Archive for the poetry Category

Listen, I’m Doing A Bunch of Things This Month

Posted in event, Lists, music, people to watch for, poetry, the universe will wreck you, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/08/2012 by alex c

November’s a big month for me as I have three events (plus the usual Mental Marginalia) coming up with some good people and I’d love to see you out at some or all of them…

First up:
Tuesday, 11/13, 7:30pm
@ Bear
12-14 31st Avenue, Long Island City
An admixture of poetry and fiction paired with liquors and foodstuffs. A salon in which poor taste will mingle with the delectable; ears and mouths stuffed and stumbling.

The Readers:
Beth Amodeo
Alex Crowley
Keara Driscoll
Robert Tumas

There will be $5 Dirty Martinis, bar snacks on a menu specially designed by Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky, and a happy hour following the evening’s proceedings.

Saturday, 11/17, 7pm (?)
@ Brooklyn Fire Proof
119 Ingraham Street (at Porter Ave.) Brooklyn (Morgan L)

Join curators Eric Nelson and Mike Lala at Brooklyn Fire Proof for Fireside Follies’ second event this season, featuring:

Dorothea Lasky (Thunderbird)
Macgregor Card (Duties of an English Foreign Secretary)
Courtney Maum (Big Things in Small Places)
Alex Crowley
Olivia Kate Cerrone

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Tuesday, 11/27, 8pm
@ The West Brooklyn
379 Union Ave., Brooklyn (L/G to Lorimer & Metropolitan)

Mark Gurarie & I host, these cats read:
Tom Oristaglio
Fred McKindra
Alex Norelli
+1 tba

and last, but not least:
Thursday, 11/29, 8pm
@ Legion Bar
790 Metropolitan Ave. Brooklyn (Graham L)

We’ve got a new bassist & we haven’t played since February. Per usual, come listen b/c who knows when we’ll play next!
We’re sharing this bill with some fantastic bands. Come out and enjoy the fantastic-ness.

Here’s the order of bands:
9:00, Big Plastic Finger,
9:45, Warmth,
10:30, Beasty,
11:15, Old Monk,

Thanks for reading all the way to the end!

No Snappy Headline: I’m Reading October 18th

Posted in event, poetry, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 10/12/2012 by alex c

Five bucks at the door gets you wine, beer, snacks and the company of charismatic creators. The Old Stone House In Park Slope is here. And here’s the line-up:

Alex Crowley is a co-curator of Brooklyn’s MENTAL MARGINALIA Reading Series. He received the first annual Paul Violi Poetry Prize from The New School and his work has appeared in or is forthcoming from DIAGRAM, Handsome, SHAMPOO, Short Fast & Deadly, and the Argos Books anthology Why I Am Not A Painter. He supports Newcastle United FC, follow him on twitter @a_p_crowley
Debbie Deane is a native Brooklynite who performs her soulful songs with Jim Whitney on bass and John Mettam on drums. Debbie’s latest CD, “Grove House,” is a musical smorgasbord of jazz, folk and funk, released on musician Ravi Coltane’s RKM label. Jazz Review praised her lush vocals and seductive hooks, and said “her languid, yet crisp and emotive delivery has soul to burn.” Learn more at
Margaret Young has two collections of poetry: Willow from the Willow (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2002) and Almond Town (Bright Hill Press, 2011).  She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Michele Madigan Somerville is the author of Black Irish (2009, Plain View Press) and WISEGAL (2001, Ten Pell Books). Her verse has appeared in numerous journals including Downtown Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Review, Puerto del Sol, 6ix, Pagan Place, Mudfish, Eureka Street, Quarto, The Nervous Breakdown and Hanging Loose. A second edition of her book-length poem, WISEGAL and a Catholic Under Protest a collection of essays are forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Books in 2013. A native New Yorker, Somerville lives in Park Slope Brooklyn. She works as a tutor.
Pat Smith was born in La Rochelle, France, and raised in Middletown, Ohio. He received his MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His play Driving Around the House (1985) has been produced around the U.S. and is published by New Rivers Press. Recent poems have been published in Psychic Meatloaf, Haggard and Halloo, Apeiron, The Bakery and Eclectica. He curates poetry events for the Brooklyn Reading Works at Park Slope’s Old Stone House. His poetry blog is Not in the News Today and you can follow him on Twitter @thatpatsmith.
Frankly, I don’t know anything about the rest of the lineup, but I’ll probably be good, so there’s that.

