With Deer

August 10, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

What follows is an excerpt from “With Deer,” a book by Aase Berg, translated by Johannes Goransson; published by Black Ocean Press.

I came across this book at Open Books in Seattle. It’s rife with organs and blackness and ghoulish, exquisite terror. Like walking through a metal, psychedelic landscape with the back of your neck chilled and perplexing. I couldn’t put it down. This version also includes the original Swedish which is nice, as a constant reminder of the practice and processes of translation. I included an excerpt below, along with a sketch.

In The Guinea Pig Cave

There lay the guinea pigs. There lay the guinea pigs and they waited with blood around their mouths like my sister. There lay the guinea pigs and they smelled bad in the cave. There lay my sister and she swelled and ached and throbbed. There lay the guinea pigs and they ached all over and their legs stuck straight up like beetles and they looked depraved and were blue under their eyes as from months of debauchery. My sister puked calmly and indifferently: it ran slowly out of her slack mouth without her moving a single nerve. And the cave was warm as teats and full of autumn leaves and beneath the soil lay the arm of a mannequin. There lay the guinea pigs and ached and were made of dough. There lay the guinea pigs beside the knives that would slice them up like loaves. And my sister with lips of blueberries, soil and mush. In the distance, the siren bleated inhumanly. That is where the guinea pigs lay and waited with blood around their mouths and contorted bodies. They waited. And I was tired in my whole stomach from meat dough and guinea pig loaf and I knew that they would take revenge on me.

posted by Caroline Picard

This last week, the Poetry Foundation held a poet talk with Jenny Boully at the Green Lantern. I recorded the middle section of that same talk here.

posted by caroine picard

I had the great pleasure of going out to New Hampshire for a few days to see the graduate reading for UNH.

I just wanted to post a couple of clips from friends and poets, Maria Chelko and Sarah Stickney. I also recorded their introductions from David Rivard, as they’re partiucularly lovely and, I figured, provided some context. Those introductions are posted separately, before the actual readings…..

Maria’s intro:

Maria Chelko

Sarah’s intro:

Sarah Stickney

posted by Caroline Picard

Woodlawn Pattern has been described as the single best poetry bookstore in the country. As I feel such places often are, before September I had never heard of the place. Once I did hear about it I heard about it everywhere. Last weekend I went to Milwaukee to check it out. I will admit, being there made me very happy indeed. In addition to fiction, they have a tremendous poetry selection and, what I wasn’t expecting, a giant section of Native American authors. This is a poet’s bookstore. The kind of place that makes a poet feel at home, because one must scour shelves, a process which no doubt affords great pleasure to one familiar with the available titles. While I am not a poet, I was still very very happy.

And then I saw Terry Kapsalis’ Hysterical Alphabet faced on a shelf in the entry way (TK, if you remember read for the Parlor a ways back)

And then I discovered a poster Alana Bailey made for the store, peeking out from under a shelf like a mislaid secret (AB printed covers for Simns’ Lust & Cashmere AND David Carl’s Fragments)

I felt like I was in very good company indeed.

What also made me happy is that WP has a backroom where readings regularly take place. When I visited they had on display a number of old publications–I’ve been looking for these kinds of publications, partly again to kind of brainstorm for different ways to disseminate art media/literature, even everyday philosophy. I took some photos. I think it’s just amazing what can be done with such simple material, namely ink, colored paper and a copy machine.

…to an evening of reading / performance on

Thursday, October 8th, 7:30 to 11pm

Poetry / micro-fiction / cross-genre / translation readings by

Brandon Brown, visiting from San Francisco, CA


Daniel Borzutzky, who lives here in Chicago, IL

Readings will begin at 8pm

These writers are funny, tragic, passionate, irreverent and devotional, multilingual and obsessed with (not to say acting out on) the profounder issues and minutiae of translation and inter-textuality.  Readings not to miss!

This event is hosted by Judith Goldman, a Chicago-area poet and postdoctoral fellow / assistant professor at the University of Chicago.  Location: 5517 N. Paulina St., 1 (Andersonville).

[See more on event location / directions to site below writer bios and sample texts.]


The Working Day Lady Died

It’s 1349 on the fief and I’ve got 163 holidays

my colleagues and their offspring know

Bastille Day is no holiday! so I just get

my joints scuffed because I go straight from

one demarcated zone without my species

essence to chaos: sweet, domestic, and high;

filling it with mescal and snuck smokes,

head out the window like a fucking

crane. some of my colleagues shrug about

“every day a beating”, it’s all abstraction

and no nectar. Little lambs love to watch

their friends sheared. My batsuit. My shred

passports. My dead co-workers. Dead

on Bastille Day, weird.

Brandon Brown is from Kansas City, Missouri. Poems recently in Brooklyn Rail, Try!, Sprung Formal, West Wind Review. His friends have published chapbooks. Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (Cy Press), 908-1078 (Transmission), Camels! (Taxt) and the forthcoming Wondrous Things I Have Seen (Mitzvah Chaps). He publishes small press books under the imprint OMG! and in October 2009 will be guest blogging at poetryproject.org .


See more of Brandon Brown’s work at:







The Book of Decomposition

It is in the tranquillity of decomposition that I remember the long confused emotion which was my life.

