Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quick On-the-Road One-Handed Note: The Rumpus for My Birthday

Learning to write lefty.

And to peck
at the keys like
a poet.

The political consequences of the shift. Minutely felt as they are...

Many thanks to The Rumpus editors, as well as poet and reviewer David Peak, for publishing a kind, insightful review of Occultations. I was alerted to the review by friends, and reading it offered me new insight into what the hell I was or was not doing. The close reading is gracious and welcomed. Thank you!

Such wonderful poets have new books out. I will now have to wait till teaching in New York is over to see these new works (each of which I've read parts of, and have deeply been affected by):

--Susana Gardner's Herso - Black Radish Books // finally Gardner puts down her amazing book arts talents, others' manuscripts, and releases this difficult, spectral, book of poems.

--Sarah Mangold's An Antennae Called the Body - Little Red Leaves Textile Editions // I love LRL, the work they publish and the time they put in curating works. I also love Mangold's work, have for several years ever since reading Household Mechanics. Can't wait to read this book.

--C.J Martin's Two Books - Compline // Speaking of LRL editors, Martin's work has had an enormous impact on my thinking and writing. One of the most well kept secrets in contemporary poetry (well, not for much longer). And to wit, Michael Cross's new press (hot damn!) has published the book. That's celebratory.

--Carlos Soto-Roman's Philadelphia's Notebooks - Otoliths // I'm super excited about this. Speaking of well-kept secrets. At least here in the US. Whereas in Chile and elsewhere, Carlos Soto-Roman's work has been widely circulating. This work is bound to be....

Philadelphia's Notebooks

Philadelphia's Notebooks (book)

Print: $14.95
Carlos Soto-Román writes from the center of Empire with a sense of play (game pieces included) and clinical examination. His book is the work of an artist/world citizen who critiques the daily interrogations that come with being a new immigrant. The fun fact that Ellis Island was greatly expanded with landfill in the late 19th -early 20th century provides a basis for Soto-Román's signage marking poetry's place in a disposable culture. There are workbook exercises that encourage creative ways to answer the calls for loyalty oaths with a demand for radical possibility the host country includes in its PR material. This work also includes what the USA brand doesn't advertise—isolation and moments of utter despair. It is a truly American poem in that it's internationally inflected, from George Perec to German cinema to self-immolators from all over the world. "Philadelphia's Notebooks" could not be a more artful and timely reminder that “Every heart is a revolutionary cell.”—Frank Sherlock

--Oh, and here's a photo of my grandparents Alimelech and Tzivia (Kazakhstani). According to my aunt, they were active leftist revolutionaries, until one or both were swept up in one of the region's pogrom's.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two: 2

Recommended, two in-depth interviews with two fabulous poets/editors:

--the intrepid rob mclennan asks 12 or 20 questions of Marthe Reed's work. Her Black Radish title Gaze was the press's first. The book continues to stun me whenever I read it or part of it, disrupting my sententially mediated life.

--Jennifer Bartlett, a poet and editor I've long admired, is interviewed by Michael Northern for the current issue of Word Gathering. Among her other work, Bartlett and Northern discuss Beauty Is A Verb, a wonderful, diverse anthology of disability culture/post-abelist-related poetry they plus Sheila Black have edited, and which is forthcoming from Cinco Puntos in September.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carrie Hunter's The Incompossible

From SPD, so you can if you desire go back to the site and order, below is info on the release of Carrie Hunter's long-awaited The Incompossible. Another incompossible title from Black Radish Books, turning out beautiful works at a remarkably steady pace. I had the pleasure of proofreading/editing an early draft of this book, and I agree with Conrad (below): the work is haunting, language made strange and close reading made procedural -- where procedural here is redacted by the reading's output: short prose poems linked by the theoretical magic of the senses, and by a dystopianism that one can revel in and "reverse."

The Incompossible

Carrie Hunter

Publisher: Black Radish Books
PubDate: 6/7/2011
ISBN: 9780982573136
Price: $15.00
Quantity Available: 44
Pages: 120
Poetry. "Every once in a while there's a collection of poems that cancels my way of thinking for a better way. Carrie Hunter's THE INCOMPOSSIBLE divines 'The decapitated head of Lack.' Over and over she does this, 'To say we are reversed now.' She admits, 'I can see you and see through you' and those superpowers are invoked by the reader only through the reading, a gouged track in the soil of our minds for the trickling, soon rushing images renewing our senses. Thank you for the superpowers, thank you for the poems of the new mind"—CAConrad.

Author Hometown: SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA

About the author: Carrie Hunter received her MFA/MA in the now defunct Poetics program at New College of California and edits the small chapbook press ypolita press. She is the author of several chapbooks, including Vorticells (Cy Gist Press), Kine(sta)sis (Dusie), The Unicorns(Dusie), A Musics (Arrow as Aarow), and Diary (Dusie). She lives in San Francisco. 

ypolita press

Friday, June 17, 2011

Scrawl: Hospitalogy from TSKY in 2012, updates, thank you

Been quiet here, here I mean.

Reason: lost function of my hands, or "these hands" -- so, more walking, less writing.

But much has happened in here (let alone simpliciter) since my last post. It's gotten to the point at which I need peck at the keys:

--Woke up a couple days ago to find that Tarpaulin Sky Press selected Hospitalogy and Claire Donato's Burial (I'm keen on this title combo) as their Fall 2012 titles. I'm thrilled to work with Christian Peet and all at TSKY, and am honored to have had this title selected, especially as situated among such beautiful books & authors as company (see the shortlist). Thank you, TSKY eds!

