Friday, November 05, 2004

This is a response to a chart at

I think the IQ table is a bit strange. Haven't left-leaning folks been saying for years that IQ tests are culturally biased? Now that it's convenient we're citing them as proof that people who voted for Bush are stupider than people who voted for Kerry? Seems to me that you can't have it both ways. & if blue state Kerry-supporters are going to indulge in Social Darwinian rhetoric I want off the bus.

I'm with Chris Stroffolino who wrote on the Buffalo poetics list the other day about trying to understand why people are often voting against their economic interests. What do people mean when they cite *values* as a reason for voting to Bush? Why don't Kerry's values including civic service--a *value* he's lived (whether you agree w/ his service or not)--register with enough people in the so-called heartland?

I've been reading exit polls from each state. I've been trying to read press reports from the red states. & I plan to read Frank's _What's the Matter with Kansas?_ as soon as I can. I need to understand this better.

I don't think it's a matter of IQ, though it might be a matter of education & information. For example, exit polls seem to indicate that many voters have conflated "Iraq" & "terrorism". & those who watch Fox News as their primary source of journalism are more likely than not to believe Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States (See: _Outfoxed_).

To say people are too stupid to know better is also to say they're not responsible for their vote & to say that nothing can be done to make sure this doesn't keep happening. Winter in New England is long enough without heaping political fatalism on top of the pain I'm already feeling.

I wonder if others have opinions about this. (&, yes, I realize that I have a tendency to take jokes too seriously sometimes. Hello, my name is E(a)rnest.)


Friday, October 29, 2004

It is no longer early.
But it will soon be early again.
This is the way of gyres.
Christ's arrival : Babe Ruth's departure :: the rough beast's arrival : Nomar Garciapara's departure
In the poem solve for x. If x is given you are not reading a poem.
Curt Schilling should stick to pitching.
Sox owners support Kerry, though it seems John Henry has previously given to Republicans. See:
A-Rod & Steinbrenner support Bush.
Please vote for John Kerry on Tuesday.
Tuesday is the Day of the Dead.
It is also All Soul's Day.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

More Lists:

3 hrs. 20 min.
3 hrs. 15 min.
4 hrs. 20 min.
5 hrs. 2 min.
5 hrs. 49 min.



13 days

29 years, 242 days

4 years, or
4 more years

Friday, October 15, 2004

October 14 Lists

Baby Grail

Ironstonewhirlygig [Cried]
Utopian Politics
Poems of Paul Celan (trans. Felstiner)
The American Poetry Wax Museum
student personal essays
Lord of the Flies
Made in Texas
poetry manuscripts

half a tuna sub w/ pickles & hots from Mike's
three taquitos
a nuts, chocolate chips, and dried cherries trail mix
sumatra coffee (reheated in the microwave)

The Shape of Jazz to Come
On Fire
The Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees
Luna e.p.

American Authors 12
English College Preparation 11
English Honors 11
Academic Time Management
Lunch Duty
English College Preparation 2 11
Teacher Preparation

Leslie O. Johnson Road
Blynman Avenue
Lincoln Avenue
Emerson Avenue
Centennial Avenue
Curtis Square
Whittemore Street
Washington Street
Knowlton Square

Friday, September 03, 2004

"& what will I do with you; pink & blue, true gold, nine days old."
John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats)

This is Abby Ais' ninth day!
Is anyone out there doing anti-Bush/pro-Kerry political action in Southern NH?

Now is the time methinks. & NH is probably the only place someone from MA can make a real difference.

Any information? Any ideas?

Baby Bush & the Neocons cannot win.
Thank you to everyone who went to NYC this past week to speak out, demonstrate, and/or perform political theater.


Saturday, August 28, 2004

[Revised post]

It lives!

If I haven't called you back yet...I will...soon.

I wrote this for Abigail Faulkner Aisling Cook [note the first "i" in "Aisling"; it's what gives the name its "sh" sound: ASH-ling] before I knew--at least for certain (more on that later) if she were a boy or (as my nephew sez) grail.

For Little Whomever Who Missed the DNC

& the zig zags say, Look at all the squares.
& the squares say, Hell yeah, y'all!
& the wonks say, Diddle-me do.
& the interns sweep up & look for theirs.
& the buttons & flyers & placards & posters can't stop saying.
& the fences have no place to go.
& the cops go boom-boom clickety-clack.
& the city goes ghost.
& the oysters go slurp & the beer goes glug.
& over there ka-ching & here hear a void.
& I'm a little zig-zag the squares can't see,
as the TV goes zub-zub long into the night.

