Commentaries - October 2012

John Martone: A suite of poems from 'Molecular Lament'

Cecilia Vicuña quipu menstrual 2006
Cecilia Vicuña quipu menstrual 2006


for Cecilia Vicuña

                Their books were loose bundles of string.
                                                -- Charles Mann



dressed in



yr life

balled up


the end

Barbara Guest

Photo: l to r: Barbara Guest, Hadley Guest
Photo: l to r: Barbara Guest, Hadley Guest

It’s good to see Jacket2 continuing to focus on the poetry of Barbara Guest, a forceful writer of uncompromisingly modern tastes.
I am pleased to say that at a reading for Carl Rakosi in San Francisco some years ago (where Carl read  his short poem “The Laboratory Rat”) I was able to meet Barbara Guest. I mentioned that Allen Ginsberg once lived on the same street as she did, in Berkeley, at the time he wrote “A Supermarket in California”.
“Well, it’s a very long avenue,” she replied sweetly. “I think Allen lived somewhere on the downtown end.”

Amish Trivedi: Opening strophes from 'Untitled Project'

At an edge of my severed sense, the only overwhelming
breath is not mine. Another sentence to cover this one and
another eye that

begins to heal. Normal is erasing but with
no dust left to trace through, fingers make

no more arcs. In the debutante’s crying room,

the body revolts against its housing, unwelcome
wherever it exists. There are memories of stoplights
in the places
we used to go.                I didn’t know

Douglas Dunn & Dancers Cassations

92nd Street Y Oct. 5, 2012; photos by Jacob Burckhardt

Mimi Gross, set designer

A magnificent Douglas Dunn and dancers performance Friday night, first of several this weekend in New York. Sets and costumes by Mimi Gross. Photos by Jacob Burckhardt (except Mimi Gross photo above, which is by Charles Bernstein). Last peformance today.

Veronica Forrest-Thomson

 Photo credit: Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Cambridge, 1972, copyright © Jonathan C
Photo credit: Veronica Forrest-Thomson, Cambridge, 1972, copyright © Jonathan Culler 1972, 2001

Jacket 14 carries an article by Brian Kim Stefans on the British poet Veronica Forrest-Thomson. (You can read it here.)

I had been excited by her first critical book, and had  been waiting for decades to find someone as smart as Brian to introduce her to a wider public. His piece begins:

One of the misfortunes of the lack of attention being paid to English poetry of this century is the obscurity of Veronica Forrest-Thomson, a poet who died in 1975 at the age of 27. Forrest-Thomson is the author of Poetic Artifice, a book that outlined a theory of poetry from a critical perspective — i.e. a tool to determine the success or failure of a poem rather then merely a vocabulary for describing the phenomenon of a “poem” — but one which, rather than confirming or resisting a “tradition,” concentrated on those elements of the poem that resist quick interpretation or, in her terms, “naturalization” by the reader or critic.