St. Vincent, Coffee, & Constructivism

Posted in music, poetry, random, review, The Trading Post, undigested with tags , , , , , , , on 10/08/2012 by alex c

St. VincentMarry Me
Naum Gabo & Antoine Pevsner – The Realistic Manifesto


“While it would be impossible to explain, in simple terms,” the plinkiness over what is this beat? Now, now, I may not understand modern pop music, but I do understand flight and Kenny Rogers this morning reminded me to tear my mind on something I’ve only seen under the influence. She’ll make me sorry and I don’t doubt it given how this has transpired so far, giving way to distortion.

Little drummer boy, and probability ensures that is what you are, get rolling bum bum bum, bum. I guess. Here we find a native tradition and a graft from an alien culture. Alien only to one who never made a habit of orchestrating what didn’t need to be orchestrated in the first place. A simple proclamation will do nearly always and if we want to get into what constitutes “mysterious” then I’ll admit my ignorance of everything. If I remember correctly it was “Why ask why? Try Bud Dry.”

My face is red, too, but it’s a temporary blood pressure thing and not merely my lefty sympathies. This city’s black b/c it’ll always be the style here. Guilty party after guilty party and how long did it take me to figure out the difference between style and fashion? The excitement of collaborators as they meet to plot in the local drink, the recently-dubbed Last Bohemia. We know who dunnit, we know who owns the stakes at least, we recognize a good fade out.

In futurism I can taste what I cut my tongue on, but Andy Warhol & The Beach Boys left a lingering stench of passive aggression and I feel it in the powerless melodies and three-part harmonic middlebrow miasma. Whatever that was.

Someone says get rid of the bass and adopt the tuba, which seems like a good idea only in the way that the Gypsy Kings make an Eagles song listenable. Too much dance in the steady rhythm of the telegram. I can handle the flamenco as long as I’m sitting down, which, helpfully, I am at the moment, unable to stand without knocking the props off this cluttered sitcom set. Speed may have been a pompous program, but at least it was an ethos. I can hold a mug and empty it.

Pianos are nice, a life-lesson oft-discussed and never learned for lack of discipline. Another life lesson imposed via petropharmacopeia. Avoid catatonia at all costs, in this case it’s nearly free since I know the barista and, fortunately, lack internal ulcers. I’d be painting in abstract shapes if I could pain at all.

On the upside these things are brief and the despair will subside as soon as the palate is cleansed. I was probably mistaken with this choice, or, more likely the case, there really is something to this disaffinity with so many peers. “In them we do not measure our works with the yardstick of beauty, we do not weigh them with pounds of tenderness and sentiments.” Sentiments are to heavy for any contraptions I own and, anyway, I hate the word tender. What is everyone made of? I can’t follow the line of logic anywhere.

There are so many things I’d love to renounce, on behalf of culture or taste or what-have-you, but God help me if people all liked the same shit. Regardless, it’s a great way of saying I’m right, you’re wrong, and also that painting sucks.

I can agree with the affirmation of tone as the only pictorial reality. I like weathered concrete and irregular rhythms, though under certain constraints that I can only gauge by analogy to pornography. For example, it’s nearly impossible for women to wear high-waisted jeans, but they do it anyway. Some of these passages would make great samples, but on the whole, I just don’t know.

This fretwork was more interesting before the bossa-nova: I love the ocean but I’m wary of the beach. Whenever people talk about plasticity I’m, like, what? Canals are cool, as are railroads, yet here were are hostage to the car. The smell of gasoline versus the smell of brine. Pickle me when I’m dead.

There’s nothing left in the tank. I’m just sitting here listening and dulled. Something should have happened by now. One can make things happen or wait for things to happen or whatever-the-fuck. Globetrotting adventurers are usually morons.




