Boog City Festival 7.5 & Songs of the Week & AWP & Winter Blues

Okay, first thing’s first – I’m reading this Sunday as part of the Boog City Festival.  I’m reading at about 4pm, but there is a whole afternoon of readings scheduled.  Here’s the line up:


Unnameable Books
600 Vanderbilt Ave.
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

12:00 p.m. Zoe Z (music)

12:30 p.m. Jamie Townsend

12:40 p.m. Edmund Berrigan

12:50 p.m. Amelia Bentley

1:05 p.m. Jessica Fiorini

1:15 p.m. Ali Power

1:30 p.m. Anselm Berrigan

1:40 p.m. Joshua Garcia (music)

2:10 p.m. Betsy Fagin

2:20 p.m. Ethan Fugate

2:35 p.m. Susana Gardner

2:50 p.m. Eric Seader, “We Will Mend: Youth Violence and the

Healing Power of Music”

3:00 p.m. Magus Magnus, drone: poetic monologue for monotone

(Poets Theater)

3:15 p.m. Pattie McCarthy

3:30 p.m. Ben Roylance

3:45 p.m. Jenn McCreary

4:00 p.m. Jackie Clark

4:10 p.m. d.a. levy lives: celebrating renegade presses series

—Philadelphia’s Fact-Simile Editions

Julia Bloch, Elizabeth Guthrie, Stan Mir, Brian Teare, and

Kevin Varrone. Music: Ollie oxen / Allysa Oliver

Should be a fun afternoon.  I’m happy to have been asked to participate.  I think I also have a poem in the new issue of Boog City too.  I’m hoping to pick up a hard copy on Sunday.  The best thing about this reading is that I have off from work on Monday.  Hooray.  You can check out the full invite to the festival here, since there are a number of other events taking place.

And as always, some more Songs of the Week, by Emily Daly, Jessica Baran, and Emily Turner.

While I am always a little tepid about AWP I am actually really looking forward to it this year since it is in Seattle.  I’ve never been to Seattle and love a good excuse to take a trip.  Plus New York has been such a drag with all the snow, and work has been such a drag with all its work, so it will be good to get out of town for a while.  I’m reading twice while I’m there.  Once on Thursday, February 27 for Brooklyn Arts and again on Saturday, March 1 for Bloof.

But before AWP I get to go see Angel Olsen.  Her new record comes out on Tuesday and I’ve been listening to it non-stop on NPR First Listen all week.

4 responses to “Boog City Festival 7.5 & Songs of the Week & AWP & Winter Blues”

  1. William E. Sypher Avatar
    William E. Sypher

    Dear Jackie,

    I do not know your poetry generally but it seems you are developing quite a reputation and I am happy for you. However, I must say that I took great exception to your recent poem published in Poem-a-Day.

    It strikes me as sweetly innocent, a little too innocent of how communication and language work. It’s on par with earnest, childlike proposals that we could end all wars by getting people to love each other, or with the all-too-frequent adult prescription that we adopt a universal language to minimize conflict. Cue: civil wars.

    Perhaps I misread your poem but you seem to suggest life would be so much clearer and honest if we just thought and talked in visual images, or that all that is worth talking about can be expressed visually. Oh yeah? Try thinking or talking about love, justice, truth, probability, fairness, patterns, politeness, or any of a zillion or so abstractions that cannot be realized in images. You are confusing examples with concepts. You would reduce us to bundles of percepts. Much of our higher level mental activity exists precisely and only because we have linguistic tools to operate with. Our abstractions reside in the relations among words. Abstractions allow us to rise above the muck of particular examples to see patterns. Granted, abstractions can get us in trouble when, for example, we don’t agree on what is just or what is truth, but your facile put-down of language ( “contrived line[s] I repeat over and over to myself”) won’t help us resolve these differences or advance the cause of human understanding. With Wittgenstein, you are free to lament the bewitchment of our intelligence by language, but we do not get out of this mess by mounting broomsticks. You would reduce thinking to a Salvador Dali or Jackson Pollack painting, with images blurring and bleeding into each other in overlapping chaos.

    Jackie, you are not even consistent in wishing to operate outside language when you speak of arranging the images “linearly,” which you liken to reading. Oh, dear, such a caricature could spring only from someone who has no idea that reading is anything but linear. Words refer to words spoken earlier and to words which will be spoken later, not to mention little inconveniences like pronouns that refer all over an utterance or text. It is a commonplace that sometimes we do not grasp the meaning or import of a word or phrase until we arrive at the end of a text when it suddenly becomes illuminated. The mysteries of reference through syntax only add to the complexity you have not considered. You seem to be under the spell of the late Marshall McLuhan in your uninformed speculations of how language and communication work.

    I’m sorry to be so blunt. If this poem is not a parody of pointless, scholastic sermonizing, it needs serious re-thinking. It is only cute, as children are cute. It is not enlightening. Watermelon love does not begin to rival the immense complexity of love as expressed in words in poems and novels throughout the ages.

    Finally, the most glaring problem with your poem is that it is self-contradictory. If communicating through images will rescue us from the burden of “contrived line[s],” why didn’t you just submit a painting or a series of sketches? The fact that you need words to express your position would seem to obliterate your message.

    I trust you will take my critique in the spirit in which it is meant, to offer feedback from one ( ONLY ONE ) readers’s reaction. I have subjected my poems to critiques of some highly respected poets and have become a better poet because of it.

    I await your reply.


    William E. Sypher

    54 Willow Way Rd
    Barboursville, VA 22923
    434 985-8934
    Sent from my iPad

  2. afterthoughtgraveyard Avatar

    Thank you for spending so much time thinking about and writing about my poem.

  3. Dear Jackie,

    Your gracious acceptance of my critique is appreciated. Did anything I say cause you to re-think your poem? The other poetry of yours that I have read shows considerable creativity with metaphor and general linguistic dexterity. These assets seemed not to be on display in “The Long Hand . . . “.

    In a spirit of fair play, to show you I can take it as well as dish it out, I am sending you under separate cover, a couple of my poems which you can critique if you are so moved. I look forward to hearing from you. William

  4. afterthoughtgraveyard Avatar

    Thank you again for your extended interest in this poem. Please note that I do not have the time to read or critique your poems. Further communication is unnecessary. Thanks.

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