Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Another Year" review for Idiom.



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

KGB reading

Perhaps you would like to hear some fiction read aloud at a little Russian-themed bar this winter? You are in luck. I will be reading with Humera Afridi and Martin Quinn at the KGB Bar this February 4th, 7 pm, at the CUNY Writer's Institute reading curated by Jonathan Galassi.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Another Year"

Pitch-perfect and uncommonly rich. Review to come.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

On black.

(The primordial darkness of the universe at the moment before creation, as represented in a plate in Robert Fludd’s 1617 Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, Physica, atque Technica Historia (The Metaphysical, Physical, and Technical History of the Two Worlds, Namely the Greater and the Lesser).

The contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben, following Aristotle, remarks that the fact that we see darkness means that our eyes have not only the potential to see, but also the potential not to see. (If we had only the potential to see, we would never have the experience of not-seeing.) This twofold potential, to do and not to do, is not only a feature of our sight, Agamben argues; it is the essence of our humanity: “The greatness—and also the abyss—of human potentiality is that it is first of all potential not to act, potential for darkness.” Because we are capable of inaction, we know that we have the ability to act, and also the choice of whether to act or not. Black, the color of not seeing, not doing, is in that sense the color of freedom.

-Paul La Farge for Cabinet

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Faux Naivety: My Interview with Michael Perrone

... is up on Idiom today.


Flow Chart

"Constellations of consumer choice were studied by research institutes such as the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) based at Stanford, an elite private California university. Founded by Stanford trustees in 1946 to support economic development in the region, SRI International, as it is now officially known, currently describes its mission as “discovery and the application of science and technology for knowledge, commerce, prosperity, and peace.” It was forced off the university campus into stand-alone status in 1970 by students protesting against its military research.

“Lifestyle,” an index to the changes in the terrain of consumerism, was a neologism of the 1960s that quickly became comfortable in everyone’s mouth. In 1978, SRI announced a lifestyle metric, the Values and Lifestyles (VALS) “psychographic,” dubbed by Advertising Age as “one of the ten top market research breakthroughs of the 1980s.” VALS today seeks “to find out about a person’s product ownership, media preferences, hobbies, additional demographics, or attitudes (for example, about global warming).” (Its categories are innovators, thinkers, achievers, experiencers, believers, strivers, makers, and survivors, which articulate in primary and secondary dimensions.) The VALS website establishes its connection to other survey vehicles that provide in-depth information, among other preferences, about how each of the eight VALS types uses, invests, and saves money. Such detailed data helped marketers early on to determine how to tailor their pitches—even for matters that should be subjects of debate in the public square."


Meaningful Love, John Ashbery

What the bad news was
became apparent too late
for us to do anything good about it.

I was offered no urgent dreaming,
didn't need a name or anything.
Everything was taken care of.

In the medium-size city of my awareness
voles are building colossi.
The blue room is over there.

He put out no feelers.
The day was all as one to him.
Some days he never leaves his room
and those are the best days,
by far.

There were morose gardens farther down the slope,
anthills that looked like they belonged there.
The sausages were undercooked,
the wine too cold, the bread molten.
Who said to bring sweaters?
The climate's not that dependable.

The Atlantic crawled slowly to the left
pinning a message on the unbound golden hair of sleeping maidens,
a ruse for next time,

where fire and water are rampant in the streets,
the gate closed—no visitors today
or any evident heartbeat.

I got rid of the book of fairy tales,
pawned my old car, bought a ticket to the funhouse,
found myself back here at six o'clock,
pondering "possible side effects."

There was no harm in loving then,
no certain good either. But love was loving servants
or bosses. No straight road issuing from it.
Leaves around the door are penciled losses.
Twenty years to fix it.
Asters bloom one way or another.

from Where Shall I Wander