"Look at all the squares" is borrowed from Patrick Doud.

Friend Josh Reynolds sez Abby'll be a Christian Conservative.
Ha, very funny.
Speaking of...sing loud all of you lefties in NYC!

Abby-Ais has come down stairs! (Not on her own, not yet, not for some time to come.)

Have you seen her photo over at A.'s site ( Have you? Go now!

Here's the story behind the names (in case you're wondering)...

Abigail Faulkner is one of A's forebears (in a direct line). She was convicted of witchcraft in August of 1692. Like Elizabeth Proctor's (you all know E.P., no?), her execution was postponed because she was pregnant. Like E.P., A.F. was not killed because key skeptics emerged and the executions were stopped.

More on A.F.: she gave her son a Hebrew name meaning "Our family has been shown mercy." (Me too! Where would I be w/o Amanda! w/o Abby!) Also important to the naming is A.F.'S father Francis Dane who spoke out against the trials before A.F. was accused. There's more to it but that's the gist.

(I'm typing one handed w/ my Aisling in my arms. Sorry if there're typos. I'm hardly reading 1/2f what I'm typing.)

In any case... Aisling means dream or vision...only my brother knew I'd had a dream that we were to have a girl (I was drunk when I told him; I don't remember it very well, like the dream itself).

Note on the Irish language:
(the Irish just call it "Irish" but Yanks insist on Gaelic--not differentiating between Scots-Gaelic & Irish...people correct me when I say "Aisling is Irish for vision or dream." They say "oh, [you mean] Gaelic." This also happens when I pronounce Celtic (as in the football club) w/ a soft "c"; they say "oh, [you mean] Keltic"; sometimes I explain how when Celtic was founded in 1888 "Seltic" was still the accepted pronunciation of both the club & the adjective form of Celts (then "Selts" now "Kelts"); through the 20th century the pronunciation shifted from "Seltic" to "Keltic" (as people using the word became aware of its etymology having (one source has it) to do w/ the Greek name for the Celts, apparently "Keltoi"). But the football club, named before the shift & having supporters unconcerned w/ academic matters of etymology & such , is still called "Seltic". That having been said I also accept that most Americans w/ an interested in Hibernian matters will say "Keltic" thinking the pronunciation of Boston "Seltics" is the result of American parochial ignorance. Not so. Or not exactly so at least.

Aisling is also a song by the maker Shane MacGowan:

By Shane MacGowan (1994)
See the moon is once more rising
Above our our land of black and green
Hear the rebels voice is calling
"I shall not die, though you bury me!"
Hear the Aunt in bed a-dying
"Where is my Johnny?
"Faded pictures in the hallway
Which one of these brown ghosts is he?
Fare thee well my black haired diamond
Fare the well my own Aisling
Thoughts and dreams of you will haunt me
'Till I come back home again
And the wind it blows
To the North and South
And blows to the East and West
I'll be just like that wind my love
For I will have no rest
'Til I return to thee
Bless the wind that shakes the barley
Curse the spade and curse the plough
Waking in the morning early
I wish to Hell I was with you now
One, two, three, four telephone poles
Give me a drink of poitin
Madness from the mountains crawling
When I first met you my own Aisling
Fare thee well my black haired diamond
Fare the well my own Aisling
Thoughts of and dreams of you will haunt me
'Till I come back home again
Fare thee well my black haired diamond
Fare the well my own Aisling
Thoughts of and dreams of you will haunt me
'Till I come back home again

Lyrics from can't check this version vs. the album at the moment... Turns out I know one of the webmasters of Mick Madden was once a member of the Allston-Brighton Glasgow Celtic Supporters Club.

Abby & I are off to the study while mom gets some well deserved rest up stairs.


Friday, July 23, 2004

The Cooks' Big Move

Starring (in order of appearance)
Amanda Katherynn Cook 
Richard Lambert Porter's minivan
Gerrit Yates Lansing
Kenneth Thomas Michael Cook (& truck)
Patrick Doud
Corey Grammas' truck
Greg Cook (no relation)
Paul Joseph Cook
Louise Ann Cook
Xtina Strong
Mike County
Tina Celona
Matt Celona
...(& truck)
Christopher Brandon Rizzo
Ben Webster

Thank you all!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Introduction Never Given

Poets past and present show up frequently in Dan Bouchard's work.

