Blogging on Harriet!

Rebecca Wolff and Amber Tamblyn!



#1 “I’m finally back in New York Citayy on a mini break from tour.  Good thing too, because some H1N1-style critter has crawled up into my throat and built a throne, barking exhaustive orders at my immune system and leaving me couch ridden.  Prior to the cold, I was able to make it to Rachel Mckibbens’ book release party at the Bowery Poetry Club.  I had my book release party there as well back in September, and the energy can sometimes be stressful and a little crazy.  Rachel was incredible and her book Pink Elephant is filled with the kind of poems some women spend their entire lives trying to write.  It was a magical evening.”

#2 “Back from reading at Cleveland State University on Thursday. It was hard to follow Kate Greenstreet–she has the most ingratiatingly nearsighted stage presence. You really feel as though she is speaking to you–Because she is! In various deft registers of notation and declamation and preoccupation. She’s on this massive, amazing, awe-inspiring reading tour. Please go see her if she’s coming to a venue near you and I bet she is.”

#3 “Went to see a band last night in the nearby town of Hudson, New York, called The Akron Family. They all sing together and have a very collective, trance-y, barn-dance vibe. The kids are so positive these days! (The kids who don’t write poetry, that is.) I’ve always thought a band called Meds would be great, but maybe now this moniker sounds too cynical or snarky.”

Cynical or snarky?

We think not!


  1. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 4, 2009 at 2:12 am

    When we at Scarriet first started covering Amber Tamblyn’s appearance on Blog:Harriet, we tried to make a distinction between a young writer just getting started and the cynical motives of the Harriet staff who were responsibile for selecting a ‘celebrity’ as a Contributing Writer for The Poetry Foundation blog. We felt that it was very much part of Travis Nichols’ glitterati style at Harriet to go for whatever would hype up the site and make it swing, and that we should concentrate on the implications of that and not on the quality of the writer.

    But we also felt it was no accident that Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords and Christopher Woodman were banned on the very same day that Amber Tamblyn was introduced, as if Travis Nichols was aware that the three of us might, God forbid, pay attention to what Amber Tamblyn actually wrote, that we might read it, think about it, and comment on it — as we saw fit and not as he saw fit. In other words, that we might be ‘bolshy.’

    I suspect no one actually says ‘bolshy’ anymore, but certainly that expression gets over the idea pretty well, and does put Travis Nichols’ politics into perspective. I mean, what is this prophylactic Like/Dislike regime on Harriet but pure ‘hate’ tactics, almost exactly the same as what the Right Wing “astroturfers” are doing at this very moment to Obama?

    And, dear Amber, it is a very poor piece of writing indeed, and you should be really embarrassed. Not as embarrassed as Travis Nichols should be, who is presumably older and more experienced in letters, but quite embarrassed for your reputation as a writer, and before you post again you should really get someone NOT like Travis to read it over.

    I will spare you a detailed analysis of where you go wrong right from the start in your diction, tone, imagery and content, and why it is such an insult to expect writers to read it, and particularly poets. I also want to give you the benefit of the doubt until the Blog:Harriet commenters have time to make some good points about your article, but if they don’t, perhaps I will come back to it. Right now it’s in the hands of Harriet.


  2. poetryandporse said,

    November 4, 2009 at 7:27 am

    ‘I’ cannot connect with whatsigobs there because i have little interest, a write-off love that lasted the one short glowrious summer before that gaffe went to where it is now; as the place without your wit or humour.

    Mine, I never considered relevent, because it was all a mad splurge that began with a learning curve that came when I posted a two year old post which stopped the traffic dead for a day or so. At that point, one knew it was not whatsiface or whoever from this side of the splash – but me who America lurved for just one short summer 09.

    And this minor stint and three month affair, throw-away, insincere, shallow, vapid and without rhyme nor reason to what will surged there, then when we were groovy guys and all the women there – majestic problem kinds, apart from good old anytime F and their crew of individual woman poets who kicked against the pricks and to all our surprise, only with hindsight – we find what we positioned as difference and discord then; now is the sepia edged patina light of golden talk, compared to now, where more than two sentences exchanged between the actors there, is positively loquacious.

    Excellent silencing and all in order: what appears is what’s in the Plan of the man who is the Man there: John Barr.

    John sets the tone and the tenor of respectiful capitalism which cannot be allowed to fail on a mere technicality of possessing zero currency or worth in the global eloquence market where all claim to trade, and yet so few showing a proft in any real terms: of talkable sense, the odd light verse and gravity, worn lightly by babbling bores with forgetable nomen.

