M. H. Benders - I have nothing against Mr Goldsmith, he is my American counterpart and we Europeans have always been apt in making America do the dirty work for us. We don’t play warmonger, we let America do it for our evil empire.
M. H. Benders, Stubbing out a Cigarette on a Nightingale, Vlak Publishers, 2014.
Stubbing out a Cigarette on a Nightingale the conceptual, jovial, satirical work recently published by VLAK editions (PDF), is footnoted here with some contextual comparison & contrast with self-confessed lazy poet Kenneth Goldsmith. Benders:
writes, among other polemical witticisms about Goldmsmith:
“I have nothing against Mr Goldsmith, he is my American counterpart and we Europeans have always been apt in making America do the dirty work for us. We don’t play warmonger, we let America do it for our evil empire. Very lazy and effective.”
& further down:
“Kenneth Goldsmith is the machine, and I am the brain inside the machine. Don’t go after him, go after me. He is just the visible puppet, put out there as a decoy so people attack the wrong part of the machine. He is the perfect antihero, I am the brain of the antihero, a brain that attacks itself to prove its perfect.”
Ready yourself for the Stubbing Out of a Cigarette on a Nightingale. This ungodly event will be happening sometime soon. From a preface to the preface:
“Weedgenstein was dead wrong. In Stubbing Out a Cigarette on a Nightingale the notorious American Poetry Preface writer Dale Houstman sets a new standard for the entire preface writing Industry by creating The Ultimate Tractatus of Prefaces, an inscrutable nefarious highlight in the history of poetry prefaces that wipes out an entire Philomel of Industrial Incompetence in the field. Never before did anyone attempt the impossible: write a preface that a book simply does not deserve, no matter how you look at it. To illustrate the obvious, Dale appended his preface with a few poems by some Dutch bloke. Stubbing Out a Cigarette on a Nightingale should be on every serious art theorist’s nightstand.”
A selection of sections of sections:
YOU ARE THE NEURASTHENIC ELEPHANT!©
To get there from here, to here from there, or even to get here from here, we must provide some direction, a common vocabulary, an indoctrination…
Beauty: Suffering as viewed from the perspective of a pygmy pack animal. A living substance transformed into a geo-politics. The witnesses all fell in the river. Where’s my breakfast burrito, Juan Valdez? Aerodynamic lines roughly containing a crude nutrition.
Confession: Blurt out that you once saw an outstanding collection of unwashed fruit, quite touching and the basis for a four score and seven of bad romantic comedies indistinguishable from police reports. I don’t care who you screwed, but mother is sleeping in the spare bedroom. Tell us what you did but keep it short.
Content: The head waiter who once refused to serve Napoleon now has that “lived in” feeling, and must find a new country to infest with his servitude. Tears…disdain…rage…whatever. Throw in a stanza-length description of the surrender towel. Do you know any lullabies?
Eloquence: A handsomely packaged commercial hair product made from the spittle of a neurasthenic elephant.© The hallway in which you are sleeping is slowly widening into a lake, but we are going to drown ourselves in the bourbon of blabber. Give it up. YOU are the imperialist your mother warned you about, Pericles.
Emotion: We shall eventually be forced to gaze through a Berlin accountant’s small window as things travel toward other things, all very significant, and we shall call it entertainment. Order is best pickled if you are going on a long trip. Drink gasoline from the hand of that beautiful [vide supra] pelican, and stay away from birdlike women.
Enjambment: You came to buy candles but you will settle for a moth.
Epigram: “Across the white arm…Sleep!”
OUR SHOES, BLUE NONETHELESS
“We must believe that biography is the tallest woman in any garden,…”
[Baron Vetchcaul, “Mustard of Belief”]
…yet today one also uncovers ancient apartments, decorated with flower pots, and through the high windows we might spy those rhythmically [vide supra] positioned semiotic trees; these always butted up against a columned balcony, (I almost wrote “baloney,” but then again I am always almost writing “baloney”) that lamppost beneath which you always lose your passport, a plaza where hipsters die, and so on; but also one insultingly white parapet from which you are required to disappear once a day, clutching a railway ticket to a boring recital. Beyond the barricades of your Absence, there shall begin a revolution of Presence.© So…after all the poetry has become load-bearing, we can live beneath the new arches, immortalized in our departure. Contentment reeks. Poetry writes the history, obscuring the facts with aesthetic figures. I blame it on the food industry. Creative itches turned to mere dermatitis.
STALKING THE CONSUMER WHILE CONSUMING THE STALK
Like all obsessions, Poetry will chase you down a long dark street to an empty house, and you get to consider yourself lucky for the free ride, although what waits inside is murder. And then you made the reasonable decision to fall asleep upon the lawn, your ear against the outer wall, listening to every forkfall, the perturbation of digestion, the bourgeoisie undulating in their dinner-ness.© Made you crazy. The Word [vide supra] had its elites, and you weren’t one of them.
FLAMES IN FORCED PERSPECTIVE
“A burning Rolls-Royce is a natural metaphor for all those lovely, lovely assholes, so bring a medical support technician who can breathe roses through those beautifully manufactured windows. Stand back! There will be thorns.”
[Terence Tearaway, We Are Not Not]
Poetry first appears as a story that is begun around a campfire which halfway through the night turns out to be an uncontainable forest fire, so that the listeners thought to sacrifice Homer to the flames. This forces him to create an object that is both terribly urgent and suggestively incomplete, hoping to forestall the fate he richly deserved.
“That you are older than the wind is unbearable.”
“…looking much too old to be old”
[Timus Reese, “Of Mice In Evening Gowns”]
§ § §
Benders’ first collection of poetry was the critically acclaimed Karavanserai (2008, Nieuw Amsterdam), for which he was nominated for the C. Buddingh Poetry prize. Since then Benders – similar to American poet Bill Knott – has chosen to self-publish his work, in large part as a principled stance against nepotism, "cronyism," narcissism, and ineptness that he argues prevail in the subsidised and publicly recognized literary world, institutions, and festivals.
His poetry has absurdist, conceptualist and lyrical elements and seems to have little to do with his public stunts that, some argue, are mainly there because of his contempt for the Dutch world of literature, a feature he shares with Dutch poet Gerrit Komrij.
Benders published his first poetry book titled 'Karavanserai' in 2008, with Nieuw Amsterdam publishers. He got nominated for the prestigious Buddingh prize for the book, but staged a Laibach-esque performance on the awards, where Bart van der Pligt read an Anti-Price poem and Samuel Vriezen wearing a fake moustache yelled the prize had to be taken seriously from within the audience. Benders sang 'Lezen is Lezen' ('Reading is reading') from a dark corner, to the tune of the known 'Life is Life' song of the Austrian band Opus
In 2011 Benders sabotaged the National Turing Poetry contest by simultaneously sending in poems that ended in the top 100, sending in a song about Jury Member Gerrit Komrij (Kom nou Mr Komrij) based on Frankly Mr Shankly of the Smiths) and making an alternate character named 'Bert' that severely criticized the quality of the top 100. Ramsey Nasr, the National Poet, gave a raving speech against 'Bert' at the nominations Gala day, not knowing it was Benders, and claimed Bert was just jealous for not making it into the Top 100.
After this successful action Benders vowed to stop this particular artform. He left his publisher and self-published a second volume of poetry named 'Wat koop ik voor jouw donkerwilde machten, Willem' ('What do I buy for your darkwilde powers, William') with 91 poems, which got raving reviews on major poetry sites but was ignored by the poetry magazine establishment.
In February 2013 Benders, as a situationist artwork, put a Bill Knott poem into the Turing National Poetry contest. Benders was present with 2 poems in the Top 20, but sent the Sesame Street character 'Bert' to collect the nomination. The jury took several ressentimental jibes at Bert, which he recorded and remixed into a video named '36 Euro'.
Much of Benders’ work combines not only literary styles, such as lyrical, conceptual, satirical, and absurdist influences; his work also moves across genres, media and modes. Some examples are: his Laibach-inspired performance at a poetry award including an Anti-Prize poem and choreographed chants from within the audience, and a fake moustache; several submissions to poetry contests intended as playful self-referential critique of poetry institutions and contests as such; Wôld, Wôld, Wôld! (2013) a personalized poetry book, including dedications and assignments to the reader, poems in Dutch and English, concrete poems, images. Stubbing Out a Cigarette on a Nightingale will be Benders’ first English language poetry collection. In 2014, Dutch publisher van Gennep has republished some of Benders’ works that had only been available as self-published prints. - wikipedia