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My transmitter is not broken, its unhappy, and why
Just because i have that flu
Where everything hurts, eyes hurt
From inside out
Head hurts like steel pincers, etc,
but we are alive fucking transmitter
We are broadcasting
Live on this frequency even tho i cant keep my eyes open too long
the transmitter doesn’t care about the miracles of photosynthesis or phytoplankton
There are fish still in seas of plastic
There are children eating the crumbs and dust of buildings they used to live in
There was a couple with a little dog sitting on the neighbors steps watching the sun rise at 630 am
Immensity of the one star
Preceded by volcanic red brilliance of the sky
Over the low desert mountains, the strings of little urban lights of the san gabriel valley
All about to be silently overtaken by that major thing
Sunny new day
Still, little transmitter somehow not pleased by this vast new day
Because of the flu? Shut up and
- Pomona College
- Ena Thompson Reading Room
- 140 W. Sixth Street
Acclaimed Los Angeles poet, novelist and current visiting Pomona College Creative Writing Instructor Sesshu Foster reads from his work. Sesshu won a 2010 American Book Award and a 2009 Asian American Literary Award for World Ball Notebook. His book Atomik Aztex won the 2005 Believer Book Award, and his poems have been included in several anthologies.
In front of a live audience at Book Show on October 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA as part of Vermin on the Mount, an irreverent reading series hosted by Jim Ruland.
an annual anthology of the best new experimental writing
BAX 2015 is the second volume of an annual literary anthology compiling the best experimental writing in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. This year’s volume, guest edited by Douglas Kearney, features seventy-five works by some of the most exciting American poets and writers today, including established authors—like Dodie Bellamy, Anselm Berrigan, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Cathy Park Hong, Bhanu Kapil, Aaron Kunin, Joyelle McSweeney, and Fred Moten—as well as emerging voices. Best American Experimental Writing is also an important literary anthology for classroom settings, as individual selections are intended to provoke lively conversation and debate. The series coeditors are Seth Abramson and Jesse Damiani.
Guest editor DOUGLAS KEARNEY is a poet, performer, and librettist. He is the author of Patter and The Black Automaton. He lives in Los Angeles. SETH ABRAMSON is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of five books, including Thievery, winner of the Akron Poetry Prize, and Northerners, winner of the Green Rose Prize. He will be teaching at the University of New Hampshire in the fall. JESSE DAMIANI was the 2013–2014 Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Fulbright Commission. He also lives in Los Angeles.
here’s a link to the issue’s digital content:
“The permission is on every page here. The best annual experience where space is held for radical experimentation is in this book. Thanks to the editors for really keeping it real.”—CA Conrad, author of Ecodeviance
“Whether oath, tweet, conspiracy simile, or tour of Hummeltopia, this anthology swings with verve and nerve from CM Burroughs’s ‘juncture of almost’ to Roberto Harrison’s ‘contaminate network of paradise.’ The experiment lives! It exists, Lance Olsen writes, ‘the same way, say, future dictionaries exist.’”—Elizabeth Robinson, author of On Ghosts
$19.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7608-8
$40.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7607-1
$15.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7609-5
• Guest Editor’s Introduction, Douglas Kearney
• Series Editors’ Introduction, Seth Abramson and Jesse Damiani
• Will Alexander, To electrify the abyss from The General Scatterings and Comment
• Steven Alvarez, tape 3
• Emily Anderson, from “Three Little Novels”
• Aaron Apps, The Formation of This Grotesque Fatty Figure
• Dodie Bellamy, Cunt Wordsworth from Cunt Norton
• Anselm Berrigan, rectangle 71
• Jeremy Blachman, Rejected Submissions to “The Complete Baby Name Wizard”
• Shane Book, Mack Daddy Manifesto
• CM Burroughs, Body as a Juncture of Almost
• Rachel Cantor, Everyone’s a Poet
• Xavier Cavazos, Sanford, Florida
• Ching-in Chen, bhanu feeds soham a concession
• Cody-Rose Clevidence, [X Y L O]
• Cecilia Corrigan, from Titanic
• Santino Dela, This is How I Will Sell More Poetry Than Any Poet in the History of the Poetry – Twitter Feed (The YOLO Pages)
• Darcie Dennigan, The Ambidextrous
• Steven Dickison, from Liberation Music Orchestra
• Kelly Dulaney, Incisor / Canine
• Andrew Durbin, from You Are My Ducati
• Thomas Sayers Ellis, Conspiracy Smile [A Poet’s Guide to the Assassination of JFK and the Assassination of Poetry]
• Bryce Emley, The Panthera tigris
• Adam Fitzgerald, “Time After Time”
• Sesshu Foster, Movie Version: “Hell to Eternity”
• C. S. Giscombe, 4 and 5 from “Early Evening”
• Renee Gladman, Number Two of the Eleven Calamities
• Maggie Glover and Isaac Pressnell, Email Exchange – Like a Flock of Tiny Birds
• Alexis Pauline Gumbs, “Black Studies” and all its children
• Elizabeth Hall, from “I Have Devoted My Life to the Clitoris: A History of Small Things”
• Brecken Hancock, The Art of Plumbing
• Duriel E. Harris, Simulacra: American Counting Rhyme
• Roberto Harrison, email personas
• Lilly Hoang and Carmen Giménez-Smith, from Hummeltopia
• Cathy Park Hong, Trouble in Mind
• Jill Jichetti, [Jill Writes . . .]
