Jordan Scott’s blert, simply put, is a book about stuttering that stutters. Which in fact means that it is anything but simple. blert is a mouth that mouths me as I mouth its phonemes with my mouth. It is intensely physical, clinical and my mouth becomes both hyper personal and treacherous.
“Imitate: frazil ice. Say clacra, frazil ice, clacracla.
Imitate: muskoxen. Say flafra, muskoxen, flafrafla.” (Jordan Scott, blert)
I imitate and my utterance “fails.” Or does it? For how can an utterance fail or succeed. Doesn’t an utterance just utter? Don’t all mouths approximate the sounds of other mouths? And yet we place so much judgement on accents, speech discordances, lisps, stammers, stutters, even pitch and gender. In these judgements we fable, much as the fables of cures for stuttering that blert dissects:
“The chichara has to sing inside the mouth… You will learn to use your mouth.” “You will lunge your thorax unto spring… You will sing like the birds.” “If you wish to become an eloquent speaker, you should bury the hyoid bone of a lamb in the wall of your house.” “You will learn to eat your grasshoppers.”
The caption to Subhankar Banerjee’s photograph of migrating snow geese reads: “Nearly 300,000 snow-geese arrive from their nesting ground in the Canadian high Arctic to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in early autumn. They feed sixteen hours a day on a type of cotton grass to build fat before they start their long migration south to places like New Mexico (my home), California, Texas, and Mexico. During spring and summer months nearly ninety species migrate to the coastal plain from all six continents to nest and rear their young, to molt, to stage, and to feed. In my mind through migrations of these birds, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge gets connected to every land and oceans of the planet. For several decades, the United States Government has been pushing hard to open up this coastal plain to oil and gas development.”
Banerjee’s Arctic images (which have become ubiquitous in media about climate change) are balanced with attention to the life ways, opportunities and challenges of the peoples most closely tied to the Arctic ecosystems (Gwich’in, Inupiat). His own personal politics as an artist who has forsworn the financial speculation of the gallery system, extending his “art” into a range of political engagements, also adds to the meaning of his images. Above all, this image speaks to the fact that every person, and every species, on this planet is connected to the fate of the Arctic ecosystems, in part through the epic migrations of species like the Snow Goose.
One effect of the virtual departure of Jacket from Australia is the bringing forward of other internet journals such as cordite. cordite has been an innovative presence for years, but I think really took off with its collaborative issues, involving reworkings of each issue, beginning with 30: Custom/Made. They are not the only magazine to invite remixes but they are possibly the only one to invite contributors to post their own poems, and to use comment streams to create collaborative works. This is largely thanks to the genius of managing editor David Prater, currently resident in Sweden.
At one time or another, Erín Moure has inhabited and continues to inhabit the localities of many subjectivity-figures, including Erin Mouré, Eirin Moure, Elisa Sampedrín, a plethora of medieval Iberian troubadours, the fervent person that is Fernando Pessoa that is Alberto Caeiro, Nicole Brossard, Chus Pato, Andrés Ajens, Nichita Stănescu, Paul Celan, Louise Dupré, more philosophers than can be listed here, and even Oana Avasilichioaei.
And as with all localities, these localities also come with their own histories, cultures and languages, including English, French, Galician, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian, which Moure traverses not with ease, but responsibly, as responsive citizen. “To connect is so unconquerable a citizen only a gift may vibrate.” (O Cidadán) Moure’s work demands that we discover where in the disconnect between two languages can one connect; can one gift one language with the contours of the other language; can one shape a subject with a gesture of the other subject.