Rae Armantrout – Poetry Lecture – Tabula Poetica 2010

in a moment ray armentrout will give a talk titled transporting poetry’s new thing which i believe will respond to a Stephen Burt essay from last year called the new thing in his essay Burke figures armentrout as centrally representative of a current trend in poetry poets that express fidelity to the material and social world the world that we have he says is the world that we are at 12pm in the leather beat libraries in a henley room she will give a poetry reading at the back of the room a whole bunch of books are there if you happen not to have copies of her work and I think some of the other poets that will come later in the fall their books are there as well the folk poetry series is a tabular poetic event and we offer grateful acknowledgement for their support to Chapman’s English department and to poets and writers the james irvine foundation if i were to be long-winded in my introduction of Ray armentrout I might talk for longer than she will I had better be brief she might talk for five maybe six minutes and even if she has a lot to say this afternoon takes 10 minutes or more than that we had better person carefully to all of it and her essays and poems she delights her readers with an unmistakable wit and precise turns of thought drugs that take us in word making us aware of that which we think even without our thinking that we think it and going inward surprise takes us out a dream we had is really a movie we watched last week which was once a dream which was once a movie which was once a lover scratching words on the scalp of her beloved that panini we had for lunch was once a painting of a jelly doughnut her pain desire is quote to spin around suddenly and catch the world unaware in dis shovel Minh to see it as it is when we’re not looking her words can and do spin suddenly even when she ends up catching to use as she does the words of the poet larini Decker which catches is the power of bathing while we sleep and the parts of the body that move without sound listen carefully because even though augment wrote has openly acknowledged her influences the older ones Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams and called out to those in her present company like Ron Silverman Carla Harriman and other language poets as she has said if this is my school I played hooky a lot where r min chart has an inimitable voice there is no one like her which is deeply curious because she has long been preoccupied with mimicry ventriloquist act talk small talk dream talk media babble in other words to be a poet and have your own voice listen carefully to the voices around you and in you she lets them speak she has them speak out she rejects the notion that people and things exist quote as ready to be pressed into the service of metaphor and inimitable voice is one that does not need others to repeat what she has written in order to feel that her words matter they matter because if you listen carefully you will hear yourself talking when haven’t wrote first book was extremities in 1978 and more recently between 2001 and 2009 she has published four books the pretext up to speed next life and burst which this year was not only a finalist for the National Book Award it won the national book critics circle award and the Pulitzer Prize this is very sweet applause for a poet who for many years was beloved and admired at the poets poet and one of the truest pines in the scene she is also a true Southern California native lives in San Diego where she teaches at UCSD please join me in welcoming they armentrout to Chapman Thank You Logan that was very nice can

you hear me ok i’m probably going to speak longer than 10 minutes i hope so but but also we can have questions maybe afterwards I passed around a handout then it’s going to make a lot more sense if you can see the handout if you didn’t get one because I brought 30 copies I don’t know how I’m bad at guessing how many of you there are but if you don’t have one try to share one with someone i’m going to talk for a little while first and then start referring to the handout so i’m going to tell you about myself of course indirectly by talking first about some tendencies or movements in poetry that i have a connection with or feel a connection with the wrong body seems young to me critic Stephen Burt who might be called a trend spotter recently a year ago published an essay in the Boston review identifying what he saw as a new trend or as he put it the new thing in poetry he identified a group of young dish poets people now in their 30s turn away from the slippery oblique not to say nebulous sometimes playful effusive style of their immediate predecessors to write spell often short unadorned outward-looking and either mainly his words poems of course as is so often the case this new thing which one cinnamon referred to on his influential blog as the new precision ism is in fact a bit retro it it perhaps be called neo imagism it sounds like I’m being critical but actually I like these new poets and I’m glad to see this tendency reassert itself I feel close to it I stirred it out at least as a kind of minimalist myself and in fact bird identifies me as a possible mother to this poetic breed William Carlos Williams or George op and he says might have been the father though I swear I don’t remember that but things were hazy back so it’s time to new names who were or are these poets of the oblique and slippery uber Bert referred referred to in a previous essay some 12 years ago approximately as the elliptical poets and who are these poets of anything he is writing