Samuel Beckett, Molloy

Here the reader rots alongside of the book and its characters. A man in the opening chapter pulls strands of hair off his head; the reader does the same. A man feels maggots crawling all over his skin; the reader feels the same. The book begins in a butcher shop that has been looted by poor bodies that tear out cow intestines and unravel them in the dead grass behind the butcher’s shed. The bodies see books in the intestines whose characters are their mirror images, and the bodies grow terrified of themselves. They run into the woods but they hate nature so they take shelter in the stables where rotten bodies hide in the hay. The dead bodies in this stable are countries and the protagonist says USA USA your assets are rotten you are dying and Haiti your huts have flooded and your citizens kill for bread and beans and New Orleans your bodies float in puddles of shit hey China your babies are drinking poisoned milk and Mexico your peasants cannot hear or see and in the USA the assets are rotten the Bolivians sell less coke on Wall Street the Iranians don’t have enough money to blow Israel off the map the Russians can’t build new weapons to sell to the Syrians and Venezuelans the Cuban doctors and prostitutes service bodies that live far away the nations conduct business in body parts here are the legs of our citizens we will trade you for arms and kidneys and here take these eyes and livers and give us hearts and tongues and intestines. Full stop. Period. In the end it’s unclear if it’s the reader or the characters who request some form of movement to free the bodies from the sorcery of global capital. Nevertheless, the request is granted and the book ends happily with the entrance of a saint who has so much love that he heals the sores of the bodies with his tongue and prepares them once more to succeed as cosmopolitan bodies in a ring of fantastically interconnected commerce. The book ends with a giant ejaculation behind the butcher shop where the bodies rub against each other as if there were no barriers to keep them from consummating their fiscal intimacies. And in the final scene water streams off the pages, cleansing the skin of the readers in a climax of diluvial bubbling.

Daniel Borzutzky’s books include The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat Books, forthcoming), The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVox, 2007), Arbitrary Tales (Triple Press, 2005), and the chapbooks One Size Fits All (Scantily Clad Press, 2009) and Failure in the Imagination (Bronze Skull Press, 2007). He is the translator of Song for his Disappeared Love by Raul Zurita (Action Books, forthcoming); Port Trakl by Jaime Luis Huenún (Action Books, 2008); and One Year and other stories by Juan Emar, which was published as a special issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Journal publications include Fence; Chicago Review; TriQuarterly; Action, Yes; Conjunctions; Words Without Borders; Circumference; American Letters and Commentary; Mandorla; Denver Quarterly and many others. He lives in Chicago, and is a faculty member in the English Department at Wright College.  His website is www.danielborzutzky.com .

See more of Daniel Borzutzky’s work online:







Judith Goldman’s residence:

5517 N. Paulina Ave, #1—about 6 blocks north of Foster, between Catalpa and Gregory; Paulina is one block west of Ashland.

PLEASE NOTE:  This location is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.


From the Bryn Mawr stop: walk west from Broadway to Paulina, about ½ mile (it’s a 12-15 min. walk).  Turn left at Paulina and walk 1 1/2 blocks (my building is about 3 houses down from the corner of Paulina and Gregory).

Email jgoldman1@uchicago.edu or goldman.judith@gmail.com with any questions.

-posted by Lily Robert-Foley

The Dwarf

July 9, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard


by Wallace Stevens

Now it is September and the web is woven.

The web is woven and you have to wear it.


The winter is made and you have to bear it,

The winter web, the windter woven, wind and wind,


For all the thoughts of summer that go with it

In the mind, pupa of straw, moppet of rags.


It is the mind that is woven, the mind that was jerked

And tufted in straggling thunder and shattered sun.


It is all that you are, the final dwarf of you,

That is woven and woven and waiting to be worn,


Neither as mask nor as garment but as a being

Torn from insipid summer, for the mirror of cold,


Sitting beside your lamp, there citron to nibble

And coffee dribble…Frost is in the stubble

Posted by Nick Sarno


A month or so ago, my parents sent me a package of old photographs in the mail. Included in the envelope, lining it like a protective layer of bubble wrap, was a copy of Through the Mind’s Eye, the literary magazine from my high school. I’m fairly certain it is the only copy in existence, anywhere. 

To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember much about high school. I had a few good friends, a few good memories, but there are few occasions which lead me to think about those years, and so most the memories have atrophied. The names in bold under each poem ring certain bells, but I can’t put faces to any of them. 

I remember being depressed in high school. I know that every high schooler is depressed on some level, but that’s something you don’t understand until you’re out of it. (I can’t help thinking now that we all would have been better off if we had realized that at the time. Of course, the fact that some high school kids dealt with their depression by choking other high school kids until they passed out made that hard to do.) Reading through this book of poems made me realize just how depressed everyone was.

It’s dark. I mean, it’s really, really dark. Undoubtedly, most of the poems were written as exercises during class. And some of the imagery and themes were there strictly to shock the teachers, to get grins out of friends. But once a year or so I’ll spend an hour looking up my old classmates on Myspace. Again, I don’t recognize any of them and usernames like GoStEeLeRs07 don’t help, but I’m always struck by how old they’ve become. They’re all my age, of course, but were I to sit across from any of them on a bus, I’d guess they were ten years older. Looking at the thumbnails of their faces, I can see something of the people who wrote these poems fifteen years ago.

So, on slow days, I’ll post a poem or two. I’m posting these anonymously 1.) to avoid embarrassing anyone and 2.) so I don’t actually have to deal with someone from 10th grade trying to contact me. 


Death Upon Me


I pulled into the driveway

after a long day at work

I went into the hosue

and threw down my keys.


I went into the bedroom to change

and there he was–

Lying in a puddle of blood,

his eyes rolled to the back of his head.


I reached out to touch him.

He was as cold as a winter snow

and as still as the floor on

which he lay.


I moved my fingers from him

as slow as I possibly could.

I held my ears, screaming, and ran out

of the house like a thief gasping!

Walt Whitman’s voice

October 24, 2008

Posted by Nick Sarno


Exactly two seconds after they invented the tape recorder, they called Walt Whitman into the room and asked him to say something. So he read his poem “America.” This is the result.