I have a secret life
that even I don't know about yet.



The Generals Play Video Games: a short list of ways the internet, iphones, and technology is effecting my and some other writing in 2009 part 1

This isn't an essay, don't worry. I am going to think about things publicly a little. I think about these things a lot and rarely bring it into public. I am going to make this list with headers. I will try to be as concise as possible.


A newish (decades old) method of editing that can make it tough to tell how much has changed between the first draft and the final product. In this method of editing one may write some, then go back to the beginning and edit word by word. This is like a one step forward, two steps back method of writing. Editing in this method makes it so that by the time something is completed, it has already been edited many times-with no physical evidence of drafting. Sometimes, records of drafts are hidden on the hard drive, or saved with titles like: 'title:1;title2;titlecomplete'. This may be related to the phenomenon of students not showing their work, when completing a math problem on a scientific calculator.


The line made with a typewriter is different than the line written on a computer. Computer editing is not the only reason.

When I write on a typer there is more time taken to physically manipulate the paper and machine; this leads to longer lines of association or a backlogging effect of association (in continuous writing). I get tired faster when working on a typewriter, and at times, when I am too tired I can not work at the typewriter, because thinking about it makes me more tired. In times like those I may put in a piece of paper and leave it. The typewriter leaves one (or some carbon) copy, these can be lost, given away, damaged, or misplaced. However, there is emotion in the typing itself that may move one, when typing into the computer, to become more emotive and related to the initial emotional outpour. This aid often changes poems completely. Basically, it is a writing machine, and nothing else.

The computer acts as a resource and a distraction. The resources give the writer super power like intellect, so long as they continue to write on the project and not get sucked into the web of games and porn and fun fun fun. I mean Kevin Costner is on the web 24/7. How could anyone continue to focus when that is around. Number one resource on the computer: other people. These people can sometimes save from loneliness, aide in projects, and just think generally different. This thinking makes writing on the computer a possibly public experience, something that lacks on the typer. And a computer,over many years, can help teach you how to spell.

I think that both are really important tools for the writer in today's writing life. Neither is needed really, both extra, but both add things. I believe a typewriter phrasing or breath length is different, and helps add versatility, while a computer has resources and connections like an important ceo-it can go either way.


These things are so important. I don't know how so many people managed to do magazines back in the back in the day. That is impressive. This is important, and impressive sometimes, and it doesn't matter. It is a marketplace that doesn't operate on money as much as the wealth of writing being made today. These little things put out ebooks and little books and regular books. They are the sign of a people committed to developing community. I think it is a growing marketplace, that will soon become a minor leagues of publishing. The big presses will see the possibilities, and start to buy things. These presses will start to be put up like top authors, eventually, and stream line so new kind of things into the marketplace- to stimulate the overall marketplace of books and kindle buying. This is just an ideal outlook, but I think it makes sense in the movements of books to digital release, why not try to make money all the way up the book ladder, if the top isn't making as much.


This device is a sign of things to come. It is an iceberg tip. Wow, when I was young I your a vest to carry the books and notebooks and pens and recorders and phone and cd player. A hunting vest, all the time, because I was writing constantly and wanted to read and think with people on paper. If I had an Iphone this wouldn't be needed. That device is a whole vest of things, really crazy-just the start. I borrowed a friend's for an hour at a concert. I wrote two poems standing in the concert crowd. Iphone just means any next generation device at this point.


quotes from 'George Oppen's Serial Poems' by Alan Golding

describing the long poem, in context of oppen's serial poems.

most paradigms for reading the american long poem or sequence cannot accommodate Oppen's work...(others describe as) 'an effort to wrest a hero from history'-an effort on the poet's part to make himself or herself into that hero by persuing through poetry a struggle for 'self-idenification and self-preservation'...'the epic struggle of modern times.' Oppen's series, however, are resolutely nonmythopoetic and nonheroic, and he suspects the ambition and large vision by which ...measures the success of the american epic.

Oppen is temparmentally suspicious of the large claims for poetry, of the expansive tone and form which in various ways characterize the modernist long poem.

For Oppen, poetry is a form of thinking, and the serial poem allows him a different, a more extendedand flexible form of thinking than is possible in the lyric...'the series permits any number of variations without forcing new beginnings and without losing sight of the object.'