about today he likes to make lists he has his list and I have mine they overlap but they aren’t exactly the same among the elliptical poet he mentions what he says that jewelry Graham and John Ashbery he always likes to pose some non couple as the progenitors of his movement so he says that John Ashbery enjoy Graham are the perhaps the mother and father of the elliptical poets who might include such writers as mattia Harvey and healing powers at Angie Malenko I’ve never known Mark Levine I’m yourself wonder whether poets like Peter giving end Elizabeth Robinson might not also fit into that category and in fact there are a lot of others that I could name the classification is always a tricky and thankless task it might be easier to say who these new precision asar Bert mentions Joseph Matthew Graham fast and devin johnson i could add Monica Yoon and Laura Simms we can immediately see you on reading them that these poets represent a departure but exactly how they depart is more difficult to say because their poems can be in their own way as slit and oblique as anything by saying machiya Harvey are you would be macho but article asserts that the new poetry or the new thing in caps six as William Carlos Williams did wrong may need attentive unoriented things that sounds clear enough but all of the terms raise questions at least in my mind I know from experience that it’s not easy to condense a poem compression is a form of style a recognizable form of Stylinson radio form of ornament in itself it can produce a beauty effect the modernist knew this as did the shakers the part of deus description I take most seriously is the word attentive I want my poems for instance to be attentive attention seems like a virtue in itself our lack of ornament doesn’t necessarily but how does the quality of attentiveness show itself or fail to show itself in a poem attentive too hot to the world to the structure of language either or both why should the spare stark pine seem more attentive does the space such problems open up allow for questions to resonate

inside it maybe it works this way I think things actually get more complicated as we try to reduce them to their simplest forms the most basic elements look what happened to physics it was related to smashed atom is looking for the basic compliance of nature that they discovered the famous uncertainty principle the deep ambiguities at the heart of things but there’s nothing like examples let’s look at some of the poems by practitioners of this new thing and by some of their mentors or predecessors will consider what it means to be attentive what it means to be stark or simple so let’s start with the Objectivist poet george open writing here in the 1960s although we first came on the scene in the 1930s and this poem was really pretty didactic it’s a kind of poetic statement where he talks about what he values what he dislikes in poetry and it’s called the gesture the question is how does one hold an apple who likes apples and how does one handle filth the question is how does one heard something in mind which intends to grasp and how does the salesman hold the Bible he intends to sell the question is will not be a hundred / to mistake that gesture for a style so that’s harsh maybe scolding how does one handle filth i’m not sure but what i do is find two here is the distinction he makes between the way one treats something one wants to grasp and the world will proffer something one wants to sell grasp has two connotations for me anyway here you grasp something by beginning to understand it by thinking it through or writing it through in order to understand understand or you grasp at something physical the way a person in the river might grasp a rope with other concentration and respect in either case the thing to be grasped is meaningful first through oneself and then perhaps to others with salesmen clearly it is otherwise the same salesman wants to move merchandise to get it off his hands by making it attractive to a customer that is its value to him open states by ibly that there are 100 by which of course he means a thousand or so power to alike salesman I know intuitively I’ve had similar feelings but again the issue isn’t so simple open after all did intend to be read so in that sense he wanted to give his poem off his hands and onto the page into somebody else’s hands he probably wanted his poem to be remembered the structure of his poem the repetition for instance of how does that parallel ISM is intended when my guests to be memorable to be pleasing in its way this is after all an argumentative poem its rhetoric intending to put it spread across he creates a sense of urgency for me that sense of urgency is real but it’s also an aesthetic effect the next poem on the handout is by the new things most internet for bear William Carlos Williams I think this is an especially interesting poem of his um so we’re going to look at it it’s really more radical I think than any of the examples of more recent poems that I have today including my own I mean it’s really firmly pretty radical so it’s cold I don’t I didn’t type the title on it but it’s called the locust tree and flower died oh how I missed that but anyway um so I’m gonna read it and you can think about what’s the first thing you notice about it this was a class I guess I’d really ask that question I don’t know if I’m gonna do that or not okay I’m green stiff and bright broken branch hung white sweet me again okay so there are several things that are unusual about this poem first you see the shape one word for line long and thin like the branch she refers to the second thing you notice is more interesting it begins with two prepositions that don’t seem to go with each other very well among and of so it’s almost you almost have to choose between those prepositions because really how can it be both mmm we don’t know how to please her contextualise whatever will come next

