Articles

Janky materiality

Artifice and interface

We live in machines but are not machines. Restless forms imagine new presents, where past and future meet. As becoming-digital beings, we retain and engage the problem of embodiment, which needs a world, needs other forms, needs to die. Death is our stake: neither early nor late.

Poetry is music, and nothing but music. — Amiri Baraka 

Poetry is heard; it is the heard thing. — Erín Moure

Materiality and embodiment

At the surface and medium-depth

Theorizing a haptic poetic

“‘How can the poet reach and touch you physically as say the sculptor does by caressing you with objects you caress?’ [bp Nichols] asks, and then answers: ‘only if he drops the barriers.’” Image: Adaptation of photo of bp Nichol’s ‘Journeying and Returns,’ with permission from Coach House Books and the Poetry Foundation.

The haptic poem occurs at an extremity of communication. It arrives in the fleeting moment of contact between language, body, and object as they route their way along the skin and through the nervous system. Unlike the related expanded practices of visual poetry and sound poetry, which engage the ocular and cochlear realms of experience, the haptic poem is a more holistic engagement of body and bodily processes.

Handle with care

A study in (poetic) fragility

“Letraset’s rarity and fragility give it a transient quality; coupled with the intimate hand to page contact of its application, the medium itself challenges the masculinist impulse for permanence, immortalization, and enduring legacy in poetics and makes room for vulnerability and even grief.” Adaptation of a photo of Letraset in American Typewriter Bold, by Flickr user harleypeddie.

get out the letraset and a blank page. rub on an M. rotate page. rub on an X. rotate page. rub on a g. rotate page. rub on a line using a border. rotate page. think that y should maybe have been an A but then do it anyway. lament half-rubbed on letter until i own it as part of the thing. rotate page. rub on a J but make its tail kiss an i.

I think of feminism as a fragile archive, a body assembled from shattering, from splattering, an archive whose fragility gives us responsibility: to take care. — Sara Ahmed[1

And with such force in their fragility; a fragility, a vulnerability, equal to their incomparable intensity. — Hélène Cixous[2

Truth in the cage

The poetry of Mohammad Ali Maleki

Poet Mohammad Ali Maleki’s notebook, which was destroyed by immigration authorities on Manus Island.

Hello. im a refugee in the manus. but im not good speak english. im like poetry. I was writing 2 poetry. Are you help me writing poetry? My poetry farsi send australia edit change english come bake in the manus. are you help me to written poetry me?

Hello. im a refugee in the manus. but im not good speak english. im like poetry. I was writing 2 poetry. Are you help me writing poetry? My poetry farsi send australia edit change english come bake in the manus. are you help me to written poetry me?

April 1, 2016 

Weatherly's words

A tribute to Tom Weatherly

He read the Hebrew name of G-d, the tetragrammaton’s four unpronounceable letters, as a representation of respiration: one breath in, one breath out. That sound was the Holy of Holies. He told me this last summer, over the phone. I was sixty years old, but that insight sounded like the most brilliant thing I’d ever heard. He took very seriously his midlife conversion to Orthodox Judaism, talking to rabbis and Hasids, reading Maimonides and Hillel, and using his middle name, “Elias,” to sign himself at times. Eclectic defined him, as did sudden turns at perpendicular angles. 

Editorial note: Rosanne Wasserman’s tribute to Tom Weatherly was originally published at the blog for The Best American Poetry on August 4, 2014, and is reproduced here in slightly edited form.