--Great to see CA Conrad when he came out here for a short reading tour. Spent the day eating chocolate  and various organic chips. The reading at SPLAB (Seattle) was spectacular. Conrad's new poems, book forthcoming, are gorgeous. And would like to point folks to the Jupiter 88 Special edition, commemorating Allen Ginsberg for his birthday, with several poets discussing their first interactions with Ginsberg or his work.

--Also many thanks to Conrad for doing a Jupiter 88 issue of me reading from Hopsitalogy. I love that Planet!

--Just got the complimentary issue of the new Aufgabe (10) in the mail. As usual: big, beautiful, awesome poetry, art, and review--with a special section of French poetry in translation, edited by Cole Swenson. Awesome. Huge thanks to E. Tracey Grinnell, Julian Brolaski, & Paul Foster Johnson for putting together a must-read.

---Wonderful time on the road, teaming up with Eleni Stecopoulos at Evergreen (where she read with the amazing David Abel - awesome night, packed room), then to Philly, reading and doing a performative "interview" for the new c/c reading series curated by Nicholas DeBoer & Jamie Townsend. It was very much like (as it always is) coming home. Great to see CA Conrad, Debrah Morkun, Carlos Soto-Roman, and many other wonderful human creatures... Eleni read from some beautiful new work--spare and jagged--and from Armies of Compassion (Palm Press), one of my favorite books of all time...

--Read a week later with Sam Truitt and Maryrose Larkin at the KSW. Many thanks to kind, fantastic Jordan Scott, Kim Duff, and Cris Costa. And to those who participated in the evening. Too short a stay, as usual, but left feeling sure about returning soon. Sam read in Seattle for an Evergreen/Seattle Poetry team-up, via poet/curator Will Owen, and we had a lovely evening.

--Discovered Rob Halpern's forth. Music for Porn now has a page at Dartmouth's Press. Exciting. Soon. Nearly imminent!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

At Last...

Wax Buffet: Double Book Launch
Robert Mittenthal   *   Wax World  *  Chax Press
Donato Mancini    *   Buffet World   *  New Star Books

with film from 
Brandon Downing
Tuesday 3 May 8pm
Gallery 1412
1412 18th Ave (just north of Union)

Friday, April 29, 2011

@ Harriet: Donovan Talks With Halpern & Stecopoulos on "Somatics?"

First, many thanks to Rob Halpern, Thom Donovan, and Eleni Stecopoulos--whose poetries and critical writings, social engagement and radical pedagogies a la participation in Nonsite Collective--I am deeply indebted to. Indebted in the sense of communis--the reciprocal gift, i.e., receiving and giving care--that perhaps needs occur for an ethical sociality, a common body to emerge from, and as alternative to, the rubble of neoliberalism. Rob and Eleni respond to Thom Donovan's questions as part of Donovan's ongoing series at Harriet regarding a poetry of/from "somatics." Rob and Eleni give several of us--among countless others they note can be named--mention with respect to the question of what somatics might mean as set of practices, as set of common and yet importantly overlapping investigations and collaborations. Thom's work here, like the engagements I've been part of, perhaps, is shaped by critical interaction and participation in other media, as well as broader social concern. For me, from labor organizing alongside participating in auditory and acoustic live performance, gestural and live art--and from years of living with "disability" as defined by an ableist culture. For Thom, I suspect, and related--thru his engagement with dance and the visual arts, contemporary conceptual and land artists. And I think Thom and I probably both felt that Rob's opening remarks (followed by other gorgeous ruminations by he and Eleni) registered deeply. From Rob:

To be honest, Thom, I don’t know what “somatics” means. And if “somatics” means something to me and my work, this can only be because it has some collective resonance, if only as a provisional frame of loose reference for investigating together the relationships between body, language, and social space. Somatics seems to be about working collaboratively in a range of areas to link very different practices by way of some shared concerns around embodiment: from poetics to choreography, psycho-geography to medicine, body work to translation, community history to political militancy.

Prior to publication of the interview with Rob, I emailed Thom about, I believe, his first post at Harriet regarding somatics, what I too take to be a constellation of becoming social relations and direct and indirect collaborations, not a term or field--an emergent set of rather diverse responses to what amounts to a crisis of the living: aesthetic practices that nonetheless all house within them the poison seeds of disembodiment, erasure, obsolescence, and violence upon this construction called the body. I emailed Thom thanking Thom for what I felt he was crucially getting to as part of these Harriet posts, and importantly thru interview, problems of discourse somatics begins to confront, or come into tension with, discourse in the sense of sedimentation, fixity, taxonomy, expertise, locality, and potential devaluation, via, rather than "return" to the body in CAConrad's sense (which is a finding of infinite excess and a social relation), a referent for something like a universal singular--something, as Stecopoulos notes, could resonate as replacement for or analog of "voice," hence, enclosure.

