Unraveling tongues

A review of 'She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks'

I first encountered M. NourbeSe Philip’s poetical interruptions three years ago, in a course taught by Tisa Bryant called Unnamable Texts. We spent time with “Discourse on the Logic of Language,” which is a sequence from her 1988 collection She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. My memory of this poem is bodily. 

If she does not ravel and unravel his universe, she will then remain silent, looking at him looking at her. — Trinh T. Minh-ha[1]

Rise and live (PoemTalk #111)

Naomi Replansky, 'In Syrup, In Syrup' and 'Ring Song'

Naomi Replansky at the Kelly Writers House, November 15, 2016 (photo credit: KWH staff)

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Ron Silliman, Rachel Zolf, and Charles Bernstein joined Al Filreis to talk about two poems by Naomi Replansky. The poems are “In Syrup, In Syrup” and “Ring Song.” The latter is the title poem of a volume nominated in 1952 for the National Book Award. “In Syrup,” first published under the antiwar title “Dulce Et Decorum” in 1947, its title recalling Wilfred Owen, was revised before Ring Song. “Ring Song” itself was revised for a 1988 chapbook Twenty One Poems Old and NewReplansky’s PennSound page features recent readings of both poems and indicates her final preferences for the revised versions.

First reading of Lorine Niedecker's 'Popcorn-can cover' (2)

Ross Hair

Popping with a flurry of consonantal k sounds (“Popcorn-can cover”) that settle down in the poem’s successive lines (“screwed,” “cold” and, finally, “can’t”), “Popcorn-can cover” reminds me that Niedecker’s is a poetry of pressure. Not only the pressure of brevity but also of everyday existence.

Popcorn-can cover
screwed to the wall
over a hole
       so the cold
can’t mouse in
          — Lorine Niedecker

A word's autobiography

Seyhan Erözçelik's 'KırAğı' and 'Rosebud'

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Seyhan Eröçelik in college. Image courtesy of Belgin Erözçelik.

Kır Ağı (Hoarfrost) is Seyhan Erözçelik’s third published book, but if we look at the dates when these poems were composed, we see that it is actually the first book he wrote, published eleven years after these poems were initially written. Seyhan Erözçelik was in his late teens when he wrote Kır Ağı, which took him about three years to finish (1980–83). 

After Seyhan Erözçelik: Dedicated to the Word “Kırağı”

Frost first
force fast
     slow
fist farce (course)
     lost
blow
        — Murat Nemet-Nejat   

Aufgabe, 2001–2014 (ed. E. Tracy Grinnell et al.)

reissue
From Aufgabe, No. 9, 2010

The task of recounting the work of Aufgabe is formidable. Founding editor E. Tracy Grinnell initiated the magazine in the Bay Area in 1999. Over the next fifteen years, Aufgabe featured seventy editors, 700 writers, 150 translators, and twenty artists from twenty-three countries.

The task of recounting the work of Aufgabe is formidable. Founding editor E. Tracy Grinnell initiated the magazine in the Bay Area in 1999. Over the next fifteen years, Aufgabe has featured seventy editors, roughly 700 writers, nearly 150 translators, and twenty artists from twenty-three countries. The magazine was uniformly released from 2001 until 2014 in perfect-bound 6" x 9" format with one thousand copies printed per issue.

Wonky structures

On Alice Burdick's 'Book of Short Sentences'

Photo by Zane Murdoch.

Maybe Alice Burdick was beginning to get very tired. I don’t know. But the next to last poem in Book of Short Sentences is unlike anything else she’s ever published. The poem, “Don’t Forget,” is direct, uninhibited, and visceral.

There is no private life which has not been determined by a wider public life. — George Eliot[1]

I 0we v. I/O

Poetics of veil-piercing on a corporate planet

Pop-up pastoral from Jennifer Scappettone, ‘The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes and Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-Up Opera of the Corporate Dump’ (Berkeley: Atelos, 2016), 94.

Ten years into tortuous research surrounding a modest seventy-three-acre plot of toxins sitting quiet some hundred feet from the house where I grew up, diffuse obsessive e-digging struck metal hydroxide sludge. In the wilds of Justia.com, suddenly clear-cut by my more sophisticated search strings or their more precisely targeted algorithms, I came upon a document titled “Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 987 F. Supp. 182 (E.D.N.Y. 1997).” 

Ten years into tortuous research surrounding a modest seventy-three-acre plot of toxins sitting quiet some hundred feet from the house where I grew up, diffuse obsessive e-digging struck metal hydroxide sludge. In the wilds of Justia.com, suddenly clear-cut by my more sophisticated search strings or their more precisely targeted algorithms, I came upon a document titled “Town of Oyster Bay v. Occidental Chemical Corp., 987 F. Supp. 182 (E.D.N.Y.

Able and vexed

A review of Michael Gottlieb's 'What We Do'

This work on work, about work — the work poets do, the work they ought to do, the work they have to do on top of/instead of their “real” work — is by turns frustrating and frustrated.

                                         Poets
leap over death — was that COLERIDGE? If so,
did anyone see him do it and live?[1]

On Etel Adnan's 'The Arab Apocalypse'

From page 7 of ‘The Arab Apocalypse,’ which Etel Adnan began writing in January
From page 7 of ‘The Arab Apocalypse,’ which Etel Adnan began writing in January 1975 in Beirut, two months before the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War.

L’Apocalypse arabe is composed in French by the Arab American poet Etel Adnan. It was published in 1980; Adnan’s English translation appeared in 1989. Of the several rubrics under which The Arab Apocalypse may be read — visual poetry, surrealism, translation, postcolonialism — its work of witnessing most commands my attention.