collage

Sea shells and torsos in Bella Li’s 'Argosy'

'Argosy' by Bella Li, cover.
'Argosy' by Bella Li.

Sometimes writing poems is too much for me. I’ll be in no mood for words or for thinking with any depth on a matter. I cut and glue pictures and patterns instead. Collage is how I shift gears. There is something peaceful about cutting along the edge of an image. I have books on magic and mysteries of the world and Jane Fonda’s workout routine and children’s illustrated history books and books about space and land and science. I have folders where images and landscapes wait for me to find a use for them. I can follow my amateur (nonexistent) visual sensibilities as I piece together the cut-out phrases and headless bodies and mollusk shells, and it brings me simple pleasure. There are no painstaking decisions to make or moments where I completely shut down and question every decision I ever made leading up to this point. 

 

Sometimes writing poems is too much for me. I’ll be in no mood for words or for thinking with any depth on a matter. I cut and glue pictures and patterns instead. Collage is how I shift gears. There is something peaceful about cutting along the edge of an image. I have books on magic and mysteries of the world and Jane Fonda’s workout routine and children’s illustrated history books and books about space and land and science. I have folders where images and landscapes wait for me to find a use for them.

Menacing archives

A review of Jennifer Scappettone's 'The Republic of Exit 43'

Trucks dump garbage at Fresh Kills Landfill, May 1973. Photo by Chester Higgins with the EPA, via Wikimedia Commons.

What kind of archive is the landfill? How do disposable technologies haunt — or annul — the imaginaries of urban ecologies? Landfills and wastelands often preserve more than personal and communal memories: narratives of city development, domestic and global economies, cultural infrastructures, and processes that underpin technological innovations. 

What kind of archive is the landfill? How do disposable technologies haunt — or annul — the imaginaries of urban ecologies? Landfills and wastelands often preserve more than personal and communal memories: narratives of city development, domestic and global economies, cultural infrastructures, and processes that underpin technological innovations.

Why can't I touch it

On Chris Hosea's 'Double Zero'

Image at right courtesy of Chris Hosea.

“Don’t seek that all that comes about should come about as you wish, but wish that everything that comes about should come about just as it does, and then you’ll have a calm and happy life,” Epictetus advises in the epigraph to Chris Hosea’s second collection, Double Zero.

“Don’t seek that all that comes about should come about as you wish, but wish that everything that comes about should come about just as it does, and then you’ll have a calm and happy life,” Epictetus advises in the epigraph to Chris Hosea’s second collection, Double Zero.[1] The Stoic maxim is fitting for a collagist like Hosea, whose poetry seeks to capture and present everything stripped of an artificer’s will; the speaker of “Little Salt Book,” for example, remarks that it is “[d]isappointing that books are written by persons” (3

Mega what? — the audio

Omar Pérez recording poems in Havana.  Photo by K. Dykstra, 2010.
Omar Pérez recording poems in Havana. Photo by K. Dykstra, 2010.

Does that poet speak any English?  — The answer, with Omar Pérez, is yes.  Quite a bit.  In fact he has translated numerous writers from the English into Spanish (selections by Shakespeare, Komunyakaa and many more), as well as bringing some non-literary material into English from the Spanish for publication in Cuba.  Well why doesn't he just translate his own poems?1

Close listening with Keith Waldrop, 2009

Keith Waldrop reads at the Kelly Writers House, 2009.

Editorial note: The following has been adapted from a Close Listening conversation recorded November 5, 2009, at the Kelly Writers House for PennSound and Art International Radio. Keith Waldrop was born in Kansas and attended a fundamentalist high school in South Carolina. His pre-med studies were interrupted when he was drafted to be an army engineer.

Cyborg voice, collage joy

An interview with Tony Trigilio

NoteI first met Tony Trigilio when we read together at the Sunday Salon, at Black Rock Pub in Chicago. The reading was held on a November evening after tornados had swept through the state. I bring this up because Trigilio’s White Noise, a pseudo-Flarf response to DeLillo’s White Noise, transforms the language of search engines — like the kinds we were obsessively checking that afternoon for information about storm systems and tornados — into the language of poetry.

Desiring visual texts

A collage and embroidery dialogue

Rachel Blau DuPlessis, “Wishes on the Wish Tree.” 11 x 14 inches, 2012.

After swift exchanges at a University of Pennsylvania conference on April 13–14, 2012, Maria Damon, with a practice of weaving and cross-stitch embroidery, and Rachel Blau DuPlessis, with a practice of collage and collage poems, decided to ask each other some questions about this work, their desires to do it and its rationale, given the full-scale scholarly careers that they both have.

'Building a nest out of torn up letters'

James Schuyler, trash, and the poetics of collage

James Schuyler in Calais, VT, late 1960s. Photo by Joe Brainard.

James Schuyler has, from the first, been viewed as a consummate poet of the everyday, hailed for his charming, inspiring attentiveness to the here and now.

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