Monday, July 24, 2006


Over the years, one cultivates acquaintances or voyeuristic gazes with other writers.
Here are some samplings of my interactions and, as often, non-interactions:

Part 1:

With the exception of being a "bodyguard" for horror writer Clive Barker in a DC
bookstore as a teenager (the week before he had been attacked by a "fan" with a straight razor), it was Irish writers who were first in my sights. Nobel-prize winning poet Seamus Heaney offered me booze when I chaffeured him to a reading. Nuala Ni Dhonhnaill and I taught a class together and were depressed together for a full four months. Ciaran Carson visited the class and, later, after downing some whiskey, said over and over again, "This city of New York, New York City, it is fucking strange, man, this city." Michael Longley was amazed when I recognized him in mid-town Manhattan, a self-described "fat poet from Belfast, like Walt Whitman in appearance anyway." Tom Paulin arrived for our interview at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin so drunk he demanded I carry him up to bed instead. I pitched a script to Neil Jordan and am still waiting to hear back, five years later. Paul Muldoon asked me if I thought I looked "Curley." When I approached Tom Murphy in The Floating Tide pub across from the Abbey Theatre, he backed away. "I thought you were from Florida or Utah. Definitely a Yank, though." When Emer Martin showed up at a reading I threw in Soho in a cowboy hat and a blue sequined dress, I realized that the Irish were capable of style, after all. At seventy-five, John Montague walked down Thompson Street arm in arm with a woman no older than twenty-five. In Paris, Samuel Beckett
had told Montague that there was no such thing as love, that "there was just fucking." Beckett died on December 22, 1989, the same day I began reading him.....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anti-Theses for Anti-Theists

Martin Luther presented 99 Theses; I propose 50, not necessarily sequentially and in installments. My aim is not Reformation but Malformation, but perhaps the two are identical tendencies. After all, as that non-clerical poet Pope once wrote: "Extremes in nature equal ends produce." So then:

2. A paradigm and a para-nickel equal fifteen nonsenses.

5. In this age of silicon, I long for the age of vellum.

6. Nitrous and nectar are vaguely adequate as antitheses.

36. The French word for breast, "poitrine," is the only blemish
on that language's beauty.

33. Will you dance with a part of the whole or wholly part from the dance?

20. Is there anything more insufferable than a hot-air balloon?

16. I predict the preterite, so back I go.

9. A field and a tree will never fight.

12. When one falls from great heights, great hates feel less so on impact.

13. If an anonymous person shakes your hand for no reason, follow him or her to the ends of the earth to reciprocate.

--Curley, 2007

Monday, July 10, 2006

Onset of the Tempest

There can be no post-Renaissance without the initial birth, and summer 2006 is not so much a resurgence but a particular moment of creative vitality. Paradoxically, the life of the arts emboldens even as world culture buckles under paranoia, piety, recalcitrance, and conventionalism. What would the inverse dynamic yield?

That, my friend, is for neither of us to contemplate. Right now, we should keep our eyes on the shadows (yes, the shadows are in fact metaphorical) of occluded and subterranean artistic forces, local and more widespread, which will lead us into the light. Summer 2006 is already in its mezzo-stage: help ignite the shape of things to come now before it* ends. Monsieur, it is high time to buy new blue silk to leash your lobster; Madame, your parasol is on fire!

*"it" refers to the moment, the phenomenon, the desire, the hope, the summer.