Taking up space: Sarah Rose Etter

PennSound podcast #67

Photo by Natalie Graf.
Photo by Natalie Graf.

Sarah Rose Etter joined Jacket2 editor Julia Bloch in the Wexler Studio last September for a short reading from and discussion of her debut poetic novel, The Book of X, which appeared in 2019 from Two Dollar Radio. Etter and Bloch talked about the impact of open poetics and visual art upon Etter’s prose style, the feminist politics of speculative narrative, the process of fact-checking menstrual blood output, and the etymology of the book’s governing image — among other things. 

Notes on nonsense

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Illustration of creatures mentioned in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky,’ by John Tenniel.

Adjacent to the house where I once lived, with its four residents and one other volunteer, sat a private cottage where Joe lived in a world of his own making. The idiosyncrasies of this world formed around the ceaseless churning of Joe’s brain as it reframed his memories through the lens of his particular paranoias and neuroses. Like a tangent, Joe always ran adjacent to what was around him. 

(I)

 

'The woman is here to stay'

A review of 'A Doll for Throwing' by Mary Jo Bang

Photo of Mary Jo Bang (left) by Yuri Marder.

As she did in her 2004 collection, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (Grove Press), Mary Jo Bang once again calls on her visual vocabulary — and background as a photographer — to portray various aspects of the Bauhaus, the short-lived German art school: its utopian vision, its Nazi-led shutdown in 1933, and its undeniable legacy. 

As she did in her 2004 collection, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (Grove Press), Mary Jo Bang once again calls on her visual vocabulary — and background as a photographer — to portray various aspects of the Bauhaus, the short-lived German art school: its utopian vision, its Nazi-led shutdown in 1933, and its undeniable legacy.

Sited

On Jenny Xie and the fate of the flâneur

Photo of Jenny Xie by Robert Bredvad.

It’s 1967, and Guy Debord, grumpy but prescient, senses a change in the air. Throughout his treatise The Society of the Spectacle, he attempts to show how mass media and late-capitalist modes of production degrade social relations. Together, they reorient human organization around images detached from lived reality. Their slogan: “What appears is good; what is good appears.”

Perceptual distance may turn into mental distance,
and the phenomenon of disinterested beholding may emerge,
this essential ingredient in what we call “objectivity” — Hans Jonas[1]

Beside the mind (PoemTalk #143)

Hannah Weiner, 'Clairvoyant Journal'

Photograph of Hannah Weiner by Ira Joel Haber, 1969, country house (probably Woodstock, New York), available with other photos at EPC.

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Kate Colby, Davy Knittle, and Charles Bernstein convened with Al Filreis, PoemTalk’s producer and host, to talk about Hannah Weiner’s Clairvoyant Journal and to focus in particular on two pages (or prose poems, or journal entries). The two entries are those composed on April 1 and April 4. The version of the two poems available online at Eclipse (based on the 1978 Angel Hair edition) has also been reproduced here for the convenience of Jacket2 readers. A new edition of Clairvoyant Journal published in 2014, discussed toward the end of the podcast, is described here by Patrick Durgin.

A short history of Tom Weatherly

We’re familiar by now with the designation of neglected writers as “poets’ poets”— essentially, an excuse for their continuing neglect. And we are, or should be, even more familiar with the neglect heaped on African American innovative writers, especially those who refuse to be easily pigeonholed into secure ideological or formal categories. Thomas Elias Weatherly (1942–2014) fits both categories.

Geoffrey G. O'Brien's subjunctive 'dividuals

'Experience in Groups'

Author photo (right) courtesy of Geoffrey G. O’Brien.

O’Brien’s “groups” are not Jonathan Edwards’s congregation or assembly. Nor are they the nineteenth-century bourgeoisie “crowds” of Gustave Le Bon, who argued there was no culture in social movements (only unconscious religious structures), though we do get “crowds” akin to the “clouds” of Charles Baudelaire, Constantin Guy, and Walter Benjamin. Nor are they Marxist “masses” or “unions,” or the twentieth-century “association” or “league” (Women’s, of Nations). 

Groups as period style

Messing with your head

A review of 'Insolvency, Insolvency!' by Jeremy Hoevenaar

Photo of Jeremy Hoevenaar (left) courtesy of Alex Teschmacher.

Those who are familiars of the impetuous wonder of words will understand Jeremy’s poem. Those who read will not.

It’s only words that tell us what to do. If we listen. Insolvency, Insolvency! doesn’t tell us what to do / but it does tell us how to listen / and when. If we listen.

Sycorax, spirit, and 'Zong!'

An interview with M. NourbeSe Philip

Editorial note: This exchange between Jordan Scott and NourbeSe Philip, undertaken in 2016 and just now published in Jacket2, centers on the role of spirituality in Philip’s book Zong!, which Evie Shockley has said “enacts a critique, but also effects a catharsis or, more accurately, works through a problem that lies at the intersection of the emotions, the psyche, and the soul, if such a thing can be spoken of in the twenty-first century’s secular spaces.” 

Editorial note: This exchange between Jordan Scott and NourbeSe Philip, undertaken in 2016 and just now published in Jacket2, centers on the role of spirituality in Philip’s book Zong!, which Evie Shockley has said “enacts a critique, but also effects a catharsis or, more accurately, works through a problem that lies at the intersection of the emotions, the psyche, and the soul, if such a thing can be spoken of i