Thu-Apr-05 Philadelphia, PA Northstar Bar *
Fri-Apr-06 Arlington, VA Artisphere / Chickfactor 2012: For The Love of Pop!
Sat-Apr-07 Baltimore, MD Golden West *
Sun-Apr-08 Richmond, VA Strange Matter *
Mon-Apr-09 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506 *
Tue-Apr-10 Atlanta, GA 529 *
Thu-Apr-12 Oxford, MS Cats Purring Dude Ranch *
Fri-Apr-13 Dallas, TX Club Dada *
Sat-Apr-14 Austin, TX Red 7 *
Mon-Apr-16 Phoenix, AZ Rhythm Room *
Wed-Apr-18 San Diego, CA Soda Bar *
Thu-Apr-19 Los Angeles, CA The Satellite *
Fri-Apr-20 Santa Cruz, CA Crepe Place *
Sat-Apr-21 San Francisco, CA Brick and Mortar Music Hall *
Mon-Apr-23 Portland, OR East End *
Tue-Apr-24 Vancouver, BC The Biltmore *
Wed-Apr-25 Seattle, WA Barboza *
Thu-Apr-26 Missoula, MT The Badlander *
Sat-Apr-28 Fargo, ND The Aquarium *
Sun-Apr-29 Minneapolis, MN 7th St Entry *
Mon-Apr-30 Chicago, IL Township *
Tue-May-01 Detroit, MI Magic Stick *
Wed-May-02 Toronto, ON The Shop under Parts and Labor *
Thu-May-03 Albany, NY Valentine’s *
Sat-May-05 New York, NY Mercury Lounge *#
* = w/ DIVE
# = w/ Spectrals
McSWEENEY’S: Can you give us an overview of the creation of Love, an Index? Did you write these poems over one super-intense summer? Over ten years?
LINDENBERG: I started the book in 2006, when Craig Arnold and his son Robin and I were living together in Rome. It was a book about our unconventional little family, about love and its many complications. I always intended it to converse as well with a long tradition of poems about love, from Sappho to Frank Stanford. I worked on it slowly alongside other projects for a few years, and it was well underway, about half written, when Craig vanished in April 2009.
At that stage, as you can imagine, the direction of the book changed dramatically, as did my feeling of urgency about it. Thanks to an unbelievably merciful twist of fate, I was awarded a seven-month residential fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, beginning the fall of 2009—only a few months after losing Craig. The fellowship afforded me a place to hide out for a while. It was at the Work Center that I completed most of the book.
McSWEENEY’S: Love, an Index can be read, in one sense, as an extended elegy. But it’s also a deeply affirmative book. Can you say something about the relationship between the two—elegy and affirmation?
LINDENBERG: You grieve someone because you love them. Grief sharpens the edge of that love to something excruciating. Love amplifies that grief to something deafening.
I think it is also important to remember that elegy is a story of change—elegy, true elegy, culminates in some kind of coming-to-terms. It can hold onto the affirmation without requiring the grief. Elegy takes our attachment and desire and longing and sublimates it into song.
McSWEENEY’S: Why write poetry?
LINDENBERG: I think there is a general misconception that you write poems because you “have something to say.” I think, actually, that you write poems because you have something echoing around in the bone-dome of your skull that you cannot say. Poetry allows us to hold many related tangential notions in very close orbit around each other at the same time. The “unsayable” thing at the center of the poem becomes visible to the poet and reader in the same way that dark matter becomes visible to the astrophysicist. You can’t see it, but by measure of its effect on the visible, it can become so precise a silhouette you can almost know it.
McSWEENEY’S: You often use very plainspoken, direct language, but you also have such facility for enlivening seemingly archaic language. What drives those choices?
LINDENBERG: Language is expansive and continuous—it is not a pop song that can only include that which is currently trendy, and it is not a politician’s speech, relentless in its earnestness. It’s a litany and a lollapalooza of the new (BFF, OMG, WTF, BTdubs) and the old (shindig, firewater, floozy—or further back—vassal, nunnery, bludgeon). And we haven’t even gotten to the regional (pop, for soda, or heathen, for Democrat). Here in Utah, I’m a big fan of our local expletives, like: “Oh my heck.” Oh, my heck, whyever not indulge? Language isn’t just a tool of surgical precision, it’s the music you play to set the mood for the party, it’s the blazer you wear to the yacht club, it’s the balaclava you put on when you’re robbing the bank.
McSWEENEY’S: Robbing the bank?
LINDENBERG: Or whatever you do for fun.
McSWEENEY’S: You’ve made poetry out of Facebook “Status Updates.” Why?
