MY CRITERION WEEKEND: Okay, so I'm broke, yet I still blow money on stuff I arguably don't need. However, I decided to offset that by having my yearly eBay firesale. I culled my DVD collection and put up about 10. I've made over $100 bucks in the last week. Of course, that money's not going into's being immediately spent. Lately it's been on Criterion Collection DVDs. For those uninitiated, Criterion DVDs are the gold standard. They usually cost $30 or more (and one I bought last night was $40!!!) and are sumptuously packaged, expertly transferred, sound restored, booklets full of essays, etc. Criterion is mostly known for re-releasing foreign and art house films, most recently Krzysztof Kieslowski's masterpiece The Double Life of Veronique. That's the one I paid $40 for last night and it is worth every penny.

Each Criterion release has a number, so movie buffs collect them. Occasionally, a Criterion version DVD goes out of print and then the price on the secondary market goes through the roof. Try looking up Criterion's release of The 400 Blows or Salo or Sid & Nancy. Since I'm an eBay whore, I've been in heated down to the last second bidding wars for a few Criterion DVDs in the last couple of weeks. Here's what I won/retail price/what I paid:

An Angel At My Table/$39.99/$24.50
Tanner '88/$29.95 /$24.50
Jules and Jim/ $39.95 /$27.99
Cleo From 5 to 7 /$29.95/$21.75
Brief Encounter /$39.95 /$20.44

I think I did pretty damn well. I had bid almost up to retail on Double Life of Veronique, but decided it would actually be cheaper just to go to Border's and pick it up. Some eBayers (esp. at the holidays) pad their auctions with outrageous shipping and handling charges. Beware, eBayers! I can tell you for a fact that it costs bout $2 to ship a normal size DVD in a padded envelope. Some folks are charging $5 and $6 for shipping. EBay is eventually going to have to regulate this somehow.

The only two Criterion DVDs that I want at the moment continue to elude me on eBay: The Spirit of the Beehive and My Own Private Idaho. I've lost these several times in the last week by mere pennies. You have to sit and obsessively refresh eBay when you're in a hot bidding war for something. You have to have a good broadband connection and quick fingers. Mine haven't been quick enough. EBay is my Vegas and Atlantic City all rolled into one. I prefer the eBay odds.

Anyway, The Double Life of Veronique is gorgeous and poetic. The film transfer is glorious. I also watched Elevator the Gallows (which Mal gave me for my Birthday). Jeanne Moreau wandering around Paris to a Miles Davis score...bliss. More and more lately, films have been inspiring my poetry more than other poetry. Tonight I'm working on a poem to submit for The Private Press's next David Lynch-inspired anthology about Mulholland Drive. I've said before writing to order is not my bag, but when you've got Lynch to inspire you, the words come naturally.

Cherryl Floyd-Miller continues to work on "The Race Quilt," which is made up of squares inspired by poems she solicited for this landmark project. I was so pleased she asked me to participate. This quilt is going to have a big impact when it's completed. You can see her sketch design for my poem, "My Parents Uwittingly Take Me To See The Color Purple At A Black Theater," at her blog now.

This afternoon I interviewed poet Bruce Covey for The Business of Words and he read from his new collection Elapsing Speedway Organism published by No Tell Books. His poems are wonderfully strange and experimental. The show will be available for podcast at Leisure Talk Network later this month. I'm lining up more guests for shows in 2007. Because of my hectic schedule, I've only been taping two or three new shows every couple of months, and that will probably continue. I don't want the show to become a grind, so I like having it as an occasional special when a book of poetry comes out that I really love or there's a poet who needs more recognition. Watch this space.

Many of you will have received my email blast about Slow To Burn being added to the MFA curriculum at San Jose State University in California. Fellow poet Kate Evans made this happen and I will be going out to speak to her creative writing students in April. I am so pleased! Also, The Thrill and The Hurting anthology is now sold out, according to Morning Fog Press. Customer demand will decide a reprint. We are already talking about a Volume 2 for the near future. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy!


Anonymous said…
You're never going to get to London at this rate. But they do look pretty. I love An Angel at My Table.

Anonymous said…
Great buys. Great films.
Anonymous said…
OMG! You are into those hot ebay bidding wars too. Welcome, it nice to meet another Ebay fanatic.

I was myself into those ebay bidding wars until my bank account said it had enough, so I had to slow down a bit :-(

You are so right about those shipping charges. I have seen items for a dollar and shipping rates of $9. I hope they do regulate it more, because the shipping rates are outrageous at times.

Glad to hear students will be reading your poetry in California, and way to go on being sold out. That is a great confirmation. I see a big poetry horizon ahead :-)

Oh, by the way, that quilt looks pretty good from the sketch.
Anonymous said…
Those two films are favorites.I adore Kieslowski films.
michi said…
aaahhh a campion! i wrote my master's thesis on her first three films (not the made for tv thingy, but sweetie, angel at my table, and the piano). amazing stuff. and even though i have watched these movies countless times and taken them apart for analysis, they are still beautiful and i still love them. which says a lot.


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