Saturday, September 29, 2007


Oh, and I feel like I've recently experienced a sort of state-change with regards to my appreciation for or attention to sound, in my own poetry and others', and just in language generally. I think it's due to the prosody class. So I'm happy about that. It's like another electron bumping something up to the next valence level. Or something. Because god I don't know shit about chemistry but I was trying to use that metaphor with someone last night and they didn't know what I was talking about, so at least I know about valence levels. "Level" is probably not the right word here. Nor is "about," at it implies a bit more of a grasp than I have. "Of," maybe.

And apparently there are cool other meanings of valence, like in linguistics and psychology.

OMG, that's where "ambivalence" comes from! Holy shit, I never realized that.

Awesome seagull

Although eating chips isn't healthy, so I have mixed feelings about this.

My reading was yesterday. It seems to have gone over really well. And now back to reality and comparative un-glamour. Wait, I suppose the reading was reality too. Now at least I don't have to worry about what I'm going to read.

People seem to have liked the dog one and the geese one especially.

I made some insecure comments here but deleted them.

I have to revise a poem so I can send it to a visiting poet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Looking for old poems I'd forgotten about as things to possibly read (I have a reading Friday). Went older than I'd planned, to December 2002.

Dear god I couldn't line break for shit.

That and all the other things that jumped out at me.

Man, I'm a way better poet now. That's comforting, at least, that I've improved that much. Makes me wonder, though, how bad I'll find my current poetry in a few years :P

Monday, September 17, 2007

Carrots weren't always orange.

My first memory involving a carrot--or at least a vivid one at a young age--is me pulling up a thin little carrot from our garden and feeding it to my rabbit, Fuzzy, through the bars. And she bit me.

Then we moved and gave her to Kelsey Creek Farm. (This is not a euphemism, she actually did go to live at a farm and I saw her later).

"Carrots were originally purple or red, with a thin root. The species did not turn orange until the 1500's when Dutch agricultural scientists and growers used a mutant yellow carrot seed from North Africa to develop a carrot in the colour of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. In an attempt to "nationalize" the country's favourite vegetable they began experiments on improving the pale yellow versions by cross breeding them with red varieties. These varieties contain beta carotene to produce orange-coloured roots."

"Carrots were recognised as one of the plants in the garden of the Egyptian king Merodach-Baladan in the eighth century B.C. It was placed amongst the aromatic herbs along with fennel, suggesting that the root was discounted, using only the pleasantly scented flowers and leaves in cooking."

Huh, I don't recall ever seeing or smelling carrot flowers. Now I want to grow some! I'd love a garden; there's so little light in my apartment that my houseplants have a hard time of it, and I think I'm going to install a grow light for them.

"The Greeks had three words each of which could be applied to the properties of the carrot: "Sisaron", first occurring in the writings of Epicharmus, a comic poet (500 B.C.); "Staphylinos", used by Hippocrates (430 B.C.) and "Elaphoboscum", used by Dioscorides (first century AD)."

Um, what? What do those mean, and did they have applications outside of carrot-hood? Any Greek scholars want to fill me in?

"Pliny died in A.D. 79 while observing the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius. In A.D. 77 he wrote the first encyclopaedia, Historia Naturalis, in which he "set forth in detail all the contents of the entire world." . It was composed of 37 books on natural history in all its phases including meteorology, zoology, geography and botany. This work contains a large amount of information found nowhere else. Headless people were among the many marvels it reported. He reported that it involved 2000 volumes but if so, most have been lost. This work had a profound influence on biology throughout the Middle Ages and practically until the end of the 18th Century. In fact it was the basis for the encyclopaedias of Bartholomaeus Anglicus, Konrad of Megenberg and others."

Cool. (Though this is not directly related to carrots.)

Haha, here is either a very weirdly worded Latin text, or, as I think more likely, a really weird translation. Apparently by someone who thinks "the" is spelled "ye":

"Dioscorides wrote 'ye root ye thickness of a finger, a span long, sweet-smelling, edible being sodden [boiled]. Of this ye seed being drank...and it is good for ye [painful discharge of urine] in potions, and for ye bitings and strokes of venomous beasts; they say also, that they which take it before hand shall take no wrong of wilde beasts. It co-operates also to conception, and it also being [diuretic], both provoketh [poison], and being applied; but the leaves being beaten small with honey, and laid on, doth cleanse rapidly spreading destructive ulceration of soft tissues.' He recommended the seeds of Wild Carrot for the relief of urinary retention, to stimulate menstruation and to 'wake up the genital virtue.'"


"Apicius Czclius, (ad 14-37) a wealthy Roman merchant of the reign of Tiberius, whose real name was Marcus Gavio, was the greatest expert of gastronomy in antiquity and devoted his life and own money to the art of cooking. He taught haute cuisine under Augustus and Tiberius and enjoyed the reputation of a wealthy and decadent gourmet.

Stories of his legendary wealth and excesses abounded and he passed in to history as a kind of croesus of the kitchen. Apicius is primarily remembered as a deranged, sadistic and extravagant tyrant. The historian Aelius Lampridius depicts him feasting on flamingo's' brains, the heads of parrots, sow's udder and vegetables seasoned with precious jewels."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Water experiments in zero gravity

Zero-gravity water experiments!

Check out the Alka-Seltzer one at 2:00. It's the best one. :D

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Leck mich im Arsch

"Lick me in the ass," a canon in B-flat major, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

No, I am not fucking kidding.

