Michael Robbins - Alien Vs. Predator (nb this book of poems is not about aliens, predators or their conflicts)

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A few people reading him, & a sensibility that seems likely to fascinate/enrage ilxors,so I guess he should get his own thread.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 13:37 (seven years ago) link

michael robbins is the best-selling poet in the country right now.

― scott seward, Sunday, May 27, 2012 9:43 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2012/03/27/michael-robbins-on-%E2%80%98alien-vs-predator%E2%80%99/

Where are you working right now?

I’m a visiting poet at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, which is where I’m staying and just waiting until I get out of this city.

You don’t like it?

The people are great at the university, my students are great, but Hattiesburg is … it’s just like if you opened a university in a Taco Bell, basically. It’s just the ugliest place I’ve ever seen in my life.

Is it maybe good for the work though?

I spend a lot of time in my apartment, so I suppose it is in that sense. But there’s no bookstore, there’s like one Books-A-Million, whose Bible section is larger than its poetry section, which anyway has, like, books by Bill Bryson in it and stuff. You can quote me on all that if you want to, I don’t care.

You don’t mind?

No, I want to be on record saying that I hate Hattiesburg.

― scott seward, Sunday, May 27, 2012 9:47 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Hard cheese, my lad, you're getting paid to write poetry. Now, who's going to make me want to read New Yorker fiction? Surely something good must have been published since those excellent Edward P. Jones and Mary Gaitskill stories I came across in the NY years ago, but everytime I venture back nowadays (meaning really 2011-12, prob '10 too), it's dogshit with fancy sauce (evoking that Sat Night Live sketch, "White People Problems")

― dow, Sunday, May 27, 2012 11:58 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

see now i liked that paris review interview cuz its not what you expect to hear from a poet in an interview in the paris review!

― scott seward, Monday, May 28, 2012 12:20 AM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

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― woof, Monday, May 28, 2012 9:02 AM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Sorry you have decided to not like Hattiesburg, but you are certainly in the minority.perhaps you haven’t really tried. It is actually a very beautiful place with outstanding restaurants, landmarks and neighborhoods full of gorgeous homes. The lakes,trees and flowers are outstanding as are the two university campuses and numerous. Golf courses. Most importantly, it has the nicest people you will find anywhere. You sound very lonely and cynical. Perhaps you should join one of our wonderful churches and find someone who will pray for you. As we say in the south, “BLESS YOUR HEART”!!!!!

― woof, Monday, May 28, 2012 9:02 AM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Enjoyed that interview, had forgotten AvP was out, looking forward to it.

― woof, Monday, May 28, 2012 9:03 AM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! He lives wherever hearts are open.

― dow, Monday, May 28, 2012 5:10 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

he's a good rock critic too, don. dunno if you've seen any of it.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-11-17/music/the-broken-promises-of-bruce-springsteen/

― scott seward, Monday, May 28, 2012 5:39 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah, good read, no beardmumbling, skimming, cheerleading, or autosnark.

― dow, Monday, May 28, 2012 5:51 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Guy sounds unbearable from that Paris Review interview, alas.

― Odd Spice (Eazy), Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:06 AM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

how is the robbins book? nyer poetry has been so nothing lately. there's just one nice word per poem, that's all i can get from them.

― blossom smulch (schlump), Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:26 AM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/books/alien-vs-predator-a-book-of-poetry-by-michael-robbins.html

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:18 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

and yeah i agree. about the new yorker. don't know what happened. i was really excited by stuff when i started this thread.

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:19 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i should probably try and read their 'science fiction issue'

that nyt review makes me sad about the standards that lead robbins to be considered remarkable, maybe: "He knows more than you do about Jay-Z and Lil Wayne ... This collection’s final words — “yes yes y’all” — echo Joyce. "

― thomp, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:22 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

The Dark Clicks On

The morning slathers its whatever
across the thing. It puts the fucking
lotion in the basket. Can’t smoke
in the confessional anymore.
If you do, you have to confess it.
So have I heard and do in part believe it.

Old pond, frog jumps in, so what.
Dude speaks Chinese laundry.
My mother like her pussy shave.
Tell her I read in Origen
even Satan might be saved.
Or else it gets the hose again.

Michael J. Fox talks Parkinson’s
with the former Miss Arkansas.
The clouds are there for them
to be sick on. Those European
stairwells with the lights on a timer?
You get halfway up and the dark clicks on.

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:26 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Appetite for Destruction
—Michael Robbins

You homicidal bitch. I killed the boar
’cause boar’s the game I came here for.
I clear the jungle with the edge of my hand.
I make love to an ATM. I enrich uranium.
Dude, this aggression will not stand.

