My Poetry Is As Bad As Yours

I haven’t posted often enough lately, mainly because I’ve been distracted by another web project that’s finally complete. So, I’m back. And here’s a couple of poetry links I’ve been storing up:

1. I’ve long enjoyed the work of Sparrow, a journeyman spoken-word poet from New York with a gentle voice and a deep, calm sense of conviction. Ten years ago he took it upon himself to picket the New Yorker Magazine’s offices in midtown Manhattan for not publishing him, carrying a sign that read “My Poetry Is As Bad As Yours”. In fact, he was too humble to say so but his poetry is sometimes better. See for yourself: America: A Prophecy has just been published by Soft Skull.

2. I really like the cover of the new Saul Williams book, The Dead Emcee Scrolls: the Lost Teachings of Hip-hop. That doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily like the poems, but I’m usually a sucker for biblical pretensions so I probably will.

3. A small British publishing company called Diva Pictures has sent me a semi-homemade DVD of a complete 1995 Allen Ginsberg poetry reading. An Allen Ginsberg poetry reading was always a stunning, powerful event, a carefully calibrated mix of theater, music, verse, personality and religious symbolism designed, like an ancient Greek tragedy or a Pearl Jam concert, to produce a state of mass Dionysian ecstasy among all members of the audience. The show captured here was Ginsberg’s last performance in England before his death, and I’m glad it has been preserved for future poetic generations to observe and learn from.

4. Is poetry news? Is news poetry? MacNeil Lehrer News Hour and the newly-flush Poetry Magazine are going to find out with their new joint venture. Poetry Magazine was given a well-publicized gift of $100 million not too long ago, and we’re glad to see they’re not just keeping it in the bank. I hope this turns out to actually be something.

3 Responses

  1. talkin about the car washI
    talkin about the car wash

    I just came back from the Soft Skull link, where I read an exceprt from America: A Prophecy called “What I Read” by Sparrow. I gotta tell ya, it kept me interested. It has a good flow and it’s fun to read. You know what’s strange is, I’m always seeing connections . . . I’ve spoken of this in the past . . . and here I go again. Sparrow talks about “searching the trash for words” and I’ve recently made the aquaintence of a self-proclaimed “trash artist” in Hamburg, Germany. This made me recall a publicity photo of the Beastie Boys searching a dumpster in New York for discarded treasures (an allusion to their MC skills at mixing new digital tracks from old vinyl sounds is how I took it).

    I see where the editor of this book, Marcus Boon, has written something called The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs. That sounds right up my alley, too, along with looking thru the trash.

    Oh, yeah, and I remember that nude car wash here in Jacksonville that Sparrow mentions. Hell of a shine.

  2. RIPAncient greek tragedies

    Ancient greek tragedies and Pearl Jam mentioned in the same sentence?

    Yess! I can die in peace now. Woohoo!

  3. Hey, Pearl Jam is coming out
    Hey, Pearl Jam is coming out with a new release, you know. It’s supposedly one of those “back to their roots” things. Should be good.

    On another note, I hope everybody will click on your profile, Steve, and read about your book. I enjoyed it!

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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!