Monday, February 27, 2006

Goodtime Jesus

For my first official post I have decided to go into "poetry appreciation" mode and talk about one of my favorite short poems Goodtime Jesus by James Tate. I cannot read this prose poem without smiling; it is a great thing to read when you want out of a bad mood. It's from his 1979 volume Riven Doggeries (though I got it out of Selected Poems). Here is the whole thing:
Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dreaming so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it? A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled back, skin falling off. But he wasn't afraid of that. It was a beautiful day. How 'bout some coffee? Don't mind if I do. Take a little ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody.
This is best read out loud, in an optimistic voice.

The poem is funny. It is primarily funny and playful and what I am going to say next should not distract from this fact, or replace it, or make it less important than the most important thing about the poem. But feeding into the funny is the idea that Christianity has its source, not in a divine order, not in providence, but in a mood of a guy on a day like any other. Though it is flippant, the poem is not at all anti-Christian; Kurt Vonnegut said that his great grandfather wrote "If what Jesus said was good, what can it matter whether he was God or not," and the poem provides a premise to support a statement like this. It suggests -- and it is a good suggestion, I think -- that major myths and stories, major grand narratives and ideas, if you could go back to the beginning, are no bigger than our everyday non-sense, and that our everyday non-sense could be the source of big stuff.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Lots of people I like -- from friends like Brad Winderbaum to media folk like Douglas Rushkoff and Joss Whedon -- have weblogs; as a literary critic and pop culture fanboy it seemed like the thing to do. People interested in my work can come here for updates, and I can try writing in a regular serial format. I am going to try to add something at least once a week and make it short and substantial (no one gives a damn what I had for lunch today). With my interests I suspect this will mean analyzing short poems and comic books, and recommending things. We will see how this goes. The blog-site, like the website (, was set up by Sara Reiss, who is awesome.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Geoff Klock's Biography

[Please disregard the date of this post. The information here is up to date.]

Geoff Klock has a doctorate from Oxford University, where he studied at Balliol College.

He is the author of two academic books: How to Read Superhero Comics and Why (Continuum, 2002) and Imaginary Biographies: Misreading the Lives of the Poets (Continuum, 2007). The first applies Harold Bloom’s poetics of influence to popular culture; the second argues that the bizarre portrayal of historical writers in post-Enlightenment poetry in English constitutes a genre. He has contributed to four BenBella Smart Pop essay collections, one on Veronica Mars (in a volume edited by the show’s creator Rob Thomas), one on Firefly (edited by the show’s writer Jane Espenson), one on House, and one on Batman (edited by Denny O'Neil). He has written an essay on Watchmen for Sequart and he has co-edited a special issue of the online journal Reconstruction (on the theme of post-humanism), where he contributed to it the essay “X-Men, Emerson, Gnosticism.”

He has delivered twenty conference papers in three countries. At a conference about Superheroes and Fashion held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he hosted a discussion with the guys who created the Iron Man costume for the film, and the make-up effects artist in charge of Mystique and Nightcrawler from the X-Men films. Geoff is a regular presenter at Kevin Geeks Out at the 92nd Street Y, has appeared at the Comic Book Club in New York City, and numerous times on the pod-cast Comic Geek Speak, once with Marvel Comics writer Matt Fraction, who named a villain after him – the killer Dokkktor Klockhammer. He updates his blog Remarkable: Short Appreciations of Poetry and Popular Culture almost every day, with the help of guest bloggers.

He received a grant to study Kill Bill, which has resulted in a 70 minute mash-up showing films and their influence on Tarantino's masterpiece. He has no idea what to do with this thing.

After dropping out of the Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin, and after publishing his first book, he worked as a night-watchman in downtown Manhattan, where he read a book a night for two years. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where he is the co-chair of Writing and Literature and teaches courses philosophy, literary criticism and British Literature 1.

Geoff Klock was raised in Texas, where he attended a performing arts high school. He was born in 1979, and is an avid cyclist.


Please email at geoff [DOT] klock [AT] gmail [DOT] com.

You can mail him things at

199 Chambers Street, N-711
New York City, NY 10007

Monday, February 20, 2006

Harold Bloom's Pal Donnie Darko

[Please disregard the date on this post.]

Many years ago I wrote an essay for Post Scriptum on time travel, and movies and the poetics of influence. The problem is it ridiculously hard to get to, for no reason. Here are the directions.

Click Post Scriptum to go to

Click "Cliquez ici pour voir la premiere version du nouveau site>>"
then click "numéros Précédents"
then click "Numero 2 (Printemps 2003): Anachronisme et intempestivite"
then click "Précédents numéros,"
then click "2003-02 Anachronisme et intempestivité,"
then click the arrow above leading to articles.
Finally, select "Harold Bloom's Pal, Donnie Darko."

There is probably an easier way to do this, but I do not speak French.