I want to watch you bleed. My tongue
doesn’t know its right from wrong.
I’m uninsured. I ride the bus,
a loaded gun inside my purse.
My mouth’s a roadside bomb.

The boar’s inside the mosque and then
the RPG has martyred him.
His favorite song was “Crazy Train.”
I pity the Lord, pity the Flash,
I sleep through gynecology class.

They call me Yeti because my carbon footprint
drives the sherpas round the bend
into the village of the whup-ass can.
When I lie on my back in the ashy rain,
pigs drink from my cavernous groin.

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:32 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i like his poetry crit too:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/237508

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:42 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

aw poor J.D. McClatchy!

― go down on you in a thyatrr (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, May 29, 2012 12:47 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Money Bin

I got a tattoo of God. You can’t see it
but it’s everywhere. If I seem out of it,
do the math. I was put on earth.
And then you were, making up your feet
as you went along. New thinspo clanks the spank
bank. New emoticon makes a Holocene.

If you want to get in shape you have to jog
your memory of Euclid. Jesus built
a ship in a ship shape and said
there’s plenty of loaves in the sea.
Some Idaho you turned out to be.

Some money bin I, a rich duck, swim in!
The coins of you in my feathers like water
off my back. I count each red cent of you.
Now the rain with its funny money din.
The rain beats a tattoo of God any day.

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:27 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i like the way the words go.

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:27 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

minds are funny things. they dearly love pattern and meaning. they will see them in spite of everything. i liked that poem, too. for a bit. but it means nothing to me or to anyone so far as i can tell.

― Aimless, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:17 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

have you surveyed everyone?

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:42 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

that would take you a while.

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 3:42 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

O my Luve's like a red, red cent
that's newly in my feathers;
but not the feathers on my back
for there she rolls right off.

― Aimless, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 4:27 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah he's big on easter eggs for poetry fans. try and catch them all!

― scott seward, Tuesday, May 29, 2012 4:45 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I will totes buy that Robbins book as soon as I see it -- shouts-out to ILX for sharing good NYer poems w/ me!

Re: Ashbery: I will totally stan for 'Double Dream' and ESPECIALLY 'As We Know'. Just an incredible, compulsively-readable collection of each-poem-better-than-the-last... one image I can't get out of my head lately (from the conclusion of "Train Rising Out of the Sea"):

Like an island just off the shore, one of many, that no one
Notices, though it has a certain function, though an abstract one
Built to prevent you from being towed to shore.

― Despite all my cheek, I am still just a freak on a leash (bernard snowy), Tuesday, June 5, 2012 5:37 PM (4 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

got the Robbins book a coupla days ago and I'm really enjoying it (though I'm not sure how much of it, if any, will 'stick' with me)

also, in light of the discussion upthread, I quite enjoyed turning the page to find...

Reading Late Ashbery

I feel like a discarded Christmas tree.
Thanks for sharing. I can't hear myself think
about all this racket. As long
as we're discussing "feelings,"
please turn to your information packets.

It took me twelve years just to find this socket,
and if you think I'm throwing in the towel
just because my plugs have too many prongs...
I don't even have a towel. Oh, a towel.
No, I have a couple of those.

― Despite all my cheek, I am still just a freak on a leash (bernard snowy), Saturday, June 9, 2012 3:24 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

^^ light verse from the edge of the visible spectrum

― Aimless, Saturday, June 9, 2012 3:48 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

invisi-lol

― Despite all my cheek, I am still just a freak on a leash (bernard snowy), Saturday, June 9, 2012 4:00 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

There once was a rapping tomato,
That's right, a rapping tomato,
And he rapped all day,
From April til May,
and also, guess what? it was me.

― thomp, Saturday, June 9, 2012 6:50 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

In the 1940s, "tomato" was slang for a woman, while implying a certain luscious juicy quality in said female. Is this the sense in which you are using the word? /dork

― Aimless, Saturday, June 9, 2012 8:25 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 13:39 (seven years ago) link

My impressions:

There's an intensity of reference that's a bit exhausting - its's kind of 'surprise! surprise! surprise! surprise!'. I'm struggling to get over that, tbh; the moments of going 'oh Summer Breeze GnR Larkin Ghostface Adorno GrantMorrison etc etc'. I usually find allusion a p limited tool, but the rate and range(*) here are overwhelming, & give the verse its flavour and substance.

Formally it feels a bit samey, like his music is just a bit too narrow. I'm trying to put my finger on what exactly it is, it's like some fragments of Stevens (Blue Guitar couplets?) or Ashbery maybe, stuck on a loop. He does love the sound of words, but it's a bit too obvious - the light verse charge very nearly sticks, and looks true over the course of single poems.