By Oppen, cited in essay:

out of poverty
to begin



Soul-searching, these perscriptions,
Are a medical faddism, an attempt to escape,
To lose oneself in the self.
The self is no mystery, the mystery is
That there is something for us to stand on.


what breath there is
In the rib cage we must draw
from the dimensions



the simplest
words say the grass blade
hides the blaze
of a sun
to throw a shadow
in which bugs crawl
at the roots of the grass


Bill Williams can do the mash potato better than all of us

Everytime i heard william carlos williams refered to in a letter he was called bill. I tend to read so many of these letters that I start thinking of these writers by the first name. I don't know why. Bill is a doctor. A liver of life. He sees that pain that is so hard to come by with a clean bill of mental health. And he was so gentle. He was like linen. I imagine his poems in the morning or in transit at night. the wheelbarrow is morning, queen anne's lace? not sure, plums, the genius of this house. I guess i say night in transit because when I was younger I saw a documentary about him, and there was alot of stock doctor at night montages going on.

Williams wrote short poems, but he had huge ambition. I see this ambition in paterson. This long poem is powerful and raw. When I was starting writing, there were things in paterson I wanted to learn how to do like:
he did it with such ease, as if he didnt even know there was a visual device being created by the text. that is what i envied, like the way I envied olson for his use of the page in maximus (all the white space is inspiring).

I don't really know why bill wrote his whole life. it is against the grain to consistently write, have a fultime job, have love in family and wife, a place in the community. This fact alone, makes williams one of the rare infultrators. He was able to get into the grit of life and communicate it to us poets in our rooms looking for work. He had one foot in real life and one in the world of writing. Powerful man.

He has a sweet voice. I imagine him as the most sincere person I ever met. The kind of guy that was an old man in mind, before the body caught up and his wisdom started to make sense.


link to martin being martin and some plan notes

sorry. I realized the link doesn't work on here, and instead of fixing it right now I am putting up a post to link you to poems by Martin Wall.

I am doing this to keep a short update, while working on some longer two and three part series. Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Robin Blaser are coming. Out of order. The order is going to hell, I may abandon it. These three are an important team and I was reading The Holy Forest a few nights ago and the power that is between those three returned to me. I love a good group. A team. I think that comes from a mental model produced through my youth in team sports. I will always favor a working team to a solo act. Though I relate more to the solo act, because my teams always fall apart. I am a solo act by default. Only a couple people respond to my emails. I think I come off as overbearing because I treat everyone like they are my only friend in emails. That was a segue. I am working on a suite of brief recaps of the books of letter I have. first up is Pound/Joyce. stayed tuned. please stay tuned.

the power of ken baumann compels you.


out of order frank stanford start

_explicatory statement-skip if you are in a rush_frank Stanford does not fit into my scheme of modernist and observationist writers. I will move on from those groups slowly. Frank is the writer that gets me thinking more than anyone else. I think it is because his life was too short to explain anything. Therefore, I will be writing entries about frank alongside all the groups I move through, toward frank’s place in the timeline. I feel that Stanford is a floater. He is a ghost that moves throughout the movements. I will try to keep up on relating Stanford to the groups he is posted near. However I do not know how he will line up through time. It will be interesting to see where he can.

I have been thinking about the battlefield where the moon says I love you. There is controversy about whether or not Stanford actually wrote it early in his life; or pumped it out in secret in the later years. Many believe, because of the sheer power and knowledge base represented, that frank must have written it after his earlier work, or at least majorly revised the early lines to keep up with the rest of it. I have been thinking. I believe that Stanford wrote most of this early in his life. First half. I mean the book came from St. Francis and the wolf – an even longer poem a high percentage larger than the battlefield. These lines seem to be frank learning to write, line after line and on. I now believe, more strongly than ever before- that frank writing these lines taught him how to write lines in short order later in life when in the university. Not the other way around.

There are passages in the battlefield, particularly ones in the more narrative sections of the text, that drag on and on. These sections of text are so far below standard for the shorter poems of ease he produces. I will continue this post soon with cited examples of each and what they compel in me.

More generally frank is a king. A method actor of words. Bale aint got shit on frank. His constant address to death is inspiring, if it wasn't so crazy that it led him to that suicide.

Frank is alot like a modernist in the way that the myth of the poet is alongside, if not above or surrounding, the poetics. I cannot read his things without thinking of his life. His life was so short there was no time to document anything, and because of that the battlefield fills in that history with mythic power. Not to mention the fact that his death itself was of such poetic power that at that moment his poems would always be touched with that moment. I am attatched to the pity of you, frank. Sometimes I think about cd Wright remembering the living frank. That is part of her gift and grit. But we will get to her more later.


George Oppen was goodlooking when he was young and badass when he got old

Here is a link to hear george oppen reading.

