Thursday, August 31, 2006

P E A C H is gone 

Okay, I'm just going to admit that I'm feeling depressed about this. It's painful. The graffiti of the word "PEACH" that was on the side of Minar Palace was rumored to be painted by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat. Frank Sherlock told me of this.

He and I spent some time looking through Basquiat's books to compare the lettering. It LOOKED EXACTLY like it. In fact the movie about his life had lettering EXACTLY like it.

Look, I already know how ironic this turns out to be, considering the conversation here about temporary art, etc. And it WAS graffiti, so that's expecting to be temporary, right?

Frank suggested I contact Bob Hollman about the wall. And I did, and I also emailed a few others, and of course, IRONY ON TOP OF IRONY, all the contacts got back to me today, mere hours after it all came smashing down.

And I didn't even fucking photograph it! How stupid!

Not only that, Minar Palace was THE BEST Indian food in Philadelphia, hands down. And they DIDN'T WANT TO GO, they were such good people! They were pretty upset about being forced out. The last time I was in Minar I asked the mother if they had found another location, and she shook her head, tears welling up in her eyes, and she said the city's too expensive, and that they've looked everywhere. This has been the income of her family for almost two decades. If I had lottery money!

Walking down Sansom Street, on my way to my POBox, and NOT at all expecting to see this beautiful PLACE I've spent so much time in with so many friends over the years, AND OF COURSE THIS GRAFFITI on the side, uh, what am I saying? It took the wind out of me. You know? I just STOPPED on the sidewalk, ALL COMMANDS the brain had given to the legs, arms, everything stopped with a FREEZE from the shock. Stopped and stared for a long while at the wreckage. Even went over to poke around, but I couldn't see anything of the wall with the graffiti.

For those who continue to call what's happening to Philadelphia "progress," have a shitty day, and when you do, know I wished it on you.

Depressed and PISSED OFF!

Re: Piccinini & afterlife 

CA, hassen, and Frank:

I've enjoyed reading many of your thoughts "Re: Piccinini," esp. CA's last post and his comment that the work (Strader's, which I don't know) was destroyed to control it. This is an illuminating comment and insight.

I'd like to add one more thought here, which is that even destroying a piece doesn't completely end all the things it still can mean, since it can live on in the person, or the people who experienced it.

Another connection is people who have died who live on in the people they once knew who continue to live. Some people are truly said to live on after they die; that seems to me to be at least one way to understand what is known as the afterlife.

One last thought for now, this conversation also sent me back to a line from Ashbery, which I quoted in a review now on Jacket 21. Here is the paragraph from that review:

In the book-length poem Flowchart (1991), Ashbery offers a relevant tidbit as to how the work may be experienced. He writes: “Our words are interpreted left/and right as they become speech, and so it is possible at the end that a judgment/maybe/ formed, and yet the intrepid/listener does no such thing, hypnotized by his reflection, and it is up/to us to file the final report on the decision in many cases.”

--from a review on Ashbery on Jacket 21, Feburary 2003.

--Tom Devaney

Re: Piccinini 

Hi, this is great, first Hassen, then Frank.

Hassen, as difficult as it is, yes, you're right, I "had the privilege of experiencing something incredibly unique." It makes it no less painful. What was BEAUTIFUL became painful. Which is all about death, constant death in life. Some people go to the gym while I dwell on death, that sort of thing.

About the Buddhist sand paintings, it's WE who call them paintings. Those mandalas are like the weather man on tv. Those mandalas are a spiritual barometer looking into the actual mechanics of the various paths energies are taking at that given moment. They're erased, blown away, because the information is temporary. At the same time, these same monks have created very permanent mandalas, which adorn the temple walls in Tibet.

And yes I DO SEE what you mean about how some art is more about process, which is something I've admired about you, for instance your brave journey to find out WHAT it was about Bukowski you needed to know, to get to, and you joined the Bukowski Festival as a result, quite wonderful.

By the way, the Strader situation was an act of total aggression, calling me up at the moment the violence was finished, to TELL ME with that vile tone she often took. Was this performance art for the two of us alone? Well I decided on no reruns. She can jerk off in someone else's direction from now on.

But what I like the MOST about your most recent post was the idea of clutter. And the Fellini quote, especially the part, "Besides, what's clear enough, valuable enough, to deserve to survive?" Obviously Fellini felt this quote was worthy enough. But it's a gift, this discussion, because I DO REALIZE my reactions to these things are my own harrowing shudder built around who I am, and where I've been, and what I've experienced. As WE ALL bring with us, to art, as to anything, ALL that was experienced in order to feel and interpret.

Frank, you wrote, "This is interesting, because I took the Piccinini quote as a comment on the social aspect of sharing an artistic act, and not a statement regarding control of its materiality." I was putting my experience in her quote, "Anyone who thinks that they can maintain control of the things that they create is fooling themselves." My point exactly, that Strader in an act of aggression, in her pathology, destroyed the painting THEN called me to tell me with her vicious, crazed tone she'd done so. It was actually HER FEAR that the creation was out of her control, and she wanted to maintain it, or regain it. There's no doubt in my mind that she called as soon as she'd burnt it to gloat. Like saying, "THIS IS MY PAINTING!" Like saying, "YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS HAVING FEELINGS FOR MY PAINTING, IT'S MINE!" Strader's act is THE VERY ESSENCE of the Piccinini quote's warning in motion.