So I'm saying that it doesn't quite get out of the trap of sounding superficial while trying to represent overstimulated superficiality maybe - but I like it more the more I read - the effect of the volume, a mind spinning pointlessly, trying to grab onto things and slipping off them, entertaining itself in whirlwind or falling apart in front of the mass of manufactured stuff, then asserting 'I' again before losing track of it. (The major sound-syntax signature of the book, all those sentences starting out with 'I…' would be deliberate I guess.) Trying to say something serious but everything turning into a joke.

(*) It's not really the span of the range that locks my attention, it's narcissism: white middle class 30-something male who likes pop culture and canonical poetry (The big gap is us/uk.) Feels like someone is close to locking patterns in my head into a music, which makes it more frustrating that this does feel a bit empty, that it's not quite managing to adhere to the world or to feelings or… i dunno.

Little 'RIP Alex Chilton' in the acknowledgments.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 13:40 (seven years ago) link

Oh, that huge blockquote was from the New Yorker poetry thread:

I'd Like To Give A Shout-Out To Paul Muldoon For Making Me Want To Read New Yorker Poems!

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 13:41 (seven years ago) link

Re: the first-person pronoun: one of the things that first struck me about (the poem) "Alien vs. Predator" is the playful boastfulness of it, the absurd claims to some sort of demigodlike powers; this is, I suppose, part of the hip-hop influence ("hit the earth like a comet invasion / Nas is like that afrocentric asian / half-man, half-amazing"), with maybe some Whitman too?

visions of kreayshawn with joanna newsom (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 3 July 2012 14:00 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, Appetite for Destruction (pasted upthread) has that same thing going on - distortion of hip-hop leaps out to kick it off, then it spins into war-violence, paranoia, fear, finally bleaker sort of giant-consumer-corpse monster egotism.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 14:38 (seven years ago) link

sometimes the phrase

"that elk is such a dick"

gets stuck in my head, again and again.

It is hard to work out whether i like him or not, but i'd buy a book of his poems in service of finding out.

䷡ (c sharp major), Tuesday, 3 July 2012 14:41 (seven years ago) link

as in, his stuff seems worth my expending the energy on it - even though so flash and rapid it doesn't feel instantly dismissable.

䷡ (c sharp major), Tuesday, 3 July 2012 14:45 (seven years ago) link

tbh on first reading my heart really sank, thought I'd got excited over nonsense jingles + flattery-by-allusion, but now I think he's at least interesting, beyond the sound-and-rhythm fun; worth the effort for me maybe.

Still a bit wary, partly for reasons sketched above, partly because HYPE.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 14:58 (seven years ago) link

so this guy is, like, the james ferraro of poetry?

jabba hands, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:07 (seven years ago) link

will maybe buy this on the strength of this:

The Dark Clicks On

The morning slathers its whatever
across the thing.

blossom smulch (schlump), Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:19 (seven years ago) link

i liked 'alien vs predator' the poem a lot but the idea of it as a modus operandi makes me really kind of depressed. i think i have had this in the to-buy section on amazon for a very long time - it was up there months before it was released, i think - but (fittingly?) the idea of buying this makes me feel like one of those people who buy only one hip hop album a year.

there are probably a lot of MFA poets who have worked out similar schticks? maybe? i mean: the glibness about 'poetry', how it comes out. (the morning slathers its whatever, yes.) n.b. i'm not saying "there are probably a lot of MFA poets ..." as a thing i know - i'm speculating! i'm just assuming he can't be the only one!

but his real talent with cadence, assonance, half-rhyme is there. full rhyme even! it just seems to be there in relation to a fairly limited set of targets: like i feel this is pretty low-hanging fruit for someone in his 30s to be going at.

it feels a bit like a vein that should have been tapped in the 90s. it feels a bit like mark leyner. but, then, there was a new mark leyner book this year, and people actually wrote things about it, suggesting people might want to read a new mark leyner book in 2012, as if his uselessness hadn't been recognised and he hadn't been off writing those 'what to ask the doctor after your fourth pina colada' books, so, in conclusion, fml. (incidentally, i hope one of the poems here concludes:

and so, in conclusion, fml.

thomp, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:29 (seven years ago) link

Might as well put basic resources here too I guess, good housekeeping. Robbins on twitter and tumblr.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:34 (seven years ago) link

this is a bit of gregory sherl from a book called the oregon trail is the oregon trail which i am going to put here for purposes of comparison:

I pause the game but your heart still beats
slowly. I rest the oxen, sing you folk songs
about mining a future west of Fort Kearney.
We hide from typhoid behind trees suffocating
the earth, but it still catches child #2, Wendy,
and your heart drops like a bowling ball down
a sewer. We always ford the river but today the swell
is God’s stomachache, and we lose two oxen.

