alan Vega, providing the perfect accompaniment to the motorik digitised rhythm and treble guitar. In fact, the album's opener — the aptly named 'Off The Tracks' — immediately and noticeably recalls Screamers, which is no bad thing at all. The Los Angeles-based synth punk band were a pretty amazing unhinged racket and that's the way we get going on Bad Happenings. Not for the faint hearted, but who wants to hear an album for the faint hearted anyway?' -- collaged

Wire Fishes Bones
'True to that nighttime scene-setter, Nocturnal Koreans ranks among Wire’s most musically relaxed releases, with Newman mostly singing in calm, sometimes hushed tones. But it’s only relaxed in the sense that a sleepless night in your bedroom is relaxed—the pillows and sheets feel familiar, but your thoughts are riddled with anxieties over the unknown. While the droll, dry “Internal Exile” may deliver its critique of cutthroat capitalism with a smirk (“Hearts of gold/ No pot to piss in/ Join the queue of future has-beens”), its tense acoustic stalk and prodding chorus apply palpable pressure. The more wiry—and typically Wire-y— “Numbered” packs in a cheeky callback to one of the band’s signature songs (“You think I’m a number/ Still willing to rhumba”), yet that knowing nod only reinforces the new track’s doomsday messaging. Those apocalyptic intimations are rendered all the more starkly through the dead-of-night stillness of “Forward Motion,” whose eerie, frosty ambience swells into a mushroom cloud of lingering cold-war paranoia.' -- Stuart Berman

Klara Lewis Too
'It’s no secret that Klara is Graham Lewis ov Wire’s daughter, and therefore not difficult to draw a line between her investigations of laptop-as-loom for creating vast, enveloping tapestries of field recordings and electro-acoustic process, and her dad’s exploratory, studio-as-instrument work with Dome in the early ‘80s. Klara clearly has a keen ear attuned to the nuance of texture, tone, and spatial dynamic within electronic and organic spheres, underpinned with a rhythmic subtlety that integral yet not overbearing within Too. She finds a democracy of sound within the mix giving equal attention to all parts of the stereo field, from the whirring micro-organisms of View thru the whisked rhythmic torsion and distant bird calls of Twist, or the loping freedom of trip hop and avant-classical movement in Too.' -- boomkat

Samiyam Dartgun
'Simply put, Animals Have Feelings is another fantastic Samiyam record. And I say that to be purposefully difficult because a) I opened this review in the way that I did and b) because even though it's all new, it sounds like vintage Samiyam immediately. That loud, open snare on the title track that rings out for way too long? That's pure Samiyam. The sample flip on 'Dartgun'? Same thing. You can tell it's him right away. Same goes for the oversimplified piano glued on top of that coarse LFO bass on 'Gum Drop', and the quickfire beats on 'Pier 4', 'Smoke Break' and 'Ronald', which encapsulate his melodic touch perfectly. 'Calisthenics', 'Surprise' and 'Part 1' are a great example of his iconic, if a little ham-fisted drum work and the cuts with Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson and Jeremiah Jae; they're heaters that also show us that he has talented friends who can rap pretty good on top of his tracks too.' -- Oli Marlow

Sissy Spacek Disfathom
'Hellish unrelenting grindcore. No slow parts, no midtempo, no mosh parts.' -- nwn

Jonny Trunk Kraken
'20,000 Leagues. The classic steampunk novel. Here it is, in full. In a gatefold sleeve, with a blue vinyl LP of music by yours truly. The publishers (Four Corners Books) came to me and asked if I'd be interested in making an LP with a book, or music for a book or something and I immediately said yes, I will try 20,000 Leagues as it means I can try my hand at underwatery music. And that's what I have done. Artwork by cult tattooist Liam Sparkes, this releases in a fab gatefold sleeve Includes the full book, my LP and download code too. A lovely package. Or of course, just buy the download and get the music and no book.' -- Trunk Records

Oren Ambarchi/Kassel Jaeger/James Rushford Pale Calling
'This is a fine example of electro-acoustic technique and knowledge wrought to a non-academic, non-traditional purpose: insectoid field recordings and glossolalic mumbles merge with the odd, lilting lick of accordion and crying bairns over a slow-moving hummus bed of electronics in Pale; never revealing a fixed source but flitting around the stereo field with the drowsily surreal effect of a warm summer days absorbed whilst stoned on antihistamines. By that measure, Calling feels more crepuscular, largely due to the appearance of an enchanting, Badalamenti-esque chord progression connoting the looming shadows of pines and a pining atmosphere punctuated with brushes of distant, smoky jazz percussion and a sipping harmonica, before the sun slowly dips and off vocal apparitions begin emerging from the undergrowth and shadows. The effect is made all the more gorgeous from building anticipation with the previous side.' -- boomkat

