Saturday’s sign: a flock of twenty or so robins, fussy and implacable in the snow. Usual chores and rereading Dana Ward’s “Typing ‘Wild Speech’”: “The ruin of the frivolous disables all potential.” (How it recalls sans aucune raison Shelley’s lines out of “To a Skylark”: “. . . That from heaven or near it / Pourest thy full heart / In profuse strains of unpremeditated art . . .”) I like the kind of presumptuous copiousness and “gush” (“Middle English gosshe, gusche—as the word is wanting in Old English and the other Germanic languages, there is nothing to forbid the supposition that it originated onomatopoeically in Middle English”) a word like “frivolity” unfetters. Hats off Romanticism. Clark Coolidge, in a note “On Jimmy Schuyler’s Poems” writes: “A lot of unalloyed nouns . . .” And:
Weather, as all strata in a possible day.Recalling (Hendrix at Woodstock: “you can leave if you want to, we’re just jamming, that’s all”) Willem de Kooning, out of the Robert Snyder movie Sketchbook No. 1: Three Americans (1960): “Everything is already in art, like a big bowl of soup. Everything is in there already, and you stick your hand in and you find something for you.” (See, too, John Ashbery in the Paris Review interview (c. 1983): “. . . on the whole I feel that poetry is going on all the time inside, an underground stream. One can let down one’s bucket and bring the poem back up.”)
Words, all articulate shifts of a possible sky.
Of note. Out of the new Jared Shickling-edited newsletter eccolinguistics (#2.1), a many-pronged poke between the narrow steel bars of the Conceptualist hoosegow by the mysterious and ineffably-named Place Holder:
Evaluation: “Uncreative Writing 101”“The ruin of the frivolous disables all potential.” One thinks precisely of the Conceptualist disabling of the frivolous, its cut and dry, its smirk and smarm. Frivolity, with its unquashed weightlessness and trumpery, its unreliable trifling and fickle dunning of the unsteady heart’s own potential, its sheer unapologetic excess runs—must needs run—catty-corner and outré to any mere conceptual bluff configured in advance, and the earnest studiousness of Conceptualism’s always already tired joke.
“I realize you’ve lived in France, but that doesn’t mean you know EVERYTHING!”
—Frank O’Hara, “Lines for the Fortune Cookies”
1. This was the most boring class I ever took.
2. I signed up for poetry and the teacher if you will call him that spend the term laughing at it.
3. This was a totally original class. I loved it.
4. Everything we turned in had to be stolen.
5. It was so boring that when the guy next to me passed me some pills I swallowed them no questions.
6. The train is still sitting in the institution. You only dreamed it was in motion.
7. So I’m from Watts. And you white folk are clueless.
8. It’s as simple as this: They treat you like a child, and you store up some insults to use later on.
9. Once I asked if we could get in academia trouble by the Plagiarizing. He just looked at me funny and said Stick close to me kid, I’ll take the Rap.
10. WTF??? This class is a waste!
11. So I just copied stuff and that was all I had to do.
12. When I was younger, I was always getting these ideas.
13. This class met once a week on Mondays, and for the whole semester I looked forward to Mondays.
14. He wouldn’t even write comments on papers and I doubt he even did look.
15. Everything came back as “Nice job, Travis!”
16. Why the President invited this clown to the White House is a joke I can’t process.
17. As my Sorority sister said, “With celebrity poets like these, the country is in some serious shit.”
18. I really liked the teacher he’s unusuel and lade back.
19. I think it’s sorta funny he read Whitman to children there when children just like those are getting whacked in Afghanistan and stuff.
20. Little red places on the limb suddenly turn white, then bud forth with something green.
21. If my parents knew they were paying money for this they’d go ballistic.
22. Does one have to be Caucasian to be Conceptual? Just asking.
23. To tell you the truth, I’d get a lot of pleasure going a few rounds with this aesthete in an Ultimate Fighting cage.
24. I came into this class as a very insecure person. Now I have a hole new perspective about life and feel empowerd.
25. Nobody else on the lacrosse team will ever take this class, that’s for sure.
26. I emerge from this experience with a deeper understanding of the conceptual homologies informing the Fraternity and Poetry subcultures.
27. If you have a person you want to submerge in boiling lambs and lobsters, recommend this class to him / her.
28. I have one question: Is just copying stuff what I really came to the University of Pennsylvania for?
29. And I have this question: How would you theorize Conceptual Poetry in relation to the Greek far-Left?
30. The teacher is a nerd, but in a loveable way.
31. Plus, with his inch-long fingernails, he looks like an ivory tower crack addict.
32. For the life of me, I don’t see what’s avant-garde about fifty-year old recycled quasi-Pop.
33. Professor Rocks!!
34. Flarf is dead and Conceptual poetry should be too. I’m sorry, but I’ve had it.
35. But how late to be regretting all this, even bearing in mind that regrets are always late, too late!
36. I used to be bipolar; because of this course, I am now a 17 mile-long tapeworm.
37. His voice reminds me of the sound of an unmanned drone circling overhead, which survivors have reported as a kind of techno-pop back beat from the heavens, right before the flash.
38. One Richard Prince is quite enough, thank you.
39. Orpheus realized this and didn’t mind so much about his reward being in heaven after the Bacchantes had torn him apart, driven half out of their minds by his concepts, what they were doing to them.
40. I loved this class, it was easy and I learned a lot.
41. I’d go on automatic pilot when he’d start talking about Duchamp for the ten thousandth time and just think about my girlfriend’s pussy.
42. I didn’t learn anything from this class, except that I’m the Author of the Inferno.
43. The sweet peas grip the fence; the beans hang hidden by the leaves.
44. I want my tuition back, plus damages.
45. This class has changed my life.
46. To quote the immortal Robert Frost: Tennis with the net down is for those who can’t.
47. With Mr. Filreis, at least your opinion is respected, but in this course, you might as well be wearing a saddle and halter.
48. What’s with the Halloween bow ties and hats?
49. This class got me to thinking: What is “Art”? I still don’t know, but one day I hope to ride forth and find out.
50. I was insulted to have to read the literal defense testimony of rapists and pimps.
51. Just to give you an example, I know I only got a B+ because I said I liked Kent Johnson’s DAY.
52. The teacher praised me for my scanning and reformatting of the entire two-volume anthology of William Cullen Bryant’s A New Library of Poetry and Song, and I appreciated that.
53. If I hear Marjorie Perloff mentioned one more time I will chug a giant bottle of Lysol.
54. I kept asking the Professor about Language Poetry, and it seemed like he always got nervous and had a different answer every time.
55. The wind has stopped, but the magnolia blossoms still fall with a plop onto the dry, spongy earth.
56. He seems to like the Foundational of Poetry a whole lot, for some reason.
57. To be honest, I’ve met scores of gang members in prison more in tune with the world than this petit-bourgeois scrivener.
58. Administrators, please listen to me: I know what I’m talking about because I share a strange machine with them.
59. The pimp is busted. I shall have to get him fixed.
60. This class was pretty cool. I’m a Marketing major, but now I know I can be a poet, too.