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NOT SURE EXACTLY WHY i did not figure out how to listen to the voice mail on my cell phone till this evening.

SORRY if you called me and left a message and wondered, what the hell.

there were two dozen messages. some long messages from unknown numbers that consisted of muffled bumps and long stretches of silence. some repeated calls from unknown numbers.

TWO CALLS WERE FROM MY BROTHER WHO DIED last november. in one, he thanked me for my help and wished me well. that was his last message.


2016-07-01 09.08.23

2016-06-30 11.22.142016-06-30 11.22.292016-06-30 11.23.232016-06-30 11.23.402016-06-30 11.23.532016-06-30 11.24.572016-07-01 09.08.122016-07-01 09.10.13

thanks to arborist Al Weisfuss


Jen Hofer

on / with Antena / Antena Los Ángeles


¡El AntenaMóvil ya está instalado! Ven a nuestro evento bilingüe este sábado no solamente para compartir comida rica y conversación rica, sino también para ver/leer/comprar libros de muchas editoriales pequeñas y micros de Latinoamérica y Estados Unidos — incluyendo las maravillas locales Kaya Press, Phoneme Media, Ricochet Editions, Seite Books, y Writ Large Press. El Antenamóvil es un triciclo de carga adaptado, equipado con libros que están a la venta y para leer aquí. La selección se enfoca en obras bilingües y multilingües, textos en traducción y textos innovadores de escritorxs de razas marginadas.


¡The AntenaMóvil is installed! Come to our bilingual event this Saturday not just to share delicious food and delicious conversation, but also to see/read/buy publications from many small and micro presses from Latin America and the U.S. — including local wonders Kaya Press, Phoneme Media, Ricochet Editions, Seite Books, and Writ Large Press. The AntenaMóvil is a retrofitted Mexican cargo trike stocked with books that are for sale and for reading on-site. The selection features bilingual and multilingual works, work in translation, and innovative texts by writers of color.

Justicia laboral alimentaria + Justicia del lenguaje: Un intercambio bilingüe
Food Labor Justice + Language Justice: A Bilingual Exchange
con / with Antena / Antena Los Ángeles, Cocina Abierta & ROC-LA
12 marzo / March 12
12pm – 3pm
Gratis / Free

Se proporcionará comida, pero si deseas, ¡trae una receta o un plato para compartir!
Food will be provided, but if you like, bring a recipe or a dish to shar e!
Por favor RSVP / RSVP Please
(¡pero ven aunque no puedas RSVP! / ¡but come even if you can’t RSVP!)

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles  CA  90024


The Worker Body / El cuerpo trabajador, Cocina Abierta & ROC-LA, July 2015 / julio de 2015.
Photo/Foto: Heather M. O’Brien

Antena y Antena Los Ángeles, artistas en residencia con el programa de Public Engagement (Participación pública), junto con artistas, organizadorxs y trabajadorxs restauranterxs de la colectiva Cocina Abierta y El Centro de Oportunidades para Trabajadores de Restauranterxs de Los Ángeles (ROC-LA), invitan a lxs visitantes del Hammer a compartir comida, ideas y conversación en un espacio bilingüe. Les invitamos a escuchar las historias de trabajadorxs restauranterxs y posteriormente participar en un diálogo bilingüe durante una comida estilo familiar. Se proporcionará la comida, pero cualquier plato o receta que quieran traer será bienvenido.

¡Colabora compartiendo una receta para nuestro recetario! 

Las recetas que logre recolectarse serán utilizadas por Libros Antena Books para crear una pequeña publicación DIY (Do-It-Yourself o hazlo-tú-mismx), que será distribuida a todxs lxs participantes.

Public Engagement artists-in-residence Antena and Antena Los Ángeles, along with artists, organizers and restaurant workers from the Cocina Abierta collective and Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles (ROC-LA), invite Hammer visitors to share food, ideas, and conversation in a bilingual space. Visitors are invited to hear the stories of restaurant workers and afterward engage in bilingual dialogue over a family-style meal. Food will be provided, but feel free to bring a dish or recipe to share.

Participate by contributing a recipe for our recipe book! 

The collected recipes will be made into a small DIY publication by Libros Antena Books and distributed to all participants.

Jen also notes, NEWLY AVAILABLE:


¡Ya salió la traducción de Estilo (Style) de la feroz escritora mexicana Dolores Dorantes! Puedes comprar el libro en Small Press Distribution o directo de Kenning Editions .

My translation of Estilo (Style) by the fierce Mexican writer Dolores Dorantes is out! You can by the book from Small Press Distribution or directly from Kenning Editions .