Ana Caprix M6 Ultra
'London's Ana Caprix prefers to keep a low profile ("Ana Caprix" is actually a pseudonym), but that hasn't stopped the producer from building a cult following. Caprix just celebrated the arrival of M6 Ultra, a self-released 7-track EP chock full of abstract avant-pop and imagistic music, as if the producer had strained old Taylor Swift demos through a Holly Herndon filtration system.' -- Thump

Prostitutes Chandeliers Shake
'After countless singles, LPs and performances played around the world, James Donadio is back with his first full length effort since 2014s Petit Cochon. Ghost Detergent is a consummate amalgam of fried gear, chunky bass and fractured samples. Donadio's extraordinary ability to fuse his wide range of influences into a collection of lucidly executed and concis.e jams has reached it's paragon. Ghost Detergent is a rhythm-centric maze of fluctuating patterns adorned with crooked fills and raucous melody. Tracks like "Nerve and Gall" and "Government Wrecker" stomp with a coarse, grinding fuss gliding on swinging bottomless bassline turbulence. Locked in puzzle-like sampling patchwork collides perfectly with an array of rogue electronics creating a sense of daring nearly extinct in the age of gridlocked BPM-steady 12"s. Tracks like "Pregnant Toad" and "Cheap Amplifiers" play out like a Def Jam bonus beat with ripping, cough syrup slathered DMX snare sounds. Ghost Detergent has an unhinged, unrelenting churn that stares squarely into a personal vacuum, remaining uninfluenced by the influencers and unflinching in its originality. Neither bird nor egg are relevant here.' -- EM


p.s. Hey. ** Jamie McMorrow, Morningness galore to you, Jamie. Cool, yes, he's great. Me, I am seriously not knowledgeable about filming equipment, but Zac and Michael Salerno are, so we're covered. Yes, the script is finished. I mean, I'm sure we'll do a bunch of revising once we cast the film and find out who'll be performing and delivering the lines since we'll be working with non-actors and are interested in working with each person's natural strengths and weaknesses, but it's fully written and ready for the process to begin. We're seriously raring to go as soon as humanly possible. It's just about having to know how much money we'll have to work with, so we have to wait for a little bit until that's known. Our big meeting today got postponed until next week, grr, but we're being patient. Wow, that's crazy about the dedication! Sounds like fate to me. That's awesome. I think 'My Own Private River' is on youtube, or someone told me it is. It's definitely worth a watch if you like River Phoenix. There are some really amazing moments/scenes by him mixed in there. Nice about your trip. So, like, you're already on your way? Or did you mean soon not now? I've seen pix of Skye, and it looks pretty as a pic. Oh, on the mathematical influence on my structures, hm, I'm just really, really interested in writing fiction that has complicated and deep and tricky substructure, and I make these kind of elaborate plans and graphs for how the substructure works and what it hopefully will do and even in terms off where things get placed inside that internal, mostly invisible structure. It's kind of architectural, I guess. And I don't, like, do mathematical equations or anything directly related to mathematics, but it involves a lot of organizing the space inside the fiction and determining its size and shape and stuff, and I use calculations and things that seem like they must be based in mathematics, I guess. Thursday was okay. Work. Saw the new documentary film by the great experimental documentarian Barbara Hammer about the poet Elizabeth Bishop. The film itself was kind of problematic, I thought, but she was there and talked, and it was great to see her and listen to her. Oh, and I got your email! Your gift! Thank you so much! It looks amazing! Actually, these are rainy days right now because I'm way behind on the blog due to recent heavy work and traveling, so, if it's okay, I'm going to post your post really soon on Monday, if that's good with you? If it's not, let me know, and I can hold back on it, but, yeah, I'm in sore need at the moment. In any case, thank you, thank you so much! I hope your Friday is amazing to the max! Love, me. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Yay, great, do let me know when they're showable, and I'll twiddle my thumbs patiently in the meantime. Our meeting today got delayed until next week, which kind of sucks, but a few days is only a few days. We're just impatient. Like I told Jamie, I think you can watch 'My Own Private River' on youtube. How was your meeting with your writer friend? Tell me. I'm good. I think seeing an old pal of mine who's visiting from Berlin today, so that should be really nice. Rock everything until Saturday! ** H, Hi. Oh, well, I do recommend Gluck when the time feels right. There's an anthology of 'New Narrative' work edited by Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy that's coming out later this year or next year, so maybe that will be a place to start if you want to. Yeah, it is really nice that your professor suggested that project to you. ** Bill, Hi, Bob Gluck is a mega-slow, meticulous writer. He's been working on a new novel for, like, twenty years or something. I hope the grump phase ends today and the weekend is like a secret treasure cave behind the waterfall, or something of that nature. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. Yes, he was Nayland's squeeze, late 80s, early 90s, back when Nayland was a thin as a rail. Yeah, I get that about 'Hugo'. It just didn't do much anything for me at all, but I'll revisit it at some point. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Okay, that sounds pretty promising. Yeah, man, it'll be so great. I like driving and cars, as problematic as they have turned out to be vis-à-vis the natural world. ** Steevee, Hi. No, I don't know Wang Bing, I don't think. Your description greatly intrigues me. I will set off on a mission of discovery, and maybe do a post on him while I search if there's enough stuff online. Thank you! Sucks about the postponement of your date. Yeah, talking to him and rescheduling next weekend sounds like a very logical plan to me. I'll go read your review. Everyone, Steevee reviews Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari’s new film "Chevalier", which he seems to find pretty good but not great. Wondering why that is? Easy to find out. ** Liquoredgoat, Hi, D. It's good, man. His book. My very favorite by him is his novel 'Jack the Modernist'. That's one of my very favorite novels in general. Essay collections ... I'll have to think. Let me think. I don't have my library here, and I need to get it in my mind's eyes and then scroll and scan. July! Soon! Awesome, man, that sounds great, and it's awesome that you're pumped. That word is so evocative. ** Chris Cochrane, Hey, Chris! Super great to see you! Yeah, how are you feeling? Is the recovery going well? How laid up are you? Can you not play guitar? Love, me. ** Sypha, Hi. Oh, yeah, so ... oh, wait, you don't like the page count thing, is that right? 'Cos, you know, the more the merrier? Although I don't remember thinking those plays were very good at all. Right. ** Okay. Jeez, the 100th gig. Time flies, etc. Anyway, that's some stuff I've been into lately and that I obviously recommend you test out, so maybe do that. Would be good. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Please welcome to the world ... Robert Glück Communal Nude (Semiotext(e) / Active Agents)

