Monday, December 17, 2007

Do you know the film Fahrenheit 451? Do you know the final scene, with the book people? It's always difficult for me to watch that scene. An interesting question for a writer is, If you were one of the book people, what work would you memorize? Would you want (or wish) to memorize your own work? Indeed, given the circumstances, would it be ethical to memorize your own work? Well, being as I have so much of my own poetry already memorized, that is something of a moot point. What would I memorize? Well, if you'll let me have John Gardner's Grendel, I'll let you have Animal Farm. Here's a "cluster": Grendel, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, The Dwarf and Heart of Darkness. (And of course, Fahrenheit 451.) Obviously these novels have made lasting impressions on me, I don't think I'll ever outgrow them. And I don't think I'll ever grow tired of discussing them. I think every young person, before he or she reaches eighteen, ought to have read these books.

Is François Truffaut a better film-maker than Ray Bradbury is a novelist? A nozh scrap any time you say. . . .

Do you know the film Beyond Good and Evil? It was directed by Liliana Cavani, the director of the film, The Night Porter. I saw this film at the Carnegie Hall Cinema (remember that place?) where it played for a week and then disappeared. It has never been released on video or (not to my knowledge, anyway) DVD. I wonder--if you have seen this film and if you have any impressions of it that you would like to share, contact me. I'd love to know, and I'd love to share information on some books that cover the events depicted in this film. (In this film, Erland Josephson plays Friedrich Nietzsche and Dominique Sanda plays Lou Salomé.) About the events depicted in this film, specifically the chaste ménage à trois, we know for certain, thanks to Rudolph Binion, that it never happened--Lou's winter plan for studying natural science was not meant to be. Nietzsche and Lou's climb up the Monte Sacro is indeed in the film. Rudolph Binion's book is Frau Lou: Nietzsche's Wayward Disciple (1968, Princeton University Press). Binion's book is, really, quite excellent. Without a doubt, the best scholars to read on Nietzsche are Hollingdale, Kaufmann, Binion and then and only then of course Martin Heidegger and Joan Stambaugh. I have two reviews of Beyond Good and Evil, one by Janet Maslin from The New York Times, and the other by Ernest Leogrande from The Daily News. I would imagine there exists a review from The Village Voice. I would love to have copies of any reviews of this film! Yes, I do have the soundtrack on CD, entitled Al di là del bene e del male. And yes, I am aware of the commentary that appears on the IMDb; however that commentary is in error, specifically the description "love, bisexual triangle." This is not the portrayal in the film, and most importantly there is no evidence for this in the scholarship. Two important points to be noted at the IMDb, however, are (1) it lists the year of the film as 1977 (I saw it in 1984), and (2) it lists the running time as 130 minutes, while the cut (?) I saw was 106 minutes. I do not consider the IMDb a reliable source for information.

(Yes, I do know about The Enigma Library. I even have a color photocopy of it (of the place, which is a not-so-big room with every book ever written on Nietzsche in it)! No, I have not been there. Contact me and I'll give you the address.)

I am aware of the novel, When Nietzsche Wept. But, first, I don't read "everything" to do with Nietzsche (that would be, um, unusual?) and, second, I gave up reading these sorts of novels after D. M. Thomas' The White Hotel. I am aware this novel has been made into a film, but I've been advised to avoid it, that it is as ridiculous as Nicolas Roeg's Insignificance. Now I like Nicolas Roeg a lot, I even like Bad Timing, I even like Art Garfunkel. Do you know the film, Boxing Helena? Then picture Art Garfunkel in the role taken by Julian Sands. (This is something I like to do: Now picture Shirley MacLaine in Bullets Over Broadway, in the role taken by Dianne Wiest. 'Nuff said.)