LINDENBERG: This goes to the heart of the question of address. You write status updates to… whom? 574 of your closest friends? Assuming… what? That anyone will see? or care? These poems were an experiment of a sort—and they’re quite sincere, but that’s not to say they aren’t also lucidly aware of their own (what is it?) ridiculousness? Excess, perhaps. What is okay to share? What isn’t okay to share? In what form and in what forum? These are some of the questions that occasioned the Facebook poems.
McSWEENEY’S: You’ve called yourself a “maximalist.” What do you mean by this? What is maximalism in terms of poetry and language?
LINDENBERG: Well, on one hand, it has to do with a kind of idiosyncratic exuberance, a kind of unapologetic bigness. The language of the poetry workshop and the language of contemporary poetry generally is riddled with terms like “restraint” and “contained” and “earn” and “at stake”—language having to do with reduction or transaction, as if you had to bargain and haggle to make a poem, or you had to compress the world to get it to fit in the poem. And the truth is I’ve never even really understood what those terms mean, but I do always feel a bit hemmed in by them. And I don’t think you can write very ambitious poems feeling that way. I feel better when, instead of trying to be faithful to a set of poetic conventions, I’m trying to be faithful to the occasion and nature of the poem or, better yet, to the world that occasioned it. If I could write a map of the world the size of the world, I would feel great about it.
McSWEENEY’S: Might be predictable but… what are you working on next?
LINDENBERG: A map of the world the size of the world. Seriously.
5-16 New York, NY - Webster Hall !
5-30 - Dublin, Ireland @ Whelan’s
6-1 - Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Festival
6-2 - London, UK @ Field Day Festival
6-3 - London, UK @ Shacklewell Arms
6-13 Ottawa, ON - Club Saw
6-14 Toronto, ON - The Garrison [Panache Booking NXNE Showcase] ^
6-15 West Toronto, ON - Wrongbar [NXNE]
6-16 Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid [T-Rex Music Festival]
6-18 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
6-19 Fargo, ND - The Aquarium
6-21 Spokane, WA - Mootsy’s
6-22 Seattle, WA - Barboza
6-23 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios $
6-24 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
6-25 Santa Cruz, CA - 105 Pioneer St.
6-26 Los Angeles, CA - The Smell
6-28 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
6-29 El Paso, TX - Lips Lounge
6-30 Austin, TX - Red 7
7-1 Beaumont, TX - Victoria House
7-2 Jackson, MS - Hal & Mals
7-3 Atlanta, GA - 529 %
7-4 Belmont, NC - Haunted Mill
7-5 Washington, DC - DC 9
7-15 Chicago, IL - Pitchfork Festival
! w/ Ty Segall, White Fence, The Strange Boys
^ w/ Black Belles, Mac Demarco & more
$ w/ Hurry Up
% w/ Womyn Pryson
3/28 Birmingham, UK 3/29 London, UK 3/31 Manchester, UK 4/01 Glasgow, UK 4/02 Dublin, UK 4/07 San Bernardino, CA (Paid Dues Festival) 4/09 San Francisco, CA 4/11 Seattle, WA
1. Sea Lions - Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Sea Lions But Were Afraid To Ask
2. Ford & Lopatin - Channel Pressure
3. D’eon - Music For Keyboards, Vol. 1
4. Gonjasufi - MU.ZZ.LE
5. Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind Of Fix
6. Daedelus - Bespoke
7. Jenny And Johnny - I’m Having Fun Now
8. Neato Fleets - Reckless Tongue
9. Autechre - Move Of Ten
10. The Slits - Trapped Animal
This is a book for simple cooking and entertaining, which in my case was learned the hard way, for I started housekeeping in the all-too-glorious early 1920s when servants and food were plentiful and cheap. Dinners, even for four, were always formal; while the best gold-edged place plates, white-capped maids and a fish course were expected when more than six sat down to partake of, though not always to enjoy, dinner.
My own formal entertaining had a short life and ended within the first three years of my married career. By then a small son and a baby daughter had appeared to complicate matters, and nurses who would pinch-hit as waitresses were becoming increasingly hard to find. Nevertheless I perse- vered with the formality my mother had preached, doing my best to live up to her beautiful standards of living. Until, finally, there arrived the fatal day when I prepared the dinner that was to honor a very important and dignified guest, little knowing it was to be my last affair of the sort.
It began with the usual telephone discussions, and the promise of mother’s butler for the occasion. With her help this menu was finally evolved—we thought it a simple one, too:
Oysters on the half-shell with cocktail sauce
Clear green turtle soup
Broiled shad roe with sauce tartare in lemon baskets New potatoes with parsley butter
Small brown bread sandwiches
Sliced cucumbers in French dressing
Celery Radishes Olives
Broiled chicken New peas
Fresh pineapple salad—served in the whole fruit Cream cheese Hot toasted water biscuits Bar-le-Duc
The whole was finished off by one of those wonderful three-decker meringues for which Philadelphia caterers are still famous—followed of course by coffee and brandy in the living room, and afterwards three sedate tables of bridge.