'In her 2000 essay "Writing/Sex/Body," first published on the Buffalo Poetics Listserv, Dodie Bellamy describes her practice as "a writing that subverts sexual bragging, a writing that champions the vulnerable." This constantly changes her relationship to her audience, her community—and to the text: "No way I can stand in front of an audience reading this stuff and maintain the abstraction of 'author.'" She "stiffens" herself in the performance of her "I" and "invades" her own privacy. In reading, she freezes herself into a corpse, a "not a body": Is this a problem? In his response to Bellamy, "Writing Sex Body," the poet and novelist Robert Glück writes: "Why write about body and sex unless they are problems?" He argues that these categories and their performance, the thing that "stiffens" us, allow for a beginning—of an argument, of an exchange. And they are problems, of the body and of sex, and of the communities of those bodies and sexes, that are central Glück's own work, from his novels to his critical essays, which have been collected for the first time in Communal Nude (Semiotext(e) 2016). "This is the goal," he states from the outset of the collection: "to unframe writing about sex and the body, to derail the mechanisms that make a unified position."

'Communal Nude is the first new collection by Glück in over a decade. A founding member of San Francisco's New Narrative movement, a loose collective of writers that included Bellamy, Kevin Killian, Kathy Acker, Dennis Cooper, and Bruce Boone, Glück's best known for his novels, including Jack the Modernist and Margery Kempe. The latter—perhaps his best—imagines a contemporary romance between two gay men fused across the gulf of history into the medieval story of the Christian mystic of the same name. Nude opens with his important essay "Long Note on New Narrative," which articulates a history of the group and its gossipy "hybrid aesthetic," which approached narrative in such a way that put the self "at risk by naming names, becoming naked, making the irreversible happen—the book [as] social practice that is lived," and lived specifically within the community where it is placed: namely, San Francisco in the late 1970s and 1980s. It is a writing that asks, against the backdrop of Language poetry's aversion to narrative, "What kind of representation least deforms its subject? Can language be aware of itself (as object, as system, as commodity, as abstraction) yet take part in the forces that generate the present? Where in writing does engagement become authentic?"

'In Glück's work, theory mixes with porn mixes with fiction mixes with memoir, genres he borrows and dispenses with freely in order to paste together narrative collages that cycle through local gossip and world historical events, the doings of gay men in pre-AIDS San Francisco, and the blender of identity politics: a changing "I" that both obtains the look and feel of Bob/not Bob, body/no body. ...

'In a moment when autobiographical fiction—autofiction—has proliferated, Glück's essays and fiction broaden the history of the form, tracking its development in the late 1970s to now. Communal Nude adds considerably to the breadth and range of the critical heft of this work, and partially maps a history of experimental autobiography that necessarily includes poets and novelists who developed this mode long before it made the pages of the New York Times Book Review. This is important, dutiful work, and its importance isn't lost on Glück, whose best essays—and there are many—articulate a poetics of the memoir that acknowledges the genre's porousness, the tears in memory's fabric, its frayed edges. He often excels at this when he's writing about himself, the subject he doesn't quite know best (otherwise why write about it?) but which he is determined to understand better. And in him, us: "Here's Bob, he's a writer, he lives in San Francisco," he writes toward the end of "Writers are Liars," a lecture given at a literary conference in 1997. "Here is Bob's stupid love life, blow by blow. Here are his friends by name… I try to approximate the irreversibility of a performance—something you can't take back, some nakedness, some shame, some detail too intimate, something I make my body do, something that happens to it." He ends the lecture by describing a conversation he had with Eileen Myles about the then-surging interest in memoir and whether or not this had anything to do with "truth."

