Commentaries - April 2013

Rochelle Owens: 'Hermaphropoetics' / 'Amorous,' for Clayton Eshleman

(hermaphrodite flower)
(hermaphrodite flower)


the opaque energy

tearing the cornea

the eyes

leaking blood



of the hermaphrodite



A boy with bright red lips

Conceptualist Autopoiesis: A dialogue between Divya Victor (United States/India/Singapore), Swantje Lichtenstein (Germany), and Riccardo Boglione (Italy/Uruguay)

20 April 2013

The following is an occassional dialogue composed for this occassion. Divya Victor, Swantje Lichtenstein, and Riccardo Boglione may not have met apart from the artifice of this conversation.

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E ¡CONTRAATACA!: Poéticas selectas (1975-2011) [Spanish translation], ed. Heriberto Yepez

from Aldus, Mexico City

Heriberto Yépez (coord.)
Prólogo de Eduardo Espina
Traducciones de Mario Bogarín, Alejandro Espinoza Galindo, Hugo García Manríquez, Mayra Luna, Erneto Livon-Grosman,  y Heriberto Yépez
free pdf of entire book here.

Incubation: 'A Space for Monsters' by Bhanu Kapil

The poet's novel

When I think of Incubation A Space for Monsters, I think of the form of the list, and how Kapil has transplanted this form so common to poetry into the form of the novel. 

We think through lists, live them, annotate and move through time non-sequentially as we insert our prerogatives into lists. With each iteration on a list, as we enact it, who do we become?

“The secret pleasure of refusing to live like a normal person in a dress/with a sex drive and fingers/dreamy yet stabilized in the café of languages” [1].

Incubation A Space for Monsters, is a book akin to movement as a form of identity. The movement is many-directional. A character, Laloo, is literally moving. She is in transit via hitchhiking, which means in a sense that she has no idea which direction she will move.  Her body is spliced, part “monster” part “baby” part “cyborg” part “dream.”  She is moving in the direction of female identity, an identity between borders, between safety and risk, between any fixed notion of intimacy and the question — how to be a person intact?

An introduction to Charles Bernstein's reading from 'Recalculating'

'Strike because you are abandoned.'

[The following is the text of an introduction I gave before a reading by Charles Bernstein from his book Recalculating on April 16, 2013, at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia.]

In Recalculating (Chicago, 2013), Charles Bernstein follows every imperative invoked from the late Emma Bee Bernstein in its epigraph, among them “Pump up the radio,” “Retrace your route in reflection,” and — profoundly — “Race your future to the finish line.”   For Bernstein, via Fernando Pessoa, poets are fakers whose faking is so real they even fake the pain they truly feel.   Reversing effectiveness with an eye on redemption, he seeks to kill two stones with one bird.   Recalculating Wallace Stevens’s “Loneliness in Jersey City,” he offers us “Loneliness in Linden,” where — as is not the case in Stevens — “Jews do Jewish things” with failed language: cobbling together the six million tunes of the never-heard-of-in-modernism dead. 

In “Fold,” the poet makes a prose-poem list of sentences in which transitive verbs are identical to direct objects, facing faces, voiding voids, gulping gulps, fearing fear and hating hate. Re-addressing friends and poetic colleagues, he offers a poem in honor of Bob Perelman in which Bob is presented only by way of possessives: what he has, what he writes, not what he is. His numinous nominalism. His casual attire surrealism. His direct address to entropic homeopathic Jewishness.   In “I Will Not Write Imitative Poetry,” Bernstein — teacherly — sends himself scolded to the blackboard, forcing himself to write sixteen times that he will not write imitative poetry, he really won’t, he won’t, he won’t, he promises he won’t. It’s a wash-your-mouth-out-with-soapistry, an ars poetica as bold as the poetic-pedagogical absolutism it opposes, a few don’ts for the post-imagist.  Thus he recalculates – re-understands – innovative writing in the progressive socio-literary lineage, the “pen [being] tinier than the sword,” free verse being “not a type of poetry but an imperative to liberate verse from constraints no longer applicable for a new time and new circumstance.”  He recalculates a pragmatic progressive politics of language, thinking aloud through Lakoffian reformist optimism: “All the signs say no passage; still, there must be a way.”