When I record poems onto tape I try to be in a room, or create, similar reverb to that of george oppens recorded readings. I love the echoey room that feels large. It makes the words last longer in a good way. One time I was in a reading of Billy Collins and I was so bored, and that made the words last long in a bad way. All I can remember is that he talked about geese and I was sitting next to a pretty girl while he talked about his dog chasing geese.

Back to george. fuck off billy. George's poems were discrete and serial. He loved the fracture. I remember reading the discrete series and focusing on the fact that a discrete series in math is when one number depends on the previous number to exist in the series. The poem is like that, the words depend on one another. I learned alot reading that poem and it has had a huge effect on the way I write. Sometimes I get too caught up in the letting go of the long previous and too dependent on the immediate past. This is a problem that is pervasive in more than just my poetry. But I don't blame that on the discrete series.

I love a writer that stops writing for a while, during trauma. Oppen was exiled at one point and stopped writing for almost twenty years. Then he continued to write later in life. He was in political limbo and his poetry will always be looked at through a political lens, for good or bad, because of it. I don't read oppen politically. I think this helps me read his writing. It is less about something and more ethereal. More about the shortcomings of the world at large, than the political shortcomings of the few with feet in doors.

A line I will always remember by oppen is 'the dirty feet' it is in a poem about a homeless child in the street. i think there is something about faces in there too. i will find it.

When I started writing I found out that I like to have an image base from which to associate. In the beginning, for about seven years, it was on a piece of cardboard next to a dumpster in an alley across the street from a movie theater. Lately, it has changed to a supermarket parking lot next to a field. the latest is more expansive and detailed. I credit the first to oppen influence, not the associations of my physical surroundings, that is why the first is less detailed than the second. The second comes from something I often see and feel quiet emotions within.


blog progression or how i think of this blog in my real life

as this blog moves along I will be taking note of how I think of it. This is the first note.

When I started this blog I wanted no one to know who wrote it. I always think everyone is going to sue me these days. Hypervigilance. But now it doesn't matter to me so much. I make a point to make the posts not about ken, and to make sure he is not defamed in any way by this site.

When I was younger I studied poet's lives a good deal. I would say I know more about the poet's life and the context of the poems, than the poems themselves. I remember in high school, having never read the waste land, and sitting down to help someone with the reading of it. I felt like I was bullshitting them, but everything I was saying (on this, five seconds after my first reading of the poem) was related in one way or another to the possums life story and this he had said in the past. I'm not sure why that is important, but it felt important.

This site is unofficial.

I will let you know, I started this site because alot of people out there still have links to this page. I pirate those links. I get about 22 hits a day, and I don't know how many people realize this isn't ken baumann. There I said it, if you have read this far, this isn't ken baumann. He blogs at a new address. I think there is no dash on that one. I really like ken, and am amazingly impressed with everything he has done at such a young age.

I am curious if anyone ever has real conversations with people they meet on the web. I send out personal emails and never get responses. They must be too long. Sometimes I try to keep the emails short, but that is boring to me. I like everything too long. I like things to remain mysteries even after you have entered them and their form seems like a habit. I want there to still be hidden things at that point.

It is like people's mean side comes out on the internet. I want my nice underbelly to show. The sweet core.

Back to about this blog. link to it as baumannish if you like it. but know there are real baumann's out there. They have more prestige than I. I write the writer entries off the top of my head and am sure they would be better with research. I like to see how much I can remember from studying when I was younger, trying to bring it all back. I still intend to write more about reznikoff, some oppen, more about all the modernists (as that and objectivists is what i know most about), i will cover alot of writers from modernism through the new york school. Poets only. I don't know anything special about fictioners. David Robinson is really cool though. So is adam robinson. They will always be brothers in my mind.


Louis Zukofsky had reach like a helicopter

That man was a wild one. He was real tall. He got his first taste of a poetic community when he was young and he sent 'a poem beginning 'the'' to ezra pound overseas. Ezra found such vigor in the poems that he actually responded to Zuk and told published his poem in a short lived publication pound had started called the exile. he is very much on the outskirts of the poetry community. However, Zukofsky is credited with the term objectivist poetry. They were putting together an edition of poetry magazine, and it was an objectivist issue. Zuk reformated an old essay about charles reznikoff to speak more generally about the movement. Other notable objectivists include Lorine Niedecker, Carl Rakosi, and George Oppen.

Here is a Niedecker poem:

from Come In

the men leave the car
to bring us green-white lilies
by woods
These men are our woods
yet I grieve

I'm swamp
as against a large pine-spread-
his clear No marriage
no marriage