Related, lurking here is always (for me) a blurring of the important distinction between "a body" and "the body." I've wondered also about those of us who seek to articulate that heteronormative blurring, deconstruct it, and then reconstruct it on other terms--a project of gender negation. At what point does "somatics"--as term denoting a multitude of practices, as it stands--potentialize that blurring but also potentialize  occluding or precluding it, making of "a body" a sort of tradable good, an articulated (even designated) membrane beginning to harden contra lived relations and their unavoidable contradictions (and high stakes)? Thom, Rob, and Eleni, I felt, help address for me the complications and contradictions of bodies in searching contact in this regard. And of course so have so many others--those souls Rob and Eleni write about (David Buuck, Brenda Iijima, CAConrad, Brandon Brown, Amber DiPietra, Robert Kocik, Daria Fain). Something Rob writes I think warrants a great deal of lingering on:

So much has been made of “the body,” and yet it feels as though it’s always about to become a bland fetish, a hygienic fixture, an allegorical trope, rather than a set of messy stakes and real consequences. Brian Whitener and I were talking about this on Sunday afternoon at the “Movement, Somatics, and Writing” Symposium. What is not being talked about when we talk about “the body”? Whose body? Can it ever be definite? Can it ever be singular? Brian was referring to false intimacy, and the porousness of skin, and I was thinking about our vulnerability to penetration—be it by flesh, prosthetic, or bullet—and an unsettling line at the limit of Music for Porn: “My cock hardens in a soldier’s wound.”

Rob importantly locates some of these practices that have been called "somatics" within a concretized (as well as future-anterior) social frame of "messy stakes and real consequences," later quoting both MLK from his "Letter" and Bruce Boone from his Century of Clouds.  The immediate complicating of meaning and practice here with concrete stakes is, it seems to me, to "confess" to the vulnerability we have with one another and to discourse, to "confess" perhaps to the discomfort of unwitting, inevitable, or potential complicity in the mechanisms of identity reduction (to commodity and to the obsolete) that "somatics" emerges from, where to make visible always has tactical downsides (I think here of Dean Spade's "Trans Law On a Neoliberal Landscape" as a treatment of the militancy of relative invisibility, its power as organized and cloaked counter-intelligence--"under cover of darkness.").

Enriching Rob's important acknowledgment of the contradictions and stakes of real bodies, Eleni's remarks register, for me, a malleable framework for thinking about bodies and bodies thinking us anew (as our senses become theorists and conversely) that I take to be crucial for we who seem, at this moment, to be collaborating:

 Recently the poet Patrick Durgin asked, “Is ‘somatics’ the new voice?” I thought this was a very interesting question because it raises the implication that poet-critics who invoke the term may be turning to the body for the same reasons that voice gets valorized—for uniqueness, authenticity, immediacy—the metaphysics of presence. But for me, the answer is “no.” Because my sense of somatics ultimately leads me away from the individual body and toward the interdependence we learn from disability culture, the microcosm and macrocosm we learn from Chinese medicine, where the individual body is always porous to the whole, toward environmental medicine where the highly sensitive prefigure the condition of the oikos—as I once heard Mei-mei Berssenbrugge say, “we’re not the aberration but the vanguard.”

I don’t look to the somatic for authenticity, but rather native estrangement. In a Poetics of Healing colloquium I curated with physicians and poets on the subject of listening, the medical historian and emergency medicine physician John Tercier said something that has stayed with me: “Poetry is language made strange, language that draws attention to itself. In illness the body is made strange. One of the things that privileges poetry [as therapeutic] is that there’s a certain relationship between the body made strange and language made strange.” But also I would say that in illness the body recognizes itself as strange. And in healing as well. One’s body becomes other, in the sense of care—you have to care for yourself as an other, or allow yourself to be cared for, which is also a kind of care. It’s the way that “therapy” derives from therapeutes, the attendant, the one who waits on you, serves you, treats you in the drudgery and abjection that sickness brings—treats you without any certitude, without knowing whether you will be cured. Lately I think it’s precisely in this labor—this experiment in the dark, this art of composition in real time—that the poetics of healing lies.

Here's to these labors, and to three writers, and their/our countless friends, for whom the stakes are too high to allow for common sense to be anything more or less literal than it is: to sense commonly, which can only come thru "this experiment in the dark," a lived relation vulnerable to estrangement, a "strange" thing, paradoxically emerging from dissensus, ultimately from ruptures in Common Sense. Messy and real.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vincent in NY

This is truly exciting. Many of us have loved and been fascinated by Stephen Vincent's "haptics," drawn energy grids of event cum hand & body, and in May Stephen's work will open in New York. The details are below, stolen from Stephen's blog. A congrats. And a thanks again for his two haptics he sent me, from readings/discussions in the Bay the past couple times I was out there. Check out the blog, too. Especially if you are not in/around NYC in May.

I am pleased to announce a new May show of my drawings and unique accordion fold books at the Jack Hanley Gallery in New York. If you are in the City during May, I will be delighted if you can check out the works! I will be there for the opening weekend and Reception. 
Gallery Details:
Friday, May 06 – Saturday, May 28 2011
Reception, Sunday, May 08,
6 – 8 pm
(Gallery will be open both Saturday & Sunday, 11 – 5; it is Gallery Week in Tribeca!)
Jack Hanley Gallery, 136 Watts, New York, NY 10013 (Tribeca)
(For directions to the Gallery, etc.)

DiPietra & Leto's Waveform

Please check out the new addition to Thom Donovan's Others Letters. DiPietra and Leto's collaboration is fascinating, gorgeous. I love the intersection of collage, epistolary poem (lyrical and terse), private and public here, body and repetition, body and struggle, body and machine. From Thom's announcement of the installment:

"When you have a chance, please check out this excerpt from Amber DiPietra's and Denise Leto's wonderful "epistolary poem,"Waveform, now up at Others Letters:


Others Letters publishes the correspondences of contemporaries--especially those articulating problems in contemporary practice--on an ongoing basis. 

