Articles - March 2011

Notes on this edition

'The Book Of Revelations'

 


“she writes not me this like”

The works Hannah Weiner published during her lifetime are never accompanied by an extensive editorial apparatus. Often, indeed, the only thing following the title page and publication information (sometimes actually omitted) is a brief statement by Weiner acknowledging her use of “second sight” in the composition of the text. For many of her readers, it may seem strange, or even opposed to Weiner’s spirit, to confront an essentially scholarly presentation of her work. The question of whether or not such a representation violates Weiner’s profound and costly commitment to deterritorialization at all levels of her poetics has been constantly with me.

At last, two considerations convinced me to proceed as I have. The first consideration is essentially political. In the academic economy in which Weiner now exists — editions signal literary and cultural value — a scholarly edition of Weiner’s work attests to her significance and may help generate further investigation of her work and of all works at the margins of literary history. The second factor issued from Weiner’s own attention to detail in her published works. As her typesetters know, Weiner was deeply mindful about the design of the pages she wrote and meticulous about the translation of even tiny details from typescript to published work. I hoped to bring that level of care to this unpublished document.

Finally, it may help to remember that “back matter” is simply that: materials at the end of a volume that may or may not ultimately belong to it. In the end, The Book Of Revelations may take its chances alone and unaccompanied by any commentary.

 

Copytext



“the words told me to get this”

 

Hannah Weiner’s The Book Of Revelations is housed with the extensive collection of her papers in the Archive for New Poetry, Mandeville Special Collections Library, at the University of California, San Diego. Although clearly a “notebook,” it is not included in the primary sequences of Weiner’s notebooks (1971–1975, 1976–1979, and 1990–1992), but classified as a “Manuscript” (box 10, folder 6), possibly because although it exists in holographic, handwritten form, it does not contain “raw” notes but a text ready for typesetting and publication. The notebook served as the copytext for the transcripts included here.

A digital scan of all the pages of The Book Of Revelations is available online at the New Poetry Archives, University of California, San Diego, and on Weiner’s homepage at the Electronic Poetry Center. This scan was made under the supervision of Lynda Corey Claassen, director of the Mandeville Special Collections Library. The cover was scanned first, followed by shot of each page, folded back one by one. The notebook was scanned at the library’s usual standard of 600 dpi and in color.

 

Transcripts of the Notebook 

 


“terrified of all consequences / carefully we cross inbetween”

The Diplomatic Transcript

The primary goal of the diplomatic transcript is to present a deciphered text that gives clarity to a manuscript which is sometimes veiled by the idiosyncrasies of Weiner’s hand, the nature of the media (pencil), and the passage of time. The fundamental requirement for any transcriber is to detach herself from certain fixed preconceptions about the text and the notebook and to act as a reflecting glass for what actually occurs on the page. This is especially challenging in transcribing Weiner, where the temptation to read what is reasonable rather than what is in fact written is strong and compounded by her habit of composing fragmentary phrases for the reader to finish in her mind. Thus during the first transcription of the notebook, we adopted the practice of transcribing individual lines from end to beginning, hopefully short-circuiting our impulse to misread or read willfully. In the second full transcription, we reversed this process, then collated the two transcripts to discover our errors. After this, the transcript was proofread completely three times through a process of reading manuscript and transcript aloud.

The painstaking process of transcription took more than two years. From the outset, we proceeded from the idea that everything on the page was of equal significance: spellings and apparently corrupted spellings, the sizes of words and their position on the page, the angle of the script from line to line, the presence of illegible and stray marks — all may be relevant to a reading of the work and all have been retained. We hope that by following this method we offer a transcript that recovers a least a somatic trace of the original.

To create the diplomatic transcript of The Book Of Revelations, my research assistant Elizabeth Cattarin and I used Photoshop CS3 in combination with Adobe Acrobat 8. We began the transcription process by downloading the scans of the notebook displayed on the UCSD website and then loading them into Photoshop. After capturing each page as a “layer,” we created a template in Photoshop that determined the outermost boundary of all of the pages. The result was a blank document with the same contours as the original notebook. In this template, each page is in fact of set of three layers: the blank canvas, the transcribed text, and the original scan.

Each page of the notebook was transcribed in the same way. The original scan was called to the screen and then faded to approximately 50 percent opacity so that the text remained clearly visible. We then typed directly over Weiner’s handwritten text, using Photoshop tools to adjust the size, spacing, positioning, and alignment of each word, which was then saved separately. The base font set used was Calibri, primarily because it turned out to be a good typographical match for the form/shape of Weiner’s handwriting. Material written in another hand, in this case, Barbara Rosenthal’s, is composed in Calligraph 421 BT.

The desire to record every mark made by Weiner on the pages of the notebook was accompanied by the decision to avoid using editorial symbols in the diplomatic transcript. For the most part, the manuscript evidence is clear; however, when complications arise, these cases are marked in the Microsoft Word transcript and, if necessary, discussed in the appendices. There is one very important omission in this record of textual complications. It is clear from an examination of the notebook that Weiner frequently erased words and passages and wrote over them. This habit, clearly interesting and important to the exploration of her poetics of writing, has not been documented in the Word transcript or in the notes. In the future, Weiner scholars will want to use the various technologies available — filters within Photoshop, for example — to determine what lies beneath the overwritten text.

 

The Microsoft Word Transcript

The Microsoft Word 2007 transcript reproduces the text The Book Of Revelations. This transcript, like the diplomatic transcript, remains faithful to the words as Weiner wrote them in the notebook — i.e., no misspellings have been altered, no capitals introduced, etc. — though it seems likely given Weiner’s careful attention to textual matters in her published works that she herself would have made changes had she remained in control of the text. There are three exceptions to this general rule. First, in cases where a transcription is uncertain, the word or phrase is placed in {braces} and a list of possible readings incorporated in the appendices. Second, although Weiner did not number the pages of the notebook, page numbers have been added in parentheses to aid the reader who may wish to return to a specific place in the notebook. Finally, changes in the tearing/slicing/knife-cutting patterns created by Barbara Rosenthal have been marked to encourage further investigation of the relationship between textual and material boundaries.

The primary values of the Word transcript are its representation, as far as possible, of the temporal dynamics of Weiner’s writing, i.e., the order in which she composed the words, its electronic searchability, and its future potential for deep encoding. At the moment, readers can search words and parts of words easily; since recurring words are often linked to larger thematic and formal concerns in Weiner’s work, following specific words and word combinations across the notebook may prove significant. Later, the document may be encoded in ways that reveal far more about its visual and linguistic structures.

