First Cherry Blossom

Wet and temperate in Seattle this morning.

And look, Spring!

First Cherry Blossom

Lark & Environs

Interesting stuff going on at, let's call it 10th and Seneca, about a half block east of Broadway off Madison.

Lark has recently moved there, and, based on one dinner experience at the new location, is as good or better than ever.

There are also different spaces, and different branded food experiences, built into the lofys and crannies of the old industrial warehouse. One is called "Slab," and it will serve sandwiches from 10 to 3. Including what the menu describes as a 12 hour brisket!

All this not a stone's throw from middle-America chains like Silver Cloud and IHOP.

Lark & Environs

One Thousand Things Worth Knowing

This weekend I've read Paul Muldoon's newly published collection of poems, "One Thousand Things Worth Knowing." (The dust jacket sports a very pleasing design by the ubiquitous Quemadura, a brilliant designer and a kind man I will never forget for how he helped me during a brief turn I took as a publisher.)

I say I've read the book, present perfect, but I'm still reading it by way of re-reading it. Muldoon is new to me, and I don't yet find familiar his poetics or his themes.

His strangeness, to me, derives from his different commitments, you might say.

For instance, he utilizes the sonnet and other traditional stanzas with end rhymes (or slant rhymes; that itself is not unfamiliar); but his lines most often aren't in a regular meter, or at least not in a consistent pattern of feet.

Sometimes the effect (of what I might call free verse wrapped around visually recognizable stanzas and traditional rhyme schemes) is like that of a planet nearing the sun, utilizing the acceleration of gravity to whip itself around the star and propel itself away.

The density and earthiness of Muldoon's diction seems very much of a well-established, modern, Irish tradition, recognizable as the idiom of Seamus Heaney, not least of all when the poems allude to The Troubles and growing up in Ireland.

But Muldoon is an American as well. A verse in this book is just as apt to traverse the Civil War or the Southwest as Ireland or England or Viking invasions.

The best example I am able to give you – I'm not suggesting this is one of the finer poems in the book, just that it illustrates what I am currently able to describe - is a poem in the middle of the book called, "Some Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them," about the party of Lewis and Clark and their reliance on mercury-laden laxatives. Here is an excerpt, most of the final three stanzas:

"... Who would have guessed
that J.M.W. Turner was perfecting in his ability to scumble
cumulonimbus and stratocumulus
precisely as Lewis and Clark reached the Pacific coast

"And build Fort Clatsop? The Cheyenne chewed the gum
of both ponderosa
and lodgepole pines. Bear in mind how our fireside banter
may be lost to the generations to come

"but their native scouts
will still be able to follow our route across America
by the traces of mercury
in our scats."

You see what I mean. Stanzas of four lines in an ABBA in a rhyme or slant rhyme pattern; references to the exploration of the Pacific Northwest and to the most famous British landscape painter of the time.

Photo from a tweet by The Irish Times.

One Thousand Things Worth Knowing

ACA Webinar on Accredited Investor Definition and Established Angel Group Certification

I've just listened to an archived recording of an excellent webinar presented by the Angel Capital Association last week (I had intended to listen in real time, but got pulled away): ACA Webinar on Accredited Investor Definition and Established Angel Group Certification.

Presented by ACA Executive Director Marianne Hudson and ACA Chair David Verrill, the hour long webcast covers how the accredited investor definition might change (and how that might impact the startup investing ecosystem) and what the Angel Capital Association is doing to facilitate the transition to the brave new world of general solicitation.

The chief initiative of the ACA is the "Established Angel Group" certification program, which is designed to help issuers implement the "principles based method" in satisfying the heightened accredited investor verification burden under new Reg D Rule 506(c) (which allows general solicitation). The Established Angel Group (or "EAG") certification program has potentially broader implications as well - for instance, if the accredited investor definition changes to put more weight on, or define an alternative path to accreditation based on, investor sophistication, the EAG could be important for purposes of both Rule 506(b) and Rule 506(c).

Inside baseball stuff, I know, but if you're interested in the history of how it came to be that only high net worth people were allowed to invest in startups, how that situation was seemingly democratized (somewhat) by the 2012 JOBS Act, and the rearguard action of state securities administrators and others to put a lid on the reforms, giving an hour of your time to this webinar will help fill you in.

A Sestina About Copyright

Last week Boing Boing published a sestina I wrote earlier this year on the subject of copyright.

I'm thrilled about this and hope you will check it out: http://boingboing.net/2014/10/30/copyright-redux.html.

626px-Sestina_system_alt.svgWhat is a sestina? It is a verse form involving a patterned repetition of the same six words. This chart, credited on Wikipedia to Phil Wink, explains the pattern.

As you can imagine, the sestina as a structure requires copying; as a poetic practice, it demands of the practitioner the audacity to remix and engage in transformative use in transparent ways.

Sestinas are all about copyright!

Alan Bennett's anthology of six English poets

Thanks to a London nephew, I'm reading Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin, an anthology of poems by Hardy, Housman, Betjeman, Auden, MacNeice and Larkin, chosen by the English playwright Alan Bennett, with commentary by Bennett between each presented verse.

6a01156e3d83cb970c01b7c6fabe8a970b-580wiThe commentary is more about the disposition of the poets and their subject matter, rather than the art of their verse. But it's breezy and entertaining, and interesting to try to situate the six poets Bennett chooses with one another as a group.

Bennett's critical method is to end-run the cultivated pretensions of each.

For instance, speaking of A. E. Housman and his preoccupation with death in English colonial wars, Bennet writes:

"When the Great War came, and hundreds of thousands of young men died in battle, it might be thought that Housman would have been particularly affected. In fact, he appears not to have been, and this seems shocking. But poets are not statisticians; to them, one death means more than a thousand. When men are dying like flies, that is what they are dying like."

Of Betjman, Bennet praises "his marvelous ear for language." But the praise is qualified. "It's the limited language of the middle class, or of those aspiring to be so, but he was a master of it."

A very English book. I see that the content relates back to a Channel 4 television programme from the 90s! Still I feel well ahead of things, reading this in the fall of 2014, rather than the spring 2015 publication date set in the US.

Weight as Volume as Displacement of Space

A brilliant, young sculptor has just arrived in Seattle.

Her name is Francesca Lohmann. I saw these pieces at the Vignette gallery this evening on Yale Avenue in Capitol Hill.

What a talent.

The small-scale "sandbags" (I'll call them that; that's not a perfect name) are plaster casts, and it's amazing how the smallest differences in scale totally change what and how they project.

The surface of the card table is gelatin, specially designed and installed for this show.

A one-night-only show, alas!

Weight as Volume as Displacement of Space

Weight as Volume as Displacement of Space

Weight as Volume as Displacement of Space