Christopher, child #1, falls into a ditch
of rattlesnakes. Venom like whoa.
Death eats grass and the weeds wrap around
the wagon’s wheels, cracking the axel.
I can’t fix the axel, so we have to trade
40 bullets to a banker from Boston. Your ankles
are showing and a bulge is showing in the banker
from Boston, so I shoot him and take the bullets back.

On a night too lonely for color, you find blood
in places where blood should not be. Your tears
are a muted computer screen. Your dysentery is my dysentery.
I hold your hand and your eyes are milk. I tell you Soon.
Soon zombies will walk the earth, pouring salt
on open wounds. Today my fever kills my appetite,
and the bear I shot is rotting the end of the world.

thomp, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:38 (seven years ago) link

i want to know what would happen if ilm's whiney g weingarten were made to read this book

thomp, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:43 (seven years ago) link

it feels a bit like a vein that should have been tapped in the 90s.

YES.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:43 (seven years ago) link

AvP in the New Yorker did feel belated, like 'how did it take so long for that to happen?'.

I suppose lots of MFA types must have got something similar (speculating too), but his engineering's quite daring in its crudity or flash or something: the frequent half-line sentences + piled-on full-rhyme couplets + simple syntax. (He's not one for following a thought or image over a stanza.)

ikwym too about the one hip-hop album a year thing.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 15:52 (seven years ago) link

i want to know what would happen if ilm's whiney g weingarten were made to read this book

was going to call the thread 'HIPSTER POET Michael Robbins has written a book of HIPSTER POETRY called Alien vs Predator' to lure in posters who can't resist what-is-hipster clusterfucks, but decided against (felt like dad-joke bid for wider ilx attn).

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 16:18 (seven years ago) link

Sometimes I subscribe to the t.s.eliot school of evaluating poets based on how many of their lines couldn't possibly have come from anyone else, and I think Robbins scores pretty well on that metric. Compared to something like that Oregon Trail poem just posted, he's much less verbose ('punchier'?), which also helps him seem less sentimental even when he touches on 'serious' matters (e.g. the one that ends "I rape the earth. It's not my fault.")

visions of kreayshawn with joanna newsom (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 3 July 2012 18:02 (seven years ago) link

Also I like this book 10x more since I began hearing the title as "alien verse predator", like how a kid might say it

visions of kreayshawn with joanna newsom (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 3 July 2012 18:05 (seven years ago) link

someone subscribe to the london review of books and then cut and paste this review here cuz i want to read the whole thing:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n15/michael-robbins/my-heart-on-a-stick

you can read this other seidel review here though as a pdf:

http://humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/review/5323_robbins_seidel.pdf

scott seward, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 18:18 (seven years ago) link

i HAVE to post a link to this again. i just have to. tour de force.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/239972

scott seward, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 18:21 (seven years ago) link

That Oregon Trail poem… I dunno. It feels to me like it's working imaginatively with the experience of playing a computer game, and a much more conventional poem results. Robbins doesn't seem especially interested in poem-as-artifact crafted from that kind of engagement with experience, but I think I'm okay with that at the moment.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 18:26 (seven years ago) link

Scott, I won't post it here bcz i sort of know ppl there & feels bad karma to post the mag's stuff publically, but if your webmail works then it's on its way.

woof, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 19:07 (seven years ago) link

thanks!

scott seward, Tuesday, 3 July 2012 19:18 (seven years ago) link

I reviewed this a while ago: http://causticcovercritic.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/alien-vs-predator.html

Main thought: The way that [his best ]lines work independently of their source poems leads to my main criticism: the fragmentary nature of many of these poems means that one line often doesn’t build on the next, as Robbins jumps manically to the next gag, the next bit of pomposity-bursting—I suspect could randomly rearrange and mix lines from half a dozen poems collected here and they’d be no worse for it. But poems that present a unified argument or the encapsulation of a place or an experience are not the sort of poems Robbins is usually interested in writing, so it’s not necessarily just to have a go at him for not writing them.

an inevitable disappointment (James Morrison), Wednesday, 4 July 2012 00:32 (seven years ago) link

Robbins on Hass: "...he thinks that merely intoning the names of things can replace the hard work of description."

You say "the hard work of description", Mr. Robbins?

alimosina, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 04:58 (seven years ago) link

Description in prose can be spun out at tedious length. What's another dozen sentences when you're pounding away at a comprehensive catalog of piled-up details?

Instead, he may have been thinking of a rather idealized concept of poetic description, where a few words are made to encapsulate masses of detail by a process of deft suggestion, incorporating gesture, rhythm and coloration. Or not. I am not a mind reader.

