Commentaries

Jerome Rothenberg: Previewing 'A Book of Infernos'

Six poems and a coda

[The excerpts that follow are from a new work of mine scheduled for publication later this year by Lunar Chandelier Collective: thirty-four poems and a coda derived loosely from the cantos and circles of Dante’s Inferno, “for the infernos and hungers of the worlds around us.”]

[The excerpts that follow are from a new work of mine scheduled for publication later this year by Lunar Chandelier Collective: thirty-four poems and a coda derived loosely from the cantos and circles of Dante’s Inferno, “for the infernos and hungers of the worlds around us.”]

 

INFERNO 1

Bernstein Optic Nerves videos

photo by Colin Still

In November, Colin Still filmed me reading several poems and interviewed me about the poems, as part of his Optic Nerve series on poets, including Amiri Baraka, Robert Creeley, and Jerome Rothenberg.

Dorothea Lasky: What is between us

Notes on her recent work

Dorothea Lasky, photo by Dorothea Lasky

Poems about the poems themselves, such as “Gender,” tempt us to underestimate or even to dismiss metapoetical claims: “I write poems about boobs and dicks.” This is of course deceptive, a misdirection, because ultimately, in every Lasky poem, the words (and overall the voicings of ecstatic, troubled experience) come as a remedy for language’s absence as otherwise the expected state. “I write poems about boobs and dicks,” yes, “But my anger comes not from this / But from being silenced / So that I hate what they like / Not listening to me / So that I could go on and on.”

Coming after a long literary history of poetry meant to idealize solutions to human problems and concerns — even if such fixes are only to be imagined — poets such as Hannah Weiner,  John Wieners, Bernadette Mayer, Laynie Browne, Lee Ann Brown, and Dorothea Lasky explore the seemingly hopeless, seemingly “low” (or at least "daily") underside. The strength of their work as a poetics has derived from explorations of emotional detritus, (masks of) self-loathing, sexual frankness, etc.

Clap, baby: like this

Of Clap for Me That's Not Me, Kenna O'Rourke writes: “Capó-García’s methods are relatable: filtering a fucked-up world through too much TV, too much time on the internet, too many music videos (“I had great ambition to become a video girl a classy one the kind that dances with her mouth closed”). There are almost too many funny snippets to keep up.” Of Baby, I Don't Care, Kenna writes: "Chelsey Minnis’s Baby, I Don’t Care is decadent and deranged, a color story of burnt orange and diamond and wine, a “meat locker full of rubies.” The speaker of these short, punchy poems — indebted, Minnis notes, to Turner Classic Movies — is the kind of absurd upper crust that makes the Real Housewives franchises so popular, with a 1920s-ish speech coach." 

Kenna O’Rourke takes another look at three 2018 poetry titles.

Extreme texts in new locales: 'At the Dusk of Literature?'

CFP for an upcoming conference at the University of Łódź

We at J2 are pleased to share a call for papers for the upcoming conference At the Dusk of Literature? — Twenty-First-Century North American Writing in Extremis. Editor Divya Victor will appear as the conference’s keynote speaker and draws from her recent J2 feature, “Extreme Texts.”  The conference will take place September 28–30, 2020, at the University of Łódź, Poland, and is organized by Dr. Małgorzata Myk and Mark Tardi. For Divya Victor, writing the call for papers in 2017 only several months into Trump’s presidency meant taking into account the reality in which “a majority of Americans had acquiesced to live, normally, under extreme conditions, with denuded civil rights, attenuated freedoms of press, increasing inequality of wages, and diminishing access to medical care, and under misogynist, transphobic, and supremacist policies.” “Extreme Texts” offers an impressive range of modes of thinking about the notion of extremity in contemporary experimental poetry and poetics, reclaiming the term’s complexity visible in the ways the contributors investigated the condition of texts in terms of their own limit(s) and excess(es).  For more information, visit the full call for papers.

We at J2 are pleased to share a call for papers for the upcoming conference At the Dusk of Literature? — Twenty-First-Century North American Writing in Extremis. Editor Divya Victor will appear as the conference’s keynote speaker and draws from her recent J2 feature, “Extreme Texts.” 

From the CFP: