Duende

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Duende, a new online (and beautifully designed) literary journal run by the good folks in Goddard College’s BFA Program, is accepting submissions for its inaugural issue.  The editors say,

If your poetry is rough-cut diamonds, slightly off-kilter; if your fiction will make us feel more human and less alone; if you enjoy exploration of new forms at the edges of the literary universe; if you can bring us elegant translations of literature from far corners of the globe; if your nonfiction is wild and honest; if your visual art is raw and earnest…show us. We want to see it.

According to one of my favorite poets, Nathaniel Mackey, “One of the things that marks the arrival of duende in flamenco singing is a sound of trouble in the voice, The voice becomes troubled. Its eloquence becomes eloquence of another order, a broken, problematic, self-problematizing eloquence.”  Send your broken, problematic, self-problematizing eloquences for Duende‘s arrival (which is slated for October 2014) by May 15th.  UPDATE: THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JUNE 1ST.

 

Hyperallergic Weekend: Oct 13th

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A painting by Rick Beerhorst


The current issue of Hyperallergic Weekend has a lot of great stuff. I’ve been enjoying John Yau on Rick Beerhorst and Barry Schwabsky’s wonderfully polemical “Why I’m Not Reading Louise Glück.” In the latter, I love this sentence by Schwabsky, which begins at Point A and ends with Point Z (or rather Point X): “Glück is one of the best-known American poets, a native New Yorker who has won just about every prize and honor available — Pulitzer, National Book Critics Circle, U.S. Poet Laureate — and taught at all the famous places to be taught poetry; better still, as I’ve just learned from Wikipedia, her father helped create the X-Acto knife, a tool I’d recommend to every poet who hopes to carve more precise verses out of the thick and messy matter of our speech.”

I’m also in the mix with a review of Lytle Shaw’s Fieldworks: From Place to Site in Postwar Poetics.

Charlie Sayzz – twitter poem – PRESS RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE

Charlie Sayzz

A twitter poem made from Iraq/Afghanistan war reportage, intercut with quotes from cult leader Charles Manson, will tweet 1 Oct onwards from: https://twitter.com/CharlieSayzz

The poem draws comparisons between psychopathology and foreign policy.

Charlie Sayzz is constructed from incorrect 18-syllable haiku, to be transmitted one per day for the next year. The haiku is a much-abused and appropriated short (17-syllable) Japanese form, often meditative and peaceful. It is chosen here for its very in-appropriateness as a vehicle for war poetry. And yet under the placid surface, haiku surely is angry, because it is now such a colonised poetry. The extra syllable in these ‘bad’ haiku is to create dissonance (in old numerology, 9 is the number of aggression and 18 syllables ie 1+8 = 9).

The poem was devised by Philip Davenport and co-written by him with Richard Barrett, Steve Giasson, Tom Jenks, Michael Leong, copland smith and Steve Waling.  Tom Jenks programmed the twitter feed and shaped many of the haiku as visual poems.

This project is a parallel to Davenport’s novel Charlie Says (2013)

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Blackbox Manifold No. 10 (Summer 2013)

The new issue of the always enjoyable Blackbox Manifold was just launched.  It features work by Billy Cancel, Rick Crilly, Josh Ekroy, Michael Farrell, Joanna Grigg, Bernard Henrie, Joan Harvey, David Herd, Beau Hopkins, Drew Milne & John Kinsella (together), Peter Larkin, Robert Mueller, Sandeep Parmar, Peter Riley, Jennifer Scappettone, Kerrin P. Sharpe, Nathan Thompson, Corey Wakeling, Duncan White and Rachel Zolf; accompanied by a fine essay by Sam Ladkin on Frank O’Hara, and a review of John Matthias by Adam Piette.

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FACE OUT: Maximizing the Visibility of Emerging Writers, Reading & Reception, 6/12/13

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Julie Buntin, the Director of Programs & Strategic Outreach for CLMP, says, “We’ve got a lovely reception planned with enough food and drink to feed an army of starving writers–or just hungry ones.”