Aimless, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 05:07 (seven years ago) link

i would check out that NYT article linked upthread, even though there is a sly winking reference to mcclatchy early on, it is very full of truth, for example

Mr. Robbins’s pop-cultural knife skills, however, may be among the least interesting things about him. Rare is the young poet these days who doesn’t dice our wired world into a baseline mirepoix. What puts his poems over is their sheer joy and dizzy command. He delivers his verses in tight, mostly rhyming quatrains and quintets that march down the page like the work of Frederick Seidel or Mr. Muldoon himself ...

When Mr. Robbins’s poems miss, they miss hideously, veering close to nonsense (“My smoothie/comes with GPS”). Non sequiturs are heaped into tottering piles. In bad young poets, knowingness is to knowledge what truthiness is to truth, as Mr. Robbins’s lesser stuff makes plain.

... But he has a sky-blue originality of utterance.

anyway i agree with aimless on "gesture, rhythm and coloration"

i don't like slam poetry and i already had a beatnik phase but i think sometimes this stuff sounds so nice read aloud

ototh everything i've read by mcclatchy and wheeler otoh has made me wince

the late great, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 06:13 (seven years ago) link

i would disagree with Rare is the young poet these days who doesn’t dice our wired world into a baseline mirepoix perhaps but i know what he means

the late great, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 06:14 (seven years ago) link

that beatdown on hass was funny

the late great, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 06:26 (seven years ago) link

seidel review was great too

thanks scott!

the late great, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 06:27 (seven years ago) link

Thar review of Hass was hilarious: "Does ass fucking really require such a high-minded justification? Upon being told someone is fucking someone else in the ass, has anyone ever responded, “What! Why?” I regret to inform the reader that Hass goes on to compare this sex act to the sacking of Troy."

an inevitable disappointment (James Morrison), Wednesday, 4 July 2012 07:46 (seven years ago) link

that's probably the most unfair line in it, though!

thomp, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 08:00 (seven years ago) link

"sacking" more like "sacking" amirite

the late great, Wednesday, 4 July 2012 08:42 (seven years ago) link

Confirmed reports of three people I know reading this. This means obv its popularity is only matched by Fifty Shades of Grey.

thomp, Saturday, 7 July 2012 13:25 (seven years ago) link

One of them reminded me where Rilke being a jerk came from:

3. A stimulant for an old beast

Acacia, burnt myrrh, velvet, pricky stings.
—I'm not so young but not so very old,
said screwed-up lovely 23.
A final sense of being right out in the cold,
unkissed.
(—My psychiatrist can lick your psychiatrist.) Women get under
things.

All these old criminals sooner or later
have had it. I've been reading old journals.
Gottwald & Co., out of business now.
Thick chests quit. Double agent, Joe.
She holds her breath like a seal
and is whiter & smoother.

Rilke was a jerk.
I admit his griefs & music
& titled spelled all-disappointed ladies.
A threshold worse than the circles
where the vile settle & lurk,
Rilke's. As I said,—

thomp, Saturday, 7 July 2012 13:29 (seven years ago) link

Rilke consults Dr. Freud

Aimless, Saturday, 7 July 2012 16:55 (seven years ago) link

xpost good eye! I had to stop reading Dream Songs last year cuz they were making me too unhappy, but i've been meaning to return to them

visions of kreayshawn with joanna newsom (bernard snowy), Saturday, 7 July 2012 17:48 (seven years ago) link

Also, can we talk about Robbins' relation to other poets/"the canon"? As mentioned upthread, I like his "Reading Late Ashbery", but the Whitmanny one about the twig (don't have the book at hand right now) seemed a little facile..... Berryman's obviously present as an influence througout, including some explicit invocations of Mr. Bones -- wonder how this ties in to Robbins' own hip-hop influence/blackface anxieties/etc??

visions of kreayshawn with joanna newsom (bernard snowy), Saturday, 7 July 2012 18:52 (seven years ago) link

apparently we can't

thomp, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 09:47 (seven years ago) link

I'd like to but I've been apart from my copy of AvP for a few days & my crippling prac crit anxiety leaves me unwilling to say anything without TEXTUAL SUPPORT.

woof, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 10:34 (seven years ago) link

good interview:

http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=754

scott seward, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:49 (seven years ago) link

"I'm just an evangelist for Sullivan right now. That man can sing. I haven't felt this way about a writer since I read Michael Herr's Dispatches. Sullivan could write about anything and I'd read it. David Grann, too — I read every word he writes. But Grann’s definitely a reporter, a journalist. Sullivan, to me, is the American writer right now, in any genre. I'd put him up there with Herr, Didion, McPhee, Dillard, DFW. I think he's a horse. He's staring us down."

i really gotta get that sullivan collection. i never go to stores with new books in them. will go to amherst this weekend.

scott seward, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:50 (seven years ago) link

also didn't know about the marilynne robinson review MR wrote. will have to read that now:

http://observer.com/2012/03/keeping-faith-in-when-i-was-a-child-i-read-books-marilynne-robinson-criticizes-american-politics/?show=all

scott seward, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:52 (seven years ago) link

i love books pretty much the only place i can go to hear from robinson fans.

scott seward, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 14:53 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...

