Commentaries

'Confederate Battle Flag'

 

Confederate Battle Flag 

Selling loose cigarettes
Changing lanes in duress
Aren't warrant for arrest
Much less sudden death

Of the relational local (1 of 2)

A resurgent ecopoetics post-conference ‘plenary’

In “Gentle Now, Don't Add to Heartache,” Juliana Spahr offers a narrative of the displacement of human imagination defined by creaturely and vegetal affiliation and transelemental immersion in the natural world. Lists of nonhuman species imply an abundant, connective world, and these same are beseeched not to “add to heartache,” prior to their replacement by chemical-industrial products later in the poem.  “We come into the world / and there it is” – the poem’s opening lines prompt.

Feel beauty supply, post 7

The sublime body of Michael Brown

As I noted at the start of my stint here in “Commentary,” when I was assigned to teach 18th century and Romantic aesthetics this past spring, I found the task daunting. Why teach the ideas of these dead white men at a time when the news every night talked about the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police? As my class and I rehearsed the ideas of Edmund Burke, though, I began to see that one argument for reading aesthetics is to understand the long history of white supremacy’s rhetoric and how it has infiltrated our everyday thought and speech.

American Sign Language as a medium for poetry

 Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner of the Flying Words project performing ASL poetry (
Peter Cook and Kenny Lerner of the Flying Words project performing ASL poetry (Jessica Munyon)

for Joseph Castronovo & Edward S. Klima, in memoriam

[The great breakthrough resulting from a new signing poetry in Deaf Culture has been to call into question a poetics in which orality & sounding are assumed to be the foundational bases of all poetic expression. That revelation goes back three decades & more, recently & notably presented in Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature, ed. by Dirksen L. Bauman, Jennifer L. Nelson, & Heidi M. Rose (University of California Press, 2006).

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