Commentaries

Ahmad Almallah: Finding the way between

Ahmad Almallah, screenshot from the film " Words Adorned: Andalusian Muwashshah Poetry "

In new poems Ahmad Almallah seeks not a way that is mapped or directed. Nor does he follow a course. His way — his poetic mode and compositional method — is to be scrappily “on the move” (as he writes in a new work), “the metal collecting / the way on the way.” The metapoetic nonnarrative gesture here is primarily aesthetic, of course (Almallah is a poet first and foremost — in intention, vocation, and desire), but the recalcitrant formal heterodoxy seems to be at the same time never an artist’s choice (I’m guessing he hates that MFA-program cliché) so much as an inexorable expression of obsessive topical urgency.

Responses to Eleni Stecopoulos's Visceral Poetics

Eleni Stecopoulos’ brilliantly provocative, syncretic manifesto, Visceral Poetics,  identifies idiopathic disease with ideolectical poetics, pathology with anomaly – the flesh of the text and the text of the flesh — bringing home the liberatory potential for visceral readings of the unintelligible. For Stecopoulos, diagnosis is a practice of aesthetic translation and poetry a quest for knowledge outside the disabling strictures of Western rationalism. Written in lyric bursts of telegraphic intensity, Stecopoulos follows her guides, Artaud and Metcalf, through veils of suffering in order to repossess, from the jaws of evisceration, her own life — and ours. 

Calligraphy Typewriters: 'The Selected Poems of Larry Eigner'

The selected poems of Larry Eigner is just out from the series I edit with Hank Lazer at the University of Alabama Press. We are able to offer a 30% discount, so you can get this 350-page book for $17. 

Eigner’s poetry is one of the splendors of postwar American culture. There is no more perfect introduction to Eigner’s sublime actualizations of the “sustaining air” of the everyday than this selection.

My foreword to the book is included in Pitch of Poetry.  It is also on-line here

First reading of Hannah Sanghee Park's 'And a Lie' (2)

Amaris Cuchanski

Hannah Sanghee Park (left) and Amaris Cuchanski

From the first stanza of her poem “And A Lie,” Park sets in motion a pattern of fissure and fusion. She splits words into their fundamental sound units and rearranges them. The confidence of the initial “the,” a definite article whose purpose is to point to a singular thing, becomes “then,” an adverb anticipating change, then transforms to “anathema,” and finally to “anthem.” Anathema and anthem evoke loathing and loving, condemnation and celebration.

Li Zhimin reads 'A Goal for Mutual Understanding'

Below is a video clip from Li Zhimin’s recent reading at the Kelly Writers House, introduced by Charles Bernstein. It was edited by PennSound’s Dylan Leahy from the full video recording of the event. There is also, of course, an audio recording. For more information about the reading, click here.

Li Zhimin is a poet writing in both the English and Chinese languages. He has published numerous chapbooks of poem since 2001. His most recent collection is Zhongalish: Think and Feel Globally (August 2016). Currently, Li serves as Chief Professor of Western Literature Studies at the School of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou University, and is Director of both its Modern Poetry Studies Centre and Foreign Languages Training Centre.