and that does come next five adjectives Whedon said no more deals but in things but here at least he’s pretty cagey about what a thing is you have to wait for it the way the stanzas are grouped further frustrates our attempt to locate the object being described we arrive if we ever do at the thing itself through its veils of somewhat contradictory attributes it’s grey get old it’s broken and bright after the list of odds moves there are further complications because the grammar is odd why is it branch not branches something might appear among branches but not a long branch this stiff old branch is oddly singular one supposes that the subject noun here finally is the month of may which is the next to last word in the poem but we don’t arrive at it smartly why isn’t the verb the verb comes truly may comes unless williams wants to put multiple possibilities in play what if me is a verb here the beginning of a new sentence spring may come again something white and sweet may erupt out of that old branch I won’t do you any further down that possibly problematic path for the interest in this poem is that it seems strip down and yet it’s very minimalist minimalism it produces more possible readings than elaborated sentences would is this poem metaphorical or not is it really about the branch of a tree entirely or not I don’t really know but I like that okay on the next page of the handout you’ll find three young poets associated with Bert’s new thing or Sullivan’s new precision ISM Joseph Massey Monica you although brute didn’t really mention her he told me though when we talked about it because we emailed about this essay back and forth and he said he didn’t mention Monica because they’re such good friends I don’t mean you know that way but they’re really good friends and so he felt like it wouldn’t really be appropriate for him to be writing about her but just never stopped some of my friends from writing about me but it made me glad that I wasn’t a better friend of Stephen Burt Oh anyway um so we’ll start with this little poem by Joseph Massey which is from his first book areas of fog he really only has two books the second is exit north I think nancy has a terrific I and a great ear his best poems are faceted jewels reminiscent perhaps if blah show so here’s the poem and it really doesn’t have a title so I didn’t leave the title off fries some dried line the window sill measure what was summer so that seems very simple um but it provokes a complex response if you really look at it it’s appealing sonically that is to your ear yeah what it depicts is really a bit revolting little sad so what catches your attention in the first stanza I think it’s the term some dried what are often to see what things are often described as sun dried on the right for a response I’m just going to say tomatoes right a tomato specifically that you might see in the context of an upscale bistro we’re going to think of these flies in terms of fine dining the word sun-dried has that are of gentrification which makes it highly ironic in this context and then what’s surprising in the second little standard for me the first thing is that past tense verb it’s not measure summer it’s measuring what was summer summer is over and joe hasn’t cleaned up which i can well believe he sets up a nostalgic tone common enough to poetry especially nature poetry the wrong for summers past and gone but that predictable nostalgia isn’t really undercut by the fact of flies and the surprising idea flies as a kind of measuring rod sort of a natural yardstick there’s very cool that’s metaphorical in this poem despite that she seems to trust the literal meaning of words that’s arguable but there we only got Monica unions poem from her second book evening at the book is called Ignatz ins and the poem ah it’s called Ignatz in August every poem in

her books has the word ignatz in it someone will recognize that as in when someone apparently there was a famous if not an infamous for comic strip on by George Harriman in which there were the characters of crazy cat and ignatz mouse and you couldn’t really tell the gender of these characters but crazy cat didn’t so much want to eat ignatz mouse as was had an obsessive love for ignatz mouse was kind of an abject lover of Ignatz and even as anything ranging from dismissive to violent towards crazy cat so Ignatz becomes throughout the book a kind of symbol of you know that little understood but obsessive object of desire that sometimes we tend to have an unattainable and perverse love this this too is a this one is a kind of nature poem I supposed Ignatz in August you arch up off me sweat flowers white out of my every desert poor so that the pretty poem the town is serious and romantic we don’t see cartoon characters except if you read the whole book you know about the cartoon character comic book characters but we do have to ask who you are and who I am here and this is precisely what you wants us to do throughout the book beyond that we have to wonder what is metaphorical here and what isn’t is the speaker or one of whose lover has just left her or a desert after an August thunderstorm think of it first one rather which is metaphorical the sweat or the flowers the desert or the skin with its pores if this is a pretty way to talk about sweat why is it right my sweat isn’t