Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Friends/poets/documentarians Shane Book and David Lau are working on an interesting video about California labor conditions. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This Third Factory essay by Steve Evans has been floating around for awhile but I've only recently read it. It's a muckraking essay on the corporatization of poetry--in particular, Dana Gioia and John Barr's attempt to move NEA and Poetry (remember those Ruth Lily benjamins?) rightward. The essay will also be out in the Baffler. I just wanted to point out my favorite part:

"There is great poetry being written in the academy,” John Barr told Kevin Larimer of Poets & Writers, “but we might get a broader experience base in poetry if people did things other than write and teach.” Need a concrete example? Here is Barr’s favorite: “Ernest Hemingway. In 1933 he took his first safari...he shot lions and went home and wrote about it.... I don’t know a lot of poets who do that.”

Well, doggone it. I'm gonna get my rifle and go on a safari and shoot me some zebras and then I'm gonna write a crown of sonnets about it!

Monday, October 09, 2006

This whole day, I've been fixated on the disclosure of the North Korean nuclear arms testing. As some of you know, I spent a year in South Korea, translating oral testimonials by North Korean refugees and writing politics articles about the human rights problem (check out, for example, my article for the Guardian).

Marmot's Hole, although its political leanings are sometimes dubious, is a good resource on updates. I'm also waiting to see if Brian Myers, aka B.R. Myers, has anything tantalizing to say about this situation. Brian, an Atlantic Monthly contributor, is someone I met and befriended while in Korea. He's more known for his railings against what he calls Postmodern fiction (in which I've had a few heated arguments with him about). It's a shame that he's known for his literary opinions, since he's more spot on about his analysis on North Korean culture and politics, which is his specialty as an academic. He wrote an interesting article about how to read between the lines of North Korean propaganda for the NY Times.

With all the news analysis and finger-pointing--Bush has catastrophically fucked up once again, but will predictably place the blame on the Clinton administration--little is said about the North Korean people, who will most likely be the worst victims of the sanctions, if China ever goes through with it. Barbara Demick, from the LA Times, wrote a great article about life in a North Korean city.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My dear friend Jen Liu will be in a group show at Mary Boone Gallery. Check out her hallucinatory, Boschian, dystopic water colors here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Well, well, well. It looks like a South Korean is in strong positioning to take over as the next UN secretary general. Ban Ki-Moon will replace Kofi Annan after a formal vote next Monday.

I also read about him in this week's New Yorker and it concerns me that Ban Ki-Moon was hesitant to call Rwanda a "genocide," which then makes me wonder how he'll tread around Darfur. Of course, he'll have a full plate with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Lebanon...