    Graves, Swords and Woodman, Cordle the capital of a real audience: those beyond our selves whose realm of poetry, is large enough to sustain us as a quad who sell, the News edged cutting ahead, as genuine avant gardists, the real poetry, foundation four for us who put it up for US the capitalist rag-bag of minstrel liars lying straight – invention of the Muse who is present now, here, and not there.

    Memba Tarblyn

  3. thomasbrady said,

    November 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Very well put, guys.

    The Hollow Muse, Amber Tamblyn (fine actress, by the way, and as good a poet as most comtemporary scribblers) was brought out on stage by Travis Nichols, and during the applause, backstage, Graves, Swords, Woodman, and Cordle were tossed on their ear, for like, wow, talking poetry.
    The like/dislike was in place to censor any offending comment, but the ultimate censorship was required to get rid of the articulate poets.

    Pay no attention to the banning…Helloooooo, Amber!

    The whole thing is too funny.

    And as Scarriet’s blog visit numbers go up, the laughter increases.

  4. poetryandporse said,

    November 5, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Plane descending into the dark-quarter of the old Royal
    army Hospital, four staggered cranes, a new Heuston

    community of apartment dwellers, motionless Morning
    star flickering bob-on plumb forty five degrees above

    the horizon, caught in a penumbra between dead of night
    and the dawn, everywhere occuring on the earth’s surface

    daylight breaking west invisibly forward, spinning always
    invisibly back toward one moveless point, axis, gravity

    centering abstract within and without: uber-consciousness
    unwound, spreading across a realm on-line, IT revolution

    binary bits of flickering light in-form stationary chuisle mo
    chroí, pulse of our heart, souless night notifying, is it us?

  5. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 5, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Love “bob-on plumb” to “penumbra”–like the caesura just before “motionless” that in some mysterious way makes sense out of the capital M on “Morning” — which in turn may or may not be one word with the enjambed “star,” if one might be allowed to say it.

    “Plane descending,” “star flickering,” daylight breaking,” everything in the poem “spinning always invisibly back toward one moveless point, axis” about which we need to turn to know ourselves, however the event/message/disaster/directive comes to us, through whatever medium or dimension, however much broken up into “binary bits of flickering light.” (A very clever use of cybernetics and quantum physics and all of that that I’ve never seen before!)

    Very exciting, Desmond — bristling with energy but disciplined. Very hard to get away with a big one like “uber-consciousness,” but the placing of it again at the very end of the line, like “Morning,” so that it slips over into “unwound” which rescues it, asserts its superior position at the beginning of the next line — “uber-conciousness/unwound,” a wonderful, daring phrase in the end, and not pretentious at all. Indeed, for such a high-wire poem it’s remarkably down to earth!

    How many hours did you say it took, 10,000?

    Wish I knew enough to deal with “chuisle mo/chroí” — but very excited by the culpability, panic and rudderless rush at the end, not “signifying nothing” this time but “notifying, is it us?”

    A wonderful, unexpected twist — not despair this time but being picked up and shaken!

    (No title? No signature? Comment on that, Des — or maybe I’ll get impatient and rush in there with “Kevin!”)

    Thanks — a real pick-up and good hard shaking!


  6. poetryandporse said,

    November 5, 2009 at 8:32 am


    can you add the letter U to the word *Heston*, in the first line of my previous post, to make the word *Heuston*, please Chris.

    Heuston is the city centre south-bank train station, and name of the New apartment-dweller community springing up on the bank of the Liffey there, just down from Islandbridge, clinging to the Phoenix Park and a lovely srea in which to walk a anew as you in, Editor.

    thanks very much.

  7. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 5, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Done it.

    And hey you all, you crowd of faithful that keep us going. What do you think of this new emerald voice?

    Desmond Swords from Dublin!

    A hand for this new bard, I say, a round held high and quaffed!


  8. cowpattyhammer said,

    November 5, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Yes, it is us. Because Scarriet is also so much about language, and what can happen when Travis and Noah Freed and all that custard crud is left behind, smoked out, humbled.

    Take a little trip over to Harriet now, and then rush back and look again at what’s happening here.

    Is this why we got banned? Is this what Travis feared might trip up Amber? Is this what he meant by “abusive posts” and “hi-jacked threads?”




