Friday, January 27, 2012

the only committee member unenthusiastic regarding this proposal is an optometrist who has raised the issue of eye damage if the typeface of the lines of verse on the underpants were too small

I needed attend my 666th copyright webinar today, I said at Thursday Night Pints, that's how my day was. D, K, and L sighed, muttered fuckers beneath breath, face-palmed, a universal sign of resigned weariness in academia: Fair Use Fair Use Fair Use Fair Use, webinarians are here to demand you use it while they refuse to define it. No, it was good, I said, one of the presenters was as smart and precise at not telling us anything (including a two minute burlesque with the other presenters that what they were giving us "is not legal advice") as anyone I've needed endure over the past five years, and he sounded just like Paul Harvey!

I said, I couldn't stop giggling, every time one of his colleagues tossed the presentation to him, I wanted him to say, Hello Americans, Stand by.... for NEWS! Was he as big an asshole as Paul Harvey, asked L. I've no idea, I said, all he said was This is the current status of best practice use of fair use's indefineability re: academic library's liability, though this is not legal advice, just in Paul Harvey's voice. Christ, Paul Harvey was an ass, said D. Who was Paul Harvey, asked K, and the old people made her pay the entire check.

the library of t-shirts

Joanne Burns

in order to upgrade the communitys appreciation of poetry during the international year of cultural enrichment stage 2, members of the state’s library progress committee decided to establish a small library of t-shirts on which would be printed quality verse in vivid, bold colours and lettering. the poems would be selected on the basis of one of three qualities: is the poem poignant, perspicacious, or pithy.

given the respectably researched fact that the wearing of words on t-shirts expresses a deep psychic desire for an intimate union of word and flesh, (and bear in mind the way logo nudges towards logos) it is not surprising that this library of t-shirts has been a great success. no one seems to mind borrowing pre-worn clothing. of course the librarys washing and ironing staff maintain the t-shirts in excellent condition. even after ten borrowings the shirts look brand new. and considering the phenomenal success of andrew lloyd webber’s “cats” it is no shock revelation that t.s. eliots hollow men has proved to be the librarys most popular t-shirt so far. in fact there are now eight copies of this shirt on loan, most in metallic or fluoro colours.

a couple of the more entrepreneurial of the library’s progress committee members are leading the push for diversification of the library’s poetry program, into neck to knee anti-uv swimwear, with maybe slessor, shelly and stevie smith prints for starters; and into underpants, with their multiple attractions.

while the committee feels both these garments could increase poetry’s appeal, they are worried about the practicability of adding these garments to the t-shirt poetry collection. would many members want to borrow preworn underpants, however compelling the poems’ cadences and metaphors; while the wear and tear on the swimming costume fabric via chlorine and salt water would perhaps be too great. however they are interested in marketing and selling these articles from a stall in the library’s foyer. the only committee member unenthusiastic regarding this proposal is an optometrist who has raised the issue of eye damage if the typeface of the lines of verse on the underpants were too small. a solution in the form of large print haikus is being considered.


  1. It's weird that that Gaddis/Pynchon thing is making the round all of a sudden lately, as if it's news.

    Also, hey, you know whose writing is nothing like William Gaddis'? Thomas Pynchon's.

    meanwhile, "the old people made her pay the entire check" made me chortle, for real.

    further.... reading Stephen Dixon's I., finding myself reminded of you, in the syntax.... odd that.

  2. I think the upcoming reissue of The Recognitions is what's behind the burst of activity. And beyond both Pynchon and Gaddis writing fat books some find difficult to read, they aren't very alike.

    Who was the blogger, long dead, that constantly beat the Dixon drum - Rake, Syntax, someone else? I haven't read Dixon in ten years, hadn't thought about him in a few. Add to the list.

  3. Probably right about the Gaddis reissue.

    Rake, yes. He was one of my favorite lit-bloggers back in the day. Guess he had to get a job or something and couldn't balance it.

    I'm trying to read books gathering dust on the shelves. I have a big purge planned, want to know which ones to keep.... though some I'm dumping unread, realizing it's just never going to happen.

  4. What does a librarian need to know about copyright? That's like saying a record store has to worry about people buying records who want to sample them in their own jams.

  5. "would many members want to borrow preworn underpants, however compelling the poems’ cadences and metaphors;"

    You've been holding back on us, BDR! Why am I just now reading this now?

  6. Yes, some excellent work there BDR

  7. Us booklie peons just have to worry about HR bots during their annual "one of your coworkers fucked up so everyone must suffer customer service training" migrations.

    A bit more lift, and Zombie Paul Harvey's hair could pass for a televangelist.

    Anyone wants JSTOR articles for free, hit me up.

  8. @RG: What about Project Muse?

    @BDR: Sometimes I can read your handwriting. This one, not so much.