I couldn't resist clipping the following from "A Private History of Books":

"Rare book dealers are the landlords of literature.
Ron Silliman I think is conscious of this price goughing
and someone told me he doesn't sign books but he did
for me once in Philadelphia when I came from Boston
to hear him read with Lyn Hejinian. He walked away from me
inspecting the book and the underlined passages. Finally
he signed it with his e-mail address and not
a signature. The dollar Kropotkin cannot be measured..."

Familiar poetry is also transformed in Dan's work.
Look for the public-poem "American Poetry" on the Buffalo Poetics List.
Or check out Pound's new costume at the beginning of Dan's poem "August":
"And then we burned all the ships
set oil to breakers"

Then there is Dan Bouchard, the poet of nouns and naming.
On the first page of "Diminutive Revolutions" I found:
"mosses, lichens, grasses"
"styrofoam, paper envelopes, paper/towels, paper napkins, paper/cups, cans emptied of vegetables,/soda, soup and beer"
"nuthatch, wren, and woodthrush"
"paper plates, plastic forks, wine/bottles, old clothing, plastic/that wrapped new things"

But it is the "Kropotkins"--the economics and politics in the flesh, the economics and politics newly imagined--that most draw me into Dan's work. A concern for justice and the polis haunts Dan's poems--even poems that seem to be about birding or rare books or literary gossip or children's literature.

With polis in his eyes and vowels, consonants, and puns in his ears...DAN BOUCHARD.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Visit the Yuriverse at
We New Englanders only have Yuri for a few days more. SanFranwhammy beckons.
He has a new quartet up. I plan to spend some time with these poems this week. Something in them that strikes a nerve--the not-so-funny bone--as we get ready to move house here in Gloucester, but something more to them too.
Bought Brenda Iijima's Spacious (last copy there) & the teenytinymag Bling Bling today at the 108 Gallery's Yart Sale. Thanks Mark. {Thanks Brenda & Michael too.} Spacious is especially perfect for this springtime. Somehow, though it's a windy early evening, "Succulent stems, still no breeze. Dying toward light / or being full-blown" {wink wink} seems spot on given my innerlife, the spring that cometh, & the newz on the wavez.
It's always better to give into a poem that begins (as if reading me): "A newsworthy segment: / where the battle ready are decoys. / That which is described as such: / 'Where do they stand' and "'inked to...'"
Not since Throwing Muses "Hate My Way" & Xtina's untitled ms. (watch for it!) has something so struck me where-I'm-at straightaway. {Xtina seems tuned (to borrow from Spicer) to some of the same extraterrestrial stations that visit my transistor but she gets both more signals & better reception... Where-I'm-at but 4- or 5-D & so to speak of the depth of my feeling, especially for certain moments of this ms., would be limiting.}
Other things have moved me--or forced me to move--which is another matter altogether. & after that opening Brenda's poem does move on me & so too I must move. It goes somewhere which is not where-I'm-at but which gets me looking at things. Gets me seeing both senses of that phrase. Her lines undulating thickly, spring-like, viscous {like the end of Boston's Muddy River, yellow pollen covered in the best of years} Check this:
"To sit quietly amid the flux. Record slipping
transitions. The life she leads:
pattern of daily compilation and lemonad squeezed yesterday
a vital replenishment, enduring a heat more viscous than plasma. Generic
to call this a womb or an elastic, expanding room that grows of itself in greens
blues and browns. Idling in expansion.
Flat plank of page.
Flanked by horizon."
So much sound & sight to talk about. Ah the lines! But too little time. Back to work.

Friday, April 16, 2004

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
(from via

Hamlet (Bantam, 1988)

My lord, he hath importuned me with love
In honorable fashion.