white know about yours all the terms in this apparel is simple and attentive poem are in fact unstable as they ruin the poem by Williams and I find that interesting the next poem is by what might the person who might be the poster boy of this new precision ISM ground Faust oh god I think this was from his first book but now I’m not positive which might have been called as in every deafness anyway night train creased the darkness seems exactly the same someone in one of those houses is you so what’s the first thing we wonder about this poem I like to start with questions like that when I teach in my case the title of course made me wonder whether this was going to be about a passing train passing through the town at night all night spent drinking cheap wine intended to get one blotto because there is a cheap wine you know soul basically to alcoholics called night train or at least there was I don’t know if it still exists but i think it probably does um we can’t tell and we find it doesn’t matter difference makes no difference at all that’s the sense this nye holistic little poem expertly conveys the darkness before and after the train passes our instinct and disturbingly in the second half of the poem you that special someone or you the reader our last in a distanced view of duplicate houses someone and anyone are confused with one another the language of this poem is indeed playing and stark the only read that that’s a metaphor is the important beginning word creased but even that becomes literalized formally it’s worth noting at this point that the two halves of the poem / the hyphens crease are structurally very similar though not identical each section is composed of a too-long stanza above a one-line stanza the single line in both cases is composed of two words a hyphen separates the two sections as a ghost crease separates yet fails to separate the times before and after the trains passage and then if you turn the page I’ve got another poem about trains by the woman who was the pilot laureate until just very recently hey Ryan k ron was only heard of k ryan for the first

time well maybe in that maybe an essay in fact by Steven Burt maybe 10 years ago maybe eight years ago can’t remember but um she’s not young but she kind of came out of nowhere and became quite eminent quite quite quickly I don’t think she’s a natural fit she’s not a perfect fit with this new precision ISM and yet there’s some ways in which you can read her that way um we can talk after we left the poem about how she might or might not be a fit into this new thing tru trac figure imagine a two-track figure made of silver over silver of between car envisioned each slice too brief to add detail or deepen that could be a hat if it’s a person if it’s a person if it’s a person just the same information time to supplant the same scant information that’s one of my favorite of her poems actually I don’t like them all but I do like that one so I’m not sure exactly what her influences are or if she would claim Williams instances as an influence million war comes to mind as a possible reference point for her um these poems are to use birch phrase well made and relatively unornamented at la smell unless metaphor is equated with ornament which it might be but they’re not like ruins are like nathy attentive to whatever happens to happen happenstance doesn’t come into it her poems are not based on observation their idea driven now that’s that’s the difference the ideas are rented to metaphor look imagine what she’s depicting right the way I see it and you can if you have the handout it you’ll be able to follow me better but you’re looking at something on the far side of a passing train and you can only see it in glimpses too brief to make sense of it the single glimpse again and again you know if it’s a person if it’s a person if it’s person which catches the rhythm of the train passing over the tracks mmm it’s the same glimpse again and again but the repetition doesn’t really help you understand what you’re seeing now do you think that she’s interested in this phenomenon itself I don’t know but I guess that the answer is no the images of vehicle so to speak of a metaphor she’s interested in helping us visualize something else so we have to think what is she really talking about and again it’s more helpful if you’re looking at it but you get just the same scant information time to supplant the same scant information um i would think that she’s talking about the news cycle that’s my guess and I sort of like it for that you know that there’s we get the city and glimpse over and over of something but not enough information to deepen writer to add detail um she’s right about that I think and this is a very clever way to present the idea or should I say smart and in my hesitating between the word clever and smart you can hear my aunt Bev I think um she’s using the train to Nell hark back to the op and poem to sell you her idea and that generally puts me off but here I kind of like it so i guess i’m not all that predictable still the metaphors that I like the best are the ones that are unstable that may be there in may not that shimmer that are sort of like desert mirages those are the metaphors I like um you know was was Williams talking about something more sexual say than just a branch of a tree Rose Monica you talking about woman or the desert don’t say the things that intrigue me um but anyway enough about k ryan of course i’m here to talk about myself by talking about what I like so how can I say what I like in a nutshell well one thing is that I like poems that are both playing and slippery is that asking for too much is it asking for the moon people sometimes say you’re asking for the moon if you’re asking for the impossible and that’s a phrase in the poem of my own that i’m going to read first this poem is from my first book and back then I was more of a minimalist and I didn’t put the name of my poem either duh but it’s called view not the city light we want the moon the moon none of our own doing I’m not going to