The lyrics are:

"Lick me in the ass!
Let us be glad!
Grumbling is in vain!
Growling, droning is in vain,
is the true bane of life,
Droning is in vain,
Growling, droning is in vain, in vain!
Thus let us be cheerful and merry, be glad!"

Ahahahaha I think this is the best thing I have seen all week, at least.

The phrase "lick me in the ass," here, is "apparently a reference to anal-oral contact." Hmm, is that so? Wherever did you come up with that interpretation?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

line breaks. also BEE PARTY.

So I was working on this poem and realized something, which is that my line breaks were possibly hiding less good words or phrases, or allowing me to ignore them or keep them in, whereas otherwise they might be more noticeable or seem more clearly problematic. So I want to continue looking at my own line breaks and maybe reconfiguring things if only to see what that shows me about words/phrases that are weaker or not quite what I was going for. That was a good epiphany and I was feeling pretty smart about myself.

Then we workshopped the poem and brought up a ton of other stuff that didn't even occur to me in that process of myopic scrutinization. This being the good of workshops I think. I think I have enough to mix things up a bit.

One of my colleagues (or whatever the hell I should call it) writes against beauty (in her own words). I think I admire that; in any case, I want to know more about that.

There is some sort of poetry and poetics meeting that's going to be happening. I wonder what the ratio of practicing poets to scholars will be. I don't think any MFA types were heading it, at least, but then again we are understaffed there to begin with.

L thought my line breaks were good, hence why it couldn't/shouldn't be a prose poem. I should probably break it up into more stanzas, because it's kind of dense.

That's probably one reason why we have line breaks and stanza breaks, besides the different semantic or sound emphasis it can put--because poetry usually uses more dense or "charged" language, and it's hard to take it all in at once unless it's more conveniently chunked for you. Sortoflikethereasonwhywehavepunctuationmarksbecausereadingsomethinglikethishurtsyoureyesandyourbrain.

Amazing, though, that people basically *did* write like that for some time.

I have to go prepare for class. The one I'm teaching. I feel like at first I was cramming in way too much syllabus wise and now the pendulum has swung the other way. But I think it's important to start small. Teaching is hard. :B I could talk a lot about all sorts of shit but unfortunately that's not the way to impart this stuff.

Hehe, I broke some sort of formatting tables.

I also told everyone about the mushroom outside my house and about how water is really blue (like its actual innate color. Hence oceans aren't all white on overcast days). And I really got excited about the notion of a bee party.

So yeah, I think I'm quickly uh, showing my true colors to the people I don't know yet. :P


I want to throw a bee party. I *will* throw a bee party, gods willing.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Huh, Ezra Pound is kind of a brilliant literary critic. I'll just try to forget what a fascist he was. Although once you know about it you can totally see it even in his literary criticism, with his talk of flabbiness and disease, of discarding and dismissing vast quantities of what he considers inferior.

I also like how he repeatedly refers to things (e.g. the work of Chaucer) as "creamy." Heh. Maybe he was hungry when he wrote that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

describing your work

I won a prize (yay me, the money is nice but the validation, especially at a difficult time, is even better), and they asked me to write a blurb about it. And now that I've already sent the description off, I feel like it sounds retarded.

I was trying not to make it all "Bler bler, here's how profound my themes are, in academic language." But my themes are profound, dammit. :P I dunno, it just sounds a little preachy. "Only by blah blah does he reach greater awareness of his self and a communion with his surroundings."

But that's kinda what happens. >_>

Argh. Anyone wanna PR this up for me in like, 2 days?

Oh, and I took a cab today and the guy was asking me what I wrote about. And I was like, mythology and animals and biology and science and stuff. Which, again, is true, and I have no idea how much of a picture it actually gives of what I do, and/or how lame it sounds.

God, I hate when people are like, "So you wanna be a writer when you grow up? :B"

No, I am a writer. Already. Thx.

I'm not sure I really even get that. Like is "writer" the sudden completion of some process of metamorphosis? Achieved once you get a book deal, perhaps? Now I'm just munching on my leaf or coccooning myself up and turning into genetic goo, on the way to some awesome transformation. A proto-butterfly that might be snatched up by hungry birds, and therefore shouldn't call itself a butterfly yet.

I do like bug imagery, and bugs. (I like moths better than butterflies. Butterflies are too laden with twee symbolism, too overused as decorative motif. Butterflies are a monophyletic clade in Lepidoptera, and I only dimly grasp, at best, the wider significance of that although I could roughly define "monophyletic clade" using lots of hand gestures.)

But really, as far as I'm concerned, if you write, you're a writer. That doesn't mean you're a good writer, but come on, I take this seriously. It's the closest thing I have to a "vocation," and even if I had some other job, that would be the thing that pays the bills, writing being the important thing and the vital ambition.

What's that poem that's basically about this? The gist is that you spend years, you know, writing and developing shit and no one takes you seriously (e.g. "You wanna be a writer?") and then finally, at some point (e.g. book deal) everyone's all, Ooh, a writer! and it's like they suddenly get that you were one all along. Well, either that or they actually do think that you, as a writer, magically coalesced into existence at the signing of said book deal, whatever relevant writerly properties you had, or activities you engaged in, being the piled gunpowder that isn't necessarily going to ignite, the wet questionable firework, the setup. For the punchline. This is a tangle of pseudo-metaphors.

I am glad the strike tag works on this. I was afraid it wouldn't.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Harry Belafonte

I knew Harry Belafonte ruled music-wise, but I had no idea just how much of a badass he was and is.