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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Friday, November 25, 2022

What's wrong with this?

 ..." Brecht and García Lorca, for example, both of whom struggled against vicious political repression in the 1930s, in Germany and Spain respectively."

Monday, November 21, 2022

How do you pronounce?

 In French, you pronounce Paris "Pahrree," with a global French r.  In Spanish, you say "PahrEES."  In English, you pronounce it "Pay-riss." The idea that you should pronounce a foreign place name in the original language is pretty silly.  When speaking English, I say "muh-drid" or "suhville" or 'Gruh-nah-duh." So I'm not going to listen the New York times to figure out how to say "Qatar." 

Ironically, the more unfamiliar the place is, the more likely it is that someone will try to impose some authentic pronunciation.  Some words have standardized Anglicized (or Hispanized) versions, so we say "Cologne" instead of Köln, or "Londres" instead London.   

Saturday, November 19, 2022

the event


my part starts at 30 minutes in

Friday, November 18, 2022

voice over

 We read from our translation of Nonnus yesterday, at the local bookstore. The guy ahead of me was touted as a theater professor, playwright, voice actor, so I tried to outdo him in my reading of my section of the translation (He's a friend of mine, there was nothing malicious my attempt; I simply didn't want to be worse than the other readers). When I got up,  nailed it, pretty much, and got tons of positive feedback from the crowd afterwards. (The bookstore was packed with about 70 people.)  The voice actor friend told me I was good, and I said, that's a compliment, coming from a professional.  Then he said I could do it (voice-overs) which was nice. I accepted the compliment without either agreeing or disagreeing, but I was secretly pleased, though I have no desire to do this.  It's nice to be told you could. I've been self-conscious about my ability in this area. In other words, I think I'm good, but I could also be over-estimating my own ability.  I was once rejected by audio reader.  

The anti-racist letter for tenure

Please don't do this.  Don't write a letter for an aspirant for tenure stressing the themes of systemic racism, apologizing for their lack of quantity, etc... Do them the favor of evaluating them the way you would anyone else. That is actually the "anti-racist" tenure letter.  

the poetic function

 I heard a little kid at the ramen restaurant tell this joke to his parents:

"If there are "new-dles" there have to be "oldles." 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Lucid Dream

 This dream was super long and lucid, with lots of strong detail. I was teaching in a new job in DC somewhere, and looking for my first class. I went down an elevator with some of my new colleagues, and then realized I had to go back to the 3rd floor, where we had started. Only one student was in the class. 

I realized I hadn't found a place to live yet, and hadn't figured in the expense of commuting from Kansas to DC. 

When I realized I was dreaming, I started manipulating the environment with my mind. For example, I made everyone in the room fall down. There was then an incident that I have to censor in this PG rated blog


 The "new sentimentality" wrapped itself up Marxist theory, but that soon dropped away. Without this mooring in theory, the movement became "the poetry of experience," and had no way of distinguishing itself from the consumer society to which it appealed. The logical next step is the Instagram poets, who dispensed with both Marxism and the strategic ties to the literary canon.  

Not well-written (yet) but that is the idea. It is kind of the problem of socialist realism.  The realist part is simply boring, and also came at the price of killing off any alternatives (literally, in the case of Stalin). The  socialist part?  Well, that is programatic, the idea that literature should support a certain ideology. 

To me, the poetry of LGM has the smell of stale cigarette smoke. It all sounds the same.  


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Fascist literature

 I never really got the vogue for study Spanish Fascist literature.  I suppose everything must be studied, but the idea that we have to give the Fascist authors their due... well, they usually aren't very good, anyway. None of them is in the top 100 Spanish writers of the 20th century. Plus, they are Fascists. It seems perverse. Most writers are mediocre, of any political persuasion, so let's not give extra credit for being Fascist.   


I had to read part of my own book, for research.  I am pretty good. I normally wouldn't read me, but I have to, now, and I agree with this Mayhew fellow. I am pretty funny, too. I found a part where I find a particularly banal poem in an anthology, and I let him hang himself with his own banality.  


 "quotes are their own form of damnation". --William Logan.  

I like using this method, quoting something really bad or stupid, because then the reader is already on your side. 


 Los lectores de poesía hemos observado con frecuencia de qué modo los versos que circulan por internet, de forma espontánea o firmados por aspirantes a poeta, se parecen demasiado a las campañas publicitarias de los grandes almacenes para motivar ventas en el día de la madre o de los enamorados. 

 --Luis García Montero

[We readers of poetry have often observed how lines of poetry circulating on the internet, spontaneously or signed by aspiring poet, excessively resemble the advertising campaigns of department store to motivate sales for Mother's Day or Valentine's Day.]

So why does LGM himself promote this kind of poets? It is inexplicable.  

Monday, November 14, 2022

You plagiarize in an article in which you are apologizing for plagiarism


Once again, one of those people who think you steal something and then just change enough words to make it your own.  

I am a token

In many cases, I end up being the only American hispanist (in one of my particular areas) cited in Spain.  Not in the context of Lorca studies, of course, since Mauer and Anderson and a few others are better know as Lorquistas.  I am talking about the poetry debates of 1990-2022, as well as a few other things where there are 10 Spanish poet and critics and ... me.  I don't have disciples, either.   

I wonder if this is me too?

 "hispanistas de universidades menores del medio oeste americano" (Mainer, prologue to Casi cien poemas (Luis García Montero). I had written one article in which LGM was mentioned, and this became the last section of the last chapter of my second book.  

Really , Juan Carlos Rodríguez?

 "Cervantes nos va a contar una historia estrafalaria y absurda y sin embargo necesita que todos nos la creamos como verdad."  

I'm pretty sure Cervantes did not expect his readers to believe that DQ actually existed (LOL).  

Saturday, November 12, 2022


 My work on Lorca and my work on contemporary Spanish poetry comes together with the cantautores, who of course are friends with my nemesis, Luis García Montero. In this sense, the use of song to popularize poetry, to bring it into the street, is allied with a particular agenda to favor a certain kind of poetry.  

Quique González y Luis García Montero - Las Palabras Vividas (Segunda Pa...


 I am tracking down some poetry conspiracies.  


There is an anthology of poetry edited by Remedios Sánchez, a professor from the U of Granada, with Tony Geist, a US Hispanist, published by Visor. This anthology was supposedly done by consulting with 200 critics from 100 universities about who the best Spanish-language poets are (born after 1970). 

Remedios also has a book about the new internet poets, and in it is an article by Luis García Montero, and articles in praise of the internet poets.  It seems to be all about promoting a certain kind of poetry, but also giving it a kind of academic validity, since it's non-academic poetry of a sort. You find the same people behind everything, Chus Visor, the publisher of Visor books, who publishes all these poets, LGM, the chef d'ecole of the poetry of experience. Fernando Valverde is also omnipresent in these discussions. 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Instagram celebs

 I've discovered a few other Instagram celebs, Marwan and Defreds.  And I realized just now that someone I am on facebook with has published a book about them, which now I have to buy to finish the article.  

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Ed Harris or Woody Harrelson? Which do I look more like?


 Por eso las acusaciones de epigonismo, de con- servadurismo, de falta de ambici6n o de reaccionarismo est6tico, lanzadas por un critico como J. Mayhew (2001) para referirse a los principales poetas de la generaci6n de Garcia Montero y a sus planteamientos de un diilogo revisionis- ta con las convenciones del g6nero y con la tradici6n, resultan en cierta mane- ra desenfocadas. Es posible que Mayhew, en su defensa de la modernidad artis- tica, no repare en que esa modernidad no es ya la misma de hace medio siglo, y que no es coherente tildar de reaccionarios unos prop6sitos y una conciencia estetica que la propia (post)modernidad parece estar reclaman

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Branding: This is Elvira Sastre's marketing firm

We are a boutique agency specialized in PR and digital marketing, campaign design, branding and Creatives management.

Our wide experience, creativity and international approach makes us the ideal partner for any brand that needs integrated communication strategies and creative projects related to the digital world.
We provide tailor made communication solutions in order to best address the purposes and needs of our clients: from turnkey contracts to influencer integral management campaigns, or campaigns with agency assistance, supporting the brand’s internal team.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Dream of the definition of "lyric"

 In a class we were supposed to write down a definition of "lyric." I was the professor but someone else was presenting in class and so this was an activity they had designed. I wrote "A poem meant to be set to music; a poem associated indirectly or vaguely associated with the tradition of poems to be set to music; any short poem."  We all read our definitions out loud. I don't remember what the other ones were.  

Monday, November 7, 2022


 Several times, I haven't done book reviews, pre-publication evaluations for books, or tenure evaluation when I know I am simply too close to the subject matter and likely to disagree. It would be an ethical lapse to agree to do this, and then either lie (say you agree with something you don't) or to take the opportunity to put forward my own views when someone else's career is at stake.  

Rock stars


Here is link in which Sastre congratulates herself for being a rock star of poetry.  

Friday, November 4, 2022


 I guess it is significant that in the same book in which I published my first article (1992) about Spanish poetry of the 1980s, I also published the first book chapter or article in English about Gamoneda. There was article the same year as my book, The Poetics of Self-Consiousness (1994) in Hispanic Review by Antonio Candau, written in Spanish. (Candau works mainly on novel and film. I don't know which was first, but we can call it simultaneous since it was the same year.) In order to orient you, I should mention that my PhD was from 1988, so we are talking about early career JM. 

Anyway, I had just randomly purchased Gamoneda's Edad on one of my book buying sprees in Spain. It was in the black Cátedra edition that we all know, scholarly editions of classics, and it had won the premio nacional de poesía. I had never heard of Gamoneda, but something told me that he was important, so I purchased the book. When I was putting together the Poetics of Self-Consciousness book, I thought that I should include a chapter on Gamoneda. 

After I wrote the second HR article, I began to get invited to Spain, and met some of the contemporary poets that were on the same side of the poetry war as I was. I was the one yanqui on many panels. 



 Cuando publiqué "¿Por qué no sirve para nada la poesía? (Observaciones en defensa de una poesía para los seres normales)", quise abrir una discusión algo más profunda de la que luego han planteado algunos poetas vociferantes, muy orgullosos de la diferencia, o ciertos filólogos tan norteamericanos como desorientados, políticamente correctos y defensores de las minorías por amor a las reservas indias. Cometí la imprudencia de esperar que para interpretar mi poética se tomarían la molestia de leer mis libros y no tuve miedo de que la normalidad aludida se entendiese como una defensa de los valores establecidos o como una negación de la disidencia.


 I read in the New Republic that Bob Dylan is not an "author." But he is an author of a memoir, and of what the journal describes as a very bad book of poetry. When I click on the link, it gives me the cover of a book called Tarantula, which is not a book of poetry at all but a novel (bad or good is another question!).  We can debate the literary merits of Dylan's songs all day, but surely the critic disqualifies himself by using the words author and book of poetry. If he can't even get that right, then how do we trust his judgments?


 I published two articles in Hispanic Review in the 1990s.  The first was "The Twilight of the Avant-Garde: Spanish Poetry of the 1980s" (1992) which then became the last part of the last chapter of my second book. I used the title The Twilight of the Avant-Garde as the title of my third book, as well.  The article begins like this:  

"Perhaps the single most significant development in Spanish poetry of the most recent decade is a waning of the avant-garde impulse that has animated modern poetry from the early years of the twentieth century. One anthologist characterizes the poetry of the 1980s as '"una poesia 'moderna'" que por primera vez en este siglo, no se identifica con vanguardia" (Barella 14)." 

I used Umberto Eco's definition of kitsch in order to explain the rejection of the avant-garde. The second, in 1999, was "The Avant-Garde and its Discontents: Aesthetic Conservativism in Recent Spanish Poetry."  This became the first chapter in the 3rd book, The Twilight of the Avant-Garde. For a while, before my Lorquian phase, I was mainly known as the American Hispanist who was taking the side of Spanish poets who were against the "poetry of experience." 

It turns out I was on to something, but the kitsch aesthetic did not really flourish until the emergence of Elvira Castro, who was born the year I published the first article. And other poets of that generation, like Fernando Valverde. 

Now, I want to write an "I was right" article.  I posed about it on facebook.  These younger poets are sponsored by LGM and Benjamín Prado, and are cast in the role of "rock stars." I looked at Sastre's instagram, and it had a post in which she brags about Joaquín Sabina and Almudena Grandes calling her an "estrella de rock." What could be kitschier than Elvira Sastre, who is the official translator for Rupi Kaur?  

The problem is that it cannot be an anonymous article. I have to explain it in terms of what how my own thoughts developed over a thirty year period. You can't do a palinode anonymously.  

Rock Star


"Es lo más parecido a una estrella del rock que tiene la poesía actual. Llena con sus versos estadios y teatros en España, México, Colombia y Argentina. Vende tantos libros como camisetas con sus reflexiones. Sensible e inconformista, su mensaje está lleno de amor, dolor y verdad."

"She is the closest thing to a rock star in contemporary poetry. With her verse she fills stadiums and theaters in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina. She sell both books and t-shirts with her reflections. Sensitive and non-conformist, he message is full of love, pain, and truth. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Elvira Sastre on a beer ad she made reciting a Juan Ramón Jiménez poem

 "Ahora mismo, cualquier impulso a la cultura es una ayuda descomunal. Estamos pasando momentos muy duros y el apoyo de una marca como Cervezas Alhambra cae como agua en un desierto. Además, la poesía siempre ha estado relegada a un segundo plano y esta visibilidad estoy convencida de que va a ser un impulso precioso."

Right now, any nod to culture is a rare help. We are going through very difficult times and the support of a brand like Alhambra Beer is like rain in the desert. Besides, poetry has always been relegated to the back burner and I am convinced that this will be a precious impulse.  

Dream of house

 In this dream I was in a house, perhaps my own house in which I grew up. There were two Muslim women living there, and someone else who objected to their presence. I was told by someone [not clear who it was in the dream] to tell the person who was intolerant of the women in Hijabs to move out of the house.  I didn't think that was my job, but it clearly was, so I went in and told the person [gender unknown] that they had to either change their attitude or move out of the house in seven days. 


The dream surprised me because I am not particularly interested in defending this style of dressing, which in fact I view as a visible sign of oppression. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Elvira Sastre shop

 Unbe fucking lievable. https://www.elvirasastreshop.com/camisetas/

Sastre / Kaur

In Spain someone I am friends with complaining about Elvira Sastre and whole banalization of poetry, the way the LGM and Benjamín Prado group promotes the worst poets of the newest generation. Now I learn from a student that Sastre is the translator for Rupi Kaur. How perfect is that? Bad poetry outruns my capacity to satirize it.