How Are You Feeling Today?

August 23, 2010

by Tommy

Cos I’m feeling great. No seriously, and naturally. This past Saturday was the release party for birdsong #13 at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn.  We read some things, sold some zines, I got to reference that Roseanne/Ab Fab crossover, PAPS made everyone cry (god, “Sometimes” is like the best song in the Universe [it plays toward the end of the video]), Wilkes talked about w33d and a story where a sparrow named Jack is getting surgery to appear more human I mean– we have it going on. And now, starting the birdsong publication cycle over has made me realize there are some loose ends to tie up and new beginnings to mention.

BIRDSONG HAS A TUMBLR!–

Mainly I’ve been using it to visually catalogue where stickers of ours have popped up

and where our publications have made themselves available,

but I also have a different intention.  With birdsong #12, I made a bunch of postcards, addressed them to the Birdsong HQ, stuck each one with a stamparooni, and began leaving them around neighborhood cafes, inside books at The Strand, against bathroom windows, inside refrigerators.  I also had friends in Philly, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Seattle leave them around for me.  The postcards simply say, “How Are You Feeling Today?” leaving the rest up to the discoverer.  I’m sure many got lost in the mail, thrown away, or still sit in the books, BUT.  A few made it back to me, and starting today I’m going to publish them on a regular M/W/F schedule on the tumblr until I run out of lovelies.  Here’s the front of them:

The first polaroid is of a brick wall that used to say “DO NOT FALL IN LOVE” but is now washed clean (and a pet grooming store!).  The second is a polaroid from 2007 when I lived with Isabelle and Sav, in a windowless room in an apartment Max lovingly named “Pussy Heaven.” The guy sitting is Jesse Benjamin (who created the buzzing animated series Nature Boy) and the hands belong to Jess Paps.  There is a painting of a pug, a picture of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, Mondonna in her “Italians Do It Better” t-shirt, and a poster of Janis Joplin (amongst other ephemera).  The back says, “birdsong year 2.”

SO follow us on tumblr and see results of all the casting.

PAUL D’GOSTINO + CENTOTTO

L Magazine contributing editor and birdsong contributor Paul D’Agostino also operates the Centotto gallery, which is now housing Citational Graphologies or A Show of Hands, and they are still open to submissions:

Select a quote, in any language and from any source — book or film, song or speech, periodical or website, or even something you’ve heard uttered by a stranger in passing — write it out BY HAND on any sort of piece of paper, scrap or not, noting the source and your name, and send it via post to Centotto or bring it to one of our events. Submissions from any and all will be welcome, and all will be exhibited.

You can see some of the entries they’ve already received here, and it’s a good addition to yr CV!

EVENTS THIS WEEK

Birdsong fave Erin Markey will be performing this coming Wednesday for Our Hit Parade at Joe’s Pub @ 9:30 pm (you can get tickets here).  This Thursday Max will read some poems for a night of contemporary poetry and music at A Gathering of Tribes, with other local literary luminaries like Chavisa Woods, Gian Maria Annovi, and Tiq Milan, with Maria Gran on sax– 6 pm.

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Five Reasons You Should Read Poetry (If You Just Don’t Get It)

May 20, 2009

by Chantal

“I just don’t get poetry.”

As the TA for an American literature survey last semester, I heard this phrase more than a handful of times. When my students refused to dive into the spiritual riddles of America’s first Metaphysical poet, Edward Taylor, and slept through Joel Barlow’s mock epic about cornmeal, I tried to turn their generalized bafflement at poetry into a teaching moment. I did this by steering students away from such evasive and potentially self-destructing phrasing (“don’t get it, never will”) and toward greater precision in their self-expression, by asking them two questions:

1. What don’t you get?

2. How is prose different?

These questions led to a larger discussion of “Poetry” and its connotations. Poetry, for my young novel-hungry students, is associated with dense metaphors, revelations that are abstracted from daily life, monologic expression, a formal structure so over-determined as to be suspicious, and–quite notably for my research purposes–feeling. These assumptions were hilarious to me because of how irrelevant they are to contemporary poetry that matters a damn. Many poems I love possess all of these qualities, but most of them do not. As we talked, I tried to get students to realize that poetry, specifically in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is not endemically non-narrative, nor does it sacrifice thought in favor of some petrified notion of “pure expression,” nor is it incapable of being preoccupied and conversant with other people. Below, find five books you may want to check out if you are a self-proclaimed “fiction person.” Read the rest of this entry »