Now, as far as my reaction: My body felt my eyes SEEING the bit of charred remains of that painting. And I bring that with me, to this, and as you pointed out when we spoke in person Frank, THAT is in itself another creation from the painting's destruction.

My decision to no longer participate in the COLLABORATIVE spirit of investigating Strader's paintings with her as I did over and over for years is a decision I feel nothing but good about. Not good in a smug sense, like, "AH, I showed her," but good in the sense that something had run its course and I was willing to see through to that. Which in the end turns the tables on the idea that I feared the change, because in fact it was me who altered a fifteen year friendship in order to give myself a different way to be, and grow. The impact of this change didn't reach Strader until she actually called me again to participate in our ritual of studying her latest creation. It was she in the end who feared change, very unhappy that I REALLY MEANT fuck off when I had said fuck off. And another time, seeing me in public, she invited me to see yet another painting, and I said, "Only if you burn it before I arrive."

But Frank, you know as well as I do that YES I have issues around things ending. When I say I'm starting a petition to end DEATH I'm quite serious.

But at the same time it's the fear of death that equates so many reactions to things stopping, paintings being burnt alive (YES I do mean "alive"), beautiful brownstones being torn down to make way for condominiums, etc.

The reaction many of us have had about the row of exquisite buildings JUST so recently ripped down on 18th St. to make way for yet another condominium, I wonder, if the architect himself had torn them down, would that have made it okay? His creation after all, right?

Should the people living in those buildings stop their whimpering and say, "Ah, it's the want of the architect! It was HIS creation, HIS building, he built it, what business do we have saying it's our home?" Because I firmly believe that the experience of taking a long hard Loving evening with a painting, and the next day having a physical and emotional reaction to the experience of it being deliberately burnt is just as much a living witness to being part of something, LIVING in it, or more precisely IT living in me. Thoughts, and feelings, are Things. Which is why the body reacts. Which is the Love of art, the addiction of reaction, senses blown open.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

re: Piccinini & the Policy of Containment 

This is interesting, because I took the Piccinini quote as a comment on the social aspect of sharing an artistic act, and not a statement regarding control of its materiality. Containment of the creative material is considerably easier than attempts to harness the exchange of creativities that form and unform ideas that may in some future take a destructive and/or glorious form.

The idea of a necessary permanence for art, with its trappings of transgenerational institutionalized afterlife beyond the creative experience, flirts with a kind of commodity fetishism in which the work’s permanent materiality takes precedence over the artist’s relation to the energies of everyday life. Neoists, Lettrists, Situationists & so on have all raged for a re-appearance of the creative social and against centering the creative impulse around the endurance of the material in art. These movements too have been commodified by default, a result of the material creative evidence that has since become product.

I’m not one to prescribe other artists to be archivists or arsonists. However, the idea can at least be entertained that the destruction of one’s own work can fuel the next creative act, or it can be the next creative act itself.

- Frank Sherlock

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

re: Piccinini & ephemera 

Andy Goldsworthy's Leaves with Hole

hehe, Conrad...

i don’t exactly or completely disagree with you.* i just think there are other aspects to consider.

aside: i believe Piccinini was speaking of material created, not an experience of art (see her essay, In Another Life). though i doubt it matters for this conversation.

what you had was an experience of art with Michelle Strader. like Buddhist sand paintings, ephemera artists like Andy Goldsworthy, ikebana, ancient illustrators/writers working on wax tablets, etc. maybe instead of being angry you could appreciate the fact that you had the privilege of experiencing something incredibly unique.

for some artists, it’s process-based more than it's about permanence - and the intent of the process may vary. who’s to dictate that? for myself, personal investigation and growth is often what compels me. the creative act allows me to intuitively organize or work through my internal junk, aiming toward Art. creating is always about symbols/representation, even in conceptual 'randomness," and it's often ritualistic in that it allows a simultaneous conscious & pre/sub-conscious, constructive tango. and a carefully wrought product works well as instant gratification/reward for difficult internal work, whether it’s around for five minutes or centuries or if there’s a witness.

aside: maybe the act of creation is particularly divine, perhaps because of this very function or because it implies an eternal moment of experience.

i realize of course that not all artists have the same intent & i don’t believe they should. however, i could argue that the success of some of the most effective (lasting? impactive?) works that i’ve encountered hinge on this very creative process.

that’s not to say that i believe that it’s not important for artists/writers to show or record some of their work. and it’s critical that we all have access to art for many reasons. but to say that all creative work should remain tangible is unsympathetic if not unreasonable. the artist first has the responsibility to sustain himself if not to improve.

some argue that periodic erasure allows an artist to separate from the confines of old habits and more readily advance in their craft. there have been times when i’ve needed to destroy my work and i’m not alone in that. for me, it’s served to release me from inhibitive perspectives and the only way for me to do that was in the ritualistic act of destruction/rebirth.

and there’s the other argument of General Public Over Stimulation and Clutter – that we could all stand more discernment with what we produce. some really respond to and respect prolificacy, despite the questionable quality or [non-]effect. i often think of Guido Anselmi’s (Mastroianni) line in Fellini’s 81/2:

“The world abounds with superfluity, why add disorder to disorder? ... It's better to destroy than to create what's unessential. Besides, what's clear enough, valuable enough, to deserve to survive? ... We're already suffocated by words, by sounds and images that have no reason to exist, that emerge from the void and return to the void. Any man worthy to be called an artist should swear an oath: dedication to silence.”


*i’d like to discuss more of your point soon, and piccinini’s point, and other points.

Yes, Yes. The Yes Men in New Orleans 

This time Andy Bichlbaum posed as HUD spokesman Rene Orwin during a conference in which Louisiana Governor Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Naginon spoke on the eve of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. Below is his speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen,I am very sorry that Secretary Jackson will be unable to make it here today. The decision that was made late last week is so important that he has had to meet with President Bush about it. Secretary Jackson asked me, however, to read this speech on his behalf.I'll be happy to speak with any of you afterwards about what the increased budget can mean for you and your business, and about specific contract opportunities of relevance to yourselves.Without further ado, then, here is Secretary Jackson's talk.

Dear Friends,

It is with great joy that I announce to you today a brand new Department of Housing and Urban Development. Everything is going to change about the way we work, and the change is going to start right here, today, in New Orleans.

Our charter is to ensure that affordable housing is available for those who need it. This year in New Orleans, I am ashamed to say we have failed.

For the past year, as various interests have battled it out for this city, we at HUD have often ended up on the wrong side of that battle, forgetting our charter and making decisions that cheat both contractors and ourselves of the chance to make a big difference.

Until today, we at HUD planned to demolish 5,000 units of perfectly good public housing here in New Orleans, and put commercial housing in its place. Almost all of these apartments have no damage at all, and their former occupants are by and large begging to move back in and start contributing to their city once again.

Today, we're going to help them to do that. But that's only the start. With your help, we're not going to destroy much-needed housing, we're going to make it work - for all of us. We've got a three-step plan:

1. The first step is to let these folks go home right now.
2. Next, we're going to help them create the opportunities they need to thrive.
3. Finally, with your help, we're going to give back to Mother Nature what she needs to protect this city for all of its citizens.

All of this is going to require your help to an unprecedented extent, and we are very pleased to announce a contracting budget of 1.8 billion dollars.


More on that in a moment. But first, how are we going to get these American families back in their homes to start the process rolling?

Until last week, our M.O. here at HUD was to tear down public housing whenever we could. Like many folks in Washington, we thought that the projects caused crime and unemployment, and we thought that erasing the symptom would get rid of the cause.

Well, we were wrong.

For one thing, employment rates in public housing were pretty much the same as anywhere else in this city. These were real communities, and in no way resembled the crime-ridden hood made popular by MTV. And today, with nearly all public housing still boarded up, crime rates are at record highs anyhow.

When we tore down St. Thomas and replaced it with "mixed-income" flats, only 1 out of 27 former residents made it back, and the rest have faced hostile communities, endless commutes, and in some cases homelessness. It just didn't work.

We will not make this error again. This afternoon, we will reopen all housing projects in New Orleans and allow these Americans to be part of their city again.


But opening doors won't be enough. We also need to create the conditions for the enduring prosperity of these communities.

To do that, we're first going to stop the flow of money out of these communities. You know something's wrong when local earnings of poor folks end up in pockets of Wal-Mart shareholders in Manhattan. After extensive discussions, Wal-Mart and three other chains have agreed to withdraw from areas near low-income New Orleans neighborhoods and to help nurture local businesses to replace them. Legislation under study at state and federal levels will make sure this sticks.

And money will start flowing in. Starting today, we at HUD will contract directly with public housing residents to remediate apartments and initiate community projects; these measures will invigorate these communities and create new expertise for the long term. We have also budgeted 75 million dollars in training and education incentives for contractors like yourselves to transfer necessary know-how to residents.


Now for the big stuff. All of us are here at the Pontchartrain Center today because we want to see New Orleans succeed. But to make that happen, we have a giant challenge before us: to make sure that essential infrastructure is available to everyone.

Health care, for example. Too many working families end up on welfare because some easily curable medical condition has gotten out of hand. No more. In partnership with health departments and the CDC, and with your help, we will insure there is at least one well-equipped public health clinic for every public housing development. We have 180 million dollars to make sure they're the best.

As for education, we all know that government education just isn't up to snuff. But why? It's because government schools are dependent on local taxes; when an area is underpriviledged, its schools have no money. That's why we at HUD are teaming up with the Department of Education to create a national tax base for schools. This will mean an immense amount of contracting work, and we hope that many of you will be bidding.