• Aisha Sasha John, I didn’t want to go so I didn’t go.
• Blair Johnson, The overlap of three translations of Kafka’s “Imperial Message” – I consider writing (a love poem)
• Janine Joseph, Between Chou and the Butterfly
• Bhanu Kapil, Monster Checklist
• Ruth Ellen Kocher, Insomnia Cycle 44
• Aaron Kunin, from “An Essay on Tickling”
• David Lau, In the Lower World’s Tiniest Grains
• Sophia Le Fraga, from I RL, YOU RL
• Sueyeun Juliette Lee, [G calls] from Juliette and the Boys
• Amy Lorraine Long, Product Warning
• Dawn Lundy Martin, Mo[dern] [Frame] or a Philosophical Treatise on What Remains between History and the Living Breathing Black Human Female
• Joyelle McSweeney, “Trial of MUSE” (from Dead Youth, or, The Leaks)
• Holly Melgard, Alienated Labor
• Tyler Mills, H-Bomb
• elena minor, rrs feed
• Nick Montfort, Through the Park
• Fred Moten, harriot + harriott + sound +
• Daniel Nadler, from The “Lacunae”
• Sunny Nagra, The Old Man and the Peach Tree
• Kelly Nelson, Inkling
• Mendi + Keith Obadike, The Wash House
• Lance Olsen, dreamlives of debris: an excerpt
• Kiki Petrosino, Doubloon Oath
• Jessy Randall, Museum Maps – Dominoes
• Jacob Reber, Deep Sea Divers and Whaleboats – Camera and Knife
• J D Scott, Cantica
• Evie Shockley, fukushima blues
• Balthazar Simões, [Dear Emiel]
• giovanni singleton, illustrated equation no. 1
• Brian Kim Stefans, from “Mediation in Steam”
• Nat Sufrin, Now, Now Rahm Emmanuel
• Vincent Toro, MicroGod Schism Song – Binary Fusion Crab Canon
• Rodrigo Toscano, from Explosion Rocks Springfield
• Tom Trudgeon, Part 2/21/6 from Study for 14 Pieces for Charles Curtis
• Sarah Vap, [13 untitled poems]
• Divya Victor, Color: A Sequence of Unbearable Happenings
• Kim Vodicka, U n i s e x O n e – S e a t e r
• Catherine Wagner, Notice
• Tyrone Williams, Coterie Chair
• Ronaldo V. Wilson, Lucy, Finally
• Steven Zultanski, from Bribery
• Aaron Apps, “You are only a part of yourself, collected in tangles”
• Matthew Burnside, In Search of: Sandbox Novel
• Alejandro Miguel Justino Crawford, Egress
• Lawrence Giffin, from Non Facit Saltus
• Tracy Gregory, For Mercy
• Tina Hyland, Google the Future
• Kaie Kellough, creole continuum – d-o-y-o-u-r-e-a-d-m-e
• Joseph Mosconi, from Demon Miso/Fashion in Child
• Dustin Luke Nelson, [Everything That Is Serious Can Have a Filter]
• Jeffrey Pethybridge, Found Poem Including History
for sale at http://www.upne.com/0819576071.html
1. Meredith Wild, a self-publisher becomes a publisher:
2. David Mamet on self-publishing:
3. Penguin buys self-publishing company:
4. Amanda Hocking (“the darling of the self-publishing world” “the star of self-publishing” )
5. Where the Heart Roams (“The Love Train,” and the romance novel industry in the 80s)
Pull-out Pull-out quote:
‘Barbara Cartland, the queen mother of the romance industry, comes on several times in
a film-stealing cameo. Mrs. Cartland (”I give women beauty and love”) is an
eye-blinding presence. Now in her mid-80’s, she’s always dressed in kewpie-doll
splendor (pale blue tulle, feathers of a color no bird ever grew and more jewelry thanis absolutely necessary except for one’s own coronation). She has written 362 romance novels that have sold more than 350 million copies. When she speaks, romance readers and writers pay heed, though, apparently, they are now going their own way. “I am the best-selling author in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records,” Mrs. Cartland announces right off, holding an armful of roses and staring at the camera through
lashes dewy with makeup. She’s appalled by the current trend toward more explicit
sex in romance novels. ”It’s soft porn, which is really a mistake,” she says.