'"All this anxiety about the truth, and interest in the truth, seems to focus on the truth of abjection. This display of true misery has an element of theater. The heroin of The Red Shoes can play the dying swan into infinity, but the locomotive that actually kills her is delivering news from the real world."

'Glück makes sure we're on the train.' -- Andrew Durbin, BOMB


'Long Note on New Narrative', by Robert Gluck
Robert Glück @ Poetry Fundation
'Robert Glück Makes You Blow Him'
The PIP (Project for Innovative Poetry): Robert Gluck
'Celebrating Robert Gluck's Elements'
Robert Gluck @ PennSound
'Bill Berkson in Conversation with Robert Gluck
Robert Gluck @ goodreads
Audio: Robert Glück reads "Conviction"
'Gabbing With Robert Glück'
'You are what you want'
'The Alien Inside', by Robert Gluck
'I, Chimp'
Podcast: 'Rebecca Brown, Robert Gluck, Kevin Killian & Dodie Bellamy'
'Reading it Personally: Robert Glück, Margery Kempe, and Language in Crisis'
'Hidden in the Open', by Robert Gluck
'One on One: Robert Glück on Jess’s The Mouse’s Tale'
Buy 'Communal Nude'


11/16/2015 --- Robert Gluck

False Starts: Robert Glück and Rob Halpern

Robert Gluck « 851 in Exile

Poetry will be made by all! Robert Glück

from EOAGH

Tony Leuzzi: For a voice level, say something.

Robert Glück: My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains my sense.


The first line of “Ode to a Nightingale.”

Wow. I would not have expected you to quote one of the Romantics!

Keats is where I got my start. He’s my guide in a sense: his enameled surface and below that the longing and loss. That combination of polished language and harsh emotion—I have never abandoned it. Words resoundingly in place—with a sense of inevitability even, that 19th-century idea of Poetry—and loss and incompletion riding underneath. For me, that’s what Keats is. In high school, I memorized Keats’s poems and then wrote them out, just to see how it feels to be writing those lines. It was a gestural experience.

That you were calling the poems to you.

That’s right. (Laughs).

Were your earliest writing attempts in verse?

Oh, yes, entirely. My first poem was a sonnet. I had the classic wonderful high school English teacher who got me reading and writing poetry, Marjorie Bruce. For me, poems were something to be fabricated. I started with the sonnet not because I felt that I had something important to say, or that I had to burst out and tell the world my feelings. Rather, I wanted to make a beautiful object with language.

Has that impulse been sustained in your work?

What beauty might be seems more complex, but I still think of my books as three-dimensional objects, globes, and in fact, at the end of the novels there is always something revolving.

At the end of Jack the Modernist there are a series of heads coming out of a body.


And there’s a scene in the beginning of the book that is loosely repeated at the end—a scene where the narrator watches Jack hug someone and wishes he could get a hug like that, only to realize when he does it’s not what he imagined it would be.

In college, in Edinburgh, I took a year-long Conrad seminar. He thought of his books as spherical. That’s where I got the idea. I recognized at once that it applied to me.

More of an understanding that this was your conception for your work all along?

Yes. I am dyslexic and dyslexics tend to think globally, rather than linearly.

Could you give me an example of that?

For a dyslexic, understanding comes in images rather than words or narratives. A lot of dyslexics are visual artists, which I was initially studying to be.

A traditional narrative suggests a syntax of action, a particular order to experience.

Whereas global suggests that experience is one, and that you take it in all at once, even though you can plug into it at different places. I think of my books not as temporal sequences but as incidents that occur on a globe. So it’s not as though one goes from one thing to the next thing to the next. Instead, all those moments, images, and tableaus make one object. There may be different elements but they exist in a sculptural relation to each other.

There are two huge groups of dyslexics in society, one in museum studies and visual arts, the other in prison. Trouble with reading will lead you into a visual field, or you become so alienated that your relationship with society is compromised.

The first pieces of literature you produced were verse poems in traditional forms. You say you were consciously trying to make beautiful things. As I look around your house, I see beautiful art pieces. Your connection to the art world is still very much with you, and you often reflect upon it in your writing.

I have a long, complicated relationship with visual art. In some way, I’m a frustrated visual artist whose medium is language. So, that’s another way of thinking about writing as an object. Add to this, my boyfriends, for the most part, have been artists…

So there’s an erotic dimension.

Perhaps a narcissistic aspiration (laughs).

Often in your work there appears to be little distinction between what some might consider a prose poem, an essay, or a short story. How do you make these distinctions?

I don’t. My way of dealing with it is to not make the distinction. But I don’t really like the term short story—and yet I have story collections. I simply call them stories. Or pieces. The short story has a history I do not feel especially related to. Other traditions are more important to me.

Such as?

Well, the modernist writer Blanchot made fictions called conts (tales). In these conts, which I admire tremendously, there’s a pressure brought to bear on language itself, and a porousness. By porousness I mean that one sentence doesn’t necessarily pick up where the last one left off. So you find a kind of air between the sentences. They can take any direction at any time. It’s composition by the sentence. These are things I think about, and one could talk about some prose poetry that way, as well as lyrical fiction.

I teach a class in prose poetry, and I teach the different modernisms through the genre: cubism, negritude, surrealism, symbolism, and so on. This inspired me to write my own prose poems, as opposed to what I call prose pieces—those one paragraph prose blocks.

The world of the short story is a world of psychological insight. The classic short story hunkers down into certain plot moments. I want to be lyrical, I want to draw away into historical perspective, or move closer into an intense sensory event. I have nothing against moments of psychological insight, and I hope plenty of them occur in my writing, but that’s not the sole purpose of my work.

Do you see yourself as an eclectic?

I assemble as much as I write. It’s rare for me to just sit down and write something from beginning to end. My old boyfriend Nayland Blake had a retrospective in New York. He asked me to be part of a night of readings where writers respond to his work, so I sat down and wrote what I felt was the trouble with our relationship (laughs). My piece was about bunnies—he uses bunnies in his work—two bunnies who are both bottoms sitting in bed not knowing what to do. They love each other but they don’t know what to do…

They want to fuck like rabbits but can’t?

That’s right! And I talk about diffidence, or even nausea, before the act of creation. I weave those two concerns together.

I get a sense of that weaving in your novel Margery Kempe, where Margery’s story is occasionally interrupted by the story of Bob and L. There are startling juxtapositions between the two contexts.

If my books have plots they’re usually borrowed. The plot of that book was lifted from Margery’s autobiography, whereas the story of L. is really just a frame for her story. It would be hard to put together Bob’s relationship with L. Those interruptions keep reframing Margery’s story. But you couldn’t make anything out of Bob and L.’s story on its own, you could say the exploration and development of their story exists in the Margery sections.

As a reader, I thought Margery’s story was framing—and/or informing— Bob’s relationship with L.

Of course it goes in both directions. I thought about Flaubert when I was writing that book. Flaubert’s reply at the famous trial. Who is this woman Mme Bovery?—C’est moi. Well, okay, I did the same thing. I said Margery, c’est moi. But I included the activity of projection inside the matter of the book. It took me a long while to decide whether to include or edit out Bob and L, because it would have been a purer book to eliminate them. And I wanted the book to be a jewel, I wanted it to be beautiful.

It would have been much more of a meditation. I remember reading the book and thinking the Bob and L. sections were pushing the book in unexpected directions.

In the end I wanted to make a book that could not be closed, that couldn’t be a unit.

Both my novels end when life becomes more reversible because obsessions are subsiding. Bob and Margery are no longer so obsessed.

Things are also potentially more chaotic, too.

Yes, when you’re obsessed, your priorities are strict.

There are other ways in which I try to make my books open and pourous. Margery Kempe is basically a collaboration with Margery. The sentence in that book is half hers. And there are all these notes—I asked men and women to write about their body. I put them in the book too. And there’s Bob, who is a person in the world. Bob lives in the same world as the reader, so there’s a way the book cannot close because you can’t close something or someone in the same world as you. In Reader, I collaborate with the different authors; in Jack I give the book to Jack and he rewrites sections.

In the sense that each of your books is assigned some genre title and your work chafes against certain conventions of those genres, you are collaborating with the readers of your books as well.

Yes, insofar as the audience will act as witness.



Robert Glück Communal Nude

'Since cofounding San Francisco’s influential New Narrative circle in 1979, Robert Glück has been one of America’s finest prose stylists of innovative fiction, bending narrative into the service of autobiography, politics, and gay writing. This collection brings together for the first time Glück’s nonfiction, a revelatory body of work that anchors his writing practice. Glück’s essays explore the ways that storytelling and selfhood are mutually embedded cultural forms, cohering a fractured social reality where generating narrative means generating identity means generating community. “I’d laugh at (make art from) any version of self,” Glück writes, “I write about these forms—that are myself—to dispense with them, to demonstrate how they disintegrate before the world, the body.” For any body—or text—to know itself, it must first see how it sees the world, and understand itself as writing.

