Friday, April 16, 2010

poetry, daily: 12

Well, we're more than halfway now, so thank you if you're still hanging on and doing this daily practice. It's no easy thing, that's for sure.

A thought on critique: For serious writers, when looking at another writer's work, the question does not become 'is this the thing that should be done?' but 'what is this thing I have here?'--not 'is it working?' but 'how is it working?'. Once these questions are resolved, the writer and her critics will be in a position to interrogate the workings and make substitutions, if necessary.

Good peer review examines what is on the page explicitly and thereby examines the potential (what could be there if the author changes things, or what would be there if you were the author). It doesn't make what doesn't exist the focus of its study. I'm not talking about rejecting the conditional or future tenses when talking about the poem, but about basing any projections on what is there, rather than on what I-critic might personally desire. How is the thing in front of me working and how can I make it better? The engineer doesn't say the bicycle should be a light socket, but might incorporate some function of the latter into the former, if necessary (like to light the way at night!).

And ask, maybe: What can this poem teach my practice?

the light was beautiful and it was warm

Writing exercise: Write a poem about something lost in interrogatives, rather than declaratives.

See you Monday.


All work here © 2010 and onward to me, Eireann Lorsung. Please do not reproduce my words in any form in print or online. If you wish to excerpt parts from the month of poetry featured here, please contact me: ohbara at gmail dot com.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

poetry, daily: 11

The series. What is it, how does it function? By series I mean both poems in parts and series of separate poems that function together. The series can be a way for a poet struggling to relate things to box them into separate areas but leave them on the same page. More capably used, it can, as in Seamus Heaney's poem "Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication", make us think about two disparate elements in terms of their relation (which in this case is not formal or tonal or imagistic), while the poet clearly composes two objects--and places them together, changing and complicating what they would have been alone. The series means we can't go back to the single poem. It desires the complex relation that moving parts have, because it is composed of parts that relate internally (both vertically and not), relate to the whole, and relate to what is outside (as with any poem).

Poems in a series are train cars, rooms in a house, little worlds with their own rules. And have to merit these. There's no flab on a freight train; everything working, everything carrying its weight.

Michel Foucault, in The History of Sexuality I: Composite bodies greater than their parts' sum (136).



Writing exercise: Write a poem in parts or a series of poems.

See you tomorrow.


All work here © 2010 and onward to me, Eireann Lorsung. Please do not reproduce my words in any form in print or online. If you wish to excerpt parts from the month of poetry featured here, please contact me: ohbara at gmail dot com.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

poetry, daily.

poetry month

April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. Beginning April 1, there'll be something here every weekday. I'd love to see if you join in--leave responses to writing exercises in the comments (or a link to your post), tell me what you think!

(P.S.: you can steal a little banner like the one above by clicking here and downloading it.)

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Monday, March 15, 2010

this joy+ride

Some poems have been taken by This Joy+Ride, and you can see them there from today (March 15th) til the end of the month. Thanks, Shari and Sheri, for picking me.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010


letter with birds and airmail stickers

Girl of the future, I'm sending you a crown airmail...

If you are waiting for an email about your public transit tickets and your cameras, please wait a little more--it's coming. I've been working on this, haven't had time for much else. But I haven't forgotten. If you're still interested but haven't gotten in touch, please email ohbara at gmail dot com. The project will entail you receiving something in the post, taking a high-quality digital photograph (I'll specify what), then sending me back the photo (via email) and a public-transit ticket of any kind from the place it was taken.

Recently: Benoit P.'s photos. Kyoto Chirimen Museum. Magritte's house is a museum, too. A short video (not new, but still funny) about art school.

And more good mail. (Thanks, Gracia & Louise! Poems soon.)

mail from gracia

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Friday, February 26, 2010

paris, a very small tour.

paris from butte mmtr.

From Butte Montmartre. One of my favorite places because you can sit and watch all the people getting to the top, completely tired from all the steps, and then see them turn around and see Paris like this. I like to walk back down behind the basilica and then (if it is daytime and they are open) go into the many fabric shops. That's where I got the printed cotton with flying geese on it (with my mom when she came to see me).


A small Jewish grocery in the Marais, selling glazed fruits in these bins. The walls are lined with every possible kind of alcohol you could imagine, all different bottles reflecting all different kinds of light. This is where I found a bottle of Izarra for my dad. Right down the street from many little shops, including Petit Pan and many shops selling Japanese goods.

The herbs and plants in my friend's kitchen. Her window looks out on the court but it is the 5th floor, so there is lots of light.

The view from her window. I loved the neighbors' geraniums and the zinc-colored pipes and drains. Even though I remember how miserable living in those old buildings could be, I recognise their beauty (and hope I did, then, too). And the grey sky, against which the buildings of Paris are particularly beautiful, although they are stunning against the bright blue, too.

See? They're just made for that. The colors are so elegant and understated, and then all of a sudden they're right in front of you and you realise how well-planned they are, how they are just made to go together. The shades and shadows the different angles make. That gold dome!

