Megaphones and Ozick

I’m back — what have I missed? Let’s see:

1. Sander Hicks, my favorite political rabble-rouser and coffeeshop proprietor, has launched a new print — yes, print — muckraking publication with the appealing title of The New York Megaphone. Last I heard, Sander was running for Governor of New York, and then he was running for Senator. He might not win either, but I won’t fault a guy for trying. Once again, go Sander!

2. Some people have let me know that I should clamp down on poets who over-post to our Action Poetry page, but I like what Nasdijj is doing with his SEXWORK series too much to be the bad cop. In fact, I like everything that’s been posted on this forum recently very much — am I wrong or is Action Poetry on a major roll lately? If I were slightly more insane, I’d start thinking about another book. First, I’ve got to take a few more vacations.

3. According to Syntax of Things, the much-wondered-about new film of Bukowski’s Factotum may actually exist, and might even hit theatres sometime this millenium.

4. I missed the chance to beat up on Lev Grossman’s Time Magazine article, “Who’s The Voice of This Generation?“. I guess there’s little point to doing so now, as several other people have already handled this task. But I must wonder: why do people write articles like this? Why, why, why? Generations are not real things.

4. I’m not the type who gets my picture taken at chic art gallery openings, but I did turn up at the Jen Bekman Gallery where a series of artworks inspired by Frank O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency are on display. I’m the big lug in the khaki shirt in this photo.

5. I’m going to try to catch Cynthia Ozick, whose visage I have never apprehended within the plane of reality, Wednesday at 7 pm at the Barnes and Noble on 86th Street. I’ll be sure to file a report if I get there.

5 Responses

  1. why clamp down?in many ways
    why clamp down?

    in many ways ‘action poetry’ reminds me of the punk revolution…when the kids were out there making glorious noise because they had the desire and because they could…no need for a record deal…just noise…passionate for noise to make…young women and men were making that noise that’s a romantic notion..that’s a something fantastic…why boo action poetry? it’s too good a thing to boo…it’s a great thing in fact it’s a wonderful majestic piece of wonderful art…

    “sex work”…i have not been able to read as much of it as i’d like to but reminds me of an erotic series that i wrote a few years back entitled “bodywork”…i should get back to those files…unfortunately i no longer have access to them…


  2. village voice shake-upThat’s
    village voice shake-up

    That’s interesting news about Sander Hicks. Just this morning, on my way to work, I heard on NPR that the Village Voice has a new owner and some of the old staff have resigned. Maybe they will go to The Megaphone. NPR spoke to former Mayor Ed Koch, who used to be involved with the Village Voice in some capacity before becoming Mayor. I wonder if Hicks still wants to be Governor?

    Speaking of Ed Koch, I love what he said recently about people questioning his sexuality. He said, “What do I care? I’m 73 years old…fuck off!”

  3. Giving VoiceI am so thankful
    Giving Voice

    I am so thankful LITKICKS exists. I do wonder sometimes if the people involved in this extraordinary place understand exactly what they’ve done by giving voice to what historically would have been silenced in the past, and not the ancient past — the recent past.

    LITKICKS might, indeed, be literary (I’m glad it is) but it is also culturally political.

    Usually, I would not be writing this. I want my work to speak for itself; to stand on its own two feet. Sometimes it does that. Sometimes I fail. But this is a new phenomenon. In writing and in publishing. In ancient Greece, orators who were telling stories (and political fables) could be chased from public forum to public forum and the only real way to shut them up was to imprison them, and many were silenced.

    Today. The Internet.

    I am conflicted about the Internet. I fathom the power of the thing. I also comprehend the injudicious use of the animal as it can be easily manipulated and used as a weapon.

    Time will tell. My own feeling is that the old guard will find new ways to impose censorship on voices that buck tradition, ritual, and values. It is what they do.

    This is where poetry becomes political. I am writing about things that many people — probably the majority — will find disgusting. I don’t share traditional American values. I live in exile because of that. My work has been shoved aside by publishing. They are embarrassed I exist. My work has been recalled. I have been shut up. The wagon train has formed a circle. There are very few places willing to allow my voice to be heard. No one in publishing returns my phone calls. I will never have lunch in their town again. These are facts. In the old days, I would have been imprisoned. I am not being humorous. To go against the grain has enormous consequences. Not just for artists. But for cultures.

    You are thinking: it’s because he lied.

    You would be wrong to think that.

    Apparently, there’s a new book out there a famous writer wrote anonymously. Although many people, myself included, knew who wrote the book, the writer has in public denied writing the book. That is neither interesting or unique. What is interesting are the numbers. Where the publisher claims sales into the thousands, the data collection mechanisms indicate quite clearly the book has sold less than five hundred copies. For a famous writer this is disaster. My point is that the lies in publishing are slightly rampant even if they want to pretend it is a gentlemen’s club of manners. It isn’t. I am not being punished for having lied.

    I am being punished for having written about sex.

