Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hmm Antler Semicolon Chair

Hmm. But the moon
Join us for dinner

Broken Table
Forgotten one

On this white paper

Monday, January 28, 2013

Searching for the Vampire Platypus & the Cell Phone Kama Sutra of November

Interesting. Over the last five years or so of this blog, the above are the top search terms. Platypus beats i. Sidewalk beats Kama Sutra. November isn't as popular as the ampersand.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Rusty Toque

Very pleased to have four things in the excellent online literary journal, The Rusty Toque.

Read about cows, pregnancy, Raoul Wallenberg, skeletons, haystacks, and museums here.

I don't have a tattoo, but I have joined Twitter, which is kind of the same thing. I'm @garybarwin. I know. How did I think of it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ekphrastic poem with buttless chaps and unicorns

An artist asked me to write some texts to accompany some illustrations, mostly engravings of various nudes in traditional pastoral or home settings. Though he is highly skilled, I found it difficult to enter into the world of these works. One approach is to be 'ink aware' -- to appropriate that eReader term -- to be conscious of the deliberately constructed artifice of the images, to talk about the paper and the ink and how images are formed, both conceptually and physically. How to bridge an aesthetic gap and have the result be satisfying for both collaborators?

I've created several short texts already. I'm posting this slightly longer one which I have recently completed. Why? Because it mentions "buttless chaps" and "unicorns" and so is perfect for the Internet? (I stole the images from Wordsworth). Perhaps, and though it is the most conventional of the texts and most traditionally coherent, it begins investigating the representation of traditional tropes of the nude and of women in particular. How to unpack visual conventions while still not hobbling their aesthetic effect? I don't think that the images are disrespectful or problematic though their 'gaze' appears to me to replay several old tropes much in need of renovation and unpacking.

yet again I am an artist and a naked woman
emerges from my hedge

to embrace Greek and Roman ruins
I look deep inside the flower

where bees seek the galaxy
better wireless reception

and pollen like damp stars
I see nothing but what is invisible

the seat of philosophy’s buttless chaps
created to ride the impossible

kind of unicorn:
vague updrafts of something phenomenological

and chaffing
twenty-two dimensions where

each trembling of hedge reveals
your quantum self

here even when
somewhere else

Monday, January 07, 2013

Reading in Vancouver; Reading in Vancouver; Reading in Vancouver

I'm delighted to be reading three times in Vancouver this month.

Readings 1 & 2 (with Jon Paul Fiorentino): Thursday, January 17th

I'll be reading at Capilano University (11:30 am Library, Room 322) and Emily Carr University of Art and Design (7 pm in South Building, Room 406.) 

Reading 3 (with Garry Thomas Morse): Friday, January 18th
I'll be reading at the People's Co-op Bookstore with Garry Thomas Morse at 8pm. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013


for Jim Smith

no computers
no continents
then the first tree top

now the tiny
pond of the moon
an angel with

the top down
by wolves

what it means
be the toad

or nostalgia
and sleepy

with trees

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Blue Glyph

cutting shapes
from indifferent twilight

W.S. Merwin and N+7

Jennifer Lovegrove called my attention to this lovely POEM by W.S. Merwin. What do I do when I see lovely things? Try to transcreate them somehow, to get involved in them. So, here are two takes on the poem, both derived from a N+7 process. There's a nice automated generator here. I did cheat and play around with the results. I'm a lapsed neo-pseudo-Oulipoan and a reconstructionist Surrealist. 


With what stillness at last you appear 
to tower over the last days of a few 
high leaves that do not stir 
as though they had not noticed 
and did not know you at all 
then the rain calls 
from far away 
to all the hydrocarbons

so this is the sovereignty of you 
here and now whether or not 
anyone hears it this is 
where we have come with our agriculture 
our breath such as it is and our horsemen such as they are 
invisible before us untouched and still possible 
invisible before us untouched, still possible



With what stillness at last you appear
in the finsilver sunset
to touchstone the face
a tourist in the Tiresias of feathers
like high leaves that do not stir
as though they didn’t understand breath
and hadn’t noticed you
then the void of doves
around the votive ashcan
the spoiled vote of pigeons calling
the hutch of empty ribcage
the hydroplane of the mind forgetting

this the soundtrack of you
whether or not  anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our agenda
our knifeblade such as it is and our hopefuls such as they are
our knuckle-duster such as it is and our shoppers such as they are
our teeth such as they and our smiling horizons such as they are
our laburnum whatever that is and our horse throats such as they are
our lackeys such as they are and our wise women such as they are
our lack such as it is and our horsewhips much the same
invisible before us untouched and still possible
invisible before us untouched, almost passible