'Glück’s essays affirm this radical narratorial precept in rich spirals of reading, self-reflection, anecdote, escapade, and “metatext.” These texts span the author’s career and his creative affinities—from lost manifestos theorizing the poetics of New Narrative; to encomia for literary and philosophic muses (Kathy Acker, the HOW(ever) poets, Frank O’Hara, Georges Bataille, and others); to narrative journalism, book reviews, criticism, and public talks. Many of the texts are culled from obscure little magazines and ephemeral online sources; others have never been published. As lucid as story, as lush as theory, and as irresistible as gossip, Glück’s essays are the quintessence of New Narrative theory in practice.' -- Semiotext(e)


What You Might at First Hate

One afternoon in the fall of 1965, at UCLA, I noticed a small sign that advertised an on-campus poetry reading by Robert Creeley. The reading was starting right away. A poetry reading, I said to myself with wonder. Aren't I a poet? Shouldn't I go to this reading?

I had no idea who Creeley was, and I doubted that the administration would deliver the real poetry goods to us students. I sat in the back of the auditorium. The reading was sparsely attended. Creeley was already at the podium. He was wearing a corduroy jacket and sandals -- rather informal, I thought, even inappropriate. On the other hand, two professors in dark suits were sitting on the stage emitting a gruelingly clerical sense of occasion. Someone had stationed a potted palm by the podium, signifying the presence of culture. If you've ever heard Creeley read, you will know exactly what I heard. His voice is choppy and averted; he seems to trip at the end of each short line. He read poems that I found later in his first big collection, For Love, poems that would become famous. He laughed at something in a poem -- what was funny? Another poem was about buying rubbers -- weird. I couldn't make out what he was doing. Here was a "living author," a rare bird on campus. In classes, our exemplary modern was T. S. Eliot. The study of Dylan Thomas, safely dead for 12 years, took us to the brink of the new. I became nauseated, listening to Creeley read. Shouldn't I, a poet, be able to understand any poet writing in the present time? Yet here was an aesthetic that did not admit me. Creeley seemed to be making up his poems from the inside as he went along.

After the reading, a crowd of black-suited vultures surrounded him and carried him off to dismember at some reception. Creeley looked so totally pained that I thought, maybe he is the real thing. One of the poems Creeley read that afternoon is called "I Know a Man": "As I sd to my friend, because I am always talking -- John, I sd, which was not his name, the darkness sur-rounds us, what can we do against it, or else, shall we & why not, buy a gaddam big car, drive, he sd for Christ's sake, look Out where yr going." In retrospect, Creeley's poem is not hard to understand. It has a narrative and can be taken as a little allegory. What was my problem? Literature and art show us how we experience the world. Creeley's poem said to me, "You think the world has a unified meaning, but that's false. The world makes itself up as you make it up, piece by piece, arbitrarily, out of your own perceptions. If you don't know how you perceive the world, then you don't know who you are." As Creeley wrote in an essay from 1966, "The road, as it were, is creating itself momently in one's attention to it, visibly, in front of the car. There is no reason it should go on forever, and if one does so assume it, it very often disappears all too actually."

Two things strike me. First, DIFFICULT might really mean that a pre-planned meaning does not exist. A very disjunct experimental poem may be easy to understand, because I am supposed to "co-write" it--that is, experience it through my own set of associations, rather than "de-code" the work and "unpack" its symbols. The degrees of coherence and disjunction we recognize in the world (and turn into literature) represent our deepest engagement with language, and so with reality. Second, innovative writing wants to keep me in the present, which can be experienced as a kind of DIFFICULTY. Most writing invites me to fall into a guided daydream that has its own telescoped sense of time. In much innovative writing, I am thrown back into my own present, the present of the reading instead of the present of a story. Until that becomes normal, it's hard work, like learning to meditate. Our culture seems reluctant to communicate its own realities; our labor takes place in conditions of raw capitalism far across the world, our old age is locked up in institutions, our wars don't make it to the news -- yet we are titillated with artificial sex and violence that keeps the whole culture slightly crazed.

If there is a reason for difficult writing, it is to break this shallow "fictional" plane where most of our lives are spent. My nausea at Creeley was caused by the lack of recognition. I could not see my own experience (organization of meaning, sense of time) reflected back to me in his poems, so his poems seemed to cancel my experience. No wonder I felt sick. In a way, it was the nausea of plenty -- too many possible meanings, too much awareness of time. My own discomfort led me to poetry magazines that printed Robert Creeley's work, and from there I began to piece together the literature of the present that would become important to me. Now when my students complain that they hate innovative writing, I warn them: Strong feeling -- even hatred -- suggests a first acquaintance with something you may come to love.


