Saturday, December 3, 2011


I spent a few months exploring Ezar Pound for a Posey Cafe presentation. It gave me an over all sense of Pound's Cantos that I had not had before. I looked at only four of the Cantos which I picked because they grabbed me and  led me to areas of my interest. I also wrote a bit about my backward travel from the Curriculum of the Soul to Ezar's epic.

going backwards to find Ezra Pound

a poet with an epic poem THE CANTOS

my poetic education through Albert Glover and Jack Clarke, edited and published

A Curriculum of the Soul

understood to be multi-authored time and history capturing like Homer

cause Homer wasn’t one guy and submerged egotism ownership

issues, issued forth

some impressive poets

my education being
neither Clarke or Glover wanting to say their “great project” was they were creating an epic
instead it was aim at the target without looking at the target
empting mind, knowing the target, arrow etc. (zen tricks)
Greek hubris hanging out there with speculation on ancient Greeks, speculation from scholarly sources
while contempory other poets happy enough to make them a target

Charles Olson gave a start with his outline or plan plus also
an epic poem I think most would agree

Maximus is not Charles Olson/Charles Olson is not Maximus

Olson uses Gloucester history, the lives of past and present Gloucester residents, geological history, and current civic events to anchor Maximus to Gloucester. Sometimes Maximus seems to represent all of Gloucester, and at other times, all of humankind.
--- Carl Carlsen – web-site: Poetry of Places in Essex County

I see Olson walking the streets of Gloucester
Just before or just after midnight
Streetlights on, lights on parking lots and fish-factory buildings, a few bars open
The wind is a sea-breeze, chill night light coat
Clanking sound muted from the harbor
Noises small ships make tugging on their anchoring cables
The hills have curved sections, ridges that ungulate but hold an altitude, rough, the heights
Streets that follow parallel to the shore, go up & down, the city streets
Cut by straight steep roads direct to dock areas
Merchants and old traders homes, substantial, brick-hard, timber-strong
Large man’s large strides, at a pace covers ground, sets a self-propelled wind to mix
With a stronger wind blows clouds high out to sea

an epic poem by William Carlos Williams I think most would agree

poem as a field of action, energy field physics calls for new poetry

Williams sense of time as poetic meter
applied consciousness of social and physical environment & unconscious possibility
in PATERSON. 1940’s found reality in form of letters, historical accounts lifted whole

PATERSON’s poetic collage

poetry of spontaneous association

Pound, Williams, Olson
used compound ideogram
for poetic structure

“creating images”
                  --Daniel Belgard writes in The Culture of Spontaneity
                                                           Univ. of Chicago Press (1998)

“images not from analogy or metaphor
but through synecdoche and parataxis.”

special for the general make the object the image my red wheel-barrow /the wear on my shoes
general for the special
my hat my house
complex of my thought
shelter of my knowledge
thin shelter from the Chinook knowing the price of milk/scanning groceries

specific reference shows greater larger

in Canto VII applied to leaders of Irish nationalism
The words rattle: shells given out by shells.
The live man, out of lands and prisons,
shakes the dry pods,
seed case sound from rattling seeds
shell as shell protects the kernel
nut gone loose inside shell
only this year’s food
fed no land or prison
escaped that
more dangerous without

act of placing side by side

Mountain Sky Bird poem title 1974
“goose feather bag chest backpack books clothes radio tape music candelabra” line from poem 2011

materials, side-by-side, without comment on the relations

parataxis a foundational element in the poetry of Wallace Stevens. Rae quotes Stevens in saying that parataxis offers an “ambiguity that is so favorable to the poetic mind.”
    --Patricia Rae, in her essay “Bloody Battle-Flags and Cloudy Days: The Experience of Metaphor in Pound and Stevens"

Ezra Pound’s Canto LXXXI lines 34-36

sky’s clear
night’s sea
green of the mountain pool

connections left for reader
only seemingly disconnected fragments
without those connector words
like knife, pencil nub, shiny copper button, paint brush
all in a compartment
built into a desk drawer

Live man goes down into the world of the dead

Pound more alive than the rest of us
through “directed will”
moves “the outward crust”
of time, place

reveal past glories make a new age
not to destroy, clearing ground
mistake of Futurism, chrome hubcaps
mod use of words
like language stripped of prior meaning
- unrooted -

Dead and underworld of early CANTOS in their mythological place later
Pound’s contemporaries metaphorically dead
waking world with zombies populating

poetry is not entertainment pitched to the tune
of low and mid-brow culture –

poetry not fodder for the common people,

language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree


Friday, September 23, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A small creek with sand and flat stone in dry season,

snow melt stirs and carries brown waters swiftly in front of me.

Someone has strung a rope from one bank to the other

leaving me to contemplate how deep the narrow crossing.

Angry river, holes sucking in, walls racing by

Still, footsteps in mud of cattle and people go in the water and come out the other side.

They are wet despite it being two days since the last rain.

I look up and down the road and see no one coming from either direction.

The morning sun doing nothing more then drive a chill wind.

There is I see a faint pathway that follows the river bank

its paltry impression tells me there is not much to merit a turn either up river or down

I look at my shoes choose their soaking over cold toes on slippery purchase.

Roll my pant legs up, grip the rope and travel its sway

placing each step at regular pace just ahead.

There are tiny, unforeseen slips at foot

where the rope steadies, takes a bit of weight

and rights the man.

The water that runs off (excepting that inside my shoes) is a torrent, a trickle, then wrung drops

as I twist the cloth to remove its bite.

Twist the water from my socks as well and go on with bare feet in wet shoes.

Late morning the sun warms the sand so I walk unshod.

Shoes tied together, their string thrown over my shoulder

This is the day I turn for the mountains.

Against their pull I had set my exile.

Could there possibly be anything for me there?

Far distant their snow-covered peaks catch light or hold dark.

All the turnings I had made away I could not shake them

as I could not shake the caress of my other ghosts.

Stubborn for any illusion of freedom as the slaver’s lash sends me on my way

condemned by the laws of the over rulers court.

I don’t think then what strange guarded gates lay in high pastures.

When I set out it was to live, to sing any song, yes beyond their laws and censure.

I look again at the high pass. Maybe there is a different land beyond?

Maybe there is some turn I cannot see that turns me back or causes me to no longer care?

Alan Casline

Exile poem #3
April 14, 2011
Elsmere, New York

Saturday, April 9, 2011

eerie from within radioactive Japan- raw video

global warming solved by use of glowing cows instead of electric lights.

seriously this is a raw video of a trip along roads to close into the area of radioactive reactors in Japan.

not a disaster movie
not a road trip
no picnic either

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I thought I'd send a few collage poems to, as it turned out, Nancy Klepsch the curater of a a show called TEXT AS ART held at The Arts Center of the Capital Region. I didn't have high expectations but thought, if they didn't have a lot of submissions maybe my collage poems would fit their criteria and I'd be included in the show. As it turned out the show was small with only seven pieces selected and I made the grade with a bit more RAPIDITAS and I'm told by Nancy exceptionalism (I never said my collage poems weren't good). We had the opening on February 28, 2011 in The Arts Center in Troy, New York. I have a compartmentalized mind. For example I have different publications and do books from my Benevolent Bird Press based on different sections of my thinking which often include different groups of people. Probably most people have different group mailing lists and here I separate even information about what I am doing or new discoveries...send my different arrows flying to hopefully receptive targets.  I try to avoid the hive-mind and the blanket cover of "BIG EGO". The upshot of this is that after attending this TEXT AS ART event, I decided I need to start a new compartment/e-mail list. The show is now over but the effects of the show have the potential to go on. The Albany New York Region has a lot of practicing poets. I throw around the figure of 1000 and it is easily that if you consider the different venues, open mics, workshops, college programs, waitress who hand us doggeral written on napkins, the rappers and slam poets, the country music near-poets  and the Irish...  Experiencing Daniel Nester and Mary Kathryn Jablonski's contribution and reading on February 28th -- I had heard them both "feature read" in the area -- but the context and subject splash of this night just added something and made me think they and the other contributers and myself were held together in a special place. The other disparant souls brought together by Nancy Klepsh were by her design working through different media but the added on energy field of words/text and data rich surface made something different than Albany's 1000 poets all gathered in a single room. Examples: Susan Rivers * "Fabric Memories"; Sara Tack * motion typography; Mary Kathryn Jablonski  * particitatory assemblage poem; Joelle Nadeau Hotaling * poster art; Daniel Nester * first-person conceptual performance and my collage poem.

Seeing is better than reading. I am really just writing this post so I can put up my photographs. The way blogger works if you click on any photo it will enlarge to full screen size. Help yourself!

             Mary Kathryn Jablonski work Quicksilver

                  (L to R) Sara Tack, Mary Kathrym Jablonski and Daniel Nester
                      Nester at The Memoir Office

                      Susan Rivers work Meet Bella

                   Kate Laity work The Square Root of 1 is 1

                                   Alan Casline work  Saddam Don't Like It

                        Alan Casline at the Opening Feb. 28, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Kinderhook Creek
It has been a great "old fashion" winter here in the northeastern woodlands. Last few winters have been too warm with little snow until February and March. Those late winter storms carry lots of moisture and are helpful for filling the streams but we haven't had a socked in storm piled on storm winter where the snow level goes up and down but never leaves until mud season finally arrives in more years then I can count. That's what we have this winter and despite the snow shoveling I think the earth is more comfortable covered under a blanket of snow and breathing cold air which translates to my comfort too. My daughter Liz gave me snowshoes and I have been watching the weather and snow conditions for the right days to head for the woods. I used to cross-country ski and for backyard trekking I know from experience some winters there are only a few perfect days and if you laze your way past them you are out of luck till next winter. Ever since I got the snowshoes I've been thinking about the hollow of land "cup of water" Tsatsawassa where Bernadette Mayer and Philip Good live. In early January I had found the book Mills on the Tsatsawassa (1983) by Philip L. Lord, Jr. in a bookstore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.. It is a book I knew about because I researched the area as I wanted to understand the looping and winding of Kinderhook Creek and the confluence of other small tributaries that created the Tsatawassa "cup" but I never thought I'd actually see a copy for sale. When I did I bought the book for Bernadette and Phil. Now as I set out on my choosen perfect day, I was thinking it won't be a problem if they are home to be allowed to snowshoe down to the Kinderhook but just in case I brought a few trade goods. Besides the mills book, I had a bottle of wine and a set of the 2010 Benevolent Bird broadsides plus the mini-book Ten Thoughts About the Eternity of Day by Dennis Sullivan that I used graphics from the exterior plates of Gundestrup Cauldron on. The Cauldron is subject of a current obsession of mine as will be referred to later in this post when we get to the "snakes" part. Phillip was away at work but Bernadette made me welcome (you can't get that many visitors on that road in January). I did my snowshoe trek following animal tracks and staying up on the banks above the Kinderhook Creek.

snowshoe path

There was a layer of hard crust on top of about a foot of powder and on top of the icy crust was about ten inches of fresh soft snow from the last storm. The snowshoes cracked but did not break through the icy layer and the going was pretty easy--held up above the layer of deep snow. I turned up the Tsatsawassa Creek past a low area which showed signs of previous flooding and went on to where the road crossed above and climbed up the steep bank. I got my snowshoe caught under a layer of crust, fell, and had to back up and restart twice before I came out on the roadway again.

