Friday, January 06, 2012


Blogs are dead, everyone's moving on! This vigorous meme continues to circulate in literary circles, Chris Goode (on closing down Thomson's) noting with something like surprise that Dennis Cooper's DCs is still so vigorous. (Great and alarming blog, but not necessarily one to browse in the workplace, as I found out to my cost yesterday.) And today Todd Swift is taking a break from his long-running Eyewear, using very similar rhetoric about there being more elegant and quicker ways to reach people. (Chris and Todd might not agree about a lot else, I'm thinking.) Perhaps I'd better wait. Todd tends to shoot from the hip, and many's the time that I've spotted the first few lines of one of his tastier posts on "Blogs I Follow", only to find that by the time I get there the post has already been pulled.

Mark Scroggins, it must be a couple of years ago now, also lauded the potential of Facebook and Twitter - but Mark still maintains his blog, and even writes good things on it, though never enough. But I just don't think Facebook has the potential that's claimed for it. (I subscribe to the now equally vigorous meme "What a waste of time and evergy is Facebook, I'm moving on".) I think it's quite good for vaguely staying in touch with the more shadowy outer circles of your acquaintance, and that's it.

But surely blogs themseves move pretty fast? Last autumn's targeted attack on Todd and Eyewear by the Barque crew Sean B, Frances K et al was so Swiftly tidied up that most people missed it, even if they were watching. Like a tussle in a disco, its 10 blurry seconds revealed a lot more about all the participants than anything that clear-minded literary historians compose.

It would be better to celebrate the democratization of literature, The Blog's gifting of an expressive outlet to such a various and surprising crowd of lay people - admittedly, not a representative bunch in global terms - but a large number of people, nevertheless, who might otherwise never have found writerly expression in any form. If many of the resultant blogs are quite generic, though in ways that might not have been predicted - e.g. the workplace blog - yet The Blog is also a container that can be used in many ways, most of them not discovered yet.

I am resisting the impulse to yet again list my favourite blogs. Most of them are in the list of links to your right, but it does need a spring clean.


The collaborative blog Montevidayo definitely needs to be on there, and it might be another demonstration of The Blog's developing vigour. Johannes Göransson is one of the people I listen to most attentively, and the way he's writing on recent posts about the Plague Ground (Playground) - e.g. this one, tracing implications of Joyelle McSweeney's original idea :

Welcome to the plague ground: There is still "too much" American poetry

- is typically beautiful with the beauty of clarity and pragmatic as a toolbox. Along certain lines the Montevidayo way converges with my own relativistic views of literature and artefacts generally. I'm not really talking about the detail, I mean the submersion in processes of decay and rebirth; artefacture as waste.

It so happens I'm reading Göransson's translation of Johan Jönson's Collobert Orbital at the moment. A fantastic book I will certainly write about some time.



I am reading the editor's preamble to a poetry magazine associated with the Cambridge School. The Editor tells us that this time he has, for pressing reasons that I forget, included a number of poems by both men AND women. He is well aware that, contrary to his usual practice, this flouts the principle of "NIcarnation" (in the dream I specifically noticed that this was an anagram of INcarnation). He then rather helpfully explains that NIcarnation means, of course, the separation of the sexes in poetry. His magazine usually prints either poems that are all by women or poems that are all by men. The heart of NIcarnational practice, as cultivated e.g. by Simon "Dionysus Crucified" Jarvis, is that a poem written by a male author should never refer in any way whatever to women, likewise a poem written by a woman should never refer in any way to men.

I'll resist interpreting this dream, at any rate publically, but I ought to say that as of today I haven't ever read anything by Simon Jarvis. (Maybe I will now, if only because I'm curious to find out whether his work does in any respect aspire to NIcarnation.)


"I made a suggestion once, but I didn't get any response, so I re-submitted it. Then I did get a response. It said, Shut up, we heard you the first time."

"Oh, that was the old suggestion scheme."

"The old suggestion scheme??"

"Yes, there was a suggestion scheme in Bob's time, but it got chocker with ideas so they killed it off."


AUTOMAGIC - Expression used by the UNIX community to explain things that happen on a computer that are clearly the result of some piece of automated stuff but no-one can remember exactly what it was.



(L Sings a line or two of "The One I Love.")

L: "I expect that's part of your set-list, isn't it Mike?"

M: "To be honest I'm SO old that I really think of REM as newcomers. I was never that into them. Because I'd been around for Neil Young and The Band, that was 15 years earlier, I thought I'd heard it all before."

L: "Neil Young. Yes, don't tell me, he went to sixth-form college in Ipswich."

M: "Toronto."

L: "I'm sure it was Ipswich."

M: "We're talking about two different Neil Youngs. I'm talking about the internationally famous one, and you're talking about your mate down the pub."

L: "I do get mixed up. Was he the one who sang Rhinestone Cowboy?"

M: "No... - who was that ... can't remember"

Terry: "Glen Campbell."

L: "Well, I'm sure he wore rhinestones. Oh yeah, (illumination) I'm thinking of Neil DIAMOND."

M: (Illumination) "Hot August Night! Yes, he was a bit like Glen Campbell."

L: "Maybe it was PAUL Young."

M: "who -"

L: "- who went to Sixth-Form college in Ipswich."

M: "Wherever I lay my hat."

L: "That's it."

M: (hoping to sow more confusion) "And then there's Paul Simon."

L: "My God yes. But I do know that one. He's the one with the recording studio in Box."

Terry: "..No, that's Peter Gabriel! Remember he did "Solsbury Hill", that's a hill just outside of Bath."

M: "The one they ran the by-pass down after it was a hit."

M: (later, reluctant to miss an opportunity) "Talking of towns that end in -wich, did you know that it means a Roman salt extraction site..?"

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