ASAP and Language Poetry

Well, I've been a little reluctant to submit to conferences this semester, because I need to be focusing on reading and don't have any old material to recycle, but Brian (McHale, my advisor) suggested I submit to ASAP,'s hoping I'll be at Clemson in September. I'm still mulling on the Language poets, so when I had Kit Robinson's anecdote about a Clark Coolidge reading floating around my head, and Brian said "why not talk about the public readings they did?" I felt the certainty of a chewable project settle in. My first stab at a title was "Listening to Language Poetry: Sound, Duration, and Community in Clark Coolidge’s Public Readings," but that may change - hell, the whole project may shift mysteriously as I get into it. Because first of all I have to determine what Clark Coolidge was even reading at this majestic event (Brian and I are currently a little stumped on this one) and so it looks likely I'll have to write Mr. Coolidge himself to begin to gather some institutional history. That's kind of exciting but also, well, yikes.

I'm indulging myself and reading American Poetry Since 1950 edited by Eliot Weinberger today. After Oren Izenberg's somewhat abusive take on the Language poets, I'm back in friendly territory. It begins with William Carlos Williams's "Desert Music," hits the reader with a manageable chunk of Pound, and transitions elegantly into a long selection from H.D.'s Hermetic Definition (which, next to Pound, appeared surprisingly in the light of similarity). In Pound, the sound seemed to operate against the sense, insofar as it completely overwhelmed my perceptual faculties with its onslaught of bouncing meter and end rhymes. But of course Pound makes me feel (as I'm sure he does others) totally, totally inadequate, so thoroughly lost in his sea of references that I wouldn't notice if one hit me in the face. I saw the Dante loud and clear, but that's like noticing the Empire State Building.

In addition to conference abstracts, Project Narrative events and dinner (Emma Kafalenos!), and trying to keep abreast of exam reading, we're still trying to nail down a new apartment. Meeting with a landlord today...fingers crossed.