kap has done a pretty thorough report of the alice notley and christian bök seminar and readings last night. i'll only add that christian's response to rod's question about "the most ambitious work of poetry" he's seen or heard of was hilarious: from a machine that literally digests and shits gourmet meals as art, to a poem translated into gene sequences that are then injected into bacteria and thereby outlive us all.
i've heard christian read many times since i first met him in 1997 i think, when peter jaeger invited him and darren wershler-henry to read at the university of western ontario, they stayed at my apartment on dundas st and gave me signed copies of nicholodeon and crystallography in exchange. but i've not heard christian's forays into turntabling and beatboxing and i have to say in agreement with kap that christian again demonstrates the virtuosity he brings to whatever task he sets himself upon.
as if christian's hugo ball dirge didn't sufficiently clear the air, alice notley literally blew my little ego self quite clear of my body. (i found it in a whimpering puddle in the back rows of the ICC auditorium.) notley's observation that she seems to have a lot of unpublished manuscripts these days seemed like a perfect indictment of the poetry world: this stuff is like lightning. i'm reminded of how bob thiele, producer for impulse records in the mid sixties, told the recording studio folks basically to let john coltrane in any time he wants and record everything his group played. (or has mark wallace recently and eloqently put it: burn it all and let god sort it out.) in a more just world, everything that comes off of alice notley's laser printer would be published without delay. we need it to be so, for this is how vital and necessary her work is.
based on imperfect recollections of my converations with her after the reading, here's the situation on her unpublished manuscripts:
Alma, or the Dead Women - forthcoming from granary books (read a portion in Primary Writing #28
Grave of Light - to be included in the forthcoming selected poems from wesleyan (she concluded with poems from this i think)
In the Pines - under consideration (she started with poems from this)
Songs and Stories of the Ghouls - under consideration - devastating long poem from this she read mid-set (the poem in coconut #1 gives no indication of which)
let's go, publishers...
p.s. an how about some granting institution to help justin bring out a notley recording with narrow house?