The Word transcript does not illuminate fully the patterns of cuts and visual relations between and among sections. Nor does the Word transcript adequately illuminate the spatial dynamics of each page. For these features, readers should consult the original notebook, the scans of the notebook pages, and/or the diplomatic transcription.

 

The “Blank” Notebook

It is not possible at this time to offer a “transcript” of the blank notebook before it was filled with writing. It is hoped, however, that the following description will provide readers with some sense of its strikingly tactile nature. The notebook is a commercially made hardbound blank book with a black, textured leatherette cover and a sewn binding (6” x 9” outer dimensions), of the kind manufactured by companies like Canson or Cachet as “classic sketch books” with acid-free, 70-lb bright white paper, and sold in art supply stores. Besides being a book of writing, it is also an artist’s book, or, more specifically, an “altered” book. Its 110 pages were torn, sliced, ripped, and knife-cut at different lengths and angles by Weiner’s friend and collaborator, Barbara Rosenthal, who, for New Year’s 1989, gave Weiner the notebook. In chapter-like progression, the first third contains pages torn upward against a straightedge to form cascading sequences of what she calls “pagels”; the second is sliced freehand with an X-Acto knife into concentric, rectangular openings she calls “basins”; and the final third is a series of nesting L-shapes she created by one vertical straightedge rip and one horizontal freehand knife-cut (unpublished correspondence, November 2010). Since Rosenthal sometimes “composed” books by layering, hiding, and revealing — see, for example, her offset version of Homo Futurus, published in 1986 by Visual Studies Workshop — The Book Of Revelations may be said to have two authors and to exist in two distinct incarnations.

 


A collection of straightedges. Photo reproduced by permission of Barbara Rosenthal.

 


X-Acto knives and other artists’ tools. Photo reproduced by permission of Barbara Rosenthal.

Although Rosenthal “composed” the blank notebook more than twenty years ago, she recalls her working process with great clarity and specificity. Rosenthal created the opening section of the notebook (from “forthcoming and absolutely to “no one can eliminate a particle”) by placing a steel straightedge on the page in sequenced parallels, grasping at the paper at the lower corner with her right hand, bearing down on the steel with her left, and pulling upward to form straight rips with a slightly textured edge; she created a second section (from “read more about it in the papers” to “absence of time between 5 and 7”) by using an X-Acto #2 Fine Point Blade to slice concentric or nested angles or rectangles; she created the final section using a combination of these techniques: “renunciation and something else” to “she writes not me like this” was created using the straightedge, and “the insatiable quotient quote” to “love come to a” was created using the X-Acto knife (unpublished correspondence, November 2010).

Readers interested in altered books/artists’ books in general and in the Weiner/Rosenthal collaborations in particular may wish to explore the following works: Written In (1984), which was “written” by Weiner “in” Rosenthal’s (blank) first version of Homo Futurus (now called Homo Futurus blank book, 1984, eMediaLoft); and Weeks (Xeoxial Endarchy, 1990), for which Rosenthal created photographs of television newscasts to accompany Weiner’s texts of the same.

 

Appendices

 


“report all interference at once”

In addition to the critical introduction and transcriptions of Hannah Weiner’s The Book Of Revelations, this edition includes five appendices detailing misspelled and alternatively spelled words; neologisms; part-words and uncertain transcriptions; proper names; and literary and cultural allusions.

Christianity, civilization, colonialism, and other diseases

The poetry of Haunani-Kay Trask

Artwork by Kimberlie Wong.

Hawaiʻi’s history following Western contact is a history of disease, colonization, and denial. In Before the Horror: The Population of Hawaiʻi on the Eve of Western Contact (1989), David Stannard estimates the Hawaiian population dropped from 800,000–1,000,000 in 1778 to just 40,000 in 1900, a 96 percent decrease over a little more than a century, following the introduction of various foreign diseases to which Hawaiians lacked immunity.[1] Most of the depopulation — an 80 percent decrease — occurred within the first fifty years of Western contact alone.[2] These statistics, however, are unable to voice the lived reality of disease and devastation experienced by our ancestors, who had to fight for their very survival while also fighting to retain their land, culture, and traditions amidst missionization and other agents of colonial encroachment. Today, we are a minority in our own homeland, which has been occupied by the United States for more than a hundred years, and the colonial impulse has largely been to deny its own conquest, to proffer the hegemonic narrative of our complacent adoption of “Americanness.”

It is precisely this history of denial that many contemporary Hawaiian poets like Haunani-Kay Trask seek to expose in their writing. Trask is arguably the most well known voice in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement. She has written two books of scholarship, Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory (1986) and From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai‘i (1993), as well as two books of poetry, Light in the Crevice Never Seen (1994) and Night Is a Sharkskin Drum (2002). Trask is also the coproducer and scriptwriter of the 1993 documentary Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation. Additionally, her poetry has been widely anthologized in both Native American literary anthologies, such as Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writings of North America, edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird, and her scholarship is widely quoted within indigenous studies, Pacific studies, and American studies. She is an activist, scholar, professor, and poet.

Trask frames her work as stemming from her “rage and an insistent desire to tell the cruel truths about Hawaiʻi.” These truths include “Christianity and the racism of its ideologies and clergies; American greed and arrogance and the embrace of violence; [and] the constant erosion of a people’s self-respect through a colonization of the mind and the elegant spirit that once sustained it.”[3] In this essay, I examine poems from Trask’s poetry collections Light in a Crevice Never Seen and Night Is a Sharkskin Drum for their depictions of missionization and colonialism in Hawaiʻi as disease and devastation, as well as their emphasis on the return to tradition as a primary means of resistance and remedy. I conclude by situating Trask’s poetics within the contemporary Kanaka Maoli literary movement, which I assert is reflective of our ongoing sovereignty as a people.