go on on explaining my poems because to me that always seems like bad taste you know I let other people do it or or not do it but I will say that this problem depends on double meanings and a kind of double hearing it asks you to hear and rehear to common phrases walking the moon and also that wasn’t my doing when people say the latter they’re generally trying to cover something up anyway okay I’m going to move on to my next poll and I’m going to say I’m not a true minimalist anymore or Emma just anymore though that aesthetic still plays a part in my work my parents have gotten is they are more complicated nor they often play the concrete off against the abstract and they often come in separate sections that are more or less indirectly related I choose to reproduce reproduce this poem a resemblance because it vents the psychology if you will around two common poetic devices the image and the metaphor and at this point i guess i should read the poem if i can find it a resemblance as a means mostly computation matter it nicely I’ll handle the silliness that separates me from what I car the world quiet ragged skirt of dust encircling a ceramic good look alikes are you happy now what I like a vicarious happiness yes though I suspect yours are being defective first the only image really in this poem is in the second section that section also contains two metaphors the thing depicted the ceramic gourd is the kind of pre-made metaphor that is some artisan made a piece a ceramic piece that resembled the gourd and then there is the metaphor made by me that is calling the dust around the gourd a skirt which is a rather simple humble metaphor mmm for some reason real poet and actually we all out of humans I think like comparisons we like pears look alikes i call them in the poem we like replacing one thing with another seeing one thing in terms of another that’s how we understand right or we think we like it but we’re fickle and replacement these valleys benign is it well I’ll leave you to think that that over and um I guess I’m gonna end there I don’t know how much time i took ooh well I did take more than 10 minutes does anyone want to say something I asked questions are we supposed to be doing that the Q&A thing okay does anybody want to ask any questions about anything on this on my hand out or anything about that I said about the essay or yeah given up yeah ah that’s a good question but it’s we’re not really a question that I can answer because it’s asking me to put myself back into my self in 1977 and that self is almost as much of a stranger to me as you a hug so on I guess I you know maybe I was somewhat influenced a little bit by concrete poetry I did read a you no basho and ISA and such um Williams may have done some things with staggering Lions we had something I don’t do as much anymore although i did just recently write a poem that has various margins and they kind of represent different speakers and voices but that’s not exactly what’s going on here good question no answer you also want to try that yes well that’s it yeah that’s a thought there was a i think it was even like a poem in itself Archibald MacLeish was one of the modern us a poem should not mean but be right ok but I’m doing what did you watch the question I’ll use

that in a satirically in a poem that hasn’t been published in a book yet it was maybe you saw because it was in poetry magazine i’m going to read it the reading it’s called soft money and I do a riff off of that but what you want me to tell you what Archibald MacLeish meant by it mmm okay well i think it is a meant that pones artworks are there in their embodiments you know they’re not they’re not lectures on and they’re not all about what they mean and if you can you know you if you can paraphrase if you could an Emily Dickinson poem you would you would probably end up what’s up with something very very long and not when he was interesting as her poem so I think you got something like that which is I guess really very few people would disagree with um yes like in kindergarten because by I had my mother read poetry to me which was lucky for me I guess or else it was terrible for me I don’t know it and then I had a teacher in kindergarten who write poetry and she had all of us making up little poems and then she would write them down for us and make a mimeograph sheet of them um and so I just kind of I always took to it you know I I don’t think I wrote my first poem that I kept until I was 22 but you know I I was always going in that direction running off that cliff you know it’s just lately it’s uh it started to be good to me but in general I wouldn’t recommend poetry is it was laughing ah but anyway oh yeah but anybody else I come on somebody else wonder something about one of the poems that I read maybe anybody want to disagree about one of the phones are ya ah well let me see okay often has a period Williams doesn’t Oh Matthew doesn’t moon doesn’t you’re right else doesn’t Ryan does I have an exclamation point in the first one but no punctuation in the second one um I don’t often because sometimes I want to give the sense that the thought isn’t finished that the thinking process could go on you know to