Commentaries - October 2011

Chapbook

'Round Vienna'

Sample image by Melissa Hardie
Sample image by Melissa Hardie

Round Vienna is the title of a new chapbook from Vagabond by Kate Lilley, and reminds me that Vienna airport, (my only experience of Vienna) is round. As far as I know, it's the first solo poetry publication from Lilley since her 2002 Salt book, Versary. It is just 4 poems. Yet the elegant production aside - and the splendid (yet understated) sample of images by Melissa Hardie - it does not feel meagre. Titles are important: and if Vienna conjured Freud for you, the first poem title, 'Fraud's Dora' would confirm it. The title is in a sense a balancing of the intellectual weight of the poems: for we are in the realm of psychoanalytic assemblage. There is a similarity here to the poems of Emma Lew in that the lines seem drawn from disparate (if perhaps fictional) sources, yet they present a tonally structured verisimilitude rather than the feel of a field of fragments. Otherwise they are very much their own woman - distinct in terms of rhythm, sensibility and humour:

she did not scruple to appear

in the most frequented streets

she was in fact a feminist

('Sidonie')

Sidonie was a lesbian patient of Freud's, and there is a homoerotic coupling between the poem on the left and Hardie's image on the left. (These images are not just illustrations but poetically apposite in themselves, encouraging a reading of the book as visual poetry.)

Writing through Ezra (PoemTalk #46)

Jackson Mac Low, "Words nd Ends from Ez"

Jackson Mac Low, Ezra Pound

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

PoemTalk travelled to Bard College, where we gathered with Charles Bernstein, Pierre Joris, and Bard's own Joan Retallack to talk about Jackson Mac Low's Words nd Ends from Ez (1989). The project was composed in ten parts, one part each for sections (sometimes called “decades”) of Ezra Pound's lifework, The Cantos. We chose to discuss the penultimate part of Mac Low's diastic written-through work, a poem based on phrases, words, and letters drawn from — and in some sense about — Pound's near-final cantos, Drafts & Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII.  Mac Low’s constraint, for which he preferred the term “quasi-intentional” to the term “chance,” involved the letters forming the name E Z R A  P O U N D.  Words, phrases, and letters were extracted from the original cantos based on those letters and on their placement within words. Charles, Pierre, Joan, and Al Filreis explain this in detail, although we cannot quite agree as to whether Mac Low was being absolutely strict in the application of the diastic method. As Bernstein notes several times, this particular procedure is one of the more complex Mac Low used. Nonetheless, it’s the sense of the group that when semantic meaning seems to be created, it has about it, as Pierre Joris happily notes, the special pleasure of serendipity, and means all the more.

Amy Sillman & Charles Bernstein, Duplexities

collaborations at Bowery Poetry Club

sometimes a bee’s just a bee
and a sting just a sting
and song just a song
and sorrow just sorrow
sometimes the blue just gets to you
and the black an instrument
of form’s indelible intransigence

October 28, 2011- January 3, 2012
Opening reception, October 28, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Screening of Pinky’s Rule, Bernstein and Sillman’s 7-minute animated drawing, at 6:15 pm sharp
Bowery Poetry Club
310 Bowery, New York, NY

Penn faculty in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

As faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania, we wish to express our solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement now underway in our city and elsewhere.

The Capilano Review

Susan Bee & Charles Bernstein in BC early 1970s

Fall 2010 / 3.12
Fall 2010 / 3.12

pdf of issue now available, for $4
Susan Bee: COVER: Light in the Forest, 1973 oil on canvas, 19" x 26"

Andrea Actis. "But sometimes a sign's all you need": A Conversation with Susan Bee & Charles Bernstein

Charles Bernstein, Ruskin (earlier poems)

Susan Bee, In and Around BC: Paintings/Drawings/Sculpture