a collection of interesting and not-so-interesting things. including information on current & upcoming projects.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

wolves (corrupting)

i am giving up the kafka poem for a bit. i did the whole thing with the word "wolves" instead as my seed text. i'm not sure yet how i feel about the results. deterministic tactics are tricky. hard to come up with something interesting. what i turned up with seemed surprising in some respects but i reserve judgement.

for now, wolves fans, a selection from a new project, "wolves (corrupting)" -- the basic concept here is that i am rewriting paragraphs, usually opening paragraphs, from some of my favourite horror fictions. it's a game!! determine what book each paragraph came from. some are more obvious than others. ryan gave me the idea to wind these together as a strange, shifting narrative work. it seems like a good idea. anyway, for your reading debasement:

The man in black fled across the desert, and the wolves followed.

Nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am. Wolves everywhere. Why will you say that I am mad? These wolves have sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all my sense of taste is acute. I taste all things in the heaven and in the earth. I taste many things in hell. Flesh from bone. How then am I mad? Open your mouth, reach out your tongue, run it over my eyes. How healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

No one would have believed in wolves in the last years of the twentieth century. The last years. That this world was being watched keenly and closely by wolves. Intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own. Where are the women now. One by one, they were taken. As men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied by wolves, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Millions of eyes in the forest. Millions and millions of eyes, a pair for each of the cells in your body. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, ignorant of these invisible wolves, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to perceive wolves. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of thrashing seas, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. Come with me to the forest. Lie down among the mushrooms. Lift your throat up to the stars. These wolves, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little. By little. But some day the piecing together of glimpses – a drizzle of fur, a gloaming of teeth, claws chattering, endless eyes – will bring those rough beasts into focus. A rose is arose. Its petals unfurling. Our frightful position therein. We shall either go mad from the revelation or flee into the peace and safety of those teeth.

I read that every known superstition in the world concerning wolves is gathered into the folds of my dress. Here in the horseshoe of the Carpathians. The centre of some imagining. My stay in this whirlpool may be very interesting.

I am a sick man. I am a spiteful man. I am a hunted man. I believe my liver is diseased. I drop disease behind me, leaving trails in the snow.

Halfway through my life I awoke in a dark wood. I had strayed far from the straight pathway into a tangle of roots along a river of wolves. It is hard to speak. The thought of it still makes me afraid.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Reading Revelation with Kafka (1)

i am too busy to concentrate on writing poetry, so i am generating machines/systems to write poetry for me. my latest project is to use the deterministic model of the seed/source text. my source text is the Revelation of John (from the New American Bible) to which i always find myself returning, and my seed text is my favourite writer, Kafka (that is, the letters in his name).

the concept is to crawl through the book of Revelation, pulling out (in order) the letters that begin with the letters in Kafka's name. i am going in order, one letter at a time, and cycling. i am also following chapter divisions and only citing the text body (no headings or notes). what i am going to end up with is a set of 22 acrostic "chapters." so far i've done the first chapter. here you go. we'll see where this takes me and if it ends up being worthwhile. my hope in picking a short word is that i get a lot of repititions which might allow a pattern/structure to emerge. i was tempted to use wolves, as i am still plugging away on writing a thousand or so pages of poems, all called wolves, but i wanted to bring a more charged word to bear on the Bible, and using the name Kafka sets up all manner of interesting tensions with religion and authority.





Saturday, October 08, 2005

upcoming events

On Oct. 20, 3:30 in room SS 1015 at the U of Calgary, I will be presenting a paper called "Forgetting the Way Home: Memory in the Films of Guy Maddin." It is an overview of the ways memory functions in the major films of Winnipeg director Guy Maddin, focusing on tactics Maddin uses in his construction of personal and geographical mythologies. This is a reiteration of a paper I presented last year at a conference called "The Prairies: Lost and Found." The paper has been accepted for publication in the conference proceedings so I'm looking to get some feedback on it. If you don't know anything about Maddin, the paper is structured as a semi-formal overview with some video clips, and serves as a good introduction. If you are well acquainted with Maddin, you might be interested in the discussion, and the paper will serve as a good jumping-off point for post-paper barroom discussions. I am presenting this not at, but alongside the WildWords conference, as part of the GAC Colloquium series, so make a "thinking day" out of it and attend tons of papers and panels.

Unrelated, if you like George Bowering, and A Short Sad Book, you can read my creative essay on Bowering and book in Australia's Jacket magazine.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Snakes on a Plane

Hollywood will soon attain absolute perfection in the movie Snakes on a Plane which I am obsessed with. The movie will star Samuel L. Jackson who must battle snakes let loose on a commercial airplane by some guy trying (in, I must note, a rather ineffective fashion) to kill some other guy.


I would type more but I am about to cry just contemplating the sheer beauty that IS Snakes on a Plane. Finally, Hollywood is leading the march to the promised land. I fully expect that, summer 2006 when I am sitting in a theater and experiencing this film, that I will achieve yugen.

At last.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Call of Cthulhu

a great comic