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:

and Deena Metzger discusses the Women’s Building in this video:

Terry Wolverton, a former director of the Women’s Building, discusses her experience
with it in her book about it:

“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: and like Deena Metzger, Terry runs her own organization, “Writers at Work”:

Deena and Terry have been community leaders, organizers, and important feminists in LosAngeles. Theirs is an older (pre-digital revolution) model of successful writers. airshipnew4



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.

andrei platonov

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:

Click to access Platonov_Andrei_Chevengur.pdf


Andrei Platonov (centre, marked ‘X’) with members of the cooperative association of peasants ‘Rogachevka’ at the opening of the first power plant in the village Rogachevka, Voronezh region, 1924.

Click to access Platonov_Andrei_Chevengur.pdf


so what if i outlived you, acrid sweat stench of your blue-lined pillow

so what if i outlived you, sharp male camp barracks ammonia of loneliness

so what if i outlived you, gestures, expressions, phrases, moments, feelings

so what if i outlived you, urine-drenched piles of clothes sabro and i threw in the washing machines—all stolen later, you said, unwatched in the same laundromat (exasperated, because who would wear any of your clothes?)

so what if i outlived you, wabash street storefront rental space

so what if i outlived you, phonecalls saying you’d been found in the street somewhere, taken to ER

so what if i outlived you, calling up from the sidewalk in front of chinese restaurant in vallejo, walking around trying to find you, you answered laughing, from the dark upstairs window

so what if i outlived you, night ride sitting behind you on a motorcycle through a 20th century monterey

so what if i outlived you, sitting in front of the desk of a mortuary man who says that the coroner does not allow us to see the body at the coroner’s, you have to pay extra and wait days to transfer it

so what if i outlived you, sea lions barking down on the breakwater at night

so what if i outlived you, seagulls calling

so what if i outlived you, photo of you standing in front of mexican hat rock—only now i noticed you look beat up and washed out (maybe i was ignoring it, maybe i am noticing again)

so what if i outlived you, your boots that were crap (that fell apart right away), the boots that did not fit (free), the boots that you liked

so what if i outlived you, radio station KPIG 107.5 still playing

so what if i outlived you, we met a writer, supposedly a friend, at the campground at monument valley when nights went below freezing (we were the only ones in the whole place, we had it to ourselves on late winter afternoons—he stayed in nearby kayenta motel), he took me aside, told me he had to leave—he couldn’t take the way you looked—you scared him away—never heard from him again—

so what if i outlived you, that american country where some of my students live, where millions still live

so what if i outlived you, your clothes in black trash bags deposited at thrift stores

so what if i outlived you, california coast like your flushed face and grin

so what if i outlived you, and nobody knows any of these things about you except maybe zeus (in our rush, sabro and i threw all the cassette tapes away)

so what if i outlived you, i tried to say some of it at the memorial

so what if i outlived you, john and his roommates can use your pots and pans (john still writes me little notes, he still owes me money)

so what if i outlived you, your jackets and coats hung unused in the closets, so that when looked in the daylight, it was this strange sort of orange color that reappeared in a photograph 20 or 30 years old

so what if i outlived you, turkey vulture over the coast range

so what if i outlived you, i told mom there was nothing that needed to be done now

so what if i outlived you, sabro and i drove up one last time

so what if i outlived you, fucking cheap beer can with cigarette ashes on it

so what if i outlived you, something you said comes back to me

so what if i outlived you, i have boxes of letters from you both


Post-war economic boom times gave a lift to West Coast bohemian counterculture from Seattle to San Diego, and unexpectedly vital literary scenes rose in between, such as Fresno, home of a legion of writers, including Gary Soto and Juan Felipe Herrera, Santa Barbara, one time home of once widely -read but now defunct Capra and Black Sparrow presses, all were part of a burgeoning small press network that spread from coast to coast, celebrated in events such as the Taos Poetry Circus (with its World Heavyweight Poet contest), the Bisbee Poetry Festival, and Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, once nationally known. Later recessions, state cutbacks in support for the arts, and the ever-increasing income inequality has eclipsed and erased most of that literary history and poetic culture. City Lights Books is one of the last major small press publishers extant.
City Lights books, their revolutionary pocket poets series—the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti—and the others, Kenneth Patchen, Thirty Spanish Poems of Love and Exile translated by Kenneth Rexroth, opened a world of poetry to me and others. They published Nicanor Parra’s Anti-Poems in 1960! Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems in 1964! That series changed American literature!
Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the other editors at City Lights not only picked up on the New American Poetry (anthologized by Donald Allen in his 1960 edition with that title), they broadened its reach with international linkages, including Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jacque Prevert, Andrei Voznesensky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and Ernesto Cardenal.
City Lights Books published writing that was new, socially and politically cutting edge, international and multilingual in outlook and scope. It was really cutting edge compared to the Anglophone and Eurocentric corporate New York publishing houses. It had the scope of a New Directions Publishers on the west Coast. Unlike New Directions, which looked to Europe and overlooked homegrown talent, City Lights, fed on the San Francisco Renaissance and fueled the whole burgeoning West Coast scene.
City Lights has not only not quit, folded nor given up on the 21st century, it has continued to publish translations from Mexico and elsewhere, cutting edge poetry like Will Alexander’s brilliant Compression & Purity, as well as current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s most recent, Notes on the Assemblage.
City Lights is not only a great bookstore and a publishing house with a vital history, it’s a kind of lighthouse in stormy times, and a beacon that illuminates possibilities. City Lights shows that a better culture is at hand—if we take it in hand.
city lights

