"The Trials of Lorenzo"
sound of rain
heard from in the dark kitchen
fluttering deafly · babies' ricochet shows
fluorescent light bulb
in front of me on the table stored
how long i can't remember
are you sure?
"I guess my coming-out as a Scottish American really started last year... Mainly, it's the relief of feeling visible. For so long I've projected the burden of otherness, of having a race at all, onto others, as if my mix of ethnic origins somehow matters less than that of someone who could be labelled 'of color'."
"Thus often our belief, our creed, seems like some simplified abstraction to people who can no longer use their senses, a way of going to a country by not going, but by staying at home and buying a book of maps. Then you tell people who also stay at home looking at maps that they are not getting anywhere because they have the wrong directions." --Robert Lowell, op cit
"Argyle Turkey Goes to Ganderland"
the ceremonial glitter
torn where the undersky winches
have pierced through · difficult focus
no leeway to rustle golden
the Virgin of Guadalcanal
absurdly flying · no network
signal now · argyle and powder
as what carves time spires the downdraft
"...little by little, we will discover that the acausal universe is just as consistent and just as capable of accounting for our actual experience as the causal universe. But we will also discover that the former is a universe devoid of all those enigmas that are part and parcel of the belief in physical necessity. In other words, we have nothing to lose by moving from a causal to an acausal universe--nothing except enigmas." --After Finitude
The new Collapse.
"I'm now studying the poems of the most popular Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa--ever heard of him?--who had a four-split personality; wrote four different kinds of poetry under four different names--volumes of each--and committed suicide sometime in the 30's, though if alive he'd be just Miss [Marianne] Moore's age." --Bishop, ibid
"Words from a Distant Sun"
hydrochloric acid spill
this cough is permanent
four choppers hovering
at the corners of a great cube
mow the dead lawn · spew grass dust
Tuesdays with Moby
devolve into stabs at margh anagram
Things have gone too far.
The syllable sestina. (via Silliman)
A good selection of "steampunk" hats.
"Yes, we can say that it is dangerous, harmful, for a white person to want to be a native, and yet is it not also good to love and desire being another?" (via Prau)
Goodnight Dead Moon. (via Infocult)
"The 'Institute' [Library of Congress] staggers along. The latest faux pas was their announcing a reading by Juan Ramón Jiménez as by José Jiménez (an inferior Brazilian) so Mr Jiménez called it off at the last minute. It's really about as bad as calling T S Eliot George Eliot, but they all seemed unaware of the enormity of it all." --Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell (5-8-50), in- Words in Art: the Complete Correspondence (2008)
"Giant Robot Gladiators"
concoct carotid döppelgänger
diametric but wholly coincident
we are secret succotash
the La Réunion that never failed
our ovoid runes
become burnt orange to the discerning eye
with absence · saltatory
embellishment evokes from
on the turbulent floor where em'rald
anamnesis reigns · venire across the sky
with the one in the middle
Speculative realism in Bristol.
"The disease I see happening now among some on the left is similar to a disease I saw in college: someone does or advocates a few things you don’t agree with, and you think immediately he must be allied with the forces of darkness."
"After the death of Benjamin Franklin a statue of Faust was erected in front of Franklin's birth house."
"...the vast majority of the Web consists of malware and spam." (via Sterling) --Like, you thought this wasn't the other toxic playground??
slowing aliquot fallout
psalmist abysmally gyres as usurper
pullulates, as tsetse slaloms forth
twitching · his anvil
Vas: an Opera in Flatland.
The 52 hertz whale. (via Metafilter)
Re/Search Newsletter. (long) --Glad they're still going. Someone should tell Sterling that V(icki) Vale is not a guy, though.
"Pride and Prejudice and the Economic Downturn"
mind over bone
a wooden book
the Hittite gift
and looth garou
in lethal teen
ally of wine
the last rainman
"The burning of expensive, rare incense woods on special occasions increased their value, and made them a 'once in a lifetime' experience."
"The future of music no longer lies in the breaking of rules or the perpetual veneration of a creative condition without rules...but in the localised invention of new and detailed rules for the playing of new games." (via splinteringboneashes)
Oscar's Biggest Twist
"It’s perhaps the most interesting twist in the entirety of Oscar history. This year’s two leading contenders are directed by ex-spouses. Oh sure, everyone pretty much knew that James Cameron’s mega-smash, Avatar, and Kathryn Bigelow’s critically hailed war film, The Hurt Locker, would be nominated for Best Picture, but, really, who could’ve predicted that the two films would garner 9 nominations each, including Best Picture and Best Director? At this early stage of the game, I’m willing to give a slight edge to Bigelow’s film for being topical, and for showing how such a stirring movie can be made on a relatively small budget. (Even the Producers Guild, which normally opts for glossy commercial entertainments, chose Hurt Locker over Avatar.) No one can deny, on the other hand, that Cameron has created a visually imaginative, technologically groundbreaking film—but, of course, Cameron is Cameron, and he was able to spend hundreds of
millions of dollars on his dream project—the perks of all that residual goodwill left over from Titanic. To clarify, Cameron lists the two biggest grossing films of all-time on his resume (and Titanic, you’ll recall, made a virtual sweep of the Oscars, winning a total of 11 statuettes). Another thing that might work against Cameron is the Academy’s decision to expand the slate of Best Picture contenders from five to ten, which means there are more potential upsets, more potential diversity among voters to thwart a landslide. With that in mind, the other Best Picture contenders, in alphabetical order, are: The Blind Side (arguably my favorite film among the field), District 9, An Education, Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino’s comeback with the badly spelled title snagged 8 nominations), Precious, A Serious Man (a little seen Coen brothers’ film that should not be confused with Tom Ford’s A Single Man), Up (only the second fully animated
film, after 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, ever nominated for Best Picture…Avatar kind of falls somewhere in the middle of live action and animation) and, not surprisingly, Up in the Air. I think the latter also stands a strong chance against Avatar because it’s so middle of the road.
Even with those ten, I still wish Invictus had been nominated, but at least I can rejoice in the nods for Morgan Freeman (Best Actor, for playing Nelson Mandela) and Matt Damon (Best Supporting Actor…and his first nomination since being nominated for Best Actor in 1997’s Good Will Hunting—and co-winning Best Original Screenplay for the same film). Likewise, I felt such a rush of excitement this morning when I thought that former fashion designer Tom Ford’s directorial debut, A Single Man, was up for Best Picture…but then I realized I had misread, but, again, I can take some comfort in knowing that Colin Firth was nominated for his leading role in the film though I don’t think he stands much of a chance. My guess right now is that this is a race between George Clooney (Up in the Air) and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart). Clooney won Best Supporting Actor a few years ago (Syriana) and was nominated for Best Actor (Michael Clayton) in 2007.
Bridges, on the other, hand is second-generation Hollywood who has never won, out of four previous nominations, in a career that spans 40 years. With his recent wins at the Golden Globes and the SAG awards, I’ll give Bridges a strong sentimental edge. Meanwhile, besides Firth and Freeman, my two faves, the roster is rounded out by newcomer Jeremy Renner—definitely a worthy choice. His performance in The Hurt Locker builds over the course of the difficult film, and his last two-three scenes are devastating in their subtlety. I can’t really nitpick the Academy’s selections, but I don’t think Bradley Cooper has gotten enough year-end acclaim for his work in the raunchy comedy hit The Hangover, and District 9’s Sharlton Copley has a loyal, vocal, following.
