Thursday, April 28, 2005
El Pobre Mouse #2
On my way out for my evening class I found El Pobre Mouse #2 waiting for me. Very nice surprise. don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but there is a collage on the front.
Here are the folks that are in it:
Gayle Leyton, Lee Ballentine, Kyle Kaufman, Matt Langley, Dylan Hock, Dave Gardner, Carl Della Badia, Jim Goar, Marlowe Fawcett, Max Whetstine, Nikki Widner, Aaron Auslender, Kari Edwards, Patrick Scanlon & Melissa Ayala, Justin Kishbaugh, Summer Rodman, Melissa R. Benham, Ellen Redbird, Stacy Elaine Dacheux, Jenny Wennlund, John Sullivan, Delia Tramontina, Thomas Henwood
Nice note from Kyle. Will have to spend some time with this Pobre Mouse and its crawdad on the cover. The next submission period is open until June. If you want to review this magazine or drop Kyle & Sara some poems, here is the address:
sarahandkyle at earthlink.net
I understand there will be a web site up and running soon.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group
* Here I believe “customary” to mean “usual”.
I live in Korea, so maybe that is why this feels relevant. Since I left the States for the first time a few years back, taught in Changsha, and had most every assumption I’d ever held about China and the Chinese thrown into doubt, I’ve begun to believe that there is no culture (as in American culture, Chinese culture, Japanese culture. I only see individuals acting. Or, as in the statement, “all beings tremble before danger”, I can see a fair grouping. I also see culture as different from tradition and ritual. Both of which give us an idea about history and the ways not to offend, eat, etc., yet neither of them claim to tell us about the individual. None of them say, “This is a Chinese” or “This is what makes a Korean tick” as I believe culture does).
Today, because it was relevant to the discussion, my class and I (mostly my class) were talking about culture. One young woman said she understood American Culture. I told her gently that I didn’t believe that she did. the reason? Because I don’t understand American culture, and how can a Korean understand American culture when I, as an American (USA. Big difference, I know. I am an American, as in North American. Folks from Canada, Brazil, and Panama are also Americans), don’t understand it? Culture is created every day, always in flux, and exists in very small portions. Two people can create a culture. And it can’t be learned from pop television and music.
Later, during a discussion I was having with another teacher, a guy from Ireland, a few of my thoughts might have shifted. He said that culture is what is exported. it has nothing to do with facts on the ground (so, for example, a woman from Korea might have a better understanding of American culture than someone from the States.). “Friends” is American culture; it is not a warped view of American culture. Just because people and lifestyles like this do not exist, that makes no difference. Culture is only what is perceived. It is only what is exported and consumed. He listed Ten things that are American culture: Harley, Hollywood, McDonalds, Big (as in large. huge.), West Wing (TV show), etc. I listed 10 Irish: Guinness, the English, IRA, leprechaun and Keith (the teacher I was having the talk with) etc.
I am not completely happy with this idea. There is nothing gained from these perceptions (which if looked at in this way allow for American culture in Germany to be different than American culture in China and different from American culture in the USA. Not to mention the difference between assumptions held by individuals in those countries.). All they seem to be are beliefs, as often as not based on ignorance, that tell us nothing about an individual. The only one I find at all useful is Keith being Irish culture (but I would rather see Keith as Keith or Keith and Jim’s discussion as our culture. I’d rather not draw any big picture assumptions).
If someone says to me, “that is American culture.” they seem to be saying that (they believe) more people in American are/act/live/believe like this than are not/do not act/live/believe like this. It seems to me what has been created is the average man. I don’t believe in this average man. I don’t believe they exist. I do believe that people are much too complex for that. And this complexity deserves to be respected. We should not expect someone to act in a certain way because of the area in which they were born and raised. I am often times told (and this is supposed to be a complement), “you don’t act like an American.” So how does an American act?
I guess in the end if we realize that culture is only our fantasy about a place and people, the idea of culture causes no harm. only when we think we can apply these generalities to a person does a problem occur. So what is culture? Do any of you have a grip on it?
Maybe the woman in my class does know American Culture. Will have to talk with her again tomorrow and see what information can be gained.
Figure this post should make Anthony happy. Compared to his post, this is a bunch of half baked ideas. Curiosity, but not much rigor.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
I was just e-mailed this piece. My foundations are rocked. Why isn’t this on the front page of the New York Times? Below is an excerpt of the article written by Bill James:
We ran astray because we have been assuming that random data is proof of nothingness, when in reality random data proves nothing. In essence, starting with Dick Cramer’s article, Cramer argued, “I did an analysis which should have identified clutch hitters, if clutch hitting exists. I got random data; therefore, clutch hitters don’t exist.”
Cramer was using random data as proof of nothingness—and I did the same, many times, and many other people also have done the same. But I’m saying now that’s not right; random data proves nothing—and it cannot be used as proof of nothingness.
Why? Because whenever you do a study, if your study completely fails, you will get random data. Therefore, when you get random data, all you may conclude is that your study has failed. Cramer’s study may have failed to identify clutch hitters because clutch hitters don’t exist—as he concluded—or it may have failed to identify clutch hitters because the method doesn’t work—as I now believe. We don’t know. All we can say is that the study has failed.
Melissa Benham and Co. over at Artifact were mentioned in Poets and Writers Magazine (click on the above link). You can see pictures of the latest reading over at Stacy’s blog. From what I can tell, great things are happening in San Francisco.
Published or Not
Now that I have all of about 5 people visiting each day, I’d like to ask you all a question (or two). Do you feel that publishing your poetry on your blog disqualify it (that poem) from being published by magazines which require work to be unpublished? I just want to get a handle on this. My personal opinion is that it does not. However, I have seen a magazine (can’t remember which) that specifically stated that work submitted can not have appeared anywhere, including on a blog. So, am I being less than honest if I submit work, which first appeared here, to a magazine which does not mention a blog specifically?
I already asked Anthony Robinson this question, regarding his work, on his blog. He said, “I don't know if it means it's "published" or not. Since this is a personal blog, I'd say not. But other people have different opinions, I'm sure.
I've had a few poems on the Verse blog, but since they are a magazine devoted to printing poems and reviews in print and in blog form, I do consider it published--poetry is the biz they're in.
Me, well, shucks, I'm just me.”
Thanks Anthony. Now I’d like to hear from the rest of you.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Only an idiot asks another man to sit at the table
The other day I posted about this night. Then I took it down. I was a bit embarrassed. Still, think there is something of value in the post. I never want to be the guy who is throwing light on a culture. I have zero idea what is going on most of the time (as you will see in the post). In the end, this was my experience. It was only one night, and I think something was learned. Please take it with a grain of salt.
I am out with Z.. we are all lovey dovey. no problems in sight. good drinking. good talk. good. just nice stuff. we go from bar to bar. at one bar we are sitting and drinking, then I get up from the table to go to the bar to order some drinks. when I come back this guy is sitting in my space. I tell the guy (he is Korean) that he is welcome to sit with us, but to get out of my seat. he does, but he is a real dick. Saying things to me like, “I hate Americans.” Not an unusual comment. Still, don’t like this guy from the beginning. but I figure he will go away. he doesn’t. just kind of hangs around. night goes on. other people we met and know at the bar suggest we go to the next place. all of us do. including weird guy. so we go. sit down. talk. dance. night goes on. I am used to being outside of the conversation. no big deal. when there are lots of Koreans, Koreans speak Korean. I do fine in my own world. drink my beer. think. figure all is going well. weird guy says something. Z. looks at me with tears in her eyes. I am angry. wonder what weird guy said. I say, “let’s go” she says, “no”. I say, “let’s go”. she looks at weird guy. weird guy says something. She says to me, "you go". I say, “what?” Weird guy says something to me. I tell him to shut up and mind his own. don’t know how much he understood. he says something along the lines of sexual exploitation. (this is a big deal in Korea now because of the history with Japan). so I figure he said something about me to her. He says something to Z. in Korean. I again ask Z to leave with me. she says no. I tell her to come and talk with me. she says no. I am trying to play it cool, but am about to kill this guy. the night went from a situation that I understood to one that was crazy in 3 seconds. I am dumbfounded. finally, she says she will talk with me. once outside she says she wants to go home with me. so we go home. only thing she says is that she is sorry, that the guy was a jerk, and that he tried to get her phone number. guess he was filling her mind with all kinds of garbage, telling her I was trying to leave her. The guy doesn’t matter, but I had a male Korean friend there that should have taken care of this for me. I’m not sure why he didn’t. Maybe it wasn’t his business. Don’t know. But if the roles were reversed, I would have helped him. And the fact that Z. even listened to weird guy. Guess the first thought is why not knock the weird guy out. well, mostly I didn’t know what was going on until too late. Then, my only concern was getting her to leave with me. And fighting that guy would not have helped, especially because I didn’t know what was going on. Secondly, when one Korean gets in a fight, other Koreans usually jump in to help. I knew my Korean friend was not helping me by simply telling the guy to piss off, so I doubted very much he would have my back. Anyway, the story ended well. No harm done.
