Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Zach Schomburg's

This sadistic challenge

was posed to John & I by Adam Golaski. We're still looking for more.

The form:

rule 1.
11 lines per stanza, 3 stanzas, 11 syllables per stanza.

rule 2.
The line "an engine boils afternoon air above &" must appear in the poem.

rule 3.
The word engine must be used at least 3 times (this includes the line that must be in the poem).

rule 4.
at least 4 other automotive parts must appear in the poem.

rule 5.
The word "and" is always to be written as an ampersand (&).

The title:
"The Afternoon Slant"

Friday, October 22, 2004

Reading Report (Mr. Nester's Opus)

Daniel M. Nester read last night at Barb's (or Barbay's; I donno how to make accent marks).

I've seen a handful of Daniel's readings for Part II of his God Save My Queen opus, and the reading last night was the best to date.

Dan does a better job in God Save My Queen II, I think, of fusing the Queen stuff with the personal stuff, and last night's reading reflected that cohesion. Sometimes it's hard for me to understand the emotional complexity of, say, Freddie Mercury's solo work (other times, of course, it smacks us in the face, like with Freddie's death. Now that I know Dan, thinking about Freddie's death chokes me up. Didn't before.)

Last night, though, Dan's deeply personal relationship with Queen was transmitted to the audience with startling clarity. I found myself alternately laughing from funny stuff and exhaling breath from emotional gut punches in places where I might've drifted off a bit during previous readings.

I was, of course, trying to remember a lot of very specific examples and, of course, I forgot most of them. "One Vision" was juxtaposed with some of the anecdotal stuff in a way that made it seem like a musical composition itself. The reading as a whole seemed composed (in a good way), it was smooth very easy to follow. There was one poem ("Don't Try So Hard") that I particularly liked, and at dinner later Dan said he thought of it as a Shafer sort of poem. Totally clickin'!

And Ben Murphy kicked the show off, playing "Lap of the Gods" and "I'm in Love with My Car" solo and acoustic. He was standing up and not wearing a hat, and he rocked. I hadn't heard "Lap of the Gods" before, and I think that Ben might've added something to it that might not've been there before. "I'm in Love with My Car" is not the sort of song you'd expect to hear solo-ly and acoustically, but Ben banged it out; he made it rock.

My apologies to the other readers. I had to go watch Game 7 of the NLCS. And that's all I'm going to say about the goddamned Astros. Wish I'd stayed at the reading...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Tyger Number Thirty Nine

From Poetry Gameshow Host Douglas Rothschild. He exchanged words between Blake and Keats mad-lib style to create this hybrid tyger:

Begin with Fire
by William Blake

Shoulder of night and immortal frame,
Deadly brain-fire of the burning stars:
Clasping in thee what to make and dare
With fire the wings of what dread-eyes seize;
To beat with anvil the night chain-twists,
And fire the forests with symmetry to the brain;
To throw the hammer, and make the hearts sinews
With the immortal night; to see burning down,
And throwing down, dread furnace of the brain,
When he threw bright deeps could deadly clasp,
Of stars were in-chained their distant grasp.

Who could see thee down in his smile?
when he who smiles down could frame
Thee seeing deadly on the furnace frame,
his hand burnt-night in the winging work;
Or on the dread-shouldered fire distant art,
Chained with the fires of heaven, when his hand
Siezed the bright symmetry and its dread fears:
Or when with the grasper he did make
Deadly thy fearful heart in the brain;
Or with the chain-sinews, with dread smile,
He works the distant hammering hand in heart.

What are the skies of Tygers? And, what is he?
Aspire to thee, he was thy night when, --
down beaten dread dares the distant-burning deep,
And twists the star-spears with fearful hand;
What of immortal art the burnt heart made
In the night’s symmetry beaten down
Or smiling in the bright work smiles or dares;
And distant-immortal lambs could aspire in bright brain;
heart-chains sieze; or when with terror dread
The bright-art watered in the hammer-clasp;
And burning Tygers twisting in the sky.

Further Cause for Further Celebration

is the first Shafer Hall/Maureen Thorson collaboration:

Red Velvet Sweatsuit

The lowbrow lowdown, waitress in a cowboy hat
demands orders from demanding customers demanding eggs.

Queen of the Rodeo, swirling with enamel overlay
in the display case. Painted Indian princess too.

"I'm not responsible," mutters a man in a bolo tie
to his bolo tie. "You've got me in a bind."

Sale rack swings in the wind: red velvet a dollar
a hand a yard sale selling used sweatsuits/boots.

"Nothing to see here," the waitress says, off her shift at last.
Coyotes are howling on the moonlight prairie for more coffee.

Cause For Celebration

After three hours of Hotmail spelunking, I am down to 100 unread messages in my inbox. I think I'll take a break. The good news is that I've found some lost tigers so please stay tuned.

The Durge Report

Sybil Durgin says that a good karaoke adlib (a la Mike Sammons' "Eye of the Wiener" or yours truly's "I'm So Vain") is elusive. Any suggestions will be carefully considered for her next performance.

The Delightful Deborah Ager

of 32 Poems has a blog here. You can find out more about 32 Poems (who will be publishing my poem about Gertrude Ederle in their Fall issue) here.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

!

Andy Friedman surprised Frequency-goers today with his (unnanounced: my fault) no-nonsense approach to poetry. Mind you -- you can see a full show at Galapagos at 8PM on Monday night. Depending on the condition of the hand of the girl who's opening for him, I may or may not be opening the show. I'll be in the audience either way. Lookout!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Frequency!

Join us on Saturday, October 16th at 5PM for readings by David Ohle and Brian Evenson, and again on Sunday, October 17th at 2:30 PM for Caroline Knox and Timothy Donnelly. Both readings at our beloved Four Faced Liar, 165 W. 4th.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Pete's Humongous Salmon

Loved Ones,

I will be giving a Big Important Reading in the shallow end of the Brooklyn Ocean on Monday night (the 11th) at 7:30 PM. It'll be at Pete's Candy Store which is on 709 Lorimer in Williamsburg. More specific directions canbe discovered here: http://www.petesbigsalmon.com

I'll be reading with the amazingly phenomenal Jeni Olin and Adam Something-or-Nother. And of course our dearly beloved Ada and Jen will be hosting the show. For those who haven't seen Ada and Jen host an event, it's sort of like the Smothers Brothers, only scarier.

Much love,
Shafer

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Frequency!

A special SATURDAY Frequency this week will feature Cynthia Cruz, Tracy McTague, and Chad Davidson, so it will be not to be missed. That's October 9th at 2:30 PM at the FourFaced Liar at 165 W. 4th St.

Brooklyn Ocean to the Manhattan Sea to the Gulf of Queens -- it's all the same team. Hurrah!