If you have letters or email you'd like to share, by all means do so! I would love to hear from you....

Hope all are well,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review of The Arakaki Permutations

Richard Lopez contributes a generous review-close reading of James Maughn's startling The Arakaki Permutations, now out from Black Radish Books. Check out the book and review HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Galatea Resurrects & BR Books

As usual, Eileen Tabios has curated a veritable tapas of book reviews for Galatea Resurrects. Among the books reviewed are James Maughn's newly released Arakaki Permutations and Kathrin Schaeppi's Sonja Sekula: Grace in a cow's EYE: A Memoir, which garnered two reviews, one from Tabios. Also featured are new poems from Marthe Reed, author of the BR book Gaze. Enjoy the issue. And many thanks to Tabios.

CAConrad & Halinen, End of April

Courtesy of Greg Bem of SPLAB. Please join CAConrad for a special (soma)tic poetry workshop or a reading. But why not both? Click on the image to enlarge for full details. I'm personally very excited to see Conrad again. He's reading and workshopping on my mother's birthday. In the skin.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Synchronous Excesses

Synchronicity, thinking of KPrevallet's notion of. It just so happened that... Or did it?

At Michael Cross's The Disinhibitor blog == a set of translations, encirclements by Brandon Brown. Of Baudelaire's "Obsession." Did not close that window,

instead (as the week of searing labor rallies reaches its dangerous pitch--"dangerous" because I still fear mistaking non-immediacy for non-effect) "minimized" it. And opened onto Bhanu Kapil's this:

I want to think about performances that stem from a text, where a text has reached the limits of a verbal capacity.  The scene that exceeds the book, or cannot, in the book, be redistributed [re-dreamed]  ...

I take this out of context. But think even so this moment of reaching (jumping? as in: with eyes closed?) is worth the meditative operations of B.B's B's Ocean. So as to.

Since also I have so far gone inverse, from the gestural deep into the text. As deep as the seam will let me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Beauty Is A Verb Cover

I love it. The cover for the forthcoming anthology (post describing it below) of poetry & essay on/of disability & post-abelism, Beauty Is A Verb. I'm not sure who designed the cover, so no attribution yet--until I email lovely editor-human beings Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northern. Which I will do today.  

Week of Action & Solidarity - Workers in Oregon, WA, and BC, Canada Rally for Worker Rights

Mark your calendars. And please join us. In response to increasing attacks against state workers, and workers generally, by unfettered corporations and/or legislators. April 2nd marks the beginning of a week of actions. Schedule below.

   SATURDAY, APRIL 2 -- 2 p.m. at Peace Arch Park in Blaine -- This international rally will bring together unionists, students, activists from Canada,Washington State and Oregon to extend hands across the border in solidarity with all workers. This event will be co-sponsored by the British Columbia Federation of Labour; the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and the Oregon AFL-CIO. Please email Lori Province from the WSLC about mobilization efforts.

    MONDAY, APRIL 4 -- 5:30 - 7 p.m. at MLK Memorial Park in Seattle -- The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at 6:01 p.m. in Memphis, Tenn., where he was standing with sanitation workers demanding their dream of a better life. Today, the right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a middle-class life are under attack as never before. Join in this National Call to Action on April 4 and stand with other civil and human rights activists, union members and supporters, Latinos, Asians and immigrants, religious supporters, environmental, student and women's groups -- as we stand together across the country against a political agenda that is attacking working families, their human rights and their dignity. This event, sponsored by theCommunications Workers of America, will be at 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Seattle.

    WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6 -- 12pm/Capitol -- Washington Community Action Network will bring hundreds of community activists and students to Olympia in an attempt to find the sacrifices that the Legislature will make the bankers and billionaires pay to get us out of the economic crisis. Contact:jill@washingtoncan.org

    THURSDAY, APRIL 7 -- Time/precise location TBA -- Health care unions, led by SEIU District 1199NW, will mobilize health care workers in Olympia to demand that the Legislature fix the deficit problems and to look into the faces of the victims.

    FRIDAY, APRIL 8 -- Noon at the Capitol Steps, OLYMPIA -- This is the big one! All union members and supporters of public employees and quality state services will rally in Olympia to demand answers on how the Legislature will share the sacrifice by extracting a price from the bankers, billionaires and CEOs that got us into this mess, and how will they create jobs. In our state we will not allow workers' rights to be stripped away!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Roy & Heavy Chemicals

I believe it is possible to have one identity in your thumb and another in your neck. I think identities can travel between persons who have an unusual mutual sympathy. -- Camille Roy

<-----This resonates, as does the rest of Camille Roy's "Experimentalism. Why." as re-published by Michael Cross over on Cross's blog The Disinhibitor.

I come late to the hoopla (can hoopla be used to denote an exciting to-do without sarcasm? I hope so) -- above/later on Michael's blog is Part 1 of Roy & Cross corresponding (also deeply worthwhile), the interview marking the pre-engagement to Roy's forthcoming book of poems. That series of essays, from Narrativity, is on the whole eye-opening. Pieces by edwards, Roy, Gladman, and Halpern, and others, I've assigned in my poetry/poetics courses, each time spurring surprising seminar discussions. So, thank you Michael & Roy. For your giving instigation at the sound of the opening bell (computer turning on), which would involve, as the evening progressed, needing to work on the second semester of my course on poetry, poetics, and resistance to neoliberal enclosures. The Disinhibitor dis-inhibited once again, proving (proving? No. Something else, something something) that a smidge of online procrastination is potentially generative, this post, e.g., allowing me after reading it to engage in a comparatively articulate conversation with myself about "succinctness" in relation to writing evaluations of student work, an end of semester activity I long-windedly participate in three times a year as part of teaching at Evergreen. A pep-talk for the inevitable tremendous and indulgent failure that would ensue. I had fun.