Trask’s first collection, Light in the Crevice Never Seen, is broken into three sections. The first section, “Chant of Lamentation,” is comprised of several intimate portraits of the poet and her family and close friends. Together, as the section title suggests, these poems offer notes of profound grief and mourning, preparing the reader for the horrific images of the devastation wrought by colonialism and its missionary agents in the poems “Pax Americana: Hawaiʻi, 1848” and the extended lyric “Hawaiʻi.” “Pax Americana: Hawaiʻi, 1848” examines the violence of missionary contact in Hawai‘i by highlighting the introduction of western diseases and the resulting massive Hawaiian depopulation, as well as the advisement of King Kamehameha III to privatize land ownership in Hawaiʻi through the Great Māhele in 1848. The first stanza likens both events to rape and consumption:

I am always falling
toward that dark, swollen
river filled with tongues
drunk and baptized

new priests waving foreign
flags and parchment
calling in the conquered
to hungry bankers.[4]

The horrific imagery of consumption in the “dark, swollen river filled with tongues” alludes to the death that consumes the Hawaiian people, as well as to the missionaries’ consumption of the land. They show their colonial loyalties by “waving foreign flags and parchment.” The poet falls victim to alcohol and the Christian god, both western introductions accompanying and solidifying the onslaught of colonialism, as she is “drunk and baptized” in the process. The result of these introductions is “sacred places gone for coin,” followed by the violence of foreign claims to Hawai‘i, the “hooks and stripes / the lash across my face / and pale white stars // nailed to coffins,” and the death and displacement of the Hawaiian people in the two concluding one-line stanzas: “only my scream in the homeless wind // and murdered voices.” The poet is left to bear witness to the horror as a survivor, “reliving” the violence of history as a descendant.

The first part of the title, “Pax Americana,”[5] Latin for “American Peace,” then, is meant to be ironic, as what follows the colon is “Hawai‘i, 1848.” In other words, “American Peace” means colonial entrenchment and displacement. In the notes accompanying the poem, Trask describes the Māhele as a “tragic action” that occurred after the ali‘i converted to Christianity and followed the advice of the missionaries. She writes: “Within twenty years […] nearly all our remaining people were dispossessed of their lands. The missionaries’ children, meanwhile, had become plantation owners and sugar barons on the ancestral lands of the Hawaiian people.”[6] Though the poem notes historical events, it is written in the present continuous tense. Thus, the poet “is always falling” toward the violent history she describes, even though the specific event she refers to took place in 1848 and has not been experienced directly. Trask’s choice of tense emphasizes not only the colonized Kanaka Maoli’s continual reliving of historical and cultural trauma in the present, but also how the event continues to affect Hawaiians, who have effectively been displaced and disenfranchised from our homeland. The poem also references how missionary descendants benefited from the Māhele, reaping the tremendous wealth resulting from their ancestors’ enterprising interests and white privilege. As Trask notes: “Today the missionary companies, known collectively as the Big Five, still control much of Hawai‘i’s lands and politics.”

Like the poems that precede it, “Hawai‘i” can be characterized through its grieving tone and its articulation of loss of culture, land, and people through various kaona references; however, “Hawai‘i” presents smaller snapshot images of Hawai‘i as a colonized space. Part I illustrates a beach scene spoiled by the “ruddy face” of a tourist who, like other tourists, “take[s] our pleasures / thoughtlessly” (34). In part 2, Trask gives the following description of the kōlea:

The kōlea[7] stilts its way
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
thickened by the fat
of our land. It will eat

ravenous, depart rich,
return magnificent
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Haole plover
plundering the archipelagoes
of our world. (34–35)

The kōlea is a metaphor for haole (especially missionaries and their enterprising descendants), a word which was often employed by Hawaiians during the nineteenth century. Like the kōlea, the missionaries and their descendants are “thickened by the fat / of our land,” profiting from the land development and industry attained through Kanaka Maoli displacement. Trask juxtaposes this colonial consumption of the land with the “lost” plight of Hawaiians:

       gorging ourselves
on lost shells
blowing a tourist conch

into the wounds
of catastrophe. (35)

Part 4 of the poem marks a shift posited through the ancestral gaze. A “green-toothed mo‘o of Kaua‘i” (36) angrily witnesses the pollution and blatant degradation of the water, which, according to traditional moʻolelo, he guards:

heiau stones lie crushed
beneath purple resort

toilets: Civilization’s
fecal vision

in the Native
heart of darkness. (36)

Sacred land, where heiau once stood, now lies beneath tourist toilets, creating an ironic image of the “civilization” which has been brought to the “Native / heart of darkness.” The “vision” of civilization is reduced to its excremental waste, its feces flushed down ridiculous “purple resort toilets.”

Like the preceding sections, part 6 references the mythic realm, addressing Pele, Papa, and Hiʻiaka, gods who represent mana wahine, or feminine power, but who also together represent strong regenerative power. However, Trask demonstrates that their power has been weakened by geothermal energy development:

   E Pele e, fire-eater
   from Kahiki.


Breath of Papa’s life
miraculously becomes
Energy, stink with

sulfurous sores. Hiʻiaka
wilting in her wild home (37)  

This section disturbingly describes the victimization of the gods, as manifest in the ʻāina’s denigration. Papa, our Earth mother, is ridden with “sulfurous sores,” an allusion to the introduction of foreign diseases that historically plagued the Hawaiian population. Hiʻiaka’s regenerative power is also weakened, as suggested by the images of “black lehua, shriveled / pūkiawe, [and] unborn ʻaʻaliʻi” (37) as well as the “Cracked lava stones” that “sprout / thorny vines, thick / and foreign” (37). These invasive vines and their destruction of the stones serve as a potent metaphor for colonial dominance over that which is indigenous, preventing all growth and recovery.

Trask is unflinching in her apocalyptic portrait of Hawaiʻi in the closing two sections. “Hawaiʻi” concludes with the horrific image of a “dense vapor / colored like the skin // of burnt milk” that invades “the recesses / of our poisoned / naʻau” (37). This “dense vapor,” a metaphor for the disease of colonization, comes from “these foreigners / these Americans” (38) and is seemingly inescapable. Trask depicts the disease’s spread through our bloodline as “a foul stench / among our children” for which there is “a long hollow / of mourning / in our maʻi (38).[8]  These lines give a concluding vision of death and devastation, indicating that there is no hope — future generations of Hawaiians, too, will come to die and decay under the disease of colonialism.

Images of disease and devastation wrought from colonialism can also be seen in Trask’s second collection, Night Is a Sharkskin Drum, wherein she frames the “foreigner” as the devourer of Hawaiian culture and land in “The Broken Gourd,” an extended lyric written in three sections. The poem opens with an image of new dawn: “After the last echo / where fingers of light / soft as laua‘e / come slowly.”[9] Rather than the natural beauty of Hawaiʻi, however, the light reveals a vision of devastation:

a cracked ipu
whispers, bloody water
on its broken lip. (11)

Trask describes our Kanaka Maoli people as “cracked gourds”: gourds were commonly used symbols for people, specifically with regard to judgments about their knowledge base or appearance.[10]  In the lines that follow, Trask describes a time of unbroken “ipu”:

Long ago, wise kānaka
hauled hand-twined
nets, whole villages shouting
the black flash of fish.

