Ben: A couple of points I’d like to pick up on here. I think it was Nick Piombino who recently said that he liked the idea of blogs being like public drafts of poems, ideas, etc. I’m not sure if he included a mention about working through ideas (and I’m not sure where to look to find out). For me, blogging is also a way of working through ideas, however simple or complex. Luminations is usually written on my lunch break and is, for the most part, a way to refocus on poetry in the midst of so many other things I don’t want to think about (an escape almost). However, the ideas that come up, if they come up, concern issues I’ve been thinking about for some time and want to give voice to. As part of the process, sometimes I publish something I wish I had never said! But I think that is really part of working through ideas: taking wrong turns, veering off course, and occasionally getting it right. Doing this publicly provides me with an unusual perspective though. First there is the slight distance created simply by having whatever it is I wrote out in the public sphere. Then there is also the feedback. There was one occasion when I wrote a couple of poems in the space of say 15 minutes and received several e-mails about how wonderful they were; but when I look at them I simply see the warts of writing what is in essence an automatic poem (not that I have anything against writing automatically, I just don’t think they’re worth commenting on). Basically, I’m saying that for me blogging is a useful way of positioning or exercising, a way of preparing for something else. What appears on the blog is not really intended to go much further. How would you describe your process(es) of working through ideas and questions, as you say, on SDPG? Bill: What I've liked most about blogging -- and I think the folks who diss it may fail to see this aspect of it -- is that I can use it for several different purposes, occasions, and I don't have to limit myself to any one process or program. Some days, SDPG is an announcement board, sometimes a journal or log book, sometimes a scratch pad, sometimes a zine, sometimes a promotional forum for other activities. So, I've tried to avoid banking on any one specific process (or approach) for filling up the fields there. The blog is definitely, as you say, a "useful way of positioning or exercising" or "preparing for something else" -- much of what I've done there I've revised for print publication or for posting/archiving on my site (factoryschool.org/btheater). But I also want to use the blog-site itself as a spot for "finished" things, a formal program, and to the extent that I manage that it may be a little different than the less formal blogs. One thing I do that may be a little different is keep a running list of "entries with titles" in the left column, mostly to create a sense of history and accrual -- and I guess to support that "zine"like presence. I like the ephemeral and contingent nature of blogging, but I also like to keep some of the content current/accessible as the blog otherwise bleeds forward Ben: The other point I wanted to raise is a probably not at all for public interest. One of the reasons I’ve been so extraordinarily busy this year is that I have been preparing my Ph.D. application for a number of US universities, UCSD being one of them. I admire the group activity and aspirations behind SDPG, and in fact have done something similar but less successful here in Tokyo, would you say that San Diego (I’ve never even been to California) is conducive to group projects, especially those involving cross-disciplinary work? The problem I’ve had in Tokyo is partly that everyone is on totally different schedules. Some people work weekends and are off during the week, some people work evenings or mornings, or, like me, work grueling 12 hour days. The other problem is that I have not been successful in finding a common ethic or aesthetic, but I imagine that could be the case anywhere. At any rate, the few meetings I was able to slap together did have a similar effect on me of turning my attention away from the print-focus and more towards something I’ve not yet been able to articulate… If all goes according to plan, I should be spending a few days at the beginning of next year in a recording studio with a ‘noisician’ but all is very tentative now. Bill: I think it is, but it's difficult to coordinate for reasons you mention re Tokyo. SD is one of those "cities of villages" that you'll find out here -- several neighborhoods separated by canyons and malls and freeways. It's very hard to bring people together due primarily (and sadly) to geographical distance and traffic and horrid public transit. But at the same time the city's grown a lot in the last decade or so (I've been here since 1990), and so there are more opportunities for group work, collaboration -- a lot more going on, more to look at. I read in our local reader that a lot of people coming up in music, for example, are not necessarily bailing out and heading to LA like they would have certainly done only a few years ago. There's a thriving hip-hop scene here that I've heard rivals LA's. In poetry, there's a lot going on too -- but in keeping with that city of villages motif, the groups tend to self-isolate geographically and aesthetically. One of the things I'd like to do, and the Guild is definitely one gesture in that direction, is to find ways to mix those "disciplines" and communities and see if we can generate some of that proverbial "critical mass." There are general signs that SD is coming of age, despite its reputuation as simply a surfer/vacationer haven, but these are early signs and so difficult to read let alone place any real faith in. Anyway, to answer your question, yes, I definitely think SD is conducive to group projects, with a lot already in the works -- but I also think there's plenty of room for more playful, experimental group activities, in poetry especially, and the groundwork for that still needs to be laid.

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