[ I looked in the mirror when I got up and said aloud: "you are a motor vehicle today." Then began looking at the face, so-called. ]

Action Alert: More Union Busting Legislation

We've just received word – anti-worker legislators in the House are about to make it much more difficult for railway and airline employees to form unions.
House Transportation Chairman John Mica – who has taken more than $620,000 in campaign contributions from the airline industry – quietly slipped a provision into FAA reauthorization legislation that would count non-voters as "no" voters in union elections. So even if there are more "yes" votes than "no" votes, the "yeses" could still lose. Can you think of any other election that works that way? It's as outrageous as it is shamefully undemocratic.Congress could vote on the provision as soon as WEDNESDAY – we need to make sure they know Americans are actually paying attention!
Last year, the National Mediation Board established rules based on fundamental fairness and democratic principles for workers in the rail and airline industry. Now, those workers have the right to vote "yes" for a union or "no" against it. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Beauty Is A Verb

Many thanks to Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northern for bringing several of us together,  who are interested in discourses around "disability," and then spending much of this year editing our collected contributions of poetry and essay to the forthcoming anthology, Beauty Is A Verb: An Anthology of Poetry, Poetics, and Disability. Of course I've yet to see most of the specific contributions herein, but knowing many of the current contributors' work more generally, I think it safe to say that this anthology will, as Jennifer notes below, be wide-ranging within the largely contested bounds of disability studies as examined poetically. Many thanks too to those who contributed to Nonsite Collective's curricula on somatic practices, the commons, and disability/post-abelism. The curricula span the years 2008-present and each suite, as intersecting with the others, has influenced my thinking/writing thru "disability" -- perhaps more than any other one transitory locus of activity. (See the curriculum pages for past talks/discussions/performances etc.)

More on the book as it takes shape. For now, below is Bartlett's note:

Great news! The anthology I have spent the last year co-editing with Sheila Black and Michael Northen, Beauty is a Verb, is coming out in September from Cinco Puntos. It's a collection of poetry and poetics by/on poets with disabilities including Norma Cole, Brian Teare, Dannielle Pufunda, Michael Davidson, Jim Ferris, Larry EignerJosephine Miles, Cynthia Hogue, Denise Leto, Hal Sirowitz, and so on. 

Please help us spread the word. We believe this is the first such collection, and it crosses the genres of Language poetry, narrative poetry, New York School, Disability Poetics, and so on. If you know anyone who might be interested in reviewing the anthology or having a reading or university visit - please by all means, let us know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cannot Exist Chapbooks! & Cannot Exist 7!

Difficult to contain my excitement about this news. A new CA Conrad (soma)tic chapbook--on the heels of having read The Book of Frank and worked with Conrad's (soma)tics in my class the last 3 weeks. A new issue of Cannot Exist (a wonderful mag edited by Andy Gricevich, of one of my favorite troupes The Nonsense Company), and Sara Larsen's new chap, poems of which I've read and LOVE. Beautiful. The details, from the Cannot Exist blog:

special pre-order deals on new CANNOT EXIST CHAPBOOKS and CANNOT EXIST no.7

We are overjoyed to announce the first four volumes in the new series ofCannot Exist chapbooks, helped into being by editors Andy Gricevich and Lewis Freedman:

MUGGED Into Poetry by CAConrad
Bridge of the World by Roberto Harrison
The Hallucinated by Sara Larsen
How's the Cows by Jess Mynes

and also the imminent appearance of Cannot Exist no.7, featuring astonishing work by:
John Coletti
Corrina Copp
Beverly Dahlen
Connie Deanovich
Laura Elrick
Mike Hauser
Hailey Higdon
Sara Larsen
Kit Robinson
Ron Silliman
Dana Ward

All this will be coming in APRIL!

Seeds in Cars & Houses

for Brenda Iijima

Frame|d milk on brown
Oval ply|wood o monu
Meant.  Pour moi poor
Moi pic’d the doors

Jam|ed the hole|d
Spaces in me say and
Say for stay|ed
Wood.                         Ward.                         Ave.

Cars enshrine|d the yearly
The early drive slow|ed
To see the grammar of engines
Post-Fordian             low hum names a
Time|d for skill|ed death these
Scratches            [escratches]

Never snapp|ed shots
Like the eye this is,
Drinks some re verbs
This statue|d can I talk
To a 74 chevy novas

Imagine|d registers
The monetary value
Of my mother said
Stead.                        Read.                        Drink

Up before the sun
Comes unhinge|d
For strong bones
To with|stand to cup
The shear of History

Pavements a bust of pre
The ave|s sponsors
In|stalled a deadhouse
After house says xe says
Frame|d how each

Mile we drove we
Drive stands in
For a future             WORD
Speed  ometer reads us
Crystalline, milk|ed still.              Sill.                        Steel.

Comp in
The margins  
Log of names a chasse
What writes itself
A question comes apart

Slows as pour|ed us may
Be back fires burn
Outs in wait for shows:            what

Rises to the surface is
All ways has been            a             has
Been in the interval?

