Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hemingway story from Jennifer Knox

The following is the text of an email to my friend Kevin; I thought he'd enjoy an account of my experience, since we've shared stories about crazy authors before. And I thought it was good enough to pass on to you secondhand. <3 wz


So last night I went to Emergent Forms feat. Jennifer Knox, prompted by a last-minute warning from Jess. I'd heard her name before, but if I'd ever read any of her poetry, it had long since blended into the hazy tapestry that was THE FOUR-YEAR CUMULATIVE TEACHINGS OF KASEY MOHAMMAD.

Anyway, she was fucking hilarious. I think she's equally stand-up comedian and poet, if not more so. Her poems were deliciously vulgar, and on several occasions I found tears of mirth welling in my eyes.

She had books for sale, but honestly, I'd much rather have a CD of her stuff so I could hear her deliver the poems herself. Bryan had his digital audio recorder going, so maybe that'll be a possibility in the near future [P.S.: he posted it at his blog].

Anyway, here's my sole reason for telling you about the Knox: after the reading, we went to the Hong Kong and generally bullshat while Fleetwood Mac played in the background.

She mentioned that Ernest Hemingway was famous for physically assaulting a multitude of poets during his lifetime. She gave one concrete example that had the entire table in stitches, as nobody had ever heard the story before:

So Ernest Hemingway's at this intellectual literati party, right? And he, being Hemingway, the most masculine of the masculine, is challenging the namby-pamby poets in attendance to a strength contest: bending a spoon in the crook of the arm, between the bicep and forearm, in a slow, single flexing motion.

His easy-pickin's target for the night, apparently, is Wallace Stevens, who, upon being approached by Hemingway, kind of jabbers and whimpers, his frail, trembling muscles dropping the spoon with each attempt.

Hemingway, disgusted with Stevens's pitiful physical performance, immediately clocks him and sends him sprawling.

Lightly-buzzed hysterical laughter ensued.

[End email, blogpost continues:]

I made a half-assed attempt to find an online voucher for this story: find my results here.

All I could find were passing annotations to a veritable tussle between the two and a story saying that a) Hemingway kicked Wallace's ass in self-defense and b) Wallace busted his knuckles upon Hemingway's ubermasculine chin after Hemingway agreed to remove his spectacles. Some sources seem to think that such accounts only sprang up after Hemingway's suicide (but at least one of those hack sources said Hemingway's works are "seldom read today," and said author needs his/her mouth scrubbed with bleach and a hunk of steel wool).

And then there's this post on the matter by none other than Rodney Koeneke some guy named Will on Rodney Koeneke's blog about the fracas, linking to another site (but read Rodney's comment; it's highly illuminating). So something happened, and I wish someone'd been there and paid attention, regardless of who was the aggressor or victor.

[edit]With a little refinement in search terms, there's this, giving the whole of Hemingway's letter.[/edit]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Found: The Flood of '74

We went to Lithia Park and it was flooded. We went all around the park two times. Then we were getting tired and went home. On the way home we were stuck because we were surrounded with water. We had to take our shoes off and walk in the water. It started to rain. Some men told us to go back, so we did. When we got to a phone we called Mrs. Nealson and she brought us home.
Sarah Humphrey

We went to Lithia Park and saw the bandshell. After that my family and I went to see my Uncle Don's and Aunt Betty's. My brother and sister and me, babysat my two cousins. We stayed all night and watched a scary, scary movie. Then about three or four days after that my family and I went to my Uncle Don's & Aunt Betty's again. We went to Lithia Park again and the water was five feet. Then we went back home.
The End
Sunny Troutman

It made holes in the ground.
It brought some wood.
It said it on the TV.
It was very bad.
It said it on the radio for lots of days. Pop and I went to the park.
We saw some wood and we saw some holes in the ground, too.
Marlene Nelson

We went to the park and had to get in by the Shakespearean Theater. It was flooded everywhere. When we got home our mom said we would have to use water like when we go camping. We filled up the washing machine, the dryer, three trash cans, 12 huge bottles and 3 pitchers. We still had enough water to last 3 weeks. I hated the floods of 74!
Rebecca Fisher