The plans I've laid out so far will establish the groundwork for success of low-income communities. But there's one pesky detail: New Orleans is likely to flood once again.
It's not just that we keep pumping greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. That's bad of course - but it's beyond HUD's scope. If a large ice shelf slips off Greenland, as it seems to be starting to do, there won't be a few thousand New Orleanians clamoring to get back into undamaged apartments, like today, but rather 300 million refugees whose cities have gone permanently under the sea. An agency mandated to assure affordable housing has to wonder what that would look like.

But even just another Katrina could bring us back to square one. Fortunately, there is a solution - and here's where we really need you.

As you know, the main reason New Orleans was so vulnerable to Katrina was the destruction of the wetlands - due in large part to the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, built so that oil tankers could get to the ocean more cheaply.

I am pleased to announce that Exxon and Shell have agreed to finance the rebuilding of the protective wetlands from part of their 60 billion dollars in profits this year.

As J. Stephen Simon, Exxon Vice President, writes on the Exxon website: "We at ExxonMobil have always intended our business practices to have a positive effect on the world. When this turns out to be not the case, we must do whatever we can to remediate. Today, therefore, ExxonMobil is earmarking 8.6 billion dollars from revenues our company has made in this region to the project of shutting down the MRGO and beginning the long process of wetland restoration, so as to assure that ExxonMobil never again has a hand in destroying a large American city."

Any of you who might be interested in contracts around the MRGO closure program should get in touch with EPA or HUD offices as soon as possible, or give me your business cards at the press conference.

With your help, we at HUD are putting our collective mistakes behind us. Together, we will make sure that New Orleans follows in the footsteps of San Francisco, Tokyo, and Chicago, newly protected from dangers it used to face and well on the road to prosperity.
We will not rebuild just New Orleans - we will rebuild the American Dream. Many of you here will be crucial for this great endeavour.
Please come join us at the Lafitte housing complex for a festive ribbon cutting ceremony immediately after the plenary session. We can discuss the work to be done in more detail, and lunch will be served. This is what we're all here for, so let's make it happen. Let's Bring New Orleans Back.

Thank you.

Thank you very much for listening to Secretary Jackson's words. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have at the press conference following, as well as discuss contract issues.And even though Secretary Jackson is not here, we will be proceeding with the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lafitte right after this session; Secretary Jackson will also try to join us there. We'll be able to discuss contracts in some detail, and to get a hands-on look at what has to happen.We'll have plenty of food, and we can get you back in time for afternoon sessions. We'll have some room in HUD vehicles, and see me or my associates to get a sheet with directions to Lafitte.

- posted by Frank Sherlock

Re: Piccinini 

Very much enjoyed the post below (from Friday, August 18).

It was a surprise, the statement from the artist. A bigger surprise that hassen was the one to place it there. What I LOVE most about you hassen is that you REALLY DO like things shaken up, and don't mind. And I value that and thank you for that.

It was a surprise because we've had numerous conversations where I take this very argument that an artist has no control over something once it's made. This has upset you, AS IT HAS UPSET OTHERS, this very argument.

My old friend Michelle Strader paints some of the most exquisite paintings I've ever seen, in any gallery, in any museum, in fact I've been to galleries and museums where I shake my head and think how much BETTER she is! For years I would go to her apartment on the fourth floor next to Robin's Bookstore to see her latest creations. Then she started doing something I found intolerable, PAINFUL!

She showed me what is probably the best painting she ever painted. It was such a brilliant, beautiful PAINTING. She called me up, SHE CALLED ME UP, asked me to come see this painting. We sat there for HOURS smoking cigarettes, staring at it, TALKING ENDLESSLY about it. Then, the next day, she destroyed it.

When SHE CALLED ME UP to tell me she had destroyed it I went over to her apartment. We had the biggest fight of our friendship, and the fight was all about ART, and who it belongs to.

Her argument was simple. It was her painting, she could do whatever she wanted.

My argument was that it belonged only to her until she showed it to me. The moment an artist, poet, whoever, shares the work, it's imprinted in the FUCKING SOUL of that Other Person You Cannot Deny Is There Alive Like You Beside You, You Who Are Not Alone. Any violence done to the work is done to the person you shared it with.

The HUBRIS at thinking ART belongs to YOU ALONE after you've shared it is probably the worst kind of HUBRIS imaginable. Am I being dramatic? No, I don't think so.

What's worse than inviting the beauty of creation, then destroying it? PAINT YOUR FUCKING PAINTINGS AND NEVER SHOW THEM TO ANYONE AND BURN THEM! Don't drag the rest of us into your HELL!

If you could reach into my mind and destroy the experience of having SEEN it, LOVED it, then maybe, JUST MAYBE THEN I might agree.

I would rather Michelle had punched me in the face. What she did TO ME was worse. Am I being selfish? How could I POSSIBLY BE MORE SELFISH than someone who invites me into the HOLIEST place to be found, then burns the altar down? See it however you want, but selfish or not, I HAVE TO LIVE WITH THAT PAINTING I CANNOT GET OUT OF MY MIND FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE THAT BEAUTIFUL PAINTING, now gone. It's one of the UGLIEST experiences. And I've never forgiven it. And I have no intentions of ever forgiving it. And it ruined our friendship, and I say SO BE IT!

