[The following is in celebration of the recent publication by MadHat Press of Selected Poems by Harry Crosby, which brings back the work of a major but twice forgotten avant-garde poet from the period of American poetry between the two world wars.
Whereas a proverb is a kind of condensed-language poiesis sharing wisdom about Reality, a preverb engages the wisdom impulse at the level of natural language complexity. This means that no statement claims to be “true” as representing the Real. Instead, a self-true verbal gesture plays itself out mindful of the oscillating contrary possibilities emergent in language itself.
On the first day, not one angelic personage came to me, no fish, no wanderer, no visitor, no stranger, but the entire Book of Words was before me. It was a real book, and I had to read it all the way through.
On the first day, not one angelic personage came to me, no fish, no wanderer, no visitor, no stranger, but the entire Book of Words was before me. It was a real book, and I had to read it all the way through. This is no parable of reading. It is not a memory of learning or being taught something.
Reading Experimental Writing Edited by Georgina Colby Edinburgh University Press (2020): NOW OUT in cloth Paperback will be published in August 2021
The essays comprising this conceptually rich and astutely edited volume read contemporary experimental writing in terms of its engagement with a genuinely historical present moment, unfolding at manifold sites of turbulence. The result is a set of extraordinarily timely essays on aesthetic activism, reflecting an array of perspectives while sharing a sense of the contemporary as emergent and still incomplete. This is a powerful contribution to the moment, and one with long term significance. - Lyn Hejinian
“Firewood/Foreword,” Charles Bernstein (full text below) “Introduction: Reading Experimental Writing,” Georgina Colby 1. “‘Fog is My Land’: A Citizenship of Mutual Estrangement in the Painted Books of Etel Adnan,” Jennifer Scappettone 2. “Reading Happily with John Cage, Lyn Hejinian, and Others,” Alex Houen 3. “Experiment, Inscription and the Archive: Kathy Acker’s Manuscript Practice,” Georgina Colby 4. “Rereading Race and Commodity Form in Erica Hunt’s ‘Piece Logic,’” Chris Chen 5. “Contemporary Experimental Translations and Translingual Poetics,” Sophie Seita 6. “On Joan Retallack’s Memnoir: Investigating ‘the Experience of Experiencing,’” erica kaufman 7. “A Queer Response to Caroline Bergvall's Hyphenated Practice: Toward an Interdependent Model of Reading,” Susan Rudy 8. “Reading Language Art in Digital Media: Reconfigurations of Experimental Practices,” John Cayley 9. “Charles Bernstein’s Walter Benjamin, Among Other Things,” Peter Jaeger