1

Every book has a beginning, and this is this book's beginning. It starts with a question and then it answers the question. The question is to whom should I dedicate my new little fun book nugget? That's kind of a disclaimer, saying that the book is lepidum, or "fun." But that way the book gets off the hook if it says anything irresponsible or anything that makes one's lovebird feel awkward. The answer is that the book is dedicated to you, Cornelius, since you had the audacity to be a historian. And to write three books and belabor them! Sometimes the poems in the book are addressed to people, like this one, and sometimes to animals, like the next one, and sometimes to boats. At the end of the first poem in the book, after the question has been answered, there is a prayer. The prayer is about amor fati and virgins. It gets heard.

j., Thursday, 6 September 2012 11:57 (six years ago) link

Hymen o Hymenaee!

Aimless, Thursday, 6 September 2012 17:08 (six years ago) link

sorry, that one's too long to type in!

j., Thursday, 6 September 2012 17:31 (six years ago) link

i feel like i wish i could afford a copy of gunslinger

j., Friday, 7 March 2014 01:05 (five years ago) link

20 bucks delivered, doesn't seem that far out. also if you buy the new collected dorn brick then by weight you're only paying six, seven bucks for slinger

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 7 March 2014 02:20 (five years ago) link

There have been plenty of years of my life when twenty bucks for a book was at the far edge of the possible. Not now, happily.

Aimless, Friday, 7 March 2014 02:23 (five years ago) link

I paid 11 for Ashbery's Flow Chart last month, that was a splurge

merciless to accomplish the truth in his intelligence (bernard snowy), Friday, 7 March 2014 04:50 (five years ago) link

how do you feel about edward dorn, f.

― ♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 7 March 2014 00:21 (5 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

really like it - the protean central voice and the presentation of time are done very well I think. it's a precise, clever performance, which it needs to be given the looseness of its environment and form. "Western frontier as appropriate place and set of characters with which to study the soul and it's journeys" is absolutely a premise I buy. it's witty, conversational and fun, and laced with song. i like Burroughs, but you allow a lot for the pleasure of listening to his discursive tone of voice - Gunslinger reminded me of Burroughs, but here the internal philosophy, structure and tale, such as it is, is in its own terms coherent, which gives it that overarching tension that long poems need. there's some brilliant set pieces, like this abstract gunfight between the Horse and a loose-tongued stranger:

The Stoned Horse said Slowly
not looking up
from his rolling and planning
Stranger you got a [i]pliable lip

you might get yourself described
if you stay on.

Come on!
Who's the horse, I mean who's
horse is that, we can't have
No Horse! in here.
It ain't proper
and I think I'm gonna
put a halter on you!

Uh uh, the Gunslinger breathed.
Anybody know the muthafucka
the Stoned Horse inquired
of the general air.
Hey, hear that the strange gasped
that's even a negra horse!

Maybe so, maybe not
the Gunslinger inhaled
but stranger you got an Attitude
a mile long
as his chair dropped forward
all four legs on the floor
and as the disputational .44
occurred in his hand and spun there
in that warp of relativity one sees
in the backward turning spokes
of a buckboard,

then came suddenly
to rest, the barrel utterly justified
with a line pointing
to the neighborhood of infinity.
The room froze harder.

Shit,
Slinger
, Lil noticed, You've pointed
your .44 straight
out of town.
I keep tellin you
not to be so goddamn fancy
now that amacher's
got the drop on you!

Not so, Lil!
the Slinger observed.
Your vulgarity is flawless
but you are the slave
of appearances –-
this Stockholder will find
that his gun cannot speak
he'll find
that he has been Described
STRUM
the greenhorn pulled
the trigger and his store-bought iron
coughed out some cheap powder,
and then changed its mind,
muttering about having
been up too late last night.
Its embarrassed handler
looked, one eye wandering,
into the barrel
and then reholstered it and
stood there.

strum

The total .44
recurred in the Slinger's hand
and spun there
then came home like a sharp knock
and the intruder was described -
a plain, unassorted white citizen.

the successful unpunctuated distinction of speech and description is always i think a sign of writer invisibly in charge of their rhythms and tone (like Evelyn Waugh or PG Wodehouse's long pages of brief exchanges where the identity of the speaker remains fixed in the mind. It reminds me of what George Saintsbury in his book on English prose rhythm said about Malory's Morte d'Arthur:

[There are plenty of sentences in Malory beginning with "and"; but it is not the constant go-between and usher-of-all-work that it is in Mandeville.] The abundance of conversation gets him out of this difficulty at once; and he seems to have an instinctive knowledge - hardly shown before him, never reached after him till the time of the great novelists - of weaving conversation and narrative together. [...] His narrative order and his dialogue are so artistically adjusted that they dovetail into one another.

