Thursday, January 01, 2004

Sunday, December 28, 2003

The Lenny Bruce FBI File
Lenny Bruce
Reading & Writing: " I discovered Lenny Bruce in my late twenties--just out of grad school & dirt-poor in Seattle, I read How to Talk Dirty & Influence People with a growing realization that Bruce was my century's Whitman, a poet who took democracy seriously. I've since had the opportunity to listen to recordings of Bruce in performance & my initial reaction is confirmed: Lenny Bruce was our first performance poet. He's ahead of David Antin & Patti Smith. Whitman broke through, Bruce broke through. Neither spared himself embarrassment. I think, for myself, after a decade of intimidation by language poets on one side & new freaking formalists on the other, I may have found my way forward in this particular lineage. I won't call it a tradition. There is a radical middle in American poetry (& politics, by the way) that often is confused with middle-of-the-road, but the confusion is a symptom of sloppy thinking (& political manipulation): pray you avoid it. The dominant culture is busy turning the radical--or its images--into the mainstream; it has to be the business of artists to resist the process & to reinvent the images when they have been drained of their juice & pulse. What Whitman called urge. What Lenny Bruce called truth."
nice obit for Horst Buchholz
Gwynne Dyer: "The Bush administration is probably wishing quite hard by now that Saddam had waited a little longer and been killed in his hole. While others debate where he should be tried and by whom, and whether he should face the death penalty or not, President Bush's people will be realizing just about now that they can't afford to give him a fair trial at all"