One day we went to the park and it was ruined. The streets had holes in them. The roses were gone. Two of the bridges were gone. There's a creek running through the band shell. Lots of trees fell down and there's lots of mud. The play ground is ruined. Everything is ruined.
Kristen Seely

The flood of 74 was very bad. In some places in Ashland you could call it a disaster area. We went to the park and when we got there we walked up to the park and took a lot of pictures. We saw bridges and benches in the water.
The End
Jimmy Douglas Prettyman

One day it started raining. It rained for a long time. On the radio it said to get all the water you could. So my mom said she would go out and get some water. It took a long time. When she was finished she said we could not flush the toilet or run water out of the faucet. My mom could not cook as much and we were getting hungry. We could not do as many things as when we had water. My mom said we had to heat water to take baths. It was cold when we got out. When my sister asked if rain water was pure I was surprised to see her ask that because I already knew that. My mom boiled it and said we had to cook with it. We filled up the trashcans that we kept for flour and sugar. We filled them up and then my Dad dug up a hole in the wood pile and water came up from there. After everything was filled up we had no problems. We went to see the park. It over flowed. We went back to the house.
The End
Jimmy Tegner

On Wednesday, January 16 we got out of school because of the flood. I went to my dad's until it was time to go back to school. We went to our Grandmother's house. Wednesday we went to school and school was let out again. That week we stayed home.
Tony Ketcham

"Look at the flood," I said to my father. And he said, "Big Deal." And I said, "Big Deal" back to him. A big tree was gone too. And another tree was gone too.
Jeff Bleasdel

Dear Dad,
There was a flood. The flood was so,so,so, bad. That we couldn't use water. The waterpipes broke. We had to use rainwater. The water was polluted and there was a shortage.
Marc Pucell

A few weeks ago there was a flood. The park was flooded. The plaza was flooded too. Everybody was mad. Me and my brother went to the park because my brother didn't see the park. I put my boat in the water and it got stuck.
Craig Dumont

At our house it did not get flooded because we live on a steep hill. Alot got flooded in Ashland. At the park it got flooded. When school was in order again my dad and mom got people to help the park back together. My mom fixed to food for the men who worked.
Amy Juckett

We got let out of school early. Then nothing much happened. We had water almost all the time. On the second day we ran out of water. We had to go to the store alot to get water.
Kathy Berry

The Briggs family went to Lithia Park on Saturday morning to help clean up the park. We went into the park where they used chainsaws. There was a big cedar tree over the river and my dad cut it up. After we worked we got a free lunch and went home.
Allegra Briggs

It was Jan. 16th my mother had filled the bathtub, bowls and other things with water. I kind of liked it because you did not have to go to school. Then on Saturday I went to help clean up the park.. To cross the creek we had to walk across a board.
Erik Ryberg

My dog was at the creek. It was like a river. Well, anyway, Claudia almost fell off a water fall. The water was going so fast it almost pulled her off.
Jennifer Peterson

In 74 it was really not a flood but we had a problem. There was no water for us. But the only good thing about that time was that we did not have to go to school. Down at the park it was flooded. It was fun not taking a bath.
Robert Carney

Well, we got out of school. We went home. My mom was asleep when the water went off. We got all the water in bottles. We had enough water. My dad brought a lot of water home. We went to Medford to take baths. We took our friends to Medford, too. Poor Lithia Park! It seems like it has been washed away. But we might pay for it.
Lisa Johnston

Wednesday, we got out of school early. When I got home my mom was listening to the radio. The next day our family went to look at the park. My Grandmother came and picked us up and took us to Medford to take a bath and wash our laundry.
Vonda Varis

We got out of school Wednesday. We had 5 days to play. We saw the park. It was flooded. I can't walk through it. We went home and had dinner. It was horrible. Then we went to bed.
Mike Sears

Wednesday it rained and rained. We got to get out of school at 1 o'clock. The next day I went to Lithia Park. It was flooded. On January 24th I went back to school.
Ricky Taylor