p.s. Hey. ** ASH, Hi, man! Thanks for the congrats. Cool about Brighton. We're trying to set up a London screening right now, but I'm not yet totally sure whether that will pan out. A stream would be amazing! My email is: Big congrats on your great gigs, like with The Chills. Really exciting! I'm loving the GbV a lot, actually. I think it's one of his best for a while. And you? ** Jamie McMorrow, Hi, Jamie! Thanks a lot. I'd had it in my head that the trig gifs would be more psychedelic in combo than they turned out, but, yeah, it was the weirdly soothing thing that made me go ahead and lock the stack down, so that's good to hear. I was miserable at math in school. I didn't get past Algebra and barely that. I had to sneak a way to drop my Geometry class because I was failing left and right. But, yeah, it's weird 'cos I use or try to use mathematics in my structuring of fiction and the gif stuff all the time. This week is pretty much film stuff, and I'm trying to finish a new literary gif work. I've decided I wanted to publish on more literary gif book, so I'm trying to get enough of them that I like to be enough to warrant a book. So those things mainly, and maybe hopefully some fiction. Ha, obviously cool that you kept working through the feeling that what you were doing was shit until it was debunked. Inspiration is such a mysterious thing, isn't it? Its ways are absolutely weird and kind of mystical or something. My Wednesday wasn't bad. Zac and Michael Salerno aka Kiddiepunk and I met to do an initial planning of what equipment we'll need to shoot the new film so we can talk about the budget with our producer tomorrow. And Zac and I went to the Cinematheque to see this film 'My Own Private River', for which James Franco, of all people, assembled a movie out of the outtakes from 'My Own Private Idaho' that featured River Phoenix. There were a few absolutely incredible little scenes/performances by him in it, better than the stuff that ended up in the film. Christ, he was great. So that was good. How's Thursday shaping up? Big love, me. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, David. Thank you about the new film. Every finger crossed. ** New Juche, Hi. I just downloaded 'Wasteland' this morning, and I've only had a quick look so far, but it really looks amazing. I'd love to do a post here featuring excerpts from the book to draw attention to it and direct people to your work and to downloading it, if that's okay with you? Anyway, what a complete pleasure! Thank you! 'Semiotics of popular religion and spirit practices': My brain turns into a whirligig when I think about that idea. Which is only good. Apichatpong is doing a book project with a friend of mine's very interesting but small press, and I hear he's quite pleasant to work with and very cool. I, of course, encourage your idea to visit Paris. If I'm here, and I probably will be, I can show you the more intriguing things. I've never been to Sicily. Friends of mine rave about it and about Palermo specifically. I hope to go. Right now I'm working on a new film with Zac. It's written, and we have a producer, and we have part of the money we'll need, so we just need to raise some more money, and it'll happen. And a new literary gif book. And a novel. And a potential TV series that I'm co-writing. So, I'm working on a lot of stuff right now. It's good. Are you woking on the new forthcoming book you announce on your site, or is out finished, and, if so, what are you working on? ** Sypha, Me too, exactly, on my schooling weak spots. I wasn't too great at sports either. A new translation of '120 Days'? Hm, that makes me suspicious, I don't know why. What Grove edition do you have? Mine is just '120 Days' and a few prefatory essays. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! They're worth the hassle of finding them. I would love to see excerpts, of course, of course! No, it's very good that we've raised part of the money. I'll know more tomorrow when we figure out what would be ideal, money-wise, and what would be just enough to be able to shoot it, but having the amount that we do should pretty much guarantee that we'll get to make the film. It's just a matter of whether we'll have to cut corners or whether we'll be able to do in the way we're dreaming. My day was good. Like I said up above, a productive meeting and seeing this film made of outtakes from River Phoenix's scenes 'My Own Private Idaho', and there were a few scenes with mind-boggling great performances by him. How was Thursday on your end of things? ** Steevee, Hi. I seem to be in the minority in not having liked 'Hugo' very much. I found it kind of rote and fussy at the same time. I haven't seen 'Kundun'. The only recent Scorcese that I remember liking much was this documentary 'Public Speaking'. I think you're right about him going back on cocaine. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. No industrial ABBA, that's sad. Is the funding you're applying for tricky to get? ** H, Hi. Thanks. Oh, they're completely incomprehensible to me too. I just liked the patterns and stuff. That interview project sounds very stressful to me. I could never do that. Is it possible you might? ** Bill, Hi, B. I seem to be in the groove again. I don't know how that happened, it just did. I was just suddenly in that groove. The new 'Tale of Tales'! Cool, I'll try to ace that. No, I don't know 'Strange Color of Your Body's Tears' at all. Curious title. Huh. I'll see if it's on youtube or streaming somewhere. Sounds kind of located in my alley. Best to you! ** MANCY, Hi, S. Yeah, soothing, it's weird, right? I was surprised that that happened. Me, I'm good. Vaguely hazed post-trip but locking in ever more so. Yes, sounds like a completely superb plan: you doing project progress. Are you? ** Kyler, Hi, Kyler. Weird, yeah, I was suckage central re: all things math-related in school. I don't think a live-stream possibility for 'LCTG' is up yet. It should be soon, I assume. I'll try to remember to alert you if I get alerted. Good to see you, buddy! ** Okay. Robert Gluck's new book of collected essays is a major thing and deserving of the full spotlight shebang, and so I aimed mine at it, and you guys do what you will, as always. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016