TV Personalities, Bourbon, & Brutalism

Posted in music, poetry, The Trading Post with tags , , , , on 08/22/2012 by alex c

Television PersonalitiesMummy Your Not Watching Me (WHAAM! Records #3)
Bulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

———SIDE A———

howl through brutalist tower architecture & the realization that the record player was still on 45 from all the reggae singles
the jangle must have been so harsh at the time do you ever start start to wonder who comes up with these ideas
says an adventure playground what it is you want and the expectations pouring up stalagtite-like from the sidewalks
they’re fine with trees and nooks & context
fading out

bang bang slow stutter & ring
dip dip call in from disembodied man on accordion
the steps up this house, the cubist ziggurat
wants to be an actress
wants a heart-shaped swimming pool
& a set of ray guns
I’m infatuated with the stains weather-beaten into
béton brut my lucky number’s seven, too
an echoplex from whichever perspective
most of these proposals never left
the desks they were drawn upon

stacks stacks stacks eight stories high
this speed beatles imitation’s pretty tight
the woo woo police keyboard settles
for overcast in charcoal on paper
as substitute for the micro town
lining Tanguy’s horizons & shift keys
downward so the neighbors will hear
scroll downward steadily

folk tune smily face student union facade
is why we’re crying mommy
stopped watching this indulgent little project
repetitive themes of trying again & remembering
different bits each time, the first flight arched
yet boxes follow from there, imagining a liftoff & losing sight
as the local atmosphere ends

would you like to cross this elevated walkway
pilot this fleet of airborne cars
for a negligeable psychic fee
I have a staircase down a grassy knoll
the landing’s not complete
I feel like the side could end any minute
that’s what the sleeve indicates
it’s all gone goofy, subhumans on lsd
all phones set to autocorrect

I was all totally wrong about that earlier assertion
it was unfair of me to make such a wild guess
sometimes it feels gone on too long & a nice punch
brings it all into focus
this was exactly where the gold was supposed to be
the mist’s a filthy liar & light’s no better

———SIDE B———

I love Kubrick flics for the settings & the grim
in this bass tone, the simple way a cylinder, a triangle, & a rectangle
can make an exquisite home
many times the necessary change in timbre drops in
on precisely the wrong instrument
is that called Zappic?
I mean waves & waves of concrete, arcing
on the tops of y-shaped pillars, spines & ribs
to the elements, take it take it take it
because we mean it & we’ll shout it
from the bannister

takes a while to kick in everywhere
the Japanese have produced some notable Scotch
it’s not painting by numbers
it’s sneaking off behind the rafters
to get your hands up her shirt
who here watches drum improv
videos online as a recreation

new page, similar aesthetic, similar dainty intro
composed entirely of single dots
I could stare into for days
you’re well aware how uncanny my attention can be
when I have the slightest bit of interest
I sometimes wish this style of design had never died

a nostalgia for automated walkways
a nuclear bunker mentality, whatever extras
that entails to carry on dreaming & laughing
cynically, sarcastically all at once
the butt of the joke & the butt of the joke
pretending to pretend to not need anyone

can’t tell if these are getting faster or everything I’ve taken’s kicked in
I enjoy all these black & white photos of well-lit European
buildings & the cosmopolitan stragglers shaded into the foreground
of an otherwise beautiful ecoscape
even the religious could get on board with this
the way a poured, prefab castle can squat near a rebuilt medieval town

Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner

Posted in people to watch for, poetry, random, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , on 07/11/2012 by alex c

Come over here and out it goes and that is a bad play now I’m gonna show you who I think should be out here and he loves that right side he’s got a cannon back there he’s a real leader settle down this guy is a real leader settle down settle down we don’t need that stuff he doesn’t get the publicity he should get you know well that’s when he says whoa I gotta tell you a story now he comes in like this he stays so long and so i got excited because he was ready to go by accident so I go in and you’re going left wing and I’ll tell you one thing I got into that I don’t care about that it can screw ’em up and they’re both plus five and you always have a guy to carry a guy

Jurgen Klinsmann Press Conference

Posted in people to watch for, poetry, random, the universe will wreck you, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 07/09/2012 by alex c

Since I’ll be reading at Happy Ending Lounge this Wednesday (7/11), I thought I’d repost this bit I did for Mark back in August.

Jurgen Klinsmann Press Conference

on that issue of style and what he just outlined everybody is important what they wanted to represent at the international level I have two questions are you looking at your staff before mexico obviously we’re busy and looking forward to the picture where they’re at with their club it’s not going to be easy we’ll get it off the ground that being said building a staff I would like to approach it I won’t confirm I want to see what’s out there I need to talk to people and get their perspective who can I invite so I won’t come in and say this is my staff you need to calm down right away we have that opportunity to see what’s coming through I kind of know already I will take my time hopefully by wednesday covering this country is a challenge there are pros & cons obviously to high intense environments you’re in a daily grind instead of once in a while I think it’s important to understand how you grow up and your priorities why is the program not really that important why are the kids going to school okay those are the reasons it’s a completely different setup and you have time to understand those different mechanisms for their future time other circumstances come in there whatever happens out of his comfort zone the fascinating topics for the next months and years you have the case where back and forth every weekend we will build a network and quietly it doesn’t have to be in the media they admire what has happened here the past twenty years would you like to see a uniformed style of play and is that a sticking point it’s actually a fascinating point it should reflect the mixing of cultures to find a path you won’t have a copy overall it should be a broader understanding and this will be one of the main topics going forward they will expand they will get bigger and bigger and it’s important you have your say in it they all wait for information they are knowledgeable they ask the same they are now speaking german they are available in back is it possible let’s do it in ten minutes we’ll get you what you need over here on your left how would you explain the mentality of this country studying your country mainly you don’t like to react to what other people do wades in seas and decide on its own what is next this guides me to impose but it is a starting point you want to dictate the pace so all those components you have to build it into a curriculum barcelona wasn’t born in the last couple of years I’m really curious to hear all the different opinions in the driver’s seat when we move overseas at the right age we will not ask for a prediction what do you anticipate to be the biggest hurdle expectations always built on being in a final here they are different how they grew going through the group stage where anything is possible you want to get better but you can’t promise anything I think there are a lot of different challenges ahead of us a foundation how much time they should spend with the ball but this is really important from the beginning what is really missing compared to the amount of time kids play the game just banging around the neighborhood this will show later on with his instinct a lot of work is ahead of us major steps forward it’s a very very hectic style slowly we have to get on the technical level with the ball there are environmental issues it’s come a long way we have a long way to go still

Bill Walton Knows the Rules, Go Sit Down

Posted in people to watch for, poetry, random, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , , on 07/03/2012 by alex c

Bought the team from Jerry Sloan a division to somehow acquire Boris Diaw you see how he’s changed everything his genius that 200 years ago today the age of romanticism and when I look at Boris Diaw and the age of the Romantics this guy has got it all

Shaq landing here in the desert is the satellite crashing down to earth approximately 50000 years ago a meteor came to the beautiful great state of Arizona you have to think of the Grand Canyon and remarkable picture of erosion and he just wears them out I watched his last game in Miami and he was awful and I watched his first game in Phoenix and crashing down and that big meteor crater Phoenix the greatest team ever in the NBA

This is an epic and historic day for Los Angeles and they gave up nothing it’s the anti-Kwame Brown nobody knows how good Pau Gasol is because he’s never played a meaningful game

Things could not be better here what the Kings have done here is absolutely incredible we had a conga line over 400 people Mickey Hart driving that train right onto the court we’ve done this so many times all over the world the Kings dancers they’re right out there and $5000 donated

I love the creativity in Ray Allen he doesn’t even know what he’s going to do he’s like a guitar player on a roll

“Just Screwin Around”: King Buzzo On Writing

Posted in interesting things that caught my attention, math-rock, music, poetry, random with tags , , , , , on 05/13/2012 by alex c

The best laugh in the business.

“Why I Laugh?” Poetry Readings & Audience Feedback

Posted in essays, interesting things that caught my attention, poetry, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 03/29/2012 by alex c

As both a co-host of a poetry reading series and someone who has lately attended a fair amount of readings, I’ve begun to notice certain reading trends. The most notable one, and one that more seasoned readers and reading-goers probably recognized long ago, is the inherent connectivity bias an audience develops with more humorous readers. At our Mental Marginalia reading last night, of our five readers, the work of three tended away from overt humor, often eschewing it entirely. The other two poets utilized it extensively, which isn’t to say they used it as a crutch, but it was a heavier element in a broad emotional mix. These latter two received the most immediate and obvious audience reaction (though all five readers received very positive reactions at the end of their “sets”).

This makes sense. People laugh at funny things, so there’s always a straightforward way to know what worked. When that element isn’t present, it’s much more difficult for an audience to outwardly demonstrate their affinity for a particular poem. People tend not to applaud after each poem – unless it’s totally mind-blowing – which I’ve always found a little bit too polite, but I think it also stems from the fact that if people did do that, it would be very obvious when something failed, whether intentionally funny or not.

Failure is a good thing, though. Continue reading