Two New Poems: “Oceanic” and “Survival City”

September 28, 2014

I am delighted to say that two new poems of mine just went up at the Organism for Poetic Research‘s journal, PELT, in its third volume. The poems are “Oceanic” and “Survival City.”

Organism for Poetic Research Launches Volume 3 of PELT in NYC

September 23, 2014


For anyone in New York (I’m not, sadly), go check out the launch of volume 3 of PELT, a journal published by the Organism for Poetic Research, in which I have two poems. This volume of PELT is a special issue on “Sci-Pulp Poetics.” The launch will be accompanied by a reading at Wendy’s Subway this Friday, September 26th at 7:00 pm. Wendy’s Subway is at 722 Metropolitan Avenue, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11206 and can be reached by taking the L train to Graham Ave.

There will be readings and performances by:
The Organism for Poetic Research
Anna Gurton-Wachter
Tiziana LaMelia
& Morgan Vo
Film Screenings by Amie Robinson (Nykur) and Sonia Levy (Pôle)
& more

The movie begins in this flat, journalistic style. A universe with a long natural history, spotted with strange and alluring artifacts of various ‘forerunner’ species. Plaster slides from the walls in the house it rains inside of; he feels for the tissue of sci-fi without the story. So, we invite the dystopian poetics of paranoia and ESP-powered feline-hybrids. “It is as if a cleavage, time, had opened in the floor.”

“One Summer Near Niagara” in The 2River View

June 18, 2014

A poem of mine, “One Summer Near Niagara,” was just published in the summer issue of The 2River View. This is an older poem and I’m delighted to finally see it in print. There is also an audio file on the page of me reading the poem, which will play automatically if you are using Chrome, has a button to play if you are using Internet Explorer, and won’t play at all if you’re using Firefox.

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse and Other Portents of Doom

May 19, 2014

Climate Change

The New York Times on the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Paul Krugman, “Points of No Return.”

Eyder Peralta, “New Report Finds Climate Change Already Having Broad Impact.”

Gerry Canavan on “Dystopia, Anti-Utopia, and the End of the World.”

Peter Frase, “Adjusting to the Apocalypse.”

A very interesting piece at Jacobin reflecting on an analogy between abolitionists and environmentalists: Matt Karp, “A Second Civil War.”

Roger Peet, “A Radical Approach to the Climate Crisis.”

Martin Lukacs, “New, Privatized African City Heralds Climate Apartheid.”

Julie Beck on John Oliver’s “Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate.”

Saskia Sassen, “Countdown to Oblivion: The Real Reason We Can’t Stop Global Warming.”

Mike Wall, “To Combat Climate Change, Humanity Must Act Now, NASA Chief Says.”

Brad Plumer, “Five Horrifying Maps of America’s Massive Drought.”

And “Picture This: U.S. Cities Under 12 Feet of Sea Level Rise.” An example:

The Back Bay in Boston under 12 Feet of Sea Level Rise

The Back Bay in Boston under 12 Feet of Sea Level Rise

But don’t fret, “This Couple is Making Roads Out of Solar Panels, and They Actually Work.”

And Michelle Nijhuis, “How to Laugh at Climate Change.”


NSA and National Security State

Coral Davenport, “Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers.”

Glen Greenwald, “‘I Have Been to the Darkest Corners of the Government, and What they Fear is Light.'”

Michael Paterniti on Glen Greenwald, “The Man Who Knows Too Much.”

Democracy Now: “‘The Stuff I Saw Really Began to Disturb Me': How the U.S. Drone War Pushed Snowden to Leak the NSA Docs.”

Jason N. Breslow, “How Edward Snowden Leaked ‘Thousands’ of NSA Documents.”

Willie Osterweil, “Hollywood’s Love Affair with Surveillance.”


International Affairs

Ioan Grillo, “How Russia Arms America’s Southern Neighbors.”

Mary Beth Quirk, “Europe’s Highest Court Tells Google People Have the ‘Right to be Forgotten.'”


H.R.Giger Art 75

US Culture and Literature

H. R. Giger will be missed.

Bhaskar Sunkara, “Let’s Embrace the End of Food.”

My friend David Letzler is cited in the new Wikipedia entry on the “Encyclopedic Novel.”

Mark Strauss, “A Key Reason Why U.S. Politicians Don’t Understand Science.”

Anthony Lane reviews Godzilla (2014) in “Big Guy” for The New Yorker.

“Super Mario World Meets Game of Thrones.”

Matt Seidel, “The Worst Book Review Ever.”

And more from Salon‘s deluge on irony: Laura Miller, “What Hannah Arendt Understood About Irony that David Foster Wallace Didn’t.” (This is an interesting piece, but I continue to not understand why DFW is being yoked into these discussions, esp. in the title [unless it is to generate hits . . .]. Even a brief traipsing through DFW’s work will reveal his deep understanding of laughter and the need for irony–and indeed, from most people I’ve talked to, Infinite Jest and his short fiction and essays produce that rare gift: laughing out loud from reading. At the end of the day this is really an interesting interview with Marie Louise Knott on Arendt, but again the interviewee understands irony better than the people yoking DFW into their conversation: “Media irony is the result of a society, where people are thought of as consumers, while Arendt’s irony is the contrary. She wants to get closer to reality by overcoming her own impediments of thinking.” Wallace’s own use of irony [not what he says about television and media] seems to accomplish something similar. . . .)

And more! A pretty interesting piece on “normcore.” R. Jay Magill, Jr., “Irony, Sincerity, and Normcore: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, David Foster Wallace, and the End of Rebellion”: “the specialness of individual rebelliousness is over. The cultural power granted to symbols and accouterments of dissent — signs once referring to the bourgeois person’s cheeky, recalcitrant individuality, his or her deep infusion with modernism — only work when they remain in the margins, when they mean something over and against what everyone else is doing.” (There’s something the Frankfurt School said about this . . . and holy moly I miss the 19990s! Oh Wait.)



Andrew Leonard, “Why the ’90s are Literally Disappearing from History.” Well, there goes my youth.



Mark Strauss, “The Astronomer Who Wanted to Rearrange the Solar System, Using Nukes.”

Clara Moskowitz, “Why Science Could be Close to Solving the Biggest Mystery in the Universe.”

Sarah Charley on Mark Kuse and N. Katherine Hayle’s team-taught class at Duke: “Science Fiction or Science Fact?”


Humanities and Higher Ed

Thomas Frank, “Congratulations Class of 2014: You’re Totally Screwed.”

Rebecca Schuman, “Confessions of a Grade Inflator.”

Colleen Flaherty on the lightning fast dismissal of faculty at Quinnipiac University, “Jobless in Two Days.”

Ollivier Dyens, “How Artificial Intelligence is About to Disrupt Higher Education.”

Michael S. Roth, “Young Minds in Critical Condition.”

Jonathan Gatehouse, “American Dumbs Down.”

Tom Nichols, “The Death of Expertise.”

To end on a note of laughter: A history of Europe through student writing. Anders Henrikkson, “A History of the Past: Life Reeked with Joy.”


And I will soon have two new poems, “Oceanic” and “Survival City,” appearing in the third volume of PELT, a publication of the Organization for Poetic Research.

Poetry, Metal, Irony, and Other Links

April 28, 2014


Michael Robbins has a great piece in this months Harper’s, “Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives: A Poet’s Guide to Metal,” which, in the space of six pages, is able to reference John Milton, Rainer Maria Rilke, Black Sabbath, and Converge. I did not know that could be done. (Even R., who tends to abhor whenever anything loud and screamy even gets near our home’s turntable, enjoyed this piece.) Highlights of the short essay include: quoting a number of lines from William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” and commenting, “sounds pretty metal to me”; describing a Converge show where they “took over that space like a bellowing wooly rhino crashing into a Pleistocene clearing. . . . It’s war music” (a pretty accurate description); and some reflections on metal and capital: “Sometimes I wonder what metal would sound like after capitalism, or whether we would even need metal then. I wonder the same about poetry.”

More DFW stuff. Peter Finocchiaro, “What David Foster Wallace Got Wrong About Irony: Our Culture Doesn’t Have Nearly Enough of It,” which, strangely enough, is actually an interview with Jonathan Lear about irony (rather than an article specifically about DFW’s sense of irony). In my revised version of an essay that will appear in David Foster Wallace and “The Long Thing” (forthcoming July 2014), I make some similar points about the need for irony at the present time. That said, Lear seems to have a better handle on Wallace’s specific take on irony from the television essay than Finocchiaro, emphasizing that DFW was both a gifted ironist himself and that, in “E Unibus Pluram,” he is critiquing institutionalized irony, which I think all us post-ironists or new sincerity people would do well to heed, along with Lear’s acknowledgment that irony can actually be a from of earnestness: “There’s a very famous quote from Kierkegaard — or, I don’t know how famous it is, but it’s one of my favorites — where he said, it’s ‘only assistant professors’ who think irony can’t be a form of earnestness. Basically his claim is that irony when properly understood is a very high form of sincerity and earnestness, not its opposite. As he put it, it’s a real misunderstanding of what irony is to think it’s the opposite of earnestness toward commitment.” I feel the earnestness or “sincerity” of irony as it plays out in DFW’s work and thinking has been something that has been overlooked to the detriment of both our understanding of DFW and irony more generally.

Alex C. Madrigal and Adrienne LaFrance, “Net Neutrality: A Guide to (and History of) a Contested Idea.”

Dexter Filkins writes a letter from Iraq in The New Yorker, “What We Left Behind.”

And from the University of Pittsburgh’s great graduate student film blog, Kevin Flanagan on “Introduction to Applied Airport Studies.”