Robert Potts on JH Prynne in the on-line Guardian April 20 (thanks aaron,
"How then might one read Prynne's work? It appears so alien to our habits of reading, so unlike the lyric poetry we are more habituated to; it is only on quite prolonged exposure that its coherent arrangement - sonically, prosodically, thematically and metonymically - becomes evident: though this is, admittedly, a profound and giddying experience. Even then, one is at a loss as to how to naturalise this experience, to make of it something as familiar as 'a meaning'. . .
Part of the pleasure for some readers, including myself, is the discovery of fresh vantage points on the world, garnered from chasing references in the poems, whether historical, musical, literary, scientific or economic. As on reader has said, 'the experience I always get reading Prynne, going to the dictionary and the encyclopedia, is the excitement I was cheated out of by my education, having it all served up, rather than, like my grandfather, finding it out for myself (after work) with great effort and little societal encouragement.'
This autodidactic pursuit, necessarily different for each reader, is an incidental pleasure rather than the whole point of the poetry, though it does seem unavoidable. One should perhaps note that the contexts implied by Prynne's poems are unignorably part of our world, and part of our language (and in their initial strangeness can induce the same combinations of fear and wonder once associated with the sublime). It may be uncomfortable for us to become aware of these contexts, and to become aware of our ignorance of them, but the artist is under no obligation politely to spare our feelings by reducing his frame of reference to that of a notional "general reader", and would be showing scant respect for such a reader if he did."
[italics mine]
The impulse to blog is back. After turning in third term grades on Wednesday, I have read and reread the column from which the above was excerpted. I've thought about it a lot. I'm always interested in the appearance of serious poetry journalism in the mainstream press here or abroad. Recently the Globe "Ideas" (ahem) section included a very small piece about Garrison Keillor's book of good poems & August Kleinzhaler's objections to the book. There were no ideas in the short article just a tired argument between the populist & the avant-gardist. (The lack of ideas & the tiredness of the argument were by no means A.K.'s fault it would seem. There simply wasn't the space for anything but a declaration that there is a conflict between this and that. The paper seems to be about a century to late.)

So I was happy to read an argument made on behalf of difficult poetry made in the mainstream (though not U.S.) press. At one point Potts' unnamed source even gets a bit Olsonian "I was cheated out of by my education, having it all served up, rather than, like my grandfather, finding it out for myself." & what exactly is *it* that is served up. *It* is a packaged thing. A product. A commodity. Mass education certainly is often such an *it*. As is poetry for the so-called general reader.

More later.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

from Prelude
[by Haitian poet Rene {acute accent over the final "e"} Depestre,
translated by Joan Dayan]

And like the black pastor who stirs up
The still living ashes of his church
I stir up the legends of my life
I will not build any new temples
I blow up my fear
I explode my biology
In a rain of stars upon your heads
I have come to stuff your dogs with straw
I have come to stuff your ferocious laws
I preserve your prayers in alcohol
Your tricks your taboos your white man's lies!
And the crown of thorns of which you are so proud
I put it on the head of my trained bear
Both of us will climb
On the next plane for London
Paris Rome Madrid Lisbon Brussels
Toronto Los Angeles Miami Capetown Sydney
The world will see what you have done
With the man who was crying under the olive trees!

The Haiti Depestre fled is suffused with violence today.
A few walk around w/ ashes on their foreheads.
Sacred, celluloid blood. A Blockbuster. Make it literal!

& Depestre's _A Rainbow for the Christian West_ is out of print!
Order it used. Or I can copy sections.
o slainte!
Trolling for talk about "Ash Wednesday" the Christian holy day & the Eliot poem I found this:
neither use nor ornament
« terror preparations | Main | tiny robot army » March 05, 2003
ash wednesday
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

T S Eliot

walking down kingsway this lunchtime i came across a crowd of people with grey smudges on thier foreheads and remembered it was ash wednesday. while no believer myself it made me nostagic for some time which was regulated by feasts and fasts and ceremonies rather than finacial quarters and hallmark festivals.
nostalgia is the wrong word, it implies a longing for something that you have experienced.

Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still

Posted by flambingo at March 5, 2003 02:02 PM

unlimited long distance and cheap t1 lines

The comment is accompanied by an email address:

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of these words:
"nostalgia is the wrong word, it implies a longing for something that you have [not?] experienced."
"some time which was regulated by feasts and fasts and ceremonies rather than fina[n]cial quarters and hallmark festivals."
w/ these words:
"unlimited long distance and cheap t1 lines"
On this Ash Wednesday I have been teaching my students how to analyze advertisements. The duen del internet* is telling me something, no? But what is it?
*"Duende" was probably derived from "duen de casa," which was itself derived from "dueno de casa," [add "~" (tilde) to the "n"] or in English, "owner of a house". By way of reverse construction & the influence of the modern use of "duende", "owner" implies not only legal possession but spiritual possession as well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

No More Ice Floes in the Annisquam
of interest:
“Swinging doors,”

“Thy brethren call thee, and thy fathers, and thy son,
Thy nurses and thy mothers, thy sisters and thy daughters
Weep at thy souls disease, and the Divine Vision is darkend”
[Jerusalem 4:12]

and “medial periods,”

“But Oothoon is not so. a virgin fill’d with virgin fancies”
[Visions 6:21]

in Blake.
Thanks Mary Lynn Johnson and John E. Grant.
Formal innovation.
the modern cornucopia is the full ‘fridge
see: Perloff, “Against Transparency”
Today I feasted on words at Mark’s weblog.
Day before yesterday I read two essays at Chris’ weblog.
When we move I’ll miss the munelicht on our little cove at lowtide.
Last night finished watching _from a whisper to a scream: the living history of irish music_
Album o’ the doo-long-day: Loveless, My Bloody Valentine
Song o’ the doo-long-day: Alternative Ulster, Stiff Little Fingers
Wish the documentary had dealt more w/ the troubles in Northern Ireland (especially in Belfast {Stiff Little Fingers} and Derry {Undertones}) & its impact on the bands—even bands in the south (“Sunday Bloody Sunday,” etc.). One of the best parts of the three part documentary dealt w/ the exploits of Bono, Gavin Friday, and their gang in late ‘70s(?) Dublin.
Also could’ve dealt more w/ the first gen. Irish in England: Johnny Rotten, Elvis Costello, Boy George. (Notice a trend w/ the names.) Morrissey wasn’t even mentioned (perhaps because he kept at least part of his Irish name(?)—seems to have thought “Stephen Patrick Morrissey” might’ve been too Irish).
Oh, and Bob Geldof is a pompous ass.

Monday, February 09, 2004

A Thaw
Hi, Mick!
This was sent to me by Patrick Doud:

"U.S. soccer team hears Osama chants in Mexico

Associated Press
Feb. 6, 2004 12:30 PM

ZAPOPAN, Mexico - The Mexican crowd hooted "The Star-Spangled Banner." It booed U.S. goals. It chanted "Osama! Osama! Osama!" as U.S. players left the field with a 2-0 victory.

And that was in a game against Canada on Thursday before just 1,500 people.

A game Tuesday in neighboring Guadalajara will determine whether the U.S. under-23 soccer team heads to the Athens Games.

"This is what it is all about," coach Glenn Myernick said. "You are 90 minutes away from being in the Olympics."

The U.S. team faces Honduras on Saturday in its last first-round game, which will determine if the Americans play Costa Rica or Mexico in the deciding game on Tuesday. While the Americans will surely face a hostile crowd against Costa Rica, a matchup with Mexico would mean a game in front of more than 50,000 hometown fans seeking revenge.

The United States knocked Mexico out of the World Cup in 2002, and Mexican fans will be looking for some retribution if the teams meet in the semifinals."
Thanks to Jack Kimball at for his generous and perceptive comments. I am especially interested in what Jack identifies as "Boston or New England sobriety, a lack of irony in Xtina's use of 'loss,'" ( and "unironic word-play" in my "New England Projectivism".

I think there's something to what Jack sees and hears. (His praise of Xtina's poetry and presence is especially on the mark.) What do others think of "New England" as adjective and the absence of irony {sincerity a Poundian sense?} w/r/t Xtina's work? the work of others in Sunday Morning at the Grand? I think Jack has hit upon something interesting here.
Chris Rizzo ( has often spoken of "serious play".
On the evening of Tim's party Joel Sloman, Brenda Iijima, and I spoke about sincerity and irony in art (among many other things).
Some months ago I had an argument w/ a poet about humor. I argued that humor is never amoral nor apolitical. Further, it is possible that some people simply cannot laugh at an immoral joke--a joke that takes shots at the powerless, say. Mitch made an argument to which I am sympathetic (tho' I did not change my mind): transgression is the key element in humor. Transgression is amoral. (A transgression could help the powerless; a transgression could harm the powerless).
Driving me home one day, Gerrit Lansing sd that Ginsberg was a (might I say "strong" in a Bloomian sense?) moral poet. His work certainly concerns itself w/ right conduct, no?
Ginsberg, though, was not a New Englander.
Olson was.
What is inside "New England" as an adjective?
The Puritans are inside. Are the waves of Catholic immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in there? Are "swamp Yankees" from the "sleepy west, of the woody east" & from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, {even [& I cld site examples] from northern New York} inside the adjective "New England"? Cold must be in there, as must muck of late winter and early spring. Is provincialism (see: The Late George Appley) inside the adjective? Is pride-of-place? What's in there?

