Friday, January 1, 2010
The Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire
Again, not sure if I bought this or if it was given to me by the author. I think I bought it online. Anyway, Rob read here in 2005. There's a link over on the sidebar somewhere to an Article I wrote about Rob and this book, as well as an excerpt from the poem.
I remember Rob began his reading with the opening section of Metropolis 15. He read in a slow monotone, devoid of either passion or irony. I remember it startled the audience at Big Orbit Gallery because it is the kind of poem that would normally be read for kitschy ironic laughs, yet since Rob chose not to give the audience any indication about how they were supposed to read the poem, they sat in mostly stunned silence listening and waiting for a cue that never came. It was a pretty effective piece of performance art.
I remember the first thing Rob said when he entered our old house in Black Rock. You use to enter into what we used as a dining room -- A very large room with a staircase leading to the second floor and pocket doors dividing it from the living. Rob noticed the dining room set immediately and said, Ah, mid-century modern.
This was just at the moment before Kenny G. had fully articulated his concept of "conceptual" poetry in a way that resonated throughout the poetry world. Nonetheless I remember that several of the conversations I had with Rob about poetry and what he was trying to do in his work seemed, in hindsight at least, to be on the verge of articulating the phrase "conceptual poetry." It was soon thereafter that it, along with flarf, seemed to be on the tips of everybody's tongues.
Anyhow, here's the link to the article and excerpt: