Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thom Donovan's Make Believe, Now Availabe Through Wheelhouse Press

Thom Donovan's new chapbook, Make Believe, is now available for free download here, via the Wheelhouse website, and via the Wheelhouse Press Good Reads Group Page.  Do go to Good Reads and give the work a shout-out, help spread the word.  Remember, it's largely word of mouth that gets poetry books into people's hands.

Make Believe, broken into sections, each of which explores, plays with, and critiques specific filmic tropes and conventions, jumps from these explorations as more-than-ekphrastic-springboards into the oft ignored poetic waters of belief, event, and the material conditions of our epistemological assumptions around what is public and what is private, what is use and what is using, what is other and what is othering. With the deeply thoughtful poetics and politics Donovan is known for, these poems both attack and nurse the body-as-proprioceptive-reactive becoming. And as often the case with Donovan's work, the ear is shaken first. 

Wheelhouse Press is very pleased to announce the publication of this, the ninth e-chap, in our ongoing series. Cover design by Thom Donovan, David Wolach, and Gianna D'Emilio. 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Books Received

Books recently received:

Making Marks (a+bend press), Robin-Tremblay-McGaw 
Try Magazine (August Issue), featuring work by Rob Halpern
Eeel on Reef (Black Goat), Uche Nduka
Our Insalvagable (Vigilance Society), Thom Donovan
Adorno's Noise (Essay Press), Carla Harryman
When You Bit... (Otoliths), Adam Fieled

Rumor has it that waiting for me at home (Olympia, WA) are new works from Jules Boykoff, Kaia Sand, Mark Wallace, and K. Lorraine Graham.

Needless to say I'll be busy.  While catching up on some rather urgent work, my breaks will be devoted to digging deeply into these works.  The works listed above I've given a cursory read. All are excellent in their own way.  Each represents the myriad possibilities and motifs essayed by independent presses.  Nduka's work, though I'm unfamiliar with some of the cultural narratives he seems to be working with, is sonically and otherwise amazing, and in need of review.  Same needs be said of Donovan's small, beautifully made cycle letterpressed by Vigilance Society - one of the more extraordinary collectives (they use all recycled materials in the printing of their chapbooks).  And for Adorno's Noise, which, as usual, I'm coming late to. Essay Press and Carla Harryman, as many reviewers have already noted, have collaborated to again reinvent the essay, the poetical investigation into, out of, and through all the static.  My PhD thesis was very much engaged with Adorno and Schoenberg, and so interest piqued, I managed to read through the book once during my time at Bard.  I taught "Orgasm," one of the incredible essays in this incredible book (pdf link in a separate post below).  Here Adorno, Schoenberg, and the noise of this now, a noise that both occults and is occulted by what David Buuck (The Shunt) calls "war dash time," is neither represented nor dialectically wrestled with. No, something beyond dialectic is occurring in the essays, the fractured language fallout.  This music needs further space.  So, another blog post, once I settle into bad habits at home.  For now, find this work and let it read you.  Kudos to Catherine Taylor, Stephen Cope, and Essay Press for releasing this work.

Lastly, very much intrigued by Try Magazine.  This, the first issue I've read, is so far rather mind blowing.  No bullshit design opens up to Rob Halpern's hand-written draft introduction to his forthcoming work, Music for Porn.  The intro draft is immediately followed by a devastating poem from same.  Laura Elrick and Rodrigo Toscano's pieces are fantastic - one is a reprint, first appearing in our (Wheelhouse's) PRESS anthology, Toscano's "Strikes & Orgies."  More on Try soon.  The mag and Adorno's Noise go oddly well together.  




Friday, August 28, 2009

Where's Wolach Been? Language & Thinking 2009

Photo: Team Thinking in 1st annual Language vs. Thinking Whiffle Ball Game.  Featured: Kythe Heller, David Wolach, Marie Reagan, Stephen Cope, Becca Chace, Tim Casey, Thom "the flasher" Donovan.  Not featured: Peter Tranchtenberg, our lovely 3rd baseman, who ran off to meet with students before end of the game, tied 7-7.  Also not featured: team Language, who are too lame to be featured.