I told Michelle to never show me another painting she paints. She's tried, and I've told her to fuck off.

This violence is still too traumatic to me.

It's a violence that says the artist DOES NOT CARE about the millions of miles everyone else has traveled, those miles making them as THEY ARE AT THAT MOMENT upon seeing their work.

AND FRANKLY I WANT TO SAY TO ANY ARTIST who would do such a thing TO OTHERS that maybe they don't deserve the talent they have.

When will we arrive at that PLACE where art is something we Love together, all of us, not just some of us, not just a fancy fucking few, but every single person? Because everyone can. Because everyone has this gift to Love art, and TO MAKE ART THEMSELVES, and is that PLACE arriving soon?


Sunday, August 27, 2006


September 13th, for details, go here

helluva poetry weekend! 

Friday I met Sina Queyras for the first time, as she's just moved here with her girlfriend Danielle. We met at Dirty Frank's where we got to talk to Frank Sherlock a little bit, but I'm always an idiot thinking that's a good time to be taking people to Dirty Frank's to ALSO see Frank Sherlock since he's working. Danielle left early, so I didn't get to talk with her too much. Sina SEE FOR YOURSELF HERE has a blog with good links to her books, interviews, and the anthology of Canadian poets she edited titled Open Field. We talked about poetry for hours, and you too will want to talk with her for hours about poetry as well, trust me! Sina is GREAT! Glad she and Danielle landed here!

Saturday Frank was part of a Katrina benefit at the Bowery Poetry Club, and he tore the stage up as usual. Besides his own work, which included "Refinery Deal Pays Off (Letter to New Orleans for New Year’s Eve)," he also read a series of postcard poems Brett Evans mailed from NOLA to various friends since he and Janine returned to their city with their three dogs. The name of this benefit was AMAZING DISGRACE, and the proceeds went to COMMON GROUND COLLECTIVE.

We couldn't stay to hear Marcella Durand and Ed Sanders at this benefit because we had to jump in a cab with Carol Mirakove and Jen Benka to get ourselves to Brooklyn's Pete's Candy Store, where I read poetry with Shafer Hall, and music by So Lil and I FEEL TRACTOR. Ben Malkin's generous night of putting this show together continued later as we were up all night talking at his apartment, and watching the INCREDIBLE Klaus Nomi documentary (something Frank told me I HAD TO SEE). He's right, you HAVE to see the Nomi! SEE the Nomi! BE ONE with the Nomi! Matt and Nicole were in the other room MISSING OUT on this extraordinary exploration of a truly divine gear shift in art, and magical nonsense that makes perfectly good, sane sense. R.I.P. NOMI!!!!!!!

Oh, and I was upset to find out that one of my favorite drag queens Joey Arias who was a big part of the Nomi experience in NY back in the day (there's LOTS of clips of him/her in the documentary which made me happy) refused to take part in the interviews for the film due to some ego problem or other that seems a ridiculous loss. What on earth could keep Arias out of such an important piece of documentation? Oh brother! Anyway....

Taking the Chinatown Bus home to Philadelphia without any sleep for more than 24 hours is one of the more surreal experiences.


Friday, August 25, 2006


Girls Club Boys. Masked Ball Academy. Celebrate. Ignition.

- Frank Sherlock

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Pierre Joris continues to translate for us -- on the spot -- poems you, we, would otherwise spend years trying to find out about. Here's the AMAZING poem "Wounds to the Wind" by Moroccan poet Rachida Madani: click for poem

(posted by CAConrad)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Amazing Disgrace- Katrina Benefit in NYC 

Contribute much needed funds and help raise awareness for the ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief work of Common Ground Collective . They are providing short term relief for victims of hurricane disasters in the gulf coast region, and long term support in rebuilding the communities affected in the New Orleans area.

Saturday August 26
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery @ Bleecker
(right across from CBGB's)

Poetry by:

Tasha Robbins, Amy Ouzoonian, Hal Sirowitz, Harris Schiff, Frank Sherlock, Justin Lacour, Nathaniel A. Siegel, Marcella Durand, Michael Ford, John Giorno and Sapphire.

Performances by:

Dorothy Goodman, Ed Sanders, Professor Arturo, Hungry Marching Band and Cave Canum.

- Frank Sherlock

2 fantastic things for every poet! 

Joe Massey's newest chapbook Property Line is now available from Fewer Further Press. I've never used PayPal before, but I tried it. Am I really that goofy about such things, but PayPal freaks me out! Oh well, I did it, can't undo it! It's only $7 this chapbook, just hope some crystal meth head doesn't somehow get my fucking credit card information from it. And of course if there are any crystal meth heads who read PhillySound they'll know where to look. GEESH!

But if you are among the first 20 to buy Property Line you will receive a limited edition double-sided broadside, signed. It's an edition of 40. GET IT NOW! Don't be scared of PayPal. Okay, be scared. I'm scared. But do it anyway, crystal meth be damned! Here's the link to order, and read a beautiful Joe Massey poem from the book, and some very impressive blurbs: PROPERTY LINE



This is from an e-mail just received from Stacy Szymaszek, and if you have some free time today DO listen, it's great!