How does a woman hold her man? It’s perfectly simple, according to Mrs. Cartland.
”You have to make his prison, which is his home, more attractive.”
And on an entirely different (i.e., noncommercial) direction:
In the 1970s women writers influenced by the women’s movement (and their practice of
‘consciousness-raising circles’) organized writing workshops for women—organizing
“the women’s community,” including founding The Women’s Building in Los Angeles.This
building hosted literary reading series and writing workshops, mostly for women but
not exclusively, and installed and operated printing presses in the rear, publishing
letter press quality chapbooks, posters and broadsides and providing instruction for
women in printing and operating presses. As a young single mother, my friend Gloria
Alvarez organized and hosted probably the first bilingual Spanish/English women’s
writing workshop in the city at the Women’s Building.
One of the founders of The Women’s Building was writer Deena Metzger, who runs writing
workshops for women: http://deenametzger.net/
and Deena Metzger discusses the Women’s Building in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52ZvbZNnMMI
Terry Wolverton, a former director of the Women’s Building, discusses her experience
with it in her book about it: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100562870&fa=reviews
“The Woman’s Building became a North Star on a dream map for women who were looking to redefine their lives and work. And its history—rich, splintered, groundbreaking—is the
subject of a new book.” – Los Angeles Times
And Terry discusses the Women’s Building in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9Ls6OhwfrM and like Deena Metzger, Terry runs her own organization, “Writers at Work”: http://writersatwork.com
Deena and Terry have been community leaders, organizers, and important feminists in LosAngeles. Theirs is an older (pre-digital revolution) model of successful writers.
INTRODUCTION TO PLATONOV
The year 1934, his thirty-fifth, was a significant watershed in the life of Andrei Platonov. He had already written The Foundation Pit and Chevengur, the novels for which he is today best known, but neither had been published in full. Soviet readers knew him mainly for a few short stories and, above all, his semi-satirical account of collectivization, ‘For Future Use’, which had been met by a storm of official criticism when it appeared in 1931. For the next three years, Platonov was unable to publish anything. But in the spring of 1934, he was included in a brigade of writers sent to Turkmenistan to report on the progress of Sovietization, and the same year was asked to contribute to a series of almanachs. Under Gorky’s general editorship, these were to celebrate the completion of the second Five-Year Plan in 1937; but they never appeared. The text reproduced here was written for one of these, titled ‘Notebooks’; it arrived on Gorky’s desk in early January 1935—a month after the assassination of Kirov, an event which unleashed a wave of purges that presaged the terror to come. Within a few days Gorky had rejected Platonov’s text as ‘unsuitable’ and ‘pessimistic’; in early March the organizing secretary of the Writers’ Union publicly denounced the unpublished article as ‘reactionary’, ‘reflecting the philosophy of elements hostile to socialism’.
The text was probably written in the first half of 1934, after Platonov’s return from Central Asia; a notebook entry from mid-April—‘dialectic of nature in the Karakum desert’—makes clear he was already considering its key themes there. Many of these relate directly to the concerns of Happy Moscow, the novel he was then writing; certain details would also be re-used in the screenplay ‘Father–Mother’ (see NLR 53). The text is, among other things, a riposte to Gorky’s own views on nature: ‘our earth is ever more generously revealing to us its countless treasures’, intoned one article from 1932. Platonov, a hydrological expert in his native Voronezh region during the droughts of the early 1920s, had an altogether different conception, combining faith in technology with knowledge of the harshness of the environment on which mankind depended. ‘On the First Socialist Tragedy’ occupies an unusual place in Platonov’s oeuvre. In generic terms, it belongs among his many journalistic writings. But those from his Voronezh period (1921–26) are more agitational in character, while his literary criticism (1937 onwards) focuses above all on aesthetic questions. Philosophical texts, as such, are very much a rarity—though it is possible more may emerge from an archive that is still, sixty years after his death, not fully catalogued. The manuscript of this text was first published in Russian in 1991; a second, typescript version appeared in 1993. The latter, which is what Gorky would have read, places much greater emphasis on the problems facing the USSR’s ‘engineers of the soul’. The translation that appears here is based on Platonov’s original manuscript—terse and prescient in equal measure.