I hope that the refreshments–along with the diversity of poets and presses represented–will provide enough incentive to go. Do come by if you’re free and around.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12 AT 7:00PM
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
126 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012

This celebratory event features short readings from exceptional emerging writers supported through CLMP’s FACE OUT program, which grants publisher/author teams funding for technical assistance to help spotlight independent, experimental titles. Readers include: Cynthia Cruz (Four Way Books), Farrah Field (Four Way Books), Michael Leong (Black Square Editions), Albert Mobilio (Black Square Editions), Jon Leon (Futurepoem Books), Francis Richard (Futurepoem Books), R. Erica Doyle (Belladonna Books), LaTasha Diggs (Belladonna Books), Dan Magers (Birds, LLC) and Ana Bozicevic (Birds, LLC). The FACE OUT program is supported by a generous contribution from The Jerome Foundation and the New York Community Trust.

No Medium

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I published a review of Craig Dworkin’s No Medium (MIT Press, 2013), a study about “works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent,” in the latest weekend edition of Hyperallergic.  This is a bit of what I said:

…in “The Logic of Substrate,” the first and strongest chapter of the book, Dworkin provides a definition that affords us a more elegant and refined, if not novel, understanding of how media operate: “Those objects that are casually referred to as ‘media,’ … are perhaps better considered as nodes of articulation along a signifying chain: the points at which one type of analysis must stop and another can begin; the thresholds between languages; the limns of perception.” In this sense, the title No Medium acts as a kind of homophonic and edifying mnemonic: to realize that there is no medium — or better yet, to put the term “medium” sous rature, that is, under erasure — is to know media in a richer and, to use Dworkin’s own phrase, “more robust” way.

I notice that Amazon lists the book with a significantly different cover…as if it were deliberately supplanting what appears to be a polaroid photograph with the older medium of monochromatic painting, a kind of lighter version of Yves Klein’s blues.  Can anyone account for this difference?  

The image is embossed on the cover and I’m guessing that might have something to do with it…

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Writing On It All: Governors Island, June 2013

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Alex Chasin, who has been featured a few times as a guest contributor at Big Other, is spearheading a site-specific collaborative writing project at Governors Island called Writing On It All.

It begins this month and it looks unusually good–so sign up for a session, donate, and/or spread the word!

In a series of seven sessions, invited artists and writers, along with interested members of the public, collaborate in writing on the interior of an out-of-use house on Governors Island. Writing On It All enacts the physical as well as social nature of writing, with a materialist twist on contemporary conceptual art practice. Just as writers are embodied, so do we write with concrete tools, in and from particular locations with particular histories and functions. Mindful of this materiality, Writing On It All takes place in an early 20th-Century house that used to serve as senior officer housing when Governors Island was a military base.

Writing On It All puts these ideas and this history into play with a number of poets and visual thinkers, a graffiti artist, and a movement improviser, who will facilitate sessions designed to invite different forms of engagement with the empty old house, from listening to dancing to a range of collaborative writing activities. The project foregrounds process over product, which means that we don’t know quite what to expect, and that our collective focus is on acts of writing rather than on the texts we produce – nevertheless, the house will be available for viewing after each session. Ultimately, the texts themselves are ephemeral; they will be painted over, rinsed or sanded off, and the house restored to its original condition, at the beginning of July.

EVENTS

June 15 – Kundiman Poets – Writing Race & Belonging: A Live Monument
June 16 – Al Diaz – WET PAINT PROJECT 2011-2013
June 22 – Wendy S. Walters – Out of Regiment, a Project in Personal Mapping
June 23 – Carla Gannis and Justin Petropolous – legend / legend
June 23 – Jovanina Pagano and Rachel Levitsky – Against the Wall: Migration / Habitation / Erasing / Tracing
June 29 – Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture
June 30 – Anne Carson, Robert Currie, and Ébauche

Dean Young Poetry Trading Cards from Fact-Simile Editions

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Patterned after a 1978 Topps baseball card design, Dean Young’s poetry trading card features a photo by Laurie Saurborn Young and a new poem titled, “The Life of a Poet”.