Dear friends - have a listen to a reading of Stein's History or Messages From History and other Stein pieces by Jen Benka, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Carol Mirakove, Sina Queryas, Amy Lawless, Veronica Wong & me.

You'll find an mp3 here: http://archive.wbai.org/

Scroll down to "The Next Hour" on Sunday, Aug 20 at 11:00 a.m.

The stuff after the play is actually more fun to hear!

posted by CAConrad

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Humbled, honored, and at the same time enjoying the involvement. Tom Beckett interviewed me, by way of e-mail, and each time I sat down to answer him ELVIS was playing! Here is the interview with hidden ELVIS soundtrack...CAConrad

p.s. "Welcome To My World" on repeat for last question. Ah Elvis, sweet, delicious hillbilly King of mine! IN YOUR WORLD IN YOUR WORLD!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Jazz Funeral for Katrina Victims 

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, 18% of New Orleans residents didn't evacuate during Hurricane Katrina because of relatives they wouldn't leave. 44% stayed in the city because they didn't want to abandon their pets.

Yesterday, a jazz funeral was held for the animal victims of the disaster. Over 100 hundred folks walked through New Orleans to mourn and celebrate the animal victims that suffered and died last year.

The Treme Brass Band provided the music for the march that stretched 10 blocks to St. Anna's Episcopal Church. Read more coverage here. For video news coverage of the event, click on "Pets Remembered at Jazz Funeral" on NOLA.com.

- Frank Sherlock

2006 Philly Fring Fest Preview at Bar Noir Tonight 

I am giving a short reading tonight at A.D. Amorosi's Monday jamboree at Bar Noir -- it starts around 8 pm and he said things would get going on stage right before 9 pm.

--Tom Devaney

here is AD's email:

The Monday Night Club at Bar Noir w/A.D. Amorosi
MONDAY August 21

Presents 2006's Annual PRE LIVE ARTS & FRINGE FEST
SEE ME FEEL ME HEAR ME GATHERING: A.D. Amorosi b-day jam-bo-ree

The last of three FREE events leading up to the 2006 Live Arts/Fringe Festival September 1st.



with Your Singing Waitress drag doyen extraordinaire NEEDLES JONES
And CHEAP cheap SoCo Lime shots
Classic Mark pours the booze
A.D. provides post-event tunes
112 S. 18th Street

Friday, August 18, 2006



gotta check out Patricia Piccinini's fantastic, seriously relevant art. wish i'd more time to discuss more here but at least wanted to share with you all if you aren't already familiar with her work.

the text for her exhibition at the Robert Miller Gallery in NYC (2005), "Nature's Little Helpers," reads:
Some things, once done, are not easily undone. We might recognise later that we should not have done them in the first place, however undoing them is not so easy. Like an egg, which once broken cannot be unbroken, when something is created, it is difficult to contain. This stands as much for a work of art as it does for a genetically modified creature. Anyone who thinks that they can maintain control of the things that they create is fooling themselves. Whether it is genetically modified canola, the cane toad, a work on the secondary market or an image on the internet, once the thing leaves our hands all we can do is watch...

catch her in the Redefined exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC through January 2007.


shelf life 

scene from a chain book store in the suburbs


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Propulsion Buzz 

To celebrate Deviant Thursday (the new Hump Day, but for a much more fun reason), read Ron Silliman's take on Conrad's Deviant Propulsion. Also check out Joe Massey's trips to the can with DP, where the poems speckle golden in that Arcata bowl.

- Frank Sherlock

photo by hassen

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

why pandas SHOULD die 

for why they SHOULD click HERE ...CAConrad

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Pay it. Forward. Just born lion. Welcome. The play future.

- Frank Sherlock

The Triumphant Return of CANDACE KAUCHER!!!! 

Still Life

Thoroughfare rushes by oblivious people
who sit still exactly where
gravity dumped them, more or less.
History has no conscience otherwise
it would quit repeating us.

Candace Kaucher appeared through the front door of Voices & Visions (one of Philadelphia's FINEST bookstores!) recently to my shocked, delighted face. I was giving a reading from my new book, and Candace found out about it and decided to surprise me. She almost never comes into Philadelphia since she moved to Reading, PA.

For years she lived down the street from me when I resided in the old Imperial Hotel on Juniper Street. We'd hang out in Duck Soup Diner sharing books of poetry we were reading, and would read our own poems to one another.

She was included in that anthology Lisa Jarnot, Chris Stroffolino and Leonard Schwartz edited, An Anthology of New (American) Poets, published by Talisman. I've always wondered why the parenthesis around American? I mean, it's not clear to me at all, since all the poets included are clearly American. Anyone have a clue?

A couple of years ago Frank Sherlock invited Candace to read at La Tazza. Maybe it was more like three years ago? Anyway, I was sitting next to Magdalena Zurawski, whose mouth dropped open as we fixated on Candace's punk rock expository poems of her mind's genius map of the cosmos. You get to where she's going on her every uttered syllable. She's like a lecture around a fire circle with drums and whiskey. She's a madwoman poet, and one of my favorites, and I'm so VERY HAPPY to find out that she's not only still writing, but writing better than ever! Here's another poem from her new chapbook titled KEEP OUT!


