Commentaries - August 2011

Slobodan Tišma: Two poems (with bio and commentaries)

translated from Serbian by Dubravka Djurić, Filip Marinovich, and Katie Fowley; edited by Charles Bernstein


In this long flower war

María Meléndez’s mestizo landscapes

rapids on the Poudre River
Poudre River

Another borrowed book whose call I ignored for too long is María Meléndez’s How Long She’ll Last in This World (U of Arizona, 2006). And how helpless I became, in its pages. I cannot resist poetry that speaks to me of “the morning sparkle of cows’/ dewy slobber all over the pasture,” or of dropping “a Troxler down a vertically sunk/ PVC pipe, [measuring] soil moisture as shifts/ in the tool’s resonant frequency.” On one level, this is poetry for the pack, inspirational to field science, informative to poets. (Meléndez writes out of her work as a wildlife biology field assistant.) The phenomena referenced quicken to shared contact, to the cast of a certain landscape, a “co-pathy/ with this particular coastal prairie herd,/ because we’ve been under the same saffron spell/ of a hill of bush lupine in bloom.” Meléndez’s poetry speaks the “co-pathy” of landscapes west of the Divide, Carolinas too.

Vasko Popa: two views

Milan Djordjević and Dubravka Djurić

This is the first of a two-part feature on postwar Serbian poetry. Second part: two poems by Slobodan Tišma.

Sounding on the scent

The Perfume Recordist scents herself into sounding and sounds herself in scenting.

The Perfume Recordist is an encounter between Lisa Robertson and Stacy Doris across countries (Canada, USA, France), across senses and perceptions, across technological devices, across kitchen tables.  

The Perfume Recordist field records, manifests, performs.

The Perfume Recordist is not interested in the fallacies of origins and the intrinsic essence of things but in the layered odour of momentous existence, in the whiff of an ear, in the noisy bouquet of a city’s undergarments.