Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ArtSeen IV: Georgio Fidone

Now up online, my fourth in a series of short articles on visual artists from around the globe but who are living & working in Paris. They are for the site. Georgio Fidone is a Sicilian artist working in many mediums, one of which is artbooks (no surprise there, given my personal interest in books!).

To read the article, ARTSEEN : GEORGIO FIDONE go to the February 17th post up at Direct link, or look at “recent posts” off the main site and click on the title “Paris Artseen:Georgio Fidone”

Previous ArtSeen Articles on EyePreferParis:
Artseen III: Julie LeGrand
Artseen II: Seulgi Lee
Artseen I: Kate Van Houten

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stein is in the air...

There is a room in a room in a series of women peeking through their ribs to cage that stone space of where she (s)lumbers.

Today, thoughts of last week visiting Père Lachaise (as mentioned in my previous post from this morning) and then to read Michele Naka Pierce's fabulous prose poems (click on her name to be transported to them) written after she visited Stein and Tokla's grave as well. This in turn, like the always turning Steinien syntax, also reminds me of Jill Darling's post of a little Stein thought for the day.

Nearby the stone for Stein & Toklas are stones with luxurious, fluid writing: illisible to me, Armenian (as on this headstone in photo taken by Diccon Maude, in the reflection at the base of the stone). Stein & Toklas' grave is pictured in this Armenian headstone photo, too, but is far off, near where those people are standing.

And my week included also spotting billboards with odd messages round town, Jenny Holzer-like in nature (as the two pictured, right is my photo, the one at left is Diccon's. Click on Holzer's name to go and see slideshows of her work, collaborations and working notes which are a lot of fun.)

Quotidien / Po-em + les vacances

It is officially "vacation" week for many here in Paris. People are off skiing or, if lucky, sunning themselves in some Brazilian paradise. Me? I am catching up, finishing up, closing doors on projects and, as for teaching creative writing, my semester.

In fact, as the semester draws to a close for Promo 2006 at the Ecole Polytechnique, I realize I really enjoyed working on theatre for the first time with students. So thought I would mention their blog with my (often somewhat blurry!) pics of their plays being performed last week. 11 in all, so it was quite a packed afternoon! To see them, feel free to visit the Polywrites blog: which also includes some fun texts from earlier this year and all last year, in case you are interested in perusing.

And if I have not been vacationing, I have had the luck of having others vacationing here. Diccon Maude (pictured with Marielle Anselmo where we had drinks near Beaubourg) came over from London and we ran round to some of the sites I don't visit often enough (Père Lachaise, stopping by Stein and Toklas' grave, which had been visited the week before by Michelle Naka Pierce and Chris Pusateri who were over reading for IVY Writers Paris, visiting the city and my students, and leaving me all inspired--see photos of them together here from an evening chez moi also with Lisa Pasold, Nicholas Manning(not pictured), & George Vance where we recorded filmage for a forthcoming interview-readings film to be up at The Continental Review this spring--as in, when I learn to edit it properly!)

Much of what was discussed with M Naka Pierce and C Pusateri was the place for or absence of the quotidien in their--and others'--poetry. Issues of what kinds of "quotidiens" exist and where the self is came up as well. At their visit to Polytechnique they also talked at length about their creative processes and as they read together back and forth poem to poem some work out of Pusateri's Anon (Blazevox 2009) and Naka Pierce's Beloved Integer (PubLush/ Bootstrap Press 2007) I wrote the poem here, which also appears on Rewords, but I felt like including it here as well. It was great to write pulling words from their poems as they read, and for those of you who are constant reading-goers, this is a great way to find new poems! I am certain that for those who know Naka Pierce and Pusateri's work well, you will hear their vocabularies in here. Happy vacation(s), everyone....


facts missing memoir's aggregate slippage. names, or the heat in the evening bed ceiling snow vulnerable secret direction of you fading. lie. glass sleep. a picture yellowed as persistent film. think, closer to me, hearing an old, heavy voice. childlike breadth of scuffed knees, pick-up self recurring in time zone's return. fountains turn back rock canyon quarry's mouthless history. speechless documents graph you to you to close everyday content's failure to risk imprinting the written space printed, printing this unreeled distance. white breath, neck cramps, a city (India), house open to four seasons, direction a compass-character you pick up like a toy consequence. the otherness in/of the familiar. almost. as in the way this gap (space) (tooth) reaches.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flashmobbing & other kinds of civilized dissent

Yes, I flashmobbed the other day. It was fun. Sprinted out of the métro just in time, in fact. Ran into Antoine Cazé and Sophie Vasset in the elevator exiting the St Michel station and we only had a moment to dash over into the crowd which had gathered before the whistle blew and books came up in front of faces and mumblers mumbled and others orated and others seemed merely to stare into their pages.

One older man (in center picture of the following trio) strode back and forth through the crowd reading as he went with a paper sign stuck to his back. Other people with cameras milled in and out of the group, their photoshutters clicking and humming and buzzing. I got a few jolts from those around me as they heard the English I read out (Oskar Pastior). I thought, why read in French? It is so unoriginal in that context! So I read in France a German poet translated into English by Americans. Fitting? Perhaps.

As we read, and after we stopped at the sound of the second whistle, a young man with a cardboard sign wandered round passing out flyers explaining why the universities were on strike. I, personally, am not on strike. My students sometimes come to class and then take off to meet over at the main EHESS building to discuss what the school is doing, but generally we have been plowing forward into our semester regardless of the political sparks flying round our heads.

It was kind of lovely, this intense moment of words and pages and I felt the sadness of the demise of such beauty if the laws should go through and the focus on the humanities should be diminished as radically over the coming years as I feel it would based on the proposed changes. No surprise, but surprised all the same.
After, I found Lisa Pasold who I had failed to meet before the flashmobbing began. We went for tea and coffee in Panis café oppostite Notre Dame and life felt beyond civilized. A little dissent, a little photojournalism, a short stroll among tourists on rue de la Huchette and then tea in a glass-fronted café. Life is still good.

The photos here also include 2 from the glass-front of l'EHESS today, where the police had arrived early, standing alone, blocking off parking spaces, waiting already tense for the mass of announced university professors, students and researchers that were to gather at 3pm for yet another March through Paris.

Over the past week, many forms of prostest have been emerging, from teachers merely holding classes off campus to workshops on poetry and politics or plays and films being made, reflected on and examined all under the guise of not studying. What is education, if not the realization of how many things we still need to reflect on? We peruse, discuss together, test out, examine, write, read, read, read... in a flash/mob!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Flashmob in Paris the 18th of February

Sounds too fun not to pass on. The idea is: show up at Place St Michel in Paris on the 18th of Feb at noon with a book in hand, someone somewhere is going to blow a whistle & when they do, stop, open the book, read for five minutes out loud, then disperse when you hear the whistle blown again. Here is the call in French and the link to the site announcing this flashmob event. Amusing, in the dullness of grey February! I think just to see this could be quite a riot.

DATE : MERCREDI 18 Février 2009

Que vous soyez petits ou grands, universitaires ou traders, engagés ou désillusionnés, venez nous rejoindre pour une mobilisation éclair pour soutenir les Universités en grève mercredi 18 février à midi place Saint Michel. Une action de mobilisation collective sous la forme d'une FLASHMOB(1) est prévue à midi (12H00) Place Saint Michel à Paris.