Wāhine uʻi
trained to the chant
of roiling surf;
nā keiki sprouted by the sun
of a blazing sky. (11)

Trask highlights the sharing of fish within communities, the composing of oli to the rhythm of the ocean by women chanters and orators who were valued and employed by aliʻi for their literary skill, as well as the children of our people, cared for by a land that provides abundantly. This image of the pre-western contact past illustrates a sense of wholeness and connection to community and land.

This image of the past, however, is dashed in the next section of the poem when the narrator hears this “island’s moan / welling grief”:

Each of us slain
by the white claw
of history: lost
genealogies, propertied
missionaries, diseased
haole.

Now, a poisoned pae ʻāina
swarming with foreigners
 
and dying Hawaiians. (12)

Here, Trask asserts that Kanaka Maoli are broken through the disconnection of ancestral knowledge of the land and our culture. She depicts history as having a “white claw” that has slain us, resulting in the loss of our familial histories, our genealogies. The “white claw” is an image of violence attributed to haole, its white wielders. This loss to/of history has resulted in the satisfied greed of missionaries who become “propertied” by spreading their diseases to Kanaka Maoli, with devastating effects. Moreover, the “foreigners” are depicted as “swarming” over the “poisoned” lands of Hawaiʻi, reminiscent of a plague. These images of devastation culminate in the final stanza and line depicting “dying Hawaiians,” both bodily and culturally, as the effect of colonialism and the loss it has enacted.

While the second section of “The Broken Gourd” describes colonialism’s impact upon the people, the third section focuses on the devastation wrought by colonialism upon the land:

A common horizon:
smelly shores
under spidery moons,

pockmarked maile vines,
rotting ʻulu groves,
the brittle clack
of broken lava stones. (12–13)

Various akua are represented through their kinolau, or earthly forms, in this catalogue of images, including the moon (Hina), maile (Mailelauliʻi, one of four Maile sisters associated with hula), the ʻulu (Kū), and the lava stones (Pele). However, the gods’ presence is little consolation, as they are shown to be either diseased or in a weakened state. Together, they show the ʻāina in decay, at once affirming the intricate reciprocal relationship, or mutual mālama, that is supposed to exist between kānaka and ʻāina, as well as the weakened states of both. So long as the land is ravaged, so are the people, and vice versa. In Native Land and Foreign Desires, Pehea Lā E Pono Ai? Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa describes this relationship through the “traditional metaphor” of mālama ʻāina:

[I]t is the ʻĀina, the kalo, and the Aliʻi Nui who are to feed, clothe, and shelter their younger brothers and sisters, the Hawaiian people. So long as younger Hawaiians love, serve, and honor their elders, the elders will continue to do the same for them, as well as to provide for all their physical needs.[11]

Trask’s images of the ʻāina — diseased maile, brittle lava, ʻulu rotting due to neglect or waste, polluted shores — demonstrate a lack of pono, or harmonic balance, under American colonialism.[12] The ʻāina’s suffering emphasizes the severe wrong of the current colonial system in traditional terms: “should an Aliʻi Nui neglect proper ritual and pious behavior, surely a famine or calamity would ensue. Should a famine arise, the Aliʻi Nui was held at fault and deposed.” While colonialism is a system which has been imposed upon Kānaka Maoli, and thus is outside the system of reciprocal mālama ʻāina, Trask affirms that the devastating effects upon the ʻāina should be taken as hōʻailona, or signs, that American colonial rule in Hawaiʻi should be deposed because Americans are to blame for the devastation of the Hawaiian people and the ʻāina:

Out of the west
the din of divine
violence, triumphal
destruction.

At home, the bladed
reverberations of empire. (13)

“The din of divine / violence,” in particular, fingers the missionaries for their collusion in Hawaiʻi’s history of conquest, native displacement and death as ironic consequence to their Christian conversion efforts. A now well-known saying in Hawaiʻi goes: the missionaries came to do good; instead, they did very well — profiting from the privatization of Hawaiian land and becoming wealthy entrepreneurs in the sugar industry. Eventually, the descendants of missionaries forged the “bladed reverberations of empire” with the Bayonet Constitution, the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation, the banning of the Hawaiian language in schools, and the end of Hawaiian sovereignty with Annexation to the United States. Trask’s description of colonialism as “bladed reverberations” is appropriate because those earlier colonial acts, committed over the past 200 years, “reverber[ate]” to negatively affect Kānaka Maoli today through land dispossession, homelessness, poverty, and poor health and education.

The third section of Night Is a Sharkskin Drum, “Chants of Dawn,” is erotically charged, but also represents a return to the lushness and mana of the ‘āina, where Trask posits a refuge for healing. In doing so, she employs sexual kaona, an aesthetic nod to the orature of our ancestors. Trask writes in “Decolonizing Hawaiian Literature” that

Because Hawaiian is a profoundly metaphorical language, and Hawaiians an openly erotic people, descriptions are always rendered with fertile imagery: the land is a fecundity of beauty; our traditional deities are gods of abundance, of plenitude.[14]

Indeed, the erotic is a strong part of the poem “Upon the Dark of Passion,” which exemplifies the collection’s final section. The poem begins with an invocation to “Let our shadows / swell into longing // between breadfruit / and palm, throbbing” (48). Both the breadfruit and palm are common Hawaiian symbols for male genitalia. In the Hawaiian language of symbols, “hua,” or “fruit,” is commonly used as a metaphor for “testicle.” This can also be seen in the final poem of the collection, “Into Our Light I Will Go Forever,” wherein the land reflects the erotic, regenerative mana, or power that Trask describes as “our light.” The poem reads:

Into our light
               I will go forever.

               Into our seaweed
                              clouds and saltwarm
                                           seabirds.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Into the passion
                             of our parted Ko‘olau,
                                           luminous vulva.
 
                             Into Kāne’s pendulous
                                          breadfruit, resinous
                                                        with semen. (60)

Koʻolau is rendered here as the ʻāina’s female genitalia, a “luminous vulva” that is “parted,” awaiting lovemaking, while Kāne, a powerful god of procreation, is described as having “pendulous / breadfruit, resinous / with semen.” This sexualized image refers to the ʻulu, or breadfruit, in particular, which emits a white, sticky sap resembling semen. Moreover, Trask employs repetition of the word “into” at the beginning of each stanza to emphasize our movement and complete containment within the ʻāina.

