Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Moveable Poetry School

Saturday project: The New Moveable Poetry School
(suitable for cocktail parties and term papers).

So, here’s what you do:

1. Go to any book page on Amazon.
2. Scroll down to “Customers Also Bought Items By”

Voila. DIY schools of poetry, as association cloud.

Here’s one (today, that is. They change) for Matthew Zapruder’s Come On All You Ghosts:

Dean Young
Timothy Donnelly
Ben Lerner
W. S. Merwin
Mark Doty
James Longenbach
Sandra Beasley
Ellen Bryant Voigt
C. D. Wright
Kathleen Graber
Zachary Schomburg
Larry Levis
Matthew Rohrer
Anne Carson
Michael Dickman
Mark Bibbins
Frank Bidart

Taa Daa!

[This message brought to you by Commerce As Aesthetics]

Just to show how infallible it is, here’s one for Ron Silliman’s The Alphabet:

Charles Bernstein
Lyn Hejinian
Rae Armantrout
Susan Howe
Marjorie Perloff
Charles Bernstein
Robert Duncan
Jack Spicer
Bob Perelman
Charles Olson
Paul Hoover
Anne Carson
Louis Zukofsky
Robert Edward Duncan
Gertrude Stein
Roberto Bolano
Walter Benjamin

I was going to post the one for Rae Armantrout’s Money Shot, but for some reason there isn’t one. (?)


At 4/02/2011 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So here's yours, then:

Matthew Zapruder
Timothy Donnelly
Dean Young
Rae Armantrout
Crystal Williams
Wayne Miller
Beth Bachmann
Dora Malech
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Dorianne Laux
Alex Lemon
Maggie Nelson
Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Sandra Beasley
Anne Carson
Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Mathias Svalina

At 4/02/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

That's for the new book. If you go back to the last one you'll find Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nathaniel Hawthorne, baby!

Which just goes to show that you can't argue with commerce. Well, you can if you want, but then it might see you.

At 4/02/2011 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering the low sales numbers of poetry books, it would be easy to game this. You could get your friends to buy a rival's poetry, and also some thoroughly embarassing self-help book.

At 4/02/2011 12:00 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Yes, but your money would go where your mouth is! "Money is a form of poetry," and all that.


At 4/02/2011 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, but indulging any rivalry as petty as a poetry rivalry is bound to be self-defeating, so you might as well just accept it. "School spamming" will be the new art form. And art always costs.

At 4/02/2011 8:37 PM, Blogger Fuzz Against Junk said...

I like how this takes a completely unprofitable product and creates a marketing pitch.

At 4/03/2011 5:46 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

For the price of buying two (or a few!) books, you too can create (for a time) a poetry school!

(And then I just looked more closely at the list that Anon posted above and see that Nathaniel Hawthorne is there after all, like a pink ribbon falling from the sky.)

At 4/03/2011 5:49 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I somehow missed this from Anon:

"indulging any rivalry as petty as a poetry rivalry is bound to be self-defeating"

Well, if this defeat takes the form of buying books, then the terrorists have nice bookshelves. Or something like that.

At 4/03/2011 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why am I not included in the Cloud for Silliman? In fact, another book of mine is in the Clouds of the other author you list, too. What's this air-brushing, Mr. Gallaher? Is it the power you suddenly feel now that you are included in the "Poets Tweeting" program of the American Academy of Poets?!

Well, I just wanted to say that for one of my books there is--along with books by Moxley, Howe, Carson, Silliman, Oulipo, Yasusada, Spicer, Mullen, Bok, Robertson, Place, Hillman, and eight other pages of poetry-related things--the following accompanying purchase:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Quarter Century Celebration, by Kevin Eastman.

I challenge any post-avantist to match that one in their Cloud.

At 4/03/2011 4:37 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I guess you're not included because you didn't make the cloud criteria. But who needs Silliman when one has Mutant Ninja Turtles?

As for the Tweet, I still don't have a clue how to follow someone, let alone tweet something. I think I need an account somewhere . . . where are the voices when you really need them?

At 4/03/2011 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus two books on Harry Potter, I just noticed. In my Cloud, I mean. Right next to Marjorie Perloff.