Keep the Pressure On: Wisc. Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Anti-Worker Legislation, Rallies Continue

This is a cross post from the Wisconsin State Journal

A Dane County judge Friday issued a temporary order blocking implementation of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial measure limiting collective bargaining rights for public employees, saying a legislative committee likely violated the state Open Meetings Law when it rushed passage of the bill March 9.
Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued the order around 10:30 a.m. in a lawsuit brought by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.
The ruling bars Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law, the last step before it can take effect. La Follette had planned to publish the law on March 25, which would cause it to take effect the following day.
Walker, who signed the bill last week, had asked La Follette to publish it sooner. But La Follette said he saw no urgency to move the law ahead and wanted to give legal challenges a chance to run their course.
The crowd kept growing today as thousands marched on the Wisconsin state capitol to support the right of workers to bargain for a good life. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

from Occultations @ Greg Bem's Stale Attitude, Plus Heroldo de Campos

Greg Bem (co-curator of The Bredline Performance Series, to the left), I've discovered, is another person who seems to have an endless well of energy, and more importantly, a desire to start trouble in the best ways here amid the growing Seattle poetry communities. He's curating many things, helping out with others, and got his sleeves generally rolled up when it comes to making stuff. After we met and talked at the Hedreed Gallery reading awhile back, he emailed me the devastating de Campos poem "Transient Servitude." And asked if I would send him the poem I read from Occultations, "song for neighborhood watches," first published in Elective Affinities....

Greg has kindly published it here. Regarding the limitations of the body: I think we don't know what the body as a body desires. Or, maybe: "the body" is an empty picture frame. Only certain people can hold it up or hook it with an "=". Corporate persons, mirrors, ghosts. I am curious about the functional substrates of the marionette. What can't we do?


Charles Bernstein has written of de Campos that unlike the latter's concrete poetry, the lineated work and prose poems can't be translated other than radically, due to their multicultural/syncretic and citational "thickness." Properties which come from de Campos's particular practices of radical translation: an appropriation that resists export (hence commodified reduction thru translation) and also a notion of import that is tied to fidelity and autonomy (where translation bows in citational exactitude to its source material, its found authors, as "greater than" rather than for the love of...).  Since I do not read Portuguese (or speak it), really since I don't know de Campos's work very well either, I would not know what to think of this claim in relation to others that can be made of the poet's poetics and politics viz. translation and appropriation. So I think, instantly, of translator-poet Chris Daniels as one source for enlightenment here, someone who I need contact to hear more. Regardless of "accuracy" tho, I can see why Bem moves from de Campos to the talk we had, and the couple poems I read as part of that talk, but more so to the body and its status as pain-sensor and refractive collage conscious of its own desires, the consciousness dependent on social triggering and long-term administration (Grosz, "Bodies and Cities"). Questions about limit, sovereignty, and share-ability (perhaps what can only be translatability) of senses, desires, and the constative-performative polyglot aspects of utterance heard in shared vs unshared context. Under what conditions is that Poundian prima facie violence of rending--radical translating--not a kind of expropriation or subsumption of voice? In both Pound and in de Campos, and also in Zukofsky and in (my mind wanders) Cage, and early 20th cent. American and European composers such as Krenek, the ethos of radical translation is made possible, perhaps, by building these appropriational structures on a foundation of intimacy, i.e., solidarity, with that source. And by solidarity I mean to muddy the waters: I'd hope that to avoid expropriation or subsumption there would need be an affinity with people whose works one mines, but clearly with Pound that's not so tout court. His lack of solidarity with some of the people whose work he cites might be matched only by his solidarity with their poetries--which, however contradictory that may be, is also a typical position for modernist authors convinced that poets were potentially separate (I say potentially because Barthes hasn't become fashionable yet) from their poems (with the proviso that when one likes the person and the poetry, the two are exceptionally one). "Penetration" and "touch" as contiguous I think as I write this, relating these initial flickers back to both Halpern and Finch on Oppen, where I take Halpern and Oppen to be especially nuanced with regard to being concerned with care (of bodies, of thoughts, of texts) on the one hand and staging of dissensus via submission and vulnerability, on the other: in both the either/or here collapses, the hands come together so to speak.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Exciting Read O The Day: Williams on Toscano on Williams on CPT

[I cannot watch the news any longer. The images are too much. Panic attack earlier I think precipitated by them. On in background as I heard first in the morn about the traveling radiation. Selfishly thought about my mother. Went back to bed. Then: The death toll, as of my return tonight to this, the afternoon break-from-work post, is at 13,000 and rising in Japan. And the discussion over the numbers and images is what this means for the American and global economies, which is to say the stock market... Panic does you no good my grandpa used to say in the showers before going in his retiree complex pool... afraid not of the pool but the showers, toxic I used to know they were toxic to us.]


Doing my once-a-day break n read, then write, I came across new responses to the Labor Day 2010 event now on that event's blog, which as I write this, "event's blog" feels productively problematic in relation to the conversation that had me getting up from my chair and pacing several times in a row (first time that's happened this week). I've only read one response, the others later, but the Williams-Toscano piece is a deeply exciting one. I suspect Alli Warren, Suzanne Stein, Brandon Brown, David Brazil, and Sara Larsen (and contributors to) will not mind me excerpting what I take to be one of the disappearing axes of Tyrone Williams' piece on Toscano (or Toscano's on Williams, or the two as they morph thru each other):

CPT (even the small part I witnessed at Miami University, Ohio in early 2009) relentlessly puts forth the dilemma of articulating positions for resistance, if not opposition, and the seemingly impossibility (or difficulty) of locating positions for resistance, and yet the radical non-site of CPT suggests that this indeterminate (in space and time) resistance might be more potent than any kind of localized/specified politics of opposition since the “opposite” itself has been annexed by capitalism/imperialism and the historical failure of a Marxism contorted into “premature” states—a prematurity that resulted in totalitarianism. Would these histories serve as warnings for what is posed at the outset of CPT, that “premature truncation into social discourse in general”? Would poetic discourse, here, serve as a kind of anti-absorptive obstacle and reserve for a culture and economics founded on the innovation/obsolescence dyad?

Rodrigo Toscano from (New Resistant Subjects [Bot to Bot]} part 4 of Conditions of Poetic Production and Reception

One way that [kari] edwards invited the precariousness that we‘re talking about (―not an avant-garde that must think itself in relation to an ‗outside‘…or one that plays in sandboxes of semiotics forever either‖) was by incorporating biological-physical death as an inbuilt limit to key life-making processes (labor, art, sex); and by extension, the ―freedoms‖ that these processes suggest, that they must be embraced as completely as possible. But I would suggest too that these same ―life-making processes,‖ – that they too, be understood as constrictions to yet other life-making processes, ones that are as yet unidentified. This would suggest a rather strange embrace of anti-―purpose‖ (even as voluntary degradation!) so that we have to make curiosity, make the chimerical, make the evanescent even, that is, in contrast to ―research.

There is not only translation of a poetics into a space there is only translation of the body into the body in another space even if—especially if—the body is the “same.” This body typing this today, 1/18/10, MLK Day, a “national holiday,” is not the same body that will soon arise from this chair.. 

Williams' and Toscano's (re)turn to the body here is crucial for current and future political-poetic (aesthetic) engagement. The body as first site(s) of resistance and transformation, of becoming; and the absorptive economy that blocks and threatens to block a return (or turn) to the body as such. There's more than an analogy between labor organizing in the concerted, more directly goal-driven way one thinks of such organizing, and the CPT discussion Williams and Toscano engage in here (not to mention Williams' poetry, and in CPT itself).

It's that "getting up from my chair" or "arise from this chair" moment, the determinate coordinates of that getting up or not getting up, and the indeterminacy-potential of that motion, that I'm interested in. In Williams' beautiful reminder of the little deaths each of us undergoes in the moment the body rises. But also in the parameters (perceived and "actual") in the moment between starting to rise and having risen into (unto?) something else. Here getting "stuck" in that middle position can be thought of as an affective disability now re- or de-articulated as liminal strength, as capacity of/thru the as-yet and the un-named. I'm interested in this. And in relation to Williams' wondering whether CPT enacts thru its continual moments of release-time (where bodies under stressful reaching--these entities--desire us to release them for more pleasurable future positions), an indeterminate resistance (and tension) that might be "more potent than any kind of localized/specified politics of opposition, since the "opposite" itself has been annexed by capitalism/imperialism."

[ Toscano and Williams discuss edwards' commitment to the possibilities the body's embrace (as acknowledgment, as limit, but as therefore possibility-making) of its own death in this regard, as to embrace life-making processes of labor, sex, art, to truly hold onto them, is to allow for the body to translate into another, for these little deaths to occur along the way (a letting go and return, a continual dispersal and return, an urgency there in this process). And what edwards' poetics and activism might afford us here (a gorgeous right-on connection come what may), and my thinking of the counter-commonsense involved in that giving over to another, in a kind of death of self and so its return but transfigured, this embrace (presence), instancing a poetic that closes gaps between just-then and just-now, between representation and non, between bodies (life-giving contact and giving up of propriety in a sense, a more than acknowledgment, in each instance, sex, art, labor, speaking of de-privatization), where radical liminality, even disappearance or non-legibility at moments of contact (not in general but in these generative moments of greatest urgency, intimate) can be counter-intuitively a potent resistance of indeterminacy, becoming--hence a making or opening up to what Toscano senses these processes might be constricting? I don't know... I think of edwards here in relation to Dean Spade lately, having just read the work of both, together...]

That unexpected difficulty--prima facie impossibility, for some--of getting up (where "to get up" isn't an abelist or normative notion, but obviously metaphorical of any social or other movement) I take as the zero-moment of resistance, hence central to the problem with what reads, to me, in an otherwise uncompromisingly nuanced piece, as flat distinction between local political opposition on the one hand and indeterminate resistance instanced as "non-site" by CPT on the other (this reading, of course, hinges on what Williams means by "local," not so much on what counts as as oppositional). Or: that "political opposition" is not also potentially laden with indeterminacy in that praxis-oriented or dialogic way that CPT opens up and that "hides" from inoculation by capitalism. Not that I take Williams to be asserting this near-binary tout court, or not that I take CPT to be recapitulating it either. Since rather than an assertion, a deduction, we get "warning" here. As resistance to categorical splits, to border generally, the positive articulation of that warning perhaps, i.e., part of the poetics of CPT.

