Friday, February 27, 2009


The one guy who's reinvigorating the ULA, including bringing new blood into the organization, is poet Frank Walsh, through his activities in Florida and Philadelphia. Latest is a reading March 7th which he'll be hosting along with Mark Baird. I'll be there. Stay tuned here for details.

I've gotten the drift that many people see the ULA as going through a stagnant period. This perception can change very quickly with resumed activity. Everything in nature proceeds through waves-- including writers organizations; with lows and with highs. One thing which I believe is necessary is for the ULA's image to change, from being that of merely a collection of old white guys. From what I've heard, the 3/7 reading will go a long way to discrediting that notion completely.

Yes. Now more than ever. I note an article in the current issue of Poets & Writers in which MFA writer Amy Shearn bemoans the lack of writers "behaving badly." She claims that literary historians will have nothing exciting to write about this period.

I suggest she check out what non-MFA writers look like, and get a taste of their energy. She has time before next week to get to Philly. . . .

p.s. I'll be giving my advice to the ULA-- unsolicited by Tin Pot though it may be-- on how to keep the cause moving. I don't know if I have the time or incentive to be any more than an advisor to the organization, but I can at least be that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Puppets and Stooges

While I've made a strong case that there was an orchestrated campaign to discredit myself and disrupt the ULA, many loose threads remain.

(The campaign was quite successful, to the extent that many, including the ULA's "Tin Pot" leader/non-leader, actually believe that I was the ULA's chief problem. Me! Even though it was my work, my boldness, and my strategy which provided the ULA its great string of historic victories.)

An opportunity to fill in a few more pieces of the puzzle has been provided by Noah Cicero's inexplicable defense of Daniel Handler in a recent posted comment to this all-but-defunct blog, which I've been trying to push into retirement. It appears Mr. Handler is backing-- vocally if not financially-- Tao Lin's new small press venture. (Tao Lin, a seldom-employed pianist, has no visible means of support.)

Tao Lin played a major role in Noah's loud departure from the ULA in 2005. The departure was accompanied by a Tao Lin interview with Cicero, which was applauded at the time by literary preppies.

Yesterday I reread the interview. Four years later, I'm struck by its extreme malice and mendacity. It's a full-scale attack on the ULA; on myself; and on some of the underground's most prominent writers. Was it really necessary? Whatever the perceived grievances and differences, why would two ostensibly underground writers, Lin and Cicero, engage in this kind of all-out attack? Noah could've left semi-quietly. Was more going on than met the eye?

A clue is given in the interview, with Noah's remarks about Daniel Handler. Noah claimed I had attacked Handler and Sedaris. The reverse was the case-- Handler had presented, in the pages of a lit journal, a faked letter that was claimed to be from me.

If memory serves me (one can check this blog's archives), I'd already discredited the fake letter before the Lin/Cicero interview. I'd asked Handler for a copy of the letter and its envelope. One was never provided. Yet Noah took the lie-filled Handler line regarding the controversy. Why?

Were Tao Lin and Daniel Handler tight as far back as 2005?

This was, of course, before I knew Handler and others would conduct a four-year harassment campaign against me-- the knowledge of which now throws upon what happened a different light.

SIDE NOTE: The discussion following the long interview is enlightening. It's claimed in it that I "hate" everybody. Yet, despite endless insults and provocations, I kept my head well in my remarks, maintaining an argument that was tempered and reasoned-- while others spewed vitriol. Interesting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fleet Foxes

Here in Philly I have, in addition ro my duffel bag, some belongings in storage. (Including much of my own writing over the years, and the mass of documents related to the founding history of the Underground Literary Alliance.)

I retrieved among these items a dusty cd player. At my last job in Detroit a goth co-worker gave me a cd she'd burned, but until now I was unable to play it. "Fleet Foxes." I've been listening to it nightly. It's given me great sustenance-- which, after all, is the purpose of art.

The music's simplicity gives it emotion-- for much of it, harmonious voices accompanied by simple guitar. The voices carry echoes of the Renaissance, but also American roots music, with maybe a reminder of the Fleetwoods, and a dash of stripped-down Moody Blues tossed in. For me it's a reminder of the mystery and simplicity of art, something I'd love to happily echo in my own work.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Winning the Battle

IN ONE WAY I've wasted my time on this blog the past couple years, to little apparent effect. But in another way it's been THE key battleground in the fight to change, and thereby save, literature.

The literary establishment believes in this blog's importance. Why else have two (at least) of their best and brightest-- Daniel Handler in San Francisco and another character in Brooklyn-- spent many thousands of hours reading it; making many hundreds of comments, of involved arguments-- so many I stopped posting them all.

They know the reality of what I said at the beginning-- that the literary rebellion was a campaign of ideas more than it was anything else. Books, zeens, actions, and shows were secondary. One couldn't overthrow the establishment without winning the debate with them. Win that debate, and their cause was lost. The floor of their premises would vanish beneath them.

It's a little strange that the establishment has believed in the potential of this rebellion more than have undergrounders themselves. The mandarins have behaved as if literary revolution was inevitable. Witness the comments of Tom Bissell in his 2003 Believer essay on the ULA; Aaron Hicklin in his foreword to the Black Book anthology; and Marty Moss-Coane's 2007 WHYY interview with me. Their concern was that we powerless undergrounders would soon have too much power-- to then begin excluding the excluders. Examine the sources. Their belief in the reality of literary revolution is palpable.

Why is that?

Because the establishment was on the receiving end of our noise. They were present, mainly in New York, when the many Page Six write-ups, and stunning actions like the KGB crash and "Howl" Protest, created for the underground cause tremendous buzz.
An analogy to this blog is what happened after D-Day during World War II. The allies achieved a tiny beachhead on Fortress Europe, but for weeks afterward were stalled. Close maneuvering occurred, as both sides concentrated more and more resources on a tiny spot. That tiny spot would determine the outcome of the war. The allies won the maneuvering, of course. They broke out of the trap, and then swiftly gobbled territory as they moved forward.
I'm only one undergrounder, and can't carry the entire cause alone. BUT-- these blog posts have not been unimportant. They're part of the foundation of ideas necessary to any upstart cultural moveWe can fail everywhere else, but ideas go on. They're in the heads now even of our enemies, and can't be removed.

Some important undergrounders wondered why I was spending time on the Paris Review/CIA matter. It's a crucial issue because it indisputably proves the corruption of the established literary world-- proved not by CIA involvement alone, but by the everpresent cover-up, which now stands full of cracks, on the verge of collapse. If there's any honesty among New York literary folk, they'll acknowledge this, and that I've won the argument.

Once this happens, the game's over.

(See related post at

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's Happening

When laid off, I hadn't been in Michigan long enough to qualify for unemployment. At the moment I'm an exile in my own country, scrambling for some stability. Ruthless class war has been waged on America's working people the last few decades, from both the Right and the Left. (The Left, after all, have been prime movers behind illegal immigration which has destroyed wages.) Throughout, working class writers have not been allowed to have a voice, as the way this literary movement has been treated has indicated.

Think about it. Some of the richest writers in America, led by Daniel Handler-- who's said to be worth hundreds of millions-- have spent their time relentlessly attacking one of the poorest . I own nothing-- nothing-- other than a duffle bag of clothing. My major struggle, like so many Americans-- like many underground writers-- is simply to survive. What was their motivation? To ensure that I and my colleagues have no voice. They didn't embrace dissent. They stomped on it.