Meanwhile, I’ve made no bones about how crazy I am about Sandra Bullock’s performance in The Blind Side—and, likewise, her chances of winning an Oscar. Now in her forties, and no longer working the “kid sister” act she so winningly portrayed in Speed, Bullock is, like Marvelous Meryl Streep, defying Hollywood logic and enjoying a career high (the logic being that women over 40 are pretty much suited for playing sexless grannies and not much else). Bullock’s perf in The Blind Side is not a jaw dropping feat of screen acting (comparable to, say, Holly Hunter in The Piano, Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, Charlize Theron in Monster, or even Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose), but she’s impassioned and inspired, and I think her work is as least as good as Julia Roberts’s Oscar winning Erin Brockovich. (Oh, and I’ve had a few friends at the youth center where I volunteer compare me to Bullock’s take no prisoners character, which I
take as a huge compliment.) Like Bridges, Bullock has a Golden Globe and a SAG award—and she starred in two of 2009’s biggest hits, the other being The Proposal—but she’s also competing against the legend known as Meryl Streep, outdoing even herself as Julia Child in Julie and Julia. It’s Streep’s 16th nomination, and, yes, she already has two Oscars—but it’s been over 25 years since her last win, and like Bullock, lately she’s been proving that actresses in their 40s, 50s, and older can still draw crowds in a variety of roles. The rest of the race is rounded out by Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). Of course, Mulligan and Sidibe are newcomers in their 20’s, and Mirren is a 4 time nominee with a previous win (The Queen, 2006).
As happy as I am for Bullock and Sidibe, I’m still a little disappointed that there were so few viable contenders in the field. Of those that were overlooked, I’m most fond of Zooey Deschanel, the lovely heart and soul of the summertime romantic hit, 50 Days of Summer. Actually, I was stumped when Deschanel was even passed over for a Globe nomination (in the comedy category) though her co-star Joseph Gordon Levitt was nominated (for a Globe, that is). Emily Blunt also seemed promising for her work in The Young Victoria, and Bryce Dallas Howard had a plum role in The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, a new film based on an obscure Tennessee Williams screenplay. Finally, it’s too bad Hilary Swank’s work as Amelia Earhart was dismissed by the critics and that the film…disappeared. I did not see it, actually, but from the previews it looked like she was perfectly cast.
I am certain that Mo’Nique will win Best Supporting Actress for her uncompromising performance in Precious (talk about a jaw dropping feat of acting), and good for her. It almost seems a shame to even have four other nominees….since they are surely destined to go home empty handed. I’ll be frank: I don’t get all the acclaim for Up in the Air—it’s not bad, exactly, but it left me cold—and, by extension, I don’t get all the acclaim for its female co-stars, and Best Supporting Actress nominees, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. What I got out of the movie is that both women were shallow and one-note, and since absolutely nothing about either of them surprised me (including the big twist), I took that as the actresses’ shallow, one-note skills. I think they’re both too transparent, too one-note, to be interesting, compelling or believable…because I didn’t believe them. The other two nominees in the category at least offer some
surprise: the often under-utilized Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), and Penelope Cruz (Nine). I’m rooting for Mo’Nique all the way, but I’m especially pleased by Cruz’s nomination, on the heels of her win last year in this same category for Vicky Christina Barcelona. Nine has proven to be a huge flop, but I don’t think it’s as bad as some reports suggest—and Cruz is the sizzling showstopper in the middle of it all. (I could’ve supported a Best Actor nod for Daniel Day Lewis, btw). And, okay, I think Mariah Carey was also deserving of a Best Supporting Actress nod for her performance as a burnt-out social worker in Precious. Some critics harp that Carey’s performance was a cosmetic triumph or that the part was too small to be taken seriously, but I think her body language and her voice really show the character’s vulnerabilities, if that’s what it can be called, and I actually think her role is the perfect size for Best Supporting
consideration…mainly because by now we’re so used to seeing leading roles demoted to supporting categories, we don’t recognize a true supporting role when we see it.
