Poetry seems far away right now. I’m immersed in the everyday. We’ve been doing some small repairs on our house, and now it’s officially "for sale." People have started to visit it and so "evacuation" is now a commonplace event in our day. We’re also househunting for a new abode of our own. And we are going on vacation in a week. On the way to Florida, I think we are staying in a hotel called Ashbery though. As the world turns….
Houston is not known for cool, but here is an exception. The Art League has inverted a bungalow and this is what they got. For those of you in the vicinity, drive up Montrose toward the Heights (north); the cross street is Willard. The house–slated for demolition, apparently–was altered by Dean Ruck and Dan Havel. You can read more about the installation here and here.
Dan Beachy-Quick, Spell
Tsering Wangmo Dhompa, In the absent everyday
Kathleen Fraser, Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling
Peter Markus, The Moon is a Lighthouse
Sandra Miller, oriflamme
Randall Watson, The Sleep Accusations
Dean Young, Elegy on a Toy Piano
Plus new issues of these journals: Jubilat, Pool, and Post Road
In my tooling about the Internet, I’ve noticed that a number of the poet-bloggers are contemplating a gathering in a space other than cyberspace. If you are participating in the AWP Conference in Vancouver at the end of the month, could you please say so in the comment section below? Maybe we can plan a little plan.
NET ART NEWS February 11, 2005 — The conceit is half Blair Witch Project, half Paul Auster; ‘Laura,’ an artist working as guard at the Vancouver Art Gallery, makes art out of allowing visitors to her website to take charge of the museum’s cameras and see what she sees. ‘Sometimes I wonder whether more happens because I’m watching or whether events line themselves up for my benefit or something,’ she reflects in her first diary entry on the site, dated September 1, 2004. Every few days, something new is posted, including video clips from the day’s observations. These have slowly coalesced into a mystery of sorts, as the narrator obsesses over the interactions of the milieu’s recurring characters–a detective, a skateboarder, an odd woman. True to that initial entry’s promise, as you watch the narrator piece together the clues, you can never be sure whether something is ‘really’ going on, or whether it’s in her head. Nevertheless, all the references to Blow-up, The Conversation and other fictions in which the observer becomes the observed make one guess that Laura’s job is about to become even more interesting. . . . – Ben Davis
Question: What film seems most like a poem to you?
My answer to this question is Sans Soleil by Chris Marker. This 1982 film is categorized as a documentary, but it’s not really typical of the form. The female narrator refers constantly to the letters and diary of a man who traveled all over the world. The footage transports us to the places he visited–Tokyo, Iceland, and the San Francisco Bay area. We hear his thoughts and questions and observations in her voice, so there’s a constant tug between he said and she said:
“He said, ‘The more you watch Japanese TV, the more you realize it watches you.'”
Marker’s juxtaposition of scene and image is jarring and beautiful. The travelogue structure allows for a wide range of reflection, from the popularity of arcade games to the Hitchcock film Vertigo to a line in a poem by T.S. Eliot. We visit a temple dedicated to lost cats. Say a prayer and perhaps your kitten will come home. We visit a family bending in the wind in a meadow. We see dogs running on the beach, barking at the surf. We are asked to analyze our world in this imagery. Sans Soleil is a film for thinking and in thinking, getting lost in thought.