Some of you probably didn't wonder: where's David been?  If you called, or emailed, or you spent hours day after day pondering where I've been--short answer: teaching another year in Bard's Language & Thinking program.  

It was another year of incredible faculty solidarity, forming deep connections and reconnections, and, of course having regular epiphanies in the classroom, co-learning with a great group of students.  Our faculty's collective sense of wonder, and our constant care for one another, is extraordinarily rare.  It's born of a collaborative, interdisciplinary spirit, of empathy, emergent love.  I think we're all aware that this unique constellation of crazy artists in the woods, and the extraordinary ways in which we interact, is very much due, in part, to Joan Retallack's bringing us together in the first place, allowing the wildness and risk to be part of the pedagogy.  

Our workshop (our class), I already miss.  The students that I learned from and with (in no particular order), I owe them many things, not least of which my deepest gratitude: Matt, Alexia, Sophie, Caroline, Minghan, Catherine, Raygun, Ethan, Kristin, Owen, Keaton, Kerk, Iliana, and Mihir.  Now, exhausted, back in NYC before flying off to the West Coast, I have nothing but lovely memories, and a shitload of photos to share.  So, indulge me.  Take a look.  My flickr photos above.  Other (better) photos below.

photos by Catherine Talyor

--Monday evening's faculty reading, in honor of Joan Retallack
photos by Lily Gruton-Wachter

photos by Lilly Gurton-Wachter

Friday, August 21, 2009

Adorno's Noise - discussion to come

Adorno's Noise, Carla Harryman's much anticipated book of trying, out from Essay Press, has just landed in my palms.  More soon on this deeply important work, but for now: read one essay here (Organism).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New PRESS Anthology - Small Press News

I've been meaning to do this for awhile, though with travel to New York and a syllabus to finish, not to mention putting the final touches on and publishing the new Wheelhouse Magazine and PRESS Anthology, I've had no time.  So, apologies to the wonderful Susana Gardner in being late mentioning that the New Dusie Press anthology of wee chapbooks is now online, a downloadable pdf, a veritable tapas of incredible work.  As I wrote a few days ago elsewhere: 

Susana Gardner & Dusie Press have collected a truly extraordinary cross-section of work from contemporary poets &... As a celebration (?) of its own demise in favor of new text-arts projects, this "last of its kind" Dusie, #8 develops narratives & counter-narratives within its pages, performing that delightfully playful implosion via diversity of language-archeology befitting of its "what's next-ness." 

A huge thank you to Susana & Dusie Press. As always, the work excites, the project enormous, & the design work gorgeous - viz. book arts, as usual for Dusie, exploring on its own terms the possibilities & limitations of the electronic artist book.

Do check out the book here.  Amazing work from Andrew Zawacki, Brenda Coultas, among many, many others.

Also, many thanks to Daby Larson of Abjective.  He's published a poem of mine, "Stanley Fish Poked Me On Facebook," as this week's installment.  If you haven't checked out Abjective yet, I suggest you do so.  The work there is diverse and often very good.  I also love the format.  Not completely dissimilar from Reb Livingston's No Tell Motel, Abjective features one author per issue, in this case one author per Saturday. 

Finally, I've fallen in love with another journal and press (new this year or last they've been publishing wonderful e-chapbooks), Little Red Leaves, edited by fantastic poet and essayist CJ Martin.  I plan to write more about this journal when I have time.  In my estimation LRL is one of the finest journals in contemporary poetry.  Where Thom Donovan & Co.'s ON is a go-to publication for essay - poets on their contemporaries, LRL s is a go-to publication that has an overlapping poetics and so serves overlapping poetic communities.  By the by, the new ON is due to come out soon, so look out for that.  Martin has an amazing essay on Rob Halpern's Disaster Suites (see older posts) in the issue, indeed one of the most incredible dialectical interchanges with a contemporary poetic text I've read.  

