September 17, 2004

Still way behind on reading and on monitoring it here. Hope to have a few spare moments once I get Chain out to subscribers and a few other projects done. I've been gone a lot during the weekends also. Last weekend in Yosemite and Mono Lake. This coming weekend in Aptos on a retreat. Going away on weekends is good but it makes the week a bitch when you get back. It has been way too crazy this week.

But read yesterday, during the A's vs. Rangers game (A's won), Dan Taulapapa McMullin's A drag Queen Named Pipi which just came out on Tinfish. The book has the usual over the top and beautiful design. The poems are stunning. Especially "Jerry, Sheree and the Eel." The poems are mainly narrative but move into surrealism. They have that refusal to fall into school/genre that makes work coming out of the Pacific at times be so fresh. And, when not working, makes work out of the Pacific at moments just appear naive. Although these poems read as fresh, not at all as naive. This fresh vs. naive question seems the big one for me when reading in the Pacific. When I don't know the author, which is true in this case, I can't tell what the refusal of genre/tradition/convention means. Whether it is a refusal or whether it is just someone who started writing recently and isn't really interested in reading that much or hasn't gotten the institutional "training" in the canon. Not that it matters. I'm not sure I care how much training a poet has had or reading s/he has done. The question is only interesting as far as it might answer that question of how these poems came about. These are working. And that is all that matters.

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