I'm guessing we don't all read "New England" the same way.

What say you?
Thanks Jack. I agree w/ Maria Damon, who wrote on the poetics list that she wishes there were more reviews of readings in e-print. I hope to do more myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

There has been a chill in the heart of the polis for weeks.
from George Bowering on the Buffalo Poetics List:
The language is much larger, much older and much stronger than I will ever be. That is a reason for profound respect. If it lets me talk about a recipe for beef stew, I am thankful. If it lets me venture into the kind of experience that poetry is for, my eyes are wide open like those of a kid who has just seen a ghost. In fact, when you consider where Yeats, Shelley, Blake, Rilke, Duncan and Blaser say that their poetry comes from, one would be a fool not to be scared. {Add Spicer, no? Add, also, Mark Lamoureux.}

Elsewhere on the list--in fact in the post immediately following Bowering's--Kirby Olson asks about Charles Olson's take on Unitarian-Universalism. For now I'll only take up: "I hate universalism."

Three poems into Volume Three of the Maximus Poems (p. 379 of the collected Maximus Poems) one finds:

The Big False Humanism
Now on

to the left of the page & connected (by a two-way arrow) with the seventh line (beginning "universalization") of the following:

Bono Dea (Athena
Polais) the polity
is necessarily as stretched
I am a ward
and precinct
man myself and hate
universalization, believe
it only feeds into a class of deteriorated
personal lives anyway, giving them
what they can buy, a cheap
belief. The corner magazine store
(O'Connell's, at Prospect and Washington)
has more essential room in it than

[mentally indent the following five spaces or so]
programs. The goddess
of the good doesn't
follow any faster
than how a person may
find it possible to go out,
and get what it is they do want
wherever they do go

Olson connects "the Big False humanism/now on" to "universalization". (The "now on" and the "-ization" {instead of -ism} emphasize the point that whatever Olson is observing was {perhaps is} happening, the way urban renewal was {& in new ways is} also happening. Something was/is being paved over, so to speak.)

So this

I am a ward
and precinct
man myself and hate

Chracteristically, Olson expresses an affinity for the local--"ward/and precinct"--the physical ground one covers w/ one's feet (or today in Gloucester even the ice one might dare to walk across) & also w/ the local ward and precinct as a "group with will" (a definition of polis from Olson?s "Definitions by Undoings") So to me his hatred for "universalization" (a linked w/ false humanism) has more to do w/ a defense of the particular and local & less to do w/ an attack on Unitarian-Universalists (more later). The hatred of "universalization" is a hatred of that which abstracts, abuses (as "(the trick/of corporations, newspapers, slick magazines, movie houses,/the ships, even the wharves, absentee-owned?" {LETTER 3}does), or diminishes (as "The Big False Humanism" does) the "ward/and precinct": one's particular ground, polis, and "polity".

Back to the ground. Bono Dea (the "goddess/of the good" w/ whom Olson begins the poem & to whom he returns toward the end) is a fertility goddess and a "goddess of fields" (the wards and precincts). If Olson's hatred of "universalization" can be said to critique "Universalism" (one half of the U-U dyad); he is not critiquing the denomination-as-such so much as the denomination as {specifically} an outgrowth of Humanism, which strips the earth of its deities--deities that for Olson are not abstractions nor strictly spiritual entities but seem to be related to human movement, action, attention, and agency, all of which take place on particular (not universal or abstract) ground:
The goddess
of the good doesn't
follow any faster
than how a person may
find it possible to go out,
and get what it is they do want
wherever they do go

{which reminds me of this from Projective Verse: ?if he is contained within his nature as he is participant in the larger force, he will be able to listen, and his hearing through himself will give him secrets objects share?; it is the participation in the larger force?and the listening for secrets?wherever one is that is lost w/ the rise of humanism and universalization. Or to come at it another way think of Olson's "Causal Mythology":
The Earth
The Image of the World
The History or City
and The Spirit of the World
It is this view--and its attendant method!--of mythology w/ which he seeks to replace the false humanism/universalization now on.}

(As for any question about the connection between humanism and universalization: the arrow connecting "universalization" with "The Big False Humanism/Now on" is the poem's boldest formal element.)