I was looking at the latest (May 2013) poetry trading card from Fact-Simile Editions and was reminded of something Dean Young said in The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (Graywolf Press, 2010): “…It is…worth entertaining the notion that the least important time in any workshop is when your own work is being talked about.  It’s called ‘Poetry Workshop,’ not ‘Me Workshop,’ after all.” This is a quote that I’ve repeated a few times in my own workshops. Last semester when I was going through some student assignments–a required review of any poetry reading on campus–I realized how valuable this sentiment is. The first sentence of a student composition began: “I find it very difficult to relate poetry to my everyday life unless I am the author.” Yes: Poetry Workshop, not Me Workshop.

In Memory of Jayne Cortez (1936-2012)

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                                                             Jelly madness
                                                       in sAndpaper socks
                                                      put Your hair into the earth
                                                      go iNto the dark meat of a crocodile
       spitting across syncopating roachEs into

                                                   buttoCks of vibrating nostrils
                           we can invent new bOnes
                  a village libating like niagaRa falls
                                              an armpiT of inflammable explosives
                                                         hEad units and gyrating limbs parading
                                                           Zoom

[Source text: Coagulations: New and Selected Poems (1984)]

Favorite Poetry of 2012

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John Yau and Albert Mobilio, editors of Hyperallergic Weekend, have released an annotated list of 16 of their favorite poetry books of 2012.  I reviewed one of their picks, Enduring Freedom by Laura Mullen (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions), in early December, but I haven’t yet seen many of the others; I clearly have a lot of good reading to do in 2013.  (As Amber Sparks noted in a recent Big Other post, this year was a great year for literature: “Good writers got great books published.”)

I wanted to also briefly note a handful of poetry books that gave me pleasure in 2012–I wish I could mention more, but 2012 was more of a year of rereading (and writing) for me than reading and encountering new books.

* John Yau’s own Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon Press)

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This is bound to be a classic. Besides containing the dazzling title poem–which must be one of the most profound dramatic monologues to be yet penned in the twenty-first century–Further Adventures in Monochrome contains the completed series Genghis Chan: Private Eye, which Yau began to publish in installments in 1987. Seth Abramson from The Huffington Post got it right when he said: “It seems impossible that such a fragment-driven lyricism should again and again accumulate into ridiculously compelling assemblages, but Yau has done such difficult work countless times in the past, and returns to do so once again–and brilliantly–here.” “I wink at you from infinity”–that’s the last line of the book. No spoiler alert needed: there is surely enough surprise in these pages to go around.

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Blackbox Manifold No. 9 (2012)

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Blackbox Manifold, “an online forum with a slant towards innovative poetry that has prose, narrative, or sequences in its sights,” is increasingly becoming one of my favorite UK-based poetry journals. Issue 9 is now live.

Here’s a nice, little snippet from the issue:

To harbor the hinge, harry
the quarter moon to its spot—

To listen with your hands cupped
just over your ears?

You have this one mouth.
You’re from tonight.

from “Poem to Tomaž Šalamun,” Joshua Marie Wilkinson

A Response to Mary Miller


Earlier this month, Adam had posted a note saying that Big Other was reviewed by Mary Miller in the July/August issue of the American Book Review as part of its special cluster on lit blogs. I found Miller’s account to be both problematic and unnecessarily snarky, and I had waited a bit to see if anyone was going to chime in…no one has responded thus far, so I’ve decided to take the bait.

My first (and most specific) objection to Miller’s review was her unfair and misinformed reactions to j/j hastain’s energetic posts and book reviews. Miller states:

[Some] posts made me feel like I was in a theory class and seemed out of place. For example, j/j hastain’s ‘A Proprioceptive Description (Naropa’s Violence and Community Symposium),’ begins ‘proprioception does not come from a singular or specific organ within the body, but from a sort of strange collective (the nervous system), this account will be necessarily fragmented—parts pouring from parts.’ I wasn’t sure what to make of this.

Some of j/j hastain’s other posts also turned me off. Here’s one more example of j/j’s writing: ‘I am feeling very excited to be engaging with you re this little interview in support of and co-investigation (with you) re your new book Narrative and Nest (Pre-Natal Architectures & Narrative Rituals).’ What’s j/j doing here? And why?

The term “proprioception” doesn’t strike me as particularly theoretical. It’s a simple physiological term that j/j actually defines right away. Proprioception, as j/j notes, does not come from a singular or specific organ within the body; proprioceptors, which are located within muscle or nerve tissue, respond to stimuli arising within the body…proprioception then is the body’s own sense of itself by the movement of its own tissue.