  9. poetryandporse said,

    November 5, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Oops – sorry Chrish, i was in such a rush to get the piece correctly rigged in letters: I have only just now read the very helpful Critical commentary on this spontaneous squib.

    Thank you: what you say is very interesting, eye-opening and a useful contribution to the grateful Author of it.

    This is the first time ‘I’ have been presented in the terms you the author of the Criticism, theoretical flight, expedition to the site of the poem and commando artist, coming back to a fixed axis and singular point of revolutionary blueprint. One which draws from the future by anchoring in a past fixed point of five thousand five hundred years ago, in the psuedo-psychological framing of some key myth within which ‘I’ fit as the author of Fortune in one’s existential realm that is plane also, a three dimensional reality, the Fourth wall, the unseen, Sacred perhaps, mumbo jumbo in some spontaneous sense-furrowin, that you composed with such unfurling grace – I am humbled.


    mo chuisle chroí –
    mo cooshla croy
    my heart pulse

    pulse of my heart – the lovers term for what is beloved to ‘us’ as one – ‘I’ – ‘like’ ‘dislike’ and ‘you’ the ‘we’ who do Love letters, and you say the motionless Morning / star ‘in some mysterious way makes sense’ mysterious sense,

    mo chuisle chroí, pulse of my heart and an Art form in a class of its own ovate Yeatsian manner of expanding surrealist metaphors, in what Geoff Ward described as being “two terms juxtaposed so as to create a third which is more strangely potent than the sum of the parts” a triumvirate from the double edged potential failure of non-Effulgence and all kinds of other, water-based trinity only instinct will trace with any success on the po-biz page Woodman and Brady Graves the critical antenae, liquid muse, turning on a nickle, swivelling all-ways forward, backwards and side, making the New from nothing but two imaginary halves of whatever it is cerating this, spiritual strings humbling the Author and narrating ‘I’, as one, two, three out and blow in the new old, ancient association of knowing ones who spoke five ways, gradients of accessibility for all across the po-biz spectrum, from pro to am, pm or Public moan on the state of fey in the playing Scene, a society of touring jaws jabbering away, for a response such as/is.

  10. thomasbrady said,

    November 8, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Porsey writes:

    “…in what Geoff Ward described as being “two terms juxtaposed so as to create a third which is more strangely potent than the sum of the parts”

    From Poe’s 1845 review of Thomas Hood:

    “The pure imagination chooses, from either beauty or deformity, only the combinable things hitherto uncombined;–the compound, as a general rule, partaking (in character) of sublimity or beauty, in the ratio of the respective sublimity or beauty of the things combined–which are themselves still to be considered as atomic–that is to say, as previous combinations. But, as often analogously happens in physical chemistry, so not unfrequently does it occur in this chemistry of the intellect, that the admixture of the two elements will result in a something that shall have nothing of the quality of one of them–or even nothing of the qualities of either. The range of Imagination is therefore, unlimited.”

    Eliot uses a similar chemical analogy in his famous essay, “Tradition & the Individual Talent.” (1919)

    Eliot argued for the impersonality of composition favored by the New Critics:

    According to Eliot in this essay, the poet cooly combines elements which produces a new product that partakes of no quality previously existing; the mind of the poet remains a neutral catalyst–the combination produced is utterly new and happens in a purely “impersonal” manner, since the COMBINING, merely triggered by the intellect is all, and the CREATING–in Coleridge’s organic sense of the God-like Imagination–is struck from the formula, is nothing. Here Eliot was overturning, with cold scientific rigor, the Romantic theory of composition. New Criticism was the scientific answer to Romanticism.

    But this idea came from Poe. In the Thomas Hood essay just mentioned, Poe explicitly rejects Coleridge’s famous formula:

    “The Fancy combines, the Imagination creates.”

    No, says Poe, human beings cannot ‘create;’ poets only COMBINE in different ways to produce the four spheres of literature: 1. Imagination 2. Fancy 3. Fantasy and 4. Humor.

    New Criticism sprang (in secret, since never acknowledged by Eliot) from the brain of that “romantic,” Edgar Poe.

    This is the ‘theoretical, French’ side of Poe which the British Modernist school cannot accept–for Poe fooled so many into thinking he was a melodramatic romantic, that embarrassment results when it is discovered this is not what he is at all. This is why Huxley, Eliot, and Harold Bloom are so incensed at Poe and insult him by saying he is nothing but a second-hand Frenchman–they cannot get their pragmatic heads around his ‘insincerity;’ they hate his cleverness.