Instructions à suivre :

1. Munissez-vous d'un livre (de préférence votre livre préféré).

2. Rendez-vous sur sur la place Saint Michel à midi précise (12H00)
le mercredi 18 février.

3. Lors du coup de sifflet, Immobilisez-vous pour une lecture de 5
minutes à haute voix.

4. Au deuxième coup de sifflet dispersez-vous !!!

+ d'INFO :


(1)Un flashmob, terme anglais traduit généralement par foule éclair ou mobilisation éclair, est le rassemblement d'un groupe de personnes dans un lieu public pour y effectuer des actions convenues d'avance avant de se disperser rapidement. Le rassemblement étant généralement organisé au moyen d'Internet, les participants (les flash mobbers) ne se connaissent pas pour la plupart. Source Wikipédia (

Monday, February 09, 2009

The pleasures of poetry

Good day: taught, lunched, gymed, translated 2 poems by Marie-Louise Chapelle into English, prepped, went to reading, dealt with reading location crisis (as in, found a new venue at the last minute while 30 people stood on a rainy street debating whether to go back home), introduced readers with Michelle Noteboom, listened to great poems by Chris Pusateri, Marie-Louise Chapelle & Michelle Naka Pierce (see IVY for details & links to their books & some online poems), listened to my wonderful students read translations into French of MNP and CP's works, read translations of MLC, dined & chatted with everyone after the reading, metroed home in a jubilant mood, and then heard that 12x12 (UofIA Press) is out and my parent's are soooooo impressed (always makes one feel great!). And so, how was your day???

Been thinking also for the past 2 non-blogging weeks about all those things I have not blogged about. About blogging, and journaling, and the gap between. But of course, also, about sharing in the pleasures of what is read.

For example the pleasures of receiving books--Lisa Pasold brought Michelle Noteboom and I a signed copy of Every Way Oakly: homolinguistic translations of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons (Bookthug, 2008) by Steve McCaffery when she returned to Paris from Canada a little over a week ago, and every once in awhile in my day I just pick up the book and flick through it and read a few poems or, like now, a line like "A Piano.// Objects on this keyboard are like words." or, another (lovely, enticing) flip farther on:

.......................................i write
.......................................the flower
...........and the time of day casts.

A second exciting book that came into my life this week was Andrew Zawacki's "Petals of Zero/Petals of One" (Talisman House, 2009). A gift from Andrew, I unsealed its envelope and carried the volume out into the world, the Paris streets, down into the dustball-filled wintery metro with me and re-read that great first poem in the volume "Georgia" and the word echoed and the hollow of the night on which it was composed seemed to come through time as if I were channelling Zawacki for a moment, scratching the words onto the paper, the delicate painful lines, the raucus ones, the jostling ones, the ones that said :
............"here is a city the same city
............and I don't know this city Georgia
............and I don't know if I want to know
............what it is that anyone knows Georgia"
bumping along in the metro cars, my elbow and the elbows of others reading lines in a city I know and yet I don't know, Andrew, what it is about that poem that works so well, but it sort of feels the city and slithers through it, underbellying, resisting, tugging at then tossing off, urban collision and the quieter voice that, like Oppen's start of Of Being Numerous speaks of and to the many yet is the one, you in this case, and another, me in that case, speaker, listener, author, reader, meeting across the rhythms of those pages and recollections of hearing you read it a few years ago when it was still fresh and is still now just as new and alive as then, reaching me unexpectedly in a little yellow envelope from the states in a Georgia city you now live in. Thank you.

But I am also excited about some new discoveries, such as the book I'm ordering from Factory School by Erica Kaufman. Her first collection, Censory Impulse from such an exciting, innovative press, looks like it's one not to miss. Especially after I checked out her critical-reflective playful text intro to her guest editing stint: Queering Language: Editor's Statement from EOAGH mag. What can I say, it piqued my interest. And I liked her sample works from the collection, so... off to get my hands on that book!

Well, it is late and my words on words are getting tireder by the second while the wind outside has begun to rail against the night, a furious, gusty storm that Paris has been awaiting all evening and which is only pummelling the town now that the majority of its inhabitants have gone to sleep--as should I. Just a few images, then, to close off this posting. Pics from Normandie weekend with Kate Van Houten, dinners by the fire, & her sculpting. (FYI, the photos above are some I took on wintry days here in Paris, out at Lozère, a suburb of Paris where the Ecole Polytechnique is located, & on a walk in normandie with Kate--the fields.)