Came the day of the dinner and also the food I had ordered; but, too, by noon came the news that the borrowed butler was on his half-yearly binge and totally unable to buttle, while that juvenile delinquent, my thoughtless baby daughter, showed signs of developing croup, and demanded much more than her share of nurse’s attention. Undaunted, I rolled up my sleeves and, side by side with cook, went to work. She made tartare sauce while I cut lemon baskets, the edges of which looked as though they had been bitten instead of pinked. I sliced cucumbers and brown bread; she pre- pared chickens, shad roe and shelled endless peas. (No Mr. Birds Eye and his lovely ready-to-cook frozen kind in those unenlightened days!) I gave up all thought of the salad and soup courses; and thanked heaven for the dependable caterer and his towering meringue which must, I felt, give my amputated dinner a final finishing touch of formality and splendor. By five in the afternoon everything was done—the lace-covered table sparkled with glass and silver, the best dishes stood ready in rows, and cook and I retired, she to snatch a short rest before her further work began, I to beautify what remained of me.
My pretty young sister, the second guest of honor, arrived at the house, bag and baggage, about six o’clock, listened with heartfelt sympathy to my tale of woe, swore she would be in there pitching as soon as she was dressed, then retired to her room, plugged in her electric vibrator and phft! every light in the house went out and, what’s more, stayed out all evening. One result of which was that it took an extra half-hour to round up two of our guests who, arriving on time and seeing our darkened windows, had gone home without ringing the bell, sure that they had mistaken the date; while the candles in the kitchen only seemed to intensify the gloomy depths from which cook’s voice spoke of an approaching nervous headache. Nurse, still radiating a slight croup-kettle odor of eucalyptus, announced dinner after the hurried cocktails, and my own nerves only relaxed when the remains of the juicy chicken that followed plump salt oysters and perfectly broiled shad roe, were removed from the table. Alas, things were going too well! Just as dessert was due a wail from the nursery caused the “waitress” to disappear like Cinderella at midnight, with a whisper to me that cook would surely be able to carry on for the concluding course.
Resigned but confident, I pushed the kitchen buzzer, waited, pushed the buzzer, waited, pushed the buzzer, then tottered through the pantry door. There in the kitchen sat cook, head in hands amidst unstacked dishes and guttering candles, gazing out of tear-filled eyes at a partially unwrapped meringue. The threatened headache was a grim reality and the poor creature could barely get upstairs. Bravely trying to keep some remnant of what I still felt was the necessary formality, I was just about to bring the meringue to the table when the guest of honor appeared in the kitchen and, with a heartening pat on my back, bore the icy pyramid to the dining-room sideboard where, amidst cheers, he announced himself as the new butler and proceeded to serve the dessert and jovially press second and third helpings with all the confidence of a stage “Jeems.” Coffee and brandy, still dignified by silver tray and cut glass decanter, were escorted into the living room by my husband, but by that time all formality had vanished and my guests continued what they maintained was their most enjoyable evening in years by shooting craps on the floor with the light of every remaining candle. When the electric company’s lineman arrived at eleven-thirty to fix a blown main fuse he was invited to try a few “rolls” before he finished the meringue, and he departed for his next call considerably richer. Our important guest really relished his kitchen supper of beer and selfmade onion sandwiches and when later he joined a game of softball in the hall, batting one of the baby’s worsted toys with a rubber-tipped plumber’s assistant, his dignity and my failure as a formal hostess were both completely forgotten, and I realized that elaborate entertaining with inadequate help was neither convincing nor worth the nerve-shattering effort.
Since then I have been shuttled financially and physically between a twelve-room house in the suburbs, a four-room shack in the country, numer- ous summer cottages and a small city apartment. An isolated and heatless farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore was my home during the war years. In all of these abodes I have found that providing a really heartfelt welcome and simple and plentiful food gives any hostess an advantage over the famous man who built the better mousetrap. A world of friends will beat a path to your door.
1. d’Eon - Music For Keyboards Vol. 1
2. Pepper Rabbit - Red Velvet Snow Ball
3. Owen - Ghost Town
4. Barn Owl - Lost In The Glare
5. Ilyas Ahmed - With Endless Fire
6. Bonobo - Black Sands Remixed
7. Ben Vida - Esstends-Esstends-Esstends
8. Lapalux - When You’re Gone
9. Jim O’Rourke - Old News No. 7
10. Brent Amaker - Please Stand By