What could this mean?

At 4/03/2011 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are falsifying, Gallaher. How could I not meet the criteria of being in a Cloud, if Silliman is in mine? If he is in mine, then I have to be in his, no? "Customers who bought this book also bought..."

You obviously deleted me from the Clouds you created. Admit it, or I will send out a tweet about this during National Poetry Month when my turn comes up.

Of course, you are right about Ninja Turtles being much better than Silliman.

At 4/03/2011 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And are these all the people in teh Clouds of Silliman and Zapruder? I've got more than twice as many in my Cloud.

I'm tweeting about this.

At 4/03/2011 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got a tweet from Zapruder:

"If you're on my cloud, get the fuck off."

At 4/03/2011 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologize to Mr. Gallaher. I just checked Ron Silliman's Cloud, and I see that my book is not on it. But how could this be? For Ron Silliman is on mine. (I also should say that I now see Ron Silliman's Cloud is twice as fluffy as mine--twenty pages to my nine.) Perhaps Silliman arranged with Amazon to delete me from his Cloud? He's deleted me previously, and in various ways. I could go into it in some detail. The matter spans continents and modes of production. I am getting very paranoid about this Cloud business.

At 4/03/2011 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is that info on the Poets on Twitter program. What a Cloud!:

In Celebration of National Poetry Month, The Academy of American Poets Announces 30 Guest Poets on Twitter

Guest tweeters include:

4/1 D.A. Powell
4/2 Dawn Lundy Martin
4/3 Noelle Kocot
4/4 Richard Siken
4/5 Jennifer Chang
4/6 Joshua Clover
4/7 J. Michael Martinez
4/8 Mark Bibbins
4/9 Jenn Knox
4/10 Randall Mann
4/11 CAConrad
4/12 Ada Limon
4/13 Graham Foust
4/14 Evie Shockley
4/15 Jen Bervin
4/16 Ken Chen
4/17 Sherwin Bitsui
4/18 Noah Eli Gordon
4/19 Ronaldo Wilson
4/20 Nate Pritts
4/21 Danielle Pafunda
4/22 Amy King
4/23 Ching-in Chen
4/24 John Gallaher
4/25 Srikanth Reddy
4/26 Kent Johnson
4/27 Gabrielle Calvocoressi
4/28 Kazim Ali
4/29 Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
4/30 Dorothea Lasky

In April, the Academy of American Poets will launch a month-long series of guest poets featured on its streaming Twitter feed. Throughout each day during National Poetry Month, a selected poet will have 24 hours to post his or her daily insights before passing the baton.

At 4/03/2011 5:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[Long but important comment follows]

This is interesting. It's a current exchange on the UK Poetry List (a place that puts the deadly boring Personal Ad forum of the Poetics List to shame). It concerns the Tweeter Poets program about which the previous Anonymous just posted. The exchange is between Justin Katko, Mairead Byrne, and Barry Schwabsky. Hm. You sure you wanna be on this John? And you, Kent Johnson? Pretty hypocritical of you, KJ, given all your Institutional Critique spouting, I'd say:

Justin: "Oh will you look! at all the little poets from the little tiny land of '"American" poetry' writing all their little tiny poems for their daddy bureaucracy's little tiny hopes of just a little more audience for their little tiny poetry, Oh just LOOK at how they follow their little tiny selves by their itsy bitsy self-referring umbilici; how little, how familiar, how sweet, how unfortunate."

Mairead: "Jeez Justin you're not *that* far away."

Justin: "Well I don't know Mairead. These are people who create their own Wikipedia pages, replete with all the links to their fabulous selves they've been able to scrape up desperately from their fallen day. These poets have been rounded up like slaughtered beef, lashed to their glowing masts. Is the Academy paying them? Or is it pay enough to have their names associated with a day of sending glorified text messages to the paltry white world of tweet-receivers? Jow, please defend these assholes. Surrounded by flowers, in this moment beneath the sun, the only task I feel comfortable with is pouring bubbling tar on these charades. It wears a big, stupid grin that doesn't know it's own teeth have been bashed out 1000 years ago in the future. It actually makes me sick. Can we do less than blow it up?"