I've felt the very illegibility of unhousing fixed self, felt the tiny death, these small chasms in my risings, and felt them as not poetic, not in political organizing, not either--but in/as both. Moments of radicalization. But also a legibility or fixity inherent in, or as possible consequence of, that (repetitive) motion of rising up from my chair, feeling the exposure of that (a feeling of completing the task, as it were, that is this body's enclosed shape to the world, body-snapshot). I've felt its compliment, not getting up (resistance lacking), or mistaking not doing so with doing so, via the virtualization of the motion, which is to say in failing to get stuck, the increasing likelihood of mistaking the motion of clicking into as getting up or as getting stuck, going somewhere- (becoming some I-) else, mistaking virtualization as social becoming rather than the next legibility-making position (the next release) to occur, ["click-ing/link-ing/scroll-ing"] mistaken often enough as something other than monument to its prior iteration. A fixed body, or isolated body, or body that becomes slowly and alone, stills until it is monument to your future you. The thinking ahead that the body parameters in CPT (these tension moments) induce in me, a compression and/or a projection of subjective times... feels markedly different from the virtualization of action (the virtual rise writing this) in its inverse-ness (its lack of potential for projecting ahead, with no-thing to project ahead to, non-expectation in a negative or void sense), and yet the inverse relation is not not obviously so maybe, but I've felt it, from my experience of CPT the several times I've encountered it, that very projecting ahead Williams writes about (or is it Toscano?). As sitting audience. The experience for me also speaks to Toscano's notion--which Williams enacts in his own writing a world in On Spec--that "our languages need to be freed for us to be free... in a sense." And so the book gives way to radio play, radio play still not "enough," the thing needs wiggle out into the live-gestural. There's an after-effect (affect?) of CPT participation as audience (but more so as entity perhaps) that I think hopes to undermine the stranglehold of privatized language (the languages of globalization) but also privacy (online activism, a mono-linguistic non-gesture eg) has on us. And so CPT is agitational. Agitation for the agitators. But then the "is" maybe drops away in favor of another illegibility. Or I should say: another bug. (Williams' hope for less de-bugging, riffing on Toscano's boogie and sexualizing it, this erotic multi-coding is something necessary, I think. For Toscano's delineating differences between strikes and orgies is also to talk about their contiguity, their shared aspects. --- in "Strikes & Orgies," Wheelhouse PRESS Anthology 2009, also in Try Mag Issue ?)

Elsewhere I've written (in relation to CPT too) that organizing is (or often is) poetic in its indeterminacy and potential for constant becoming and embrace (or gift) of death ("even self-degradation!"), contiguous with the array of poetic motions of resistance. Though the poetic "of" organizing (of local political resistance with an eye towards non-border) is often enough pointed out to be threatened by the sedimentation of fixed opposition (hence exclusion and all else), not unlike the either/or moment of getting up/clicking over, that threat is pervasive, not of course unique to what we might think of as local political resistance (unless, by chance, such resistance is localized insofar as it willingly or unwittingly fortifies tactical, strategic, or social borders). What strikes me as the challenge here, is: how to translate into without raising the specter of necessary distinction above (potential binary) when evoking what is at least alluring for me--that the the poetic of organizing can be that "anti-absorptive obstacle" Williams sees CPT as pointing towards. Perhaps instead: organizing as potentially part of, and catalyst for, a diverse (trans-national or trans-) spectrum of un-activated possibilities ("as yet undefined" "life-making processes") the social in general carries around like a heavy shadow.

And that for organizing, Toscano and Williams' crucial challenges here seem to be: what might an organizing of indeterminacy with resistance to the things that block non-border look like, i.e., concretely? Or as pervasively as to no longer be legible as such? Or as I think of it: how might the organizing conversation (linguistic and non) itself (the poetic intentionalized), a social form Toscano is intimately familiar with, inform, making less demarcated, the larger political frame? ----if one asserts the mechanics of these conversations to be potentially right there in the name: dialogic, indeterminate, trans-bordering and so trans-national, not legible as system of binaries and partitions but as organized opposition or resistance to structures and systems that seek to kill that becoming? I suspect I may be reading Williams and Toscano wrongly here, taking this conversation a bit far afield (tho it hopefully speaks to the spirit of their larger works, at least), with perhaps my presupposition--that political organizing can involve both resistance-as-becoming as well as be oppositional (or resistance) to what would make that conversation illegal, and still not necessarily be a social form that's closural or sedimented enough to be, almost definitionally, necessarily subsumable by capitalism/imperialism. Which would make the organizing conversation potentially contiguous with other ways we can take up (or try to articulate) indeterminate spaces, CPT among them. Nonetheless, CPT and Williams' work I've taken for some time to be pressing on the seemingly intractable problems of articulating a social resistance of trans-localism (in the narrower sense of the local than I'm using above), indeterminacy viz. what, so to speak, Lenin famously calls the "temporary dictorship needed" (instrumentalized concession) to get to Toscano's getting "somewhere else." And not just the seemingly intractable problems, but the concrete paradoxes and contradictions seen especially in goal-oriented sociality under capitalism/imperialism.

Turning non-site into site (to continue the Smithson/Nonsite reference made by Williams), or performing the contiguous arc of living poetically via making new language forms, then organizing from them, and again, etc., treating these as contiguous poetic activities, or a contiguous activity, seems on the edges (or maybe is one of the hidden vortices) of Toscano's CPT. And Williams' On Spec. So, then, what happens "after" we "get up" from our chairs after interacting with CPT's Pig Angels? A question, again, that assumes we do get up, that the body translates into the body--necessarily? Can we imagine circumstances in which this is not the case? Or only not noticeably the case? And what of the relationship between CPT and Toscano's other work in the labor movement? How do these motions inform and transform one another, translate that body into another, and then another, and so forth? The question isn't about authorship. It's about the potentially generative "oscillation" of activities, or maybe more precisely, the contiguous movement from CPT to its related union organizing, as, for lack of a better way of saying it, a becoming of recursion.