What I learned:
A. Only an idiot asks another man to sit at the table.
Something to think about:
Being overprotective is so unattractive. I hate men and women who are. However, by being overprotective and telling the guy to buzz off, I could have halted this whole situation. Without understanding the words, and only recognizing tone and body language, it is easy to make a mistake. In which direction is it better to be mistaken? Maybe passion shown is passion gained. Maybe showing a little fire, being a bit protective, is a good thing.
Best way to get the guy to leave:
“We are talking about a death in the family.”
Always curious to hear what you guys think. And remember, this was only one night, most nights in Seoul are quite fun.
Is there an etiquette to posting blogs? I have all of 40 hits, most of them mine, but I wonder, are you allowed to erase a post after you make it? I just did. Did anyone notice?
Important stuff. I have eaten Dominoes Pizza for pretty much every meal since I learned what it was they were sticking on the outside of my box. coupons. Two per large pizza. I’ve collected 14 and am now qualified for a free cheese. But do I want the upgrade? do I want to chow through 3 more pizzas and get a free pizza with two toppings? Pineapple and mushroom is divine. But cheese is fine too. These are the serious problems I would like to discuss on can of corn.
Your Linguistic Profile:
60% General American English
10% Upper Midwestern
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I found this message on K. Silem Mohammad's blog:
Kamau Brathwaite in Dire Need of Help
I'm forwarding this urgent message I just received from Tisa Bryant:
Kamau Brathwaite is a treasure of a human being, a brilliant scholar and magnificent poet. He has long been battling the Barbados government to keep his land, Cow Pastor, in Christ Church parish, and now, in his 70s, it looks like he may lose it, which puts his livelihood, his home, and his archive of Caribbean literature and literary history at risk.
His tone is bleak, and frightened. He's talking about burning himself upon the land, and is clearly asking for community support. Please write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, urge other poets and artists who care to write to him, and simply tell him you support him, and ask him what he needs to save his land, not what he's doing to save his land. He is asking for academics, poets, artists, to come to Cow Pastor, see what's happening there, and help him mobilize to save it. If you know artists and writers in Barbados, please contact them and urge them to help.
If you can do this, do this.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
two form rejections
Missouri review and Cimarron Review both sent the form rejection yesterday. Spent a day figuring out how I wanted to address this on the blog. Then I just figured I’d leave it at that. We all know how form rejections feel. I’d like to ignore them in the same way.
Today in class we had a nice discussion. then at the end a student really laid into me. told me I was playing favorites, only talking to one person, that I was a poor teacher. All of this is news to me. Figure something else must have been bothering her. Never before had this complaint, either to my face, or on the teacher evaluation form. Will talk to the class tomorrow and see how the class as a whole is feeling.
Good news: Got 6X6 today. They sent issues 9 and 10 my way. The books give tactile pleasure. The Gray Notebook has inserts with typos corrected as did the actual notebook. Did I say it was fabulous? If you haven’t checked out Ugly Duckling Presse yet, you might want to. They have all kinds of great work (at a great price).
This is a note I received from Stacy today. She sent it out to lots of people; figure it couldn’t hurt to put it on the blog. I’ve already visited the page (just click on the banner above). took about 3 seconds. Here is the note:
This is someting my sweet Allan sent to me, he just wrote a script for the show, that has gotten a particular agent excited about representing him. We watch it. It's a good show, one of the bests that no one has to pay for. You have to support David Cross, if anything else. Help kill reality television, by supporting good fiction on tv. Just click on the site and all you do is enter a name. It's that simple. Thanks.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Monday, April 18, 2005
As 10,000 – 20,000 citizens gathered outside the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai to protest against a foreign government, villagers in the Zhejiang Province demonstrated against pollution and their own government. Big mistake. The demonstrators in Shanghai were shown, by the police, when and where to throw rocks. Said Mr. Sun,"I felt a little like a puppet.” On the other hand, the villagers, some of them elderly, had a much different and more deadly encounter with the police. "I saw over 10 bodies on the ground, both officials and villagers,” said Mr. Lu.
In response to Japanese demand, Mr. Li, China's foreign minister said, “The Chinese government has never done anything for which it has to apologize to the Japanese people.” Well, once again, The Chinese government has done something for which it should apologize to the Chinese people. However, don’t hold your breath, you might turn blue while waiting.