End of the Semester Links Spring 2014

April 14, 2014

It’s been a busy end of the semester and I haven’t been able to post anything for a bit. So, now that I have a bit of time before the semester wraps up, here’s a bunch of stuff that has been happening the last few weeks. My apologies if I’m a bit late on some of these things.

Nuclear and Disaster

Laura Miller reviews Craig Nelson’s The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and the Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Age.

John Metcalfe, “What Famous Old Paintings Can Tell Us About Climate Change.”

Only .02% of published research rejects global warming.

Adam Weinstein, “Arrest Climate Change Deniers.”


Humanities and Higher Education

Robert N. Watson, “Bottom Line Shows Humanities Really Do Make Money.”

Not student debt, but the driving force of institutional debt in higher ed: “Revenue at Any Cost: Institutional Debt and the Crisis of U.S. Higher Education.”

More on institutional debt.

Something I wish all my students would read: Rebecca Onion, “The Awful Emptiness of ‘Relatable.'”

The University of Pittsburgh is twenty-second on this list of schools in terms of academic performance.

Derek Thompson, “Which College–And Which Major–Will Make You Richest?” Ugh. And “These U.S. Colleges and Majors Are the Biggest Waste of Money.” Double ugh.

Football players at Northwestern granted the right to unionize.

Elizabeth Segran, “What Can You Do with a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway?”

Professors are busy.

“Why Teaching Poetry is So Important.”

What’s wrong with the common core.


National Security State

Charles Savage, “Obama to Call for End to N.S.A.’s Bulk Data Collection.”

Daniel Schwartz, “Drone-Speak Lexicon: From ‘Bugsplat’ to ‘Targeted Killing.'”

Catherine Crump and Matthew Harwood, “Big Brother is Coming: Google, Mass Surveillance, and the Rise of the ‘Internet of Things.'”

David A. Graham, “Rumsfeld’s Knowns and Unknowns: The Intellectual History of a Quip.” And I’m actually teaching Alexander R. Galloway’s thoughts on “unknown unknowns” tomorrow.

Jon Queally, “Anger, Disbelief as Obama Defends US Invasion of Iraq.”

The painting of W. And more painting of W.

Why you should be worried about Heartbleed.

Bloomberg reports that NSA has used Heartbleed for years.

What Heartbleed has hit.

President Jimmy Carter calls America the #1 warmonger.

Russia and China are going to decouple trade from the dollar.

US Navy to use seawater as fuel.


US Literature and Culture

A must watch: Fredric Jameson’s radical solution for imagining a life after capitalism. I’m still mulling this over.

Martin Paul Eve, “Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace and the Problems of Metamodernism: Post-Millenial Post-Postmodernism?,” from the first issue of C21: Journal of 21st Century Writings.

DFW predicted selfie anxiety.

More on DFW and irony.

Andrew Hartman’s Great Books in US Intellectual History.

Jason Diamon, “2014 Will Be the Year of Lynne Tillman.”

The fifty science fiction novels you must read.

A study says Facebook is about to lose 80% of its users.

Derek Thompson, “How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong.”

Evelyn Barish, from her new book on Paul de Man.


N. Katherine Hayles, Patrick Jagoda, and Patrick LeMieux on their Alternate Reality Game, Speculation. And there’s more here.

Jesse Stommel, “Toward an Interactive Criticism: House of Leaves as Haptic Interface.”

My colleague at Pitt, John Taylor, “Using Rodney Dangerfield to Rethink Masculinity in Reagan-Era Hollywood.”

“The Culture of Shut Up.”

The Postmodernism Generator: “Thus, the subject is contextualised into a precultural semioticist theory that includes narrativity as a totality.” How postmodern to have an algorithm that generates postmodernism.

A review of Jane Gregory’s My Enemies (2013) by Charles Altieri.

On Monument Valley (2014).




Annalee Newitz, “It Seems More and More Certain That we Live in a Multiverse.”

What happens when you stick your head in a particle accelerator.

A hidden ocean on Enceladus.



My friend Debra Lam is doing great work as Pittsburgh’s first Chief of Innovation and Performance, and received a glowing writeup in Next.

And seriously, check out Pittsburgh.

I wonder how this might effect our reading of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, “The Pseuo-Science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a Better Way to Treat Addiction,” by Dr. Lance Dodes and Zachary Dodes.

Edwin Lyngar, “I lost My Dad to Fox News: How a Generation Was Captured by Thrashing Hysteria.”

Goat Simulator.

“Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers.”

Have you read this!!!?

“If the Marianas Trench Were a Gathering of Sound” in The After Happy Hour Review

March 27, 2014

A poem of mine, “If the Marianas Trench Were a Gathering of Sound,” was just published in the very pretty first issue of The After Happy Hour Review, along with work from my friends Dean Matthews, Amy Hayes, and others.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,351 other followers