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Wheelhouse Magazine, special double issue - PRESS Anthology & #8 - is now live. 

Click on the PRESS cover on the Wheelhouse main page for the freely downloadable PRESS Anthology 2009, with viral forms by: Rodrigo Toscano, Kristin Prevallet, Jules Boykoff, Laura Elrick, Mark Wallace, Kaia Sand, K. Lorraine Graham, Tom Orange, Leonard Schwartz, Steven Hendricks, and several others. Cover design by Meghan McNealy.

Peruse Wheelhouse #8 as usual, by clicking on poetry, prose, essay, chapbook, etc. links at the top of the page. Wheelhouse 8 is proud to feature new viral forms from:Elizabeth Bryant, Joel Chace, Cecilia Chapman, K.R. Copeland, Ryan Daley, Thom Donovan, Emily Kendal Frey & Zachary Schomburg, Garth Graeper, Marja Hagborg, Summer Block Kumar, Dorothee Lang & Jeff Crouch, Travis Macdonald, Karen Neuberg, Deborah Poe, Nicole Steinberg, Edith Sˆdergran, (English translation by Christian Ward), Zachary Buscher, John Moore Williams, Changming Yuan, and others. Cover design by Eden Schulz and Andrew Topel.

We're in love with the work in this double issue and tremendously happy to have had the chance to gather PRESS contributors for another round, this time via publishing their work. Thanks to all the contributors. And a huge thanks to new Wheelhouse editors Lionel Lints, Meghan McNealy, and Gianna D'Emilio, who worked so hard on putting the PRESS anthology together. 

Please do check out all the new work, and if you get a chance, please also spread the word.

In Solidarity & On Behalf of The Editors,
David Wolach

STAIN Reading

Had a blast reading for the wildly good and long-running Stain of Poetry series, curated by Amy King & Ana Bozicevic.  It was wonderful to hear Julian, Adam, Chris, Nada, and Scott read their work.  I'd heard Adam read in Philly before, and I'd heard Julian read a couple times, but both read newer work - Julian from a cycle xe's just now putting together, and Adam read exclusively from When You Bit..., a book I hadn't seen or heard from.  Scott I'd heard at another Stain reading, his work continuously mining in subtle ways the counter-narratives of Mexico and Texas. And though I've read much of Nada and Chris's work (if you don't have Chris's 1913 chapbook, I'd advise getting it), I hadn't heard them read.  The live-sonic and performative aspects I was missing I found last night.  Nada's timing and sense of "performance" is very cool, and Chris's sonic play is pitched live, giving the rhythms and ambiences a lower tonal register that drives the ear into the ground.

Julian, who is one of my favorite contemporary poets, again blew me away.  Where Chris drives your ear into the ground, Julian drives your ear into the dirt - dirt, drawl, and the dross of the liquidated multiple subject make up a refashioning of old tropes in order to implode them.  The new work is less metric than the work I've read of Julian's in the past.  Also more understated in some way I can't quite place now.  

All the work was outstanding, and as I've written elsewhere, all are poets whose work I think is, each in such a different way, evocative of contemporary non-mainstream poetry.  But with thanks to Amy and Ana, amid such diversity was a felt sense of community, or at least a warmth and sense of friendship that one doesn't always feel exists within contemporary poetry, let alone this fractured landscape's live readings.  

Hence a huge thanks to Amy and Ana.  Was great to kick back with Amy, my brother and his partner, along with several folks I'd met for the first time.  And also a huge thanks to Erica Kaufman, who graciously and with good humor read some of my polyvocal work with me (which, among others, steals lines from her work).

Can't remember the last time I stayed out late and didn't regret it the next day.