The poem features several coastal ʻāina on Oʻahu in the following order: Heʻeia, Waiāhole, Kualoa, Kaʻaʻawa, Kahana, Punaluʻu, Lāʻie, Mālaekahana, and Haleʻiwa. Each ʻāina is praised in terms of the gifts they offer, and the signs of the Hawaiian gods’ presence. For example, Trask takes the reader into “the hum of / reef-ringed Kaʻaʻawa, / pungent with limu” (61), and later, into “our corals of / far Kahana, sea-cave / of Hina” (61). Moreover, Trask’s use of the erotic resists earlier missionary regulation and censorship of those aspects of our Hawaiian culture that celebrate sexuality and procreation in songs, chants, and the hula, whose very movements were viewed by missionaries as lascivious and obscene.

Trask’s images focus on the mana, or power, of the land. She concludes the poem with the lines: “Into our sovereign suns, / drunk on the mana / of Hawai‘i” (62). These lines highlight at once how the mana of Hawai‘i could never be anything but sovereign, and how Kanaka Maoli, who are of the land ourselves, must look toward “our sovereign suns” to heal, taking our strength from tradition and the tremendous life still within the ‘āina. Overall, Trask asserts a return to cultural tradition and other forms of resistance as powerful remedies for the disease of colonialism.

In Reinventing the Enemy’s Language, Trask defines her project as a writer as resisting in order to heal: “I write to resist, to tell my people how resistance feels, to guide them through our pain to the triumph of our vision. Every poem is an offering, sometimes in victory, often in sorrow. Words are spears, or storms of light, or the chattering winds of hope.”[15] For Trask, then, the disease of colonialism, while debilitating, need not be terminal, so long as there are words and breath enough to speak and write in resistance. Indeed, her poetics, like the poetics of several other contemporary Kanaka Maoli writers, offers the weaponry of fierce hope for justice and sustenance of our sovereignty as native people. Together, our voices rise in solidarity affirming, in the words of Haunani-Kay Trask, our “continuing refusal to be silent. […] Hawaiians are still here, we are still creating, still resisting. […] Decolonization is all around us.”[16]


Further reading:

Contemporary Kanaka Maoli literature is flourishing as the inner drive for Kanaka Maoli to articulate the rich fluidity of our history, traditions, and culture continues. Besides Haunani-Kay Trask’s Light in the Crevice Never Seen (1994) and Night Is a Sharkskin Drum (2002), other examples of Kanaka Maoli poetry abound:

John Dominis Holt, Hānai: A Poem for Queen Liliʻuokalani (Honolulu: Topgallant Press, 1986)

Joe Puna Balaz, After the Drought (Honolulu: Topgallant Press, 1985), Electric Laulau (Hawaiʻi Dub Music 1998), and OLA (Honolulu: Tinfish Press 1996)

Michael McPherson, Singing with the Owls (Honolulu: Petronium Press, 1982) and All Those Summers (Honolulu: Watermark Publishing, 2004)

Imaikalani Kalahele, Kalahele (Honolulu: Kalamaku Press, 2002)

Māhealani Perez-Wendt, Uluhaimalama (Honolulu: Kuleana 'Ōiwi Press, 2008)

Wayne Westlake, Westlake: Poems by Wayne Kaumualii Westlake (1947–1984), ed. Mei-Li Siy and Richard Hamasaki (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2009)

Sage Uʻilani Takehiro, Honua (Honolulu: Kahuaomānoa Press, 2006)

Brandy Nālani McDougall, The Salt-Wind, Ka Makani Paʻakai (Honolulu: Kuleana 'Ōiwi Press, 2008)


See also the many Kanaka Maoli poets published in the following anthologies:

Mālama: Hawaiian Land and Water, ed. Dana Naone Hall (Honolulu: Bamboo Ridge Press, 1985)

Hoʻomānoa: An Anthology of Contemporary Hawaiian Literature, ed. Joe Puna Balaz (Honolulu: Ku Paʻa Press, 1989)

ʻōiwi: a native hawaiian journal, vols. 1–4, ed. Māhealani Dudoit and kuʻualoha hoʻomanawanui (Honolulu: Kuleana ʻŌiwi Press, 1998, 2002, 2005, 2010)

Whetu Moana: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, ed. Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, and Robert Sullivan (Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2003)

Mauri Ola: Contemporary Polynesian Poems in English, ed. Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri, and Robert Sullivan (Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2010)

 


 

1.  David E. Stannard, Before the Horror: The Population of Hawai‘i on the Eve of Western Contact (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1989), 31.

2.  Stannard, 51.

3.  Haunani-Kay Trask, “Writing in Captivity: Poetry in a Time of Decolonization,” in Inside Out: Literature, Cultural Politics, and Identity in the New Pacific, ed. Vilsoni Hereniko and Rob Wilson (New York: Roman and Littlefield, 1999), 19.

4.  Trask, Light in the Crevice Never Seen (Corvallis: Calyx, 1993), 11.

5.  In an article in the September 2004 issue of the online magazine Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney trace the term “Pax Americana” to the nineteenth century, when it was first associated with an American imperialist agenda. They write that “the notion of a ‘Pax Americana’ enforced by American arms has become the preferred designation for those attempting to justify what was portrayed as a benevolent American Empire.” They also cite Ronald Steel’s Pax Americana, first published in 1967 during the Vietnam War, as the first to characterize “the benevolent imperialism of Pax Americana” by “empire-building for noble ends rather than for such base motives as profit and influence.” In examining Steel’s book, they focus on a chapter on foreign aid (described as an “element of imperialism”) entitled “The White Man’s Burden,” which harkens back to Rudyard Kipling’s celebrated poem calling on the United States to exercise an imperialist role in the Philippines following the Spanish-American War of 1898. The United States, of course, acted on this urging and annexed Hawaiʻi by joint resolution. Forster and McChesney argue that the ideology of Pax Americana has recently “resurfaced in a post–Cold War world marked by U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and by a permanent U.S.-led ‘War on Terrorism.’ Once again we hear establishment calls for the ʻdefense of Pax Americana’ and even renewals of the old cry to take up ‘the White Man’s burden.’”

6.  Trask, Light in the Crevice Never Seen, 12.

7.  Trask chooses to italicize Hawaiian words to emphasize their distinctiveness. However, all Hawaiian words used in this essay that are not direct quotations from Trask’s work are purposely left unitalicized to make a political statement against their “foreignness.” While the Modern Language Association standards direct one to italicize foreign (non-English) words used in an English text, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language, is not a foreign language in Hawaiʻi.

8.  “Maʻi” is the Hawaiian word for “genitals,” which have been traditionally celebrated in song, chant, and hula for bringing future generations, children, into being.