Bernadette Mayer January 2011

Back inside again, Bernadette and I fell into our conversation. It was talking about things like different strategies of insulation for which she encouraged me to take a trip to see the attic room, snow for snowshoeing and the need or not for ski poles when doing it. Also the history of the house (which was very interesting to me, twice a church for different congregations and then owned by a Rabbi -- when Bernadette moved in the rooms all had numbers on the doors and they would joke "I'll meet you in room 3 at 8:15")

                                                             attic view

The topic we spent the most time talking about was snakes. It was the Gundestrup Cauldron that pointed me towards the Celtic two-headed snake which is found in the interior detail. Celtic warriors wore two-headed snake torques as armbands. Bernadette knew of the Celtic symbol but didn't know any particular myth or story. She thought that maybe the two heads got into arguments, they disagreed. I don't know why I would get interested in any subject having to do with snakes because they make me uneasy. As I told Bernadette, it is not the sight of a snake, I can look at a snake, watch a snake--it is the rustling, the movement sound that startles me, gives me the heebie-jeebies, makes me jump (supposed to be a survival instinct as old as upright man). She is not brothered by snakes but said she has a friend who also has a snake phobia and whenever the friend visits and they go for a walk, they see snake after snake after snake. The snakes showing themselves. Bernadette asked me if I thought there was a decline in the garter snake population. We both fond of these foundation and sun loving little creatures. My mother had names for favorites who lived in the loose limestone flowerbed walls my Dad hauled stone for and rebuilt every Spring after frost heaves. I said I didn't think there were less garters as I am still seeing them regularly and have a number of nice photos of garter snakes that I have taken in my own Normanskill Watershed.  I'll have to research it. I know there is a world-wide problem with frog and other small reptiles "disappearing" to possible extinction and I've already got bees, herrings and brown bats on my watch list.
garter snake at Christman Preserve

It was kind of an abrupt change of topic and really it was cool to just shoot the breeze but I thought I should ask Bernadette something literary if I was going to go to the trouble of writing some of our conversation up and what she had to say was pretty smart. I said, "I've often stated the position that I would not change a word in one of my poems for the sake of a particular poetic form. There are many poets who do, who change the language to make it fit the requirement of a form." Bernadette Mayer said well it would depend on how much you liked that particular poetic form. She said she could do that, she could take a Bernadette Mayer poem and then write a second Bernadette Mayer poem with the same words but an entire different form and put them both out there side by side. She said she didn't see any reason why a poet couldn't just have one poem they had written in their lifetime and just continually write the poem again and again, each time using a different spacing, line breaks, placement on the page. Made me realize I was thinking of form too narrowly.
We talked some more about wintercold. She said, "Before you go I have to show you my icicle. I show it to everyone who comes and visits." Outside the small kitchen window a massive icicle flowed down. A distance from the side of the house with the lightcatcher still maybe a body length to go before it reached the ground. A great season for icicles as well as the deep snow.

Where had I learned of the Philip L. Lord book? I googled Tsatsawassa because I wanted to understand and draw a map of the different streams and waterways that came together to make the landscape so unique around Mayer and Good's neighborhood. There are not that many internet addresses that mentioned "Tsatawassa." as I told Bernadette. There should be one for the magazine THE TSATSAWASSANS she thought so I volunteered to put notice of it here. THE TSATSAWASSANS is edited by Bernadette Mayer and published by Mademoiselle de la Staples Press. There are still copies of ISSUE #2 available for $7.00 (I'd include a few more dollars for postage) I know blogs like this one have an international reach and it would be cool if this little notice generated some poet to poet exchange. One thing a magazine is about is the associations or poeticworld created in combination, all shaking and shining and emiting an energy field. Besides Bernadette Mayer poems in the magazine there are experiments and colloborations, shared compositions, rewritten poems, eight different poems from eight different poets about neutrinos, a superbowl poem by Mayer and  Good (you get the idea).  Philip Good, housemate amd major contributor (I think he drove to Staples), editor of Blue Smoke and wrote the Drunken Bees Poems is found in the magazine.