(Update. Of sorts. Dec. 2008. I have seen the film When Nietzsche Wept, it played on cable and it was convenient so I took a look. I think at the heart of this film, this is a film about Josef Breuer, not Nietzsche. The Breuer character is much better written, and played, I would venture, although I have never seen another depiction of Breuer so I don't have another to compare it to. On Breuer, "He was the coauthor with Freud of Studies on Hysteria. Breuer's famous case, Fraulein Anna O., was one of the starting points that led to psychoanalysis." That's from The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud by Ernest Jones. So, wow, gee whiz, this film is inept on very technical level. The money is there, but the film is artless--this film can't even fake it. The instant Lou Salomé appears, you know something is terribly inept simply by her appearance. The opera scenes are cast right out of Bocca Vista Phase IV--indeed what happens in these scenes is an unintentional breaking of the fourth wall. Breuer deserves better. As for Nietzsche, he's left the building.)

Do you know the book, Young Nietzsche? Young Nietzsche: Becoming a Genius. It is by Carl Pletsch. Herr Professor Dr. Carl Pletsch has been kind enough to provide for us a photograph of himself on the book's dust-jacket. Now, I've read the book cover to cover but I want you to forget about that. I want you to look at this photo of Carl Pletsch, and know that here: nobody, no way, no how, WHO LOOKS LIKE THIS could ever have balls big enough to "get," let alone understand, let alone appreciate and acknowledge his smallness beside the man and the philosophy that is our favorite super hero, Friedrich Nietzsche.

A more accessible/available film, if you wish to see dramatic depictions of Nietzsche, is Tony Palmer's nine hour-plus epic, Wagner, with Richard Burton as Richard Wagner and Ronald Pickup as Nietzsche. This film is now available, uncut, on Kultur DVD. Bearing in mind that Nietzsche was only 24 when he first met Wagner, and when he first visited Wagner at Tribschen, Ronald Pickup does seem a bit mature for the role, but he looks and sounds terrific, and the scene of him (Nietzsche) on the battlefield articulating the idea of the will to power is thrilling cinema. (If you know the Writers and Readers book, Nietzsche for Beginners, you know--or maybe you don't know--that some of the cartoons in that book are taken from images in this film. And you also know--or maybe you don't know--that that book is "junk scholarship.")

Cover (no, for real!) of a paperback (technically a "trade paper") published by The Wisdom Library (a division of The Philosophical Library, don't you know) in 1965 that is a compilation of speeches, addresses and statements made by, and articles about, Martin Heidegger over the course of 1933 into early 1934 and that were all published in various German newspapers and journals of the time. Included is "The University Under the New Reich," from July, 1933. NB This is not a book by Martin Heidegger, but about Martin Heidegger.

Here is a very short sample article:


The Rector of the University, Professor Heidegger, has recommenced his lectures. Last semester Professor Heidegger did not lecture. His lectures on the Foundations of Philosophy are sure to be well attended.

* Der Alemanne, May 5, 1933, page 9.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cabala Girl.

Katherine Mansfield.   "I love the rain. I want the feeling of it on my face."

il pleut des voix de femmes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reading at the EOAGH issue four launch at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn.

Thank you, Tim Peterson, for all the work that you did in editing this issue, and thank you for inviting me to read.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sightings & Hearings. Crag Hill & Geof Huth at Stain Bar, Brooklyn. Friday, November 16, 2007.

I'm so happy to have been able to make it to this reading and performance. I've known both Crag and Geof for years via our correspondence and this was my first opportunity to meet them in person. Back in 1993 Crag's SCORE Press published a unique edition of my Go poems (that first edition is a collector's item now and is offered online by booksellers). And back in 1994 Geof's pdqb took one from my Ekphrasis series for the Alabama Dogshoe Moustache.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, at 5 PM at Unnameable Books

A Poetry Reading Celebrating the Launch of EOAGH: A Journal of the Arts Issue 4

Unnameable Books
456 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY


Featuring: Gilbert Adair, Cara Benson, Joel Chace (read St. Thomasino on Joel Chace), James Cook, Alan Davies, Thom Donovan, Joanna Fuhrman, Rebecca Gopoian, Dan Hoy, Sara Marcus, Stephen Paul Miller, Nick Piombino (St. Thomasino interviews Nick Piombino), Tim Peterson , Evelyn Reilly, Edwin Rodriguez, Gregory Vincent St Thomasino (read my EOAGH poem, Banjo), Shelly Taylor, Adam Tobin, Lynn Xu

EOAGH Issue 4, Edited by Tim Peterson

will be available at prior to this event -- more info soon.