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Found (1914): Act now

Click images for bigger

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I was trying to comment on this post by Jess about restricted-access pay-to-read poetry blogs. Blogger was choking or something, so I don't know if my comment went through, but here's what I tried to submit:


I'm not real comfortable with the idea of renting poetry. Sure, nothing would stop you from printing out a stack of pages with URLs and "Page 2 of 2s" on them, but after a year your unrestricted access to the poems and personal entries disappears unless you chip in another six bucks (for a chapbook that isn't really a chapbook and doesn't actually belong to you).

This idea of you-only-paid-for-access may be new to poetry blogs, but it has existed in other incarnations for several years now. The RIAA's recent change of heart regarding the legality of ripping tracks from your legally-purchased CDs comes to mind; nowadays they say you only bought the CD, not the information within, and not the right to transfer said information to your MP3 player (bull). Also coming to mind: MLB's shafting of customers who purchased Digital-Rights-Management-crippled videos that became useless once MLB stopped supporting its proprietary software. Sorry, sports fans: no refunds for your dud videos.

I realize that DRM and password protection have two very different purposes as far as the consumer goes, but the concept of ownership in this case is the same: you're not paying to own, you're paying to access, or, rather, rent.

My desire to own poetry might seem a bit, well, possessive to some. However, when I purchased Foursquare feat. Jess, I received a delightful little package I can read at my leisure, loan to a friend, or stuff in a bottle, cork it, and throw it to the seas if I want. Never, though, will the little pouch staple itself shut and say "Fork it over, Bucko." If I stop subscribing to Sports Illustrated, my swimsuit editions don't go *poof*.

The blog'll be an interesting experiment, and hey, if she starts getting some extra cashflow out of it, then bully for her for applying the idea. I'll still be purchasing my music DRM-free, though, and my poetry in books.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A prayer for our once-and-hopefully-future-awesome country

Dear Lord in heaven, Whom I realize I only seem to acknowledge in situations of dire circumstance, including, but not limited to, imminent death in general, permanent loss of physical faculties, catastrophic financial desperation, large oncoming vehicles unexpectedly appearing in my lane of traffic, substantial loss of vital bodily fluids, seemingly inescapable deathtraps (including, but not limited to, towering infernos, quicksand pits, pools of sewage [in which humans sink, not float], shark-infested waters, decompressing submarines, rooms with steadily-encroaching walls of spikes, baskets filled with cobras, masterminds' torture chambers filled with deadly gas [just torture chambers in general, I suppose], spiked Catalan garroting execution devices, the gallows in general, that thing from David Lynch's movie adaptation of Dune that tries to kill Kyle MacLachlan with a syringe of poison when he moves), serial murderers who have trapped me in an abandoned complex and have long, complex plans for my eventual death, gas leaks, convenience store and/or bank holdups, bizarre baking accidents, injury or near-fatal injury due to unsafe work environments (covered by workers' comp), sizable objects falling from a substantial height onto my person, my person falling from a substantial height onto a sizable object, choking on a piece of otherwise-delicious food, falling into a bubbling vat of oil, getting pinched by a crab carrying a rare flesh-eating bacterium that kills humans over the course of a few painful and diarrhea-and-vomit-ridden hours, finding a black mamba in my favorite pair of jeans, lighting a cigarette within close vicinity of a gas station or its propane tank, overlooking the Mr. Yuck! Poison Control sticker on a bottle of antifreeze, adding superfluous amounts of propane to a barbecue with a faulty ignition button, using bleach and ammonia in an unventilated bathroom, eating fugu sushi prepared by a drunk sushi chef, impalement, disembowelment, drawing-and-quartering, degloving, defenestration, immolation, castration, double elimination, asphyxiation, or bifurcation, please let Hillary drop out of the race please let Obama win (edit: that edited statement's a bit more specific, and it seems timelier than when I first started writing this post).

Amen and GObama, as they say.



Thursday, February 07, 2008

Found (1912): play