a grouse with completely feathered feet


Well, this is it. The last post on Ptarmigan. I've moved shop and set up some annexes at my new weblog:

It's really not all that drastic of a change. The types of subject matters discussed are going to still be, well, all over the map. And I was able to import all of my previous posts--along with many comments even!--already, so it will be really like you never left. Which is really the case since it's, er, cyberspace. So it's all good.

Still, this is a little sad. OK, I'm going to stop writing before I tear up. Goodbye! And hello!


Hey. I'm going to be switching to a blog, with Wordpress, on a different host, sometime this weekend, along with 40 other projects. I'm really tired of Blogger grayouts. I'll keep y'all posted when the migration happens.


Reginald Shepherd's blown a gasket, but don't dare call him on it, because it will just depress him. From the email extant on Josh's blog:

"But then, in general it seems difficult these days to make a nuanced argument--people see things only in black and white, and insist on reducing one's arguments to simplistic parody."


"There is nothing in the so-called avant-garde, from the New Americans to the Language poets to whatever the contemporary crew wants to call themselves besides 'too good for everyone else,' that wasn't done by the Modernists."


"there is a lot wrong with pretending that one came up with these techniques and approaches oneself, especially when one then goes on to congratulate oneself for one's daring and perspicacity."


"And why, for that matter must interesting, challenging, difficult poetry be labeled or accountable as 'avant-garde' in order really to be taken seriously?"

Alrightey. Rather than actually engage with a dialogue, pout. Then deny the conceivability that one may gain pleasure from anything from the New Americans to the present day in terms of experimental lexicons. Then, create an rather idiosyncratic, largely unsupportable cosmology regarding Modernism, and pre-empt anyone actually calling you on it by asking:"Why can't poetry be allowed to be and do what it is and does?" Got it.

The funny thing is, I really don't think Mr. Shepherd addressed much of what Tim had to say at all, and when he did, he pretty much did it with the old "slander by accusing slander" fashion. How is Tim saying:

"the binaries of text/context and form/content don’t line up cleanly either with each other or with the binary of avant-garde/mainstream"

an example of Tim being, according to Reginald, "particularly determined to willfully distort everything [he] wrote"?

Perhaps most tellingly, Tim wrote, in regards to Reginald's earlier comments, that "these aesthetic positions must recognize themselves as positions, not as the absence of any position or as some idea of pure critical neutrality that welcomes any 'great' work, whatever its kind."

Yet this is precisely the gaping absence in pretty much everything that Mr. Shepherd wrote. Most of what we had to contemplate from him was the expression of tactical gambits. "Peace and poetry" indeed.


Darth Vader has a blog..

I wonder, is this one of these "early adopter" or "late adopter" (UNCOOL) posts?

When it comes to poetry, Minnesota is pretty much North Nebraska. But I'll try to blog about that later.


It took me a few months, but I finally figured out the RSS feed for Taverner's Koans:

You think it would be simple for me, until you actually knew me.

I probably shouldn't care if Ted Kooser sneezes--easy pickings, right?--but I can't help my obsession with him. Probably because the things he says, which are no doubt received as folksy wisdom by many of those who read his crappy newspaper column, are unbelievably passive aggressive. I mean that, by the way. Here's his latest column, where he gives this little "kernel":

Though many of us were taught that poems have hidden meanings that must be discovered and pried out like the meat from walnuts, a poem is not a puzzle, but an experience.

Ok, read that again--what the fuck is he saying? I don't mean that in a flippant way. This sentence is borderline incomprehensible in terms of parallel structure. Are walnuts puzzles? Does the New York Times come with a little bag of walnuts to solve?

Let's go to the claim that he makes that a poem is an experience. Word aren't experiences. They can be experienced, but that's a wholly different question. Basic stuff, right?

Lastly--Kooser's on this weird anti-walnut vibe? Hey, last time I checked, people actually liked walnuts. Are walnuts little antichrists? So why is it such a big deal if people crack open walnuts. Right--that's "what we were taught". To look for "hidden meanings that might be discovered." Discovery, in this sense--in any sense--is extremely low on Mr. Kooser's totem pole.

All passive-aggressive, all the time. Here's what I guess bothers me about him so much--that his aesthetics and ethos fit so easily and blithely with this current administration. Kooser's views about poetry are profoundly radical in their fundamentalist supremacy of one aspect of poetry--fetishizing clarity over any other conceivable value-- in an ahistorical approach to language. For this approach of his to work, the only tactical option is to go beyond merely discrediting other possible avenues of poetic discovery, and to discredit discovery itself. And the keystone to this whole strategy is the "regular guy" schtick, which is smoke and mirrors in terms of a poetic persona. For his poems and taste to "work", he needs to assert the poetry as part of a faux-everyman experience. (Contrast this with Mark Nowak's Shut Up Shut Down)

Poets don't change anything in this realm; Kooser certainly won't--but in his post as laureate, he definitely has symbolic attachments to policies that seek to normalize radically conservative notions of freedom, the body, and language's ability to speak truth to power (in that it shouldn't).


We really wished we could have gone to the Nebulas. Gar! Instead, Kristin was working on her office changing, um, offices, and I watched a lot of snow fall on Sunday. That was fun.

Speaking of my wife, some of you might remember that has had a blog. It seems that extremely recently someone has hacked into her blog and made a post and what's more, purports to actually be Kristin. I urge you to visit the site and ascertain the truth for yourself post-haste. The possibility that Kristin herself has actually posted of her own volition is too shocking to contemplate. (ps tomorrow is her birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

(There's a helicopter flying 'round the circumference of downtown, and from my little vantage point on the 29th floor, it looks like it has "Channel 3" emblazoned on the side. Last time I checked, the Twin Cities doesn't have a channel 3?! So either the chopper was too far away or it's a chopper from a PARALLEL UNIVERSE.)

In more reality-based news, a symposium on speculative poetry (part 1) is just up on Strange Horizons, with Mike Allen, Dora Goss, and me.

Finally, Red Giant will be out by Memorial Day weekend. This I vow.