***The editors of Time Out New York have appointed Unnameable Books as one of NYC's 50 Essential Secrets.***

Friday, October 19, 2007

From a review of Go (from Sidereality v.2, #2) by Lewis LaCook:

"The Go poems strike me as a carefully reconstructed mirror turned on language itself. In his introduction, St. Thomasino makes clear his concern with the eidetic, the visual, qualities of every poem. Here he's quite masterfully crafted a reading experience radically different from any experience those who have never encountered visual poetry would expect. One doesn't read these poems line-by-line; one wades into them, drawn on by the sonic and visual reverberations St. Thomasino has hung there on the page. A linear reading is impossible here; instead, the reader must tune herself to the simultaneity of disparate linguistic elements. The closest live experience to these poems would be walking through an international airport, catching snatches of conversation in a number of different languages, 'understanding' some of them, simply marveling in the phenomenal beauty of the rest. These poems capture language as it is lived."

Go is now included in the e-chap Six Comets Are Coming available from E·ratio Editions.

From Florent Fajole, editor of Manglar out of Marseille, France:

"The chosen way, with space-time, fragments and constellation dynamisms, including also elements of unfixed syntax, is really convincing. Among other things, this poetic situation belongs certainly to a complexity well known by all the persons that use several languages: semantical and syntaxical complementarity, but also hiatus, structural incompatibilities, and therefore conflicts of many kinds. It’s an expanding language which develops new meanings and makes comprehensive what can be language placed far from unilateral ways of thinking and representing articulations, relationships but also solitude: the beginning of an open entity, identity, and on the other hand the end of closed identity."

Two of my Go poems have inspired the poet and composer Jukka-Pekka Kervinen to compose musical compositions: "Go six" as "Reflections I" and "Go eleven" as "Reflections II".  I like the title, "Reflections." It's a form of "mirroring."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Edward Gorey’s covers for Five Short Novels of Stendhal and Stendhal: On Love.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A plate from the photocollage novel, Free Fall, by Nick Piombino.

Free Fall is published by Otoliths.

See more plates from Free Fall, here, and, here, at the e·ratio gallery.

Read my interview with Nick Piombino, here, at The Argotist Online.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Two poems, Tops and Tilting, in Italian translation.

Cime e Inclinandosi, traduzione di Gherardo Bortolotti.

online at G A M M M

Thursday, July 19, 2007

a noun sing e·ratio 9

with poetry by: louis armand, bill lavender, jeff harrison, brian zimmer, jon cone, alifair skebe, nicole mauro, michelle cahill, kristy bowen, julie waugh, robyn alter bielawa, jack foley, ivan arguelles, jake berry, jonathan minton, scott wilkerson, and amy grier

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Intents and Purposes

For Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino
On the occasion of his public reading

A structure and, to be sure, it seems clear
or moving thus toward some end point
arcs of charge and yes those convictions
were said to be deeply felt or held or in any case
You will know how to read it
as from the first reflex to build is
certain places on rubrics, a further, a letter.

Then and purely a matter of last, it seems clear
if such is keep or can be seen as sequence
parts of larger and pressed to legible perceptions
particle theory of paper or else the wave
You will know how to read it
plural integer to thread and still this
retrieve where mapping downtown from what a face is

Poem by Scott Wilkerson

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"From a bottle Cézanne makes a cylinder, whereas I begin with a cylinder to create an individual item of a particular type; from a cylinder I make a bottle, a particular bottle. Cézanne tends toward architecture, I, on the other hand, begin with it. That is why I compose with abstract elements (colors) and arrange the objective elements only when the colors have become objects. I compose e.g. with a white and a black and come only to arrangement if this white has become a paper and that black a shadow. With this I want to say: I arrange the white in such a way as to let it become a paper. This painting relates to past painting as poetry does to prose."

—Juan Gris, in the journal, L'Esprit Nouveau, in February, 1921.

"The constructive spirit is as necessary for the creation of a picture or a poem as it is for the building of a bridge."

—Amédée Ozenfant & Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, the editors of L'Esprit Nouveau (Paris, 1920-1925, 29 issues).