On the First Socialist Tragedy
One should keep one’s head down and not revel in life: our time is better and more serious than blissful enjoyment. Anyone who revels in it will certainly be caught and perish, like a mouse that has crawled into a mousetrap to ‘revel in’ a piece of lard on the bait pedal. Around us there is a lot of lard, but every piece is bait. One should stand with the ordinary people in their patient socialist work, and that’s all.
This mood and consciousness correspond to the way nature is constructed. Nature is not great, it is not abundant. Or it is so harshly arranged that it has never bestowed its abundance and greatness on anyone. This is a good thing, otherwise—in historical time—all of nature would have been plundered, wasted, eaten up, people would have revelled in it down to its very bones; there would always have been appetite enough. If the physical world had not had its one law—in fact, the basic law: that of the dialectic—people would have been able to destroy the world completely in a few short centuries. More: even without people, nature would have destroyed itself into pieces of its own accord. The dialectic is probably an expression of miserliness, of the daunting harshness of nature’s construction, and it is only thanks to this that the historical development of humankind became possible. Otherwise everything on earth would long since have ended, as when a child plays with sweets that have melted in his hands before he has even had time to eat them.
Where does the truth of our contemporary historical picture lie? Of course, it is a tragic picture, because the real historical work is being done not on the whole earth, but in a small part of it, with enormous overloading.
The truth, in my view, lies in the fact that ‘technology . . . decides everything’. Technology is, indeed, the subject of the contemporary historical tragedy, if by technology we understand not only the complex of man-made instruments of production, but also the organization of society, solidly founded on the technology of production, and even ideology. Ideology, incidentally, is located not in the superstructure, not ‘on high’, but within, in the middle of society’s sense of itself. To be precise, one needs to include in technology the technician himself—the person—so that one does not obtain an iron-hard understanding of the question.
The situation between technology and nature is a tragic one. The aim of technology is: ‘give me a place to stand and I will move the world’. But the construction of nature is such that it does not like to be beaten: one can move the world by taking up the lever with the required moment, but one must lose so much along the way and while the long lever is turning that, in practice, the victory is useless. This is an elementary episode of dialectics. Let us take a contemporary fact: the splitting of the atom. The same thing. The worldwide moment will arrive when, having expended a quantity of energy n on the destruction of the atom, we will obtain n + 1 as a result, and will be so happy with this wretched addition, because this absolute gain was obtained as a result of a seemingly artificial alteration of the very principle of nature; that is, the dialectic. Nature keeps itself to itself, it can only function by exchanging like for like, or even with something added in its favour; but technology strains to have it the other way around. The external world is protected from us by the dialectic. Therefore, though it seems like a paradox: the dialectic of nature is the greatest resistance to technology and the enemy of humankind. Technology is intended for and works towards the overturning or softening of the dialectic. So far it has only modestly succeeded, and so the world still cannot be kind to us.
At the same time, the dialectic alone is our sole instructor and resource against an early, senseless demise in childish enjoyment. Just as it was the force that created all technology.
In sociology, in love, in the depths of man the dialectic functions just as invariably. A man who had a ten-year-old son left him with the boy’s mother, and married a beauty. The child began to miss his father, and patiently, clumsily hanged himself. A gram of enjoyment at one end was counterbalanced by a tonne of grave soil at the other. The father removed the rope from the child’s neck and soon followed in his wake, into the grave. He wanted to revel in the innocent beauty, he wanted to bear his love not as a duty shared with one woman, but as a pleasure. Do not revel—or die.
Some naive people might object: the present crisis of production refutes such a point of view. Nothing refutes it. Imagine the highly complex armature of society in contemporary imperialism and fascism, giving off starvation and destruction for mankind in those parts, and it becomes clear at what cost the increase in productive forces was attained. Self-destruction in fascism and war between states are both losses of high-level production and vengeance for it. The tragic knot is cut without being resolved. The result is not even a tragedy in a classical sense. A world without the ussr would undoubtedly destroy itself of its own accord within the course of the next century.
The tragedy of man, armed with machinery and a heart, and with the dialectic of nature, must be resolved in our country by means of socialism. But it must be understood that this is a very serious task. The ancient life on the ‘surface’ of nature could still obtain what it needed from the waste and excretions of elemental forces and substances. But we are making our way inside the world, and in response it is pressing down upon us with equivalent force.
text from the New Left Review, 69, May/June 2011
Chevengur, a novel by Andrei Platonov: