Linh Dinh's Five Things

Linh Dinh gave me his five things little known about himself. He reasonably declined to tag five more people. Linh's early book, Drunkard Boxing, was an early inspiration for my own existence. He and his wife, Diem Bui, live in Philadelphia.

Linh writes,

-Before college, I was a basketball freak, not watching but playing. My nickname on the court was the Rice Man, believe it or not, after George Gervin's the Ice Man.

-My wife is a cashier at the Dollar Store, at a shopping mall in Philadelphia

-I was a house and office cleaner for 3 years. I cleaned and did laundry for a few students at the University of Pennsylvania, where I now teach (one course).

-my first published writings were art criticism. I wrote art reviews, curated a show at Moore College called Toys and Incense (1994), and was critic-in-residence at Art in General in NYC.

-With a friend, I rented a house for $50 a month in 1985, in the Greys Ferry section of Philadelphia. It was more shell than house. Just think of Eraserhead and you'll get an idea of how we lived.

I'd add the uncommon fact that Linh prefers not to listen to recorded music. He does not own any device that might play any recorded music, preferring only live music.

Thanks Linh. Check out the blog on which he participates and read more about him here.


response to Noah Cicero's "WRITING AND A PERSONALITY" blog post

yeah you need at least one personality, sure
but don't kid yourself
you don't need your own
or anyone else's for that matter

comparing a senseless working stiff to a personality-filled writer
like comparing a corpse to a clown

i mean the corpse is boring and smells quite a bit
but you'll treat it respect for eternity
you'll just leave the clown at the circus

the original crack smoker in delphi she coulda told you that when she was hunkered down in her cave
but she was busy speaking on behalf of apollo

the cult of the author in the modern era is nothing but a crass byproduct of the need for intellectual property
so that printers could borrow money from banks to buy presses
something had to be collateral
why not the writing?

no one knows who homer was (or who homer were, really) and it's completely irrelevant to anyone except in the people magazine set

the idolators

the idols came after people forgot to speak


"good" and "bad"

A response to Kasey's post:

There's a big difference between being able to categorize a poem as "good" or "bad," having & using criteria for performing such a categorization, having & using explicit criteria for performing such a categorization, and having a rigid set of necessary and sufficient criteria for performing such a categorization. The moment we categorize we're not all suddenly Aristotle.

We all categorize unexplicitly on so many dimensions rather regularly. No, constantly. We are more than a little bit like difference engines, at least when it comes to using words. The fact that these categories may actually have facets is usually completely remote to our realm of reflection. And we don't care. Behind the button we click there's a lot of stuff going on, but the button does the work for us without bogging us down in tedium each time. And if we get to the realm of poetry where we require of ourselves an explicit set of requirements for being either good or bad, we usually can use some of them and often use them flexibly. Unless, of course, we are trying to impress our friends with the severity of our personal Victorianisms. We don't lose too much sleep over whether a platypus is a mammal or not or whether it requires its own class.

So go ahead, call one poem "good" and another "bad." Let yourself go. Be free. There are some incredibly complex if not intelligent things going on in the background, so you're really not as dumb as you may seem to yourself and others when doing so. And you're a heck of lot less tiresome in the process.

Otherwise, Kasey, you're going to be stuck with the tedious chore of explaining exactly why Maya Angelou's poems are bad in a way that is consistent with an explicit and consistent ontology of good and bad poetries. I would really hate to see you put yourself through such a painful set of requirements for talk. I can willingly accept the truthiness of your aesthetic judgments. I can't really accept Kant or Aristotle as role models, however. They're just so, well, ridiculous.

Agreeing to disagree

I was more or less hoping for a paintball match between Ron Silliman and Reginald Shepherd. This reasoned discussion stuff lacks that musk of virility television and blogs find difficult to reproduce. I was dreaming of the impossible made real and then I noticed Ron agreed to disagree and so too did Reginald.

When disagreeing poets should stick to disagreement. Stick to disagreement, or else lapse into pretending you are diplomats of some poetic nation. But let's face it. There are no poetic nations, or for that matter, no poetic continents, states, counties, towns, tribes. No movements, no schools, even. There are only cliques and sociopaths. Neither cliques nor sociopaths ever really represent anything except personal agendas with varying degrees of tolerance for loneliness. Queen bees all around. Cliques almost never produce anything of any quality as they're almost always bound by apoetic pretenses and obligations, compromised from the start, and sociopaths spend way too much time stinging themselves, compromised at the end. While it may seem that the sociopath may be better off, the true lesson of the fool is that, while acting more like the fool thus concluding he is the lesser fool, is that really is at least as big a fool as the worst of fools.

Yes paintball I say. For if there is nothing in poetry but sociopaths and cliques, then poetry is essentially a redneck enterprise. All poets reside in the sticks. Where they like to play paintball.

Let's disagree, then, and maybe maintain an honest level of unreasonableness when doing so. Stick to our redneck roots. And more paintball, and more musk.


I've been tagged by Andy Gricevich to write five little-known things about me. All of the following are entirely true despite the otherwise fictional nature of my being.

1. While my surfaces seem somewhat inspired by the internet age, my guts as a mindless seer predate the Old Testament. Leviticus warns against my type as evil, yet the Greeks thrived on individuals of my sort (e.g., the Delphic Oracle).

2. As Lester the dummy I was at first operated by one poet but later a second poet became a part of me as well. Everything about me is really about "me."

3. My "great book" as Ron Silliman referred to Be Somebody in comparing it to Moby-Dick, edited by parties as diverse as a HarperCollins marketing guru Suzie Sisoler as well as genius CA poet Standard Schaefer, will finally be released this year by Effing Press over seven years after it was first drafted. Some but certainly not all of its ideas relating to information retrieval and language manipulation have in the intervening time been poached by lesser and less scrupulous poets. What do I think of the book? One of the most innovative books of poetry since Jack Spicer'sAfter Lorca.

4. In only my second public reading, at Todd Sandvik's Blue Door reading in Carrboro, NC (the first was for a reading series in Brooklyn in 2001), Mr. Silliman, who was in attendance, exclaimed mysteriously that "Gary Sullivan would be jealous."

5. I've had several fan polaroids taken of me meeting renowned porn stars at various strip clubs in Austin TX. I have not seen any of those polaroids in six years. If you find any, please let me know.

I hereby tag five people to tell five things about themselves many people don't know about them: Linh Dinh, Reb Livingston, Scott Pierce, Fred Stutzman, and Rodrigo Garcia Lopes.