In many mortal forms I sought
The shadow of that idol of my thought

Fumbling through life's completeness
as far as the mind forms
around idea without a clue,
I hit the highway running
but lacked perspicaciousness enough
to connect with the ordinary
where I sought sanctuary in you,
got let out like iron freed,
no cold solidity running interference

between my A and your B.
Two closeted souls separate together
now released to sift through
the sieve innumerable oceans,
we filter out atoms of ourselves
in ready for more universal constructions.

Silhouettes and shadows cast,
we move beyond emotion.
We vie for emergent status crawling
through ruptures in the banal dusk
of blanketing virtual reality charged
to free up our ineffable
things from the "stuff"
of stuff where we were
like interlinked polymers,
much too ubiquitous
to come to a head

where I want you
before all is lost
to uncertain future inexhaustibly
unveiling your quiet beautiful
radiantly poised on the summit
of change to fall immortalized
in history which is either both
impermanence or stasis,
ceaselessly the same
enticement to reach for a moment
crystallizing, breaking clear
even as it fades. Love is the aim.
Its dream is the over arching entity
where the soul of my forest is saved.

If thought works such synthesis
it's glue as I remember
Vivaldi plays to a time
and place that he still
moves in your immediate
vicinity until it translates out
with more sweeping implications
sowing empirical existence
for no particular reason.

Alchemical longing at the core
of person pulsed eternity
keeps transforming trade.

Today power.

Tomorrow quality.

And then, they rearrange.

(posted by CAConrad)

Monday, August 14, 2006

August, like a kite -- Aug 14, 2006 

August, like a kite;
I've lost my grip.

--Tom Devaney

Sunday, August 13, 2006

gonna be at PETE'S CANDY STORE! 

for full event info click HERE
(posted by CAConrad)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Rufus Harley 1936-2006 

The world's greatest jazz bagpiper has died. Philadelphia legend Rufus Harley passed away last week at the age of 70.

Here's a sampler of tributes.






- Frank Sherlock

A Reading at the Bubble House 



A night of poetry, featuring


Tuesday August 15th
7:30 PM

All Inverse readings are $7, which includes one drink.

The Bubble House is located at 3404 Sansom Street
For more information see: http://inversepoetry.com/


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Don’t dream. & drive. Inform. God of this. World.

Refugees fleeing to northern villages in Lebanon

- Frank Sherlock

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Foetry, etc. 

Hehehe! Frank, your sense of humor is much appreciated!

And dammit you're RIGHT! 69 is A-OKAY! Although I'm not sucking dick, or whatever, for a little publishing honey. HEHE!

We do have Jim Behrle to thank for not only uncovering Alan Cordle, but then exposing him, as only Behrle can do. And to be honest when the whole online war/discussion was going on a couple (or three?) years ago about Foetry I wasn't interested. Foetry's use of pseudonyms disgusted me then as much as it does now. Worms have more fucking integrity eating the shit of the world.

Chris, your shades of gray makes sense. Frank has dealt with as much at the old La Tazza. And to this day there are poets in Philadelphia who feel excluded for whatever reason. It's goofy, because it really is as straightforward as you put it that YES you like your friends' work, and publish it. What do people expect? That you're NOT supposed to make friends with the poets you publish? Or that you're NOT supposed to publish poets you're already friends with? Not only that but how on earth anyone can possibly feel Left Out these days is beyond me, with the millions of magazines and presses all over the place. Surely there's something for everyone? And, as you just proved Chris, you can also do a damn fine job publishing your own book. Not only that but WHO ON EARTH would ever publish poetry that they don't like? GEESH!

The one person in Philadelphia I know who went to great lengths to be as inclusive as possible with a reading series was Gil Ott. And he hated it. He admitted hating it. How horrible, especially when you're involving yourself with something like poetry, something you Love. But Gil felt obligated for various reasons, some practical, some even spiritual. Some of the practical being monetary. Even still it's not something I could do. Well, once in a while I had to introduce an author at Giovanni's Room who bugged me (especially the born again Christian gays), but I was getting paid.

Will thank you for pointing out the questions Foetry could not question or answer. In turn we might want to ask what writing has Foetry introduced and shaped? I bet its none. The foe in the Foetry is anything but delicate washables. But due to the hidden identities I prefer to call it Faux-Foetry. A hidden foe? What is this, Batman?! Pathetic nonsense is what it is. I'm sure Philadelphia's own super hero (sometimes) Spicer Girl, (sometimes) Artaud's Oatmeal, has been on Foetry raking ash off the hot coals. (WHY won't this person move to Brazil like all the other Nazis did?)

Tom, the reason I didn't get into the details about Foetry's mechanics is because it seemed like too old a subject to retrace, and also because you had links, so I just assumed....

Does Foetry actually have current postings? Ah, I don't really care, don't tell me.



I can't allow this to continue without coming to the defense of people/actions being smeared in this conversation.

