A usual question posed in my direction is how can I be such a technogeek and still write verses that occasionally sound beautiful. How can a science mind be a poetic mind? The answer is that there is not an exclusive OR in my brain. It is both because science and poetry is both.
In the early 1920s, Niels Bohr was struggling to reimagine the structure of matter. Previous generations of physicists had thought the inner space of an atom looked like a miniature solar system with the atomic nucleus as the sun and the whirring electrons as planets in orbit. This was the classical model.
But Bohr had spent time analyzing the radiation emitted by electrons, and he realized that science needed a new metaphor. The behavior of electrons seemed to defy every conventional explanation. As Bohr said, "When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry." Ordinary words couldn't capture the data.
Amazing how what is read in some novel seems to relate to another item found in a totally different context. I refer to yet another excerpt from the Illuminatus! Trilogy and supports a little blurb that Ed Morrison put up on BFD a couple of weeks ago.
But a man with a gun is told only that which people assume will not provoke him to pull the trigger. Since all authority and government are based on force, the master class, with its burden of omniscience, faces the servile class, with its burden of nescience, precisely as a highwayman faces his victim. Communication is possible only between equals. The master class never abstracts enough information from the servile class to know what is actually going on in the world where the actual productivity of society occurs. Furthermore, the logogram of any authoritarian society remains fairly inflexible as time passes, but everything else in the universe constantly changes. The result can only be progressive disorientation among the rulers. The end is debacle.
The schizophrenia of authoritarianism exists both in the individual and in the whole society.
I call this the Snafu Principle. (my note: SNAFU- situation normal, all fucked up)
p.499 Illuminatus! Trilogy
Perhaps a concise summary of Cleveland history. I've certainly seen the change in rhetoric once the "important" people are present. Even saw it in comment sections of popular blogs.
Cynicism is a direct symptom of SNAFU. So who's listening and what do they hear? Who's talking and what do they say and how does it change?
My ex-wife would never read a novel or anything fiction. "It's not real, so why bother." Of course, some of her self-help and new age spirituality books might also fit that category. I myself was a big sci-fi fan, like so many other nascent-geeks. I liked the old classics of Jules Verne and those that were more contemporary like Asimov, Orwell, and Heinlein. What appealed to me was how so much of their fantasy turned to fact, like the expression on my great grandfather's face when we watched the moon landing together that summer in '69. He first told me of Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon," written in 1865.
So another example that reads like todays news, from the Illuminatus! Trilogy, written 1975:
More stringent security measures. Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws, Restrictions on travel.
Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, conducted by a handful of men, the people reason---or are manipulated into reasoning--- that the entire populace must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people themselves agree that they can't be trusted.
Emphasis is mine.
Mind you, this novel is all about conspiracy theories, but the pattern is painfully familiar.
The wacky book, The Illuminatus! Trilogy, is of what if all the conspiracy theories were true and that a single entity was behind it all. Nutty stuff, but it is sci-fi so reality is suspended. Yet it has this nice passage about ideas.
It is hard to get beyond the accepted believes of one's own age. The first man to think a new thought advances it very tentatively. New ideas have to be around a while before anyone will promote them hard. In their first form, they are like tiny, imperceptible mutations that may eventually lead to a new species. That's why cultural cross fertilization is so important. It increases the gene pool of the imagination. The Arabs, say, have one part of the puzzle .
the Franks another. So, when the Knights Templar meet the Hashishim, something new is borne.
The book is talking about the beginning of a worldwide conspiracy to take over the world, but does this not smack of what Valdis, Ed Morrison, and others talk about. Isn't this the strength in Cleveland's diverse ethnicities? But it doesn't amount to a hill of lentils if they ain't mixing.
It will be TWO FREEKIN YEARS next week since Nick and I started organizing the fandango known as the Literary Cafe Poetry Nite and Extravaganza. 2 years!
Who the hell would have thought that a couple geekoid beer belchers like us could 1) put together anything that resembled a cultural event; 2) manage to have enough commitment to maintain it for two years; and 3) actually develop a reputation as a premier venue for contemporary poetry of various genres that reaches beyond I-77, I-71, and I-90?
Actually it was easy cuz we had the best raw material around to do it with. I'm talking about you POETS. Cleveland and environs has some of the best poets in the country and all we had to do is give you guys a place to shine. (okay, Andy and Linda gave the place. WE just asked and told them they can sell more beer and liquor if they let us do this.)
So keeping with the tradition of poetry excellence coupled with total disregard of formality and moral decency, this Thursday November 8 at 9:30pm will feature readers that are gems from both our local scene as well as our first import whose publisher contacted us for a stop on his book tour.
Joanne Cornelius is the estrogen that keeps the testosterone-heavy Deep Cleveland tribe from going into roid rage. She adds the soft voice that softens the gruffness at their readings. She is the keeper of the d.a. levy collection at Cleveland State University and has been published in a number of issues of Sein und Werden, as well as in 103: The Journal of the Image Warehouse, ArtCrimes, the Cleveland Anthology of Poets, the deep cleveland junkmail oracle, First Person Plural, LYNX, Silent Fusion, Three-Chord Poems: The Poetry of Rock & Roll, water*fire*light and several other publications. She has also written the chapbooks Mermaid on the Edmund Fitzgerald (deep cleveland books) and Electric Sun (Buckeye Midnight Press).
Our out-of-town guest is Marc Jampole, whose poetry has been published in Mississippi Review, Oxford Review, Janus Head, Negative Capability, Main Street Rag, Paper Street, Ellipsis, Peralta, Spitball and other journals. Oxford Review nominated one of his poems for The Pushcart Prize. Marc has been a long time member of the Squirrel Hill workshop group in Pittsburgh. A Fulbright Scholar, he has been a television news reporter and was nominated for a news Emmy for his work on the 1980 presidential election and is now on tour for his book of experimental poetry, Music From Words. Marc is the principal of a well-known public relations agency in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
So come down see the best of the best. I promise to keep the Drambuie flowing to J-Co and we will see what that reveals and make this an experience for Marc that not even a Steelers Superbowl will surpass.
The Literary Cafe is at 1031 Literary Road in the renewly safe Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.
(BTW Nick's banner is correct. He is including the special night with Russell Salamon. That's 25 in 2 years! But he's wrong that the nite is Nov. 8, not 18. Confused? Good. We need more like that.)
Been getting a little stircrazy at work. Decided with Halloween coming, a little 10,000 volt jacob's ladder in the lab would break the tension.
Sorry the video is sideways. That's how I held the phone when I took the video.
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. (unless you know what you're doing.)
Remember I'm a professional.
Did a little impulse buying on ebay and got a 1939 Royal KMM typewriter. (A typewriter is a thing like a computer that makes marks on a paper for each letter. =that's for you John Dorsey.)
Ever since the last levyfest where a bunch of us were in Mac's basement making a mini mimeograph revolution, I realized how much I miss the feel and visceral part of typing. Poetry is more than words on a page. It's an experience.
This baby has a sweet action on the keys and that typewriter-musty-smell that can only come from ink, dust, and oil. It needs a good cleaning and that should ease the carriage motion a bit and regain that snappy return and linefeed.
After the cleaning I might try this hack so I still can easily get electronic versions w/o scanning and OCR.
Recieved the itinerary for the Friday Nite reading of On The Road from Dave Ferrente, owner of Visible Voice Books. It is a hell of a line up.
Go see Lady Kathy Ireland Smith's 1st Solo Show, "Offworld" at the Brandt Gallery across the street first.
Readers and Section Titles
On The Road Section I
Erick Trickey: Introductory Essay
Jean Brandt: How It Began
Martin Cosentino: A Western Kinsmen Of The Sun
Tony Brown: Damn Me, I’ve Been In This Town Before
Christopher Evans: Hells Bells Its Wild West Week
Michael Heaton: A War With Social Overtones
Tom Welsh: What Are You Doing In Denver
Becky Cummings: Lets Stop The Machine
James Levin: Its Hemingway’s Best
Steve Goldberg: They Were Itching To Shoot Someone
Michael Decapite: Things Grew To Worse Proportions
James Mango: I’m Not A Pimp
Mathew Mortensen: I Wish I Was Wiser With My Money
James Kosmatka: Tomorrow We Make Alot Of Money, Tonite We Don’t Worry
Jack Ricchiuto: The Place Where Paper American Is Born
On The Road was published 50 years ago, but it had a profound effect on me and was the nitrous oxide to my writing. This weekend, Cleveland's independent bookstores are saluting this seminal work and I am proud to be a part of it.
The events kick off with an opening reception at Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth) in Tremont on Friday, October 19th at 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature video clips of Jack Kerouac and a chapter by chapter reading of the first half of On the Road. I'll be reading in slot 9 and will attempt to do it with pronunciation, phrasing, and cadence that Kerouac used to read. Food and beverages will be available.
The Bookstore on W. 25th Street (1921 W. 25th St.) in Ohio City will feature readings with music and audio clips from Kerouac reading on Saturday, October 20th from Noon-4 p.m and the reading of On the Road will continue.
I'll be reading one of my own and a Kerouac piece later in the evening, Saturday, at The Barking Spider Tavern (11310 Juniper Rd.) on the CWRU campus with jazz collaboration on from 5-8 p.m. Participants will read from a variety of Kerouac’s works accompanied by jazz musicians. Food and beverages will be available.
Then on Sunday, October 21st, I will read another chapter of On The Road at the sitting stones on the towpath trail of the Ohio & Erie Canal, part of the Cleveland Metroparks on 49th St. between Canal and Grant. Sponsored by Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry (1820 Coventry Rd.) in Cleveland Heights from 10-2 p.m. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Visitor's Center and walk down.
And FINALLY, from 3- 6p.m on Sunday, I will read my own poems at Mac’s as part of the Modern Bohemians: City Poetry Zine Reading with other feature contributors to the City online art & poetry magazine edited by Kathy Ireland Smith. I have been in The City a few times.
This should be an unbelievable time and I am very happy to be part of it. The top poets in the region will be there. It will be down right historical. SO come on down to at least one of these events and be a NEO-beatnik for a weekend!
From Hank, who seems to have become a friend and advisor to me, well after he died:
the area dividing the brain and the soul
is affected in many ways by
some lose all mind and become soul:
some lose all soul and become mind:
some lose both and become:
---Charles Bukowski in "what matters most is how well you walk through the fire"
|<< <||> >>|