Returning to "universalization" as possibly a reference to [Unitarian-]Universalism, Olson writes that universalization (& by extension humanism) "feeds into a class of deteriorated/personal lives anyway, giving them/what they can buy, a cheap/belief." Those words, "cheap/belief," might lead us to see the poem as a critique of Unitarian-Universalism but what then might he mean by writing that the cheap belief is "what they can buy"? I feel I'm on sturdier ground when I read the "cheap belief" as a belief in consumerism. (Eliding the argument quite a bit, it might be said that in the big false humanism causal mythology is replaced by a belief in products, that which can be bought?that which is advertised on the billboards Olson so often attacks {his windmills?}.) After all, Olson follows "cheap/belief" by writing about "The corner magazine store" (though to be honest I?m not sure what he means by "essential room" and "programs". {My Butterick is out on loan somewhere, so I'm flying solo.} Importantly, he does not follow up his attack on universalitzation/humanism with any references to the first Universalist church which is but a stone's throw from O'Connell's at the corner of Prospect and Washington. *{A side note: O'Connell's is now either Ed's Mini Mart or if it was on the opposite corner of Prospect and Washington it is now a Pump ?N Pantry gas station.}

I must return to other duties but I?d like to follow up (tomorrow? later?) by discussing the "deteriorated/personal lives" (into which the river of universalization/humanism feeds) on the one hand and the experience of the Bono Dea in one's wards and precincts on the other. I believe (after a quick re-reading) that much of Volume Three deals w/ these and often enacts the later. {Volume Three might also be productively read in terms of the aforementioned four pillars of causal mythology.}

There is a great deal that is lost by not reading the poems in their contexts. It is limiting I think to excerpt only the sections of poems that mention Unitarian(ism)(ists) Universal(ism)(ists) as well as all variants there of {including perhaps Unitarianism as it relates to Harvard} & to then read them in relation to each other instead of in relation to the poems, sequences, and books in which they?re found. If we were "Christian Studies" scholars (or {Gender} Studies scholars or {Race} Studies scholars for that matter} we might hunt through the poems as one hunts through an index, looking only for words and phrases related to our area of interest. While I think this type of reading might be interesting or even productive for some, I think it leads to misunderstanding. One simply has to overlook so much while hunting for the needle.

Finally then, there is the matter of another bit from Volume Three quoted by Kirby: "I believe in religion not magic or science I believe in society/as religious both man and society as religious". This seems to bring us back to the Bono Dea of the polity and of our wards and precincts but also to "God/as fully physical" (381; III.13) so we find "blossoming apple trees/in the Paradise of Dogtown" (391; III.22) bringing the Christian myth to Gloucester ground, but Olson also brings Enyalion {Ares} (III.38) to Stage Fort Park. Later Olson revisits the "Vessel/in the Virgin's/arms" (referring to the Our Lady of Good Voyage statue of Mary holding a schooner which can be found on Prospect Street) which is also related by way of anaphora to Gloucester's geography, its "tidal river" and "dog-rocks", but Gloucester is also "sea-shore where/Ganesh/may be"; St. Sebastian "body as/shot full of holes" appears in the same poem. I feel rushed. (I've spent at least two hours longer than I'd meant to on this note.) In isolation the excerpts above don't do justice to Olson's use of the material but the point I'm trying to make is that Olson to my mind and ear seems to be using all available materials (including ample historical material related to Gloucester) to create a myth that takes into account
The Earth
The Image of the World
The History or City
and The Spirit of the World

In Volume Three I don't see him attacking Unitarian-Universalism or, by proxy, Harvard University. & if there is any attack it is upon Unitarian-Universalism and perhaps even his Harvard Education as a manifestation of humanism which would seek to replace "causal mythology" with "cheap/belief".

O.K. Enough. It's clear I'm in over my head.
Hope you are all well.
Any and all responses are greatly appreciated.