in order to encourage the reader I gets to keep thinking what what might be said next I can’t speak for these other people um Burt things that the younger ones are imitating me but I don’t know if that’s true or not uh I no clue I could only speak for myself ya know I could ask that question so I have to make I think about it sometimes oh I did live in the bay area for a long time and I think if I had lived in bay area I probably would not have gone on to have the career that I’ve had even though that was I only lived there for 10 years I went to Berkeley then I went back to San Diego then i went up to San Francisco went to San Francisco State and then just hung around you know for a long time or a number of years and that’s where I get my apprenticeship not so much at the school as just on the scene you know and so by the time I came back to San Diego i already had connections which back before the internet was you know you had to go to a sin to make any connections and you know but in San Francisco then we had very kayak we saw each other a lot there were a lot of reasons lot of talks intense interactions that got a lot of things going so that it also part of my career but if I wasn’t bad for you to leave that come back to San Diego when I did um somehow there was something site when I got back to San Diego it seemed very very quiet I mean it wasn’t literally quiet cuz i was living kind of under a flight path but you know in terms of and you know but the the Dickinson poem where she talked when she her sis he says do different if they do as syllable from sound whether order there were scenes but there weren’t many syllables happening in my life then and so there was this great sense of silence it fell and that is kind of provocative and away any interesting and I started to kind of

right into that sort of silence I know maybe maybe I don’t know what direction my poetry would have taken if I had stayed in San Francisco so let’s remember what 1 enter number two is I can grow up in Southern California and the same would be true of orange or LA or whatever you um you know we all were prepared to be bow dr we all knew about you know the simulacrum right you know he was a french guy who came over and discovered it didn’t but we’re all about that yeah we just didn’t happen to write that essay so yeah there’s a cognitive on natural irony I think that comes from being a southern california and in san diego at least you’ve got the massive presence of the military and then the kind of theme park trust reality brushing up against each other and so that there’s a kind of dissonance that’s pretty visible that probably influenced me and then answer number three which is the least interesting is that i think a lot of the the flora of southern california might as well be orange as san diego again no difference kind of comes into my work just because i do take a look outside and start from what i see so you know could be coils and palm trees often is so I guess that’s all I have to say about that yeah I definitely see in modernist text kind of destabilization but it also makes me think of Cubism nope so like a kind of tension between taking apart and then veering towards assembling I’m just wondering okay yeah I think that kid ism was very important to the modernists I mean especially Gertrude Stein was tremendously influenced as everyone knows by cubism mmhmm yeah yeah yeah uh-huh and I think that one aspect of language poetry people usually ask me what does it mean to be a language poet and I think we’re actually all very different writers but one thing that we do seem to have in common and maybe it fits into what you’re saying is this idea that the part maybe it’s sentences maybe it stands is whatever don’t have to be directly related it can be tangentially related they might be remixed in a different order they’re sort of modular and that’s a little bit like cubism too I guess yeah mm-hmm mmhmm mm-hmm oh god somebody gave I have to say but you know I’m not a young person somebody gave me a kindle for Christmas and I returned it so I’m just I know you can probably give anything on to a kindle if you know if you can like napster stuff but they’re the stuff that I could buy at the kindle store I didn’t want to read I me other than the New York Times you know maybe that the time we’ll calm maybe when you can get graham bell’s new book on kindle but that time is not yet arrived so I don’t know I’m worried about the funnel that you know I’m obviously you can read anything on the internet and there’s no no funneling process at all like there is on ebooks um but then that tea was kind of discouraging because there is such a um wilderness of text on the Internet I don’t know I guess people people who communicate a lot i mostly communicate with the friends that I made face to face so that’s great because now we can be at different cities and we can still be I actually exchanged there are emails at in real time you know like we were texting but we weren’t with ron zimmerman between nine-thirty and ten o’clock pacific time last night he stays up late because he’s under use coast oh so there’s that you know bad in terms of I don’t know you have to ask really what did you probably know the answer better than I do what it’s like to be in Nebraska and be a young poet and even Southern California does it quite count media does but okay so you’re right on the prairies and you’re a young poet and you have a computer where do you start I think it’s kind of like if you go into a bookstore now I’m just gonna sound like an old fart but I’m just gonna say it you go into a bookstore you pick things