p.s. Hey. ** Jonathan, Hi, J. I saw that you sent me a thing, and I'll get to realize it today. Thank you! I don't think that's Laura Dern, no. Pretty sure not. But yeah. Philip Clark, who did/does the Donald Britton page, did/is doing an amazing job, yeah. A bunch of photos there that I had never seen before. Have a great one. ** Jamie McMorrow, Good on you, Jamie, mate. Yeah, his films are hard to see, it sucks. They rarely get theater releases and barely even then. Even in France. It's strange. I think MUBI has a bunch of them if you want to join MUBI. It's a great site. Cool, thanks for the report on Gluck and Kraus. It's weird: there are biographies of Kathy Acker in progress at the same time, hers and this guy Jason's. I don't know if they're, like, competing bios with different agendas or what. Tuesday was okay, no huge shakes. Catching up. Our proposal for the TV series finally got submitted to ARTE yesterday. I guess we'll have some very initial reaction in a week or so. Nerve-wracking. And the photo thing. I don't mind having my photo taken, I just hate seeing the photos themselves. I have some kind of disconnect with the way I look, and whenever I see photos of me, it kind of freaks me out. All I can think is, That's what people look at when I'm talking to them?! That's what I look like when I'm with people?! It's weird. Did you get to fill in the blank with music? Later, gator. Love, me. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! His movies are hard to see. I think his films have gotten better and better. If you get any chance to see the new one, 'Malgre la nuit', I think that's my favorite. Among the other ones, and among the ones that are at least relatively available to watch, I recommend 'Un Lac'. It's incredible. Yay! The way that new writing project of yours is happening is the ideal way writing happens! That's very exciting. I really hope I can get back to my novel very soon, I really hope so. That's the plan. Re: the new film, we're about to meet with our producer (on Friday) where we'll try to rough out the budget so we'll know how much money we need and how little we could realistically make it with, worst comes to worst. Also, we'll find out how soon we can start working on it. Zac and I are really jonesing to start working on it. Otherwise, our producer is in the process of applying for various film grants from the French government and other places right now. We have maybe a third, or possibly more than that, of the money we'll need already raised, but we need more. Thank you for asking! Your optimism has a very good record of predicting outcomes, so tentative congratulations! Have the finest Wednesday possible! ** Damien Ark, Hi. I think you particularly will really like the new one, 'Malgre la nuit', when you ever get the chance. It's very intense. You have a good day too! ** David Ehrenstein, It seemed outlier-ish to me, yeah. It just seems really strange that Scorcese sees Leo as a vessel in which to project himself. The result has been an ongoing string of lesser films. I don't get it at all. ** Steevee, Hi. Yeah, I remember that about your friend. He sound awfully uptight. Total agreement about Leo, or at least post- maybe 'Romeo and Juliet'. And about Scorcese. For while after his great run, I thought there were flashes of his genius in some films like 'Casino', for instance, but lately I just don't see it anymore, or the flashes have gotten tinier and tinier. Very best of luck, not that you'll need it hopefully, about the meet up with the guy from the theater. ** Sypha, Hi. Yes, I do remember you waiting about Lorrain. I meant to get something of his and then just spaced or something. Bloy sounds very curious indeed. Huh. Okay, I'll see if I can find 'The Woman who was Poor'. ** Liquoredgoat, Hi. 'Sombre' is really good, but he got better later. He started backpedalling plot elements after that, and the work got stronger. As I told someone up above, I think some of his films are on MUBI. Awesome about the Phoenix move. When do you go? You have a place to live there lined up? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Good morning! ** H, Hi. Thank you, nice to be returned. 'Uncertain, normal and strange' can be a fine combination if the balance is right. I met Katz once or twice, but I never talked with him. My friends who knew him said he was kind of a difficult guy, or could be. I can't remember why, though. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Oh, jeez, man, about the ER and hernia repair issues. Eek, man. Any temperature lessening between yesterday and today? Take care, buddy. ** New Juche, Hi, Joe. I would definitely like a link to your site, yes, please. And excited to read the new pdf, and, well, the old one too. What drew you to anthropology? That's probably an impossible question, but I'm curious about that. I've seen pictures of Chaing Mai. I've never been to Thailand. My friend/collaborator Zac and I travel a lot, and we were talking recently about going to Thailand sometime soon if we can manage it. Apichatpong Weorasetakul is incredible, for sure. I would try bothering him if I were you. Well, actually, I would be too shy, but, if I weren't, I would. I've been living mostly in Paris for, wow, maybe 12 years now. I go back and forth to my other home LA, but I've gone to LA less and less in the last few years. Have you been to Paris? I really love it here. I dreamed of living here since I was a little kid and, very weirdly, it has totally lived up to my fantasies about living here. Thanks, Joe. Have a superb Wednesday. ** Right. Today's kind of an odd post, I guess. I just got on this jag of interest in trigonometry gifs and was very surprised to discover there are tons out there, and so I got this idea stack them up and see what happened, for better or worse. See you tomorrow.