9.  Trask, Night Is a Sharkskin Drum (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002), 11.

10.  Several ʻōlelo noʻeau, or proverbs, support this common metaphoric reference comparing humans to gourds. See ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings, ed. Mary Kawena Pukui (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983), for examples, including:

He ipu palaʻole. An empty gourd, describing an ignorant person. (73)
He ipu kāʻeo. A full gourd, describing a knowledgeable person. (73)
Haumanumanu ka ipu ʻinoʻino. A misshapen gourd makes an ugly container, describing an ugly person. (59)

 11.  Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa, Native Land and Foreign Desires: Pehea Lā e Pono Ai? (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1992), 25.

12.  Kameʻeleihiwa writes that “pono” is “often translated as ʻrighteous,’ but actually denotes a universe in perfect harmony” (Native Land and Foreign Desires, 25).

13.  Ibid., 26.

14.  Trask, “Decolonizing Hawaiian Literature,” in Inside Out: Literature, Cultural Politics, and Identity in the New Pacific, ed. Vilsoni Hereniko and Rob Wilson (New York: Roman & Littlefield, 1999): 174.

15.  Trask, “Sisters,” in Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writing of North America, ed. Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997), 520.

16.  Trask, “Writing in Captivity,” 20.

Appendices to this edition

Spellings, neologisms, part-words, proper names, and literary allusions

Appendix 1: Misspelled and alternatively spelled words
Appendix 2: Neologisms
Appendix 3: Part-words and uncertain transcriptions
Appendix 4: Proper names
Appendix 5: Literary and cultural allusions

Appendix 1: Misspelled and Alternatively Spelled Words

Hannah Weiner’s original spellings/misspellings/alternate spellings have been retained here, for while some are almost certainly errors or just the effects of a lazy, indistinct pencil, and ones she would have corrected in a published version of the text, others, such as Weiner’s play on the word interfering and its cognates, seem meaningful.

about is spelled a bout (18) 

behavior is spelled in the English way, behaviour (19, 27) 

can’t is often misspelled cant (11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 29, 41, 48, 52, 54, 56, 60, 64, 66)

capable is misspelled capabable (21)

Christianity is not capitalized, christianity (87)

color is spelled in the English way, colour (89)

deceit is misspelled decipt (27)

doesn’t is sometimes misspelled doesnt (53, 68, 70)

don’t is generally misspelled dont (8, 15, 18, 28, 34, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 52, 54, 55, 56, 58, 60, 62, 63, 65, 69, 80, 82, 84, 86, 95, 96, 97, 98, 101, 104, 109)

dossiers is misspelled dociers (24)

eighth is misspelled eigth (76)

eleven is misspelled elven (88)

falsely is misspelled falsley (85)

flint stone is run together, flintstone (83)

forthwith is misspelled forwith (18)

humorous is misspelled humerous (48)

I’m is misspelled I m (89)

in between is often run together, inbetween (12, 18, 41, 75, 93)

inconsolably is misspelled unconsolably (22)

inflammable is misspelled inflamable (15)

initiative is misspelled iniative (82)

insatiable is misspelled insationable (99)

insistence is sometimes misspelled insistance (72)

interfering is sometimes misspelled interfearing (20)

interference is sometimes misspelled interferrence (94)

irascible is misspelled irrascible (60)

it’s is sometimes misspelled its (25, 71, 89, 91, 98, 104)

laziness is misspelled lazyness (28)

leveled is misspelled levelled (45)

MacDonald’s is misspelled Mac Donalds (72)

occasions is misspelled occassions (26)

occurred is sometimes misspelled occured (38)

occurrence is sometimes misspelled occurance (30)

occurrences is sometimes misspelled occurances (31, 41)

over intelligent is run together, overintelligent (93)

pamphleteer is misspelled pamphletier (105)

permissible is misspelled permissable (30)

plagiarism is misspelled plagerism (27)

recurrence is sometimes misspelled recurrance (16)

referent is sometimes misspelled refferrent (106)

Samadhi is misspelled samedhi (97)

senseless is misspelled sensless (19)

some closure is run together, someclosure (97)

some space is run together, somespace (96)

strawberry is misspelled strawbery (104)

sumac is misspelled sumach (84)

symmetry is misspelled symetry (22)

there’s is sometimes misspelled theres (23)

till is sometimes misspelled til (104)

toxicity is misspelled toxisity (45)

transference is sometimes misspelled transferrence (96)

unaccountable is sometimes misspelled unacountable (48)

unaccustomed is misspelled unacustomed (25)

upside is sometimes separated, up side (23)

vaccines is misspelled vacines (104)

welcome is misspelled welcolm (69)

withheld is misspelled witheld (43)

won’t is sometimes misspelled wont (47)

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Appendix 2: Neologisms

The following words seem to have been deliberately coined by Hannah Weiner for use in the notebook. They are listed here alphabetically, followed by page number.

allsmy (94)

disreferential (16)

inbetween (12, 18, 41, 75, 93)

intromobile (97)

nonbalance (93)

overintelligent (93)

rememorable (100)

someclosure (97)

somespace (96)

superadjacency (81, 82)

unbefore (95)

unbought (97)

unconsolably (22)

undecidable (108)

undoubles (88)

unlax (94)

unplace (96)

unpressed (95)

unrequired (94)

unthought (108)

uphandle (96)

upsist (95)

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Appendix 3: Part-Words and Uncertain Transcriptions

Part-words and uncertain transcriptions are {bracketed} in the searchable Microsoft Word transcript, but not in the diplomatic transcript. The part-words and uncertain transcriptions are listed in alphabetical order, followed by page number. I am grateful to Charles Bernstein, Susan Bee, and Patrick Durgin, as well as to my research assistants Elizabeth Cattatin and Tina Bampton, for their careful checking and rechecking of these questionable transcriptions. In places where our eyes disagreed, I have listed all the suggested possibilities.

absen (93)

archie* (90)

blow, possibly blou or flow (25)

compre (107)

de (88)

Enwai (76)

fe (16)

fract (108)

fueld (89)

instace (94)

liver (97)

loof, possibly look (72)

oblitted (74)

parof (88)

pers (94)

qui (93)

radius, possibly radios (88)

reluct (74)

rememb (74)

requi (94)

sits, possibly fits or sits (96)

sofits (97)

som (97)

spony, possibly strong (106)

sti (95)

substant (96)

un (93)

unt, possibly ent (94)

wo (94)

*Weiner scholar Patrick Durgin notes that the word/name “archie” appears throughout Weiner’s work, and suggests further that “archie” may have been a boyfriend in an early clairvoyant period.

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Appendix 4: Proper Names

Two groups of proper names appear in The Book Of Revelations; both, moreover, appear in a relatively narrow range of pages (69–98; sections 8–10). The first set of names seems connected with the American Indian Movement (AIM); the second set of names, found in the same range of pages, contains several allusions to towns and settlements in the Upper Calder Valley, Yorkshire, England. The connection between the two sets is elusive, and, as always with Weiner, specific allusions may fan out into more general references. Three other names appear in the notebook: first, Barbara Rosenthal, who gave the blank notebook to Weiner, signs her name on the inside cover; second, Weiner alludes to herself once in the course of the notebook; and third, Weiner offers the noun “Samadhi,” a Sanskrit term for the state of consciousness induced by meditation. The proper names are listed below in the order in which they appear in the text, followed by the page number.

Barbara Rosenthal (inscription): b. 1948, the Bronx, New York. An American avant-garde artist and writer and one of Hannah Weiner’s closest friends during the last decade of Weiner’s life. Rosenthal bought the blank notebook as a present for Weiner, and she is the volume’s first “author,” too, since she is responsible for slicing/tearing/ripping the notebook’s pages and creating the patterned sections. Weiner and Rosenthal collaborated on six projects: three books (Written In [1984], which was “written” by Weiner “in” Rosenthal’s [blank] first version of Homo Futurus, now called Homo Futurus blank book [1984, eMediaLoft]; Weeks [Xeoxial Endarchy, 1990], for which Rosenthal created photographs of television newscasts to accompany Weiner’s texts of the same; and The Book Of Revelations) and three videos (Colors and Auras [1985], in which Weiner describes auras she sees around Rosenthal’s body; Rock-A-Bye Lobster [1986]; and Semaphore Poems [1986], based on Weiner’s book of that title).

Pedro (69, 82): possibly Mary Brave Bird’s first child, born during the 1973 siege at Wounded Knee.

Henry (72, 75): possibly Henry Crow Dog, Leonard Crow Dog’s father, who held peyote ceremonies on the family allotment, Crow Dog’s Paradise.

Leonard (73): possibly Leonard Crow Dog (b. 1942, Rosebud Reservation), the spiritual leader of AIM during the 1960s and 1970s who served time in prison for his political activities. Alternately, Weiner may be alluding to Leonard Peltier, an American activist and member of AIM who was convicted for the murder of two Federal Bureau Investigation agents killed in 1975 during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and who was subsequently sentenced in 1977 to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment. 

Rochdale (74): possibly an allusion to the large market town in Greater Manchester, England, which lies among the foothills of the Pennines on the River Roch.

Smithy Bridge (74): possibly an allusion to a village within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, England, and close to the South Pennines.

Littleborough (74): possibly an allusion to another town within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, England and close to the South Pennines.

Todmorden (74): possibly an allusion to another market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England, on the moors. The town forms part of the Upper Calder Valley, and the town’s center occupies the confluence of three steep-sided valleys in the Pennines.

Hebden Bridge (74): possibly an allusion to yet another market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England, and close to the South Pennines.

Mytholmroyd (74): possibly an allusion to yet another town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England. Mytholmroyd is the birthplace of the English poet Ted Hughes, who married the American confessional poet Sylvia Plath.

Sowerby Bridge (74): possibly an allusion to a market town lying within the district of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England, and close to the South Pennines.

Halifax (74): possibly an allusion to Halifax, a minster town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England, and located in the southeastern corner of the moorland region of the South Pennines.

Luther (75): unknown.

George (77): possibly George Mitchell, a member of AIM.

Frank (86): possibly Frank Clearwater, a Wounded Knee occupier shot in the head in his sleep, April 17.

hannah (95): the one and only reference in the notebook to Hannah Weiner.

samedhi (97): possibly a misspelling of Samadhi, the Sanskrit term for the state of consciousness arising through the act of meditation.

John (97): possibly John Trudell (Santee Sioux), a spokesperson for the Indians of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz Island, 1969–1971, and Chairman of AIM, 1973–1979.

Mary (98): possibly Mary Brave Bird, later Mary Crow Dog, wife of Russell Crow Dog. The book Weiner alludes to here may be Lakota Woman, published in 1990 by Grove Press.

Russell (98): possibly Russell Means, a prominent leader of AIM.

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Appendix 5: Literary and Cultural Allusions

The opaque style of Weiner’s writing makes identification of the many possible literary and cultural allusions difficult; here, only the most obvious allusions are recorded. Alert readers will hear many additional ones.

PLO (70): an allusion to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Weiner may have been preoccupied with the many attempts to reconcile tensions in the Middle East occurring in or around 1989.

FBI (70): an allusion to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This allusion is possibly related to Weiner’s meditations on AIM and the fate of Leonard Peltier.

the sex which is not one (85): possibly an allusion to Luce Irigaray’s This Sex Which Is Not One, translated by Catherine Porter and published in English by Cornell University Press in 1985.

purloined letter (90): possibly an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe’s tale “The Purloined Letter,” the third of Poe’s three detective stories (the other two being “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt”) featuring the fictional C. Auguste Dupin.

they stretch onto the moors / she writes not me like this (98): possibly an allusion to the writings of the Bröntes.

English labor theory of value (104): possibly an allusion to Karl Marx or Marxian economics.

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'The Book of Revelations': The diplomatic transcript



An image from the enface edition — click on the image above to download (PDF, 69MB)

from Marta L. Werner’s “Notes on this Edition”:

The Diplomatic Transcript

The primary goal of the diplomatic transcript is to present a deciphered text that gives clarity to a manuscript which is sometimes veiled by the idiosyncrasies of Weiner’s hand, the nature of the media (pencil), and the passage of time. The fundamental requirement for any transcriber is to detach herself from certain fixed preconceptions about the text and the notebook and to act as a reflecting glass for what actually occurs on the page. This is especially challenging in transcribing Weiner, where the temptation to read what is reasonable rather than what is in fact written is strong and compounded by her habit of composing fragmentary phrases for the reader to finish in her mind. Thus during the first transcription of the notebook, we adopted the practice of transcribing individual lines from end to beginning, hopefully short-circuiting our impulse to misread or read willfully. In the second full transcription, we reversed this process, then collated the two transcripts to discover our errors. After this, the transcript was proofread completely three times through a process of reading manuscript and transcript aloud.

The painstaking process of transcription took more than two years. From the outset, we proceeded from the idea that everything on the page was of equal significance: spellings and apparently corrupted spellings, the sizes of words and their position on the page, the angle of the script from line to line, the presence of illegible and stray marks — all may be relevant to a reading of the work and all have been retained. We hope that by following this method we offer a transcript that recovers a least a somatic trace of the original.

To create the diplomatic transcript of The Book Of Revelations, my research assistant Elizabeth Cattarin and I used Photoshop CS3 in combination with Adobe Acrobat 8. We began the transcription process by downloading the scans of the notebook displayed on the UCSD website and then loading them into Photoshop. After capturing each page as a “layer,” we created a template in Photoshop that determined the outermost boundary of all of the pages. The result was a blank document with the same contours as the original notebook. In this template, each page is in fact of set of three layers: the blank canvas, the transcribed text, and the original scan.

Each page of the notebook was transcribed in the same way. The original scan was called to the screen and then faded to approximately 50 percent opacity so that the text remained clearly visible. We then typed directly over Weiner’s handwritten text, using Photoshop tools to adjust the size, spacing, positioning, and alignment of each word, which was then saved separately. The base font set used was Calibri, primarily because it turned out to be a good typographical match for the form/shape of Weiner’s handwriting. Material written in another hand, in this case, Barbara Rosenthal’s, is composed in Calligraph 421 BT.

The desire to record every mark made by Weiner on the pages of the notebook was accompanied by the decision to avoid using editorial symbols in the diplomatic transcript. For the most part, the manuscript evidence is clear; however, when complications arise, these cases are marked in the Microsoft Word transcript and, if necessary, discussed in the appendices. There is one very important omission in this record of textual complications. It is clear from an examination of the notebook that Weiner frequently erased words and passages and wrote over them. This habit, clearly interesting and important to the exploration of her poetics of writing, has not been documented in the Word transcript or in the notes. In the future, Weiner scholars will want to use the various technologies available — filters within Photoshop, for example — to determine what lies beneath the overwritten text.

“The Book of Revelations”: The Diplomatic Transcript (PDF, 69MB)

Note: in addition to downloading the PDF version of The Book Of Revelations linked above, you can browse through a gallery of the book’s contents here.

Acknowledgments

In 1992, when I was a student of Charles Bernstein, he asked me to lead one of his classes in poetics on an occasion when he had to be away. The poets slated for discussion were Jack Spicer and Hannah Weiner. I knew Spicer’s work well, but my preparations for introducing Weiner were barely under way when the day of the class arrived. As luck would have it, Bernstein had left me a tape recording — yes, a cassette tape! — of Weiner reading from her work, and that was all I had to offer. I played it at the close of class and listened with all the other students, amazed by the strange voice speaking in a strange tongue.

I knew then that I would have to return to Hannah Weiner. But the tape disappeared, and I didn’t hear the uncanny voice again until recordings of Weiner resurfaced in 2003 as part of PennSound, a digital project committed to producing new audio recordings and preserving existing audio archives. By this time, Weiner was dead (she would only ever exist as a disembodied voice for me), and her papers, left in the deep care of Charles Bernstein, had been donated to the New Poetry Archives at the University of California, San Diego. Finally, in 2007, I arranged the meeting with Weiner I had so often and so long ago postponed. I went to the Weiner archive seeking three things: unpublished materials, textually interesting writings, and visually arresting documents. The Book Of Revelations was all of these things — and more. It transfixed me, and for several days I sat in the library hand-transcribing as much of the text as I possibly could. Later, when scans of the manuscript were available, I began the transcription process for a second time, this time typing the scanned pages directly.

During the two-year period of my work on Weiner’s notebook, many people aided my research. My greatest debt is to Charles Bernstein, Weiner’s executor and one of her most astute critics. Without his scholarship and constant encouragement, this project could not have reached completion. This book is dedicated to him.

Another Weiner scholar deserves my deepest thanks. Patrick F. Durgin welcomed me — then a total stranger — into the small but dedicated circle of Weiner critics, responding to my numerous queries about her poetics and working habits and offering expert advice on the transcription of the notebook. His openness to my work embodied the generosity of poets, and I will not forget it.

Barbara Rosenthal, one of Weiner’s closest friends during the period in which the notebook was composed, took time away from her own creative work to write to me about Weiner and the collaborative work they did and to make valuable suggestions about the direction of my own research. She also offered unique insight into the notebook itself — specifically, its origins as an artist’s book fashioned by her own hands. Some of the most striking images of Wiener included here come from Rosenthal’s archive. My gratitude to her is immense.

Hannah Weiner’s work has attracted the dedication of extraordinary people whose work has contributed to this single volume. I would like to thank, among others unnamed, Maria Damon, Judith Goldman, Joyelle McSweeney, Rodney Koeneke, Caroline Bergvall, Jack Kimball, Mark DuCharme, Kaplan Harris, Robert Dewhurst, and Thom Donovan for their luminous contributions to Weiner scholarship. I learned much from them and will continue to do so. I am also in debt to Weiner’s longtime friend Susan Bee, for her artist’s eye in reviewing problematic transcripts.

Thanks, too, to Robert Dewhurst and Sean Reynolds for publishing several pages of the notebook in an issue of Wild Orchids dedicated to Weiner’s writings. The invitation to contribute to this venture spurred my work forward.

The Archive for New Poetry, Mandeville Special Collections Library, at the University of California, San Diego, was an ideal place to work. I owe great thanks to Lynda Corey-Claassen, director of the Mandeville Special Collections there, who generously digitized the notebook’s leaves, enabling me to work on it from afar. The digitization process involved much time and care, and Weiner scholars everywhere are the richer for her efforts in making the scans of the notebook available to all.

Similarly, I wish to thank Julia Bloch and Michael S. Hennessey, editors of Jacket2, for their vision of Weiner and for their careful production of this late work by her.

I owe a profound debt to two of my students, Elizabeth Cattarin and Tina Bampton, and one of my oldest friends, Robert Waterhouse. Elizabeth was my most constant companion in the work on the diplomatic transcription, and her technical expertise joined with her poetic sensibility contributed to the evolving form of the work. My vision of the notebook’s presentation was always in perfect resonance with her design. Tina Bampton proofread the notebook with me, reading backwards and forwards and reminding me through this “performance” of the singular beauty of Weiner’s lines. Bob Waterhouse, my oldest and best reader, took much time to look at my own writing on Weiner and help me to think through the questions raised by the notebook — the (different) demands of Weiner’s late clair-style, the limits of autobiography as she probed them, the excess of the fragmentary that turns all her writing into “surplus,” and the interruptions of the infinite marked in every message she received and attempted to forward onto us.

Finally, my deep thanks to Cristian Gurita for graciously understanding how important this work is to me and for giving me the space to pursue it.