After all, this method and presentation is a 20th/21st C one, but Dorn does it very well. The closest analogue in some ways feels like the Pynchon of Mason & Dixon and Against the Day.

cost me £10, which didn't seem unreasonable - tho like Aimless I'm now in the happy position where I can spend that amount on a book without feeling a bit sick.

Fizzles, Friday, 7 March 2014 06:55 (five years ago) link

"a precise, clever performance, which it needs to be given the looseness of its environment and form" -- yeah, i think at the time i looked at it i wasn't really in the mood to read it charitably: like, my response was Yes I Get It And I Am Bored Of This Riff Now And I Am Only About Two Fifths Convinced Your Line Breaks Are Not Arbitrary. i think it's a lot like other pynchon performances too, like the occasional drops into pulp in GR.

when i read the north atlantic vortex pomes i found myself thinking mb i should have given slinger more of a shot; have forgotten what i liked about those, though. was enthused about the collected but i. the cover is carcanet's worst ever ii. fear of amassing further collective works i will not open, like geo. hill's collected e.g., which has been glaring at me resentfully from various piles and bookshelves, still totally unopened, since december

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 7 March 2014 11:00 (five years ago) link

yeah the North Atlantic Turbine poems definitely show that he knows what he's doing with his linebreaks/form - iirc i liked them because there is a spine of traditional lyric there, he's closer to a posed or precise English voice than I expected - & I think that gave me some of the trust needed to follow Gunslinger (which I liked a lot). I'd like to read more but, yeah, it's stuck in the black hole of being a huge ugly book that I can't or won't carry round with me. I will never learn about big collecteds.

woof, Friday, 7 March 2014 11:15 (five years ago) link

actually maybe I will. I've been buying single volumes of Geo Hill 2nd-hand lately - cheaper since the collected.

woof, Friday, 7 March 2014 11:19 (five years ago) link

interesting. if you should decide any of them are run-don't-walk let me know and i will set up some kind of lever and axle system with which to heave the collected onto some sort of lectern for necessary physical support and prise it open to the relevant section

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 7 March 2014 11:41 (five years ago) link

i just this week ordered a single louise gluck instead of all of the louise gluck under one cover. i feel very glad of that.

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 7 March 2014 11:42 (five years ago) link

we should start a Hill thread. Maybe he'll show up too.

woof, Friday, 7 March 2014 11:49 (five years ago) link

actually, I haven't seen that collected Hill about – does it go full on with the apparatus?

(I don't know why the thought of lots of notes at the back depresses me. Maybe it's because Hill feels a bit too much like a poet born to be annotated)

woof, Friday, 7 March 2014 13:04 (five years ago) link

i literally haven't opened the thing. it feels a little intimidating.

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Friday, 7 March 2014 14:00 (five years ago) link

I always used to like that he was a poet with a tiny collected. You could take it anywhere.

woof, Friday, 7 March 2014 14:24 (five years ago) link

I'm reviewing the collected Hill for Poetry. Thing is HUGE. No notes, just nearly 1000 pages of poems—including no fewer than FOUR new books. I love Hill, but I'll stick w/ my nice portable Penguin UK ed. of the Selected.

My being here should in no way preclude anyone's saying anything about my work, to answer something said above. Me. My work. See? Two separate things. Not really, but I wouldn't argue w/ anyone's taste—no one's poetry's for everyone.

murk, Friday, 7 March 2014 21:29 (five years ago) link

Also: I reviewed Glück's collected for the LARB, but rereading it recently I felt I was overgenerous. Meadowlands is the shit.

murk, Friday, 7 March 2014 21:30 (five years ago) link

Been digitally carrying around Jack Gilbert's medium-hefty Collected Poems for the past month.

That's So (Eazy), Friday, 7 March 2014 23:01 (five years ago) link

I am actually kind of tempted to order the smaller Hill, or at least to hope to find it, as a way of delaying opening 'Broken Hierarchies' again. Odd that both of the books I'm most putting off reading right now look like they're written by Santa Clauses gone to seed.

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 8 March 2014 09:44 (five years ago) link

The American ed. is the same, just not as compact & attractive, in my view, but still portable:

http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Poems-Geoffrey-Hill/dp/0300164300/ref=sr_1_2_title_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1394382467&sr=8-2&keywords=geoffrey+hill

murk, Sunday, 9 March 2014 16:28 (five years ago) link

I just read Colin Burrow's review of Broken Hierarchies in the lrb, and it is not a terrible piece of work but I do find it dismal or circular or something when historically minded eng lit dons claim Hill as a great poet.