Stacy alerted me today that my letter to the editor (LA Times) was no longer available on their website. I checked. she is right. There is sadness. To more important things. Stacy (again) sent out an e-mail to some nice people. If any of you visit over here, feel free to say hello.
My allergies seem to be going away. not sure if it is because the yellow dust is growing weak, or if the allergies were in fact coming from “The Pound Era”. Great book, but my copy was old, quite possibly filled with dust, silverfish, might have been throne reading for the owner before. Whatever the case, great book, but I wonder if it was making me sick.
How much time do you spend thinking about line breaks each day?
Friday, April 15, 2005
After a long winter, spring is finally here. And with it, lots and lots of dirt. This seems to be the deal. a wind passing over China picks up all this sediment. This strong wind can carry it all the way to the States. However, most of the dirt gets dumped in Korea. I have never been prone to allergies, but this year I have a little something in my lungs. My eyes are a bit itchy.
Ping pong habit is in full swing. Met Terrance after class last night. we ate some Som Gyup Sal and drank a few bottles of Cass. Then ping pong. could only play for 10 minutes because the place was closing. I am full of dangerous top spin.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
School has started again. The early mornings, waking up at 5:30a, is not a welcome event. This is how it goes. Pan-sor-e music clicks on. if it wasn’t for this music the morning would be a complete bust. Pansori is one of a few classical Korean music styles. Only two people on stage. one sings. the pronunciation is fantastic. Like ancient rap, but crisp, and accompanied by only a drum. but the drummer makes noises like: Hay, or Hi, Ai, while he is drumming. And I am using he in the generic form here. both can be (me thinks) women.
Up with the pansori. out the door around 6. least now it is not dark. flowers are blooming and I have a 15 minute walk along tree covered hills. doesn’t feel at all like a city up here. just a few cars pass that early.
My first class is a post grad class. about 5 people are usually there. We do a bit of work from the book, but I introduced, and the introduction was well received, the idea of writing letters to the editor. so each day a student will bring in an article, everyone will go home that night and read it, then the next day we will talk about it. over the course of the semester the students will write 4 or 5 letters. figure this will help them put their English to use and also help their writing. This might not last long, or it might last the whole semester. my hours
M, Tues, Thurs, Fri
not a bad day. spend the rest of the time wandering the streets and reading online poetry and writing my own. Tomorrow is Monday so I get to start all over again.
Monday, April 04, 2005
On Monday John, Rui, and I took a trip to the mountains. Bus to the subway. Subway for about an hour or so. Train for about one hour thirty minutes. Took the train to the farthest north station. Got to Sintan-ri at about noon. Only bits of patches of snow left over. Some wildlife; no leaves, were a bit early for that. It took us about 3 hours to climb up to the top. Trail maps said it was a 3.5km hike. that we rose about 700m. all along the way we saw old bunkers and machine gun turrets. These weren’t in use anymore, but you got a feel for what it must have looked like a few years back. at the top we ran into some South Korean military. They said no problem, that we could be up there, that it was the top of the trail. Then they went back to guarding their food. The food was brought up by a small motorized devise that ran on a track. It made a lot of noise and moved very slowly, but a fully armed man was near it at all times. looked like they were having some sort of fish steak. At the top I took this picture. you can see the guards and you can see to the north. at some point, it stops being The South, and becomes The North. Guard towers were on all the ridges. Each guard tower was flying a flag.
In many ways the hike reminded of Colorado. Mountains into plains. except when you climb the flat irons, you don’t see bunkers and military.
Easy trip back down. took about 2 hours. Was back home at 10p. slept for 12 hours. good morning
Friday, April 01, 2005
I am lifting this poem from the NY Times. It, the poem, seems appropriate. Lots of death these days, or maybe my reading is limited to the obituaries. Here is the poem:
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 goddamn big car,
drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.
After a reading one time, while Creeley talked with everyone, Bobbie got me up to the front of the line to say hello, and all I said was hello. and he said hello. and after that exchange, she grabbed his notebook to show to me. I don’t know what kind it was, a hard back cover. but the cover could be removed. New pages inserted. I liked the notebook, turned the pages. Gave it back to him. Nice notebook, Creeley. Nice notebook, Bobbie.
who wants to link?
It is time for me to get a link with a real living blog. My blog has booze and will travel. Who wants a new friend? The LA Times printed the letter to the editor. This is all shits and giggles. I will continue to write letters to the editor. Will take on very left and very right stances, just try to fill a void (In my hands). I challenge you, o bloggers out there, to a race. how many letters to the editor can you get published in major newspapers? It is all about numbers. Quantity over quality.