Jack Collom--Colorado based with attachments with Naropa-- elder with a Selected Poems 1955-2000 and Exchange of Earth and Sky (2005)
Jamey Jones--Blue Rain Morning-- You-Tube Jamey Jones:The New York Poems
Laura Goldstein-- published ICE IN INTERVALS (2008)-- writer & text sound writer--Chicago
Bill Kusher--NYC poet--praised, was in Creeley edited Best American Poetry 2002
Jennifer Karmin-- multidisciplinary projects, poet, artist--founding member of public art group Anti Gravity Surprise, curates the Red Rover Series
Jason Morris--Vermont Native
Deborah Poe-- fiction editor for Drunken Boat--wrote Elements (Stockport Flats Press 2010)
Layne Browne--born 1966 in Los Angeles--flora/fauna/present.
and Others

I notice Bernadette Mayer had a book Mutual Aid published by Mademoiselle de la Mole Press in 1985. I wonder what happened to that Mademoiselle? The 3rd issue of THE TSATSAWASSANS will be poets whose first name is Bill. Here is the opportunity to get ISSUE #2 pick it up while you can ( $7.00 ) at:

53 Tasatsawassa Lake Road
East Nassau, NY 12062
Tsatsawassa Creek and Bridge

Monday, January 24, 2011


Paul Doty, who is one of the St. Lawrence County members of Rootdrinker Institute, has been doing a blog for a Friends of the Library group at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.. Unlikely as it may be, he just published my poem ON MY DESK AT COLLEGE IN 1973 (actually it makes sense for it to appear there.) I am curious to observe any reaction from the college community. Meanwhile, I think I have some kind of reverse energy going with Barbara Vink of the Thursday Night Poetry critique group that meets at the Voorheesville Library in Voorheesville, N.Y.. I brought this poem to the group to more or less show Barbara and the others a stretching of poetic form and to give the "is it or isn't it poetry" conversation another consideration from my work. Yet it seems that these experimental(or whatever you want to call them) poems find their own little homes. Somewhere I have the notes where I wrote down every object found in my backpack, either hitch-hiking or coming or going from Honolulu. Now I want to find that scrap as a follow-up. When I got to the blog, I was pleased to find posted the recording that Jason Crane and I did of Albert Glover's poetry reading at Caffe Lena. As I have been telling folks it was a "wish you could have been there" event and now it is available for listening to. Here is the link:

My poem is just down the page with a January 24, 2011 publication date.

The poet Dennis Sullivan asked me, "What is it about Jason Crane that you like?" I said, "He reminds me of a young Dennis Sullivan." Which stopped the old Dennis Sullivan right in his tracks. Then I gave the rest of the answer. "I like Jason because he is doing things." His jazz blog is a marvel at

I also like him cause he listens to me. He has started a Zine called DAYLIGHT ROBBERY(Volume 1 Issue 1 - January 20011)and I tried to give him some advise about small press magazines (you know pit falls and mistakes people usually make). His endeavor is low budget by design and necessity. He put two of my New Mexico Rinconada Canyon Blues poems in the first issue. I am looking forward to his selections of poets (a national mix he says). The daylight robbery in my poems had to do with the petroglyphs being next to holes where other petroglyphs were cut out of the stone and then it goes yeah we steal what we see for our poems --we're thieves too. Other poets in the first issue are; Aaron Belz, Molly Lawless, Carol Graser, John Gallaher with design for logo by Carolee Sherwood. Carol Graser is the host for the Caffe Lena poetry reading series . See it all circles around.

Find Jason Crane and DAYLIGHT ROBBERY at or by mail at SNAFU Press, PO BOX 8660, Albany, NY 12208. Subscriptions are $5 per year.

Credits top: Gundestrup Cauldron detail from interior plate, middle: Albert Glover at Caffe Lena photo by Obeedude, bottom: graphic by Carolee Sherwood.