Okay, 40s? Early 40s maybe with an emaciated look like extruded wax, first thing is long string hair like a grease curtain in front of his face, and behind that the grin, oily skin too as if he doesn’t wash but who knows maybe he’s naturally dark and shiny, like his black sunglasses and his black hair strings, wearing sunglasses inside like he has emerged from the bright side of a long day, with his grin maybe grinning at something he has just finished saying to himself or he is about to say to you, if you let him, or who? Just to himself? He has the aspect standing in one spot with the sunglasses and the grin of staring and thinking to himself, marveling at weirdness of the inside world, who knows really what it’s about, I’m not sure that he isn’t a emissary from a different world of some kind, and minutes later I see him walk by with a bag of ice from the big ice box pressed against his side, like his ribs hurt, with the same grin.


vermin on the mount oct 30

Join us for a night of irreverent readings with Sesshu Foster, Andrea Kleine, Janice Lee, Allan MacDonell, David Ulin and your host, Jim Ruland.

BOOK SHOW, 5503 North Figueroa St, Los Angeles, California 90042

7:30 PM OCTOBER 30

Jim Ruland asked me to note “an unusual event that occured during a reading”:

At CSU Dominguez Hills after a reading I gave, there was a line of people getting books signed, saying hello or asking questions. One tatted rockero kid with shaggy hair said, “You know, in your book, City Terrace Field Manual, you wrote about a woman who was murdered. That was my grandmother.” I didn’t really know what to say, or expect what he was going to say next. “My mom told me to give you this letter. She asked if you could give it to your mom. She said to thank your mom for being so kind to our family after my grandmother died. She always remembered your mom’s kindness. She said she made my mom’s Halloween costume, and helped her get to summer camp. She could’ve come tonight, but she’s in Washington D.C.” I did give the letter to my mom, who is now 90.

maybe when they were attacking—black & white—a man on the run—another man with a big gun, a man in the shadows with shining eyes like glowing tubes in an old radio, girl in slinky attack hair, watch out—keep alert for further details on a secret channel, so they sent flying saucers, they sent Godzilla and gargoyles, flying monkeys with bat wings, they sent John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, they sent fleets of aircraft carriers and destroyers, B-17s and B-52s, they sent secret agents, laconic cowboys and martial arts experts who could smile with a devilish grin, they sent guys with snake-oil pompadours like the spokesman for General Electric, they sent waves of super heroes with magic powers, women in bikinis and stiletto heels, Fu Manchu and Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney and Charlie Chan—they were all sent into the nightmare of burning cities and collapsing continents, through the bubbling mists of sinking Atlantis and Lost Kingdoms of the Congo, they sent Tarzan and Jerry Lewis, they sent Bugs Bunny and all the rest of them into the fiery maelstorm, they sent guys driving fast cars even faster, they sent musculature of Mister Universe and Hercules, they sent tough guys growling out of the corners of the hat pulled down over glinty eyes, they sent wave after wave of attacking Indians and Nazis, Japs and barbarian warriors, Zulus and big-headed aliens all falling in a hail of late night static, in a blizzard of bad reception and rabbit ear antennae, they sent them all (even dancing girls, slapstick comics, dashing leading men) to other planets and outer space, they sent them all to hellish combat against sneering villains with cruel mannerisms, lame-ass dialogue the only thing they had to defend themselves, and “yet against all odds,” against even imagination and reality both, against both actuality of human lives as they are lived (so-called, “the human condition”) as well as more imaginative intelligence, they somehow prevailed—they won! this world was saved. yay.


June 2021