    It is odd to me that seven years after my books discussed my writing about sex, I stand accused of writing about sex. I SAID I did that. It was never a secret. But I have now been banished to that island I used to live on when editors ran the other way. I am quite used to it. It is nothing new. The hypocrisy gets very thick with sex.

    No editor, and no publishing house wants to be connected to writing that is as sexual as the writing I have done.

    When something is explosive, the culture puts a lid on it.

    We all know that. I don’t need editors to censor me. The culture does that for them.

    So. For. Me. To. Have. A. Voice. Is. Radical.

    I want to turn this on its head. My book, MINESHAFT, was marketed as pornography yet it had no sex in the thing.

    My book GENOCIDE, was marketed as literature, and it was wall-to-wall sex.

    As a writer, I am interested in the notion that often the reaction of the Homo sapien male in walking through war zones where he is exposed to dead bodies is to become erect. This is a physiological fact and an evolutionary mechanism. If everyone is dying all around you, evolution says: make babies.

    Politically, that was what GENOCIDE was really about, and by employing gay men as my characters (having sex with death all around them), I wanted (and did) give voice to contradiction.

    The gay community was appalled at that book. The violence in it really upset them. But there it is. I wanted to make a connection between sex and violence. And did.

    I also wanted to point out the absurdity of marketing. And did.

    Eventually, a writer who keeps doing this is going to find himself on the outskirts of another country.

    I am not backing down.

    SEXWORK is poetry. It cannot be boxed as strictly fiction or non-fiction.

    Trust me. It is not commercial. I am not writing it for the publicists at Random House.

    I am writing it to explore cultural stereotypes.

    Sex work is not limited to the stereotype of the hooker on the corner although she remains rich material for any writer. When an editor edits a sex magazine he is doing sex work. When a transvestite does a lap dance she is doing sex work. When a bartender makes a drink for a patron in a lap dance bar, he is doing sex work. When the janitor in the early morning hours mops the floor in that bar, he is doing sex work. SEX in America is an industry, and not a small one. What do you think keeps the Internet financially vibrant. Without sex sites, there would be no Internet. Where do you think technological innovation is. It’s where the money is: sex work. The software programmer who makes money from these sites is doing sex work.

    In my past, I did sex work. It is material. I once edited DRUMMER magazine. It is anything but news.

    It’s not unlike tourism. The desk clerk in the Tangier hotel we stay in is doing “tourism.”

    Hopefully, what I am doing is where sex, politics, poetry, and the culture all collide.

    You can’t call what I am doing gay. The descriptions don’t fit the poetry anymore than they fit my life. A writer looks back. He describes what happened. He looks forward. He describes what might happen. All of this can be done within the context of poetry, too. Poetry is not a dead thing. It is turbulent. It is messy. It is conflicted. It is human. Sex, too, is all these things. Poetry is not limited to a linguistic set of tricks performed by trained monkeys. You can’t call (although many will try) SEXWORK porn. It is NOT wall-to-wall sex. Hopefully, it will capture some of the humanity I have met along the way.

    In the end, that is why I am writing it. It is an enormously difficult write for me. That is where the personal and the political collide. Isn’t that what literture is about.

    I am not going to say correct me if I’m wrong because it’s too hard to work in the middle of all the screaming.

    I stand accused of enormous greed. If I am making money from poetry, please, someone show me where it is.

    There is no plan. I just sit down and write it. I don’t so much as take notes. What you see is what you get.

    I know I fall on my face. But there are some things you just have to write. All of the above is an attempt to answer WHY.

    The reality is that I have no idea why.

    Truth. I must get to work.

    Thank you for your radical place. By providing it you (YOU not me) will be making a historical impact by allowing voices to be heard that normally are squished like marshmallows.

    Nasdijj aka Timothee

  4. Issue #2I’m going to be
    Issue #2

    I’m going to be honest, I havn’t read any of the SEXWORK series. I just haven’t hade the time or ambition, but I’ve noticed them while posting my own smut, and I think that if Nasdijj can kick out his writing like that it should just inspire everyone else to post more.

  5. Well, you will certainly get
    Well, you will certainly get no hassle from me. I understand what you are saying. It’s also true that when two people are under stress or in in danger, they can become physically aroused toward each other. It doesn’t always have to be in a war zone, either. I’ve read that one of the reasons people have affairs is, they both work together in some high-pressure corporate office and are drawn to each other.

    I think there is a lot of fear out there. I know, because sometimes the fear is in me. For example, you replied to something I posted on my blog. Thank you, by the way. When I clicked on your name, it took me to a site which included a photo that some people might find offensive. It didn’t bother me. But almost immediately, I got scared. “What if other people find out I was looking at that?” I thought. “Will this stay on my hard drive? What if the photos get even more daring?” You know, the usual paranoia that our government likes to inflict upon us.

    But anyway, keep writing! I really do believe there is a place like you said, “where sex, politics, poetry, and the culture all collide”.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!