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Face Out Reading, October 10 @ 6:30 pm in New York

Celebrating New Work from 2012 CLMP Face Out Grantees
Wednesday, October 10 at 6:30 pm ~ FREE
NYU Main Bookstore ~ 726 Broadway

Short readings by:

Cynthia Cruz,
The Glimmering Room, Four Way Books

Farrah Field,
Wolf and Pilot, Four Way Books

Michael C. Leong,
Cutting Time with A Knife, Black Square Editions

Dan Machlin reading for Frances Richard
Anarch, Futurepoem Books

Dan Magers,
Partyknife, Birds, LLC

Kristin Prevallet,
Everywhere Here and in Brooklyn, Belladonna Books

About CLMP’s Face Out Program:
Designed to maximize the visibility of emerging writers, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses’ Face Out Program supports exceptional writers in partnership with their publishers to put a spotlight on important new experimental titles.

Melancholia: (An Essay) by Kristina Marie Darling

Ravenna Press, 2012
ISBN: 970-0-9851520-1-7
$10.00
45 pages

Kristina Marie Darling is becoming one of the foremost practitioners of the little book, of the poetic text as miniature object, as a kind of fragmented memento charged with mystery. Her newest publication, Melancholia: An Essay, a 5 x 6, perfect-bound book from Ravenna Press’ “Pocket Series,” is another elegant piece of evidence to support this claim: it is, as J.A. Tyler says, “a new jewel in the continuing assemblage of sparse and bright words from Kristina Marie Darling.”

After reading Melancholia, I went searching through the big mass of books piled precariously on my desk and through the many volumes sprawled across my engorged bookcases to look for one of Kristina’s previous jewels: the similarly-sized, 52-paged Compendium that Cow Heavy Books published in 2011 (Kristina and I spoke about Compendium at length in an interview at Big Other last summer). To my chagrin, I couldn’t find the book, and, looking amid the cramped interstices of my personal library, I realized that perhaps the proper place for Kristina’s exquisitely small books was not on any conventional bookshelf but rather in an escritoire’s inner compartment among wax seals and pen nibs of various sizes or in a curio cabinet or Wunderkammer among shark’s teeth, rare feathers, and old apothecary jars. Continue reading

Approximating Diapason (Spuyten Duyvil, 2012) by j/j hastain & t thilleman


In Approximating Diapason, hastain and Thilleman engage in an epic correspondence, creatively paralleling, intersecting, and intertwining their very distinct poetic vocabularies and intelligences. What results is a collaborative treatise on the metaphysics of creativity, the physics of the compositional page, the philosophy and ethics of form, the ontology of ghosts and gods, and the future of the mythographic imagination. But this is just scratching the surface. Much is exchanged and archived in this wide-ranging and interdisciplinary compendium—dreams and their interpretations, drawings and their ekphrastic elaborations, photo-collages as exegetical annotations, allegorical visions and their exfoliating significations, snippets of verse and poetic prose, expressive typography, neologistic harmonizations, memorable autobiographical illustrations, aphoristic declarations (such as “because words are arbitrary capacities, they are really equivocal chambers of the before and after of meaning”), revelatory images (such as “infinite, flopping-but-severed mermaid tails washing up on the shores”), and evidence from both Western and Eastern thought, from sources both scientific and occult—and what holds such sheer disparateness together is the conviction, from both writers, that writing is born from a deep engagement with multiplicity and cosmic diversity. At times, this highly syncretic book reads as if it were out of some science fiction novel narrated in dialogue, as if we were reading characters from another planet conversing about such subjects as aesthetics, psychosocial politics, or new gendered embodiments—but then we realize (with shock, wonder, and gratitude) that they are, indeed, of this world. Alternately, it reads as if it were a monumental transcript prepared for a time capsule, an edifying text for when the aliens come—but then we realize that we are, in fact, the aliens, and that this book has been saying to us all along: welcome to our world.

Publication Date: May 02 2012
ISBN/EAN13: 1881471012 / 9781881471011
Page Count: 346
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 8.5″ x 8.5″
Language: English
Color: Full Color with Bleed
Related Categories: Literary Collections / Letters