The race for Best Supporting Actor probably begins and ends with Christoph Waltz, the multilingual Nazi in the Tarantino film. Not only has Waltz been winning virtually every Best Supporting Actor award from coast to coast, he won Best Actor at last year’s Cannes film fest for this very performance. I don’t care too much for Tarantino’s trivialized look at WWII (that rewrites history), but Waltz performs a neat trick in his role, so good for him. The other nominees, besides the aforementioned Matt Damon, are Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), and Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones). Harrelson, of course, was nominated for playing Larry Flynt in the 90’s, but Plummer and Tucci are, arguably, long overdue for their first nominations. I still haven’t forgiven the Academy for overlooking Plummer’s superlative work as reporter Mike Wallace in 1999’s The Insider, and Tucci has come close several times,
such as 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada. I would have liked to have seen Colin Farrell nominated for his supporting turn as Bridges’s hotter than hot protégé in Crazy Heart, or Alec Baldwin as Streep’s goofy, scheming ex-husband in It’s Complicated. It’s interesting that the studio campaigned for Baldwin as a supporting player when he’s really Streep’s fully equal co-star. Oh well, at least Baldwin—and the other star from It’s Complicated, Steve Martin—are co-hosting this year’s telecast.
Now, about that Best Director thing. Of course, Cameron won in 97 for Titanic, and Bigelow takes her place as only the fourth female nominee in this category (and she won the DGA award over the weekend, a first). Bigelow and Cameron will now duke it out with Ivan Reitman (Up in the Air), Lee Daniels (Precious) and Tarantino. Daniels is only the second African-American nominated in this category (after John Singleton in 1991), and, to clarify, Sidibe is the first African-American nominated for Best Actress since Halle Berry’s triumph almost 10 years ago, Whoa!
Okay, the five nominees for Best Animated film are Coraline, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog (yes!), The Secret of Kells, and Up. This one will be close.
Two more: I’m openly rooting for Sandy Powell to win another Oscar for her costumes in The Young Victoria, and I’m pleased as punch that one of my top 5 films of the year, In the Loop, snagged a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. Smart, funny, British, and eminently quotable, but perhaps not in mixed company.
Thanks for your consideration,
The Burnt Orange Heresy.
"The Return of Odin"
spiral of indigo
i talked to them awhile
without arm to silence
the ice scraper rides
a homely trade
to kill my reject
spiral of indigo
New Human Race.
"One or two attempts at collaborating with Darrell & realizing that the gallon of red wine next to the typewriter was as important as the typewriter were enough to scare me off."
"Tales of Exemplary Dogs"
aboulia cilia filioque
i talked to them awhile
under the rubble
your stuff stacked out front
the door chained shut
the stretch limo coasts
to a stop at the five star rest'rant
my hands softening
in the hard water · in this flat place
a brand new birthday card
these shoes used to turn water
metallic trek joy
but not anymore
a brand new birthday card
a jet my clerk toil
joke melts clarity
have lost the great outdoors
a lyric elk met jolt
shard of a whirling wisdom
a jerky comet lilt
before cars had computers
frozen at freezing
metrical jet yolks
crystal do them desert
i couldn't get to the end of
before they changed · how many
have you deactivated
eight thousand seventy three
eight thousand seventy three poems
[A] farewell to the 1990s vampire subgenre.
puSlogh vagh again. (His home page is pretty interesting too...guess i'm not the alpha prosody-geek anymore!)
this random darkness part of the way i go
funest oflonsu · Shub Niggurath flames
into being · melody & indigo
& zero sumless games
a paling comes across the sky · over the warehouse
district · cars stand ready for repair
in rows · it's cold · i hear te freeway blare
declaring a prophet porous
what boots it to unbox a record player
with debts like mine · three speeds · USB
port · and as i sit in curled cold splendor
directs the apricot aggry
"Traditional publishing is falling apart, it wasn't working for much of anyone but especially not most of the writers, and I for one am thrilled to see it happening."
Electoral College Reform. (via Metafilter) [The real Kcymaerxthaere.]
The Big Slide.