up you look at them you kind of you know first of all you know what kind of book store you’re going to there’s this book store in town and its vault somehow you know it’s got a hip reputation so you go there and you I don’t know they don’t have a great selection but you find some good stuff and you look at it and you know it’s got one or two books that are just really different and you you buy one and you start there really seriously somebody could tell me because people ask me this question and that’s just not how it is for me because I was already a formed person by the time I got the internet I mean I’m glad I have it but it wasn’t for my dick for me but so yeah I mean you know we can talk later about all of that and you guys can tell me what the truth is cuz I don’t know all right yes I think I understand what you’re saying that it might my work doesn’t have an obvious autobiographical frame sometimes there are not really in the to poems that I brought but if you’ve read more of my work and or if you come to my reading there are poems of mine that have things that happen to me in them and that have bits of my life you know but I don’t I tend to kind of put that material on a par with other material you know it’s it’s it is no more emphasized than something I saw or something I heard on television it’s juxtaposed with it kind of on an equal footing so and it doesn’t read like a story but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn things about me from reading my poetry I think if you reversed at some point you get the feeling that I had cancer which I did you know I was sick at least mm so and I mean I didn’t I really worried about what everyone thinking about and if that means I’m thinking about disease and disease comes into it I’m just not constructing it as an autobiography I’m sure here’s my feeling who really thinks you know no I’m walking along now and here i go sitting down I mean I just don’t do that part I did I’ll just talk about what I’m seeing once i sat down you know I just skip to the good parts at the way I see the way I see it um so I don’t create myself as a character i’m not i’m not against fiction i think of that as fiction I’m not against fiction i’m reading jonathan franzen’s novel right now freedom with enjoyment but um it’s just you know not all poets do that someday when some don’t um but that isn’t there’s none of me in it I mean you know the for instance when when my son was little he watched a lot of cartoons and I would watch cartoons with him because I wanted to be doing what he was doing so instead of being a real parent I turned into a kid and we were laugh about cartoons which way that cartoon characters came into my work now no cartoon characters you know so my circumstances put it that way my circumstances affect my work and that means my life affects my work it’s just that I’m not going you know these are my circumstances now here they go that’s all they just they come in when they come in um and I’m not saying that’s a good thing or bad thing that’s just how I am okay anybody else yeah yeah yeah I very seldom complete something in at one sitting it has happened but you know the times it’s happened I could count on probably both hands um and I didn’t like I like not doing I like not completing something that one in one young because I like different perspectives to come in and we’re going to feel a little differently enough you know three days later and I like to get that kind of range of ideas and feelings and events on to juxtapose together I just like that texture it’s a think of it as jump cuts or whatever is familiar to you but yeah I do carry a blank book left I left it in Logans car but I’ve got it with me had it on the train didn’t write anything in it because I was too busy reading friends and but just in case it was with me it is with me almost at all times just in case you know can you never know um and some yeah so I am a bit of a magpie I will things that I hear that sounds really strange and interesting to me all

right now so okay yeah I try to keep up see young really poets look yeah I read I try to keep up with what’s been published and I do need a lot of poetry and I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction that’s kind of different for me I mean they were sunk I liked WGC balls a lot he’s not contemporary anymore sadly since he died I like it should Giro if I’m saying his name correctly I like Lydia Davis very much um but there I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction I’m just giving friends in a try um I read a lot I don’t know why anyone would care about this I read a lot of classic 19th century fiction you know i just read pretty much all of Trollope like i got a trial kick i had missed him in college and I went wow what a pleasure that was um I read science stuff cuz I’m interested in it so i will read books about me i’m no expert so I’m not trying to present myself with any sort of expertise these books are popular books don’t like Brian Greene but um well I am NOT it’s not just always physics I’ll read about theories of consciousness and cognitive science and I almost always read Scientific American and just discover magazine and I kind of stuff mmm I see I seem to get a lot of inspiration from that some hell I even talked to a real actual physicist into having lunch with me recently so we could talk about physics I’m not sure we had that we had a meeting of minds but um so I’m kind of a science groupie ah that’s kind of describes my reading that we can we can do finished if nobody else has the question all right okay thank you for coming you