Speaking of exclamation marks, here's one in the Jardin des Plantes, a botanical garden founded in the 17th century. Those trees are so Parisian as to be a cliché, aren't they? But they exist. I sat in this garden many times drawing.

Drawing these bean-poles, specifically. And watching the people. And listening to them talk.

This is Mélodies Graphiques, also in the Marais, very near the Ile-St-Louis. I bought a tiny card (about 1.5" by 2") that had had a pattern burnt out of it: flowers and leaves in an arbor. He collects the beautiful mail his customers send him. I promised to send something, but haven't. Maybe this year.

And this is Austerlitz Station (Gare d'Austerlitz), to which I had a fond connection because of W.G. Sebald's book Austerlitz, which you can read about here. And here. And here. And here. The Métro trains going in are bright turquoise, which is brilliant against the gray stone and glass, and echoes the faded turquoise paint on the façade (you can see a hint of it in the mullions of the window in the lower left corner of the photograph).

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

return to the archive

after some changes

Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote about Derrida. Well, let's change that. I'm re-reading The Postcard for the chapter I'm writing right now and it makes me remember exactly why I love Derrida. He is so materially romantic. The archive? Yes, it's the part of memory work that contains the trace of the past, and it's an important theoretical trope. But it's also a material love story for Derrida, who caresses his distant beloved via his careful treatment of the things around himself. He notices everything. The book is full of trains, photomatons, houses of cards, pots of growing myrtle, books, letters, postcards, photographs, traces of the beloved and the disappearance. And throughout it there is the insistence on the burning of the archive--let's destroy it as we go, let's start over, Derrida (or 'Derrida', because as readers we're not meant to be sure of who we are reading, I don't think) says. Let's build this record of all the things that I love and you love and then if we need to let's leave it all behind, poems and libraries and Purim cakes and telephones and hands and cut-paper flowers.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

changed priorities ahead

changed priorities ahead

In about two weeks, the ftp service I use through Blogger is going to end, and I'm not sure what will happen to this space, or to the posts I've made here for the last three years, at that point. I'm looking at my options right now, but the ones I've found aren't ideal.

I'd like to keep control of how my space looks, and I don't want there to be ads. I'd like to keep my archives accessible. I'm looking at Movable Type, but I'm not sure I have the energy and time that switch would take.

I really like how sites like Martha's new workbook and Delphine Doreau's sketchbook work, and I've been wanting a way to make my site more integrated and less linear.

Any ideas/recommendations/help?

On an aside that may be interesting only to me, I just realised (prompted by a comment from Nadia) that something like the past ten posts have had pictures of buildings in them.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

bunnies * konijntjes * shop * winkel


Guess who'll be in the shop today?

K A A T J E ! L O E T K I N ! M A A R T J E ! E L L E K E ! G E R A A R D ! L I E N !

Meet Kaatje, Loetkin, Maartje, Elleke, Geraard, and Lien.

They're all made of cashmere and backed with the same fabric as their legs, with hand-embroidered faces and their particular personalities. Each konijntje comes with a name tag (not shown).

Last day to buy in time for Valentine's Day is tomorrow, if you live in the US, Thursday in Europe, Monday of next week for the UK. I can't guarantee arrival before the holiday due to the vagaries of the Post here, but those are my guidelines.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

and then there were...

goede morgen, MIEP

Well, you know what happens when you leave rabbits in a room together. There are five 'vlaamse konijntjes' (Flemish bunnies) here now, and more on the way. Probably in the shop around the end of next week, in time for Valentine's Day.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a list, and help required.

birdwoman, meet kabouter.

Forgeries, masks, games, double agents (triple agents), clementines in the winter, granny-smiths in the summer, some Borges and Neruda, lots of wandering around Paris by myself, pretend mushrooms and plastic goldfish, nasturtium leaves (like dollhouse plates), red notebook, trains, a photobooth.

The lovely Belgian gave me a new camera for Christmas. The one I had, I'd had since 2002 and then it cost me about $70. It's not bad--it's fine for documentation--but it's about 2 megapixels (my mobile's camera is more powerful) and it doesn't like to focus and it eats batteries like candy. It is such a luxury to be able to take clear photographs, of high quality, and at a large size.

I'm thinking of where my prints will go and I think photography (and the rest of the list above) will be a big part.

I need volunteers from other places in the world who will take a photograph (I'll send instructions) and send me a used train ticket. Any takers?

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

new finds

uit het geheugen

Poster from Museum Dr. Guislain. I liked the colors and the design. And I don't have anything so serious or stark in my house yet. You can see the museum's webshop here, though the poster isn't there. The link takes you to the catalogue for the exhibition.

NOTPAPER is a blog about collage. Really inspiring. I like this large format collage by Lisa Congdon, too. Found a big book of collage in the library today, makes me eager to get back there tomorrow!

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