Four new volumes. I'm not going near it. going to reread Mercian Hymns instead.

woof, Thursday, 13 March 2014 14:21 (five years ago) link

('I liked that,' said Offa, 'sing it again.')

woof, Thursday, 13 March 2014 14:23 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

so

https://twitter.com/alienvsrobbins/status/473826291507277824

has 'otm' penetrated wider public consciousness and i hadn't noticed or

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 14:08 (five years ago) link

hey murk how far from the end of broken hierarchies are you now

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 14:13 (five years ago) link

have you started it?

woof, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 14:26 (five years ago) link

no judgement I'm not exactly tearing through that Dorn.

woof, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 14:50 (five years ago) link

i read mercian hymns and three other pages selected at random

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 16:45 (five years ago) link

so

https://twitter.com/alienvsrobbins/status/473826291507277824

has 'otm' penetrated wider public consciousness and i hadn't noticed or

― BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:08 AM (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=otm

lag∞n, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 16:52 (five years ago) link

had no idea! thought it was ilx specific.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 17:11 (five years ago) link

did click through tho on the money is like 5th down w 4 votes

lag∞n, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 17:39 (five years ago) link

1 otm
Other Than Mexicans
A term used by US Border Patrol agents when catching illegal aliens.
What a night last night! We caught 250 people 23 of them were OTMs
by abula February 29, 2004

58 34

lag∞n, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 17:40 (five years ago) link

how ironic

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 17:57 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

enjoyed that but i am not going near those comments

woof, Wednesday, 9 July 2014 09:20 (five years ago) link

gotta admit i've really come around on this guy and this book

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 9 July 2014 14:11 (five years ago) link

There once was a rapping tomato,
That's right, a rapping tomato,
And he rapped all day,
From April til May,
and also, guess what? it was me.

― thomp, Saturday, June 9, 2012 6:50 PM (3 weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

also this is hilarious

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Wednesday, 9 July 2014 14:14 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

Michael Robbins
‏@alienvsrobbins
Anyone interested in buying my 2011 32" LG LCD flat-screen HDTV? Great shape. Will let it go cheap if you transport from Crown Heights.

lag∞n, Sunday, 10 August 2014 23:52 (four years ago) link

B-)

http://i.imgur.com/7UlScn2.png

lag∞n, Sunday, 10 August 2014 23:59 (four years ago) link

yo did you guys see 'country music' in the nyer last month, i thought it was p fuckin lovely

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/07/07/lifeguard-2

God keep Carl Perkins warm
and Jesus Christ erase
my name from all the files in
the county’s database.
The dog that bit my leg
the night I left the state,
Lord won’t you let his
vaccines be up to date.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Monday, 11 August 2014 02:02 (four years ago) link

Thanks, but there's a glitch on the NYer's website. That poem is in quatrains. All stanza breaks have disappeared from poems on their site, which is really annoying. Here's Shannon McArdle's version, icyi:

http://michaelrobbinspoet.tumblr.com/post/94073831275/shannon-mcardle-formerly-of-the-mendoza-line-one

murk, Tuesday, 12 August 2014 15:56 (four years ago) link

sick! (wont play for me tho)

lag∞n, Tuesday, 12 August 2014 16:13 (four years ago) link

hm, it don't work. well, here it is on shannon's blog:

http://www.shannonmcardlemusic.com/blog/2014/8/12/god-bless-michael-robbins.html

did anyone else love the mendoza line as much as i did?

murk, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 04:10 (four years ago) link

i am a fan

lag∞n, Wednesday, 13 August 2014 04:22 (four years ago) link

four years pass...

lmao i both can can't believe there's an ilx thread about this dude

one of the worst writers and people

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 17:43 (four months ago) link

i agree since he unfollowed me on twitter

lag∞n, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 17:45 (four months ago) link

he was an incredible asshole on a message board i was on circa 2010-2011? right around the time "alien v predator" hit the new yorker. that poem is ok, but dude's essays truly reveal the total nothing going on behind his eyes

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 17:51 (four months ago) link

I think he posted here a few times. He’s a metal fan. I saw his essay collection in the bookstore the other day. Blurbed by Elif Batuman.

o. nate, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 17:58 (four months ago) link

He posts upthread a few times.

woof, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 18:01 (four months ago) link

i'm pretty sure he's aware of how much i hate his work

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 6 March 2019 18:04 (four months ago) link

lol

lag∞n, Wednesday, 6 March 2019 18:05 (four months ago) link

yeah this dude is like nails on a chalkboard for me

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 7 March 2019 07:49 (four months ago) link


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