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Morty Sklar on Dave Morice's Corpse history of Actualism

Subject: I read your Corpse piece on Actualism online!
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 18:03:40 -0400


I heard Adrei Codrescu's distinct voice on public radio, doing a piece on New Orleans writing, based on a book of his, and that prompted me to do an Internet search with the words "Codrescu Actualism," and came across this website for Exquisite Corpse with a four-part piece titled



 Here's a link to it. If you can't get there on your computer by clicking the link once and waiting, then forward it to Mary Jo.

I was delighted to read it, Dave, including learning of your workshop experience--with mention of the"dark" poems with which you'd applied--dark coming partly from your father's alcohol consumption, and being assigned to Marvin Bell when you chose Anselm and Jack Marshall, and loved your errors too, like saying Audrey Teeter and I came to Iowa City together from New York City! We actually came from the first National Poetry Festival in in Allendale, Michigan where I was sitting on my motorcycle at the

end of the week-long affair, and Audrey (a stranger then) asked me where I was going and I said, "I'm just looking for a nice place to live," whereupon she replied, "Iowa City is a nice place to live," and I followed her and her daughter there, where I met Allan and Darrell and others (not you at first, right?) at the Mill. Allan said, "I liked your poem, 'Bed,' that you read at the festival open reading--it woke me up!" Somewhere in your piece you mention "someone's" having said "that asshole Actualist Convention," and guess who that was?--Marvin Bell. He said it in a CLASSROOM where Dave Duer was (who had been

working for me / The Spirit That Moves Us by way of the Work-Study Program). That's when I felt Marvin was a sh--head because I had personally invited him to read at the Actualist Convention because I didn't want to further the animosity or/and rivalry between the workshop and us when I started The Spirit That Moves Us. The fact you'd become friends or friendly with him doesn't matter to me. Maybe "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is sometimes true, but the friend of my enemy is still my friend.

I liked your choices from The Actualist Anthology.

In re-reading Darrell's "Actualism begins when the Automorph in man's being decides to wake him up," I decided to Google Automorph on the Internet, and here's part of what I came up with: "Automorph Technology, a localized semi-automatic transformation, was the primary gimmick of the 2007 movie toyline.

It is frequently shortened by fans to automorph. The term was coined by Natasha Vita-More to mean "the self-sculpting of physiological and cognitive aspects of personal identity and one's alternative selves."

2007! Darrell used Automorph about thirty years earlier.

And just to sign-off with some trivia: You once had a P.O. Box 585? Mine in Iowa City was 1585.

Take care,


Addendum two days later:

Or replace workshop with worship...or warship. Dave--have you seen Marybeth's book, The Burg, yet? I haven't. What is Marvin Bell's contribution to it--a poem or a prose piece?
I got curious to see a poem he's written since I left Iowa City in '89, and he seems to have hitched his wagon to what he callshis "dead man poems," and my impression is he's trying to be as awful a poet as he can be--and get away with it.Check this out at the Poetry Foundation website: Steve and G.P.--long time no see. How are things with you guys?
Morty from Queens (the county of New York City, that is)

Ed. Note: Having been but a marginal cheerleader of Actualism (though presently --April 16-- going to read at The Horse Hospital in London with Anselm Hollo, the Father of Actualism) I do not (or think that I do not) share Morty's vehement antipathy to Marvin Bell, who (I found out many years after ignoring him) did not write "The Diving Bell." Therefore, I apologize both to Sylvia Plath for not reading "The Diving Bell" and for attributing to Marvin a book he didn't write. Andrei Codrescu, April 16, London




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