Don't give Floetry a bad name.
Floetry (see left) is not out to hurt anybody.

Don't give 69ing a bad name. It's just not fair.

Frank Sherlock

ps- Alan Cordle is only public because he got caught after years of hiding anonymously. For a hilarious account of the Foetry Wars, enjoy Jim Behrle's blog archives.

The Tangled Web 

Hey folks. Here's my two cents on contests, grants, etc. In my very limited experience of the world, I tend to think they aren't so much "fixed" as generally calibrated through a mix of demographic concerns and personal / professional affiliation. It tends to look like shades of grey to me, and we each decide where we fall on that scale in terms of what's offensive and what's not.

I've had people say to me, "Why do you generally publish people you know in ixnay stuff? I bet you give more preference to your friends' work." Why do I / we do that? Because I like my friends' work. Because I want to do the job of an editor : show in print the inter-relationship of all of this work that I've read and that swims in my brain, including the interplay of work from old chums vs. "new people." And because it's my money. And because the people who ask why we favor friends have mostly never read anything we've published, anyway, and are only submitting work because they found our website on a list somewhere on the internet.

It gets blurrier with public / institutional money or rewards, though, no? While potentially winning $50 via a small press chapbook contest might be one thing, competing for $50,000 from the Pew brings higher expecatiations of professionalism all around, for example, because in that case one counts on a certain level of objectivity.

So I have no actual solutions to any of this, sadly, but I thought I'd throw my "shades of grey" bit out there and see if it sticks.

Chris McC

Monday, August 07, 2006


Conrad, I agree, sort of. Conspiratorial rather than critical and researched, FOETRY brought out the worst in people and was an analgesic for poets when critical practice goes wholly absent. Critical writing, well-authored and -researched and signed, could have kept contests from printing the (nepotistic, or otherwise) crap that keeps getting printed. The National Poetry Series or The Yale Younger Poets, for instance. How many recipients of this award, from the last ten years, can you name? Are contests fixed? No. The greater questions have been what writing have the contests introduced, and how has it continued to shape poetic practice. FOETRY could not ask this question because it could not answer it.


on your post 

Hi Conrad,

The article about Floetry, which I only quicky read before posting it, says a man named Alan Cordle is the person behind his web site, so I don't see how he is hiding anything.

But perhaps you're talking about your other post -- about "those who hide their identity to attack" -- I am not sure what that is about since I didn't know what you were referring to when I read your post.

In general, I agree with your point that if someone has a beef, or problem they should let it be known and not sneak around the internet to do it.


on Foetry 

Tom, on one hand I agree with you that it's a great thing to expose the ass-kissing LITERARY 69 positioning that goes on in the literary world. However, few things irritate me more than those who hide their identity to attack. Murderers have more integrity. In fact, passive-aggressive is right down there with child molestation, the worst of the worst in human behavior.

There's nothing courageous about someone who hides their identity to EXPOSE others. Is the irony completely lost here? Hide to bring someone else's shit out of hiding? YUCK! GEESH, it brings the bile right up my throat!


Foetry: Exposing Fraudulent Poetry Contests 

Alan Cordle, who is a librarian at Portland Community College, has created a flap in the poetry world with his web site, Foetry, which purports to expose the corrupt world of poetry contests.

Here is a link to FOETRY.

Here is also an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about Cordle and his site: "Angry librarian's darts sting the world of poetry."


Sunday, August 06, 2006


for all the details click HERE
(posted by CAConrad)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

YELLOW or Artaud's Oatmeal (AKA, the Coward of Philadelphia) 

This is more than a complaint about the recent personal attacks against Jessica Smith on her blog's comment box. It's the anonymity of the attacker which infuriates and disgusts me the most.

Artaud's Oatmeal is the pseudonym used, which I firmly believe is the very same poet also using the Spicer Girl pseudonym on occasion. Maybe I want them to be the same, force them into one because I can't bear the thought of more than one cowardly poet in Philadelphia.

Spicer Girl openly admitted the home base, while Artaud's Oatmeal was tracked by Jessica's ISP to Philadelphia.

Courage is in short supply it seems some days, but is it wrong to expect MORE from poets?

What kind of world are you manifesting Artaud's Oatmeal? How is it possible you found the courage to create poems but lack the courage to stand behind your convictions?

And, furthermore, is the IRONY LOST ON YOU that you choose Artaud and Spicer, two very strong poets who hid for no one, for nothing? How dare you! You scum!

And what DRIVES you to hide behind these masks I wonder? Is it that you don't want to jeopardize some magical poetry "career" festering in your imagination?

Isn't it BETTER to be hated for what you believe than to be liked because no one really knows your beliefs?

You are pathetic! Artaud and Spicer would vomit in your direction for using their names as your weapon!

If you ever admit your true identity, I promise to make certain everyone knows who you were when you were busy pretending to be so tough.

By the way, are you moving out of Philadelphia soon--I HOPE!? Isn't it bad enough the carpet bagger real estate bastards have arrived to destroy our beautiful brownstones and community gardens for their luxury condominiums? Is it asking too fucking much for our poets to be honest here?

Completely fucking disgusted,

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