Barry: "Your only problem, Justin, is that you are not able to be as concise as they are. To think, that first post in which you called attention to (advertised?) this tweetathon (or whatever it's called) would have taken up three whole tweets. Don't forget, ever: dichten = condensare."

Mairead: "You may be right, Justin. I'm not a tweeter but have been trying to get around to a Wikipedia page for years; I certainly use Wikipedia enough.
Is there a movement in New Seriousness in poetry? A masculinist movement? There's outrage over here at a bunch of poets modeling outfits in O, the Oprah magazine.
If I summon up the energy for a charade I hope you won't pour boiling tar on me. You're turning downright Biblical (with Provisional IRA resonances for me I have to confess)."

Justin: "Yes, I'm singing The Song of the Three Holy Children right now, on palindrome loop!"

At 4/03/2011 6:25 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Well, spend one afternoon watching some eagles and look what happens. I'm sorry for missing this. Someone bring me up to speed. Why am I an asshole again? And why am I supposed to be burning Twitter in effigy?

I just looked on amazon. Anon #4 is right. Some people show up in the clouds of others without the favor being returned. Maybe there is a conspiracy.

Now, back to the eaglets!

At 4/04/2011 7:34 AM, Blogger Fuzz Against Junk said...

Justin seems to think you're an asshole because you're American. Or you write poetry. American Poetry that is.

At 4/04/2011 4:02 PM, Blogger Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Well, shit! I got screwed. I looked up my own books on Amazon and there wasn't a single popular contemporary poet on the 'Also bought' list. The only "association cloud" I got were all those other worthless poets and writers who also originally self-published:

Alexander Pope
William Blake
Walt Whitman
E.E. Cummings
Ezra Pound
T.S. Eliot
Edgar Allan Poe
Robert Bly
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Robinson Jeffers
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Robert Service
Carl Sandburg
Rudyard Kipling
Henry David Thoreau
W. E. B. DuBois
Willa Cather
Thomas Hardy
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ernest Hemingway
Virginia Woolf
Oscar Wilde
D. H. Lawrence

Damn! Nothing but a bunch of losers.

At 4/05/2011 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GBF, you can crow all you want, but you'll always have an inferiority complex.

At 4/05/2011 9:17 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


But I LIKE being an American. Or does that make it even worse?


You and I both have Nathaniel Hawthorne in the back seat? I think that makes us cousins or something.

At 4/05/2011 11:53 AM, Blogger Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/05/2011 12:29 PM, Blogger Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

Anonymous said:

"GBF, you can crow all you want, but you'll always have an inferiority complex."

That's funny! I like that. It is, however, customary to read the book before writing a book report.

P.S. I did a search on Amazon to investigate all of these "Also bought by..." lists. By golly, I didn't find an 'Anonymous' in the bunch.


At 4/05/2011 2:16 PM, Blogger Gary B. Fitzgerald said...


P.P.S: That is to say that anyone who won’t stand behind their own name with the courage and conviction of their opinions is no more that a spineless troll. I have always let my poetry speak for itself and have never felt the need to hide.

One has to wonder, anonymous, can you even spell ‘chicken shit’?


At 4/05/2011 5:07 PM, Blogger Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

I should qualify my comment above by admitting that when I first went on the internet I, too, was ‘Anonymous’. One of Lao-tzu’s three great treasures is humility. Being of the Taoist persuasion, I had it in my mind that being anonymous would embody the ultimate symbol of humility, i.e., being nameless and nobody…just an empty vessel. I soon learned, though, that being ‘Anonymous’ was, in fact, the ultimate arrogance. It made one somehow special, above the fray, someone who could comment and make pronouncements without repercussion or accountability. It made you invisible and special. You were not just another commenter who had to take responsibility for their opinions, not one like all the others, but someone who was, somehow, above it all, above the rest. Hardly humble.

I soon became ashamed of my deception and have used my real name ever since. To quote an old friend of us all: “And that has made all the difference.” After all, it’s hard to buy a poetry book if you don’t actually know the poet’s name.


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